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2221 Tasting Notes

92
drank Dulce & Banana by DAVIDsTEA
2221 tasting notes

Trying this one again :D

I think it’s not quite so caramelly today, but I do still like it. Very soothing and like a light dessert.

Today’s second steep is kind of watery – either I didn’t steep it long enough or used too much water. Might throw it out – it tastes a little icky. I figured out that the taste I dislike is kind of chloriney, so if it’s masked it’s ok, and if not then I’m not a fan. And I think the chloriney taste comes out in weaker infusions more prominently. Might try a longer third infusion later.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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84

In the mood for sweet, light teas tonight, so this was perfect! This tea (and the other Numi flowering teas I have) is from a boxed set of 9 samples given to me a few years ago, so I was a bit wary about how things may have held up. It appears my worries were unfounded though, at least with this tea!

I had previously (shortly before joining Steepster, I think) used up half of the packet of these cute little Jasmine Pearls for a cup of tea, so used the other half today. Although I assumed that I was supposed to use the entire packet in one go, I definitely don’t think the flavour is lacking, so it’s nice that I was able to spread them out over two cups!

The flavour of the tea pretty much smells like jasmine, and gives me serious cravings for my favourite chinese restaurant back home, and their hot and sour soup, chicken chow mein, mixed veggies…. drool Taste-wise, that’s exactly what it is. A nice, light jasmine. No fooling around, nothing funny going on here, it’s simply a jasmine tea. There’s something to be said for simplicity, when one’s tastebuds are tired of trying to tease flavours out from other teas!

I don’t have a ton of experience with jasmines (aside from in the aforementioned chinese restaurant), so I have no idea how this compares to any others, but I would certainly pick it up again if I wanted a dependable jasmine green tea. Of course, I’m likely to try others first, but this one is pretty good.

(Side note: the instructions that came with the box of Numi teas indicate that all the teas included (greens, blacks, and whites) should be steeped with boiling water. I disagreed, so steeped this one somewhere below boiling, although I didn’t record the temperature. I’m perfectly happy with it, and suspect I might have ruined it using boiling water.)

ETA: Second steep, ~4-5 min, is good but weak.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec
Kashyap

yeah…I generally recommend ignoring most ‘brewing directions’ that most ‘store’ bought teas or tea companies come with…they appeal to a general public that isn’t familiar with the range of brewing parameters and they also have to keep themselves distinct and so the simplifying process leaves nuance out. I always play with my instincts with a new tea or default to a tea industry standard cupping of 3g in 6oz water and vary temp with type of tea….I find that with pearls they work really well with about 190 degree on the first steep and cooler-longer steeps to follow. I would also bear in mind jasmine flavor is strong and is volatile and will weaken over time and green tea has a shelf life of ideally 6 months…it was probably weak due to age.

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82
drank Cherry Blossom by DAVIDsTEA
2221 tasting notes

The dry tea smells sweet and floral, with a hint of cherries. And holy cow there are a lot of dried cherries in my bag! Or at least there were at the top. And cute little rosebuds!

Steeped, this one smells a lot like Cherry Potion to me. A cherry-like tartness, but there’s a bit of a floral aroma as well.

Ok… not what I expected. It’s very light, and there’s a bit of a cherry flavour, but it’s not tart as I expected. Instead, it’s more floral, with a floral aftertaste. I’m getting a strong cherry aftertaste in the back of the mouth, which is pleasant. I don’t taste a great deal of tea, but I’m sure it’s there in the background.

Another tea I’m glad to have tried, but not special enough to keep in stock, especially given the price! It’s also a touch too floral for me, although I appreciate the cherry flavour without the tartness.

I think I’ll try steeping it longer next time and see what I end up with; it seems that DT’s white teas taste better with shorter steep times than they recommend, so I started low this time!

ETA: Second steep, for ~6 minutes, is alright, but I’m getting a tannin-y taste, probably from the long infusion. Still not bad though, with a hint of the cherry tartness at the end of the sip. Might have been more had I not scooped out a rehydrated cherry and eaten it between infusions 1 and 2 :D

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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92
drank Matcha Matsu by DAVIDsTEA
2221 tasting notes

Chunky matcha latte round 2! AKA I really need to invest in a whisk.

Pretty delicious, minus the large number of bitter chunks, which is entirely my fault. I did a much better job of mixing it last time. Tried it with unsweetened almond milk this time (which I HATE by itself), and with some agave it was great! Glad to have found a use for the unsweetened stuff, but will probably return to using the “original” version once it’s out of my fridge. A savings of 25 calories per cup isn’t worth the bleck factor.

I really hope this can kick a bit of energy into me – I have literally slept for more than 24h this weekend, and I’m still feeling exhausted. I’d really like a month-long break from life, but unfortunately asparagus season is coming up QUICKLY which means I need to get my butt into gear for harvesting. Wahhhh…

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Ian

I’m the same way with soy milk. I can’t stand it alone but I love it in tea and coffee!

Kittenna

I find almond/soy milk add extra creaminess without extra calories! But yeah, I’m not a fan of drinking either alone if they’re unsweetened, and don’t typically drink the “original” or slightly sweetened versions either – I buy it for cereal :)

Azzrian

Hey Krystaleyn – I got a small wisk from Den’s teas for 5 bucks – search for Hard to Open Travel Chasen-Zutsu (OL11)
or something like that – its in their sale or clearance items.

LiberTEAS

also… check out amazon… found some really good deals on whisks there.

Kittenna

Good to know, thanks guys! There is a little non-DavidsTea shop downtown here that I will glance at first (as no shipping would be a bonus), but I don’t know if they sell matcha. I thought I did own a small regular metal whisk, but it appears that if I do, I left it in one of the boxes at my parents’ place, and the whisk my roommate owns is… just a tad too large. Hopefully my next matcha post will be more successful!

Ptkelo

For the longest time I didn’t have a whisk so i used my magic bullet, if you have one…I’ve heard a regular blender works well too, but there would be more cleanup. I just added in my hot water, a scoop of Matcha Matsu, and the rest warm milk. It froths and mixes and everything and you have a tasty latte that took you like twenty seconds. Also I had a small hand frother that cost me $2 at the dollar store that works fine for when I’m making matcha and I’m not at home (cause I’m the cool kid who’s purse has a travel mug, at least 2 teas, and a hand frother in it at all times)

Kittenna

My roommate has a hand blender – I totally meant to use it! Thanks for the reminder! I’m a student away from home and trying to live light, so I left my blender in my parents’ basement and am trying not to accumulate anything else large, but the hand blender should do! Only downside is how loud it is at 2am…. :|

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88
drank White Tiger (organic) by DAVIDsTEA
2221 tasting notes

I’ve been craving this one for a few days now, ever since I packaged some up to send to Azzrian!

Unfortunately, although it still smells lovely like blueberry today, it tastes oversteeped. Now, I was very careful about the four minutes (which is probably longer than I have steeped before, to be fair), but I think the problem is that this was the bottom of my sample bag, and much of the leaf was quite crushed. Like, powderized. This is definitely a tea that, more than any other I’ve encountered, really needs to be stored in a hard-sided container so it can’t be crushed.

That all being said, I think a shorter steep would have helped immensely, so my bad! And it’s certainly not unbearable, just… strong and astringent!

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

And thank you so much :)
I will be sure not to smush it :)

Kittenna

I just hope it arrives ok! But even if it gets a bit crunched, it’s unlikely to reach the ‘dust’ stage that was in the bottom of my bag. :)

Azzrian

LOL well I appreciate it regardless! :)

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94
drank Lime Gelato by DAVIDsTEA
2221 tasting notes

Cold-brewed some of this in the fridge for a couple days, and… it’s fantastic!! Can’t remember what my leaf-to-water ratio was… possibly 4 heaping 1/2 tsps to 10 oz? I’ll have to try again and make a better note next time.

A bit sweet, limey, and quite refreshing. The only downside is a bit of a chemical-y aftertaste, which I recall from drinking this one hot as well. It’s still pretty good though :)

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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87
drank Genmaicha by Presently unknown
2221 tasting notes

I’ve had this tea for a couple years, so am not sure what it will be like, but here goes! I adore sushi, and loved the green tea served at sushi restaurants = genmaicha.

This genmaicha is absolutely chock full of toasted rice pieces. Whether that’s because more of the tea was at the top and got used first, or whether it has always been like that, I have no idea. It smells all toasty and good, so here’s hoping it does still taste like something!

Steeped, it mostly smells deliciously toasty. Nom nom nom. Like… rice cake. Mmmm, rice cake.

Yum! Tastes like toasty, roasty rice, with a nice sweetness. Not getting much green tea taste, but I’m certain it’s in there. Glad this one’s still good – I feel so much less guilty about leaving it now! There’s enough for 5-10 cups left, so I’m sure it will be used up quickly.

Although this tea is good on its own, it really demands that there be a large plate of fresh sushi nearby, along with a nice helping of gyoza and tempura. I might have to fix that later. (It’s really not helping that I am HUNGRY right now).

ETA: Second steep, which was WAYYY too long (like 15-20 minutes?) is pretty good. There’s a touch of astringency from the green tea oversteeping, but it’s mostly another cup of brown ricey goodness. I’m looking forward to finishing this container of tea and picking up other (fresher) genmaichas to try out :)

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

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40

Sniffing my mug of tea, I’m definitely getting a strong smell of rooibos, which is a bit off-putting. Not sure I’m really a big fan of it. There’s also a tangy sort of smell which is good, but I’m not really getting anything resembling raspberry.

Taste-wise… bleh. Again, no raspberry, just mostly rooibos. I think the other flavour I might be getting is some lemongrass, which is pleasant enough.

Haha, it just came into my head that this reminds me of bug spray! Citronella, more accurately. Weird, but I just took another sip, and yup! Sent into a few camping memories, just then :P

Belatedly sniffing the dry tea, all I can think of is citronella. Hahaha.

So, not a tea for me. I’m really sad that there’s no raspberry flavour whatsoever, but perhaps I still would have thought it tasted like bug spray. Oh well! I hear this tea is being discontinued, and I can’t say I disagree with the decision…

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec

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77
drank Carrot Cake by DAVIDsTEA
2221 tasting notes

Sheesh, reading about this tea on here has made me quite wary of it!

The dry tea has a VERY strong odour. I can’t quite place it. I don’t believe it smells like paint thinner, as others have mentioned, but it does smell kind of chemically. I can imagine it to be very strong cakey carrot cake if I try quite hard, but based on the smell alone I probably wouldn’t choose this tea.

Thankfully, steeped this one smells a whole lot better, more like a spice cake with a strong tea base.

The taste, although I’m not sure I would call it “carrot cake”, is actually quite pleasant. I think I can taste the carrot, and definitely the oolong, and if I try hard, I can envision myself eating a piece of carrot spice cake. Not really getting the cream cheese icing though. I also have to say that I’m picky about the carrot cake that I like, and this tastes like a mid-range sort to me – not good enough to be amazing without icing, but not so bad that one needs a large dose of icing for the cake to be palatable.

So this one definitely isn’t as bad for me as for other people. I actually find it somewhat enjoyable, although it’s not tasty enough to be a tea I crave. The take-home message from this tea would definitely be that carrot in tea can work! I just think the spicing isn’t quite right; I’m getting a sense of baked goods, but it’s quite bland. I think someone perhaps needs to attempt a carrot cake chai, with whatever flavouring used in 52teas cheesecake teas (which hopefully I will soon be trying!) for the icing.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 15 sec
Ninavampi

I am glad you liked it! : ) For me this is probably the worst tea I have ever had…

Kittenna

I honestly have to wonder if there was a bad batch of this or something. I’ll admit that the dry tea doesn’t smell great, but I don’t understand how people could have had such a negative reaction to what I drank last night! It just wasn’t that bad. But to each their own!

Ninavampi

Yeah… Maybe it was a bad batch, or there is a flavor that agrees with some people and not with others. I bought this after reading a review by someone who really liked it, I just didn’t agree. It’s funner when people like different things, I think it would eventually be very dull if everyone liked the exact same thing.

Kittenna

Completely agree! That would take all the fun out of trying new things :)

Bonnie

Me too Ninavampi, the worst or close to it. I hated the dry smell and the taste was just aweful…too sweet like a ton of glucose in the mouth mixed with cat fur. BLECH!

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92

So excited to try this! I’ll need to try different brewing methods, but went with 205 degree F water for each of the five infusions, which were durations of 45s, 1:30, 2:15, 3:00 and …longer (I forgot about it). ~2 tsp of tea in my 1 cup brewing apparatus.

The dry tea doesn’t have a great deal of scent, unlike the other three teas I received from Verdant. Mostly, it smells a bit floral and green (and tea-like), but I find with actual tea, the smell of the dry tea doesn’t necessarily reflect on the infused flavour at all.

First infusion:
There’s a light floral aroma, and the flavour is buttery, rich, and very thick-tasting; that is, the mouthfeel is that of a thicker liquid than steeped tea usually has. There’s a bit of a vegetal flavour, but just barely a hint. Mostly it’s just creamy and tasty.

Second infusion:
The floral aroma is a bit stronger, and the butteriness/creaminess has slightly subsided, but this is still a delicate, delicious, smooth cup of tea. As a consequence of the reduced creaminess, I’m tasting the boiled vegetal and tea flavours somewhat more, which makes the cup seem a little sharper, and more flavourful.

Third infusion:
There’s a deeper, darker flavour in this cup. We’ve moved away from vegetal, floral, and buttery, to almost a bit of a woody, rounder flavour. That makes it sound bad; it’s quite nice though. Definitely stronger-tasting at the end of the sip, and leaves a pleasant aftertaste. There’s still a floral quality, which is different from what I’ve experienced with other teas, where it dissipates almost entirely by the third infusion.

Fourth infusion:
This cup is mellow and definitely on the woody side of things. I want to say that there’s the barest hint of astringency, but it’s not quite there, and not at all unpleasant. It’s just a taste that I think I usually associate with astringency. I think this infusion has less flavour, so it takes more effort to taste its complexity, but there’s a lovely and unmistakeable lingering aftertaste.

Fifth infusion:
Uh, when did this become sweet?! I wasn’t expecting this. All of a sudden there’s a general sweetness in the cup that I don’t remember before. Slightly honey-like. Mild, but definitely there. I wasn’t expecting much from this one, and only continued because the steeped leaves retained a tasty smell and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give it another shot. The sweetness is almost fruity, but not quite there.

The leaves are still sitting in my infuser downstairs, so perhaps I’ll try an additional infusion later or tomorrow. I have to note that this tea has the biggest, most whole leaves I’ve ever come across! And wow, do they ever expand! Glad I used my little infuser-basket thingy so they could expand all they wanted – that 2 tsp has nearly expanded to fill the entire cup’s worth (plus airspace, of course).

So, I definitely am not catching all the flavours that I’ve heard this tea described as, but then again, my brewing method was probably atypical. I was sharing this with my roommate and thought that going with 15-second infusions might be overwhelming for her, but at the same time, I didn’t want to go completely Western-style, so went with IMO a happy medium. I’m not displeased with the results, but really want to try this gong-fu style, or at least, in a series of 15-second infusions. Luckily I have enough left for a couple more experiments before making my next Verdant order (which will probably be on April 1, so as to leave March’s budget alone).

Overall, definitely enjoyable, but I don’t have enough experience to say it’s miles beyond other tieguanyins or anything like that. I am impressed at the number of infusions I did get, and am pretty sure I’ll enjoy the next time I try this, so I’m looking forward to it, although it will have to wait until I’ve tried the other two oolongs and Yunnan White Jasmine!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 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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