2494 Tasting Notes

67
drank Mango Diablo by DAVIDsTEA
2494 tasting notes

I decided it was time to clean up my DavidsTea stash. Drink up the second cup of samples I don’t like (to give them a second chance), and categorize things a little. So here’s the first attempt!

I didn’t like Mango Diablo the first time I tried it, mostly due to the sweet pepper taste which I loathe, although I did feel it met the mark in terms of a mangoey, spicy green. I brewed up only a half cup (so I don’t have to suffer through it too much if it’s as I remember), and so I can send the final cup’s worth off to Amanda (so this is pretty much a sipdown). I wish I could refer to my previous note while writing this one, but apparently Steepster is down right now, so I’m stuck writing this in Word. Sigh.

The aroma is sweet from the mangoes and spicy from the chili pepper threads. There must be a hint of a bell pepper-ish aroma coming out too, because I don’t enjoy this smell. Upon sipping, there’s first a bit of a sweet taste before BAM! the chili spice hits you. I actually quite enjoy this spice level, but would greatly prefer it mixed with chocolate. Really, in my opinion, it’s not all that spicy, but I can see some people objecting (even though it’s explicitly stated that this blend is spicy!) The mango does blend in nicely, and the green tea lurks in the background, clearly offering a base for what would otherwise be a watery tea, but not really coming out in the flavour.

Like I thought earlier, I personally think this blend is a success. I just hate bell peppers and feel like I can taste them in here, which makes me dislike the tea.

[Hey, on the plus side, since I’m writing this in Word, nobody has to sit through my repeated ‘ETA’s as I re-steep teas, because I’m just tacking them on in here! Always a positive side to everything…]

Second infusion, 82C/5 min almost smells a touchy perfumey, like roses. Which makes me gag a bit, because my stomach is already a bit irritated with me for whatever reason, and I have been poking around samples all evening to figure out what all I have, and of course I’ve opened multiple rose-scented packets… ick. Anyhow, the spice is here at about the same degree as previously, although the mango flavour is a little lighter, and there’s perhaps more icky bell pepper flavour. Decent re-steep, in my opinion. But I don’t want to drink any more of this, so that’s it for me!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Dylan Oxford

But we like your ETAS, your reviews are always so thorough!

Azzrian

Wow this review made me hungry! Sounds delicious!

Kittenna

Hahaha, perhaps you like the ETAs, but I’m sure it’s nicer when I don’t keep bumping my review to the top of the pile!

Azzrian – given that you like sweet peppers, you probably would enjoy this tea?

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This oolong teabag was sent to me by Azzrian… but I’m 95% certain it’s not a green oolong. It steeped up pretty dark, and smells more like genmaicha, but could also be a darker oolong.

Oh dear. I thought 3 minutes would be appropriate but I think it’s oversteeped :( I suppose it should have occurred to me that it’s a teabag, and therefore will infuse stronger/more quickly! Blah. I think I have another one of these left, so will have to try again later. The flavour (minus the astringency/bitterness) isn’t bad though; kind of sweet/nutty/toasty.

And thus concludes Round 1 of plowing through all the tea samples I have left to try! A good number of hits, and the misses are because that’s all I had left to try! :)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
CHAroma

You certainly did plow through a great number of teas! It’s been hard trying to keep up with all the tasting notes! ;)

Azzrian

Hummm I have three kinds of bags from them – one is Jasmine Green, one just says Oolong, the other is a pu-erh. All bagged. Got them free with other orders. I bet it isn’t green oolong.
I don’t like that their bags do not have the names of the tea on them as they can get mixed up at times. If I wrote GREEN oolong on your baggie I put them in then I was wrong to do that. :)

Kittenna

CHAroma – I went through my dashboard at one point last night, and it was practically a one-woman show! Hahahaha, whoops :D

Azzrian – you just told me it was an oolong, and I looked in your cupboard to see which one it was, and you had this one reviewed. It definitely was more along the lines of a roasted oolong though, but I had no idea which one!

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42
drank Cucumber White by Tazo
2494 tasting notes

Second-last tea I have yet to sample from Amanda! This can only be better than the yuck from Adagio I just tasted (and spit back out).

Steeped, there is almost no smell. I had smelled a bit of mintiness in the teabag itself, but either the cup has cooled off too much to emit an aroma, or there isn’t really one.

I steeped this one for a conservative 2 minutes, considering that it was a white. The predominant flavour I’m getting is mintiness, which is a bit bleh to me, and then I can almost imagine I taste cucumber after the mint fades a touch. … Ooh! There’s actually a really lovely aftertaste here. Almost caramelly, probably a bit of white tea.

So this one’s definitely a bust because of the mint, which I hoped would be a little more subdued in favour of cucumber and/or lime, but I’m pleasantly surprised at the lingering taste this one leaves! So if I gulp a bit down while holding my nose, this is actually not so bad!! Hahaha :D

Thanks for passing some of this along, Amanda! My only regret is that I didn’t read the ingredient list fully before requesting it… sigh! Mint and I just aren’t best buds.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Sounds like you’re doing house cleaning with tea. I found a blecky one too. P U

Kittenna

Haha, kind of! Just getting through a few things that I had been putting off trying, apparently for good reason! So a couple things I will throw out, and others I will put in a box to rehome. :) Tomorrow I’m thinking of drinking down a bunch of DavidsTeas that I didn’t like but left myself 1 cup of to try different brewing parameters with.

Bonnie

It just goes to show that in months of drinking better and better tea, our taste has changed. I don’t enjoy the heavily flavored tea’s like I once did.

Kittenna

Well, some of these I don’t think I would have liked initially! But I perhaps wouldn’t have realized quite how bad they actually were, a few months ago.

Bonnie

Same here!

Indigobloom

I tried the cucumber 52teas version… it was… interesting!

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6
drank White Pear by Adagio Teas
2494 tasting notes

This one is from Azzrian, and is one she (I thought, perhaps) unjustly hated, so I asked her to send it to me. Big mistake. Although this one doesn’t smell like vomit like Pina Colada, it smells like play dough. Almost a rancid sort of smell, in the bag. I have to wonder if it went bad…

The steeped aroma is kind of cardboardy, and that’s exactly how the tea tastes. Maybe a hint of nuttiness. There’s certainly nothing pear-y about this tea. Major fail, Adagio. Major fail. There’s no way a shorter infusion would have helped this one, either. BLECH.

This is a cup meant for the garbage, and only the garbage.

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

I actually like the smell of play doh, but, I don’t think I want that smell in my tea. I have contemplated getting play doh perfume though: http://www.perpetualkid.com/play-doh-cologne-spray.aspx

Kittenna

I don’t mind the smell of play doh, but drinking and/or wearing it?? No thanks!

CHAroma

Oh dear!

Babble

I wasn’t too crazy about the white peach from Adagio, but I didn’t quite have as strong of a reaction as you did.

Kittenna

It’s really weird – there’s nothing fruity whatsoever in here. And I can’t believe that enjoy would have enjoyed the cup of tea I threw out last night, therefore I have to assume that the tea went bad.

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70
drank Almond Rooibos by The Tea Haus
2494 tasting notes

Ok, here we go.. the last four reviews…!

This sample is courtesy of Indigobloom, and smelled absolutely delicious in the bag! After steeping, I can tell it’s a rooibos by the aroma, but it’s not offputting. Can’t smell the almond a great deal, but hopefully I can taste it.

Well… maybe I made it a touch weak (aka too much water), but it doesn’t have a great deal of flavour. One thing I’m not getting is a gross medicinal taste, but also, I’m not getting any nuttiness. Boo. It’s certainly pleasantly enough flavoured, but if I was looking for an almond rooibos to purchase, I wouldn’t be satisfied with this one!! I’ll see if the second infusion (which I will try in considerably less water) is any better. Here’s hoping!

ETA: Ooh, I just checked out the other reviews, and I seem to be in the minority. I wonder if it’s just that this sample sat around in a baggie for about two months before I got to it? It certainly isn’t “contaminated” or anything, just not terribly flavourful. Oh well!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Indigobloom

funny, I was in love with this, and then all of a sudden I’m not. Definitely more of an amaretto vs nutty profile for me

CHAroma

Don’t you hate it when that happens? You let a sample sit for too long and then the flavor goes wah-wah. Boo indeed! :P

Indigobloom

yup. I haven’t had it for that long though. Odd

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87
drank Tencha-Kuki Houjicha by Den's Tea
2494 tasting notes

Sigh. I am going to fail in my quest tonight. But 4/8 isn’t too bad. (I realized after that there are two teas I haven’t tried from Amanda, so that one didn’t count. Sigh.) I guess I’ll get to the other four tomorrow.

Anyhow, this one’s from Mercuryhime, and I did a bad thing and brewed it up prior to my run, so didn’t drink it until probably 2 hours post-brewing, all total. The re-steeps of a couple other teas I drank didn’t handle that two hours of sitting so well, but this one actually did! It was sweet, nutty, and roasty, reminding me of genmaicha. Also, there was a lovely green tea-ish aftertaste. I actually really enjoyed it! I am going to enjoy a re-steep of it shortly, as I push through my exercise-fuelled exhaustion to package up at least some of the swap samples I have yet to do. I am such a swap delinquent!

ETA: I forgot to note that the second infusion of this one was pretty delicious too, and I drank it cold (room temp). Third infusion suffers only from the leaves having sat too long; I think they could go a lot farther than this if fresh! This tea is delicious.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

you’re a trooper!

Kittenna

Hahaha… I may meet my goal yet! I brought down some more samples from people, 2 of which I may loathe and not finish drinking! So cheating kind of, but oh well! (And two are teabags, so re-steep potential is low!)

TeaBrat

I have lots of samples to try too! Hope I get to it someday. :)

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82

Being brave tonight and trying my first mini tuocha, courtesy of Amy oh and helpful advice from both her and Garret!

To begin with… I am in love with this rice-scented bit! Dry, there was a bit of an indication of what was to come, but once the boiling water hit the tuocha, my mouth started watering. It smells so good! So I’m very excited :D I can also smell a nice earthiness. I wish it would cool down faster so I could drink it….

I started with a ~15s rinse with boiling-ish water, and then a first infusion of about 30 seconds. The tea is pretty dark from just that short amount of time, so I’m glad I didn’t go with 45! The aroma is still earthy and rice-scented, yum.

…I’m too impatient to wait to try it. Hmm. I have no idea how to describe this flavour. A bit earthy, a bit rice-like, with a nice aftertaste/aroma of the scented rice. It’s really too hot for me to enjoy quite yet (although I’m sure people drink it this hot, I like my teas cooler.) It is actually a touch light on the flavour, so I might try 45 seconds with the other tuocha (but we’ll see).

Ok! It’s cool enough to try now, and it’s really lovely! Earthy but with a strong rice scent. I’m still getting used to the flavour of pu’erh, but this is quite nice and easy to drink, especially with the tasty flavouring.

I’ll try another couple infusions a bit later; time to head out for that run! Hopefully I don’t get a tummyache :D

ETA: Definitely got a tummyache while running. Unlikely caused by tea though, probably by the bag of cheese puffs (organic and gluten-free!) I ate alongside the tea :D Anyhow, second infusion for about 53 seconds once I finally drained all the water, is quite dark and has the same aroma as the previous infusion. I’m going to wait until it cools to try it out, but am anticipating the same yumminess as before :D Also, I noticed that the leaf is very interesting-looking! There’s green leaf pieces in there! Is that the flavouring herb?? (Also, glass teapot not the best idea for this pu’erh… my cup contains many floaties. I should have strained it through a secondary strainer, my bad.)

Ok, tea cool enough to drink. More earthy, less fragrant rice-y, but I still enjoy it. I think pu’erh is a taste I haven’t quite acquired yet, but I’d have to say that this one is pretty good for “beginners” because of the additional flavouring which helps to counteract that straight earthiness. (Also… I think pu’erh will be a much easier taste to acquire than either beer or coffee, neither of which I will EVER enjoy straight. Blech.)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec
TeaBrat

yay! you did it. I agree the rice element makes it fun to drink.

Missy

Yay! I’m glad you tried pu-erh. I finally got brave enough to order some. I think Mandela will be next on my list for my venture into pu-erh.

CHAroma

Beer is disgusting. I honestly don’t know how anyone enjoys it…

Garret

The green leaf that you see in with the ripened pu’er is indeed, the “rice scented leaf”, an herb that gives that special aroma. There is a woman who has an office across the street from our shop who only drinks this tea. The only time I can’t drink it is when I am fasting. Makes me think too much of the smell of basmati rice cooking :)

Kittenna

CHAroma – I entirely agree!

Garret – It definitely made me crave all things rice, so I can see why drinking it during fasting would be difficult!

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86

Finishing off the last of my sample from Amanda today! I still have a bit of this left from LiberTEAS though, so it’s not a complete sipdown (but it does get an extra X on my spreadsheet, woo!)

The aroma is a bit fruity and sweet, and I feel like I can smell the toasty genmaicha. Flavourwise, I’m initially tasting a strong seaweed flavour, which gives way to a bit of tangyish sweetness at the end. I wish this genmaicha had more toasty rice in it, actually – the genmaichas I’m used to having are much toastier and less seaweedy. I’m finding that that’s not the case with all of them though, perhaps just the cheaper ones, but I apparently prefer that! The first time I tried this sample, it was rather metallic-tasting, but I now am convinced that I oversteeped it.

Although this cup in particular isn’t cherry/cheesecakey enough for me personally, I think that’s partially because it really needs a freeze-dried cherry in there to bring out the flavour, and there wasn’t one. I kind of wish that instead of big pieces of dried fruit, it was chopped up a bit so each cup had more of a uniform amount of fruit, instead of having cups with and without (this is a problem I’ve noticed with many, many fruit-containing blends, and it really irritates me, because sometimes that flavour boost from the real fruit is better than the flavouring). Oh well. I’d still buy this if it became available again…. hint hint.

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

Good point on the chopped up fruit thing. I think you may be on to something!

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90

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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58
drank Vanilla Mint Mate by 52teas
2494 tasting notes

Alright, this would be sample 2/8 in my plan to drink one tea per swap. (The Neapolitan Honeybush doesn’t count; I drank it and wrote the note last night, but forgot to hit ‘post’. Whoopsie.)

Thank you Missy & Dylan for the small sample of this one that I asked for! Although I’m almost regretting asking for one-cup samples of things sometimes, it is nice on occasion to eliminate a tea from the stash after one cup!!

Based on my surprising enjoyment of 52teas minty blends, I’m expecting to like this one, especially since it contains roasted mate. However, the steeped aroma is not terribly appealing. I smell mintiness, which is iffy, and perhaps some vanilla, but not the mate, and not the yummy “52teas flavouring”, as I will call it. (Uh, it just occurred to me that this “flavouring” of which I speak may actually be part of the flavourings used to produce a chocolate flavour… because the blends I can recall it being in, like Chocolate Mint, Mint Chocolate Chip Honeybush, Malted ChocoMate, Cherry Garcia, all have chocolate in them…. this is making me very sad that I didn’t get any Double Chocolate Decadence :( )

A sip of this blend confirms my recently developed suspicion – that flavour is not here, and consequently I do not care for this tea! The icky peppermint nastiness is a bit too apparent for me here, and because of that, I can’t enjoy the vanilla. I also can’t really taste the roasted mate (oh, maybe it’s there, but well-hidden. A little coffee-esque.)

This isn’t too terrible though; anyone who enjoys disgusting things like straight peppermint tea would probably adore this, but I loathe straight peppermint tea.

Well, this was worth a shot! Not regretting the one cup’s worth at ALL now!! Thanks for passing this sample along, Missy/Dylan :D

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

Can’t win them all right. :D

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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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