3129 Tasting Notes

82

Thank you so much for passing this along, derk!  derk wasn’t thrilled with this one and we had a swap we were building, so I requested this one.  I love these types of pu-erh that look like a candy bar that you break a piece from.  This one just happened to have lilies in it.  By the time the fourth steep had unraveled in the basket, there was an entire big lily blossom floating at the top, not to mention the smaller petals throughout.  Wow!  It’s amazing how tea unravels sometimes.  The flavor was very consistent throughout all four steeps.  A very dark shu — I couldn’t really taste anything floral per se, but the pu-erh is very delicious on it’s own.  The main note being starchy and bakey like a good rye bread.  Nothing offensive here at all. But also not terribly distinct.  I do like how dark it is though! Now that it’s cooler weather… let the great chai avalanche commence!
Steep #1  // 1 square for full mug // 20 minutes after boiling  // rinse // 2 minute steep
Steep #2  // 18 minutes after boiling //  2 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 5 min steep
Steep #4 // just boiled // 11 min steep

ashmanra

Tea-sipper: Speaking of chai avalanche – Cuppageek has released a TON of chai blends, and a lot of the blends benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital where her son is being treated. I should have them in my hands in just a few days, so I will try to get some notes posted quickly!

tea-sipper

Oh cool, I’m looking forward to your notes on all of those!

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62

From StarFevre! An entire pouch – thank you! (From Frank’s 52Teas days.) I’ve had this a few times and this will be a quick note, because though it is older than the hills this tea that should taste like cucumber and mango (and even has mango cubes!) now somehow tastes like LIME?!?! I’m not sure how that happened, as it is obviously stored properly in the original pouch. Mango and cucumber is leagues away on the flavor spectrum than lime. hmm. For a lime tea, it’s fine but certainly not as delicious as a 52teas blend that is intentionally lime. Nothing to blame but age here. But the description says this was inspired by salsa, so maybe the lime is the only flavor remaining.

Mastress Alita

I can see that happening, if there is lime flavoring in there! I was using up some coconut matcha recently and making “Lime in the Coconut” smoothies with a mango base, but after putting in the lime juice, that was the only flavor left in that smoothie. I couldn’t taste the mango at all.

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98

Additional notes: Can finally post a note after a day of 404 errors. This is the saddest sipdown. It was one of my favorite traveling teabox finds of all time because personally I would never go out of my way to buy a tomato tea ( I hate tomatoes like Mastress Alita hates bananas but apparently not quite to that level, because I tried this), but I’m totally fine with finding odd blends in a teabox that I might not usually reach for. I got these few teaspoons to last quite a while! This was fantastic every time I steeped it up. Maybe it’s the smaller last dregs of the pouch that made a difference but this was so wonderfully flavorful and pizza pizza pizza. I didn’t want this tea to last past this summer, so into the steeping basket it went. I’m glad it was enjoyable to the last drop. A perfect blend I would love to see again!
2020 Sipdowns: 69

Martin Bednář

Weird blend, but I would try that for sure!

Mastress Alita

My banana aversion is at unreasonable levels (I retch if someone else eats one in front of me, so tasting anything banana — even that “fake” banana used in candy, is right out). I’m not like that with any other food though, and there are plenty others I don’t like…

I think a dislike of tomato is more common (or at least I know more people who dislike it). The only thing I can’t handle with tomatos is tomato sauce because I have a “mushy texture” problem (so it isn’t the taste, but the texture of the sauce sets off my gag reflex… that is the case with me and lots of foods). I know I had one tea once that was a mix of dried tomato, cucumber, and fruits, and it was wonderful! (Still miss that tea) so I bet I’d like this! I actually cook my ramen in various teas (cause the flavor packets that come with have MSG, one of my migraine triggers) and this sounds like it would make a delightful ramen broth…

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84

Additional notes:  I had to snag a pouch of this old favorite during the sale!  I’m surprised they still had this available, as I think they discontinued it a while ago.  Though I haven’t had a new harvest in a while, I can tell this is vastly different from what I remember.  In the harvest from a few years ago, I could taste more guayusa and definitely more cola flavor. I wouldn’t even guess this had any cola flavor.  Now it’s very tart lime and very one noted.  Ah well, glad to have fresh guayusa anyway.

Dustin

There is a Theodor tea with dragonfruit that tastes surprisingly cola like! Can’t recall the name of it right now. :/

Mastress Alita

I love pop/soda/cola teas and there were only samplers of this left by the time I hit the B&B sale (this person is no “up at 1 and 2 am type”) but at least I have that much to try. A little sad to hear it doesn’t have much of that flavor, though.

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57
drank Summer Isle by teakruthi
3129 tasting notes

WARNING TO THOSE WHO HAVE TEAKRUTHI’S HIBISCUS TYPE BLENDS:  They might have living bugs in them.
So a couple days ago I was going to steep up some of So Berry and was trying to pick out some of the hibiscus in my hand before putting the rest in the infuser.  I saw a tiny brown three segmented bug on my hand, looks kind of like an ant or tiny termite.  Thought it was a fluke.  Then there was a second one on my hand, so it was definitely coming from the pouch.  My pouch of So Berry was ordered in March.  Since then, I’ve been emailing the wonderful people at Teakruthi.  Then got curious just a minute ago and wanted to test the other teas.  My method:  I poured the tea pouches onto a paper plate, agitated the tea, and then kept it still for a minute to see them start crawling around.  The hibiscus focused blends from March had at least a few bugs before I stopped counting.  This one was particularly bad.  It was crawling. 
From a March 2020 order, these pouches have bugs in them:  Summer Isle,  So Berry, Serendipity and Ceylon Peach.  I feel terrible giving Teakruthi this news, because they are otherwise fantastic.   But I drank these teas… with living bugs actually living in them.  This is disgusting.  Serendipity I luckily didn’t even open before today, so I KNOW it isn’t a problem from my end of things.  I’ve never even seen these bugs before.  I sent some of you guys these teas!  Luckily not these four.

I tested ALL Teakruthi’s blends that I still have, by pouring on a paper plate and observing.  From what I can tell, these teas are FINE
Original samples from 8/2019: Ceylon Emerald, Lemon Kandy (though there was a big piece of what looked like pocket lint), Vanilla Earl, Colonial Mornings, Afternoon Ritual, Zen Mint, Ceylon Ivory, Majestic Chai
From 3/2020 order that were FINE: big pouch of Lemon Kandy, big pouch of Ceylon Emerald, Wild Monsoon, Southern Malt, Cinnamon Chai
I hate bringing anything to light that is negative about the great Teakruthi BUT I also don’t want my Steepster buds to be drinking living bugs.   They clearly have a production problem, at least with these four blends. BUT they do say they make really fresh batches, so the problem might already be solved by now?  I HOPE SO.   I’m also glad Teakruthi uses very thick quality, fully sealable pouches because if I had a bug infestation in all of my teas, I would be pissed. I know I’ve been lucky with the thousands of teas I’ve sampled, I think I only have found a tiny bird feather in one of them before. So yes, very lucky. At least I didn’t say this tea was the most delicious tea ever?  I guess I could taste the bugs. :/

Martin Bednář

That’s sad news indeed. Hopefully it is resolved today and they will terun you money spent or send you new pouches of teas!

tea-sipper

I just want them to make sure the problem is fixed so no one else has to experience this. I don’t think I’m that picky, like if I’m outside and a bug lands in my mug, I just remove the bug and keep drinking. Others might just dump the mug. But I’m not a fan of the bugs actually using tea as their home for months. I always wondered if bugs could live in sealed tea pouches. (shivers)

Leafhopper

I hope they get this resolved. I like Teakruthi as well, but bugs are a step too far.

Shae

Commenting here for those who may have ordered from Teakruthi more recently. You might not be in the clear. I went through the teas from my recent order and also found small bugs in my bag of Serendipity (Crafted on August 10, 2020). I had a bag of So Berry as well, but by the time I checked it I only had a cup’s worth left and I didn’t see any bugs. I don’t know for sure if there were bugs initially, but it was also dated August 10, 2020, so I have my suspicions with the hibiscus.

The following teas were bug-free (as far as I could tell) –
Divine Highlands – August 10, 2020
Majestic Chai – No date on the bag, but I placed my order on July 25, 2020.
Two Seasons – August 10, 2020
Lemon Kandy – July 13, 2020
Cinnamon Chai – July 6, 2020

I used a similar method as tea-sipper – pouring the full bag of tea onto a large piece of parchment paper, spreading the tea and shaking it a bit, then waiting a few minutes to make sure I didn’t see any movement.

Shae

Quick update – I forgot that I also bought a green tea from teakruthi, Shakti Veda, crafted on August 10, 2020. I was certain it would have the bugs too, but after staring at it for a good five minutes I saw no movement. This gives me hope that maybe I didn’t drink bugs in my bag of So Berry after all.

tea-sipper

egads, with a difference in five months between the order dates between Shae’s and my order of Serendipity, this is definitely an ongoing problem for them.

tea-sipper

(And I’m very sorry about the bugs, Shae)

Shae

If it weren’t for you telling us here, I probably wouldn’t even have seen them. So thank you!!

tea-sipper

This is part of the response I received from teakruthi after a few days: “We just went through all our stock of those teas and reached out to a few other customers, and so far no other hits have come back. Truly apologize you had the experience.”

I REALLY hope they overhaul production or storage or whatever part of the process these tea loving bugs are finding their way to teakruthi.

tea-sipper

This was my e-mail from teakruthi today: “Thanks for all your help and input. I am hoping we have this resolved now.”
I hope so too!

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96
drank Golden Monkey by Queen Mary
3129 tasting notes

Additional notes: Was craving this today and it’s still a SOLID SOLID tea. There is just something about black teas from a few years ago that just seem like stronger, sturdier but also more nuanced harvests. Newer blacker teas seem weaker to me, for some reason. This is aging well. raising the rating from 92. It’s still available for sale but yowzas is it pricey.

Maddy Barone

It seems like all my favorite teas are pricey. :(

tea-sipper

Maddy – maybe that means you have the tastebuds to tell what the quality stuff is.

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87

An interesting sounding green tea, mainly because it is a rare tea from South Korea.  The dry leaf has a mix of sizes and the aroma of some kind of fresh vegetable.   The brew is BRIGHT neon green but cloudy- cloudy with all those nutrients, I would imagine.   The flavor is almost like, blindfolded, I would guess that it is a cup of matcha and that surely doesn’t usually happen with all the green teas I taste, or really any of them that aren’t specifically matcha.  So if you want the flavor of matcha, without actually drinking a cup of matcha, here you go.  Otherwise, there is a hint of beans yet something fruity hiding in there. But mostly it tastes like matcha.   Very fresh and lovely on a day when I’m physically feeling cruddy.  Quite good – bright in color and flavor and reinvigorating. Better than I expected!
Steep #1  // 1 1/4 teaspoons for full mug // 35 minutes after boiling  // 2 minute steep
Steep #2  // 43 minutes after boiling //  2 1/2 minute steep

tea-sipper

Also, I bought this in 11/2019 so it is holding up fairly well! I really need to enjoy this while it’s fresher.

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97

Additional notes: My sipdown of this one was so tasty, I just had to restock on my last order. Couldn’t help it. I was a BIT worried it wouldn’t be the same after so many years, and I’d say the coffee isn’t quite the same. Even upon opening the pouch, the aroma was more like a bitter, older coffee already, rather than the old blend which somehow seemed more sweet? Maybe I’m confused as to what “old” coffee smells like, because this is certainly fresh from B&B! It was probably more of an artificial coffee flavor that was used in the old days, especially as it never seemed to age, but I liked it for what it was. The pu-erh also seems to have some lighter coloring to the leaves now. Much more golden than before! The flavor is still good though — three solid steeps with only one heaping teaspoon. I just wish it could capture that perfect coffee flavor from before though.

Dustin

I haven’t tried this one. Do you know how it compares to the David’s version?

tea-sipper

I did like the older batch of B&B’s better than David’s. But this newer batch seems very similar to David’s. I probably couldn’t tell much of a difference. Either blend should be able to fit that puzzle piece in the cupboard!

tea-sipper

I should say, I also have not had newer batches of David’s coffee pu-erh either, so that one could be different by now also.

Dustin

I’ve only had the David’s version. It is definitely a staple tea, so I’m glad to know they are likely interchangeable.

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52

Thanks so much for the try on this one, AJ Rimmer!  Can’t say I’m a fan though.. it might be the nightmare Hawaii tea rather than “dreamy” because there is SO MUCH HIBISCUS HERE.  And I can’t say I want coconut with my hibiscus?  Luckily there isn’t much coconut here.  It’s a couple pieces of other fruit with hibiscus, and the bright red cup just tastes like sour hibiscus. The description doesn’t even mention hibiscus, only roselle.  The photo shows much less roselle/hibiscus than my sample contained, so maybe it’s just my sample. I guess I don’t need to stock up on so many of these Teavivre herbals if so many of them are mostly hibiscus.   Without the roselle, I would have liked this blend. I did notice that Teavivre has a new hibiscus-less fruit blend though.
Steep #1  // 1 1/2 teaspoons for full mug // 15 minutes after boiling  // 2 minute steep
Steep #2  // just boiled //  3 minute steep
2020 sipdowns: 68 (What-cha – Anxi Tie Guan Yin)

Flavors: Hibiscus

AJRimmer

Yeah I had a few Teavivre herbals on my wish list, but after trying a bunch and only liking 1-2 of them, I decided that I don’t want to try more.

tea-sipper

I wish their herbals were better!

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81

A sample from the sale!  This is as FULL of a pouch as their 20gram size pouches can get.  Wow!  You’d think all these full raspberries and rosebuds would weigh a ton.  OR whomever put the sample together was just filling the pouch?  I probably should have weighed the pouch first.  I was craving raspberry, so luckily I had this on hand.  This is a no-caff blend consisting of raspberries, some of them full bright fuchsia raspberries, rosebuds, strawberry bits, rose petals and raspberry leaf.  I tried to use much more leaf than usual — over two teaspoons because a raspberry takes up an entire teaspoon.  Sadly, I didn’t have any fresh raspberries this year (my favorite) so this tea will have to do.  It’s good!  I would say the resulting flavor is more rose than tangy berry, but that is to be expected.  The second steep isn’t as strong, even with a fifteen minute steep.  The raspberries sure were drained of color though!  I’m surprised there isn’t some sort of champagne flavor here.  But I like this anyway. 
Steep #1  // 2 teaspoons + 1 full raspberry for full mug // 12 minutes after boiling  // 2 minute steep
Steep #2  // 2 minutes after boiling //  15 minute steep

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Bio

Hi! I love tea and trying new ones – it adds a bit of variety to my day! Books, music, TV & movies are my thing… and tea, of course.

Some of my favorite tea shops (still operating):
birdandblendtea.com
teavivre.com
52teas.com
svtea.com
teakruthi.com
harney.com
angrytearoom.com
Dammann Freres
Yunnan Sourcing
fusionteas.com
AprTea.com
Javateaco.com
Lupicia
Plumdeluxe.com
Octaviatea.com
Davidstea
eco-cha.com
what-cha.com
justea.com
singleoriginteas.com
teasenz.com
tealyra.com
whisperingpinestea.com
Mandala
verdanttea.com
thenecessiteas.com

Favorite tea shops (RIP):
butikiteas.com
steapshoppe.com
steepcityteas.com
aquartertotea.com
dellaterrateas.com
zentealife.com
theteamerchant.net
joysteaspoon.com
tealiciousllc.com
Rivertea
Specialteas

My icon photo is Richard Mayhew from the graphic novel ‘Neverwhere’ by Neil Gaiman, Mike Carey & Glenn Fabry.

Most of the teas listed in my cupboard are actually sample sizes. I don’t really have 2,000 ounces of tea around here! Many of my teas have only one teaspoon left… maybe two. But I like keeping them in my cupboard list for reference to what I could be sipping. Usually, I write tasting notes once for each tea. I’m still drinking them, just not writing tasting notes each time!

My dislikes: hibiscus, ginger (unless in chai), turmeric, bee pollen, charcoal type flavors

My ratings:
95-100 – Super awesome deliciousness favorites – cupboard essential
80-95 – Also pretty delicious
65-80 – Pretty good
50-65 – Okay
1-50 – Probably won’t want to sip it again

I’m planning on being a Steepsterer as long as there IS a Steepster, so if you’re not hearing from me, that means something happened to my health… if you know what I mean. (Or as evidenced by the great computer hiatus of 2019, something happened to my computer.) :D

Happy sipping!

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USA

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