1909 Tasting Notes

82
drank Indian Nimbu by Harney & Sons
1909 tasting notes

I don’t know why we always go birding on Sundays, it makes Mondays so much harder. It’s always so fun but sooo exhausting. This weekend it was because Saturday wasn’t a very pleasent day here.

I haven’t had this tea in quite a while so I thought I would try it out again. I’m not a big darjeeling person, but this tea is an exception. The bright lemony citrus really complements the base, and the caramel just sneaks up at the end of the sip, adding a sweetness and just making the whole thing pretty delicious. I think this darjeeling may appeal to me because the added caramel flavoring tends to recall a darker black base. Still really enjoying this one and it’s reminding me that I need to stop by the Harney store more often… this was a tea of the day there that I never would have chosen to sample on my own, but I didn’t say no to a free sample and was surprised by how much I liked it.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Invader Zim

I just went birding today, but usually it’s Thursday mornings. Starting to see migrants already, mostly Canada Geese, but there’s some Warblers and Robins coming in too.

Dinosara

Yeah, there are some early migrants here too… yesterday we saw a Barn Swallow, first of the year!

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98
drank Paris by Harney & Sons
1909 tasting notes

And then there were two (sachets, that is). I enjoyed a cup of tea this morning to get me going for the day, so now I have only two sachets left. Crazy!

In other news, the Williams Sonoma in our mall recently closed (sad face), and I found out when I was there today that a Teavana is opening in its place. My reaction was literally “aauuughhh Teavanaaaa!” At least I will be able to refill on Amandine Rose easily now. I am interested to see how this store plays out as far as the upselling goes.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

we’re getting a Teavana in San Francisco soon as well. I can hardly wait to go in there and tell someone STFU

SimplyJenW

The mall where we had our Girl Scout Overnight has a Teavana. I window shopped and tasted the free samples. (They even had them set up in the hall outside the store!) I can still say I have never set foot in one…. :D

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70
drank Quangzhou Milk Oolong by DAVIDsTEA
1909 tasting notes

I got another sample of this tea not too long ago from brandy3392, so I’m happy to be able to try it again. I think this was possibly the second-ever milk oolong I had had, the first being ATR’s, and so my experience was so limited that I’m not sure if I could really judge this one properly. After trying a bunch of milk oolongs I’ve never had one that has come close to ATR’s, probably because that one is actually an insane Tieguanyin, not a Jin Xuan or similar. I’m not sure if “Quangzhou” refers to the varietal or just the location of origin, because all I can find out about it is that it comes from the Wuyi Mountains. It’s a name of milk oolong that shows up at a lot, though.

Anyway, I steeped this one according to package directions this time, which was about 1-2 minutes longer than I normally would steep an oolong. The steeped tea smells floral, but also distinctly like buttery vegetables. And there’s definitely a milky creaminess there. I’m not sure I’m digging the four-minute steep and I would probably drop it back down… I tend to prefer my oolongs a little lighter steeped which doesn’t bring out the vegetal flavors as much. This tea is also fairly drying/astringent… I’m having a serious case of dry mouth right now! As the tea cools more and more of the buttery creamy flavors come out. I can see why people like this one but it’s not really for me, at least not in giant-cup-of-tea form… I will save the rest for my gaiwan and see how it fares in there.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
SimpliciTEA

Those teas that suggest steeping times and temps dramatically different than what I have found to work with a particular class of tea do tend to throw me, as I think, “Well, they sell the tea, so they must know what they’re talking about.” Yet, I often find my tried-and-true parameters to work better than their suggestions. I think this is because we all expect something different from a tea. So, while what the tea retailer wants to get from that tea may be the same as what I want, it may also differ. No?

Dinosara

The first time I had this tea I steeped it at pretty much usual parameters, so I have done it that way. But I find that especially with green oolongs, steeping parameters that companies provide vary wildly, so I like to try their parameters out.

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82

I wanted to revisit this one and see if a second cup was consistantly as tasty as the first. I love the scent of the dry leaf on this one… the bergamot smells so sweet, not just bright and sharp.

Mmm, this is a great tea for bergamot fiends. Oh so bergamotty but not bitter or astringent. The bergamot is a nice blend of citrusy and floral, though today perhaps edging to the floral side of things… not a problem for me! The black tea base is rich and lovely and right up my alley. Looking back at my other tasting note, I think I added a bit more leaf than I did last time because I was on auto pilot… this tea only calls for 3/4 tsp per 6oz, so this cup was even stronger than usual! It is really strongly bergamotty, but still no bitterness to speak of. I should try to remember to keep the leaf amount lower for this one because I think then the base is more prominent and I like that balance a little more. Still, this may just be one of my favorite Earls.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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71
drank Boulder Blues by The Tea Spot
1909 tasting notes

Wow, this one is unpopular on Steepster. I didn’t expect that since it’s one of the Tea Spot’s signature blends and top sellers, but you can never tell. I received this as a free sample with my last Tea Spot order. This tea intrigued me because I love rhubarb, but I am not really a fan of strawberries in any form (including flavoring) other than fresh, so I wasn’t jumping to try it. But I get to anyway, I guess!

The dry leaf smells pretty candy-ish, but at least in a way that smells like the flavors it claims (sweet strawberry and tart rhubarb) instead of some generic fruit candy flavor. At first I thought of strawberries, but as I smelled it more I was more convinced of a rhubarb aroma. Steeped it smells like a pretty good blend of the two, with some underlying creamy notes. Some people are getting vanilla, but me, not so much… it actually reminds me more of these odd rhubarb and custard hard candies I bought in England one time.

The flavors remain pretty candy-ish and give the sensation of being sweet even if the tea itself is not sweet. I do get some of the fresh, slightly grassy, somewhat buttery dragonwell in the main part of the sip. The whole thing really does remind me of a strawberry-rhubarb pie when you cook down the fruit in sugar and it gets almost painfully sweet. All in all I enjoy it much more than most people here, though I won’t be needing to buy any more once I’m done with my sample.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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70

I think I probably really bug Ricky here on Steepster because I’m always emailing him about merging duplicate entries, heh. This one happens to have two entries, and even though my pouch uses the other variant on the name (“Organic Cream of Earl Grey”) I chose this one because it has more entries. Well, they should be merged soon anyway.

This is the last of the three samples I bought at the shop last weekend. It smells really creamy, and it delivers. It’s possibly one of the creamiest EGC’s I’ve had, though it suffers a bit from the same faint, slightly pithy, bitter-citrus flavor that their plain Earl has. Not shocking, because that’s probably the base of this. The cream goes a long way to smoothing that out, but it’s not quite enough for me. Still, that is some super vanilla-y cream in there, with almost caramelly notes. Pretty tasty.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
TeaEqualsBliss

I drop him emails about merging all the time too! Ricky’s awesome :)

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90
drank Noël à Pékin by Dammann Freres
1909 tasting notes

After I gave up on that last cup my mind started wandering, thinking about tea and tea shops, and it wandered right to Dammann Freres. Man, that place was amazing. My next thought was that I wanted one of their amazing teas right away. This tea contains some jasmine green tea, but it’s certianly not too jasminey… I am a little jasmined out after that last bomb.

I steeped this one a little hotter than I have in the past just to test it out at a temp in between black and green since it’s a black/green blend. I think it worked out well! No hints of bitterness or scalding of the green tea. I think there’s a bit more of the black tea base showing up this time, giving it a warmer low note to balance the fresh, fruity, floral notes from the rest of the tea. Ahh, DF, you always hit it just right.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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1

When I was ordering tea from this company with my groupon, I wasn’t feeling super confident about their blends so I decided to spend part of it on this jasmine green because I thought, hey, at least that should be safe, right?

Apparently not. I knew going in from the photo that pearls these are not. I don’t know why you would have a plain jasmine green and call it “jasmine pearl”, but there you go. If I had looked more closely I would have noticed that the ingredients say green tea and “jasmine flavoring”, which may have been a tip-off. Most jasmine greens are referred to as just jasmine greens since the jasmine is added by drying the tea with jasmine petals, not adding flavoring to the tea once it’s dried. I mean, it could be a nomenclature thing but somehow I doubt it. In the pouch the jasmine smelled artificial and plasticy, and the steeped tea is not much better. Perfumy to the max. The two minute steep was apparently too much because there’s a slightly bitter taste to the whole thing. Perhaps a one minute steep would be better but somehow I doubt it because it’s pretty artificial overall. It’s not undrinkable, but I can’t imagine anyone who likes jasmine teas enjoying it (and those who don’t like them certainly wouldn’t!). Oh well, you live and learn.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Tabby

I don’t trust Tiesta. A year or two ago, they made a whole bunch of fake accounts on Steepster and reviewed their own teas. Kinda shady.

Dinosara

Thanks for that link, I hadn’t seen that post, though I documented my discovery of all of that recently on my review for the tea mentioned in that thread (their Victorian Earl Grey). I had bought a groupon for the company a long time ago without knowing anything, and then when I went to spend it recently I regretted buying it but didn’t want to waste the money. :P I definitely won’t be buying from them again.

LiberTEAS

No, I do not trust them either. I won’t ever buy from them. And, this tasting note makes me trust them even less… Jasmine Pearl is one of those names that one should trust to be PEARLS. It shouldn’t be something that someone just names their tea automatically because it’s a jasmine tea. Just because it’s jasmine doesn’t make it a pearl.

It’s really a good thing that I’m not rating this tea because I would have given it a much lower number.

TeaBrat

plenty of lame-ness all round for Tiesta

Dinosara

I totally makes me wish I was really active on Steepster before I bought that groupon. I think I had just joined and so I didn’t check out the company on here before I bought it. Thankfully now I am not likely to make the same mistake.

I think I was a little over-charitable with my rating. Based on the whole experience. This tea really is an affront to jasmine teas. I may have wasted my money anyway but at least now if someone checks this site they may be warned away from it.

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68
drank Earl Grey by DAVIDsTEA
1909 tasting notes

When given the chance to sample a company’s Earl, I’ll always take it, so I grabbed a sample pouch of this tea as well when I was at the store. This one tends to have low ratings on Steepster because it is supposed to be super bergamotty… well we’ll see about that! I like a bergamotty tea as long as it’s deployed well. Sometimes excessive bergamot can mean astringent, bitter, pithy taste, but sometimes it’s just tasty.

I would say this one falls on the pretty tasty side of things. The bergamot is pretty strong, but it’s only a hint bitter (which comes out more as it cools) and it seems to play well with the base. As the cup is cooling down it’s really obvious that the bitter hint really is that bitterness that bergamot can impart sometimes because really, bergamot is a bitter citrus. Other than that, though, I think it’s a nice Earl for those who aren’t afraid of bergamot. I still think that Todd & Holland’s Double Bergamot is my favorite mega-bergamotty Earl, but I would drink this one again.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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66
drank Mango Madness by DAVIDsTEA
1909 tasting notes

After the NYC Coffee and Tea Festival this weekend, the boyfriend and I went down to the Bleecker Street area to go to some record stores. And since we were so nearby… heh. My poor, long-suffering, non-tea-drinking boyfriend got dragged into the shop with me. My first time in the new NYC DavidsTeas! The sales people were almost absurdly chipper and friendly, greeting us the moment we walked in the door with samples. I looked around some but I’m still really on a tea-buying moratorium. Since I didn’t buy many teas at the festival I allowed myself to buy some of the prepackaged sample pouches since they were 3 for $5. This is one I picked up.

Upon opening the pouch there’s no doubt that this is mango tea, though the aroma is decidedly mango candy rather than fresh mango. I was surprised to see the steeping directions of 200°F for 5-7min because of the white tea base. I rarely steep any tea for 5 minutes unless it’s an herbal or I’m adding milk and sugar, but I took a deep breath and set the timer for 5 minutes. Steeped, it smells mango-y but also pretty orange-y, as well as some other nondescript fruits in there.

This is a super fruity tea. I wouldn’t say straight up mango as much as a tropical fruit salad. It’s sweet, it’s tart, it’s hard to tell there’s tea in it. It’s just getting tarter and tarter as it cools, and it’s a little tart for me for a non-sweetened, non-iced tea. It’s not bad really, it’s just not something I’m enjoying drinking much. Oh well, at least it was a small sample!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I hope David’s makes it to San Francisco someday!

Uniquity

Wait a minute, things were on sale? At Davids? 3 for $5 sounds like a sale – and that rarely happens! They better not just do sales in their American stores, because I’ve been paying full price there for years! : )

Mercuryhime

Don’t worry, Uniquity. I think that’s their default price. I believe the sample packs are the same price even online. David’s Teas probably love their Canadian customers more. :)

Dinosara

Yeah, these didn’t seem to be on sale, just small 1-2 cup sealed pouches of a selection of teas… they were 1 for $2 or 3 for $5.

Uniquity

Interesting. I keep trying to picture sample packs and get nothing. They do the 40ish gram ones for the tea of the month, but maybe I’ve just totally missed out on this! (Or am having a moment and my brain won’t work right).

Mercuryhime

It’s the same kind of packs they give in their online orders, only you buy them. :)

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Profile

Bio

I am tea obsessed, with the stash to match. I tend to really enjoy green oolongs, Chinese blacks, and flavored teas with high quality bases, especially florals, bergamot-based teas, and chocolate teas.

In my free time I am a birder, baker, and music/movie/tv addict.

Here are my rating categories, FYI:
100-90: Mind-blowingly good, just right for my palate, and teas that just take me to a happy place.
89-85: I really really like these teas and will keep most of them in the permanent collection, but they’re not quite as spectacular as the top category
84-80: Pretty tasty teas that I enjoy well enough, but definitely won’t rebuy when I run out.
79-70: Teas that I would probably drink again, but only if there were no preferrable options.
69-50: Teas that I don’t really enjoy all that much and wouldn’t drink another cup of.
49 and below: Mega yuck. This tea is just disgusting to me.
Unrated: Usually I feel unqualified to rate these teas because they are types of teas that I tend to not like in general. Sometimes user error or tea brewed under poor conditions.

Location

Ohio, US

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