1989 Tasting Notes

71

I really am kind of compulsive about trying all the new teas I haven’t tried yet before going back to the rest of my cupboard. I’ll occasionally return for something specific (see: yesterday’s jasmine tea), but not too frequently. Thanks to Jillian for sending me another Earl Grey to try! I love a nice traditional EG, but I also tend to really enjoy EGs with extras like lemongrass and other citrus in them.

Brewed up, this one smells citrusy and lemongrassy. These notes give the flavor an extremely bright edge; you can rarely hide lemongrass in a blend, and that’s the case here. Fortunately I like lemongrass! But if you don’t this isn’t the tea for you. The bergamot in this is still a featured flavor, but everything else added means that it’s very citrusy and fruity. There’s a faint hint of astringency and bitterness, but not enough to bother me for this cup. All in all, a nice “alternative” Earl Grey and one I might consider keeping around for those times when I really want a lemony, citrusy Earl Grey.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Jillian

Surprisingly, given the bold citrus flavours, this tea is actually quite nice with a touch of milk which manages to cut some of the astringency. :)

Dinosara

Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind!

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76

Jasmine tea has been on my mind for a while now. Specifically Harney’s jasmine pearls, but I didn’t want to have them this late in my work day since I wouldn’t be able to get as many steeps out of them as they deserve. So I went for this jasmine to satisfy my craving for the moment. Certainly not as sweet and jasminey as the pearls, but still with a good dose of lovely floral jasmine.

Of course it’s kind of not working because it’s making me want the pearls more, but oh well.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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81
drank Organic Rose Grey by Tea Palace
1989 tasting notes

Well, this is actually the last of the teas I brought back from Europe that I have yet to sample. I want to love Rose Earl Greys because I love both flavors, but I haven’t quite found one for me yet (admittedly I haven’t tried many!). I admit I’m a little worried about this one potentially having the same black tea base that I disliked on Tea Palace’s Earl Grey St Clements, but we’ll see. It certainly smells amazing dried: bright and citrusy bergamot, slightly sweet, with the floral rose undertones. The mix has lots of rose petals, some partial buds, and also bits of citrus peel in it.

Moment of truth (when it comes to the aroma at least, since I can usually tell if the black tea contains whatever mystery black I dislike)… not what I expected, but not bad either. The black tea base is what I smell here, with perhaps a hint of rose, but the bergamot has gotten lost. This isn’t the English Breakfast black tea base that the St Clements had, though, this is warmer, with spicy notes, perhaps with a bit of roasted grains. I’m still wary, but only a taste will tell.

Not bad. Not my favorite cup of tea, but certainly drinkable, and likely enjoyed by someone for more of a taste for unflavored black tea than me. I’m not really getting any bergamot or Earl Grey flavor at all, just a light, herby rose at the end of the sip and in the aftertaste. The primary flavors are from the black tea (origin unknown, unfortunately): a bit of pepper, some bright note, a roasted flavor, and a rather prickly mouthfeel. I’m afraid I’m pretty terrible at separating out all the myriad of notes that many people get out of a black tea, so sorry for the paltry description.

So I think I can pretty safely say that Tea Palace’s Earl Greys aren’t for me. At least I was able to get samples of them instead of buying more on aroma of the dry leaf alone (I’m really not sure how that strong of a bergamot aroma can just completely disappear, but it does).

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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73

This is a tea I’ve wanted to try for a while, so I was excited to get a sample from Jillian! A while ago I was on a specific hunt for my perfect Earl Grey, but now I’ve settled more into just trying EGs when I get a chance. Nevertheless, this one was always on my list to try since a lot of people seem to be fans.

I couldn’t get a ton of aroma from the dry tea, but brewed it smells fantastic. The bergamot is strong and at the front, but it’s not really in your face. It’s also has an amazing depth of aroma that I can hardly believe bergamot is the only flavoring. It’s got a sweet, smooth smell that reminds me of an EG creme (but not overly so). The black tea base is present with a touch of pepper, but it seems to boost the bergamot instead of merely competing with it.

It tastes good, but it doesn’t quite live up to the aroma for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great EG, but I won’t be too sad that it’s limited edition because it doesn’t blow me away like I was expecting from the aroma. The initially flavor on the sip is a little flat; maybe I need to steep for longer? It doesn’t seem to be bitter at all, so I may experiment with that next time. Anyway, the flavor really blooms late in the sip and in the aftertaste, and it does stay fairly true to the notes in the aroma, but fainter. I just wish the whole sip could be like that! It is well balanced, with a black tea base that I enjoy and a citrusy bergamot note rounding it out. Thanks again Jillian, I’m glad I got to try it!

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

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64

I wanted a fruity tea this afternoon, and this one jumped out of my samples box at me. I picked this tea up with an assortment of other Revolution Tea sachets back at the beginning of May at a truck stop of all places. The dry leaf on this one smells really peachy. I can see through the sachet that the oolong is accompanied by a bunch of flower petals.

I went ahead and brewed this a full five minutes because if I recall correctly my experience with the other teas from this company was that they were a bit weak. The aroma is oolong-y; it says on the pouch that it’s a green oolong, but it smells more like a dark one to me, with a faint roasty aroma. The fruity peach notes are there in the background.

It may smell like a dark oolong (and look like one, from what I can see through the sachet), but it certainly has the leafy, vegetal taste of a green oolong. The peach/apricot flavor remains in the background of the flavor, subtley boosting the oolong itself. I peach flavors can taste medicinal to me sometimes, but this is a true, juicy fresh peach flavor (perhaps because it’s not over-flavored in the first place). I don’t get any ginger from this one, though it says it has some on the packet. I’m pleasantly surprised; I wasn’t expecting much out of this one, but it turned out pretty good after all.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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67
drank Almond Oolong by Adagio Teas
1989 tasting notes

I had most of this note written and then my browser crashed, boo. Anyway, this tea comes courtesy of Jillian, thanks! I’ve been interested in flavored oolongs since although I haven’t had a lot of them, I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve tried so far. And this one is almond, so I’m definitely excited to try it because I love almond-flavored anything.

The scent of the dry tea isn’t very strong, but I definitely catch an almond aroma; nutty, not quite sweet marzipan-type almond. The brewed tea smells really nice. Almondy, yes (though again in more of an actual-nut kind of way), but also distinctly appley. It reminds me of apple-almond pastries.

The flavor is light, but tasty. I wish I had brewed it for a little longer, I think. The main flavor of the sip is really the oolong: a little bit fruity/floral, a little bit roasted (just a tad!) from the darker oolong. The taste isn’t as appley as the aroma, but I do get hints of it, which must just be coming from the oolong. The almond blooms at the tail of the sip and lingers primarily in the aftertaste, and its slightly more sweet-almond marzipan than in the aroma. All in all, a tasty tea and I look forward to trying it a couple more times with different steeping parameters.

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

I’m glad you enjoyed it – sorry about how long it took to get to you.

Nathaniel Gruber

Like you, I’m not one to drink too much flavored Oolong either. The way you described it makes it sound nice and light…complementary to the flavor of the Oolong itself. Always a good thing when you’re working with flavored teas – to have the flavor complement the taste of the tea itself. Sounds nice!

Dinosara

Jillian- Sorry the post lost them the first time, and thanks for resending them!

Nathaniel- Yeah I think with the light brew the oolong is the primary flavor, with the almond in a supporting role.

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71
drank The Earl Grey by teapod
1989 tasting notes

I had a pot of this tea at the teapod tea shop in Covent Garden, so I’m interested to see how it brews up at home now. This time I can smell the dry leaf: very fragrant, and a bergamot that’s on the floral side, which matches up to the taste of the cup I had last time. There’s also that warmer, rounder orange aroma in the dry leaf (no doubt from the bits of orange peel in the mix).

The aroma of the brewed tea is primarily of the Ceylon base with the high, bright, somewhat floral note of the bergamot overlying it. This cups seems a tad oversteeped; perhaps I put too much leaf in, or the water in the tea shop wasn’t quite boiling, or somehow I steeped it longer. There’s a touch of bitterness now, and that lovely floral bergamot is more astringent and overwhelmed by the black tea base. Well, I guess this is one I’ll have to play around with to get right, but I know it has the potential to be delicious!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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80

I needed a break from black teas after this morning, so I decided to go for this white tea. Another last minute addition to my Tea Palace samples, this is one of the first relatively additive-free white teas I’ve had. It has rosebuds, true (and lots of shattered rose petals in the leaf), but I have my doubts that they will add too much, since it’s not a true “rose-scented” tea. The dry leaves smell—I’m not joking—like dried leaves. Tree leaves, I guess, like fall. Once I got a whiff of rose in there as well. Besides rosebuds and petals, this blend appears to include rose leaves as well, which is probably where the dried leaf aroma is coming from.

I’m not sure if I trust the steeping instructions on this one (for one, how much is a “dessertspoon” of tea??), and I don’t have a default white steeping setting really. I may have oversteeped this one, but I have plenty to play around with to see how everything changes. The liquor is a dark yellow/light amber, which is darker than I was expecting, and it has a light aroma that’s leafy with a faint rose undertone.

I probably don’t have a subtle enough palate for a tea like this, but I’m enjoying it all the same. I’m getting that leafy note that’s persisted through all phases of this, and a light rose note lingering at the end of the sip. The rose isn’t very sweet, but it’s more of a vegetal rose if that makes sense—not rose candy, actual roses on the bush. As in most cases, I would usually go for a more highly perfumed tea. This one’s good, but it doesn’t quite blow me away.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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81

Even though Earl Greys are some of my favorite teas, I didn’t buy many while I was in Europe because I wanted to reserve the precious space in my luggage for (for the most part) more unusual blends. But when it came down to picking extra samples at Tea Palace, being unprepared, I fell back on some versions of Earl Grey that sounded interesting. This is one of those EGs that is combined with other citrus besides bergamot, which I’ve usually enjoyed. The tea definitely matches its photo: this thing is jam packed with fairly sizeable hunks of orange and lemon rind. The dry leaf smells like a bergamotty EG, but perhaps a tad sweeter—if bergamot is a high, bright note, the orange fills in the bottom and is warmer.

As is often the case, the strong flavored notes are much more subdued in the brewed tea. Here the black tea base is at the forefront and it smells a bit like an English Breakfast blend, actually. Which is a bit disconcerting, as I’m not the biggest fan of most English Breakfasts.

When very hot, it definitely reminds me of an English Breakfast. Cooled a bit the bergamot starts to come out, adding a high bright note, but it still tastes primarily like the black tea. Disappointing for me; I was expecting more flavor from the added orange and lemon. I wish Tea Palace would said what black teas went into their blends (on other Earl Greys they say “China Blacks”… not that helpful). I can imagine some people really enjoying this, as it’s not highly bergamot flavored and is really all about the black tea base, but I’m not really one of those people, unfortunately.

Its funny, because it seems like a lot of people get into tea on flavored tea blends, then move toward unflavored and purer teas. True, I got into tea with flavored teas, but I went through a period where I enjoyed plain black tea (and I’m talking about a straight up English Breakfast or something like that, not the high quality single-source blacks which I haven’t tried many of), but now I really do not like it. It may be one particular tea in the blend that I’m reacting to (Assam perhaps?), but I don’t know because I can’t really parse them out. I guess even though I’m not a plain black drinker, maybe I need to do a tasting of a bunch of different single-source plain blacks just to figure them all out.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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85
drank Blue Sky by Tea Palace
1989 tasting notes

When I went on Tea Palace’s website before my trip to London to scope out the teas I was going to buy (that’s right, I was that prepared), this one piqued my interest because I do enjoy rose and mallow blossoms, but I wasn’t sure about it. Then I tasted a sample in the shop and I was sold. The flat leaves of the sencha green tea have a ton of flower petals mixed, both roses and mallows.

I no longer remember what exactly the sample tasted like, but the dried leaves smell remarkably fruity. I wanted to say passionfruit, but then I smelled it back to back with Passionate Rose and Blue Sky is brighter and more citrusy, but with a rosey floral overtone. There’s a warm sweetness underlying it; I’m pretty sure that’s the mallow flowers. The liquor is still a very pale yellow after 3 minutes, but it’s a very fragrant brew. The brewed tea is more subdued in aroma, with the grassy green sencha coming through. The fruity note has resolved itself into a more floral aroma, though still with a definite sweetness.

The flavor gives the feeling of dense, fragant florals. The rose is the primary note, but the mallow rounds things out a bit I think. It has a lovely natural sweetness, almost like fine jasmine pearls (but not jasmine in flavor). It is the nectar sweetness that comes from outstanding florals; I’m beginning to realize how much I love that in a tea. The tea has a soft tartness (is that an oxymoron?) as well, reinforcing a tropical fruit feeling (mango? passion?), but overall this is a floral tea. The green tea provides a grounding backdrop, like being in a lush flower garden (you not only smell the flowers, but the soft fragrance of the greenery all around them).

Now I’m remembering why I was sold on this tea! Delicious, and it fits in well with where my taste buds have been taking me lately.

ETA: I don’t always resteep, but this one told me to. The second steep (same parameters as the first) is equally delicious: still slightly sweet, floral, lovely, but this time with a bit more grassiness coming through from the green tea.

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

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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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