847 Tasting Notes


You know what tea is amazing? This tea. This tea right here.

I made this to celebrate being put on standby last night for work and thus having the chance to get some school stuff done. Being that it was 1 AM I was not thinking clearly though and used double the amount of leaf. WHOOPS.

Well it actually didn’t work out too bad because I got lots of cinnamon bread that way. It certainly woke me up, in retrospect. I had it with some creamer and enjoyed the sensation of drinking a cinnamon roll, icing and all.

And then I got the ultimate good news – I was called off for the night! This is my lucky charm tea, I think. I love it madly – I know that much!

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 4 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Some days you just wake up craving something sweet and rich. This is apparently my answer to that craving, and I’ve had it more than I thought I guess because I’m almost out. :(

It tastes and smells like those soft vanilla caramels that I could just eat forever and ever. I may not really be a chocolate girl, but vanilla and caramel? Yes please. I had some plain today (I don’t know if I’ve ever done that before) and it was fantastically textured, too. I didn’t need any creamer at all for it to be sweet and smooth. The Taiwanese assam has a good deal to do with this, I’m sure, because it is an exceptional tea in its own right.

I think I’m going to have to order this again when I run out. It’s not a strictly vanilla tea but I like it very much as an option for decadence in the morning.

Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Cream, Vanilla

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Wanted some hot tea with dinner, which, incidentally was bacon and eggs. I’ve heard that green tea is really good with heavier food and I’ve got to say this was true here.

Also, I’m still shocked that boiling water and a 30 second steep doesn’t yield a bitter mess. But it doesn’t – I get a sweet, buttery green taste that really cleanses the palate, and tastes even more refreshing as it cools.

I recently joined Obubu’s tea club and I have to say it was a great decision if most of the teas are going to be like this one!

Flavors: Butter, Grass

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Decided to try this iced, but made it the traditional way (boiling water, then add sugar, then cooled). Added a little less than 1/4 cup of sugar to 1/2 gallon of tea.

This was actually too sweet, even though I used my normal sweetening parameters when making iced tea. I think it could have gone down to about 1 tsp. per cup (so, less than 3 tbsp.) and been okay. The mint added a bit of sweetness on its own which is why I think I can be a little more lenient on the sugar.

I also think I’ll steep it for an extra minute or so, since mint was at the forefront of the flavor and I would have really liked to have some green tea, too. Mostly these are notes for next time, since I know I’ll be making more of this iced before the summer’s over.

Not bad, which is good because I have a bunch of this to use up!

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 8 tsp 64 OZ / 1892 ML

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I’ve got to admit, my expectations weren’t too high with this one.

I think it’s because the only thing separating this from the Vanilla Bean Black I tried yesterday was the addition of white tea. The steeping recommendations allowed for this by steeping at a slightly lower temperature but otherwise, everything was pretty close to the same. Dry leaf smell was mostly chocolate, leaves had some of the more spindly needle like leaves I typically see in white tea.

Once it was all steeped up, I found out I was right. The milk chocolate smell is what greets you first and foremost, and while its hot at least there is the familiar hot cocoa taste and smell I’ve come to associate with chocolate sTEAp shoppe teas. The one difference here is that the addition of the white tea causes a noticeable change in texture – it is definitely thinner than the Vanilla Black.

So in a nutshell – these were good teas, albeit samey. I think I’d consider having one of them on hand as a good chocolate substitute, because they really do hold their own without additives. Probably the vanilla bean black will be my go to if/when I place another order. The chocolate flavor is very authentic, but since chocolate is rarely my dessert of choice it doesn’t make much sense to go stocking a pantry full of it!

190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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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

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

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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

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

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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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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

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

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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.

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

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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. "


Atlanta, GA

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