50 Tasting Notes

95

I wish I had a photo to go with this tea, because it is unbelievable. My friend Rebecca went to Vancouver, and abashedly admitted to paying $57 for 100 g of this tea. But, in my opinion, it was so worth it. We celebrated last night with tea, ginger snaps, and Apples to Apples!

The bag said 90º C for something like 3 min., but we decided to go a bit lower as to not hurt the leaves, and steep longer. Cleaning them, the leaves smelled smoky, and several steeps later, had enlarged such that they probably took up 1/4 of my teacup. The leaves were so delicate that the water never turned past a light cyan color. It is so light that you really can just leave the leaves in the cup and not over-steep.

I’m no oolong master by any means, but I could absolutely taste how smooth and slightly buttery this was, with absolutely no bitter aftertaste as you have with so many teas. The floral notes, presumably from the Kauai orchid (which I know next to nothing about, I’m afraid), were absurdly delicious and light. I could drink this by the gallon if Rebecca would let me, and am definitely going to try (and probably fail) to get one last steep out of the leaves this morning…!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 8 min or more
Suzi

This sounds so cool. What does an orchid taste like?

tease

Good question. I’m not really sure what to compare it to? Not as sweet as that rubbish hibiscus everywhere, that’s for sure.

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80

Makes me yearn for summers in Maine. Steeped it a little too long, I think. The scent is delicious and hearty, yet given that, the flavor doesn’t quite live up to expectations without significant amounts of sugar bring it out. Wish they used real blueberries, but I have a feeling it is just flavoring and black tea. Still, quite scrumptious, and definitely worth picking up for a steep or several!

Preparation
3 min, 30 sec

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85
drank Masala Chai by Rishi Tea
50 tasting notes

Found this in my parents’ fridge; who knew Rishi sold bottles of pre-steeped chai?! Not I. Really enjoyed this even though it is cold outside, and surely having it iced doesn’t help. But it is so sweet, almost like chocolate (the ginger is strong with this one), and very fully flavored! That being said, it is not in any way a spicy chai, and I didn’t particularly taste peppercorn or cinnamon. May buy the loose leaf, now…

Preparation
Iced

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80
drank Leaf Tea (Loose Leaf) by Typhoo
50 tasting notes

This tea instantly transports me to my days at Oxford, senior summer of high school. I am by no means an old fogey, but I am a sentimental human who misses England terribly!

It is basic, strong, black tea, ground finer than most loose leaf. I like it strong, with whole milk, no sugar. Not much to say flavor-wise, but I have a soft spot for it. What can I say?

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec

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90
drank Chai Spiced Cider by Naked
50 tasting notes

CHAI SPICED CIDER IS CONTAGIOUS. I can’t even really say it’s tea, but if you like chai as much as I do, this will be your new guilty pleasure. 4 and a half apples, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and more. Really, I don’t get this excited about tea-based products, and I’d love to taste a little more of the chai… But this is delicious. So seasonal.

Jillian

Mmm sounds good, but is there even any tea listed in the ingredients?

tease

Come to think of it, I didn’t bother to check once I saw “chai” but it is so damn yummy I could even overlook this flaw, haha.

Cofftea

I just checked and there is absolutely no tea in this. I took it off my shopping list. I’ll stick w/ juicing an apple and steeping chai in that.

tease

…Damnation. Guess I’ll go back to custom mixing my chai and cider again. Still, the thought that counts!

Cofftea

I use equal parts rum black and caramel oolong teas as the base for my chai and then using Culinary Teas’ chai spice mix… Now if my apple juice wouldn’t make my ingenuiTEA so dang sticky. Oh well, it’s worth it.

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70

Waking up today was so hard! Snuck this for free at breakfast. Not a super rich coloring. I’m not adverse to the sweetness of this blend, but I do tend to like really spicy chai, and this was not spicy enough for my tastes, even when I left the tea bag in (thus my long steep). Probably doesn’t require sugar given the sweetness of the rooibos, but milk is always a given for me with chai.

Nice enough for me to take for free when I need some caffeine in the morning, but not good enough to sway me away from buying other blends I like better. And the cranberry chocolate scone that accompanied my cup definitely didn’t hurt!

Preparation
8 min or more

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90

I love love love this tea, and I’m never entirely sure why. It’s very simple and smooth, not flavored any particular way, but is the most delicious tea with honey ever. Should turn a lovely, warm, deep, crystalized caramel honey color, too. Fabulous for cleaning out your palate after late night girly gossip, as a friend and I did at 2 AM yesterday.

Pretty delicate for a black blend, so be careful not to over-steep; I usually let my water cool down a bit from boiling and then brew it to prevent this. Be sure to have with with honey. Seriously. Don’t have this without honey. Have I mentioned honey?

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Madison Bartholemew

guess I should have had it with honey…

tease

There’s also a probable chance, if you had it at Alice’s, that someone over steeped it. I get faulty pots all the time, it’s a shame.

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70

I have been looking for a bagged tea like this. For whatever reason, green tea and pomegranate is delightful, though I can’t say it tastes strongly of either, so the blend is pretty decent. Unlike a lot of flavored teas, there’s very little indication of some cheap, chemical flavoring. Keep some sugar handy.

Not too bitter, not too sweet; don’t steep it too long, or I fear the green tea will hiss at you from your teacup (am I the only one that uses teacups anymore?!). If you must use just-boiled water (as I do), steep it for a shorter period than you’d expect. The tea should turn a lovely russet-purple (pomegranate!) color. Perfect for fall, and I bet it’s delicious iced!

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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85
drank Symphony by Alice's Tea Cup
50 tasting notes

This tea is very easy to over-brew into bitterness, but if you’re careful, it’s pretty lovely, with some nice, smoky notes that I don’t think they mention at Alice’s. Usually, I use just-boiled water, so it is strong, as I tend to like my black teas. The strawberry and chocolate is subtle enough that I don’t feel as though I’m drinking something tawdry. Even if you do over brew, sugar can fix some of it! For any New Yorkers, Alice’s Tea Cup is one of many lifesavers, and certainly mine while at college and feeling homesick for their loose tea!

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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drank Chai by Xanadu Fine Teas
50 tasting notes

I’m not sure if Xanadu actually makes this as a loose leaf as well, but the boxed and bagged version isn’t bad. On par with a lot of other common chai blends, but a little stronger on the spice end (probably pepper?) than I am necessarily used to. Neither good nor bad, just nothing particular. Meh.

Brewed it strong, no sugar crystals in the bag as the description implies there is, and added milk and stevia. No bitterness.

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Sam(antha): a 20-something girl living in New York City who lost her reputation and never missed it. Artist, student, geek, docent – aspiring curator, librarian, or animator. Come follow my antics, and I will follow yours!

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