2221 Tasting Notes

65

Whoops, had a little confusion issue about which tea I was reviewing. Probably caught it quickly enough for nobody to notice though :D

Anyways, this is round 2 of ice wine tea tasting, courtesy of Indigobloom!

Dry, this one smelled a little off, like fermenting grapes. I think 52teas Sweet Merlot had a similar aroma. However, that’s kind of what wine/a winery smell like!

Steeped, this one’s very dark, in spite of the 2 minute infusion I gave it! The aroma is a bit of black tea, with some sweetness and a bit of that fermenty grape flavour. I think I’m making a mental association to purple Kool-aid flavoured homemade playdough…

Ooh! Different. Thanks for the warning Indigobloom, this one definitely brews up strong! There’s astringency but it stops just short of bitterness thankfully. I think I would have been happier with only a minute-long infusion though. The flavour is hard to get at for me, because of the astringency. It’s a bit sweet, and perhaps a bit grapey/winey. Definitely a lot heavier than the Culinary Teas version. I think I prefer the Culinary Teas one over this though, as I think there’s more flavour.

Neither of these teas really did it for me though, to be honest. Interesting to try them though! Thanks again for the sample, Indigobloom!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

yeah this is definitely a love it or hate it tea! good for tea lovers lol

Indigobloom

coffee I meant coffee!! I just woke up…

Kittenna

Haha, yes it would be. A bit strong for me, but interesting flavour just the same!

Indigobloom

I thought so. Definitely a mood tea:)

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63
drank Canadian Ice Wine by Culinary Teas
2221 tasting notes

Decided I’d compare the two ice wine teas I have tonight. Should have thrown 52teas Sweet Merlot in the mix too, but I didn’t think about it and probably have enough teas on the go right now anyhow. This one is courtesy of Azzrian!

Dry, this one smells sweet and a bit tangy. Steeped, it smells sweet and perfumey and OMG I’m such an idiot, I was swirling it around and dumped a bunch on my computer. Ok, all better, luckily I missed the actual keys part of the keyboard, just got some next to the trackpad. Funnily enough this is not even the first time I’ve spilled on my keyboard today… I’m usually better, I swear!

So back to the tea. Definitely surprisingly perfumey given the relative lack of aroma from the dry tea!

First infusion (boiling-ish/4min):
The taste is perfumey. Definitely reminiscent of an ice wine. Rather mild, which is ok. I can’t pick out the black tea base specifically, but can feel that it’s there. There’s also a touch of astringency, but not bad, just a bit mouth-drying.

Second infusion (boiling-ish/5-6min):
Less perfumey in aroma, but almost more perfumey in taste, perhaps because there’s less black tea base there to disguise it? Actually – it’s reminding me an awful lot of some sort of similarly-scented soap. That’s not to say it tastes soapy, but I swear I’ve had a soap in the past that smell/tasted VERY similar. Or bubble bath or something… some bath product. Perhaps even shampoo/conditioner. To my knowledge though, I don’t think I’ve ever had an ice wine or even grape-scented bath product (unless it’s one of those little plasticky bubble bath thingers that I’m thinking of, in which case it could be grape). I didn’t get this association really until the second cup (and even went back and it’s just not quite the same in the first infusion).

Overall, an interesting tea, but I don’t think I’d choose it for myself. I’ll have to see what the next version is like! And perhaps at some point give the Design-a-Tea version a try, since that was Azzrian’s favourite.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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93
drank Fukamushi-Sencha Yame by Den's Tea
2221 tasting notes

I’ve logged this one before, and it’s delicious. Trying to drink it up before it goes stale, since the sample packet doesn’t re-seal!

First infusion (160F/45s):
Agh, so green and delicious! I think I used too much water/not enough leaf though – I want more concentrated delicious vegetalness. My bad though. Need to remember that for next time. Seriously though, I adore this flavour. I wish I could put a name to it, but I guess lightly steamed veggie will have to do. Perhaps asparagus-y. There’s almost a spiciness to it today. Don’t know where that’s coming from. It’s also a bit cloudy/murky today and as I reached the end of the cup, I got a throatful of fine particles which made me cough. Odd, I used likely my finest infuser. I can deal though.

Second infusion (185F/30s):
Upped this infusion 10 seconds from the last time I tried, but unfortunately I think I made the mistake of too much water for this infusion too. Sigh. Still good, just too weak. More tea aftertaste though, which is appreciated, but less on the vegetal side. Green teas really don’t last for more than a couple infusions, do they.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 45 sec
ScottTeaMan

I usually get three quality infusions with a quality Japanese green. I think I also use slightly more leaf and my cup size is 6-8 oz, or 177-237 ml.

Kittenna

Yeah, I mistakenly used just 1tsp, which is recommended for something like 3oz. water. I probably used a minimum of 8 oz. I didn’t bother with a third infusion this time because I’d had enough tea to drink and from experience, greens like this one don’t last overnight. I should have, though.

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81

First attempt with this one. I’m using my new glass “gung-fu” teapot from DavidsTea! The only downside I’ve noticed is that it took about 8 seconds to pour the tea out, so my attempt at a 15-second infusion turned into more like 25 seconds. Hopefully that won’t be a problem. I used 3g of leaf for the pot (however many ounces it is – I will find this out later.)

First infusion (~208F/~25s):
Omg omg. I took a sip of the still super-hot tea and I think it tastes sweet and fabulous! Thrilling! Have to wait until it cools to really talk about it though. I kind of burnt my tongue…

Argh, obligatory Mother’s Day phone conversation means my tea is extra-cool now. Well, I can say that it’s sweet and tasty with a toasty aroma and flavour. A bit like a genmaicha, strangely??

Second infusion (~205F/~25s):
This one’s even sweeter :) But also completely cold. Sigh. I do have a few infusions to get to yet. Thankfully however, I didn’t screw this one up like I did the other oolong from Verdant. There’s a lingering aftertaste of… juiciness? I’m not sure. It’s good.

Third infusion (~208F/45s):
Just a bit of a toasty aroma. Again, sweet and delicious. I’m not catching any flavour nuances to be honest, but I’m definitely enjoying this cup/this tea. Although I’ve gotta admit that after cheese panel, one can get rather tired of analyzing things. (I must say, there’s a lovely aftertaste here though!)

Fourth infusion (~205F/53s):
This is too weak. I thought that as I poured it out and it was considerably lighter in colour. I’m pretty sure a longer infusion for a fifth steep would revive it though. Might try.

Overall, this is good, but I’m just not catching subtleties in the infusions. Also, I’m pretty sure that for the duration of this cheese panel (mid-late June), my palate just isn’t going to be up to figuring out differences due to palate (and mental) fatigue! So I don’t think I’ll properly be reviewing any straight teas for a while, although that doesn’t mean I’ll be drinking them.

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

I got this as a free sample from Verdant. I’ve not tried many oolongs, but I’ve tried a couple quality Big Red Robes and for whatever reason they just don’t work for me.

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86

Trying out my sample of this one from LiberTEAS tonight!

This time I located a couple dried cherries in the dry tea – this may go a long way to bringing out the right flavours! Lacking big chunks of fruit is a hazard with small sample sizes.

The dry tea smells sweet and a bit like cherries. Mmmmm. Steeped it doesn’t have a great deal of flavour, although what I can smell is pleasant.

The taste is like genmaicha. I’m getting some more cheesecakey flavours in this one than I did previously. Really no cherry though (probably a consequence of the short infusion time? Maybe the second infusion will be better.) There’s a metallic taste though, which makes me think of oversteeped sencha. I’m really not keen on that flavour. Luckily it is pretty mild here, so in spite of the lack of cherry flavour, I’m glad I kept the infusion time down.

Ok, cooled down a bit more, I’m smelling a bit of a creamy cherryish aroma. Tastes similar. The metallic flavour has either disappeared or is muted enough to no longer bother me. This one is good… darn it why didn’t I buy some while it was still available!?

Second infusion (170F for 3.5 minutes). Tastes like a sweetened, creamy-ish genmaicha. Getting some yummy green tea aftertaste here too. I like it. I think I would have bought this one had it still been available. Sigh. At least I have a few cups left to drink!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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81
drank Cantaloupe Bai Mu Dan by 52teas
2221 tasting notes

Thanks for a sample of this one, LiberTEAS! Completely forgot that I had it (actually, because I didn’t catalogue all the samples from you, there are a ton of surprises in there! I am a bit worried that I’m going to ask someone to swap me something I have hidden in there, but oh well – the mystery is more fun :) )

The dry tea smells like cantaloupe, and definitely reminds me of Butiki’s Cantaloupe & Cream, although perhaps a touch less delicate.

Steeped, there’s not too much smell. Ooh, but it tastes pretty good! Very similar cantaloupe flavour to Butiki. Missing the cream though, which definitely makes it a bit less appealing, but that’s ok. I’m just getting a bit of white tea flavour at the end of the sip.

Overall, quite nice, but having had Butiki’s version, I’m ok that I can’t buy this one. Although granted, it would have been cheaper.

Anyhow, thanks again for the sample LiberTEAS!

ETA: Second infusion, about 160F for 6 minutes, still tastes cantaloupey, but I’m finding that I’m longing for the creaminess of Butiki’s version. I don’t know if this would hold up to another infusion, but I think I’d rather try something else tonight!

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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76
drank Gunpowder by The Tea Haus
2221 tasting notes

Misplaced note from a few days ago, nothing new.

Sample #3 from Indigobloom! Look at me go! If this tea was already on Steepster, I couldn’t find it, so let me know and I’ll move it. (Speaking of that, I definitely didn’t move that Yorkshire Black from Azzrian yet… whoops.)

Ok, definitely a bit of a smoky, toasty note to the aroma of this one.

Hmm, interesting. The flavour is a sweet, roasted sort of flavour. It kind of reminds me of genmaicha, with a couple lapsang souchong leaves mixed in. The sip ends with a nice, round, sweet flavour, almost caramelly, but perhaps not quite. There’s some astringency, which maybe could be reduced by a shorter infusion time, so maybe something to try in the future.

I think I definitely prefer the more vegetal, greener green teas. Although this one’s okay, I think I’d turn to a genmaicha for a similar flavour palette. I feel like the smokiness could work well in blends though – does nobody make gunpowder blends??

ETA: Second infusion for about 2 min at 175F wasn’t great. I think I’m just not terribly fond of this sort of green tea.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

You can definitely blend it, gunpowder is traditionally used to make Moroccan mint tea. Harney also makes a great lemony gunpowder, but I think it’s mostly lemon flavoring.

Dylan Oxford

Mmmm… moroccan mint… sooooo good.

Indigobloom

Wow I’m getting deja vu here. I could have sworn I saw this review last week…

Kittenna

You did! I guess I wasn’t clear enough in saying that it was a misplaced note that I moved to the right tea :D :D I only just got around to reading people’s comments thoroughly now, and saw that you gave me the link to the proper listing for this tea.

Indigobloom

oh!! lol that makes more sense. I’m sleepy, headed to bed in a few. I guess my mind is already there :P

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67

Thanks Missy and Dylan for sending along some of their custom blend! Figured a little chamomile couldn’t hurt tonight.

The chamomile is quite apparent (as I was warned), but I no longer have such an aversion to it as I used to. I’m convinced that the flavour I thought was chamomile was actually a combination of chamomile and peppermint (which I do still dislike), and so poor chamomile suffered because I had never tried it without peppermint.

Steeped, the cup smells like a minty, sweet-ish chamomile.

The flavour is much more layered. I can taste chamomile with a bit of lemongrass combined with a slight hint of fruitiness (not clearly strawberry). The spearmint adds a lovely minty crispness to the flavour without the icky peppermint taste, which I really appreciate. I think there’s perhaps a touch of cinnamon appearing at the end of the sip, but it’s hard to pick out. I don’t think I’m tasting figs at all.

Great blend! Both to you guys for choosing the combination, and Ovation for the expert blending that made this tea a delicious flavour explosion instead of having one flavour overwhelm everything else.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
DaisyChubb

aw what a sweet name, it sounds like a great evening tea

Missy

Yay! Glad you liked it. Night tea is the general idea I think. We had something like it once. It is discontinued, so we tried to duplicate it.

Kittenna

Must say, it definitely lost a bit of the charm cold. I think it’s a chamomile thing. (I still drank it, it just wasn’t as good.)

Missy

Aye chamomile doesn’t do cold well at all.

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89
drank Ginger Ale Bai Mu Dan by 52teas
2221 tasting notes

Too lazy to bother with aromas and whatnot because I have been doing quite a lot of that lately… did I mention I’m taking part in a cheese-tasting panel? As in, doing sensory analysis on cheeses? An hour a day for something like 6 weeks. We’re currently in the training stage, which involves tasting different concentrations of saline, bitter, umami solutions and ranking them by concentration, and identifying said flavours in cheese samples, etc. etc. Working up to a comparison of reduced salt cheddars. It’s really neat!

Wow. This one tastes fabulous! Not gingerale, but a fabulous creamy, citrusy (bergamot)-y white tea. Yes, definitely tastes like a white earl grey. Kind of like DavidsTea’s Earl of Lemon, now that I’m thinking about it. I’m really not getting any ginger though, which is kind of sad :(

Definitely kicking myself for not ordering this one as a freebie, since it’s turns out neither Peach Fuzz Chai nor Black Currant Bai Mu Dan was really a hit with me. Oh well! I think I have two cups’ worth left of this, so will just have to savour it (and compare to Earl of Lemon!)

Thanks so much for passing a bit of this on, Dylan & Missy! I know how much you liked it so I appreciate your willingness to part with a bit!

ETA: Second cup is delicious, although a bit oversteeped, I think. Also probably hurts it that the tea sat out for a few days. My bad.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Missy

I’m glad you enjoyed it. :)

DaisyChubb

Wow that cheese panel sounds too fun. What a great way to exercise those taste muscles.

Erin

That cheese thing sounds awesome!!

Kittenna

It’s pretty fun :) But I can definitely see why we’re paid for our time – it takes a lot of brainpower! And today I must have eaten enough cheeses/standards to feel a bit full after… eep.

Dylan Oxford

Mmmm… cheese

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64
drank Love Elixir for Her by DAVIDsTEA
2221 tasting notes

Steeped, the smell is definitely somewhat like dark chocolate, with undertones of a wealth of other aromas.

The taste is chocolatey and… rather tasty! Hmmm… I am tasting the lingering sweetness that indicates licorice. Blah. That means I won’t pick this one up again, as I’d always struggle to drink it.

I’m to lazy to really analyze this one tonight, but on top of the dark chocolate there are light fruity flavours and the licorice. That’s about all I can taste (and the licorice is really only an aftertaste thing). Glad to have tried it; another sample I’ll be looking to offload though.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 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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