2970 Tasting Notes

Made some last night (yikes, I’m going to need a pu’erh pick to break the rest of my sample up!) and it…. tasted earthy and smooth. I gave it a 15 second rinse (aka infusion that I dumped), and then a ~10 second rinse (same thing, dumped it), then steeped for… 2-3 minutes(?) and ended up with a pretty nice cup. I only drank a sip or two though, which is why I can’t give a more detailed description of the flavours. My mom drank the rest, and said it “tasted like pu’erh”. (In a good way. And not particularly fishy.)

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87

I brewed up an absolutely stellar cup of this today! No additions, and it was absolutely wonderful. Hot water from the kettle, a 4 minute infusion, probably a bit over 8 oz. of water, and a generous 2 tsp of leaf. And it was delicious. So I let my mom enjoy the rest of it, because I’m a nice daughter (right??)

Gotta admit that the deliciousness of this cup may tip me into re-ordering this one (which, based on my first attempt with it, I never would have thought would happen!)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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90

Entertainingly enough, I made some of this up tonight to see if my mom liked it enough for me to leave it behind. Although I adore it, I’m pretty sure I still have some Autumn 2011 harvest to finish off, and plenty of other teas, and my mom does like straight green teas. Anyhow, apparently I’d made her try it before (I re-read my tasting notes), with mixed results! But she seemed to like it this time (although commented that it tasty smoky?) so it will be making a home in SK for now (I can always retrieve it in April if she changes her mind).

I finished today’s cup, and it is deliciously rock sugary, caramelly, vegetal goodness. I really adore this tea so I am sad to see it go, but I have waayyyy too much tea to be sad for too long!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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78

Another sample I brought along to have my mom try.

To me, it smells sweetly like juniper, and the taste is much the same, kind of like a juniper-flavoured white tea with creaminess. I’m not sure if yabao is growing on me, or it’s more pleasant in this blend, but I kind of like this one!

My mom thought it was nice enough; I can’t recall how she described it, but she didn’t catch the juniper. I don’t understand how!

ETA: On my fourth infusion of this one now. This one lasts forever!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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93

Not oversteeped…. but not terribly flavourful either! Agh, perhaps it’s my tastebuds.

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

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83

Wooaaahhh. Not sure what I’ve done here, but this is crazy bitter/astringent too. I think this one was oversteeped… maybe I’ll see if adding some water helps, because this one’s usually pretty tasty :(

ETA: I drank the first infusion anyway, and then proceeded to have two more fabulous ones. I am really, really liking this tea. White tea blends where you can actually taste the tea (e.g. Butiki’s Cantaloupe & Cream, DT’s Strawberry White) are really quite delicious. This has certainly made my list to order 1-2 ounces of in my next Della Terra order. This and Winter Nog. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

KittyLovesTea

I have done the same thing before and it becomes almost undrinkable. Amazing how an extra minute or two can ruin it.

Kittenna

I know!! Irritating. I did power through though, because there was enough good flavour and I couldn’t bear to dump it.

Indigobloom

ugh, that’s no fun. I had a similar issue with Plum Pudding today

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Woaaahhhhhh this one’s bitter/astringent. I taste pie flavours, and apple, but this is definitely overleafed/oversteeped. I don’t think I’ll be particularly keen on it even when steeped properly though… It does taste like apple pie, but in retrospect, I’m not sure I want a tea that tastes like apple pie! Also, I’m getting some play-doughy flavours that are not so pleasant (strange, I usually only get them in flavoured whites).

Ah well. I’ll give it another shot later!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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82
drank Sichuan Caravan by Verdant Tea
2970 tasting notes

This is another sample I picked up out of curiousity that I figured my mom would like, and therefore I’m trying it on holiday!

Unlike the Spiced Elderberry Pu’erh, this blend didn’t smell fishy in the packet, nor after the first infusion. I chose not to rinse this blend for fear of losing some of the added ingredients, although I imagine some people do.

So I only got a sip of the first infusion as I gave it to my mom, and I my recollection of it was an earthy, spicy blend. Not too spicy, but definitely flavoured. Actually quite nice! My mom seemed to quite enjoy it too, and polished off the cup. I decided that the second infusion would be for me, and am enjoying a very smooth, richly earthy cup with only hints of the pepper and ginger… but this has got to rank as one of the best cups of pu’erh I’ve had! I have to say that it’s just a touuuuuch fishy (and smelled like that in the infuser), which may be my fault for letting it sit out overnight.

Anyways, I’m starting to think that I’m in general doing something wrong with pu’erhs… perhaps overleafing, which is leading to unpleasant flavours… because this cup is absolutely wonderful (and I think I’m finally catching some of those “angel food cake”, etc. nuances that people have mentioned!)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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85

Uh…. YUM! This tea is delicious. The aroma is distinctly earl grey cream, and the flavour is oh-so-creamy and good. I read Alphakitty’s note on this tea prior to taking a sip, and totally agree that I have trouble telling earl grey creams apart, for the most part, because I don’t have them in a short enough time frame for a real comparison. However, I tend to prefer ones that are heavier on the cream, lighter on the bergamot. Because of its accessibility, the DavidsTea version has become my standby, but when it’s hotter, it’s often not as creamy.

Although I’m having it cold, I think this is perhaps the most creamy ECG I’ve tried. Definitely smells like an earl grey, and tastes exactly like an earl grey with creamer. If not for the clear, brown liquid, I could swear that someone dropped a bunch of coffee whitener into my cup (yeah, my best friend and I used to steal her parents’ coffee whitener for our earl grey when they were out of milk… sooooooo many chemicals…..) The bergamot is definitely lighter here; I don’t know if it’s because of my conservative 3-minute infusion, or just how the tea is. I have a sample of Della Terra’s Saveur de Paris as well, so it’s tempting to mix a touch of that in when brewing this one up next time just to add a bit more bergamot. Not that this isn’t just fine as it is, though!

I’m glad to have tried another yummy ECG, but accessibility likely will still cause the DavidsTea version to win out.

Side note: Although my mom has not cared for pretty much every black tea I’ve made her sample (which would be nearly every tea I’ve brewed up, haha), she said that this one was quite pleasant. I’m tempted to leave her the rest of my pouch of it, but am not sure she’d ever choose it herself over a green/green oolong…

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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91

Two infusions of this one today, both quite delicious. Didn’t really make notes on the first, but the second has a lovely caramelly oolong finish.

My mom enjoyed the sips she had of the first infusion, but thought that the second was a bit too strong, so she got the cup of Sichuan Caravan instead. I’m leaving the remnants of this package of tea with her, though!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 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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