32 Tasting Notes

9

THE RUNDOWN
1) Before Tasting: I’m pretty sure I’ve tried this before, but never reviewed here. All in all I’m working through my herbal bags because I want an excuse to go buy something at David’s or Teavana in the Herbal section, so this is the third herbal I’m reviewing this week. I’m getting a stronger Spearmint scent here than anything else, but I don’t think this tea is made with any quality in mind – even Tazo’s Earl Grey is pretty overpowering in the “scent instead of flavor” department. Peppermint is there too, but pretty faint.
2) First Try: And there’s how you know it’s all scent no flavor – the first taste is overpoweringly peppermint! I still don’t get how they accomplish this, but maybe they consider like this: “part of taste is smell, so if we counter the powerful spearmint aroma with a power peppermint taste, they’ll never know how terrible this is!” Yeah.
3) Second Sip: I should mention the mouthfeel is pretty lacking too. Another powerful punch of peppermint, mixed with, yes, my favorite and yours, dustiness. I can’t tell you this enough: dust is ONLY a flavor I taste when drinking filter bag tea. And folks wonder why I’m a whole leaf girl.
4) Afterthought: So, I take it back, there is a mouthfeel, but it’s the dusty flavor. I can’t imagine this would even make a decent blend with something else. Yeah, I do not recommend it and I do not think I would try it again. By the way, if there’s any licorice-flavored tarragon in this bag, I never tasted or smelled it. And I would know licorice, believe me.

Flavors: Dust, Peppermint, Spearmint

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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24
drank Peppermint Leaves by Tealeaves
32 tasting notes

THE RUNDOWN
1) Before: Another tea from Tealeaves, hoping it will be as good as the Chamomile I tried last night. Not an overpowering peppermint aroma, so it’s not intensely packed with peppermint oil. The color of the leaves could be confused for green tea, but this is definitely an herbal infusion. Brews pretty dark after recommended brew time of 5 minutes at 212 degrees. I’m also getting subtle hints of menthol and eucalyptus.
2) First Taste: Nice mouthfeel right off the bat, and a cooling aftertaste. It’s a bit menthol-y if I’m going to be fair. Again, much like the chamomile I’m going to wager this is a decent standalone, but might serve better as a blender teabag.
3) Second Sip: I got a bit more peppermint on this sip, but again, it’s a bit subtle and might not be as powerful as their loose equivalent (different blend number but probably the same plant/herbal ingredient). I’m wondering why they make their herbal infusion so weak— maybe it’s a selling point on value? Who knows.
4) After: Would probably trying again, but only to blend with a spearmint or something in the gunpowder green family. But if we’re being honest, this doesn’t bear as much praise as their bagged chamomile. That could stand alone and this…just disappoints.

Flavors: Eucalyptus, Menthol, Peppermint

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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61
drank Chamomile Flowers by Tealeaves
32 tasting notes

THE RUNDOWN
1) Before: This is a teabag (which they call a sachet, but it’s not). The tea is also available in loose leaf/herbs/flowers whatever you call it. Obviously the company describes this as having apple notes (and you can always tell what the company wants to give you so all you smell is what they mentioned) but apple is literally the only pre-taste aroma I get. It’s almost not floral at all, but it’s insanely apple. Almost like a mulled cider.
2) First: Okay, I get a little bit more floral with the taste, but still strong apple flavour. I’m surprised they don’t have some sort of apple ingredient. Maybe the Egyptian chamomile is from and area where apples grow? Unlikely, but it’s such immense apple it’s almost un-chamomiley (read: not a word).
3) Second: I get a little bit more of my stevia that time, which admittedly is my own fault for tweaking without tasting additive-free. But I taste the chamomile more also, so perhaps it’s not a strong floral flavour in Egyptian chamomile. Still pretty tasty, but you obviously have to like apple.
4) After: I’d recommend this to anyone who is looking to blend with other floral-turned-fruity tastes, like maybe a honey-infused or a baked good of some type. I’d even recommend it by itself, but as above I would make sure to disclose the strong aple notes first. Not bad and I wonder if it’s more floral as a loose herbal as opposed to a tea bag. Warrants a trial in future perhaps.

Flavors: Apple, Flowers, Fruity

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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4

THE RUNDOWN
1) Initial Impressions: Full red color and aromatic bush taste make this something I a excited to try. I like Twinings because their Earl Grey is among the few bagged version I don’t hate.
2) First Taste: There’s a bit of saltiness I get first. And earthiness. Not at all what I was expecting.
3) Second Sip: I don’t know if it’s actually salt water in the brewing process or just crappy bags? This is not good. Like…it’s bothering me how much it’s not good.
4) Final Thoughts: This might smell similar to rooibos, but it in No way tastes like it. It’s damn near awful. I doubt it is a dud bag too. Bummer.

Flavors: Dirt, Salt

Preparation
1 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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55

THE RUNDOWN
1) Pre-Taste: I love chai that doesn’t have a too-powerful clove smell. There should be more chai then clove. I also like the bright red color, and that’s after 3.5 minutes of steepage. This was a sample taken from a hotel ages ago, so hopefully it hasn’t gone stale.
2) First Taste: I sense all of the seeds and fruits: cardamom, star anise, and the bush rooibos. I also get that earthiness of clay – like red mud. Dirt but clean dirt if that makes sense. I always tend to add ‘dirt’ to reviews of bagged teas. Not surprising.
3) Second Sip: Oddly, I taste more of the black pepper and clove this time around. Odd, but in this caffeine-free blend I’m not missing the actually tea leaves. I thought I would, but it’s nothing I’m really sensing is lacking.
4) Final Thought: There’s definitely something good int he tea, maybe the sweetness. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be top among my list of recommendations of rooibos chai. Stick with loose for fuller flavor and less confusion in the recipe.

Flavors: Anise, Black Pepper, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Clay, Clove, Dirt, Ginger, Herbs, Pumpkin, Spices

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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59

THE RUNDOWN
1) Pre-Taste: Ooh so dark at only 3 minutes of brewing. Intense scent, too. Earthy, with a hint of mud. I like that in my pu-erh.
2) First Sip: Delicate and yet so dark. That’s unusual for pu-erh, especially since it was so fragrant post-brew.
3) Second Sip: Much fuller mouth feel and flavor in the second taste. Definitely taste the earthiness more. I wish I had better descriptive words for earthiness. Like its not a forest earthy but a plantation earthy. Maybe a hill or mountaintop?
4) Final Thought: Definitely a richer soil flavor than other bagged pu-erh teas. The final sips made me think of potting soil a bit too. If you like earthy and want the convenience of a bag instead of loose leaf, you may want to try this tea.

Flavors: Dirt, Earth, Wet Earth

Preparation
Boiling 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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83

THE RUNDOWN
Not going to do a full rundown because I’ve had this tea before. I just uncovered I still had some in a mason jar in a box full of mugs I’ve ignored for about 2.5 years. Still good, obviously: mason jar.
1) First Taste: I love the smokiness the pinewood adds, but it’s not overbearing (probably because this isn’t the heavy-smoke variety). I get a nice acidity too, but that may be because I brewed dark (5+ min).
2) Long Story Short: If you have never tried a Lapsang, this might be a go to – plus it’s available online if you’re not in the tri-state. They ship ANYWHERE. Maybe I’ll try the full-smoke someday, but for now, this my go-to loose leaf China black tea for any time.

Flavors: Pine, Smoked, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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67

The Rundown
1) Trying this at a friend’s house. Only sweetening with an expired agave but who really cares. It is sweet smelling already so not too much agave. Long thin leaves so use a sachet instead of an infuser IMHO.
2) First taste: very earthy and extremely mild. I don’t like my green tea to be too strong. This makes me happy. Definitely a lot of wet earth smells.
3) Second sip: definitely getting a lot more sweetness. Some pine scents and flavors too. I would definitely buy this as a go-to.

Flavors: Forest Floor, Mud, Pine, Wet Earth

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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24

THE RUNDOWN
1) Pre-Sip: The scent of clove is strong, but that’s what you get when whole cloves are infused. I smell a faint cinnamon and cardamon scent as well, but they are overpowered by the intense clove.
2) First Taste: I think I’m tasting green chai, and that’s cool. Never had that before. But again, in such a small amount of tea there were probably 3 or 4 dried cloves. It’s impacting the flavor too much and I’m missing the coconut, the ginger, and the thai chai. Not an unpleasant aftertaste, though I can’t imagine this being a non-winter tea.
3) Second Taste: I got a little ginger that time! This feels like the spices should be spicier though. I wanted to taste this thai chai (I’m begin to love all things Thai so I was excited about that) because of the spice. It’s like a spiced chai, but all spice and very little chai.
4) Final Thought: There’s a lack of sweetness and a overwhelming amount of spice. I wouldn’t recommend this to someone unless they love clove and ginger. But it’s good to try new things.

Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Spices

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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91

THE RUNDOWN
1) Pre-Taste: I remember trying this tea when I initially got the sampler pack and loving it (but not reviewing it here). My tastebuds are a little more in tune now so we’ll see what happens. I’m switching up my swetening profile to one packet of Stevia in the Raw. And I’ve begun infusing as opposed to bagging/sachets.
2) First Taste: Before I taste there’s a big bouquet of caramel, vanilla, and a hint of chocolate. The chai spice is faint but not fake-smelling. I can also tell there’s no sucralose (Splenda) in there, which is pleasing. When I taste, this dark chocolate actually comes through first, which is good since the base is a chocolate chai. A nice aftertaste and mouthfeel and again – I can’t stress this enough – so pleasant to taste more tea and not sucralose.
3) Second Taste: I can taste the cinnamon bark! This is amazing tea. And not too sweet to make it scream “after-dinner” or dessert tea (like most of the chocolate teas I’ve had). There’s a hint of the caramel too, almost like there’s a vanilla-caramel (like Tahitian caramels you might buy at a gourmet candy store). The only thing I don’t get coming though is the ginger. Maybe my sample is a bit ginger-light.
4) Final Thought: So far, this tea and The Heir are the two tins I would buy right now (since I’m reviewing from a sampler stash) and stay stocked on. I’m glad I finally tried them again with a less strong sweetener and a no nonsense brewing system. I’d really like to try all her Wizarding World and Whovian blends to see what I like. I’m excited to try my final sample of the Wizarding sampler soon and I’ll probably get a tin of The Saviour soon.

Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Dark Chocolate, Spices, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Profile

Bio

Travelling the world, one sip at a time.

A guide to my brewing:
At home and on the go, I typically infuse in a DavidsTea Travel Mug (16 oz) or use DavidsTea drawstring filters. I’m hoping to use home infusers and proper teapots soon (especially since I got a new kettle).

A guide to my ratings:
0-19 – Didn’t like the tea/would tell others to avoid.
20-40 – Didn’t like the tea, but would not avoid it.
41-60 – On the fence about the tea. Might try again.
61-70 – Would drink again, but wouldn’t stock it.
71-80 – Will try again and might recommend.
81-90 – A good tea. Would recommend and stock.
91-100 – A favorite/perfect tea. Highly recommend..
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What I’m looking for: advice on infusers, teapots, and recommendations on teas I’ve never tried. Hoping to study new teas to me: whites, floral & food infusions, flowering, cake pu’erh, guayusa, honeybush, yerba maté. Basically not your basic black (my comfort zone).
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About my Cupboard:
I’m using the cupboard to keep note of my current tea stock and add to it accordingly when shopping or tasting. If I added every tea I’ve ever had to my cupboard it wouldn’t be an honest representation of me as a tea drinker.

Location

New York, NY

Website

http://about.me/jennlevine

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