2036 Tasting Notes

65
drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
2036 tasting notes

Ack, I forgot to log this one yesterday! This was actually the tea I cold steeped over the weekend. Yeah, I’m that girl that cold steeps Marco Polo. :D

It turned out very well, and I think I like this tea better iced, actually. Crazy! The strawberry was very strong, and it melded well with nice black tea base. The strawberry flavor was fresher, and less like a strawberry pie than juicy fresh strawberries. I don’t get the tartness with the cold steep (or maybe it just works better cold). I think I initially rated this one low because I was expecting more, but having it like this made me realize that it’s still a really good tea and really enjoyable. I know I still have to try it with milk and sugar as recommended, but I really like it cold, too!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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73
drank 1001 Nights by TeaFrog
2036 tasting notes

Being pretty much done trying new teas means that I’m starting to think about cleaning out my cupboard a bit from all the older samples I still have lying around. This was one that had probably just barely a cup of tea left in it. I added a few Jasmine Pearls, also from a TeaFrog sample, to fill it out a bit.

The brewed tea still smells a bit fruity, but the jasmine pearls have gone a long way to up the jasmine content of this tea. I got rid of most of the tea “dust” that was left before brewing it, so thankfully it didn’t brew up too bitter, though there is the faintest hint. I like this tea for all it’s florals, but I’m not quite as enchanted with it than I was before. I can definitely see myself looking for blends like this in the future, but I the indistinct sweet-tart candy fruity flavor in this one is throwing me off a bit. Still, it’s an enjoyable cup this morning.

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

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66

This is truly one of the last tea samples I’ve gotten recently that I haven’t tried yet. Guess I’m going to have to go back to drinking all the teas I actually have, oh the horror! But seriously it will be good to go back to some of my favorites again.

The dry leaf of this tea smells a bit fruity, and definitely like green tea, but it also has some unexpected minty notes. Brewed, however, those minty notes disappear (thankfully), and it’s a much more straight up green tea with fruit in aroma. The fruit smells not like pear or apple individually, but some kind of hybrid pear-y apple-y fruit. Like, it’s not berry, and it’s not citrus, and it’s not tropical, so what’s left? Apple-pear.

The taste is much the same. It’s pretty light; a bit of green tea and a bit of fruit, but not much. I really prefer my tea to be more flavorful than this, so perhaps I will up the leaf or steep time next cup to see if I can improve it. Otherwise it’s pleasant enough, but not very satisfying.

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

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20
drank Lavender Earl Grey by Tea District
2036 tasting notes

The handle of the steeping basket of my Kati cup just broke off! Boo! Getting that thing out of the cup now requires a knife and hot fingers. :P

I really loved the sample I got of this tea before; the lavender and the Earl Grey were in a good balance, and the addition of the jasmine really rounded the whole thing out. I ran out a while ago but it was always on my list, so I ordered 2oz of it with my last Tea District order.

Upon opening the package I was a little concerned. This didn’t really smell like the tea I had before! The dry leaf smells very very lavendery, in a very herbaceous way, but there’s also a lot of other things going on in there that I can’t quite place (but don’t really smell like just bergamot and jasmine!). The brewed tea is similar: lavender, yes, but also almost spicy?

Um, what?? This is horrible!! WTF is this?? This is totally not the delicious Lavender EG I had before. It’s bitter and kind of like a spicy lavender, but overall just terrible to me. Like they mixed in a chai base instead of an Earl Grey. There is no hint of bergamot whatsoever. What on earth happened?!

ETA: I have sent this package of Lavender Earl Grey back to Tea District for replacement by another tea. They claim that there could be no error as far as the blend goes, so I’m going to have to remove my previously high rating of this tea.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Dinosara

Contacted Tea District about this. They claim it couldn’t be an error, but all the same they have a guarantee and they said they would take the tea back and send me a different tea if I wanted. Guess I’ll be getting 2oz of the Magnolia Oolong instead!

LongLiveEarlGrey

I wholeheartedly agree with your penultimate paragraph. This tea was dreadful. It tasted more like licorice than bergamot or lavender. I could hardly get it down. I knew something was wrong when I took a whiff of the dry leaf. I’ll have to take them up on their guarantee because this most definitely was not a pleasure to drink. Thumbs down on this one.

Dinosara

I was so disappointed because the sample I got of this tea was delicious. I don’t know what happened! But yes, this was horrible in the current blend. They are good about their return policy, although I don’t know how they can claim there is nothing wrong with this blend.

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74
drank Orchid Oolong by Tea Lux
2036 tasting notes

Ahh, floral oolongs: my latest obsession. I’ve always loved jasmine teas, and then I discovered rose-scented teas, but my world opened up when I discovered that other flowers can also be used to scent teas, and that high quality oolongs can be incredibly floral on their own, and the combination of the two is often spectacular. This is another courtesy of the lovely QuiltGuppy!

The dry leaves smell slightly floral, but it seems like it’s a very different floral than the brewed aroma. I think I’m getting mostly the oolong itself: vegetal but darker and richer than a green.

It’s definitely a very floral tea, but it’s not overpowering (for me at least). In the aroma of the steeped tea you still get the green, vegetal notes of the oolong base, which also come through in the flavor. The orchid flavor reminds me of the magnolia oolong I had recently, and thus reminds me a bit of jasmine as well. This tea isn’t one of those florals that is so floral that it’s sweet; that’s tempered a quite a bit by the oolong notes. I think the two play off each other well, delivering a floral tea that isn’t too overpowering. Overall I’m really enjoying this tea; thanks for another awesome experience, QG!

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

i love this tea…the Republic of Tea also produces a limited number of loose leaf tins of tea a year and it is amazing

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76
drank China Rose Tea OP by ESP Emporium
2036 tasting notes

Iced/cold-steeped rose black tea is awesome. This one in particular. That’s all. :D

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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76
drank Earl Grey Reserve by Tavalon Tea
2036 tasting notes

I like going back to teas from the beginning of my tea journey and tasting them now. This tea is really so uncomplex, and so good because of it. The dry leaf just smells like bergamot, that’s it! And brewed it’s just a nice, well-blended mix of the bright, citrusy bergamot and the smooth ceylon. Is it my favorite tea? Well I’m really getting into the more complex blends, so no. But whenever I want to go back to a nice, classic EG, it’s nice to have this one in my cupboard to turn to.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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35

This is the other oolong from my Tea District order. I think I chose it before I realized how much stuff it really has in it; it’s not just plum and oolong, but all kinds of other things including some crazy berries I’ve never heard of, hibiscus, rosehips, black tea(!) and osthmanthus flowers. It’s a dark oolong, and the leaves are long-ish and twisted, but not super long. I can see the smaller pieces of black tea fairly easily in the steeped leaves. The dry tea smells fruity and berry-ish, but with some other hard-to-place aroma; it’s almost medicinal, like berry tums? Which doesn’t sound very pleasant, I admit.

When steeped, the color of the liquor is a medium reddish-amber, and it smells a bit like pot smoke. Seriously. I wasn’t really expecting to feel like I’m at a rock concert in the city when smelling this tea. I’m not a fan of the aroma of weed, so it really doesn’t make me want to try it. I doesn’t taste like it smells, which is probably one of my first experiences with that; often people talk about pu-erhs smelling awful and tasting fine, and I wondered how it could be, but here’s an example (though not a pu-erh). I wouldn’t say this tastes quite “fine” though; the pot aroma does leak into the taste, which otherwise is very, very tart (hibiscus-y) and somewhat plummy, with a bit of a smoky aftertaste. I even like hibiscus but I don’t see why its necessary in this tea. Maybe if you didn’t mind the smell this tea could be enjoyable. Overall, I feel like why would you take an osthmanthus oolong (ostenstibly), then throw all this stuff on top of it? A couple of plums, maybe, would be fun, but it all seems extraneous.

A tl;dr side note: Tea District says this is their own blend (which is what they say with all of their teas), and they really go out of their way to mention it in the description of this tea. They make it seem like the blend was completely designed in house by their tea blender. However, this tea minus the black tea is identical to teas of the same name from Rishi and Arbor Teas, and similar to others with less complete descriptions. I mean, how many people could really think, “I know, this plum tea needs schizandra berries!”?? I could believe they sell the blend wholesale to other companies (though it’s not exactly their blend that appears elsewhere) but not to a huge company like Rishi. And I really doubt the small amount of black tea does much for this blend.

I understand that every tea company has to make teas seem like their own if they want people to order from them and not just some other company that offers the same tea, but I don’t like it, I feel like I’m being deceived. If you didn’t blend that tea, tell me who did. It’s up to you to distinguish yourself by your customer service, your packaging, other offerings, whatever. I’ll still order from Tea District because their Lavender Earl Grey does seem to be unique and I love it, and I’ve had good experiences with their teas and the company otherwise, plus they constantly offer groupons. Maybe I’m being unreasonable, but I like to know where my tea actually came from!

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

I’ve noticed that once before about plum teas smelling weedy! but I thought I was just imagining it… or had a bad batch

Dinosara

I’m glad I’m not the only one! I guess plum teas probably aren’t for me. :P

Indigobloom

high five! we’re just evolved tea tasters. ha!!

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70

Cold brew of the day, and delicious. I previously speculated that this would be good iced, and it definitely is. I think the hunks of dried apple in the tea totally make it. Incredibly appley in a fresh way, and with just a hint of natural sweetness. I had a bottled apple black tea a while ago that was way oversweetened, and this tea is what I wished that tea had been. I will definitely be cold brewing this one again!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
aisling of tea

Darn it, I want to trade my apple tea experience today with yours! Jealous!

Dinosara

Boo, sorry to hear about your apple experience!

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75
drank Dan Cong by thepuriTea
2036 tasting notes

I usually don’t go for an oolong in the morning, but I wanted one anyway. This is another one of my samples from QuiltGuppy, thanks! The dry leaf smells a little bit vegetal, and a little bit floral. Unlike the other oolongs I’ve had recently this is a dark oolong and the leaves are long, spindly and twisted. This made it difficult to portion out into my cup, so I don’t know if I quite got the right amount of leaf; I think perhaps I should have added more. I brewed it “traditional” style using the instructions they gave on their website for that method, as opposed to gong-fu style.

Brewed, the liquor is a medium dark yellow and it smells quite floral with a hint of fruit. There’s also that deeper “oolongy” aroma there too, but I can’t quite pick out some of the darker more complex notes they mention. Despite the fact I think I didn’t add enough leaf, I am very much enjoying this cup. It’s sweet and floral and all around delicious. I’m glad I have enough leaf to brew some more cups and do a better tasting note. Thanks again QuiltGuppy for another fantastic tea!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 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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