1943 Tasting Notes

97
drank Milk Oolong by American Tea Room
1943 tasting notes

I kind of hate that this tea is so good. I’m having the last of my sample today, which means an investment if I want more (which I will). For some reason I craved it today; well, it was this one or Golden Moon’s Coconut Pouchong, which I don’t have any of. Guess I’ll be resteeping the heck out of this one…

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

I have been wanting to try this. I just dot know if I can give up $39 for it..lol. That and I still have a bit of DavidsTea Milk Oolong.

Stephanie

I think the puriTea’s is a great, more affordably-priced alternative!

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90
drank Noël à Pékin by Dammann Freres
1943 tasting notes

Not your typical Christmas tea! But it just might be a nice one for thinking of warmer times when it’s cold out. It’s just so bright and cheery! I love the jasmine in combination with the mango/passion in this one. This is also a black/green blend that really works. Some people might be missing some of the black tea notes, especially when brewed a this temperature, but I’m cool with them laying low in the flavor.

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

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75

This afternoon is our departmental holiday party (yay!) but that means I have a lot of work to get done this morning before it starts (boo). So I chose a tea I wouldn’t have to think about too much. Bonus points for holiday-ness! I really forgot how sweet this one is. And it’s almost more clove-y than cinnamon-y. I don’t crave spice blends a lot these days, but this one is a really great one for the upcoming winter.

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

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99
drank Gardens of Anxi by Verdant Tea
1943 tasting notes

Love this tea so much. I brewed a cup, had a few sips, and then got distracted in conversation for half an hour so it cooled down to lukewarm. It is still so delicious… it’s like drinking jasmine honey. Mmmm.

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

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85
drank Yuzu Oolong by Naivetea
1943 tasting notes

When I was putting my Naivetea order together I almost went ahead and ordered 2oz of some oolongs I was sure I would love (passion fruit, lychee) instead of the infused sampler pack, but I really wanted to try this tea so I went for the sampler instead. Plus as much as I may want it, I don’t really need that much oolong in my stash right now.

I read that this had a grapefruity aroma/flavor, and that’s certainly what I smell from the dry leaf, but it also reminds me of some other less common (in the US at least) citrus fruits that I occasionally find in the grocery store. Pretty sure I’ve never found yuzu though! The steeped tea smells incredibly sweet-butter-creamy with a hefty dose of florals. I don’t get so much of the the citrusy yuzu in the aroma now.

Flavor-wise, this is another top notch tea from Naivetea. This is definitely the most subtle of the flavored teas that I’ve tried; the grapefruit/yuzu citrus notes are hard to distinguish and seem to blend into all the other flavors of the tea. They do seem to give the tea a certain something that just makes it taste a bit different, though. Otherwise, the tea is a little buttery, a little vegetal, and a little sweet, with big floral notes. All around a very nice tea.

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

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95
drank Golden Earl by Verdant Tea
1943 tasting notes

Definitely love this one. I think the golden buds base is just a fantastic match for the citrusy bergamot. Lately I feel like I’ve been running up against black tea bases for flavored teas that are at best uninteresting and at worst taste bad. I would love it if more tea bases were like this one!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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70

I wasn’t feeling an oolong this afternoon so I decided to dig out my big box of MBSC samples and try something I hadn’t had before. Of course this one jumped out at me as fairly seasonally appropriate. It is getting chillier, though overall it’s not really as cold as might expect for this time of year.

The smell of the dried leaf on this one is very orangey/appley, and surprisingly not very spicy. The steeped tea actually takes on the aroma of mulled cider, with a little black tea added in (actually that gives me a fantastic idea… black tea in the mulling spices for cider!). It actually smells really good, but I worry that I’ll get disappointed expecting mulled cider taste, especially the sweetness.

Wow, I really really like this one! Even though right before I take a sip it seems like I’m going to be drinking mulled cider, and afterward it’s clearly not. The actual flavor is similar enough to mulled cider yet different enough that I’m not disappointed. And the big apple chunks in the blend do lend a light appley sweetness to the tea. The spices in this are not individually distinct in the flavor but definitely add up to a nice blend, and I think that adds to the mulled cider feeling. I think I get a faint hint of rose in the aftertaste, but it is barely there.

I haven’t been super impressed by the blends I’ve gotten from MBSC not because they were bad, but rather because they just weren’t fantastic and I’ve been drinking some really fantastic teas lately. Also their black tea base was a little meh, which I can tell is the case here as well, but there’s enough other things going on here that it’s not as distracting. I do wish this blend had a higher quality tea base, because it’s one of my favorite “winter” blends I’ve had so far. It should be called Spiced Apple Cider!

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

I’ve never tried MBSC’s blends, but I’ve certainly been enjoying just getting their straight spices/etc to make my own blends and chai. Plus, then I can experiment with them in cooking, too!

Sounds like a yummy blend.

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80

This is another green tea that I requested from Teavivre with my samples based on its description so that I could broaden my tea horizons. So thanks again to Teavivre for providing me with these!

The dry leaf has that kind of “green tea” scent that I associate with a standard green tea. The leaves are fairly long and twisted but they also are relatively curly so they pack fairly well and I think my measurement of them should be fairly accurate. They are dark green when dry but after steeping they have turned a very bright yellow green, and the liquor is a medium yellow color. The steeped tea smells really good, and not like I would associate with a green tea. The description mentions chestnuts, and I definitely am getting the kind of nutty aroma I might associate with them. Also maybe roasted sweet corn? It is a scent that is familiar but that I’m having trouble placing. As it cools a definite buttered cooked veggie aroma is coming more forward.

I definitely get sweet, nutty, buttery, cooked vegetable notes in the flavor as well. It’s a hint bitter, so I’m wondering if I used a tad too much leaf (or maybe I should have done a 1 minute steep). Either way, it’s not too bad and I definitely love the other flavors going on. This one actually has the same combination of flavors that add up to a cookie-type note like I experienced with Verdant’s Jingshan green (in a blend), which is totally unexpected for me but I really like it. If I can figure out my optimal steeping parameters for this tea I might just fall in love.

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

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65
drank Thé au Tibet by Mariage Frères
1943 tasting notes

I just finished putting all my french teas into brand new tea tins, so I grabbed this one to have this morning while it was out. I really do love the combination of aromas in this tea with the citrus/bergamot, strong vanilla and floral jasmine. However, I have found that the combination of vanilla and jasmine, which sounds awesome, just tastes a bit odd to me. It’s not so odd here as in Golden Moon’s vanilla jasmine tea, possibly because it’s tempered by the bergamot and orange.

Also I can’t seem to make this tea not bitter, which again makes me wonder if it’s Mariage Freres’ black tea base that I just can’t deal with. This is a black/green blend, which are usually tricky anyway, but I brewed it basically like a green this time and it’s still slightly bitter to me. Then sometimes I think it’s just that vanilla jasmine combo that is giving it an off, bitterish flavor. Whatever it is, I’m not sure that these type of blends are really for me, even though I do love the idea of them.

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

Oh, what a pity you did not like, it is one I got (before reading your opinion). Not tried it yet.

And just FYI, I am not sure MF blacks are bitter – for me Marco Polo has no bitterness. Wedding Imperial, hmm, weird thing, I did not find it bitter, but hoarded my tin for a couple years and I toward the end the leaves were smaller and more broken and got more bitter.

Dinosara

Yeah I wonder if it’s just the vanilla/jasmine blend that doesn’t work for me for some reason… though I know others do like it. I do find the base of Marco Polo and some of their other blacks to be a bit “off” in a way I can’t pin down… a bit tart and astringent, or something. For some reason they’re just not for me!

ashmanra

I get the same thing! I find it in most French teas. I think they like that hint of bitterness, and I suspect they normally add milk. For Marco Polo, I cut the temp and time a little, then add milk and sugar. I find it very good that way, and hubby likes it though he likes. Ery few teas.

cteresa

I sometimes think of a tea “oh so french” (not always good. I do not get Kusmi for example). But hmm, not sure I would call it bitterness, or anything like that, though not sure I am getting the same you are both getting. I thought of maybe it might be an expectation issue, like the way americans and europeans expect milk chocolate to taste differently (very differently, from my side!), but that I think is an historical due to a different industrial method. With tea getting produced and processed the same way on plantation, I guess any difference of expectations regarding taste might just show up very subtly when blender purchases and later blends. (or we might blame retailers or storing, or something. For example Twinings blends and packs things differently for mainland europe than for the UK. Even the weight of tea bags is different, Uk gets those ugly no string bags with 2.25 gr and the mainland gets pretty teabags but with just 2 gr).

cteresa

and ashmanra, sorry, just to add, nooo, I think adding milk to tea is much much rarer in France than in the UK. Really not the norm from my opinion (not that I ever lived there, but visited, for longer or shorter, a few times).

If there is a particular French kink IMO is loving tilleul (linden?) based tisanes. which might not be for everybody.

Dinosara

For me it’s not just French teas, because I have no problem with Dammann Freres’ blends (probably my favorite tea blender!). Just MF for some reason!

ashmanra

Agreed. I have had two by Dammann Freres that didn’t taste that way, but MF and the two teas that Harney calls French style have that astringency.

cteresa

I am really curious about that note – maybe it is something I like and do not spot necessarily. You don´t mean tannin (like in some wines, or pomegranates), or do you? It tannins, IMO is definetely a flaw, and might be by design. Keep in mind that as loose leaf tea gets broken post processing, the way it infuses does as well, and it tends to get more tanninic much faster with the same steeping times. The bottom of tea tins is usually more tanninic (because the smaller bits of tea fall to the bottom and get packed and more broken). Also if tea gets crushed by something before brewing or even after that happens (mind you, I got a tea which i think responds really well to getting stirred very vigorously while brewing. Though yeah I do put sugar and milk on it later!)

Dinosara

I think I generally dislike very strong tannins in things, though I do like wines and pomegranates and such. If a tea tends to be pretty tannic I will often steep it for a shorter time or at a lower temp. Tannins do seem to manifest as a bitter flavor to me, and I am super sensative to bitterness!

cteresa

I do not like tannins as well. If you dislike them as well, also try to keep loose leaf tea has protected from possible sources of mechanical crushing as possible – crushed loose tea will liberate the tannins much faster than whole tea, particularly in regard to the other flavours. (not sure where I got that factoid, though)

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78

After an afternoon of jasmine tea I didn’t really feel like another floral or somewhat floral tea; I wanted something nutty or sweet or… caramelly. Yup, that works. Now I’m finishing off my sample of this tea.

The fact that this one has a medium-roasted formosa base gives it that nutty, appley flavor that I’m really coming to appreciate. This one isn’t so appley as apple-skin, actually, and I do think I’m getting chestnuts this time, though I’m not super familiar with the flavor of chestnuts. And then over everything a caramelized-sugar flavor. I’m really enjoying this one and I bumped it up a few notches. I don’t know if it’s a rebuy (maybe if it came in quantities less than almost 4oz), but it’s a possibility if I’m already ordering other things.

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

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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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