2244 Tasting Notes

64
drank Ceylon Star by DAVIDsTEA
2244 tasting notes

Oooh… finally trying this tea. Massive apprehension due to the star anise (honestly, I contemplated picking it out, but figured that would be rather silly of me…)

The aroma is pretty much chocolate/coconut/star anise. Thankfully, the anise isn’t a super strong aroma, and I’m hoping it stays that way in the flavour as well (I think other people’s reviews have said that it’s not too bad??)

Yep, turns out they were right… but I still don’t love the tea! It tastes as described, chocolate, coconut, and a touch of star anise… but it’s not really working for me. I can see how other people love it, and I should love it… but… I’m not. Perhaps it’s that there’s almost a bit of cinnamon in there, and it’s coming off to me strangely… ah well. I tried!

ETA: Second infusion is a weaker version of the first, with a bit more anise. After this infusion, the leaves smelled just like star anise…. so into the compost they went.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Stephanie

I felt pretty much the same way about it. Should have been good but just didn’t do it for me.

Kittenna

I can’t say I’m too sad – every tea I try that I don’t particularly care for is another I won’t be tempted to re-stock! :P

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67
drank Black Manas by Teajo Teas
2244 tasting notes

Thanks to Piccolo at Teajo Teas for such a generous sample of this tea!

I’m still not super familiar with the flavours of different black tea types, but assam seems to be one that I lean towards a bit more than others, so I was interested to try another version of it to train my palate a bit! I have to say that the tea tastes pretty much how I would expect. It’s malty and only just slightly astringent, with a bit of a raisiny finish (that part was unexpected and lovely!) I think I will try my next cup of it with additions, as I think it will hold up well.

Generally, I’m not the biggest fan of straight black teas to begin with, so it’s pretty tough to crack the ranks of teas I’d like to drink on a regular basis, and this one doesn’t make the cut for me, although I’m sure that any assam lover would be quite delighted with it!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Sil

la la la can’t wait to try this one :)

Kittenna

I’ll actually prob let you girls have the rest of the packet. I’m just too picky about straight blacks.

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80
drank Feng Shui Wellness by Tealux
2244 tasting notes

Sipdown! Thanks to Raritea for a sample of this tea. It’s not something I would have picked myself, but it smelled good and I saw no objectionable ingredients in the blend, so figured it was worth a shot.

The aroma is tangy and quite tasty-smelling… I can’t quite place what I’m picking up, but it’s almost a little bit fruity, maybe a bit minty or something? I kind of like it though. And the flavour is actually just about as good as the aroma! Fruity but with a fair bit of complexity and additional flavours. It’s like an explosion of deliciousness in my mouth! (I just wanted to say that, heh). Anyways, I feel like I’m picking up mango/peach flavours, along with a savoury note that I can’t place. And then an intermingling of other flavours that present themselves randomly during the sip. Yeah… I kind of like this blend! I pretty much never like wellness blends, because they always contain obscene amounts of fennel, licorice, or some sort of mint… but this doesn’t have any (or if they’re here, they’re in very low amounts).

I’m not sure I’d drink this blend super often, but I’m pretty impressed! Thanks again Raritea!

ETA: A re-steep is still pretty good. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m liking the combo of ingredients in here.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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77
drank Trina's Tiramisu by T by Daniel
2244 tasting notes

Sipdown! Thanks to Marie and Sil for giving up a cup of this one :D

I can’t even begin to explain how incredibly delicious this one smells. Sooooo divine. Like… cheesecakey, sweet, peppery, chocolatey… yum! I was trying to think of what the aroma reminded me of, and it’s actually reminiscent of Della Terra’s Chili Chocolate Truffle. However, the flavour is not the same as that tea. There’s a dark background note, kind of like coffee, with a sweetness and delicious creaminess, topped off with a bit of spice. The spice is a bit odd to be in a tiramisu blend, IMO, but oh well. I think the flavour wouldn’t be as good without it. I do think that this blend is one that smells better than it tastes, however the flavour is pretty good. I’m not the biggest fan of spiciness, so I don’t think I’d reach for this tea frequently, but I would definitely seek it out if the mood struck! I’m curious as to how this would taste sweetened…

[Uh, perhaps I should read what’s in tiramisu… espresso! Which explains the coffee note! Go me, for picking up on a flavour! Also – the black base is pretty decent here. Not really any astringency; I think what I am feeling is just the spiciness.]

Thanks for the sample, girls!

ETA: A re-steep in half the water turned out a less flavourful version of the above, with pretty much no spiciness. Reasonably tasty. I do like this blend!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Sil

woot woot!

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61
drank Tropical Mango by Teajo Teas
2244 tasting notes

Sipdown! Thanks to Sil (and indirectly, Piccolo at Teajo Teas) for a sample of this tea. I opted to request a sample of the straight assam (which is brewed up and ready to review beside me), so it was great to be able to swap samples and try two teas instead of one!

The aroma of this tea was strangely rather floral, to me. I was expecting a stronger fruity/mango aroma, but it was more floral/fruity… and unfortunately I like my fruits to be juicy and verging on tart, not so floral. I was hoping that the flavour wouldn’t be the same, but it appears it is. I’m getting a floral, mangoey flavour (it does taste somewhat like mango, I’ll agree) paired with what I’ve have to say is a great black base, which is smooth and malty. I’m just not really a big fan of the flavouring, and that kind of ruins the tea for me :( I’d love to try the base paired with other fruits, so maybe sometime in the future when we inevitably make a Teajo order, I will get to try some of that!

ETA: I oversteeped (and therefore threw out) my re-infusion, but the leaves definitely had enough flavour for 1-2 more infusions. Just a bit too much on the floral side for me.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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85
drank Ruby Pie by Butiki Teas
2244 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
2244 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
2244 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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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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