239 Tasting Notes

70
drank French Vanilla by Bigelow
239 tasting notes

This is my friend’s favorite tea. It was on sale this week in the grocery store, so I picked up a box to try for myself. Dry, the scent of the tea bag is overwhelmingly french vanilla — creamy, sweet. Steeped, the smell is just as strong, though I think it only smooths out the black base and the only french vanilla I’m getting is in the scent. As it cools, this becomes astringent, in contrast to the still-overwhelming scent.

I like this one. I shouldn’t have a problem working through the rest of the box.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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75

Made this one with an infuser mug instead of the Breville this morning, then left it to cool for about 15 minutes. It’s so much better in a ceramic cup than in my steel travel mugs! I’m getting coconut and banana, and I think the toffee is sweetening both of those notes. Yum! The flavors seem to come out more after the sip than during the sip, but that’s completely fine by me.

This whole experiment does make me wonder if my travel mugs are ruining my tea, however. I have a Timolino and two Contigos — all steel and very good at retaining heat. Maybe my tea is being kept too hot for too long and it’s messing up the flavor? If anyone has any experience with glass travel tumblers, please let me know if those lead to tea with better taste or not!

Flavors: banana, Coconut

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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90
reviewed One Touch Tea Maker by Breville
239 tasting notes

So, at the end of last year, I got out of the habit of making tea to take to work with me. I was tired and getting up twenty minutes earlier so I could get the kettle running and make up some travel mugs was just not happening. I mean, I could be sleeping during that time! As a result of this, I ended up drinking a lot of the free coffee my workplace provides. Which would be fine except that coffee turns me into an anxiety-riddled, panic-stricken, hyperactive nut who crashes within two hours and gets bad headaches.

Anyway.

My fiance bought this for me so I could make tea in the mornings without sacrificing a bit of sleep to do it. Also so that I’d stop drinking the coffee at work.

I love this thing so much. My only complaint is how time is set for the auto-start feature — I really hate that I had to scroll through to the correct time minute-by-minute, rather than just being able to set the hour and minute separately. Other than that, this is fantastic. Finer temperature control than my previous kettle, I wake up to fresh tea (even if I’m still having trouble adding enough leaf to the basket), and it’s so much fun to watch the water heat up! I really can’t recommend this enough!

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85

A disappointing send off for this delicious tea.

I made some in my Breville One Touch (review on that to come) for this morning and all I’m getting is smooth generic tea taste. I get the feeling that it’s because this one is always best in a 12oz mug, 1.5 tsp of tea, topped with caramel coffee creamer after it’s brewed. Every time I’ve had it prepared that way, I can taste the graham cracker crust and creamy tang of the cheesecake. Larger batches of this tea fall short.

I did get a chance to try this chilled, however, and found that the chocolate really pops that way … but there’s also some bitterness. Hot is still the way to go with this one.

On the bright side, I’ve shared a lot of this tea with friends and everyone whose tried it loves it. So when I place another Adagio order to get more of this (and I need more), I’ll have people to split it with. Yay!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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75

Breakfast/work tea!

I think I’m going to have to try this in a mug just to see if there’s any difference between that and travel mug prep. I made this to take to work with me this morning. I’m trying to get back in the habit of taking tea to work with me instead of just drinking the coffee that’s constantly available in the cafeteria. My fiance has pointed out that I’m much more anxious/panicky on days when I drink coffee and that I seem to be calmer when I have tea instead. So, waking up earlier to make tea it is.

This one smells tropical – banana and coconut. It even tastes tropical, but I get the feeling that’s a scent-influencing-perceived-taste thing. As the tea cools, I’m picking up baked goods notes from the coconut with maybe the slightest sour edge. The banana adds creaminess.

I added some rock sugar in an effort to make the toffee element of this pop, but I don’t think the sugar actually did anything. Maybe tomorrow I’ll add more or just have it plain. Overall, I’m enjoying this one!

Flavors: Creamy, Pastries

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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90

My local Target never has tea.

Before I moved, Target was a great source of bagged tea. They had nice quality bagged teas for less than what the grocery store charged. After I moved in with my fiance, however, I got a different local Target that did not sell tea.

I ended up at this tea-shirking store earlier today in search of light bulbs, and, to my surprise, there was a whole display of Tazo teas. Around the corner from that was a stack of Harney & Sons and Tiesta loose leaf! Apparently, Target is breaking into tea loose leaf style – woo hoo!

This is the tea I picked out today. I really want a great blueberry tea and this fits the bill nicely. It’s tart and sweet and very very blueberry. I normally associate tart with strawberries, but this tea feels very accurate to the blueberries I picked as a kid.

I love it. I can’t wait to see how it is with a little bit of sugar. Yay, blueberries!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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67

I was hoping for something sweeter with this tea. I don’t get a lot of flavor beyond smooth, though this tea does have a silky mouthfeel that follows each sip. As it cools, it gets a bit bitter — I think this is the hazelnut coming out. At room temperature, the black base is astringent but pleasantly so.

I’ll have to try this with sugar next time and see if I get more of a candy taste.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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70
drank Swampwater by DAVIDsTEA
239 tasting notes

I’m not digging this one lately. The first time I had it, it was really enjoyable, especially when it cooled down. Fruity, oaty, delicous tea. Over the past two days, it’s gotten sour as it cools. It’s still fruity … but almost off-putting because of the sour/bitter element. I have enough leaf left for two more cups and I think I’m going to try to sip this one down today or tomorrow just to get it out of the way. The good part is that, if I finish it off, it will be my fourth sipdown of the week. The bad news is that this is another tea that I loved up front and then was disappointed by subsequent cups.

On the bright side, even a disappointing cup of this one is still somewhat enjoyable?

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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74

Unexpected sipdown! Just in time for me to add a bunch of Boxing Day sale teas to my cupboard…

This is a finicky tea for me. I tend to think of black tea as being more flexible just because the ones I have on hand can typically be steeped in boiling water with no problems. This one, however, steeped in boiling water for 3 minutes is beyond bitter. Two minutes at 200F seems to be the sweet spot.

The first steep of this is smooth and lacking in astringency. I don’t get fruit or vanilla notes, but I think that’s what’s cutting the astringency of the black base. Upon the second steeping, the tea gets a little bitter, but still a decent, drinkable tea.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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80
drank Moroccan Mint by Tea Forte
239 tasting notes

So this is my first Moroccan Mint, and I really like it. I could smell the dry leaf all day long – so minty and fresh! I brewed it in my Kati cup and, I gotta say, the infuser sure lets a lot of little tea pieces through. Despite the fact that I’ve got a lot of tea dust in the bottom of my cup, this isn’t bitter. I think the mint keeps it from getting bitter.

I only have two more sample packets of this on hand, so I think I’ll look for other Moroccan Mints to try out.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Bio

I became interested in tea spring 2013, when some friends of mine brought me to a local tea shop. I’ve been experimenting since, and am absolutely in love! I am especially fond of blended teas, and I’m a sucker for gimicky flavors.

My cupboard is stocked with a lot of DAVIDsTEA at the present, although I do have a few teas from some local shops. I’m looking forward to branching out and trying teas from different vendors and shops. Let the journey begin!

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