396 Tasting Notes

Backlog from last night.

This actually wasn’t that smoky, like I was expecting it to be. It still had that roasty, umami flavour, but I didn’t taste much smoke, which was surprising. It was otherwise quite gentle. I tried to use about 2 tsp of leaf for a 16-oz mug, but the leaf is a bit fluffy, so I might have underleafed it.

I have to admit that based on the teas in this sampler, I don’t know if houjicha teas are really my bag. I’ll see what happens when I try the dark roast, though.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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drank Kabuse Sencha - Obubu by Tealet
396 tasting notes

I had this tea both yesterday morning and today using slightly different steeping parameters.

Both times, I stuck to Western steeping style (1 tsp per 8 oz) instead of using more traditional Japanese measurements. The difference was that I steeped things for 2 minutes yesterday and for 3 minutes today. The 3-minute steep is slightly stronger, but this is still quite a light-tasting tea.

This tea is a bit astringent with a slightly grassy aftertaste, but otherwise it’s quite light on the tongue when I drink it. I taste some bitterness, but not much of that marine, umami flavour that I’ve learned to associate with other senchas. I’m glad I got the chance to try this.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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85

This is a favourite, and there’s not much more to say. I drank a whole pot of this while taking a break from editing and watching an episode of Cosmos instead.

This was still tasty, but I think I either overleafed it or oversteeped it slightly, as the jasmine came off tasting a bit metallic today.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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Laurent gave me a lot of this to sample, and I think that of all of the Nina’s blends I’ve tried, this is my favourite because its flavour doesn’t change much from brew to brew, and is true to the tea’s name.

It took me a while to finish this since I was working on something (a HUGE backlog of articles to edit), but it was still good. I even had some fresh cherries to snack on while I was drinking this, but I don’t think that made the cherry flavour in the tea any stronger.

Happy Monday!

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drank Chocolate Chai by Wegmans
396 tasting notes

Backlog from last night.

This was a sample that Jude sent me in a swap a few months ago, and there was just enough in the little packet for a full 24 oz pot of tea. Perfect for sipping down!

Tastewise, this reminds me a lot of David’s Teas Saigon Chai. I didn’t taste much chocolate or even much coconut, but I did sense cinnamon, and for some reason, I also sensed ginger, even though I don’t think that’s on the ingredient list.

Anyways, this was nice, but I doubt it would be a tea I would seek out to restock. Thanks again to Jude for the sample!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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drank Tilleul by Harney & Sons
396 tasting notes

For the past few months, I’ve been writing about tea through my Sunday Tea and Books posts, and how the various flavours I encounter bring up memories for me of the books I’ve read. Smoky, sweet, tangy, tart, fruity, malty — each of those sensations has meant something to me.

Today, I’m doing something a bit different. Today, I’m telling you about a flavour and a memory from my own life, rather than something pulled from the pages of a book or e-reader.

Today, I’m going to tell you about linden tea. Forget Proust and his madeleines, though; when I think of it, it takes me back to 1998, when I was 13 – the year my father died.

Of course, I’m not going to go into all of that here. It’s better to read the entire post on my site: http://christinavasilevski.com/2014/07/sunday-tea-memories-linden-tea/

yyz

I’m sorry you lost your father so young. That must have been very difficult. My father died when I was too young to remember him. So my grief for him is more an absence and a wondering. I too wish that I had had the opportunity to learn more about both sides of my family, but my mother in some ways was a very private person, and when together my family is more likely to dive into politics and philosophy rather than discuss family history. Linden does smell glorious. I haven’t yet had a tea that captures it, but admittedly I haven’t tried many.

ashmanra

Scents bring back memories so vividly. I am sorry you lost your father.

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68
drank The Earl's Garden by DAVIDsTEA
396 tasting notes

Sipdown!

I finished off the last little bit of this this morning, and although it was pretty good, I’m not sure if it’s a restock. I do like the blend of berry/flowers with the bergamot, though. Perhaps I’m more of an Earl Grey Cream sort of person…

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85

Backlog from last night.

Last night I had a truly epic meal to celebrate my mom’s birthday through Toronto’s Summerlicious festival. God, the main course – coq au vin with mushrooms, bacon, and mascarpone mashed potato – was fucking delicious. I am okay with swearing, it was that tasty.

Anyways, when I got home, I was so full that I figured I needed some mint tea to help calm my stomach down.

Now, I’ve been noticing a problem with my tin of spearmint lately. It smells kind of off, somehow. I think this is because when I first bought the empty tin, I didn’t realize the importance of letting the tin air-dry for a few days after washing it. I just put the spearmint leaf in pretty much directly after towel-drying it. Now the tea smells weird to me, but I can’t tell if it’s actually the tea, or if it’s just my nose. The other people in the house don’t smell anything wrong – but I know from past experience that my sense of smell is more acute than theirs…so, I don’t know.

Thoughts? Should I just dump the whole tin out, wash it, let it air dry again, and then get some new fresh spearmint to put in?

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
yyz

I tend to bake my time a little after I wash them to make sure they’re dry in all their crevices.

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Backlog from yesterday:

Maybe I was really spoiled from last week’s sample of Premium Taiwanese Assam from the GCTTB3, but I didn’t enjoy this tea as much as I had the first time around. I think I messed up the steeping parameters on this one, as the flavour wasn’t as deep or fruity as hoped it would be. It was a bit more leathery this time.

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76
drank Watermelon Mint by DAVIDsTEA
396 tasting notes

More backlog!

I bought a 100g pack of this and am brewing it repeatedly in batches. My husband really likes this flavour. I do to, but it really does benefit from some sweetening to pump the melon flavour. A nice drink for the summer (though this summer has been surprisingly not humid).

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Profile

Bio

I’m a writer and editor who, after years of bagged-tea purgatory, has finally seen the light and glory of loose-leaf teas. I’m still just starting my journey, as it’s been only in the last 2 years that I’ve started drinking loose-leaf tea, and only in the past few months that I’ve been trying different varieties in earnest.

Likes: Green tea, sobacha, fruit flavours, masala chais, jasmine, mint, citrus, ginger.

Dislikes (or at least generally disinclined towards): Hibiscus, rosehip, chamomile, licorice, lavender.

Things I’m on the fence about: Oolong, vanilla (I prefer it mixed with black teas or rooibos rather than green tea), white teas.

Still need to do my research on: unflavoured black teas, pu’er teas.

For those interested, here’s my scoring system, though I don’t score teas as often as I used to:

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.christinavasilevsk...

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