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87

Actually followed the instructions this time! Go me! Well… mostly. I put the tea in my 8oz. steeper before reading the instructions, and used 1 tbsp of tea instead of 1 tsp. But that’s ok; I like my tea with lots of flavour.

Anyhow! Here’s my review of the series of steepings. I should note that the colour of the liquid transitions from a bright greenish yellow to a dark golden yellow by the end. Apologies for the long review; I’m trying to work at properly reviewing the straight teas I drink.

First steep 85C/25s
WOAH! This is a new flavour! I can definitely taste the sharp vegetal almost like freshly boiled peas flavour, but there is a sweetness I’ve never tasted before. Like honey. WOW. So there is something to be said for following a company’s guidelines! This is incredibly enjoyable. I’m reminded, strangely, of the time when I tried to make a sweet asparagus dish where I pretty much stir fried asparagus with soy sauce, garlic, and brown sugar until it was pretty much caramelized. There’s a similar flavour in the two. Yum. This is good.

Second steep 86C/27s
This one tastes more like the tea I’m used to, with mostly just the vegetal flavour. It’s good; a bit mouth drying, but definitely delicious. There’s maybe a bit of honey flavour, but nothing like the richness from the first sip that blew me away.

Third steep 87C/30s
This sip takes the tea into a more average range, for me. There isn’t as much flavour, and the vegetal flavour is mostly gone. Nothing wrong with it, but it’s just dry and boring, especially after the first two. I’m a bit disappointed – I was hoping the delicious flavours from the first two sips would continue at least one cup further! I think it was perhaps after this steeping that the leaves started to lose their boiled veggie smell and developed something a bit funky. We’ll see if that carries over into the flavour.

Fourth steep 88C/35s
Darn, same deal with this cup, but even less flavour.

Fifth steep 90C/45s
Likewise.

Looks like this is a 3-steep tea for me. Not really all that disappointed, since it’s hard to drink 5 cups of tea in a night anyways!

I am absolutely blown away by the first cup though. That intense, rich honey flavour was so unexpected and delightful! Upping the rating even more :D

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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I have always been a tea fan (primarily herbals and Japanese greens/oolongs) but in the last year or so, tea has become increasingly more appealing as not only a delicious, calming drink, but as a relatively cheap, healthy reward or treat to give myself when I deserve something. I should clarify that, however; the reward is expanding my tea cupboard, not drinking tea – I place no restrictions on myself in terms of drinking anything from my cupboard as that would defeat my many goals!

My DavidsTea addiction was born in late 2011, despite having spent nearly a year intentionally avoiding their local mall location (but apparently it was just avoiding the inevitable!). I seem to have some desire to try every tea they’ve ever had, so much of my stash is from there, although I’ve recently branched out and ordered from numerous other companies.

I like to try and drink all my teas unaltered, as one of the main reasons I’m drinking tea other than for the flavour is to be healthy and increase my water intake without adding too many calories! I’ve found that the trick in this regard is to be very careful about steeping time, as most teas are quite pleasant to drink straight as long as they haven’t been oversteeped. However, I tend to be forgetful (particularly at work) when I don’t set a timer, resulting in a few horrors (The Earl’s Garden is not so pleasant after, say, 7+ minutes of steeping).

I’m currently trying to figure out which types of teas are my favourites. Herbals are no longer at the top; oolongs have thoroughly taken over that spot, with greens a reasonably close second. My preference is for straight versions of both, but I do love a good flavoured oolong (flavoured greens are really hit or miss for me). Herbals I do love iced/cold-brewed, but I drink few routinely (Mulberry Magic from DavidsTea being a notable exception). I’m learning to like straight black teas thanks to the chocolatey, malty, delicious Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea, and malty, caramelly flavoured blacks work for me, but I’m pretty picky about anything with astringency. Lately I’ve found red rooibos to be rather medicinal, which I dislike, but green rooibos and honeybush blends are tolerable. I haven’t explored pu’erh, mate, or guayasa a great deal (although I have a few options in my cupboard).

I’ve decided to institute a rating system so my ratings will be more consistent. Following the smiley/frowny faces Steepster gives us:

100: This tea is amazing and I will go out of my way to keep it in stock.

85-99: My core collection (or a tea that would be, if I was allowing myself to restock everything!) Teas I get cravings for, and drink often.

75-84: Good but not amazing; I might keep these in stock sparingly depending on current preferences.

67-74: Not bad, I’ll happily finish what I have but probably won’t ever buy it again as there’s likely something rated more highly that I prefer.

51-66: Drinkable and maybe has some aspect that I like, but not really worth picking up again.

34-50: Not for me, but I can see why others might like it. I’ll make it through the cup and maybe experiment with the rest to get rid of it.

0-33: It’s a struggle to get through the cup, if I do at all. I will not willingly consume this one again, and will attempt to get rid of the rest of the tea if I have any left.

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