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242 Tasting Notes

75

I am so excited about this one – I’ve never had a tea subscription before, but the Verdant blends were just so tempting that I managed to talk my husband into a month or two… but time will tell if I can swing it longer! ;)

Today was our first day back at school after the storm this last weekend, and my students were absolutely crazy. I feel like I’ve been juggling all day, and being able to sink into something fascinating and new just sounds delightful. I’m itching to try the Jolly Earl blend, but it’s way past my caffeine cut-off. If I tried it now I wouldn’t do anything but bounce off the walls later!

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

I’m so used to ignoring packing lists that I didn’t realize there were steeping notes included. It should go to show how messed up my mind is right now that the other teas I just looked up for re-packaging seem to have influenced my steeping. I love Verdant’s samples, but I really wish they would re-seal. I think that’s how I ended up at 175º F instead of the recommended 212º F. That’s the best I can figure.

I’m getting mostly the peppermint and spearmint right now, with only hints of the cinnamon and maybe the fennel. I’m not getting much of the cacao nibs at all. That may have to do with my mis-steep. I think next time I make this I will follow Bonnie’s suggestion about adding a pinch of Laoshan Black (to bring out the chocolate notes), cut the amount of raw sugar, and make sure to steep at the correct temperature!

For now, I’m going to go curl up under a down blanket, sip this, and enjoy cuddling with my kitty, Mei-Mei, who is feeling extremely affectionate tonight!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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70
drank Kanpe Tea by DAVIDsTEA
242 tasting notes

Sipdown! This stuff is so very, very sweet* and juicy that I don’t think I’ll be reordering it, but it was interesting to try!

Edit: *Nope, tart. My mind is useless today and I can’t type.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
VariaTEA

I found it quite tart. Hmmm…

wheezybee

Dude, you’re right. It’s only sweet when I go insane with the sugar, like today. It was as close as I could get to chocolate (which is pretty far) but my students (after five and a half days off because of weather) were like crazy little Dementors today and my mind is pretty much jelly right now!

VariaTEA

haha we have all had days like that

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70
drank Zhen Qu by Butiki Teas
242 tasting notes

I spent seven years living in Alaska and northern Washington, but until this morning it didn’t really register that I always lived close enough to school (whether I was attending as an undergrad or teaching) to walk there every morning. It didn’t occur to me to start my car periodically during the five days away from school, so this morning she just sat there like a brick. I had to switch cars with my husband (who drives the clunker we used during the storm) so he could call AAA and get mine back up and going.

So, understandably, this tea was a little cooler when I finally got a chance to drink it! This came my way via a swap with Shadowfall a couple months back, but it fell between a couple teas in my stash and I forgot about it for a while.

Too bad, really, because I think this would have been a lot better if I had been able to drink it hot. It’s a nice, smooth tea that’s leaving me with a bit of a licorice aftertaste… and I love licorice! There is some astringency, but nothing I’m too concerned about.

An interesting tea to take for a test drive! For now, that’s one more sipdown!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Thanks for letting me try your custom blend, Lariel!

This is a lot better than the Adagio teas I’ve been sampling lately, with more depth and complexity. I definitely get the black tea, but the pumpkin does march in and assert itself quickly, with a bit of support from the cinnamon and cardamon.

An interesting fall blend. Thanks for the opportunity!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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This came my way before we realized that the reason my allergies were going insane was that I am allergic to apple. As such, I do want to still be able to try a sip, but we’re going to be relying a little bit more on my husband’s tastebuds for this one!

The dry blend is very, very chunky and looks like it’s nearly entirely dried fruit. In appearance it is very similar to the other Teavivre fruit tisanes we’ve sampled.

Teaware: 16oz travel mug
Measured dry: Contents of sample, approx. 3-1/2tsp
Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 8min
Additives 4tsp raw sugar

My little sip is yielding a very rich, juicy hot drink. The rosehips and apple are the most prominent, with the pineapple and orange in more of a supporting and layering role.

Jake’s take on this is that it reminds him an awful lot of sugar plums. He says the elements are blending together in such a way that they create a new flavor experience, something very different from what they would taste like on their own.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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drank Merry Cranberry by DAVIDsTEA
242 tasting notes

We ordered 250g of this during one of their web specials, and I was a little shocked at how heavy it was… and how little tea you actually get at that weight. There was more than double the amount of the other tea, and this one looks a lot more like a very dried fruit-heavy trail mix.

This wasn’t my first attempt making this tea, but I guess I just forgot to write a tasting note for it… maybe that’s because we attempted to make iced tea with it, and it turned out more like fruit juice. The first time I made it, the flavors were too light, so I over-compensated. I tried to find a better balance this time:

Teaware: 16oz travel mug
Measured dry: 3-1/2tsp
Temperature: 200º F
Steeping Time: 4min
Additives 4tsp raw sugar

The flavor is still a bit light, but I think this is the best so far. The cranberry has developed a much richer flavor than the first time I made it, and some of the additional notes are sounding off.

Oh, no. I forgot to check this one for apple.

I thought I had gone through them all!

Well, I’m off to go find some Benadryl. I think my husband is going to have to enjoy the rest of this one. Stupid allergies.

Update: Okay, found the Benadryl. Now that I think about it, the apple was a pretty strong undertone to the cranberry in the overall flavor. The cinnamon and anise notes were more understated, but unlike my previous attempts at making this tea, they were a lot better with this preparation. I couldn’t taste the green tea at all, but I’m not surprised by that much. Some of the DAVIDsTEA and Teavana blends are so heavy on the blend-ins that they lose touch with the base, and that is unquestioningly the case here.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
OMGsrsly

Oh no! That’s an awful allergy to have. I’ve been looking at this tea, I might still pick some up.

wheezybee

I picked up the huge bag, and my husband is unlikely to make any sort of a dent. We are planning on sending out tea samplers as Christmas gifts to the family, but I could set some aside for a swap if you want to try it.

OMGsrsly

I’d love to do a swap. :) I can definitely remember no apple.

wheezybee

Sweet! I just updated my cupboard, so take a gander at what else you might be interested in and send me a PM!

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20
drank Gingerbread by Adagio Teas
242 tasting notes

Wow… I followed the steeping instructions (1tsp/8oz, boiling, with a 3min steep), but this is just bad.

Each sip is leaving me wincing, and the astringency is off-the-charts. I’m not getting gingerbread here… I’m getting a bitter cup that needs to be dumped. My poor tongue feels numb with a slightly cinnamon aftertaste.

There is absolutely no joy in this cup, and it’s going down the drain.

I’m not even sure if this tea is worth posting to the Take It Away thread. I picked up a couple other Adagio samples to put in a gift basket for a co-worker, and I’m starting to think that would be the absolute worst way to get someone interested in loose leaf.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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65

The weather has caused a school-closure bookend… an unexpected four-day weekend, which is much better now that we have power! I did what grading I could, and have some online things I can do today, but I have been feeling a little stir-crazy. For some reason, this odd mix just sounded like the right way to go.

Teaware: 16oz travel mug
Measured dry: 2tsp
Temperature: Boiling
Steeping Time: 3min
Additives 4tsp raw sugar

Dry, this blend smells like those giant spherical suckers you can sometimes find in the checkout area of a craft store. That banana smell/flavor that’s so intensely sweet, creamy, and artificial that you wouldn’t even call it banana if the wrapper didn’t label it so.

That aroma follows through into the flavor as well, and each sip is like licking one of those suckers… with a bit of a coconut chaser. I’m having a difficult time picking out the tea at all, although there is some slight astringency to let me know it’s there.

Well, I felt like an odd tea this morning, and this definitely qualifies!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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80

Oh, this is so much better! After the abysmal fail with the Adagio Pumpkin Spice this morning, I needed something to sooth my poor, abused tastebuds.

I added two teabags to my 16oz infuser mug, 4tsp of raw sugar (I have a horrible sweet tooth!), and steeped it for three minutes. Mmm.

While the fresh teabag didn’t smell much like pumpkin, the flavor really comes out here in the steeped tea. This is like drinking pumpkin spice bread, where the cook hit just the right spice balance: enough to leave a tingle on your tongue, but not so much as to let any one spice overwhelm.

Actually, I think I might use a bag to infuse butter for the pancakes I’m making. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Update: If you’re curious at all, here’s how the pancakes turned out!
http://wordsabouttea.blogspot.com/2013/12/sweet-harvest-pumpkin-by-celestial.html

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
gmathis

What an idea! (Now…do I have any waffles in the freezer….?)

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35
drank Pumpkin Spice by Adagio Teas
242 tasting notes

Wow… this is pretty bad. When I opened the sample, my nose was assaulted with bitter, sharply sweet notes of what I think was supposed to be pumpkin. But it was like no squash I’d ever smelled.

That note, which tastes and smells pretty artificial, is overwhelming the whole cup. I can’t pick out any of the spices I normally associate with pumpkin pie. The absolute best thing I can say about this tea is that it’s warm on a cold morning. That’s it.

I keep adding the Adagio teas to my list because their samples are so inexpensive, but I think I should just save my money for more expensive, higher-quality teas.

Not an experience I would care to repeat.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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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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