2221 Tasting Notes

74

Sipdown! Thanks for sending me a sample of this tea to satisfy my curiousity, Boxermama!

I wasn’t sure how I should go about brewing this (I always entertain notions of properly gong-fu brewing pu’erhs and other fancy teas)… but rationality won out, and I went with Western-style gong-fu, which is more what I usually do (if not strict Western-style). Hence, a full tbsp of leaf in about 8oz. water (instead of 4 oz.), and a 20 second infusion. And no, I didn’t rinse.

First impression? Wow – this sure coloured/flavoured up nicely with such a short infusion! And the taste? Light, a bit spicy and earthy. And now for a momentous occasion… while sipping, I thought to myself “gee, this sure tastes like a sheng. I wonder what type of pu’erh it is?” And sure enough… it’s a sheng! Woaaaah I can differentiate the two major types of pu’erh! What an accomplishment. (Yes, there’s a bit of self-directed sarcasm there.)

Anyhow, as per usual, I really have no other taste descriptors for the flavour. It’s enjoyable, and it reminds me of other shengs, obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t have guessed correctly (or likely thought to guess, for that matter). Providing descriptions for things has always been a weak spot for me; while I do think I am capable of tasting nuances in fancy, expensive, delicious teas, I am incapable of describing them. [I’m the sort of person who picks up on off-flavours in various items quite readily.] It’s kind of annoying, but certainly nowhere close to the top of my current list of annoyances, so perhaps sometime in the distant future when my life no longer belongs to my thesis, SAS, my advisor, the university… I will attempt to remedy this. Until then, you get “tastes like sheng” and “tastes like yabao”. Le sigh.

On that note – my memory for flavours is also rather crappy sometimes, and I can’t remember the last time I had a sheng… and so really couldn’t tell you how this ranks up against others. I do enjoy it though!

ETA: Second infusion 30s, stronger sheng flavour, still with a bit of sweetness. I suppose smoky or leathery might be some good descriptors here.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
BoxerMama

I totally suck at describing flavours as well. lol, Glad you enjoyed it.

Indigobloom

I always get them mixed up!! the names/types of pu-erh heh

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77
drank White Silver Tips Pu-erh by Tealux
2221 tasting notes

Tackled a few new teas, and a few old teas tonight. Not that I brewed much up. I’ve been having a horrible time with oversleeping lately, and so I didn’t let myself indulge in too much tea.

Anyhow, this is nice. I used ~2 tsp of leaf, and ended up with a fairly light-coloured brew, that tastes reminiscent of “standard” pu’erhs, but is much lighter and sweeter, and smooth-tasting. This one’s not quite as smooth as the Silver Buds Yabao (not that I’m really comparing them, though they are actually kind of similar). Honestly, when I picked this up, I was looking for a tea to replaced Verdant’s Aged Yunnan Silver Needle (or… whatever it was called). I think this is a fairly close approximation to that, therefore I am satisfied. Hopefully I can remember to bring some of this along for my mom. I’m not entirely sure if she would like it or not, but it would probably interest her!

ETA: Third infusion, flavour is waning (or I’ve had too many flavoured teas). Either way, putting this aside to take to my mom in April!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
OMGsrsly

3g per cup for this one is more like a tbsp. It’s such a fluffy tea!

Kittenna

LOL I meant to put a number in there! 2 tsp is what I used, and I was quite happy with the flavour. I might try weighing out 3g next time though, since that’s what I saw you had used :)

OMGsrsly

Haha! 2 tsp is closer.

My mom didn’t like it, but she is so extremely picky. I don’t remember what she said about the smell, but she refused to taste it!

Kittenna

Awww! My mom will try pretty much anything. And she likes pu’erh (actually, the only tea she really doesn’t like is black tea, but she will still taste it if I want her to). I just want to expand her tea-drinking selection!

OMGsrsly

Lucky! I did a tea tasting for my mom for Christmas, and bought her the tea (singular!) she liked best. She ended up liking one I didn’t like, and said all the other black teas were “too earthy”. IDK.

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72
drank Silver Buds Yabao by Verdant Tea
2221 tasting notes

Well, this has certainly grown on me a bit. Enough that I would almost say I like it… I’m not tasting as much juniper as I did last time, just a thick, gentle, soft brew with a tweak of sweetness at the end. I’m terrible at describing flavours (it tastes like yabao! Yeah… useful, eh?) but the texture is the utmost in silky teas.

I feel like this would be great in a fruity blend… and wish that I could create more of Autumn Hearth‘s 12 Days of Christmas tea! Or honestly, just mix this with pear chunks. Because that tea was stellar (ok, I could say “is” because I do still have a cup’s worth sitting in my from-Sil swap pile!)

ETA: Third infusion is creamy and pretty tasty, but I really don’t have a high tolerance for this tea still, so even though I’m sure it could keep going, I think I’m done. I have, however, realized that it’s an oolong sort of tea flavour that I’m picking up here as well – I only placed the flavour because I’ve been sipping on two oolongs that are both very oolongy at this point. I’ve picked it up in the aftertaste of whites before as well.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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100
drank Cacao Tea by Cha
2221 tasting notes

Ok, well I brewed this up for the boy tonight. He didn’t pick up any of the chocolate aromas (which were definitely present!), and thought it tasted like hot flavoured water. Which is it… but still! I was happy that he was willing to try it, but sad that he couldn’t taste anything… and as I’m writing this I’m realizing that I TOTALLY MEANT TO SWEETEN IT! Ack! Of course he didn’t like it! Bleh. Maybe I can get him to try it again someday with sweetener.

Anyways, I told him that if he wasn’t going to enjoy it, I’d prefer to drink it as I would enjoy it (and I didn’t want to force him to drink something he didn’t like). It didn’t taste quite as good today; a bit bark-like, but still chocolatey, so I’d still like some of this to be in my cupboard :)

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Indigobloom

btw, how much of this do you want when I manage to hit the shop? (when they are actually open!)

Kittenna

Not a ton. If more than one of us wants some, I’d be quite happy splitting up a 50g bag. I’d prefer about 15g, but I’d guess they don’t sell in small quantities.

Indigobloom

I think they do sell in smaller quantities actually!
But I’m getting some for myself, my Aunt, you, and whoever else wants some… cuz it is sooooo good :P

Kittenna

Ooh, good to know! Yeah, it’s quite tasty. Drinking a re-steep now :D

Sil

IB….are you going before saturday? lol

Indigobloom

Sil, I’m gonna try and go tomorrow. How much you want? lol
(or you can have a sample from mine! if you wanna risk not loving it haha)

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68

Hmm, ok. I think I overleafed (oops), and I’m not super enjoying this tea this time around. Not that it’s bad by any means, just not as tasty as I would like. It’s verging on astringency, and is a tasty oolong, but I’m barely picking up on any of the flavouring. Well, a bit of spice (or pepper?) perhaps, but that’s it. It’s actually reminding me a lot of Premium Taiwanese Assam for whatever reason, which I find to be preferable.

Ah well, interesting regardless! I’ll let my previous rating stand for now, as I do think I overleafed and that may have caused the slight bite that I’m not enjoying (which may also be interfering with some of the flavour).

I’m having strange, intense cravings for flavoured Butiki teas right now… strange. All I want to do is have some Creamy Eggnog, Pistachio Ice Cream, Maple Pecan Oolong…

ETA: Re-steep is not my favourite. I do seem to recall not caring a great deal for the base tea, which I also purchased, so perhaps that’s why.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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100
drank Creamy Eggnog by Butiki Teas
2221 tasting notes

Decided to be indulgent tonight, so made up eggnog tea. Delish, as always. Craving the second infusion like crazy right now… enough that I may just go down and make it. I’m nearly out of this one (again), but I think I’ll hold off restocking to give some other teas (e.g. Cantaloupe & Cream) a chance to be sipped down. This one always wins over CC for me, haha.

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

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drank The Immunizer by DAVIDsTEA
2221 tasting notes

Bleeeeehhhhhh this is disgusting! Even with a cold it’s really gross-tasting. I figured I may as well try it now though… perhaps it can help!?

Pretty much all I can taste is mint. And I got gross sediment in my sip because I didn’t use a Finum infuser (sooooo glad five(?) more will be in my possession as of his weekend).

Ewwwwww this is so gross. So so so so gross. I hate peppermint.

I am currently forcing myself to drink this vile concoction simply in the hopes that it will mysteriously help me feel better… or something…. I’ll be hard-pressed to re-steep this one though.

Ugh. Finished. Gag.

Anyhow, sipdown! and thanks to Raritea for this one! (And don’t worry, I took some knowing full well I’d hate it. But I was just so darn curious anyways!)

Preparation
Boiling
yssah - Love is Tea (LIT)

get well soon, Kittena! :(

Rachel J

Yuck! Feel better!

Indigobloom

hey if it tastes icky that means you must be getting better! yay!

Shmiracles

hahaha indigobloom hilarious

Kittenna

Thanks guys! My sore throat is gone knocks on wood and I’m just left a bit stuffed up, so it seems like this cold wasn’t as bad as I thought. I’m a baby about sore throats though… sigh. Hopefully I am getting better! Gotta be healthy for this weekend!

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72

Thanks to CHAroma for this tea! Aaaaaand a sipdown :D

So my nose has decided to plug up again, so I can’t taste this one as well as I would like. What I can tell you is that it tastes like a fruity flavoured honeybush. A touch artificial, and I’m not picking up specifically raspberry or banana, though I would probably guess that the fruitiness was a berry flavour if questioned.

I’m going to leave the rest to sit overnight… perhaps I can taste it properly in the morning.

ETA: Ok, so after leaving it to sit overnight, I can taste raspberryish flavours, and the tasty and sweet honeybush base, but I remain surprised at the lack of banana. Shocked, actually, because I have had a few banana-flavoured teas from 52teas before, and they don’t often lack in banana flavour! Even Malted ChocoMate kind of tastes like bananas! It’s pretty tasty though. I do have other HB evening options I’d prefer, though.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
CHAroma

Hmm, might just be ’cause this one is really old. It was super banana-y when I tried it.

Kittenna

Possibly! I’m not too worried though, haha. It has sat in my house for quite some time now :P

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71

Whoops, yet again I failed to read instructions and ended up with a very light cup of tea. No worries though, still tastes good. I once thought that this was a jasmine-scented tea; now I believe it to be a different sort of floral, perhaps lilac, maybe orchid. But not jasmine. The tea beneath is just a light, green oolong, a bit buttery, but mostly with that characteristic TGY flavour. A decent tea, but I’m no longer quite so fond of it, and I don’t think age is the issue, merely a changing palate!

ETA: So! I finally understand why people prefer infusions other than the first of green oolongs (such as this). While my first cup was drinkable just fine, the oolong flavour wasn’t terribly noticeable, however it really emerges after that first infusion. And apparently, that’s what I love! Yum. On the third infusion of this right now, but I think that’s it. I gotta get to doing some sipdowns…

Preparation
Boiling

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67
drank Oatmeal Raisin Cookie by 52teas
2221 tasting notes

Sipdown! Finishing this one off, which was courtesy of CHAroma!

I oversteeped this a bit today, but you would never know – very little astringency, which is nice. It does, however, taste very grapey. Smooth from the oatmeal, and grapey. Pretty much looks like I had the same impression last time, as well. Not a favourite, but interesting anyhow.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec
Cavocorax

You are on a roll with all these SIPDOWNS. That is dedication!

Sil

Naw she’s just finally letting go…..

Kittenna

Hahaha, yeah. I’m a bit of a hoarder, so I typically sample something once then leave it, so I have a number of 1-cup baggies left :D But I haven’t even tried the contents of every swap that has come my way… so some still have + cups left.

Cavocorax

Hoarding I can understand, especially if you happen to have a fairly steady influx of newNEW*NEW* teas to sample! I’ve done that, and then I need to spend a week here and there just finishing up my two-cup samples!

Kittenna

Haha, I have a lot of tea I haven’t even tried! I used to want to do comparisons with everything I received (hence keeping the second cup), but I just don’t have the energy for bothering to do that.

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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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