33 Tasting Notes

90
drank Once Upon A Tea by SerendipiTea
33 tasting notes

My mom gave me 4 ounces of this (through my own suggestion) to me for Christmas. It’s hardish to find online, and my parents frequent an awesome coffee shop that sells it, so I thought I’d request she purchase it through the local business. I love this tea. I remember it from when before I drank tea, and from when I didn’t find rooibos disappointing, so I was worried I would like it less now. I do not. This tea is fantastic. It’s light and vanilla and chocolate with the addition of the mint. It’s probably the best rooibos tea I’ve ever had. I’m a huge fan and have been for years.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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70
drank Peppermint Bark by Della Terra Teas
33 tasting notes

I got this from my Christmas card exchange with Khaleesical. I am drinking it now, as I feel like I should drink a Christmas tea on… Christmas. This tea is only fine for me. It brewed really weak, which is a disappointment. I don’t know if the mug I used to brew it is just bigger than I thought and I didn’t use enough tea, or what happened. I used 2 teaspoons (a bit over) for 16 ounces.

Anyway, besides brewing tea a bit weak for me, this tea is lovely. It tastes like I remember Celestial Seasonings’ Candy Cane Lane to taste like, as it has a sweet backdrop to a mint flavor. This is a very good tea if you are looking for a black tea with mint and other sweet flavors. It falls a bit flat for me, though, and I can’t put a finger on why I’m not absolutely in love with it.

With all of that said, I would likely order this tea on my own. I believe I could become really excited about it if I was in the perfect mood for it.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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70
drank Winter Nog by Della Terra Teas
33 tasting notes

I got this in the Christmas Card swap from Khaleesical. The card I was sent was adorable! I got quite a few samples of tea, but since I didn’t make it to my parents’ house where I had all my tea sent until very late.

Anyway, this tea is odd for me. I like it, but it’s nothing like I thought it would be. I thought it was going to be more nog flavored, by which I mean more egg nog flavored. The Rooibos has a naturally vanilla scent, which works for a nog flavor. But the tea itself has no vanilla accents, despite the fact the blend smells, dry, like vanilla. Brewed, it’s heavier than vanilla, and I taste the tea, and even more than spices. I taste something kind of heavy, which I did not expect (it does not smell heavy at all!).

Even though this tea is so different than I anticipated, I like it. It still doesn’t satisfy my need to find rooibos teas that make me not miss regular tea, but it does taste lovely. It’s a great blend, just maybe for other people.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Khaleesical

Glad you liked the card! I had to give it to someone, haha.

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drank Lemon Lime Kampai by Teavana
33 tasting notes

Okay, so this is an old tea. I have no idea how old, but I know it’s been discontinued for awhile. So it’s old. The only reason I own it is because I was purchasing a Venture Brothers shirt for my boyfriend (I almost never call him that, but I guess we’ve reached a point I can’t pretend he’s not) for Christmas. I guess the eBay seller sells a lot of random things, because this tea was listed there for like 2$ with an extra 1$ for shipping. I thought—well, what the Hell. It’ll be old, but for 3$, why not?

This tastes well, slightly old, but it’s not bad yet. And I like this tea. I was complaining in the forums about how much trouble I have with herbal teas. I actually really like herbal teas, but they aren’t tea. Not at all. Rooibos tea disappoints me the most, because it doesn’t have the same kind of different and expressive flavors of herbal tea. Rooibos is also really sweet and weak. And this tea is sweet and fruit-y, which is exactly what I don’t like in Rooibos blends.

But I like this. It won’t suit me to replace tea; it’ll always be the kind of thing I drink when I want something else. But it tastes—well, like soda, and not in a way that makes it weird I’m drinking hot, flat soda.

I’m glad I bought it, although I wish for tonight, I had brewed a cup of Whispering Pines’s Nevermore herbal blend which is maybe my favorite herbal blend ever and which does taste like a great tea replacement. I’ll have to do a whole Whispering Pines super log when I finally work up the energy to do it. I am so smitten with the Nevermore tea, I’m too intimidated to write about it. (haha, and super log meaning a whole 2 teas.)

I didn’t rate this tea, because it’s old. But as it is now, it’d probably around a 65%.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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80

I hate adding teas to the database, and I royally messed this one up. Can anyone help me? I forgot to add an image, and Steepster won’t let me edit the information. I guess because I posted it?

Anyway, I was sent a sample of this along with an order I placed on Cyber Monday of Whispering Pines chai blends. I was really excited to get the sample, as it made me feel special. I’m especially glad I got this sample, because I like it a lot more than the Masala Chai blend, which is a really nice tea, but which I think demonstrates that maybe Chai blends are not so much my thing.

Anyway, because I like this tea more, and because I’m about to finish the sample, I decided I would post a log note. I’ll make one for the Masala Chai blend later, but I’m waiting to decide exactly how I feel about that tea.

The brewing instructions for this tea are the same as the masala blend, 1 TBL for 5 minutes at boiling. I think that 1 TBL of tea would brew way too strong of a cup, as this tea, like the masala blend, is STRONG. I brewed 1.5 teaspoons of tea per 1 cup of water for this brewing, as I found out with the masala blend that such a tea to water ratio worked for me after trying a couple of other ratios.

I take my tea without milk, so maybe with the Whispering Pines suggested chai recipe which has half water to half milk ratio, 1 TBL of tea works. Honestly, this brews so strongly though, that I probably would still cut my tea back.

Anyway, I’ve been cramming out a paper all day yesterday and today, due today of course! And it’s cold in my room, so chai seemed appropriate. I also thought I’d brew something novel—thus my sample.

This is such a rambling log note. Hopefully my paper makes more sense. Anyway, the base on this tea is good I think, but it is heavily spiced. The base is Whispering Pines’s Kenya Surprise, which is a CTC black tea. The tea in this brews strongly and has a very nice black tea taste without a lot of bitterness from what I can tell, and when I place my next Whispering Pines order, I hope I remember to buy an ounce or two of the base tea to try by itself. I think I actually really like it.

I also like the blend of this chai and the masala chai, which is very similar. I taste a lot of cardamon, which I really appreciate, as that to me is the most detectable spice instead of the cinnamon or cloves, which I think think is a failure of a lot of chai blends. I really like cardamon. However, the blend is very even. In fact, in theory, I like this blend so much that it lead me to the conclusion I’m not feeling chai right now, because this and the masala blend are great teas and great chais.

I can’t quite detect why I like this tea better than the other blend. They are very similar, and this one works for me so much better. Obviously, the technical reason is the mint, but I don’t know what about the addition of the mint suits me more than the straight chai blend. I’ll attempt though, because the whole point of a tea log is for me to describe tastes in vague difficult to pin down terms, right? I think the mint adds a sharpness to the tea which actually rounds out the spice blend. Since I’ve been drinking these two chai blends without milk, I think the roundness is necessary (although, as a note, I added milk to one of my pots of the masala blend, which will come up in my review of that blend, which I will write eventually.) Furthermore, it somehow makes the blend taste a bit lighter and like—fluffier. (Now my language has gone off the deep end. I’ll stop now.)

Anyway, I like this tea a lot. I probably won’t buy the masala blend unless I need to have chai on hand for some reason. But I might reorder this tea. It’s really lovely actually. Oh, and I got 1 great steep from it, a nice second steep, and a half-way decent third steep last night, which is notable. The second steep tastes more heavily of the spices, which is a really interesting difference. I like when teas have significant flavor changes with steepings.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
JustJames

hey, managed to update this tea for you…. the picture is now front and center. =0)

Kat

Thank you! I felt terrible about it and tried like three times. I was beginning to feel kind of pathetic!

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65
drank Jasmine by Hsin Tung Yang Co., Ltd.
33 tasting notes

I’ll add an image tomorrow.

Anyway, I bought this at the store because I loved the tin. It turned out to be even better than it seemed, as it has an inlayed top that seals the tea before the actual top of the tin is placed on.

I wanted a tea to serve me as a light afternoon tea. I don’t like green tea much, but I like jasmine tea better than standard green tea, so I bought this at the store. It’s actually pretty lovely. It’s light, and it brews pretty much perfectly. The bottom of the pot was a bit bitter, but the tea was good.

I did not try for a second steeping today. I will try tomorrow and update my tasting note then.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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90
drank Yunnan Golden Pu-erh Tea by Teavana
33 tasting notes

I know I just added a tasting note for this tea, but it’s my morning tea. Anyway, I slept very poorly last night, like I laid awake in bed for hours, and I woke up at noon today to—snow. I’m not used to snow, and I was extremely startled.

Anyway, the tasting story goes like this: I decided I’d try to change the way I brew this a bit. Since I prefer the second steeping of this tea to the first, I decided I would try washing this tea with 4 ounces of boiling water before I brewed it. The tea tasted so different. I was really surprised. I still brewed the tea at 190 for 3 minutes.

The smokey notes of this tea came out and covered the bright taste of the original tea. I suppose the Pu-erh notes came through with this steeping. The tea was still very good, but instead of being well rounded and mellow, it became smokey and soft.

But, you are probably asking, how did the mythical second steeping taste? Disappointing. All the complexity of the cup left, and I ended up with the most generic tasting black tea ever.

This was an interesting experiment. I won’t be rinsing this tea again.

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

teavana is not known for longevity. i think was my first puerh…. i used to use it as a base for other things. i’d layer all sorts of things on top of it.

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56
drank Champagne Sangria Punch by Teavana
33 tasting notes

I wrote a tasting note last night that I deleted not for any reason but that I have a hugely different opinion this morning than I did last night. (Those vodka tonics mixed with nostalgia made me sentimental.) Anyway, I’ll rehash the story. I’m having a huge issue receiving packages at my apartment and I’m about to move. So I really shouldn’t order tea online right now until I settle into a new place.

Anyway, I’ve been hankering for a lemon tea. I grew up on Bigelow lemon tea. I want some, and I’ve been having trouble finding a great loose leaf lemon tea. I’ve been searching on Steepster for a good lemon tea, and there aren’t a lot to pick from.

So while I was in the mall replacing my broken glasses, I stopped into Teavana to try this blend. I had seen it online, and I thought it didn’t really sound like what I needed. It’s still definitely not what I want wanted, however it does have a pleasant citrus taste that almost satisfies me.

This tea is fruity, but it’s not too sweet by any means. I actually like the idea of the blend. However, the hibiscus doesn’t please me, as it covers the tea base, which is otherwise quite pleasant. There is definitely tea in this blend as well, which I really appreciate. I taste the citrus, which is mostly orange, but I do taste the lemon in this tea as well, so some of my needs were met.

There is a strange heavy aftertaste to this blend. I don’t know what this taste is, but it’s strange.

I also wish I had not started my morning with this tea. It just has an afternoon flavor profile.

I was going to rate this tea like a 65-70 rating. But then I tried to brew a second steeping. While I was stirring the sugar into the tea (I had been drinking it without sugar, but I wanted to try it both ways before I wrote a tasting note), I spilt the leaves. I was upset, because it meant I wouldn’t even be able to try to steep the leaves a third time. However, it’s not a problem, because my second pot of tea is really weak. I wouldn’t recommend brewing this tea a second time. This dropped my rating a great deal, as this is an expensive black tea (10$ for 2 ounces). I will not be buying this again, as not being able to get a second steeping is pretty much super disappointing for a tea at this price.

I’ll drink the rest of the 2 ounces I have, but I won’t be purchasing this again. It’s not bad by any means, in fact, I kind of like the taste, but the tea itself is just disappointing.

In fact, I dumped the rest of the pot. I figured life was too short to drink slightly fruit flavored water when I wanted tea. I brewed Teavana’s Golden Yunnan Pu-erh instead, and I can’t wait to have a cup of real tea.

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

This one doesn’t have too many comments but it was really lemony for me. Not too expensive either. I don’t have mine anymore or I could send you a sample, sorry. http://www.naturestealeaf.com/black-tea/lemon-black-tea.html

Kat

Oh wow, thank you! This tea looks perfect to me, and Yunnan blacks are my favorite consistently actually. I’ll definitely consider ordering it. (Actually, I probably will order it, but the timing will depend on whether or not I wait until I move after Christmas or not.) Thanks again.

Starfevre

I’ve gotten some of my favourite Yunnan blacks from Teavivre but they’re not exactly on the cheapest side of life. Ships from China.

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65
drank Chestnut by Adagio Teas
33 tasting notes

I had a (the, I suppose) guy over last night, and I decided we needed tea in the morning, which was really more of the afternoon. Anyway, I bought 6 ounces of this, and I think I’m going to return one of the 3 ounce pouches. But now I’m not sure, because I liked this tea more than I expected, and it would cost me a lot in shipping to replace the tea. Anyway, this tea smells incredible. I don’t know what chestnuts the people over at Adagio are tasting, but they must be pretty exceptional. The smell is sweet and nutty, and it’s so spectacular. I’ve never really smelled anything like this tea. The taste was not as good as the smell, as the black tea base was very bitter. I brewed it almost as described; I used 208 degree water instead of 212 degree water. I added some rock sugar that Adagio sent me free, because Adagio is awesome, but while that probably helped the taste, it did not remove the bitterness. I think Adagio’s tea base is just kind of bitter and astringent for their flavored teas.

With all of that said, I like this tea. I’m not sure I’m going to send it back. The flavor is delicious and comforting and unique. Since I think this will retire when the season is over, having extra of it might be nice. I haven’t decided yet.

Anyway, I like this tea a lot, although I don’t come close to loving it. It’s a really solid offering from Adagio.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Starfevre

Adagio’s base is pretty tricky. I’ve had better luck brewing it at 190.

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56
drank Roasted Barley by Wang Globalnet
33 tasting notes

This is just roasted barley, but I’ve never had it before, despite living next to a Korean grocery store. I was in the store today looking for an herbal tea to drink. So I bought some roasted barley to try it. I brewed it on the stove, 1/4 a cup for about 16 ounces of water. I boiled the water and added the barley and then continued to boil it for 5 minutes. And I added some honey.

Anyway, I like this brew. It’s malty and roasted tasting, which is unsurprising. I will probably keep drinking this through the winter. I don’t have much to say other than that.

EDIT: I made a second batch of this with a bit less barley, as I was looking over the recipe I was using and I realized I probably used too much. The second batch was not nearly as good. Anyway, for me, I think this brew needs 1/4 cup for about 12-16 ounces of water.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Bio

I like Chinese black tea varieties best, followed closely by roasted Oolongs. I find white tea somewhat boring, and that makes me feel bad and unsophisticated. I have a terrible habit of buying green teas and trying to like them and never succeeding. I like Pu-Erh teas, but only on certain occasions, mostly during rainy weather.

I live in New York, but I’m a poorly adjusted Southern transplant. I write poetry and go to school for it. I’m not actually very good. If you like William Carlos Williams, I like you. I tend to talk too much, even online, and I have a horrible capacity for babbling.

I also like either upscale cocktail bars or really dive-y grungy places with cheap well vodka. And very spicy food when I’m stressed or sad.

That’s about it. Except I watch really horrible horror movies when I write. I have better taste in movies than that, but the furious noise of crap keeps me concentrated on my craft.

As a note: I will be away from home, and thus my tea collection, visiting my parents from December 21st-January 15th. As a result, I may not have access to teas in my cupboard, and will only be able to do limited swaps. I feel like I should make a note of that, even though no one’s like chomping the bit to swap with me.

Location

New York

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