190 Tasting Notes

drank Cheesecake Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
190 tasting notes

Finally got around to trying my March sample. :) My little girl is down for a nap, so I thought it was the perfect time to have a latte and weigh teas to send to people (all of which can be done while sitting down, mercifully—been running like a crazy person this morning). Anyway, I decided to do something a little different and try it hot, with the unsweetened almond milk I found in the fridge. I had to add some sweetener, because I do find unsweetened almond milk to be somewhat unpleasant (bitter is not quite the right word, but it’s close). I added a little xylitol, not to defeat the purpose of the unsweetened almond milk, which seems to be so proud of its 30 calories a serving.

The texture was nice and creamy, but the flavor profile was meh. It was a good cup of matcha, but I didn’t get any cheesecake flavor. Next time I will go all out and make it the way they recommend. Lesson learned.

Preparation
1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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39
drank Spiced Brandy Shou Mei by 52teas
190 tasting notes

Whoa, this one has got some POTENT flavors going on. As soon as I opened the package, I actually had to back AWAY from it, because I was so overwhelmed by the licorice aroma charging at me like an aggressive rhino. I let it sit open while I prepped the water, and gave it another sniff right before steeping, and I can happily report that the anise had lightened up, and I could in fact smell other things—spices, mostly, and something a bit musty.

I steeped it up and sweetened it, because not being a huge fan of anise, I thought that sugar might help. What I got instead was a POWERFUL flavor of alcohol. It pretty much took over, leaving the spices to duke it out for the aftertaste. I don’t think I am a fan of this one. My husband is, though, so he’s welcome to it.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML

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100
drank Cinnamon Roll Honeybush by 52teas
190 tasting notes

I’m almost out of this tea, which is thoroughly sad, because currently they’re out, so I can’t order any more at the moment… I am upping my previous rating for this tea, because I have found it to be one I go back to again and again. It is so deliciously cinnamon-y and bake-y, with a little tangy sweetness that just rounds it out so well. I added a splash of whole milk, which makes it taste like I just drizzled a little more icing on an already delectable cinnamon roll. I can drink this one easily with or without milk, and it’s equally delicious, a quality that always makes me want to rate the tea higher. Yes indeedy, this one is a keeper. :3

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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100

A new acquisition as of today, and I’m super glad I went for it! I hadn’t tried this one before, even though I’m pretty sure my hubby, a former Teavana employee, told me I would like it. I haven’t been a big fan of ginger until recently, which may have had something to do with that.

ANYWAY. The loose leaf smells intoxicatingly of coconut and cream and almond, with none of the metallic notes of rooibos—promising! I made myself a cup as soon as I got home, using Teavana’s recommended parameters.

I got mostly coconut from the flavor, with a hint of spice in the aftertaste. I could taste the ginger ever so slightly in the beginning, when it was still hot, but alas, now that it has cooled, the ginger flavor has pretty much disappeared. I still really like the flavor and the creamy mouthfeel. But it gets a less-than-perfect rating because of the absent ginger.

Flavors: Coconut, Cream

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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38

I tried this one iced in the store, and after the first sip, decided not to take it home (not for lack of effort on the barista’s part, I might add). I thought the copious amounts of hibiscus I saw in the tin would mellow out in an iced brew, and I may have been correct, but I don’t think I’ll ever know, because it was steeped a bit too long for my liking, and all I could really taste was bitterness from oversteeped oolong and a bit of artificial grape flavor, kind of like Kool-Aid. I won’t be getting or trying this one again.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 tsp

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89

Sipdown! This is actually a backlog from a few days ago. I was staying with a friend, and she was feeling nauseous, so I brought out the only red tea I’d brought with me—this one. I remembered when I’d had nausea from being pregnant, I drank a red tea I have with lemongrass in it, which pretty much knocked the nausea on its ass, so I thought it would help her. She said it didn’t really make it better or worse, but it did taste good, so I guess that’s something. :)

I had forgotten how much I really like this tea by itself. It’s got enough flavor in it that the red rooibos doesn’t bother me, and the blueberry is very present (and lends a wonderful purplish color to the brew). I hope Teavana hasn’t discontinued this one, ‘cause I’d like to look into getting some more…

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Pure Peppermint by Twinings
190 tasting notes

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100
drank Cocoa Mint Maté by Tazo
190 tasting notes

Hey, a maté I actually really like?? Sweet!

I have been on the fence about maté in general for a while, but THIS tea is solidly in the “Love” category. :) I really appreciate that both spearmint and peppermint are present, because it just rounds out the minty experience. The chocolate and the roasted maté just complete each other so smoothly. Delicious!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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60

Okay. I gave this tea a second try. I thought maybe the first time I didn’t brew it right, or it just wasn’t what I was in the mood for, or… who knows? Anyway, I searched for anything in the flavor that I might call “pancake-y,” and I just don’t think I ever found it. I definitely got the maple, no issues with that. I even added milk, which usually helps to bring out “baked goods” flavors in tea… and it just didn’t help. I want to like this one, but without the pancake flavor, I am not prepared to say I do.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML

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91
drank Strawberry Blush Rosé by Teavana
190 tasting notes

I bought some of this when Teavana was having its piddly Valentine’s Day Sale (it was only 20% off, which barely counts as a sale, in my book). It smells very strongly of strawberry, with some hints of hibiscus lurking in the background. I didn’t see a whole lot of hibiscus in the loose tea, so I thought that boded well. :)

It turns out I was right! The brew came out a lovely amber/pink color, with a bit of haziness from the fruit pieces. The flavor was divine, like strawberry angel food cake. The oolong played nicely (although truth be told, I could have used more oolong flavor), and the hibiscus was very subtle! I really enjoyed it. I will definitely be trying this iced!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Profile

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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