1990 Tasting Notes

66

This morning I doubled up on the leaf (two “scoops”) and dropped my steeping time to only a minute to do kind of a semi-gongfu brewing. It’s more vegetal but also a little more floral maybe… it’s hard to pin down the difference, but it does taste different in a way that I like. But then that vegetal flavor gets too much for me, in a way that I don’t like. The second steep (same parameters) is sweeter but also kind of overly vegetal in almost a bitter way, which is definitely conflicting. Maybe I’ll try a scoop and a half of leaf next time to see if I can find a happy medium.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
Tina S.

Totally off topic but your two scoops reference now has the two scoops of raisins song in my head! :D

Jessie

Now it’s in mine! Ahhh.

Tina S.

SORRY JESSIE! And anyone else!

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drank Green Tea Blizzard by Dairy Queen
1990 tasting notes

I just had to add a tasting note for this. I have an epic love for Dairy Queen Blizzards, but Long Island has absolutely no Dairy Queens so my intake is limited. Imagine my shock when I came out of the subway yesterday and found a Dairy Queen selling Green Tea blizzards. No way!! It blew my mind. Of course, I had to have one. I chose to get a green tea almond blizzard. From what I can tell, they used their regular vanilla soft serve, added a metric ton of powdered green tea, some very crunchy almond slices, and blended. The DQ there had a sign saying if your blizzard doesn’t get served to you upside down it’s free, and they definitely turn it upside down before giving it to you (only occasionally to you still find ones in the states that do that).

This thing was powerfully green tea flavored. I guess somewhat generically, though it did kind of remind me of matcha-flavored foods I’ve had in the past. After a while it was almost bitter despite the vanilla ice cream base. I could have done with maybe half the green tea powder and it would have been awesome. They have a green tea chocolate option and I’m wondering how that would be. Well I have plenty of time to try it.

Jillian

Hmm too bad the DQs up here in Canada aren’t serving this flavour.

Invader Zim

Sounds really good! Minus the bitter taste.

The DJBooth

Wow! I did not know of this.

MegWesley

This is interesting. I will have to check with our local DQ to see if they are serving this too.

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

I need to look into this in my area and hope they get the ratio right

Dinosara

Don’t get too excited, guys, I think this is a China-only flavor. :P

Angrboda

Upside down??? What is this odd beast you call a blizzard anyway? Is it sort of like a super-thick milkshake or dessert smoothie?

Uniquity

Oh man, I want a Mint Oreo blizzard!!
@Angrboda, it is soft serve vanilla ice cream with additives mixed up in it. it is still as thick as (soft serve) ice cream but treated sort of like a smoothie. Most of the options are chocolate bars (broken into tiny little peices) but there is mint, chocolate, caramel, etc etc.

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66

Greetings from Beijing! Can you believe that I’ve been here for a day this is the first time I’m sitting down and having a cup of tea? I was just running about so much yesterday and never had time to stop and relax. So I’m having a few cups early this morning before I go do some research. One thing I did yesterday was hit up Wu Yu Tai, a tea store chain in Beijing, to get some tea I could drink in my hotel room (yay for electric kettles and tea cups provided). I went to their big store in the shopping area of Wangfujing, which was pretty busy. Iooked around for a bit then waited for someone to become available to help me. Of course they spoke almost no english, so I pulled out my iPhone with my “tea flashcards” I made to facilitate. First I asked for a gong fu black and struck out completely. Since I knew the kettle in my room was one-setting (and I’m not good at judging water temps), I wanted a tea that could stand up to boiling, so my next choice was a Tieguanyin. This one, of course, they had. They had a few different grades but the lowest was 500RMB for 500g, and since I just wanted something to drink every morning in my hotel I didn’t want to spend too much, so I went for that. If it’s the same as the third grade Tieguayin that’s on their website, I paid a premium for buying in-store, or at least that store.

This morning I brewed it up. The hotel provided me with two tea cups with lids, so I used one like makeshift gaiwan and decanted into the other one. It worked pretty well, but was also pretty messy, no doubt partly because I don’t have experience with a gaiwan and partly because it’s not a gaiwan (double wammy!). I guessed on the amount of tea to put in (one somewhat rounded teaspoon-y thing I got at the grocery store), so I look forward to playing around with amounts. Steeped, it was a fairly dark yellow-amber color and it smelled roasty and pretty vegetal. This is definitely a more traditional Tieguanyin as opposed to the more green ones I’ve usually had. The vegetal smell was a bit off-putting because it smelled like it might even be a bit bitter or too vegetal for me, but my first sip was smooth and not over steeped to my taste. Roasty, vegetal, without florals, not very buttery, this isn’t what I typically look for in a Tieguanyin, but it’s pretty tasty just the same. It just kind of seems like a generic “oolong” tea though. It will make for a good everyday tea while I’m here. The experience did reinforce that buying tea here is going to be difficult with the language barrier, but I will try my best!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

Oooh exciting!!! I can’t wait to hear about the rest of your adventures :)

Azzrian

So wonderful an experience! :)

TeaBrat

the language barrier must be a challenge, I hope you have fun tho’!

Ninavampi

Enjoy Beijing! :)

Jillian

It might be worth learning some basic tea terminology in chinese to help things along. Have fun you lucky girl! :)

Kashyap

lucky minx have a fantastic time!

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80
drank Jasmine Pearl by thepuriTea
1990 tasting notes

I don’t know what I’m doing having a jasmine tea when I’m about to go be totally soaked in jasmine tea in China, but I still hadn’t tried this one from when I ordered samples from thepuritea a while ago, and I decided to open one of the pouches. These seem like pretty standard jasmine pearls and I admit I was kind of fooled into buying this sample because they list this as an oolong. Apparently the rolling causes some oxidation so that it can be considered a pouchong, so that’s why, but I had it in my head that it was more like a jasmine tieguanyin. Oh well, I’m always up for new pearls.

Steeped, this tea smells like a nice jasmine tea… very floral, but in a fresh flowers way, not a perfumy way. I have to say, this is a pretty tasty jasmine pearl! The tea is slightly sweet, smooth, and jasminey without being too strong. In fact I think it’s on the lighter side of things, flavoring-wise. I mean, the jasmine is definitely the main show here, the tea is just so so smooth that it seems like it’s less strong of a flavoring or something. It’s not mind blowing or anything, but it is a very nice, easy to drink tea.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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92

After that last tea I wanted a black tea with a really, truly excellent base, and this is one of I think two that I have that fit that description (the other being Verdant’s Golden Earl). Not just a tasty base, but a base that would or is considered to be a high quality tea on its own. This base really reminds me of a Bailin Gongfu black. With tons MORE CHOCOLATE of course. Yum.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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44

This tea was a definite risk since it only had one review that wasn’t good, but I’m always on the lookout for a good almond tea so I ordered a sample anyway. I was briefly hopefull after the Snowflake tea that this one would be like that except without the coconut, that is to say very almondy, but those hopes were dashed the minute I opened the pouch. The tea is definitely made up of little CTC nuggets, and didn’t smell ike too much of anything, certainly not almonds. The steeped tea smells like kind of plain, teabag black tea that has been sweetened. No almond aroma here. And that’s what it tastes like… very slightly sweetened black tea that is somewhat bitter, astringent and wholly not the flavor of plain black that I like. There might be the tiniest hint of almond but that’s reaching.

Honestly I’m not going to finish this cup. It’s not wholly undrinkable, but it certainly doesn’t deliver on the flavor it promises, and I don’t enjoy the flavors that are there at all. Bleh.

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

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66

This tea has evoked multiple reactions from people walking by my office, mainly “that smells really fruity!” and “is that peaches??”

The leaf on this one looks more similar to the quality of that in the Snowflake tea rather than the Earl Grey Cream, that is, smaller pieces like a typical flavored tea you might come across. It is one of those teas that smells very familiar but I can’t quite place. Like, don’t I have a tea just like this already? But I can’t think of one that I do. Maybe it’s the peach flavoring is reminding me of peach teas like Harney’s Midsummers Peach. I typically don’t drink many peach teas so it’s not a big list of possibilities.

The flavoring on this one is juicy and tasty; mostly peachy but definitely with some tart cranberry notes as well. What sucks here is the black tea base… not only is it uninteresting, it also borders on bitter and distasteful. That sounds worse than I mean it too… it’s not like I’m going to pour the cup out, and it’s not really that bad, but it certainly puts a damper on the whole experience. I haven’t been able to find this blend on Monterey Bay Spice Company’s website (though I recognize some MBSC blends on GTC’s website), but it certainly tastes like a MBSC black base, which really aren’t that good. Fortunately, like other MBSC blends, I have a feeling that this will make a tasty cold brew.

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

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69

I actually have a lot of Earl Grey Cream in my cupboard right now, and I’ve also already found one I really like and am not really looking for a replacement. Nevertheless I ordered a sample of this one from GTC because I’m always interested in Earl Grey Creams, and because it had a rave review on here (though it’s possible the blend has changed once or more). It is also supposed to have a hint of coconut, which I thought would be an interesting addition to an EGC.

One thing I noticed when I was portioning the tea out was that the leaf was more intact and nicer looking than I expected. There were some fairly large leaves in there! When I first took a sip while it was still very hot, I was very pleasantly surprised. I expected this one to be a fairly standard Earl Grey Cream without much in the way of interest in the black tea base. But there was actually a kind of nice, caramelly, tasty black there! Unfortunately as it cooled it became fairly bitter, so perhaps this one needs an even lower steep time. Beyond the bitterness, the tea had a nice bright bergamot flavor and a lovely rich almost caramelly creaminess (no doubt helping to bring out those flavors in the tea base). There was no distinct coconut to speak of, but that’s not the point of it here… it’s suppose to just boost the other flavors. If I can get the bitterness to go away this could really jump in ratings.

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

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95
drank Lychee Oolong by Naivetea
1990 tasting notes

I haven’t had this one since I first tried it a while ago, which means I haven’t had it since I figured out that I prefer Naivetea’s oolongs steeped at 2 minutes, not three. I love love lychees and lychee-flavored things, so this tea is a definite fit for me.

I do like it with a slightly shorter steep as it keeps the vegetal-ness from overwhelming the other more delicate flavors. This is such a great balance between the lychee and the oolong base. When it’s still pretty hot I get more lychee than oolong, but as it cools more of that buttery, smooth oolong comes out. I think also the “oolongy” flavors (florals and such) blend together well with the floral-ness of the lychee so it’s hard to take them apart. This tea is definitely on my re-buy list, along with their Passion Fruit Oolong.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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68

Honestly I was worried about this one. I have been burned more than once by mango/passion/floral green/white blends that clearly come from wholesalers. I love the idea of that combo, but it’s just really hard to get those flavors right, I guess. I couldn’t find this exact blend anywhere else, though, so I took a leap and ordered a sample.

It does remind me of a tea I’ve had before, but I can’t place it. Maybe it’s just that mango-candy smell that comes with fake mango flavored greens. There are definitely some rose and jasmine notes buried in there, but they’re not very prominent. Mostly it’s that sweet, mango candy flavor that I don’t mind because I love mango candy. Overall it’s a decently tasty fruity and lightly floral tea, though again one that is all flavoring and not much tea taste. I like it fine, but it’s not a rebuy.

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

MMmm.. Mango candy! Have you ever had the Mango Hi-Chews? If not, keep your eye out for them in China.. very tasty; might be up your alley.

MMmm.. Mango candy! Have you ever had the Mango Hi-Chews? If not, keep your eye out for them in China.. very tasty; might be up your alley.I’ll keep my eye out for similar blends to send your way, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen this done successfully either.

Spoonvonstup

bah humbug- I don’t know why my comments sometimes get repeated that way. Sorry for the clutter!

Dinosara

I love Hi-Chews! This does remind me of them, actually. I can’t wait to find all kinds of odd candy when I go to China… it’s one of my favorite things to do when I travel. :D

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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.
89-86: 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
85-80: 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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