620 Tasting Notes

72

This was one of two teas I got for my birthday from my parents, the other being the Pink Grapefruit and Orange cold infusion which I haven’t tried yet. I was curious about these because the instructions say that you only have to use one teabag for 500ml, and you only have to leave it in for 5 minutes. How could that be possible?? I have no idea if it’s true or not, because I left my teabag in the water bottle for a few hours like I would with any cold brew. Maybe I’ll try it the recommended way later. As soon as it started steeping I was hit with a delicious apple scent, more like a hard-boiled sweet than fresh apple. It’s by far the most prominent note in flavour, too, but not quite the level of sweet or artificial I was expecting from the scent. There’s a minty background which adds a really refreshing twist, but I didn’t notice the cucumber at all. There was a slight waxy note I didn’t love, although that could be my fault for leaving the teabag in for so long. I left the bag in as I drank it and refilled my water bottle after I finished, which I then left in the fridge overnight. The flavour of this second steep was a little more delicate, but still pretty flavourful, and less waxy so overall I think I preferred the resteep. I was hesitant to try these when I first saw them in the shops because it seemed like a gimmick, and quite expensive for what amounts to 12 teabags. I’m glad I got some for my birthday though because I’m actually quite impressed, and on the strength of this one would consider picking up a couple more flavours to try. The watermelon one is calling my name!

Preparation
Iced 14 OZ / 400 ML

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79
drank Buddha's Blend by DAVIDsTEA
620 tasting notes

I’m not sure why this tea has so many low ratings! I really like it, but I am a big fan of peach and jasmine in general so I might be biased. I’m surprised with how well they go together in this blend, actually – even though I love both flavours, they’re not ones I would usually pair together. But it works! I really like the blend of white and green tea, too. More body than a white tea usually has, but without the grassy/vegetal sharpness of a green. Bird and Blend’s ‘Nearly Nirvana’ uses a white and green mix with jasmine too, but that one has spearmint instead of peach, and that’s another one I’m a big fan of. I guess it’s a combo I like. A lot of the reviews of this tea mention an overwhelming floral, but that’s not what I’ve found. To me, the front of this is all juicy peach, with the jasmine coming up second as a sort of floral mist in a way that elevates the peach without taking over. The peach lingers longest after the sip, too. I would say that maybe it’s age, because I’ve had this for a good couple of years now, but I remember it being very peach-forward when I first tried it fresh, too. Maybe I just got a good batch.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
VariaTEA

This tea is famous for being finicky and inconsistent so perhaps it’s a combination you this being flavours you enjoy along with nailing the steep on it? It’s always kind of nice though when you maybe don’t anticipate something being that good since it’s not liked by so many and it ends up being delicious.

VariaTEA

*combination of this being flavours you enjoy…

Nattie

Ahh okay that makes sense. I’ll have to make sure I brew it exactly like this next time and hope it turns out as good. It was a nice surprise (:

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I finished off my oldest two Bird&Blend teas together, the only ones I had left that still had the old Bluebird branding and ‘packed by Teabird Mike’ on the front. One of them, Dark Choc Chilli Chai, I was holding on to because I really liked it. The other, Terry’s Tea, I was holding onto because I strongly disliked it and really didn’t want to finish it. Originally the plan was to brew them together extra strong and turn it into a latte, but when I tipped out the rest of the pouch of Dark Choc Chilli Chai it turned out a lot of what was left was chocolate flakes rather than tea. I didn’t think it would be strong enough to latte, so I’m drinking it black instead.

As you might expect from combining a tea you love and one you hate, the resulting cup is okay to middling. The DCCC adds a rich chocolate note which Terry’s was missing, and the spices sort of overpower the hibiscus, which I think might be the main reason I didn’t like Terry’s Tea to begin with. The oily, artificial orange note I didn’t like in Terry’s is still present enough to make this cup less enjoyable, but essentially what I’m getting is a decent cup of tea with an unpleasant sour orange note which doesn’t linger (unlike the delicious chocolate and chilli heat from the DCCC). Considering I didn’t have enough of the DCCC left to fully enjoy my final cup, I think I made the right decision in using it to make my final cup of Terry’s Tea more palatable. Final rating for the combo: 56.

Dark Choc Chilli Chai has gone back on my wishlist, to be replenished as soon as I allow myself to place a B&B order, while Terry’s Tea languishes in a pit of Never Again.

DOUBLE SIPDOWN!!! bringing me to 240/400.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Martin Bednář

And I was eyeing for it, but decided against as it was kind of crazy blend for me :)
But sipping down two teas while drinking one is great though :D

Nattie

Haha it was a nice bonus. I definitely recommend Dark Choc Chilli Chai, but I’d advise against Terry’s Tea! (:

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64
drank Birthday Cake by Butiki Teas
620 tasting notes

Sipdown! I’ve been waiting for my birthday to finish this off, and now it’s a double (edit: triple!) celebration because it’s Martin ’s birthday too! Edit: And Teatotaler ’s!

This was never really a favourite of mine because it’s essentially vanilla, but this time around I overleafed slightly to finish off my sample and it actually made quite a difference to my enjoyment level. It’s still not something I’m sad about losing, but I could actually taste something cake-like and not just herbal vanilla, which is what I normally get from this. Unfortunately I overdosed on cake today so I wasn’t really in the mood for more, haha! My aunty, who used to work in a bakery and makes all our birthday cakes, gave me a gorgeous light chocolate sponge filled with fresh cream and strawberries. I had a giant slab of it, and I’m not exaggerating. My mam also made a slow cooker self-saucing chocolate pudding, just as an experiment, and I was of course obliged to have a bowl of that with plenty of cream. To top it off, my partner’s parents turned up with my present from them at lunch time – afternoon tea! A huge tray full of sandwiches, quiche, sausage rolls, a scone, and various dessert treats. It was so thoughtful of them and I of course had to sample everything, before sharing the rest with my parents and grandparents. As a result I am all caked out! And possibly won’t eat again for the rest of the week. Totally worth it though. I’m having a much better birthday in quarantine than I expected! Bumping my rating ever so slightly from 60 to reflect the cakiness.

238/400

Martin Bednář

I wish that I got so many things as you did! I actually received nothing; but we are gonna celebrate it with my brothers next weekend. So, there are some hope I will get some gifts, sweets and similar :) but probably not teas though :)

Leafhopper

Happy birthday! All of those treats sound great!

Teatotaler

Happy birthday, Nattie! 24 June is my birthday too! :)

Nattie

Martin – I was definitely spoiled! Sorry you didn’t get anything for your birthday, but I hope you have a great time celebrating next weekend! (:

Nattie

Leafhopper – Thank you! My family definitely spoiled me.

Nattie

Teatotaler – Thanks! I hope you had a great birthday too! :D It seems we have a very common birthday, haha!

mrmopar

Happy birthday y’all!

Nattie

Thank you!! :D

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72
drank Tequila Lime Green Tea by 52teas
620 tasting notes

Cold brewed for a shorter steep than I usually do, because I got some of those newish Twinings cold steep teabags for my birthday and wanted to try them out. I’m actually pretty pleased with the level of flavour this has after only a couple of hours. Judging by other reviews I was expecting a hit of lime and not much tequila, but actually there’s a pretty strong tequila note right up front and centre! The lime is definitely quite strong, don’t get me wrong, but the first thing I notice is the tequila and then the lime follows it up. They work really, really well together and blend well with the Hyson base, which has a nice smoky presence without overpowering the tequila and lime. I think maybe I got lucky and hit onto the perfect steep time to bring out the tequila without it getting lost to the lime. Yay for happy accidents!

Preparation
Iced 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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59
drank Spiced Apple Chai by Adagio Teas
620 tasting notes

First cup of the day to wake me up, more than for the flavour itself. It’s set to be the hottest day of the year here too, so it might also be my only hot tea of the day. Actually, I received quite a few bottles of grown up juice for my birthday so it might be my only tea of the day full stop! It’s weird having a birthday in lockdown, I can’t see my friends or my family and I can’t go out to celebrate. I’m spending most of the day doing online training, so it doesn’t really feel like a birthday at all. I did get a couple of novel cold brew teas as presents, so maybe I’ll make one of those later to cool down while I’m working.

There were quite a few pieces of ginger floating around the infuser while this was steeping, which made me nervous because historically ginger and I don’t get on so well. It is very strong, and definitely the overriding note of this chai, but it actually works pretty well with the tart apple and robust black tea, so I’m not mad at it. Like most of Adagio’s black teas, I added milk to temper the astringency. Not bad if you like heavily spiced chais, but for my it’s just too ginger-heavy to drink often.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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77
drank Pink Flamingo by DAVIDsTEA
620 tasting notes

Cold brew sipdown! (237/400)

I only drank this hot once, when I first got it, and don’t remember much if anything about it. I was hesitant to try a cold brew because it would use up the rest of my sample and I wouldn’t be able to give a note of the tea hot, which is usually the first way I like to review a tea, but I am so glad I went for it because this makes a fantastic cold brew! I actually think because of the tart citrus and cool menthol it wouldn’t be that great hot, and I think I’ve made the right choice. It smells like sherbet (the fizzy sweet kind, not the American kind), and it’s a glorious pink shade befitting the name. This makes me think that hibiscus is present in a level which would have ruined this as a hot brew. Iced, it’s tart but it has some natural sweetness to it too, which makes it refreshing and gulpable at the same time. A medley of citrus notes are most prominent, leading into a slightly herbaceous, cooling eucalyptus note at the end of the sip which lingers at the back of the throat. I’d love to try making this into a cocktail. Maybe something with gin, or Cointreau. I wonder how it would add a twist to a Blue Lagoon, or perhaps a Singapore Sling… It’s a shame it’s a sipdown. While it wouldn’t make a list of my favourite teas of all time, there’s just something about it which excites me and is making me want to try it a million different ways, half of which involve alcohol. This tea is awakening the mixologist in me!

Preparation
Iced 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Shae

I had to look up this fizzy sweet sherbet. It sounds delicious, reminds me of a Fun Dip. What a treat! You’ll share any cocktail creations, I hope? :)

Nattie

I had to look up Fun Dip haha, but yeah it looks quite similar! Sherbet is more sour and fizzy than the sugar in a Fun Dip though, by the look of it. We have something called a Sherbet Dip Dab, or a Double Dip, which is essentially the same thing with sherbet (: I absolutely will share any cocktails I make! I have received bottle after bottle of alcohol today for my birthday so I might be celebrating with a cocktail or two later! (:

Shae

Oh happy birthday!!!

Shae

Your family/friends give good gifts. ;)

Nattie

Thank you! :D Haha, they do. (:

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67
drank Read My Lips by DAVIDsTEA
620 tasting notes

Sipped down the last of my sample from MissB this morning while I was doing some of my online courses. It’s a nice mint chocolate black, and I appreciate that it’s sweet already though that might put some people off. It’s good for drinking black when I want something a little sweeter, but I do have to remember that if I’m not in the mood for added sweetness. I have more from my advent calendar that I purchased through Marzipan, and I might use that sample to make a latte. One thing I’m not keen on with this tea is that the chocolate flavour seems quite artificial – overall I think I prefer Santa’s Secret, which has a similar vibe but without the artificial chocolate note. Both are nice, creamy mint black teas with some sweetness and no astringency meaning they’re great for drinking sans-additives. This note is probably super unhelpful and disjointed, but I’ve been really busy all day and I’m super tired so I’ll just have to do a better job next time. I was trying to cram in enough work that I could have the day off tomorrow, but I think I’ll probably still have to do some. Oh well, it’s not like I have big plans for a quarantine birthday anyway…

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
CrowKettle

Santa’s Secret> Read My Lips every time. Santa’s Secret embraces it’s Candy Destiny lol. I’m not a big fan of the fake chocolate here either. Like expecting Purdy’s or Milka and getting a Nestle candybar “chocolate” instead.

Nattie

I’ve never heard of Purdy’s but I love Milka! For me the chocolate bar no-no is Hershey’s, lol. It’s just so different and waxy to me. Santa’s Secret is definitely the superior tea.

CrowKettle

Hershey’s is awful – like eating chocolate scented waxy plastic. I almost name-dropped them instead. At least a Kitkat bar has texture going for it!

Purdys is a BC based chocolatier that has no presence outside of Canada. They’re all right, and some would say overrated. In a lot of the urban BC malls I’ve been to, their stores are often located super close to David’s Tea :P

Nattie

Ick. ‘chocolate scented waxy plastic’ is such an accurate description. I actually love KitKats, haha! I wonder what it is that makes them so different to me than the other Nestle chocolate bars? Maybe it’s that there’s not much chocolate on them by comparison. Maybe I’ll try Purdy’s if I ever make it over to Canada! It’s a dream trip of mine, and I am definitely going to seek out David’s if I do go!

Martin Bednář

Nope. No Milka for me. And apparently Hershey’s won’t be for me either. I tend to enjoy dark chocolates and mostly Lindt. Those are great (and pricey)

Leafhopper

You should definitely check out Purdy’s if you’re ever in Canada. I’ve never heard of Milka; maybe it’s not available in North America. I think most grocery store chocolate bars are kind of waxy, though I like Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups (and chocolate peanut butter ice cream, and basically anything else that has chocolate and peanut butter).

CrowKettle

Lindt is pretty awesome, but we have an outlet kind of near me and I may have over-indulged on their truffle balls and creme brulee chocolate a few months back?

I like all the dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate… We have this place called Origins Chocolate nearby, which sources chocolate from everywhere and does chocolate/tea pairing events every so often. Even though they don’t deliver I’m going to link them because I can always facilitate mailing things or you can track down individual bars that interest you in your respective areas: https://origins-chocolate-bar.square.site/s/shop)<- the brown butter milk chocolate, and Castronovo White Chocolate/Lemon/Lemon Salt are amazing D:

CrowKettle

Purdy’s is famous for their Hedgehogs, which are essentially hazelnut praline truffles. They also have delicious dark and milk chocolate Himalayan salt caramel chocolates, and things like that. They are incredibly popular as Christmas and Valentine’s gifts as well as school raffle things. It’s a cult.

Sorry for spamming with chocolate. Didn’t realize I was feeling so passionate about the subject.

Martin Bednář

Haha CrowKettle, I can imagine. I have friend from Switzerland and she just sends me some care packages with chocolates in. Or when she was coming here, she bought 15 bars of chocolate maybe?

Nattie

Martin – I love Lindt! It’s a shame it’s so expensive, but it’s a great treat. For a cheaper chocolate fix I prefer Galaxy.

Nattie

Leafhopper – Well that’s two recommendations now, so I suppose I have to! ;) Judging by the big goody bag my friend brought back from Disneyland last year, Reece’s are the only North American chocolates I don’t find waxy! I wonder if it’s just a national preference kind of thing… They’re definitely very different to most chocolate bars over here.

Nattie

CrowKettle – haha, I don’t blame you, I always go a bit crazy when I visit a Lindt outlet. All of those sound absolutely incredible! My mouth is watering, no joke. Thank you so much for the link, I am scrolling through now and might be there a while! Never apologise for chocolate spam! It’s the best kind of spam there is (: Those hedgehogs have me sold on a trip to Canada for those alone!

Leafhopper

Those Purdy’s Hedgehogs are great, as are their salted caramels, peanut butter daisies, and many other things. My family go through at least one box of their chocolates every Christmas. Definitely give them a try if you can! (And yes, I might be part of the Purdy’s cult…)

Nattie, I think Reece’s might be so good because they use as little chocolate as possible and emphasize the peanut butter. So maybe the quality isn’t that much better, but I notice it less.

Martin, if I lived near a Lindt outlet, I’d probably try everything in their catalogue. :)

ashmanra

We have a Lindt shop in the town where youngest lives. When you go in, they introduce themselves as your “chocolate advisor.” The first time we went in, they were consulting with a young mother who had a toddler in a stroller. They said local pediatricians send them there, especially with soecial needs kids, to try to get the kids to prefer darker chocolate for the sake of the higher antioxidants and lower sugar! I love going in when they have the truffles on clearance due to the seasonal wrappers! Nom nom nom
They offer some free samples, as well.

Nattie

Leafhopper – I definitely have to try Purdy’s now. I’m drooling over these descriptions! And yep, the high peanut butter to chocolate ratio could definitely be the reason they taste so much better than the others!

ashmanra – I love telling myself dark chocolate is ‘healthy’ haha, but that is actually pretty great! I would be wider than I am tall if I lived near a Lindt store :D

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59

Sipdown! (236/400)

I don’t have much more to say about this that I haven’t already said. It’s a very busy tea with a lot going on, but it does help settle my stomach when I’ve been drinking too much or eating too much rich food. I think it would be a lot nicer if it didn’t have hibiscus in it.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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78
drank Caribbean Rum Punch by Butiki Teas
620 tasting notes

I picked this over Lime Marshmallow because I didn’t want something strongly lime flavoured, completely forgetting that this is very strongly lime flavoured… whoops. As the cup cools the orange comes out behind the lime a little, but the lime is definitely the dominant note in this one. I want to try it cold brewed next, I think this would make a really refreshing iced tea.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Bio

I first got into loose leaf teas when a friend of mine showed me Cara McGee’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 (and have purchased several fandom tea sets including the Sherlock one I lusted over for so long).

Flavoured teas make up the majority of my collection, but I’m growing increasingly fond of unflavoured teas too. I usually reach for a black, oolong or white tea base over a pu’erh or green tea, though I do have my exceptions. 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/cilantro, cardamom, liquorice, pineapple and chocolate

I am a 25 year old bartender, English Literature sort-of-graduate and current student working towards finishing my degree. I am hoping to one day complete a masters degree in Mental Health Social Work and get a job working in care. Other than drinking, hoarding and reviewing tea, my hobbies include reading, doing quizzes and puzzles, TV watching, football/soccer (Sunderland AFC supporter and employee of my local football club), music, artsy weird makeup, and learning new things (currently British Sign Language).

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.
Currently unable to swap as I’ve returned after a long hiatus to a cupboard of mostly-stale teas I’m trying to work through before I let myself purchase anything fresh

I also tend to ramble on a bit.

Location

South Shields, UK

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