2606 Tasting Notes

82

Man, Steepster has not been behaving all day. Finally I’m on and able to check things, but I have a ridiculous backlog STILL, since earlier when I was trying to log everything, the site was hanging for me again.

I felt the need to finally get around to trying this tea, the last of my Teavivre samples, since everyone else seems to be loving it! I used 22 little pearls in my 8oz. steeper. For whatever reason, the liquid in the infuser looked cloudy. I’m hoping that I didn’t improperly wash the infuser the last time I used it…

The tea smells lightly like jasmine and the flavour is similar, a light, crisp jasmine that lingers in the mouth. There seem to be no ill effects from the cloudiness so I’m not sure what that was all about, but that’s ok. There’s absolutely no astringency/bitterness, but I also can’t really taste the green tea, which is unfortunate – I’d rather be able to taste it alongside the jasmine. It is present in the aftertaste, but that’s it.

I’m not the biggest fan of jasmine teas; I like them and they remind me of eating out at my favourite chinese restaurant, but they’re not something I’d pick for much of the time. So although this one gets high marks for me for being tasty and light, and without any off-putting flavours, it’s not something I’d be too likely to purchase in any large quantity, although it would be nice to have around. One jasmine tea would be enough though, and in addition to this one, I have a good portion of Verdant’s Yunnan White Jasmine to finish off, which will take me a fair while.

A big thanks to Teavivre for such wonderful samples!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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80

Smells much like other coconut oolongs I’ve had. Taste is a little bit sweet and nicely coconutty, without much oolong aftertaste. I have some of Golden Moon’s coconut pouchong left (and some more on the way from iheartteas.com); I should compare the two. Unfortunately I did use up the sample from Spice & Tea Exchange, so can’t compare that one with it, but it would be nice to narrow down and choose the best coconut oolong!! Hopefully more infusions this evening.

Thanks for the sample, Azzrian!

ETA: Second infusion, 180F/3min, is toasty and light. Still pretty tasty, so I suspect a third would work well. (A day passes) Yep, the third, 180F/3:45, is still pretty flavourful. I wish I could taste more oolong though, that’s my only complaint. I love that toasty coconut flavour. The leaves don’t smell like they have much left in them now, so I think I’ll stop there :)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Jessie

I’m trying to figure out what the best coconut oolong is, too. There are so many out there!

Kittenna

Is this one you’ve tried? I can’t recall what was on your list, nor which one was at the top!

Jessie

Nope, I haven’t tried this one! Only Golden Moon, Spice & Tea Exchange, Tao Tea Leaf, and Tealish (Coconut Bongo) thus far. I think first place for me, taking into consideration cost, was S&TE (the Tao Tea Leaf version would be a tie but it’s rather pricey). Then Tealish’s. Golden Moon’s is nice but didn’t impress me as much as I expected so it’s in last place for now.

Kittenna

Thanks for the refresher! I’ve tried the S&TE one but it’s fading from memory quickly. The three I’ve tried all seem similar/good though, gotta do that side-by-side!

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78

And thus I reach the reason for my swap with Amy oh – my desire to try mugicha! Thanks for passing the huge, heavily filled teabags along!

So I followed the instructions (kind of) for this one, and brewed one teabag in 1L of water (in a Pyrex measuring cup!) I used cold Brita-filtered water, but instead of “cold-steeping”, I steeped it at room temperature, for probably an hour and a half to two hours. The teabag exploded a bit, which was annoying, but just means I have to filter the tea before I drink it.

Anyways! So the smell is earthy and a little bit fishy, almost. Kind of reminds me of pu’erh, which seems odd. The taste though… is very interestingly much like cold coffee! Not wonderful coffee, but there’s no astringency or bitterness, it’s just the roasted coffee flavour. This isn’t what I was expecting – I was expecting more like a genmaicha, as Azzrian had talked about, but this is intriguing. Will this make a good coffee substitute, flavour-wise? Iced coffee substitute??! This is exciting!! I’ll have to try it. I’m not sure this is something I’d drink plain too often (although I finished my cup last night; there are 3 more in the fridge), but it was definitely worth the experience, and I am hoping to experiment with milk and sweetener this evening and see how that goes!

Thanks again, Amy!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
TeaBrat

I was not a huge fan myself. I wonder if adding some lemon would help? if you toss the others I won’t be offended. :)

Kittenna

To my mind, lemon would be strange to add! I don’t think I’ll be throwing the other bags out; I will either make fabulous caffeine-free iced “coffee” or pass them along, because this is really interesting!

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drank Eastern Beauty by Aroma Tea Shop
2606 tasting notes

Apologies – I have a bit of a tea backlog to get through because not only was my internet down most of the evening yesterday, Steepster seemed to be down as well! It was driving me crazy. So I have like 8 tasting notes/additional infusion notes written down in a Word document to paste into here (probably a good plan anyways, but it irritated me not to be able to post thing as I was drinking them).

This one’s another sample thanks to Amy Oh! :D

My notes are scarce (I was talking with/listening to drunken roommates while drinking it), but I noted that it tasted sweet and woody-ish (a flavour I find common in late infusions of green oolongs, and earlier in oxidized oolongs). I am wondering if my infusion time/temp/amount of leaf were off though; since I couldn’t access brewing parameters, I just made them up myself, and although they’re typically ok for an oolong, I think a longer infusion would have been better, at the very least. So this one tasted alright, but definitely needs some tweaking (and I definitely have enough leaf left to do that, since Amy sent me a very generous amount!) I’ll withhold a rating until then.

Thanks again, Amy!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

Steepster was definitely down!! frustrated the heck outta me :/

Kittenna

Tonight hasn’t been much better… taking advantage of a brief period of availability to read some notes!

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drank Shamrock Tea by 52teas
2606 tasting notes

I’m valiantly trying to get through my swap samples from everyone to get a bit of a handle on my tea stash! It’s crazy, really. My roommates were contemplating an intervention of sorts, where they were going to lay all my tea out on the dining room table and invite people over to take some away so I’m not so overwhelmed. I think it’s just a plot to steal my tea >.>

Anyways, I decided to go for a one-cup sample tonight, so I can “remove something from my cupboard”! Woo! Missy and Dylan were lovely and sent me just the one cup’s worth of this (and a couple other 52teas mint blends) I asked for, because I’m always willing to try one cup, but don’t want to waste someone’s tea if I don’t like it, and mint is one of my least favourite flavours (but I’m just so darn curious!) Also, it’s nice to “finish something off” – need to feel good about something, since I’m sitting here alone in my house (roommates out dancing… I was too tired earlier) being all depressed about being single after over 4.5 years of being with my boyfriend (we broke up nearly 4 weeks ago… I am far from over it). :(

Sob story over. Onto the tea.

The aroma is pretty pepperminty. Enough pepperminty to make me wrinkle my nose and go “egh”. I don’t have high hopes, but I’ll drink this one cup at least (barring it being absolutely disgusting!) Ok… first sip, definitely very peppermint. I can taste spearmint too, which I have less of a problem with, and luckily there’s a really nice creaminess in there as well to negate some of the icky peppermintness. I’m not tasting any green tea at all though, so this is really coming off as more of an herbal tea. I must say though, this is definitely not a tea for me. Drinkable, yes, and the creaminess redeems it a bit (I love creamy), but I reaaaaally don’t care for intense peppermint flavour, and there’s just too much of that. I would drink it if offered though, and would be surprised if any peppermint tea-lover didn’t enjoy this! Withholding a rating because my peppermint bias would lower it to somewhere in the 60s, perhaps, and I think this is more of an 80s tea.

ETA: Second infusion (82C/4? min) loses most of the redeeming creaminess. Don’t think I’ll finish this one.

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

huuuuug i broke up from a long-term relationship about 6 or 7 weeks ago, so i know how you feel :(

Kittenna

hugs back Yeah, it’s pretty crappy, isn’t it :( I remembered reading about someone who had, but the name hadn’t stuck in my mind.

TeaBrat

Wah! i hope you feel better soon. It sucks but you will be okay. I got over a marriage of over 12 years a while ago and that was not very much fun. Take care of yourself…

Kittenna

I am also hoping things get better… it has been pretty tough so far. I’m sorry you had to go through something like that too (although now you’ve completely thrown into question my judgment of your age, as I definitely thought you were in your 20s, but that now seems unlikely :) )

TeaBrat

lmao – I’ll be 44 in August!

Kittenna

Haha, whoops :D Guessing ages is not my forté. Take it as a compliment?

ScottTeaMan

Finally…….logged on-ssooo slow!

Krystaleyn, I can see why you’d assume that. Just looking at Amy’s pic and her shiny coat, she does appear to take good care of herself. :))

Kittenna

Seriously, I never would have guessed beyond early 30s, even seeing pictures…

tigress_al

Oh no. Break ups suck :(

Kittenna

Oops, sorry tigress_al – this must have been a case of a post bumping up because I edited it. Luckily this was over a year ago, and I’m now happily dating someone else :)

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67
drank Pot O' Gold by 52teas
2606 tasting notes

Thank you so much for including this as an extra in your swap package to me, Amy Oh! I wasn’t initially interested in it, then once I started reading tasting notes I regretted my decision not to buy it (admittedly still kind of am, see tasting note below).

The aroma is caramelly and malty and far more delicious than I could have imagined. And the flavour? Wow. The perfect caramelly black tea, perhaps? Flavour is malty and full, with a sweet caramel and absolutely no astringency. I’m drinking it a touch on the cool side and it’s tasting just the slightest bit weak; I think I would give 3 and a half or 4 minutes a shot next time. There are flavours in here reminiscent of Adagio’s Jane Austen Mafia; I am not yet well-versed in black bases (ok, I have zero idea about them), so I’m wondering if it’s that, or if it’s a flavouring thing. Either way, that was a delicious cup. I’ll try a re-steep in a bit, but am not expecting anything amazing.

So further to my comment at the beginning of this post, this tea is now on my incredibly long list of 52teas to buy in my next order. Of course, I’m hoping for Frank to come out with iced teas (and another batch of Cotton Candy?) before I do so.

ETA: Second infusion (96C/4min) still smells tasty. Basically a lighter, less butterscotchy version of the first. (I should go back and change that… I get butterscotch and caramel confused a lot.) Good enough to drink, but this will be the final infusion.

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

I do believe he still has cotton candy!

Kittenna

It was all gone when I last looked :(

Fjellrev

I’ve been contemplating ordering this one, but wasn’t sure if the butterscotch flavour would be strong enough. But you’re very convincing!

Azzrian

This stuff is the BOMB and when cold brewed the SCOTCH flavor really comes out more – more of a butterscotch hot. :)

Kittenna

I thought this one was really well done. :)

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87

The flavour is not exactly what I was expecting from a tea called Severe Degree of Fermentation (I was expecting something very roasted and strongly-flavoured). A two minute infusion produced a very light cup, which has some faint toasty, woody flavours. Little oolong aftertaste, but the flavours are characteristic of the late infusions of a (green?) oolong for me, minus the accompanying astringency I often find in said later infusions. It’s just very light. I think there’s enough leaf left for at least a generous additional cup, so I will have to give that a shot with a higher leaf:water ratio. It’s good, but just very light.

Second infusion (175F/3min) is more like a less green green oolong. Does that make sense? Similar flavours, but the green-ness (vegetal qualities) aren’t so present, and it’s a bit toasty/roasted. It’s better, buttery and more flavourful than the first infusion. A bit weird actually, because I feel like the flavours I’m getting here belong moreso to the first infusion of a tea than the second (and I didn’t get the two mixed up). No astringency in this infusion either, and quite a bit more oolong flavour.

Definitely a different oolong that I would like to explore a bit more. Hopefully tomorrow I can get another couple infusions out of this set of leaves as well :) I love oolongs :D Thanks for the sample, LiberTEAS!

ETA: Third infusion (175F/4 minutes) is pretty weak. Still no astringency but kind of has a woody flavour.

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

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88
drank Blazing Strawberries by DAVIDsTEA
2606 tasting notes

5g or so cold-brewed in 2 cups of water. Tasty :)

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
TassieTeaGirl

Did it help with bringing out the strawberry taste? I found that this one isn’t massively strawberry-ish, but tasty all the same.

Kittenna

No, i don’t think it really brought it out more, it was still quite subtle. I liked it though :)

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83
drank Luscious Watermelon by DAVIDsTEA
2606 tasting notes

10g of this one cold-steeped in about 2 cups worth of water worked well; I was pleased. Same cost as Tropicalia, so rather expensive, but I don’t think that will change my mind about picking more up to tide me through the off-season.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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93
drank Strawberry Oolong by Butiki Teas
2606 tasting notes

Mmm, first infusion smells light, fruity and delicious, and… are you kidding me. I just spilt it on my bed. :( I guess I got a bit overzealous in swirling it around. Luckily only spilled 1/4 of it.

The flavour is a light oolong with overtones of fruitiness. The fruit flavour here does strongly remind me of that in DavidsTea’s Blazing Strawberries, yet strangely also makes me think cherry blossom, like in Den’s Sakura Sencha. It’s pretty tasty though, and plenty strong enough.

The second infusion (4:30, 180F) is similar; definitely more oolong flavour and less fruitiness. Could probably get another few infusions, so might give that a shot tomorrow evening.

My one kind-of complaint is that the flavour is not so much of strawberry to me, and much more of cherry blossom. So more of a cherry blossom oolong. Don’t get me wrong – it’s delicious, but not quite what I was expecting, especially after the grape oolong.

ETA: Oh look! I finally remembered to mark a Tasting Note milestone!!! I’ve hit 400, woo! Missed every other landmark prior though, whoops. (And technically this tea shouldn’t even be #400, since I have two iced teas to log that I drank earlier, but oh well!)

ETA again: Third infusion (180F/4:30) is light and pretty tasty, with a floral-y, oolong aftertaste. Fourth infusion (180F/6ish min) is pretty similar. Basically tastes like a floral oolong now. Surprising amount of flavour left. I might try one more infusion, but I’ve had nearly enough of this one for the time being. Fifth infusion (180F/7min) tasted metallic and off; I threw it out as the leaves had probably sat too long, but I suspect it would have still been good.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 15 sec
Bonnie

This is one I loved! Really tasty! I went back and bougnt it because I hate the fake flavor and this was fresh tasting. You know what I mean. Oolongs are gentle…and a fake flavoring on top is just obscene. Natural flavor is so much better.

Kittenna

Yes, definitely quite tasty, and I agree that especially with lighter teas, a lighter natural flavour works best. Blacks can handle a lot, but flavouring has killed many an oolong and green (in particular) for me. Not the case here :)

Azzrian

Ohhhh cherry is fine with me too :)

Kittenna

Have you tried this one, Azzrian??

TeaBrat

this sounds quite lovely!

Barb

Aaaaaannnnd…. number 75 on Barb’s shopping list!

Indigobloom

Congrats on 400!!

Bonnie

Hooray for you!!!!!!!

Butiki Teas

Wow, congrats on 400!

teawade

this sounds amazing. MUST try!

Kittenna

If you’re a fan of fruity oolongs, this one’s fabulous. And re-steeps wonderfully!

CHAroma

Congratulations on reaching 400 tasting notes! Wow, what an accomplishment!!

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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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