3107 Tasting Notes

88
drank Butterbeer by 52teas
3107 tasting notes

12 Days of Tea #11!

Ok yeah, I’m super late in drinking/posting this. I guess I didn’t want this tea when I opened it on Christmas Eve! So, I’m drinking it now :) I recently drank/reviewed Simpson & Vail’s Root Beer black, and I have to say that I believe it to have a more authentic root beer pop flavour… which isn’t really all that surprising given that this tea is butterbeer, not root beer! The big difference is in the caramelliness present in this tea, which really makes it quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, today I either oversteeped this, or let it cool too much, because it’s astringent and while I’m enjoying the flavour, I’m not enjoying the astringency.

Ah well. I guess I just have one tea left from the 12 Teas to post a tasting note about (and tbh I’m dreading that one the most, as it is Graveyard Mist! Sigh.)

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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84
drank Cranberry Autumn by Harney & Sons
3107 tasting notes

This one was also generously sent to me by JoonSusanna!

When I opened the bag, I was greeted with a delicious cranberry aroma! Cranberry and citrus; reminds me of the cranberry sauce my mom makes for Christmas. The brewed tea smells much the same (which is promising), and…. oh man, the tea tastes pretty fabulous as well! A great fruity black, with cranberry dominating and citrus adding an additional dimension of flavour. I’m tasting a bit of spice as well, which is really quite tasty.

Not a tea I’d purchase, but only due to having too much other tea on hand; I would certainly not refuse a cup of this! Thanks so much JoonSusanna – this tea is going to be perfect to add to my morning lineup of thermos-tolerant teas!

ETA: Interesting! Second infusion (in half the water) has a distinctly smoky flavour mixed with fruity cranberry. I was not expecting this! Quite tasty.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
JoonSusanna

Yay! Glad you liked it!

Kittenna

Yes – I am super excited for a fruity black in the mornings! I am realizing that to get the best flavour in a travel mug, black tea is the way to go, and I don’t have too much that isn’t astringent/doesn’t get astringent after sitting, but I’m pretty sure this one is perfect :D

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Thanks to JoonSusanna I get to try this tea (that’s been on my list for quite a while now!)

When I opened the packet, the first aroma I caught was a play-doughy scent. Not good. I seem to have noticed that bai mu dan teas, when they get old, seem to develop that sort of aroma/flavour, which I fins quite unpleasant. I’ve smelled it with multiple teas, but it doesn’t always carry through to the flavour, so I’m hoping it doesn’t here!

Clearly I’m out of tea-steeping practice, because it just occurred to me that I steeped this in boiling water. Oops! Anyhow, once brewed, the aroma of the tea thankfully is no longer like play dough and a bit like alcoholic/cherries.

The flavour is definitely a fruity bai mu dan, with some astringency (I imagine that’s my fault though). It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. I suspect that this has lost some flavour due to its age, but it’s not reading as Cherries Jubilee to me (although I was just hoping for a non-floral cherry white). I’ll have to try a re-steep on this though, as there’s a huge cherry in the infuser that probably needs to be sliced open or something beforehand.

Anyways, thanks for this one, JoonSusanna! I always love trying new teas :D No rating as there’s too much likelihood of age being a factor here!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
JoonSusanna

Yeah, I was worried that this one might have been too old…I’m glad you were able to try it, but sorry I didn’t think to send it for swaps earlier!

Kittenna

That’s ok – some blends hold up, some don’t! I have some stuff that I really have got to put up for swap asap, otherwise I’m going to have the same problem.

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81

Steeped the last of my share of this one (from the 12 Days of Tea) for a nice long time, and ended up with a tasty cup. Definitely smells like citrusy bubblegum to me, but in a pleasant way, not overwhelming. I can taste the banana as well. A pretty tasty honeybush blend!

ETA: Second infusion (half the water) is more citrusy. Still pretty tasty!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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81

Hmm, I think I wasn’t in a proper tea mood on Thursday, or I brewed this incorrectly that day, as it was definitely not as tasty as I remembered. I actually dumped half my mug out. It just wasn’t sitting right with me for whatever reason.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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91

Sigh. This one’s nearly gone now! I predict it to be my first 52teas full-packet sipdown. Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha I’m trying to save a bit more. Anyways, travel mugged some of this on Thursday to take to the boy’s second soccer game. Definitely needed the tea, what with getting an hour of sleep before my flight and a three hour nap before heading to his first game. It was good as always, although I let it cool down waaayyy too much before putting it in my mug, so it was very lukewarm.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Donna A

I love this one-wish it would become permanent.

Helena

this and butterbeer should be permanent in my humble opinion :D

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87
drank Cotton Candy Black Tea by 52teas
3107 tasting notes

Yum! Finishing the last of my share of this from the 12 Teas of Christmas. Delicious. I think the flavour has diminished since early December when my roommate and I first had this though, which is too bad. It definitely doesn’t seem to be a flavour that sticks around too well. Still enough sickly sweet cotton candy goodness to be a good cuppa though!

ETA: Actually got a decent second infusion out of this one today, in half the water. Drank it hotter than usual, so I got less flavour and more aroma, but it was worth it!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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Made some last night (yikes, I’m going to need a pu’erh pick to break the rest of my sample up!) and it…. tasted earthy and smooth. I gave it a 15 second rinse (aka infusion that I dumped), and then a ~10 second rinse (same thing, dumped it), then steeped for… 2-3 minutes(?) and ended up with a pretty nice cup. I only drank a sip or two though, which is why I can’t give a more detailed description of the flavours. My mom drank the rest, and said it “tasted like pu’erh”. (In a good way. And not particularly fishy.)

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87

I brewed up an absolutely stellar cup of this today! No additions, and it was absolutely wonderful. Hot water from the kettle, a 4 minute infusion, probably a bit over 8 oz. of water, and a generous 2 tsp of leaf. And it was delicious. So I let my mom enjoy the rest of it, because I’m a nice daughter (right??)

Gotta admit that the deliciousness of this cup may tip me into re-ordering this one (which, based on my first attempt with it, I never would have thought would happen!)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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90

Entertainingly enough, I made some of this up tonight to see if my mom liked it enough for me to leave it behind. Although I adore it, I’m pretty sure I still have some Autumn 2011 harvest to finish off, and plenty of other teas, and my mom does like straight green teas. Anyhow, apparently I’d made her try it before (I re-read my tasting notes), with mixed results! But she seemed to like it this time (although commented that it tasty smoky?) so it will be making a home in SK for now (I can always retrieve it in April if she changes her mind).

I finished today’s cup, and it is deliciously rock sugary, caramelly, vegetal goodness. I really adore this tea so I am sad to see it go, but I have waayyyy too much tea to be sad for too long!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 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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