2599 Tasting Notes

87
drank Tencha-Kuki Houjicha by Den's Tea
2599 tasting notes

Sigh. I am going to fail in my quest tonight. But 4/8 isn’t too bad. (I realized after that there are two teas I haven’t tried from Amanda, so that one didn’t count. Sigh.) I guess I’ll get to the other four tomorrow.

Anyhow, this one’s from Mercuryhime, and I did a bad thing and brewed it up prior to my run, so didn’t drink it until probably 2 hours post-brewing, all total. The re-steeps of a couple other teas I drank didn’t handle that two hours of sitting so well, but this one actually did! It was sweet, nutty, and roasty, reminding me of genmaicha. Also, there was a lovely green tea-ish aftertaste. I actually really enjoyed it! I am going to enjoy a re-steep of it shortly, as I push through my exercise-fuelled exhaustion to package up at least some of the swap samples I have yet to do. I am such a swap delinquent!

ETA: I forgot to note that the second infusion of this one was pretty delicious too, and I drank it cold (room temp). Third infusion suffers only from the leaves having sat too long; I think they could go a lot farther than this if fresh! This tea is delicious.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

you’re a trooper!

Kittenna

Hahaha… I may meet my goal yet! I brought down some more samples from people, 2 of which I may loathe and not finish drinking! So cheating kind of, but oh well! (And two are teabags, so re-steep potential is low!)

TeaBrat

I have lots of samples to try too! Hope I get to it someday. :)

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82

Being brave tonight and trying my first mini tuocha, courtesy of Amy oh and helpful advice from both her and Garret!

To begin with… I am in love with this rice-scented bit! Dry, there was a bit of an indication of what was to come, but once the boiling water hit the tuocha, my mouth started watering. It smells so good! So I’m very excited :D I can also smell a nice earthiness. I wish it would cool down faster so I could drink it….

I started with a ~15s rinse with boiling-ish water, and then a first infusion of about 30 seconds. The tea is pretty dark from just that short amount of time, so I’m glad I didn’t go with 45! The aroma is still earthy and rice-scented, yum.

…I’m too impatient to wait to try it. Hmm. I have no idea how to describe this flavour. A bit earthy, a bit rice-like, with a nice aftertaste/aroma of the scented rice. It’s really too hot for me to enjoy quite yet (although I’m sure people drink it this hot, I like my teas cooler.) It is actually a touch light on the flavour, so I might try 45 seconds with the other tuocha (but we’ll see).

Ok! It’s cool enough to try now, and it’s really lovely! Earthy but with a strong rice scent. I’m still getting used to the flavour of pu’erh, but this is quite nice and easy to drink, especially with the tasty flavouring.

I’ll try another couple infusions a bit later; time to head out for that run! Hopefully I don’t get a tummyache :D

ETA: Definitely got a tummyache while running. Unlikely caused by tea though, probably by the bag of cheese puffs (organic and gluten-free!) I ate alongside the tea :D Anyhow, second infusion for about 53 seconds once I finally drained all the water, is quite dark and has the same aroma as the previous infusion. I’m going to wait until it cools to try it out, but am anticipating the same yumminess as before :D Also, I noticed that the leaf is very interesting-looking! There’s green leaf pieces in there! Is that the flavouring herb?? (Also, glass teapot not the best idea for this pu’erh… my cup contains many floaties. I should have strained it through a secondary strainer, my bad.)

Ok, tea cool enough to drink. More earthy, less fragrant rice-y, but I still enjoy it. I think pu’erh is a taste I haven’t quite acquired yet, but I’d have to say that this one is pretty good for “beginners” because of the additional flavouring which helps to counteract that straight earthiness. (Also… I think pu’erh will be a much easier taste to acquire than either beer or coffee, neither of which I will EVER enjoy straight. Blech.)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec
TeaBrat

yay! you did it. I agree the rice element makes it fun to drink.

Missy

Yay! I’m glad you tried pu-erh. I finally got brave enough to order some. I think Mandela will be next on my list for my venture into pu-erh.

CHAroma

Beer is disgusting. I honestly don’t know how anyone enjoys it…

Garret

The green leaf that you see in with the ripened pu’er is indeed, the “rice scented leaf”, an herb that gives that special aroma. There is a woman who has an office across the street from our shop who only drinks this tea. The only time I can’t drink it is when I am fasting. Makes me think too much of the smell of basmati rice cooking :)

Kittenna

CHAroma – I entirely agree!

Garret – It definitely made me crave all things rice, so I can see why drinking it during fasting would be difficult!

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86

Finishing off the last of my sample from Amanda today! I still have a bit of this left from LiberTEAS though, so it’s not a complete sipdown (but it does get an extra X on my spreadsheet, woo!)

The aroma is a bit fruity and sweet, and I feel like I can smell the toasty genmaicha. Flavourwise, I’m initially tasting a strong seaweed flavour, which gives way to a bit of tangyish sweetness at the end. I wish this genmaicha had more toasty rice in it, actually – the genmaichas I’m used to having are much toastier and less seaweedy. I’m finding that that’s not the case with all of them though, perhaps just the cheaper ones, but I apparently prefer that! The first time I tried this sample, it was rather metallic-tasting, but I now am convinced that I oversteeped it.

Although this cup in particular isn’t cherry/cheesecakey enough for me personally, I think that’s partially because it really needs a freeze-dried cherry in there to bring out the flavour, and there wasn’t one. I kind of wish that instead of big pieces of dried fruit, it was chopped up a bit so each cup had more of a uniform amount of fruit, instead of having cups with and without (this is a problem I’ve noticed with many, many fruit-containing blends, and it really irritates me, because sometimes that flavour boost from the real fruit is better than the flavouring). Oh well. I’d still buy this if it became available again…. hint hint.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
CHAroma

Good point on the chopped up fruit thing. I think you may be on to something!

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90

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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58
drank Vanilla Mint Mate by 52teas
2599 tasting notes

Alright, this would be sample 2/8 in my plan to drink one tea per swap. (The Neapolitan Honeybush doesn’t count; I drank it and wrote the note last night, but forgot to hit ‘post’. Whoopsie.)

Thank you Missy & Dylan for the small sample of this one that I asked for! Although I’m almost regretting asking for one-cup samples of things sometimes, it is nice on occasion to eliminate a tea from the stash after one cup!!

Based on my surprising enjoyment of 52teas minty blends, I’m expecting to like this one, especially since it contains roasted mate. However, the steeped aroma is not terribly appealing. I smell mintiness, which is iffy, and perhaps some vanilla, but not the mate, and not the yummy “52teas flavouring”, as I will call it. (Uh, it just occurred to me that this “flavouring” of which I speak may actually be part of the flavourings used to produce a chocolate flavour… because the blends I can recall it being in, like Chocolate Mint, Mint Chocolate Chip Honeybush, Malted ChocoMate, Cherry Garcia, all have chocolate in them…. this is making me very sad that I didn’t get any Double Chocolate Decadence :( )

A sip of this blend confirms my recently developed suspicion – that flavour is not here, and consequently I do not care for this tea! The icky peppermint nastiness is a bit too apparent for me here, and because of that, I can’t enjoy the vanilla. I also can’t really taste the roasted mate (oh, maybe it’s there, but well-hidden. A little coffee-esque.)

This isn’t too terrible though; anyone who enjoys disgusting things like straight peppermint tea would probably adore this, but I loathe straight peppermint tea.

Well, this was worth a shot! Not regretting the one cup’s worth at ALL now!! Thanks for passing this sample along, Missy/Dylan :D

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more
Missy

Can’t win them all right. :D

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85
drank Ripe For Romance by Adagio Teas
2599 tasting notes

Uhhhh, call me a teenager, but I have a huuuuuuuge band crush on Hedley right now. Huge! So ridiculous.

So this tea. Another sample from the wonderful Alphakitty! Have I mentioned yet that my goal for today is to try drink one tea from each person that has swapped with me so far? Preferably a new one, but the cute little tuochas Amy Oh sent are a bit intimidating yet, so I might just go with a different tea from her :D

I keep getting off track… this tea, dry and steeped, and even the bag it came in(!) smell like delicious chocolatey raspberry goodness. (And apparently that is making me sneeze?? Oh boy.) And WOW does this ever come through in the flavour! This may be the most strongly-flavoured black I’ve had – the raspberry pops immediately, followed by a full-bodied dark chocolatey flavour, and then the two combine deliciously like I just ate an expensive dark chocolate raspberry truffle. I say expensive, because this raspberry flavour is no cheap pink cream crap, it’s more jam-like. Amazing.

I’m very impressed with this cup. And glad I was sent enough of this one for at least 3, maybe more additional cups! It’s not a tea I would buy (I said the same about Butiki’s Raspberry Truffle tea, which is a similar flavour combo) because although I enjoy it, there are too many other flavoured blacks I’d be likely to go for first, given the choice. Namely caramel/vanilla/creamy blacks.

Oh, and CHAroma, I have hiccups again. And this time it could very well be caused by drinking tea too quickly… looks at empty mug

ETA: Second infusion for 4 minutes still has a fair bit of flavour, but a bit of astringency. I’m drinking it cold but I imagine it would be quite a bit better warm.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec
Chellybean

Band crushes on Hedley are always appropriate!

Kittenna

I had the chance to go to a concert earlier this year and I am sorely regretting not making more of an effort to go :( :(

Alphakitty

Glad you liked it! This might be the most heavily dessert-y tea that I own, it’s like drinking a truffle.

Kittenna

I actually didn’t think I would like it that much, because the DavidsTeas like it I wasn’t terribly fond of. But the flavouring is done quite well! And yes, it does taste like drinking a truffle! Like you melted a truffle in your cup and added hot water, but somehow it didn’t get watered down. Delish.

TeaBrat

Drink the tuochas!!!! :-P

Kittenna

I’m just worried I’ll do something wrong!! And I only have one shot. Pu’erh still confuses me a little. Maybe I’ll get up the courage to try it tonight, after scouring the internet for advice :D

CHAroma

Hahahahaha, oh no! :P

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40

The aroma is kind of offputting, a bit medicinaly and strange. The flavour is pretty much a mildly citrusy flavoured water, with icky medicinal flavours fitting right in. Raspberry? No. Finishing my cup? No.

Razzmatazz is a huge step in the right direction for a lemony raspberry rooibos. It actually tastes like raspberry, and is happily lacking in medicinal flavours. I would not be sad to see this tea disappear completely.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more
Alphakitty

Raspberry and lemon are great together, but with a rooibos base… blech.

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64
drank Razzmatazz (organic) by DAVIDsTEA
2599 tasting notes

Comparing this one to Raspberry Nectar tonight, just for kicks, because I didn’t like that one and am not expecting to like this one. But had to try. Had to!

So initially upon steeping this one, I sniffed it and thought “raspberry lemonade”! There’s a sweet, fruity, lemony tartness that actually smells rather good, and made my mouth water. Until I made this fateful association… Sourpuss. Blue (or possibly red) Sourpuss. A drink I consumed far too much of back when I was… yeah. So now that I have that lovely association in my mind, the mouth-watering-ness has turned into a bit of nausea.

Luckily, the flavour isn’t quite the same, but it’s too close for comfort. I can taste a nice lemony tartness that is tamed by sweetness (stevia?), and the raspberry is not inyourface, but present moreso than it is in Raspberry Nectar, and becomes even more apparent in the aftertaste. Actually, compared to Raspberry Nectar, this tea is pretty fantastic.

I agree with aisling of tea that a splash of lime could go well with this. It might also work well in a mojito. Overall, I feel like this tea will probably be a hit with people who enjoy raspberry/lemongrass/rooibos, but I can’t help but wish for something that reminds me a touch less of an alcoholic drink I’d rather forget!

ETA: Re-steeped this one for curiousity (and noted just how large/fresh-looking the lemongrass pieces are… wow! Look like diced scallions, almost!) and the resulting brew actually smells pretty good. Gone is that strong alcohol association, and in its place is a light raspberry juice. Very reminiscent of the (melted water from) raspberry ice cubes a friend of a friend made for our mutual friend’s birthday last Saturday. Wow. Gone is anything gross or offputting, it tastes like real raspberries with just a touch of lemon in the background. I’m really glad I gave this one a shot and have a bit left to play with… this might make a very good iced tea! Upping the rating a touch :)

Also, I added some lime. Too much lime. It tasted like lime juice. I still think there’s serious mojito potential here though.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more
Sandy Stith

I have Raspberry Nectar, too, and need to try it again. I have a fairly uneasy relationship with DAVIDsTEA. I haven’t had very good luck.

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87
drank Neapolitan Honeybush by 52teas
2599 tasting notes

Another foray into honeybush courtesy of Mercuryhime!

Steeped, this smells a bit like that characteristic 52teas smell. With maybe a hint of cream and/or strawberry. Oh wow though, the flavour!!! I initially got chocolate, followed by a combination of the three flavours, and it’s finishing off with strawberry. Delicious! Yes, this is so neat – initially intense chocolate, then obvious creamy vanilla (maybe with a bit of chocolate), then strawberry at the end. This is great! And the honeybush isn’t making a big fuss about being around; I can barely taste it. I can see why this blend is popular. Now I want to buy the iced teas more than ever :( Need to calculate how much of my cheese panel money is left over (although I really want to make a Butiki order soon too…)

ETA: Second infusion isn’t great, maybe because it’s cold.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more
Mercuryhime

It is good isn’t it? 52Teas makes the best honeybush blends. :) try it as a latte!

Kittenna

Recommended latte-making procedure? I only have enough for one cup left and don’t want to ruin it!

Mercuryhime

Well, my latte making methods are really lame but you are welcome to do it my way if you want. haha I basically make a batch double strength, then heat some milk and add to the tea. sweeten and drink. It’s a really ghetto latte, but I like it. :)

Kittenna

I’ll try something along those lines :D

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73

It’s weird, sometimes when I smell this one I’m hit in the face with “ROOT BEER”, and other times it just smells strange and fakey. Steeped, it smells like fakey root beer, so I suppose the above kind of makes sense!

The flavour is certainly similar to root beer, and I think the main thing that’s missing is sweetener, which would probably make it into a perfect summer treat, especially iced. But I don’t want to have to add sugar. As a result, it tastes kind of odd and a bit astringent, with a heavy root beer aroma and flavour. So I’m not sure I’d recommend this one for those who dislike adding sweetener to their teas.

Since this is called ‘Root Beer Float’, I was also expecting more creaminess, which I didn’t really pick up on. Perhaps it needs milk as well?

Anyhow, this was great entertainment, but not quite right for what I wanted (which probably more like Salted Caramel with some root beer flavouring quietly mixed in… maybe I’ll try that…)

ETA: Ok, mixed a bit of agave into the room temp remnants in my cup, and we have flat root beer. I definitely think DT achieved their goal of a root beer tea, it just isn’t exactly what I had wanted!! :D

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Babble

Hmm… I’m intrigued, although I’m not a sweetener in tea fan. I’ve also seen this as a rooibos blend for another company that I wanted to try…

Kittenna

I just think that root beer flavouring without sweetness tastes kind of odd. I could see a honeybush base perhaps lending a bit more sweetness to a cup?

CHAroma

I wonder how this will compare to 52teas’ Butterbeer…

Kittenna

DId it taste kind of root beer-y??

CHAroma

Yeah, Butterbeer tastes like root beer and butter. Weird but sooooo good!!!

Kittenna

I have a feeling it’s better than the DT version, then.

Alyssa

I’m not sure I’d like this tea because I can’t imagine warm, flat root beer tasting all that great. Thanks for the great and lengthy review.

Kittenna

I don’t like carbonation, nor beverages of extreme temperature, so I like flat root beer, hahaha :) Glad this was useful!

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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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