1994 Tasting Notes

80

I feel like I’m positively swimming in new tea samples thanks to the super generous JacquelineM and QuiltGuppy! You guys are too awesome. This tea comes thanks to QuiltGuppy!

I am kind of obsessed with passion fruit, so I’m really excited to try this! I have tried a few tropical-type blends with passion in them, but never a straight up passion fruit black for some odd reason. The dry leaf smells awesome, very much like a very ripe, very sweet passion fruit. Sweet, tart, tropical and delicious. Brewed that of course mellows a bit and the aroma of the black tea base joins the passion fruit, grounding it a bit. There’s a high, bright note to the black that complements the passion fruit aroma as well.

Mmm, I can tell this will likely be something I have to keep around! It’s a great blend of the passion fruit and black tea flavors. Sweet and fruity, but with a lovely depth to it. A little malty, a little honeyed, this is a lovely smooth, rich black tea that doesn’t hide behind the passion fruit flavor nor steamroll over it, but works wonderfully with it. A fantastic passion fruit tea! Thanks so much QuiltGuppy!

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

Oh boy! I got this one, too and can’t wait to try them all!

QuiltGuppy

This is one of my favorites, too! I bought a pound of it to make iced tea in the summer. :)

Dinosara

Yes, I must try this one iced! Yum.

QuiltGuppy

Another really good one is their Mango black, which I also happen to have if you want to try… :D

Dinosara

I’d love to, but given your so generous first package, I couldn’t ask you to send another! Hold onto it for the next swap… :D

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76

For some reason this tea was calling to me from my tea drawer, so I finally decided to brew a cup of it. I dropped the water temp this time because I remembered to go back and look at my previous tasting note, in which I say it was a little bit bitter.

This time the aroma of the steeped tea is again distinctly vanilla, with rose and other floral notes rounding it out. That lower steep temp took some of the bitterness out, but a little remains as it cools (shorter steep time also next time I guess). Not enough to be too distracting, though, and it’s definitely delicious. It’s that floral vanilla flavor, like really fresh vanilla beans. I suppose because it’s French Vanilla it should be creamier like custard, but all the florals just wipe that away. Don’t get me wrong, the tea is definitely smooth and rich, but in a different way than ice-cream style French Vanilla. Add to that strongly rosey, sweet, floral notes… this tea is definitely not for the (floral) faint at heart. Bumping my previous rating up a bit; if I can get rid of the last remaining twinges of bitterness, this could be amazing.

ETA: I “cool-brewed” this tea like I did with Rosy Earl Grey this morning for about an hour, maybe a bit longer. Even with that short of a cold-brew steep time, it’s really tasty. Very naturally sweet… it almost seems like I sweetened it! Floral and vanilla-y and of course no bitterness. Yum!

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

I have a Blueberry White from this vendor that is pretty fabulous. I will have to check this one out, too.

Dinosara

I found it at the Cleveland Botanical Garden of all places! I’m not sure if the blend is just for the garden, but it doesn’t seem to be on their website. I could send you a sample if you’d like!

SimplyJenW

I can easily go there and look! ;) I have always wondered where they sell their tea. I have a friend who went to one of their local tea parties, and she gifted me with the Bluberry White blend (which I don’t see there now, either!) It is good stuff. I bought another bag and have been hoarding it.

Dinosara

Ok, cool, I didn’t know how close you were to the gardens. :) They only carried three teas there, I think the other two were a green and an herbal.

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90
drank Rosy Earl Grey by Teas Etc
1994 tasting notes

Ah, rose Earl Greys. Why have you eluded me thus far? I have yet to try one that was what I wanted it to be, but then, I haven’t yet tried this one. It’s been on my list for a while, what with all the Steepster love, and now thanks to JacquelineM I finally get to try it!

The dry leaves smell amazing, but I’ve learned to be skeptical of that coming through in the taste. But the brewed tea smells great too: way more jasminey than the dry leaf, but with a certain depth from the rose that is lurking in the background.

Fortunately, this tea has not disappointed! This is one of those teas, like some of the French ones I have, that each of the flavors plays out individually at different parts of the sip, but then they all come together at the end. The florals are the first things I taste, first sweet, lovely jasmine, then rich, thick rose. The bergamot, the Earl Grey, seems to hang out at the end of the sip, but then on some sips it underlies everything else. All the flavors just work so well together, intermingling, playing off each other. They meld together more as it cools into one great floral bergamotty flavor. This tea is just as amazing as I had hoped!

What was missing from all those other rose EGs was the jasmine, obviously. My favorite lavender Earl Grey also has jasmine in the mix, and I think that it goes a long way toward making the other florals work so well with the bergamot. Thanks again, JacquelineM!

ETA: After reading one of JacquelineM’s previous tasting notes in which she let it “cold steep” in lukewarm water during an office meeting, I filled my cup back up with cool water and let it sit for an hour until lunch. Not exactly “iced” tea, but cool from the air conditioning tea nontheless. The jasmine green was the predominant note in the cup (both the sweet jasmine and the grassy, vegetal green), but the rose and bergamot were definitely present. It was really tasty, and something I’ll definitely try again!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec
SimplyJenW

This is one of my favorites, too. And of course it was JacquelineM that got me hooked!

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73
drank Ruby Sipper by SerendipiTea
1994 tasting notes

Having a box full of new teas from JacquelineM was too much for me… I had to try one out despite the heat, humidity, and the fact that I don’t often drink tea at night (not for any particular reason, just because I don’t get around to it usually). Obviously I had to do one of the herbal teas, so I tried this one because it really smelled great; sweet and fruity, bright and citrusy. I also experimented with my first iced tea; I brewed it at double strength and shook some ice into it.

I probably could have/should have brewed it stronger and longer, but it was still tasty. A tiny dab of honey brought out the flavors a touch more, and it was tart and refreshing. It really does taste like an unsweetened Italian blood orange soda! I look forward to trying this one hot, as well as iced again this summer! Thanks again JacquelineM!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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72
drank Almond Green Tea by Kusmi Tea
1994 tasting notes

I’ve wanted to try a Kusmi tea for a while now since they have so many flavors that look just up my alley. And yet, I didn’t come back from Paris with any (there’s a Kusmi store in NYC, so I decided to save room in my luggage for other teas). But I did just get a sample of this tea, which I definitely wanted to try, from Jillian!

Brewed, this reminds me of the other almond green I’ve had, from Upton, though this one lacks cinnamon. Still, the almond manages to evoke an almost bakery-style aroma. The flavor is primarily a somewhat grassy/vegetal green tea initially, and the almond blooms into that nut-meat almond flavor. Again, not a marzipan, but nutty raw almonds. It’s a combo that works well with a Chinese green, I think, though I think my cup is a tad overdone (time, temp or leaf amount, I’m not sure which). I’m still enjoying this tea quite a bit. It’s similar enough to Upton’s almond green that I’m going to have to try that one again to refresh my memory for comparsion. Thanks again to Jillian for the generous sample!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec
QuiltGuppy

This one caught my attention, too. Sounds really nice!

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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
1994 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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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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