2606 Tasting Notes

52teas’ 12 Teas of Christmas Day 12! (Drank Dec. 12)
Well, unfortunately my guessing game was ruined for this one, because I read what it was in the list of December teas. Which kind of sucked. Anyways, it was clearly a genmaicha, and smelled like ginger once the packet was open, so kind of a no-brainer.

Anyways, I completely flubbed the steeping of this one, so may have to give it a second shot before rating. The first time, I let the water cool to 126C before I noticed I hadn’t put the leaves in; the second time, the water cooled to 170C but I just put the basket in anyways… and then proceeded to leave it for 10 minutes. Whoops. Sipping… and yes, this will constitute a failed attempt. Tons of toasty rice flavour, some ginger, and BITTER. Which, really… 10 minutes? If it hadn’t gone bitter, I would have been concerned that there was no actual tea in there.

The aroma is definitely nicer than the flavour, being kind of creamy-gingery, so here’s hoping all the badness is 100% user error. Follow-up note probably coming within the next… two months. Haha.

(Note: I couldn’t add any info about this tea, and the name may be slightly off, because the 52teas’ website is currently appearing to be infected by malware.)

cookies

This one sounded so yummy but the mint threw me off a little. Was it very noticeable?

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75

52teas’ 12 Teas of Christmas Day 11! (Drank Dec. 11)
A green tea (not sencha!), with obvious strawberry bits… I don’t know what exactly this could be, but I’m hoping for good things. The aroma is a bit smoky and fruity, which actually seems to work; the flavour is accordingly smoky and fruity strawberry, which is actually pretty tasty. I am definitely a fan of 52teas blends using green bases other than sencha (e.g. Sun & Cloud Mist. Yums.)

Scratching off the label, this is apparently Strawberry Zabaglione Chun Mee. Interesting – I really don’t think it comes off as ‘zabaglione’ at all, but it’s certainly an interesting and fairly tasty tea. A good selection for the 12 Teas.

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

Off-topic, but what do you think of the actual dessert? I’ve never tried it before, nor have I ever seen it anywhere either. Is it basically like a custard or similar to wanna cotta (which granted, I’ve never experienced before either)?

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90
drank Santa's Secret by DAVIDsTEA
2606 tasting notes

Sipdown! 968.

My stomach hasn’t been happy with tea lately (tears! My tastebuds still want it!) so I haven’t had much over the last few days, but I did finish off the last of this as an eggnog latte, and it was pretty tasty. I’m nearly out of eggnog now, but did pick up some Almond Nog and might have fun with that this week.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Ost

Aww sorry about your stomach-that always sucks! Hope it calms down soon with tea!

OMGsrsly

Hope the almond nog works out for you! I still haven’t found any in stock, so I have soy and regular in my fridge right now.

Kittenna

Thanks Ost! It seems to have improved, but I’m still not drinking as much tea as usual because of it.

OMGsrsly – It’s pretty tasty! Earth’s Own Almond Fresh Noel Nog. I got it at Sobey’s (mostly because I wanted a 2L carton of nog, which they didn’t have, and this was the same price as regular nog). It’s not as creamy/thick, so I’m thinking it will taste best with a lighter tea brewed very strongly.

Ost

My stomach was giving me issues with black teas a while back, it was so weird. I’d feel really sick when I was drinking them, and I couldn’t finish much. But then one day it randomly went away and now I can drink black tea with no problem. It’s all very odd-bodies are weird that way! So I totally feel ya on this one-hope that your body gets back to normal soon! :(

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60

SBT 12 Teas of Christmas Day 1! (Drank Dec. 13)
So it appears I shouldn’t play the guessing game with these, because I will ruin them… since I can’t tell what type of tea it is even if I do open up the teabag to brew an individual cup, like I did last night. I thought this was a rooibos/honeybush, because that’s kind of what it looked like in the bag (very chopped)… so it got boiling water. Oops – it was a white… and that probably caused some unnecessary bitterness. But yes – I didn’t want to brew the whole teabag, so I just cut it open and took out 1.5 tsp, and brewed it as a hot tea. The flavour/aroma were familiar (in an “I don’t believe I was fond of this” way), but I couldn’t place them… once I scratched off the label, it made sense – I wasn’t overly fond of the Black Currant Bai Mu Dan to begin with, and since this tastes much the same… same deal. I believe, though, that I cold brewed the last of my BCBMD and drank it that way, so maybe that’s what will happen with the rest of this. Not a fan.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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81
drank Swiss Mountain by Della Terra Teas
2606 tasting notes

Lame. I hadn’t even opened this one. This like, 2-year old tea sample. Haha. Anyhow, someone’s post on the rooibos version (which I believe I acquired from a swap with Janelle last year, but didn’t really put the effort into finding) made me want to try this, so I dug it out. It’s a fairly decent minty/vanilla/black. Wouldn’t be a favourite, but nice enough to drink, especially this time of year. I particularly tasted the chocolate yesterday, but DTT’s chocolate flavouring seems to be inconsistent even between different infusions of the same tea, so… maybe that will be the case next time, maybe not. Either way, yums.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 30 sec

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78
drank Coconut Peppermint Patty by 52teas
2606 tasting notes

52teas’ 12 Teas of Christmas Day 10! (Drank Dec. 10)
Uh…. another minty black? O.o There sure are a lot of near-repeats in these 12 teas… and I’m getting more disappointed as I go along. Two chais in a row, one of which was pretty bad, 3 pumpkin teas (the base being the only differentiating factor), and now a second minty black. I see there’s coconut here, so I’m guessing it’s Coconut Peppermint Patty (I believe that was one of this year’s blends). I suspect I’ll enjoy it, and although it may get a reasonably high rating, big minus points to the 12 Teas of Christmas overall :(

(Turns out the label just says ‘Peppermint Patty’, but I assume it’s this tea.)

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

This was a tea that I asked Frank to make because last year I had a candy bar in one of my foodie subscription boxes from Theo Chocolates, it was a mint coconut milk chocolate bar and it was amazing. I wanted to have a tea like that. I had some of this tea last night and again this morning and I do think that Frank managed to capture the flavors that I was hoping for but the chocolate bar did taste better than the tea because … well, it was a chocolate bar from Theo.

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70

Yes, so I remain too lazy to change the name of this tea. I have the packet… somewhere… but not here, so… maybe next time I’m logging it?

Anyways, decided I’d try to use some up via travel mug, which as it turns out, wasn’t a bad idea. I believe I royally screwed up the brewing parameters as I was distracted while making it Friday, so I think it may have had… longer than intended, and only at 170C (I was going for 180C, but, distractions.) The initial flavour was pretty hay-y and a bit dry, so it kind of sat around while I happily sipped my other two teas – but since I only had three mugs with me yesterday while watching my boyfriend’s cousin play some pretty intense volleyball (they won gold!), I of course turned to this one, and the flavour had changed very nicely as it sat and cooled – more of a sweetish, muscatel profile with a lovely umami finish. Kind of like oolong aftertaste… just that really good tea-ness. Sometimes, I have discovered, letting a tea sit in a travel mug for 24 hours is not a bad thing (fruit infusions are a VERY BIG EXCEPTION. Also light greens like dragonwell.)

So yes, happy times with my mug of this yesterday. Debating whether to resteep today… I really need to fill all my travel mugs for games day, and cleverly only brought 7 infusers, all of which were in use this morning (oops. And I have 6 mugs with me to fill.)

Fjellrev

That really should be its name, question mark and all haha.

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95
drank Apple Custard by DAVIDsTEA
2606 tasting notes

Dug into my new bag of this tonight. Yum. I don’t think I will regret my 250g purchase of this, and I love that it came in 5 separate bags, so I can keep most of the tea nicely sealed up until I need it :)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

I’ve yet to purchase 250g of one tea in one go! That’s great that they split it up in that way.

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74
drank Watermelon Barley Tea by Lupicia
2606 tasting notes

Interesting. Certainly less strong than the plain Orzo tea (I know, they’re different but I find the flavour to be similar), and the melon adds a really nice sweetness without adding sugar. Still, bit of an odd combo. However, I think this would be fabulous as a latte. Probably noootttt my favourite tea ever though, haha.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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87

Sipdown! 969. (After adding my recent DT purchase and the missed Bilberry Black from JoonSusanna… which made me notice that I missed noting down a bunch of others from her, argh.)

Anyways, milk oolong, yum. :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 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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