409 Tasting Notes

85

I eyed these when they first came out, but resisted because my tea cupboard was overflowing. Now it’s not, and the Mermaid and her Captain were on sale! I’ve really come to enjoy plain Assams over the last few months, and had been wanting a new one. This is a great example of the type, too. Malty and rich, easy to oversteep, some sweet honey flavors if you get it just right. I like the first steep with milk, to give it some more body, and spread out the flavor a little. A second steep, plain, is mellow with lots of honey notes.

I wish I could get my water hotter, but I’m making this at my desk and don’t have a sink handy for rinsing with hot water :( Oh well, still has plenty of flavor even with sub-boiling water.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 30 sec
Jim Marks

Best. Tea. Name. Ever.

teabird

It is a great name, but the Captain might have to fight Thomas Sampson for the “Best” title :)

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79

Remember how I didn’t want to mess with this one? I changed my mind :P I had a cup of it straight this morning, then decided to add some of Rishi’s Pe-erh Vanilla Mint; it’s usually too minty for my taste, so the extra vanilla and black tea flavor worked very well! I’ll be making this blend again, for sure.

With the pu-erh in there, it’s been re-steeping well all day, especially with the occasional extra 1/4 tsp of leaves.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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79

So, I was in Cardullo’s last night, buying another Kusmi sampler (for a friend!), and thinking of maybe getting a little tin of Paris for myself, when I saw that they had a sale shelf. With Golden Moon on it O_O. With, specifically, several of my favorite GM teas at ~40% off.

I ended up getting this one, White Persion Melon, and Coconut Pouchong. I made myself a batch of the Melon to drink iced today…. then left it in the fridge this morning :( But, at least remembered to bring this tin in.

I like this as a vanilla tea – it’s not a big, strong vanilla flavor, but it’s not weak either. Just light, and smooth, and fruity – best drunk plain, I think, or maybe with a dot of honey. I’ll try it with some milk later to be sure, but it’s so smooth and sweet on its own, I don’t think it would hold up well. There’s just this lovely sweet, aromatic aftertaste that I don’t want to mess with!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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80
drank Winter Blend by SpecialTeas
409 tasting notes

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Second cup: this was definitely being contaminated by the mint, so I’ve moved those out of the box now. I’m less overwhelmed by the flavor this time – not having that weird too-strong-but-not-bitter experience – but still not overly impressed. It’s nice with milk, but I’ve had many breakfast teas wow me more, so this won’t be making a home in the cupboard.

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

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86
drank Prince Vladimir by Kusmi Tea
409 tasting notes

Having the other sampler bag of this today. I’m getting a little more spice, less citrus, than before. It reminds me of Harney’s Holiday Tea now, though it’s been long enough since I had that one that I can’t say how similar they really are. Though, it looks like JaquelineM mixes them together (her Winter Holiday Cheer is showing up in the sidebar as a “similar tea”) so they must go somewhat well together!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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57

I’m… not liking this one as much as I’d hoped. They recommend a lot of leaf – I’m using about half the suggestion, at 1 1/2 tsp for 8oz, and I think even this might be too strong? I really don’t know. My steeping time was right on :/ Maybe a second steep will go better?

This tastes dark, a little bitter, but mostly just kind of muddy. Like puerh, almost, without the barnyard flavor. I’m having a lot of trouble pulling individual flavors out of the earthiness. I’ll keep playing with it, but at this point I definitely wouldn’t buy more.

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

Sounds like you are having a similar problem. I think the steeping instructions are completely off. Did you have any luck adjusting?

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85
drank St. Petersburg by Kusmi Tea
409 tasting notes

Oh! I remembered what this reminds me of: Strawberry Zabaglione from 52teas! The flavor here is a little more subtle, a little less cream and more fruit, but the profile is quite similar.

I probably won’t buy a tin of this immediately, but maybe the next time I’m in the mood for a sweet subtle fruity tea.

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57

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I usually like floral, but this is a bit too much. Any black tea is pretty well buried in the flowers, and even the bergamot is a little subdued in comparison. Just too light and tart for me overall. Might be nice iced?

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Bio

Some notes on ratings:

I’d have separate rating scales for tea types if that were possible (probably Black, Flavored Black, Darjeeling/Dark Oolong, White/Green/Light Oolong, and Herbal) because the flavors and quality markers are just too different. A flavored black rated 100 isn’t better than every oolong I’ve ever drunk, just delicious for a flavored black.

Ratings are a combination of my enjoyment and the perceived quality – I do often demote teas a few points for artificial flavorings, small quantity of steeps supported, or weakness of flavor (requiring extra leaf).

I pay less attention to the number than the order of my ratings; I don’t necessarily keep a stock of everything rated 80+, but if two breakfast blends are rated 82 and 84 I consistently enjoy the 84 more.

And in case it’s not obvious? I am not an expert. I don’t even know what I like until I taste it sometimes, but I’m ok with that :) I like learning to like new teas, as well as enjoying the comfort of familiar ones.

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