224 Tasting Notes

90

I had this one last night as a warm-me-up-before-bed tea, and I decided not to sweeten it, just to see what it tastes like plain. I was actually not disappointed! The butteriness came through quite nicely, with overtones of vanilla and almond. More like a shortbread than a sugar cookie, but that’s probably just because I didn’t sweeten it. I like this tea because it’s rather different than any of the other herbals on my shelf… speaking of which, my one-year-old is getting into them.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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92
drank Chai Spiced Apple by Twinings
224 tasting notes

Okay, so the spices in this aren’t that pronounced, so the end result is more like a cinnamon apple black… but man, is it tasty! There is an edge there that is probably due to the cloves, so one could say that that flavor is present, too. This tea is a staple on our tea shelf when fall/winter rolls around. SO yummy~

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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27

Got this as a sample from Angel at Teavivre. :) I was really excited to try all of the teas I was sent, but I went with this one first, because I was looking for a black tea at the time. Anyway, the dry lead smells lightly… fruity? I can’t quite put my finger on it.

The flavor is… all right. I tried this tea on two separate occasions, thinking the first time was just a fluke. Maybe I didn’t use enough leaf? The second time I know I used more than the first… but I just can’t coax much flavor out of this tea. I steeped it according to the directions, which is even longer than I normally do with blacks. For some reason, it just tastes like hot tap water to me. :/ I want to like it, so perhaps I’ll try it again, with different parameters. Stay tuned.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
TeaVivre

Maybe you can try it with Gaiwan:

5g tea, 90℃, rinse,10s,15s,20s,30s,40s,60s

teataku

Thanks! I don’t currently own a gaiwan, but I imagine I could replicate the process fairly easily with some of my equipment I have here. I’ll give it a go.

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70
drank Cinnamon Fig by Art of Tea
224 tasting notes

I’m actually not entirely sure that the Cinnamon Fig tea I have is THIS tea, because the lady at the shop wouldn’t tell me where she gets her teas (grrrr), but the description seems close. We’ll go with it.

While I do really like this tea… it just hasn’t delivered the fig flavor I wanted. The cinnamon is a very sweet cinnamon, not a spicy cinnamon, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. Overall, this tea reminds me of a fresh cinnamon scone, with some slight breadiness from the black tea. There is a hint of fruit, but it’s more of a pear or apple flavor than it is fig. It’s tasty, but not one I will buy again.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85
drank Lavender Dreams by Teavana
224 tasting notes

This is one of my husband’s favorites. It wasn’t one of mine at first, because lavender is just not a flavor I go gaga over, but it’s grown on me. When I want something delicate and floral, this tea is great! It has notes of sweet hay and a scent almost like roses, with the lavender being the star of the whole show, of course. Quite lovely, actually.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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97
drank Silencio by August Uncommon Tea
224 tasting notes

This was my black tea in my order from August (I would have ordered Leatherbound if they’d had it in stock, but I had to settle for this one). Man, am I glad! This tea smells quite rough and pungent (my husband said they pretty much nailed the tobacco smell), and there’s a slight burnt aroma, like someone grilled the pineapple, which sounds awesome. It’s also got one of the best pineapple smells I’ve ever gotten from a tea (Lupicia’s was slightly better, but this one is a very close second). I had very high hopes, and I was not disappointed. We sweetened this one, because it seemed like the right thing to do, between wanting to bring out the pineapple flavoring and tone down the overall edginess. It was all at once punchy and smooth, sweet and spicy, with a flavor that reminded me of almond extract that oddly helped to marry the tobacco and the pineapple. This was absolutely delicious, and unique. I may have to reorder this one.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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83
drank Dark Iris by August Uncommon Tea
224 tasting notes

I was so excited to get this sample (along with a couple of others) in the mail! I tried this one first, and I didn’t steep it for the full five minutes that it said on the package, because I don’t feel like any oolong really needs that long… but maybe I should have, because I feel like I didn’t get all the flavor that was promised to me by the AMAZING smell coming off the dry leaf. I think this is the first time that I have been able to detect all of the scents that the package said were there, instead of just some of them. The most prominent scent was the peach, followed by the pistachio and the crème fraiche, and then after a few whiffs I could smell a hint of lime. But the brew just didn’t deliver. I could taste the peach, and a little bit of the crème fraiche creaminess, but even after sweetening, I couldn’t coax any pistachio or lime flavor out of it. The oolong was nice and bready, and slightly naturally sweet, but weak, like someone swapped half of it out for mineral water (or didn’t steep it long enough… maybe I will try it again steeped for five minutes…?). I liked this tea, but it’s nothing to write home about.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

Picked this one up on vacation, since there are NO Harry and Davids around where I live (boooooo). It has a wonderful cherry aroma when steeped, like good cherry cobbler. I sweetened it, because it seemed like the right thing to do. It turns out, it definitely was the right thing to do. The black tea lends just enough flavor so as to be identifiable, but otherwise it stays out of the way and lets the cherry shine. This tea is almost juicy. I will enjoy this canister to the last bag!

Flavors: Berry

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Irish Breakfast by Custom
224 tasting notes

I bought this from my favorite café in all of Baton Rouge when I was down visiting this summer… and I have no idea from where they source their tea. Sorry, unknown company!

I’m reviewing this but not rating because I had a rather different experience this time, because of an experiment I decided to try. A bit of explanation first: my sister came to stay for a couple of days, and while she was here she expressed an interest in having some flavored coffee. Not wanting to see her spend $$ at Starbuck’s (or, as Dave Ramsay calls them, Five Bucks), I agreed to pick up some flavored coffee creamer at the store we were headed to. She flew home yesterday, and now we have an enormous bottle of flavored coffee creamer (something we don’t normally keep stocked). So I was looking at it this morning and decided to try some in tea—specifically, this tea, since I thought it likely that the flavor would be strong enough to not be overpowered by the French Vanilla flavor. And I think I like the result.

It definitely has a different mouthfeel than normal (I discovered that the creamer my sister selected was non-dairy, which I would probably have objected to had I known, but it wasn’t marked very clearly on the bottle, and it was in the refrigerated section…). It’s a bit oily, surprise surprise, but I don’t find it unpleasant. The flavor is definitely on the astringent side, because again, the creamer was non-dairy, so there was nothing to cut the bitterness. However, the creamer did add some sweetness and smoothness that isn’t normally there, so one could almost call it a fair trade. I enjoyed it, and will probably do it again. :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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81
drank Earl Grey by Bigelow
224 tasting notes

Backlog. Had this one yesterday early evening, after a LONG day at the zoo, in which we got completely drenched in a summer shower. So, after getting home and getting in some dry clothes, I reached for what I hoped would be a comforting pick-me-up. This tea, while not the tastiest Earl Grey I’ve ever had, certainly did the job. There was a hint of vanilla somewhere in there, though there shouldn’t have been, but it made it interesting nonetheless. I would drink this tea again, but won’t buy it to have in stock.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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Bio

I very clearly remember my first experience with tea. It was in a Target near my house, and my best friend handed me a cup of chai from the Starbucks inside the store and said, “Try this.” I believe I was about 12 at the time, and from then on, I was completely hooked.

Anyway, as my increasingly weirded out family will tell you, my obsession with tea has (almost) steadily escalated since then. I discovered the world of tea slowly, first with just chai, and then with bagged teas I could get from supermarkets and specialty stores, and then with loose leaf teas. I mostly shop for tea at Teavana, but I also patronize other local shops that I’ve discovered within the last couple of years. I’ve ordered a smattering of teas from a few online places, but I’m always leery of buying tea online, since most of how I select teas in person is by smell… unless I’m at The English Tea Room.

My favorite types of tea are blacks and flavored blacks. And oolongs. Right underneath that are rooiboses and whites, and then greens and herbals, and then mates. I’m always looking for a new favorite, but I appreciate rediscovering old favorites. I like to blend teas, but I never store them that way, mostly because I like to leave myself options.

I prefer nutty/sweet/rich teas to fruity/light-flavored teas or bold/full-bodied teas, but I do try to drink some of everything to widen my palate. I’m always willing to try any tea at least once (except this one tea that Teavana mercifully discontinued… the loose leaf smelled like cheese, I swear). I do perhaps rate teas a little leniently… because I’m not very picky. I will try a tea at least three times before I pronounce that I hate it, and I will always focus on the good aspects of a tea rather than the bad. That’s just how I roll. :3

Location

Colorado, USA

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