2606 Tasting Notes

75
drank Honey Bee by DAVIDsTEA
2606 tasting notes

YES! A sipdown! From last year’s advent calendar, no less! I told my roomie that we should try and finish off all of our advent calendar teas before Christmas, as they’re getting a bit old… Luckily, I didn’t start buying a lot of tea until Jan/Feb (and even then, it was mostly DT, and not really a “lot” in comparison to a month or so later…)

Like any rooibos blend, this one really requires a fine filter. Unfortunately, I’m at work, and the only options here are a teaball with large-ish holes, a fine mesh teaball that would be great except for the fact that it has gaps between the two halves, and paper filters. I wasn’t thinking, and used option B instead of C, so am left with a cup full of tea bits. Oh well.

I like this one today better than I recall liking it last time. For whatever reason, it’s a little bitter (mate??), but definitely honey-sweet in aroma, and with a sweet-ish flavour that makes me think pollen. Also, there’s a hint of lemony citrus flavour, but just a hint. I don’t think I’ve ever tried pollen, so why I’m compelled to say it tastes like pollen, I have no idea. The honey/pollen flavour also remains after swallowing as a rather pleasant aftertaste. So, this blend is tasty enough, and I could see maybe dosing other blends with some of it, but I doubt I’d pick any more up (and no longer have any left).

I’d start an ‘advent calendar tea sipdown’ countdown, but I don’t know how many we’ve already finished! Hmmm, I should find that out. We’re probably done aproximately 1/3 of the tins, but some, like David’s Organic Breakfast, and the Japanese Sencha, are still very full, as we only drank them once…. More things to do with all that time I don’t have!

ETA: Second infusion was pretty unremarkable. Not bad, but not a great deal of flavour. Worth it if there’s no other tea around, but that’s probably it.

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93
drank Cranberry Pear by DAVIDsTEA
2606 tasting notes

Wow…. it has been ages since I’ve drank/logged this tea! I’m trying to get through some older teas before they “expire”, so when I saw this one today, I figured it would be a good candidate, as I bought a 100g tin sometime in February 2012 or so.

Brewed up, it smells deliciously sweetly of fruity cranberry, and the flavour is much better than I remember! The black tea is quite unobtrusive, but I can taste the fruitiness from the pear/cranberry (and apple) quite well. This is one tea that definitely requires a longer infusion though, as the fruitiness takes a while to show up. However, the positive of this is that the black base only becomes slightly astringent with an extended infusion, so either leaving the infuser in indefinitely, or for 8-10 minutes, works quite well.

Yum! What a lovely afternoon cuppa. Still have a fair bit of this one left, so I’ll have to remember to drink it a bit more often!

ETA: Still got flavour in the second infusion, yeah! Probably because I actually took the teaball out. I was annoyed, though, because when I went to throw out the tea, I ate a cranberry and it was still rather tart. Which means there was still some flavour left, which I hate (that means it could have been in my tea! Grrr.) Oh well! Didn’t eat them because the tea leaves get all in there, and I’m not a fan of eating black tea leaves. Green, on the other hand, can be surprisingly tasty…

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87

Yay, my first of two recent Verdant orders arrived! Lots of samples, and an ounce or two of a few other things! Couldn’t wait to get started.

I used 2 tsp of tea in a probably slightly-bigger-than-it-should-have-been mug, and followed the western brewing instructions on Verdant’s website. The aroma is of quite a spiced, delicious-smelling chai, both dry and brewed.

The flavour, unfortunately, is a touch weak, and is coming off to me a bit more like spiced water than chai. I blame this on a poor leaf:water ratio. However, the spicing itself is delicious!! I can’t pick them out individually (and need to get going, not sit here contemplating for ten minutes!) The aftertaste, however, is of a rich dark chocolate.

A great blend with a lot of potential, but I think I need to put some effort into testing different brewing parameters to get the perfect mix! Right now, there definitely isn’t enough tea background for me (but since I have a nice little 1 oz. package of Laoshan Black now, I could always add a bit of that!

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

I hate you! My order still hasn’t arrived lesigh

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81

At the first whiff of this one while steeping, I was pretty sure this would not be a tea I’d like. The name makes it sound so good, but… so much mint! And I really, really don’t like mint, especially when it’s the dominant flavour in a blend.

Surprisingly, however, although it smells incredibly minty, the flavour is so much more complex! It’s kind of creamy and rich from the white chocolate and vanilla, and although the spearmint is quite apparent, the combination of the flavours works quite well and masks whatever it is that I hate about mint (I’m not too certain about this…) Definitely a blend I’d drink again!

Thanks for passing some of this along to me, Amanda!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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74

Felt like trying a new-to-me honeybush tonight, so poked around in my box from Amanda and found this one! Perfect!

The flavour is definitely fruity (I could be convinced that it’s raspberry), however it’s also a bit perfumey, and the aftertaste seems to morph into a bit of a fakey-fruit flavour. I can’t say I’m tasting the ‘cream cheese danish’ part at all, but given my usual inability to taste such flavours in teas, I’m not terribly surprised.

Ok, the more sips I take, the more I believe I’m tasting raspberry, but unfortunately, that’s it. However… it’s a pretty good honeybush anyways! I’ve been looking for new options to drink in the evening, and don’t have too many fruity rooibos/honeybush blends, so I’m quite happy to have another cup of this one for a future evening!

Thanks for sending me a sample of this one, Amanda!

ETA: Bleh, not really enjoying the second infusion of this one. No surprise, as it’s a honeybush. Down the drain you go!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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91

Made some more of this to take to work tonight. Soooooo delicious. Limey marshmallow fluff. I think I prefer this blend to Sun & Cloud Mist, although I think I should try a side-by-side comparison someday, since both are citrus + marshmallow.

Second infusion, also for 2.5 minutes, is a touch oversteeped (bitter), so I’d drop that infusion down to two minutes.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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89

Ooh, my tea is suffering from a bad leaf:water ratio. I knew I should have finished the rest of my sample for this cup! Ah well. It’s still tasty, just a bit mild. I maintain that the hibiscus is fabulous here as well, and I adore how creamy it is. Yum!

ETA: Second infusion a few days down the road, and it’s still pretty good. This one is definitely a winner! As it’s a TOTM, I’m hoping it’s permanent, therefore I don’t have to go all crazy and pick up 50-100g of it before it disappears/becomes online-only…

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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98
drank Gui Fei Oolong by Butiki Teas
2606 tasting notes

I decided to brew some of this one up this morning to take to work in my Timolino, as I thought it would be a great tea to drink at work. I definitely wasn’t wrong! It was delicious, although not as ice winey as usual (probably because my leaf ratio was off as I was brewing a larger cup). However… I clearly didn’t properly clean my Timolino after it had Mayan Chocolate Chai in it… so although the tea tasted great, every time I went to drink some I got a huge whiff of chai! Kinda unpleasant, since I wanted my oolong!

Anyhow, I also would like to note that I brewed this one up prior to 9am, popped it in my mug after it had cooled some (call me weird, but I hate that super hot tea doesn’t cool in the Timolino! I don’t drink scalding hot tea), and didn’t really drink any until the afternoon, finishing it at 5:30pm. And although it was cool at that time, the flavour was still excellent. I had been trying to talk myself out of purchasing more of this one, but I am absolutely in love with it! At some point I’ll have to try the recommended infusion time, but I’m so addicted to the flavour I get at 8 minutes….

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 8 min or more
Daniel Scott

I have that problem with the Timolino too, I can’t drink the tea for ages once it’s in there, so it almost defeats the purpose! One the other hand, it keeps drinks cold for a good long time, so… Iced, it is!

Kittenna

I haven’t tried putting anything iced in there… interesting thought! I usually enjoy drinking most things lukewarm though :D

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67
drank Papayarama by DAVIDsTEA
2606 tasting notes

A) I didn’t realize how incredibly poorly rated this tea is.
B) I didn’t realize that this was a honeybush tea.
C) I didn’t realize that there was lime flavouring in here.

This could be interesting! I requested this as a sample in a DavidsTea order from a while back, and hadn’t yet gotten around to trying it. The aroma is vaguely fruity and a bit limey-citrusy. Nothing objectionable so far!

Given an average rating of 53, the flavour here is far better than I was expecting. Does it taste like papaya? Not particularly, to me anyways. It tastes like a generically fruit-flavoured honeybush, with perhaps a limey aftertaste. Although I dislike the medicinal flavour of red rooibos, I usually enjoy red honeybush, and this tea is no exception! That said, there is absolutely nothing special about this tea. I have less than a cup’s worth left in my sample packet, and will use it up, but certainly wouldn’t seek more.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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77
drank Rainbow Sherbet by 52teas
2606 tasting notes

Ok, so I know I just said the last tea was potent in dry form, but woah, this one! The aroma here is so pungent and tangy… but in an amazingly delicious sherbetty way! Can’t even wait to get started! This tea also came to me by way of the very generous silvermage2000!

So I wasn’t watching the timer particularly carefully today, and this tea got an additional 30 seconds more than I intended. It shows in the form of unpleasant bitterness; next time I’ll definitely lower the infusion time. However, in spite of the bitterness, I can still taste the medley of tangy fruity sherbet flavours! It tastes kind of like a fruity sour candy, as well, grounded by a strong black base.

I’ll have to try this one again to see if I can manage to avoid bitterness, but I must say that this is another tea that really needs to be resurrected so all of us newbies can pick some up to try! Yum!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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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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