2973 Tasting Notes

94
drank Gen Mai Cha by SerendipiTea
2973 tasting notes

The last time I tried this genmaicha (which was a part of my awesome swap package from Missy & Dylan a while back), I couldn’t taste much, so couldn’t really review it. This time, however…. WOW! This is one delicious genmaicha! I both smell and taste almost a vanilla-y flavour, which could potentially be from cross-contamination, but fits in beautifully with the toasty rice and slightly astringent/seaweedy green tea. Reminds me of a more toasty version of 52teas’ Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha. I am really really enjoying this! The one downside is that I think I brewed this a touch too strong, but it’s only a touch – it just brings out a bit of astringency from the green tea that I’d rather tuck back in behind the toasty rice.

Thanks SO MUCH for this sample! If Frank doesn’t bring back enough Marshmallow Treat for me to be satisfied, I’ll look into picking some up this up and… adding marshmallows to flavour it myself?!

ETA: Second cup (2:30/82C) doesn’t have the vanilla overtones, and is pretty much your basic light genmaicha. Decent and drinkable, but nothing special.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec
LiberTEAS

You could also add a vanilla bean to the package that you keep the genmaicha in to add notes of vanilla to the tea.

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91
drank Golden Oolong by Peony Tea S.
2973 tasting notes

Thanks to Derek at Peony Tea S. for a free sample of this tea during their shipping times test!

Although the instructions indicated 4g of tea for 100mL of water, I went with 5g of tea for ~200mL water (though I kind of regret it now, so will probably try the recommended infusion method later). I also left the tea in for twice the recommended infusion time, as after 45 seconds, I didn’t think the tea would have much flavour. And sipped it, and burnt my tongue :( Anyways…

The aroma from the tea is of a light sweet oolong, but I have to note that I also took a sniff of the wet leaves, and got this crazy sweet seaweed aroma! Absolutely delicious! Kind of like those sweet, seaweed-wrapped crunchy snacks. Delish. I wish the tea smelled/tasted like that, but I suspect it won’t.

Sure enough, the tea doesn’t taste quite like that, but there is an absolutely delicious, mouth-enveloping sweetness. I want to call it rock sugar, but it’s much more complex than that. It’s a familiar flavour; I assume I’ve tasted it before with other oolongs. It’s one I could sip for days, though (until it got to be too sweet). The sip finishes with a nice oolong aftertaste, which is absolutely divine. There’s a bit of a vegetal flavour interspersed in here, but it’s not prominent, as the sweetness really takes over. I suspect subsequent infusions to become more vegetal and less sweet, however.

This tea is definitely a winner! I think I was quite pleased with all the selections I was sent as part of this testing process, so hopefully I will have the funds to make a purchase from Peony Tea S. sometime in the near future!

ETA: Second infusion (2 min/90C) still smells rather sweet and delicious. The cup’s a bit stronger this time, perhaps a touch oversteeped (it’s a little metallic), but other than that, is still quite sweet and pleasant, and not as vegetal as I was expecting.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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81
drank Royal Golden Safari by Butiki Teas
2973 tasting notes

Trying to get through a few more of my straight Butiki teas before the contest closes (I really should get on posting these on Facebook and submitting things…) Anyhow, I could have sworn I had tried this tea before, but a) there was no tasting note on it and b) my tea spreadsheet (which is horribly out of date) said I hadn’t drank this one. So, they’re probably right. And, this was confirmed when I opened this bag of tea and was blown away by the sweetness emanating from the bag! Completely unexpected! All of a sudden I was much more interested in trying this tea.

This is one of the smoothest non-chocolatey blacks I have ever drank! It tastes kind of like a standard black tea, but with a delicious sweetness and absolutely none of the astringency I usually find in black teas. The flavour is light but full-bodied, with a thick, silky mouthfeel. This is really quite delicious! It’s probably not a tea I’d pick up again, as I don’t typically drink a lot of straight blacks, but I would definitely drink it again happily!

ETA: Yum! Second infusion is lighter but tasty!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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I received this as a sample from Teavivre – thanks! Figured I would try it out as it’s one of the samples I had yet to get to, but the reviews have been good… so why not!

As soon as the water hit the leaves, I smelled a distinct fishy smell. Not super strong, but enough to make me a little wary. I’m still not a fan of pu’erhs with any fishiness, although I’ve found that sometimes, an initial fishy smell doesn’t translate into the flavour. So, hoping for that!

The initial flavour reminded me a ridiculous amount of Verdant’s Cornfields Shu Pu’erh that I tried recently. Except a bit fisher, and a bit stronger. Difficult to describe. A bit of sweetness, a musty flavour, fairly smooth… definitely a pu’erh, but beyond that, I can’t describe much else. It’s actually a bit too strong for me, and making me cringe a bit, for whatever reason. Too much mustiness per mouthful.

I’m not sure that I’m a fan of this one, but will definitely try a shorter infusion time and less lea next time, as I think it’s best drank a bit weak, for me! I’ll reserve a rating until then, but I don’t think this will ever really be a favourite.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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52

:( I tried this one after my massive lack of success with DT’s Cherry Cola tonight, and unfortunately, don’t like this one much better. The aroma is fairly light and mild, with a bit of a familiar and slightly unpleasant aroma. I feel like it’s an aroma I’ve associated with a black tea in the past, but I can’t for the life of me remember which. The unpleasant-ish aroma follows into the flavour – I’m left with quite a light blend, where I can taste a touch of sweetness that’s unfortunately coming off as something a bit rotten, alongside a pleasant black base. I wonder now if it’s the rooibos causing this…

Anyhow, I was certainly hoping for a whole lot more than I got from this blend :( Although there was a lot of orange peel, that’s certainly not a dominant flavour in the blend (in fact, I can’t even really taste it). I can only catch the barest hint of smokiness; given that this is a “campfire blend” I would have expected more. There is a creamy, pleasant aftertaste, which I wish had more impact upon the rest of the blend, but that’s its only redeeming factor (though, I say that as this tea grows on me a little… I’m trying to give it a chance by drinking the whole cup, which does seem to be improving my opinion of it, but not enough to ever re-purchase.)

Anyhow, I do wish I had better things to say about this blend, but it’s fairly bland (I used 2 tsp for ~10 oz. water, and it got a full 5 minute infusion in boiling water) and has a bit of an odd flavour (although I’m wondering if cross-contamination from other samples from Whispering Pines could be a partial cause of this). Oh well!

ETA: Although I just burnt my tongue on a different tea…. grumbles, the re-steep of this one is fairly decent. Half the water, 6-minute infusion at boiling. I’m tasting light spice, perhaps a hint of citrus, and none of yesterday’s wierdness. I will try this one again soon and hopefully it will be better then! Perhaps let it air out a touch.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Whispering Pines Tea Company

Hmm, strange. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this one! Can’t win ’em all! :D

Kittenna

Hmm. I’m really wondering if there’s sample cross-contam in the bag of stuff I got from you. I think one of the teas may be quite strongly flavoured in a way I don’t like, and it may have affected the others. I should go through and try all 5 tonight to see if there’s a common flavour or something. I really want to like your teas! :(

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Hmm…I just checked out the other stuff you ordered and nothing that I can think of would have effected it. You ordered campfire on August 1st though, right? That may have just been too long for stuff to sit together so that might be it. It could be chamomile from the coconut chamomile, which i have noticed doesn’t sit well with black tea.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Remind me to add a free sample of the new (final) version of this on next time you order. The base tea has been changed. It’s gone through about 300-400 versions in the past year – and i’m glad its finally done :)

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80

Crazy. I still can’t believe that I like this one, given that it has my three top despised ingredients in it! It’s a bit overly minty for me tonight, but I’m still appreciating the absolutely amazing chocolatey base and flavour combination. The aftertaste is absolutely to die for here (I think it’s primarily Laoshan Black that I’m tasting). I’m really not getting the cinnamon in here tonight, unfortunately, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
Alphakitty

This is one of those teas I never thought I’d want to try, then I decided I absolutely had to… right after it got pulled for the fall collection!

Kittenna

I think it’s still around last I checked??

Alphakitty

Ooh, indeed it still is! I thought they already sold out of the summer blends but some of them are still in stock.

gmathis

I love the name. Sounds kind of Harry Potter, doesn’t it? Just last night, I was wondering if chamomile would go well with heavier sweeteners/additives like chocolate and caramel.

Bonnie

I still like this hot and cold…chilled it’s quite nice.

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87

What is going on?! I swear I have seen reviews for this tea before, yet for the life of me I could not locate it on Steepster! Anyone have any ideas?!

Anyhow, I was a bit apprehensive to try this tea. Normally a peach-flavoured white should sound quite appealing, but for some reason, I expected it to taste disgusting. Perhaps because I had White Pear from Adagio, which tasted like play-dough. Either way, I decided it was time to get over that and try it! What an excellent decision! The aroma is creamy, which reminds me of Persimmon’s Coconut Creme (which is amazing), and there’s a light hint of actual fresh peach! The flavour completely does not disappoint, either. A delicious, light, creamy white base paired with absolutely fabulous notes of fresh peach and what is coming off to me as fresh apricot. Oh man. I almost wish I had more than just a sample of this tea (aside from the problem of having too much tea in general).

If you are a fan of peachy teas, and like bai mu dan, this is definitely a tea to try! It reminds me of a sparkling peach drink I’ve had at Christmas on occasion (minus much of the sweetness and the fizz). So by that, I mean, it’s pure essence of peaches. Yummmmm!

ETA: Second infusion is a bit lighter, and almost a touch playdoughy, though that could be a consequence of letting the leaves sit overnight. There’s still peachy goodness though! I won’t take this to a third infusion, however.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

I think it’s the server that keeps doing that. Things drop off all the time :(

Rebecca Lynn

How do you know what play-doh tastes like, haha.

Kittenna

I may have tried eating it once shifty

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4
drank Cherry Cola (organic) by DAVIDsTEA
2973 tasting notes

This came out of my “try this already!” box. And since everything else I had set to brew up tonight (aside from re-steeps) was an unflavoured tea, I felt like a bit of flavouring… although this wouldn’t have been my first choice given the negative reviews of it I’ve seen.

To start with, the aroma from the dry tea is a bit offputting. I would agree that the aroma is reminiscent of cola in a… chemically sort of way. But, I don’t like cola (and especially not cherry cola) to begin with, so who knows, maybe it smells normal to all those pop lovers! Brewed up it smells pretty similar, though not as bad as I was expecting.

The flavour, though, is where it massively crashes and burns. There is just something WRONG with the initial taste. It’s quite strong, and chemically, and truly terrible. Bleeeech. I’ve had seriously oversteeped greens that are more palatable than this!! I’m finding that the aftertaste isn’t completely terrible; it does remind me of coke, but unfortunately, I’m not willing to drink another terrible sip in order to achieve the aftertaste. I was contemplating trying this one with sweetener, but I think that would be a waste of sugar.

My advice? Avoid this tea at all costs unless you have an affinity for drinking chemicals. I’ve complained about flavouring oils and chemical flavours before, but no tea I’ve tried has been quite this bad (ok, other than the vomit-flavoured Pina Colada from Adagio. I would drink this over that.)

Down the drain this goes! Perhaps I’ll run up and grab a Persimmon Tree or Whispering Pines sample that I have yet to try, since I’m still craving something flavoured.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Eisenherz

I asked a staff member at my local DT if she knew of anyone who liked this tea, and the answer came really quick: “no!” :P
Whatever strange flavouring they used, it should be banned forever!

Babble

LOL. I am also not a fan, and I love cherry cola :(

canadianadia

I love flavored teas and Cherry Cola, but I agree, this tea does not taste good

Babble

Thankfully the Root Beer tea that DT makes is actually much better, and does not have an Stevia, thank goodness!

Helena

try some black cherry matcha with cola matcha from Red Leaf Tea it’s great (I recommend Cold with ice) you won’t miss pop after that :D

Babble

I have both and still need to try it. Been to bust reviewing other new matcha flavors.

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94
drank Cashew Turtle by 52teas
2973 tasting notes

Drank some of this yesterday at work, in a travel thermos. Pretty tasty! A yummy, nutty, caramelly black, without too much astringency. Drinking the re-steep right now, and it’s surprisingly delicious! I think I’m getting some chocolatey flavours today along with the caramel. A good purchase :D

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

If you have lots of this would love to try

Kittenna

Sure! Remind me when we are planning to meet up again :D Or start a message thread between the three of us entitled “things we’re swapping samples of to one another”, haha

Sil

Lol. Good idea on the thread

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83
drank Gyokuro Kin by Den's Tea
2973 tasting notes

I received a sample of this from Mercuryhime , thank you! I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to brew this one up – it’s such an appealing dark green, and I’m fairly certain that gyokuros have that intense vegetal, beany flavour that I adore (like Laoshan green!)

Sure enough, the aroma from this one brewed is absolutely delightful! Potent and like steamed green beans, I feel like I could almost chew the tea! The colour of the brew is also a fantastic bright green (although the colour fades as the tea sits). Mmmm, yup, this one is delicious. Beany yet grassy and strong. Unfortunately, I think I gave it 15 seconds too long, which has caused some bitterness :( but it’s still pretty good.

Thanks Mercuryhime! This one’s totally up my alley! :D

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 45 sec
Mercuryhime

Glad you liked it! I love the mouthfeel on this one! So brothy! And the leaves expand like crazy! You might need less tea than you think. Maybe that’s why it’s bitter. :)

Kittenna

Yeah, I totally put too much leaf it, I think. I was definitely all brothy and umami. Not quite like the Laoshan green; there’s a grassyish pungent sort of flavour that’s characteristic of Gyokuros I’ve tried. Really good though! Thanks! :D

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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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