2661 Tasting Notes

93
drank Coconut Chai by Zhena's Gypsy Tea
2661 tasting notes

Yep, this one’s still a great chai for drinking straight! The aroma is of a perfectly blended spiced chai, with a definite cardamom aroma being the most present, yet not overwhelming. In spite of the flavour being fairly light (although again, cardamom is the dominant flavour), this tea tastes full and rich, and deliciously creamy from the coconut, so unlike underspiced, watery chais, this one is very satisfying. Makes for a delicious evening cuppa. Thanks again Indigobloom! One of my fave chais for sure :D

ETA: Wow, I’m on the fourth infusion, and it’s more lightly spiced but still coconutilly creamy! Delicious! And wow, the fifth infusion is still creamy and coconutty! Crazy. This tea has some insane longevity.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Babble

WOW – that is some longevity on that tea.

Kittenna

Yeah! I really like it! I’m glad I still have enough left for a few cups, because otherwise I’d be desperate to find some.

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81

Ok, from this tea, I was hoping for a delicious apricot-flavoured honeybush. Wish granted! That’s pretty much what this tastes like to me. Brandy? Possibly, but I don’t know what it tastes like. Upside-down cake? I don’t know, I’m not really getting any cakey flavours. Just sweet apricot, and honeybush. The honeybush is a liiiittle bit strong here IMO, but it is so much more bearable than rooibos.

Delicious delicious. Unfortunately less true to the name than some people liked, but I feel it will serve the purpose I bought it for!]

ETA: Second infusion is mildy fruity water. Surprisingly tasty, actually, but pales in comparison to the other teas I have brewed up, so I probably won’t finish the cup.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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drank Spiced Brandy Shou Mei by 52teas
2661 tasting notes

Bleh. Unfortunately, another bust with this tea, this time due to the anise. When I opened the packet, I was hit with an overwhelming licorice smell. I guess I had interpreted “a little” anise seed to mean just that, and was expecting it to be very mild (say, like in Butterbeer, where it was nearly indistinguishable). I drank this cup quickly, so can’t really remember any nuances in flavours, except that behind the overly present licorice flavour, there was a nice light spiced chai that I actually quite liked. I admit that I definitely did find this one easier to drink than Graveyard Mist, and when the licorice faded (it was more of an initial flavour), the cardamom and other spices left quite a nice aftertaste. Can’t say I’ve ever had brandy, so I have no idea if it was true in flavour to that…

Also, there was a weird smell emanating from the bag when I opened it, and the tea when freshly brewed. It was a familiar non-food aroma, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. My roommate said it reminded her of play make-up she used to use as a child, but I don’t think that’s what I’m getting.

Anyways, do not pick this one up if you have an aversion to licoricey aromas/flavours or chais (stupid Autocorrect tried to correct that to “chaos” three times!) but for those of you who do like such flavours, I imagine it’s quite good! Rating withheld because of a hated ingredient and therefore heavy bias.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C
Invader Zim

I thought about getting this one and am now glad I didn’t considering my dislike for licorice.

CHAroma

Funny, autocorrect always tries to capitalize the word “chai” for me. It’s not chai, it’s Chai! Silly human! (At least, that’s what I imagine it saying). ;)

Kittenna

Hahaha, one of the biggest annoyances for me with autocorrect is when I’m trying to say I’m working in the lab, and it autocorrects to LAN. (Perhaps I’m actually typing lan to begin with, but…. it doesn’t need to capitalize it! i do know btw what LAN stands for, but still…)

CHAroma

Local Area Network. Basically, it just means WIFI, I think. Like when I was a gamer in college, we would have “LAN parties,” which meant that everyone would bring over their laptops and game in the same room.

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drank Graveyard Mist by 52teas
2661 tasting notes

Ook. I ordered this one kind of on a whim, thinking that perhaps marshmallow creaminess would make me like mint, but unfortunately no. I really, really dislike this tea; it tastes far too much like mouthwash/toothpaste for me. I tried sweetening it, and it didn’t help at all; I let it sit to chill (ok, I couldn’t face taking it to work nor bear dumping it out, so I poured it into a different mug and left it sitting on the counter while I was at work tonight) and it’s marginally better… tastes much like a liquefied spearmint candy, but with an odd flavour that I’m really not enjoying.

My roommate only tasted this post-sweetening, and it was way too sweet for her, so I’ll let her try it unsweetened before attempting to rid myself of this tea. Unfortunate purchase for me, but luckily it’s well-liked by most everyone else, so I expect someone may want it!

No rating because, well, it’s mint, and I really shouldn’t have ordered this one, it just sounded so good…

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

Now I’m glad I didn’t order this. I was tempted but then saw the mint. I don’t hate mint, but I’m pretty particular about it.

tattooed_tea

If you decide to swap this out, I would love to try it.

Kittenna

tattooed_tea – I probably will! No swapping for me for a bit though, I think, I’m just too busy. However, sometime in the future!!

Indigobloom

Do you still have any of this left? My packet is almost gone! :/

Kittenna

Awww, sorry Indigobloom – I left my whole package with my mom at Christmas. She really likes it! :(

Indigobloom

no worries! I’m happy it has a good home! :)

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91

Yeeaaah, definitely made a second cup of this one tonight. Not a re-infusion though; the leaves did not have much aroma at all after the first infusion, so I just threw them out. I may try a second infusion of this set simply for curiousity tomorrow, if I have time.

The aroma is of a very caramelly, lightly spiced pumpkin pie. I don’t get pumpkin itself per se, but the spicing is right, which leads to the mental association. Flavourwise, it’s a just slightly bitter, light base, with that same spicy aftertaste, and an encompassing caramel flavour. Pretty tasty. I’d like to try it with sugar, but it’s pretty delicious without. Still no cheesecake flavour, but I’ve come to not really expect that anymore.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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99

I’m on a roll tonight! After receiving my five new teas from 52teas, I have managed to try all of them, plus have a second cup of the Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake! So, must commence quickly with the reviews.

This one smells much more of toasted rice than I recall from the sample I had, but it’s a delicious aroma. The flavour when hot tastes mostly to me of a delicious genmaicha, however as it cooled, a vanilla-y flavour started to develop until the warm tea produces a definite marshmallow taste. Absolutely delicious. My roommate was so taken by it that she nabbed my infuser and made herself the second infusion (with my okay, of course), so I’ll have to make notes on that another day.

This tea is absolutely a winner. I love genmaicha, and I love vanilla/creamy flavours. So glad I got a pouch; I hope it holds me until the next time this one is reblended!

Oh, also, no astringency, no bitterness. The green tea was present but definitely in the background to the toasted rice and flavourings. Delish.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

did they bring this back?

Kittenna

It was reblended a few weeks ago, yeah. Snapped up pretty fast! Wishing I’d grabbed a second pouch…

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91

My order finally arrived!!! Made this one and threw it in the Timolino for work. It’s suffering a touch from thermos syndrome, but heck yes this is amazing! Pumpkin tea-wise I don’t think it beats out Della Terra or DavidsTea, but it’s caramel and cheesecake, not just pumpkin spice. Admittedly can’t taste cheesecake, but I have to assume it’s creating a bit of creaminess. The tea base here is also lighter than I expected, but it’s working really well! A definite winner. Better notes when not on my phone and in a rush to get things done.

Frank, I suggest you remove Pumpkin Pie Black from the permanent collection, and replace it with this one!!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

if you know.. you like those other teas better… i’m happy to take this one off your hands :)

Ze_Teamaker

UGH! I need to get my hands on some of this!!!

Kittenna

Hahaha, I feel like Frank would be silly not to reblend this one ASAP at least once more. There seems to be a fair bit of demand.

Sil – if we manage to meet up before my pouch is gone, you can totally have a sample! But I like it too much to give up :D Graveyard Mist and Spiced Brandy Shou Mei, on the other hand…

Sil

Kittena – I have a pouch haha I just enjoy it so much i don’t want to get to the bottom of the pouch

Helena

it’s great and I would definitely drink it over the regular pumpkin pie! Here’s hoping he adds it the permanent collection!

Kittenna

Sil – I realized that afterwards when I was browsing through my Dashboard :D

CHAroma

I second (or third?) the vote for the permanent collection!!

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86

Thanks to Fong Mong for this generous sample, and my apologies for taking so long to get to reviewing it! I haven’t ever tried a straight pouchong, only in a couple blends (primarily Golden Moon’s Coconut Pouchong). So my expectations are for a tasty green oolong, and that’s about it.

I used half the packet for this cup, and less than boiling water, although I’m not sure of the exact temperature. The tea produces a fragrant cup with a characteristic oolong aroma with a hint of floral.

This tea, like the others from Fong Mong, is absolutely delicious. A sweet, lightly vegetal oolong with a lingering floral, perhaps lilac?, aftertaste. And plenty of “oolong” flavour. I’m not sure if there’s anything here that would allow me to differentiate between pouchong and other green oolongs, as the flavour reminds me of the Fruity Sijichun Oolong from Fong Mong, but I really don’t care, as it’s quite tasty! It’s definitely fruitier/more floral than the base used for the Coconut Pouchong I’ve had, but I don’t think this tea would work quite as well in such a blend (or perhaps it would? Sweet coconut?)

Either way, this was delicious, and hopefully it gives me a bit of a caffeine kick to get through the remaining… 65 samples I have yet to weight out tonight (in triplicate… yeah…) Thanks Fong Mong!

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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65

I like roasted mate, and almonds, so this tea sounded like a possible winner! Steeped, it smells like plain roasted mate, which is alright, but kind of boring. Kind of a burny, sweet-ish smell. The flavour is much like the aroma – plain roasted mate. Which really, is nothing bad, but nothing special, either. I can’t pick out any nutty flavours; this tastes much like 52teas’ Flaming Chocolate Mate or ChocoMate, minus the chocolate/malt/cayenne flavourings. As there’s nothing at all wrong with it though (just boring), I can see myself blending this in with other teas that maybe need a bit of that mate kick.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more

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41

So last night, I decided to go through a bunch of the teas I had and pick out a select few that I either hadn’t yet tried, or hadn’t tried properly, etc. etc. Ended up with a huge pile (probably 50+ teas), and my plan is to drink through them (not finishing them, just trying them all) until I’m done, without going for other teas! Of course, I’ll probably let myself slip up a bit, but hopefully I can get through these ones fairly quickly. Some are teas that I owe reviews for (e.g. from Teavivre); some are old things I need to use up, and others I just haven’t tried. It’s not an exhaustive pile by a long shot, and I didn’t go through too many sample boxes (just ones from Azzrian, and Mercuryhime) so there are plenty of samples baggies yet to go through…. eek.

Anyways, starting with a couple from Caraway Teas. Apparently nobody else had tried this one, as I had to add it myself; I was surprised, as it actually sounds rather good. A black tea, with pineapple and papaya. I find it interesting that instead of large chunks of fruit as other companies do, the fruit here is nearly indistinguishable from the tea, being in small brown pellety form. At least I hope it’s fruit (haha). Anyhow, it’s not likely freeze-dried fruit, more likely dried in a different manner. I’m brewing this at work, so not optimal conditions, but oh well – blacks at least don’t have stringent temperature requirements!

The aroma is of a strong black tea. Little, if any, fruitiness is apparent, although the aroma is not unpleasant. A few sips in, and it’s clear that this is too strong for my liking. It’s rather bitter and somewhat astringent, which leads me to believe that a 2:30 infusion would have been better, and perhaps adding a bit less tea may also have been beneficial (my work teaspoon is currently indisposed… I eyeballed). Unfortunately, I’m really not tasting anything fruity here. I think there are perhaps hints, and maybe if I compared an unflavoured version of this black tea base to this cup, I would notice a difference, but I’m just not picking it up. There is a bit of sweetness though, so this tea is palatable to drink straight (well, it would be better if not oversteeped), it’s just nothing special at all. I feel like I could put some milk and sugar in here and serve it in a restaurant as “tea” and nobody would be the wiser.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

I have tried to do this a few times and keep failing.

tattooed_tea

I too have tried to at least try what I haven’t yet. It lasted a few days but I still have so much to try, but o just want to drink my fave.

Kittenna

Well, this pile definitely doesn’t contain everything I have yet to try, but a good bit of it is new to my tastebuds! Got three down today, and there’s a bunch of stuff in there that I’m eager to try, so I don’t think it will be quite the chore it could be (yet).

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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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