2246 Tasting Notes

82
drank Sweet Merlot Black Tea by 52teas
2246 tasting notes

Oooooh the scent of this one has me most intrigued! Yes, upon opening the packet you are greeted by fermenty-grapes aromas, all sweet and a bit vinegary. Reminds me quite a bit of going wine grape picking last fall, where the guy had us sniff grape clusters to pick out good molds vs. bad bacteria. Unfortunately it was the grapes that had the smell that were infected with bacteria and discarded, and the fungally-infected grapes (I should know this…! Was the good fungus Botrytis, perhaps?), that looked rather unappetizing but had no smell, that they actually collected for a particular type of wine. Or something.

Anyways, I digress. It reminds me of picking grapes for wine.

Steeped, I’m getting much more concord grape aroma. Exciting! Haven’t ever had a grape tea that I’m aware of. I can also smell a malty black base…. smells good!

Hmm. Well we’re not having the bitterness problem here that there was with the Cherry Garcia, but there’s not as much body as I would like. Where’d that black base go?! Definitely getting grape flavour and grape aftertaste. Ok, actually there is a touch of astringency. Maybe I’ll reduce the infusion time next time.

Well… doesn’t exactly taste like wine to me. Maybe it needs some more time. I do appreciate the grape though, and would love to see a tea like Blueberry Cream Cheese Danish, but with grapes (as that tea really worked well).

ETA: Perhaps I should have used less water for the second infusion. Water just below boiling, steeped about 3.5-4 minutes. Definitely tastes like a re-steep. There’s a bit of grape in both aroma and flavour, but it really tastes just like a grape-flavoured black. Quite hoping this improves with age – I would have been happy if it tastes like that sickly sweetish fermenty grape scent it smelled like! More like wine to me :)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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83
drank Peach Fuzz Chai by 52teas
2246 tasting notes

Wow, a bit of deja-vu here. Of course, when one brews up multiple teas at a time and doesn’t do something clever like label them, they need to smell them to tell them apart, which usually works with flavoured teas. So anyways, sniffed this one tonight and was thoroughly confused for a moment, because it smelled exactly like the Coconut Cream Chai from Tealish I’ve been sampling the last couple of days. I’m not sure if it’s just the chai flavours or what, but I would have expected a difference between peach and coconut.

The dry tea smells more like a fruity sort of chai. Not distinctly peach, just fruity. With a strong smell of… cloves?? Or maybe it was ginger. Or cardamom. I’m all confused; I had Indian food tonight (and have leftovers like crazy. Don’t get takeout on an empty stomach.)

Ahhh, the taste is where they differ. Light, gentle spicing on a fruity base. Not getting the white tea here at all, which is too bad. Again, not specifically peach, either. But it is nice, albeit weak.

I think this one might need some tweaking of parameters to improve it. Perhaps a longer infusion, since there’s nothing coming out of the white tea at all yet. Not bad, but I was hoping for more peachiness, which perhaps said tweaking will bring out.

ETA: Steeped this one for much longer for the second infusion. I’m getting more spices in the aroma, and a fresh-tasting fruity flavour (it almost tastes like chlorine. But not, because that would be gross.) I think this one’s the opposite of Cherry Garcia – needs more time on the first infusion!

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

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93
drank Malted ChocoMaté by 52teas
2246 tasting notes

So my second order from 52teas arrived today! YAY! Therefore I can drink this without worry, since I now have 200g of it (hahahahaha).

Brewed it strong today…. success. Although I was so distracted logging caramel spice that I let it cool more than I’d like. Sad sad.

I really want to try this one with a bit of sweetener. I think that would make it extra delicious.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
TeaBrat

ha – after I read this review I had to go make some. :)

Kittenna

It’s good, isn’t it? :D

tigress_al

Wow, 200g! I have been really thinking about getting this one for awhile now. Is is sweet and creamy enough to drink “naked” (aka..without sweetening and milk)?

Kittenna

I would have to say no. It’s roasty and flavourful and malty, but it is not really sweet, nor all that creamy. That said, I drink it without anything added. I’m almost afraid to add something in case I love it so much that way I can’t handle it without! I suspect a bit of milk and sweetener would make it absolutely fabulous though, so l’ll probably cave soon.

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85
drank Caramel Spice by DAVIDsTEA
2246 tasting notes

Trying one last cup of this before sending the remaining cup off in a swap! No mulberries for me this time, so might be a bit of a different cup.

A little over 1 tsp of tea brewed at work with boiling water poured into a mug (so not boiling).

This definitely tastes better than I remember. Gently orange-citrusy and almost a bit creamy. Not really getting caramel, but that would be what the mulberries would be contributing, I suspect. No off-flavours this time either. I actually have to say that this is pretty tasty this time around. Tasty enough that if I wasn’t already swamped with tea, I might consider buying some more! The comparison to Glitter & Gold that I was making in my head is not really all that accurate, as there’s no cinnamon here (as I read on the side that there is… hah!).

Anyhow! Big bump to the rating, because I must just have done something funny the first time :D

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
Lynne-tea

Gah! I went to buy some of this to try at Davids Tea but they didn’t have any! It didn’t say online exclusive on DT when I checked their website so I was a bit bummed (especially now that I would have to buy 50g of it if I wanted to try it. Hmph)

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drank Northern Lights by DAVIDsTEA
2246 tasting notes

Bleeeeh. Knew this one was a gamble, so glad I only got a sample from DavidsTea with an online order. Smells like peppermint. Maybe a hint of something else. But mostly peppermint. Bleeeeh.

Ok, the peppermint is definitely more minty here than I usually taste. I can handle that. I can’t handle the beast that steeped leaves usually turn into. There’s a sweet aftertaste, or what makes me think of apple. Like, apple juice. Or fresh-pressed apple cider. No – green apple! Like minty green apple gum! Yup. That’s what I’m going with.

Huh. Ok, this is definitely better than I expected, but not something I really want to drink again. No rating because I knew I wouldn’t care for it. Probably would rate it a 45.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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66

Ok… being brave tonight! Trying my first straight lapsang souchong, courtesy of Indigobloom!

I do love campfire, and smoked meat, so this tea does smell quite good. I just can’t shake the desire to eat a large piece of beef jerky .

Oh man. So smoky. SO SMOKY. Shocker, eh? Ooh, this may not be the best tea to mix with others, as the smoky flavour is lingering in my mouth. It’s pretty smooth… no astringency. Really tastes like liquid smoke in a cup. It’s not actually as strong as I was thinking it could be. I kind of like it. However, I think it’s better blended with other things… brings out the maple syrup Let’s see what this does!

OK! Added way too much. But… I like it! If I add salt will it taste like maple bacon?? Hmm, not sure I want to possibly ruin it. I like it sweet and smoky.

I think lapsang souchong will be a tea for me to mix with others for kicks, not to drink straight. This one’s perfectly drinkable, but I think adding smoky notes to other chocolate teas will be much more fun.

Thanks again for the sample, Indigobloom!

ETA: Second infusion is weaker, but I dosed it with maple syrup anyhow. I suspect the smokiness of this one could last a long time, so I think I’ll stop at two infusions. Or maybe three.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

You got the right idea. I was talking with my tea shop guy and he told me that Lapsang Souchongs are smoked over different woods. Pine, hickory, misquite etc. which would give different smokey flavors. Interesting. I have had a mix with Earl Grey and one with dried Jasmine Flowers and orange peel that was really good.

Kittenna

Well I’m definitely taking a page out of your book with the lapsang blending, Bonnie! You seem to have excellent ideas about different combinations! And now I have a bit to play with and add to things – need to go read your tasting notes to find out what all you said that I’ve forgotten :D :D

Bonnie

Just start with a small pinch because you can always add more if it isn’t enough. Smoke in a floral tea is nice, in Earl Grey is good. If you have Maple like Oh Canada go with a pinch of hickory or applewood salt if you have it but just a very little bit and a pinch of Lapsang Souchong. That’s about all I do.

Indigobloom

hehe glad you like it! I think this is one of my faves. The base is really sweet, unlike some other lapsangs.

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82

Thanks to LiberTEAS for this sample, which I randomly picked from my box tonight.

Oh man, is this ever sweet and smooth! I’m reminded of autumn leaves and jumping in a leaf pile – some other tea I had recently reminded me of this as well. Oooh, so smooth! Aftertaste is just barely of oolong, but as I’m less familiar with darker oolongs, perhaps that’s what one gets when they move away from tieguanyins. The sweetness is delicious. Almost makes me think of raisin water, i.e. the water left after plumping up raisins for baking. It’s also kind of toasty; makes me think of genmaicha for some reason.

Ok. That was a massive jumble of random thoughts. Too lazy to organize (and still teas to try!)

This one’s pretty impressive! I definitely need to try more dark oolongs. I’m excited to see what the next infusions bring!

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

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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
2246 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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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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