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403 Tasting Notes

68

After using a heaping teaspoon and steeping this a scant three minutes today, when I took my first sip I would’ve sworn I’d added honey to it. But no, that’s just how sweet and flavorful it came out. Not really malty, but very very honeyed. Drinking plain :)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Be Cool by Kusmi Tea
403 tasting notes

I liked this more than I expected. I’m not fond of licorice in general (anise, fennel, any of those), but the taste here is a more general herb-y-ness.

There’s a strong menthol sensation, so it’s aptly named, but it doesn’t taste overpoweringly of mint either. I guess I’d have to say that it’s very well blended. I do find the effect more refreshing than calming, personally.

Not one I’d buy a tin of, but if you want a pleasant herbal tea you might like it.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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drank Green Darjeeling by Kusmi Tea
403 tasting notes

This is certainly interesting – the closest comparison I can think of is a sencha. It’s vegetative and sweet, but also almost pickled(?) tasting. I’m glad I have another bag to experiment with, because I really haven’t made up my mind here after two steeps.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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69
drank Hillcrest Gold by Tea Tang
403 tasting notes

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Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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84
drank Darjeeling No. 37 by Kusmi Tea
403 tasting notes

I had low expectations for a bagged Darjeeling, even as nice a bag as Kusmi provides, so this was a very pleasant surprise. Maybe I just got lucky and steeped it properly, but this is a fine and delicious example of what a Darjeeling can taste like. Light but full-flavored, very aromatic with that fruity/winey/muscatel flavor. There’s just enough astringency to make it refreshing without being bitter.

If it’s consistently this good (and I didn’t just get lucky with the steeping parameters) I may even pick up a tin of this! Darjeelings aren’t my usual, but it is nice to have one or two black teas on hand that go well without milk.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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85
drank St Petersburg by Kusmi Tea
403 tasting notes

Pretty tasty – fruit and caramel, yes – but I think I liked Prince Vladimir better. This reminds me of something I’ve had before, but I’m not being able to place it. Blue moon, maybe? Except that it really doesn’t have the apple notes, hmm.

It is very nice, and sweet enough to drink plain, but would probably benefit from a dash of sugar. I’ll try that next time, since Kusmi considerately puts 2 of each tea into the sampler!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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90

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

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86
drank Prince Vladimir by Kusmi Tea
403 tasting notes

To my delight, there’s a specialty foods store in Harvard Square that carries Kusmi Tea. Not knowing what to try first, I picked up a box of their “essentials” that has two bags each of twelve of their (I assume) most popular teas. For some reason I was expecting normal-ish bags, so I was pleasantly surprised by the individually-sealed muslin sachets! Now, on to the tea :)

… delicious! Perfectly delicious, hot and plain. I always appreciate black teas smooth enough to easily drink plaint. Sweet and fruity and aromatic – citrus and vanilla, as described, but a very soft citrus. A like lemon coffee cake? I expect to get a second steep out of it, but haven’t yet. I’ll probably try with milk next time, but don’t want to mess with it at the moment – this is just tasty.

I’ll have to try the rest of the sampler first, but this could easily be one to buy a tin of!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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83
drank Coconut Oolong by Rishi Tea
403 tasting notes

Mmmm, very tasty. I never used to like coconut much, but the coconut oolongs are definitely converting me. This is a little stronger than I recall Golden Moon’s Coconut Pouchong being, but they are similarly real and well-blended flavors.

I got this with Rishi’s oolong sampler, so the other 3 will be up in the next week or two as I get to them.

The packaging suggests using 190˚F water, though the description here says 175˚. I’ve steeped it a couple of times now, and either seems to work fine. I found the higher temp gave a stronger flavor, lower was sweeter.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 15 sec
gmathis

Coconut is one of my very favorite tea additives…especially in summer.

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

I think I need to get some of this soon.

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88
drank Vanilla Mint by Golden Moon Tea
403 tasting notes

Delicious! I don’t usually like mint mixed with things, but this is really tasty. Good vanilla, and peppermint. I love that GM uses real things to flavor the tea – even in my sample I could see chopped vanilla beans. Not sure I’d drink regularly enough to buy, but I’d definitely recommend trying this one.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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Profile

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.

Location

Boston, MA

Website

http://www.twitter.com/_teabird

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