2606 Tasting Notes

93
drank Malted ChocoMaté by 52teas
2606 tasting notes

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Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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73

Now this one’s a teabag courtesy of one of my roommates (who is away for the summer).

Brewed aroma here is definitely more fakey-cherry. Cherry cough syrup-y?

Flavourwise, I’m again getting a similar sort of sweetness. It comes up a bit sooner though, and doesn’t linger as long, so it’s much more bearable. The hibiscus is also done reasonably well in this blend, with the tartness not overwhelming everything, even though this steep is just as epically long as the other. I’d have to say that the Tea Forte version, comparing them side by side, has a more tart berry sort of flavour, whereas this one is more of a sweet berry flavour. Both blends have the tartness of hibiscus of course, but the berry flavour itself is different.

I have to say, both definitely have their merits – I’m more familiar with Celestial Seasonings, so their ‘zinger’ blends typically taste “right” to me, but the Tea Forte version was interesting and different. The sweet aftertaste would therefore probably be the only reason I’d pick one (CS) over the other (TF), in general.

Fun experiment – I’m definitely almost asleep now.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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72
drank Wild Berry Hibiscus by Tea Forte
2606 tasting notes

I really need to go to bed early tonight… I actually fell asleep in yoga tonight :\ So I pulled out a couple herbal teabags and re-steeped my Creme Brulee from last night. Funnily enough, I pulled out two teabags of similar blends from different companies, so I get to do a bit of a comparison.

This one is courtesy of LiberTEAS – thank you!

Steeped, it smells quite delicious and berry-like! I’m pleasantly surprised! Since I left the teabag in for eons, the hibiscus is definitely present, but I like it. The berry flavour is quite apparent and the hibiscus is providing tartness but at a completely acceptable level. The strangest thing is the sweetness I’m getting, which makes me think licorice as it’s late-sip, but I don’t think it is. Maybe there’s stevia or something in here, though? The aftertaste kind of makes it taste like a fakey candy, whereas initially it’s an authentic berry flavour.

Really quite a good bagged tisane with pretty good use of hibiscus. Were it not for the strange sweetness, I’d probably look into picking some of this up to ice it.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Indigobloom

Looks like we were both zonked! did you sleep during Savasannah?

Kittenna

Yes, yes I did. I was lying there, thinking that I was clearing my mind pretty well, and the next thing I knew, I regained consciousness and everyone was sitting up. Granted, eyes still closed, but still. I must have been out for at least a minute – completely missed the instruction to roll onto my side, etc. Embarrassing…

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86
drank Creme Brulee by DAVIDsTEA
2606 tasting notes

Mmmmm, sweet and only lightly tasting of rooibos, which works well. Perhaps not quite creme brulee though, to be honest – it just tastes kind of caramelly. Which is ok with me. I definitely seem to lean more towards artificially sweetened creamy/sweet/caramelly rooibos blends (e.g. Birthday Cake, Alpine Punch) than fruit-flavoured ones.

Anyhow, dropping the rating a few points on this one simply because it was one of my first-rated teas, and compared to other rooibos, it’s not at the top, and I had it rated rather high. Big plus for it, however, is a lack of little candies floating around in it that make the tea scummy.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Lynne-tea

I thought about picking up a sample of this at DT’s a month ago.. but passed. I now regret that haha. Also.. I never mind tea scum for some reason. I don’t think I have let my tea cool enough to encounter it fully (to be honest I can’t picture it in my mind either.. hmm.. maybe this is why I burn my mouth so much..)

Kittenna

Well, as some other people have said, it’s basically just a nice vanilla rooibos. I probably prefer the flavour of say, Birthday Cake, but sometimes the scumminess gets to me. There isn’t a lot of rooibos flavour, which is also a perk!

Lynne-tea

The rooibos flavour is what always worries me about trying rooibos teas. Its too much for me sometimes and so I just don’t drink it. I will have to try this one!

Kittenna

If you’re interested in it, I can send you a sample? IIRC you’re not near a DT location, right?

Lynne-tea

That is so kind of you! I live about an hr and a half drive away from one… Which is very convenient for my wallet, but not so much for tea shopping haha :)

Kittenna

Steepster is driving me mad right now. I will send you a PM as soon as I can (or you can, to remind me.) Urrrgh. I don’t even know if this will post.

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83

Trying the last of my original sample tonight in a western-gong-fu sort of style (e.g. 15 second infusions). I used about 4g of leaf in my little glass teapot, and filled it halfway with ~205F water each time (so maybe about 5oz.?) Some of the infusions crept to closer to 20 seconds.

1: Woah, so sweet! A little toasty and nutty, but a delicious sweetness, and an oolong aftertaste that takes a while to show up but is perfect. This is amazing, seriously. Only marred by the aftertaste of ginger/galangal still on my palate after the Spiced Elderberry Pu’er (whoops).
2: Lost some of the sweetness now and is more grounded. It’s getting to that woody flavour that I find with oolongs, but it’s taken a sidestep off the beaten path as there are some fruitier, rounder notes in here too. I suck at descriptions. Lovely though.
3: Oh crap. Got an initial flavour of soap in this one, and it’s somewhat stronger (pot sat with wet leaves between 2 and 3). I’m wondering if the cup wasn’t well rinsed. Argh. Second sip not so soapy, but I’d blame the cup, not the tea. There’s some astringency coming out here, perhaps because the leaves sat. Maybe I need to reduce the infusion time after the leaves have been sitting (it was only for maybe 5-10 minutes, but still). I’m getting fruity notes now that I seem to have washed the soap off the rim of the cup by drinking it (blech). Still strong and woody-ish, but quite good. Just wish that astringency wasn’t there.
4: Back to reduced astringency (although still present a bit – I think these last two infusions were also closer to 20s, so maybe I need to watch that I keep the time to 15). Moving ever-more towards that woody profile.
(I might continue and update later, but stomach getting full and my mouth is revolting against the astringency).

It seems that, by contrast to a lot of other people on here, I tend to enjoy the first infusion quite a bit more than subsequent infusions (in most teas, including greens and oolongs). I don’t know if that’s because they tend to be sweeter and less astringent, or I just prefer the initial flavours, but I guess that’s just the way it’s going to be! Glad my Huang Zhi Xiang experimentation is finally working out, and thank you SO much to David Duckler for supplying me with some extra leaves so I can give it another couple attempts!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Missy

That milk oolong you sent was awesome. I do think it should be renamed apricot oolong. The apricot flavor was stronger with each steeping! A woodsy tea sounds just as interesting.

Kittenna

Mango oolong maybe?? I think I only sent a mango one and the Teavivre Dong Ding :) Either way glad you enjoyed!

Missy

You did send a mango oolong. I thought you had also sent a milk oolong from Teavivre. I could be confused with what Dylan got from winning the facebook contest. lol le sigh I’m getting old!

Kittenna

I sent Tropical Coconut Mango Oolong and Dong Ding Oolong from Teavivre :D I think you did try Teavivre’s Milk Oolong recently though(?)

Missy

Lol there we go. You are correct. Thanks!

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74

When I pulled the brew basket out of the water, I smelled such an interesting aroma. Definitely reminded of thai food, which is probably the ginger/galangal.

Although I rinsed it kinda twice, I just ran water through the infuser basket, and am not sure this is appropriate. I still haven’t looked up how to rinse a tea properly. Anyhow, I’m getting a bit of a fishy smell from it. Which oddly works with the ginger/galangal, but is weird to smell from tea. Hopefully I haven’t ruined it by a lack of rinsing!

Tasty and spicy, I can taste both the ginger and galangal, but neither is overwhelming – I have to say that this is probably the best use of ginger in a tea I’ve ever encountered. There’s also a berry note, which must be elderberry. A lingering savoury flavour remains on the tongue after one swallows, which is quite nice. I can’t pick out the pu’er in here, but it’s obviously tying everything together. Once I have a better idea of what straight pu’er tastes like I might be able to say a bit more as to that aspect.

Overall, I’m finding this to be a very savoury, interesting tea. The spicing is very well done, with everything blending together perfectly and nothing sticking out or overwhelming the rest. Definitely would help with a craving for thai food, imo. Probably not something I’ll keep in stock, but a fabulous tea to have tried!

ETA: Second infusion (same parameters): A little weaker perhaps, but the spices are all present and I can pick up the pu’er now (possibly because of a bit of an oversteep – it may have had more like 3.5-4 minutes as I got confused when the timer went off and thought I had water in the microwave… yeaahhhh). Still smells a little fishy, but it doesn’t carry over to the flavour. Just makes me think of fish sauce here though (as I said above, it works with this flavour combo).

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

It never occurred to me to rinse an alchemy blend. I Don ‘t rinse that type. It tastes pretty good as a latte and iced also. You’re right about having this with Thai food! Really good!

Kittenna

I only rinsed it because the instructions on the Verdant website told me to :) I was dicey about it though, and maybe won’t try it next time. Is it bad to not rinse pu’er? Health-wise, I mean. I understand that at least part of the purpose is to “awaken” the tea.

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82

Mmm, a tasty toasty, roasty oolong with nice roasted oolong aftertaste. Light aroma, good flavour. I definitely would drink this one again, although it’s nothing particularly special.

Going to give more infusions a shot in a few minutes :)

Woah! Second infusion at a random temperature for waaaay too long is actually really good! No bitterness at all! Really impressed! Bet it can last another few.

Thanks for the sample, Azzrian!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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72

Hmmm, ok. This isn’t bad, but it’s not as awesome as I was expecting. Reminds me of some of the flavoured greens from DavidsTea (I can’t recall specifically which ones). Nothing particularly special though.

Second infusion similar. Oh well, that’s ok! Thanks for the sample, Azzrian!

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

LOL Im striking out here tonight but I LOVE this one – sorry Krystaleyn – we all have different tea loves :) Glad you tried it though and think of it this way – you dodged a bullet – this one is not as easy to purchase in my opinion. If you had loved it then you would have been like me – dreading running out!

Kittenna

Oh – that’s totally fine! I probably rated it a bit lower than I should have (I was distracted while reviewing teas tonight), so it’s probably more like a 72. It just tasted much like other flavoured greens I’ve had, plus perhaps a bit more green tea base. Definitely good to have tried though, because I would have been wondering forever otherwise!

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82
drank Pistachio Ice Cream by Butiki Teas
2606 tasting notes

Ok, used maybe a bit more than 2 tsp, and I think I’m getting a lot more aroma, so hopefully that translates into a lot more flavour!

Well, there’s more flavour, but I think I oversteeped it – there’s a touch of bitterness coming out. It’s creamy and I can taste a bit of green tea, and maaaaybe pistachios?? It looks like I must just be one of the people that finds this tea ok, not great. Oh well!!

Second infusion – I’m an idiot and left it for 8 minutes, but I’m actually getting some more flavour here! It’s not particularly bitter or anything…. oh whoops, I drank it all. Well, there was a nice green tea flavour too, but I can’t remember the rest! Good, though.

Thanks again to Azzrian for this sample :D

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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95
drank Mulberry Magic by DAVIDsTEA
2606 tasting notes

So my new roommate moved in yesterday, but I was in the lab until 1:30am dealing with samples, so only got to meet her this evening (since I then slept until 5pm, haha). Of course, she came in to find me sitting at the dining room table watching ‘How I Met Your Mother’ with no less than 5 cups of tea :D Naturally, she asked whether I like tea…. :P Apparently her and her friend had been at the mall today and stopped in at DavidsTea (although they are mostly teabag girls, not looseleaf), and she told me that they were offered a sample. Curious as to what they drank, I asked and she told me it tasted like a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie. The only DT I know of with macadamia nuts is Mulberry Magic, but that didn’t sound right… however I looked up DT’s Tea of the Day and sure enough, one was Mulberry Magic! Naturally I then started craving it like crazy, so here we are. I’m not certain I get ‘white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookie’, but it’s pretty darn good. And because this one never goes bitter, it’s no-fail for me. So much love. Upping the rating because I love drinking this one :D

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Azzrian

If I ever make a David’s order this will be on it.

Kittenna

Hahaha, anytime I send you a swap I should include a bunch of this :D

Azzrian

Yup lol – there is always the list :)

tigress_al

It is so good as a latte!

Azzrian

Yummm sounds excellent!

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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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