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Recent Tasting Notes
Bought this with an order last week to cold brew for iced tea. It is good. It seemed to get apathetic reviews from people brewing it hot but it is really good cold. The mango has a nice flavor and the black tea is strictly in the background. This is one excellent way to wake up on a hot summer morning. I would definitely buy more of this once I run out. But I bought four ounces so I have enough for a while.
I brewed this overnight in a 32oz Lupica Handy Cooler with 4 tsp leaf.
Cold brewed this blend last night. Bought it in store the other day. They were selling it as an iced tea blend. It is pretty tasty. The stronger taste is from the strawberry lemonade herbal tea. The black tea is clearly in the background. It is quite tasty. I bought it specifically to make it into cold brewed iced tea.
Steeped this over night in a 32oz Lupica Handy cooler with 4 tsp leaf.
Flavors: Lemon, Strawberry
Bought this on sale at Teavana.com last week. It is fairly tasty but not spectacular. It’s main note is malt as well as something else that I’m not sure what it is, a positive note. This falls into the category of tea good enough to finish but not good enough to buy more. It is fairly tasty but not in any way spectacular.
I brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 3 min.
Well there you go…I’ve gone and cheated on DAVIDSTEA. I went to one of the malls in Calgary and they had a TEAVANA store and they had 5 tea samples. I just had to try them and I fell in love with this tea. It is the best smelling tea in the world so far and it tastes wonderful too-like pineapples and blueberries. Very refreshing. It is my new guilty pleasure lol
This is a seriously overpriced tea. I only bought two ounces because Teavana was running a good sale, $25 off $60. I split my order in half and got $50 off. This tea cost $30 for 2 oz. It is probably the most I have spent on a black tea. As to the tea it is admittedly quite good. It’s got notes of malt with chocolate undertones to it. It has a strong chocolate taste. I figure Teavana teas are made for western brewing and I was in a hurry so I western brewed it. Just out of curiosity I will have to gongfu this tea sometime soon. Usually I am not fond of Teavana’s straight teas but this is a superior tea. In my opinion it wasn’t actually worth the price though. If it hadn’t been for the sale I would probably never have bought this. I am enjoying it more than just about any tea I have had from Teavana.
I brewed this one time in a Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 3 minutes. My recommendation of this tea is sort of conditional, it is definitely worth drinking, it’s just not worth the price that Teavana charges. It’s one of the best black teas I have had western brewed certainly.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt
Okay, didn’t have the BEST experience in Teavana today. I’m told they’ve demolished that upselling/overselling tactic, but it still occurred, and he either ignored me or didn’t hear my meek little protest, and I ended up with more tea than I wanted. It sounded like the manager told him off for it though when I left…
But in the end, I’m not complaining because I’m liking this tea so far. He said it finished with caramel, and he wasn’t wrong; it’s a sweet, even-bodied tea that starts with honey and finishes with toasted honey/caramel. It’s bright, sweet, slightly nutty, not brisk, no astringency (granted I took the packages’ recommendation for three minutes to steep). I really have gotten worse at describing teas. This is a very mellow, sweet tea though. It reminds me of some Taiwanese honey blacks—specifically the one Davidstea offered for a short time. That one had a bit of smoke on it though, which was odd. I’ll play around with the steep times for this one in the future, though, since I do have a lot to experiment with.
Teavana has been ushering in a number of single-origin (or country/region specific blends, at least) teas lately, under their ‘Micro Lot’ tab. If their Taiwanese honey wasn’t $30 I would have tried that, although the curled, small leaf makes me think it would be quite similar to Davids’.
Just finishing off Harler’s second handbook, Tea Manufacture, and will be posting a review of it soon on teatra.de, with some comparisons to Werkhoven’s Tea Processing. General “Tea Guides/Handbooks” only offer a summarized view of tea processing and manufacturing techniques, so if you’re interested in processing in India and Sri Lanka, with some brief looks at other areas such as Georgia, I’d pick it up, as well as Harler’s other tea books.
Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Nutty, Toasted
So for this tasting note I am doing a 1 to 5 scale. 1 being horrible and 5 being amazing! I will analyze before and after cupping.
Appearance: Freshly grounded. Smells amazing! Loose leaf tea. Clearly brilliant colors no off colors expected. Can clearly see/smell the chocolate and marshmallows – 5
Aroma: Oolong Tea, Cocoa, Chocolate, Marshmallow, Roasted Mate, can’t really smell the rest of the amazing ingredients – 3
Body: No comment – NA
Taste: No comment – NA
Finish: No comment – NA
Overall, before cupping, the tea smells amazing and makes my mouth water. Wonderful aroma of chocolate, roasted mate, and marshmallow. It’s a bit disappointing that I can’t smell the rest of the ingredients.
Overall Score BEFORE CUPPING: 8/10 80% B
Appearance: No defined line, mixing or blending properly with Belgian Rock Sugar, not cloudy, wonderful earthy colored tone, has a wonderful coffee brown color to it, not real light like most oolong teas. However, I LOVE IT! – 4
Aroma: Interesting! Smells just like before cupping! Yummy! Smells are more defined. Really smell the chocolate and marshmallow with a hint of smokey mate or ginger almost. – 4
Body: Smooth, silky, spicy, wonderful balance! Activated my sweet taste buds as well as my spicy buds. Really spicy and smokey, was not expecting it, which I love! Can really taste the chocolate and marshmallow. However, there’s something else, something spicy, almost like cinnamon maybe? – 4
Taste: It’s wonderful. NOTHING is NOT over powered by the amazing ingredients! Everything is equally balanced. Sweet and spicy. Yummy hint of some spices mixed with the marshmallow in the after taste. I can definitely taste the marshmallow and white/cocoa chocolate – 5
Finish: TASTE LINGERS! THANK YOU JESUS! Nice and smooth and leaves me wanting to drink more! Love how I can taste the spices in the after taste that lingers! Can really taste the vanilla as well as the chocolate and marshmallow – 5
Overall after cupping this tea is inviting, malty, smokey, spicy, and warming. It reminds me of sitting around a camp fire with some mates just talking some shit and enjoying each others company. Wonderful tea to drink when it’s cold out! Love this tea and highly recommend it! WONDERFUL! Was really surprising! Did not think I was going to love this tea, but I love it! WOW!
Overall score: 22/25 88% B+
Combined score before and after cupping: 30/35 86% B
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Marshmallow, Vanilla, White Chocolate
Day 4 of Lion’s Week of Tea challenge
Wednesday | Yellow tea
So I just picked this up the other day. as a free Starbucks reward. Since Teavana os owned by Starbucks, you can get loose tea/a free cup from there instead of a free Starbuck’s coffee. Anyway, I got 28g of Golden Dragon, my second yellow tea. I really like yellow teas, they offer many of the nice parts of green teas but without the grassy/stem flavours and no astringency or bitterness. I’m really liking this yellow tea streak I’m on.
This is a bit less toasty than my other yellow tea (“Yellow Sun” from What-Cha), I actually found it to be a bit like a black tea in that it has a strong and complex flavour with lots of tannins (but not in a bitter or overpowering way). I appreciate the tannins and flavour without the unpleasantness often associated.
There is a bit of a “mineral” taste, but not any specific metals. I do not find it overpowering or distasteful at all.
You can steep this several times, I would say probably 3 small teapots/large mugs.
Flavors: Honey, Mineral, Round , Tannin
Stopped by Teavana mostly to buy tins to store my Taiwan Sourcing order in but I did have them brew me this tea. She referred to it as decaf and I hope she was right about that. This is a fairly tasty flavored oolong with notes from the blood oranges. I do like it. I don’t know the exact brewing parameters. It is pretty tasty.
My first true loose leaf tea. Take review with a grain of salt. I really enjoy this tea, but don’t necessarily know how it compares to other teas.
After the third steep, hints of citrus appear and the depth of flavor is greatly reduced, as is the “toastiness”. I prefer the taste of the first two steeps.
Edit: This is still my favorite tea, but I can tell that it is of lower quality now that I have tasted reserve teas. If there were a reserve version of this tea, it would get a 95+ rating.
Flavors: Green, Toasty
Absolute heaven. I disliked earl grey for years based on an unsavory experience I had as a child. However, this tea is what made me open my mind to earl grey again! When I worked at Teavana, I used to just open up the tin and allow the aroma to melt my stress away. Brews a rich reddish-brown liquor; top notes of bergamot which lead right into smooth, earthy black tea; the vanilla and marigold petals give it a sweet, creamy finish! Love this one in the morning, and I usually manage to get at least two steeps out of it. I have a feeling Teavana will eventually switch the recipe to one with all-natural flavoring, to get their more picky customers to stop whining (they always say they’re never buying it again, and they’re back in a week). Either way it’s delicious.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Creamy, Earth, Honey, Vanilla
I just don’t know when to give up, do I?
After consulting my coworker, who is married to a local tea expert, they recommended that I steep this with just below boiling water for around 3-4 minutes. Didn’t work.
I did a second infusion using water around the Teavana recommended temperature (~195 F) and for exactly 3 minutes. Slight improvement over the initial brew. Still horrible.
175 degrees, 1/2 tsp, 2 minute steep. I’m thinking that there’s no way to make this tea taste good. I did, however, get better results using lower temperatures. For whatever reason, forcing the leaves to open with higher temperatures makes it release all the bitterness at once.