2606 Tasting Notes

85
drank Caramelized Pear by Art of Tea
2606 tasting notes

This tea came to me by way of Azzrian, who received it via Steepster Select and found it to be nothing special… but I am so glad it found its way to me!!! Let me explain:

First off, the smell! Delicious, delicious pear Jelly Bellies! That’s exactly how it smells, to me! I’m not really sure that it’s a particularly realistic pear aroma, but I happen to like pear Jelly Bellies, and fake pear flavouring, so I’m pretty excited! I could smell a touch of rooibos behind the pear, but it wasn’t really bothering me. I had my roommate smell this one as well, and she found something in it to be offputting, which I found surprising (but that’s ok, more for me!)

Anyways, onto the flavour! I lost track of how long I infused this one for (a while), but it’s ok as it’s a rooibos… and also not an issue because the flavour is absolutely delicious! A strong pear flavour as per the aroma, again with the rooibos present but unassuming (thankfully) in the background. I’m not sure that I’m really getting “caramelized” pear from the tea, and would really like to mix a little creme caramel rooibos or something similar in here to see what happens…. but this tea is sweet and delicious as is! Much less finicky than DavidsTea’s Sencha Pear, but with the same great pear flavour.

This one’s a winner for me! And bonus – caffeine-free, so I can enjoy it before bed! Perfect! Thank you so much Azz, this tea definitely found a better home here!

ETA: Re-steep pretty good! A bit more rooibos, but still a strong pear flavour. Tasty!

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

Yay Success!!!! :)

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98
drank Gui Fei Oolong by Butiki Teas
2606 tasting notes

Drinking a Timolino-full of this while waiting for the boy’s soccer game to start. First time I have ever actually been thankful for the Timolino’s ability to retain heat… I brewed this up over an hour ago, and it is only just cooled enough for me to avoid scalding myself.

Delicious as usual, even with a hint of chai. 11-minute infusion today, this oolong can handle anything!!!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 8 min or more
Awkward Soul / Oolong Owl

The leafhoppers made this tea indestructible!

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Bought a sample of this on a whim because it was being, at least temporarily, discontinued. Not flavours I care for, just insatiable curiousity! Therefore unless it’s fabulous, no numerical rating from me, because mint and I usually do not agree.

Brewed, the aroma is, to be honest, revoltingly of mint. Yep. I’m less enthused to try this one now that I’ve smelled it, but past experience tells me that sometimes aromas to not dictate flavour. So I’ve crossed my fingers… eh, nope. In this case, it’s pretty accurate. Lots, and lots, and lots of mint. A nice refreshingly minty aftertaste (which I don’t seem to find with many mint teas), but I’m not getting any other flavours aside from the pu’erh base. I neglected to rinse this tea, but I doubt that that would have had a great deal of impact on the flavour unless it perhaps brought out the pu’erh a bit more. The second infusion smells like pu’erh (I would almost be inclined to call it “fishy”, but not quite) and again, mint, although the flavour is more pu’erh than mint this time. Still not getting any of the other flavours.

Ah well. This one is not a blend for me, and that’s ok! I had no expectation that it would be, so at least I only have a cup’s worth left to finish off! I do have to say, though, that I’m disappointed to not be able to discern any of the flavourings aside from mint (although I can tell there are both spearmint and peppermint here).

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

that actually sounds… oddly tasty!

Kittenna

I imagine it is for those who enjoy pu’erh and mint!

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96
drank Laoshan White by Verdant Tea
2606 tasting notes

Just brewed some of this one up, and OH MY GOODNESS this smells so incredibly delicious! Like creamy caramels mixed with that delicious vegetal flavour… it is all I can do not to gulp this down, but I’d surely burn my throat quite badly.

Cool faster, tea!!! Updated tasting note to come…

Also, for reference, I brewed ~4g of this in ~6oz. of 175F water for about 30 seconds. All approximate, yep. If this is as delicious as the aroma, hopefully I can replicate it…

ETA: Ok, I have very little experience with straight white teas, but this one is absolutely amazing! I love love LOVE vegetal greens, particularly ones with a natural rock sugary sweetness (like the Dragonwell-style Laoshan Green), but this is completely something else. Not rock sugar, but definitely creamy, sweet caramel with that Laoshan background. Amazing. I only picked up a sample of this one, but I suspect a full ounce or two may be headed my way sooner than my bank account would prefer…

ETA again: Yummmmm. I would be hard-pressed to identify this as a white tea over a green, but I really don’t care… this one is so good!

ETA a third time: Second infusion, 175F for a minute, is astringent but not unpleasantly so. The vegetal, green-beany flavour is very present, and leaves a strong, caramelly, vegetal aftertaste. Oh so good. I do, however, think that a 45s infusion may have been a touch better – less strong! Or more water. Either way, this is one yummy tea.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

This has great resteeping qualities too. Love this and restocked it myself too!

Kittenna

I’m hoping to re-steep it a bunch tonight! It looks like the vegetal greens I like, which do not fare well when left overnight and gain a metallic flavour (whereas oolongs and blacks are usually great the next day too).

Bonnie

This is one that I would carry with me and keep adding boiling water to in a small glass thermos all day.

Kittenna

Nice! Didn’t get bitter? Or did you keep taking the leaves out?

Bonnie

If you drink it down (we’re talking an 12 oz thermos which I have with a strainer), you can add more hot water and drink more during the day. Put in the leaves, water and get going sipping as you go…later add more water. I’d drink a couple infusions first then transfer the leaves to the thermos for the later infusions so that there is little chance of bitterness.

TeaBrat

I need to bring some of this to work with me today. :)

Azzrian

Can’t wait to try mine!

Bonnie

Although this one does give me a tea buzz.

Kittenna

Yeah, I can definitely see why this would give you a tea buzz, Bonnie! And Azz, you need to try this one ASAP! It’s delicious. If you like the Laoshan greens, it will be a hit.

Amy – I need to acquire a travel mug that does not smell like chai, and then bring some to work! I have a feeling that even a mild chai flavour would have a big negative impact. Stupid Timolino. Stupid chai.

SimpliciTEA

It’s great to hear that the He family in Laoshan is broadening their tea repertoire by producing a quality white tea.

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87
drank Chocolate Cake by DAVIDsTEA
2606 tasting notes

Another work tea; I needed to amp up my stash so threw a (not entirely) random bunch of teas in my backpack last night. Yay!

Sadly, although this smells delicious as usual, I am getting a major hit of stevia here which is throwing me off. This is a new bag from the one I previously had…. so perhaps they were different. Or, maybe I just overleafed and therefore over-stevia-ed. Anyways, I’m not enjoying this one as much as I remember previously, and it’s mostly because it’s sickeningly sweet (the chocolate is quite nice though!) and rather scummy, although the latter bit was expected.

Sad, sad. Perhaps I’ll leave the last of what’s in my cup, add some water, and re-steep…

ETA: Blegh, my re-steep attempt was not pleasant. I’m going to hope that this was a one-off occurrence, and my next cup is better, as this one was, frankly, rather icky.

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec

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65
drank Strawberry Ginger by DAVIDsTEA
2606 tasting notes

Brewed this one up again today, mostly because it found its way to work somehow, and seemed appealing at the time! So why not. I seem to recall having hibiscus issues in the past, so kept the infusion to a careful 4 minutes.

While it’s certainly never going to make it into the ranks of my favourite teas, this cup really isn’t too bad. The ginger is mild and soothing; the strawberry is reduced to more of an underlying fruitiness, but that’s ok. I’m finding it to be a touch weak (maybe I should have used a higher leaf:water ratio), but I’m drinking it cooled right now, and it’s rather refreshing.

ETA: Re-steep for quite a while produced a tarter tea that was bitter from the ginger, but still not bad, especially compared to the stevia-laden wonder (i.e. Chocolate Cake) that I was attempting to enjoy alongside it.

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec

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89

Brewed this up tonight but drank it while playing a game with the boy and my roommate, so failed to noticed a great deal about it. It was good, but spectacular? I’m not sure. I used probably about 2.5tsp in ~10oz. of water at close to boiling for ~30 seconds. I’ll have to re-infuse later, and write a proper tasting note when I have a bit more time to contemplate the tea!

ETA: Second infusion tonight, for 1 minute (I think), and it’s roast and bakey like a darker oolong. The leaves really have such a burnt smell to them; I find it fascinating! I think the Four Seasons Oolong from Butiki smelled much the same. Perhaps I should try the two side by side if I remember someday. Anyhow, this is tasty, but I need to spend a bit more time on it next time! Here’s hoping the leaves are good a little bit longer…

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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70
drank Forbidden Fruit by DAVIDsTEA
2606 tasting notes

Another tea I haven’t had in ages! That I logged in February, therefore must have bought this package then…. getting old!

The aroma is kind of fruity and rich; I could be convinced that it’s fig. Although I used to eat fig cookies all the time, and have eaten figs, I’m not actually super sure as to what sort of aroma they have!

Oooh, this is oversteeped :( A little astringent for my liking. It’s also a little… weirder than I remember. The flavour’s a bit floral, almost, although more fruity. That’s probably the fig, though. I can kind of taste the oolong background, but the astringency is really ruining it for me here. Astringency gives me an unhappy tummy. I’ll finish the cup, but… bleh. Probably not a loss that DT discontinued this one.

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec

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93
drank Checkmate by DAVIDsTEA
2606 tasting notes

Grr, my data is being all stupid. What’s the point of a program that does automatic calculations of area under the curve when it doesn’t work properly and you have to do it manually anyways!? GAH!

In other news, this tea is delicious. I feel like I should stop drinking it so that I can keep it around longer so I don’t have to buy more, since I need to not be buying tea…. which kind of makes sense, but really is more backward than anything! :P Ah well. It’s one of the best replacements I’ve found so far for the sugar and fat-laden coffee beverages I used to buy from Second Cup a little too often…. and it comes without the upset tummy! Joy!

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec
TassieTeaGirl

Oh I totally have that problem. Trying to get rid of some of my samples/teas I won’t reorder, but I keep drinking the ones I really like!

gmathis

I hate numbers that won’t stand still and let me beat them into submission.

Kittenna

Hahaha, pretty much, gmathis! >:(

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98
drank Quangzhou Milk Oolong by DAVIDsTEA
2606 tasting notes

Brewed this up a couple nights ago. The first infusion was unfortunately somewhat ruined by the chai-flavoured Timolino sad face but the real reason I’m writing this note is because of the second infusion! I left it steeping for OVER AN HOUR (by complete accident), and it was absolutely delicious! This was following a 3 minute first infusion the day before.

Anyways, just needed to record this awesome event for future reference! I’m not sure the leaves will have anything left for a third infusion, but I hung onto them anyway to see if I have time tonight to try.

Lynne-tea

Is this from the latest $6.00 batch? or an older batch? I wonder why the price dropped so much (and if it relates to quality/taste of the oolong)..

Kittenna

This is from when they had the spend $20 get a free 50g of tea promo, so it was before the price drop. However, it’s the second bag of it I picked up, and I swear it’s different this time from the first time (as in, not as good), but I may be remembering incorrectly.

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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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