2756 Tasting Notes

99

I’m on a roll tonight! After receiving my five new teas from 52teas, I have managed to try all of them, plus have a second cup of the Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake! So, must commence quickly with the reviews.

This one smells much more of toasted rice than I recall from the sample I had, but it’s a delicious aroma. The flavour when hot tastes mostly to me of a delicious genmaicha, however as it cooled, a vanilla-y flavour started to develop until the warm tea produces a definite marshmallow taste. Absolutely delicious. My roommate was so taken by it that she nabbed my infuser and made herself the second infusion (with my okay, of course), so I’ll have to make notes on that another day.

This tea is absolutely a winner. I love genmaicha, and I love vanilla/creamy flavours. So glad I got a pouch; I hope it holds me until the next time this one is reblended!

Oh, also, no astringency, no bitterness. The green tea was present but definitely in the background to the toasted rice and flavourings. Delish.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

did they bring this back?

Kittenna

It was reblended a few weeks ago, yeah. Snapped up pretty fast! Wishing I’d grabbed a second pouch…

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91

My order finally arrived!!! Made this one and threw it in the Timolino for work. It’s suffering a touch from thermos syndrome, but heck yes this is amazing! Pumpkin tea-wise I don’t think it beats out Della Terra or DavidsTea, but it’s caramel and cheesecake, not just pumpkin spice. Admittedly can’t taste cheesecake, but I have to assume it’s creating a bit of creaminess. The tea base here is also lighter than I expected, but it’s working really well! A definite winner. Better notes when not on my phone and in a rush to get things done.

Frank, I suggest you remove Pumpkin Pie Black from the permanent collection, and replace it with this one!!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

if you know.. you like those other teas better… i’m happy to take this one off your hands :)

Ze_Teamaker

UGH! I need to get my hands on some of this!!!

Kittenna

Hahaha, I feel like Frank would be silly not to reblend this one ASAP at least once more. There seems to be a fair bit of demand.

Sil – if we manage to meet up before my pouch is gone, you can totally have a sample! But I like it too much to give up :D Graveyard Mist and Spiced Brandy Shou Mei, on the other hand…

Sil

Kittena – I have a pouch haha I just enjoy it so much i don’t want to get to the bottom of the pouch

Helena

it’s great and I would definitely drink it over the regular pumpkin pie! Here’s hoping he adds it the permanent collection!

Kittenna

Sil – I realized that afterwards when I was browsing through my Dashboard :D

CHAroma

I second (or third?) the vote for the permanent collection!!

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86

Thanks to Fong Mong for this generous sample, and my apologies for taking so long to get to reviewing it! I haven’t ever tried a straight pouchong, only in a couple blends (primarily Golden Moon’s Coconut Pouchong). So my expectations are for a tasty green oolong, and that’s about it.

I used half the packet for this cup, and less than boiling water, although I’m not sure of the exact temperature. The tea produces a fragrant cup with a characteristic oolong aroma with a hint of floral.

This tea, like the others from Fong Mong, is absolutely delicious. A sweet, lightly vegetal oolong with a lingering floral, perhaps lilac?, aftertaste. And plenty of “oolong” flavour. I’m not sure if there’s anything here that would allow me to differentiate between pouchong and other green oolongs, as the flavour reminds me of the Fruity Sijichun Oolong from Fong Mong, but I really don’t care, as it’s quite tasty! It’s definitely fruitier/more floral than the base used for the Coconut Pouchong I’ve had, but I don’t think this tea would work quite as well in such a blend (or perhaps it would? Sweet coconut?)

Either way, this was delicious, and hopefully it gives me a bit of a caffeine kick to get through the remaining… 65 samples I have yet to weight out tonight (in triplicate… yeah…) Thanks Fong Mong!

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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65

I like roasted mate, and almonds, so this tea sounded like a possible winner! Steeped, it smells like plain roasted mate, which is alright, but kind of boring. Kind of a burny, sweet-ish smell. The flavour is much like the aroma – plain roasted mate. Which really, is nothing bad, but nothing special, either. I can’t pick out any nutty flavours; this tastes much like 52teas’ Flaming Chocolate Mate or ChocoMate, minus the chocolate/malt/cayenne flavourings. As there’s nothing at all wrong with it though (just boring), I can see myself blending this in with other teas that maybe need a bit of that mate kick.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more

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41

So last night, I decided to go through a bunch of the teas I had and pick out a select few that I either hadn’t yet tried, or hadn’t tried properly, etc. etc. Ended up with a huge pile (probably 50+ teas), and my plan is to drink through them (not finishing them, just trying them all) until I’m done, without going for other teas! Of course, I’ll probably let myself slip up a bit, but hopefully I can get through these ones fairly quickly. Some are teas that I owe reviews for (e.g. from Teavivre); some are old things I need to use up, and others I just haven’t tried. It’s not an exhaustive pile by a long shot, and I didn’t go through too many sample boxes (just ones from Azzrian, and Mercuryhime) so there are plenty of samples baggies yet to go through…. eek.

Anyways, starting with a couple from Caraway Teas. Apparently nobody else had tried this one, as I had to add it myself; I was surprised, as it actually sounds rather good. A black tea, with pineapple and papaya. I find it interesting that instead of large chunks of fruit as other companies do, the fruit here is nearly indistinguishable from the tea, being in small brown pellety form. At least I hope it’s fruit (haha). Anyhow, it’s not likely freeze-dried fruit, more likely dried in a different manner. I’m brewing this at work, so not optimal conditions, but oh well – blacks at least don’t have stringent temperature requirements!

The aroma is of a strong black tea. Little, if any, fruitiness is apparent, although the aroma is not unpleasant. A few sips in, and it’s clear that this is too strong for my liking. It’s rather bitter and somewhat astringent, which leads me to believe that a 2:30 infusion would have been better, and perhaps adding a bit less tea may also have been beneficial (my work teaspoon is currently indisposed… I eyeballed). Unfortunately, I’m really not tasting anything fruity here. I think there are perhaps hints, and maybe if I compared an unflavoured version of this black tea base to this cup, I would notice a difference, but I’m just not picking it up. There is a bit of sweetness though, so this tea is palatable to drink straight (well, it would be better if not oversteeped), it’s just nothing special at all. I feel like I could put some milk and sugar in here and serve it in a restaurant as “tea” and nobody would be the wiser.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

I have tried to do this a few times and keep failing.

tattooed_tea

I too have tried to at least try what I haven’t yet. It lasted a few days but I still have so much to try, but o just want to drink my fave.

Kittenna

Well, this pile definitely doesn’t contain everything I have yet to try, but a good bit of it is new to my tastebuds! Got three down today, and there’s a bunch of stuff in there that I’m eager to try, so I don’t think it will be quite the chore it could be (yet).

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71

Sipdown! Finishing my sample (from Momo) of this one off. As last time, I’m getting lemon-lime and maybe a touch of creaminess, but not really any cheesecake. Still good though!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
CHAroma

Is there ever a cheesecake flavor in 52teas’ cheesecake teas? It seems to be a ubiquitous complaint.

Kittenna

I think I did taste a bit of a cheesecakey flavour in Apricot Cheesecake Shou Mei. I wish it could be made stronger somehow…

CHAroma

I’d recommend stronger by at least 300%. ;P

Kittenna

Yum….

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82
drank Waterlilies Fruit Tea by Teavivre
2756 tasting notes

Another sample from Momo, thanks!

I was a bit wary of this one because of the roselle/hibiscus, but was curious anyhow. I kept the infusion time a bit shorter than recommended though, as I’d like to be able to drink this, not have to pour it down the sink!

The aroma is fairly generic fruity… oh damn, hazards of tea near computer… just spilled on my keyboard. No major crisis though…

Anyhow, flavourwise, this one is definitely quite tart! However, it’s a pleasant sort of tart even though I know it’s from hibiscus, and I’m actually enjoying it! I wonder if the pineapple is taming the hibiscus somehow (although I have also read that roselle is not quite as…. potent? as “regular” hibiscus.

Either way, I agree with Missy that this is rather like a fruit punch, although tart, so I imagine it would be delicious iced! Always love when the tartness of hibiscus is actually used effectively!

ETA: Second infusion is… pineapply-tart? Odd. Probably would be good sweetened. I don’t think this has another infusion in it, but it is a herbal after all.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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89
drank Chocolate Malt by 52teas
2756 tasting notes

So I was poking through my box from Momo tonight, and was surprised to find this one! Ahh, so many teas I think I don’t have samples of, but actually do. Which is awesome, since I missed out on the last couple packets of this one and was sad.

The aroma of this tea is strangely almost a touch spicy, and I’m finding it difficult to discern anything chocolatey, possibly because I just drank the incredibly chocolatey Chocolate Cream Truffle Rooibos from Mahamosa. Oooh! I think that’s because the chocolate here is milk chocolate (just read that) – I sipped this and… holy yum! This is good!!! Frank, bring this one back! I’m not entirely sure why I’m pegging the smell as “spicy”, but the flavour is totally malty milk chocolate. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a tea that tasted quite so much like milk chocolate! This is amazing! Oh man. A chocolate honey bush with no mint?! Want want want! Perfect dessert tea, no scratchy throat from rooibos. A huge thank you (my bank account/lustful heart somewhat disagree…) to Momo for this one!!

ETA: Second infusion is too light for me, possibly because any chocolate in here would have been exclusively in the first infusion. Ah well.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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98
drank Quangzhou Milk Oolong by DAVIDsTEA
2756 tasting notes

Made a most delicious Timolino-full (I actually used my in-thermos steeper!) of this post-race. Didn’t measure the tea, used pretty close to boiling water, didn’t accurately time the infusion (I took the infuser out while in the car headed to a friend’s place for board games) but it was amazing. My roommate used the leaves for a second infusion, and much enjoyed it as well. I do adore this tea!

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82

Time for a bit of sample crunching :D Treating myself to a nice tea time tonight as I ran a 10K race this morning. Didn’t quite hit my goal time of 60 mins (63:09), but I haven’t been training as much as I should have been (for various reasons), so I’m pretty happy. And apparently I was pretty “out of it” after crossing the finish line, so I don’t think I lacked in effort put in. Therefore, tea time reward :D (Of course, I also spent the day with my boyfriend & roommate playing board games and watching Dr. Who, so I’ve already been “rewarded”…. shush!)

This sample is from Momo and one I requested waaay back (or so it feels) when she last sent me a swap package. I’m trying to develop a taste for desserty rooibos for the evenings (it’s working) so I don’t get so sad when my evening tea selection is super small.

The tea smells quite chocolatey and a touch rooibos-y in the glass… there’s almost a bit of a sour smell to it, but as long as it doesn’t indicate a flavour present in the tea, it’s irrelevant. Hrm. Unfortunately that touch of sourness does seem to appear in the tea. I can’t say whether this is a case of “tea contamination” or just the way this rooibos tastes (my tastebuds think it could easily be either, as it’s almost a potentially citrusy sort of sour). Other than that, I do quite like the flavour of this one! It’s creamy, it’s smoothly chocolatey, and perhaps that note I’m getting could also be “truffle”. I’m actually finding it less bothersome as I sip, so really tough to know where it’s coming from. There’s certainly no icky medicinal rooibos taste here though, which is relieving! So really, the biggest negative is the fact that I’m getting a bit of a scratchy throat feeling from the tea, which seems to be a common occurrence with me and rooibos (though not honeybush). Makes it a bit less desirable to be drinking, but as long as I’m not drinking cups and cups of it, it’s not so bad.

Thanks for letting me try this one, Momo!

ETA: Not a bad second infusion. Still chocolatey, but fairly weak, and still the throat scratchiness

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Claire

Congratulations on finishing your race!

Indigobloom

Congrats Kittenna!! that is an accomplishment :)

Ninavampi

Yay for 10k!!! :)

Kittenna

Thanks guys! I am paying for it today… I have an extremely sore back and I think I’ve given myself shin splints again. Blehhh. Ah well!

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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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