635 Tasting Notes
This tea seems to bring out the storyteller in me. Soooo, crazy story first! Tea review second! I just got home from buying lunch. I walk in the door and my cat jumps off a chair to greet me. I walk into the other room for a second and come back. My cat is in the corner, hunched over. I recognize that hunch instantly. He’s caught something.
I figured it’s probably just a mouse. Sure enough, he picks something up in his mouth and walks towards me. He drops it at my feet and steps back. All I saw was a bunch of legs in the air, and I turned and ran for the kitchen! That is no mouse!! What is it?! What is it??? I tried to make myself look at it, but he’s brought me things before that aren’t entirely dead. What if it’s a giant spider and it jumps at me! AHH! I kept trying to look at it, but I hadn’t even turned all the lights on in the room yet and it was GIANT!! I’m convinced it was a giant spider. Like a wolf spider or something.
I went back to the kitchen and grabbed a big Tupperware thing. My idea was I’ll put the Tupperware over it and slide a piece of paper underneath. Then I’ll be able to take the carcass, dead or alive, outside and dump it. I finally found Tupperware that was big enough and walked back into the other room. And what do I see?? My cat EATING the spider!!! AHHHH!!!! I couldn’t even bring myself to get close to him until it was completely eaten. So gross! OMG! What if it’s poisonous??! What will it do to him?! AHHH!!!!! I’m soooo freaked out!!! I immediately called my mother and she told me to call the vet. So far, my cat is acting perfectly normal so I think he’s okay. I’m just going to watch him carefully for a few hours.
Oh oh ohhh! So gross. I’m so grossed out. I HATE spiders and that thing was gigantic! I can’t believe he ate that. Shiver He was really chewing it too. Crunch crunch crunch. Blech! And that thing was in my apartment!! What if there’s more?! I’m going to have creepy crawlies all day. We have a centipede infestation right now. Maybe the spider came in to eat them! Ugh, I’d take centipedes over spiders any day.
Okay, now on to the tea review. I’m just finishing up what’s left of this sample from the 52teas Christmas sampler. Yes, I know. Christmas was over 6 months ago. But this tea’s held up surprisingly well! It’s very spicy, and I’m getting a strong caramel flavor. I think the vanilla is in there somewhere contributing to the overall splendid flavor. But the caramel and spice notes are the strongest to me. Yum! I’m so glad I got to enjoy one last cup of this tea. It’s delicious! Raising the rating from 78 to 82.
I don’t make much iced tea. This became ever more apparent as I tried to brew up this new teabag from 52teas’ spin-off brand, Southern Boy Teas.
The instructions say to steep the teabag in 16 oz of water. I had to look up what 16 oz was, and it turns out it’s 2 cups. Okay, now what do I have in the house that can hold this gigantic teabag and 2 cups of water and is preferably made out of glass, not plastic? Searching…searching…mixing bowl? I guess that’ll work. I suppose this is why people have teapots.
Now I just have to measure 2 cups…AHHHHH!!!! Okay, the mixing bowl idea was not a great one. I just spilled boiling hot water on my foot. *Sigh. I was smart enough to put a dishwashing glove on my hand, so that was protected. Damn you, cute peep toe shoes!! There’s also quite a bit of water on my counter…ugh.
I’m okay. No permanent damage. Now I need something to pull this gigantic teabag out of the bowl…hmm…searching…grilling tongs? And now all I need is a pitcher. I have one of those! But it’s made out of flimsy plastic and there’s no lid…hmm, that’s okay. I’ll just make a lid out of plastic wrap and a rubber band.
Jeez, this is a lot of work! And I made quite a mess too. I do not recommend that you follow my brewing strategy. This barely worked out. I was able to pour the steeped tea from the mixing bowl into the pitcher without further incident. Now I just have to wait a couple hours for the tea to cool in the fridge.
Finally, I can try it! I carefully poured myself a glass and added ice. First sip…oooh wow! This is cotton candy all right! Yum! Super delicious! Totally worth burning my foot for! :P I wanted to add a little sweetener ‘cause I’m a sweet tooth addict. I think I added a little too much so I balanced it out with more tea. :D This is sooo good, but it honestly doesn’t even need the added sugar. It’s definitely sweeter now, but the cotton candy flavor was just as apparent without it, if not more so. Delish!!
Oooh, I’m so excited for this one! I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time because of all the great reviews here on Steepster.
Starting with the dry leaf aroma, it smells like blueberries and something weird. Maybe it’s the Stevia? Stevia was also in the Ice Cream Cake tea I had yesterday, so maybe that’s the weird aroma here too. But it’s strange because I have some Stevia (Truvia) and when I open the package and smell it, it just smells like cotton candy and caramelized sugar. Either way, the aroma of Ice Cream Cake was waaaay funkier than this Blueberry Jam. So, I think this will be okay.
The brewed tea aroma is a little calmer in the weird department. Now it just smells like blueberries and something super sweet. I guess it really could be the Stevia that’s contributing to that weirdness. The aroma is filling up the room, and I’m definitely getting a warm blueberry jam smell now. Awesome!
That super sweetness is in the beginning of the sip, and then it dissipates and the blueberry takes center stage. This is yummy! The aftertaste is heavenly and pure blueberry jam! That’s definitely the best part, the aftertaste. I’m going to add some skim milk now. Mmm, creamy smooth! Adding milk is interesting because it usually turns the tea an almond brown color. This tea is purple! Hahaha!
The blueberry in this is very strong and kind of overpowers the black tea base. But it’s still delicious! I don’t love it as much as BOO-berry from 52teas, but I also can’t buy any more of that. I agree with others that this would probably be better without the Stevia. It’s just contributing a funky kind of sweetness instead of a pure sweetness. I’m not sure why this is weird because I pretty much use Truvia exclusively and that doesn’t bother me at all. Perhaps it’s that the Stevia has sat with the tea leaves for a long period of time? I don’t know.
Second steep for 8 minutes. The weirdness is gone from the aroma! Hooray! It’s just pure, buttery, blueberry jam now! Yum! I added milk and a tiny bit of sweetener right away before trying it. Ohhhh yeaaah!!! This is the stuff!!!!! That funk is gone, and now it’s perfect!!! Sooo delicious!!! Perseverance pays off!
I really want to eat some ice cream right now. So, what am I going to do? Drink ice cream cake tea!
The dry leaves smell really weird. Like something sweet but in an artificial, chemically way. Uh oh. There’s a myriad of stuff in this tea, and I think that stuff is outnumbering the actual tea leaves, of which there doesn’t appear to be much. The brewed tea aroma is different but still weird. It’s turned towards a sweet cream, buttery smell but there’s still something artificial about it. Maybe this will be okay. The liquor is really dark like Salted Caramel was, but there’s also some floaties that are probably the dissolved remnants of sprinkles.
Time to try it! First sip without additions tastes sweet, slightly artificial like the aroma, but then the after taste tastes like ice cream! And I’m even getting a slightly bakey taste like there’s cake in here too. Hmm, this is an intriguing tea. The tea itself is completely masked by the flavorings, but it’s very creamy! I’m also getting a weird scritchy scratchy feeling in the back of my throat with each subsequent swallow. I think the freeze-dried ice cream in this blend was probably a mistake.
Have you ever eaten freeze-dried ice cream? Like the kind that comes in a bag and is always labeled astronaut food? It’s disgusting. Really. It’s really really terrible. I think that addition is probably what makes me not like this blend. You know what else this reminds me of? Non-dairy creamer. How can it be cream if there’s no dairy in it? That’s what this tea is like. It’s ice cream without the ice cream.
Also, I have to say that I have NO idea what people are talking about who compare this to a Neapolitan. There’s no strawberry flavor or milk/dark chocolate flavor. And rightly so since there’s only white chocolate in the ingredients and it doesn’t say anything about strawberry. But the lack of strawberry doesn’t make much of a difference to me. That’s not the dealbreaker anyway.
If you can get past that scratchy feeling in the back of your throat and the artificial tasting flavorings, then it’s not that bad. It’s drinkable, but I don’t think I’ll be buying any more once my sample runs out. It’s also not settling my craving for the real thing. Actually, I’m kind of getting a sore throat now. Maybe this stuff isn’t good for me…I don’t think I’ll finish the cup. Oh well. It was worth a shot! And that’s why you buy samples. ;)
The dry leaf aroma = ecstasty! O-M-G! Seriously, this is what ecstasy smells like. It’s not good, it’s not fantastic, it’s ecstasy! In layman’s terms, it smells like caramel hot off the stove. Mmm, caramel toffee with a bit of sea salt. I can totally get that from the aroma. Oh, I can’t wait to brew this up!!
The package of my sample says to steep this for 4-7 minutes. Seven minutes is a little long for a first steep, so I’m going with 4 minutes. Wow, the aroma of the brewed tea is exactly like the dry leaf! It also brewed up really dark and opaque. Ah, my mouth is watering! I just want to drink this right now!!! The whole room has been flooded by this tea’s aroma. My fiancé even asked if I was making food, haha! Why can’t you just cool off faster?!!
Finally, it’s not too hot to sip and it is LEGEN-wait for it-DARY!!!!! AHHHHH!!!! THIS IS INCREDIBLE!!! It doesn’t even need milk or sugar! I can drink this straight! Wow!!! I can’t believe how extraordinary this is!! Like eating a caramel toffee and then drinking a great black tea! Oh so sweet and delicious! If it were Christmas, I’d call this a Christmas miracle!
I didn’t actually see coconut flakes in the blend nor do I smell or taste it. If coconut’s in there, it must be toasted coconut flakes because everything in the dry leaf mix is brown or golden. Nor is the salt individually identifiable. I think the coconut and salt in this tea just contribute to the overall rich, buttery, awesome flavor.
Even the aftertaste is ecstasy! There’s no astringency and maybe just the tiniest hint of bitterness as it begins to cool. But I’m very sensitive to bitterness, so I don’t think most people would notice this. And honestly, it doesn’t bother me in the least. Second steep for 8 minutes, and this time I added skim milk and Truvia right away. Now it’s a much sweeter caramel tea and much more liquid candy-like. But just like with Love Tea #7, the first cup is my favorite.
This is just the perfect caramel tea! This is what I wanted the caramel tea from ESP Emporium I recently purchased to be. Perfection!! Right here! In my cup! Yesss!!!
I feel like so many new teas I’ve tried have been getting extremely high ratings from me lately. But this tea truly does deserve it. DAVIDsTEA is quickly becoming my new favorite tea company! Everything I’ve tried is a hit! These people know what they’re doing! I’m definitely going to have to order more of this when my sample is gone!
Frank had me at cute kitten! :D Just look at that adorable little kitten with his paw in the air, awwwwww!!! I simply love this image. The sun is a lemon and the clouds are marshmallows and then there’s the cutest kitten I’ve ever seen reaching out towards me saying (now you have to imitate a little kitten voice to get the full effect), “Please! Buy this tea!” Awww, I won’t let you down cute kitten! You’re coming home with me!
I promptly opened the package as soon as it arrived and turned on the kettle. Hey, I gotta’ make the little bugger feel welcome! The dry leaf aroma is potently lemon, quickly followed by marshmallow. It smells like those lemon bars with powdered sugar on top. No, it smells like that iced lemon pound cake from Starbucks! Whoa, I’m getting a slight headache from these insanely fragrant leaves. Warning: I think you can get high off sniffing this stuff.
Time to brew it up! The dominant aroma in the brewed tea is lemon followed by green tea and finally, there’s the marshmallow root. It shows up last and still closely resembles icing. I’ve never had a Yun Wu tea before, but I’m excited to try it now!
First taste…lemon and then a lovely green tea like I’ve never tasted before! Wow, it’s heavenly! The aftertaste is slightly vegetal and grassy, but not too grassy. It just screams, “I am a high quality tea!” Man, this tea sure is talkative. And the kitten seems to be getting along nicely with Mr. Frodo. (No, I’m kidding. The tea didn’t actually come with a live kitten).
Back to the tea: this lemon, icing, green tea confection is blowing my mind! I’m getting creamy, I’m getting buttery, I’m getting cakey! Then up comes that grassy aftertaste, and I’m getting green tea! Oh man. I didn’t think I was going to fall in love with this given the fairly simple ingredients. Then again, I think it was love at first sight with that kitten, so I really shouldn’t have doubted. This stuff is almost as magical as the Butterbeer tea! GASP! Yep, I said it! This tea is amazing!
And let me just say, I’m soooo happy that Frank used a high quality Chinese green tea base here and not sencha. Sencha is all fine and good, but this is glorious! Plus, it’s fun to try something new and different and this does not disappoint. To any of you doubters out there, just do it! Buy it! Try it! It’s incredible! You will love it!
OMG! Why did I even hesitate to buy two pouches of this?! It smells like Harry Potter magic! In Muggle terms, I mean it smells like root beer and butter. Mmmmm! Now one might think that’s an odd combination, but that person just hasn’t been enlightened with a trip to The Three Broomsticks. So, we’ll let it slide. This time.
The brewed aroma is root beer, butter, and black tea. My mouth is watering!!!! Well, my table had the first sip since I bumped it with my knee in my excitement to sit down and sloshed tea everywhere. *Sigh. But the second sip is all mine!!
Wow, root beer butter tea is weird. Hahaha, but weird in a good way. I’m loving this! And of course I would, it’s a magical 52teas creation!!! I’m going to slowly add additions and see what happens. First, a splash of skim milk…smoother, more well-rounded, and a tad bit cooler now so I can drink it faster! Milk is a success! Now a little Truvia…mmm, the flavors really seem to POP now! Just a little sweetener, mind you. Otherwise, you might ruin a truly magical thing.
Oh, Frank! OH! This is just so delightful! Half the fun is drinking it, and the other half is imagining I’m a witch enjoying a hot mug of butterbeer with my classmates on a trip to Hogsmeade. Who doesn’t love this stuff?? ‘Cause I’ll buy every pouch you’ve got!! My pointed witch hat goes off to you, Frank! You’re a tea genius!
5/5 ESP Emporium Teas
I’m finally reviewing the last tea from my recent ESP Emporium purchase. And I’m finally feeling a little better after a horrendous two days of P90X. Yesterday was Yoga, and even though I can’t do half the moves and generally harbor a strong dislike of yoga, it really made me feel better. It stretched out all my sore muscles so that I am actually capable of walking today! Hooray!
On to the tea, this smells luxurious! The dry leaf aroma is pure roses. It’s like I stuck my nose in a giant bouquet and took a deep breath. It’s also slightly perfumey, but mostly it’s a natural rose scent. Mmm, the aroma translates well into the taste. This is definitely genuine rose!
The black tea base is pretty subtle and nondescript. It definitely doesn’t taste like the Orange Pekoe I know. It adds a slightly metallic zing to the taste. I added a tiny splash of milk, but the zing was still there. Then I added an even tinier bit of sweetener. Not enough to make the tea taste sugary, just enough to make it lean towards sweet and distract from that weird metallic zing. Of course, I could also be imagining the zing. I did just eat egg whites with cheese, so maybe my taste buds are compromised.
With sweetener added, it reminds me of a lychee tea. It tastes a lot like honey! But I can tell it’s still rose and that’s just my imagination wandering in search of ways to describe the taste without saying “rose” a hundred times. Oh well, it is a rose tea after all. So, I suppose it’s fine to be a little lacking in the adjective department this morning. Rose rose rose! :P
It’s a little strange to be drinking liquid roses, but I’m really enjoying this! The floral aftertaste is quite lovely, with roses softly lingering on my tongue long after the sip. I feel like I’m sitting in a rose garden in the midst of summer with a light breeze ruffling the rose bushes and birds chirping from branches overhead. Maybe it’s a secret rose garden hidden behind high ivy-covered walls with nothing to give it away save for the lovely scent of roses on the air. Mmm, this is a lovely tea. And now I really want to go watch The Secret Garden. :)
EDIT: I think I probably was imagining that metallic zing. I no longer get that sensation from this tea.
4/5 ESP Emporium Teas
Oh, the pain! The pain! Day 1 of P90X was bad. Day 2 was worse. I haven’t even done Day 3’s workout yet, and I honestly don’t see how I’m going to. My whole body hurts. Plyometrics is a b****. Who came up with twelve different versions of jump squats for an hour and decided it was a good idea? Ugh, someone put me out of my misery! It’s time to have a nice cup of tea and try to relax. Operative word being try.
The dry leaves smell exactly like strawberry fruit roll-ups. The leaves are slightly flattened, long, and vibrantly green with lots of large dried fruit pieces and only a couple stems. The suggested steeping parameters are quite broad, so this might take some experimenting to make perfectly. I went with a quick 2 minute steep at 180 degrees.
The flavor is light and fruity. It reminds me of drinking the juice out of a fruit cup. Sweet and sugary, but not in an overpowering way. It’s a natural fruit sweetness. The base is somewhat buttery with a touch of floral, reminiscent of a green oolong. It’s not grassy though. The aftertaste is only slightly vegetal, which tells me this is definitely a Chinese sencha.
I’m going to try a second steep for 3.5 minutes at 185 degrees. The berry notes are quieter in the second infusion, but the green base is still going strong. The fruit taste comes out more as the cup cools. It’s not distinctly any one fruit, rather it’s just generically fruity. A slight astringency is becoming apparent at the end of the sip.
This is good! I love the buttery oolong-like qualities. I think I’ll really be able to enjoy this. :)
My plans for a tea tasting extravaganza got cut short yesterday. My fiancé and I are doing P90X together, and yesterday was Day 1. At one point, he turned to me and said, “Okay are you ready to start?” And I responded, “Umm, I’m practically sloshing with tea. I think I would puke if I worked out right now.” So, what did he say next? Solution = stop drinking tea! I started to protest and he thought I was just trying to get out of the workout. So alas, I stopped drinking tea way before I wanted to.
But today is a new day, so I’m picking up where I left off! I’m a little stuffy today, which means I’m not going to be able to describe the aromas or flavors particularly well. But so far, I’m loving this Darjeeling! I’ve only tried a bagged Darjeeling from Twinings once and it was awful. I’ve been afraid of trying it again ever since. But this is great!
It reminds me of Bailin Gongfu and Yunnan Dian Hong, with this being somewhere in between. I’m excited that I can enjoy this sans additions because that’s a rare event for me and black tea. I think I also might be starting to understand what muscatel means in a tea. It does slightly remind me of grapes and wine. But it’s also still prominently TEA. Time for a second steep!
This infusion was for 3 minutes, and I added skim milk and Truvia right away. Mmm, still delicious! Now I understand the hype over Darjeeling. This is a thoroughly enjoyable cuppa. Smooth and bright with no bitterness or even astringency to speak of. Thank you LiberTEAS for sharing this and re-opening my world to Darjeeling teas!