589 Tasting Notes

Sipdown (90)! I threw one of these into my Butiki order way back when they first announced they were closing for good :‘( This was my first experience with a flowering tea, so it was pretty exciting watching it unfurl and move around in my clear teapot. In my excitement over finally getting around to steeping a flowering tea, I didn’t realize that this was a green tea. I’m not a huge fan of Chinese green teas, so I’m not going to leave a rating for this one. I will say that it smelled very sharp and this translated to some bitterness in the tea. There were probably some other floral flavors in there somewhere, but I just couldn’t get over that sharpness of the green tea base. No regrets, though, because it was definitely a cool experience.

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78
drank Afternoon by Fortnum & Mason
589 tasting notes

Well, I had a bit of a failed experiment today, but that’s okay. I cold brewed this one overnight in the fridge with about 1 tbsp of tea in my water bottle. When I got to work this morning, I realized that it was quite bitter and somehow not very bold/malty at the same time. I tried to salvage the situation by dumping it into a cup with ice and a couple pumps of Torani blackberry syrup that they have at work. It does taste a bit nicer, but still bitter and a little empty. I would probably add sugar or agave or something at this point, but I don’t have any handy. I’ll drink the rest of it since I have it, but I am probably not gonna try another cold brew with this particular tea. Moving on!

Edit: I only initially poured half my bottle into the ice & blackberry syrup. So with the other half, I poured it over ice and peach syrup. It is much better this way. I think that maybe the peach syrup just has a sweeter flavor than the blackberry, so it helps fill the emptiness that I experienced with the tea by itself and masks the bitterness. Not bad.

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98
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
589 tasting notes

Well, I did something quite different today at work for tea. As I mentioned in a previous tasting note, this latest batch of LB that I got in January is not hitting the spot for me as did previous batches of LB. So this afternoon, when I was resteeping, I noticed that our office has a bunch of those Torani flavored syrup things. I usually don’t add anything to my tea, but I thought I’d mix it up a little. So I plopped some ice cubes into the tea to cool it to an iced tea and added a couple pumps of peach syrup. I think I like it? It reminds me a bit of Snapple’s peach iced tea, except much less sweet (which is good). I will probably try it again with different flavors/amounts of the syrups. Next time, I will probably also steep a stronger cup of tea to offset the ice added to cool it down. Depending on how this goes, this could be my summer work drink staple!

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73
drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
589 tasting notes

I had a little sample of this one lying around. I think it may have been from the first round of the T&C TTB, so I’ve had it for a while. Even though I usually prefer unflavored teas, I’ve been having straight blacks and oolongs at work daily for a while now, so it was time for a little change. I thought that the vanilla flavor was nice, and not too overpowering or reminiscent of pure vanilla extract. However, the base tea seemed really weak. I don’t know if it is because it is a decaf tea or just because the base tea is otherwise weak. I expect a black base to be bolder and complement the flavor of vanilla. Anyway, I only have about 1 tsp left, so perhaps next time I’ll try blending it with another strong black base as a non-decaf cuppa.

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98
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
589 tasting notes

I finally broke open the new batch of LB I bought back in January. It was perfect timing to order because I had just run out of my old LB. Unfortunately, I’m a bit disappointed by this batch. I actually steeped tea from this batch on a few different days to make sure that it wasn’t by error with either temperature or amount of leaf. I have come to the sad conclusion that this batch is a much weaker version of what I had before. All the yummy flavors of chocolate and baked bread and such are still there, but much more muted. I used to steep the same leaves at least 3 times before giving up on the flavor, but I can barely even resteep it once with these leaves. Sadness!

I’ll probably keep my rating the same for now because I know that this tea can be perfectly awesome at its best. I may even pre-order the Spring LB when it becomes available to see if it improves. I’m not giving up yet!

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95
drank Heaven's Trash by Butiki Teas
589 tasting notes

Sipdown (91)! This is a sad sipdown for me. I only had a few teaspoons left of this, so I brought it to work to be sipped down (my first work sipdown!). Anyway, I realized that this tea isn’t quite suited for my office where I frequently forget about my tea steeping away forever. The first steep was perfectly malty and complex, but I left it steeping for something like 10 minutes on the second round. Unfortunately, there was some resulting bitterness that wasn’t so pleasant. It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t finish the mug, but it was not a nice way to say goodbye to this tea, either. I’ll miss this one!

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93

I haven’t really been posting tasting notes because I’ve been rotating through the same teas at work, including this one. I just wanted to add this because the other day, I accidentally left the tea leaves steeping for over 10 minutes while I was working on something. At first, I was horrified, but when I actually tasted the tea, there was not bitterness at all! That was a wonderful surprise. The tea was much stronger than I am used to, but that wasn’t enough to keep me from finishing the mug. I also noticed that it brought out a smokiness that I usually don’t really taste all that much. Loving this tea, running out too fast!

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98

I should really resist opening up my new teas from my Verdant order until I sip down more of the ones that I already have open in my cupboard… But I have no self control, apparently. I just couldn’t resist opening this one up for work because I was really craving a chocolate-y tea. This tea definitely delivered that and more. I will say that this batch of LB Genmaicha seems to be a tad weaker than the one I finished off from about a year and a half ago. It may be because I just steeped it differently this time around or something, but I’ll have to keep my eye out for it in future steepings. (Not that it will really diminish my love for this tea anyway).

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75
drank China Green Tips by Tazo
589 tasting notes

This is my second office teabag tea of the day. I let the water cool for about 5 minutes before putting the tea bag in to avoid bitterness from scalded tea. It worked for the most part. The tea was a little bitter, but it mostly came out as the tea was cooling and was barely noticeable while the tea was still hot. I don’t really drink many Chinese green teas anymore because I prefer Japanese greens in general. However, this tea surprsingly reminded me of sencha more than it did of other Chinese green teas. It’s puzzling because the name of the tea acutally has “China” in it… It was less sharp and grassy than a lot of other Chinese greens I’ve had. It was more of a grassy/vegetal mix with perhaps even a bit of umami in there as well.

Maybe I’m not the best at explaining it eloquently, but as a mostly Japanese green, loose leaf tea drinker, I found this to be actually not too bad.

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65
drank Awake English Breakfast by Tazo
589 tasting notes

Well, I was thrown off my Daylight Savings more than usual. As a result, I rushed out of the house without my mug and other tea things that I brought home for the weekend. So I had to make do with teabags and paper cups at work. I don’t think that this tea is necessarily that terrible, but the paper cup really makes it taste like malty paper. I guess the upside is that the tea is not bitter at all! I wouldn’t buy these teabags for myself, but it was a nice quick fix at work this morning.

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Bio

I’m a California girl temporarily located in Boston for school (brrr). I only recently got into teas because I’ve never really liked coffee (too bitter), but I have been a daily barley tea drinker since I was little.

Through some timid tastings and exploring, I so far like:
-Japanese green teas (genmaicha, hojicha, sencha, etc)
-Oolongs! (Most kinds except formosa and dan cong so far)
-Straight black teas
-English Breakfast teas
-Fruity teas (peach, apple, strawberry, other berries)

NOT a huge fan of rooibos, matcha, heavily artificial tasting teas, or anything gingery or peppery, but I’m trying to keep an open mind and taste everything that I can!

I’m trying to sample more straight teas and have been having pretty awesome discoveries so far. Thank goodness for sample sizes!

My tentative rating system:
90-100: Woohoo! I’m loving it, and I’m definitely restocking when I get the chance and/or crying when I’m out.

80-90: Yum! I’ll try to restock if it fits in my budget when I run out.

70-80: Probably would not buy again, but it was nice enough to finish the cup.

50-70: Would not choose this tea for myself if given the situation, but would not reject it if someone offered it to me and would gulp down politely.

50 or less: Nope. Don’t care to taste that tea again, sorry!

I’m always down to swap, so send me a message if anything in my cupboard is calling your name!

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