3125 Tasting Notes

67

Another sample from Sil! Thanks!

So I just decided to kind of half organize some of my teas, and ended up pretty much panicking because I have way, way, WAY too much, and I will never ever finish it all, and I have so much that I really need to put on a swap list, but I don’t have time for swapping right now because I’m horribly slow with even the tiniest, itty bittiest of swaps. My very outdated, partially updated list of teas, which has virtually no swap samples on it, is at about 300 teas. It’s also missing my last couple Butiki orders. And everything I have from Caraway, Kally, Upton, Simpson & Vail, Lupicia. Plus multiple Verdant orders. Any recent DavidsTeas. So that would undoubtedly bring it up to at least 400. And then, the swap samples. Which must total at least couple hundred in themselves. O.o What have I done…. :’(

Uhhhh so this tea, which I brewed up hours ago. Smelled crazily like honey as soon as the water hit the leaves; I nearly started drooling into the other cups I was pouring water into! Unfortunately, for me, the flavour just isn’t quite there. It has that sweetness that caramel creme rooibos’ often have (so, caramel/vanilla flavouring), and I’m kind of getting berry flavour, along with honey. But, it’s not really all that great. I’m also getting the scratchy feeling in my throat like I seem to do with many red rooibos blends (but not honeybush).

Overall, another tea I’m glad to have tried, but equally glad that I have a very, very small amount of…. :/

ETA: Re-steep, not so bad! Still lots of honey flavour :D

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Alphakitty

I feel the same “I have too much tea” panic! Then I think to myself, this is the best possible problem to have.

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80

Wow, Sil, you have one heck of a memory! I had no recollection of requesting to try this, but seeing your post, I suspect I did :D Thanks!

Basically, I have to say that this is a decent milk oolong, but I have had better. In part that’s because this is tasting kind of weak to me (it’s possible that I intentionally overleaf when I usually brew milk oolong, and did not here, but I don’t think so). Flavourwise it is milky and oolong-y like most others, though!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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71

So, back to samples from Alphakitty! Having a single teabag of something counts as a sipdown, yes? Yeah, I thought so too :D

The tea I’m trying is black tea with cherry blossom essence and leaves (since there appear to be multiple teas with this same name??) Anyhow, the aroma I’m getting (even from the teabag itself!) is very much sour cherry. And stronger than I would have expected! The packet indicated to infuse for between 1-2 minutes, so I went with 1:30 since I’m sometimes a baby with black teas.

Flavourwise, this tea is quite smooth (which is nice since the other two blacks I’ve had tonight were not so much!), and I can definitely taste what’s coming off to me as sour cherry! I see that someone wrote below that it tasted a bit like Japanese pickled/preserved plums (ume?), and I’d agree with that as well. The flavour overall is pretty light, but it’s a bit refreshing, heh. It’s not too light though (I did just use about 6 oz. water though, as teabags are often weak to me). I’m not sure I would have identified this as “cherry blossom”, but it’s certainly a pretty decent bagged tea!

Thanks for letting me try it, Alphakitty!

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec

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93
drank Coconut Chai by Zhena's Gypsy Tea
3125 tasting notes

AHHHHH, I am so infinitely grateful to momo for sending me the rest of her teabags of this tea! I absolutely loved the loose sample I got from Indigobloom a while back (it’s almost gone), and was worried, because this is pretty much one of my favourite chais.

I’ll admit that this brews up weaker than the loose version (I put one teabag for about 5-6 oz. water and it’s on the weak side), and it doesn’t seem to be as naturally sweet, though that could be my tastebuds as I just ate… however the spicing is the same, and that’s what I was really after. Ahhh, so happy! At least I’ll have some of this for a little while longer :D I’ll have to try this with milk and a touch of sweetener…. mmmm…

(It also just occurred to me that I have no idea how long I steeped this for, so I may have also understeeped. I think I shall also cut open the teabags when brewing at home… why infuse paper when I have a bajillion infusers?!)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C

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73
drank Monk's Blend by Tealish
3125 tasting notes

Another tea sample from Sil! Soooo maaaaannnyyyy, hahaha. Thanks!

I think I shorted the water on this one too, so it’s a bit on the strong side. However, it’s kind of tasty! There’s not a great deal to the aroma, but there’s a nice caramelly fruitiness to the cup, and perhaps just a touch of creaminess. Not quite what I might have expected, but it’s enjoyable! There is a fair bit of astringency, and a bit of bitterness, but it feels more like I made the tea too strong than a problem with the tea itself. Perhaps I will go add a bit of water and see if it improves.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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58

Thanks Sil for this sample (via Nicole, I am suspecting?)

Brewed up, this tea smells almost ridiculously perfumey/floral… but somehow, I don’t mean that in a bad way. There’s jasmine, for sure, and I wonder if the rest of the aroma is “cream”? Tough to tell. As it cools, however, I can identify the cream moreso in the aroma.

Flavourwise, this is certainly interesting. I’m not sure I’ve had a black jasmine before, come to think of it, so this may be my first. However, I’m fairly sure that this is a jasmine green combined with a black cream, so this isn’t really a jasmine black either. Anyhow. It tastes like I brewed it too strongly (I used 1.5 tsp per 8 oz.), as it’s quite strong, and verging on bitter, although I steeped this as a black, so that could be my fault. The predominant flavour is heavy jasmine, with a strong but pleasant black base, and some definite cream notes.

Overall, I don’t hate it, but I also don’t love it. For starters, I think it needs to be more dilute for me to enjoy it, as it’s just a bit overpowering how it is, and also the jasmine is coming off as a bit artificial to me. I’m not the hugest fan of jasmine to begin with, so I’m not too shocked. I think I was expecting a tea that would be slightly more subtle, which this is far from.

Anyhow, an interesting blend to try out! I think I have a generous cup’s worth left… we’ll see what becomes of it, haha.

ETA: Hah, it just occurred to me that what I’m being reminded of with this tea is bath products. Ah well!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

well if it makes you feel better, i couldn’t bring myself to try this one. heh

Kittenna

According to the tasting notes, you did! :P

Sil

oh haha i just didn’t rate it i guess

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70
drank Berry Good (organic) by DAVIDsTEA
3125 tasting notes

Not bad! The aroma of the dry tea made me think of strawberry yogurt; brewed, it’s still very much berries. The flavour is lightly sweet but with just a perfect hint of tartness from the hibiscus, and a strawberry fruitiness mingles with an earthy pu’erh flavour near the end of the sip. I’d personally prefer this without the hibiscus, but only because I want a strawberry yogurt tea now, hahahaha. The hibiscus is done quite well here; seems DavidsTea took note of how well it was used in Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait.

I need to try this side-by-side with Della Terra’s Mother of Pearl, as I think they are similar blends, although I think I may prefer MoP.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Indigobloom

Is there much pu in there? I only see a few leaves in the pic!

Kittenna

Not a ton, but it is noticeable in the flavour.

Indigobloom

Hmmm, I might just check this one out!

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82
drank Gyokuro Imperial by Teavana
3125 tasting notes

Thanks to Raritea for a sample of this one! Unfortunately, although I knowingly wrote 1 tsp on the bag, I clearly put 1.5 into it, so this is not yet a sipdown :(

Ahhh, this is tasty. Vegetal and chewy, if tea can have a texture! It’s also kind of mariney and brothy, neither of which overpower one another, which works really well. Actually, it tastes kind of like the salted, flavoured seaweed snacks I like to eat. But, less seaweedy.

Overall, pretty good! I was worried that my 45s infusion would be too long, but it was just perfect here, and I’m glad I didn’t use more tea!

Depending on the price, this would be a tea I’d consider buying in the future, although I’m likely to go elsewhere for a gyokuro. Would definitely drink it if offered though, as long as I was in a green tea mood (I find that I must be in the mood for vegetal greens, otherwise I don’t particularly enjoy them).

Thanks Raritea!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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66

Well… this doesn’t taste like strawberry rhubarb pie to me…. however I do like it! It tastes fruity and sweet, with an almost caramelly, lingering sweet flavour that I’m quite enjoying. I wasn’t sure whether or not to expect spice in here like Strawberry Pie Honeybush, but it’s not here, and that’s ok. I don’t really taste any rhubarb tartness (there may have been cause to use hibiscus here for that!!) however I like this the way it is. Tasty enough that I am happily going back and sipping this one all up (as I did with Weeping Angel and Caramel Apple). No ill tummy effects from this one!

ETA: SOOOOOO. The above review is most likely for PB Cup Honeybush, which, shockingly, shouldn’t taste like SRP at all, haha. So this well get another proper shot later. I’m leaving the rating, because I did just drink what I think was SRPH, and it was delicious, and tasted fruity and much more like strawberries. Heh. Read my PB Cup Honeybush note for an explanation :)

ETA again: Re-steep was mostly flavourless (and I’m positive that I have the right tea this time).

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Alphakitty

I’m not a huge honeybush fan but I LOVE this one, it really does have a buttery pie taste to it

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43

So. Funny/possibly not so funny story. Last night I brewed up 9 cups of tea (yes, 9) and brought them upstairs. Six new 52teas, resteeps of Kamba Berry, Premium Taiwanese Assam, and the Premium Taiwanese Assam Upgrade. I tried all six of the new teas (so I thought), and didn’t drink the others. So, just now I went to finish everything off… and discovered that I had put one of the cups on a shelf that was hidden from view while lying in bed… and… it tasted like a rooibos. A fruity rooibos.

So. I’m about 99% certain that the tea I identified yesterday as PB Cup Honeybush was, in fact, a re-steep of the Premium Taiwanese Assam Upgrade. I mean, I should have known – it didn’t even taste rooibosy, just very plain. And now that I found this fruity-tasting rooibosy cup, I’m thinking that I misidentified Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Honeybush as well, and the tea I reviewed as SRPH was, in fact, PB Cup Honeybush. In which case, it was delicious!

So! My apologies for my temporary terrible rating of this one, as it was my own stupidity/tea brewing excess that caused the problem! I will clearly have to give this another shot later, and pay more attention to which cup I put it in. What I find somewhat amusing, though, is how I was able to convince myself that a peanut butter cup tea tasted like strawberry rhubarb pie. Also, I swear I was tasting the slightest bit of peanut in that assam. The powers of the mind, right? Yeesh.

ETA: Flavourless re-steep as well (the right tea this time). Ah well.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Dinosara

You’re not alone. You might not have been around back when I did my main 52teas trials, but suffice to say that I, like you, have trouble with the flavoring for some reason. I always wished it weren’t so since 52teas has so many awesome flavors, but I now know better than to try again. :(

Kittenna

Well, it looks like I made an epic mistake in identifying which tea was which last night (see completely updated note), however yeah, the flavours just aren’t always what I expect/hope for. Especially in the case of the new genmaichas… neither of those was misidentified last night, and the smell of the Browncoat Genmaicha is actually still making me gag.

Indigobloom

LOL nice, I’ve done that before. Tea musical chairs… which one will get drunk first, and will it end up where it’s supposed to? heh!

Dinosara

Haha well ok then! Glad you got it somewhat sorted out. :)

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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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