1989 Tasting Notes

90

I was going to have another one of the sachets I picked up, but then I decided I didn’t want to be disappointed again and that wanted a tea that I knew I loved. The Jasmine Pearls called out to me, and it’s like I forgot how amazing they are. This cup is so incredibly sweet (without anything added of course), it’s like drinking a cup of warm honeysuckle honey. I think I’ve died and gone to heaven.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec
KeenTeaThyme

This is one of my favorite teas of all-time. Seems like no matter who makes it, it’s good!

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58

I didn’t have super high hopes for this one based on my last tea by this company, but I can’t help but try all the new teas I get right after I get them, so I chose this sachet anyway.

Dry it smelled primarily like herby lavender with a bit of bergamot and something else; an almost peppery note that I’m not sure is coming from the lavender or the tea. Brewed it smells heavily of lavender, and the taste is primarily lavender with a hint of slightly astringent bergamot at the end of the sip. It’s a fine enough tea, and certainly better than the one I had yesterday, but it’s not Earl Grey-y enough for me, and the bergamot that is there just adds astringency and combines with the herby lavender in a not-great way in the aftertaste. My rating on this one started out higher but I kept dropping it as I progressed through the cup.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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51

I’ve discovered that Pilot truck stops are one of the few gas stations (the only one I’ve found, really) to offer non-Lipton tea bags. When I’m on the road I sometimes want a little caffeine boost from a tea, and while I’m not expecting much, it’s pleasant to find pyramid sachets of tea. They actually have a variety of sachets, and I picked up a handful of them on my recent road trip, not for drinking on the road but for trying out later (who has the control over steeping parameters to brew a white tea on the road?). Who knows how old these are, since I don’t know what kind of tea turnover a truck stop in western Maryland has, but I thought I’d give it a go.

Anyway, this was one I grabbed because, orange chocolate, right? I love those flavors together. Dry, the sachet smells like green tea and ginger with a hint of orange, and those flavors pretty much bear out in the brewed tea. I brewed it for a bit longer than it said on the packet because of suggestions on Steepster, but still it’s primarily a very light green tea with some ginger notes (not very strong, but there). As it cools I get maybe a little orange, but no chocolate. Oh well. Disappointing, but then again, I bought it at a truck stop!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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76

I picked up this tea up at the Cleveland Botanical Garden when I was there last week; the leaves they had out smelled pretty good, and though I rarely buy a full pouch of tea without sampling it first these days, I decided to get this one. This company doesn’t have any teas on Steepster (other than this one now), but they seem pretty cool because most of their teas are organic and fair trade. This tea doesn’t appear on the company’s website, and it has a specific “Cleveland Botanical Garden” label, which makes me think that this one is probably produced specifically for them (the company is based in Ohio).

Anyway, on to the tea. The smell of the dry leaf is very powerful, and hard to place. A hint of vanilla, some general floral, and maybe some fruity sweetness? The leaves are decently sized for a flavored tea, and there are tons of flowerpetals in the blend. I brewed it for my standard new-tea time, and it came out pretty dark. Brewed, the aroma mellows out into a pleasant black tea with very distinct vanilla notes with perhaps some florals underneath. The taste is a twinge bitter (will probably brew at less than boiling next time), but otherwise very pleasant. A fairly bold black tea with some honeyed notes, and overall a lovely vanilla that is almost a floral vanilla, if that makes sense, and less of a creamy vanilla. Given that this is a “vanilla orchid” tea, I suppose that’s the point. The rose is definitely there adding to the floral flavor and aroma.

Overall a really nice tea, and I’m glad I picked it up. Appropriate for a botanical garden, too!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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78
drank Sapphire Earl Grey by Novus Tea
1989 tasting notes

I had this tea last night at a fancy restaurant. I was impressed at how delicious it was, so I knew I had to do a tasting note even if my tasting conditions were less than ideal. This is all from memory, and about halfway through my cup a dessert of smoked almond ice cream came and made some sips taste like a lapsang souchong. But still! Very tasty tea.

I’ve never had a tea with malva flowers in it before, but from what I can tell from some online research, they’re more for visual and textural effects than for taste. This tea came in a pyramid sachet, and dried it smelled like bergamot with a distinct sweetness. The aroma of the brewed tea and the taste matched the dried smell pretty perfectly. For a while I was having a time trying to identify what about this tea was making it so delicious; there was no bitterness, the black tea base was very smooth, and there was that sense of sweetness to the tea. The ingredients on the package list only black tea, malva flowers and bergamot, so I was surprised when I finally realized that I was getting fairly strong vanilla cream notes from it, like a really nice Earl Grey cream. I might have to grab a box of this one because I really did enjoy it immensely.

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

Smoked almond ice cream!!!! That sounds so good!

Dinosara

Yeah, it was really good and really kinda weird at the same time!

Paul M Tracy

This seems like a great find. I really enjoy when people review teas that aren’t run-of-the-mill.

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55
drank Constant Comment by Bigelow
1989 tasting notes

I’m traveling this week, so I haven’t had access to all my teas (hence the lack of tasting notes). This is one of the only teas my mom had in her cupboard, so I had a bag this morning with breakfast. I’m sure I’ve had Constant Comment before, but it’s been quite a while I didn’t really remember it. It reminds me of a holiday tea, with it’s orange rinds and spices.

I like the aroma a lot, clove and cinnamon and a bit of orange, but I feel like the taste falls a little flat. I didn’t get any bitterness, but I didn’t get a lot of distinctive flavor either; it was all in the aroma. A decent tea, but probably not one I’ll go out of my way to stock!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
KeenTeaThyme

I wish this was available as a loose tea. It was my go-to tea growing up, but I do wish it was stronger.

Bigelow Tea

Dinosara, we’re sorry to hear our Constant Comment wasn’t your cup of tea….if you’d ever like to try another flavor to sample, please give us a call to request and we’d be happy to send a sample or two….we do appreciate your comments. @KennTeaThyme, we do offer the Constant Comment as loose tea, you can buy from us directly at :

http://www.bigelowtea.com/Catalog/Product/36/4/62/Constant+Comment++Loose+Tea.aspx

Kathy for Bigelow Tea

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82
drank Rose Oolong by Tea Licious
1989 tasting notes

When I took a deep whiff of the dried leaves in the sample pouch today I again got a lot of lemongrass aroma, but also a definite note of rose!

Brewed, however, the flavor profile is pretty different from before. This cup was much less lemony today. It was just about like drinking a nice, leafy green oolong with a hint of lemon. Still no rose, unfortunately, but my first steep seems like a later steep where more of the flavor has already been steeped out. Weird.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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73
drank 1001 Nights by TeaFrog
1989 tasting notes

Getting to the bottom of my sampler on this one, and my cup this time included a ton of powdered tea leaves and flowers. Quite a bit made it through my infusion basket, and the tea definitely seemed stronger after 3 min than before, so the flavors are strong to the point of being a little bitter. Nevertheless, I like this blend and I think I’d want to keep it or something like it in my cupboard!

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

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99

I was thinking about London this morning (I’ll be there in just over two weeks!), so I decided a cup of Tower of London was appropriate. I remember when I first brought a tagalong tin of this back from the Tower of London a few years ago; when I had the tea at home and realized how delicious it was, I was worried I would only be able to get it at the Tower! I was relieved when I found out it’s actually not only available in the states but made my an American tea company. And thus my love of Harney & Sons was born!

And still, this tea remains at the top of my list. Fruity, a bit of sweet honey, with caramel notes. Today I steeped a smidge longer than I usually do, and I’m getting more cocoa-malty notes from the black tea base. Awesome!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec
The Purrfect Cup

Lucky I would love to go back to London! Went on a school trip well over 12 years ago….I wanted to stay!

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76
drank Earl Grey Reserve by Tavalon Tea
1989 tasting notes

I opened my container of this tea today and it looked like I had never taken anything out of it before. Magically regenerating tea!

I still want to do a side-by-side taste test with my traditional EGs, but I have a feeling this one would be near the top. Whenever I have it I really enjoy the cup, with it’s bright bergamot over the warm Ceylon base.

Preparation
Boiling 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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