2476 Tasting Notes

70

Sipdown (118)!

Thanks again Stephanie for the sample. Finishing off the last few sips now; I enjoyed drinking it alongside supper which, tonight, was a blueberry bagel sandwich with maple cheddar, vegetarian slices of ham and spinach. Mmm! Not gonna lie; I could totally go for another one right now…

Last time I had this one I didn’t pay very much attention to it, so I’m making sure to do so now so that I actually learn something from it, and requesting it from Stephanie wont be in vain.

Most of it I drank hot, but it’s totally cooled off now and I’m kind of liking it cold better than I did hot. Hot, I found there was a bit of dryness from the tea, and it was maybe a little too brisk and smokey. Now that it’s cooled I feel like I’m enjoying it more as well as noticing more of the contributing flavours. It’s still smokey, but there are also a lot of bread notes – I agree with Cameron B.’s review quite a bit; it’s like whole wheat in a way. Actually, I currently have a whole wheat and flax seed bread in my kitchen from our in store bakery – and it’s reminding me of that in particular.

Other things I noticed besides the smoke and bread flavours were a very faint cocoa flavour and a fruit note that is probably the thing in the blend that agrees with me the least. I was having problems identifying it until reading Cam’s review – she called it raisin like and that’s exactly it. No wonder it’s not agreeing with me; raisins are usually a big ‘nope’ for me – in tea and outside of it.

But other than the raisin taste, this isn’t terrible just not astounding either. I still want to continue to explore some more Keemuns – but I am kind of seeing a pattern forming already. When I had WP’s Pine Peak Keemun I also described it as bready (though that one tasted more like Rye to me) with cocoa and raisin notes and overall it wasn’t something I was a big fan of. If these are the more common and natural flavour notes in Keemun (which I believe, with the addition of smoke, they kinda are) perhaps it’s just not my kind of tea?

It could be nice ruling out a whole ‘class’ of tea; it’d save me money exploring it. I still have the Keemun from Amoda to drink though – so no rash decisions yet.

Shae

Oh man, your dinner sounds wonderful! Love your description of this tea as well.

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82
drank Tropicalia by DAVIDsTEA
2476 tasting notes

Not as much of a favourite as when I first had it, and the leaf is rather old now (like a year and a half or something like that) but today’s mug was really satisfying and tasted like how I remember this one being when I was still a major tea newbie with a very under developed palate. I do need to change my rating to be more realistic though; by my standards now it’s not really deserving of 100 anymore…

Sweet, candied pineapple flavour with a little apple like sweetness – almost candy apple. Coconut has, surprisingly, not turned yet given how old this is and how much is in the blend. But, I wouldn’t share it with others – not out of selfishness but just because even though the coconut tastes fine to me I know a lot of other people are more perceptive of the taste of coconut when it’s gone bad.

I’m almost out. Even though I don’t love it like I used to; I hope it comes back this summer.

Amariel

I always liked this one, though I agree…not a fave, but I’d be happy to see it back for the summer.

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92

Feels like it should be nap time soon…

Just finished off a pot of this one; was really craving the toasty notes in the blend. Tried something a little different though; last time I wrote about this someone (sorry – can’t remember who) recommended crushing up the junipers to get the flavour out of them, since it’s not usually very present normally.

Definitely made a difference; in the first few cups especially there were some very lovely pine notes with a little bit of a sap like aftertaste along with a crisp vegetal flavour and a whole bunch of toasted brown rice. Last few cups were way too strong though; they had a bitter snap to them, and were more sap like than pine flavoured. Will have to experiment with crushing the junipers a little more – perhaps Western style where the tea isn’t sitting/steeping as long. Or perhaps making sure there are less of them used at a time.

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78

Sipdown (119)!

This.

This is such a good example of bagged tea that doesn’t taste like bagged tea. It’s very, very well done and something that I would happily keep stocked for those lazy tea days. You all know the ones; we all have them!

Finished it off on the way to work with just a little bit of milk added in. The colour was beautiful; it was sort of coppery and reminded me a little bit of sweet potatoes. And how perfectly that worked out too because the flavour was rich, very creamy and malty and had a soft but consistent starchy, sweet potato flavour throughout! I definitely didn’t taste that the first time around, and I’ve just finished skimming the other reviews and I don’t see anyone else commenting on that flavour, but I know I experienced it. It was heavenly.

Thanks again MissB! This was a really nice surprise, and I understand why it’s so well loved. Not the best tea in the world – but spectacular by bagged standards.

Non Tea Related; the morning I had this one our store had a really bad power outage. A local power company was doing some work and messed something up and the whole little shopping strip we’re located on lost power – the Shopper’s, liquor store and us, a giant grocery store. It was kinda hectic, but also a touch funny.

When it happened I was on break in our staff room microwaving some leftovers, and the timer went off, but made a loud sort of “popping” noise (the sound of a fuse blowing, turns out?) and the microwave just kinda broke down. I was so sure I’d just broken the microwave! Everyone upstairs spent like five minutes trying to fix it before someone glanced out the staffroom window and pointed out that the lights in the dairy coolers, meat, cheese, and Deli departments, and the kitchen were all sporadically flickering on and off, and were completely out in the pharmacy.

Not all the lights (like the staffroom light) had gone out because of our backup generators which is why the outage wasn’t so immediately apparent to us in the breakroom. We only had about ten minutes of back up power though, so it was kind of frantic getting all the customers out and through the checkout before we lost all power and the tills shut off. The coolers that keep all the deli food, meat, cheese, and dairy at the right temperature weren’t working at all, and so those departments also had to rush to get them covered with plastic and cardboard to reduce the temperature dropping as much as possible. And, our security system was down so a whoe bunch of people had to stand at the doors and not only check for receipts as people left but also stop people from entering (the doors were wide open and stuck in place). Some poor teenage girl got dropped off to shop only to be turned away, and wind up having to chase down her ride in the parking lot.

And then, when the lights finally did give out and the tills died it was so dark in the store. The only light was from the windows (which thankfully there are many of). We have a hot food bar, and instead of tossing out the food they let the staff eat whatever they wanted from it, free of charge. That sort of made everyone’s day and relieved some of the tension and stress.

We were without power for a little over an hour, after which we got some of it back – though still not the coolers. All in all, we were closed for just under two and half hours. Thanks to everyone’s quick thinking by covering all the food to help maintain the temperature, none of the food dropped to an unsafe temperature and nothing had to be thrown out; we were very, very lucky about that.

Probably the most interesting shift I’ve had at Sobey’s to date.

Mikumofu

Sounds like quite an ordeal! I’ve experienced the same kind of power outage madness at work too…whether you’re trying to save a freezer of food or yeast cells for research, the panic is the same :p

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89

Reliving my awkward preteen crush on Steepster chat right now guys…

Morgan Kelly is perfection. Sexy, “bad boy” perfection. But revisiting this formarly forgotten about childhood crush today started with me trying to find Falcon Beach online to rewatch it (if anyone knows what I’m talking about; I love you – and if you can help me find someone to watch it online, I’ll love you even more). Then I wound up scouring youtube to find the hamburger commercial he was in. Success!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukkx0cWr3GM&list=PLz-_KtzcbQuSWAs8Bb5pL3DcTeyKch5sB&index=13

Sexiest hamburger commercial, ever. The comments make me really sad though! Motherfuckin’ bamf Morgan Kelly is not a serial killer. What awful accusations! What you silly people on the internet call “creepy eyes” I call bedroom eyes.

Anyway; I’m currently trying to drink this one. I say ‘trying’ ‘cause it’s not really very good. I cold brewed it because I thought that it’d be rich and indulgent since this is one of, if not the best, caramel teas currently in my stash. Dessert teas usually do well cold brewed! I even added a tiny splash of milk after I’d strained it this morning, to make it silkier and creamier.

But instead, while this does have a rich caramel flavour and thick mouthfeel, something has gone terribly wrong with the Pu’Erh and it’s overwhelmingly strong with a very grimy, earthy flavour and – even worse, for the first time ever I’m tasting oily, slimy fish stink in the aftertaste. Barf. I wouldn’t serve this to anyone; even Tre (and I feed him some pretty gross stuff sometimes).

It’s now taken about two hours to finish half my 25 oz. mason jar and I can’t do it anymore. This is a bad tasting, failed experiment and now I know better: drink this one hot! The rest is getting dumped and I’m moving on to a better, tastier tea.

Cheri

I’d’ve dumped this one long ago. I have little patience for bad tea.

Lindsay

Did you rinse it first? I’m guessing puerh might need a hot water rinse or two before cold brewing…

Roswell Strange

Yeah, it got a good rinse :/

Lindsay

Hot steeping it is, then! :)

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69

I kind of sorta caved this morning? I said last night in a tasting note that I was feeling guilty for not doing the dishes while Tre was out of town – and I woke up early today so I used the extra time to not only do the dishes, but sweep and take out the garbage and recycling.

Also I feel like I need to defend myself just a little bit; the sole reason I haven’t done the dishes is ‘cause our dish washer is REALLY loud and the kitchen is connected to our living room, which happens to be my bedroom/where I sleep. So what normally happens is Tre runs the dish washer when I’m not home, and then I unload and reload it.

Anyway…

This tea is from Amoda’s February box – but it’s surprisingly not a totally new company, or even tea, to me. About four days before receiving this month’s box VariaTEA pointed out the company to me. I guess a family member knows the owner of the company and so, to get a little more exposure, they gave her a couple bags of the tea. ‘Cause when you know someone who’s tea obsessed that’s what you do – right? This is actually one of the ones she received, too.

And so, it’s cool hearing about a new company opening up shop (even if I don’t agree with their “health benefits of tea” approach and think that they should be offering both smaller sizes and more information on the blends – on their website it’s a little unclear what’s in which blend and the tea types and stuff like that) and then not a week later seeing them featured in Amoda’s monthly subscription box.

I made this tea in a timolino – a freshly denture tablet purged one though! I figured the flavour would be a little lighter and possibly more delicate given the ingredients so I didn’t want any sort of flavour contamination. And I don’t think I was wrong to assume so.

To me, this tasted fairly similar to DAVIDsTEA’s Bravissimo blend. So much so that I actually had to go back and double check the ingredients just to be sure that there wasn’t any licorice root in the blend because the flavour here flirted with that kind of distinct sweetness. I didn’t really taste the lemon in the blend – but the chamomile was quite strong and there were a lot of floral notes as well; most notably the lavender which somewhat impressively read as sweet instead of soapy or perfumey. I’m not big on lavender or chamomile but neither were offensive in this combination and ratio. LIke in Bravissimo, the peppermint wasn’t really the focus for me but just a nice, cooling and refreshing flavour in the background.

Overall, it was a little better than anticipated but still relatively average for me. I’ll enjoy finishing it off though; night time herbals are practically always welcome in my house!

VariaTEA

That was really weird how it worked out with this tea. I still have yet to try my sample and should probably do so in the near future.

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79
drank Cherry Blossom by DAVIDsTEA
2476 tasting notes

Sipdown (120)!

I can never get this one to come up by searching for it; I always have to go searching in my cupboard, which is really frustrating. Now that I have this one sipped down, not gonna miss that small annoyance.

I finished off the last of this sample by cold brewing it! It definitely works as a cold brew; the liquor is a pretty light colour but the flavour certainly isn’t. The cherry is very sweet and borderline candy-like. Reminds me a lot of the sweet, effervescent cherry flavouring used in Camellia Sinensis’ Des Roses et Des Bonbons blend (which, sidenote, isn’t listed on their site anymore – that makes me really sad!). And maybe it’s because I’m associating this blend with theirs but I swear I’m also tasting the faintest little bit of guava too along with the cherry. Really tasty!

And of course, it’s quite floral and rosey as one would expect – but it works so well with the fruit flavouring, and blends quite seamlessly. Additionally, there’s a nice, light but constant cream flavour – I’m thinking likely from the coconut though I don’t taste anything that distinctly reminds me of coconut. If I hadn’t read it in the ingredients list I wouldn’t have guessed it or attributed the cream flavour to it.

So basically; sweet cherries and rose cream. Comes close to perfection.

Though honestly, I’d never stock it in quantity – I know that it’d take a while to go through the leaf since I don’t drink floral teas too often, and even though I don’t taste coconut now I might if the tea wasn’t fresh and it’d turned. It’s a part of the permanent collection though (at least for now) so I wont rule out picking up small sample sizes again since I did really like it.

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58

Sipdown (121)!

So, I live in/rent out a basement suite – obviously there are stairs, right? Well in the year+ I’ve lived here we haven’t actually had railings. Not a big deal or anything, but they just didn’t exist. I’m quite sure about this because I remember when my Grandma came to visit she had a really, really hard time getting downstairs without something to grip.

I just walked out of the living room into the hall space that links to the bathroom and laundry room and our stairwell and… Railing! When did that get there!? When Tre gets home tomorrow I’m gonna have to ask if it was there when he left for Regina last week. I can’t imagine myself to be so unobservant to have gone a whole week without seeing it. Maye our landlord put it up Friday/Saturday when I was seriously out of it ‘cause of weird work hours? But even then, wouldn’t I have noticed leaving for work today or getting home?

It’s very obviously shiny and new…

Thank you TheLastDodo from the sample – this is a Teavana blend I haven’t tried yet, and while I know Teavana isn’t wildly popular here on Steepster I’ve had a few successes with their blends. Plus, where I live it’s actually really hard to acquire their tea so it was exciting receiving this one.

Dodo recommended trying this one cold brewed, and I was more than happy to oblige! I had the first half of it today at work, and I’m just finishing off the second half now. The plan was the drink it right when I got home, but then I got distracted by baking and had a beer with supper instead of tea.

Dry this smells pretty orange-y with not much else other than perhaps a faint but generic floral quality. One could almost say it’s the faint, natural floral tone of a fresh orange though, and nothing else.

Taste wise it’s a little bit underwhelming, not gonna lie. First flavour is an unsweetened but arguably very realistic orange note. It actually reminds me a lot of most Blood Orange teas I’ve had. It’s accompanied by a less overwhelming but kind of bitter grapefruit flavour. And then, there’s also a hibiscus edge to it – and it’s not all that pleasant, though tolerable at least. It reminds me a bit of the oddly beet like flavour the hibiscus took on for me in DAVIDsTEA’s Queen of Tarts blend. Bleck. It’s definitely not as strong though.

Once the orange and hibiscus welcoming committee leaves, the flavour transitions into something a lot more floral; but rather a generic floral tone and less so anything specific. The oolong base is kinda weak when compared to the flavourings used here – but it’s obvious floral too, and I’d say greener with maybe some mineral notes? Finally, call me really crazy here but I’m also tasting the faint licorice flavour of fennel!?

I just read all the reviews – no one else has mentioned fennel, anise or licorice so I’m just gonna chock it up to possible scent contamination? I really do taste it though.

If I were to drink this again, it’d likely be with waffles or some other kind of breakfast food – but I think to be anything other than average at best this blend really needs sugar, and as someone who doesn’t sweeten their tea that means I’ve just lost all interest in having it again. That’s perhaps harsh considering this isn’t bad; it’s just not good either, and if it needs sugar to be good then it’s not worth more of my time.

Sorry TheLastDodo – I loved getting to try this, but it’s not one I love. Perhaps that’s for the best; like I mentioned at the start of this review it’s hard to access Teavana blends where I live.

TheLastDodo

Que sera, sera. I sometimes get an anise note to it. heh, I rarely drink this as anything more than an addition to smoothies!

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71

Cupcake binge…

Tre gets back in from Regina sometime tomorrow so I thought it’d be nice if I made cupcakes tonight so he’s coming home to something sweet. It also doesn’t hurt that it’ll probably help with him feeling less ticked off that he was gone a whole week and a still haven’t done the dishes. For anyone curious, I made Butter Pecan Zucchini Cupcakes with a chocolate frosting! Instead of a cup of water, I used 1/2 of milk and 1/2 cup of Southern Butter Pecan creamer, which has only made them even more over the top rich and indulgent. Mmm; moist and yummy!

I am both the best and worst roommate.

Anyway, this was the tea I brought with to work today! I’ve only had it once before; cold brewed, and I think I felt pretty impartial to it – you know, it wasn’t necessarily really good but it wasn’t awful either. Hot was quite nice though!

There are a lot of ingredients in this blend, and so the combination of flavours is a little bit overwhelming. You’re tasting so many at once, and in different proportions – but it comes together to make one nice flavour. For me, I greatly tasted the sweet, floral rose among other floral notes from the oolong base and cinnamon, pineapple, coconut and a dulled down cranberry flavour. It kind of reminds me a little of DAVIDsTEA’s Alpine Punch blend if I’m being honest – but a touch more tropical and with no marzipan flavour. It’s like drinking a really, really good potpourri?

I’m confused about what time of the year/temperature it’d be appropriate to drink this though; it has the sweet fruity flavour of a summer tea (I mean common; Pineapple/Coconut) but the warm, snuggly comfort factor that a good winter tea also possesses. Have I sent this one out to anyone else? I’d really like to see what other people think of it…

Anyway; it was better the second time around! Gonna play around a little more with hot preparation styles since I have lots left and now know I prefer hot to cold with this one.

Kristal

I just made red velvet cupcakes for my husband’s birthday for the first time. My goodness, they are dangerous!

Sil

a whole week with no dishes being done… oh man. i’d freak hahaha

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82

Big huge thank you to Tea Ave for sending out samples to me along with an amazing tasting and aroma cup set! I think most people on Steepster have by now either seen the thread on the DB where we were discussing the packages or read some of the reviews that have been posted, but if not I need to again emphasize how all out this company went!

Not only did I receive three awesome looking samples with very clear and well formatted information on the packaging (seriously guys; probably the most information I’ve ever seen incorporated onto the packaging for a tea; sample or otherwise) but it didn’t feel crowded or overwhelming either. And, I know this isn’t a big deal to a lot of people – but the fact that cold brewing instructions were added made me really, really happy. Not “Iced Tea” mind you, but actual cold brew instructions. It was a small detail but one that made a big impact to me.

They also included a very nice tasting and aroma cup set with an oak tray – this review wont have anything about them in it really because I drank this cold brewed because, at this point, I hadn’t practiced with the aroma cup let and wasn’t confidant in my ability to use it properly. Everything was packaged incredibly elegantly and it made me feel like I was getting a really expensive and classy gift. I haven’t received such a beautiful sample package since I got my pre-launch contest reward package from RiverTea; and this may even be better than that!

My only point of criticism is that one side of the packaging for the samples has a clear side; but honestly with something as small as a sample it’s not really a big deal at all because, it’s sort of assumed, you’re going to drink the tea quickly and light exposer wont really be an issue. I just hope that when it comes to buying larger sizes of things there wont be a clear side to the packaging like some companies (52Teas was the first that came to mind) do.

Anyway; like I sort of already said I decided that I’d try this one cold brewed first, though I made sure to save enough leaf to do a hot cup Western style later for comparison. Since Tea Ave included cold brewing instructions on their packaging (again; this small detail excites me so much) it feels right to do at least one cold brew anyway.

Out of the three samples I received from Tea Ave this is the one that I was least excited about; I don’t really like ginger a whole lot. But I went into this with as open of a mind as I possibly could and I’m really glad I did because if I’d assumed things prior I think it would have really tainted the experience I had – and it was a good experience.

This is a really sweet oolong; surprisingly sweet. It reminds me of the almost extreme but pure, raw and natural sweetness of ginseng. Not that in tasted like ginseng – to be perfectly clear here, that level of flavour is just really comparable. With the greener oolong used here and the unexpected presence of strong butter and cream flavours I was immediately reminded of the really good, higher quality Milk Oolongs that I’ve been lucky enough to try. I’m kind of thinking Mandala’s milk oolong here; which I know is pretty popular here on Steepster and the only Milk Oolong I’ve actually debated getting more of.

Side Note: I wonder if it’s time to explore Milk Oolongs again; it’s been a while and I know my palate has changed considerably.

In addition to having similarities with milk oolongs, this is also very obviously a floral tea. During my time drinking it I was able to pick out very distinct notes of not only lily but peony and orchid as well. It was kind of like drinking a bouquet of Spring flowers with honey drizzled on them – and I know that doesn’t sound appealing, but I liked it. A lot.

And now that ginger flavour…

Again, keep in mind that I don’t actually like ginger so despite having an open mindset when drinking this I do have a bias. Now that we’ve made that clear; I liked the ginger. Yeah, I was shocked too. But, I really liked it. To me it was mild and light handed, and definitely much more of a sweet flavour than a spicy one, like I see other reviewers have noted.

How does this all tie together? I guess I’d describe the ‘order’ of flavour as a consistent and steady “milk oolong” background flavour atop the initial flavour of ginger that transitions to in the middle of the sip you taste both ginger and the floral components and then just the floral by the end. Obviously a higher quality oolong base being used here, and good, natural flavourings. I was really impressed.

Very curious whether people who actually consider themselves ‘ginger fans’ would find the ginger too light for their tastes (I thought it was mild; and usually it’s the ingredients you dislike that you notice the most – or so it seems) or whether it’d really work for them. Ginger fans who’ve tried this one, weigh in please!

I’m so excited to try my other samples now! Monday’s my next day off, so I think now that I feel comfortable using the aroma cup, Magnolia Oolong will be the next one I go for. Already anticipating that it’ll be good…

carol who

Great review. Can you tell me what an ‘aroma cup’ is?

Cheri

I’ve never used an aroma cup, either, Ros. I agree about the packaging. It blew my mind when I actually opened the box — and I’d seen the pictures others had posted.

Roswell Strange

@carol who – this is the video that someone else linked me to use as reference when learning to use my shiny new aroma cup! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUl1_FeACmg :)

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Profile

Bio

Hello;

My name is Kelly. I’m a nearly twenty tea drinker and reviewer living in Saskatchablah, Canada. I started drinking loose leaf fairly casually a little over a year ago, and at some point between then and now that ‘fun little hobby’ turned into a serious, serious obsession.

Typically I drink flavoured blends more that straight but one of my mini goals this year is to get that ratio to a more 50/50 level. I do a daily cold brew, and have at least (but usually a lot more) two hot cups of tea every day. Naturally I lean towards black or white blends, but I WILL drink everything; the last half year or so I’ve been challenging myself by further exploring Oolong and Pu’Erh which are the tea types I know the least about overall.

My default for preparation is Western Style with zero additives (the exception being matcha which I drink in milk with no additives); so unless I mention otherwise you can assume that’s how I’ve prepared my tea!

Favourite flavours/ingredients: Pear, Lychee, Cranberry, Cream, Melon, Pineapple, Malt, Roasty

Least favourite flavours/ingredients:
Lemongrass, ginger/“Chai” in general, raisins, overly vegetal, chamomile

I also have a severe allergy to mushrooms; as such I do not drink Kombucha teas!

Currently exploring/looking to try: Straight Pu’Erh or Dark/Roasted Oolong, Sweet Potato flavoured blends.

Location

Saskatoon, SK, Canada

Website

http://guyfierithirdandfinala...

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