251 Tasting Notes

drank Chestnut by Adagio Teas
251 tasting notes

This is actually one of the better teas from their holiday sample pack. Sweet and nutty, and fairly smooth as well. Not the best, but drinkable.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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90
drank Chandernagor by Mariage Frères
251 tasting notes

Ooooh… an absolutely fabulous way to ring in the new year! This is an excellent chai with a wonderful balance of spicy and sweet. Jake and I both love it, and it’s totally going on the shopping list.

Thanks so much OMGsrsly for giving me the opportunity to try it!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
OMGsrsly

You’re welcome, and I’m sorry. :) A shop that sells it loose and ships reasonably to the Americas has not been found, but it’s available by the tin at Holt Renfrew over the holidays.

wheezybee

Actually, I live outside Dallas, TX and there’s a store here that sells MF loose. I haven’t made it in yet, but I think now I’ll make it a priority! :)

OMGsrsly

OMG! Do they sell online?!

yyz

If it’s the cultured cup. They do have a nice selection, but the shipping price the owner quoted to me was $30- 42 for 100-200g of tea. At that point you might as well by it from France.

OMGsrsly

That is RIDICULOUS. :/

wheezybee

Yeah – I wasn’t looking at the shipping because it’s local. Sorry! I’ll let you know when I have a chance to check it out, then maybe we could do another swap. http://www.theculturedcup.com/

yyz

I think us shipping was fine and they let you purchase smaller amounts of some teas. The price I was quoted was to Canada.

Anna

Hehehe, the splash page slideshow is cracking me up. First the name, ‘The Cultured Cup’, and then the two lovely dapper gentlemen enjoying a (cultured, I’m sure) cup… and then… REALLY CHEESY REINDEER!!!

But hey, 40% sale on Yuzu Temple – it’s a pretty nice tea.

OMGsrsly

I will have to use MissB’s US box when I’m ready to order some teas. :)

Anna

Oh, I just wanted to add that I stumbled over this one – they carry refill bags of some MF teas:

http://www.markethallfoods.com/

Nicole

Oh… I did not know that Cultured Cup was carrying loose MF. I shall have to make a point to stop by next time I am visiting. And wheezybee, you and I will totally have to meet up and go to Maudee’s or something next time I there! :)

wheezybee

Sounds wonderful!

cteresa

My favorite chai. That price is outrageous though!

BTW this is the tea which inspired me to try to make my own chai blends, and somehow that worked pretty well. I used precisely the same spices there are in Chandernagor (why mess with perfection?), and used this blog

http://reified.typepad.com/reified/2006/10/chai_on_the_go.html

as a guideline. I am pretty happy with the results though the trick is alwats the chai blend needs to age a bit, at least a month before being tried.

OMGsrsly

Thanks so much, cteresa!

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My wonderful husband made me a cup of this before he left for work, so I’m not entirely sure how he prepared it. Based on the somewhat thin flavor, I think he may have only used half the suggested dry leaves on accident, so I’m going to wait to rate and post more about it until I’ve had a chance to steep it up myself. But, shhh… we won’t tell him that!

Terri HarpLady

They always mean well :)

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65
drank Pumpkin Spice Brulee by Teavana
251 tasting notes

This is yet another tea from my swap with OMGsrsly – they’re all just too tempting to leave them alone!

I eyed this tea last time I was in a Teavana, but since I promised my husband I would only leave the store with one tea (and only as much as would fit in the tin I was refilling) this one lost out to the White Chocolate Peppermint Rooibos. I’ve been curious about it ever since, so I was happy to get my hands on a sample.

Teaware: 16oz ForLife glass mug and infuser
Measured dry: 3 teaspoons
Temperature: 195º F
Steeping Time: 3 minutes
Additives: 3tsp raw sugar

Like most Teavana teas, the dry blend is very chunky but the pieces are somewhat smaller than the others I’ve tried. Looking at it right now, I am a little surprised it’s listed as an oolong, because the small pieces of leaves I can make out look more like a chopped black.

When I poured in the water, I was a little surprised to see a slight brown foam forming on the sides of the infuser. I don’t know what that was, but when I removed the infuser it went away. I think it may have become part of the cloudiness in the cup, or the oily film on top. There are a lot of little particulates in the bottom and throughout the cup, but I’m not worried about it, because it seems to be part and parcel of the Teavana experience.

The actual flavor of the tea does evoke the memory if not the experience of a pumpkin dessert. I’m not getting the brûlée aspect of caramelized sugar, but there is a certain creaminess to it and a sweet little kick of spice in the aftertaste. I’m glad I got to try it!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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70
drank White Christmas by 52teas
251 tasting notes

This is another tea from the swap with OMGsrsly, and unlike the last tea this is unquestioningly a holiday tea.

Teaware: 16oz ForLife glass mug and infuser
Measured dry: 2 teaspoons
Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 3 minutes
Additives: 3tsp raw sugar

Despite the fact the ingredients list peppermint and not spearmint, the dry tea smells overwhelmingly of sweet spearmint gum, and I can’t catch a whiff of the black tea or marshmallow root at all. I’m not sure what to expect from the marshmallow, but I’m curious to see how it will translate into the cup.

Now that it’s steeped, the black base has definitely come out to play, and the tea itself is a lovely dark amber. I’m still getting a bit of spearmint gum here, but it’s a lot milder than the dry aroma. I can’t pick out any contributions from the marshmallow root, but it’s still very sweet, beyond my raw sugar alone, and leaves a minty aftertaste and tingle in my mouth after each sip.

This is an interesting one, and I’m glad I got a chance to try it!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
OMGsrsly

I got this one and Read My Lips from Cavocorax, and found this one too spearmint-y for me. So glad that wasn’t just my imagination!

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70

This is another of the fantastic teas from my swap with OMGsrsly. I requested it for my holiday tea project, but it’s striking me more like a summer blend than something specific to the holidays. Here’s how I made it up:

Teaware: Mesh tea ball in china cup
Measured dry: 1-1/2tsp
Temperature: About 170º F (boiled it then got distracted)
Steeping Time: 4min initially, then added 1min
Additives: 1-1/2tsp raw sugar

After I first checked the steep, it was a little light and I wasn’t picking up any plum at all. Adding a minute to the steep helped bring out a fruity aftertaste, but I’m not sure if it’s ever going to be very overt. The black tea is really the predominant note here, with maybe a hint of the cornflower and cinnamon. Because I did over-steep it a little, there is some noticeable astringency.

I have enough left over to make one more cup, and I think the next time I make it I won’t worry so much about pushing it into turning plum and just enjoy it as a slightly different blend of black.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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75

Oh my goodness, they actually hit it spot on. This tastes exactly like what it says: buttery flour, slightly caramelized sugar, and a generous dash of vanilla. When I’m at the end of my Weight Watchers points for the day and absolutely craving something I just can’t have, I think I have found a solution. Cookies without the guilt. Awesome!

I am really proud of the pictures for this one! You can see them here:
http://wordsabouttea.blogspot.com/2013/12/sugar-cookie-sleigh-ride-by-celestial.html

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
VariaTEA

I wonder what I am doing wrong because this tastes like crackers to me and I had such high hopes for it.

wheezybee

Huh. Well, I have noticed that with their teas I need to stay very close to the 1 teabag/8oz ratio, and I did use 1-1/2tsp raw sugar per 8oz as well.

VariaTEA

I tried adding sweetner although that made it taste like a sweetened cracker. I am thinking that I might try it with a bit of vanilla to perk up some of the cookie flavors.

wheezybee

Good luck!

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70

Ginger sounded like a fabulous pick-me-up this morning, so I decided to try out this tea. It certainly perked up my curiosity, because it reminds me more of the Tudor-era Gyngerbrede made with honey and breadcrumbs than any modern ginger cookie I’ve experienced. I think I may have some baking in my future to see how they compare side-by-side!

You can read the full review here:
http://wordsabouttea.blogspot.com/2013/12/gingerbread-spice-by-celestial.html

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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90

My swap with OMGsrsly arrived today, much to my delight!

This was one of the wonderful teas she included, and one that I’ve been curious about for a while. I’m a fan both of Douglas Adams and licorice, so this had to be the first to try!

Opening it is like opening a bag of moist and chewy molasses-rich black licorice… but knowing the calories truly don’t count!

Once it’s steeped, the promise of the aroma does back off a little… maybe a slightly longer time or a little more of the dry blend will give my next cup a little bump. The licorice is still there, and even a slightly thick mouthfeel, but I can pick up a couple of the fainter supporting notes now.

As it is after midnight, I do wish it wasn’t caffeinated, but since I’m still on winter break I’ll just channel the caffeine into more costuming. I’m such a nerd. But off to reconstruct Viking clothing in period fabrics with period stitch types. Yay!

As for the tea, this little lovely is going on the shopping list.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
OMGsrsly

Yay! This tea is seriously my favourite.

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70
drank Sugar Plum Shou Mei by 52teas
251 tasting notes

I purchased the 52Teas 12 Days of Christmas sampler for two reasons: First, I can’t afford to buy large quantities of all their teas I’d like to try, and this was a more affordable option. Second, I am trying desperately to finish up the Pageant of Winter Teas for my blog project, and I wanted to be able to get my hands on whatever holiday-themed teas may have been included.

Well, it turned out that this was the one and only holiday tea. When I didn’t receive an email response, I guess I should have read the description a little more closely, because I was a little shocked to find the Halloween tea in there!

It’s been interesting, and the maker’s refusal to post any kind of steeping suggestions has been a consistent and rather aggravating headache. It’s like a homework assignment any time you want to make a new cup of their tea.

I imagine when you buy larger quantities of their teas, you have more tea to waste trying to dial in the best cup. With the small size of the samples, however, it’s more of a roll of the dice. I’ve got hints from other Steepsterites about how they generally approach the 52Teas guessing game, and I try to pick up hints from the notes of other people’s reviews on here, but sometimes it’s just not enough.

Like tonight. I dragged myself through all the homework, but the cup came out too weak and I just have to try to make the most of it. Joy.

Teaware: 16oz glass mug with ForLife infuser
Measured dry: 2 teaspoons
Temperature: 175º F
Steeping Time: 2-1/2min
Additives: 4tsp raw sugar

The dry blend did smell intriguing. Smooth and fruity with a delightful sparkle of lavender. It’s starting to perk up a little as the tea cools, and the lavender is getting stronger, but at first I couldn’t taste much at all.

Unfortunately, it’s not doing anything for the headache caused by the 52Teas guessing game, and I’m having a difficult time finding my way around it to actually try to gain some enjoyment from this tea.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Tea Sipper

I agree.. 52Teas should have SOME idea how to steep the teas, since they are creating it. They have to test the flavors while making it, so it would be helpful to have steep instructions, especially when you only have a sample to try.

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Profile

Bio

Feel free to browse my cupboard if you’re interested in swapping, but all the mate and pu-erh in our household is my husband’s.

For swapping purposes, please note the apple allergy. Thank you!

I tried to limit my cupboard to teas that were 1oz or larger, but that was a gorgeous failure in terms of swap communication. It’s all going back up.


Okay, I just feel wrong trying to grade things without a rubric – it’s too inconsistent! So, here is the grading breakdown:

0-50: Dump it!
50-60: I might finish the cup
60-70: Possibly finish the pot
70-80: I may keep this on hand
80-90: Cupboard space guaranteed
90-100: Poetry may be involved!

Location

Dallas, TX

Website

http://www.wordsabouttea.blog...

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