2361 Tasting Notes

83
drank Honey Bush Choco Caramel by ZenTea
2361 tasting notes

Finishing off the last of my sample of this one from Amanda. Yum, thanks! A pretty good honeybush blend. Honeybush is a lot better than rooibos, imo.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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97

Mmmmmmmmm so tasty. Used a random amount of leaf (maybe a tbsp?) and used my nose to figure out when I should pour it out, and my nose indicated I should start at 20 seconds, so a 30-second steep it was! Just love the light sweetness of this one and complete absence of astringeny and bitterness. I think finding the best dragonwell tea may become a goal of mine, although I’ve probably started at the wrong end of the spectrum, with the two from Verdant!! Upping the rating because this tea is remarkably consistent in its amazingness.

ETA: Second infusion (168F/1min) also great.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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84

Definitely a happy accident that I was sent this tea instead of Strawberry Pie Honeybush. Seriously one of the best flavoured greens I’ve tried. I think I used too much leaf today so it’s heading a bit toward astringency when it shouldn’t be, but I also feel like it’s tasting a bit more pancakey today. Either way, yum :)

ETA: Second infusion (82C/3:30min), I added some gasp rock sugar! Oooooh delicious! However, I think this tea is just fine without, I only added some for kicks :D Still can taste the strawberry and green tea, and a bit of pancakeyness. Also seaweed. But that last one’s because I just discovered a bag of seaweed “condiment” in my cupboard and have been snacking. Diets are sucky.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Lynne-tea

oh jeez! Try taking a nori sheet and putting a little sesame oil and salt on it. Then you run both sides of the sheet over a hot pan to crisp up the seaweed. So good. It’s better than chips in my opinion and WAY better for you…. maybe I will make some right now >.<

Kittenna

That sounds delicious. I’m going to write that down somewhere and try it! The seaweed I was eating was a mix of small assorted stuff. Tasty, but I also have packaged strips of nori which are actually meant for snacking, and are probably similar to what you’re suggesting (but the addition of sesame oil sounds intriguing!)

CHAroma

Sesame oil is delicious! But a little goes a long way.

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84

Yay, trying out another sample from Missy & Dylan tonight! Thanks guys! Have definitely been missing you on Steepster…. :(

Sweet and genmaicha-like are the associations I’m getting from the steeped cup, which isn’t surprising given that the flavour is roasty and sweet like genmaicha, although short on toasted rice flavour. This is definitely a different take on green tea, in my mind, being so far from the vegetal teas I’m more used to, but it’s nice and calming. I’d probably choose to drink a genmaicha of some variety over this one though if I was looking for a quieting tea, as there’s considerably less caffeine in them (or at least there is in the tea I have, which I swear is 80% rice!)

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

My granddaughters like this with sugar. Reminds them of the salty, sweet rice cookies from the Asian foods store close by. So good! Love the toasty taste.

Dylan Oxford

Looks like things are picking up again, so you’ll probably be seeing us around! Hope you’ve been well, and glad you enjoyed the sample :)

Missy

This is a green I love. It’s not finicky at all and it has a wholesome goodness to it that makes me feel hugged by my grandma.

Kittenna

Not finicky (I agree, unlike teas that go bitter if you steep them 2 seconds too long or at the wrong temp), but I somehow managed to ruin the next two infusions of it by not using enough water/steeping it for WAY too long. Sigh. I still have more to try later though!

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80
drank Jiaogulan by Teaopia
2361 tasting notes

This one was just too interesting to pass up. Little balls of herbs held together with a light coating of sucrose?? Sure, why not! And at 30%, I think each ball only ended up being a bit less than $1, so that’s not too bad. I used one ball for about 8 oz. of water.

The smell is very boiled veggie-like, moreso than I usually get from green teas. The taste is similar in that sense – I wish I could tell which veggie I was tasting! It’s quite strong and distinct, and tasty with the small hit of sugary sweetness. I want to say perhaps asparagus? It’s a veggie with sulfurous notes, for sure. Almost boiled spinachy? It reminds me of asian rice snacks with seaweed that have a sugary coating, so maybe I’m getting a seaweedy sort of taste too. Either way, it’s interesting and tasty, although I think I have enough that I won’t feel the need to buy it again.

That was a fun little experiment :D

ETA: Re-steep (175F/5.5min) is very similar. So vegetal! Still sweet! I do think asparagus might be the closest I can get to what it actually tastes like.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Mercuryhime

This sounds so intriguing! I totally want to try some!

Bonnie

Um sounds good to me too!

Kittenna

Definitely have enough to send a ball or two off if either of you are interested in a swap :)

Mercuryhime

Yay! A swap! I’ll PM you! I should be sleeping but I’m all hyped for no reason! I could have sworn I had a honeybush this evening!

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88
drank Creamy Nut Oolong by Teaopia
2361 tasting notes

Picked up my Teaopia order from Purolator today because apparently they wanted a signature (boo!) But…. I got it! Yay! Starting off with the tea I was most excited about, based on Steepster reviews. The other teas are mostly herbals for icing.

In the bag, this one smells quite caramelly and nutty. Just like dessert! Mmmmmm… It’s pretty similar when steeped, with a bit of a woody aroma (bark, stick-like??). Maybe that’s the oolong? The flavour is pretty bang on though, nutty and creamy, with a lovely aftertaste of oolong. I know this one’s loaded with artificial flavour, but I’m really liking it! Yay Steepsterites for good reviews that convinced me to buy this tea! Yum… definitely want another cup of this tonight. I feel like this is a good one to curb those dessert cravings.

ETA: Oh creamy nut oolong, there is just something about you that is so freaking delicious. Second infusion loses a bit, but is still hitting the mark for me. 2 minute infusion at 90C this time. Yum. I’m not sure the creamy nut flavour will last for a third, just the woody oolong base, I’m suspecting. (Got a good half third infusion and fourth infusion.)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

this was one of my gateway teas!! <3

Kittenna

:/ I’m so addicted – I’m drinking these other teas and all I want is this one!! Hahahaha. I wonder if it’s good with sugar… picked up some rock sugar from Teaopia as well (and cracked it open… it’s tasty! Ack!)

tigress_al

I find this one very comforting

Indigobloom

I imagine sugar would enhance the caramel. Yumm!

Kittenna

Struggling with the desire to buy more of this one ASAP since I suspect it won’t be around for much longer… but at the same time I DO NOT need more tea!! Such a dilemma…. :(

Indigobloom

LOL I feel ya girl!

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55
drank Strawberry Lemonade by iHeartTeas
2361 tasting notes

I cold brewed about 2 tbsp of this in 2 cups of water in the fridge overnight.

The taste is somewhat tart and berry-like. The tartness is definitely moreso of the lemony variety and not hibiscus, which would probably make a lot of people happy! Unfortunately though, I’m tasting the medicinal rooibos flavour that I’m not a big fan of, and that’s kind of ruining it for me. It’s still drinkable though, so anyone who doesn’t have that same association with rooibos would probably love it! Still need to try it hot before completely giving up though.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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69
drank Strawberry Island by iHeartTeas
2361 tasting notes

The aroma is of a malty, slightly sweet black tea with a hint of fruitiness. It’s not discernible as strawberry to me, particularly.

The flavour is malty and creamy, and the fruitiness comes out at the end of the sip, so it’s definitely a lightly flavoured tea. There’s also delicious creaminess at the end of the sip. Again, I’m not particularly picking out strawberry, but it does taste like a berry sort of fruitiness. My short steep time avoided too much astringency (there’s just the slightest touch), so I would definitely recommend going with a short time with this tea.

Overall, it’s tasty and I love the creaminess, but I do wish there was more strawberry flavour (as with the Raspberry Apricot Green Tea Delight, however, I may be experiencing issues with Mango ‘n Friends being so sweet as to have temporarily contaminated my taste buds). I personally think it would be enhanced with some freeze-dried strawberry pieces though.

Overall a tasty tea and I will finish my sample, but probably not one I’d want an entire package of as my preference for flavoured blacks leans towards stronger flavours (but the base and creaminess here are fantastic). Thanks for sending along a sample of this one, Rachel!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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84

The dry tea smells fruity with a metallic twinge of sencha. I’m not a big fan of green teas with that flavour, so hoping it doesn’t carry over into the flavour.

Whew, there’s no astringency or bitterness, so the metallic aroma mustn’t be linked to those (it was in my mind). Cannot put into words how relieved I am about that – so many times with green blends I’m getting unpleasant flavours from the sencha. Initially I’m mostly tasting sencha, which is pleasant enough, but not what I want. I think the flavours are coming out in the aftertaste, but I feel like I have too much fruitiness going on in my mouth right now to pick them out. I’m also drinking this warm/hot (unusual for me), and I’m wondering if the flavours will come out better when it’s cooled…. only problem, I’m not sure the tea’s going to last that long. I’m enjoying the pleasantly fruity, buttery sencha regardless.

Ok, I’m giving this one a temporary rating because I’m enjoying it whether or not I can taste raspberry or apricot (can’t pick out either right now). I expect that another time, when I try this cooler and with an untainted palate (I’m blaming Mango ‘n Friends here), the rating will be upped. I’m also interested to try this iced and cold-steeped. Haven’t cold-steeped a flavoured green before (other than DavidsTea’s Lime Gelato, which hardly has any green tea in it to begin with).

ETA: Resteep, 175F/2 min is similarly of buttery sencha, albeit weaker.

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

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85
drank Sweet Velvet Fog by iHeartTeas
2361 tasting notes

Received yet another package of tea today… this time it was my order from iheartteas.com!! Exciting! I ordered a few of Rachel’s custom blends (and some Golden Moon Coconut Pouchong), and am trying to make some good headway on trying everything this evening, even though I should be sleeping/working on things (but I’m so stressed out all I can do is post mindlessly on Steepster… thank goodness it’s working again!)

The aroma of this one is pretty familiar, steeped. Luckily, it’s familiar in a good way. Malty and caramelly/vanilla-y. I can see why someone (is it Angrboda???) is questing for the perfect vanilla black. So decadent.

With 3.5 minutes of steeping, I’m getting more astringency than I would like, yet the tea’s a bit weak. I think I may have overdone the water a bit, and should drop the infusion time down to 3 minutes. However, in spite of the astringency I can taste some really nice caramelly/creamy notes. Definitely looking forward to my second attempt! During which I should also brew up some of 52teas’ Pot O’ Gold and Market Spice’s Rum Butter for comparison. No need to have a plethora of similarly-flavoured teas in my cupboard.

In spite of the astringency, I’m definitely enjoying this cup of tea – it’s nearly gone already. It’s tempting to add some milk and sugar, but I think that would ruin me for drinking flavoured blacks without! Nom nom. Off I go to brew up another new tea before I toodle off to bed for the evening.

ETA: 199F for an accidental 6.5 minutes is surprisingly not astringent. Obviously not as flavourful as I’d like, but worth the second round :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 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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