85
drank Sweet Velvet Fog by iHeartTeas
2246 tasting notes

Received yet another package of tea today… this time it was my order from iheartteas.com!! Exciting! I ordered a few of Rachel’s custom blends (and some Golden Moon Coconut Pouchong), and am trying to make some good headway on trying everything this evening, even though I should be sleeping/working on things (but I’m so stressed out all I can do is post mindlessly on Steepster… thank goodness it’s working again!)

The aroma of this one is pretty familiar, steeped. Luckily, it’s familiar in a good way. Malty and caramelly/vanilla-y. I can see why someone (is it Angrboda???) is questing for the perfect vanilla black. So decadent.

With 3.5 minutes of steeping, I’m getting more astringency than I would like, yet the tea’s a bit weak. I think I may have overdone the water a bit, and should drop the infusion time down to 3 minutes. However, in spite of the astringency I can taste some really nice caramelly/creamy notes. Definitely looking forward to my second attempt! During which I should also brew up some of 52teas’ Pot O’ Gold and Market Spice’s Rum Butter for comparison. No need to have a plethora of similarly-flavoured teas in my cupboard.

In spite of the astringency, I’m definitely enjoying this cup of tea – it’s nearly gone already. It’s tempting to add some milk and sugar, but I think that would ruin me for drinking flavoured blacks without! Nom nom. Off I go to brew up another new tea before I toodle off to bed for the evening.

ETA: 199F for an accidental 6.5 minutes is surprisingly not astringent. Obviously not as flavourful as I’d like, but worth the second round :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 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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