2520 Tasting Notes

94
drank Mayan Chocolate Chai by 52teas
2520 tasting notes

Read Indigobloom ’s tasting note on this one tonight and had to dive into my new package. Mmmm, well worthwhile. Used up some cream I had in the fridge instead of milk, plus lots of sweetener. Divine. Three good infusions :)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

I had only enough milk for one cup… made me so sad!! and there was no time… gah! mmm chocolate. No more cravings for me with this tea!

Kittenna

I brew mine in water and add just a bit of milk (or cream, in this case) after. I find I can drink it with just sweetener though. So good :)

Indigobloom

oh yah I don’t add much milk…but I found that it did need some!
as a latte, I think this would be incredible thoug

Kittenna

Yes, this tea and matcha are the only ones I allow myself to add things to. Therefore they’re a pretty big treat :P I want more of this now actually…. haha.

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93
drank Fukamushi-Sencha Yame by Den's Tea
2520 tasting notes

squee

This is my sort of green tea! Gahhhh!! The smell is so juicily vegetal like Treasuregreen’s Emerald (Silver). I nearly died when I smelled the wet leaf post-infusion, because I definitely wasn’t expecting this, and it’s going to be a wonderful treat (I expect).

Ahhhhhhh, heavenly. I can’t pick out the flavours very well, it’s just so, so good. I think I could drink this sort of tea all the time and not get bored or sick of it. It’s refreshing and cleansing with a lovely aftertaste, but unlike the green oolongs that I like, it’s not quite so…. rich. I don’t know how to describe it. Looooove it.

I’ll have to see how this holds up to multiple infusions, and try it with shorter ones to see if I can get different flavours (e.g. Emerald (Silver) had a sweet, honey-like first infusion that was incredible and I didn’t know about until I tried 25-30s infusions!)

I’m finding it rather amusing that here I am, drinking caffeinated tea to the point of my stomach screaming ‘NO MORE!’, and I’m literally almost asleep typing this. Caffeine and I have an odd relationship.

(What’s the worst part? Knowing that even if I fall asleep right now, I am guaranteed to be up again in half an hour, then again a half hour later, and probably a third time before morning, because I have just consumed a silly amount of tea. Siiiigh.)

ETA: Second infusion, 20 sec at 185. Pretty tasty. Not that in-your-face vegetal taste anymore (it’s a little muted), but still lovely. I might infuse a little longer the next time to bring out a bit more. No astringency whatsoever though.

Third infusion, 45s at 185. Ok, getting an off-flavour here. A staleness, almost? Actually, it tastes kind of plasticky. Like how water tastes when it’s been sitting in a plastic waterbottle in the sun in your car for a day or two. Still no astringency or bitterness, but I’m not fond of this weird flavour. No ratings decrease, because they only recommend two infusions, and both were quite good. Perhaps I should have stuck with 15 seconds for this one. Maybe I’ll try that next time. There are still hints of tasty flavour, but they are overshadowed by plastic flavour.

Side note: I love that with their tasting kit, Den’s gives you a guide to the specific parameters for each individual tea. Unlike some companies who have just given general guidelines, I love how exact they are. No guesswork. Makes me confident about trying their teas without ruining them the first time!

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Indigobloom

LOL Kristaleyn you are too funny :P
btw I can’t recall the name of that Tsaa tea either! I think it had Butterfly in it…

Dylan Oxford

Hahaha, I hear you on that one Krystaleyn!

ScottTeaMan

K-That’s one reason I love Senchas! I can’t get bored or sick of a good Sencha. :))

Kittenna

Hahaha, I definitely fell asleep probably within minutes of posting this. :P

@Indigobloom – yeah, that’s all I could remember too. And then I was second guessing myself and wondering if it was dragonfly, hahaha.

@Scott – I definitely had a different impression of senchas, for some reason, and was not expecting this flavour from it (the other tea I like, I have no idea what type it is as they don’t specify). But yes, it’s not a flavour I’ll get sick of! (Good thing, since I have 100g of a similarly flavoured tea sitting in my fridge :D)

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80
drank Genmaicha Extra Green by Den's Tea
2520 tasting notes

This review is for the bagged version that I received in my sampler, not the loose leaf version.

After all these flavoured teas tonight, I felt like I needed something straight and reliably delicious. I was going to go upstairs and grab something from my Verdant stuff, but as it happened, my Den’s sampler was downstairs (I was weighing potential mailable cardboard boxes), so I was lazy and selected two teas from it! Not regretting that decision at all!

So opening up the lovely foil-wrapped package, I’m greeting by green powder everywhere and a lovely toasty rice/green tea aroma. Mmmmmmm. I was a bit sad that the matcha had come out of the bag, until I realized that had it not come out, that would indicate that the teabag was entirely non-porous and therefore useless for brewing tea. So I guess it’s inevitable. Haha.

I wasn’t really sure what parameters to use for the teabag, so went with boiling water for a minute, resulting in tea of a cloudy yellowish colour. The aroma is typical of genmaicha: toasty rice.

Taste-wise I’m finding this to be a very smooth genmaicha. I can’t really say that the matcha is at all apparent. The tea is slightly sweetish, with a lovely toasty rice cake flavour.

Not bad, but I prefer my unbranded years-old genmaicha, probably because it has more flavour. I have higher hopes for the loose leaf version of this tea, which I’ll try another day. I think this entry was really meant for the loose leaf version, so I’m reserving a rating until then. This tea bag version would probably rate about a 72 on my scale.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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45
drank Black Currant Bai Mu Dan by 52teas
2520 tasting notes

This was one of my free white teas, specifically requested. In my mind I’m already comparing it with DavidsTea’s White Tiger! We’ll see…

The smell of the dry tea is kind of artificial. Very sweet, and rather perfumey.

Steeped, it’s weakened of course, and smells more natural.

Eek. It tastes a little like I’m eating a tube of chapstick. Oh, but the white tea is coming out nicely in the aftertaste, and I’m liking the black currant there better as well. I think it’s a bit of flavouring that’s throwing this one off for me. Unless black currants are really that perfumey sweet, which is possible; I wouldn’t know.

Well, I’m definitely enjoying the fact that I can taste the white tea. I’m really learning to dislike tea-containing blends where the base tea is completely lost; they may as well be herbals.

This one’s growing on me a bit. I’m still tasting too much artificial flavour for my liking though. We’ll see what happens when it cools to room temperature.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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82
drank Sweet Merlot Black Tea by 52teas
2520 tasting notes

Oooooh the scent of this one has me most intrigued! Yes, upon opening the packet you are greeted by fermenty-grapes aromas, all sweet and a bit vinegary. Reminds me quite a bit of going wine grape picking last fall, where the guy had us sniff grape clusters to pick out good molds vs. bad bacteria. Unfortunately it was the grapes that had the smell that were infected with bacteria and discarded, and the fungally-infected grapes (I should know this…! Was the good fungus Botrytis, perhaps?), that looked rather unappetizing but had no smell, that they actually collected for a particular type of wine. Or something.

Anyways, I digress. It reminds me of picking grapes for wine.

Steeped, I’m getting much more concord grape aroma. Exciting! Haven’t ever had a grape tea that I’m aware of. I can also smell a malty black base…. smells good!

Hmm. Well we’re not having the bitterness problem here that there was with the Cherry Garcia, but there’s not as much body as I would like. Where’d that black base go?! Definitely getting grape flavour and grape aftertaste. Ok, actually there is a touch of astringency. Maybe I’ll reduce the infusion time next time.

Well… doesn’t exactly taste like wine to me. Maybe it needs some more time. I do appreciate the grape though, and would love to see a tea like Blueberry Cream Cheese Danish, but with grapes (as that tea really worked well).

ETA: Perhaps I should have used less water for the second infusion. Water just below boiling, steeped about 3.5-4 minutes. Definitely tastes like a re-steep. There’s a bit of grape in both aroma and flavour, but it really tastes just like a grape-flavoured black. Quite hoping this improves with age – I would have been happy if it tastes like that sickly sweetish fermenty grape scent it smelled like! More like wine to me :)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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83
drank Peach Fuzz Chai by 52teas
2520 tasting notes

Wow, a bit of deja-vu here. Of course, when one brews up multiple teas at a time and doesn’t do something clever like label them, they need to smell them to tell them apart, which usually works with flavoured teas. So anyways, sniffed this one tonight and was thoroughly confused for a moment, because it smelled exactly like the Coconut Cream Chai from Tealish I’ve been sampling the last couple of days. I’m not sure if it’s just the chai flavours or what, but I would have expected a difference between peach and coconut.

The dry tea smells more like a fruity sort of chai. Not distinctly peach, just fruity. With a strong smell of… cloves?? Or maybe it was ginger. Or cardamom. I’m all confused; I had Indian food tonight (and have leftovers like crazy. Don’t get takeout on an empty stomach.)

Ahhh, the taste is where they differ. Light, gentle spicing on a fruity base. Not getting the white tea here at all, which is too bad. Again, not specifically peach, either. But it is nice, albeit weak.

I think this one might need some tweaking of parameters to improve it. Perhaps a longer infusion, since there’s nothing coming out of the white tea at all yet. Not bad, but I was hoping for more peachiness, which perhaps said tweaking will bring out.

ETA: Steeped this one for much longer for the second infusion. I’m getting more spices in the aroma, and a fresh-tasting fruity flavour (it almost tastes like chlorine. But not, because that would be gross.) I think this one’s the opposite of Cherry Garcia – needs more time on the first infusion!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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93
drank Malted ChocoMaté by 52teas
2520 tasting notes

So my second order from 52teas arrived today! YAY! Therefore I can drink this without worry, since I now have 200g of it (hahahahaha).

Brewed it strong today…. success. Although I was so distracted logging caramel spice that I let it cool more than I’d like. Sad sad.

I really want to try this one with a bit of sweetener. I think that would make it extra delicious.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
TeaBrat

ha – after I read this review I had to go make some. :)

Kittenna

It’s good, isn’t it? :D

tigress_al

Wow, 200g! I have been really thinking about getting this one for awhile now. Is is sweet and creamy enough to drink “naked” (aka..without sweetening and milk)?

Kittenna

I would have to say no. It’s roasty and flavourful and malty, but it is not really sweet, nor all that creamy. That said, I drink it without anything added. I’m almost afraid to add something in case I love it so much that way I can’t handle it without! I suspect a bit of milk and sweetener would make it absolutely fabulous though, so l’ll probably cave soon.

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90
drank Caramel Spice by DAVIDsTEA
2520 tasting notes

Trying one last cup of this before sending the remaining cup off in a swap! No mulberries for me this time, so might be a bit of a different cup.

A little over 1 tsp of tea brewed at work with boiling water poured into a mug (so not boiling).

This definitely tastes better than I remember. Gently orange-citrusy and almost a bit creamy. Not really getting caramel, but that would be what the mulberries would be contributing, I suspect. No off-flavours this time either. I actually have to say that this is pretty tasty this time around. Tasty enough that if I wasn’t already swamped with tea, I might consider buying some more! The comparison to Glitter & Gold that I was making in my head is not really all that accurate, as there’s no cinnamon here (as I read on the side that there is… hah!).

Anyhow! Big bump to the rating, because I must just have done something funny the first time :D

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
Lynne-tea

Gah! I went to buy some of this to try at Davids Tea but they didn’t have any! It didn’t say online exclusive on DT when I checked their website so I was a bit bummed (especially now that I would have to buy 50g of it if I wanted to try it. Hmph)

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drank Northern Lights by DAVIDsTEA
2520 tasting notes

Bleeeeh. Knew this one was a gamble, so glad I only got a sample from DavidsTea with an online order. Smells like peppermint. Maybe a hint of something else. But mostly peppermint. Bleeeeh.

Ok, the peppermint is definitely more minty here than I usually taste. I can handle that. I can’t handle the beast that steeped leaves usually turn into. There’s a sweet aftertaste, or what makes me think of apple. Like, apple juice. Or fresh-pressed apple cider. No – green apple! Like minty green apple gum! Yup. That’s what I’m going with.

Huh. Ok, this is definitely better than I expected, but not something I really want to drink again. No rating because I knew I wouldn’t care for it. Probably would rate it a 45.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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66

Ok… being brave tonight! Trying my first straight lapsang souchong, courtesy of Indigobloom!

I do love campfire, and smoked meat, so this tea does smell quite good. I just can’t shake the desire to eat a large piece of beef jerky .

Oh man. So smoky. SO SMOKY. Shocker, eh? Ooh, this may not be the best tea to mix with others, as the smoky flavour is lingering in my mouth. It’s pretty smooth… no astringency. Really tastes like liquid smoke in a cup. It’s not actually as strong as I was thinking it could be. I kind of like it. However, I think it’s better blended with other things… brings out the maple syrup Let’s see what this does!

OK! Added way too much. But… I like it! If I add salt will it taste like maple bacon?? Hmm, not sure I want to possibly ruin it. I like it sweet and smoky.

I think lapsang souchong will be a tea for me to mix with others for kicks, not to drink straight. This one’s perfectly drinkable, but I think adding smoky notes to other chocolate teas will be much more fun.

Thanks again for the sample, Indigobloom!

ETA: Second infusion is weaker, but I dosed it with maple syrup anyhow. I suspect the smokiness of this one could last a long time, so I think I’ll stop at two infusions. Or maybe three.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

You got the right idea. I was talking with my tea shop guy and he told me that Lapsang Souchongs are smoked over different woods. Pine, hickory, misquite etc. which would give different smokey flavors. Interesting. I have had a mix with Earl Grey and one with dried Jasmine Flowers and orange peel that was really good.

Kittenna

Well I’m definitely taking a page out of your book with the lapsang blending, Bonnie! You seem to have excellent ideas about different combinations! And now I have a bit to play with and add to things – need to go read your tasting notes to find out what all you said that I’ve forgotten :D :D

Bonnie

Just start with a small pinch because you can always add more if it isn’t enough. Smoke in a floral tea is nice, in Earl Grey is good. If you have Maple like Oh Canada go with a pinch of hickory or applewood salt if you have it but just a very little bit and a pinch of Lapsang Souchong. That’s about all I do.

Indigobloom

hehe glad you like it! I think this is one of my faves. The base is really sweet, unlike some other lapsangs.

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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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