419 Tasting Notes

68

Another sipdown! (168/397)

This was quite a nondescript fruity ‘red berries’ sort of tea, the cranberry more prominent than the raspberry. I’ve had several cups over the last few days trying to finish this off, and experiemented using different amounts of the instant tea. I found it to be quite one-dimensional, one flavour that was simply weaker or stronger depending on the amount used with no particular nuances or notes which presented themselves at different temperatures or such. That being said, it was pretty tasty and a comforting cup to sip on while playing chess with the beau. I like that it’s quick and easy to make up a cup, and you can even stir the crystals into cold water for instant iced tea, but it just wasn’t good enough to hold a candle to my stash of loose leaf. I’ve tried several instant teas now, and while this one was not the best – nor was it the worst – none of them have been able to convert me. On to the next one!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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74

Sipdown! (167/397)

Thanks for the sample, Marzipan!

I’ve been putting this one off for a while now, mainly because I have a pretty strained-at-best relationship with ginger, and I’ve found a lot of Celestial Seasonings’ offerings to be cloyingly sweet. Going in with low expectations has helped, I suppose, because I was pleasantly surprised by this one! I’m drinking it tactically after eating a couple of chocolates, with my thinking being that it would tame any unwanted sweetness, and it seems to have done the trick because although I get that liquorice root feeling at the back of my throat, I’m actually not getting a tonne of sweetness from it. The ginger is present, but not overwhelming and there’s actually a strong cinnamon note which puts this tea in my good books straight away. There’s an unexpected fiery kick which is partially to do with the cinnamon and ginger, but it’s punchier… black pepper is springing to my mind. I added milk because that’s how I prefer my chais, and this seemed chai-like to me from reading the description. I’m glad I did, because it’s certainly a bold tea and I think the milk helps keep that at bay. Overall, I’m really enjoying sipping on this while I catch up on what’s been going on with Steepter in my absence (I’ve missed you guys). Oh, how I love an unexpected win!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
Evol Ving Ness

Where is Marzipan? I haven’t seen her for ages.

Nattie

Somebody commented on another post of mine that she’s still active on Facebook and seems to be doing well, but not so much drinking tea at the moment. I think she might have started her own business? I could be misremembering though.

Nattie

Oh, and she sent me this tea back in 2015, I’m just trying to get my oldest out of my cupboard.

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, Nattie! I’ve thought of her more than once and hope she is well.

Sil

she is focused on her legging business. :)

Evol Ving Ness

Excellent. Thanks, Sil!

Nattie

Thanks, Sil! I thought she has a business now (: I often think of old Steepster friends and wonder how they’re doing. Sometimes I feel quite removed over here, when people leave.

Evol Ving Ness

Same, Nattie.

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92
drank Movie Night by DAVIDsTEA
419 tasting notes

Sipdown 166/397! First sipdown back! Woo!

I am a big fan of this tea. The first time I had it I made a great big pot and accidentally underleafed a lot so it was mild, but even then I could tell it was something special. As soon as you open the bag, the dry leaf smells so intensely of buttery caramel popcorn that it takes actual physical effort to stop inhaling the leaf long enough to actually brew the tea. The flavour is dead on, only with a little fruity apple note which I feel is a little displaced. A tiny pinch of sugar really bumps it up to next-level deliciousness. This is a tea I could easily replace my cinema snack with. The green tea itself is basically nowhere to be found, but that doesn’t bother me at all. I was expecting a sort of caramel genmaicha from this tea, but boy was I wrong. This is nothing like a genmaicha, and so much more. Definitely going on my repurchase list, this tea is making me impatient to end this no-buy already!

Thank you so much Janelle for parting with this precious tea, that I may try it.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Kittenna

Back on track, good job!!

Nattie

Thanks guys! ^^

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53
drank Tea Rex by Adagio Teas
419 tasting notes

Thanks Sil for the sample!

The honeybush is more prominent in my mug than any of the added flavours, but there is a tangy cherry note which follows up the honeybush, mixing to give a cherry cough sweet sort of flavour profile overall. Not bad, but it is a little weird, and I’ve had just about my fill of cough sweets the last couple of months (I had flu, multiple colds, sinusitis and a nasty bout of tonsillitis which has rendered my tastebuds nearly useless since the middle of January) so the taste memory was not exactly the most welcome one. There is a lingering sweetness which I originally assumed was vanilla, but the more I concentrate – and after having it pointed out in several notes – I can tell that it is supposed to be chocolate. It’s that ‘cocoa butter’ sort of note which I find most ‘chocolate’ teas end up translating as, but I do taste it nonetheless. I’m intrigued by the sound of a cold brew, so I think I might try a very small batch with my one remaining teabag and see if that coaxes out any more of the cherry or chocolate flavours.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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86

Sipdown! 165/397

Alas, this tasty tea meets a brutal end it did not deserve. Unwittingly brewed in an infuser contaminated with garlic or onion. Each sip is a delight as always, but the aftertaste is strongly savoury and oh no. I’m still going to finish the cup, though, because the initial sip is good enough to push through the aftertaste. And if that’s not praise, I don’t know what is.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Mastress Alita

How did it get contaminated?

Kittenna

Garlic/onion might be marginally better than soap flavour. I believe I ruined what should have been a very good cup of tea that way, and I now have a compulsion to sniff my infusers post-washing to make sure I can’t smell soap…

Nattie

@Mastress Alita – I keep my infusers with my tea stuff, but my mam has a tendency to move them to wherever she feels like every couple of weeks (she’s a serial redecorator and mover of things) and she had moved them to a cooking implement drawer and put them on top of a garlic mincer.

Nattie

@Kittena – yuck! I too, have been burned that way. Now I wash my infusers with only hot water and baking soda (and occasionally vinegar when entirely necessary).

Nattie

Sorry for the late replies, I have had a lot on my plate lately, not to mention several colds, sinusitis and tonsillitis which affected my ability to taste anything for almost 2 months there!

Kittenna

No worries! That sounds quite awful; I hope you are doing much better now, and less overwhelmed!

Nattie

Thanks! It was a rough couple of months but I am much better now.

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66

Second matcha of the day and I am set on the caffeine front! Much better than the Irish Cream matcha. The flavour still doesn’t punch me in the mouth, but it’s much more present than the Irish Cream was. Yummy. Gulped my matcha latte down quickly without paying too much attention as I focused on this application.

My sample comes by way of MissB in distinctive flavour strength.

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46
drank Irish Cream Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
419 tasting notes

Sipdown! (164/397)

We ran out of coffee in my house and I really need a good caffeine boost this morning as I didn’t get much sleep last night and have an important job application to write up today. So, I was forced to make the effort I’m usually too lazy for and prepare a matcha latte. I went with this one as it’s a sipdown, and I really need to speed up how quickly I’m getting through my teas. This very generous sample came my way a couple of years back from VariaTEA, so I’m not exactly sure what flavour level it is, though my spreadsheet says delicate. I’m not sure why, since it doesn’t say on the packaging and from the looks of it VariaTEA never mentioned it in any of her notes (nor did Cavo, who it looks like VariaTEA got it from). Ah well, I’m going to trust that she told me in a message or a note in the swap or something, and say that it’s delicate. I definitely remember thinking the flavour wasn’t very strong in the past, so dumped about twice as much matcha as I usually would into my cup. This doesn’t really help. The matcha is vegetal, which is weird in a sweet latte, but there is virtually no Irish cream flavour at all. There is some creaminess, but it’s barely distinguishable from regular milk creaminess, just making it seem like I used semi-skimmed milk instead of skimmed. No whisky or alcohol at all, just sweet (I added sugar) creamy milk with a grassy, green-bean like matcha. I don’t think it’s just the low flavouring level either, as I’ve had other delicate matchas from Red Leaf with more flavour, and I’ve seen a couple of notes from people with the highest flavour level saying the same thing.

Thank you for the sample, VariaTEA, but I wasn’t a fan.

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60

Having long since finished my teabags from VariaTEA , I only have a couple of cups left of this having received a couple more in a later swap with Marzipan. I drank this cup plain, and managed to get through most of the cup before it got too sweet. The pumpkin flavour is definitely accurate, which is an achievement in and of itself, and the spice blend is nice and complimentary. If only it didn’t have that darn added sweetener, this would be a really solid tea. Upping from 57, because it deserves it.

tea-sipper

Oh gosh, I remember how absolutely fake sugary this tea was from years ago. haha

Nattie

Yeah they really mean it when they say ‘sweet’. :/

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64
drank Choco Chou by Camellia Sinensis
419 tasting notes

I chose this sample from VariaTEA because I thought it would make a good strong morning tea before work, but when I saw how dark it brewed up I was a little nervous. It’s actually quite smooth, and not really astringent at all, but it hasn’t aged the best and I know that’s my fault and not the tea’s. I’m almost through all of my little plastic baggie samples, and aim to be completely done with them before the end of next month. Most of them have held up pretty well but a few, this one included, have become victims of age. There is a definite rich chocolate scent lingering in the air around the cup, but sadly this doesn’t translate into the flavour. Plain it’s more a vanilla tea, a pinch of sugar brings out the chocolate slightly more and a splash of milk doesn’t do much but give it a richer mouthfeel. I’m annoyed with myself because I bet this tea would have been just what I was hoping for today if it were fresher. Rating without factoring in the fustiness.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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81

Sipdown 163/397

Made as my first tea back from Rome since it was an easy one to make and an easy sipdown to boot. This tea has some pretty bad reviews, but I actually enjoyed it quite a bit! The smell of this steeping filled the whole kitchen with the scent of stewing apples, and I couldn’t help but inhale the steam. When I finally got too impatient and took a sip, I was disappointed that the cinnamon seemed to be the dominant flavour, with only a smidgen of apple playing in the background. I added a pinch of sugar, and this brought out more of the apple flavour, but not enough. I added more, so there was roughly a teaspoon in my mug, and boy did it make a difference. The apple came out so much more, equalling the cinnamon in strength. This is definitely the way I’d recommend drinking this tea. Yummy yummy yum. Thank you Marzipan!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Profile

Bio

I first got into loose leaf teas when a friend of mine showed me Cara’s Sherlock fandom blends on Adagio a good few years back, but they weren’t on sale in the UK so I started trying other kinds instead and have been hooked for almost three years.

Black teas make up the majority of my collection, but I am expanding my horizons and trying to include a variety of other teas, too. Flavoured blacks are my favourites, but I’m growing increasingly fond of unflavoured teas too. I will update my likes and dislikes as I discover more about my palate, but for now:

Tea-likes: I’m generally easily pleased and will enjoy most flavours, but my absolute favourites are maple, caramel, chestnut, pecan, raspberry, coconut, blueberry, lemon, pumpkin, rose, hazelnut and peach

Tea-dislikes: vanilla (on its own), ginger, coriander, cardamom, liquorice, pineapple and chocolate

I am a 22 year old English Literature sort-of-graduate and temporary bartender. Other than drinking, hoarding and reviewing tea, my hobbies include reading, doing quizzes and puzzles, TV watching (self-diagnosed geek and Netflix addict), football/soccer (I am a lifelong supporter of Sunderland AFC) and listening to classic rock.

I should probably also mention my tea-rating system, which seems to be much harsher than others I’ve seen on here. It’s not always concrete, but I’ll try to define it:

• 50 is the base-line which all teas start at. A normal, nothing-special industrial-type black teabag of regular old fannings would be a 50.

• 0 – 49 is bad, and varying degrees of bad. This is probably the least concrete as I hardly ever find something I don’t like.

• I have never given below a 20, and will not unless that tea is SO bad that I have to wash my mouth out after one sip. Any teas rated as such are unquestionably awful.

• This means most teas I don’t enjoy will be in the 30 – 50 range. This might just mean the tea is not to my own personal taste.

• 51+ are teas I enjoy. A good cup of tea will be in the 50 – 70 range.

• If I rate a tea at 70+, it means I really, really like it. Here’s where the system gets a little more concrete, and I can probably define this part, as it’s rarer for a tea to get there.

• 71- 80: I really enjoyed this tea, enough to tell somebody about, and will probably hang onto it for a little longer than I perhaps should because I don’t want to lose it.

• 81 – 90: I will power through this tea before I even know it’s gone, and will re-order the next time the mood takes me.

• 91 – 100: This is one of the best teas I’ve ever tasted, and I will re-order while I still have a good few cups left, so that I never have to run out. This is the crème de la crème, the Ivy League of teas.

I never rate a tea down, and my ratings are always based on my best experience of a tea if I drink it multiple times. I feel that this is fairest as many factors could affect the experience of one particular cup.

I am always happy to trade and share my teas with others, so feel free to look through my cupboard and message me if you’re interested in doing a swap. I keep it up-to-date, although this doesn’t mean I will definitely have enough to swap, as I also include my small samples.

I also tend to ramble on a bit.

Location

South Shields, UK

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