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9 Tasting Notes

85

The dry leaves smell intensely of bananas. I do detect the pink peppercorns as well, and somewhere in there is dark chocolate, but primarily I smell bananas.

Without sweetener, this tea tastes very mild to me – but don’t think that’s a critique, because I have such a sweet tooth that most things taste mild to me without sugar. This one tastes a little woody (the rooibos, I think), a little floral, and pleasantly spicy. It isn’t bad, but I rather think a dessert tea should be sweet.

With sugar, this chocolate monkey is a whole other animal. (I apologize.) The banana becomes rich, ripe, and rather in my face. This was initially a disappointment, since I bought the tea hoping for more chocolate, but after the first wave of banana, I do taste a light fruity chocolate flavor that my brain wants to call “Tainori” after a similar-tasting Valrhona chocolate bar. (If you’ve ever had snobby chocolate, you will know that certain types have many notes of yellow fruits. This tea tastes more or less like that sort of chocolate.) After the chocolate is a bit of spice that sits at the back of my throat.

Overall, I would identify this more as a banana tea than a chocolate tea, but it’s a complex banana with strong chocolate notes. I’m not disappointed anymore; my search for the perfect chocolate tea must continue, but this one is actually rather delicious, albeit not what I thought I was ordering.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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95

Art of Tea lists this as one of their most popular teas; I believe them. From the scent of the dry leaves to the taste of the brewed tea, this is absolutely, unambiguously, deliciously candied pear. I steeped 1.5 teaspoons in about 8 oz of boiling water for ten minutes, then added a bit of my favorite sweetener.

The resulting brew smells strongly of a ripe Bartlett pear (or even like the taste of a Juicy Pear jelly bean, or at least what I remember a Juicy Pear jelly bean tastes like), with perhaps a hint of tart apple lingering beneath. On sipping the tea, I first taste rich, golden caramel, then sweet juicy pear, and then the two mingle. I get no other notes, so this isn’t exactly the most complex tea around, but it’s seriously tasty to a pear-lover such as myself.

I got this tea in a sampler, but I will definitely by more when I run out.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 8 min or more

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89

I’ve only had a handful of unflavored whites, so I can’t really say how this compares to other bai mu dan teas, but I like it quite a bit. It’s my evening tea; enough caffeine to satisfy the addiction, but not enough to keep me awake half the night. In the cup, it has a delicate floral scent, perhaps a little powdery; the sip tastes every bit as delicate, but adds a grassy note. Its warm, smooth, and a pleasant end to my day.

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93

Received this one as a gift from my mother (although I may have prompted her, a little). Very pleasant way to end my day. Peppermint is the strongest taste I notice, but there is also a certain creaminess that I think is vanilla, and the warmth of cinammon near the end. The green tea adds a nice grassy/woodsy flavor and complements the spices nicely.

I do wish that there were a caffeinated version, though, if only because decaff teas creep me out a little bit.

I will definitely rebuy this.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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82

Pretty nice oolong tea. Not much to say about it, I guess. I’ve had better, but I’ve definitely had worse. Maybe a tiny bit astringent for my taste – leaves my mouth dry after I’ve finished drinking it.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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83

Update: Increased steep time to ten minutes. Still think that I should have used more tea in the first place, but the raspberry is now apparent in both the scent and the taste. Delicious. A wonderful blend of raspberry, citrus, and woody flavors.

Hmm. This is the first cup of Raspberry Nectar I’ve thus far tried; I think I should have steeped it longer.

The scent in the bag is lemongrass, full stop. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but neither is it raspberry; when dry, the raspberry is more a suggestion than an actual component of the scent.

Brewed cup also smells strongly of lemongrass, but this time the honeybush is more detectable. Unsweetened blend tastes bright and citrusy, with a definite (but not overpowering, luckily) base of rooibos, and a bit of raspberry floating around in there somewhere. Sweetening brings out the raspberry and honeybush, and complicates the flavors nicely.

I am allowing the tea in the kettle to steep a little longer, now. I expect that the raspberry flavors will come through more clearly if the tea is a little stronger. (I also should have used more tea, most likely.)

All in all, very tasty, if a bit mild. The lemongrass is fantastic, and the rooibos is almost enjoyable. It certainly isn’t obnoxious.

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 15 sec

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37
drank Earl Grey by Tazo
9 tasting notes

I haven’t actually had many Earl Grey blends – only two, I think – so I may not be the greatest critic. Maybe I just don’t like the blend.

This tea is oily; I don’t know how else to describe it. The bergamot flavor is definitely present; it’s a little aggressive, even, when I sniff the dry bag. All I can smell is bergamot, with the intensity of one of those body sprays marketed at preteens. I think that the oiliness and the overpowering scent might both stem from an overabundance of oil added to the leaves? (Once again, I confess that I have little experience with Earl Grey.)

I don’t like this one. I tried a bag from the dining hall at my school, but I won’t be taking another. Each sip leaves me feeling as though grease is coating my mouth and throat, and that’s just unpleasant.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 30 sec

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65

Received this as a gift from my mother, along with another bagged tea from the Holiday range.

The scent is definitely artificial – this is more apparent in the dry leaf than the actual brew – but not altogether unpleasant. I can recognize it as gingerbread, at any rate, but it doesn’t bring back any warm, fuzzy memories of freshly-baked cookies.

I overbrewed this once; it became almost nauseatinly strong, and the fakeness took over any flavor I might have found. Brewed properly (seven to ten minutes; as long as you don’t leave it alone for twenty, like I did, the tea seems fairly forgiving), the tea tastes mostly of ginger. Warm, not unpleasant. Tastes more like gingerbread when sweetened, but I’ve been drinking it without sugar.

All in all, this isn’t an awful tea. I wouldn’t suggest buying it – I certainly won’t be repurchasing – but I don’t regret having it, and I will finish my box. Average, I guess, and on par with what I would expect from novelty tea.

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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82

(First review. Please bear with me.)

Received this tea as present from my mom. I tend to brew it using two teabags in about two liters of boiling water, for around seven minutes. This process was reached by no scientific process, but suits my taste well enough.

The tea smells a teensy bit artificial (the dry leaf moreso), but very similar to the German Roasted Almonds that used to be sold in the mall by my home; vanilla and cinammon over a toasty nut base. The black tea isn’t terribly apparent in the scent, but is the main flavor I taste when drinking. When sweetened, the vanilla becomes more apparent, but unsweetened, I taste mainly black tea and cinammon. Maybe almonds, but maybe I imagine that. The taste is pleasant; the scent is delicious.

I like brewing this one first thing in the morning, because it makes my room smell fantastic. It’s a nice, easy way to wake up. I prefer it unsweetened and without milk.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 45 sec

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