2244 Tasting Notes

82
drank French Vanilla Assam by 52teas
2244 tasting notes

After two resounding busts from earlier this morning, this tea had better be good! Or I might cry :(

Dry tea smells sweet and perhaps of vanilla. A good start. Steeped, I’m getting a sweet, dark, malty smell. Not what I was expecting, but still good so far…

Hmmm, it’s kind of weak. I used a slightly heaping tsp, but maybe didn’t steep it long enough. Tea ball is back in for a minute or so…

Oook. I’m not getting vanilla, really… I’m almost getting a bit of a soapy flavour, actually. The black tea is ok, a touch astringent at the end of the sip, but nothing worrisome. I really can’t see why people like this one…. Nothing special at all. Boo for another tea bust… (What am I doing wrong, people?!)

ETA: Oops, forgot to thank Amanda for this one!!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 15 sec
Azzrian

All I can think of is either it just isn’t good OR maybe its how you steep. Do you happen to have a mesh strainer of any kind? Like for straining veggies or something? Not those big plastic ones but the small hand held metal kind? Maybe let the tea leaves loose in your cup, pot, etc and strain them after the steep? Just an idea – don’t know if it will work.

Bonnie

I agree…most loose tea’s really need room. A tea ball is so confined that you are not going to get the most out of your tea steep. Just my opinion but I’ve been trying to follow my wiser steepsters in learning how to brew different tea’s and my learning curve is improving from the days when I just plunked some tea in a pot of boiling water and let it sit 10 minutes until it was a bitter mass. Yuk!

TeaBrat

I’ve found teaballs don’t work out well for me either

Missy

I tried a tea ball and found it tiresome to operate. I have one of those infuser things that sits in my cup. It’s much easier to deal with. Of course I have a really big tea mug now so I needed a bigger infuser. Perhaps it’s the water. How are you heating your water up? I’m no tea guru, but I’ve been stalking the forums for a while now and water seems to be a big factor in good tea.

LiberTEAS

Assam needs a full boil to achieve a well-rounded flavor. Also, I don’t recommend steeping it too long as it will become bitter. This is actually one of my favorite teas from 52Teas. I also do not recommend a tea ball … they just don’t do a tea justice, in my opinion.

Kittenna

Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone! The tea ball in question is a mesh one like the ones DavidsTea offers; it’s reasonably large and I thought it would be ok, as it usually is for everything except oolongs (and it’s just fine for my beloved Banana Oolong, even though it’s crammed full when the leaves expand), but perhaps I should give these teas a shot in my steeping basket at home, where the leaves have more room.

LiberTEAS – If you say assam needs to be steeped in boiling water, I think water temperature would be my biggest problem here! You probably noticed I went with a nice low temperature thanks for my many recent over-steeps, and I guess I did it with a tea I shouldn’t have! I didn’t oversteep it this time though :D (But if the trade-off is lack of flavour, I’m not sure that’s so great…!) So it looks like this tea will be yet another added to the ‘needs second attempt, different parameters’ list :)

Bonnie

What helps me…I have 3 yes three little charts that list brewing temps and times for different types of tea on the back of my tea cupboard. I refer to them all the time. I have memory problems so I have to do this. No way could I just brew tea! Might be good to go online and print a chart from The Art of Tea or just google tea brewing charts.

Kittenna

Thanks Bonnie! That might be useful :) I know the general parameters for each type of tea, but some seem to be more flexible than others. I’ll take a look.

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1

I am assuming that this is what I have tried today… My steeping parameters sucked, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have changed it for the better…

It smells nasty, fishy and like dirt. And tastes the same. Ladies & gents, we have a winner for the grossest tea I have ever tried!

Thanks for the sample, Azzrian, and please don’t be offended :P This is just WAY too earthy for me, and I don’t think I like chrysanthemum either. I’m guessing lovers of earthy pu’erhs might like it more? Keeping my hopes up for the oolong you sent though!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

Oh girl I am NOT offended at all. I actually have not tried this yet myself but a lot of people feel this way about Puerh and honestly Puerh in a bag – I don’t know I would assume that it probably isn’t anywhere like the cakes!

Kittenna

Hmmmm, you do have a tasting note on it?

Azzrian

I do? LOL oh let me go look – geesh Blonde moment!

Azzrian

Oh crap I do and I liked it a LOT! Hummmmm very strange – after I have this teavivre tea I will try it again and see if I get the same reaction. :) I will post here to let you know!

Kittenna

Yeah, this was definitely a dumped-out cup for me (actually, I traipsed to the sink with TWO full cups, as I wasn’t at all keen on my second steep of Strawberry Orange Scone either. Sad day.)

Azzrian

Okay trying again here … yes it does smell very earthy, like dirt. LOL
It smells to me the way beets taste – I think beets taste like dirt. I never liked beets – at least not the pickled kind and those are the only kind I have ever tried. OKay that was random – anyway … I get only a TINY tiny little of a fishy flavor though and I have had FAR fisher puerhs. I still like it lol. I mean its not one of my all time favorite teas by any means and clearly I didn’t even recall having it before but I do enjoy it. Im sorry it was not your thing lol your review does still make me smile though – grossest tea ever for you. Hey at least you will remember me for something lol.
<3

Azzrian

Oh noooooo you didn’t like the scone either :( Wait did my teas cross contaminate on their way to you ? I know you said they were fine but maybe some did?

Kittenna

Yuckers, I definitely got fishiness and mega dirt flavour. I’m sure you could get more fishiness in another tea, but that is not a flavour I want in tea. I don’t mind having tried it though!!

The scone tea I tried was a different one, from LiberTEAS. You sent me Buttered Cranberry Orange Scone, which I have yet to try! I don’t think there were any problems. (And with the scone tea I tried, I think I just wasn’t a fan of the intense orange peel flavour, which may or may not be present in the scone tea you sent!)

Azzrian

Ahhh okay :)

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92
drank Matcha Matsu by DAVIDsTEA
2244 tasting notes

Nom nom nom. Still whisk-less, but I did a better job with the fork this time. Mixed it with a bit of hot milk and agave, then added cold unsweetened almond milk. Learned last time that almond milk does not microwave well.

Anyways, still quite happy with this one. I do need to get a tin or something for it though; I don’t like it being in a bag. It’s irritating.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Missy

I totally understand the tin thing. I really like to have my teas in their own tins all tucked away in the cupboard immediately.

Kittenna

I’m actually usually ok with the baggies, but for this one, since it’s so powdery, I just hate it being in a bag and poofing all over the place :D

Missy

Hehe, poofing reminds me of when I tried to make vanilla sugar. I found a recipe that said just put sugar and vanilla bean into a coffee grinder. So I grind away and then I lift the lid to inhale sugar power. Great experiment. I’ll never do it that way again….

Kittenna

Hahahahahaha, bet your lungs appreciated that one!

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90
drank Birthday Cake by DAVIDsTEA
2244 tasting notes

I am trying to concentrate on catching up with posts on here… but I’m having trouble because the amazing smell of birthday cake is sooooo distracting! I can’t believe how delicious this one smells! I really had low expectations for it, but the aroma is intoxicating. Sweet and mapley vanilla, perhaps? VERY sweet. So sweet that just sniffing this makes my tastebuds think they’ve had dessert. Gah. Pleasepleaseplease let this taste as good as it smells, because then I’ll have another wonderful go-to dessert rooibos for those nights (or days) when I want something disgustingly sweet, not just hinting at it. Steep faster, delicious-smelling tea! (Side note: I’m moderately concerned that I may have steeped this one too hot – in my excitement to get it going, I grabbed my cup out of the microwave with boiling water in it, and plunged my filter basket in, which caused it to go all fizzy and bubbly and boiling. I probably should have given in 30s or so…)

Review pending the stupid tea cooling down! ARGH!

Ok! Finally get to try it! It’s not bad; the initial part of the sip is kind of strong (probably my fault – I was not skimpy on the dry tisane!) and rooibos-y, but the aftertaste is sweet vanilla-y maple. I have to agree with everyone else that it’s kind of sickly sweet… but I’m kind of in the mood for it right now. I’m definitely not getting ‘birthday cake’… but I don’t like birthday cake anyhow, so that’s not exactly an issue.

Overall not a bad rooibos, but not good enough to bump Alpine Punch or other tasty ones. It’s just a bit one-note for me, and I want more than that. But the sample will definitely get finished in the evenings as a yummy dessert tea!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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73
drank Strawberry Orange Scone by 52teas
2244 tasting notes

Quickly, a note before I dash home!

Mostly smells and tastes like orange peel. I am not really getting any strawberry, or scone. A bit of astringency; clearly I oversteeped (thought so). I’ll re-evaluate when it cools, but I don’t think I’m terribly fond of this one.

Thank you LiberTEAS for this sample :)

ETA: Second steep this morning is funky. Into the garbage it goes.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
momo

Definitely try maybe 3 minutes, and water below boiling. I had problems with a lot of the 52teas black teas not tasting so good so I started using it out of my Keurig for them which I think gives you like 90* water maybe? But it made the Milk & Cookies tea SO much better for example.

Kittenna

Ah, someone had recommended that for 52teas blacks…. was it you?? … Oh yes, it was :D I should have remembered! I did mean to only steep it for 3 minutes, but there’s a bit of lag time getting my timer going everytime, and I accidently forgot to change it from 4 mins to 3 mins… thus 4:30. I’ll try it again that way! Good thing I have more than a cup’s worth for pretty much every sample I’ve been sent :D

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77

Er… I just realized that I buggered this one up! I definitely steeped it in boiling water (or whatever temperature boiling water drops to when poured into a mug), because for some reason I had black tea on the brain. Surprisingly though, I thought it was just fine in spite of that. Just a touch of astringency at the end of the sip, and really, it was hardly noticeable and not bothersome. Anyways, I guess I’ll try it again at the proper temperature in the future!

The dry leaf smells like creamy banana coconut with what smells to me like a black tea base. Steeped, I’m getting a baked goods-banana scent, which is good.

Trying this one hot, I thought it tasted much like Monkey Fart (the banana is the same), but as it cooled I enjoyed it more. I’m not entirely sure that it tastes like banana cream pie to me… but I’m actually not certain that I’ve ever even had banana cream pie, so that probably wouldn’t be a fair judgment! I drank it during a seminar though, so can’t recall everything I tasted, but it looks like another tea that I’m happy to have tried but fine with not having again once my sample is gone. (Btw, thanks to LiberTEAS for this sample!)

(The second infusion seems to be reasonably tasty too, although it has yet to cool enough for me to get the full range of flavours. Worth that second cup though, I think!)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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74

To celebrate having gone to bed at a decent hour AND having woken up on time (in spite of the fact that I’ve done nothing productive since then), I decided to have a nice cup of black tea! And what better to have than a surprise sample given to me by Azzrian: the Naughty Vicar!

The dry tea smells a bit fruity and rich. Mmmm.

Steeped, it smells exactly like some sort of familiar candy! Perhaps sour berry gummy candies? The $0.05 ones? I can’t quite place it, but it is SO familiar. And yay, it tastes true to the aroma! Not sweet, but it tastes like those candies, backed by a light black base (it might have been stronger had I steeped it longer than 3 minutes, but I’m SO wary of oversteeping right now).

This is pretty good! Not a tea I’d rush to go out and buy myself, but I doubt I’ll have any difficulty finishing it. Thanks Azzrian!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec
Kay Kanada

Best. name. EVER.

Missy

yes I find it rather amusing as well.

Azzrian

Thanks Krystaleyn, its not for everyone but its a fun tea to try and yes Missy and Kay the name is awesome :)

Kittenna

I actually thought it was a pretty well done fruity black :) Also happy I didn’t oversteep it!

Azzrian

LOL yeah I see you have been over steeping a lot lately. I get distracted too easily myself at times.

Kittenna

Yes, I’ve either been distracted or selected a time that was too high. Sigh. Doesn’t make for a nice cup of tea, since I don’t add milk or sugar…

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69
drank Paradise Found by DAVIDsTEA
2244 tasting notes

Went to pick up the new teas that I’ve yet to try, and a pitcher of this was sitting iced on the counter. I requested a sample, and the girl pulls out two to-go cups and pours my roommate and I full glasses; apparently she was about to throw it out anyhow! Bonus :)

However…. we tried it and it was awfully tart unsweetened. There was the tasty flowery flavour I remember from when I brewed it hot, but also a great deal of tartness as well as a bit of a bitter aftertaste. Oh hibiscus :( We used to be friends.

Brought it home and sweetened the crap out of it with agave, as my stomach didn’t want a tart drink right now, and it improved greatly, although still had some bitterness coming out, which was a bit yucky. Oh well! Perhaps I’ll finish the rest of my packet off this way. Luckily I only have ~16g minus a cup’s worth left?

Preparation
Iced

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41
drank Three Wishes Tea by DAVIDsTEA
2244 tasting notes

Another tea I’m finally trying!

The aroma of this one is SO delicious. Both the dry and steeped tea have this wonderful floral, rose petaly, juicy aroma that makes me drool (or as close as I am willing to get while in my office with other people).

Hmm, I steeped this one for only 4 minutes, but I’m getting a distinctly unpleasant oversteeped flavour from it. What is with me and screwing up teas lately?! It’s still drinkable, but bleech. Also, the floral aroma that I enjoyed so much is appearing in my mouth… and although I like smelling flowers, I’m not a big fan of eating them! Yes, definitely too floral in flavour for me.

Well, looks like another bust (my wallet says: thank goodness!). Another tea I’m happy to have tried, but will not be picking up again.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec
Kay Kanada

Hmm this one has been in my cupboard for a long while (got it for Christmas) and I STILL haven’t plucked up the courage to try it. Now it’ll stay there for a couple months longer… :P

Kittenna

Haha, it’s not that bad, I just recommend a short infusion time (maybe 3 min) and also, don’t overdo it on the leaf – I may have done that. It might be more pleasant weaker, but it truly was kind of like drinking perfume. Unfortunate, because the smell is lovely…

Kay Kanada

Drinking perfume! I remember one time I had a really bad martini somewhere, and I told my friends how it tasted just like hairspray. They couldn’t understand how it could taste just like something I have never tasted. You understand me! (Well, that is, unless you’ve for some inexplicable reason have actually drank perfume.)

Uniquity

I don’t find it very floral BUT I treat it with kid gloves. 2.5 minute steep and a scant teaspoon per cup. Most of the DT blacks are pretty hardy, but not this one.

Uniquity

Oh, and I forgot – this has green tea hiding in it so boiling water isn’t a good idea. Took me a long time to realize that one. At least I think this is the one that has green tea. That’s what my other tasting notes say at least.

Kittenna

AHA! Uniquity, that’s probably a really good point! I think it does have green tea; I should definitely give it a shot at a lower temp before dismissing it completely. I even knew that, I just forgot.

Kay – I most certainly haven’t drank perfume! :D I don’t even wear it. But I mean, taste and smell are highly linked, so it makes sense that you can equate something you smell to the way something tastes… right?

Uniquity

Best of luck! The steeping parameters that are printed on this one are way off – I think even Davids forgot this has green tea. : )

Kittenna

Well it wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve heard their parameters to be totally off. I just tend to be really naive and go with what is suggested :D Glad I’m on here to get advice from people who clearly pay more attention to things than I!

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73
drank Jungle Ju Ju by DAVIDsTEA
2244 tasting notes

Finally trying this one! My first guayasa :) Brief not because I should really be working….

The dry tea smells almost earthy, and quite fruity. Yum.

Steeped, it smells peachy and fruity. So far so good!

This tastes better than I was expecting! I’m not a fan of candied papaya, so was wary of it in a tea, but this is pretty good! It tastes kind of earthy and green, a little bit bitter, and lightly fruity – I would go with peachy. We’ll see what sort of effect the caffeination has on me shortly…

Either way, a very pleasant tea! Probably something I’d pick up again only for the stimulant effect, though, as flavour-wise there are other teas I prefer.

ETA: Second cup, steeped for ages, is not really impressive. Weak and just a bit sweet. Not worth it. I don’t know if guayasa is one that doesn’t re-steep well?

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

I always resteep mine, but it’s never a strong cup!

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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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