793 Tasting Notes

87

This was day 10 (I think?) of the 12 teas of Christmas sampler from 52teas – I am finally getting around to trying both this one and the one from day 12 – both of which were the only new ones (to me) of the last half of the box. This particular sample was the only one of the 12 that had an improperly sealed bottom, but I was able to collect it and still have enough for two full cups, so it ended up okay!

Anyway – steeped one heaping tsp. of this in about 7 oz water at below parameters. The dry leaf was very ground up – I used a paper tea filter instead of my Breville because I remember someone saying how it easily got through the mesh basket, and I didn’t want to have a huge mess on my hands. It smelled quite spicy – no hints of vanilla and caramel, though.

Once steeped, I added milk (probably about 2 oz) and sugar because that’s how I like my chais prepared. Taste-wise, I think the overall spiciness of the chai was kind of weak – it didn’t have as much bite as I wanted. However, I did get a touch of vanilla and buttery caramel, which I suspect the milk and sugar were instrumental in bringing out. I didn’t notice any underlying astringency with the black tea base, but I didn’t try it sans additives so that could be why.

Overall, I think it is a nice, though mild chai. More for people who like the idea of vanilla and caramel tea with a hint of spice, rather than the other way around – but more than a welcome addition to my tea cabinet during this cold weather!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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94

I need a detox soooo bad after this past weekend and the scandalous amount of chocolate and decadent food I ate. Luckily, I had this in my cupboard.

I really like the light, vegetal quality of this – makes me feel a little bit healthier (even though I know it’s a placebo effect) after drinking it. It hit the spot tonight for sure.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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95

Backlogging 2 cups from the Christmas weekend – this tea was made for the holidays. :)

One thing I’ve learned from this past weekend is that I can leave the sachet in for the length of the cup and it doesn’t get bitter. I think this will become my go to travel tea because of the flexibility and portability of it. It is lovely!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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67

So I skipped a couple of days of the Christmas sampler mostly because I’d had those teas before, and been busy working at some semblance of a job during the day. This is the first tea (since day 4) that I have not had before, and it seemed to sound better to me as an iced tea, so I brewed it and let it cool to try it that way. I just couldn’t imagine flat, hot ginger ale!

I definitely got the bergamot and some of the ginger, though the ginger didn’t have an overwhelming amount of bite to it. I also got some vanilla, strangely enough – I wonder if that’s the bergamot? To me the flavors didn’t resemble ginger ale at all as I know it – though maybe that’s the carbonation I’m missing?

Eh, it’s not bad – I just don’t see myself wanting to reach for it at any specific time. I think of ginger ale as more of a sick drink, so maybe that’s why I’ve had such a lukewarm response to this.

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

I love ginger ale, but in tea form…not so much.

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89
drank Almond Biscotti by Teavana
793 tasting notes

Backlogging two cups from last night, in hot chocolate form.

This really is amazing as hot chocolate; it kind of reminds me of nutella if I’m honest – nutty dark chocolate. I shouldn’t have had it mostly because it had a lot of dairy and I’m fighting a cold (dairy and colds don’t mix!), but oh, at the time it was SO. WORTH. IT.

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

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86
drank Rainbow Sherbet by 52teas
793 tasting notes

Finally got around to trying this iced.

This was VERY fruity. I lost the tea flavor, really (probably my fault because I sweetened it), but creamy sherbet was there in spades – really it tasted like I was drinking melted sherbet! I think I would have liked it better if I’d gone lighter on the sugar. While it was good – it just isn’t something you can pair with food. Since I prefer my iced teas to be with meals, it probably won’t be something I get more of.

But man, if you like just sipping on the occasional glass of iced tea sans accompaniment, you will LOVE this come summer!

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94

Using up the last of my Upton sample this morning with breakfast – 3 tsp. (a little over) to 500 (-ish, this was also a little over) ml. water at below parameters.

The last time I tried this I used boiling water and a longer steep time and got…black tea. Kind of flat in the sense that there was nothing else there – none of the typical darjeeling extras, so to speak. Several people offered steeping recommendations so I thought I may as well try them to see if the tea could be improved upon.

The tea this time is significantly more complex. There is astringency in the taste (mildly pleasant) and a more layered scent and taste (there’s the muscatel/grape-ish note!). It’s quite earthy and that is the most dominant feature of the tea by far, but it’s not the only thing I’m getting, like last time.

The only thing I would change now is to back off even a little more on steep time – 2:30 would likely ease off on the astringency that much more. I don’t know that there will be a next time, however – there are plenty more darjeelings to try.

I’m open to suggestions if anyone has them!

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

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98
drank Cashew Turtle by 52teas
793 tasting notes

Backlogging from this morning – this finished off the last of my sample included in the 12 teas of Christmas.

I really do like this tea – it was a nice decadent breakfast tea that helped me come to terms with the fact that the weekend was over. I will definitely be getting more of this; it’s my favorite of the Christmas sampler from 52teas so far.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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68
drank Jasmine Pearl by thepuriTea
793 tasting notes

So…. um, flowers.

They really aren’t my thing. But I got this sample free with my thepuriTea order so I figured I had nothing to lose by giving it a shot. Steeped the entire sample in 500 ml. water at the below parameters.

The smell and taste of the leaf was predictably jasmine, and really it wasn’t bad. I drank it unaltered and though it was a bit perfumy, I found it drinkable. It just isn’t to my tastes because I’m not a floral person. I do think it was equal parts jasmine and tea, so if you are someone who likes this type of tea, you would enjoy it.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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100
A perfect tea for a weekend breakfast – and one of my standby morning teas.

1 tsp. per 8 oz. always produces a strong cup that stands up well to milk and sugar. Yum!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Bio

I have come to the point (as of October 2014) where quality in tea is more important than quantity. Especially because I’m a seasonal tea drinker where hot tea is concerned, and a SLOW one to boot. I generally don’t resteep only because I’d be here all day if I did, though I do break out a gaiwan from time to time.

I adore French teas in practically every iteration, Japanese Sencha (specifically from the Uji region, as they offer the most seaweed flavor), and Dan Cong oolongs. I am trying to focus on plain teas and so companies like Verdant, Upton, and Butiki are on my favorites list.

When it comes to tea, I feel like the 10th Doctor says it best:

“Tea! That’s all I needed! Good cup of tea! Super-heated infusion of free-radicals and tannin, just the thing for healing the synapses. "

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Atlanta, GA

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