1994 Tasting Notes

64
drank Mango Tango by The Tea Spot
1994 tasting notes

Man, it seems like forever ago that I ordered these Tea Spot samples. It was in fact not too long before I went out of town and I didn’t get a chance to try all of them before I left. This was one of them that was still sealed; I’m always on the lookout for good mango and/or passion flavored black teas, and this happens to be a mango & passion black.

The dry leaf has that sweet, tart, candy-ish mango and passion fruit aroma that so often accompanies these teas. It really reminds me of a mango hi-chew, if you are familiar with those candies. Steeped, that sweetness in the aroma disappears and it’s all tart, tart, tart. I had high hopes for this one, but I’m afraid it just doesn’t live up in the taste. It lacks the roundness and depth of the acutal fruits, and there’s a weird mustiness in the aftertaste on some sips. The black tea is at least not bitter, but that’s about all I can say about it. I think the fruit flavors come out more as it cools, so I definitely plan on cold steeping the rest of this sample.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Ovation teas really has an insane amount of flavor combinations, and it makes it so hard to choose, especially since you can’t order samples. It’s probably because they apparently blend each tea to order, so they don’t make small amounts, but it would be nice if they had some of their standard teas available for samples. But plenty of other companies don’t offer samples either. I had a groupon-style deal for this company and had an impossible time trying to decide what teas to get from their blends, and whether I should go for the custom blend, but ultimately I decided to try a custom blend another time. Blending to order probably means I should wait for the flavors to meld a bit more before trying them, but it’s been about a week since they’ve been blended so I’m going to give them a first try now.

The smell of the dry leaf on this one is great. I get a lot of chocolate, caramel, and nuttiness. Definite yum. It brewed up fairly light in color, and I’m afraid I might have made it a bit weak… I don’t make tea in my small teapot at home all that frequently, and I think I might have overfilled it. Anyway, the aroma of the steeped tea has much less chocolate but more caramel nuttiness, along with a bit of roastiness that almost reminds me of a dark oolong.

The flavor is a little weak, certainly my fault, but what’s there is nice. It’s nutty, chocolatey, and caramelly, with a pretty pleasant black tea backing it up. The nuts are actually hazelnuts (and there are big halves of them in the blend), so it ends up tasting kind of like a caramelly Florence. A good combo! It does seem like there is a hint of bitterness, which is probably coming from the Assam in the base (I’m pretty sure all their black bases are an Assam/Ceylon blend), which isn’t my favorite, but I have been able to make it work in their teas before. I am interested to try this one in another couple of weeks under more normal circumstances and after the flavors have “matured” some more.

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

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99

This morning I used up the last sachet of this tea that I brought with me during my travels. Oh, the horror! Fortunately I’m going home tomorrow, and while I still won’t be around my tea stash for a couple of days (it’s all at work!), I at least have a small collection at home. Can’t wait… I’ve been craving an oolong for the past month it seems like!

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72
drank Earl Grey by Rishi Tea
1994 tasting notes

This is the first loose leaf I’ve had in a long time. That’s kind of depressing! Anyway, we went to a coffee shop in downtown Charleston for breakfast this morning and they had a handful of loose Rishi teas. Of course, being morning and the fact that I am very predictable, I picked the Earl Grey.

As usual with this kind of situation, it wasn’t my optimal tasting conditions so I’m giving it a rating but I’m not sure if it reflects exactly rating I would give it under different circumstances. Basically, this was a pretty tasty Earl but it didn’t really stick out as particularly mind-blowing. I noticed the tea base as a bit different, and looking at the description now I see it was a Yunnan, which I tend to enjoy. It’s apparently a bit polarizing, probably because the bergamot is pretty strong, but as I’ve mentioned before a strong bergamot flavor doesn’t usually taste perfumy or musty to me. It started to get a tad bitter toward the bottom of the pot where the little bits of leaves had been steeping for a while (the glass infuser in the pot at the coffee shop had fairly large holes), but never so bad that I couldn’t finish it. A pretty decent Earl, would drink again.

Preparation
3 min, 15 sec

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60
drank Zen by Tazo
1994 tasting notes

This morning my stomach was feeling kind of ucky, but of course I didn’t have access to the lemon ginger teas I would usually drink in such a situation. The selection of Tazo bags in my hotel also didn’t include any with ginger, but I grabbed this one for the soothing spearmint in it.

Overall, not horrible. Not especially flavorful, but lightly minty and at least it soothed my discomfort. I’m out of that hotel now, so probably no more Tazo for a while, but it will still be a while before I’m back home. On it goes…

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98
drank Paris by Harney & Sons
1994 tasting notes

After three days of bagged Earl Grey it was really starting to wear on me. I’ve been trying to ration my sachets that I brought with me but today I had to bust out Paris. Mmm, I can’t wait to get back to my tea stash… I miss it so!

TeaBrat

I feel the same way whenever i’m away from home. :)

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61
drank Lotus by Tazo
1994 tasting notes

Yet another tea bag from today. I was intrigued by this one because I think I would like lotus tea but I have yet come across one. I would have preferred not a decaffinated green and not a teabag, but so it goes. I have no idea how hot my water was but it was probably too hot, and I steeped it some unknown but fairly short amount of time. I got some flavor out of it, and that definitely improved as it cooled, but I was definitely wanting more. It wasn’t bitter, just light and a bit floral. Unfortunately tea bag + paper cup is too much paper flavor for me in my tea, so that also doesn’t help the situation. Still, I definitely want to try more lotus scented teas in the future.

K S

This isn’t too bad if you can control the steep. I agree, I wish it were not decaf and came in loose form.

Dinosara

I’ll have to try it again under slightly better circumstances, but I definitely want to try other lotus greens.

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60
drank Earl Grey by Tazo
1994 tasting notes

Still on the road, this time for another conference, which means a lot of tea slim pickings at the hotels. This morning I had a bag of this and it really wasn’t half bad. Sure, I wasn’t really paying close attention to it much, but I remember being pleasantly surprised. I like very bergamotty Earl as long as it doesn’t get super astringent and bitter, and this tea fits that profile. I guess the tea bag was pretty fresh, too, because I didn’t have problems with it being really weak like some people, nor did I have it get bitter on me. Yeah it wasn’t super exciting, but I’ve had way worse.

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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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