198 Tasting Notes

85
drank Organic Chai by Tazo
198 tasting notes

I chose this one this morning because I’m traveling and it’s really the only breakfast tea I brought with me. Don’t know what I’m going to do tomorrow morning, since I only brought one bag of this.

I prefer chais without anise, but this one is actually subtle enough about it that I don’t mind. :) It’s a decent cupp. Nothing to write home about, but I appreciate that it’s organic.

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

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10

I took the rest of this out of Traveling Teabox B some time ago and have only just now gotten around to trying it…

The loose leaf smelled vaguely citrus-y, which I guessed was the lemon myrtle. Not a really appealing smell, to be honest. It’s floral and tangy at the same time, but in a way that just is not doing it for me.

Once it cooled off enough to drink, I decided I’d try it unsweetened first. The liquor smells again very strongly of lemon myrtle, but now I’m getting the vanilla in the aroma. Perhaps it won’t be so bad. Not that I have anything against lemon myrtle, but for some reason, the smell of it is turning me off, like maybe I had a bad experience with it that I can’t quite remember at the moment…

Hmm, I have decided my verdict: this tea is bleh. It could speak to the age of the sample (which is unknown by me, maybe someone knows), but the lemon myrtle is just not as good as it could be. I’m assuming that’s what’s causing the tangy-floral flavor that I’m not liking. It’s borderline metallic, almost, and the more it cools, the more astringent the pouchong is, which doesn’t help. In a word, nope.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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100

I decided to have this as my evening wind-down tea. I steeped it according to the package directions and added 1.5 teaspoons of sugar. I probably should have tried it unsweetened first , but oh well. Next time!

This tea is REALLY sweet. Definitely should have tried it unsweetened. There’s a lovely harmony going on among all the flavors, similar to what happens in a baked good: the ingredients get real friendly with one another, until they just mush into each other and become a new flavor entirely. That, and the fact that it’s really very sweet, makes this tea taste like a Hubig’s apple pie. For those of you not familiar with Hubig’s, they make individual size fruit pies, kind of like a turnover except with pie crust instead of puff pastry, deep fry them, and douse them in glaze. You don’t really want to know how many calories are in one of those things. ;) Anyway, I’m completely captivated by the bakey apple flavors going on here, and the cinnamon plays a perfectly in tune second fiddle. The oolong adds some nice honey and nut notes. Delicious!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Whispering Pines Tea Company

Note that you can get 5+ infusions with this one :)

teataku

I’m actually on my fourth steep this morning! Every time I would go to empty my infuser, I smelled the leaves again and I could STILL detect cinnamon! So I steeped it again, and again, and again. It’s not as rich and thick in the mouth as it was the first time, but the flavors are definitely all still there (though the apple is pretty weak now). I am loving this!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

:) yay! So glad you’re enjoying them all!

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100
drank Copper Knot Hongcha by Teavana
198 tasting notes

Sipdown… So sad to see this one go. The hubby and I had this with our continental breakfast. No sugar, no milk, nothing added. It was perfect. Smooth as butter, full-flavored but not too dark, malty but not bitter… mmmm. I really hope the Teavana by my house has this in stock, ‘cause their online stock is so unpredictable. I don’t have anything against helping an employee reach their sales goals, but it would be nice if they would at least show all the teas they carry on the website.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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91
drank Strawberry Blush Rosé by Teavana
198 tasting notes

Backlog from Sunday morning. I went to see my husband this past weekend, and since whenever I take a trip I always devote about half my suitcase to tea and its accoutrements, I had plenty to choose from. We had one with breakfast, and then we steeped this one up to have while we packed up the hotel room. I wanted to review it again because this was the first time I’d actually managed to taste the “champagne” notes. We didn’t have access to much sugar, but we each added about 1/2 a teaspoon, and it was nonetheless quite enjoyable, with the strawberry still making itself known in the background. I usually find that fruit flavors need sweetening before they really taste like themselves, but this time was an exception. I’m impressed.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

Went for this one out of my Whispering Pines box this morning. Feeling like I need a comforting tea. Morning just came too early… and I’m a morning person. But I could have easily slept another two hours, were it not for the 11-month-old climbing all over me.

Anyway, I’m so glad to get to try this one, because someone FINALLY did it: made a chai with a Yunnan Dian Hong, instead of Assam or Ceylon like you see most chais made with. (If there’s another company that’s done it before now, I haven’t found them.) This must be a new tea, because I had to add it to Steepster’s database. First review, what what?? XD #isadork

The loose leaf smells great! The first thing I smell is the cardamom, then the cloves, and then the cinnamon. Can’t quite smell the Dian Hong over those very strong spices, but hey, I like my spices to have some staying power.

Anyway, I made this the way I’ve been brewing chai nowadays, a little closer to the traditional way, but still pretty American—two parts water and one part milk. Basically, I steeped it for a while in less water than normal so it would be nice and strong, then filled the cup the rest of the way with milk. I will eventually try this the fully traditional way, but the husband currently has all our stock of paper tea bags, and he’s three hundred miles away. Might have to break down and use one of our tea balls. I digress.

Oh, man. This is soooo good. I might even venture to prematurely propose that this might be my new favorite chai. I don’t like chais with anise, and this one has none. It’s made with my favorite type of black tea. It ‘s spicy and rich and robust and not astringent. I kind of hope the cardamom mellows out a little with age, ’cause right now, it’s kind of taking over, but we’ll see. I’m still thoroughly enjoying it. Kudos, Brendan!

Edit: So, on a whim, I tried resteeping. I didn’t have high hopes, because resteeping chai hardly ever works, right?

Well, this one works! :D

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML
Whispering Pines Tea Company

:D so glad you enjoy this one as much as I do!

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90

Mmmm, spicy, fruity, yum! I am not quite certain exactly what elderberries taste like, so I can’t really identify if I’m tasting it now or not, but there is definitely a berry-ish quality to this tea that could possibly be them. Regardless, it has a deliciously thick mouthfeel and a wonderful spicy bite from the cinnamon and chicory. Well worth the money! I will be going to this one in the evening, especially when it’s cold.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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86

I got home last night from going visit my husband (sooo needed that, I miss him so much), and my order from Whispering Pines was waiting for me! So, naturally, I busted it open first thing this morning, and this one was calling my name.

The loose leaves smell faintly dusty and woody, with the barest hint of smoke. Oh my gosh, these leaves are HUGE! Some of them are EASILY two inches long! They’re very darkly oxidized, too. I love dark oolongs, so that’s a plus for me.

I thought I would break from my usual steeping method and do what it says on the package (although I used more water than it said to). The brew smells VERY nutty, with a slight hint of charcoal, like the nuts were just a teensy bit scorched.

Mmm, I’m getting a heavy hit of that roasted nut flavor that I love in dark oolongs. This is warming me to my toes on this rather chilly morning. After sipping a while, it doesn’t get astringent or too dry in the mouth. It’s not what I would call “juicy,” but it definitely is not drying, so I appreciate that. I’m enjoying it very much. It’s not something that I will go for very often, probably, knowing the type of teas that I tend to gravitate toward , but when I am in the mood for it, I will be very glad I have it. :)

Edit: The second steep was just as good as the first, and I even got some hints of chocolate, which combined with the nuttiness made it taste like almond bark or Nutella. :) Yum !

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Cheesecake Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
198 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
198 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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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

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Colorado, USA

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