580 Tasting Notes

93

1 full-leaf sachet for 400mL water (I think — great big mug at Starbucks), bare. I do not recommend the steep time I’ve recorded below.

(Backlogging.)

Starbucks keeps their hot water just under the boil, but it should be a little cooler for greens. I also lost track of time and left the sachet to steep waaaaayyyy too long. Like, a good 10 minutes. Yikes.

That said: I really like this green blend. Vegetal, for sure, though it gets briney if you leave it too long, like I did. Some creaminess and some sweetness. I can see this tea getting very bitter if the water is too hot, and it’s almost too hot at my local Starbucks. I’d suggest max 3 minutes steeping, and, if you’re at home, water below 90 degrees.

Treat this tea for the delicacy it is, and it should repay you with a quite acceptable and enjoyable China green liquor.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 8 min or more
heatherwassing

I LOVE the crushed-up garbage bags of China Green Tips, but I can’t stand the new full-leaf silky bags of it. I was so disappointed in them.
I can’t get enough of the green vegetable brothiness of the original. I always found that a 4 minute steep at Starbucks’ tea-water temperature left me completely satisfied.
I miss my grotty old China Green… (You’re good with tea; do you know of an equivalent at David’s?)

Michelle Butler Hallett

Why, thank you. “Good with tea” — I like that. Sounds nicer that “insanely obsessed with tea.” ;)

I’m much more familiar with the Japanese greens and am only now getting into the Chinese greens (and blacks), so I doubt I’m the best person to ask.

I haven’t found a match or equivalent for Tazo’s China Green Tips at David’sTea, but then I also don’t have access to a bricks-and-mortar DT store. There might be one. If I were going shopping at DT’s, I’d try their Qui Feng (although that one’s described as sweet and smoky) or Yun Cui.

I have a Dragonwell (Boston Tea Company) that reminds me of China Green Tips … but it’s not really the same. An excellent Dragonwell, though.

Sometimes you can find the old-style Tazo teabags at Loblaws (Dominion here in NL) and the Bulk Barn. I haven’t seen the China Green Tips in those stores, but then I haven’t gone looking for it, either.

Really hope you find some … or a replacement. The perfect cup of tea is so precious.

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92

1 TB for 450mL water, bare.

This tea gets better each time I drink it. Picked up a fresh batch at my local tea shop yesterday and got deeply happy as I drank a good, long hot cup of this yesterday evening. Detected a very subtle earthy note – very subtle, not pu-ehr earthy – some fant smokiness and an odd but delightufl tasting note in a black tea: that bright “leafiness” yu find in some green teas.

I’d tried a Keemun Concerto at Britannia a few years ago and did not care for it. This Organic Keemun Panda #1 is much, much better.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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93

1 bag for 250mL water, bare.

An old favourite. Really good for bagged Darjeeling. Light body, but not as thin as Stash’s Darjeeling Spring. Unmistakeable muscatel taste. Light to medium brown liquor. Gets a bit plummy when steeped over 5 minutes — I like that — with a very faint floral scent, almost of roses. For reasons I do not understand, this Darjeeling tastes better when made one cup at a time versus made in a pot. Refreshing.

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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2

(Should my dear friends who gave me this tea today be reading this, please know that I loved the gift. That it came so thoughtfully from you makes my disappointment harder to bear.)

AUGH! Hibiscus! GROSS! Man oh man … this might be tolerable without the everlasting hibiscus. Tart to being sour, almost bitter. This tisane could strip paint. It smells lovely in the bag, and once the hot water hits it. Smells so refreshing — yet tastes like an axe made of leaden hibiscus. Seriously, that one ingredient ruins sooo many tisanes. So damn tart! And to think there’s lemon grass and citiric acid here, too …

A cup of Lemon Cream Rooios from David’sTea seems like milk in comparison.

Let’s look at the ingredients for Tazo Wild Sweet Orange here:

Ingredients: Lemongrass, blackberry leaves, citric acid, rose hips, spearmint, natural flavors, orange peel, safflower, hibiscus flowers, rose petals, natural orange essence, ginger and licorice.

At least ten tart/citric ingredients. Ye gods. Wild Sweet Overkill.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
heatherwassing

Yeah, Wild Sweet Orange isn’t for the faint of heart. But it is leaps and bounds better than the current orange-sucker manifestation they replaced it with at Starbucks! GROSS

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75

1 rounded TB for 450mL water, bare.

Decaf black tea is often terrible. But caffeine keeps me awake, and I can’t get my favourite tisane, so, depserate, I thought I’d try this one.

Not bad. I’ve tasted far worse. It does retain body and taste of a good Ceylon, but it still has that bitter, almost burnt harshness that I’ve detected on every decaf black tea I’ve ever tried. Still, good enough to enjoy as a bedtime cuppa. I wouldn’t bother with it during the day, though.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec

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92

1TB for 450mL water, bare.

I dunno about burgundy — never did drink much wine — but this Keemun does remind me of some of the oakier malt whiskies out there. That said, it’s also distinctly, unmistakeably, good China black tea. No malt, light body, deep Keemun … well, smoky wine without astringency. Seriously good tea. Very warming.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

Sipping this today, I’m craving a little Yunnan pepper-bite to finish the Keemun smoke … must try some blending.

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98

1 rounded TB for 450mL water, bare.

Yes, yes, YES! Oh, baby, that’s one beautiful Assam. Trash-talks Kopili Estate Assam (I have to keep the competing tins separate so there’s no clagning brawl in my kitchen) and makes Captain Assam stare intently. Dry leaves are very tippy and smell a bit like raisins and sunshine. Tastes malty, of course, but not heavily so — there’s a real brightness in this Assam. Body is almost heavy and - wow- creamy. Mama’s got her a new favourite. Comforts and fortifies. Drink this, and you can do anything. Or at least you might think you can. ;)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec

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95

1 TB for 450mL water, plus 1 packet of stevia (equals 2 tsp sugar)

DANG! I did not mean to sweeten that last night, as honeybush is quite sweet enough … but, pleasantly, the sweetness did not overwhelm. Instead it brought saome peppery ginger heat. Niiiiiiice.

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85

1 TB for 450mL water, bare.

Got a sample in a recent order …

even better than I remembered. Nice cinnamon heat (but not cinnamon candy taste), some lovely sharpness, and mellow Assam. Doesn’t forgive a long steep, so time this one carefully. I like it at max 4 minutes for plain sipping. It might benefit form 5 minutes if you add milk. Upping my rating.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Uniquity

I actually had a tiny glass of this in store one day and liked it. There was something really different about it, but I decided it worked.

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23

1 TB for 450mL water, bare.

Received as a sample in a recent order …

Just not for me. Dang, I really want to like this one. But: NO discernible lavender scent or taste, and really minty rooibos. Overall, this tisane tastes to me like toothpaste that’s been rubbed up against old damp wood.

And I can’t get the scent out of my silicone travel-mug cover. I understand toothpaste may help …

If you like that odd minty quality some red roobios has, you’ll liely enjoy this blend. I wish I did, because rooibos and lavender is a potent and insanely healthy combo.

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Profile

Bio

Writer and tea fiend. Author of THIS MARLOWE, DELUDED YOUR SAILORS, SKY WAVES, DOUBLE-BLIND, and THE SHADOW SIDE OF GRACE.

I prefer straight teas but will try almost anything … so long as it’s not tainted with hibiscus. I loathe hibiscus.

Floral oolong and complex black teas are my favourites.

Location

St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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