620 Tasting Notes

80
drank Choco Chou by Camellia Sinensis
620 tasting notes

Wow, this one went out with a bang!

I remember never being ‘wowed’ by this tea in the past, it never came across as chocolatey to me. But this time, remembering my past grievances, I upped the brewing time and temperature a little and boy did it make a difference! Now the heavenly chocolate scent as it’s brewing actually translates to the drinking! The sip is all pu, a little earthy but smooth and with a hint of richness which may be coming from the chocolate, and then the aftertaste is just like you’ve taken a bite of a fancy dark chocolate bar, but without the sweetness! I can’t believe that this is the same tea I’ve previously rated at 64, the change in steeping parameters has transformed it into a tea I might actually consider purchasing in the future, and it’s making me want to place an order with Camellia! I usually avoid chocolate teas, but this is making me reconsider…

Sipdown 175/397

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML

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89

I had planned to start off my morning with a cup of DAVIDsTEA’s Pumpkin Chai, but when I woke up this morning and opened the curtains the weather was just so utterly glorious that I had to pick out a suitably summery tea to match the day. This is a refreshing, relaxing tea I’ve always loved and I thought of it straight away. It definitely hit the spot, and even my mam really enjoyed this one! Spearmint and white tea up front in the sip, with a lingering green tea and jasmine aftertaste, I bet this would make a fantastic cold brew. As we edge more into summer weather here I’m tempted to try it.

I just went and found my original tasting note on this tea to compare how I felt then to how I do now, and it was written at quite a hard time in my life, and I was using Steepster as a sort of free therapy (which tea still is to me!). It’s difficult reading about the difficulties I had then and being transported back to that feeling of helplessness, but at the same time it feels good to realise how far I’ve came, even if I still have a ways to go. My fantastic boyfriend has definitely been the biggest change in my life. He believes in me more than anyone else ever has, and I know it was him who gave me the strength to believe in myself and go back to university to finish my degree, which is what I’m doing now. I have a new outlook on life, new aims and a new career goal and for the first time in a long time I feel like I’m working towards a specific goal in my life rather than wandering through it aimlessly. I’ve stopped comparing myself to others and learned to just focus on me. I wasn’t expecting all that self-reflection this morning, but I guess that’s what this tea brings out in me! And yes, my feelings about the tea are still the same, even though it was a very small proportion of the tasting note! Maybe next time I write about this tea I’ll manage to do it without getting deep…

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
tea-sipper

I’m glad things are better for you now than they were. :D And this is definitely one of the teas I think of when I think of SUMMER.

Nattie

Thank you! I hadn’t even realised things were so much better now until I looked back on my old notes. It kind of crept up on me! (: And yes, I think this is a tea I’ll always keep around for that reason. As soon as the sunny weather hits I think of it immediately!

ashmanra

Nattie: get deep all you want! What a wonderful encouragement to read your note! May things continue to just go up and up and better and better for you!

gmathis

No secret that we love it here as much for the therapy as we do for the tea :)

Nattie

@Ashmanra – Thank you so much! It’s nice to have people here who care <3

Nattie

@Gmathis – I think the two go hand in hand (:

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59

I received this in a swap with Janelle a long time back, and it’s always lacked the chocolatiness I crave every time I brew it up. Chocolate isn’t usually a flavour I go for in tea, mostly because it never actually tastes as chocolatey as I want it to, but I have to say that this one disappoints me less than most. The scent is so strongly chocolate that each time I inhale I think it’s going to be better than it is, but sadly the taste doesn’t live up to what the scent promises. It is more chocolate than cocoa butter, which I appreciate, and it’s not too artificial-tasting either, and if I had had this in the prime of its life and overleafed more maybe I would have liked it better. It really is one of the better chocolate teas I’ve tried, though I prefer a black tea with natural chocolate notes, like the Laoshan black. Making allowances for the age of the tea and the fact that I had to slightly underleaf this time around – it’s my final cup – I suppose the chocolate is sort of kinda thereish. I just wish it tasted as good as it smelled!

Sipdown 174/397.

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

Della Terra did the dessert teas very, very well.

Nattie

Yes, I really liked their Lime Chiffon.

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93

Sadly I think time has been less kind to this than to some of the other Butiki blends I still have kicking about. My palate is contaminated with the garlic butter king prawns I had for dinner, though, so maybe it’s just being overpowered. My mam surprisingly seemed to enjoy this one, she said it was ‘not bad’ and it got an eyebrow-raise of surprise, which is high praise from her! This is all the more surprising because, like me, she is not usually a green tea fan. The jasmine and anise are still noticeable, though soft notes in a delicate cup, but the pear was mostly lost to me this time. Brewed in my IngenuiTEA to Stacy’s instructions, I’m going to try resteeping the leaves at a higher temperature and with less water to try to coax out more of the brilliance that I know was once there.

EDIT: I resteeped the leaves in less water for 5 minutes at 88 degrees C/190 F and the anise note is much stronger this time around, while the jasmine has faded into the background and I can actually taste the pear now. Still no astringency from the base, which I forgot to note the first time around. Overall I would say this is a more robust cup than the first steep, though still a shadow of its former self.

EDIT AGAIN: I steeped the leaves a third and final time, and the balance of jasmine, anise and pear is much more even now. This time I used boiling water for 8 minutes, and was actually somewhat surprised that the more delicate notes are still present in the cup. There aren’t many teas I would steep more than twice Western-style, but for Butiki I keep going as long as the leaf lets me. I get the feeling that I could probably eke out another very delicate cup or two, which is impressive considering the age of the tea and how mild the first cup was. I’m half tempted to try it and keep going, but it’s just not quite enjoyable enough at this stage in its life, and I’m going to have to drink something else if I’m going to hit my target of a sipdown a day! I only have enough leaf left for one more sitting with this tea, so maybe then I’ll see how far I can get with it.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Inkling

So jealous that you still have Butiki blends in your cupboard! I miss them like crazy.

Nattie

I’ve been hoarding the last couple of cups of most of the ones I bought in their closing down sale, I’m really struggling to let them go!

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83
drank Coconut Cream Pie by Butiki Teas
620 tasting notes

This has definitely grown on me, and I don’t actually think the flavour has faded over time! That’s especially impressive because it’s a coconut tea, and they don’t tend to age very well. I made my mam drink a small cup again, and I think she secretly liked it. She guessed coconut as soon as she tried her first sip, and said it would have been delicious if it wasn’t in tea, so I’ll take that as a win, haha! The coconut is so fresh, creamy and authentic it blows me away every time. The rooibos base isn’t too woodsy, and it really does add to the overall ‘pie’ effect of the tea nicely. I think I might have to up my rating on this from the 81 I had given it last time!

I saw somebody else’s note mentioned adding condensed milk to this one, and now that’s all I can think about. I might have to try that in the next couple of days, watch this space…

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
gmathis

A little milk sounds perfect.

Nattie

Yep, I think I’m going to try that tonight!

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40
drank BetTEA's Blend by 52teas
620 tasting notes

Forced my mam to have a cup of this with me. She’s thrown out all of my single-mug steepers so for the time being she is sharing my two-cup teapots with me as punishment! Heh. She didn’t mind the cup of Adagio’s cream flavoured tea earlier, but this one she is not a fan of. Pulled a face and I wouldn’t be surprised if it went down the sink as soon as I left the room! It’s not my favourite, either. I received it in a mystery order a while back, and it’s not one I would have ever chosen on my own. Pear isn’t a flavour I think about actively choosing very often, and honeybush, chamomile and vanilla are all ingredients I tend to actively avoid! Despite the intial trepidation it’s not that bad. I chose it because I’ve had a rotten day and wanted something soothing, and it is doing the trick as far as that goes. The description for this tea says that the vanilla and chamomile are subtle, and I have to agree, but while it also says it is strongly pear-flavoured I would say that the honeybush is the overwhelming note, with the pear dancing around in the background and lingering more as an aftertaste. This is from Frank’s 52teas, though, not Anne’s, and the faded pear could be down to the tea’s age (though I don’t remember ever finding it particularly strong, and browsing other notes it seems like it never has been). Not a ‘wow’ moment, but it is soothing, and that’s what I’m looking for right now.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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57

Aaaaand the final ‘I drank this ages ago’ note to get my cupboard up-to-date. A good deal of my teas have sadly gone awol so unless they magically turn up my cupboard is going to undergo a brutal cull very soon. I’m not holding my breath because they disappeared from my cupboard in the kitchen along with two of my strainers, and my mam (who likes to throw things away and then forget about it) has done a clear-out of basically the whole house since we went into lockdown. So, it looks like it’s goodbye to all my DavidsTeas that I can’t get over here in the UK! ): I may have shed a silent tear.

As far as I remember, this was okay. Acidic like a lot of the instant teas, and muddled fruity flavour.

Sipdown 173/397.

tea-sipper

Aw, sorry about your missing teas.

Nattie

Me too ): I’m trying to look on the bright side, that I’ll be at my sipdown goal quicker and finally able to buy new teas!

tea-sipper

Yeah, that’s one way to look at it.

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69

Another barely-a-note note. I enjoyed this one, but not as much as some of the others. Elderflower is a favourite of mine, but blackcurrant isn’t usually a flavour I choose. It reminded me a little of Ribena, and was as a result a little strange to drink hot.

Sipdown 172/397.

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87

Another basic note just to say ‘I drank this’. It was too long ago to remember any of the specifics, but this is one I have purchased multiple times and thoroughly enjoyed. Very fruity, good hot and cold, a nice thirst-quencher in the summer. If I were ever to buy another instant tea again (which I probably wouldn’t) it would most likely be this one.

Sipdown 171/397.

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60

This is more a placeholder than a tasting note, just to say that I finished this one a couple of months back while I was away from Steepster and never wrote anything about it. It was nice for what it was, but what it was wasn’t my favourite.

Sipdown 170/397.

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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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