820 Tasting Notes

93
drank Jiri Horse by teabento
820 tasting notes

Notes of cocoa, roasted nuts, grain malt and marshmallow waft from my cup. Does it taste as good as it smells?

Yes.

I’m never forsaking black tea again.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Grain, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Roasted nuts

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Evol Ving Ness

This is exceptional news.

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70

This one brews up a moderate and mellow cup, with nothing too attention-grabbing. It’s a quite fruity, with a seasoning of herbal grasses and spices (basil, thyme, parsley, etc.).

If Darjeeling tea is like wine, this is the one you have because someone, who probably mainly drinks beer, picked it up last minute for that light house party. It’s your low budget, “promotion without endorsement from any of the staff” wine, and it’s alright- just not amazing! It may pair well with a crockpot chicken though (cooking currently in progress).

This sample was generously provided by Camelia Sinensis and, if anything, it’s a reminder that I need to get back to exploring Darjeelings. I had some really intriguing samples a few years back, but this kind of tea is an acquired taste.

Flavors: Blueberry, Dandelion, Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Hay, Herbs, Parsley, Thyme

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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83

Bai mu dan is an interesting choice to blend with ceylon but it works to create a nice blueberry-citrus base, which enhances the ginger and pear flavours. The hot spices remind me a little of a night cap or a spiced wine. I think it could be slightly more “cakey” with a baked goods vibe, but maybe that’s what sugar and milk are for. There’s already a bit of jam and cream seeping through the fruit notes, so 120% dessert effect can’t be far away!

Looking forward to playing with this one during the holiday season! For now, it makes a nice sipping companion while I finish off another Vorokosigan book (I’m on A Civil Campaign, and the butter bugs have won me over).

(2017 blend)

Flavors: Berries, Cinnamon, Citrus, Clove, Cream, Ginger, Jam, Pear, Spices

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

I may need to crack open my bag of this tomorrow and try it.

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84

The blackberry flavouring in this is delicious- like some fresh creamy pastry bought and eaten right at the berry farm. A possible downside of this is it makes me wish it was one of 52teas’ full blown “Danish” blends instead of “just” a berry green tea. It tastes so close.

The Zomba works really well here by not intruding into the berry deliciousness with any strong veggie notes. This base does seem to pair deliciously with fruit flavours; I’m down for liking 2/2 of 52teas’ Zomba blends I’ve tried so far (more on the way)!

Thank you, Arby, for sending me this! I’m definitely enjoying it.

Flavors: Blackberry, Butter, Citrus, Cream, Tart

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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87
drank Black Beauty by Mandala Tea
820 tasting notes

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a Keemun, Laoshan Black, or any other non- What-cha Golden Snail black tea (so good). I’ve forgotten how comforting they are in their cocoa-malt predictability, and subtle but rich profiles. I thought I was over Chinese black teas; it’s probably the time of year? Oolong is out, black tea and white tea are in- I need to draw a better year plan for my tea drinking habits so I’m not struggling at the height of tea-drinking season.

Anyways, this one is really red. Red is good. Red is warm. Red is Christmas. I’m drinking this in a festive red cup too. Lots of red happening.

I’ll write a more thoughtful note later.

(2017 harvest)

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Fruity, Malt, Muscatel, Red Wine, Stonefruits

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Garret

yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

Sil

everyone is tempting me garret! I miss my mandala teas!

Garret

Well, don’t let me tempt you! I wouldn’t want to do that. :) I’m working on a few new sources for 2018 in India and Japan, just looking at adding some new teas to broaden the ol’ tea horizon. I hope you’re really well, my friend!

CrowKettle

I only purchased Mandala teas a few months ago and ever since it’s been a constant battle to put off making another purchase. The free “new tea” samples I received were a complete bull’s eye for striking up even more temptation. Also, the dwindling levels of Milk Oolong on my end are unacceptable.

There is no winning this, but I wish you luck, Sil! :P

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65
drank Zi Mu Dan by Verdant Tea
820 tasting notes

I am designating this Sipdown Priority No. 4. It’s going to take a few days but it’s time overdue.

Drinking floral cream candle tea after honey cough drop tea is probably ill advised; I think the aftertaste of the honey cough drop is winning! Argh, my life choices!

(2016 harvest)

Flavors: Cream, Custard, Eucalyptus, Jasmine, Mineral

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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50
drank Honey Yuzu by Tea Forte
820 tasting notes

Smells like grapefruit and honey. There’s a flavour in here that is like neither of those notes, and is quite medicinal- like sweet mint (freshening) and powdery bee pollen, as opposed to liquid honey. It’s an interesting effect, on top of that very dry/vegetal green base. The outcome is like one of those Halls Honey drops, or some other cough candy! I’d place this tea in the category of ‘when I’m sick and want something hot, medicinal, a little sweet, and not fancy.’

Thank you, Arby, for sending me this! I was curious about this one and now I know.

Flavors: Citrus, Honey, Medicinal, Menthol, Vegetal

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec
gmathis

We’d sneak those (Honey Halls), and Cherry Luden’s, into church when I was a kid and suck on them during particularly long sermons. Of course, when you’re 9, they’re all long :)

CrowKettle

Honey halls and similiar cough drops have gotten me through some seemingly trying times too. It always seems you cough or swallow more regularly and audibly during a lecture or a sermon, and it does give your mind something else to focus on if it feels like a slow one. :)

Lexie Aleah

the Halls berry breeze ones used to be my favorite now I opt for Burt’s Bees.

CrowKettle

Burt’s Bees is good stuff! I’ve never actually had the Berry Halls flavour before- it was usually Extra Strength (for real colds) or Honey in my household. :)

Arby

haha sorry to force this tea upon you. I thought it sounded gross and would have thrown it out otherwise. Maybe I should have.

CrowKettle

You have nothing to be sorry about! I’m the one who asked for your “tired, weary, and possibly not so great” teas. It makes your parcel more fun and surprising too; there are ones I’m really enjoying and others I never want to see again. It’s a good spread XD

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81

The florals add dimensions to what is actually more of a honey green tea. We have jasmine, rose, elderflower, and some other florals I’m not too familiar with, but nevertheless add a bit of something to the mix! Mallow is a pretty indisinctive flavour but it’s here too. The Young Hyson (chun mee?) base isn’t too exciting but it isn’t unpleasant either; sweet grassy notes reaffirm this tea’s alliance with late spring/early summer.

I thought this was mainly a jasmine flower tea when I picked some up; the honey was a pleasant surprise and exactly what I needed tonight.

(2017 blend)

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Jasmine, Rose, Sweet, warm grass

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

Other than the jasmine, sounds lovely!

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77

At first glance, this is your typical AQ2T sweet dessert tea, with a dash of fall scent and spice. Salty-sweet caramel brittle flavour is delivered (strongly) as promised, followed by the oily-nut quality of pumpkin seeds. The spices remind me of those fall candles or what you’d find in one of those pumpkin muffins- something cinnamon-nutmegy, mixed into icing, that lingers as an aftertaste.

My main complaint is some of that spicing/flavouring comes across as a bitter powdery texture midsip.

Not sure that I love it, but it is a tasty seasonal cup! The loose blend is also delightfully festive, with green pumpkin seeds and orange pumpkin sprinkles.

(2017 blend)

Flavors: Caramel, Nuts, Pumpkin, Spices, Vanilla

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Outlaw by August Uncommon Tea
820 tasting notes

Smoky black teas are not something I reach for regularly, but they have some sort of allure that keeps me coming back (albeit irregularly). Outlaw has a little more allure than most and kept me amused all last night (erm, unintentional Tobias moment).

Honestly though, I think I like this one. It’s something to do with the flat cherry vanilla coke vibe I’m picking up (I mean that in the most flattering way). It also reminds me of the time I got to lick a cave in Poland (mineral notes, kay). It’s a lot of fun, and I’m sitting somewhere in the 80’s on it. I’m going to hold off rating for a bit because I’m not having as strong a reaction to it as I did with the Black Lodge (I think someone thought that name to be nostalgic and homey, but all it makes me think of is some horror story).

And just look at all the parentheses it inspired me to use!

Flavors: Cherry, Mineral, Smoke

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 15 sec
Dexter

I agree that this is better than Black Lodge – but Outlaw is still a strange tea. Happy you didn’t hate it….

CrowKettle

I usually have a pretty large “this is alright” threshold when it comes to tea; my reaction to Black Lodge is an extreme oddity for me! I also had more warning and a wariness going into Outlaw, so it’s strangeness was just par for the course. I kind of want to try it with ice cream or whip cream. :)

Dexter

I go into all AU teas with a bit of wariness – IMHO they are all a little strange. I really like the company because their teas are usually outside the box, but that means some are OMG this is so weird I love it – or OMG this is so weird I hate it. That’s good though – I would rather love/hate than indifference. :)
Icecream….. that’s a great idea – wonder how we could turn this into Outlaw milkshake….hmmmmm

Evol Ving Ness

How about a float with French vanilla ice cream?

CrowKettle

Yes, to both of you! That’s exactly what I want: milkshake/float thing. Maybe I can try steeping it in milk or something and using that in a blended drink?

Dexter I agree with you about love/hate over indifference. Luckily, so far I’ve been on the more positive side of that spectrum when it comes to the majority of the AU teas I’ve tried; they’re a lot of fun!

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Bio

I started my Steepster loose leaf adventure back in 2012. I can’t say I’m completely new anymore, but I still view oolong as a magical, extraterrestrial creature that unfurls in water.

White teas, roasted/fired green teas, and the not so roasted green oolong varieties are my favourites. I enjoy the odd shu puerh too.

Currently looking for the most buttery and sweet green oolong I can find.

Ingredients/flavours I enjoy (in moderation): anise, butter, caramel, cedar, cream, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, lemon, lilac, lime, maple, marshmallow leaves, melon, mint, orchid, pine, rice, rose, vanilla.

Ingredients/flavours I tend to dislike: apple, cocoa nibs, licorice, marine, peach, stevia

Subjective Rating System 2.0:

91-100: My absolute favourite tea. Will impulsively buy and hoard like a dragon.

86-90: A favourite tea. May have quality flaws that I choose to ignore.

76-85: A lovely tea, maybe of high quality or masterful blending, but not one I’m likely to order again.

70-75: Enjoyable, but I may have few minor problems with quality, consistency, ingredient chemistry and/or personal preferences.

50-69: Quality, consistency, blending, or personal preference problems are apparent, but I wouldn’t pass up a cup.

11-49: Varying levels of undrinkable tea. I don’t give a lot of these ratings out, since I tend to grab teas I know will appeal to me.

1-10: Nightmare tea from the chaos realms. This is last year’s low-grade bancha mixed with rancid coconut, stale cocoa nibs, over-enthusiastic hibiscus, and stevia sweetener. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist.

Location

BC, Lower Mainland

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