2276 Tasting Notes

87
drank Chocolate Cake by DAVIDsTEA
2276 tasting notes

On hiatus from trying new teas, because I can’t bring myself to drink them without logging them. I guess I’m addicted.

This was pretty tasty today. Could have made it a bit stronger. Also noticed that my little 10g bag has only enough for a small cup left! The horror! I feel compelled to buy maybe 50g more before this one is no longer around. Yeah, like I need more tea.

ETA: Second steep in half the water is rather like watery chocolate. But, it’s still sweet, and I still like it. I feel like I concluded this same thing last time too…

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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67
drank Lotus Leaf by Currently Unknown
2276 tasting notes

So when my roommate gave me a chunk of her pu’erh a few days ago, she also asked if I wanted to try the other tea she routinely drinks – lotus leaf tea. Apparently you buy a stack of lotus leaves from an asian grocery store, break them into large chunks, and steep them in boiling water to make a herbal tea?

Anyways! Trying it today.

The leaf chunks really had no scent. Maybe a touch like dry leaves, but nothing remarkable, I don’t think.

Upon touching the hot water, the leaves start to release this familiar vegetal smell. Not like that that I’ve gotten from green teas, but it’s familiar. Perhaps it’s just reminding me of broken tree leaves. Or a pile of damp leaves in the fall. Pleasant.

The tea also tastes that same sort of vegetal. Except now, I’m getting an association – with kelp. Dried kelp. Or something along those lines. A little bit salty, almost. Very interesting. Makes me think of seaweed broth or something.

Anyhow, interesting experience! Probably not something I’d choose to drink again myself, but I would drink it if offered.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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91
drank Papaya Ginger White by Tea Guys
2276 tasting notes

I didn’t know what type of tea this was prior to brewing. Clearly need to up my tea identification abilities!

The dry leaf smells pleasantly gingery, and maybe a bit fruity. I can’t identify anything in particular though. Steeped, I’m getting a light citrusy ginger scent. Smells good!

Yum! This one is really quite good! The ginger is there, but neither artificial nor overpowering, just adding a bit of a zing, and the tea tastes lightly tropical. I feel like I’m getting a bit of pineapple flavour, not specifically papaya though. Wow… I’m really impressed by the union of the tropical and ginger flavours – usually one or the other is overdone. I can’t really taste the white tea in the blend though – that’s my only complaint. I think I might get a touch at the end of the sip, but it really just tastes like a herbal tea.

This is a very soothing tea; if it would be easy for me to acquire, I think it would be one I’d re-purchase and keep on hand! Although not until I drink down some of what I have…

Thank you LiberTEAS for this delicious sample!

ETA: Oh my. My bad – I steeped this one a second time for WAY too long, and I can taste it. The ginger is overwhelming and spicy (in that gingery way), but there’s still some fruitiness too. I suspect I could get a great second infusion out of it though, done properly. Remember that for next time, Jenna. headshake

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 5 min, 15 sec

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91

Thank you Teavivre for this huge sample! We wanted a second green tea tonight, and this one fit the bill well. Looking forward to it! I used maybe 2 tsp for my 250ml infuser.

First infusion (1.5min/80C):
Aroma’s a bit sharper and greener than the Gyokuro Yamashiro from DavidsTea. The flavour is smooth, with a sweet-ish aftertaste. Definitely not as green tasting despite my impression of the aroma, and definitely no bitterness. Quite delicious, actually.

Second infusion (2.5min/82C):
Not really getting an aroma(?), but the flavour this time is nuttier, with a “green tea” aftertaste. Still smooth, but almost a bit of… smooth astringency? Smooth bitterness? There’s a stronger flavour there too, but it’s pleasant, not objectionable.

Wish I could describe more clearly what I mean by a green tea or oolong aftertaste. It’s good though.

Again, this is as far as I’ll likely get tonight. Sigh.

ETA: Third infusion, 3min at 82C. Definitely lighter in flavour, but still nutty and a bit vegetal, and oh! There’s the green tea aftertaste. Sure sign that I’ll brew this one to the third infusion again. Yum. Still absolutely no bitterness; a very smooth cup. This tea is really quite good; I’m very impressed by the lack of bitterness/astringency. I’ll need to try more dragonwells before concluding anything, but I can see this one being a purchase.

ETA again: Fourth steep (84C/4min) nothing remarkable. Some astringency. And it tastes a little weird. I attribute that to how long the leaves sat out. My stomach sure gets tested sometimes…

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec
smartkitty

I LOVE dragonwells! They’re so smooth and delicious! I highly recommend that you try Verdant’s Dragonwell-style Laoshan Green. It’s not quite traditional Dragonwell but it’s SO DELICIOUS.

Also also also – I still have a lot of trouble identifying flavours myself, so don’t worry too much about it. Vocabulary comes with time. BUT I think there’s a new post on the Verdant site about tasting, which may help ya out. (I tend to identify the green tea aftertaste as citrusy, whether or not that’s accurate!)

Kittenna

Hahaha, it looks like I am really going to have to place another Verdant order very soon…. goodbye money! :P

I think I saw the new post! Didn’t read it though, it’s kind of on my tea to-do list. I just wish I could describe the flavours I was tasting a bit better – right now it feels like a mini epiphany when I manage to identify something or link a taste/smell to a memory. I need more of those!

I have no idea what I would call the green tea aftertaste. Almost nutty, savoury? Probably not citrusy. Perhaps my goal will be to accurately describe characteristic tea aftertastes :D

smartkitty

Oh! Sorry, I thought you meant the sweet astringency. Savoury definitely covers some green tea aftertastes!

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90
drank Gyokuro Yamashiro by DAVIDsTEA
2276 tasting notes

Roommate and I finished off the tiny last bit of her sample today.

First infusion (1.5min, 74C)
Tasty aroma like boiled veggies. Fresh peas was my thought? It’s very light tasting and vegetal. Similar to my favourite Treasuregreen Silver.

Second infusion (2.5min, 76C)
A bit sweeter and less vegetal, but still with that boiled veggie tasty. Yummy. The aroma is much lighter.

Haven’t gone to a third yet. Probably won’t tonight. It’s a good tea but I don’t think it’s worth the price.

ETA: Third infusion (the morning after) doesn’t have much flavour. I seem to recall it lost flavour quickly last time too. Perhaps I should have reduced the amount of water.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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Another sample from LiberTEAS! Thank you!

Clearly I’m not so good at this work thing.

Anyhow, the smell of the dry tea is really just of chai spicing. Nothing particularly special, although it does smell good. I’m excited to see the white chocolate chips in the bag, though!

Steeped, I’m definitely still smelling spices, but one in particular is overwhelming the rest. I’m not exactly sure which it is though. I can definitely smell black pepper… perhaps it’s just the combination of that with the other spices that is throwing me a bit. Ok, mixed it up a tad and it now smells more like a standard chai (or what I’m used to, anyhow). Interesting – I think I can smell some citrus? Or something that smells citrusey. And definitely cloves as well, although it’s thankfully not overpowering.

Eek. I do not think this is a tea that’s meant to be consumed straight. It is too heavily spiced! Consequently it is bitter and… not all that great. Luckily, I have my travel TImolino here, so into it goes the chai, to be taken home and milked/sweetened. I do think this will be tasty once it has some milk and sugar, but right now it is too potent for me! Updates to come.

ETA: Tasty loaded with milk and sugar. I get the creamy notes this way (moreso than a regular chai). I’ll have to re-review later.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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84

I’m pretty much dying at the heavenly scent emanating from my cup right now. The tea smells amazing, a very authentic coconut smell, both dry and steeped. It reminds me of fresh coconut.

The taste is very coconutty, almost a dry, nearly-toasted sort of flavour. I can taste just a hint of oolong at the end of the sip. I would like it to be more present.

This is definitely as coconutty, if not moreso, than I was hoping/expecting. I like it, but I think I’d have to be in the mood for it. If I ever make a Golden Moon Tea order, I suspect this will be on it. I really want to add a couple chunks of candied pineapple and a bit of sweetener to this to try and make a pina colada oolong tea. I think it would be delicious…

ETA: Er, I got a bit excited and forgot to send a huge thank you to LiberTEAS for this sample, which I had been dying to try ever since I heard about it!!

ETA again: Second infusion was good too, oolongy aftertaste, and less coconut, but still toasted. I sampled a leaf out of curiousity, and there was still toasty coconut flavour in it, so I suspect I could have gotten a nice third cup, but left work at that time to retrieve my car (which I had forgotten entirely at the shop all day!)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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100

This really could have used some sugar today. In spite of there supposedly being rock sugar in the blend, it is one of the least sweet teas I’ve had. I drank it anyways though!

(Ack! Thought I had reviewed this one properly already, but apparently not. Basically it smells like strawberry baked goods, but the taste is lacking. Even with a 6 minute infusion, I didn’t taste the white tea.)

ETA: Second infusion, with half as much water, and I didn’t record the time/temp: smells delicious, and exactly like the crisp from the apple crisp my friend and I made for Easter. No joke; EXACTLY the same smell. Surprisingly, it tastes a heck of a lot better now too! It is completely cooled, but I’m actually getting appley/strawberry crisp flavours from it. It actually tastes like crisp in a mug! Damn, I wish I had recorded what I did. I steeped it for quite a while, probably over 5 minutes, and I think the temp was actually just under 94C? So I don’t know if it’s using half the water, or having left the tea ball sitting out overnight that is making this taste so much better. I don’t think it’s the cooling – the first time I had it, it had no flavour when it cooled, IIRC. Which was why I didn’t rate it.

Anyways, I’m excited that I got some flavour out of this one! No more sadness about having a 50g bag, and this will no longer be a tea I want to get rid of! There’s something to be said for persistence, I suppose :)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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75
drank Mango Madness by DAVIDsTEA
2276 tasting notes

Finishing off a second infusion of this one (my friend had the first). It’s a bit too weak for me, although I can taste hints of mango in the aftertaste. I’m actually wondering if my taste buds are off a tad right now, because I seem to think every single tea I have brewed is weak and a little hot water-tasting. Oh well.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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82
drank French Vanilla Assam by 52teas
2276 tasting notes

This time, I’m using the sample from LiberTEAS to see how it compares to that from Amanda.

To start, the tea looks different. There are flower(?) pieces, and petals that were definitely not in the other sample. It smells similarly good though, both in dry and steeped form. This version may smell a touch better, but I did enjoy the scent of the not-so-nice tasting cup either.

Tasting this, I’m fairly certain that Amanda got a dud batch!! No soapy flavour whatsoever, but instead a malty black tea with vanilla. Yum! I did taste this flavour in the other sample, but it was masked by that soapiness. A little weak, but I realize that I brewed it in a larger mug than usual and neglected to compensate for that in terms of dry tea. There’s a touch of astringency, so I think that increasing infusion time would lead to Bad Things. I will have to try this again a bit stronger, but this definitely bumps up the rating a fair bit. It’s too weak to hit the list of favourites yet though.

LiberTEAS – was the sample you gave me from the Christmas Sampler or a separately purchased pouch? Did anyone else notice a soapy flavour in their tea from the Christmas Sampler? I’m just curious. Seems a shame that some people may not have experienced the true flavours of this tea.

ETA: Second infusion good as well, also for 3 minutes. Quick note – the cup I left sitting at the office overnight, from the weird batch, actually tasted much better the next day, completely cooled. (Yes, I probably shouldn’t have drank it, but I was curious.) No soapiness, and I could tell it was the same tea, but it definitely was lacking something in comparison to the other batch I have. Oh well!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

I’m fairly certain that this is from my stash that I kept from the very first batch, as I didn’t buy extra from the Christmas Sampler batch. I did buy the Christmas Sampler though, and I did notice that the flavor was not the same that I remembered from the first tasting (as this is probably my favorite tea from 52Teas). I didn’t find it “soapy” but I just didn’t find it as amazing as the first batch.

Uniquity

I feel like there were flowers in the original batch of this – though I personally preferred the Christmas sampler, as I found the original too coconut-like.

Kittenna

Now that I’ve compared both batches, the first was definitely better, and did have cornflowers in it as the blend indicates, while the tea from the Christmas Sample just tasted off, and I don’t remember any petals/flower pieces. Ah well!!

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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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