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1851 Tasting Notes

95

Last Friday I said that this week I would be revisiting all my favorite teas, which I haven’t drank in a long while. Of course, this week I will only be around my stash for two days before traveling for Thanksgiving, so perhaps I will need to stretch my “favorites” resolution to after this week. In reality I’d like to revisit a lot of teas that I haven’t gotten around to in a while, not just my absolute faves, so I’m going to try to mix things up a bit in general.

Anyway, what better way to start out than this one? So almondy and floral. This is one of the few teas I’ve encountered that really does give me that sweet almond marzipan flavor I look for in an almond tea. I love this tea but I don’t want to drink it up so fast because I have to order it from France when I run out! On the other hand, that means an order to Dammann Fréres in which I can order all kinds of other teas as well. Maybe I should drink it up to make an excuse for myself! :D

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

I adored this tea. I think I am getting a tin of it for Christmas. Squee!

SimplyJenW

I was getting ready to make this today, and then I had an epiphany of sorts….. All of the tea Advent calendars are catching my eye, and I decided to make my own with the awesome samples I have. My goal is to try some thing new leading up until Christmas. I think this will be day 1! Making MBSC Blackberry instead…. ;D

Dinosara

ashmanra: awesome! I tried to convince my boyfriend he should get me some tea for christmas, but he didn’t take the bait. :)

SimplyJenW: A personal tea advent calender sounds awesome! What a great idea, and a fun way to try new teas you have already!

TeaBrat

that sounds delightful. I’ve been looking for a nice almond tea as well..

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65
drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
1851 tasting notes

This is definitely one of those teas that I wasn’t super excited to go back to. This one less because it was bad than because it just didn’t wow me like expected. But everyone also says that you have to try this one with milk and sugar because it’s like strawberries and cream and so delicious… so I had to bring it home and try it!

I think I do enjoy it more with the milk and sugar… the strawberry flavor is very nice, and I actually get more florals with it this way, which I wouldn’t have expected with the milk. The milk helps to smooth out the odd tartness that I taste with MF black teas. Overall a very tasty pot of tea.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

omg I’m having a cuppa this as I type!! hehe. So good =D

cteresa

I was having an argument with somebody the other day , my argument being “seriously, try putting sugar and milk, it does improve some teas”. My friend did not believe me, more fool her. But yeah, it can work for some teas.

ashmanra

This one also gets a lower temp and shorter steep for me. That really helps. Made that way, I find it delicious with milk and sugar.

Dinosara

I don’t think I ever tried milk in my tea until I accidentally ordered a hot tea while traveling that turned out to be just Lipton (I thought the shop would have more selection/better tea). I needed to doctor it up a bit, so in went some milk and sugar, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it! I am glad I found a way to drink some teas in my cupboard that otherwise would just sit there…

TeaBrat

@Dinosara – I’d like to try it. Let me know if you want to swap any.

Dinosara

Oh sorry Amy! All I had was a sample and I have basically used it completely up now. If I had any more I would have sent it to you.

TeaBrat

no worries!

Auggy

I’m with ashmanra on this one – it seems to be happier for me at a lower steep temp. I typically do 195° for about 2:30 and that seems to cut out some astringency and make it so lovely. It’s my “I’m having tea in an English garden” tea. :)

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66
drank Connie's Choice by ZenTea
1851 tasting notes

So I never put milk and sugar in my tea, partly because I drink most of my tea at work and I don’t have those things there, and partly because I like drinking my tea straight. A tea has to taste good on it’s own for me, without additions. That’s not to say that I haven’t come across several teas that I didn’t love straight, and then never get around to drinking them even though they would probably taste good with milk and sugar. So I finally brought some of these teas home to have on the weekend with additions.

This one is tasty with milk and sugar. It wasn’t horrible without it, but it was kind of lackluster. Now it’s way more nutty and a lightly chocolatey, and the slightly bitter tea base is smoothed out and covered by the milk. I think the weekend milk and sugar teas will definitely be a way for me to use up teas I wasn’t very fond of straight.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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99
drank Gardens of Anxi by Verdant Tea
1851 tasting notes

This tea is mind-bendingly good. It is almost unbelievable! I went through my first steep so quickly because I couldn’t stop drinking it, I was surprised when it was gone! Thankfully I can get lots of steeps out of this one because I am going to need them today. It gets especially delicious as it cools down to just warm, and that incredible buttery, caramely sweetness comes out. I have yet to rate a tea 100, but this one has joined the ranks of my 99s, which are the teas that I truly and utterly love. And now it’s out of stock! I am eagerly awaiting the reblending.

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

Thanks Dinosara- You gave me the reminder I needed to re-blend this now that the autumn Tieguanyin is in. This tea is up on the site now.

As an aside, the Gardens of Anxi was the first blend that I thought of that made me realize that the Alchemy line of teas was necessary. The Tieguanyin just begs to have the creaminess brought out. I am honored to know that you enjoy it so much.
Best Wishes,
David

Dinosara

Great! I’ll be putting in an order pretty soon!

Ninavampi

My next order to Ecuador will be from Verdant! I am excited to try a few of their teas. I will be including this. It sounds amazing! : )

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90
drank Royal Wedding by Harney & Sons
1851 tasting notes

I bought a whole tin of this a while ago, and I’m just now getting around to having some. I can be really weird about my teas sometimes. I get so wrapped up trying all the new teas, I hardly go back to my favorites. Today I saw this one in the drawer and wanted it, but then thought that I should try to drink up a sample instead. This tea kept nagging at the back of my mind, so I pulled some out. Like some others on here, I’ve had an up and down relationship with white tea; a lot of times I just can’t seem to get the steeping right. I’ve had good success with Harney’s whites though, this one included. I love the coconut-almond-vanilla blend in this that almost tastes chocolatey.

Coming back to this one has made me think that maybe next week I should do a return to all my faves, at least the ones I haven’t had recently.

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

It sounds delicious!

Dinosara

It’s definitely one of my favorite white teas.

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
1851 tasting notes

‘Monterey Berry Blend’: 1.75tsp each blackberry, black currant and raspberry black teas from Monterey Bay Spice Company.

This cold steep was surprisingly really tasty! I worried that it wouldn’t be because the Monterey Bay black teas have generally tasted low quality to me, and sometimes that can result in nasty cold steeps. But this seems to indicate that the flavorings are of decent quality, it’s just the black tea base that’s not so great. Cold steeping tends to smooth over ills in tea bases, and so it has here. This one is definitely very berry flavored; they all mesh together very well, but I can also pull them out individually. The blackberry, which was kind of odd hot, here provides a nice earthy, berries-from-the-bush note that is very pleasant. Glad to know that these cold steep well, and I’m looking forward to playing with blending these!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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67

Oh this tea, the tea I want to love but never quite lives up to my expectations. It is neither chocolatey enough or bergamotty enough for me, and those jasmine flowers listed in the ingredients always tease me but never deliver. Actually now that I brew it at 4 minutes it’s probably chocolatey enough, but I want more of a sense I’m drinking an Earl Grey, not just a chocolate tea with some lemony citrus. Nevertheless, it’s still a perfectly decent cup of tea, and I have no problem drinking it. I just had such high hopes for it!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Kashyap

here’s an idea…take good quality chocolate, melt in into a pan of whole local milk over medium heat, when melted and simmering, add good quality earl grey (like ROT double bergamot flavored for intensity), dried jasmine flowers, organic orange zest stir it in…turn off the heat, let steep for 4 minutes and strain…..all that might take more time….but then you wont have to buy pre-made teas that don’t live up to expectation :)

Dinosara

That’s probably tasty, but not what I’m going for. That recipe is basically tea-flavored hot chocolate, not chocolate tea (which I prefer not to have actual chocolate pieces in anyway). I think the easier solution would be to take a good quality chocolate tea and a good quality Earl and blend them. Or order a similar custom blend from Ovation Teas, which I am thinking of doing to see how it turns out.

Kashyap

while the definition of tea is loose…and its legal definition is also somewhat subjective:
tea (t)
n.
1.
a. An eastern Asian evergreen shrub or small tree (Camellia sinensis) having fragrant, nodding, cup-shaped white flowers and glossy leaves.
b. The young, dried leaves of this plant, prepared by various processes and used to make a hot beverage.
2. An aromatic, slightly bitter beverage made by steeping tea leaves in boiling water.
3. Any of various beverages, made as by steeping the leaves of certain plants or by extracting an infusion especially from beef.
4. Any of various plants having leaves used to make a tealike beverage.

I am curious how you define ‘good quality chocolate tea’ since no company that i am aware of actually uses either good quality chocolate/single origin/organic/fair traded/varietial as a blending ingredient with good quality Camellia sinensis (and I would define this as tea of organic/fairtrade/single bush/small cultivar/or above FOP grade from a single estate/origin). I know many tea vendors who use chocolate (less than 20% actual cocoa) and low grade FOP (or PF/OP ) as ingredients in blends intended to be made into tea…
I totally respect your view that I could be defining a tea-flavored hot chocolate….but I also suggest that adding a chocolate to a tea is not a chocolate tea…but rather a tisane flavored/scented tea…and I suggested the recipie only because it would be less dissapointing that drinking low grade chocolate mixed with low grade tea…after all…most teas that are ‘flavored/scented’ are usually not of a quality that can be sold as higher quality or they would be… but I look forward to your suggestion of a company that offers a high quality chocolate tea…I would be interested in checking that out …namaste

Dinosara

What I meant by good quality chocolate tea was not a tea with a very high quality black tea base… I don’t know of any companies off hand that have do that. I merely meant a delicious one, which is a signifier of quality to me, regardless of any low origin. I do think that a high quality base blended with cacao nibs and natural chocolate flavoring (not actual chocolate) would qualify, if one existed. I haven’t tried many plain chocolate teas, so I’m afraid I can’t suggest one, but I was speaking more on the hypothetical anyway. Just because I was disappointed with this tea doesn’t mean I would be disappointed with some other chocolate Earl Grey also made with a “low quality” tea base.

P.S., where did that definition come from, and who on earth has ever made tea out of BEEF?? :)

Kashyap

strange i know..the internet is a blizzard of the odd…..it was from an online dictionary…you would think a beef tea would be technically stock right?

Auggy

Lupicia’s The Au Chocolat is probably the best chocolate tea I’ve had (if you ever decide to go the blending route). Like most flavored Lupicia teas, it’s not overpoweringly flavored (you can still taste actual tea!) but it’s still obviously chocolate. Tasty stuff!

Dinosara

Thanks for the rec! It would be nice to have a great basic chocolate tea in the cupboard!

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82
drank Rose Oolong by Tea Licious
1851 tasting notes

I had some problems with consistance early on in my sample of this tea, but this cup seems very similar to the last cup I had, so maybe I just wasn’t getting a good mix the first times around. This cup is rosy and lemony with a hint of ginger, all with a pleasant green oolong base to back it up. I’m really, really enjoying this one and if my last cup of the sample is as good as this one, I think I might have to order some more… this flavor combination doesn’t seem that common!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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68
drank Black/Green Exotic Fruit by ZenTea
1851 tasting notes

I tried cold steeping this one this one to see what I might get from it, but unfortunately all I got was cherry candy. Which would be not so bad if I liked cherry candy, but I do not. A hot steep was better for this tea.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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69

I have to begin this tasting note with a caveat that I don’t usually like blueberry flavored things. I’m trying this one this morning because I have a groupon-style deal to this company that is expiring in the not-too-distant future, and I’m trying to decide what to order. It’s really tough! This company has a lot of blends that look tasty, not to mention the create-your-own blend option, but they don’t sell samples so I have to choose only a few. I’ve had one other tea from this company, the Brown Sugar Fig, which was also black, but I want to know how their Earl Grey base is. Also I need to try out their black tea base again… it’s a Assam/Ceylon blend, and I’m not the biggest fan of Assam.

However! This cup is very pleasant. The black tea base comes through as robust, but also very smooth and not bitter. It’s malty and plays well with the bergamot, which is bright and citrusy. The blueberry is omipresent and really the main flavor, but it’s not too overwhelming and I can still enjoy the cup. Of course now this only makes my ordering decision more difficult!

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

Blueberry Earl Grey is an interesting combo… I’m intrigued.

Dinosara

Yes, the bergamot isn’t very strong, and I notice you seem to be a fan of blueberries, so I think you’d like this one! If you want I’d be happy to send you the rest of my sample since I’m not big on blueberry. PM me if you’d like!

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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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