2515 Tasting Notes

71
drank Chocolate Break by Teaja
2515 tasting notes

I didn’t read up on this tea before brewing it up and trying it (I actually hadn’t even heard of the company before, to be honest), so I have no idea what to expect. It looks like a blend of black tea, cacao shells, and a few little chocolate chips, presumably to create an incredibly chocolatey blend. The result is certainly malty, and somewhat chocolatey, but it’s not all that rich – the base tea doesn’t seem to be overly strong here, and possibly isn’t even all that chocolatey itself, resulting in more of a light milky chocolate flavour instead of a rich, dark chocolate. Oddly enough, despite my preference for milk chocolate, I’d prefer dark in a tea, so this tea, though reasonably tasty, can’t top the natural chocolatey notes in Chinese blacks I’ve had. Thanks Sil!

ETA: Got two good infusions out of this tea, but then the flavour was gone. Probably a good thing for someone with such ridiculous amounts of tea.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Sil

yep…still looking for a good chocolate tea..

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90

Thanks to Sil for letting me sample some of this wonderful tea! I’ve had a bit of a rough day, and needed something tasty to cheer me up. This was pretty perfect. Ultra smooth, caramelly sweet, hay… not usually the flavour profile of a black tea that I look for, but it was so perfectly smooth here that it was delicious. Mandala is definitely on my list to make an order from eventually, even though pu’erhs are not my favourite. Thanks Sil :)

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Sil

really glad you enjoyed this one… i’m a fan!

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This smelled good but WOW is it ever weak. I felt like I way overleafed (very generous 1.5 tsp… probably more than 2, for maybe 8 oz but probably 6 oz water?), and gave it a decently long infusion (4.5 minutes, okay, could have been longer), but there’s hardly any flavour here. I’m debating nuking my cup, adding a tbsp of the mix to the infuser, and seeing if that makes a difference, because at this strength, I don’t really want to drink it. Also, thanks Indigobloom via Sil and Raritea, apparently? :)

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76
drank Rhubarb & Strawberry by Lupicia
2515 tasting notes

Definitely can smell the rhubarb (which is more than I can say for most xx-rhubarb teas!) It is also apparent in the flavour – I can taste the same strawberry (&guava?) that I’ve had from many black blends, along with a distinctly sour note, which tastes to me like rhubarb. And not sour as in hibiscus (thankfully), sour as in tart, yet fruity. Hard to describe (and I’m lazy). Although I’m enjoying this tea, I probably wouldn’t pick it up again, and might instead go for one of the strawberry (+guava) blends, without the rhubarb, just because I don’t really think this is a flavour combination I’ll crave (but hey, I could be wrong!)

ETA: Resteeped once for a reasonably tasty cup, but the flavour fades quickly with this one.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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35

Sil totally didn’t drink her whole half of this, heh. I suspected as much and seeing her rating….. Anyways, since I do not have the same aversion to blergamot, I hoped I’d like this blend better… until I opened the package. Surprise, lavender! In retrospect, joining the Verdant Blends Club was not the best idea for someone who doesn’t like a lot of “herbal” ingredients, which pretty much all of the blends are full of. There was the odd blend that didn’t contain such things (and it was usually a hit!) but… not often.

Enough said, onto the tea. I initially thought that I might like an earl green with a high quality green base, but I did not anticipate the lavender. I’m not generally a fan of it in tea; it reminds me of soap, and usually takes over in a blend. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what it’s doing here, too. Aroma? Lavender with a hint of…. citrus? No… that’s actually also lavender. Sigh. Flavourwise, there’s a big hit of lavender, followed by a very refreshing and lovely citrus (definitely not bergamot). It’s actually quite lovely, and I’m surprised that it’s able to emerge from the lavenderfest (which is still lingering, mind you). Actually, to be fair, I think I can smell a touch of citrus from the cup, as well as a touch of creamy jingshan. It’s just very difficult to detect. The lavender is just far, far too dominant here – a more apt name would have been Lavender Jingshan with a Hint of Citrus.

Overall, I’m pretty disappointed, especially since I think that minus the lavender, this might actually be really tasty. I might try removing the lavender buds another time, but I’m pretty sure that the essence has been thoroughly transferred to the other ingredients, so it’s probably not worth the time. If you like drinking a cup of lavender, this tea is for you. If not, don’t bother despite the enticing name.

ETA: Kind of the same as the Sleeping Bear blend for me; on the third or fourth infusion now, and there’s still too much lavender in the forefront, but I’m really enjoying the creamy aftertaste of the green tea. I feel like there would be so much potential here if there wasn’t any lavender! Or, just a touch.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

blerg, lavender and bergamot…

Tabby

Hey, I’m totally drinking something with lavender and bergamot, haha. I like that combo!

Cameron B.

Ick lavender. Totally tastes like soap!

Tabby

I completely understand. That’s how I feel about jasmine.

Dinosara

Yeah they tend to go overboard with some of the ingredients. I’ve gotten some blends club fatigue at this point.

Anlina

Lavender and bergamot is one of my favourite flavour combinations, so this sounds really tasty to me.

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71

Sipdown! 970. (Added all my samples from Sil to my cupboard… hopefully this number won’t hit 1000…) Anyhow, thanks Sil for sneaking out a cup of this one for me, since I was super curious about it. I can definitely see why you wouldn’t like it – it’s actually fairly jasminey. Nice jasmine, yes, but it’s not just a hint, either. Beneath the jasmine I can taste a hint of pine, and then jasmine appears again. The base is smooth and creamy, without a lot of distinctive flavour, which is ok.

Overall, this tastes too much like a jasmine green/white for me to bother ever purchasing. I love the idea of the pine needles, but they’re drowned out by the jasmine. It’s a nice tea, but just not distinct enough. I’ll see if subsequent cups bring out the pine notes more. Fingers crossed.

ETA: Enjoyed the resteep of this blend as well, but still too much jasmine. I think it’s possible that the jasmine and pine are complementary flavours, and I’m having trouble distinguishing them a bit, but there were times when I took a sip and definitely tasted pine notes – I would love more of that.

ETA again: On my third or fourth infusion of this one, and although it’s still too much jasmine, I’m really enjoying the creamy, almost cheesecakey(?) aftertaste. Sign of a good base tea, if nothing else :)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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63
drank Banane Chocolat by Lupicia
2515 tasting notes

My first impression when I opened up my bag of this tea was that it smelled like fake bananas/banana medicine. Bleh. I think I had been hoping more for a banana split sort of flavour. Thankfully, it’s not quite so potent once brewed, and the banana mellows enough to taste more like a real (though quite ripe) banana – but I can’t really taste any chocolate whatsoever, so it ends up tasting like a fairly basic banana black. Not really my thing. Oh well – it’s not a bad tea per se, since it’s still pretty smooth, but it’s not what I was hoping for.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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70
drank Caramel Popcorn by T by Daniel
2515 tasting notes

Not bad – light black base, caramelly and nutty notes overtop. Not as rich as I would like, but to be fair, caramel popcorn isn’t usually “rich” in the sense I’m looking for, just intensely sweet and delicious. I would probably appreciate a bit more robust of a base tea in this blend – perhaps a roasted oolong would work better? – but I’m reasonably happy with the results here. Wouldn’t buy again, but should easily be able to finish off my third of the bag.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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88
drank Melon Oolong by Lupicia
2515 tasting notes

Finally getting to taste this tea thanks to a Lupicia order placed back in February that I finally picked up my teas from :D It was worth the wait. There’s that perfect melon flavour (honeydew, IMO) which is familiar to me from various Japanese sweets, blended masterfully into a lovely, buttery oolong base. It’s perfect. I will admit that it’s SO perfect that I probably wouldn’t want this tea overly often (so my shared packet will be ample for a while). Super want to make another Lupicia order now, for Ripe Mango Oolong and others…

ETA: What I find particularly interesting about this tea is the longevity of the melon flavour. I was under the impression that the little balls of whatever in this tea were the flavouring, therefore I wasn’t expecting the flavour to last beyond the first, maybe second infusion. But I’m drinking the third right now, and it most definitely still tastes and smells like melon. A bit muted, of course, but quite apparent.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
KatBender

This sounds delicious! I definitely recommend their Ripe Mango Oolong. It’s my sister’s favorite thing in my whole cupboard. :D

Kittenna

Yum. I don’t think I’ve ever had a great mango tea, so I’m pretty excited. Someday…

Ost

Well, you know…they might still have the free shipping offer on ;)

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Sipdown! 944 (Added some T By Daniel teas from February). The opposite of last time – I must have overleafed or oversteeped! I think this is a pretty finicky oolong though, because both times, I got quite a bit of astringency. This time, though, there was also some flavour to it (standard dark oolong flavour) and a nice lingering oolong aftertaste. Probably not a tea I’d specifically seek out again, mostly since I’ve had better luck with other similar oolongs.

ETA: I think age may have also been a factor here. Removed my rating because of that.

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Bio

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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