2229 Tasting Notes

85
drank Ruby Pie by Butiki Teas
2229 tasting notes

Alright, giving this one a shot using my “normal brewing parameters” (i.e. 1.5 tsp, ~8oz) to see how it fares (thanks for the sample, Sil!)

The aroma is sweet and almost caramelized sugar-like, which I think is actually a very sweet strawberry flavour. On the sip, the most prominent note is strawberry… and that’s about all I’m getting, along with a side of light astringency. I should note that this tea is lukewarm, as I drink much of my tea, so perhaps that’s influencing the flavours. I can, however, be convinced that I’m tasting crust flavours in here, along with the barest hint of cinnamon. Any trace of rhubarb is escaping me, though.

Overall, this is a fairly decent strawberry pie black; not my favourite, but that’s probably because I’ve noticed that I have a strong preference for fruit teas with cream, so cream may be something I’m wanting here. One big bonus here, though, is that with those crust flavours, this tea does not taste like a standard strawberry black. So it is pretty yummy, but not quite ‘strawberry rhubarb pie’ for me!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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77

Thanks to CHAroma for a sample of this tea :)

So… I’m still feeling queasy from Chocolate Malt and S’mores Genmaicha, so hopefully this goes down ok. I didn’t really get any aroma from the leaves (this has been sitting in a baggie for a while), nor the brewed cup, but flavour-wise it’s definitely better. I got a nice-sized cherry in my infuser, and consequently (unless it’s flavouring I’m tasting), I’m tasting a wonderful sour cherry flavour! Really quite tasty, actually. I think I’m just getting hints of creaminess from the coconut, and the chocolate isn’t particularly noteworthy, but this is actually pretty tasty, and I imagine that when it was freshly blended, it would have been quite the treat! As is, I’m enjoying it. The black base is also fairly nondescript but enjoyable, and not astringent. Overall, this is certainly the best cherry black I’ve had (no floral – YAY!), and I kind of wish I had more of this!

Thanks, CHAroma!

ETA: Re-steep was nothing to speak of, but I stole the cherry from the infuser and it was amazing, and now I’m contemplating a custom sour cherry Butiki blend…. (maybe 2014 bday present?)

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Terri HarpLady

Did somebody say “custom Butiki blend”?
:)

Kittenna

What? Who, me?! :P Yeah, I’m terrible at coming up with ideas, but sooooo want to do one, haha. And then after I ate this cherry, I was like… omg, cherry white! Without floralness! Tart cherry! Stacy could do it! :P Maybe a reward for getting down to like, 500 teas? :P

Indigobloom

Kittenna, you should SO do that. Would be awesome!

Kittenna

Haha. Not for a while. It’s just lurking in the back of my mind :)

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75

So, you guys are ALL going to think there’s something wrong with my tastebuds/nose, but this tea smelled funky to me too!! It smelled delicious in the package, all sweet mapley sugar and yum, but once I popped the infuser into the hot water, it smelled kind of weird. I probably should have let the water cool down a touch more, so it’s my fault.

Anyways, luckily weird smells are gone once the tea’s a bit cooler. Unfortunately… most of the maple smell is gone too! :( However, the flavour actually isn’t too bad. The black tea base is fairly prominent, but actually kind of tasty (argh, I wish I could identify it a bit better!) and there’s definitely some mapley sweetness in here, although not as much as I would like. I may be somewhat biased, though, by the two maple rooibos blends I’ve had, which are very much MAPLEINYOURFACE (Autumn Leaves/Della Terra and Oh Canada/DavidsTea). So really, this is actually a fairly decent maple black. I imagine if sweetened, it would probably taste even better, so I’ll have to give that a shot.

Oh, and as for the base tea – I think what I’m being reminded of is the base of either Butiki’s Tamarind Pop and/or Raspberry Truffle. I’m not sure why; those are just coming to mind.

Also as kind of an aside, I think it’s really hilarious how this tea is called “Canadian Dream” yet the source of the maple syrup used for it is New England…

ETA: Re-steep was weird. I dumped it.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 45 sec
OMGsrsly

Sounds like the maple tea at Steam is way better. :) I think I’ll stick with local!

Kittenna

Yes – I wouldn’t recommend bothering to pick this one up :) It smelled divine, but the flavour was lacking. I might have to try that Steam one you’re referring to!

OMGsrsly

I really like Steam, and they are very generous with samples. I wish they sold less than 50g, though.

Kittenna

Yeah. Even 25g would be ok! Just have to have someone to split with, I suppose (so I have 25g of the above-reviewed tea to finish off, sigh. It’s not that terrible though, so I think I’ll be ok).

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89
drank Chocolate Malt by 52teas
2229 tasting notes

Split a package of this one with Sil, as I had previously had a sample from momo which I absolutely loved (I still have the other half of the sample left; I saved it so I could try it side by side with this batch, since I’ve seen mixed reviews).

Anyhow, unfortunately this tea also had an “off” aroma to it. And no, it’s not my nose or anything, as I can taste smell/everything just fine. It’s just the tea :( Unlike the genmaicha blends, however, it’s more of an alcoholic chocolate aroma, and though somewhat undesirable, considerably less unpleasant than the chloriney aroma I was getting from those blends.

Flavour-wise, this tea is better than I expected (given that I went into this feeling like something was quite off). The tea is somewhat sweet, and I’m kind of getting a bit of malty chocolate flavour… but it does not mesh at all with my recollection of the previous blend of this tea, which tasted like milk chocolate. There is certainly no milk chocolate flavour here.

Anyways, I’ll give this another shot side-by-side with my remaining sample just to make sure I’m not totally crazy, but… I’m pretty unimpressed :( Luckily, my sniffs of the other 52teas’ blends that I picked up around the same time were ok, because this and S’mores Genmaicha (and Browncoat Genmaicha) are pretty huge misses for me.

Letting the rating stand for the moment, but if I were to rate this new blend, it would be about a 35-40.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Sil

Nooooooooooo…..

Kittenna

Idk, you guys don’t seem to be picking up on the weird smells as badly as me… I’m pretty frustrated though. Will not be purchasing any more 52teas genmaicha blends, or blends with cacao nibs.

Sil

Well to be fair I don’t love the genmaicha blends from franks nearly as much as you guys seem to. Hence the….if you want my old blend go for it lol

Kittenna

There’s just something about that marshmallow/toasted rice combo. I have a bag of genmaicha from… SerendipiTea, via Missy & Dylan, and it must have picked up some vanilla contamination (certainly possible with the mix of teas it has been sitting with), and it was a really tasty combo. I imagine that you’re also less fond of genmaicha in general, partially because it’s a green?

Sil

i love verdant’s genmaicha hehe, others are hit or miss depending on the blend.

Tealizzy

I wonder if there is just something off with his latest batch. I didn’t like this one because I expected milk chocolate and got more of a tangy wine type flavor with the chocolate.

Kittenna

I’m wondering too. Tangy wine type flavour would certainly mesh with what I tasted, and I can tell you that the last time I had this, I loved it! Absolutely adored it. But… I don’t even want to drink this a second time :S

Tealizzy

That is SO SAD!! :(

Indigobloom

Hooo boy :’(

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17
drank S'mores Genmaicha by 52teas
2229 tasting notes

Bleh. So, I’m torn as to whether my issue is with the genmaicha, or 52teas’ cacao nibs/chocolate flavouring, which must have changed, because I’ve never previously had problems. This packet had the same “off” smell as Browncoat Genmaicha and Marshmallow Treat, although it was definitely more similar to BG. It’s almost a chloriney aroma, and it’s really offputting to me (and I don’t quite get how nobody else is picking up on such things :/)

So, brewed up, yeah, this one still has the off aroma. And the flavour? Bleh, I’m actually really not much enjoying this. I can’t breathe in while the cup is near my nose, otherwise I gag a bit, and there’s a bitterness in the flavour that’s not working for me (and my brewing parameters should be just fine). I can taste the chocolate… ish… but there’s a chemically flavour, and I can’t taste the genmaicha, or any lapsang souchong whatsoever. I am honestly completely confused as to why I seem to be the only person disliking these blends, when I know I love Marshmallow Treat, and I previously have tried Cherry Cheesecake Genmaicha, which was also delicious. I have Chocolate Malt Honeybush on standby as well, because it also has a really off aroma (which is why I’m uncertain as to whether it’s the cacao nibs/chocolate flavouring or the genmaicha… or both).

So, this is better than Browncoat Genmaicha, but… I really do not like it, which really, really sucks. I guess I’ll try it again later…. and then maybe swap it away to all you Steepsters who seem to enjoy it.

ETA: Opened up my package today to let it air out a bit, as was recommended. I am no longer smelling the chloriney smell (although I am sick, so take that with a grain of salt), and therefore it does smell somewhat appetizing to me. I will leave it to sit open overnight and perhaps give it a shot tomorrow. I need to dig out my package of Browncoat Genmaicha and try the same thing, because it was definitely worse. (Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha and Chocolate Malt HB will be getting the same treatment).

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

I didn’t care for the cacao flavor so much, either, but still overall enjoyed the tea. I way prefer Marshmallow Treat, though.

Kittenna

I definitely did not enjoy it. It was better than Browncoat, but I still feel nauseated from having drank most of it.

Sil

Hmmm ill try at his sooner rather than later.

Stephanie

At least you’ll have an easy time swapping it out since everyone is after this tea! :/

Kittenna

Yep, that is true! Sometimes being the only dissenter does have its perks :)

Indigobloom

Hmmm, I just tried the MT and it was amazing. Might be the cacao, since I get that note from the browncoat as well

Kittenna

Yeah, the MT was ok, thankfully. Not quite the same, but I’m not overly concerned. S’mores and Browncoat, though…

Indigobloom

Just had my second steep. Getting a hint of that chemical taste now :(

CHAroma

Wow, I’m really curious how this tastes. Let me know if you do end up swapping it!

Kittenna

Odd are quite high that I will be swapping it :P

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99

So as soon as this was reblended, I immediately snagged three pouches (though not all for me), and this past weekend, I was finally united with them! Upon opening one of the packages to split it up between the girls and I, I noticed a funky aroma. It did not smell like the Marshmallow Treat that I was used to… something was off. This has been the case with both of 52teas’ genmaicha blends that I’ve tried recently – something is just off. Browncoat Genmaicha was undrinkable because of it, and the Banana Cheesecake one was not great either. Anyhow, Sil was kind enough to let me have the remainder of her bag (from the previous reblend) in exchange for the new reblend, so in case my picky tastebuds didn’t like it, at least I had some of the “good” version to drink.

So yes. I was left with a single full packet of this new reblend, and with much apprehension, I decided to brew it up tonight. There was a similar odd flavour from the packet, but with some “airing out”, it seemed to dissipate a bit, and I brewed up a cup. Thankfully, I get to report that this tea, although not quite the same as my other packet of MT, is okay. The vanilla is stronger (possibly because this is quite freshly blended), and I’m getting a teensy bit of bitterness from the toasted rice (doesn’t happen with the other blend), but other than that, it tastes fairly similar, and I can breathe a sigh of relief. This will likely be the packet I take from for my travel mug, and I’ll leave the others for evening cups. I am wondering, though, if the genmaicha base was changed, because there’s definitely something different about all these teas. I have S’mores Genmaicha “on deck”, and am hoping that I like it, as I have an entire pouch of it as well.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Indigobloom

I’m scared to try mine…!

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70
drank Plum Crazy by Joy's Teaspoon
2229 tasting notes

Thanks to Sil for a sample of this one (via Azzrian, I see!)

Opening up the tin, I got a whiff of something rather floral, yet still fruity. Not really plum, to me, but I figured I’d try it anyways. So I wasn’t expecting too much of the tea, which was probably for the best! I have yet to have a tea that really comes off to me as “plum”, and although this is probably the closest I’ve tasted, it still falls much more into the realm of “generic fruit” than plum. Thankfully, though, it isn’t particularly floral, and as well, it is quite smooth, so even though it doesn’t taste like plums, it’s actually quite a pleasant tea to drink! I might try overleafing a bit next time to see if I can coax out a bit more flavour (although I’m a bit worried about making it bitter by doing that).

ETA: Tasty re-steep with similar flavour profile.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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98

NOM NOM NOM. Iced this this morning, and had a sip a little while ago. Sooooooo good. The cherry really pops. I will admit that I used like 12g for 2 cups, which is totally unsustainable and really expensive, but oh well. It’s yummy.

(Oh, and this was a kinda sorta sipdown, in that I finished off one bag. Still have another 50g though :) )

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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94
drank Lime Gelato by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

Cold-brewed some of this last night (I’m a hot cup away from a sipdown now! Hurrah!) but I fear that my batch has gone “off”. My tastebuds don’t quite remember how this one used to taste, but the aroma from my tin (yes, it’s one of the very few I actually have in a tin!) is quite pungent and sharp… in a lemony sort of way. So it didn’t smell bad, but didn’t smell as I remembered either. Same deal with the flavour – it’s very tart and lemony, like the lemongrass is taking over or something. I have probably had this stuff for about a year, so it’s entirely possible that something has happened to it. I’ll pick up some more eventually! And… I’m totally still going to drink it. I just may need to make a sugar syrup or something…

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Indigobloom

Hmm, I wonder… Does it taste off the way the yogurt blend from tsaa did? perhaps it’s just that yogurt doesn’t keep well :(

Kittenna

The Tsaa one didn’t taste off to me, just somewhat weakened :) I was thinking it could have been the yogurt.

Kittenna

I am debating throwing out the last bit of leaf. Just was funky enough that I’m not really sure I want it…

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83
drank Luscious Watermelon by DAVIDsTEA
2229 tasting notes

I’m making fabulous progress on cold-brewing teas! I think my previous problem used to be the hassle of filtering everything, and then it would no longer be cold but lukewarm, etc. etc. And now with my bombilla, I get to drink icy cold deliciousness straight from the fridge whenever I want it! I’m actually just leaving my bombilla in a cup in there so I can have a sip whenever I want. Such a great purchase.

Anyways! Cold-brewed this one strong a couple nights ago, drank it last night/this morning. Quite tasty. A bit sweet, a bit tart, and kind of melony. I’d consider restocking it for iced tea in the future, although of course I have way too many other cold-brewing options to really pick up more.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
OMGsrsly

That is such a sneaky idea. I might need to copy you. :)

Kittenna

With the bombilla? Sneaky BUT AWESOME!

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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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