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403 Tasting Notes

91

Stovetop chai day! Also catching-up-on-backlogged-tea day :) but this one is current. And delicious, and warm; it’s 12˚F out here with a windchill of zero – sweet and spicy tea is definitely called for!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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80
drank Winter Blend by SpecialTeas
403 tasting notes

Got my clearance order from SpecialTeas today – quite happy with it so far. This Winter Blend is distinctive – slightly spicy, slightly fruity, well balanced. I like that I can pick out the flavors of orange, coriander, and pistachio, not just cinnamon. It is similar to Harney and Sons Holiday flavored tea, but I think this is less fruity. An absolute steal at $2.63 for 4oz.

The pistachio came out especially strong on a second steep (~5 minutes).

1tsp/6oz, taken with cream.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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71

This has become my breakfast tea of choice lately, because 1) It’s a good, flavorful, hearty black 2) I can drink it with or without milk, and 3) I don’t feel bad for not taking the time to resteep it.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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91

Treating myself to a stovetop chai this evening. It’s been hard to find time to log teas lately, but I am still drinking them! I love all the spices in this one (the picture is quite accurate, there are huge chunks of cinnamon and maple sugar).

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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90
drank Love by TeaFrog
403 tasting notes

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64
drank Chill Pill by Compass Teas
403 tasting notes

Remember that job I got, like, two months ago? Well, it finally started. Hence, lack of posting. Also hence: tea for de-stressing!

This is really lovely to look at while it steeps – there are big chamomile buds and a chrysanthemum floating on top, lemongrass on the bottom with some pink curls I think are rosehips (not purple enough to be hibiscus, though that’s apparently in here somewhere) and I definitely see a sprig of tarragon floating near the bottom there too.

The flavor is pretty mild. I wouldn’t have liked this two years ago, but I find it pleasantly soothing now. I’m still not a huge fan of chamomile, but it blends well here with the tangy citrus-esque flavors.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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77
drank The au Chocolat by Lupicia
403 tasting notes

Mmm… another lovely one from the SororiTEA Sisters. If I hadn’t already tried Florence this would be my favorite chocolate tea. Strongly chocolatey, like dark chocolate, but still tea. A little bitter for me straight-up, but rich and sweet with milk.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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86
drank Carnival by Sanctuary T
403 tasting notes

Smells very spicy (that would be the peppercorn, cumin, and coriander) and a little nutty/sweet. The taste oddly both watery and full. I can identify black tea on the front, kind of bitter really, but then the aftertaste is sweet and spicy and lovely. I prefer my tea unsweetened, but this could do with a bit of sugar or honey.

A dash of milk improves it enormously: fuller body, less harshness, more caramel flavors.
I steeped 1tsp in 8oz boiling water for 2:15 (recommendation is 2-3 minutes); a longer steep or more leaf would be better. A second steep at 4 minutes was about as good as the first. And, impressively, two subsequent steeps (6 and 8 minutes) were also good.

Points for uniqueness and resteepability.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec
Sarah Ruthven

my goodness, what a creative blend! Sounds interesting.

Stephanie

This sounds lovely—but it looks like SpecialTeas’ 924 Winter Blend. I wonder if they’re the same thing?

teabird

Might be – I have found a couple whose blends overlap with Sanctuary T’s, so thanks for the tip. I’m slowly compiling a database of retailers with shared wholesalers :P

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87
drank Breakfast in Bed by Liber Teas
403 tasting notes

This was probably the most exciting sample out of my SororiTEA Sisters prize package – I hadn’t gotten to try any of LiberTEAS’ creations before! And it’s lovely. Smells like a cinnamon roll, but the light pastry kind, not the heavy buttery side. I wouldn’t have guessed that rose, cinnamon, and vanilla would go so well together but they really do.

This is light, sweet, and delicious without anything added.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 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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