2390 Tasting Notes

14
drank Mamma Mia by DAVIDsTEA
2390 tasting notes

I feel like I may have steeped this one too long, and am dreading the hibiscus…

Anyhow, the tea smells pretty floral, cinnamony, and strong. Reminds me quite a lot of potpourri, really. And for whatever reason, that smell is not appetizing me right now. Really not a floral tea fan, and mixed with hibiscus?! Yikes. Alphakitty, I hope I sent some of this to you (too lazy to check).

Oh man. Uhhh… yuck. The hibiscus isn’t bad (actually it’s not really an issue at all), but SO MUCH rose and the cinnamon flavour are just screaming BATH PRODUCT to me, not tea. Which gives me a soap association (not a soapy flavour though). I’m going to go water it down some though, because I think I was a little heavy on the tea compared to the water, and I’ve had that issue with floral teas before (by floral I mean rose. I really like the orchid floralness of oolongs, entirely different beast altogether. A gentle, happy beast, not like this one.)

Ok. Watered down it isn’t making me gag nearly so much. But again, it’s too much like a bath product for me. This one’s going down the drain; I would MUCH rather get started on the Harney & Sons flavoured blacks from Alphakitty awaiting me on the counter……

Lynne-tea, Mercuryhime, CHAroma, any of you guys interested in about a cups’ worth of this one? Zero chance I’ll be drinking it again. (Or anyone else for that matter…)

ETA: I just want to mention that I don’t think oversteeping is my problem with this one, it’s just not a combination of flavours that I find appealing.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

you make it sound so appealing. ;-)

Kittenna

Hahahaha, I’m sure I do! But I’m discovering I really dislike rose, and that’s probably the biggest problem for me here, so someone who likes rose might enjoy it! That said, the reviews generally aren’t fantastic.

ScottTeaMan

Oh Crap…….that reminds me I cold brewed some tea with hibiscus in it last Mon/Tues and almost forgot about it. Imagine me- forgeting about hibiscus….GLADLY!!

Kittenna

Oooooh, risky….. my last cold-brew with hibiscus was Pink Flamingo, and that did not go well…

Fjellrev

Thanks for the heads up on the not-so-edible bathwater. Haha. It’s funny how so many people dislike hibiscus yet it can be found in so many teas. What is UP with that…

Kittenna

I don’t think the problem in this tea is the hibiscus, although it might be contributing, I think it’s the rose/cinnamon combination. Either way, unless you have intentions of bathing in this stuff…

Fjellrev

Yeah, rose and cinnamon are both such common notes in bath products and candles so I can see how the association would make an odd tea experience. I just found it amusing, as a side note, how you were dreading the largely disliked hibiscus and ended up disliking this tea for a more unexpected reason.

Kittenna

Haha, yes, given the colour of the tea I’m really surprised it wasn’t the hibiscus that ruined it!

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82

And now for the very brief attempt at drinking down all my samples (hahaha), it’s time for one of the last teas I haven’t tried out of my first box from Azzrian! Yep, I know what was sent when, it’s all on my spreadsheet :D Although straight teas were clearly calling to me tonight, I was in the mood for a sweet rooibos, and luckily remembered that I hadn’t tried this one yet! Here’s hoping it’s tasty.

I can’t recall exactly what the dry rooibos smelled like, but steeped, there’s a distinct but not unpleasant rooibos smell along with a familiar, tantalizing sweetness.

Definitely interesting! I’m getting a sweet and creamy perhaps white chocolatey flavour with a definite mintiness – there’s a cool sensation lingering in my mouth post-swallow. Not what I expected, but it’s tasty! No medicinal flavour, although my throat is feeling a bit scratchy after a few sips (but I am in cold limbo, as in the place where I’ve had the aches and sore throat and perma-headache, but haven’t yet quite left those behind and fully progressed to the all-day sneezing and constantly runny nose). So basically what I"m saying is that my throat was already sore, so it’s hard to blame the rooibos for anything.

Anyhow, this is a pretty nice dessert rooibos; I’m impressed! I feel like minty is not a flavour I was supposed to be getting, but it’s unmistakeable. It’s also not really a peppermint tea sort of flavour, just a mintiness like most chewing gums have, so it’s not bothersome to me. Thanks for the sample, Azzrian!

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

you are most welcome! :)

Babble

Tea spreadsheets rock!

Missy

Yay! You are back. Hope you feel better soon.

Kittenna

Yes, hopefully won’t be gone so long again… the backlog of notices/posts I have to catch up on is ridiculous, and since the ‘see more’ button is still only semi-functional, it’s difficult.

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96

Was absolutely craving a sweet vegetal green tonight on top of my delicious milk oolong, so chose this one (at least I think I chose this one. It was a Verdant dragonwell, anyhow). Infusions at ~175F for 1:00, 1:15, 1:45. All smooth, vegetal, and amazing. I definitely prefer the infusions in order, i.e. the first is best, probably because the rock sugar note is most prominent in earlier infusions. But, they are all delicious. :D

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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98
drank Quangzhou Milk Oolong by DAVIDsTEA
2390 tasting notes

Whew, finally enough time to brew up some tea. I should be sleeping, but I wanted tea, since I don’t think I’ve had anything but three iced ones in about a week. Not good news for my stash (although it also didn’t grow this week, so that’s good too, right? Even though DavidsTea dropped another 5 or so teas, which I will probably acquire next week?)

Anyways. As usual, this one’s exactly what I wanted. Such a delicious tea.

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

You have great willpower! I would have been at DT as soon as I heard about the new teas =) Good job.

Kittenna

It’s not willpower so much as a complete lack of time! I think I’m going to make it to the gym this Wednesday, so will probably get them all then (gym is in the same mall).

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93
drank Fruity Ginger by Teaopia
2390 tasting notes

Still impressed with the real ginger zing. Very refreshing and tasty; I’ll be sad when this tea’s gone forever.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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88
drank Blazing Strawberries by DAVIDsTEA
2390 tasting notes

Delicious and refreshing cold brew.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
teawade

I love mixed flavor profiles like spicy and sweet as well as sweet and salty. This sounds great!

Kittenna

I don’t really get the spicy note in here, but there’s something about the cooling flavour of the bamboo with a hint of strawberry that is quite delicious. It’s very light though, not to be had with strong foods/other strong drinks (so I’ve learned!)

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84
drank Tropicalia by DAVIDsTEA
2390 tasting notes

Cold/warm brewed this (as in, put in cold water from the Brita pitcher but left the cup on the counter for about 24h because my fridge is stuffed full of research asparagus) and it’s pretty tasty. Am feeling somewhat dehydrated after trying to sleep off my cold for fourteen hours, and it’s hitting the spot. I miraculously can still taste things right now (I usually lose my sense of smell completely for a while while sick), and I feel like my cold/warm brew method may have worked better than standard cold-brewing; I just feel like the tea’s a bit more flavourful than I expected. But maybe I used more tea than I realized (I think it was about a tbsp for 2 cups, which is about what one would use for hot brewing). I feel like I’m rambling…

Anyhow, going to pop this into a waterbottle now and drive off to pick up the Last Batch of Asparagus (finally…….)

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Azzrian

I want some ASPARAGUTS! Thats what we call it for some reason :)

CHAroma

Research asparagus?

Mercuryhime

So are you going to have an asparagus feast after your research is done? Can I come? I know some tasty asparagus recipes!

Dylan Oxford

You know what’s awesome? Grilled asparagus. I got Missy to start liking asparagus by putting it on the grill. :)

Missy

Shhh tell no one! As far as any one knows, I hates the rabbit food…

Kittenna

Haha @ Asparaguts :D

I’m doing cooking trials in a food-safe lab, so I need to store my asparagus in a food-safe fridge… and my actual lab is definitely not food-safe (filled with chemicals), so it all gets stored in my fridge (I have few options). I’ve been picking up a couple 28lb cases of asparagus each time, grading out what I can’t use, and using what works out to be maybe 1/3 of a case, so I end up with lots leftover… so yes Mercuryhime, I’m feasting this weekend and you are welcome to take as much asparagus off my hands as you want, or feast with me! :P Tomorrow’s menu includes cream of asparagus soup and stir-fried asparagus with lemon and garlic. Perhaps I will splurge on some proscuitto and wrap some up to grill/bake as well! What are your tasty asparagus recipes?!

Yes, grilled asparagus is delicious :D For my research, I’m testing it by baking, boiling, pan-frying, grilling, microwaving and steaming. By far, baking and grilling (and pan-frying) smell and taste the best :D (Although that’s not what I’m looking for, haha.)

Mercuryhime

Wow! I want your job! You’ve probably tried all my favorite ways fro the sound of things but I loved asparagus roasted with a Parmesan crust. Also shaved on white pizza with crispy shallots.

Angrboda

Are we talking white or green asparagus here? For the green, lightly blanched or steamed asparagus work excellently in a risotto. :)

Kittenna

Mercuryhime – Ooh, parmesan crust. I often roast it and drizzle it with parmesan and lemon juice (ok, douse it in lemon juice), but I don’t usually put it back in the oven after I put on the parmesan, although I seem to recall that’s what I was “supposed” to do… might try that tonight too! What is white pizza? And how do you make crispy shallots, because that sounds good!

Angrboda – You correctly guessed green :) I actually haven’t even had white asparagus (shock, horror!) but I know in Europe it’s quite a bit bigger than here. I have had purple asparagus however, and it was extra sweet and delicious :D Asparagus in risotto sounds good – I even have arborio rice because my roomie and I experimented with a few risottos last semester! Any specific recipes??

Angrboda

As a matter of fact yes. Allow me to promote a food blogger going under the name of Formerchef. She has provided several dishes for the menu rotation in this household. Her recipes are easy to follow and there are good pictures so you can see what it’s supposed to look like. Here is the risotto. http://www.formerchef.com/2010/02/13/mushroom-and-asparagus-risotto

We don’t use proper arborio rice, though. They’re SO expensive in this country and only come in tiny packages with only a little more than what is needed for one meal. I just buy the cheap short-grained rice for rice porridge, and it works fine for just the two of us. If I were to make it for company, I might splurge. :) (Espeically if said company was the boyfriend’s Italian colleague and his wife, because I wouldn’t want them to faint with outrage. My boyfriend told me about a time when someone had explained how they made a specific cake or dessert to Italian Colleague, and how, when ‘nescafé’ was mentioned, it was like the light in his eyes just went out.)

Kittenna

Heck yes, that looks delicious! Wish my foodie roommate was here to make it with me, but I think I’ll still make it anyways (she will die of jealousy)! I actually have all of the ingredients, except for shiitake/portobello mushrooms (I should pick up some dried shiitakes. Love those things!) Thank you SO much!

I think arborio might actually be pretty expensive here too… but I bought it anyways. A full recipe usually makes at least 4 servings, so it’s worth it for me, and food is one thing I let myself splurge on. I think it’s about $4 for one package? I also don’t make risotto super often.

Also, the nescafe thing makes me giggle :) Yes, it would be an outrage to some people if you didn’t use “the proper” ingredients!!

Mercuryhime

For the Parmesan crust. I toss the spears with salt and olive oil then take a mixture of parm and bread crumbs to top it off. Broil till cooked! Asparagus should be tender and crispy still!

White pizza is basically without tomato sauce and extra cheeses like parm and provolone.

Crispy shallots are simply diced shallots pantries till crispy. Yum!

We should have a cooking party!

Angrboda

Risotto is a fairly stable type of dish in this household. :) But yeah, I still regularly tell the boyfriend that cooking is not an exact science. :p He’ll stand there and measure everything accurately, time every step, and find something else to cook entirely if he can’t use one of the listed ingredients, where I go by eye measure for a lot of things, hardly ever time anything unless it’s simmering or in the oven for a longer time and happily substitute or leave out ingredients that I don’t like or can’t get. :) He can’t make risotto without wine, for example, where as I tend to just use extra-strong stock or add a good splash of cooking sherry. And then, on the occasion where I do want to make something JUST SO, I get it thrown back in my face. “Cooking is not an exact science, you know!” :p

Kittenna

@Mercuryhime – That sounds yummy! I have everything but the bread crumbs, so should pick some up and try it! And I’d totally be down for a cooking party – I’ll supply the asparagus! Hahaha :D

@Angrboda – Totally made the risotto tonight (with modifications, because apparently I didn’t have as much chicken broth as I thought!), and it was delicious! Thanks so much for passing on the recipe! Also, I think I’m about half and half with the ‘exact science’ thing – I tend to be reasonably precise with measurements, but frequently substitute things if I feel it would work (although the first time I make a recipe I usually try to follow it as closely as I can).

Angrboda

The stock is not important anyway. With the boyfriend being vegetarian, any kind of stock in this house gets automatically translated to vegetable stock.
As for the exact science, he’s also funny with it because he’ll go out of his way to use the right sort of obscure cooking oil sometimes, but will happily substitute sorts of cheese without a second thought. I’ve never seen the logic of that one myself.

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91

See my other two Verdant green oolong notes; it’s comparison time! This post is for the second 2012 spring harvest. I’m brewing them each up identically, using 1.5 tsp of leaf in 125mL water, with the leaves allowed to roam free in the cup before being strained out.

First infusion (208F/30s):
Also similar to the autumn harvest with a buttery, green, and floral flavour/aroma. Perhaps the “greenest” of the three.

Second infusion (208F/30s):
This time this harvest falls between the autumn and spring first picking in terms of flavour. It actually is probably my favourite of the three. I’m getting a bit of a citrusy aftertaste in this one… kind of orangey/lemony. Can’t blame that on food, since I’ve had nothing of the sort in the past few hours, and didn’t taste this with the other two. Oh – that’s a lie. I’m getting it with the first spring harvest two, whereas the aftertaste is more of a sweet caramel with the autumn harvest.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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91

See my other two Verdant green oolong notes; it’s comparison time! This post is for the first 2012 spring harvest. I’m brewing them each up identically, using 1.5 tsp of leaf in 125mL water, with the leaves allowed to roam free in the cup before being strained out.

First infusion (208F/30s):
Quite similar to the autumn harvest. Buttery, green, and floral. Maybe a bit more oolong flavour here. I’m also finding the flavours to be a bit more intense (but that could be attributable to differences in the amount of leaf, as although I was careful, I wasn’t precise to the 0.01g).

Second infusion (208F/40s):
Whoops, this one got an extra 10s because I got distracted. It’s definitely stronger and greener tasting than the autumn harvest. Almost a bit of astringency, and I can’t see that 10 seconds would have done that, but the strength is definitely affected. Still tasty though, with lovely floral notes.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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92

Fun experiment time, tonight. I’ve been dying for oolongs lately, and massively craving Verdant’s, but have had other teas I wanted to try, or not enough time, etc. etc… Anyhow, tonight I thought I’d finally compare the three tieguanyins I have received from Verdant – the 2011 Autumn, 2012 Spring (first harvest), and 2012 Spring (second harvest). I’m brewing them each up identically, using 1.5 tsp of leaf in 125mL water, with the leaves allowed to roam free in the cup before being strained out.

First infusion (208F/30s):
Light floral, buttery aroma. Green, floral taste. Very green aftertaste. Not too much oolong flavour, but it does leave a nice round, creamy taste in the mouth. I’m getting more oolong flavour from the spring harvests, but the differences are too subtle for me to pick up. Comparing it to the others, I think this is the least green and floral. It’s more subdued.

Second infusion (208F/30s):
Much like a lighter version of the first, in my opinion. More oolong flavour though, which was expected. Mmmmm. Caramel in the aftertaste, unlike the citrus of the spring harvests.

Overall: All three are delicious oolongs. My palate really isn’t developed enough to perceive differences though, at least the way I infused them (although I suspect that for my leaf:water ratio, a 30 second initial infusion was too long). Hoping I can go through another few infusions tomorrow, in which I will perhaps notice more differences!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
Indigobloom

I love caramel notes in green teas. So good!

SimpliciTEA

Great idea to brew up these teas that are from different harvests on the same day!

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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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