1799 Tasting Notes

82

SSTTB: Pick #11

So, there are two mint Chais in The Box and both smell pretty good so I’m taking advantage of my day off to do a side by side comparrison of the two. So the other one I’m drinking is Rishi’s Vanilla Mint Chai. I prepared both the same way; same amount of leaf, same steep time, same water temp and I’m pretty well just alternating between cups of them.

And I have to say, they’re really NOTHING alike. This one definitely seems more like a Chai to me; it’s smooth and has much more noticeable spice flavours in it like cloves and ginger, which both very much stick out to me. The cloves, which I love, balance off the ginger for me, which I hate. I would have said I tasted fennel too, but I don’t see that in the ingredients list. Odd. The mint in this one is also much crisper and I feel like it suits the Chai element really well. Everything just kinda “pops”.

And then, as a whole there’s something very very familiar and weird about this one. It took me a long ass motherfucking time to place what – but as one component, without breaking down the flavours, this reminds me EXACTLY of the Halva that the East Indian Convenience Store near me in Regina (my old city) used to sell. And it’s so weird to me that that happens to be the flavour that this one reminds me of because the Halva that they sold there was like this sweet, very nutty melt in your mouth buttery kind of pastry – but with an almost “cotton candy” like feel to it. It’s kinda hard to explain, I think, if you haven’t had it before.

It’s delicious though – and now I’m feeling really nostalgic? And why the ever loving fuck does a MINT CHAI remind me of sweet nutty pastry? My tastebuds are confused, but on board with this.

Oh, here’s a link for people who have no idea what I’m talking about: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halva#India

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butter, Cloves, Fennel, Ginger, Mint, Nutty, Pastries, Peppermint

Amariel

I love halva, but I love just about anything sesame related.

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77

SSTTB: Pick #10

So this is a company that’s new to me. Like, really new to me; I don’t think I’d ever even heard of them? But there’s are a whole bunch of different blends from them in the box so I decided I needed to try at least one of them. Problem is that they’re pretty much all Chais or have Ginger in them. Ick.

But this one smells intensely like juicy lemon candy or lemonade with no presence of ginger at all so I decided to cold brew it with the hope it would be the same way once it was strained. And it is! It’s this really juicy sweet lemonade with no ginger at all. It kinda reminds of Meyer Lemons actually!

It feels like a really good summer tea; lemonade like and juicy! I could probably drink this one often if the ginger stayed absent like it is now. Yummy!

Flavors: Lemon, Orange, Sweet

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59

Sipdown (153/158)!

So apparently who can text each other first is a thing that people in relationships do; and I’m a competitive person so I attempted to stay up until 6AM last night/this morning (because that’s when Tyrell normally gets up; and fuck getting up that early, I thought it’d be easier to just stay up that late) but instead ended up passing out somewhere around 5 AM and then slept in today until about 3 PM – and I’m still exhausted.

Bad idea.

But this is what I’m starting the day with. It was one of my two requested samples in my most recent Butiki order that I got yesterday – I liked the idea of it being a tangerine tea instead of orange and cream is always a plus. Dry it smells like a sweet and sorta tart tangerine, with an earthy guayusa element that reminds me of what air smells like after a major thunderstorm. That’s something I’ve been experiencing a lot this week; it’s rained quite heavily every day this week…

Steeped up, it’s actually much more mellow than I thought it would be. The tangerine is kinda gentle and smooth and the earthy guayusa really dominates over it in a way that’s very close to being too much. I do get some cream elements in this but for me it’s not working. I don’t get Creamsicle so much as I do curdled citrus and milk. That flavour is really only present in the aftertaste, but it’s definitely not appealing and it’s kind of ruining the cup for me.

And I found it only got worse as the cup cooled.

So, this one isn’t a winner for me and I doubt something I’ll drink again but I’m very happy to have tried it because now I know. I mean, it wasn’t terrible but there were just elements to it that didn’t tie in together well for me. I can see how/why other people might like it, though.

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83

SSTTB: Pick #9

Last tea of the night.

This is, I believe, my first experience with Tea Gschblahblahblah. I’ve definitely heard good things about them though so I was stoked to see a couple of their blends in The Box. The other one is very cinnamon heavy in smell which didn’t appeal to me; this smelled really creamy though and I liked the idea of comparing it to the other eggnog rooibos blend in The Box so I made a cup of it.

I have to say, right off the bat I like this a lot more than the 52Teas version; it’s much more flavourful and has a thicker, more full mouthfeel. Immediately I picked up on heavy egg and cream notes and a whole bunch of smooth, rich vanilla. I want to say there were also playfully light caramel notes intermingling with everything. And, it’s kinda amazing how much this one didn’t taste like rooibos or honeybush. I mean, I don’t know what the base tasted like – but not that.

I don’t know how much “spice” (Nutmeg and such) I got – I really didn’t notice any peaking out over the other flavours. For that reason I don’t know if this was really a “true” eggnog flavour. More so, I think this reminded me of a vanilla custard or Creme Brulee type thing. It was very good, though! I’d certainly drink it again – maybe stock it if it was possible to do so in a smaller amount.

Yummy! I think this might be the most impressive blend from the box so far!

Flavors: Caramel, Cream, Sweet, Vanilla

TheTeaFairy

Haha! Tea Gschblahblahblah is exactly what I think of every time I read a review on one of those teas :-)

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82

And of the 12th Day of Christmas Steepster gave to me Twelve Drummers Drumming…

Sipdown (154/159)!

First just let me say that I feel like a huge tool for not having logged this one sooner given that I got it all the way back in DECEMBER. I have had it a few times since then though, I guess I just haven’t taken the moment to write about it.

My bad.

Thank you KatieK for the very generous sample. Really I should say pouch though, because that’s what it was. At the time it was one of the first straight whites I’d had. And, I really like it actually! It’s very creamy and milky with sweet hay notes and maybe apricot or something else lightly fruity to it? It reminds me of Butiki’s Doke Silver Needle in a lot of ways, actually. Though I definitely prefer Doke Silver Needle, which is good because I just stocked up on that one.

The last little bit of this one will be going into the SSTTB to kinda try to offset all the black blends in it. Some variety is definitely needed! And, I just finished adding OMGsrsly’s requested teas so I think that officially marks the last of what I’m adding IN to the box – now to just finish up trying off the things I set aside to try and send it off! The goal is to get it out (as well as my stuff from VariaTEA) by the end of next week at the latest.

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50

Sipdown (155/160)!

Man, this one still has me totally confused by what it’s trying to be and what it actually is. Tonight it still tastes like lemon but in a more Pledge like way (ugh!) with a very seperate creaminess to it and then a stronger hazlenut kinda thing going on.

What the fuck!?

At least this is the last cup of this strange and confusing tea, so my mind can rest a little and be at peace once more.

Unrelated but very exciting; the cast has been announced for Big Brother Season 16 in the US! Yay more Big Brother! I’m a die hard Big Brother fan (been watching since I was twelve) and I’m sure some people remember me freaking the fuck out over the Canadian BB this year. Well, prepare to have that all over again!

Sadly I can’t watch the live feeds this time around because they’re not offered to Canadian viewers which is disheartening, but I’m sure it’ll still be awesome regardless! Any other Steepsterites gonna be watching? I’d love to have someone to gush to/with.

This is the cast list: http://www.globaltv.com/bigbrother/cast/index.html?n=zach+rance

I just finished skimming profiles and I have to say no one stands out to me right now as super super awesome – although a few stand out in a negative way to me; namely Amber, Hayden, and Nicole… Ugh vain people!

But yeah; squeals of excitement!

VariaTEA

Do you also watch Big Brother After Dark? I have another friend who is completely obsessed and she won’t even go out with us when the show is on.

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68

Sipdown (156/161)!

Mixed this with some Caramel MATCHAccino to make a matcha milkshake. Unfortunately for me I thought this was very masked by the caramel, even though I think there was more of this than caramel? But Tre said he tasted the white chocolate more than the caramel.

You can read more on that here: http://steepster.com/roswellstrange/posts/250012#likes

Don’t think I’ll be restocking this one. It really wasn’t for me. I just couldn’t find a way to make the flavour pop or stand out, and “subtly creamier” is not what I’m looking for in my matcha.

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85

Sipdown (157/162)!

Tre and I actually had a sit down supper tonight which was really weird for us. I mean, it was midnight so that’s also weird on top of everything – but it was kinda nice? He cooked this odd “baked egg” dish with Ketchup Popcorn Seasoning on it that was really good, but would have been better if the egg yolk was runny. And then my contribution was a matcha milkshake!

This one had a frozen banana, two scoops of vanilla Greek Yogurt, a bottle of Vanilla milk, and the last of this matcha(ccino) and my white chocolate matcha. I’m not sure how much matcha honestly; I didn’t measure – just dumped. Less than a tbsp. of each?

I’m glad to be out of this; it was taking forever to finish off and was just so sweet in everything I put it in. That worked out well for this one though; it was creamy, frothy and frosty bananas with a rich, bold caramel flavour. Unfortunately the white chocolate was really masked; at least to me anyway. Tre said he tasted the white chocolate more than the caramel but I don’t have a clue how that could have been true. This was so caramel flavoured!

It was nice though… And now I’m super wide awake.

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67

SSTTB: Pick #8

Don’t you hate when you notice that a tea you thought was added to your cupboard actually isn’t, so your number is off? I just had that happen with DT’s Vanilla Orchid. Apparently I forgot to add it when I picked up 50g of it. Logging Long Life Oolong just now reminded me of that… Blerg.

But anway; I made this for work today. I actually have no idea who the character is so this is one fandom blend that really didn’t get me interested because of the character association – I just took a whiff of it and thought it smelled decent for a Chai and was curious.

Is it just me or is The Box very Chai heavy?

It was ok; the base was light and came off smooth so I guess I didn’t push the steep time too much. Coconut was very dominant in the cup, and then a mix of ginger and lemon grass. Those last two are not really favourite flavours of mine but it worked out ok. It served its purpose at the time and was nice enough but I could go without ever drinking it again and be fine with that.

Flavors: Coconut, Ginger, Lemongrass, Smoke

VariaTEA

It was quite chai heavy.

VariaTEA

Though there were some interesting chais in the mix. And, it was great for trying new straight black teas.

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82

Sipdown (157/162)!

I cold brewed up the last of this and I have to say, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about being out of this because I always switch back and forth between wanting it stocked and wanting to sip it down, but I think I mostly just feel relieved that it’s gone because now I can just not worry about it.

This was really good though; the cold brew is nuttier than the hot cup, and the tea feels even more peaches & cream oatmeal like (maybe because of the extra nut?). I really tasted the sweetness of the apricot in this brew and some extra floral qualities. There was a little bitterness by the end of the thermos, but it had been sitting in the staff room all day so no hard feelings or anything like that…

This was one of my oldest teas (from August 2013 when I first got into tea) so it feels nice to finish it off and move on to something else.

Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Nuts, Oats, Orange, Orchid, Pear

VariaTEA

Yay for finishing up older blends!

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Profile

Bio

After discovering loose leaf, I decided I had to learn as much about in as quick an amount of time as humanely possible; that led me here!

Growing up, the only tea I ever drank was bagged mint tea (especially peppermint), and mint still remains a staple flavour for me. Spearmint is my favourite. At this point in my ‘tea career’ I heavily lean towards flavoured blends; doesn’t matter if they’re fruity, chocolate, sweet, savory, etc. Blacks are my favourite as far as flavoured blends go, with whites a close second. I really enjoy everything but straight Greens though, but I’ll try anything once even if I am wary.

My favourite fruit flavours in blends are cranberry, banana, pear, lychee, melon, passion fruit and especially pineapple. I am also always excited to try anything with Saskatoon Berries, which are delicious and also my city’s namesake. I have a huge weakness towards toffee/caramel and coconut teas and a bit of a soft spot in regard to black licorice. I also adore anything creamy. I am always up for trying soda inspired blends as well because the concept fascinates me. I want to try all the Rootbeer teas! I am also currently trying to try as many Sweet Potato blends as possible.

Tastes I strongly dislike are ginger and raisins. Really, those are the only two things I intentionally avoid. I also have mixed feelings about peaches, mangoes, lemongrass, and chamomile.

In regard to straight teas, I haven’t been nearly as adventurous. I’ve yet to really explore any straight oolongs, except Milk Oolongs which weren’t really for me. In general, I really like straight black teas, especially when they have strong baked bread or malt notes. I like most straight whites, but I have a preference for silver needle teas over other types. Green teas, with the exception of Genmaicha and some Hojicha, make me feel a bit sick and I often can’t finish the cup. I can handle flavoured matcha like Red Leaf Tea sells – but straight matcha is a definite “no go”. I recently survived my first Pu’erh, and it was an alright, maybe borderline enjoyable, experience.

The ratio of cold brewed and hot tea I drink is about 50/50. As far as my cup sizes go, all my daily cold brews are done in a 25 oz. mason jar and my other mugs are 12 oz. with the exception of my Adeline infuser mug which is 16 oz. Unless otherwise specified, these are the cup sizes for all teas I review.

I prefer to drink my tea without adding anything to it, and 9/10 times that will be how I first try a blend. My belief is that milk, sugar or whatever else you add to your tea should be used to enhance an already good flavour: if the tea needs something added to it to taste good then it’s probably not good tea to begin with. The exception is Matcha; I always have my matcha whisked either into cold milk or club soda as “Matcha soda” depending on which way the flavour will be best suited. My roommate, Tre, has a very different philosophy in regard to tea, and that’s to always drown out his cup in sugar – even before tasting to see if it needs any. That’s why I don’t let him drink the good stuff ;)

I’m always up for a swap, but because I have a very low income I can’t really afford to send things outside of North America on a regular basis :(

If you’re from North America and want to organize a swap, just give me a shout and I’m sure we can work something out! Many of my teas are in large quantity so I usually have enough to spare at least a small sample or so.

I’m a vegetarian and have been for more than half my lifetime. I also have a severe allergy to mushrooms, though that isn’t something that has been an issue I’ve had to deal with in regard to tea (at this point, at least).

My roommate Tre is a huge part of my life since he’s one of the only people in town that I know. Currently, he’s taking courses at Siast to become a professional chef which means sometimes I get really nice home cooked meals. He’s a huge Whovian, which means I know way more about Doctor Who than someone who’s only watched a season or so should. Recently he’s got me into Supernatural, and now Doctor Who as well. He knows next to nothing about tea, and he doesn’t really care to learn.

The other important person in my life is my friend Robyn.

I’ve known Robyn since we were in the eighth grade – and she was in all my classes all through high school. For years she was my transportation, since I’m just plain awful at driving and haven’t acquired my license yet. She just so happened to start classes at the University of Saskatchewan the same time as Tre and I were moving here, which worked out excellently. Like Tre she’s a huge Whovian and also a fan of Supernatural (is there even a fandom term for people who like Supernatural?). She was a minor inspiration in regard to this tea obsession of mine (but now I’ve far surpassed her in tea knowledge, consumption, and quantity possessed). Often times I have her over for tea or share my teas with her (and if it’s a tea I dislike she gets first dibs before I start trying to swap it all away here on Steepster).

Some brief “IRL” interests: Clay/Sculpture (or visual arts in general), Improv, Mythology, Big Brother (USA and CA), and an absurdly large amount of TV shows – geeky or otherwise.

Location

Saskatoon, SK, Canada

Website

http://guyfierithirdandfinala...

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