520 Tasting Notes

97

I am thrilled to get to try this tea because all the Gong Fu teas I’ve had from Teavivre have been fantastic. Just having this sample reminds me of all the black teas I need to reorder.

The leaves are indeed very fine. Practically none of them are broken, and they are all very narrow and pointed at the end. Each of them seem to be a different shade of chocolate brown and gold. It reminds me of a little bird’s nest as it sits in my infuser while I wait for the water to heat.

As they steep, the tea smells deliciously toasted and warm. It’s a very comforting scent. I’m somewhat reminded of cocoa and whole wheat bread. The flavor is even better. I’m getting notes of sweet potato, cocoa, caramel, and malt. I’m catching myself trying my best to drink it even though it’s too hot — it’s like I can’t stop myself.

This is the most perfect tea I could have on a wet, cool day here. It’s definitely going to be in my next Teavivre order.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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88
drank Coconut Chai by Zhena's Gypsy Tea
520 tasting notes

Despite this chai not being exactly perfect, I’ve really developed a taste for it. I’m about halfway through my second tin now.

I still prefer it without milk, mostly because it isn’t really spicy enough to stand up against it. The flavor still doesn’t scream “chai” to me… it’s more like a cinnamon bun!

Since summer arrived, I’ve been making it into iced chai and taking it places. I tend to let it steep for a good long time with two bags plus one bag of Harney & Son’s Vanilla Comoro. I generally use only a few ounces of water to steep it in, then add sweetener and enough ice to fill a pint glass. Upping my rating!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Charisma

Sounds delicious! I’ve been meaning to try this tea out whenever I see it in the store.

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85

A big thank you to Teavivre for allowing me to sample their teas again! I always love having the opportunity!

Now, I have had a chrysanthemum tea once, and that was several years ago. I know I enjoyed it, but I don’t remember much else. (Besides the fact that it was much lower quality than this one.)

The tea itself is beautiful. Delicate, pale flowers with green buds at their base, almost like little daisies. They smell sweet and sort of spiced. I’m instantly reminded of spring. They seem to have been dried very gently, as there is no trace of bruising or brown spots anywhere. Very interesting! As it steeps, the flowers fluff up and expand, making me wish for a glass teapot to prepare them in. It would be so lovely…

The tea brews up to a light shade of greenish yellow, as I expected. It smells a lot like fresh chrysanthemums, but also kinda like chamomile. But not exactly. It’s a little hard to describe. The flavor is light as well, and very clean tasting. It’s soothing and very floral, of course. The description mentions it being slightly bitter, but I’m not getting that. Perhaps I would if I added more flowers.

This would be a great tea to end a summer night with.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 15 sec
Mercuryhime

I grew up with Chrysanthemum tea as a remedy for colds and coughs. It’s also great iced with a bit of honey. :)

gmathis

It’s an acquired taste, but I think I’m finally beginning to acquire it.

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88
drank Harvest Apple Spice by Tea Forte
520 tasting notes

Oh no, rooibos. I try my best to avoid it, but this came in a sampler. I’m willing to give it a chance because I’ve had a few rooibos apple spice teas that I’ve really enjoyed. Also, I love spiced apple anything.

It smells heavenly. Delicious red apple with strong, sweet cinnamon. I’m instantly reminded of fall, winter, and frost. The blend is an herbal and rooibos tea from what I understand, which is interesting. It brews up to a very pretty shade of red.

As far as the taste goes, I can tell it’s a rooibos. It has that aftertaste I’ve become familiar with, but with the apple cider flavors, it works. They compliment each other pretty well. Unlike many apple spice teas I’ve tried before, the spices don’t completely dominate it. It’s heavier on the apple side, which is something I’m liking a lot.

This is another winner from Tea Forte. These guys make such flavorful blends!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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72
drank Pure Darjeeling Tea by St. Dalfour
520 tasting notes

Sorry about the absence, Steepster! My laptop’s video card overheated, so I’ve been more or less without a way to update. (Because I sure as hell don’t want to write these posts on a touch screen with no mobile app!)

Anyway, this was on sale and I’m out of darjeeling, so I went for it. It smells pretty good for what I paid, which was two bucks. The scent doesn’t remind me too much of actual darjeeling. More like the standard fodder we make into sweet tea here in the south. As for steeping, I went with the preparation that was recommended on the envelope. Two minutes seems like a pretty short time, but by the end of that second minute, it looked nice and dark. This leads me to wonder if I could get a second steep from each bag. Hmmm.

The flavor is pretty solid, but not as strong as I expected. It’s satisfying, but a bit mild and dull. Next time, I’ll probably go with a longer steep time. It’s also very astringent. As for muscatel, you can kinda taste it in the finish, but otherwise, this is pretty generic black tea. Oh well, it’ll taste good over ice.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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78
drank Calm by Tazo
520 tasting notes

Kaliskaa and I found this with the coffee in our hotel room a couple weeks ago, and I decided I should finally give this a try. After all, Tazo’s Earl Grey, Zen, and Organic Apple Red are pretty good, in my opinion. I had been sort of avoiding this one for the past, oh, ten years or so.

But anyway, there sure is a lot going on in this herbal blend. It smells like straight up Robitussin. I’m assuming that’s from the sarsaparilla and licorice root. Also, what exactly are the “natural flavors” it lists? Not impressed. I was really hoping this was just going to be something light and chamomiley.

When steeped, the chamomile flavor does actually come out both in the scent and taste. Oddly, it goes really well with the sarsaparilla. Despite the cacophony of herbal ingredients, it comes out smoother than I expected. The licorice root and mint are most noticeable at the end, leaving a sort of cooling sensation in my mouth. The licorice isn’t overwhelming like I’ve had in a lot of herbal blends. (I’m looking at you, Yogi Teas!) It makes a strange, vanilla-like taste that I’m actually liking. I thought this tea was going to be a medicinal punishment, but it’s actually pretty pleasant.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

When I drink this, I use 2 bags, plus a double shot of valerian root tincture.
Sweet dreams!

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88
drank Castleton Autumnal by Harney & Sons
520 tasting notes

I’m… the only person to review this? Seriously?

Alright! I decided to be a little gentle with this one for my first cup, which I think turned out to be a good idea. After under four minutes, it’s quite flavorful. The muscatel is present in the forefront, as one would expect. It’s “green” tasting to me, reminding me of spring and grass. There is a lingering sweetness about it that’s pleasant. It also sort of reminds me of green beans, steamed and sweet. As far as astringency goes, it does dry my mouth a bit, but I don’t mind.

The official description of this tea mentions notes of stone fruit, but I’m not really getting that. Hmm. There is a hint of fruit on the exhale, but I’m not tasting anything specific.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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83

Cinnamon and hibiscus? That’s certainly an interesting combination, but in my head, it seems like it could be a good idea. The bag smells appealing, at least. Warm, comforting cinnamon and not really much else. Something about it reminds me of Christmas and gingerbread men. Also Red Hots.

Despite the hibiscus content, it doesn’t brew up entirely magenta. More like maroon-tinted amber. Even when steeped, I still can’t smell the hibiscus, but I know that’s more than alright with a few of you! It’s somewhat present in the flavor, but you really have to feel for it. Otherwise, this tastes like a plain cinnamon tea. I happen to like that, though, so I’m enjoying this a lot. The cinnamon is very vivid, but not enough to burn. For something cheap and grocery store brand, this is surprisingly simple and good.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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86
drank Tippy Yunnan by Harney & Sons
520 tasting notes

I’ve been meaning to review this for weeks, but I kept getting side-tracked. Meanwhile, my sample dwindles.

As far as yunnans go, this one is on the darker, earthier side. It has that sweet, malty scent to it, with a hearty taste of smoke and hay. After three minutes, it comes out smooth and caramelly, but if you go longer, it gets a sort of heavy bitterness to it like a keemun. It really depends on whether or not you like astringency. If it was early in the morning and I needed a wake-up call, I’d let this steep for a while to really bring out the strength… but tonight, I was looking for more complexity.

I highly recommend trying it both ways. There is no right or wrong preparation, it seems.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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76
drank Pumpkin Spice Chai by Twinings
520 tasting notes

My parents got this as a free sample, so I nicked it from the cupboard after Sunday dinner. My first impression of this tea is not good. I sniffed the bag and could barely smell any spices. Uh oh. Also, the pumpkin flavor smelled strangely cardboard-like. But I’m still willing to give it a chance, out of love for chai.

Granted, the actual brewed tea smells better. Fragrant cinnamon and ginger, with something sort of like if you boiled pumpkin pie filling. Stewed is the word, I guess. I can also smell pie crust, which is interesting. I added a very conservative splash of 1% milk and a little sweetener. The flavor isn’t exactly what I expected. This doesn’t taste much like chai. Instead, it’s basically a pumpkin spice dessert tea. Most of the chai spices, except the ginger, are hidden under the heavy layers of cinnamon and whatever they used to make “pumpkin”.

Overall, this isn’t bad, but it’s also not what I was hoping it would be. It does make me think of Thanksgiving and Christmas at my Dad’s, though, which is oddly comforting. I would drink this again, yes, but I don’t think I’d purchase it.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec

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Bio

Quiet, strange, and in love with the world of tea. 20-something and living just outside of Atlanta. Cat lover, electronic music geek, balcony gardener, and collector of fossils. On the hunt for the perfect tea in each of my favorite categories.

I prefer black teas, but I’m trying to broaden my horizons. My favorites tend to be yunnan tips, earl grey, chai, and pretty much any black tea from Fujian, China. My favorite add-ons are plum, cinnamon, sage, apple, coconut, raspberry, lychee, bergamot, osmanthus, cucumber, lavender, vanilla, cardamom, ginger, and caramel.

I’m shy about green tea, curious about white, and learning to love oolong. I hate rooibos and anything with orchid, fennel, or jasmine.

Since joining, I’ve traded with: Kaliska, QueenOfTarts, LiberTEAS, JustJames, Spencer, Ninavampi, Jillian, Teafreak, KeenTeaThyme, and RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas.

You can assume that I’m preparing my tea using the Western method. I use zero-calorie sweeteners and in the hot months, I drink my tea almost exclusively iced.

Location

Decatur, GA

Website

https://instagram.com/soren_g...

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