2245 Tasting Notes

87
drank Genmaicha by Presently unknown
2245 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
2245 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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92
drank Dulce & Banana by DAVIDsTEA
2245 tasting notes

Oh my goodness. I am SO EXCITED RIGHT NOW! My order from Verdant Tea arrived!! Roomie and I to have a fabulous tea tasting evening…. as soon as I actually do some homework. I’m so lazy…

Anyways, onto the tea that this note is actually for – Dulce & Banana! Of course, after enjoying the Banana Oolong so much, I started to get curious about other banana teas, and this one sounded delicious. Until I read that it contained chamomile. Big red flag – I hate chamomile! So I held off buying a test sample in-store while it was still there, but my curiousity could not be tamed, so I ended up requesting a sample in my last online order, and thank-you DavidsTea – they sent one! A nice big one too (probably because this tea is so light?) So now we’ll see whether the chamomile is too much to handle or not.

The dry tea smells mostly like caramelly banana. I’m hardly getting any chamomile, in spite of the fact that I can see the flowers. But that’s ok, the less the better.

Brewed, it smells like chamomile and not much else, at which I am disappointed. Please please please have some other flavour too…

And it does! Yes, I’m getting chamomile, but I’m getting a caramelly flavour weaving in and out, which is lovely. No banana, per se, but that’s alright.

Um, guys? I actually like this one. This chamomile-loaded tea. Is good. I’m actually questioning whether I really do dislike chamomile, or whether it has simply been in mixtures that I disliked before for other reasons. I greatly dislike Celestial Seasoning’s ‘Sleepytime’ and DT’s Sweet Dreams wasn’t good either… I wonder if those both have peppermint or something? Because I definitely do not care for peppermint in teas unless it’s mixed with, say, chocolate.

So I’m not sure if my palate is changing with all this tea tasting I’m doing, or whether this is just a pleasing mixture, but… I’m considering purchasing this one. Still have to use up the rest of my sample and make sure this isn’t a fluke, but… wow. Makes a strong case for trying ALL THE TEAS, even if they don’t sound appealing, because you never know…

ETA: Second infusion of this (steeped for 5+ minutes) is a lovely, sweet chamomile. I think I might be getting some lavender in the sip, which is quite enjoyable as well. I really am stunned at how much I like this. I am definitely making yet another online order from DavidsTea in the near future to make sure I have a supply of this one, barring strange flavours appearing in subsequent cups.

Also, I must say that this seems like a really great evening dessert tea for those evenings when one wants something sweet (because this is genuinely SWEET), but doesn’t want fruity, or rooibos (although this one does have some in it, it’s definitely not a dominant flavour).

ETA again: Third infusion tastes… like pineapple!? Wha?! It tastes very tropical, and truly, like pineapple. I’m getting chamomile too, but… pineapple?! Very interesting. This is as far as I took it though.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

Not all chamomile is created equal. There are some chamomiles that I actually enjoy, while others, not so much.

Kittenna

Just shows that you shouldn’t knock something until you try it multiple ways, I guess! I am pretty blown away by this tea, so much so that I think I’ll no longer reject teas with chamomile until I’ve tried them! I’m not sure I’d be quite as keen about a straight chamomile tea, but who knows!

Indigobloom

wow you likey a chammy tea!! yay! :P

ScottTeaMan

I’ve tried Egyptian Chamomile in teabags (Stash), and their loose Chamomile, & I preferred their teabag version. It had something to do with how they cut it up to fit it in the teabag. Made the cup better in some way-intesified it!

Kittenna

Interesting. I’m still not sure whether I like chamomile, per se, or whether the mix was just quite good. By the third cup, where it tasted like pineapple juice, I was getting a hint of flavour that I disliked, and I think I now remember the specific flavour that I had a problem with (not that I can describe it, of course!) My roommate and I have a small amount of ‘Sweet Dreams’ left; I feel like I should brew up a cup of that and really analyze it while I drink and see if I actually dislike it or was just prejudiced by the ingredient list.

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100

Wanted an oolong tonight, but too exhausted to play with my milk oolong or orchid oolong, so went with tried and true banana oolong, where I know a first steep of four minutes yields something amazing, and I can save the other steepings for tomorrow.

… Seriously, my first sip was just absolutely heavenly. So much banana, a bit of sweetness, and oolongy goodness. I would like to up the rating some more. Steepster, I request that the rating bar extend beyond 100 for teas that are sheer bliss.

Ended up staying up later (stupid, stupid girl) and have steeped it twice more (4 min, then 5 min). Both delicious, although the banana flavour slowly disappears.

ETA: Steeped it twice more tonight (Friday). After sitting out all night, there appears to be a delicious reappearance of the banana flavour!! Joy! Both steepings have banana deliciousness and it’s wonderful. I’ll be trying for a sixth yet too. Gah I love this tea :D

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

I want some! :)

Azzrian

You know I never get Banana teas … it just does not sound right to have banana in tea but now you have me thinking I should give it a try. I will add some to my next order!

Kittenna

Yeah, this one’s good. As long as you’re cool with stevia being around (honestly, I have no idea if it’s apparent, I couldn’t care less, but some people dislike it), this tea is awesome. Fantastic melding of banana and oolong flavour. If you end up making an order of White Tiger and others from DT, I would definitely add this one too :) Yum.

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73
drank Whisky White by DAVIDsTEA
2245 tasting notes

Asked for a sample of this with my last online DT order and they obliged. So happy :) My store had been out of it FOREVER (ok, for a month?), and then it went to online-only/discontinued (it seems we were misled about the online-only teas remaining available online, as they seem to be discontinuing a bunch :().

Anyways.

I don’t know how long I ended up steeping this one for; I kept smelling it and it smelled kind of like hot water, so I just left the tea ball in longer. Perhaps 6-7 minutes? I only have enough for two cups of this, so didn’t want to screw the first time up.

Steeped (and cooled a fair bit, maybe to ~35C?), the scent is of sweet caramelly…. bananas? What? Did I grab the right glass? I do have Banana Oolong right next to it… but nope, right glass, and bananas is what I’m getting. Well, it’s better than hot water!

… Ok, you know what? This one does ACTUALLY taste kind of like alcohol! I admit I doubt I’ve ever had whiskey straight, as I dislike the flavour of alcohol in general, and if I choose to drink it, it’s usually covered up with various sweet flavours, but I’m definitely getting the sense that this might be similar to how whiskey actually tastes. To me, it tastes caramelly but not really sweet, per se, and although I saw the peach pieces with my own eyes, I’m definitely thinking banana as opposed to peach. I may have oversteeped it a tad, which is causing a teeny bit of bitterness to come out, or it’s possible that the blend just tastes like that; it suits the alcohol impression well. The aftertaste is definitely white tea, and wow does it ever work in this tea to create the impression of a relaxing alcoholic beverage!

So glad I tried this one! I don’t think I’d bother picking it up again because I wouldn’t want to accidently fall in love with it and have it completely discontinued, but I am happy to know what it tastes like and not have it remain a mystery!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 30 sec
Indigobloom

Do you have any left? Try steeping it for 30 seconds. I kid you not, it is amaaaazing that way :)

Kittenna

I have about a cup’s worth left. I will try to remember to give that a shot! What temperature?

Indigobloom

Temp varies per person. I prefer mine at around 92c or so but to each his own!

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92
drank Matcha Matsu by DAVIDsTEA
2245 tasting notes

I made my first matcha latte this afternoon/evening! Go me! I admit, it was not properly made or whisked, so was kind of chunky, but delicious just the same. I wanted it strong so ended up using four heaping-ish 1/2 teaspoons in my Starbucks cold drink cup (grande size, I think). Heated a bit of regular milk in the microwave, mixed in some matcha, added some more milk (< cup), decided it needed some agave, decided it needed more matcha, and then topped up the rest with Silk Original Almond Milk. NOM NOM NOM. Way better than yesterday. And no icecubes diluting the flavour – I guess it wasn’t technically an iced latte… more like flavoured milk. But that’s how I prefer my lattees anyhow. I’m a moderate temperature girl :)

Anyways, regarding the flavour, I definitely pick up on a strong vegetal flavour (although different from mot green teas I’ve tried), as well as bitterness, but with the agave, it was just delicious. Maybe I’ll post a better, less scattered review when I’m more awake/actually drinking my next latte :)

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94
drank Toasted Walnut by DAVIDsTEA
2245 tasting notes

Nom nom nom. Fiiiiinaallly bought some more of this and am so stoked. Of course, today is NOT a day for hot tea, so I’m drinking this at room temperature. Which is currently 28 degrees.

The dry tea smells green and leafy, with lots of nutty, caramelly sweetness. Somewhat overpowering, but highly seductive :D

Steeped, it smells a little vegetal and like toasty nutty sweetness. MMMMMMMM.

Yum yum yum. Tastes just like I remember. Some astringency from the sencha base, mixed with sweet nutty goodness. I may have oversteeped it a tad – forgot to time it, and from my previous experiences, this is a tea that oversteeping renders quite astringent and unpleasant. IIRC, three minutes was good, but like I said, not sure how long I steeped it today (although it wasn’t more than maybe five minutes, if that).

I do really think it’s quite similar to Mulberry Magic, plus some astringency, sweetness/caramelliness (yeah it’s a word… .), and caffeine. But I like both enough to have them on hand simultaneously :D

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C
Azzrian

THIS sounds amazing!

Kittenna

O.o Why didn’t I include this for you! I still have the package though (about half an hour to drop off)…

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59

Tart. Going to see how fast my office fridge can cool it because it’s way too darn hot in here (29C… IN MY OFFICE.) for hot tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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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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