2831 Tasting Notes

88

Third tea review comes to me as a sample from Della Terra Teas, which came along with the ounce of tea I won from their Facebook page!

The aroma of this one is absolutely decadent. Brown sugar, a hint of spice, and pumpkin. It definitely smells like a pumpkin pie, and one I’d like to eat, pronto! Best aroma by far!

Wow! This tea actually does taste kind of like pumpkin pie! The spicing is definitely more muted than in DavidsTea’s Pumpkin Chai, and is more appropriate to what a pie would taste like. However, the pumpkin in this tea really stands out. It’s the first tea of the three where I feel the flavour of pumpkin is truly apparent, and it’s good!

Sweetened, my only complaint is that I’m actually feeling like I’m getting too much pumpkin, and not enough spice! Like an underspiced pie, perhaps. Not bad, though! Perhaps I’m a bit biased due to just having had some of the DavidsTea version.

Overall, this is a pretty great tea if you’re looking for something to curl up with in the fall. I do wish that there was a bit more spicing, but for someone who isn’t a chai fan, this tea would probably be the best option. I would happily drink this one again if it was easier for me to order from Della Terra! I may actually try a 50:50 blend of this and DT’s Pumpkin Chai to see if I can get the perfect balance between pumpkiny and spice. Stay tuned!

(Teas under review: Butiki – Pumpkin Creme Brulee; iHeartTeas – Creamy Pumpkin Spice; DAVIDsTEA – Pumpkin Chai; Della Terra Teas – Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Sil

I enjoyed the sample of this one that I tried.. It was pretty delicious :)

Kittenna

Agreed!! :D I think I have a cup’s worth left now… kind of craving it with all this chilly weather we’ve been having.

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78

And thus the pumpkin tea comparison begins. All four teas I’m looking at are highly rated on Steepster, 83-86, so there’s no clear winner from that alone! As it turns out, one is a creamy pumpkin tea, and only three are actually pumpkin spice, so it might be not be as great a comparison as I initially thought, but oh well! All still holiday-themed!

First up is this one, a sample courtesy of Stacy at Butiki, the only tea not to specifically mention spice in the name (although I think a touch of spice is implied when dealing with pumpkin!)

Compared to the other teas I have here, the aroma is MUCH more subtle. So subtle that I perhaps wouldn’t even believe that this is a pumpkin tea.

The flavour here is fairly mild. The tea is a bit creamy, and definitely smooth, and finishes with what I suppose is a bit of a pumpkiny flavour. It’s certainly not strong here though. Pumpkin Creme Brulee? Perhaps it will come out with a touch of sweetener…

Sweetened, I feel like I’m definitely tasting pumpkin now, and can see that with a bit of milk/cream, this could taste kind of like a pumpkin creme brulee. What’s really missing a bit for me is that burnt/caramelized sugar flavour that I associate with creme brulees.

Overall, this is certainly not a bad tea, but in the realm of holiday-type pumpkiny teas, it does not come out on top; IMO that award belongs to DavidsTea’s Pumpkin Chai. I want my pumpkin teas to be more spicy, and unfortunately that wasn’t the case here!

(Teas under review: Butiki – Pumpkin Creme Brulee; iHeartTeas – Creamy Pumpkin Spice; DAVIDsTEA – Pumpkin Chai; Della Terra Teas – Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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88

Still working on my baggie of this from Azzrian! I think I oversteeped a bit today, as it’s kind of astringent and there’s definitely some bitterness going on. Or, it could be because the tea travelled in my backpack a bit longer than it should have, and I know that at least once, I crushed some of it while grabbing for my phone or something else in the same pocket. Whoops. However, it’s still pretty tasty. I’m finding flavoured blacks that include caramel/vanilla/something along those lines, in addition to other flavours, are by far the best ones for me (although straight blacks like Laoshan and Butiki’s Mi Xian far surpass flavoured teas for me in terms of deliciousness and lack of astringency!)

Anyways, this is a pretty good cup! Trying to get caffeinated to go upstairs and grind some samples… need to work enough to deserve the reward of opening up and playing with my brand new just-delivered-today MacBook Pro! (Of course, the computer came literally ten minutes after I left the house this afternoon.) So excited! And 3 tea orders are en route as well… pretty stoked! My credit card is not super happy with me right now…

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

Haha I think that was in the first tea box I ever sent you! :)

Kittenna

Sure was! Still have 3 cups left, at least! Need to improve the work stash, so now it lives there.

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94
drank Lime Gelato by DAVIDsTEA
2831 tasting notes

Ahhhh, delicious. I just wish this one had some real caffeine in it (there’s not enough tea to count). My cup is sweet, creamy, and limey today. I usually prefer this one iced, but it’s amazing warm as well. Definitely one that I hope is never discontinued!

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71
drank Apricot Guayusa by Butiki Teas
2831 tasting notes

Trying this with sugar today. I think I put a bit too much sugar in, though. Sadly, although it’s now quite palatable, I’m still really not tasting much apricot. I can taste the earthy guayusa, and maybe a suggestion of apricot, but it’s really barely there. Oh well, I did find a couple guayusas yesterday that I’ll happily drink again, so may just offload this one somewhere and enjoy the others (once I order them, that is)!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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79
drank Cider Guayusa by Butiki Teas
2831 tasting notes

Hmm, so I just discovered that I’ve been spelling ‘guayusa’ incorrectly this whole time…. whoops. Mostly noticed because I couldn’t locate this tea with my spelling…

So thanks to Stacy @ Butiki for this sample! Not sure why I’ve gone on a Butiki kick lately, probably because I realized that there were a bunch of teas I had yet to try, and since I’m planning another large order, should get to trying things sooner rather than later! Apparently I still have a few teas from my first order that I haven’t tried (including a sample of Pumpkin Creme Brulee, which is awaiting my 4-way pumpkin spice tea comparison).

So this tea. When I first got my huge package of teas from Butiki, by way of Azzrian, I opened up my little package of samples and this tea was all I could smell. Straight up apple cider… and I love apple cider! Pretty exciting. I’m not exactly sure how I managed to wait until now to try this one… The dry tea smells so delicious, sweet and cinnamony and appley, and I can see big apple chunks in the tea… mmmmm! I can barely smell the earthy guayusa at all, which is great!

I sampled this quickly while it was hot without sweetener, and am pretty sure I could drink it without, but threw in some rock sugar anyways. It’s pretty good! Not as strong as I expected, given the aroma (and given how strong cider usually is), but the flavour is like a weak cider with earthy guayusa undertones. I wish there was more tartness from the apples, but that’s about it. Otherwise it’s quite good!

The only downside of this tea is that I can’t really see myself picking this over a cup of apple cider, even though this is caffeinated. So I’m probably more likely to stick to the Killer’s Vanilla and Good Morning Sunshine as go-to guayusa blends, although this one was definitely worth the cup!

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
Sil

Hurry up on this already: 4-way pumpkin spice tea comparison

Kittenna

Maybe tonight! It’s darn chilly! Or was yesterday, anyhow.

Sil

I’m cold today… think i’m just stressed so my body has said NO today…hence the working from home. Either than or subconsioucly i wanted to be able to drink tea all day today…so my body obliged.

tigress_al

Ya, I am very curious about this 4-way pumpkin comparison as well!

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87

Goodbye, Forest Berry Silver Needle! You were delicious while you lasted, all light and cotton candy-like. I will miss you, but I am happy to post a sipdown anyways!

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80

In spite of the burned smell of the wet leaves, this oolong is surprisingly mild! The flavour is almost of a toasted nut, with a bit of a woody aftertaste. Not like too many oolongs I’ve tried, yet! I might try infusing this one a bit longer next time, just to see what happens (especially since it’s not at all astringent or bitter, and I had such great success with the Gui Fei Oolong!) Although this one’s pretty good, I think my heart remains with the Gui Fei Oolong for that incomparable sweetness!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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79
drank Dragon Feelers by Butiki Teas
2831 tasting notes

I’m deliberately not reading the tasting notes on this one so I can draw my own conclusions! This tea is definitely gorgeous, and reminds me of small, newly formed pods on sweet pea plants in the summer.

First off, I was surprised that the brewing recommendations here called for boiling water. Green tea? Boiling water? Crazy! However, I followed the recommendations, and did so. The leaves had no real aroma to speak or, nor does the brewed cup. In fact…. the tea also has very little flavour as well. All I can taste is a very faint honey-sweetness, with a bit of a boiled veggie flavour. Maybe a bit of almost a mintiness? All very, very mild though. I thought that if anything, I had kind of overleafed the cup, but I very much doubt so now. The most noticeable thing about this tea is its mouthfeel: quite full and silky-smooth, contrasting with the other teas I have on the go this evening.

Clearly I should give some other brewing parameters a try, because as it stands, this tea is really not one I’d go for again. There’s just so little flavour! Hopefully I can manage to coax a bit more out of it next time.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Butiki Teas

Yep, this is a lighter tea. I suppose you could try doubling the time to see if that makes it a little stronger.

Kittenna

Yeah, after reading other people’s posts, I do see that it is! It may also just be that I need to drink it on its own and not with so many other teas. I have lots to try again!

Butiki Teas

Good luck experimenting!

Kittenna

WOAH Didn’t realize my rating landed quite so low! Whoopsies. I always forget that the moderate happy face is at 67, not 75…

Butiki Teas

I’ve never tried to rate a tea before, so I had no idea what you were talking about. I just tried it now and its kinda weird that it assigns a numerical value but you can’t tell what it will be.

Kittenna

Yeah, it’s a bit confusing. I often go back through my ‘recently rated’ list and adjust values that didn’t land where I intended…

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67
drank Bananas Foster by 52teas
2831 tasting notes

So strangely, when I pulled this tea out tonight from the box Azzrian sent me, the package was already open. Yet, I had no recollection whatsoever of trying this tea yet! I think I must have opened it one night with the intention of drinking it, but then decided against a black tea. Definitely threw me a bit, though!

Anyhow, to be honest, I have no idea what bananas foster even is! I just liked the idea of the tea and was curious.

The dry tea smells cinnamon-spicy, like Cinnamon Roll Honeybush or Strawberry Pie Honeybush, plus a bit of creamy banana. Steeped, the aroma is quite similar.

The flavour definitely tastes to me like CRH, minus the honeybush base, plus a slightly astringent black base and some banana. Not bad, not great. Perhaps it would be tastier with some sweetener, but it’s cold now, so that would require a great deal of effort.

Definitely not my favourite 52teas blend, but not bad either. Now I’m curious about what bananas foster actually tastes like though…

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

LOL well I promise you I didn’t open that one :) I have my own and I KNOW you were not accusing – just letting you know you are in fact losing your mind and must have opened it at some point HAHA!
You know I was not crazy about this one either. It was good enough but just didn’t quite hit the mark for me.
It is for sure one I will finish though so its not icky at all just okay.

Kittenna

Hahahaha, no I definitely know you didn’t open it! And once I thought about it, I did have a vague recollection of wanting to drink it at some point, just no memory at all of actually doing so! Very confusing. Clearly losing my mind!

Sil

Your mind is just busy tinkling about other things :p

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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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