2973 Tasting Notes

83

Well, this tea and I have quiiiiite the history. The first time, I so epically steeped it incorrectly that it was undrinkable! I feel bad, because that note of mine should have moved to the back of the pile, so to speak, but it hasn’t due to silly Steepster still ranking a user’s aggregate of notes based on their first one.

Anyhow, I decided to go for a Western-style infusion today, with my standard 1.5tsp of leaf in 8oz. of water, and was rewarded with quite the delicious cup. Light, nutty and sweet, with a few more flavours that escape me, this is really quite tasty. I should have brought some of this one for my mom to try – it just occurred to me that I didn’t bring a single tea for her to try from the “straight oxidized oolongs” category, which I suspect she’d actually really enjoy (she dislikes all blacks, but enjoys pu’erh and green oolongs).

Anyways, like I said, really yummy. Oh – just catching some raisiny sweetness as I chugged down the last of that cup. Mmmmm!

ETA: Second infusion… not so great. I think this one really needs to be brewed gong-fu style to be thoroughly enjoyed. Perhaps this weekend!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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93

This is another sample I picked up just for the sake of trying all the teas. Did I expect to like it? Nope. Did I even read the ingredient list? Nope!

So anyways, laoshan green mixed with… things. I know there’s mint in here, but I’m pretty clueless as to everything else, to be honest. Dry, that’s pretty much how the tea smelled. Minty. Bleh, like I said, try all the teas! There have been surprises before.

When I took the infuser basket out, I have to admit that I caught aromas I was not expecting! Laoshan green, definitely, but… along with the mint there is something savoury. Almost smells like… gingerbread??? A spice of some sort, I’d have to guess.

And then the flavour…. See, this is why I pick up teas I don’t expect to like, because sometimes I get something amazing! First, there’s typical beany laoshan green, which is a treat on its own. Then there’s mint… but it tastes like mint mint to me, not peppermint. I like mint mint! (Does anyone else understand what I mean here?? My mom would!) Anyways, after the mint there’s this intense gingerbready flavour. I have no idea what it is! And then it fades into what’s coming off to me as almost a… coffee flavour? But a delicious coffee flavour, no burniness. I have no idea what it is I’m tasting in here, but I’m kicking myself for not trying this earlier, because it’s ridiculously delicious! I think the caramel notes of the laoshan green are playing in here somehow… ok, off to Verdant’s website I go!

Coriander! Cardamom! Well, I guess the cardamom is what’s coming off as ginger to me, and the coriander is probably involved in the general “savouriness” of this tea.

Darn… I am really disappointed that I only have a sample size of this one. Anyone have some they want to get rid of/trade? I would love to send my mom some of this one…! It is really a fantastic blend.

ETA: Nuts. Just checked to see if anyone else who reviewed this didn’t like it… but pretty much all the reviews are 89+, except for the one person who seems to have given theirs away to other people who posted! :(

ETA again: Second infusion also delicious, third infusion somewhat less so (but it did sit out overnight). I think I have enough for a couple more cups though… I will have to savour them!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

You don’t get stumped very often by green tea’s with your experience in the ‘field’. I’ll NEVER forget the ‘what seemed like months and months’ of asparagus testing you did last year!

Kittenna

I am sometimes appalling bad at identifying flavours! :(

I am still testing asparagus stuff, hahaha. Nearly done though! I’m supposed to write up my thesis and defend it in April… yikers! Then I’ll actually be done with asparagus (unless I do a PhD in it too, which is a possibility!)

Bonnie

You’re going to turn green! Don’t you need to come to colorado if you get a PhD in asparagus? Isn’t there a law about that? And doesn’t I-bloom have to come and assist you? (If I’ve misspelled anything, I don’t have my glasses on!)

Kittenna

Hahaha, that would be so cool Bonnie! :D I’m pretty sure everyone wants to come out and take a trip to visit you and Happy Lucky’s!

Sil

uh sounds like a road trip to me! we can pass through montreal on the way grin

Kittenna

Just gotta get my G license first, I think ;)

Sil

or we make Ian drive…with a car full of girls lol

Kittenna

Oh, that would be 100x better!

Bonnie

wait for some warmer weather

Indigobloom

FUN!!! When do we leave? :D

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78
drank Fantasy Island by DAVIDsTEA
2973 tasting notes

Sipdown!!!

So it figures, the last cup of this tea from my sample bag, and it’s pretty delicious. I’m drinking it cold, but I’m getting wonderful creamy coconut, chocolate, and a bit of fruitiness. There’s still astringency, but I’m willing to bet that it’s a consequence of the very broken leaf, which is more than likely my fault due to carelessness/carting this tea to/from school a couple times. I think this cup is better because I used a very fine Finum brew basket, which kept stray particles from getting into the cup and sitting for say, an hour before drinking it.

Anyways, big ratings bump here, as this is really fairly tasty. It would definitely go on the short list to pick up for a nice flavourful morning black tea that tastes great without additions!

Also, now I know that next time I have dusty black, if I use a Finum basket and a conservative infusion time, it might turn out ok! :D

ETA: Second infusion, 3 min at boiling, is coconutty and good. And thus this tea is now gone forever.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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78
drank Boo-Berry Cotton Candy by 52teas
2973 tasting notes

The roomie and I sipped down the last of this one from the 12 Days of Tea today. And to make it all the more awesome, I used my super cool new teapot from DavidsTea, and we drank out of my brand new tiny little double-walled glass teacups! So much fun! And she got me a teapot cosy for my birthday (which is tomorrow), so our tea stayed nice and warm while we drank miniscule cups of it.

Oh yes. And the tea itself was darn good. Definitely 100% an artificially flavoured tea, but a darn good one, all sugary sweet blueberry. Yummmm. We’ve had two infusions so far, perhaps will have a third (or I’ll let her just use the infuser in her Dr. Who mug or something).

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 45 sec
Josie Jade

Happy Early Birthday!

Kittenna

Haha, thanks :)

Indigobloom

sounds delish!!

Sil

Mmmmm blueberry. Missed getting this one again lol

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86

Brought a travel mug of this tea, sweetened, this morning. Guayusa and I still don’t get along terribly well without some company, it seems. Anyhow, it’s tasty but not sitting well, as with everything. Le sigh.

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

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98
drank Gui Fei Oolong by Butiki Teas
2973 tasting notes

Well, I think I’ve figured out what I’ve been doing incorrectly with this tea – using boiling water! Whoops. Sadly, I figured that out AFTER making said mistake today.

And my stomach is feeling all sorts of not good, so this tea (and the others I brought with me) are not sitting well. Nor is anything else, for that matter. Bleeehhhhhh.

Indigobloom

oh no. feel better soon!

Kittenna

What does one eat/drink when their stomach feels like it’s bubbling up with hot burning acid?! Nothing I’m choosing is seeming to help! :(

Indigobloom

a dark pu-erh or peppermint tea usually helps me. and bananas. they coat the tummy. maybe saltine crackers?

MissLena

I’d try either straight ginger in water or a ginger tea, or something minty. Hope you feel better soon!!

Kittenna

I wish I had some of those options. I’m currently trying baby carrots…

Unfortunately, I don’t keep pu’erhs or minty teas in my office because the former require too much effort and the latter are not my favourites. So I’m stuck with sweetened The Killers Vanilla, this oversteeped beast of a tea, and some earl grey cream…. bleh.

Indigobloom

aww boo. I wasn’t even going to suggest chamomile…

OMGsrsly

Baking soda in water, if it’s truly an acid problem. Caffeine is probably the worst thing to have, unfortunately. :/ Hope you feel better soon!

Butiki Teas

I hope you feel better soon.

Kittenna

Thanks guys. Time luckily seemed to cure it, although I nearly did go for the baking soda as the rolaids I had tasted like soap (apparently just because they’re a “medicinal” product doesn’t mean you should store them with other “medicinal” items, which apparently includes soap……)

I should take a minty/gingery tea of some sort to work in case such a problem re-occurs. Sigh.

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77

It is decidedly NOT RIGHT that it is raining in the middle of January! So much for skating on my birthday this weekend.

Anyways, SIPDOWN WOOOOOOO! Used up the last of this sample from momo (thankyou!) because strangely, I’ve been craving it for a while. The first time I tried this, I remember not having a clue if it tasted true to the name or not. However, since then, I’ve actually drank a Fuzzy Navel! And I’ve gotta say that it’s pretty deliciously accurate! Citrusy-peachy on a quite nice green base. Yums. I’m drinking this cold right now (it has been sitting next to my bed for hours while I have been spending hours working on stats… and then it continued to sit there when I discovered a really awesome error that meant I had just wasted 3 hours of effort…). But anyways, the point of saying that I’m drinking it cold is that I think it’s a FABULOUS iced tea! Frank, perhaps this would be a good one to bring back for iced teas next year?? Although, with the green base please, not a black one.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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93
drank Strawberry Oolong by Butiki Teas
2973 tasting notes

So although I recently picked up 1 oz. of this, I left the majority of it with my mom over Christmas. Unfortunately, it seems I left myself with mostly flavouring (little tasty flowerbuds) and tea crumbs, and barely any actual tea. Very literally, my teaspoon pulled out what looked like dust from the bag (well, half dust and half flowerbuds and oolong balls) :( On the plus side, it does still seem to be pretty delicious, but a bit of the oolonginess is missing. It’s weird, because I don’t remember there being a bunch of dust and such at the bottom of my first bag of this (and now I’m a bit concerned that I took all the buds and left my mom with just oolong??)

Oh well! I guess I will just have to buy another half ounce for myself in my next order. Shucks…

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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79
drank Bossa Nova by Zen Tea
2973 tasting notes

Thanks to Zen Tea for a sample of this tasty-sounding tea!

Another tea I’m a bit apprehensive to try due to mixed reviews, but here goes nothing! The tea from the packet smells tasty enough… sure, the flavouring smells artificial, but sometimes that works. I’m not opposed to artificial flavouring if it tastes good! :D It does smell nutty to me, with vanilla undertones. So far so good!

After a couple sips, I have to say that the flavouring is working for me more than it did for most, I think. I’m tasting a lingering nuttiness and some delicious sweetness. I’m having trouble picking out the oolong, but it’s certainly a better choice than a black base, in my opinion. There is definitely an artificial taste going on here, but it’s not a huuuuge problem for me (ok, until I got a sip that was very artificial-tasting).

All in all, probably a pretty decent tea for tea newbs, but a touch too artificial for me. I do still like it enough that I’ll finish it, but I probably wouldn’t purchase more.

ETA: Second infusion had somewhat of a bitter note. Although I drank the infusion, I did discard the leaves.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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84
drank Yu Lu Yan Cha Black by Verdant Tea
2973 tasting notes

So, I was pretty apprehensive about brewing this tea up as I’d seen (I thought) a few notes about people not being big fans, or about it being quite strong/bitter, etc., but this doesn’t seem to be a problem for me! I was cautious and used about 1.5 tsp in boiling water for 1 minute (the low end of the given parameters, which were 1-2 tsp for 1-2 minutes… I think…) The aroma was reminiscent of Laoshan Black with chocolatey notes, but it’s definitely not quite as intense, and the flavour fits perfectly with this, being chocolatey and malty but less so than Laoshan Black, but also with a bit of… hay-y flavour, aka that flavour that I attribute to bagged blacks. I’d be tempted to call it “Laoshan Black Light” or something to that effect, as that’s how it’s coming off to me.

I’m happy to have an ounce of this added to my collection – it will help tide me over until the 2 oz. of Laoshan Black that I ordered last night arrives! (Also, it’s neat to have tried another tea with a cool story behind it!)

ETA: Second infusion (2 min) still has chocolatey notes, and more of that “classic black” flavour. Still pretty decent. I’m wavering on going for a third infusion though… getting awfully sick of reinfusing things, haha (I’m sure it would hold up for one more though).

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

I think only one person wasn’t that fond of it and the others gave high ratings.

Kittenna

Haha, yep, I read the ratings after and saw that those were two of about three or four reviews that I had previously seen. So I was biased! But I liked it!

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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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