981 Tasting Notes

The dry leaf here was gorgeous. Strands of black tea leaves were mixed in with dried chunks of papaya, pineapple, orange peel and orange blossoms, resulting in a blend that looked delicious and festive.

The leaf smelled sweet and fruity. I wasn’t able to pick out notes of individual fruits, but the overall aroma was sweet and somewhat musty, with a strong overtone of vanilla and cream.

I took the entire packet and steeped it with cold water in the fridge for about 12 hours, and added some agave nectar to heighten the sweetness.

However, the resulting tea was bitter, and the sharpness of the tea leaf base overwhelmed the fruit flavours. I got an overall soft, sweet flavour from the fruit, but it was rather generic and bland, with a strong candied note on top of the fruit notes. It was more vanilla than fruit to me. This was pretty surprising considering just how many chunks of dried fruit were visible in the dry leaf — I wasn’t expecting them to taste so weak.

Diluting the tea with some water and adding some more agave nectar helped to cut down the bitterness, but it failed to make the fruit flavours pop in a way that I was hoping for. However, the brew was a lovely peach colour — sort of a blushy pink — and that helped mitigate my disappointment with the result. I probably would have been better off filling the pitcher all the way to the top with cold water rather than halfway.

Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2016/07/fruity-iced-teas-zen-tea/

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Pouring out the dry leaf, I was greeted by an intensely rich, juicy, fruity smell. If I hadn’t known the mix was supposed to be cranberry-mango flavoured, I would have had a hard time guessing. In fact, the whole thing smelled like gummy bears! The aroma was sweet, tart, juicy, and very vibrant.

I mean, are you surprised when you look at leaves like these? Dark green needles of broken up leaf interspersed with chunks of dried cranberry and mango. This is pretty sweet!

I took this loveliness, filled my pitcher halfway up with cold water and let it steep in the fridge for about 12 hours. The resulting brew was a golden yellow-green colour with an aroma that matched that of the dry leaf.

The taste was pretty good to match! Juicy, fruity, sweet, with a hint of the earthiness and vegetal flavour of the green tea underneath. The interplay between the base and the flavouring was really solidly balanced. The green tea flavour was kind of sharp, but not so sharp that it became bitter or seaweedy — it was fresh-tasting and green in a way that complemented the fruit well.

Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2016/07/fruity-iced-teas-zen-tea/

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I bought this tea after Tea Sipper recommended it. They were gaga over it, saying it was one of their favourite fruit blends, so how could I ignore such an endorsement?

Because this was an herbal tea that contained only chunks of fruit, I decided to get 50 grams instead of only 10 — 10 grams of such a dense, heavy tea would have been too little to experiment with.

Opening up the package, I was greeted with a colourful mix of dried chunks of carrot, pineapple, coconut, apple, and pumpkin. If you look closely at the picture, you can pick out the carrot and pumpkin pieces in particular, which are a sort of muted orange here amid the white flakes of coconut and the glassy chunks of candied pineapple.

As expected, the smell was amazing — a rich, sweet, juicy smell of pina colada from the pineapple and coconut. Tropical! I was pleasantly surprised by how much the pineapple and coconut dominated the scent considering they weren’t as prominent in the dried leaf compared to the other ingredients.

Because the tea leaf was made of such thick chunks, I decided to brew this one with boiling water rather than cold water to give the pieces a chance to reconstitute properly. So I took half the package (about 27 grams), poured about 6 cups of cold water in the pitcher, let the pitcher sit on the counter for about half an hour, then put the whole thing in the fridge to cool for the rest of the day.

The resulting tea was a pale amber with a touch of cloudiness. Maybe it was the coconut that made it cloudy, or that there was so much dried fruit in general? It looked very promising.

However, the promise didn’t hold up to the taste. While I certainly did taste pineapple and coconut, to me the carrot and pumpkin flavours won out. They made the whole thing taste starchy and pale, rather than juicy and vibrant like I was expecting. I still have half the packet left, so I’ll need to see how it tastes when brewed with less water. Right now, though, this tea was a bit of a letdown.

Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2016/07/fruity-iced-teas-zen-tea/

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Backlog from last night: I went to David’s Tea and bought a WHOLE LOT of fruit tea as part of their 20% discount if you buy an iced tea pitcher. Sooo much tea you guys – around 400 grams.

I also got a new flavour of theirs to go – Goji Green tea (https://www.davidstea.com/ca_en/goji-green/)

I don’t really know what goji berries taste like, but this tea was distractingly artificial-tasting. Almost like cough syrup – just that sweet metallic hint behind the leaf.

However, I’m glad I tried this to go, because now I know I don’t like it.

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Sipdown.

I fished this sample out of the Great Canadian Travelling Tea Box last summer and then promptly ignored it. For a year! Well, I realized I needed to do something with it, so recently I took the last of this, brewed it up strong, and then froze it into ice pops.

Most of the flavour floated down to the bottom of the mold (the tip of the popsicle), but eh. Hibiscus, floral, sweet – I just wanted to finish this off.

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I first made this chai back in February, but hadn’t touched it since. It was going to go bad in about a month (according to the best-before date on the label), so I decided to turn the rest into a base for chai-flavoured popsicles.

It turned out pretty well! A mix of chai, honey, coconut cream and soy milk. Mmm!

Full recipe at http://booksandtea.ca/2016/07/tea-popsicles-made-chaiwala-chai/

Evol Ving Ness

Inspired idea! Well done.

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The leaves here had a very soft texture, and were a medium sage green colour with the occasional white fuzzy tip. The texture was reminiscent of grass clippings: tangled, curly, piled up.

The aroma is what really sets this tea apart: it smelled very much like a Bai Mu Dan tea, with notes of flowers, peach, and pears. There was a slight mustiness underneath, but that just enhanced things.

I used the full packet of dry leaf but brewed it with 1 litre of cold water rather than 2.

Of the white teas I’ve tried by Nepali Tea Traders so far, this was by far the sweetest and most delectable. Floral, soft, and mouth-coating. This one is a winner.

Full review at http://booksandtea.ca/2016/06/iced-tea-nepali-tea-traders/

(PS: I’ve redesigned the site. Take a look!)

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The leaves on this tea are a pale spring green with some white fuzzy tips. Overall, they’re beautiful, picture-perfect spring buds. The aroma is sweet but vegetal, like spring peas — somewhat nutty, like a very light dragonwell tea, but also somewhat floral.

I took the entire packet and cold steeped it in 2 litres of water in the fridge for 2 days. The resulting brew was a pale clear yellow, lighter than straw, and very refreshing: it tasted nutty, like the aroma of the dry leaf, but there was also a vegetal note underneath. It was very soft and clean in my mouth, and went down smoothly — no astringency or strong aftertaste.

Full review at http://booksandtea.ca/2016/06/iced-tea-nepali-tea-traders/

(PS: I’ve redesigned the site. Take a look!)

caile

The new site design looks good! :)

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I bought this last year as part of Amoda Tea’s Black Friday sale. It was sitting in my cupboard all winter. When I saw that Nepali Tea Traders sent me a white Sandakphu tea to sample, I thought it would make sense to review them at the same time.

However, that plan didn’t come to pass very well — I finished the white tea before I had a chance to drink the black, so I couldn’t do a side-by-side comparison. However, I will say that the texture of the two leaves appears very similar, with that piled, tangled look.

The dry leaf here smelled sweet and woody, kind of like cherries. I decided to have this one hot rather than cold, so I brewed a heaping spoonful with boiling water for 3.5 minutes. Brewed, the flavour was fruity, woody, and somewhat haylike. I also got a sensation of malt and cola, I think.

The profile here was fairly similar to other Nepalese black teas I’ve had in the past, with a faint sour note underneath the wood. I don’t remember detecting such a sour note in the white tea, which is interesting.

Full review at http://booksandtea.ca/2016/06/iced-tea-nepali-tea-traders/

(PS: I’ve redesigned the site. Take a look!)

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Curled, tangly leaves with a mix of green and white tips. I also noticed some brown twigginess. It smelled mild and nutty but for some reason I just wasn’t a fan of the nuttiness of this tea once it was brewed. I used only 1 L of water to make the flavour stronger, but I think that wasn’t the best strategy here.

Full review at http://booksandtea.ca/2016/06/iced-tea-nepali-tea-traders/

(PS: I’ve redesigned the site. Take a look!)

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Bio

Updated March 2016:

I’m a writer and editor who’s fallen in love with loose-leaf tea. I’ve also set up a site for tea reviews at http://www.booksandtea.ca – an excellent excuse to keep on buying and trying new blends. There will always be more to discover!

In the meantime, since joining Steepster in January 2014, I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on my likes and dislikes

Likes: Raw/Sheng pu’erh, sobacha, fruit flavours, masala chais, jasmine, mint, citrus, ginger, Ceylons, Chinese blacks, rooibos.

Dislikes (or at least generally disinclined towards): Hibiscus, rosehip, chamomile, licorice, lavender, really vegetal green teas, shu/ripe pu’erh.

Things I generally decide on a case-by-case basis: Oolong, white teas.

Still need to do my research on: matcha

I rarely score teas anymore, but if I do, here’s the system I follow:

100-85: A winner!
84-70: Pretty good. This is a nice, everyday kind of tea.
69-60: Decent, but not up to snuff.
59-50: Not great. Better treated as an experiment.
49-0: I didn’t like this, and I’m going to avoid it in the future. Blech.

Location

Toronto, ON, Canada

Website

http://www.booksandtea.ca

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