812 Tasting Notes

43

I did a double take when I saw the ingredient list on the sample – cacao nibs? In a vanilla tea?

I admit that annoyed me – mostly because I didn’t spot the error before I bought it. I LOVE vanilla. It’s one of my favorite things. Chocolate in tea is not one of my favorite things. I’ll admit – the White Chocolate sample I had last night was pretty good but an anomaly since chocolate teas are normally a no go. That one I’d probably get again because it managed to hold its own so well without additives, and simulate hot chocolate so perfectly.

This? Well, the dry leaf smell mostly smells of chocolate. BOO. It has me thinking wistfully about my French Vanilla black from 52teas, and reminds me that yes, I need another vanilla black staple in my cupboard.

Once its steeped up and I try a sip plain, I notice a lot of similarities in texture between this blend and the White chocolate. The cacao nibs must be used predominantly for this purpose. And while I try I few sips plain, I have to admit that vanilla is the main flavor – which surprises me. It is a smooth, sweet vanilla, more like a creamy custard. The tea itself isn’t astringent at all – I remember reading that it was Ceylon, and that works for me – ceylons are my ideal black tea. They are bright and a touch citrusy but tend to walk the balance between flavor and boldness without being too light, or too tannic.

The problem with me and this tea is that while it’s good plain, when I want a breakfast tea I usually want it with milk and sugar. I added some creamer after I got a good idea of the flavor plain and… well, I’m sure you can guess what that brought out of hiding.

Yeah, this is now a chocolate tea.

Bummer. I have a 0.5 oz. sample that I need to use but I will just remember that this one is best served plain. Texture wise it really didn’t need anything to thicken it up – I do have to give it good marks for having such a rich mouthfeel on its own- and sugar brings out the chocolate rather than vanilla notes.

Sigh – I need to read some of Angrboda’s old notes because she devoted much time and effort to finding her ideal vanilla black. And if I remember she also liked the 52Teas Vanilla black a lot so clearly she has excellent taste – or at the very least, she likes the same sort of vanilla that I do. :)

Flavors: Chocolate, Cream

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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87

Free sample with my sTEAp shoppe order!

I was really not expecting a free sample, but I have to admit I loved that I had a spare teabag just to use whenever. I get to do a decupboarding, and try a new tea as well!

I am not a big white chocolate fan, I’ve got to say. I much prefer the bitterness of dark chocolate – white chocolate can be overly sweet for my tastes. The smell of this was both accurate to white chocolate and not overbearing, though – perhaps because I know the tea won’t have the sugar added unless I add some.

As it steeps this reminds me of hot chocolate – regular Swiss Miss, that I remember having in the winter as a kid. I was one of those children that had hot chocolate made with water (my mind was blown when I grew up and realized you could use milk as a base instead).

Hmm – the taste is watered down hot chocolate, but that isn’t really a bad thing. This is more milk chocolate than white, and its a surprisingly accurate chocolate flavor with none of the chemical undertones that other chocolate flavored teas have. The white tea base works well here, more as a vessel for the chocolate flavor than anything I can detect on its own. And the texture is really creamy and luscious. It is hot chocolate without the sugar, and a really good alternative to that in the winter, I’d imagine.

I am impressed – which is a good thing because I have another chocolate based tea to try from the sTEAp shoppe. And I’ll keep this one around on my wishlist for the winter months – I think it will come in handy then!

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Vanilla

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 15 sec 6 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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83

I used this entire sample (sent by Sil ages ago!) on a cold brew because I figured it was mostly fruity and fruity teas deserve to be iced.

I had read tasting notes of this brewed hot and being bitter so I decided to just put it all in the DAVIDs mason jar and let it steep. I only intended to have it go for around 18 hours but it ended up being at least 28, so I was super worried about astringence and bitterness. But when I tried it it was AMAZING!

This was exactly what the name purported it to be: sweet, natural strawberry flavor with a smooth black tea base at the end of the sip. No real creamy vanilla notes (which my other two strawberry teas have, and which I like okay hot but do not want cold), and no need for sweetening. I easily like this as much as the Dammann’s fig blend for icing, which is sad, as it’s a sipdown. Figures.

Ah well, I’m hoping to try my Dammann Freres Moroccan Mint iced (as I had a sip of Honest Tea’s bottled equivalent yesterday and it was really good) so I imagine that that will keep me busy for a while until I get around to stocking this again.

My tea inventory is a revolving door currently – and I’m excited to get some fresh blends (and their tasting notes) up soon!

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56

Finally ordered this one after a sample from Sil a few months ago…and a few other samples to boot. I’ve not been in much of a sampling mood lately – I think I’ve reached that mythical land of figuring out a few staples I want to keep around and being able to let go of the need to try all the things. But I hadn’t ordered from the sTEAp shoppe before so I did want to make it worth my while.

I didn’t realize there was agave and maple syrup crystals in this! That probably explains some of the sweetness, though it’s kind of disappointing for me to realize that it wasn’t strictly the tea causing it. Also, does anyone else think that the dry leaf looks like granola? I totally thought all it needed was milk to be a breakfast cereal.

This one becomes more bready and textured as it cools down. Initially it was rather thin and weak, even with the milk, which had me a little worried but I’ll try resteeps at a lower temperature and see if that makes a difference. Boyfriend said “I smell cinnamon!” which disappointed him because he thought I was making cinnamon bread. Nope. Just a pretty fantastic smelling tea.

Since I have 2 oz. of this to play with I’m going to fully explore all the resteep capabilities…but first I think I want to get to some of these samples. Just like old times!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Vanilla

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

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73

I am meh about this tea. Not that it’s bad, I just have many other breakfast teas that I prefer.

It’s malty, but lighter than my breakfast tea preferences tend to be. I will say that by using 2 tsp. leaf to 12 oz. water I was able to enjoy it without additives, and get more of the chocolate malt notes, whereas with that extra 1/2 tsp. I would have had to add milk or sugar due to the astringence, and thus mute the natural flavors of the tea.

I’ll be rehoming this one, I think – I know there are others who would appreciate it more than I have.

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

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95
drank Tamarind Pop by Butiki Teas
812 tasting notes

It has been TOO long, tamarind pop!

I am apparently in the minority on this one and really like it unsweetened. This tea is also in the minority for ME in that it is one of the few I drink unsweetened, since I prefer a little bit of sugar as a rule.

It is a combination of vanilla and caramel in taste but there is a citrusy sour note at the finish. This is true to my experiences with tamarind – I’ve used the concentrate in cooking before and the paste reminds me of what you’d scrape out of a vanilla bean, except lighter in color. The sour note is kind of astringent at the finish, but pleasantly so.

I bought some seltzer water this week so I’m thinking I should definitely make a concentrate out of this and add it to that to try the ‘pop’ part of the name. I’m foreseeing magical things happening with that.

I’m glad I found this today – it was a nice cup to start off with!

Flavors: Caramel, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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95

This really is amazing cold brewed. I can always get two steeps out of it and it doesn’t need sugar to be fruity and refreshing. One thing I have noticed is that the fig tends to resemble more of a prune in flavor when it’s cold. I like either fruit though so it’s not a big deal.

This is fast becoming one of my favorite teas to drink cold, which is good because I have quite a bit of it to drink up!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 5 tsp 25 OZ / 739 ML

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97

I really needed a hit of caffeine this morning, so matcha latte it was.

Prepared my usual way, 1 tsp matcha to 1.5 tbsp. hot water, stir to dissolve, then add cold milk. This was creamy and sweet as always. Strong notes of vanilla and burnt sugar.

Nothing like having dessert for breakfast to start your day off right!

Preparation
1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Thomas Edward(Toad)

I had this one the same way this morning but with chocolate milk instead just for fun, it was really tasty :)

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68

This always smells SO GOOD dry. Malty and grainy, which I assume is the Keemun since there’s also a hint of smoke.

But I’ve not been able to get a really tasty cup out of it. Steeped up it is a lighter amber color, probably due to the darjeeling and the taiwanese assam. It is very light on flavor too, which I suspect is the darjeeling – I really just don’t get a lot of flavor out of darjeelings in general.

I have enough for a few more cups and I’ll try adding more leaf to see if I can strengthen the flavor more, but otherwise I don’t think this is the breakfast tea for me.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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68

Cold brewed this in my DAVIDs mason jar mug. 4 tsp. leaf for 25 oz. water over oh, 18 hours?

I need to make a good simple syrup probably if I keep up this cold brewing thing but this was unsweetened and not too bad. The white tea was light and refreshing, strawberry had a pretty nice natural note to it, the mint was unnoticeable except for the cooling aftertaste and there was a definite bourbon undertone. Which, unfortunately I did pick up on more this way. I can’t necessarily fault the tea since that’s what its SUPPOSED to taste like, after all, but I wish I could have not noticed that so much as I’m not a huge alcohol drinker to begin with.

My fault for not just going with a strawberry mint tea.

Well, next time I’ll try icing it by boiling first and sweetening, then allowing it to cool. I know this is meant to be cold the trick is to find out how it works best for me to finish off the pouch.

Preparation
4 tsp 25 OZ / 739 ML

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Profile

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. "

Location

Atlanta, GA

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