2823 Tasting Notes

86

Deliciously sickeningly sweet, as usual. Yum. And so fragrant! Definitely a treat tea (especially because I think it has some sweetener in the blend).

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76

Honestly? This tea should not have worked. Melon and espresso? Just saying it sounds wrong, because they’re such incompatible-seeming flavours. But it seems that the rush to create blends/use flavourings let some of these weird ideas through, and unexpectedly, this pairing, which I sincerely doubt Stacy would have ever tried otherwise, is brilliant!

Don’t recall what the base is here, but it’s the flavourings that are the stars – the bright melon that reminds me mostly of Watermelon Xylophone, plus the espresso from Red Queen Cupcake to really make the name accurate. It just works for some reason, perhaps because the melon is featured, with the espresso creating the background (whereas when one might think of pairing the two, a melon coffee might come to mind, in which COFFEE would be the dominant note… and I don’t know how that would go).

Overall, I’m quite pleased. The one thing is – though I love melon, I’ll admit that it does seem to be a flavour I tire of in teas, which is why I’ve had trouble getting through my 2 oz. of Cantaloupe & Cream (though I quite enjoy it when I actually crave it). So I have a good amount of this, which will probably last me for quite some time for that reason.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 15 sec
Amariel

I hope to be trying this one soon. My friend and I are swapping teas, and this is one she ordered for us to split.

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80

Thanks to Angel and Teavivre for this generous sample!

This tea is pretty darn delicious as well – a sentiment I am still surprised to find myself saying about a straight black tea! I can’t properly review it right now, because I did take it to work in a mug, but it was malty and fruity; bold yet not astringent (except just now when I used a very bad water:leaf ratio for my second infusion – a bit of dilution helped that quite well though). I’m not sure whether I prefer this or the Tan Yang (the Tan Yang may edge it out just a bit), but both are going to be travel mug treats for me :)

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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84

A huuuuge thank you to Angel and Teavivre for yet another round of wonderful samples, which I received yesterday! I was super excited to try this tea, mostly because I have recollections of Angrboda speaking highly of tan yang, and perhaps even this tea specifically – which seems even more likely given that I apparently had this tea on my wish list as well :)

The tea is a fluffy mass of yummy, chocolatey-smelling golden tips. I opted to brew western-style, since that’s how I usually drink things (I don’t have enough time for gongfu sessions right now, though one day I hope to be able to test the waters with my Teavivre gaiwan!), and used about 4 tsp for a 16 oz. mug. The resulting brew is really tasty – malty/bready and chocolatey, but with a brightness (lightness?) that some other Chinese blacks don’t seem to have. The aftertaste is of malty hay, which is delicious in itself.

I feel like I really suck at describing this tea, so just know that it’s really quite incredibly delicious, and a must-try if you like Chinese blacks and chocolate notes.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 15 sec
Fjellrev

Yay! I have a bunch sitting at home waiting to be opened and your description makes me antsy to try it. So clearly your descriptions don’t suck!

Kittenna

I loaded it with positive words to make it seem delicious :D Which it is.

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57
drank Violet by Simpson & Vail
2823 tasting notes

Backlog from sometime in January.

Blech, I just can’t drink this one. It’s too powerful in the florals dep’t, and I’m just not a fan of that. I believe I dumped most of this mug down the drain because I have way too much tea to drink to spend time forcing something down my throat that I don’t care for. It shall be rehomed to keychange, who hopefully will enjoy it more than I did!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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84
drank Bancha Houjicha by Pure Aroma Tea
2823 tasting notes

Backlog from sometime in January.

Thank you to Raritea for this tea! I am really enjoying it – I deviated from my usual choose-my-own-brewing-parameters and went with their recommendation of 30s at boiling, and it was wonderful. Nutty, sweet, roasty, savoury; great in a travel mug (and better out of, I’m sure). Really quite tasty, so I’m sad that Raritea didn’t find it as good! (Although if she had, maybe I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to try it!) Anyhow, I was quite happy with this tea, and will probably keep a houjicha of some variety (I haven’t had enough to know the flavour difference between bancha houjicha and regular houjicha) in stock.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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89
drank Chocolate Macaroon by DAVIDsTEA
2823 tasting notes

Backlog from sometime in January.

This tea never fails to deliver – it’s like dessert in a mug. Of course, I think there may be rock sugar in it, which might be one of the reasons I enjoy it so much, though I do also just like coconut and chocolate.

Fjellrev

Do you normally like their chocolate teas/note? I have been afraid of trying this thinking it would taste artificial based on how it smells in the store.

Kittenna

Eh, not as much as I like anything flavoured with cacao shells, but yes, I believe I do in general. This tea is perhaps a bit artificial-tasting, but less so than a few of their others (Love Tea #7 comes to mind here). If you like the nut/coconut/chocolate combo, I’d recommend at least giving it a try. It’s pretty tasty as a latte :)

Fjellrev

Ah ok, yeah, it wouldn’t hurt to pick up 10g. I agree on Love Tea #7, whose prominent chocolate note is especially artificial. I thought it was just me.

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81
drank Raspberry Cream by 52teas
2823 tasting notes

Backlog from sometime in January.

I know this is a pretty basic tea (raspberry + cream), but I’m really going to miss it when it’s gone, and I believe I’m down to my last cup’s worth now. Just the perfect smooth combo of fruit and cream, and the raspberry flavouring is excellent. Perhaps a tea that should be reblended at some point :D

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77
drank Smoky Chocolate by 52teas
2823 tasting notes

Backlog from sometime in January.

This really hit the spot when I had it – for some reason I had been avoiding it, but it was perfect in a travel mug. No need for milk or anything, just had it straight, and quite enjoyed it. Good balance of smoke, chocolate, and base tea.

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93

Finally opened up my package of this and had a mug… and was super disappointed. I remember a delicious, slightly minty, lovely gingerbready/beany tea, but my package was very clearly about 40% mint leaves, and it completely ruined it for me, with the mint taking over everything. In the background, I could almost taste the delicious gingerbread, but I was pretty much gagging while drinking it because of the strong peppermint, which is a flavour I hate in tea.

Other people with this tea – is yours also VERY minty? As in, pretty much all you can taste is mint? If not, perhaps I just got a very bad mix of ingredients. I am debating trying to pick out some of the mint to see if it improves, but that seems like a lot of effort :(

ETA: A quick skim through the tasting notes makes it very clear that this is nothing like the original blend. Mint was not a main flavour at all in the original blend – it was the cardamom and coriander, supported by a bit of minty freshness, whereas this reblend is being described as MINT with a bit of beany green tea. How unfortunate, because the original was far, far better.

OMGsrsly

:( I hate when that happens.

KiwiDelight

That’s so unfortunate…

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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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