2972 Tasting Notes

80

Sipdown! 981. Thank you to Sil for this sample (and TerriHarpLady, because it’s her writing on the baggie :D)

Pulled out my unflavoured “drink now” basket to get a few things down before I fill up my 6 Timolinos for some babysitting tonight (and those Timolinos will not be containing single cup samples). This one was at the top of the basket, so here we are! Aroma is lovely, sweet and malty, and the flavour is… unexpected. I was anticipating more of a standard yunnan/hay-y flavour based on the aroma (even though that’s not a profile I’d use for a tea called “red-tailed hawk”!), but although it has those notes, it also has… cherry? Yeah, it took me a bit to identify it, but I’m definitely tasting a cherry fruitiness. There is also some astringency here, but it might be due to slightly overleafing (under-pouring of water, more accurately), and it’s actually not unpleasant, because it’s fairly mild. Overall, pretty tasty and unique. Not a tea I’d have too often because it’s a little on the potent side for me, but it’s still delicious.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Sil

darjeeling…lower temp tastes better :)

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40

Thanks to Max for sending a free sample of this tea! I haven’t previously tried a coffee leaf tea, so have no real expectations (except a hope that it doesn’t taste like coffee, haha.)

Upon opening the packet, I can detect a very herbally sort of aroma… very similar to guayusa, so kind of grassy (not too green, though), and a bit sweet/hay-ish. I opted to brew the tea in a filter basket instead of the provided paper filter, so poured it in (the tea was small fragments and dust, for the most part), and brewed with boiling water for about 4 minutes. The result tastes and smells exactly like guayusa to me. It’s pretty smooth (though there’s a touch of bitterness as it cools), but tastes very herbal. I can’t say that I understand any of the associations to black tea, though I suppose it would be most like the types I’m not fond of (ceylon? yunnan? The ones without the chocolate/raisiny goodness.) Anyhow, I’m not a fan of guayusa, unfortunately, so I’m not really a fan of this tea.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
MaxR

Hmm, it’s too bad you didn’t enjoy our infusion. I guess it just isn’t your cup of tea, so to speak :)

Thanks for reviewing!
Max

Kittenna

I really wanted to like it, but it was just too herbally for me. There are a lot of people who really enjoy guayusa though, and I think they’d quite enjoy this :)

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75

Yep, this one still holds the position of “tasty, but not impressive next to the lesser version”. I made it for a travel mug tonight, and the tea has just cooled to the point of being just above lukewarm (my favourite drinking range, I’ve determined, is the temperatures starting maybe a degree or two above mouth/body temperature, and going about as hot as water you’d comfortably shower in. Yes, it’s a small range.) Anyhow, drinking it at this temperature, I can certainly taste the resemblance to regular PTA, with delicious raisiny tones. The problem is, they’re just not as strong, and they’re masked by a malty, hay-y flavour which isn’t bad by any means. But I want raisins.

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60

Weird… apparently my last experience with this one was rather odd, involving a mixup with the White Chocolate Tea, and an association with spiced cat food. Anyhow! This time it was better, although I greatly prefer Butiki’s Two Friends for the chocolate/orange combo. I could taste citrus (not specifically orange), and some chocolate, but was also getting some cinnamon notes, which I didn’t particularly want. I guess I want my chocolate orange teas to be like Terry’s chocolate oranges. Two flavours. Either way, it was still drinkable, but I must mention that in addition to the overleafing (1 rounded tbsp), I ran out of hot water when pouring this since it was the third tea, and so it infused into maybe 8 oz. So that’s about double my normal ratio, and the flavour still wasn’t overly strong, so I think these teas are a bit on the weak side (age could be a factor here, but the bags are and have been well-sealed the whole time I’ve had them). Overall, a decent cup, but not remarkable.

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70
drank Dark Chocolate Tea by sTEAp Shoppe
2972 tasting notes

Was craving something different tonight, and opted for this tea, which means I only have a regular mug’s worth left (another pre-sipdown, yessss). Travel-mugged it since I was headed to handbell practice tonight, and it was COLD outside. And by cold, I mean -3C and I’m lame.

Anyhow, I apparently didn’t much care for this before, but I overleafed tonight (1 rounded tbsp tea for ~12 oz. water), gave it a nice long infusion (4-5 minutes?) and found it to be pretty satisfying. Dark chocolate, roasty base that tasted kind of like there was a touch of pu’erh mixed in there, and fairly smooth. Can’t really complain! Bumping the rating a bit because I did rather enjoy my mug of it tonight.

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78
drank Nutmeg Cream by Butiki Teas
2972 tasting notes

OM nom nom. Craving spiced tea, and saw a review for this, so pulled it out. Pretty darn delicious (perrrrfect spicing), although a tendency to become astringent. I used a bit more than 1.5 tsp for my… 10 oz., probably, cup, and that seems to be a good amount. Getting delicious raisiny tones and spice in the aftertaste, and although it’s enjoyable, I’d probably prefer a different base tea. And more cream (though it’s quite apparent there’s cream in here, otherwise it would not be nearly so good.)

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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62
drank Golden Stars by Butiki Teas
2972 tasting notes

Haven’t had this one in a while, so brought it out to try. It’s a very light, hay-y green. Almost more of a white profile, in my opinion. Not really my thing, as I prefer more flavour. I used 7 “stars” for 8 oz. water, and brewed as directed (4.5 minutes at 185F), and I don’t think more would really improve the flavour. Will see whether the resteep is better.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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73

… Snow :( :( :(

Anyways, brewed the last of this up yesterday because I was trying to get myself into a pu’erh mood and drink some of mine up. Unfortunately, no dice, as my tummy didn’t really appreciate it. I guess I’m just not a big fan of shu pu’erh. Oh well. It’s still pretty good as they go – very earthy, rich, and smooth, with minimal fishiness. Just not what my palate prefers, and I should probably stop trying to force it! :P

Also, sipdown! 983.

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70
drank Saigon Chai (organic) by DAVIDsTEA
2972 tasting notes

Morning proTEAn latte with vanilla Promasil. Noms. Getting a very drying sensation in my mouth though, and I’m pretty sure it’s the tea, not the protein powder. Not my favourite chai, but it will do. (I actually don’t think I would drink this chai without some sort of sweetening, as I just don’t like it otherwise.)

Fjellrev

Nice idea! I’ve been meaning to mix my protein powder with cold brew. Hmm.

Kittenna

My trainer has some “birthday cake” flavoured protein powder and apparently it also makes great lattes. I had a Salted Caramel one a while ago and it was delicious. I feel like other latte + sweetening friendly teas would also work great. (I want to try this with my better chai, from Tea Desire, that I had half a kg and much preferred the flavour of.)

Fjellrev

I can see it being really good since a lot of people on My Fitness Pal like to put protein powder in their coffee. How much do you put ratio-wise? Like a couple tablespoons per cup of tea?

Kittenna

I put a half scoop in my DT Halloween mug (so, 12 oz. tea?). I’d try it to taste – too little and it’s oddly weak, too much and your tea will taste like protein powder (mine has a strong flavour, so I don’t want too much).

Kittenna

And, I believe a half scoop is around 1 tbsp.

Fjellrev

Ah yeah, that would make sense. I think one scoop on mine = ~30g.

Kittenna

I think that’s what mine is too. Seems fairly standard (I guess? I’m relatively new to this whole protein powder thing!)

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82
drank Organic Houjicha by Hibiki-an
2972 tasting notes

Ugh, headache. Anyways, brewed this up yesterday after reading someone’s note on houjicha, but didn’t end up finishing the cup as my tummy was waterlogged (tealogged?) Instead, I’ve ended up drinking it cold today. Loving the roastiness and bit of saline seaweed flavour, and the aftertaste is deliciously caramelly.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML
dragondrool

Hope you’re feeling better today!

Kittenna

Thanks! I seem to be :) Possibly some large temperature fluctuations contributing to headachiness.

Lariel of Lórien

Don’t forget to drink lots of water (of the non-delicious leaf variety too.)

Kittenna

I’m bad with that, admittedly! I don’t get headaches all that often, but I think about half the time, they’re from dehydration.

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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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