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2221 Tasting Notes

83

Wow. Dry this smells.. like a fizzy candy. A sweet fizzy candy. Is there ginger? I can’t tell. It’s rather overwhelming, actually.

Steeped (in my sweet new double-walled glass mug) I’m not getting much flavour. That could be because I just burnt my nostrils sniffing the dry tea.

The flavour is definitely interesting. I would swear there’s a bit of ginger in here. Combined with fruity candy. So it’s a bit sweet, but there’s almost a fizziness to it (tell me there’s ginger, guys. I’m not kidding….)

I’m totally undecided as to how I feel about this one. The taste is really candy-like and fake, to be honest, and although I kind of like that, I do wish it was more authentically strawberry-kiwi. Oh – there’s some real strawberry and white tea, right at the end of sip 5.

Ok, I think I do like this one, but it’s not quite what I was expecting. Another one to try iced, based on the other reviews!

ETA: OHH!!!! Lime!!! Yes, definitely lime. Read the tea description right after I posted this, and yes, I am definitely tasting lime. I might have misinterpreted that for ginger. I like it though.

ETA again: Second infusion (3min/175F) was tasty but didn’t taste much like the first. Kind of fruity. Definitely good though.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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90

Finally getting around to trying this one. I see that everyone seems to like it iced, so I’ll have to try it that way later.

I’m a bit concerned after opening the package that the tea is rather broken up. Hopefully that doesn’t affect the flavour.

As it’s steeping, I’m smelling such a nice lemony aroma, mixed with a hint of fruit. Mmm, promising!

Ooh, interesting. I can taste the lemony flavour, and a bit of fruitiness, and some white tea taste. A bit too hot still though… (Ok seriously, like three minutes later and the most interesting and tasty flavour is lingering in my mouth!!)

A bit cooler now (ok, a lot), and this is quite pleasant! And oooh, the aftertaste is lovely! I’m having trouble placing flavours here, but an unsweetened strawberry lemonade would probably fit what I’m tasting. The flavours of the white tea are blending seamlessly with the fruitiness and gentle lemon flavours. This is really good! I definitely want to try it iced. I’m feeling a bit like the fruitiness I’m tasting is less authentic strawberry and moreso a berry sort of flavour, but I’m really liking it regardless. I also am not sure if I actually got any strawberry chunks in this cup, so that could be influencing the flavour as well.

I wonder what this would taste like with a twist of lemon and a touch of sugar? Not tonight though, it is much too tasty unaltered right now :)

Another hit from 52teas! Yay :) Next up, Strawberry Kiwi Margarita??

ETA: The lemon myrtle really came out in the second infusion (3 min/175F), and it tasted much like plain lemonade. Probably needed a big chunk of strawberry in the infuser (which it didn’t have). Still good though :)

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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66
drank Bear Trap by DAVIDsTEA
2221 tasting notes

Iced this one over the last day or so, a little too tart for me right now. Probably won’t refill this one again when it’s gone; I think there are better teas for icing out there.

Ooh, just caught Amanda’s post out of the corner of my eye, where she adds some honey… time for some agave. That might perk it up a bit tonight.

Ah, better. There’s some bitterness though, which is kind of unpleasant, but I can definitely finish the cup now :)

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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61

Second sample, also from Indigobloom! I was feeling bad for not trying many of the samples she gave me, so I’m making an effort today :)

Eep. The dry teabag had a hint of soapy smell to it. Not a good sign! (Although now that it’s in the water, I’m smelling just oolong. Much better.)

Uh oh! Minus points – I just tried to remove the teabag and the string came off!! An extra minute of steeping followed. Hopefully it can take it. I have to note that the little pyramid teabag is like a poofy pillow with the expansion of the tea leaves! Kind of neat :)

The steeped tea smells mostly of oolong. That’s actually quite promising, because a lot of tea blends are short on tea flavour. I don’t smell pomegranate at all though.

Hmm, ok. The oolong is a bit buttery, but there’s also a bit of astringency. If I try really hard, I can taste the pomegranate weakly in the background. Ok, didn’t even taste it at all that time.

Well, that’s kind of disappointing. The base here was actually pretty promising, but the pomegranate flavour is horribly lacking :( Maybe it’ll show up more when I try the other teabag? As an straight oolong, this is rather mediocre, so the rating will reflect that.

Oh well. Thanks for the sample, Indigobloom!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

Ahhhh so glad it wasn’t just me!!! I couldn’t find the pomegranate either…

Kittenna

Darn, I guess that kind of dashes my hopes for the other teabag. I think I’ll take it to work though – it was an ok oolong, and no-fuss being in a teabag already. Definitely appreciate the sample though! Just wish they were a bit heavier-handed on the flavouring (or pomegranate chunks)!

Indigobloom

yeah the oolong part is good enough, but I to was hoping for more fruit flavour. I’m trying to use up the rest so I can have the tin! lol

Indigobloom

erm where did my note go!? I saw it there yesterday… I went back to check my review… and now it’s gone? :/

Kittenna

I was looking for your review and couldn’t find it! (And was surprised!)

Indigobloom

It must be a bug. Not the first time that’s happened to me but now I know for sure it isn’t my imagination!

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81
drank Goji Pop by DAVIDsTEA
2221 tasting notes

So, I’m now the proud owner of not one, but TWO new infusers. Yaaaay. One’s a collapsible infuser basket (gimmicky, but whatever) – it’s stainless steel and the holes are a bit bigger than I wanted, but it sits nicely overtop a cup, and I used it to filter this iced tea today. The other’s a cup/infuser set from Bodum – a nice glass double-walled cup (like I needed more cups) with a fine plastic strainer. I wish it was metal, but I can’t seem to find such things anywhere but on Amazon.com (grrr.)

Anyways, tried this cold-brewed for the first time. It’s not bad, a bit on the tart side (but I can handle that especially in an iced tea), but it isn’t melony enough. I think I prefer this one hot and cooled to room temperature.

Either way, I have super high hopes for DavidsTea’s Luscious Watermelon, coming back this Wednesday with the summer collection!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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88
drank Candied Almond by The Tea Emporium
2221 tasting notes

Finally, it seems my tastebuds are open to flavoured teas again. So time to start attacking that sample pile!

First up is a sample from the lovely Indigobloom!

This one smells so similar to DavidsTea’s Forever Nuts, but it almost seems sweeter, with a gentler cinnamon. I like Forever Nuts (but have none on hand atm), and would have liked to compare the two, but that involved too much effort.

Steeped, it smells like warm cinnamon with a touch of apple. Like a cinnamon apple streudel, or something of the sort. Perhaps a big sticky cinnamon bun. I’m getting hungry…

Ok, this tastes like warm, sweet cinnamon in a cup, with a touch of apple. It’s nice. It’s a little weak, which is funny because I used up my entire sample from Indigobloom (which was at least 2 tsp in my average-sized mug. Maybe I should have steeped it for longer. I seem to recall Forever Nuts being a touch more potent. Either way, it is nice. I’m going to let it cool a bit more now; I liked Forever Nuts cool as well.

Yum, it’s good cooled down to probably 30ish degrees. Still weaker than I’d like, but a very pleasant cup. I’m likely to stick with Forever Nuts because it’s way easier for me to acquire, but I think they’d be pretty good substitutes for one another.

(Oh, and although I can taste some almond, I’d hardly call this one Candied Almond, which makes me think moreso of a caramelly nut flavour.)

ETA: Second infusion (for forever, i.e. probably as much as two hours) has much more flavour and is quite delicious, even cold. Quite sweet, cinnamony, nutty goodness. No sourness as Indigobloom described. Love.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Indigobloom

lol that is too funny, I prefer this one because it’s lighter than Forever Nuts! :P

Bonnie

Hold the press! Indigobloom I believe sent me a sample (or TeaFairy) so I’ve gotta check this one out!

Kittenna

It’s a lovely tisane :) They both are.

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93

Verdant green tea #3 for the evening.

First infusion:
Hmm, my nose isn’t detecting any aroma. Maybe it’s tired. Mmmm, this is clearly different from the other two. I almost got the sort of tea flavour one gets from a black tea, which is interesting. It’s sweet as well, but much different from the dragonwell as there’s more body to it. I was strangely just reminded of an earl grey… yep, still getting that weird association. (It just occurred to me that I may be interpreting the citrusy note from my earlier review as the bergamot from an earl grey, but I can’t be certain).

Huh – I just went back to my first tasting note, and it totally isn’t meshing with what I’m tasting here, but I think I used a fair bit more leaf previously, given that I only steeped it for 1 minute that time. Also… wondering a touch if my teaball still had traces of Coconut Cream Pie lingering in it. Please don’t rag on me about the teaball – I know it’s less than optimal, but I only have two “open-water” infusers. Maybe I should have strained it instead. Actually, I had contemplated that earlier… I guess I forgot.

Anyways, this one probably is a poor comparison, in retrospect. I’m really thrown by how it’s tasting a bit like a black tea. Ah well. I know it was great the first time around. Might try a second infusion later, but I’ve kind of lost the will to bother at this point.

I think I should also compare these three in a more gong-fu sort of style (although I doubt I have patience for 3-second infusions, I could do 15 or 30 second ones). A fun experiment another night.

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

Krystaleyn- I have had similar issues with my tea strainer lately. For example, I usually steep herbals like peppermint in my glass tea press. The last couple times I steeped it in my infuser and thought I cleaned it really well. The last couple teas (black) I’ve steeped in it were horrible tasting. I wasted a few cups of quality teas, because the peppermint was so strong even after cleaning it. S I think I’ll steep my herbals in glass now-it is much easier to clean.

Kittenna

As far as I know, I haven’t usually had a problem. I reserve my semi-fancy steeper for straight teas (no herbals, flavourings (aside from jasmine), etc.), and although the plastic is stained, it seems to be just fine (it provided me with delicious dragonwell today). My metal infuser basket seems to be similarly resilient, and it has had all sorts of things in it. Mind you, it’s also sturdy enough to scrub with a scouring pad, which I have done once or twice. The teaball had never given me problems to my knowledge, but it is definitely more difficult to clean, and I admittedly didn’t try too hard with it this time. Makes me wonder if I’ve had inadvertent cross-contamination in the past. I really should reserve it for strong-flavoured herbals and the occasional flavoured tea, but I just can’t afford more infuser baskets right now (or, not at 12.99 a pop from DavidsTea, which is the only place I’ve located them as yet), so sometimes it gets used for something like this.

I can only imagine what peppermint would do to the flavour of a good tea. Good thing I hate it and only very rarely steep something containing it! Not that there aren’t other strong, lingering flavours too, but I imagine that would be pretty gross.

ScottTeaMan

It was rather sickening. That’s why i used the glass press in the past, but now I wont forget again-I hope.

Indigobloom

I noticed that when I used my tea ball in the past, it was fine at first but then there were issues later on, the more I used it. Eventually it started to rust, no matter how well I dried it after washing! and the mesh was puckering as well. I hadn’t noticed the flavour residue issue… in my tea ball, though I had that concern with my plastic tea master.
Looks like we both had awkward tea experiences yesterday Kristaleyn :/

Bonnie

I had to get strong tea smell out (lapsang souchong) by cleaning with baking soda which removed the smell! Now, I have a dedicated pot for that and puer especially and clean stainless mesh with the soda. Also hands carry smells when tasting so you have to watch that too.

ScottTeaMan

I’ve thought of the Baking Soda idea, but I always forget to do it. :)) Thanks Bonnie.

Kittenna

Thanks for the tip, Bonnie! I know I had tried to clean it once with vinegar/baking soda, but I’m not sure it did a great deal. So many irritating little crevices that are hard to reach.

@Indigobloom – I’m not sure if mine is rusting, but it’s definitely discoloured. Bleh.

Missy

Another easy cleaning tip is denture tablets. They send up little bubbles into all those tiny places that are hard to get a cleaning tool into.

Kittenna

Ooh! Interesting. Are they expensive?

Bonnie

Now here is a conundrum….if I answer…..people will think I have dentures, If noone answers, someone is not helpful or is shy or is not telling the truth or something like that. So, since I should know because I’m the ole lady in the room…then NO they are not expensive but get um at a store like Walmart or Target because just like TP and Laundry Soap that sort of thing would be less expensive there.

Missy

I thought they were pretty cheap myself. I love that I can soak some thing and literally forget about until the next day. They are designed for things like tea stains on stuff that stays in your mouth, so they safe little work horses!

Indigobloom

brilliant idea!!

Missy

Bah I can totally tell I wrote that comment on my nook late night. Look at that grammar!

Missy

Thanks Indigobloom!

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97

Verdant green tea #2 for the evening.

First infusion:
The liquor is unbelievably pale. So much so that I would be sure it was understeeped, but I highly doubt that. The aroma is the lightest, sweetest, vegetal aroma.

I cannot believe the sweetness of this tea. I really can’t. Like the first time I drank it, it’s rock sugar goodness, with a hint of vegetal. It is just SO sweet! No astringency/no bitterness. I think my decision to use more leaf this time was a good one. It’s still light, but not the verging-on-hot-water-flavour sort of light. Just amazing. Up with the rating.

Second infusion (2min/175F):
Still so pale. I have to sniff awfully hard to smell any aroma, and since I don’t want to inhale tea, I’ll just say that there is none. This time there’s a bit more flavour, in a sense. There’s still sweetness, but less so, and there are still vegetal hints underneath. There’s a touch of astringency (probably because I fiddled with parameters again), but it’s not bothersome. I think I actually could have reduced the amount of water I used and gotten a better cup out of it.

I think this dragonwell would be a tea for times when I want something sweet and delicate. I still feel like I would like to try using a bit more leaf to get just a bit more flavour out, but it is lovely as is. The smoothness of the cup also makes it perfect for times when astringency is completely unappealing (during which I usually would select a white or herbal).

ETA: Third infusion (175F/2min) definitely loses some of the magic. Astringency now present (bleh), although the aftertaste is still deliciously green tea. This may have been better had I steeped the third infusion last night (it seems green tea leaf doesn’t hold up well to sitting overnight). I think three is it for this one.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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98

Time to compare the three green teas I have from Verdant, so I can work towards identifying favourites.

I brewed each of the teas more or less according to the parameters on Verdant’s website for western brewing, although I used more than 1tsp of leaf. For this one, I think I used a generous two 1/2 tsps, so probably 1.5 tsps with 250ml water.

First infusion:
The smell of the dry leaf is very… dry leafy. What can I say? It smells like rolling around in autumn leaves. Not an uncommon smell. I’m getting a bit of a hint of seaweed, which is interesting…. no, actually a strong seaweed smell. Makes me crave sushi, even though I was at an all-you-can-eat on Friday evening.

The aroma emanating from the steeped cup is gentle and kind of brothy/seaweedy.

Oh, yum. The sip first tastes sweet, followed by delicate, sweet seaweed flavours. The aftertaste is so sweet, and creamy. I’m getting… caramel? Holy. Yes, definitely caramel. Delicious, delicious caramel. There is definitely astringency present, and though I don’t always like it, it just goes with the whole flavour profile here. I feel like perhaps if I had used just a single teaspoon of dry tea, it may not have appeared. No bitterness though. Oops, I just about finished the cup – I meant to save some for directly comparing to the other two teas!

Second infusion (2.5min/175F):
The aroma is sweet and vegetal. Oh… I think I messed this one up. Too much astringency for me :( This will teach me to play around with Verdant’s parameters. I can definitely still taste the caramel aftertaste though. This would have been an excellent cup had I paid attention to the instructions.

To me, this is definitely more like a green tea to me than the others, but that caramel aftertaste really sets it apart from other greens I’ve tried. If I’m looking for flavour with a lingering candy-like sweetness, this one would be my choice.

ETA: I cannot get over this aftertaste! Definitely want to try again to make sure I can get it a second time, but wow.

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

sounds scrumtious! I’ll definitely make note of this one for later. :)) Hope things really improve for you. :))

Kittenna

Thanks :)

I was kind of sad that I didn’t get any chocolatey notes like everyone seems to think are common, but the caramel aftertaste really surprised me and made up for it. Very impressed.

Indigobloom

whenever you’re free just let me know! :)
this next month is swamped for me. Hopefully in June

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95
drank Mulberry Magic by DAVIDsTEA
2221 tasting notes

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Profile

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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