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658 Tasting Notes

94

Oh, my. This is bloody delicious. It’s also my third coconut Oolong in a week.

I’m at that point where I have so many teas that I can’t recall what’s in my cupboard, and that the less-than-stellar ones never end up getting used. So there is just a backlog of mediocre teas I try to force myself to drink while the new ones and samples pile up.

And THEN I realized that I had a Tao Tea Leaf voucher expiring March 1. Oh dear. I knew I wasn’t going to have time to visit the store in the couple days I had left to use it, so an online order it was. I’d never tried anything from them before and obviously don’t have any big vacancies in my collection, so I thought lots of samples was the way to go. This left me with the box that arrived today, full of no fewer than 20 samples and three 25 g bags. It’s also left me still never having visited the store, though their online customer service was really great. They were helpful by e-mail and my tea came very nicely packaged and quickly, with a 5% off coupon.

Anyway, this tea. I was going to save it until I finished the Tealish Coconut Bongo, I was. But when I opened my Tao package I lost all control and opened the packet for a sniff. It was so overwhelmingly aromatic that I immediately had to have some. I’d just boiled the Zojirushi so I went gong fu with this one, so it’s not really a direct comparison to the two previous coconut Oolongs I’ve had. But it’s enough to say that it is very similar. The same sweet, toasted coconut flavour on top of fresh green Oolong. These might be my two favourite flavours in the world, so I’m pretty ecstatic to see that there seems to be a coconut Oolong niche out there. I think I may become obsessed with trying every one I can.

The only thing striking me as any different about this tea, apart from its general awesomeness, is how vibrant the Oolong is. Green and (subtly) floral, and impossibly creamy and silky-smooth. It steeps a really bright yellow-green, and tastes incredibly fresh. I will have to try it Western-style soon.

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80
drank Ginger Sparkle by Tealish
658 tasting notes

Interesting! I was so scared of this one, but it’s not abrasive like I expected from the scent. It’s actually quite sweet, and the citrus balances out the ginger really well. Actually, it didn’t taste like a ginger tea to me. I could taste ginger, but not GINGER. Tasty! I can see why De likes it so!

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70

I … don’t know. This one smells absolutely incredible. The caramel and grapefruit really grab me, and I was looking forward to what I was sure was going to be the Earl Grey variation I’d fall in love with and always want on hand. But it’s falling short. I’m only getting mediocre EG from this. No caramel. A lighter, more buoyant citrus note that must come from the grapefruit, but not what I was expecting. And, I’ve had it three times now and it’s always gone bitter on me at 2.5 minutes. Drinkable and not at all unpleasant, but a disappointment!

De

I’ve tried this before, at Marche, and I have to agree – not unpleasant, drinkable, but ultimately disappointing.

Jessie

So odd! They say it’s their best-seller, and I could believe that based on the scent. But I am thinking they can’t have too many re-buyers.

De

I’ll admit, the first time I had it, it was purely because of the name. Yes, I’m shallow.

Jessie

Yeaaah, the name and mention of caramel sold me.

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90
drank Pink Dragonfruit by Tealish
658 tasting notes

Wow! The lack of hibiscus makes all the difference. It was actually surprising to see how pale this was, and made me a bit worried that it was just going to be flavoured water. It’s actually very tasty, though. It’s a sweet and tart concoction of an interesting blend of fruits. Very different to anything else I have.

Sadly, I found that I needed a lot of this per cup. I’m glad that, without hibiscus, I can steep this as long as I want. But I steeped for seven minutes and still found it a bit light. It’s heartbreaking to find a great fruit blend and not want to stock it for how expensive it ends up being! Anyway, I’m glad to have some and will probably steep longer next time.

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79
drank Strawberry Rhubarb by Tealish
658 tasting notes

In keeping with my overall opinion of Tealish’s flavoured senchas, this was nice. I was a bit underwhelmed on first sip, but then the subtle flavours grew on me. Sweet strawberry and more earthy rhubarb were both detectable, and blended really nicely with the green tea. I don’t know if it’s something I’d reach for often so I’m thinking I won’t buy any at this (over-inundated with tea) point, but I did enjoy it.

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89
drank Xue Ya by Camellia Sinensis
658 tasting notes

I forgot about this tea until I noticed tonight that my cat had somehow chewed on the bag, presumably in one of his fits of hunger. He will go for anything even somewhat resembling the bag his food comes in.

It is so nice! Really mild, sweet, and a little smokey. I love it, and am glad to rediscover it. The package suggests a surprising 4-7 minutes, so I went for 4 and am surprised at how much I like it that way.

Indigobloom

awww hungry kitty!

Indigobloom

On a diet I presume :)

Jessie

Ha! He is on, ahem, a controlled feeding schedule. He’s a big boy in general but has lost a few pounds since moving in with me last year thanks to going on two meals of canned food per day with dry food only as snacks. He was free-range up till then so still isn’t too pleased about our dictating when he eats!

Indigobloom

poor guy, he has no idea how good he really has it! too bad they don’t have kitty cardio machines

Jessie

Except that would be WAY TOO CUTE.

Indigobloom

hehe it would! there are enough cat lovers out there… someone should get on this!!

De

I want to invent a kitty treadmill now.

Indigobloom

De, dooooo it!! omg that would be priceless :P

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76
drank Queen West Blend by Tealish
658 tasting notes

This is a nicely-done fruity black, a type about which I can be picky. I appreciated the substantial-but-not-bitter black base, too. But, I agree with the other reviews that say it’s just kind of underwhelming. I don’t think anything about it is memorable. In fact, it just made me want to drink a cup of Notting Hill from Yumchaa for a little more fruity kick! I expected from the scent and the ingredients list that this one would have too much going on, and I think that is the case. While the fruit flavours are nice, they all just blend together.

cteresa

LOL, look at the coincidence, I was drinking a cup of Notting Hill last evening and really enjoying it.

Jessie

Too funny! Notting Hill is so lovely. I’m missing it as I’m trying to save what I have left. I was planning on placing a Yumchaa order soon but am now waiting to see if there’s another trip to London in the works. If so, there will be some serious re-stocking!

cteresa

Oh I so have that problem, I try to save bits of my favorites, hoard them for ages, till they loose a lot of taste :( Spoil yourself, and here´s rooting another trip is on the works for you (if that is a good thing of course!).

Jessie

Thank you for the go-ahead! I think I might spoil myself. I hate to let tea lose its flavour. Not the best tactic. Another trip would indeed be a good thing, and would probably leave me with lots of free time for tea purchasing!

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74

To-go from the store yesterday, this didn’t quite live up to what I expected from sniffing the canister. It turned out a little bitter, and the super-fragrant peach was a lot more subtle. It was a nice peach flavour, though. Gentle but juicy.

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89
drank Coconut Bongo by Tealish
658 tasting notes

I had to get this today in hopes that it would make a good stand-in for the Spice and Tea Exchange coconut Oolong. Then, I had to try it pretty much as soon as I got in the door. The Tealish employee said this was her favourite tea in the universe, so that was promising!

Coconut Bongo smells incredible, and quite close to the S&TE one. Very similar both dry and once steeped, though less potently aromatic. It, thankfully, doesn’t disappoint in the taste department, either. It has the same creamy, bakey, toasted sweetness that the other version does, and a similar relationship between the coconut flavour and the green Oolong. But, it’s lighter. Both the flavouring and the body of the tea are a little lighter. This is an awesome tea and a good substitute, but I think less mind-blowing.

Indigobloom

I’m thinking we need to get a bunch of people together and do a mass order of the STE version!!

Jessie

Good idea! I have been tempted to order myself 4 ounces. I think it would go relatively quickly!

Indigobloom

oh it really does!! I’d have it so much more often if I had a big tin :P

DaisyChubb

I’d be in on this mass order gals :) Just sayin’.

Indigobloom

yeay! I have a feeling this will be on massive order!!

Jessie

We need a wholesale discount!

Indigobloom

hehe yes we do :P

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78
drank Calcutta Cardamom by Tealish
658 tasting notes

I had this to-go from the store today, since I’ve been thinking for a while that it sounded like an interesting idea. I asked for it with milk, and it was a tasty milky, mild chai effect. I really like cardamom and find it soothing and warming so it was a great cup to walk around town with. It’s exceedingly mellow. I think it would be nice with the addition of a litlte cinnamon, but the simplicity of the blend is pretty cool.

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Bio

Art history and anthropology undergrad who prefers curling up with her cat and a cup of tea to writing her papers.

Location

Toronto

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