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10 Tasting Notes

87

This is actually from PANERA but it’s not on this site and I didn’t feel like adding it this morning. ;)

Oh goodness I am so glad I found Chai Tea Lattes. This is the first time I’ve had one – and man am I happy. I have been on the brink of starting the coffee habit for almost a year now. I just found my number one defense. I’ve tried little fruity smoothies instead of frappes, I’ve tried hot tea instead of hot coffee… But quite frankly, nothing delivers the KICK coffee does paired with the bold flavor to wake me up in the morning. Until I found this.

I MUST find a way to create a chai tea latte at home. This taste wonderful. It’s bold, it’s creamy, it’s hot, it’s caffeinated. I am so awake right now. It’s even a mood lifter. It reminds me of pumpkin pies. <3 I want to mix chai tea with some kind of pumpkin tea now for the fall. Please, tell me how to make this thing. I do not have a milk steamer at home. Can you make lattes without a steamer? Can you steam milk with out a steamer? So many questions. I must know!

I love chai tea lattes. I am converted.

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88

You know, when I run out of this, I’m going to have to buy more of it. Currently there’s only one tea that I replace regularly (Earl Grey Creme – my morning staple), but I really feel like there will be something significant missing from my tea cabinent and my life if I don’t get me some more Ali Shan from Norbu after this. I’m upping the rating for this reason.

Also, I seem to have developed sixth sense for this tea. I no longer time it. I’ve never gotten a REAL water temp on it. I just kind of wing it each time and it has never failed me. In fact, it gets better every time.

It’s also become my work tea. It is so forgiving and giving at the same time. I can get three, four steeps out of this at work easy. At home I may even stretch it to five. I can use such a small amount of leaves (last night at work I used a teaspoon for an 11 oz mug and did three solid steeps). At work, I add a little cold water from the fountain to the mug, set the basket in and then pour in the hot water from our hot water contraption. It’s so easy. For ever steep I just add a little time.

Can I please tell you… this is the only tea that never gives me that weird choke type feeling at the back of my mouth if it’s been steeped too long/too many times/wrong temp water/etc. I don’t even know what to call that feeling, but I dislike it. This is the only tea I drink (besides southern style sweet) that never does that to me.

This tea is such a winner. I am in love. Don’t tell my boyfriend. He hates this tea enough as it is.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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85

This tea smells wonderful! The little pearls are gorgeous. I had been wanting to get a sample from Harney & Sons or Samovar for a long time, but I wandered into a Teavana on vacation and smelt these little beauties and couldn’t say no.

The flavor is very nice. There’s the jasmine in the forefront. It’s almost too strong, so I’ve been learning to steep it for less and less time. I do think I like jasmine tea, as long as the jasmine isn’t overpowering. It reminds me of heavy perfume when it’s too strong, and since I’m allergic to a majority of perfumes, it’s a major major turn off for me in tea.

The other things I taste are – a sweetness I can’t describe, and a slight, ever so slight nutty flavor. That nutty flavor is what I’ve come to love in green tea. I was very surprise it was in such a floral tea, even for how slight it is. And I loved that it was there.

Over all, this tea is beautiful and delicious. And I love how many steeps I can get out of one teaspoon.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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25
drank Sencha by Teavana
10 tasting notes

I really, really wanted to like this. I like green tea with mint. I like green tea with lemon. I like iced green tea. I like green tea lattes. I wanted to like this. It would’ve been like loving garlic bread and then learning you can roast garlic and eat it alone. (Which I’ve done, by the way. Please do it if you like garlic. Chop off the tip of the head, sprinkle some salt, pepper and lots of olive oil, throw it in the oven for like 50 minutes. Once it’s out, coat the little cloves in parmesan cheese. Be sure to bring mint come for the after affects.)

I did really want to like this. Maybe I’m just doing it wrong. Maybe I got a bad batch. Please, Steepster, help me if I’ve gone wrong.

When I opened my bag of sencha, I was assaulted by a sickeningly sweet smell mingled with plastic. I hoped it was just because of the container and poured the contents into a tin. After a couple days, I finally worked up the nerve to sniff at it. Nope. Still sickly sweet. So I thought maybe it’ll steep out. I wanted to like it. I tried.

I steeped it for Teavana’s suggested time. Oh dear. The liquid was a beautiful greenish beige tinged color. It was so nice to look at compared to my usual blacks. But it wasn’t good, folks. Not for me, at least. It was incredibly sweet in an incredibly bad way. On top of that, it was vegetal (as I was expecting). What came to mind was sugar coated spinach. I like sugar. I like spinach. But not in combination, please. Oh dear. Ugh. It just was not good. It wasn’t horrifyingly bad, but it wasn’t good.

If I’m doing this all wrong, please tell me. I have 2 oz of this stuff sitting in my cupboard. If I can’t find a way to make peace with it, I might end up turning it into mint iced tea with my peppermint tea. We’ll see.

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88

This company makes me smile. I work in customer service, and let me tell you, I don’t believe in it. I could be the sweetest thing on the planet and people still get pissed off. But the people at Norbu… I like them. I got this tea in about one business day. And it was on sale, meaning I wasn’t supposed to get a resealable pouch, but they included it anyway. And they gave me two samples.

It made my day when I got this package, folks. Made my day. It was just nice to get my little box full of my tea plus two I wasn’t expecting. I’ve never ordered tea online before. I stick to what I can smell, inspect, touch. The only thing I tend to get off the internet is books because you can read the descriptions just the same as in a store. But this has turned me into an internet shopper. I am completely happy with my order and the whole process of getting it. (:

So on to the tea. When I opened the vacuum-sealed packet, it smelled so wonderful. I was very afraid of anything looking green after a mishap with some sencha, but this smelled lovely. Sweet, lightly floral, maybe a touch of fruit? I’m so bad at weeding out smells. Anyway, it was wonderful. I put a heaping teaspoon of the adorable little green balls into my giant teaball and prepared.

I used not quite boiling water. I don’t know what temperature. I just boiled it and then added a handful of ice cubes. My first steep was for about two minutes. The first sip scared me a little. I got a hint of that sencha taste (I’ll explain my problems with that when I get to reviewing that tea…) but I chugged on, thinking surely this won’t be the same! It smells so lovely! It must be better than this. And sure enough, it was. It’s perfumey, almost. A floral perfume, but in a good way. There’s also that slight almost fruitiness that I think I taste but I’m not quite sure? And a slight, slight base of the general ‘tea’ taste.

Second steep is the same temperature water for four minutes. It’s slightly less perfumey. In fact, the floral taste has evened out very nicely with whatever that other flavor is. What is it? Is it fruity? I honestly can’t tell!

I can tell I’m easily going to get a third, maybe fourth steep out of this one. Maybe I’ll find that fruit. Next time I think I’m upping it to two teaspoons to see what it does. Mmmm. This is turning me on to oolong big time.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 15 sec
LiberTEAS

This is the best tea. One of my very favorites!

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83
drank Peppermint by Teavana
10 tasting notes

I love mint. I love mint leaves. When I was little, I used to chew on spearmint leaves at my grandma’s house. Ever since then, I’ve loved mint candies, mint teas, mint foods, mint everythings. Unfortunately for this tea, my real love in life is spearmint, not peppermint. I do like peppermint, though. And since I couldn’t find any reasonably priced spearmint teas and my mom was putting together her chai order from Teavana, I plopped this on it for free shipping.

What I love about this tea is that it tastes like a really light vegetal flavor when you first get it. Once you’ve swallowed, though, your whole mouth tastes like mint. It’s a lot of fun. I love drinking it hot because of the cooling effect, but it is also very refreshing cooled. Over all, I’m glad I bought this. I’ll probably restock when I run out unless I find an equally as good spearmint.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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76

Firstly, I should say we don’t have a Starbucks where I live. The closest one used to be about an hour and 15 minutes away. We used to make an event of going to the mall when we were in high school. We referred to it as ‘going off the mountain’. One of the fun things about going off the mountain is shopping. One of the other fun things is Starbucks and Krispy Kreme. (If you don’t live in the south and are addicted to Dunkin’ Donuts, I feel for you. I used to be like you. Then I learned better.) Now I only go to Starbucks if I drive almost two hours away to a slightly-near bigger city. So basically, I don’t get to drink frappes very often.

Anyway. I usually get a coffee frappe with an extra shot of espresso, a pump of caramel and a pump of vanilla with non-fat whipped topping. Last time I made the long trip to the closest bigger city, I got a green tea frappe because I didn’t want the coffee (it gets to my stomach if I drink it a lot), but I couldn’t go to a city without going to a Starbucks. It happens to you if you live in BFE.

So this frappe. It was actually really good. It didn’t taste even remotely like any green tea I’ve ever had, but it did taste a LOT like the green tea ice cream I get at the sushi bar in town. Almost like a green tea ice cream milkshake. I don’t know what kind of green tea they use to make it, but if I did I’d make it at home with my magic bullet, man. It’s super refreshing and definitely great to re-engerize you after a couple hours wandering around a giant mall.

I’m probably going to get this next time I get to hit up a Starbucks. And I’m going to talk to the guy who runs the local coffee place to see if he can recreate it.

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92
drank Earl Grey Creme by Teavana
10 tasting notes

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89
drank ToLife by Teavana
10 tasting notes

I love this tea. It’s just the right amount of lightness and fruity. One of my biggest complaints with tea is that feeling it leaves at the back of your throat, but this tea has yet to do that to me. It has a very light feel to it, but with a little bit of fruity above it.

Sometimes I add a teaspoon of honey to it if I’m having a sweet tooth moment, and lately I’ve been adding berries. I simply throw the berries in the bottom of the mug, mash them with a spoon and then steep the tea right there in with it. I don’t like to do this with dark teas because it’s harder to pick up on the light flavor of berry (I usually only throw in 3 depending on the size).

One thing I think is particularly great about this tea is that I usually get 3 good steeps out of it before I finally throw it out. The leaves still smell great after the 3rd steep so I’m itching to try for a 4th. It also tastes perfectly fine after if it’s cooled down, so I can take it to go and not have to worry about drinking it fast. I really like a lot of bang for my buck, so this is a definite plus for me.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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92
drank Earl Grey Creme by Teavana
10 tasting notes

This is my current favorite go to tea. I make a travel mug of it in the morning to bring to work, class, town, wherever I’m going. I don’t usually like Earl Grey, but this one has a great vanilla taste to it. I really want to try it with berry syrup (just reduced berries in a pan with water and sugar).

I haven’t had a lot of good teas, so to me this taste like the general “tea” taste, plus a vanilla flavor and without the bitter aftertaste of bag black tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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