469 Tasting Notes

84
drank Mélange Hédiard by Hediard
469 tasting notes

So, I’ve been playing around with this tea and I have discovered something worth mentioning. Unlike a lot of Earl Greys and things that are similar, like this, Melange does NOT hold up well as an iced tea. It loses a lot of its subtle flavors and something about it being cold just breaks up the harmony. So, fellow Steepsterites, this is your warning. Make this tea iced at your own risk.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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98

Backlogging from a few hours ago when Steepster was down.

I had been saving this tea for last, as I am a bit crazy for Teavivre’s regular, non-organic Bailin Gongfu. Upon opening the packet, I knew I was in for another treat, as it smelled just like the regular version. Strong, malty, chocolatey. And so on my shopping list.

This version is almost identical to the other in looks and taste, except that it has a slightly more “toasty” flavor. But this is very welcome, for such a hearty black tea. It would make the perfect breakfast cup, in my opinion. Powerful, dark, and bracing. This could easily be my favorite unflavored black tea. It’s what I’m going to be comparing other Fujian black teas to.

I also want to note that in the second steep, the leaves lost a bit of the cocoa flavor and tasted more nutty and toasted.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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57
drank Masala Chai by Peet's Coffee & Tea
469 tasting notes

I got a sudden craving for chai tonight, so I made myself an iced cup.

This kinda another dud by Peet’s as far as I’m concerned. I was happy to see the cinnamon bark and ginger pieces when I made it, but their flavors are weak. The coarse black tea they used overpowers it. When I go for chai, I go for something heavy on the spices and complex. This will do for now, but it’s making me really miss Adagio’s Thai Chai.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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86
drank Earl Grey Cream by Cozee Teas
469 tasting notes

A few days ago I went back to Cozee Teas because they seem to have the best selection of bulk loose leaf teas in my area. (And bubble tea!) The place was looking nicer, more organized, and was beginning to get that Decatur feel with local art for sale on the walls. I hadn’t planned on buying anything when I went in, as I mainly wanted to take a peek at what black and bubble teas were available. But two of the teas caught my eye and at a very reasonable price, and I had to have them. So I picked this and a Raspberry Litchi black. And I’ve got my eye on their Vanilla Chai Spice.

When I opened the package to sniff, I was reminded instantly of Adagio’s Earl Grey Moonlight. It smelled like a strong Earl Grey with an equally strong scent of vanilla. That vanilla was not hiding in the background. The taste is very much similar. Lemony vanilla with a black tea that stands up for itself. Ceylon, I think, but it’s hard to tell over the vanilla. Anyway, I’m having it iced and lightly sweetened and I’m really looking forward to trying it hot.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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88

This is another one I’ve had my eye on for a few months. I was thrilled when it was offered to me by Angel at Teavivre. I’ve previously tried their Keemun Hao Ya, and I loved it. While it was smoky, this doesn’t smell smoky at all.

The dry leaves are particularly dark, almost black, and extremely thin and long. Like brittle spider legs as I measure them above my slightly cooled water. They smell very strong, pungent even. Once brewed, the tea smells like honey and wood with a hint of something that kinda makes me think of pumpkin.

The taste is intriguing and delicious. This is a rather strong black tea as far as Teavivre’s lineup has been so far. It makes me think of a malty puerh. I’m going to give it maybe three minutes and thirty seconds next, in hopes of making it even stronger. Must experiment. But for now, I think I liked the Hao Ya better.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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97
drank Golden Monkey Black Tea by Teavivre
469 tasting notes

I had to have some more this morning, so this was my take-to-work tea of the day.

The first time I reviewed this, I was drinking it hot. Today it was cloudy, but still very hot outside, so I went with iced. It takes on a whole new dimension when it’s cold! When chilled, a distinct honey flavor emerges, and the fruitiness takes a front seat. I was reminded, strangely, of pineapple at first. I’m not sure where that was coming from, but I liked it. The following fruit flavor was a little more indistinct. Fruity, but not a specific fruit I could name. Anyway, if you haven’t tried icing or coldbrewing this tea, I think it needs to be done before you run out!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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97
drank Golden Monkey Black Tea by Teavivre
469 tasting notes

My third round of Teavivre teas arrived today! I couldn’t wait to get home and get started.

This is my first Golden Monkey. I know, right? How could I be such an avid black tea drinker, but missing out on this? Anyway, I opened the packet to smell it as the water heated, as usual. Faintly smoky, with hints of cocoa, hay, fruit, and malt. So deliciously promising.

Even after only two minutes, the tea was a dark red amber. It smelled less smoky and more malty, still reminding me of fresh clean hay. The taste, of course, is fantastic. It reminds me a lot of some of Teavivre’s other black teas… they all have a distinct cocoa-like taste that I’m starting to think may come from their tea region itself. It’s delightful, and I haven’t tasted it anywhere else so far. But it’s difficult to describe. I know it may seem weird, but it kinda tastes the way a new, clean piece of printer paper smells. I’m also getting the yam/sweet potato taste others have mentioned, and I really like it. This is such a savory, satisfying black tea.

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

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61
drank Gingerbread by Adagio Teas
469 tasting notes

Just finished my sample. I have to say, milk really improved it. I wish I had been doing that the whole time. I’m kind of on the fence about trying this again when winter rolls around again, though. I’m sure there are better things I could be drinking…

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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80

This is another sneakily nabbed tea from the pub where my boyfriend works.

It’s been a while since I’ve had darjeeling. This one is rather peppery, especially in the scent, and sort of herbal tasting. The muscatel flavor is definitely there in the forefront, along with a taste that reminds me a bit of oolong for some reason. Like a faint nuttiness. There is a bit of fruit flavor hiding in there, too. It’s actually a lot more complex than I was expecting.

The packet said to brew it for 4 minutes, but honestly, I would maybe do 3:30 instead to cut down on the nutty, slightly oversteeped taste. It would keep it from getting harsh or bitter in the finish. Mine hadn’t exactly reached that point, but I could taste it getting there.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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50
drank Black Pearl Tea by Lipton
469 tasting notes

Ok, this was a rushed decision at 3 AM in the grocery store with the boys. I needed a plain black tea for making pitchers, and this was under $3. And somehow, when I read the words “black” and “pearl”, I thought this was going to be actual black pearls. Like tea rolled into little balls, like decent tea companies do. I didn’t read the package, okay?

But no, this is black tea that’s crushed but with little dust. Even after almost five minutes, it… kinda tastes like nothing. It’s, as one of my brothers called it, just brown water. It’s also kinda faintly bitter and astringent. It kinda smells like black tea?

Also, “long-leaf”? Is that something Lipton made up?

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 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, EBM/synthpop/industrial 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, golden monkey, chai, and keemun. My favorite add-ons are plum, cinnamon, coconut, apple, raspberry, bergamot, cucumber, sage, vanilla, 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.

I’m currently growing my own tea. I have a 3-year-old potted Camellia sinensis, and I plan on picking a tiny bit of new growth this spring for my first try at drying my own leaves.

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

Location

Decatur, GA

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