412 Tasting Notes

drank Joy by Tazo
412 tasting notes

It’s that time of the year again, so I picked up a box of the full-leaf from Starbucks yesterday. Checked out Tazo’s fancy new website (redone for the launch of the standalones, I suspect?), and noticed that it describes Joy as having “peachy notes”.

Didn’t think much of it at the time, as it could just be describing one of the teas in the base as having a fruity note to it.

Picked it up from Starbucks and returned home, opening the tin to take a whiff. And getting… a strong peach scent. Confused, I looked it over—still Joy, still black, green and oolong. But looking at the “ingredients”, I found “natural flavours”.

I’ve had this tea many times before, last year. My brother worked at Starbucks back then, and he brought me home the full-leaf bag, which is what introduced me to this tea. I got it many more times after that, and I don’t remember any peach.

This is the second time I’ve made a cup from this tin. It’s definitely lighter than I remember, less unforgiving with steeping parameters despite being green, black and oolong. And I’m getting definite notes of peach. But I don’t remember any peach before.

I could have sworn this tea didn’t have peach in it last year. Am I going crazy?

I googled for an article about blend changes. Maybe this is the first year they’ve added peach? But I keep coming up with no results. So I don’t know (then again, when they switched from earl grey fannings to full-leaf, didn’t they throw lavender into the mix without saying anything too?). Maybe, because I had always had this tea from an already-opened tin, the ‘peach’ flavouring had dissipated before the tea made it to me. And since I bought a fresh tin…? But the tea overall is lighter.

Seriously, am I going nuts? I checked Steepster’s “Joy” reviews for any mention of “peach”. I found that the ONLY mention of peach was from a review from a few days ago—from this year’s release of Joy. No mention of peach in any reviews from last year or earlier, that I could find.

I feel like I missed something. Maybe I just suck at finding news articles. It’s an all-right tea, but definitely not the tea I remember (and loved) from last year. Peach just doesn’t do it for me in this (and peach is a fine tea flavouring—I have a peach white). I loved this tea because it was a black-green (and oolong) blend. My favourite.

Not changing my rating from last year. For now.

Last year’s tasting note, for comparison: http://steepster.com/supermoon10/posts/55853

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Strawberry Shortcake by Teaopia
412 tasting notes

Managed not to write a single review for this one, either! I’m on a roll of negligence. I did like it, though. And if Teaopia wasn’t gone, I’d probably consider buying more. Although DavidsTea has their own version, hm.

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drank Chocolate Chili Chai by DAVIDsTEA
412 tasting notes

I’ve been waiting for this tea all year. I picked up a cup last year, but they ran out of regular supply before I had decided on buying a few ounces.

The strongest chocolate flavour I’ve ever found used in a tea (their other chocolate teas don’t seem quite as strong), although it and the spices COULD be stronger, but the smell is delicious and what I get in the taste is lovely too. Very reminiscent of the two-bite brownies.

My mother tried to make off with my cup.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Saigon Chai (organic) by DAVIDsTEA
412 tasting notes

Drank this one up without even logging it.

Pretty straightforward chai. Didn’t get much from the peppercorns, honestly. I liked that it had them and cardamom added, plus ginger—always my musts for a chai. Only picked up a small sample, and never once made it the proper way as I hadn’t the time.

It seemed like it would have made a good one, although otherwise I never found it particularly strong.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

try crushing or grinding the spices before you steep it. I find that a lot of spice based teas (especially ones with whole cardamon) taste weak because the flavours haven’t been woken up yet. Grinding the tea before I steeped it defiantly made the flavour more pronounced.

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I guess I didn’t make a note of this tea the first time I tried it. I made it as per the instructions on the packet, and it came out too strong. Very astringent, even bitter as it cooled.

This time, just under boiling, twenty seconds (plus a ten second rinse). This time, it’s almost sweet, becoming vaguely astringent as it cools (which seems to suit it).

Steep two: More astringent. Bit stronger overall. Darkly vegetal.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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drank Keemun Panda by Great Wall Tea Company
412 tasting notes

And that’s the last of this.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Salted Caramel by DAVIDsTEA
412 tasting notes

I finished this in record time. I like it. It’s bold and deep, toffee sweet, vaguely salty but not in a way that turns me off. I’m not a huge fan of salted caramel, but I see the appeal. It’s just that all the salted caramel I’ve tried have been giant salt crystals mixed with caramel, so instead of a consistent salty-sweetness, it’s just giant pockets of salt with sweet.

Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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This reminds me a bit of a Keemun. Mellow, sweet (whoops, just quoted the Description), faintly nutty. But definitely lighter, “greener” than a Keemun black. Very lovely.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Earl Grey by Tea Desire
412 tasting notes

…Huh. Could have sworn I’d written up a tasting note for this.

Well, long story short, this was one of the two teas my aunt sent to me while I was working up north. I found the base rather bitter, and thus wasn’t much a fan of this.

However, I’ve been using it to make London Fogs with since I got home. Milk /mostly/ tempers the bitterness, although it still makes its way through. It’s just a really cheap black tea base, I suppose.

Used this one up with one last tea latte today.

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Wasn’t sure what to expect. Would the leaves be dry? You can’t “dry” honey. Maybe crystalized. Nope, I realized when I got the vacuum-sealed bag open and went in to scoop some out. Honey coated. Not leaves in a pool of honey, though. Really infused.

Couldn’t smell the honey on anything but my spoon after I’d scooped. Brewed in a gaiwan, the liquid is a cloudy, toasty yellow. Smells like a toasty oolong, no sweetness.

First Steep: Despite the obvious stickyness of the leaves, I’m not getting too much of a honey flavour. A nice oolong—not sharply vegetal, very pleasing, buttery notes. When I breathe out… Sweetness, I think, bordering on honey. As if the honey does not directly add any flavour, but somehow enhances the oolong itself so that I am enjoying this immensely.

More sweetness as I sip. I have a feeling the honey may have settled to the bottom—as it tends to do when you stir it directly into the tea anyhow. Starting to get a sticky honey taste with just a touch of sweetness.

Second Steep: Bolder taste in the second steep, as I didn’t actually rinse this. I think I’m getting more honey. Just a faint, sticky sweetness under the toasty oolong notes. I like darker, roasted oolongs, and I think the honey goes with it well.

Third Steep: Didn’t pay as much attention to this one. Still fifteen seconds. Didn’t get any sweetness.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

It tastes all right, steeping it in boiling water? I’m leery of doing that with my oolong teas, ordinarily, and aim for a few degrees cooler.


Whoops, didn’t realize I’d set that to boiling. I let the boil fade completely (but didn’t take the temperature) before I poured, but still pretty close.

Yeah, most companies recommend that you don’t us boiling, but Teavivre and a few others recommend that you do, but also suggest very short steeps. Was playing with that first, and then was going to try cooler water and longer steeps with what’s left of the sample. It didn’t taste bitter with near-boiling, or flat. Luckily.

But I think a cooler temperature and longer steep would help the honey.

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A tea-drinking transgendered Canadian, currently in the third year of university, majoring in geology (yes, “rocks and things”). I take most of my tea made straight into a mug, although occasionally if I’m not in a hurry (this isn’t often), I’ll have time to sit down with a pot or gaiwan. It’s the highlight of a good day.

My notes are pretty disjointed because I’m a fairly absent-minded individual, and I also keep a teatra.de blog for reviewing and rambling about tea books/publications.

And I’m a Doctor Who fanatic (Jon Pertwee, if you were wondering).

“But you should never turn down tea, when it’s offered. It’s impolite, and impoliteness is how wars start.” ~Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann


BC, Canada



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