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1856 Tasting Notes

71

I tried this one with a little lower steep temperature this time since the assam seems to have a bit too much bite for my tastes. I love the concept behind Ovation Teas but I’m not sure if I’m in love with their black tea base.

So far so good! My first sips are yielding a slightly sweet, dried-figgy taste without any bitterness to the base. As it cools there is something that comes out… not quite a bitterness, but some kind of Assam-y-ness that I just don’t find very tasty. I don’t think that the base is low quality, I just think I generally dislike Assams. C’est la vie, you live and learn. I still enjoy the teas enough that can drink them, but I don’t think I’ll be craving them often (and some are probably good candidates for taking home to drink with a bit of milk and sugar).

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

This sounds really interesting… adding to my shopping list…

TeaEqualsBliss

Oh!!!!! I have been wanting to try this one!!!!! eeeeeee!

SimplyJenW

I think you have described what I did not like in this one. I think it would be awesome on a lighter tea base.

Dinosara

Jen – Yeah, I love the brown sugar and fig flavorings, but not the bite of the Assam. A pure Ceylon or a Chinese base would be great!

Cheryl

Troubled black tea base sets off an alarm in my head (have trouble w. Adagio’s base in flavored blacks). They are on my “to try” list though. Hmmm.

Dinosara

I’m not sure if it’s a troubled base or just that I don’t get along with Assams. Also it seems to work better with some flavors than others. Plenty of others do like their black base, and from what I’ve tried of their greens and whites they seem nice.

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76
drank Dragonwell by thepuriTea
1856 tasting notes

When I got my order from thepuriTea they included several small free samples, but one came with no label… the mystery tea! I finally cut the pouch open today and I am reasonably sure that it is this tea; dragonwell is pretty characteristic-looking. This also happens to be my first dragonwell! I haven’t gotten into plain green teas much, but the nutty flavor that people use to describe dragonwells does intrigue me.

The steeped tea smells grassy and a bit nutty. The flavor is light, and at first just seems kind of fresh, grassy-green-tea-ish. But then this awesome sweetness comes out of nowhere at the end of the sip, and once that starts going a lot more chestnutty notes start making their appearance, particularly at the very beginning of the sip. Yum! I would love it if the flavors were just a bit stronger, but I don’t know if that’s steeping parameters or just me needing to get used to green teas. Still, I do really enjoy this cup, way more than I would have expected. This is definitely a tea I wouldn’t have appreciated at the very beginning of my tea journey, but now I do. I am very happy that I’ve gotten to this point before my trip to China, although it is going to make it impossible to bring back a reasonable amount of tea!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
SimplyJenW

Sounds like yours was better than mine!

Dinosara

Heh, yeah, this was a tasty one. I can’t wait to try Teavivre’s!

SimplyJenW

You are in for a treat on that one! I just ordered 200 grams of it!

ashmanra

I just ordered Teavivre dragon well also. Love it!

Kashyap

the organic dragonwell from the tao of tea is also quite nice

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76
drank Earl Grey Reserve by Tavalon Tea
1856 tasting notes

Well the maté wasn’t as helpful as I would have liked, and I’m still feeling really sluggish. I have to lecture today, though, so I have to find some energy somewhere. I thought a nice, brisk Earl might give me the kick in the pants I need. I’ve always liked this tea a lot but I don’t turn to it all that often because I’m always trying something new and complicated. This definitely qualifies as a “brisk” Earl Grey… the bergamot is really bright and almost sharp, but it’s not bitter or astringent. A pretty good choice to get me going, I think.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Roughage

I hope it gave you the kickstart you needed. I could have done with some today too. I think my students thought I was still asleep! :)

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83
drank Dragon Flames by Sanctuary T
1856 tasting notes

I woke up tired this morning, and it hasn’t gotten much better. I had to run all around the university this morning to get my freaking parking pass renewed, so this morning was a total loss. Still tired, so I thought maybe I needed some dragon flames in my life. Last time I had this jasmine pearl/maté blend I ended up with tons of energy, so here’s hoping for today! I really like this blend, which is almost minty along with the jasmine. It really works as a flavor combo!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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68

This is another tea I’ve been mildly interested in for a while, and another I got a big bag of in my recent swap with Infusin_Susan. In the bag this one smelled very orangey, with an orange aroma that was light and fresh. I wasn’t sure what to make of the aroma of the steeped tea since the combination of the orange with the roasted oolong was a little odd! I mean, roasted oolongs aren’t my favorite because of their sometimes charry, burnt, toasted flavor, but in some cases it works well.

After sipping on this one for a bit I find that I am enjoying the combination of the orange and woody, toasted oolong. I’m really not getting any florals from this, but anything described as “elusive” floral notes is going to be too elusive for my taste buds. Sometimes I can find the orange in orange teas to be overpowering, and I think I tend to like my citrus to be brighter in teas than oranges. This orange in this tea is nice and light, so it’s definitely an orange I can enjoy.

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

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74
drank Superior Pouchong by Drink T
1856 tasting notes

brandy3392 was generous enough to give me a big ol’ sample of this tea in our recent swap, and I really feel like I made out like a bandit here. The leaves on this are long and very loosely twisted and curled, and they smell nicely floral and green and oolongy. As an aside: I feel like I have a much better handle on the types of tea that are out there and their names, but every once in a while I have a moment where I feel like a total noob for not realizing something, particularly when it comes to the various names for Chinese teas and their English “translations”. Like I totally didn’t realize that Pouchong = Bao Zhong until just the other day… here I am thinking they’re two different kinds of tea, but no.

Anyway, this tea has a very floral aroma when steeped but also a buttery note as well. The flavor is pretty vegetal and buttery, and the floral notes kind of add to the general character but aren’t very distinct on their own. This is one of those teas with it’s own natural sweetness, which is awesome and it’s definitely a character I like to find. Of course just now my nose has decided that it will be unrelentingly sneeze-itchy (you know that feeling right before you sneeze? like that), swollen, and runny, so I’m having a little difficulty with subtle flavors here. I don’t understand why sometimes it’s fine and sometimes it’s not. If it’s going to be sick, I would rather be sick enough that I can at least take the day off, not this miserable half-sick where I can’t justify it. :P

Anyway this is a very tasty tea. Thanks so much, brandy3392!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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87
drank Amandine Rose by Teavana
1856 tasting notes

I traded brandy3392 some tea I wasn’t a fan of for this tea, which she wasn’t a fan of. Even so I was intrigued because I do love almonds and rose. The dry leaf on this one smells very cookie-ish with almond and cinnamon and other bakery-ish aromas, and then a rich, sweet rosey aroma comes out, but still kind of remains separate from the other scents. It is truly the scent of rose candy, like fresh turkish delight, not fresh roses.

I steeped the tea at a cooler temp because that seemed like what people were doing with this tea. I probably didn’t need to go that cool considering my previous experience with Almond Biscotti, but it still turned out fine. In the steeped tea the rose and cookie aromas meld much more and it smells great to me. It reminds me of a middle eastern market/bakery where you would get almondy-cinnamony aromas as well as the scents of rose confections.

I am actually really digging this tea, so thanks a bunch for the swap, brandy3392! It’s not quite marzipan-almondy, but it is very almond-cookie-ish. There is a decent helping of sugary rose-candy flavor; it is actually a hint sweet, which likely comes from various candied agents (almond, violet) in the mix. This actually reminds me more of what I feel like the now-defunct Rose Marzipan Delight tea by Teavana would be like, though I never did try that one. This is totally one of those teas that I kind of hate admitting that I like so much because it is from the evil empire, but what are you going to do? At least I have a nice pouch of it in my possession without ever having to have dealt with the shop!

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

I think this tea has JacquelineM written all over it! I have to pop it into my next Evil Empire Order ;)

Dinosara

JacquelineM – Totally!

Also, I spaced that this was my 500th tasting note! I can hardly believe it!

TeaBrat

I got a sample of this in a swap too & will try it later today. :)

SimplyJenW

Yayyy! Happy 500!

JacquelineM

Horray! That’s a lot of tea :)

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74

Ugh, still sneezing, but better than before. And finishing up a sample, yay! I do have to remind myself that I want to save samples of most of my oolongs to try once I get a gaiwan or a gong-fu teapot.

I steeped this one at a slightly lower temp for a shorter time because last time it was a hint bitter. I might have over compensated, but the resulting brew is still a nice yellow and smells pretty strong. One thing I don’t think I got from the aroma last time is another floral hiding underneath the jasmine… it’s that oolongy floral, that green, fresh floral that green oolongs often have. This is plenty flavorful with these parameters, though it still mostly reminds me of a good jasmine green. I definitely still very much enjoy the cup!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I love my gaiwans, just sayin’ :)

Spoonvonstup

Hope you feel better soon! Also hope you get to have fun trying out a gaiwan or itty-bitty pot. Especially with your oolong-love. What are you looking for in a gaiwan, by the way? I’ll keep my eye out for one.

Dinosara

Thanks! I actually haven’t looked at too many gaiwans so far because I am planning to get one in China! Gotta leave lots of room in my suitcase for teaware and tea. :D

Spoonvonstup

Oh yeah!! That is so true. When my husband and I were working in China, we realized that our salary would be worthless if we saved it and changed it back to USD… so we just turned it into tea and teawares! Definitely a good decision.

Roughage

We honeymooned in China and had to buy a new suitcase for the dinner service that my wife bought while we were out there. Divorce nearly ensued at that point! Now we love it though and laugh about me having to carry it all round China! I would love to go back, if only to stock up on puerh and teaware. I would make my wife carry it now though!!!! ;-)

Hope you are feeling better soon, Dinosara.

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95

Mm, I haven’t had one of my Dammann teas in a while. This tea is so wonderful… floral and almondy. The blend is just about perfect for me. I really want to try more of Dammann’s teas, but for whatever reason ordering internationally is more of a hurdle. I’ve even encountered similar shipping rates on US tea companies shipping within the country (I know, right?… usually I wouldn’t bother, but a lot of times I’ll have a groupon or something and not have a choice), but it’s like there’s a mental block. Of course I’m on a tea buying moratorium right now so it’s not an issue. It will probably just come down to when I actually run out of this tea and am forced to order because I can’t stand it! :)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

My daughter gave me this one for Christmas. Swoon. I love it.

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74
drank Blue Mist by Simpson & Vail
1856 tasting notes

This morning has been extremely sub-optimal. I’ve been sneezing with an incredibly runny nose all morning, which I hope does not mean I’m getting sick (sometimes I just have yucky, sneezy mornings but they don’t turn into anything), but it does mean my head feels clogged up and awful. I forgot my lunch at home so we had to turn around and go back, and Siri set my timer for this tea for 10 minutes instead of 3 like I told her. On the plus side I got a big box of tea last night from brandy3392! This is one I requested in our swap and she was kind enough to send me a nice big sample of it.

The dry leaf smells very tropical, like some mango/passion blends I’ve had even though this doesn’t have any passion fruit in it. I’ve had jackfruit before but not in a very long time so I don’t remember much about it. The black tea base really comes out in the scent after steeping; it’s strong but it smells really good to me, which is odd because I often dislike the scent of stong plain black tea. Wish I knew what the base tea for this was! The tropical fruit scents hang out in the background.

The tea base is strong but malty and smooth. I am actually getting the tiniest hint of bitterness as it cools, but it’s not too bad. I get a distinct mango note in the flavor but the other fruits seem to blend together. That’s fine, it’s like any tropical blended drink really. I finally realized what the black tea base reminds me of, and that’s the base of Upton’s Rose Congou. This tea seems a little darkly floral to me too, but I don’t know if that’s because I’m associating the base with the Rose Congou. Overall a very nice tea and a good way to start the morning. Thanks again, brandy3392!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec
Indigobloom

Feel better soon!! some nice herbals will make it go away :)

Dinosara

Thanks! I think it’s just stupid winter sniffles… at least, I hope so!

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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: I’m in LOVE with these teas.
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: Tasty teas that I enjoy, but definitely won’t rebuy when I run out.
79-70: Teas that I would probably drink again, but wouldn’t seek out. They don’t quite do it for me in one aspect or another; often just not quite my style
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.

Location

Ohio, US

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