1915 Tasting Notes

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
1915 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
1915 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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75

When I made my groupon order from this company, I ordered a sample of nearly every fruit-flavored black tea they offered. So far I haven’t been very impressed with the low-quality black tea base they use, but I am getting pickier and pickier. I don’t think I’ve ever had a blackberry flavored tea, but I do love to eat blackberries… they are one of my favorite berries. This tea doesn’t smell great, though. When I smelled the dry tea I thought maybe it was just some cross-contamination from other teas in the box, but the steeped tea smells like it too. It’s hard to place or describe, but suffice to say it’s not good.

The taste is… odd. It’s not bad, let’s start with that. The tea is very slightly bitter (curse that low-quality black tea base), and the flavor is I guess blackberryish. I guess. It’s just not what I was expecting. Now I want to go get some blackberries and make sure I’m not going crazy.

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

if you haven’t tried the loose leaf version of ROT blackberry sage…it has whole, dried blackberries in it….

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71
drank Iced Berry Wine Black by ZenTea
1915 tasting notes

After a somewhat disappointing tea experience I don’t usually brew the same tea up again because I usually just want to move on. But the aftertaste that this tea had left in my mouth was so pleasant that I really wanted to be able to drink this tea and enjoy it. So out went the bitter cup and I brewed up another, this time with a shorter steep, and lo, all the bitterness was gone. All those nice flavors I mentioned in the previous note are there but they’re at the forefront this time. I also get more of the “alcohol” note, which is always sort of weird with tea, but all the alcoholic drink based teas have it, because I guess without it this is just grape/raisin flavored, right? Wow, that was a runon sentance. Anyway, the point is that it’s very pleasantly ice winey now.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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71
drank Iced Berry Wine Black by ZenTea
1915 tasting notes

I was pleased when I smelled the dry leaf of this tea that the scent of the flavoring wasn’t super overwhelming like some of the teas I’ve gotten from this company. It does have a nice juicy sweet grapey aroma, which in the steeped tea is similar but definitely a more winey note. Ice wine is so sweet and raisiny, and that’s born out in the scent.

This seems like it would be delicious… if it wasn’t bitter. Argh, I can’t seem to drink a black tea these days without finding it bitter. I am hopeful, though, because aisling of tea brewed this at 2 minutes and liked it, so I think I will definitely have to try that. Beyond the bitter it had nice grape/raisin/ice wine flavors that seemed natural. I do have an aftertaste as if I had been drinking ice wine, but without the alcohol. Better for work, that way!

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

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81

Apparently I’ve had this tea twice now, though I only remembered having it the first time. Both times I did short steeps, since that’s how everyone else had steeped this one. Last time I wanted to steep it longer but chickened out; this is the last of my sample, so I said heck with it and decided to steep it how I would steep most other green oolongs.

It smells incredibly sweet with floral and fruit tones, overlain by sweet-cream milky aroma. The flavor is nice and floral with a heavy helping of buttered cooked greens and the faintest hint of creaminess. Live and learn: 3 minutes is a little much for this tea, and the vegetal flavors are outweighing some of lighter notes. As I’ve experienced before, these notes, along with the natural sweetness, do grow as the tea cools. Even a little overcooked this is a tasty tea.

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

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98
drank Paris by Harney & Sons
1915 tasting notes

I thought about posting this in the “Chance Combinations” listing, but really it was mostly Paris, so I’ll put it here. I had part of a sample pouch of Paris that I ordered from Harney ages ago that I had never used up. It wasn’t quite enough for a cold steep by itself, so I threw in an extra teaspoon of rose black, using up the rest of my sample from Golden Moon. Turns out rose is a nice addition to Paris! It complemented the existing flavors without overwhelming them. What I didn’t even think of is that Paris has vanilla notes in it, and here they play well with the rose, whereas I wasn’t as fond of the pairing in the Vanilla Rose from Zhi Tea this morning.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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64
drank Vanilla Rose by Zhi Tea
1915 tasting notes

Yesterday afternoon I completely reorganized my tea drawers. Yes, I used to have only one (these are very large, deep drawers), but my tea collection has rapidly expanded. It’s a good thing I have an office with a lot of space! Now I have one drawer for large pouches and tins, and one for samples. Anyway, as I was going through things I realized that I hadn’t yet tried this sample that was sent to me by SimplyJenW, which clearly got lost in my jumble because a vanilla rose tea is definitely something I want to try. Thanks Jen!

I never realized that vanilla and rose would combine to form some aroma that is both evocative of both but also distinct in its own right. It’s an interesting combo, and I guess one I’ve never experienced before! This tea is an Assam, and I don’t know how much I like Assams (though I suspect they are not on my list of faves), so I’m interested to see how it plays out in this tea. Overall it’s pretty nice, but there’s something about this rose, or perhaps the rose combo with vanilla, or perhaps both with the Assam, that is throwing me off a bit. This is the first rose tea I’ve had that I really think tastes a bit perfumy. To addess the Assam, well for me even at this low temp it is bitter and too strong for me. I’m pretty sure at this point that I dislike Assams in general. C’est la vie, they are not for me who has a sensativity to bitterness. Maybe I can brew them really weak and see how that goes, heh.

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

last night I was gazing at the zhi tea website myself…. ;-)

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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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