3107 Tasting Notes

77

It is decidedly NOT RIGHT that it is raining in the middle of January! So much for skating on my birthday this weekend.

Anyways, SIPDOWN WOOOOOOO! Used up the last of this sample from momo (thankyou!) because strangely, I’ve been craving it for a while. The first time I tried this, I remember not having a clue if it tasted true to the name or not. However, since then, I’ve actually drank a Fuzzy Navel! And I’ve gotta say that it’s pretty deliciously accurate! Citrusy-peachy on a quite nice green base. Yums. I’m drinking this cold right now (it has been sitting next to my bed for hours while I have been spending hours working on stats… and then it continued to sit there when I discovered a really awesome error that meant I had just wasted 3 hours of effort…). But anyways, the point of saying that I’m drinking it cold is that I think it’s a FABULOUS iced tea! Frank, perhaps this would be a good one to bring back for iced teas next year?? Although, with the green base please, not a black one.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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93
drank Strawberry Oolong by Butiki Teas
3107 tasting notes

So although I recently picked up 1 oz. of this, I left the majority of it with my mom over Christmas. Unfortunately, it seems I left myself with mostly flavouring (little tasty flowerbuds) and tea crumbs, and barely any actual tea. Very literally, my teaspoon pulled out what looked like dust from the bag (well, half dust and half flowerbuds and oolong balls) :( On the plus side, it does still seem to be pretty delicious, but a bit of the oolonginess is missing. It’s weird, because I don’t remember there being a bunch of dust and such at the bottom of my first bag of this (and now I’m a bit concerned that I took all the buds and left my mom with just oolong??)

Oh well! I guess I will just have to buy another half ounce for myself in my next order. Shucks…

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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79
drank Bossa Nova by Zen Tea
3107 tasting notes

Thanks to Zen Tea for a sample of this tasty-sounding tea!

Another tea I’m a bit apprehensive to try due to mixed reviews, but here goes nothing! The tea from the packet smells tasty enough… sure, the flavouring smells artificial, but sometimes that works. I’m not opposed to artificial flavouring if it tastes good! :D It does smell nutty to me, with vanilla undertones. So far so good!

After a couple sips, I have to say that the flavouring is working for me more than it did for most, I think. I’m tasting a lingering nuttiness and some delicious sweetness. I’m having trouble picking out the oolong, but it’s certainly a better choice than a black base, in my opinion. There is definitely an artificial taste going on here, but it’s not a huuuuge problem for me (ok, until I got a sip that was very artificial-tasting).

All in all, probably a pretty decent tea for tea newbs, but a touch too artificial for me. I do still like it enough that I’ll finish it, but I probably wouldn’t purchase more.

ETA: Second infusion had somewhat of a bitter note. Although I drank the infusion, I did discard the leaves.

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

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84
drank Yu Lu Yan Cha Black by Verdant Tea
3107 tasting notes

So, I was pretty apprehensive about brewing this tea up as I’d seen (I thought) a few notes about people not being big fans, or about it being quite strong/bitter, etc., but this doesn’t seem to be a problem for me! I was cautious and used about 1.5 tsp in boiling water for 1 minute (the low end of the given parameters, which were 1-2 tsp for 1-2 minutes… I think…) The aroma was reminiscent of Laoshan Black with chocolatey notes, but it’s definitely not quite as intense, and the flavour fits perfectly with this, being chocolatey and malty but less so than Laoshan Black, but also with a bit of… hay-y flavour, aka that flavour that I attribute to bagged blacks. I’d be tempted to call it “Laoshan Black Light” or something to that effect, as that’s how it’s coming off to me.

I’m happy to have an ounce of this added to my collection – it will help tide me over until the 2 oz. of Laoshan Black that I ordered last night arrives! (Also, it’s neat to have tried another tea with a cool story behind it!)

ETA: Second infusion (2 min) still has chocolatey notes, and more of that “classic black” flavour. Still pretty decent. I’m wavering on going for a third infusion though… getting awfully sick of reinfusing things, haha (I’m sure it would hold up for one more though).

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

I think only one person wasn’t that fond of it and the others gave high ratings.

Kittenna

Haha, yep, I read the ratings after and saw that those were two of about three or four reviews that I had previously seen. So I was biased! But I liked it!

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100
drank Creamy Eggnog by Butiki Teas
3107 tasting notes

Just chugged a cool glass of deliciousness. Definitely going to regret this when I wake up at 4am and have to pee…

(it will be worth it).

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

I tell myself that every evening ;)

Cee Long Green

I hate the late night tea pees!

Kittenna

The worst part about late night tea pees, in contrast to first-thing-in-the-morning pees, is that you know just ignoring it and going back to sleep is not going to work, because you’re probably still processing more liquid so it is just going to get worse, whereas in the morning, your bladder isn’t too likely to get much fuller while lying there unless you drank tea while asleep (ok, or let tea cool by your bed and drank it in the morning because you were thirsty….)

Kittenna

Oh dear. That’s quite the run-on sentence, isn’t it…

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84
drank Grapefruit Dragon by Butiki Teas
3107 tasting notes

Hmm, perhaps I should have saved that lapsang souchong for last…

Anyways, brewed this sample from Stacy at Butiki up tonight for fear that it would lose its grapefruity flavour… WOW! Definitely not! This tastes like straight up grapefruit juice, alongside a delicious and delicate green. Dragonwell is the perfect base here! Funnily enough, this is making my tongue tingle just like sour grapefruit juice does! Neat!

Grapefruit isn’t reeaaallly my thing, but this is a fabulously done grapefruit green, in my opinion! Another bang on tea!

ETA: So, the second infusion (same parameters, less water) was pretty darn delicious. So much real grapefruit flavour; I can’t get over it! Third infusion, today, still is grapefruity (which is crazy for most flavoured teas, but typical of Butiki’s!), but there’s a bit of a weird flavour lurking in the background. I suspect that that’s more likely due to the length of time the leaves have been sitting than the tea itself… so even though there was still a grapefruity aroma to the leaves, I threw them out. So, so glad I got to sample this one! IMO this would be a perfect substitute for a grapefruit juice addict trying to cut down on calorie-laden juice.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec
CHAroma

Oh man, I really need to get this. I love grapefruit green teas! Is the Dragonwell really grassy?

Sil

CHAroma – it’s really not grassy at all just a delicious delicious grapefruit tea

Kittenna

Yeah, the dragonwell is definitely there, but grapefruit is the predominant flavour. By far. And I’d say the dragonwell is more… boiled vegetal-y than grassy.

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84

Yikes!! My tasting note is certainly going to pale in comparison to the two that preceded it!

I was feeling like something interesting and on the “heavier” side tonight, so chose to brew up this tea. I like lapsang souchong in moderation (and particularly with milk), but who knows what this one will be like (well, a couple people do. But not me!)

The aroma of this tea is like smoked meat. Beef jerky. Campfire. It’s quite strong, and to my untrained nose, smells much like any lapsang souchong.

The flavour, however, is where it differs from other lapsangs I’ve tried. The smoke is unbelievably smooth here, no astringency, no sharp bite at all. In fact, the tea finishes with a surprising sweetness! I used about 2 tsp of leaf for 8 oz. of water, and am surprised at how delicious this is! It definitely doesn’t require any additions, although I’m certain it would hold up to them.

Hopefully I can get in a few more infusions tomorrow!

ETA: Second infusion, a couple minutes. This is truly unlike any lapsang I’ve previously tried. The smoke is still heavy in the second infusion, but there’s this amazing sweetness to it, and I can really taste the black tea underneath it. I have to admit that although this is a neat experience, I really can’t see myself ever really selecting such a tea to drink just on a whim (or if I did, I’d be dosing it with sweetener and milk and these nuances would be lost).

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 45 sec
CHAroma

Oooh, one of my friends loves Lapsang. I’ll have to pick this up for him.

Kittenna

Unfortunately this is one of the ’David’s Reserve Sample’ teas that I got from the rewards program! :( There are a couple reward packages left, I think, so if you’ve been collecting points on the site you may be able to get one…?

Bonnie

It’s the smoked oolong instead of it being a smoked black tea that makes it so wonderful.

Kittenna

It’s a smoked oolong?!

Bonnie

pretty sure it is

Kittenna

Neat! I wouldn’t have known. Not that good at telling things apart yet, especially with the smokiness on top.

Cody

So, for the sake of classification, were the leaves fully oxidized? I mean, is it like the mi lan xiang black that Verdant offers where leaves that are typically used for one class of tea are processed as a different class? Or is this actually a heavily-oxidized oolong that had a further processing step of smoking?

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85
drank Earl of Anxi by Verdant Tea
3107 tasting notes

Thought I’d try a couple new teas tonight. I may regret this, as it’s “lights out” in like 11 minutes…

Anyways! This was one of the lucky winners. I’ve been super curious, so into the infuser it went! The floral-y/citrusy aroma is oddly familiar (can’t say I know what either saffron or frankincense smells like, so I’m not sure if it’s that), but underneath the familiar aroma is definitely Verdant’s distinctive tieguanyin. The flavour is much the same – a solid base of the vegetal, delicious oolong overlaid with citrusy and floral notes. I was going to mention that I wasn’t really getting bergamot in here, so it wasn’t really working as an “earl something” for me, but I see that there is no bergamot – the citrus is orange peel! I think I personally prefer this choice of citrus, and am finding that it compliments the oolong very well. The jasmine is likely providing the floral note that I’m picking up, but I love that it has been so delicately used such as to not overpower everything else. (Now that I read there’s jasmine in here, I imagine that the familiarity in aroma may have been in part attributed to it.)

I am really enjoying this blend – all of the different elements are making it quite a treat to drink, and I have to say that I could see myself preferring this to a straight tieguanyin just because it’s so interesting, yet retains the strong oolong character.

Great tea for tonight!

ETA: Second infusion (didn’t pay attention to parameters) is super strong today! It probably got around 3 mins, and the aroma is definitely of jasmine, and the orange peel is still a prominent flavour, along with what’s likely the frankincense? Either way, it could stand to be a bit more dilute, but it’s quite delicious. Can still taste the oolong as well. Mmmmm.

ETA again: This tea does not quit! There is still a ton of flavour on infusion 3 (lovely orange, light oolong, probably frankincense, less jasmine). Delicious. Also, I noted waxy stuff on the bottom of my last cup – must be that the frankincense melted and sank to the bottom during the infusion. I opted to use a metal infuser in case wax got on it that I needed to clean… I guess I’ll see how it fared after another few infusions!

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

Glad to hear it’s orange peel and not bergamot! I’ve been curious about this one for a while now.

Kittenna

If you like tieguanyin, I’d recommend picking up a sample!

CHAroma

“I may regret this, as it’s “lights out” in like 11 minutes…” LOL! I just can’t stop reading your tasting notes even though I’m late for work. They’re too good!!

Bonnie

Glad you did more than one infusion because the frankincense blooms with each infusion since it’s a hard resin that softens with the hot water and releases flavor and fragrance.

Kittenna

Bonnie – it definitely seems to have come out more in the second infusion, if the flavour I think it is is correct! I think I will do a third today if I have time!

Azzrian

Lights out? AS in they make you go to bed at a certain time or is this your own lights out rule?

Kittenna

Hahaha, definitely just my own attempt at better bedtimes. I am so far failing. Sigh.

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100

This tea just hasn’t been living up to expectations lately, and I’m starting to suspect it’s an age thing. It is a green oolong, and I think I’ve had this tea for probably more than 10 months. It’s just not as good anymore (infusing in a travel mug at work also isn’t optimal). Ah well. First tea love, you were awesome, and hopefully you will be again!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 15 sec
TeaBrat

I do like this one!

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79
drank Chocolate Orange by DAVIDsTEA
3107 tasting notes

Yep… this 52g bag that I was given from a store in BC last year is definitely a gooder. I have been basking in delicious chocolate orange aroma for the last couple hours, and the flavour is pretty darn amazing. The tea in this bag doesn’t even smell fishy, whereas the other batch I have (or had, I may have given some away) definitely did.

Either way, this is pretty darn good. Still getting that scritchy scratchy throat thing with this tea… not sure what that’s all about, but it seems to happen with flavoured rooibos sometimes too. Unfortunately, the knowledge that I have 1.5 Terry’s chocolate oranges sitting at home waiting to be eaten means that this tea is definitely NOT satisfying my cravings today… but it works decently the rest of the year!

Preparation
Boiling 4 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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