2970 Tasting Notes

87

Received a sample of this with one of my recent Verdant orders. Drinking a second infusion of it right now, as my roommate drank the first a night or two ago. Not a ton of flavour, but I can definitely taste the jasmine. Probably would have been tastier had I been able to smell properly! There’s enough in the sample package for another cup, so I’ll have that at some point in the future. I definitely prefer jasmine whites to jasmine greens, and should really get around to trying the jasmine silver needle from Teavivre.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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78

This one is tonight’s advent calendar sipdown! Unfortunately though, my roommate and I brewed up a nice big pot of it (literally, a pot. On the stove. Neither of us has an actual teapot here) and when she tasted it, it tasted fishy to her. We don’t recall this being a problem previously, but perhaps it’s an age thing. I can’t really taste any fishiness myself, but I also am a bit suspicious of my tasting capabilities at the moment given my cold. Soooo, looks like it’s up to me to drink the entire pot. She finished off our tin of Buttered Rum instead (which I must say, smells way, way better than the bag of Buttered Rum I have…. interesting.)

From what I can tell, this is a lightly citrusy (bergamot) tea with an aroma much like a standard earl grey. I can’t really tell is there’s much green tea in there; my tastebuds are muted enough that I can’t really be sure. I do remember liking this one in the past as an interesting twist on earl grey (which I thought I didn’t like straight, but apparently I just needed to try non-Tetley versions!) However, now that I’ve tried DT’s Earl of Lemon, that one would probably be my go-to non-black earl grey over this one, even though I think the bergamot is a bit stronger with that one. And I must admit, I prefer the Cream of Earl Grey over either. Nom nom nom.

WOW. Of all the failish things to do, I just blew my nose and tossed the kleenex…. straight into my cup. Grosssss. Lucky for me, I have another half pot + downstairs waiting for me, so I can pour this out, rinse the mug, and refill it…. sigh.

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

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87

Shared a pot of this with my roommate tonight, in another advent calendar tea sipdown! There was enough leaf leaf (4.5 tsp or thereabouts) for two large mugs each, which we both thoroughly enjoyed.

To me, this tea smells primarily like a light earl grey, but the flavour is oh so delicious. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that the tea contained creamer and sweetener, just like in the good old days when my best friend and I used to go through pot after pot of heavily sugared/creamed earl grey, spending the night playing games and laughing. Clearly this is a less sinful version! Unlike straight earl greys, the creaminess of this tea softens the bergamot and eliminates any bitterness/astringency coming from the black tea base. A perfect cup (although, perhaps not the best thing to drink immediately prior to sleeping!)

ETA: Re-steeped the infuser in a single mug of tea for ~3.5 minutes, and ended up with a really delicious, surprisingly not too strong cup of tea. Yum! I think I no longer have any more earl grey creams in my stash :‘( (Unless… there’s one in my box from LiberTEAS?! I will have to check ASAP!)

ETA again: Third infusion is as far as this one went. At this point, it’s less like an earl grey, and more like a weak black tea. Still ok, but I’m drinking this because it’s an earl grey cream, and now it is much less so. Oh well, felt bad about throwing so many leaves away without at least attempting some additional infusions!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
CHAroma

You make every tea sound amazing!

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81

Sadly, my first attempt at this tea was a complete bust. I can’t entirely recall my infusion parameters, but I think I infused about 2 tsp of the tea in ~8oz. of water for 1 minute at about 205F, and ended up with…. what tasted like water. The only indication that it wasn’t water was the colour, which was a lightish yellow (later on I noticed that it was somewhat sweet water, but certainly couldn’t identify any other flavours). I suspect that my problem was poor brewing parameters – our internet was down when I was brewing this up and so I just guessed at what I was doing instead of following Verdant’s suggested brewing parameters, which I prefer to do when brewing up a tea for the first time.

After my failed first infusion, I ended up carelessly infusing the leaves a couple more times for a longer period of time, and got something vaguely oolongy that I did drink (and at one point mixed with a 3rd infusion of Butiki’s Gui Fei Oolong).

Luckily, I not only have a sample packet of this tea from my dragon well pre-order, I bought an additional 2 oz. so I have plenty of tea to play with!

CHAroma

Hmm, sounds like you did it right. The site recommends even shorter steep times than 1 minute. So I don’t know why it turned out like this for you. Wish I could help. :(

Kittenna

Perhaps there was an element of previous flavours in my mouth affecting things as well. I’ll try it again, anyways!

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85

This is a backlog from a few days ago. Unfortunately I failed to take good notes about this tea, but I do remember that the flavour was quite reminiscent of creme caramel rooibos teas (which I thoroughly enjoy), although there was a definite sencha flavour that I was able to pick out. However, I decided that although this is good, I’m likely to stick with straight rooibos versions if only for ease of infusion. However, this tea is quite tasty, and I will happily finish off my sample packet (paying close attention to infusion time/temperature!)

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

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95
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
2970 tasting notes

I’m so impressed…. I re-steeped the leaves that my roommate and I first used on Sunday morning with breakfast for a fourth time, and I’m still getting a delicious cup of tea! And these leaves have been seriously abused – first off, a normal 1-minute infusion. Then, probably about 5 minutes or so of sitting in a ~70C cup of Chocolate Phoenix Chai. Then another 5+ minutes of Chocolate Phoenix Chai at a hotter temperature. The flavour isn’t super strong, of course, but the rich cocoa-y flavours are unmistakably present, and absolutely delicious. Whoever would have guessed that I’d actually fall for a black tea?!

And since I’m writing this… my roommate felt the exact same way. I gave her the choice between this and Chocolate Phoenix Chai that morning, and she picked this one, saying “this is an unflavoured black? You said, unflavoured?” Needless to say she was quite surprised to find that she really enjoyed it! She’s more of an oolong girl, as I am, but I’m glad to have introduced her to something new!

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78
drank Brazillionaire by DAVIDsTEA
2970 tasting notes

Finally getting around to trying this one. I guess it didn’t really interest me, as I’ve had a sample of it for quite a while.

The aroma is primarily kind of sweet and nutty; the flavour is much the same. I was initially just going to say that this is sort of a “dry nut” sort of flavour, but it occurred to me that what I’m tasting reminds me of hazelnut coffee! Which gives me a strong desire to sweeten it and add some milk, but I’m too tired for that sort of effort tonight (and have enough left for one more cup, so can try that another day). Although it’s certainly palatable unsweetened (and there’s only a touch of astringency), the thought of making a hazelnutty tea latte far outweighs my desire to drink this straight (and the nuttiness/astringency makes it a bit more drying in the mouth than I’d really like). Better than I expected!

ETA: So I let this one sit overnight, and in the morning when I drank some to help a tickly throat, it tastes remarkably chocolatey! Or at least, I think it was this one, and couldn’t come up with any other teas I’d brewed up that would have been chocolatey. Interesting. Second infusion (5min, close to boiling), I’m primarily getting a kind of chocolatey flavour as well. Nutty chocolate, a bit akin to… Florence?? From H&S? I can’t recall, whichever one is chocolatey and nutty. Definitely better than expected. Enough to bump the rating some. I assume the chocolatey notes aren’t an artifact of my stuffed up nose, as I could taste better earlier today when I had the cold tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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74

It seems that I have caught a cold :( so time to bring this tea out as it seems rather appropriate!

The dry tea smells very potently of ginger and lemongrass. The intense ginger is a bit worrisome, as I’m not the biggest fan of strong ginger, it seems that the ginger is tamed a bit after steeping. Also, it smells like DT’s Ginger Pu’erh – shocker, eh?

The flavour is much milder than I anticipated. There’s a bit of a burn from the ginger, but it’s certainly not as strong as the aroma indicated. I can’t really taste much in the way of lemon though (or even lemongrass), although the honeybush provides a nice base.

I personally think that a more apt name for this blend would be ginger honeybush, as that’s about all I can taste. Not bad, however, but probably not a tea I’d go for again. I’d prefer a cup of hot water infused with fresh ginger, lemon juice, and some real honey. (But too lazy to do that now).

ETA: About all I’m getting in the second infusion is a strong gingery tingling in my mouth/throat. Can’t really taste a great deal at this point, but I think I like this infusion better (or perhaps it’s because I can miraculously get some sort of sensation from this one!) Still can’t beat the real deal though, I think.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Claire

Hope you feel better soon!

Kittenna

Thanks! :) Me too, but I think I’ve been fighting off this cold for over a week now, and just lost the battle today, so am anticipating an icky week. Sigh!

Claire

I always load up on Echinacea tea when I think I’m getting sick. It might be placebo effect, but I feel like it works!

Kittenna

Where would I find echinacea tea?! That isn’t an ingredient I’ve encountered yet!

Claire

The company Traditional Medicinals makes a good one, you can find it at natural grocery stores around here, and at Safeway (if you live in a state with Safeway).

Kittenna

Although I live in Canada, I’ve seen that brand in my local grocery store. Might check it out tomorrow – thanks!

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91
drank Salted Caramel by DAVIDsTEA
2970 tasting notes

This one is still seriously delicious. Smooth but present base with an absolutely delicious butterscotchy/caramelly flavour. Another tea I would love to have more of (but need to resist buying!)

Second infusion in less water is still worthwhile, but loses a fair bit of the caramelly flavour. My previous note indicates a third infusion is unnecessary, so I’ll stop there.

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

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67
drank The Skinny (organic) by DAVIDsTEA
2970 tasting notes

Yet another advent calendar sip down! Such progress today!

I honestly don’t recall what my roommate and I initially thought of this tea, but if I recall correctly, we didn’t like it. We did write notes on the back of the advent calendar box (which I ran across tonight, as it happens), so I should definitely check to see what we noted down!

With both the dry and steeped tea, the aroma is coming off as vaguely citrusy, but that’s about all I can pick out.

Flavourwise, now that I know there’s pu’erh in this blend, I suspect we a) didn’t like it and b) the pu’erh was the reason! Now I know what pu’erh is, and what to expect, so I can definitely pick it out here. Luckily it’s not particularly fishy, just has a sort of earthy/mustiness that I associate with pu’erh. I can’t really pick out the oolong at all here, not even in the aftertaste; perhaps it will emerge in later infusions. As for flavouring, a creamy sort of ginger flavour comes out in the aftertaste, which is actually quite pleasant, although it’s rather mild.

I know pu’erh has a multitude of purported health benefits, but I wouldn’t be too likely to pick this tea up again, as there are many other vendors with better pu’erhs that I’d rather drink for the benefits! This one’s pretty so-so; not terrible, but nothing special.

ETA: Bleh, the second infusion (~90C, 5 min) is not to my liking. I think I’m really picky on citrusy-flavoured things, and citrus + pu’erh is not to my liking (nor citrus + green tea, for the most part). No real loss though!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 15 sec
Azzrian

What is this tea advent calendar about? Where did you get it? Thanks :)

Kittenna

Last year DavidsTea put out an advent calendar with little tins of different teas in it. It was what got me into loose leaf tea! :P I’m trying to finish it off before the upcoming holiday season.

Mélissa

I had forgot about the calendar. I hope it’s back this year!

Kittenna

I see that the calendar will be back this year, and coming out in early November. I won’t be getting it this year, but I think it’s a fabulous idea, especially for people who don’t live near a DT, to try out a whole bunch of teas (and get a bunch of awesome little tins!)

CHAroma

Is the calendar something you can buy online? I scoped out the DAVIDsTEA website, but I couldn’t find any reference to it.

Kittenna

Yup, pretty sure it’s available online. Check out the DavidsTea facebook page, I think people have been talking about it a fair amount on there. They said an early November release, and it sold out quite quickly last year.

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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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