2229 Tasting Notes

67

So I’ve decided I’m a bit iffy on honeybush/rooibos blends, as I don’t always seem to enjoy them. However, when they’re infused with super sweet flavours like maple or caramel to make decadent dessert blends, they tend to be quite nice!

This is a surprise/not-really-surprise-because-I-spoiled-it sample from Azzrian! Yes, tonight is indeed yet another samplealltheteas sort of night! Kind of as a reward for being well on the road to meeting some project deadlines (sure, I have some stuff left to do tomorrow, but it’s the easy part. Just 102 HPLC vials to filter into. Couple solid hours. Yay!)

This tea smells unimaginably delicious dry! I’m getting sweet cream cheese icing though, not custard-filled maple long john. But hey, I’m not usually terribly fussy on how true to the name a tea is if it smells good and I like it. I can smell the honeybush a bit though, and that makes me wary.

Steeped, it smells like sweet honeybush. Eek. Where’d the delicious flavours go??? Please come back!

Oh man, ok. There they are! This is definitely not mapley-sweet like DavidsTea’s Oh Canada, but the maple is definitely there. Oh yes, definitely. At a perfect level. In the aftertaste I am getting flavours reminiscent of donut. Not really tasting custard though. And wondering where the cream cheese aroma went and why it couldn’t just go hop into the Blueberry Cream Cheese Danish bag… Or show up in the flavour of this one. Either or!

Another tea that’s pretty good, but I wouldn’t purchase. I’m finding all honeybush/rooibos dessert blends to be quite similar, and this one doesn’t strike me as anything particularly special.

ETA: Second infusion just tastes like a flavoured rooibos/honeybush. Nothing special.

Might try a second infusion a bit later, but I can feel my stomach getting fullllll of tea.

ETA: This is better cold/cooled. Getting much more maple and deliciousness.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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69
drank Vietnamese Lotus Tea (Green) by na
2229 tasting notes

Can’t say I’ve ever heard of Vietnamese Lotus Tea, but it definitely sounds interesting! Therefore right up my alley :D

Hummm… I think this tea may have been contaminated with the lapsang souchong I also got. Which is weird, because they wouldn’t have been near one another for more than the ride back from Toronto to my house! Basically, I’m tasting a decent, vegetal green tea with hints of smokiness. Rather significant hints. That said, it’s kind of interesting! Just, I suspect it’s not supposed to taste smoky. It’s possible that I’m misinterpreting, but I don’t think I am.

I’m really not getting anything floral, just a vegetal taste and there’s kind of a prickly sensation on my tongue. Not any sort of astringency I’m familiar with, although that’s what it’s most akin to. Ah… and that’s the first cup gone, so I’m out of notes for it.

However, conveniently the second infusion is also sitting right here! Uh…. whoops, that one was Cantaloupe & Cream, infusion #4. peers into cups Ah, ok, here it is. Haha, pitfalls of too many teas on the table. Good thing I like tea lukewarm or warm!

Definitely getting a smoky aroma from this one as well. It tastes similar, but it’s really hard to distinguish what’s under the smokey flavour. I think I’m getting a touch of sweetness though. Still no astringency, and this infusion was at 82C for 1:15. Although yet again, that sparkly kind of tingling on my tongue. Weird!

Thanks for the sample, Indigobloom! You’ll have to let me know about that smokiness I’m tasting. (Coincidentally, I have brought down the lapsang souchong to try tonight, but there’s no way they cross-contaminated in 30 seconds… is there? Or from a foot away in 5 minutes?)

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

some green teas are a bit smoky – not sure if this is one of them…

Kittenna

Me neither, haha!

Indigobloom

yep I got smokiness in this to. I think that’s part of how they combine the lotus and tea leaf. maybe try it at a slightly higher temp?
I tried mine at about 90 seconds for the first infusion as well.

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92

Drank some more of this tonight as an incentive to go into the lab. Sigh.

Still got the strawberry aroma initially. shrugs I guess that’s just how Madagascar Vanilla comes off to me.

For some reason I wasn’t as into this one today. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t use enough matcha, or because I was just being fussy. I felt like I couldn’t taste the flavouring at all. However, it may also be that I can’t remember what an unflavoured matcha latte tastes like! Thursday is my usual matcha latte day, so maybe I’ll go for the Matcha Matsu from DavidsTea so my tastebuds remember.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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84

Ooh, bad me. Thanks to Azzrian for this sample!

A bad time to be trying a new tea apparently, what with my mouth being all mad at me for brushing my teeth before some teas (yeah ok, I knew it was a bad idea.) But, it’s steeped and sitting here, so I may as well drink it!

This one smells much like Mango Madness (DavidsTea) to me, although stronger, and without the (useless) white tea. OH WOW. So sweet! Way sweeter than I’d expected. Like, so sweet it’s literally juice. And I’m pretty sure there are calories in this. Too sweet not to have any (and it doesn’t taste artificial). But anyways, other than sweet, this tastes slightly citrusy, and… (surprise), like mango.

… cannot get over how sweet this one is. It would be a great juice substitute. I mean, I know people talk about teas being “juice-like” and whatnot, but this one blows them all away… Also have just realized that brushing my teeth was totally in vain now that they’re probably coated in fructose…

ETA: Second infusion in practically 1/3 cup water (oops) was great too. Third infusion in a larger amount of water will be too weak, I think. Pretty impressed with this tisane though!!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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95
drank Cantaloupe & Cream by Butiki Teas
2229 tasting notes

Suuuuuper excited to try this one!! Azzrian was generous enough to send me a sample of her precious, precious stash! Ever since being in Japan and experiencing melon everything (seriously. Among other things, I bought a melon Kit Kat and have a melon Pocky key chain), I’ve adored melon. Mostly honeydew, but cantaloupe will do as well!

The tea smells like classic melon. Even more excited now, because that’s exactly what I was hoping for!

AHHHHH OHMYGOODNESS!! THIS IS AMAZING! Tastes like liquid, creamy melon in a cup. And with a glorious aftertaste of creaminess. It’s light, but I am loving it. LOVING IT. (Right, like you couldn’t tell.)

I can’t taste a great deal of white tea, but have been getting hints here and there.

Ohhhhh man. This is… probably better than I was expecting. I will now make my way to Butiki’s website instead of showering and going to bed, like I should be doing. Yep, it’s good enough that I want more NOW.

Cannot thank you enough, Azzrian! I know it was probably super hard to part with, but thank you sooooo much!!

Three big consecutive tea hits in a night. Good thing this doesn’t happen too often…..

ETA: Ooh! Second infusion (same parameters) is different and interesting. Tastes more like cantaloupe without the cream, this time. Delicious, authentic taste though. This is so good :D (I’m tasting something odd here too… pretty sure my mouth is having a few issues right now. Sigh.)

ETA again: Wow. Even the third infusion tastes lovely. And the fourth! Yes, the flavour is weakened, but… yum. I would go for a fifth if I didn’t have like 8 cups of other teas sitting around me right now :D

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

I have this and agree that Butiki does flavors well also the Pistachio Ice Cream Tea is very good and on sale! Wonderful customer service!

Kittenna

Azzrian sent me some of that one too as a surprise sample! Stoked to try it too!

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87
drank Gardens of Anxi by Verdant Tea
2229 tasting notes

The smell is oolongy and delicious. Not as much floral as I was expecting.

Taste-wise, I’m obviously getting lovely strong autumn tieguanyin floral flavours and butteriness, which just seem to be enhanced by the blending. Delicious. It really isn’t a blend that’s all that far off from the autumn tieguanyin, but just enough to make it different. I can’t specifically pick out jasmine, saffron, or citrus though (which is ok with me!)

Ohhh yes. Loving the oolongy aftertaste. Looooving.

Definitely curious to see what the second infusion will bring. Probably not tonight though, after looking at the time… (what can I say, I was in the lab until 1:30am!)

Thanks for the sample, Azzrian!

ETA: Ok, definitely tasting the orange in the second infusion! Actually, at a little over 3 minutes I feel it’s a touch oversteeped (at 94C this time). A bit of astringency coming out which is unnecessary. Definitely much less floral as well. (And again, the funky taste which confirms that yes, indeed, brushing your teeth half an hour before tea is a Bad Idea. Good thing it’s only an aftertaste.)

ETA again:
Mostly oolong in the third infusion, but I can get some floral notes that aren’t usually around in oolongs for me at this point. Still good. Mmmm!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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86

Bah. My computer crashed and I lost my note. I’ll attempt to recreate it.

This tea, both dry and steeped, smells absolutely delicious. Like hot blueberries! The smell is quite strong too – when I opened my box from the lovely Azzrian it was definitely what I got my first whiff of :D Yum.

The taste, like DavidsTea’s White Tiger, is true to hot blueberries, and absolutely delicious. I think it’s stronger, though, and of course, they have different bases, so that contributes some differences as well. I love the white tea flavour with the White Tiger, and am getting just a bit of astringency with this one (although I oversteeped by 30s, so maybe that’s why).

This could potentially be a purchase for me if it’s around in the future. It is pretty good :) Won’t replace White Tiger though, because of the aforementioned difference in base teas. Thanks Azzrian!

ETA: Second infusion, same parameters. Still pretty good; some of the blueberry aroma and flavour has disappeared, but not too much. I feel almost like I can taste more of a pastry flavour here. Or wait… why am I tasting metallic?? That’s really odd. Wondering if brushing my teeth half an hour or so ago is impacting anything here… Anyways, I think it’s probably just fine. Hopefully I’ll go for a third tomorrow :)

ETA again: Third infusion (4min, boiling) still had flavour! But not enough. And, it was in half the water. So I took apart the teaball, and ate that big fat blueberry. And boy was it good :D:D

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
Lynne-tea

Oh no! Now I may have to add White Tiger to my list tomorrow =0 … it’s already way too long. sigh

Kittenna

I’m not sure; it might be a tea that’s no longer in some stores, and just online. But you should totally try it if you can. Just get a little sample if it’s there – it’s a light tea! 50g barely fit into a tin (and got crunched :( )

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66

Thanks to Azzrian for the generous sample of this tea!

I’m getting a lot of rooibos from the smell of this tea. Not my favourite.

Hmm. I really can’t say that ‘Cranberry Orange Scone’ is coming to mind at all regarding the flavour of the tea. I can taste citrus, which is muted enough for me to enjoy it, but definitely not getting any cranberry. Perhaps there are some baked goods-y flavours as well. Ok, sipping and tasting more I can maaaaybe eke out a little bit of cranberry flavour. But I certainly wouldn’t have picked it out on my own. Ok, definitely getting buttery flavours in the aftertaste. I’m actually liking this more as I drink more of it, although that’s going to stop in about 10 seconds as I’m finished the cup. I have to say that in spite of the rooibos smell, the taste is not overpowering. Whew :)

I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting to like this tea. I just wanted to try it because Azzrian had it available. But it’s actually better than I was thinking it would be. By the end of the cup, I may not exactly be tasting Buttered Cranberry Orange Scone, but I am tasting enough of the individual elements to make it an interesting and enjoyable cup. I’m glad I have enough of this one for a few more cups, but it won’t be a keeper :)

ETA: Second infusion is…. woah, rather sweet! Wasn’t expecting that! Was this made with honeybush?? I can taste a hint of citrus, and some lovely other flavours. Huh. This surprised me. I have to say that it’s much more sconey now. Still no real cranberry though, but I could be convinced a bit more that it’s flavoured like a baked good. (Ugh, too bad, I totally just choked on a big sip and had to spit it out, so that’s all I’m going to get to talking about, haha.)

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Azzrian

I am glad I sent enough for you to try a few times. With some of the 52 teas I really need several goes to decide how much I like one – or not.

Kittenna

Yes, completely agree. You even sent me enough Strawberry Zabaglione to try twice!! Which I probably will soon. I know my samples sent to you are smaller-sized, but I usually measure out a generous 2 cups’ worth based on either personal experience or given instructions :)

Azzrian

You usually send me enough for two cups! :)

Kittenna

Well let me know if you ever need/want more (like with Mulberry Magic!)

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70
drank Choco*Late by American Tea Room
2229 tasting notes

Another randomly chosen sample from my box from LiberTEAS! Thank you!

The smell is the most hot chocolate-like of any tea I’ve encountered so far. It’s a very familiar smell. Like homemade hot cocoa! With milk, cocoa powder, and sugar. I should also note that the tea looks quite interesting – rooibos mixed with huge chunks of what look like nut shells! I assume it’s cacao or something (and can’t read the tea description right now).

The familiarity continues into the taste. I’m still thinking it’s homemade hot cocoa, but…. I feel like that’s not quite right. It’s definitely chocolatey/cocoa-y though. Sweet, but not overly so. It’s also a little weaker than I would have liked, but I went with the low end of the infusion range. I can’t detect the rooibos at all, which is fine by me, although I wouldn’t mind some stronger background flavour.

Overall, it’s good and chocolatey, but it is most similar in my mind to 52teas Malted ChocoMate, which I prefer as there’s a stronger, roastier flavour along with the chocolate that just makes it more robust and interesting. Interesting to try regardless though!!

ETA: Second infusion smells quite similar. I’m wondering if this tea is reminding me of DavidsTea’s Chocolate Cake. I don’t think it’s quite the same though. I still feel like somethings missing, like it needs a stronger background flavour to hold up the chocolate so it doesn’t taste so much like chocolate water. I bet this would be better with milk and sugar, but I’m not going to cave…. haha.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Rebecca Lynn

I very much enjoy the word “roastier”, haha

Kittenna

:D If you try/have tried Malted ChocoMate, it definitely fits the description of ‘roasty’, and it is moreso than Choco*Late. Hence… roastier!!

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80

First to review this in spite of being sent it from not one, but two people?? Ok…!

Steeped, the smell is definitely reminiscent of DavidsTea’s Creme Caramel Rooibos. Not surprising. Sweet and caramelly and delicious, but not nearly as strong (DT’s is rather overpoweringly sweet).

Taste-wise, this is definitely a bit different. I can taste the rooibos, but it’s secondary to a light caramelly flavour, which is actually quite tasty. Tasty enough for me to have almost gulped down my whole mug already. I think I could have used an extra 1/2 tsp or so of the dry tisane (I used three heaping 1/2 tsps already in my regular-sized mug) just to make it a little stronger, since I like my teas flavourful.

I can’t recall if I steeped this one for four or five minutes the first time, but the second infusion was for quite a while (i.e. I forgot about it). The second infusion has less flavour overall, but the rooibos is even more in the background compared to the caramelly notes. Probably worth the second infusion, but perhaps in half the amount of water to concentrate the flavour a little more.

Thanks for the sample, Amanda!! I think I’ve almost gone through my whole package from you now :D

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
momo

problem with constantly trying new things: I have yet to even taste all I ordered from them, ugh

Kittenna

Hahaha, I suppose I have that issue too! I was just surprised!

momo

when I just read the first sentence I went and looked at my spreadsheet for specifically never tried teas and it’s severely upsetting. drowning in tea!

Kittenna

Oh yes. I have bajillions :P Trying not to think about it, but at least I tried four (?) new ones today!

Azzrian

LOL did I send you some of that too? I have some of that.

Kittenna

Yup! You sure did, Azzrian :D I tried the sample from Amanda tonight, but they’re identical. Really, I should just combine them :P

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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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