2970 Tasting Notes

75
drank Ancient Yellow Buds by Rishi Tea
2970 tasting notes

Another sample from LiberTEAS! Still have tons to get through, but this will be the last for today (or at least until I’m back from work).

This one brewed up to be the lightest colour I think I have ever seen with any tea! Just barely a hint of a beigey colour in the cup. As the tea has sat a bit, the colour has deepened somewhat, however.

The flavour is very, very mild here. I can definitely taste sweetness and the tea has an absolutely wonderful, smooth, full-bodied mouthfeel. If I try a bit harder, I can taste a light “tea” flavour amongst the sweetness. This one’s definitely quite pleasant, but seems to unfortunately fall into the category of teas that are a bit too delicate for my liking! (And then, I read the reviews…)

Ok! I think part of my problem here may have been underleafing my cup; I used maybe 1.5tsp of the rather fluffy leaf for my 8 oz. cup, but I think that may not have been enough. Luckily, I can try this one again :D Another potential problem is not drinking this tea on a fresh palate, so next time I should do that instead of drinking a strong matcha and black tea immediately prior (my bad!)

Thanks LiberTEAS!

(Oh man… I think that large cheesecake matcha is catching up to me… stomach not feeling so well anymore…)

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

Oh noes! I was wondering how that was going for you…

Kittenna

Yeeeah, whoops! Ah well, I seem to be fine now :D Got a bit jittery and had an upset stomach for a while though.

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45

Nabbed a couple somewhat random samples from my box of teas from LiberTEAS to try out this evening. I really need to make some progress on samples I have! The goal was to get through as much as I can prior to Christmas… we’ll see how that goes… (it’s helpful that my roommate likes tea though, and is willing to share a cup or two with me each evening!)

So, this is my first darjeeling ever. Well, as far as I’m aware. The aroma makes me think boring black tea… it smells like a bagged Lipton, or other generic tea brand. Not that smell necessarily dictates anything, but it can be a bit of a warning sign sometimes!

The flavour… is definitely unexpected. I was expecting boring black tea flavour, instead I’m getting a kind of winey-ish, possibly muscatel flavour, with a black base. A bit floral, almost? Or, that’s how it’s coming off to darjeeling newbie me. Weirdly, I’m also getting a “rotten” note in here which is… rather unpleasant. Like, a decaying vegetal matter sort of note. Although it doesn’t seem to be appearing with every sip.

Hrm. I’m not going to write off darjeelings just because of this one, but as I’m not a fan of black teas in general (minus Laoshan Black and other similar ones), I’m not surprised that this one isn’t doing it for me. Oh well! Thanks for the tea education, LiberTEAS!

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

:( Sorry to hear about the icky note there.

Kittenna

No worries! I think it’s a flavour that I find in many black teas, and it was a bit more pronounced here (there’s clearly some reason that black teas and I generally don’t jive well). I’m finishing my cup – it’s not terrible by any stretch!

Babble

I’m pretty picky about my blacks, but I do enjoy darjeelings. Do give them another try if you have the chance. :)

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67
drank Cheesecake Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
2970 tasting notes

So I received my redirected matchas yesterday, woo! As I’m heading into the lab, a shot of energy seems appropriate, so time to try the much-loved cheesecake matcha. I ordered the robust strength with the regular base, as that seems to be the preferred combination here. http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/cheesecake-matcha.html

When I first tore into the packet, I have to say that I was surprised/shocked to smell not cheesecake, but strawberry. A similar thing happened to me with the Madagascar Vanilla, where I smelled not vanilla, but strawberry. A bit disappointing, as I was expecting a strong tangy cheesecakey aroma. Upon further sniffs, I detected a bit of a milkyish, possibly cheesecakey flavour, but given that this is “robust”, I really expected more.

As usual, I decided to make this into an almond milk latte. I used 2 heaping teaspoons of matcha whisked into hot milk, then mixed with cold almond milk. To my surprise, the latte tasted like nothing but a generic matcha latte. Not even a hint of cheesecake. So I added another generous tsp or two to a new small bowl of hot milk, whisked, and added it. Same deal. And keep in mind… I think I’ve used about half of my 30g packet by now. This is one EXPENSIVE latte… I added some maple syrup as sweetener (no other options), and now I have quite a tasty drink… but definitely not what I was expecting. I can almost smell cheesecake if I sniff quite hard, and a sip of the latte leaves a bit of a cheesecake aftertaste, but this is unfortunately not what I had hoped it would be. Perhaps the cheesecake blends in too well with the almond milk? I wouldn’t have expected that, given how well my delicately flavoured Caramel matcha worked with it (and also, I tried a taste of the plain milk + matcha and couldn’t taste cheesecake either). I would love to blame this on my tastebuds or something, but I have a series of other teas with me that I can definitely smell and taste quite fine, so that’s not the problem.

Oh well. I do love the caramel matcha, so perhaps will simply stock up on that one instead!

ETA: It just occurred to me that I may have made a fatal error by drinking almost my entire latte on an empty stomach… uh oh…

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Helena

That’s odd mine definitely smelled like cheesecake (it overwhelmed my kitchen) so I’m not sure why yours smelled like strawberry, did you have strawberries on the brain?

Kittenna

Nope, wasn’t thinking about strawberries at all. And it’s funny, as I’ve been sitting here, I keep randomly smelling strawberry again. There are these asian strawberry/cream candies in little red wrappers that I love, and that’s exactly how it smells. It doesn’t particularly taste like strawberry, though.

Red Leaf Tea

I’m very sorry that you did not like it. Please contact me regarding this product.

Indigobloom

I just had a similar experience today!!!! with the cheesecake matcha. I wanted to try it a few different ways before writing my review.
I got milky candy, but not cheesecake. not strawberry either though. Definitely not what I expected, and nothing like the other ones I tried. Well, my base was lower grade this time than my previous purchase

Kittenna

Yeah, based on the previous reviews and given that I ordered “robust”, it just wasn’t anything like what I expected. Yes, milky candy would more accurately describe the flavour I got (plus yummy matcha base!), but even that was pretty weak.

@Red Leaf – I do want to clarify that there’s nothing inherently wrong with the matcha, nothing tasted “off”, and I certainly enjoyed the latte I made! Cheesecake, though, it was not :(

Kittenna

Also, I’ve only ever ordered the basic grade, and delicate flavouring (in the whopping three previous matchas I purchased); this was my first foray into a stronger flavouring. Based on the strength of both the caramel and green apple, I was expecting to be knocked out by the cheesecake! (The vanilla was definitely not so potent.)

softrevolution

I didnt get much Cheesecake flavour from a hot latte either. Cold, though, it really shines. It is now my favourite and most used matcha ever since I tried it in a smoothie. It tastes incredibly tangy and true somehow. But hot, I find it’s just meh.

Indigobloom

thanks for the tip, I will try it via shaken bottle method next :)

Sil

Kittena and indigo….you two are weirdos :p

Indigobloom

agreed!! haha
I suspect it would have been alot better with royal grade. and my fave cheesecake is the ricotta/“light” kind so that might have something to do with it? shrugs

Kittenna

softrevolution – this was a cold latte, so I don’t know what went wrong. I think I’ll be getting more to try and see if it was an off batch; my palate isn’t usually super far off from everyone else’s! I was really looking forward to the tang, and with the upcoming end to the free matcha program, was thinking to place orders for a large amount of both the caramel and cheesecake matcha, so was disappointed when it wasn’t as good as I expected. (I still have to pick up a bunch of the caramel though…. deeeeelish!)

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87

After my recent sipdown of DavidsTea’s Cream Earl Grey, I was craving it rather badly (figures), and decided to look through my giant box of teas from LiberTEAS to see if there was another variant in there, since she is fond of earl greys. Sure enough, I found one!!! So this came with me to work tonight in the no-longer-quite-so-chai-scented Timolino.

Unlike the DavidsTea version, I found this one to be much more like a straight earl grey upon the initial sip, with the cream coming more in the aftertaste. This could have been an artifact of brewing the tea a bit stronger than intended, but I don’t think so, I think the cream aspect was just done a bit differently here. I have to be honest and say that while the tea was still hot, I really wasn’t getting much of the creaminess, and was therefore kind of disappointed, however as the tea cooled, the delicious creaminess emerged more and more. I definitely like earl grey creams better a bit cooler!

Anyways, I think I’d be likely to choose either DT’s or Upton’s Cream Earl Grey over this variant (which is probably ok since I think SpecialTeas is no longer?), but all three are quite delicious. So much nostalgia for me!

Thanks for including some of this for me, LiberTEAS , and saving me from having to run to DavidsTea to get my fix! I still have enough for at least another cup; hopefully I can stave off the craving for a while longer (or perhaps there’s another cream earl grey lurking somewhere in a swap box that I have yet to track down…!)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
tea-sipper

I could drink Earl Grey Creme every day!

Kittenna

When I don’t drink it for a while I forget how awesome it is! I think I could too (but I have so many other teas, I need to give other things some love too!)

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66
drank Peaches and Cream by Teaopia
2970 tasting notes

Hmm. It seems I’m really not too big of a fan of Teaopia, so I’m not so crushed that they’re gone… This one’s another big miss for me. It sounds absolutely divine, but the flavour is weak and slightly fruity. In the aftertaste I can taste unsweetened fuzzy peach; perhaps it’s meant to be drank with sugar, but that’s a black mark for me. I can’t really taste the oolong at all, even though there’s clearly a lot in there. Bleh. Well, it’s not terrible, it’s just really, really boring. What a bummer. I’m glad I didn’t waste too much money at Teaopia; companies with small sample sizes are definitely the way to go.

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

Yeah I’ve never been much of a fan of Teaopia either. They were my first loose leaf, and part of the reason why it took me many years to get on the loose leaf train. I just find a lot of their blends lack flavour, or taste pretty similar. And for whatever reason it really irks me when tea stores won’t sell you sample sizes. If your product is good, people will be back for more! It strikes me as kind of shady to make customers buy a bigger quantity right off the bat.

Kittenna

Yes. Lack of flavour is really what I’ve been noticing with their blends, and I am one who really wants flavour! That and the ability to buy sample sizes is what really sets DavidsTea apart from them (slash Teavana); flavourlessness is one thing I haven’t had a big problem with with DavidsTea.

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61
drank Sangria by Teaopia
2970 tasting notes

Oh…. I should have known that the hibiscus would ruin this one :( The dry tea smells just like sangria, and is oh so sweet and winey and delicious, but steeped up, it’s a whole host of tart, overwhelming hibiscus (with a background of fruity flavours, and a definite citrus twist). And that’s only with a three-minute infusion. Think of the horror it could be at 5 minutes. Or more! It was certainly still drinkable, for sure, but as a newly realized hibiscus-disliker, it’s a bit much. I tried sweetening it with a bunch of sugar, and the result (while hot) was a bit too reminiscent of vomit for my liking. I left the cup sit while I went to work, and drinking it now, it’s actually really not so bad. Tastes much, much more like sangria. The hibiscus is tamed a bit, so the result is fruity and citrusy, with a bit of a fruity wine flavour. So, lesson learned, this one’s best for icing, with sweetener. (However, I’d much prefer to get rid of it, so if anyone’s interested….?)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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91
drank SoHo Blend by Harney & Sons
2970 tasting notes

Can’t get over how delicious this tea is! Shared it with the roommate tonight, and she was in love as well. I made it a touch weak in order to reserve one more cup’s worth for another day, but it was still pretty darn delicious! Bounty bar, all the way! Best coconut black I’ve tasted (whether that’s because of the chocolate, or because of great coconut flavouring, it’s difficult to know). And, a lack of gross scumminess! This is one of those few teas that actually could satisfy a craving for sweets, I think, kind of like Creme Caramel teas, because it is just so, so close in flavour to the real thing. Deeeelicious! Thanks again Alphakitty for the generous sample! Someday I’ll have to figure out how to work a H&S order…

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec
Rebecca Lynn

I love making this into bubble tea

Ze_Teamaker

I will have to try this one day….

Kittenna

Bubble tea, eh? I imagine it would taste quite good like that!

Ze_Teamaker – YES, if you like chocolate/coconut, this blend is by far the best I’ve tried. I wish I had made it stronger last night, but that was my fault for likely using less than a tsp of tea per cup (didn’t measure the water, it was probably 3 cups and I only used 2 slightly rounded tsp).

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83
drank Melange Rooibos by 52teas
2970 tasting notes

Still on a quest for teas I can taste tonight, and this one fit! Still not as tasty a chai as I’d like (I’m badly craving DavidsTea’s Coco Chai Rooibos right now), but it’s great that it’s caffeine-free!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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74

Still sick sick sick, decided to go for a tea that I can “taste” whether or not I can actually taste things (i.e. the ginger is a sensation less than a flavour). Definitely not a big fan of this one though, I just wanted the ginger tonight. Unfortunately, gingery hot water came off more weirdly to me than I expected (but I still drank it, accompanied in the last half hour by some lovely NyQuil Sinus LiquiCaps that my boyfriend took me out to buy partway through our movie). Here’s hoping I improve soon! Sadly, the boy was also quite sniffly tonight, and I think he’s coming down with a cold as well, though we haven’t seen each other in five days. Poor us! :P

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Lynne-tea

I hope you feel better soon! =)

Hesper June

Heres hoping you feel better quick!!!

Azzrian

aweee get well soon girl!

Claire

Get better soon!

Kittenna

Thanks guys! I slept for an incredible ~14 hours or so (with a few interruptions) and am feeling a fair bit better! The boy went to work and I suspect he’s the opposite… and he’s heading out tonight for a night of “Oktoberfest”! Poor guy! :P

Indigobloom

eeep, feel better! David’s Ginger puerh used to be my trick, but it’s been awhile!

Kittenna

Thanks! Ginger Pu’erh would have been something I’d have gone for last night, but I don’t have any, and I really don’t feel like buying more tea, so the above (which I’m trying to drink down) was what I had to go for. I think I’m sadly lacking in gingery teas, actually, unless I have a Verdant blend with ginger in it (no idea if they even use ginger in blends).

Ninavampi

Hope your feeling better! It took me a week to get better and it was awful… I couldn’t taste anything!

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95
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
2970 tasting notes

Wanted something strong-ish and flavourful tonight (and not a new tea to review, as my nose is out of commission), so picked this one! I can smell the delicious cocoa-y notes and taste them well enough, although I think I underleafed/understeeped the cup. Ah well! Still delicious, as always. This is from a different batch than the sample I had previously received, but I’d probably be hard-pressed to find differences, especially when I don’t brew gong-fu style. All that matters is that it has the same overall flavour profile, which is most certainly and deliciously does!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Profile

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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