2246 Tasting Notes

75

Alright, so here goes tea #2!!

I have to say, this tea smelled MUCH more promising when I opened up the bag! Tart blueberry was the main scent, and I definitely recognized it as blueberry! The tartness made me think of candy though, perhaps sour Warheads, or whatever those were called? Either way, it made my mouth water. Didn’t smell any hazelnut, but that’s ok.

This time, I did look into the teabag, and there was clearly some green tea (sencha??) in there, not too terribly broken up, and a bit of powderiness, which I’m going to attribute to lyophilized (hee) blueberry. And possibly hazelnut, but I’d think that might be added as an extract?

Steeped tea smells like tart, mouthwatering blueberry candy. Nom nom nom. Frankly, I don’t care if I can smell/taste hazelnut right now, cuz this smells good!

Unfortunately, drinking it is a bit of a letdown. I am greeted by a bit of a perfumey blueberry taste which makes me think… blueberry Jelly Belly, I think. There’s a nice green tea finish, which is enjoyable, but I’m just not digging the artificial fruit flavours. :( No hazelnut, either.

This one’s definitely better than my ‘Coconut Banana Oolong’, but again, after tasting DavidsTea’s White Tiger, where the blueberry flavour is just SO authentic (even if they did something to enhance it, I don’t really care), I am looking for that sort of flavour in blueberry teas. Tartness optional, but perfumey candy is not going to cut it anymore.

Might give another couple teas a shot, or order their Ice Wine tea (as someone, perhaps Azzrian? thought it was pretty good), but as of now, no plans to order larger quantities of any of “my own” blends.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

really loved the ice wine from Design a Tea – more so than the other samples by far and more than another culinary’s.

Kittenna

I think, sometime in the distant future when I make it through all the teas currently headed my way, that I will order some from them. But right now I should be swamped! Once Canada Post starts being good.

Azzrian

Really wish it would get there NOW!

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58

I’m so excited to try some of “my own” blends! Let’s see how this one turns out…

The teas came in an envelope, which is fair enough given I paid $1 for shipping, but I was a bit worried that the tea had been crushed. Looking in the teabag, I didn’t check too closely to see if it was, but I did see a white powder on top of the tea… do they just plunk tea in a bag, plop on some powdered flavouring, and go?? I didn’t see any banana, but perhaps it was powderized freeze-dried banana.

I can’t really place the smell of the steeped tea. There’s a touch of fruitiness, but I wouldn’t say banana, and maybe an artificial coconut flavour, on top of a darker oolong base. Not particularly grabbing. Also, it smells…. musty. Not that I think this has been sitting somewhere for a really long while, it’s just a scent I’m picking up.

So here goes… Man, I wish I better knew what a darker oolong tasted like, because then I could better separate the flavours. I would have preferred a greener oolong (e.g. like in DavidsTea’s Banana Oolong), but knew that wasn’t what I was going to get. Anyways, I’m definitely tasting coconut, but it is kind of fakey tasting, and what I can taste of the banana is very subtle; there’s a bit more of it at the end of the sip. Likewise with the coconut. The tea is there in the background rounding out the flavour.

Overall, it’s not bad, but the white powder bothered me to begin with, and I wish the flavours were more authentic. The banana also isn’t strong enough for me (after knowing how delicious banana can be in tea). Might try a re-steep, but I highly doubt it will re-steep well.

Think I’ll try the other one tonight as well. Sleep? Psh…

(And guys, if you don’t ever hear from me again, please let someone know that this tea was the last thing I consumed! Particularly those of you that know my address :D:D)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Ninavampi

I can’t believe you are still awake! I just woke up!

Kittenna

sob I shouldn’t be. My sleep schedule is awful. AWFUL. I’m contemplating not going to bed tonight (yeah, cuz that always works well). Oh sorry, did I say tonight??? I guess 7:30am no longer counts as “night”…

Azzrian

LOL I cracked up but then again one never knows!

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93
drank Pumpkin Chai by DAVIDsTEA
2246 tasting notes

Fellow Steepsterites…. does anyone else find a strong resemblance between Pumpkin Chai and DT’s Glitter & Gold? It just occurred to me when I opened up the bag tonight, and the smell was familiar, and I realized it smelled exactly like Glitter & Gold! Which is fine, because I love G&G! (It just means I don’t have to worry about Pumpkin Chai being seasonal!)

And yes, I’ll admit that there are some different flavours going on here, perhaps a bit of pumpkiny goodness, but predominantly I’m tasting a warm cinnamon black tea. Less sweet than G&G.

I’ll have to compare the two together, which will take a while since I shuttled G&G back to work after swapping and have none here, but… I’m interested to know if I’m alone in this!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Azzrian

All I know is I know how much you LOVE G and G so if you found another like it I am happy for ya!

Ptkelo

Pumpkin Chai was made permanent.

Kittenna

I was wondering about that. I prefer Glitter & Gold though, so probably won’t hang onto both, but I like having two options for the same warm cinnamony black tea!

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93
drank Checkmate by DAVIDsTEA
2246 tasting notes

I think I might be losing my love of this one. Or, I brewed it incorrectly. Either way, wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great, and I really think a fruity iced tea would have done me better. Oh well!

Settled down for an evening in the basement of the campus library… keep seeing Steepster messages but am not allowed to putz about on here and reply until this paper is quite a bit closer to completion!

Also, I got my Design a Tea samples in the mail today! Exciting! Going to try them once I make it home. Blueberry Hazelnut Oolong & Coconut Banana Green (I think). Of course, they’re from Buffalo NY, which is literally like 2 hours away, so a week to get here does not make me hopeful for everything else I’m waiting for. Sigh…

Preparation
4 min, 15 sec

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91

I was craving another tea this evening (in addition to Jasmine Pearls, Cherry Blossom, and Dulce & Banana), but was feeling exceptionally picky. No oolongs (I’m a little oolonged out right now), it’s about 5am so a black would also not be a good idea, I’m not in the mood for tart, nor rooibos… finally settled on a fruity green, Daydreamer. Until I flipped through my newly organized tea stash and came across Super Chocolate! Yes, this is what I’m craving! A hit of chocolate, some fruitiness, and not a ton of caffeine.

Ahhh, and it delivers. This is just what I wanted. Chocolatey in that fruity sort of way, and without much tea in the background. I have to up my rating on this one… I have yet to find anything else like it, and this is not the first time I’ve craved it. I think it will actually go on my to-purchase list along with Dulce & Banana…

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec

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92
drank Dulce & Banana by DAVIDsTEA
2246 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
2246 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
2246 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
2246 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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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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