2273 Tasting Notes

90
drank Caramel Spice by DAVIDsTEA
2273 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
2273 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
2273 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
2273 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
2273 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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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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