2831 Tasting Notes

73

I have been painfully absent from Steepster lately, and really miss everyone/need to catch up on tasting notes! Yet I am so busy. :( On the plus side, had a date on Friday night and it went well (I think)! :P

Anyways, time to launch into my samples from Lynne-tea! I’m so sorry it took so long for me to get to them – things just kept arriving, and since I took the envelopes on vacation, they ended up at the bottom of the tea stash I took with me and have yet to unpack. Good lord I have a lot of tea O.o This is the first one up tonight/this morning! I’m in an oolong mood, and jasmine seemed appropriate as well, so I went for it!

I can’t really tell what the dry tea smells like – the exterior of the baggie has been contaminated with other smells, so it’s kind of flavoured-tea-ish. The tea, however, once brewed smells like a toasty sort of jasmine. I know there are goji berries in there, but I’m not really getting any aroma from them.

I must say, this is definitely an interesting take on a jasmine tea, as the darker oolong lends some really interesting toasty notes that mix with the jasmine flavour, grounding it a bit moreso than with a lighter green/white tea which I’m more accustomed to tasting jasmine in. (Are there jasmine blacks??) Actually, what it reminds me most of is the jasmine tea that is served at my favourite Chinese restaurant, when the tea has been sitting and oversteeping for a while. Although this brew is only verging on being oversteeped. As well, I can taste just a hint of sour-fruity goji berry, but it’s not a prominent flavour.

Though interesting, I don’t think this is a tea I’d purchase for myself. I rarely select jasmine teas to drink, and I found that the pairing of white tea and jasmine is what really works for me, so I’d probably choose that if given the choice! The inclusion of goji berries here, though interesting, didn’t have enough impact for me. Anyhow, thanks for the sample, lynne-tea!

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

I have a jasmine black. I try to drink it periodically to see if my tastes have changed. No luck so far! It is a super soapy perfume-y one!

Lynne-tea

Aww strike out! It is apparent that I need to work on my packaging skills for the flavour contamination.

Kittenna

Lynne-tea – no, your packaging skills were fine!! The tea was not contaminated; just the baggie had some additional smells, which precluded me from getting a proper whiff of the dry tea (I could have removed some from the bag, but too lazy). It seems to happen pretty frequently. Also, I have had it sitting next to other teas myself for a couple weeks. Definitely not a problem with how you packaged things!!

Lynne-tea

Awh phew! Thank you for letting me know that =)

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76
drank Concord Grape Bai Mu Dan by 52teas
2831 tasting notes

Another sample from Amanda :) And happily, another sipdown as this was a one-cup sample. Pseudo-progress, yes.

Although I couldn’t really get any aroma from the dry tea, the instant the water hit this I was blown away with a delicious grapey aroma. Nom. The tea is very much that artificial concord-y grape juice flavour, with a bit of white tea lurking in the background. Tasty, but not a tea I need in my cupboard, as I have a lovely Grape Oolong from Butiki already, and grape is not a flavour I tend to seek out often.

Thanks again Amanda!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Kittenna

I discovered DT too late to try it :(

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87
drank Sun and Cloud Mist by 52teas
2831 tasting notes

Second attempt at Sun & Cloud Mist! Very successful. Two minutes produced a nice lack of bitterness/astringency, unlike last time, so I can really taste the creamy lemoniness. It’s really very tasty, and I’m quite enjoying it. I think the marshmallow root adds a really wonderful sort of creaminess that pairs perfectly with the lemon, which isn’t as in-your-face as in most lemony blends, which is perfect. This does taste much like a lemon pudding my mom would make, which I think is kind of meringue-like in that it’s quite fluffy and creamy (probably made with egg whites). I can now confidently rate this one highly!

I am going to have to try this one iced; I think it could be delicious, even though I haven’t been the biggest fan of iced greens aside from H&S’s Tokyo & Bangkok.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Thanks to Amanda for this sample!

I’m glad you only sent me a cup of this, because all I’m tasting is a peppermint tea, with a nice creamy/something else aftertaste. Perhaps my steep time wasn’t optimal or something, I don’t know. Can’t really taste the green tea. Oh wait… I think the aftertaste is the laoshan base + creaminess, actually. Which is nice, but this is far, far too pepperminty for me. Which I expected, but wanted to try anyways, because I’m like that. This probably is deserving of a mid 80s rating, if I liked peppermint, but I don’t, so I’m not rating it :P

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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94
drank Cashew Turtle by 52teas
2831 tasting notes

This one looked so delicious I couldn’t resist buying up one of the last packages of it! Or rather, having Amanda buy it up for me :)

The smell is rather heavenly – sweet, malty and toffee-ish. Reminiscent of other 52teas that I enjoy. The flavour is similar – a nice malty black with the above flavours coming out, especially at the end of the sip. I’m not really tasting cashew, but this tea does taste a little nutty, and much like a chocolate turtle. Would probably be even better sweetened, but I’m happy to drink it as is, not knowing of the deliciousness that would result in me sweetening all my teas!

I’m happy I got a pack of this one; need to compare it to things like Pot O’ Gold now to determine a winner. Not that either is available to purchase, just for personal curiousity :)

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

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95
drank Buttercream by DAVIDsTEA
2831 tasting notes

Not going to lie, I’ve been dying to try this one for a while, so when I found out Awkward Soul had some to swap…. !! So glad I managed to nab some! :D

This one smells pretty delicious both dry and steeped. Creamy and delicious. Steeped, it gets a peachy sort of aroma as well.

Ohhhhh goodness. This is super delicious. Tastes just. Like. Buttercream. But less cloying! Sweet, coconutty, creamy is what I’m getting, plus a flavour that reminds me of Dulce & Banana and must be the chamomile(?) Delicious creamy/caramelly/butterscotchy aftertaste. Ahhhhh, I wish this was still available!! Anyone have any spare Buttercream they want to be rid of???? :D

Thank you so incredibly much, Awkward Soul! At the very least, my curiousity has been satisfied and I can understand the hype about this blend! On the downside, I only get about 2 more cups of it, but I will live :) I feel like I should also compare this to Whisky White before it’s all gone… I have a strange feeling they may have similar flavours.

ETA: Re-steep is really yummy too. I do quite like this one, why is it gone :(

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

I got some Buttercream from Compass Teas Buttercream Frosting to be exact – they may be the same tea or similar. I will add a sample in with the trade we have been working on.

Awkward Soul / Oolong Owl

BOoooo, I didn’t know they took it off the website! I think it was last fall’s tea collection as I remember buying it with Pumpkin Chai. Happy you like it, the chamomile in it didn’t work with me. Smells amazing however.

Kittenna

Yeah, I have never seen it available for sale :( Really wish I could get some more. I’d love to try the tea from Compass, Azzrian, although one thing I’m pretty sure of is that DavidsTea isn’t one of those companies who sources their blends elsewhere! But there have been close matches before :) So here’s hoping!

Azzrian

Wait – did I ever send you any of this???
Are we working on a trade still? OMG I think I am losing MY mind now!
I know I am putting some things in Indigoblooms box – which I can do that with this one if I still have it. Do I? I dunno….. hold on…. Please tell me I already sent this to you because I believe I sent it on and it was not where I was keeping it (specific place so I know its gone.) GAH

Kittenna

Hahaha, actually when I ran across this post I thought the exact same thing! I have your box right here and will check…

Kittenna

Nope, I didn’t get it, but I did get two packages of Shang’s Sweet Leaf.

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77
drank Dancong Aria by Adagio Teas
2831 tasting notes

I’m glad the description for this one says ‘perfumey’, because I definitely got that when sniffing this tea dry, and even now as it is brewed, and thought it was perhaps contaminated. I now doubt it :) Anyhow, thanks to Awkward Soul for this tea! I haven’t tried any dancongs aside from one or two from Verdant, and was interested to taste one that required less care and attention.

Even at 5 minutes, this tea is pretty mild. I can taste the “woodiness” that I get from darker oolongs (enjoyable), and also some perfumey, peachy notes that I wouldn’t have expected. Not bad, but not as flavourful as I would like, and I have doubts that it could hold up to a second infusion. There’s a lingering peachy aftertaste though that is quite appealing :) I’ll have to brew my next cup a bit stronger to see if it’s better that way.

Thanks again, Awkward Soul!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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86

Received my swap package from Awkward Soul today! (And feel terrible because I haven’t sent mine out yet :/)

Brewed up a few teas a while ago, although they’ve since gone cold. Still going to review them! I couldn’t believe that the instructions for this one said 203-212F water – this certainly looks like a green tea to me?! So I went with ~82C.

The aroma is kind of fruity-floral. Or juicy floral. Although it tastes a touch rosy to me, the juiciness is making it quite delicious, actually! There’s an interesting hint of smokiness hiding in here as well. I… actually rather like this one, although I’m suspicious that it’s not actually the tea it’s supposed to be. I’m not sure if I infused this for 2 or 3 minutes, but there is a bit of bitterness showing up. Not sure if it’s an oversteeping or overleafing problem though, could be the latter. I’m only tasting the green tea a little bit here, but it’s better than in some blends!

Anyhow, thanks for a sample of whatever this tea may be, Awkward Soul! It’s pretty delicious! (Looking more closely, I’m pretty sure this is not the right tea. I saw a Strawberry/Lychee one by ESP pop up on the sidebar; that one would make far more sense. I have to go check my packets to see if I messed up or something!)

Re-steep (2.5 min) was a bit bitter but alright. Should have stuck to 2 min. I don’t think a third infusion would be worthwhile.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Awkward Soul / Oolong Owl

Oh crazy, when I got it I thought it was too leafy than i thought it was going to be, still tastes good. /shuffles through bag of lomilomi. I just found a raspberry in it, I don’t think that’s supposed to be in there. I’m thinking ESP screwed up /cry.

Kittenna

Yeah, there’s no way this is the right tea, since it contains what looks like sencha! I feel like I should move my review. Did any of your others teas from them look like the picture of this one?

Awkward Soul / Oolong Owl

nope, all the other teas in that order were sencha, black and rooibos, I didn’t get any herbals.

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71

Another tasty sample from Amanda! (I think I may have also received some of this from Jillian, but will drink that up later :) )

This one’s tasty :D Smells lemony, tastes lemon-limey. I’m not getting cheesecake (I rarely/never do), but the lemon-limeyness makes me pretty happy. I love finding a new flavoured honeybush for the evenings! I have been drinking a lot of honeybush lately, in trying to avoid late-night caffeine, so this is especially awesome. The only part I’m not a big fan of with this blend is that I am getting a sort of plasticky taste with it sometimes. It’s a little bothersome, but at its current level, not too difficult to overlook, so I can deal with it. I wish that flavour wasn’t there though :( Perhaps an age thing?

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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82

Another sample from Amanda! And another 52teas offering checked off the list! Excellent :D

Strangely, this one smells and tastes fairly nondescript. Just like honeybush, flavoured with a vaguely familiar, 52teas-esque flavouring. I can see the likening that Alphakitty makes to Cotton Candy, as it’s a characteristic flavour present in that tea as well, however I really can’t taste melon or blackberry. That said, I’m still really enjoying this tea. Ok – after gulping down a few sips, I can almost imagine tasting some blackberry, but it’s very hard to pick out.

So it seems I am no longer so sad that I missed out on the last packet of this, since to me it’s nothing spectacular, just a good honeybush blend as usual.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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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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