373 Tasting Notes

drank Semi Wild Hong Cha by O5 Tea
373 tasting notes

The dry leaf has a very strong, deep smell. Brewed, it has the maltyness of an assam but without the bitterness or astringency. Pretty much what I expect in a china black. There’s a bit of cocoa in there as well. Sort’ve my everyday favourite, except not at /this/ price.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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85
drank Gui Fei Oolong by Green Terrace Teas
373 tasting notes

The leaf has a darker fruitier smell than other green oolongs, though brewed it returns to the green and floral, slightly toasty scent (though I think I detect something like apple in there).

I brewed a western two minutes in a teacup, getting a honey yellow liquid; it’s smooth, and I’m mainly getting cream and apple. Not as buttery as some oolongs, although it’s still got that similar mouth-feel to it. Toastier notes when I breathe out, with a touch of honey. It’s really nice to just roll around on your tongue, and I can see myself definitely buying more of this to enjoy.

All three samples came very nicely packaged in labeled vacuum-sealed bags. Long ago I invested in a box of tiny clamps from the office supplies aisle to keep track of my tea samples (I’ve only got the three now, but when I went on a sample-buying spree through Teavivre…).

Since I didn’t rinse it beforehand, the leaves opened up a lot more during the second steep (also 2 minutes). Sticking my nose in there for that sweet appley smell. Taste is definitely stronger; I’d almost have kept the second steep to 1:30, maybe (but it’s not bitter); the apple’s gone completely. Toasty butter, maybe a bit of cream, definite floral notes.

Third steep was definitely a little sharp, very floral.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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85
drank Gui Fei Oolong by Green Terrace Teas
373 tasting notes

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80
drank Cask Aged Ghorka AF by O5 Tea
373 tasting notes

Brewing this, it smelt strongly Darjeeling. I wish I still had a plane Nepal tea on hand to sniff in comparison, but I finished that up a while ago. I remember it having a more Ceylon smell.

The taste is definitely more Ceylon. Bright and lightly astringent with definite honey tones. The astringency doesn’t hit right at first, but does build up with sips; it’s not sweet, more of a dry tea. Definitely not as sharp and muscatel as a Darjeeling, that seems to have just been the scent.

I don’t think I’m getting much from the wine barrel it was stored in, but that might also just be the afore-mentioned burnt tongue. Definitely not as astringent as the Nepal teas I’m used to though, so I think I’ll enjoy the rest of this.

Edit: This actually steeped up a pretty nice second cup at five minutes.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Earl Grey Pu-Erh by TWG
373 tasting notes

You can definitely smell the bergamot on the dry leaf. Was a bit surprised when I brewed it up—it doesn’t brew up dark like a puehr, more like a black.

But it tastes like a puer—the earthy, peatness adds a sweet undertone to the bergamot, and it works quite well for me. Though I burnt my tongue on the first sip, so I can’t say if I’ve missed anything (you’d think after several years I’d have learned to be patient in waiting for tea to cool). As it cools, the peat gives way to a bit of yunnan multiness as well. I wonder if this is a blend.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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drank African Solstice by Tea Forte
373 tasting notes

Soko’s was handing out little bagged samples of this. I haven’t had much luck with Tea Forte, but it was free, so what can you say.

It SMELLS fruity and sweet/vanilla—both dry and brewed; the blend was quite colourful, with purply petals and little dried berries.

Not getting too much fruit in the taste. Mostly vanilla and rooibos, but it’s not bad. I think the problem I’ve had with past Tea Forte teas was too much flavouring going on at the same time (so the end result was almost sharp, or chemically?), but this is mellow while still tasty.

Getting a bit more fruit while it cools. Berry. Might just be from the rooibos, though. I see it has rosehip as well.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
SimpliciTEA

I love that name!

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drank Rooibos Tropica by Teavana
373 tasting notes

This was a present from my sister, for my last birthday I believe. I’ve been trying to finish it for a while now, but haven’t really been able to drink it. The smell is just very offputting. I don’t really know what it is about it… It kinda reminds me of Neocitran? With other fruity scents in there. The taste itself isn’t nearly so strong, which is good. I think this is the only blend I’ve tried with green rooibos, so I don’t know if that contributes. Sort’ve fake lemon taste, though without any tang or sourness. Other fruit as well, faintly—kinda reminds me of cranberries. That’s about all I get.
Didn’t want to give it a proper rating, because even though I’ve finally finished it, I still don’t know what to think of it.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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64
drank Buddha's Blend by DAVIDsTEA
373 tasting notes

I got this as a gift a while ago, and on the bag the suggested steep parameters had been crossed out and “30 seconds” written in by hand. And, looking at the ingredients, I decided to abide by them.
Sipping it, it’s definitely something that could easily be oversteeped. Dry it smells mostly of jasmine and hibiscus (peaches?), and I get manly jasmine and peach when I sip it. I think the hibiscus is what makes the peach in this; I’m glad there doesn’t seem to be very much of it, and I can’t really taste it on its own (didn’t really see any in the bag, and the brew didn’t instantly turn pink, but you can definitely smell it), as I’m still not a huge fan of hibiscus.
This’ the last of this, as well. At thirty seconds it’s not bad (and can be resteeped); I don’t know if I’d buy it myself, though.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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66
drank Chocolate Macaroon by DAVIDsTEA
373 tasting notes

Forgot to review this when I first got it, so here’s some notes on my final cup of it as I remove it from my cupboard.
My first complaint that this was another of Davids’ tea with too much “stuff”. I’ve been thinking about making a teatra.de post about tea with too much “stuff”; Davids and Teavana are two companies (as well as Art Knapp’s tea, though that isn’t as known) that fall under this subject, I think. They both like their “stuff”, though they tend to keep a good ratio of tea.
But this one, and one other that I remember (cranberry pear from Davids’), had exceptionally large “stuff”. So much so that when you scooped teaspoons of it out to brew, all the little tea leaves would sink to the bottom so your first several (or most of) your cups would end up being almost caffeine-free, being made up of most of the larger ingredients. Sometimes you forget the solid base black tea provides until it’s suddenly absent from the brew.
You sort’ve have to learn to scoop a lot extra if you want to get some real tea into your drink. At any rate, the final two scoops were made up of the tea that had settled to the bottom, and I brewed it into my extra large TARDIS mug. So this last one ended up being more tea and less flavour (as opposed to my earlier cups which were a thick chocolate-coconut, but a bit watery without the good tea base).
Anyways, it’s a good mix of coconut and chocolate, and almost makes me think of white chocolate (but it’s not nearly sweet enough for that). It’s also got a good nuttyness to it—like hazelnut, except that I just brought up the ingredients list and realized there were none in here. It must be a mix of the pecans and other flavours that are making me think of hazelnuts. It actually tastes fuller because I managed to get a good bit of tea into this cup. Does remind me of macaroons (though honestly my main memory is the crunch). It’s a comforting cup.
In conclusion, I should start shaking my Davidstea bags before each use.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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74
drank Balhyocha KSH by O5 Tea
373 tasting notes

I took the rest of this sample and made it alongside Balhyocha MLH to do a sidebyside taste test (I knew having two gaiwans would come in handy).
*
Quite different from MLH. This one had a weaker smell, no real notes of cocoa—it had a pepper flavour that strongly resembled a Yunnan tea. I don’t have any basic Yunnans in my cupboard right now, but if I get any before I run out of this, I’ll do a comparison.
The second steep had a few more similarities to the MLH—more cocoa, slightly dryer. By the third steep though it was a bit sharp, and the cocoa was gone.
It was nice, but “meh” to me in that it was just reminiscent of Yunnan (don’t get me wrong, I like Yunnan teas; I was hoping for more).

Flavors: Malt, Peppercorn

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Bio

I change icons often, apologies. On that note, they are usually Doctor Who related (so no, that is not me pictured in the icon, it is most likely one of the Doctors).

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. It’s the highlight of a good day if I have time for a pot.

My notes and reviews will often sound dis-jointed, repetitive and confused, as usually I don’t work on them as a whole, but rather add notes as I sip without rereading what I’ve already typed.

On most occasions I won’t take my tea with anything (I reserve milk for chai). Occasionally agave nectar if I want to test to see if it’ll smooth it out. Chais I will make with either the nectar or honey. Although on occasion I will sweeten unflavoured blacks the Russian way—with jam or jelly. Occasionally I will take it instead with a slice of a citrus fruit. Normally orange, occasionally lemon if I have any on hand.

I prefer Earl Greys.

Lastly, I keep a teatra.de blog for reviewing and rambling about tea books/publications.

Also, I am a Doctor Who fanatic. As one may have noticed by my icons. For the record, my favourite Doctor is number three, Jon Pertwee.

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

Location

BC, Canada

Website

http://artoftea.teatra.de

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