1979 Tasting Notes

92

This is another tea that I just can’t seem to get enough of these days. The balance between the awesome tea base and deft flavoring is just delicious.

In trying to look up some information about this tea base (Hong Maojian), I discovered that Mao Jian tea is usually produced as a green tea, and there aren’t many places that sell Hong Mao Jian, that is to say black Mao Jian. Tea Palace, in the UK, is the only source for an unflavored one that I’ve found online. In any case, I’m really glad I just put in an order for 3 ounces of this tea because I have a feeling I’ll be craving it more and my sample is just about out.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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84

This is another sample from my recent batch, so thanks again to Angel Chen and Teavivre for the samples, which I have been enjoying very much. I love jasmine teas and I very much liked their dragon pearls, so I was excited to try this one as well. The dry leaf smells very pungently of jasmine, but it’s not quite as sweet or purely floral as pearls, as if it’s a little rough around the edges. The green tea comes through in the aroma and grounds the jasmine a bit.

The aroma of the steeped tea is jasminey but also intriguingly buttery at first, though the jasmine seems to overwhelm it a bit as the tea gets cooler. It’s very heavily floral jasmine, moreso than the pearls; this one isn’t holding back. I like this tea and I’m enjoying my cup, but I wonder if a steep at 1 minute wouldn’t result in a more balanced cup between the jasmine and the green tea. I guess that’s something to try out next time!

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

This tea sounds lovely, I love jasmine pearls and your description of this makes me want to buy some now!

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92

Dudes, this is totally unprecidented. I tried this tea for the first time just a couple of days ago, but I’m already going back for another cup. This afternoon I was trying to decide on a tea and my mind just kept coming back to this one. I mean, me craving the same tea within a couple days of having it is not common anyway, but with an unflavored black? Never! Until today, apparently. Since this tea comes in little individual sample pouches I had used some from a pouch already and there was a little less leaf left in the pouch than I normally use. I didn’t want to open another pouch just for that, though, so I’m brewing it for 3 minutes instead of 2 (still within the recommended range) to see how it goes.

Annnd then I got caught talking to someone and it cooled off a lot (it’s still warm, but just), but you know what? It’s still delicious. I really wouldn’t have guessed that I would find an unflavored black tea that I like so much, but here it is. I have to say thanks again to Teavivre for sending me this sample, which I did not expect to like, and exposing me to these kinds of teas!

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

I’m getting this one as a sample. Very excited to read this review as I’m also not usually one to go for unflavored blacks but am trying to broaden my horizons. :)

Dinosara

Yup, this one is great, and I think it’s a good intro for people who don’t usually like unflavored blacks.

TeaBrat

Everyone is loving this lately!

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60
drank Almond Biscotti by Teavana
1979 tasting notes

I was interested to compare this one to the “new version” Amandine Rose, which isn’t really a new version of this tea but rather a pretty different tea altogether. I brewed this one a little cooler than I did last time because I had success with that temperature for the Amandine Rose, and last time there was a hint of bitterness to this.

The steeped tea smells really cinnamon-cookie-ish this time, kind of almost like a snickerdoodle, though there are some almond notes that are wafting around my office this morning as well. Surprisingly, I feel like this tea is more bitter than when I had it the first time. I mean, it’s not very bad, but it’s still there. The flavors aren’t as nice overall either; it’s less almondy, and what I’m getting is mainly the taste of bitter snickerdoodles. Whatever they did to the tea base for Amandine Rose, it works, because this one just isn’t as good. Perhaps it’s the addition of candied violets to the new blend, which does sweeten the tea a touch and perhaps covers up some light bitterness. Either way, I’m not sad that this one was replaced with Amandine Rose.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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57
drank Crème au Chocolat by Tiesta Tea
1979 tasting notes

I already have a plain chocolate tea that I loooove (The Tea Spot’s Organic Chocolate “O”), not to mention some others kicking around my cupboard, but still this one called out to me to order it when I was trying to use my groupon. This time the ingredients lists match on the website and on my pouch, but they don’t seem to match what is in the bag… a whiff revealed something nutty, scratch that, coconutty, and little white shreds in the mix seem to confirm. I don’t have any problem with it and think it sound (and smells) like a good addition, but coconut haters might not agree. It does make it smell really similar to the sample of Carribean [sic] Flair from Praise Tea that I have. Enough that I would stick this in the coconut-chocolate, mounds-in-a-cup category instead of the plain chocolate category, at least by the aroma of the dry leaf and the steeped tea.

I am honestly not sure why this company directs it’s customers to steep their black teas at 195°F. I mean, I thought it might be because of a slightly bitter base that doesn’t come through when you steep it at a low temp, but I steeped this one boiling and there’s not a hint of bitterness (and it’s way better of a cup of black tea than the Victorian Earl Grey which I steeped at 195°F). In the end the flavor of this blend is like it’s aroma: very similar to the Praise Tea version, and very coconut-chocolatey. What I wish I had from this is some depth from the black tea base; right now it just kind of sits there and doesn’t contribute much to the overall flavor. I may be kind of ruined on chocolate teas by The Tea Spot’s. Still, I won’t have any problems drinking this, but it may take me a while since I probably won’t be craving it either.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Uniquity

Blech. If I ordered a tea and it ended up having coconut (but didn’t list it) I’d be pretty bummed out. Glad it works for you though!

Dinosara

Yeah, I know a lot of people who strongly dislike or are allergic to coconut, and this tea is pretty coconutty, so it’s really surprising that they don’t list it.

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55
drank Lime Light by Tiesta Tea
1979 tasting notes

The ingredients listed on my pouch of tea are slightly different from those on the website. When I created the listing for this tea I used the ingredients off the website, but here are the ingredients on my pouch: white tea, green tea, lime shreds, coconut shreds, pineapple bits, safflowers. The major differences being that the website lists lime granules, marigold blossoms instead of safflower, and no pineapple.

The leaf of the green and white mix looks pretty decent, and it smells incredibly limey. It’s somewhere between a key lime pie and a margarita. There was some kind of giant, dried white hunk of something in my leaf, but it seems to have disappeared after steeping. I fished another one out of the pouch and took a nibble, and it seems like some kind of freeze dried, concetrated lime dust… likely the “lime granules” listed in the ingredient list from the website.

Steeped it smells way less like a margarita, which is probably a good thing because I am at work. I actually can’t quite pinpoint the aroma right now… the lime is still there, but subdued, and there are some other scents that I just can’t place. The flavors are a little odd in that again they are hard to place, but the tea still adds up to be pretty tasty. It does taste a little like a key lime pie, or at least the filling, which I think is the coconut adding a creaminess to it. I don’t get any distinct pineapple, which apparently may or may not be in there anyway. The green/white tea flavors peek through a bit, which keeps it from being too candy-sweet over-the-top. I realized I have never had a lime-flavored tea, which might be why it seems odd to me, but I still am enjoying my cup.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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85
drank Earl of Grey by The Tea Spot
1979 tasting notes

Mmmm, this is a tasty, tasty tea. I need to place my groupon order from the Tea Spot today, so I’m trying to decide if I want to stock up on this one or not. I am nearing the end of my current Earl Grey Cream supply, so there is a hole to be filled (though to be fair, there are a lot of holes to be filled of my “standard panel” teas). Right now my order is a little more than my groupon and I don’t want to spend too much more, and this tea is tough. I do really enjoy it and it is a very solid EGC. It doesn’t blow me away, but honestly I’m not sure if an EGC is the kind of tea that could blow me away. Although I have had plenty of EGC that I wasn’t excited about at all or even disliked, so maybe I should grab some of this because I do know I like it. Ok, I think I talked myself into ordering it… what’s an extra $8 on the order? :D And I’ll be stocked in EGC for a while with 3oz (I drink tea so slowly…)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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70
drank Mango-Sencha by ESP Emporium
1979 tasting notes

I got a sample of this tea in my swap with brandy3392… thanks for sending it my way! I’ve had moderately good success with ESP Emporium’s teas, so I thought I would likely find this one pretty tasty. And it’s true, I do!

The mango flavoring that ESP uses (or rather, ESP’s wholesaler) is distinctive… the aroma of this is strongly reminiscent of their Shalimar oolong, which is also mango flavored, even though the latter tea has a lot of other things going on. It’s not really the scent of a juicy ripe mango so much as a tasty mango-flavored candy. In this case, it works because I happen to like that flavor. The flavor of the tea is pretty similar to what you would expect from the aroma, with hardly any grassiness or greenness from the sencha base. The mouthfeel is really smooth and buttery, though, which is pretty awesome. Overall a tasty, candy-esque tea, though I think I prefer my mango teas to have a slightly more natural flavor.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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83

I did a swap for a few oolongs, dong dings especially, with Amy oh a few weeks ago, and she offered to throw in a sample of this tea in the package. I of course said yes, and then almost immediately after she put the package in the mail Teavivre said they would be including it in my next round of samples. This one happens to be the sample pouch that Amy sent, so thank you so much again for it. I’ve had two other dong dings… one from thepuriTea (unroasted) and one from Naivetea (a bit roasted). This one is definitely unroasted, so I’m expecting it to be more similar to thepuriTea’s.

Mm, I really like the scent of this one when it’s all steeped up. Very floral, a little buttery. The flavor is quite nice, but more vegetal and less buttery than the aroma suggests. Still floral and smooth, and definitely a lovely tea to drink. It’s got a hint of that green-oolong astringency that “cleans” your palate. It lacks that faint lingering sweetness that really sells a tea for me, but that’s ok because it’s still overall a very tasty tea.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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60
drank Victorian Earl Grey by Tiesta Tea
1979 tasting notes

A long time ago, near the beginning of when I was really getting into tea, I bought a groupon for tea from this company, Tiesta Tea. At the time I pretty much just bought any deal I found for tea from any company. I tend to sit on groupons and not spend them until right before they expire, which is what I did here; this groupon was expiring by the end of this month, even though I bought it probably over a year ago. When I went to order tea from this company, I naturally checked their teas on steepster to see if any of them were rated. I was interested in this one, but I was very dismayed to see what was happening in the ratings of this tea. See, this tea has 16 ratings and 9 tasting notes, each of which are no more than 3 sentances long. Of those 9 tasting notes, 7 of them have ratings of 100, one with a 99, and the last with 98. Almost all of the accounts associated with those ratings only have tasting notes for this tea, a couple have other Tiesta Tea notes, and four of them actually say in the account information that they are employees of Tiesta Tea (one of them is from the founder of the company). This is not the only tea from them with ratings like this, but it is the only one where it’s happened to this extent.

If I had checked this before buying the groupon, I never would have done so. I have no wish to do business from companies that feel a need to try and inflate their ratings by setting up sockpuppet accounts on this website. Most people on this site, and I am one of them, really dislike seeing a tea company rate their own teas. However, I already spent the money so I wasn’t about to lose it. So, with not much confidence, I made my selections. I will say that I don’t plan on doing business with this company again, even if I really enjoy one of the teas. My ratings of these teas are honest and I’m not going to rate them lower to balance out the fake positive reviews, even if it’s really tempting to do so.

Now, the tea. The dried tea has lots of rose petals, lavender buds, and some green, narrow leaves that I suppose are lavender leaves but look a lot like pine needles. There aren’t any pine needles listed on the ingredients, though, so perhaps not. It smells primarily like bergamot, but definitely with that herby lavender under it.

Steeped, the black tea comes to the foreground in a big way, accompanied in large part by the lavender. The bergamot seems to have shrunk off somewhere else. The black tea isn’t very familiar to me, aroma-wise, and I can’t quite place it, but it does remind me a little of some black blends I don’t like.

I steeped this tea according to the instructions on the package, which is to say with 195°F water. I have done this before with blacks that call for it, and since I don’t usually want a super bold black anyway, the lower temp often works well for me. Here, though… the tea seems weak. I want more flavor, I want more black tea. Which is crazy for me, because I rarely want more “black tea” flavor. What’s there is fine… the lavender isn’t overpowering or soapy, the bergamot is faint but bright, citrusy, and not astringent or bitter. I don’t get any rose to speak of from this tea. Obviously, next time I’m planning on steeping this at boiling and seeing what happens.

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

totally annoying. I think Steepster should change its rules that you aren’t allowed to rate teas unless you’ve been here for a certain amount of time or posted 10 ratings, something like that. It might cut down on the sock puppets.

Dinosara

Yeah, there’ve been a lot of ideas on cutting down on that sort of thing, including making ratings without tasting notes visible. Unfortunately it seems like Steepster’s system isn’t getting updated anymore, so we’re stuck with how it runs now.

Anyanka

Word. I’m commenting on this so late because I’m looking into companies to try and want to make sure they aren’t sleazy. I won’t be trying this one!

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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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