190 Tasting Notes

98
drank SBT: Vanilla Cola by 52teas
190 tasting notes

I ordered this one a while ago, with three other SBT iced teas, but I’ve only just gotten around to pulling them out and trying one. I steeped it for the recommended amount of time, but beyond that, the instructions were very vague… So I’m not sure if it’s because I steeped it in too much water, or because I added too much water after the fact, or what. It was a bit weak. The flavor of vanilla cola was certainly present, and quite tasty, but I think the instructions need to be a bit more explicit? I don’t make iced tea that often, and so I’m not really used to the dynamics. My hubby’s usually the one who does it. I’ll go ahead and rate this one according to the flavoring, which was indeed quite good. :)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
52teas

It is a bit of a challenge to squeeze good directions onto that label, but we do have more fleshed-out instructions here: http://www.southernboyteas.com/how-to-prepare-our-teas

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88

As long as you don’t steep this one too long, it’s a very decent tea. Not TOO artificial with the peach flavoring (although I’m not gonna lie, it is a little bit artificial). It would probably be dee-licious as an iced tea, but I haven’t tried it yet. I definitely will, though. :)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML

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30
drank Cardamom Tea by Culinary Teas
190 tasting notes

Oh my gosh. Slap me upside the head with cardamom, why don’tcha? That’s about what sniffing this tea is like! Don’t get me wrong, I like cardamom… in certain applications. I just am not quite sure I like it to THIS degree of intensity. It is quite literally the only thing I smell.

Okay. I have brewed it, tasted it, sweetened it slightly, and tasted it again. I have to say, the black tea here is really not strong enough to stand up to Mr. Big Mean Cardamom, although I can actually taste it. The overall flavor is just unappealing to me, to be honest. Perhaps I just like my cardamom to be accompanied by (and mellowed by) other things than just a mid-grade black tea. The husband likes it, though, so I’ll let him drink it. ;)

Speaking of the husband, super exciting news came recently! We found out that after he graduates from A School, he (meaning we, as a family!) will be stationed in Aurora, CO for his first duty tour! I am SO stoked about living there. I’ve been to CO a couple of times and LOVED it, so I can’t wait to call it home. Plus, there’s the Rocky Mountain Tea Festival coming up in August! Yippee!!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML
keychange

That’s fantastic! I hope you love it there!

teataku

I hope so too! We’re very much looking forward to it, except the whole moving thing (boooooo moving).

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94
drank Read My Lips by DAVIDsTEA
190 tasting notes

Finally got to try this one, thanks ashleyelizabeth! I’ve had my eye on this one for a bit, because I really just enjoy the heck out of chocolate mint teas. Simple, no fuss, but usually good flavor, as that combination is not hard to replicate. I’ve been excited about this one, though, because apparently chocolate mint herbals are a lot more common than chocolate mint blacks, for some reason. Maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, this is pretty decent. The base is fairly nondescript, but the chocolate and mint are well balanced. Neither flavor is very strong. I see what other people were talking about, the way the sprinkles make a kind of oily sheen on the top of the water. I don’t mind it, as it doesn’t change the mouthfeel. I might try this iced at some point, although I’m not sure how chocolate would come through in an iced tea. I guess we’ll see!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML

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70
drank Coconut Chai Latte by Tea Forte
190 tasting notes

Thanks, ashleyelizabeth, for including this as a random sample in our swap! I have to apologize to you, because in my rush to get the tea packaged and to the post office before it closed, I forgot to include any random samples, just the tea we’d agreed on… T_T Sorry!

Anyway, I made this over at my sister’s while I was visiting the other day. Her kids can be kind of rambunctious, and it can get overwhelming, so we were feeling like we needed a pick-me-up. She went for her Keurig, and I pulled this out, glad I’d brought it.

It’s a bit inconsistent with the flavor, to be honest, although I’m not quite sure how that works. Some sips are quite coconutty, while some sips are spicy, and still other sips are, unfortunately, neither. I’d be willing to give this another shot, though, so perhaps I’ll get some down the line.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
ashleyelizabeth

No need for apologies, I sent out about 7 swaps before I sent yours and I didn’t remember to put samples in most of them, but most people included them in their swap to me. To be honest, I didn’t even notice!

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91

Brenden sent this as a sample in my order, which is rather uncanny, since I’d almost ordered it, but had to take it out for budget concerns. :) I was very happily surprised!

I ended up steeping this four times throughout the course of the day… and it really says something about a tea that I’m willing to go back to it that many times in one day. Usually at some point I say to myself, “Eh, I’ve had that already, let’s shake it up.” Not this time! It was very malty and bready and had some light hints of honey, just barely. Sadly, through all the steeps, I just wasn’t getting the chocolate notes. Maybe next time? I suppose I should try it once without sugar, too… I forgot to, in my hurry that morning.

Preparation
1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

Had this tea this morning, in a travel mug with milk and sugar. The smell is wonderfully light and fresh for a black tea, with some lovely toasty maltiness. It tastes like… rye bread, with honey, maybe some hints of maple syrup, and heavy cream… it’s making me think of bread pudding, minus the cinnamon. Highly delicious, a very good choice for breakfast! :)

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

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100
drank Coconut Grove by DAVIDsTEA
190 tasting notes

Wow… did I add milk to this?? I don’t remember doing that, and the color of the tea seems to indicate that I didn’t, but it sure tastes like I did! The mouthfeel is thick and creamy, too, which further reinforces it. The coconut is very present, but the vegetal nature of the green tea fills out the edges of the flavor, giving it depth. I have come to the conclusion that I LOVE coconut in tea, and this is subliminally coconut. Therefore, I find this utterly sublime!

1st steep: 2 minutes
2nd steep: 5-ish minutes? I kind of forgot about it… but it does not seem to have suffered because of it! Just as flavorful and coconutty. :3

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Amaretto by DAVIDsTEA
190 tasting notes

Well. Color me surprised. I got this in a plastic baggie from ashleyelizabeth (thank you!), and before I really looked at it closely, I would have told anyone who asked me that there was rooibos in that bag. That’ll teach me. XD

Anyway, this tea smells VERY much of almond extract—pungent and sweet, almost cloyingly so. It actually reminds me of the wedding cake cupcake that a shop near my house makes. Their icing is VERY sweet, and this smells exactly like biting into one of those.

The brew smells of almonds (though not as strongly) and wet wood, kind of reminiscent of the flavor of a toothpick. Weird, but not altogether unappealing. There’s also quite a bit of “dust” floating around in my cup after steeping, which is not great, but if I like this enough I’ll just steep it in a paper bag from now on.

Unsweetened, this tastes pretty much exactly like a toothpick—woody, and kind of chemical-y, and bitter. Hmm. Perhaps, like its baked counterpart, it needs some sweetness.

Hmm, there might be something there… I added two tsps of sugar, and the toothpick flavor is ALMOST gone, and the almond might be surfacing… I have one more remedy to try.

A splash of milk later, and this tea is the oddest color, like fog, if fog were slightly brown. The milk has taken away the bitter flavor, but it left the toothpick flavor. Blech. I will try it one more time, just to make sure this is not because I scalded the lapacho (I admittedly did not check the recommended temp before pouring boiling water over it), but so far, not a good first impression. I can’t finish this. :(

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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65
drank Lemon Meringue Chai by 52teas
190 tasting notes

Thank you to ashleyelizabeth for this one! Been wanting to try it for a while. :)

The loose leaf smells kind of medicinal… uh-oh. There’s lemon myrtle in here. Well, we’ll see…

I steeped it for a pretty short amount of time, ‘cause I know Frank’s flavored blacks tend to do better that way. The aroma is mostly of cardamom and citrus, with some solid floral notes. Hmm. I’m not sure I’ll like a flowery chai. The very idea is strange, at best.

I added milk, because that’s what you do with chai, and some sugar. It smells a lot more like lemon meringue pie now, for sure! First sip… mmm, interesting. The front of the sip definitely tastes like lemon meringue—sweet and lightly creamy (thank you, marshmallow root), somewhat lemony (although I like my lemon curd a bit more tart than that). The spices are filling the role of the pie crust flavor, bakey and warm… but then the aftertaste is ALL floral. That lemon myrtle… dang, this was almost really good. I just can’t get around it. This tea would be much better off without it. :/

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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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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