260 Tasting Notes

97
drank Royal Garland by Samovar
260 tasting notes

I feel the need to say that I found myself drinking this again this afternoon and I realized that I didn’t even talk about multiple steeps on this tea.

Second and third cups of this tea at the cooler temperatures for me taste like I am drinking sugared flowers. [If I go beyond three it has to sit longer than I am typically patient.]

Nectary, light, floating, delicate, sparkling, sugared flowers.

Drink of studying champions.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 15 sec
mattscinto

I don’t know how I missed this one; I should have ordered a sample. I read the description Samovar has and needless to say I really, really, REally, Want to drink this.

Erin

This sounds delicious. I’ve been meaning to order from Samovar for a while now, and I’ll be sure to add this one!

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58
drank Decaf Muscat by Lupicia
260 tasting notes

I got some of this from Auggy, so I made some last night as I was trying to trudge through some reading for school. I was eager to get a concentrated muscat [muscadine?] flavor to see if I was correctly identifying it in darjeeling, and it seems that I was.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

Muscat is a flavor that can go bitter on me easily. I don’t know if it’s the flavor, or the combination of muscat with tannins or other black tea compounds, or what, but the tipping point seems to be very delicate when it comes to muscat for me. Therefore, erring on the side of too-short for the steep time does me favors.

I have not had muscat gummies, but I have had grape fruit snacks, and this reminds me of that a bit. Someday, I’d like to get my hands on some muscadine grapes to see what the natural flavor tastes like because right now this particular species of grape is associated with very artificial flavors to me. In fact, I’m not only associating it with fruit snacks, but popsicles, those icee things that come in plastic sleeves, and children’s tylenol. In fact, that is what the flavor reminds me of most – children’s tylenol. And also, flavored vitamins.

Muscat is something that I can see myself liking, but I need to establish a foundation for it outside of that distinctly chalky-powdery not quite sweet grape-like bitter-ish finish taste of tylenol and vitamins. Perhaps ordering those gummies sooner rather than later will do the trick.

For now, this is okay. I’m very glad that I got to try it because it helped set a baseline for that flavor for me, and actually, the flavor isn’t consistently present [it kind of fades in and out for me], so I don’t think I’ll have any trouble finishing it off – even before I start building good muscat thoughts.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 15 sec
Dan

I have the same problem with darjeelings, they just seem to be very bitter and astringent to me.

Tea Savant

great insight into your palate. i really got the feeling that we were tasting this tea together.

Auggy

Haha! Oh no! Children’s Tylenol vs. Best Gummies Ever! I think this goes to show how important flavor associations are for sure. Well, that and the bitter. Sorry about the bitter. Bad bitter! (Sorry – just woke up so not that coherent but I had to comment because the vitamin bit made me giggle in “oh no, poor takgoti!” horror!)

sophistre

I agree. This seems to be the theme of the week…yesterday’s sock-flavor crisis with the chai suggested the very same thing to me. Coaching your brain to go to a happy place with a good window of reference seems to be key!

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9
drank Wild Sweet Orange by Tazo
260 tasting notes

Jillian Lena sent me this tea.

Here is my review.

http://bit.ly/dlgPeE

Seriously. Look at the picture.

ETA: If you want an actual review, please read the plethora of other reviews on this tea. They paint its portrait quite nicely.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Jillian

Uh….I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me who sent you that tea. I don’t even drink Tazo except the odd time I’m at Starbucks. 0_o

takgoti

My bad! It got mixed up in my box o’ tea swap samples. I want to say I’m sure it was Lena, but now my world’s mixed up.

Jillian

LOL, I was just about ready to wail “NOOOOO, IT WASN’T MEEEEE!!!” XD

BTW I agree 100% – that tea is nasty!

fcmonroe

Reading the ingredients, I’m wonder who thought mixing citrus with licorice would be a good idea.

JacquelineM

LOLOLOLOL

Erin

oh my goodness. that sounds terrible!

Auggy

Reading through all the reviews of this cracks me up. I know it is wrong but I’m so tempted to find a bag of this now just to taste the horror. Hahaha!

Cloudwalker Teas

Love it. Once again, an awesome Takgoti review. Sometimes a picture really does say it all.

~lauren.

Love the photo & had to read all the reviews on it — it was so intriguing. Even if I do what the Olympics are doing (throwing out the lowest score and the highest score) it still made for fun reading. I am convinced – not going to try this one.

takgoti

I’m happy y’all enjoyed my masterful photoshopping. [That’s about the extent of my drawing skillz.]

This tea is horrible. It explodes with bad. It is like orange rind and hibiscus decided to load up on performance-enhancing drugs, and then one night they were both drinking a fair amount of wine and they let the night take them to a place where they never should have gone. And the result of all of those awful, terrible decisions was this tea.

That is only slightly hyperbolic.

Auggy

Hahahahaha! ♥

teaplz

HAHAHAHAH. This is awesome and amazing and I’ve had this tea. Wow. I just remembered that. And it was BAD.

LENA

lol…it WAS me. I’m just now seeing this post. The HAHAHA’s on the teabag packaging should have given it away.

takgoti

Hee, I should have figured. I’ve gotten sent a number of bagged teas in bright orange packaging [one of which I believe was from Jillian] so that was my bad. I thought about heeding the HAHAHAHA! but then I figured what the hell, and at least it’d probably make for a funny log. The bad ones are more fun to write photograph.

Jillian

Yeah, I think I sent you a bag of my Stash Peach Oolong which also is in a bright orange package. Veeeeery sneaky Lena, trying to foist the blame off on me. ;P

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83
drank The au Chocolat by Lupicia
260 tasting notes

I got a bit of this tea from Auggy recently and it is filled with nom.

It’s not terribly complex, but it winningly combined two loves of mine – chocolate and caramel. I think that the caramel might have been a bit of a mistake, but I’m not complaining. Smelling the tea, it smells of chocolate, dark chocolate, which is my weapon of choice.

I’m going to stop here to say that this visually, it is also very texturally interesting. Interesting enough to inspire me to pinch out some leaves between steeps and take a picture. http://bit.ly/ajUpVP

Continuing on, tasting the tea I got caramel on the tip of my tongue, which was a bit surprising since the tea doesn’t tout that in the description. At the back of my tongue, and even more so in the aftertaste, I got chocolate. The taste was somewhere between milk and dark, with just a bit of sweetness. It reminded me of chocolate shavings, or a more powdery form of chocolate because the mouthfeel that occurred in the aftertaste for me had a soft coarseness about it.

In the beginning, it tasted very much to me like something that Auggy mentioned to me – grown up Swiss Miss. A bit later in the cup, though, I was reminded very much of Cocoa Puffs, and now I can’t shake that so this has become Cocoa Puffs tea to me. It’s really quite tasty and it does well on the re-steep, so well done, Lupicia! Not to completely gank this entire review from Auggy, but I must echo: easily the best chocolate tea I’ve had.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
fcmonroe

Thank you for writing this review! Lupicia is fast becoming one of my favorite online tea ordering vices and I’m always happy to have another tea to add to the shopping list. I’m pretty sure I’ve tried to order this tea before, but they were out of stock when I was putting in my order.

Plus, I would love a chocolate tea. I’ve tried some great mint chocolate teas, but I have yet to get a tea I liked that was straight up chocolate.

takgoti

Haha, you’re welcome! Thank Auggy for sending it my way! [And being honest, this review essentially ganked hers.]

I’ve had teas that have satisfying chocolate notes in them, like Simple Leaf’s Dawn and a number of chai teas, including Samovar’s and Upton Tea Import’s Decaf Chai Agni, but typically dedicated chocolate teas fall flat for me. This one does it smartly, I think.

Anyhow, if when you get it, I hope you enjoy it!

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75

It’s taken me a while to get around to logging this one. I was a bit worried, even though I love me some Andrews & Dunham, because this is a big ol’ tin. Luckily, I don’t have anything to worry about.

I’ve taken to steeping my black teas a lot shorter lately, thanks to something that Teaman said, and I think I’ve been better for it. Black tea tends to go bitter on me rather easily. The first couple of times I had this I steeped it around 2 minutes, but I’ve found that 3 minutes also works well and gives me a bit more flavor, so I like it here. At 4 minutes it was a little much for me, but I’ll try 3:30 soon to see how that goes.

Okay, now that parameter-talk is out of the way, the tea. I enjoy this tea. It might be the first time that I’ve gotten a distinct black pepper note from a Yunnan before, and it was subtle enough that I didn’t find it off-putting. It actually gave it a little spicy bite that I enjoyed. I also got sweet, malty flavors and a hint of smokiness. Overall, it makes for a very pleasant, balanced tea.

Next up, I’ll be trying it with milk and sugar for poo and chortles. I think that I’m going to enjoy making my way through my big ol’ tin!

ETA: Pictures! [x4!] Beginning here: http://bit.ly/b7Bvp3

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Harfatum

I’m with you on the short steep times. For any black other than something really light (e.g. some Nepals, Nilgiris, and Dawn) I almost always prefer under 4 minutes even with milk. 4 minutes seems like when the harshness starts coming out more.

Ricky

Yep, I tend to do 3-4 for my first steep because I’m afraid it’ll get bitter. If I realize it doesn’t get bitter, I go for a longer steep on the second go.

laurenpressley

Glad to know I’m not alone on steeping times! I tend to aim for 3 minutes for blacks, unless the packaging specifically says something else… and even with that I normally end up back at a 3 minute steep time after I’ve tried the company’s recommendations once.

takgoti

Yay for all of us wimpy wimps! Or, rather, AWESOME PEOPLE.

I’ve found myself quite happy around 2 minutes as of late. Very few teas can hold up to longer steep times for me.

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

About to tealog the Tiger and I was skimming through tealogs I missed on its page. I’m also in agreement on the lighter steeps for strong black teas. I’ve been liking my Tiger at 3 min 30 sec, but haven’t tried him any lower than that. After reading your tealog, I’m going to try him bumped down next time I have him.

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91

This was the tea that initiated my swap with Jillian and what a great tea it is! I enjoyed this one quite a bit, and I didn’t even get to the third steep [I am almost loathed to admit that I only did one on this go round, but Jillian was kind enough to include enough for a few more rounds].

To reiterate, this tea is GOOD. It’s got very substantial, rounded flavor. Not a hint of bitterness to it, subtly salty enough to make it feel a bit savory, a sweet, equally subtle, grassiness to make it interesting, and a delicious nuttiness finishing out the profile. I also didn’t find any smokiness on this Dragonwell, which I didn’t find myself missing terribly.

The notes dance around each other in a very cohesive fashion. This isn’t a tea where I pick out different flavors as they rush forward and then ebb away; it’s one where I find the flavors distinct, and yet they’re all playing at the same time.

I’m really excited to try multiple steeps on this tea, and as I find myself thinking about it even though I drank it a while ago, I think that may need to happen tomorrow. This definitely has possibilities of meeting or even surpassing my current favorite Dragonwell. It is complex, and yet those complexities melt into a very well-constructed whole. Thanks so much, Jillian!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Jillian

Yay, I’m glad you liked it. I was a little bit worried when you said how much you disliked Adagio’s version. ;)

takgoti

Hah, this tea doesn’t read to me like Adagio’s at all. If I could get Adagio’s to taste like this I’d buy a big tin.

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83

I’m a fan.

I think I’m just a fan of kukicha in general, actually. I mean, first of all, there’s the word. Kukicha. Kuki. Cha. It’s fun to say. Although I could very well be saying it wrong. Auggy or someone else Japanese-familiar, where do you put the emphasis? Anyway, it makes me think of cute Japanese things, like Hamtaro. Kukicha could totally be a Hamtaro character.

I’m sorry, halfway through that sentence I shook my head and had to ask, “Am I really talking about Hamtaro?” because I drank some of this before class tonight because I had a test and I was really tired from staying up later than I should have to finish a program for another class so I downed some black tea before class at 6 and I was sipping on this well into 9 PM and that is the most hellacious run-on sentence I’ve ever created. Well, not most. [If you’ll believe that.] Anyway, moral of story is that it’s nearly 2 AM and I’m a wee bit WHEE right now because this also contains matcha.

The tea. There’s something that I find really sating about its overall taste. This one reads to me as very sweet, high, and grassy. I’ll enjoy it until I finish the bag for sure, but so far I like the extra buttery aspects I get from Samovar’s a bit more. There’s time, to experiment, however, so we’ll see what comes out of my little hamster tea friend!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Auggy

The Japanese like to say that their language is unaccented. Not entirely true but true enough so each accent ku-ki-cha has pretty much equal emphasis. I also think kukicha is a cute word – mostly because it sounds similar to cookie and how can that be bad? (It can’t. Just so you know).

Suzi

koo-kee-cha would be about the pronunciation, and like Auggy says there’s not really a stressed syllable. so cookie-cha. yum.

Really cute review!

Auggy

Mmm, cookie-cha. Now I’m picturing the tea version of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Wonder how we could swing that…

takgoti

Thanks for the pronunciation advice!

Upon further contemplation, I have decided that kukicha could also be a Pokemon. Kuki, kuki.

Batrachoid

Didn’t Krabby say koki koki? There’s got to be room for a cameilia sinethsis-mon that goes kuki-CHUUUU!
Twig slap!

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40
drank White Ginger by Golden Moon Tea
260 tasting notes

GM Sampler | Tea 7 of 31

White Ginger | http://bit.ly/cScCEi
All Together Now | http://bit.ly/cHWS3X

I drank this the other day amidst a rather frenzied slew of schoolwork and…it was a really strange tea. It could be that I should have let it sit longer, but reading the other logs I’m not sure that would have done much.

The flavor was there, though it was extremely light and it was almost more…textural than flavorful. It felt like the ginger was trying to shout, “I’M HERE! I’M HERE!” but it showed up with a lost voice and a box of tissues.

The feeling it created was almost on the way to tingly, but it was softer, not unlike ginger ale that hasn’t quite gone flat. I’d call the sensation shimmery, and the swallow was clean and fresh. It would have been fully enjoyable, if a bit devoid of taste, but then this mucky aftertaste that followed it. The aftertaste, while soft like the rest of the tea, killed the diffused sparkly quality of the body of the tea like it was splooting [technical term] it with mud.

I was able to pick out some notes of hay that I believe were coming from the white tea, but that was pretty much all I was able to get out of this tea other than the weird smothered ginger taste. It wasn’t horrid by any means, and if it weren’t for the bummer-inducing aftertaste I’d consider getting more, but I won’t be buying this one.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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85
drank Mandarin Silk by Art of Tea
260 tasting notes

I decided at the last second to throw this on my Art of Tea order and I’m really very glad that I did.

From dry leaf to steeping liquid to final product, this tea’s scents remained rather consistent for me, excepting a variance in intensities. That, and the wet leaf took on an unsurprising vegetal quality. What I smell is, also unsurprisingly, mandarin orange. It mingles somewhere between actual mandarin oranges and those mandarin orange gummy slices, but as I enjoy both of them it’s not an issue for me. The warmly fresh and sweet citrus scent combines with the scent of some kind of baked good. This tea uses pouchong, which I am beginning to identify as one of my favorite types of oolong, and I’m pretty sure that’s where the bake-y portion of today’s tasting is originating.

How many people have had fruit tart? Raise your hand.

Sorry, that was very Blue’s Clues of me [though, if you actually raised your hand, then please wave it around like you just don’t care]. The reason I ask is because the taste of this tea made me think very much of the base pastry that has been used in fruit tarts that I have had. If you haven’t fruit tart, then imagine, perhaps, a sugar cookie with about half the sugar. If you haven’t had either of these, may I suggest that you expand your dessert repertoire immediately.

Mandarin oranges have always had a bit of softness around them in the taste as opposed to navel oranges, which aren’t biting in flavor but read as sharper to me in flavor and acidity. The orange taste in this definitely treads solidly in mandarin orange territory, and the rounded flavor of that meshes very nicely with the warm, buttery, doughy qualities of the pouchong.

I went two steeps deep on this one, and the flavor had noticeably faded on the second steep. When I have more time, I may try lengthening the steep time on the second steep even further to see what that does, but the tasty first steep is reason enough for me to keep this tea around and perhaps even re-order once it’s gone.

I haven’t been impressed with some of their other offerings, but with mandarin silk and caramelized pear on my tea shelf, I don’t really need anything else from Art of Tea to wow me. I’m pretty happy here.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Auggy

I love your reviews. Descriptive and entertaining. Sounds yummy!

takgoti

Aww, thanks Augs! I kept writing a sentence and then leaving during this one, so I’m surprised it came out making sense, more or less.

I have the Blue’s Clues song stuck in my head now, too. I don’t mean to brag or nothin’, but I do a mean impression of Blue’s bar-bar-bowww voice.

Cloudwalker Teas

Takgoti, your reviews are always most entertaining. Keep them coming!

teaplz

Yay! This one actually sounds really good! Did you order any of their other offerings besides this and Caramelized Pear?

takgoti

@Cloudwalker Teas Thank you, I’ll do my best!

@teaplz They sent me a free sample of peach oolong that I have yet to try, but those two are all that I ordered.

Ricky

Sounds deliciousssss. I read over the line “How many people have had fruit tart? Raise your hand.” several times. I’m like wait…. did takgoti just tell us to raise our hands? Hi? Haha, great post.

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97
drank Royal Garland by Samovar
260 tasting notes

I fail to understand how I failed to log this tea. Fail. Fail. FAIL.

Y’all, this tea is good. Like, teen girl squad SOOOO GOOD!

At the higher temperatures it’s a bit dark, and I, like Auggy, much like it in the lower range of water temperature. It’s not bad at the higher ones by any means, but it unlocks these flavor profiles that I love with the cooler water so it’s all about the subjective preference for me.

The scent of the steeping leaves has a vegetal quality about it. At times, I almost smell cornbread. But the tea. The tea is where the magic happens. Walk with me.

This tea is like the embodiment of a specific type of commercial. You know, like shampoo or soap commercials where colorful exotic flowers and/or fruits fall across the screen amidst slow motion splashes of backlit water. Or perhaps washer commercials set in brightly tropical environments where long bolts of colored silk slide, defiant of gravity, through an impossibly transparent underwater environment while softly invigorating Enya-like music plays in the background.

This tea bombards my senses with lush, botanical florals that I can’t identify and nectary fruits, while remaining soft in flavor. It has that sense of denseness and humidity about it – like when you step into the tropical climate exhibit at a zoo, garden, or science museum. And yet the tea is light and smooth.

A very, very light buttery flavor cuts seamlessly in and out of the flavors. There is a hazy yet crystalline sweetness that caresses the tip of my tongue when the liquid is swished around. The overall effect is one of a natural, renewing freshness that radiates outwards until it saturates my consciousness with unfathomably delicious flavor.

It’s a direct line to tropical warmth, and since actually going to Hawaii isn’t at all feasible at the moment, right now [heh, especially now], I’ll take it.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec
teaplz

CHEERLEADER. SO AND SO. WHAT’S HER FACE. THE UGLY ONNNEEEE!

Sorry, I couldn’t help it.

And, as usual, amazing, mouth-watering descriptions. Very happy that I have some of this to try!

Auggy

You know, like shampoo or soap commercials where colorful exotic flowers and/or fruits fall across the screen amidst slow motion splashes of backlit water. Or perhaps washer commercials set in brightly tropical environments where long bolts of colored silk slide, defiant of gravity, through an impossibly transparent underwater environment while softly invigorating Enya-like music plays in the background.
That? Perfect way to describe it. So many different, gorgeous and tropical flashes of fruit, flowers, nectar and other nummy things. Such a lovely tea. So. Good.

Can I like this log multiple times please?

TeaCast

Beautiful phrasing, makes me want to smell laundry soap hahah

takgoti

@teaplz Ooncha, ooncha, one two three-cha!
Leave me alone, or I’ll tell teacha!
Brush your teeth, comb your hair, I saw Tompkins in his under-
Where are you going? What are you doing?
How do you be so short?

@Auggy Thank you!! I don’t know why, but when I drink this I can close my eyes and imagine that I’m in a whirlpool commercial.
http://bit.ly/9NuI9k

takgoti

@TeaCast Better believe I will be adding “inspired people to huff laundry detergent” to my resume.

sophistre

YES. I read ‘teen girl squad’ and was like…I know that…why do I know that? And then I read teaplz’s comment, and life was right again. I’m obviously overdue to go back and watch them all over again.

Also, I am now going to be seriously put out if this really was one of the teas that they were out of, because between this review and Auggy’s yesterday, I now NEED this tea.

takgoti

Hahaha, I like to go back to Homestar Runner every now and then. They’re stil updating! I don’t know why it makes me so happy, but it does. I’ll cop to downloading one of the Strongbad games from the Wii store. [It was decent. About what you’d expect.]

I hope you got Royal Garland, too! I think you can check your ordered quantities on their site if you signed up for an account with them?

teaplz

ARROW"D!

Ahhh, that brings back memories. But yeah, Royal Garland. I’m probably going to make some this weekend! Yay!

S

What time is it? IT’S VALENTIMES! What time is it? IT’S VALENTIMES! What we gonna get? SEVERAL BOYS! How we gonna get em? Uhm….er…

Happy Vamlumtimes day! And awesome review :)

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Bio

Former coffeeist, turned teaite. Lover of writing, reading, photography, and music. Traveler of life. Known to be ridiculous on occasion.

Location

Virginia, USA

Website

http://takgoti.tumblr.com

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