1995 Tasting Notes

76
drank China Rose Tea OP by ESP Emporium
1995 tasting notes

Before my package from JacquelineM, this was the only rose black tea I had. Since I haven’t had a cup in quite a while, another was in order so that I could compare it to the other rose blacks I’ve had recently. Previously I steeped this for 4 minutes, but I dropped it to 3 minutes this time to match up with the others.

This one definitely has the sweet-rose aroma, but it seems tempered by the black tea. A taste confirms that it seems to fall between Harney’s Rose Scented and Upton’s Rose Congou in that the rose flavor is sweet and floral like the Rose Scented (not herby rose like Rose Congou), but it features equally with the black tea base like Rose Congou (not overwhelming it like Rose Scented). This black tea base is malty, and almost bready, which plays well with the warmth of the rose florals. I think a four minute steep is probably better for this one since it seems a touch weak, but it’s still tasty.

All in all, this tea holds up well to both Harney’s and Upton’s, actually, and it seems like it might be what Harney’s would be like if the rose wasn’t so all-consuming. ’

Side note: I really wish all tea companies would list the origin of their black tea bases. All black teas are not created equally! I always assumed this black tea base was Chinese given the name, but it’s possible it’s only referring to the Chinese process of scenting the tea, not the origin of the tea itself, and honestly it tastes more like a Ceylon than the various Chinese teas I’ve had. Not that I can be totally sure because most of the time I’m not sure exactly what kind of black tea I’m drinking! I guess I really am going to have to break down and go through samples of varieties of plain black teas so that I can start identifying them better myself.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
JacquelineM

…and to further complicate things it could be referring to the rose itself (there are Chinese roses, Bulgarian roses, etc etc etc). I too agree – I want to know the tea bases of the teas I drink. :) :) :)

Dinosara

Oh geez, add another layer of confusion! :D But it is amazing how few tea merchants provide detailed information on their flavored teas. That tea had to come from somewhere!

ashmanra

True, true. My favorite rose in my yard is Chinensis mutabilis, the Butterfly Rose. Any rose with Chinensis in the scientific name is a China rose, and there are many. I love how different the rose aroma can be from one varietal to another. Like tea!

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90
drank Royal Wedding by Harney & Sons
1995 tasting notes

Honestly, I’m a little shocked that I could wait this long to try this tea that QuiltGuppy so kindly sent me. I’ve wanted to try Royal Wedding for quite a while now, but I haven’t gotten myself to the Harney Soho store so I just keep waiting and hoping it doesn’t disappear from their inventory any time soon. But yay I get to try it now!

I smell primarily a sweet vanilla-almond of the dry leaf through the sachet. Unfortunately I forgot to start my timer when I poured the hot water, so I think I probably steeped it about 3 minutes, but who really knows! Well at least I have another sachet for a proper steeping. The brewed tea is a medium amber color (actually almost identical to the amber earrings I’m currently wearing) and the slightly vegetal aroma of the white tea comes through now as a grassy back note to the otherwise very sweet smelling vanilla and almond aromas. I guess I get coconut as well, but I’m having trouble currently distinguishing it from the nutty-sweet-vanilla scent in general.

My first thoughts were this is delicious! I do get a slight bitterness/astringency from the white tea, but also a rush of vanilla-y sweetness, which only gets stronger as it cools. The primary flavors I get are vanilla and a bit of almond; it is a sweet almond, not as much a raw nutty one, but it’s light and thus not quite marzipanny. I can also detect a creamy coconut note, but for me it’s not very strong; I agree with ashmanra that it reminds me of a great cookie. All the sweetness is tempered by the ever present white tea in the background, which grounds things and keeps it from being too cloying (who am I kidding, I wouldn’t think it was cloying anyway, but for some it might have been without the substantial white tea flavor).

All in all… a keeper! I’ll definitely have to make sure I grab a tin, and I hope the run isn’t too limited!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C

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92
drank Rose Scented by Harney & Sons
1995 tasting notes

This is the other sample of a rose black I got from JacquelineM. I was excited about trying this one since the reviews say that it is really heavily rosey, and I do love rose! When I opened the packet the smell of rose hit me hard; this tea isn’t playing around.

Upton’s Rose Congou I had yesterday was a very herbaceous rose flavor, and it shared the stage with the black tea base. The aroma of this one… I could smell it all day. Some people might call it perfumey, but to me it smells exactly like fresh, lovely rose turkish delight. My favorite!

And it tastes pretty much exactly how it smells. With some sugar I think it would taste so much like rose candy I might be convinced I was drinking it liquefied. It’s definitely a sweet rose flavor, but I wouldn’t really say the tea has any natural sweetness per se. There’s a thickness and richness that you get with certain types of florals, and I love it. This is a seriously rose scented tea, and I think it will likely be my go-to rose tea when I feel the need to indulge in tons of ROSE!

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

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81

Rose happens to be one of my favorite flavors, especially when it comes to sweets. It is odd, then, that I only have ever tried one straight up rose black tea, though I often choose teas with it in other blends. Happily, JacquelineM was kind enough to send me a small sample of a couple of rose black teas (even though she got them as samples herself!), this being one of them. Thank you!

The aroma of the rose in the brewed tea is what I consider “herby” rose. While that rose sweetness is still there in part, the overall note is more savory, more… well, herby. I have to say, this is one delicious tea! The main part of the sip is really the black tea itself: warm, thick, a hint of peppery spice. The rose floats above it all and lingers in the aftertaste, but it’s not super strong. Just enough to remind you that you are, indeed, drinking a rose tea. Again, not really a sweet rose; this is not a rose flavor that brings to mind rose candies and sweets. I would have thought that this combination would result in a tea that might have not been quite right for me, but I actually really enjoy it.

Get ready to see a couple more rose teas from me in the upcoming days because I’m going to want to try them in rapid succession for comparison!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
JacquelineM

Yes, the word I use for this one is musky. I love the musky/herby rose this one has! I have real, distilled from rose petals (vs. rose oil added) rose water that has that same musky/herby quality. It makes me weak in the knees!

Dinosara

Yeah, musky definitely works as well! It’s a really cool variant on the rose flavor that I hadn’t experienced until recently.

JacquelineM

I wound up having some this afternoon because I started craving it after writing about it :) :) :)

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91

I was going to try one of my new tea samples today, but then I really needed a comfort tea after finding out that my credit card information has been stolen for the second time in 6 months! And that the thief apparently has a duplicate card, because it’s being used to buy gas and groceries (but my card is still in my wallet). Ugh.

A second cup of this tea solidifies it as one of my favorites. Floral and almondy and tropical mango-y… it’s the perfect nexus of flavors for me. Thank you, Dammann Freres, for making this tea because right now I need it!

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

Oh dear! I am so sorry that happened to you. They are without a doubt not tea drinkers or they would never do such unseemly things. Hope it all gets straightened out soon.

JacquelineM

That’s awful! My mother had this problem, and it’s really a pain to sort out. I understand your frustration, and I’m really glad you have a comfort tea to help today :)

gmathis

Went through this on a smaller scale not too long back. It just makes you sick to your stomach that somebody would be that dishonest. So sorry! Hope the tea is un-kinking the kinks in the back of your neck. (At least that’s where I knot up when I’m tense.)

SimplyJenW

So many people have gone throough this! Yuck. I hope it is all resolved quickly.

Dinosara

Yeah, I know someone else who just had her debit card duplicated! My credit card company is really good about sorting it out, but it’s still such an annoyance to be without a credit card until I get my new one. This tea certainly helped!

Alana237

My Dad found out yesterday his card has been duplicated. I hope you get through it easily!

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81
drank Golden Monkey by Harney & Sons
1995 tasting notes

Even though I rarely drink unflavored teas, the praise that this tea has gotten intrigued me, and happily JacquelineM was kind enough to send me a sample to try! The aroma of the brewed tea is so interesting… a little bit roasted, definitely honeyed notes that others describe, and yes, perhaps some caramel notes as well.

As I said, usually I’m not an unflavored tea drinker, especially when it comes to blacks. Of course, I haven’t exactly explored all the options, and this is a tea that definitely has broadened my horizons. This is a plain black tea I can drink! It’s lighter and definitely tasty with its honeyed notes and just a hint of roasted flavor. As it cools the caramel notes come out more; this is certainly the most delicious unflavored black tea I’ve ever tasted! I think I need my unflavored blacks to be fairly light; for instance, I tried Golden Snail at Harney Soho and while I liked it ok, I definitely prefer this one. Thanks so much JacquelineM for sending me a sample of your precious Golden Monkey! :D

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

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71

This is my second bottle of Teas’ Tea iced tea; since I liked the Mango Oolong I had last time, I decided to try this Crispy Apple Black this time. A big difference here though is that the Mango Oolong was “Low Calorie”, i.e., only lightly sweetened, whereas this one is “Classic”, which means lots of sugar. It’s sweet enough to basically taste like somewhat thin apple juice (though not quite as sweet as actual apple juice). I can’t really taste the black tea at all, but at least the apple is actually well done; it’s juicy and full flavored like eating an actual apple (perhaps a Gala), not like some apple juices which can be fairly bland. I would like it if they offered this one in the lightly sweetened category, because I feel like with less sugar the tea might come through more.

gmathis

I’ve always wondered why bottled tea producers have to add so much sugar … is it a preservative/spoilage prevention method, d’ya think?

Dinosara

I think it’s just that most people like sugary drinks! Although this tea company does make lots of unsweetened bottled teas too, so I don’t know why they had to sugar bomb this one.

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63
drank Vanilla Jasmine by Golden Moon Tea
1995 tasting notes

Golden Moon is one of those tea companies that I’ve wanted to try tea from for a while now, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. Until today! Thanks to JacquelineM I have a sample of one of their teas that interests me most. Jasmine is rapidly becoming one of my favorite tea flavors, and I always love a good vanilla, so this tea definitely seems like it will be up my alley. The dry leaves smell variably primarily like vanilla or jasmine each time I stick my nose in them, but the other scent is always there as well.

Brewed, I get a lovely blend of the vanilla and jasmine notes in the aroma, with some slightly vegetal tea notes as well. Neither seems to really reign over the other, instead they each bring out complementary notes in the other. An early sip while still very hot (too hot for me to actually really pick up in my handleless cup), yields a satisfying blend of both flavors: jasmine at the top, a solid tea base providing the bulk, with the creamy, rich vanilla underlying it all. Cooled a bit, the flavor is much the same, although I feel as if the jasmine is fading away somewhat and I’m getting a somewhat weakly flavored vanilla tea. I think I’ll be experimenting with brew times/temps with this one (fortunately I have enough to do so thanks to JacquelineM!), as between all of the tasting notes on here there is quite a variable range. Still, a very nice tea and I’m glad I finally got to try a Golden Moon tea!

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

I love this one! I got mine from Jacqueline, too!

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67

Thanks to Utopia Tea for sending me a free sample of some of their teas! I requested this one because toffee, chocolate and hazelnuts? Yes, please. The samples came in large sachets. I wasn’t sure exactly how much water it was appropriate for, but it seemed like more than a cup, so I went ahead and brewed it in my 16oz teapot.

The brewed tea smelled roasty and sweet and nutty, like you might expect. My boyfriend asked if I was having caramel tea… close enough! I brewed it for only 3 minutes like I do all black teas I’m not familiar with, but it probably could hold up to more without getting bitter, and I think more of the chocolate notes would probably come out. The individual flavors are fairly hard to distinguish, instead combining together pretty well. I can pick out the sweet, caramelized taste of vanilla toffee, along with a nuttiness and the light roastiness often seen in chocolate teas. The black tea base is light (possibly because of the steeping time), and slightly woody. Overall a tasty tea, and I definitely enjoyed my pot of it.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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45
drank Macabeo by ESP Emporium
1995 tasting notes

The last time I had this one I didn’t really enjoy it much, but its been long enough that I wanted to try it again just to see. Also, there’s still some vague recollection of having it back when I first got it and liking it ok at least. The dried leaves still smell like sour cherry candy to me. I tried a low temp and a short steep this time since last time the flavor overpowered me a bit, and the liquor is a very pale yellow but it still has a strong aroma. Still very fruity, still smells a bit medicinal, but it doesn’t seem like too much this time.

The taste is much better, and I’ll bump the rating, but it’s still not great. Not one I’d reorder, but now at least I feel like I can finish what I have! The flavor is very light (initially, it got stronger as it cooled), but being as it’s kind of an odd flavor that’s a good thing. The green/white tea clearly isn’t going to make itself known on the first steep, though perhaps on later brews. I think part of the problem is that I still get primarily cherry flavoring from this (as in cherry candy, not fresh cherries), and I don’t really like cherry flavoring. The promised jasmine and rose and mallow blossoms just don’t show in this one.

Eh, second steep’s not much better. Oh well, I guess this one will go back to sitting at the bottom of my cupboard (until I forget what it tasted like and try it again!)

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 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.
89-86: 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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