109 Tasting Notes

80

My acid reflux has been really acting up for the first time in a long time and it caught me without any rooibus at home. I am VERY picky about rooibus-it tastes medicine-y to me and the most popular blends of orange, mango, vanilla and such do nothing to alleviate the rooibus taste. I’ve found a couple from Canadian companies that look promising, but the shipping is just too high-I’m not paying more for shipping than for the tea.

Anyhow, so I broke into my Summer Strawberry Paradaiso from Teavana (which is milder on reflux), but it’s expensive and I don’t want to drink it all day anyway. So, I took a look at my Christmas Herbal Tea. I bought 2 75 gram bags because it was very good and because of the very long shelf life. I was saving this for December-and I BROKE INTO IT! It’s not the caffeine, apparently I just need to drink a hot beverage. Still, I rarely drink herbal tea. I still haven’t finished my Greek Mountain tea from quite some time ago.

But, for some reason I tried this herbal tea. Perhaps I was wanting to try all the TG holiday-themed teas. I don’t remember. The dominant flavor here is cinnamon-a very mild cinnamon (not like Jolly Ranchers). I can taste the orange and maybe a bit of cloves. But make no mistake, this is no herbal “constant comment”. It’s smooth and sweet enough to not require sugar. The aroma is a pleasing melange of all the ingredients-again mostly cinnamon, but complemented quite well by its supporting cast. I guess I’ll be drinking more of this until I find a Rooibus and another white tea. I can’t say that I love it, but it’s very solid and if it can save me a cup of caffeine and tannins every day until my reflux settles, it’s a very pleasant way to do so. At Christmastime, this seems like a Christmas-ey tea-now it just tastes good.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

hope you feel better soon!

Scott B

Thanks, doing better today-4 cups of black tea with no major problems. Been having some sour Jolly Rancher’s hard candy-the malic acid in them promotes saliva production and seems to help with reflux.

Joshua Smith

Hope you’re doing better today. Also, nice tip with the Jolly Ranchers, that will definitely come in useful at some point!

Scott B

Thanks. It’s been kind of good days-bad days at this point. I might just have to give up tea for a week or so to take care of it for awhile. I guess any hard candy with malic acid will work. Unfortunately, Jolly Ranchers don’t come in sugar free and it’s 23 calories each, so it’s not a permanent solution. Supposedly you can get the same effect from sucking on a slice of lemon or lime-if you can put up with that.

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86

This is the second green tea I recently purchased from TeaVivre. I have had Dragonwell once before, from Teavana, and it was pretty good-I figured this would be better, and it is.

The dry leaves are a pine needle green and they are actually the size and shape of “needles” on artificial Christmas trees. However, there is nothing artificial about this. The dry leaf aroma is vegetal and spinach-like. The fragrance is pleasantly intensified after a 3 second rinse in 175 degree water (the brewing temperature). I kinda want to pretend I grew this in my garden. Brewed leaf is brighter green and smells much the same with a bit of creaminess added.

First steep was 2tsp/175/1:30. The liquor is a very pale greenish yellow and fairly transparent (I’ve had “cloudy” greens in the past). Not too much of a surprise in the flavor-a very pleasant spinach and cream taste. To me it tastes much like TV’s Xin Yang Mao Jian. In fact, I am going to have a taste off soon, because they taste fairly similar to me-I am very envious of those of you with “advanced palates” who can glean more complex and subtle notes out of teas.

2nd Steep-175/1:45
Liquor about the same-can’t really get much paler. Flavor is still solid-slightly weaker, but not much. Flavors are the same-spinach and cream. Refreshing and delicious. Zero bitterness. Could probably go for a third steep.

I have been very happy with my green tea purchases from TeaVivre. I tend to drink 80-90% black tea and I’ve been wanting some lighter greens to balance out my tea drinking. These work well and I will be drinking a lot of this and Xin Yang Mao Jian for the foreseeable future.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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87
drank Strawberry Paraiso by Teavana
109 tasting notes

Revisiting this today without rinsing the tea. As reported by others, this does have a nice pinkish liquor. It doesn’t seem artificial. The color probably comes from the beetroot pieces. It’s a nice aesthetic touch. And if you were wondering about the raisins, yes, there are indeed some raisins in here.

After carefully blending the tea together, I would say this is more like tea-flavored fruit tisane than fruit-flavored tea (that is more fruit and popcorn than tea).

I did not notice any appreciable difference in the flavor compared to the brew I did yesterday with rinsed leaves. It’s still very good, though I wish I could taste the papaya more. I look for it more next time. Again 2 steeps at 175/2min. One steep with sugar, one without. A teaspoon of sugar really helps this one out. Could probably go with 3 steeps if you wanted-this stuff is pretty expensive for having so little tea in it.

It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it, so I’m giving it an 87

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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87
drank Strawberry Paraiso by Teavana
109 tasting notes

I’ve been having some reflux issues lately and Amy oh recommended some white tea as being gentler if I just HAD to have some tea during this time-and yeah, I just HAD to have some tea today! I bought this tea to have for summer-especially iced. I had really enjoyed TG’s Strawberry white and this seemed similar enough and had good reviews.

Now, I did not get this lovely pink color that everyone else mentions-however, I did rinse the tea for a few seconds before brewing. I will not rinse tomorrow to see what the liquor looks like.

Glad Teavana recommends 175 because my Zoji tea boiler does not have an automatic setting for 160.

Anyways, the tea out of the bag was mostly popcorn and strawberries and precious little tea. After my first brew I put this in a tea tin and saw more tea in the bottom-I will very gently try to blend this a bit more evenly next time, but still, more fruit and less tea than I am used to seeing in this type of tea. The white leaves are also smaller than I am used to seeing in other fruit/white blends. The strawberries and big and so are the papaya chunks. Didn’t notice any raisins, but wasn’t looking for them. The popcorn is, well, popcorn.

So, brewed at 175/2. Liquor very pale straw.. Strawberry flavor is nice, but subtle. Hard to taste other flavors as much. I gave this a second steep with the same parameters and added some sugar and it really brought out the flavors-very enjoyable. I know that I will enjoy this iced during the summer. No rating number yet-want to try it again tomorrow, but consider this a positive review.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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86

This is exciting-my first order from Teavivre and my first order direct from China!

I’ve never heard of this tea before, but Teavivre’s web site said this is refreshing in hot weather and with an early summer in the States, I thought it was worth a shot.

The leaves are as everyone says-thin and very dark green, almost black (Charleston Green, perhaps?). The dry leaves are very fragrant and smell like spinach and a touch of cream, or maybe even creamed spinach with a bit of nutmeg? Brewed leaves turn a very nice spinach green color.

Have made this two times. First time was 1 tsp at 175 for one minute. 2nd steep was 175 for 1:15. Very pleasant. Taste very similar to aroma. Spinachy, kinda sweet, smooth. Slightly weaker 2nd steep-but definitely worth 2 infusions.

Today I used 2 tsp at 175. First steep was 175 for 2 minutes. Liquor was a pale green-yellow, with more green in it than yellow. Spinach was the dominant flavor-really the only flavor that I can describe. Surprised that there was a bit of bitterness in this steep and I think I brewed this a little too long. Still, it was good.

Second steep: 175/2min. Maximum spinach/vegetal flavor. Zero bitterness. Clearly brewed the earlier steep too long. Liquor is paler, again slightly more green than yellow. Very enjoyable.

Third steep: Liquor is paler still. Again a bit more green than yellow in color. Flavor is weakening. Still slightly spinachy but gravitating toward what I perceive as a generic green tea flavor-a GOOD general tea flavor, but not as unique as the first two steeps.

Well, our hot spell ended before this tea arrived, so I can’t comment on its effect in hot weather, but it is a refreshing tea and I expect it to do well. I may even ice it.

I am mostly a black tea drinker, but I feel I need a bit of balance in my teas. This has worked out well and I will probably order it again-feel stupid for ordering this just before the new harvest came in. Still, excellently packaged and the tea looks and tastes very fresh.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Moroccan Mint by TeaGschwendner
109 tasting notes

Haven’t had this since last summer.

This is my favorite Moroccan Mint so far. Have been looking for one that uses spearmint, but not any flavoring, to no avail. My experience with RoT’s Moroccan Mint has led me to be willing to compromise on the flavoring issue, since I am not truly opposed to it anyway-it’s just a preference.

Anyhow, this tea smells wonderfully minty, but perhaps it might be cloying to some-it’s dry leaf aroma does resemble Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum more than a little. The taste isn’t that much different. Maybe not as “gummy”, you can taste the tea, but probably taste the mint more. I drink this mostly during the summer as I find it very refreshing on a hot day. I will drink it hot, but I also love it iced. I rarely sweeten it hot, but I will sweeten it iced. It’s a nice change of pace from typical summer drinks in the States.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

Arbor Teas makes one with spearmint, I have not tried it though… :)

Scott B

Thanks Amy, I’ll check it out :) I have found some other MM’s with spearmint, but then they also add other things like citrus. I just want spearmint and tea.

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88

I was excited to get this Keemun Hao Ya. Up til now every place I bought Keemun from just called it “Keemun” – no differentiating between types of grades (not even Rishi).

Packaging is great with a sealed foil envelope inside a re-sealable foil pouch (all Teavivre’s have been like that).

Leaves are black with a few golden buds. Dry leaf aroma is fairly chocolate-y. Brewed leaf aroma has more pine notes. Liquor is very coppery. The taste is traditional Keemun to me-notes of chocolate, pine, smoke. Nothing predominates. It seems more smokey if you let it cool TOO much, though.

I find one heaping teaspoon gets you two solid steeps-maybe 3 depending on your preference. I tried 2 teaspoons, and I got 3 steeps, but they were more inconsistent. I consider this tea a great value-I paid much more for a Keemun Reserve from Rishi and used 6 teaspoons to get 5 steeps-with the first one being almost undrinkably bitter (no matter what adjustments I made). AND, I think this tea from TeaVivre is a little bit better than Rishi’s as well.

I’d say this is the best Keemun I’ve tasted yet. Will definitely re-purchase when the new harvest comes out this summer.

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

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65

I bought and drank this about 2 years ago.

I love raspberry and chocolate together so I expected to really enjoy this tea, but meh, it was okay. Neither flavor overpowers the other, but neither flavor is particularly strong either. The tea base was adequate. I didn’t taste the rooibus too much-oh, but a pain to get out of a mesh strainer basket. Umm, I finished the tea, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as Anna’s-which is another TG black tea with raspberry (sans chocolate and rooibus).

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

I bet the age did have something to do with it.

Scott B

Oh, I wasn’t clear. I drank this two years ago-at the time that I bought it. Freshness of the tea should not have been an issue.

Azzrian

lol oh I see that now.

TeaBrat

I have yet to find a chocolate tea that really does anything for me…

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49

From memory, maybe 2 years ago. Cranberries are TART. You need something sweet to balance it out-I thought the mango would do it. Alas, it did not. This tea had an artificial feel and just didn’t work for me sweetened or not. Did I even finish this?

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

Bummer sorry man

Scott B

Thanks. You are bound to be disappointed now and then when you try a lot of teas.

Azzrian

No doubt about that sir!

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80

Wow, surprised no one cares for this tea. Yes, it smells amazing-could be a potpourri of apple and cinnamon. I tasted the apple, cinnamon, and tea all pretty well and they seemed nicely balanced and flavorful. Better with a teaspoon of sugar, but tried not to do that too often. I liked to use this as an after dinner dessert tea in the fall-goes great with a graham cracker dipped in it (the missing crust!). When spring comes around it feels a little heavy and tastes out of place-so don’t overbuy.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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Bio

Started drinking tea for health benefits maybe 5 years ago-exclusively bagged tea. Usually went for various Celestial Seasonings type of stuff. I bought a tea infuser at a gourmet shop once and then I realized there was almost no loose tea available. Eventually tiring of bags, I started ordering loose tea online and I have never gone back. Initially, I was exploring all the wild and exotic flavor combinations, but now I mostly drink straight teas. I still enjoy blended teas-but prefer those without “flavoring”. Hope to learn here and find some new teas I might not otherwise find. Am a vegan, so “milk” generally means “soymilk” to me. If it’s almond, rice, or coconut, I will mention that fact.

I am new here, and new to reviewing tea. Many of my initial reviews will be from memory and may not be very detailed at all. I hope to write more informative reviews on current and future teas.

I won’t let external factors affect my rating of the tea-such as slow shipping, too expensive, etc. I’ll mention any customer service problems in my reviews. I also won’t let my mistakes in not following the seller’s recommended parameters affect a rating. I can’t believe people who say “I forgot about it and oversteeped it” and then give it a rating. If I brew outside the parameters, I will wait until I brew it right before I give it a rating.

TEMPORARY RATING SYSTEM- Don’t hold me to these numbers and descriptions-like George Bluth, I like to tweak.

90+ It’s awesome, right?? I’ll probably try to keep it on hand.

80-89 – I really like this and will buy it again at some point, but there are so many teas to try!

70-79 – This is a pretty good tea and I may buy it again based on my mood, what tea store I am buying from, and what kind of deal I can get.

60-69 – This is okay. I finished the bag. I would drink it again if offered, but would not buy it again.

40-59 – IF I finished the bag, I recall this tea thinking “Why in the hell did I finish the bag?”

1-39 – Did not finish the bag. Maybe not even the cup. Tea was given away or discarded.

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