79 Tasting Notes
Picked up some of this last night due to how much I have been enjoying other lemon themed teas from Davids. I tried it first with my dinner as a flash iced tea, I used 5 tsp of tea in about 8oz of water and it was honestly some of the weakest tasting iced tea I have had, especially for how lemony this tea smells. Being the optimist I am I tried it again later in the night as a warm cup of tea, and while I could taste the lemon in it better then I could with it iced. It was similar to what other people have said, its almost like cough drop lemon. Not sure if this is one that I will be grabbing again it wasn’t horrible but not really what I was expecting either.
So naturally when DAVIDsTEA says they have new teas coming out I generally make sure I get in within a day or two to smell and/or purchase some. I was given an early hint that there was two incoming pu’erh’s, yep not one but two! Then the info was released on their web page and I got an idea of what I was in for.
Berry Good and Aloha Pu’erh, funny enough I immediately figured I would like Aloha Pu’erh and was skeptical on Berry Good as I already have a bunch of strawberry teas. So I ventured into the store and immediately put the two to the smell test, first up was Berry Good. Immediately I was reminded of berry jello powder, wow this smells incredible I though, very noticeable blackberry presence. Then I smelled the Aloha Pu’erh, and I had one of those, what the eff is this moments. The Pu’erh used in that blend made it smell like fish to me, it failed the smell test horribly so subsequently it wont be in my cupboard. Now I figured DT released two teas this time because they knew some people wouldnt like the Pu’erh base in one, well at least that is what I am telling myself! Was quite a shame because the ingredients in Aloha Pu’erh make it sound wonderful.
Back to the Berry Goodness, the main reason I should be typing this! It brews up into a dark tea, that retains the berry aroma. Again still the Blackberry is the most prevalent aroma. The taste of blackberry is strong with this one and I freaking love it! I enjoy berry tea’s very much, but have been having a hard time finding a variety of good ones, for the most part they are heavily strawberry based.
So far I picked this tea up at 5pm PST yesterday night it is going on 11am PST as I type this and I have had 5 delicious cups. I bought 100g like I normally would, its a very light tea so it fills the tin completely, and I am already thinking about grabbing another tin for backup since I know I am going to plow through this fast.
First off I would love to know how Teavanna has come to 25 calories per teaspoon of German Rock Sugar. Seeing as all it is is Beet Sugar, during war times it was hard for Germany to get sugar refined from sugar cane so they started refining it from the roots of the sugar beet. Unless Teavanna is processing this sugar with something else it will have the exact same nutritional values and glycemic values as cane sugar, its the same with raw sugar as well, it is all pure sucrose and that is a chemical compound that does not change naturally. That said Teavanna could very well be processing this rock sugar adding more calories, to it and if that is the case I would like to be informed so I can purchase it elsewhere.
The benefit of using beet sugar is to add sweetness to your tea without altering the flavor of the tea itself. I believe there is a complete lack of molasses that you would normally have from cane sugar, or if it does have molasses in it, it won’t be the same type as cane sugar seeing as they are from different plants. Which brings me to a plausible but most likely impossible fact to prove. Beets are extremely high in antioxidants, leading some people to claim beet sugar (rock sugar) also contains similar antioxidant properties.
What I can confirm is that Beet Sugar will softly sweeten your tea without really affecting the flavor of it. I used to be a huge raw sugar fan until my Omi found out and nearly BEET the crap out of me! She insisted I try German Rock Sugar in my tea and well I am glad I listened to the 69 year old German lady, because she knew what she was talking about.
I am sure there are plenty of places that you can obtain this sugar, Teavanna does not have a special supply of magical sugar or anything; however for me it was worth the extra couple bucks for the convenience of Teavanna being close to home. I paid $9 and change for a pound of this from teavanna I was paying $6 for 450g of raw sugar from the grocery store.
Long story short: A little pricey, but certainly worth the extra couple of dollars in my opinion. But hey try it out for yourself!
Second to last sample I have from Alphakitty, and I am really sad to be drinking the last of this awesome blend. For those that actually know me my favorite author in the world is JRR Tolkien so as soon as I saw Smaug Tea I knew immediately I had to try it.
Dry this tea has a strong cinnamon smell to it, which is great I thoroughly enjoy a cinnamon-y tea. AT first I was slightly concerned the cinnamon might be overpowering based on the dry smell, but I was completely wrong. Once brewed it still retained the cinnamon aroma however it was quite subdued and mellow now, and also accompanied by a slight smoky aroma I am guessing from the Lapsang.
The final brew is a clear aroma with a slight coloring in it, my cup at work is not friendly with colors seeing as it is bright orange inside of it! But who cares, when the tea tastes this good you are not looking at it. The easiest way for me to describe this taste is like cinnamon hearts except not cheap candy cinnamon, which really makes the difference.
Long story short if you get the chance to try this tea, then do it. If 52 teas reads this then please make this blend again so I can attempt to secure some for myself! I don’t think I have a cinnamon heavy tea that I enjoy more then this blend now.
Still going through samples from Alphakitty, this was the second of two Matcha samples I got. I haven’t had the chance to try much matcha let alone any flavored matcha, so it was a great experience for me. I can certainly say that I am not a huge fan of matcha made straight, but so far as latte’s they are out of this world.
This matcha certainly has a peanut butter taste to it, it is almost perfectly balanced between matcha base and flavoring, but from what I have seen of Red Leaf you can custom order how “flavorful” your matcha will be, this will be fun for me!
I had a sample of a green base matcha and a black base matcha, and I must say the green base was not as pronounced as the black base. But in the long run both were delicious and have solidified my place with matcha. Thanks again for the swap Alphakitty, I got Smaug Tea and Oatmeal cookie left. But have been introduced to some very delicious courtesy of you!
Ok here it goes, this is one I was dying to try, well it was tied between this one and pancake breakfast! I am not only a huge fan of Earl Gray, but I am a huge fan of cheesecake as well, so this one should be a home run.
Dry this tea has a similar aroma to cream of earl that I get from Davids, its a very creamy smelling EG but 52teas EG Cheesecake also had a slightly floral aroma on my nose. The steeped tea is very dark in color and has a very sweet smelling EG aroma to it, very pleasing as I sit here staring at piles of paperwork before the weekend.
Initial taste I could certainly taste the bergamot immediately; however it faded quickly to a sweet creamy aftertaste. It’s not super cheese cake flavored which is nice, but you do get that taste from it, or at least I do. I really like the Earl Gray base to this though it has the perfect balance of tea and bergamot.
Again thanks to Alphakitty for this sample in our recent trade, it was hard to pick out ones to try from her large collection but so far I have been hitting home runs. Unfortunately this one looses a mark or two for missing out a bit on the cheesecake flavor, if it had of been slightly more pronounced this tea would be impossible for me to stop drinking. Been contemplating getting a 52teas club membership and if the majority of blends are like this one I cant see why I am putting it off.
Another one I got from a swap with Alphakitty. I have been really interested in breaking into matcha now that I have pretty much conqured all the other various teas. So what a better way to do it then sampling some Red Leaf Matcha to find out if it is for me.
Dry I don’t really get a cookies and cream aroma from it, but it does smell sweet. It is very dark and powdered, kind of reminds me of hot chocolate powder. It made up a nice dark frothy cup of matcha, it tasted really good not exactly what I expected but I still like it, you can certainly taste the tea, but its obvious why, its the whole leaf!
After a few sips of the straight matcha I convinced myself I had to try it as a latte so I grabbed one of my nice Japanese latte mug and whipped it up into an extremely delicious latte. Honestly I could get quite used to matcha lattes. I certainly know this one will be one of the first I order from Red Leaf.
Thanks to Alphakitty for a ‘surprise’ sample of this blend in a recent swap we did. It was one that she snuck in there on my and I think I might be quite happy she did.
So I guess, Dorian Grey is Earl Grey’s second cousin twice removed from his mothers side or something like that!
Dry it has a very appealing and exotic fruity/floral smell with a touch of creaminess to it. I immediately liked the smell of it so I scooped out a portion to brew for after I had finished my cup of freshly brewed Citron Oolong. I was so happy about a totally new tea I almost wanted to pour my cup out and brew it immediately, but that would have been sacrilegious!
Steeped it takes on your classic Earl Gray aroma, but with a bit more…I still get a faint presence of that fruity/floral aroma and the creaminess seems a touch more pronounced. It brews into a nice clean and clear dark brown tea.
I really enjoy the flavor profile of this tea, but nowhere in the mix do I taste caramel which is a slight shame I was really looking forward to that, I naturally always add a tsp of sugar into my tea’s this one seems overly sweet now making me think it probably didn’t need any, which is honestly rare for me.
Overall this tea is awesome, only problem is now I have yet another company to look at for tea’s. I am going to have to liquidate some of the DAVIDsTEA I have in order to make room! This is certainly one of the best or possibly the best black tea based Earl Gray I have has so far, I will have to compare against Cream of Earl Gray from Davids which has been holding my #1 spot for Black Earl Gray’s.
Tung Ting, to be honest I think this is an awesome name for a tea, not sure why but it just rolls off your tongue. I mean it’s not quite as awesome as Iron Goddess of Mercy Oolong (Tie Kwan Yin), but it’s close! Tung Ting Vietnam is straight Oolong # 2 from DAVIDsTEA and the following will be my accounts of my experience while drinking it.
I just pulled the infuser out of my perfect cup and I have to say “HOLY CRAP THE LEAVES ARE GINORMOUS!” I mean I have been drinking a bunch of oolongs lately so the unfurling leaves are not a new sight but this tea is full leaves rolled into balls smaller than peas, very artsy!
The initial taste on this one is slightly sweet and slightly piney but not an aggressive flavor at all, I would say it is perfectly balanced against the natural oolong flavor. The after taste is quiet brief and mild, I can’t describe the exact flavor but it doesn’t linger and it isn’t powerful.
Overall for a straight tea I don’t mind it all that much, it has a palatable flavor a good caffeine kick and is relatively impossible to mess up steeping! This might actually be a straight oolong that I keep in the cupboard on a regular basis.
Slowly I am going to start putting up reviews of the straight Oolongs I have picked up from DavidsTea, I really haven’t been a huge drinker of straight tea’s but I figured it doesn’t hurt or cost much to branch out and try some new things. So here I am starting with what they claim to be the cream of the crop for Oolong, High Mountain Oolong. I don’t know how the others will follow but I also have Tung Ting, Tie Kwan Yin and Quangzhou Milk. I think I might like the last one the most by the dry aroma.
Dry it has your typical straight tea smell, slightly vegetal, but very smooth and crisp. It kind of reminds me of a dew filled morning out camping or something. The steeped aroma brings out more of the vegetal aroma of the tea, easiest way for me to put it into words is bland and boring!
The initial taste is a little vegetal, quite pronounced but dies off really quickly leaving a soft after taste. I am not really sure how to describe the after taste, it kind of reminds me of the taste of Sencha Ashikubo but not as powerful. It’s not pleasing or displeasing really, but I did expect a bit more of a wow factor from a tea that costs $10/25grams.
Now that I am done beating the living crap out of this poor tea I should note that other than being a little over priced for what your getting it is a fairly decent tea. It’s certainly harder to swallow the cost of the tea then the tea itself, har har har. It could possibly come to life a bit more when steeped the Gung Fu way; however I can’t be bothered to waste that much time at work, I would probably get fired!
I will come back at a later date and add a Gung Fu tasting as well.