2229 Tasting Notes

drank Orange Pekoe by Red Rose
2229 tasting notes

At Brownie camp. Limited options aside from what is in my thermos!

Not bad, a classic. Pretty weak with cream and sugar, but pretty sure the "hot " water in the carafe wasn’t really hot…

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drank Mango Papaya Bai Mu Dan by 52teas
2229 tasting notes

Another sample from LiberTEAS!

Quick note because I should really get to sleep…

The brewed tea smells just slightly fruity, although I’ve let it cool so perhaps it was stronger before.

Definitely not missing out on tasting the white tea here! I’m not tasting as much fruit as I would have liked though. There’s some astringency, but I can handle it with a white tea.

Probably not going to be my favourite fruit/white blend, but nice to try just the same. I’ll hold off rating until I try it again warm.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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53
drank Maple Bacon by Man Teas
2229 tasting notes

Another smoky tea to try! It’s probably a bad idea to be drinking so much black tea so late at night… oh well…

This is another very generous sample from Azzrian! Another tea I wanted to try before gambling and ordering.

The steeped tea smells somewhat smoky and sweet; not really smelling maple or bacon, perhaps they’ll be more apparent once I drink it.

Hmmm, the flavour is a bit different than I was expecting. A somewhat smoky, barely sweet black tea, with a fair bit of astringency. Darn, I must have steeped it too long. I did add a pinch of salt as has ben recommended, but am not getting anything resembling maple, or even bacon really. I think I might try adding some maple syrup and a bit more salt the next time, to see if that improves the flavour. Also might keep the infusion down to 3 minutes, as I’m really disliking the astringency. I thought four minutes would be low enough, but I guess not.

Thanks again for the sample Azzrian!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

I really did not care for this one myself.

Kittenna

Yeah, I remembered reading that. Oh well! I’ll play around with it and see if I can make it taste good. The astringency is really the biggest problem for me right now.

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77
drank Smoky Chocolate by 52teas
2229 tasting notes

So here goes my attempt to try a bunch of 52teas before ordering! This generous sample was sent to me by LiberTEAS in her big box of teas :)

The smell of the tea is majorly smoky. MAJORLY. Not unexpected, and very intriguing! I have yet to try a lapsang souchong, so am not sure what I’ll think of it.

Steeped, it’s just SMOKY smelling. So interesting. Really like liquid campfire! I wonder if it gets into your clothes the same way…?

The taste is very smoky, slightly sweet, and perhaps there’s some chocolate, but I can’t really taste it specifically.

I think this would be better if there was more chocolate. I do like the smokiness, and can see myself craving that flavour if I was in the mood, but there’s a similar flavour in the Mayan Chocolate Chai, so I think that would suffice :)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Strawberry Zabaglione by 52teas
2229 tasting notes

Another sample from Azzrian!

Dry, there wasn’t a ton of smell to this tea, but once steeped, holy strawberries! It smells ridiculously delicious!

And the taste?? Equally delicious. Fruity strawberry backed by black tea. I have no idea what ‘zabaglione’ is though. The only thing I’m not much caring for is the astringency I’m getting from the black tea. It’s a little overwhelming; perhaps I should try a 3 minute infusion instead.

So although delicious, it hasn’t hit the ranks of Mayan Chocolate Chai yet… I think that might be difficult!

ETA: As the tea cooled, I liked it more – some more fruitiness and creaminess came out. Yum! However, the second steep is pretty weak. Probably wouldn’t bother a second time unless I was really in the mood (or perhaps if the first infusion was only 3 minutes, the second would be better).

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Angrboda

Zabaglione is an Italian dessert, and it’s made with egg yolks, sugar and a sweet wine. It’s like a whipped sort of custard.

Kittenna

Good to know, thanks! Not sure that description entirely meshed with my impression of the tea, but I’ll have to keep those flavours in mind for my next (and last) cup.

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94
drank Mayan Chocolate Chai by 52teas
2229 tasting notes

Seriously, as if this Friday could get any better, I poked my head out of my front door early this evening and what was waiting there but my swap from Azzrian!! Apparently we had a hailstorm today, and I think the poor little guy might have sat on the step through it, but no harm done!

Anyways, I’m super stoked because a) now I get to try more 52teas before placing my order tonight, and b) my tastebuds are no longer angry with me!

So this one is from Azzrian – I wanted to try it and possibly buy it for my roomie, who loves chais and cayenne! So naturally, we shared it together this evening :)

Can’t remember what the dry tea smelled like, and too lazy to go fetch the bag… so I’ll write about that later. Roommate thought the tea smelled like “Gramma”. Which is not an insult :P

Steeped, it definitely smells like a chai. A strong chai. Which is great! It smells a bit different from a traditional chai too, which I like.

So we first tried the tea straight… and woah. It’s weird, NOT what I expected. Chai, but with a deep smokey flavour, and a huge cayenne finish. Super spicy! To be honest, both of us weren’t keen on it at this point – it was just a bit weird, and really strong. Of course, I was disappointed as I thought my roommate would like it :( I thought it was alright, but probably wouldn’t pick it myself. I’m not sure I’m picking up the chocolate, either.

I try not to drink teas with milk/sugar, but due to the strength of this one, I figured it would be worth a shot! So a bit of milk and maybe 3/4 of a teaspoon later…. YES! So much better! The somewhat off-putting smokiness is tamed by the milk and sugar, and now it tastes like a lovely twist on chai! The roommate also approved, and as we drank it, it totally grew on us…. enough that it will definitely be part of tonight’s order!

I tried re-steeping it in a smaller amount of water, and got a lovely second cup out of it too. I’m actually drinking this one straight – I think I’ve now become accustomed to the taste and am really enjoying the spicy hit at the end. It also might be a bit weaker at this point. So not only does it hold up well to milk and sugar, I now find it tasty on its own too!

So a huge thank-you to Azzrian for this sample, which arrived at just the perfect time! I am so sold on 52teas right now…. (and SO excited to try all the other 52teas samples from Amanda, Azzrian, and LiberTEAS – there must be nearly 30 between them!)

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

Yay so happy you are having a great weekend with your teas!! :)

Kittenna

Very much so! Thank you!

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80
drank Monkey Fart by 52teas
2229 tasting notes

Boy has Canada Post ever been good to me this week! Samples from Design A Tea, Teavivre, and Den’s Tea, my swap package from Amanda, and now my awesomely huge box of samples from LiberTEAS!!! I figure I shouldn’t have to buy tea for about 5 years now (and there are still things on the way! Oy vey. Talk about things getting out of hand fast…)

A big thanks to LiberTEAS for this sample – one of the 52teas on my list to try-before-I-buy!

I was expecting chunks of dried banana in the tea (like DavidsTea’s Banana Oolong), and was surprised not to see any… but upon opening the bag it is clear that they’re in there! Or… something is! The banana aroma is sweet and delicious – it actually smells like a real, ripe banana. Awesome!

Once steeped, that lovely banana aroma is still there, and quite strong too!

Wow, tastes like hot banana in a cup. There’s a hint of something else there too, perhaps it’s something from the honeybush? Almost… a mintiness? I’m not sure. But it’s good! And very smooth and delicious. Also, it doesn’t feel like it’s going to give me heartburn, which was another of yesterday’s big problems, and the reason I opted to go with a caffeine-free not-really-tea this morning.

Quite impressed with this tea, I must say. So glad I got to try it! Thanks again LiberTEAS!

ETA: Second steep is pretty good too, but that’s as far as I went, since the wet honeybush no longer had much smell.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Bonnie

I bought this for my 3 grandson’s 7, 9 and 11 who all have their own tea sets mind you. The name alone was what screamed BUY ME I AM A BOY FRIENDLY TEA! And of course they cracked up and made arm fart noises (It’s a guy genetic thing I’m convinced). Wish there was a line of tea’s with good names like Robot Distruction and Bug Slime….!!!!

Kittenna

Love it! Perhaps you should market that idea to Frank!

I was considering picking this one up for my boyfriend. There’s an ongoing monkey joke between us (as in, he totally looks like a monkey if he puffs out his cheeks and pulls his ears out), and I thought he’d get a laugh out of the name too. Kind of like we did with ‘Taekwon Boy seaweed snacks’ (he’s also in taekwon do) :D

LiberTEAS

There was a time I had to have this tisane on hand at all times along with the coconut cheesecake honeybush, because my oldest daughter wanted a cup of one or the other to take with her to cosmetology school. Now that she has graduated, gotten a job with a good salon and moved out (sob) I don’t really need to keep these teas on hand … don’t get me wrong, I still find them very enjoyable, but, I have a lot of tea as it is that I don’t have the time to really drink every single tea that I find enjoyable. :)

So… this tea does have special memories for me.

Indigobloom

Runts, this one tastes just like banana runts to me!

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86

My first swap sample from Amanda!! So exciting! And my first taste of 52teas! Looks like that crappy day I was having is turning around for the better :)

Honestly, the dry tea doesn’t smell like much, to me! Well, except the lingering smells of other teas!

Steeped, I’m getting a subtle toasty, slightly seaweedy smell, but that’s about it.

Hmm, tasting it I’m strangely not tasting a great deal other than what I’m picking up as genmaicha. No, that’s not true, I’m getting a creaminess and some other non-genmaicha flavours, but I wouldn’t call it cherry cheesecake. I’ll let this one cool some more before I try it again.

(Of course, I neglected to remember that my taste buds are being dumb right now. So if the flavours are subtle, I’m probably out of luck.)

ETA: Post-cooling, I can taste that there’s something else there other than just the genmaicha, but it’s very subtle, and mostly coming out in the aftertaste. Hmm. Maybe I didn’t use enough leaf? I wanted to make sure what I had lasted for two cups, so I used a bit more than a tsp; maybe that wasn’t enough? Oh well, better luck next time!

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

I had trouble getting flavor from this one…gave it to my daughter for her boys unfortunately.

CHAroma

I think you definitely needed more leaf. I usually use 2 – 2.5 tsp, so you’d probably get barely flavored water with only 1 tsp.

Kittenna

Good to know. Even if the flavour amped up some with more leaf, I probably wouldn’t buy this one though. I’ll try using the rest of my sample in a smaller volume of water :)

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100

It’s confirmed, my taste buds have gone off. Even Banana Oolong isn’t tasting right today, and I swear I didn’t screw it up. :(

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

oh noooo!!! I’ve been there. heck, I’m still kinda there. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone :(

Kittenna

It sucks. I actually left the second infusion of it sitting on my desk at work because I couldn’t gag it down. Yes, GAG down the only tea I’ve rated 100! The leaf smelled great, I just was getting really odd and not so pleasant flavours.

Did your tastebuds just revolt randomly??

I’m just glad that it’s probably not permanent like my poor aunt – she got a virus that somehow affected her sense of smell, and it seems to be permanent, so she can’t taste things properly anymore. Apparently it’s improved a bit, so she can enjoy some flavours, but things she used to enjoy sometimes taste terrible now.

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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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