121 Tasting Notes

65

I need to abstain from caffeine for awhile due to surgery, so all the herbals in my cupboard are on heavy rotation. I’ve said in the past that I really don’t care for rooibos, but August Uncommon has such great teas I thought I’d give this a shot. Brew smells like vanilla pudding, and the vanilla flavor was the most prominent for me. A tiny bit of burnt sugar smokiness from the rooibos. A very nice tea, but not in love, despite it being warm, sweet and comforting. Dang, I really miss my black teas!

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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92
drank Coco Colada by DAVIDsTEA
121 tasting notes

It’s summer. It’s hot. This tea iced is perfectly refreshing – coconut, pineapple, tropical, strangely but pleasantly creamy. A great alternative if you want to steer clear of caffeine. It’ll be getting me through the rest of the summer heat for sure. I actually had this a couple of summers ago, and for some reason never reviewed it, I guess. It’s not Bamboozled (nothing will ever be as great as Bamboozled for an iced herbal summer tea), but it’s almost as delicious. It’ll be a summer staple for me – at least it will be as long as David’s Tea decides not to yank it from the roster (I HATE when they do that).

Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Pineapple, Tropical

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

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90
drank Je t'Aime by Nina's Paris
121 tasting notes

I got this tin at a Home Goods store, and it was the only one on the shelf. Thanks to the wonderful people who post on Steepster, I knew that Nina’s Paris teas were generally highly regarded. I saw the description of caramel and vanilla flavors, and snagged it immediately. Definitely my kind of flavored black!

Just brewed a pot of it this morning, and I was NOT disappointed. Creamy-caramel-vanilla-cookie happiness. This could have been enhanced by the evaporated milk I added to it and maybe the tea wouldn’t be as lusciously creamy without it, but – who am I kidding – I’ll always add milk to it.

I’ve been on a bit of an unflavored tea kick for awhile, but had a craving for something sweet and comforting. Surprisingly and delightfully, this completely fit the bill. I’m really satisfied and happy with it. Great as a dessert tea, and for me, great with breakfast. Delicious.

Flavors: Caramel, Cookie, Creamy, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Sakura Sushi

Oh, yeah, and as it cools a little, noticing toasted marshmallows. So great.

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68

Tried this one as a hot brew first, and was a bit concerned. Although I like the Assam base tea and am definitely detecting the creamy, white chocolate, there is something off about it. I first noticed it in the scent of the dried leaf – overall enticing, but then ruined by some weird, tangy note that seemed very off putting. It showed up in the liquor as well, unfortunately. I usually really like August teas, and the description seemed perfect for me, so this was a little disappointing. I then tried it iced. So. Much. Better. Makes a lovely iced tea and for some reason, that weird tang (perhaps the booziness others are noticing?) was almost completely obliterated. Whew! It’s too bad I can’t really enjoy it hot, but since I do drink a lot of teas iced, this will definitely be drunk.

Flavors: Cream, Plums, White Chocolate

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

Wonderful black from Song Tea. I had no reservations about the quality as I had been lucky enough to sit for a tea tasting at the shop that went on for about 2 hours – a really lovely experience. These people are serious about tea.

Unfortunately, yet another tea that I should have been brewing way earlier. This is why I don’t want to buy any more tea for now – I have so much that some really excellent teas end up languishing in my cupboard for way too long.

Brewed this up according to vendor instructions, using my small gaiwan (~100 ml, ~3 g), 1.5 minutes for first and second infusions, then 2 minutes for the third. Keeping in mind this tea is probably way past it’s prime, there was no bitterness at the 1.5 min brew time, but started to get a bit too tannic at 2 min.

According to the vendor notes, there should be cinnamon, cherry and mint notes. I’m getting cherry for sure, and a tiny bit of mint, but no cinnamon, which is fine with me. Getting warm caramel sweetness instead, which is heavenly. Again, this tea is already over 3 yrs old (!), so no telling what it would have been like had I opened it much sooner, and since I didn’t taste this one at the shop, I’ll guess I will never know! Still, very happy with it, it’s warm and comforting, which is exactly what I need right now.

Flavors: Caramel, Cherry, Mint

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Sakura Sushi

Update: After brewing this western style (I know, I know), for just one infusion, I decided to take the brewed leaves and cold brew them for some iced tea. First of all, Eighteen is great even without brewing it gongfu. And more importantly, those leftover leaves made a heavenly iced tea! I mean, the sweetness and honey was awesome. So enjoyable and I can feel pretty good about using up those leaves differently. I don’t think cold brewing from the start is a good idea – you need to kind of get the leaves going with a hot infusion first – but what an amazing iced tea it makes doing it this way.

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82

OK – second attempt. Gongfu this time, and overleafed it. Much stronger this way, more flavorful, but a bit too tannic for the first couple of steeps. I guess I went too far. Still, I ended up going thru about a liter of hot water, about 5 or 6 infusions, before it got weak. So, there’s definitely a balance I need to strike here. I’m thinking next time I’ll stick with gongfu method, pull back just a bit on the leaf, and go with extremely short infusions at first. Wondering if I’ll ever find the sweet spot on this one, but it’s fun to try!

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82

Another one of those “finally opened this one up” teas. I am incorrigible.

The flavor was a bit light, despite following the vendors instructions, so I may need to overleaf a bit, or maybe brew it longer, or maybe at a higher temp. I guess I’ll need to play around with it. The bread-y, malty, honey, earthiness was very much there as expected, and if it was just a bit deeper I would deem this almost perfect. Thought about gongfu-ing it but went western with it. Second infusion was markedly weaker, but still very enjoyable. Looking forward to future experimenting with this.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Earth, Honey, Malt

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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70

Got this at one of those “OMG! Home Goods has Dammann Freres teas!” situations that I read about here on Steepster, but never experirenced IRL. That particular run was so fruitful I was positively glowing after checkout, carrying all that tea loot back home. Never thought I’d get lucky enough to actually find them in the wild, so to speak.

Although not a huge fan of Darjeelings – always found them to be a bit subtle for my tastes – I took this as an opportunity to try one. Tasty enough, good for when I want something straightforward and simple. There was some sweetness to it, very smooth and gentle, but more flavor than I’ve detected when drinking Darjeelings in the past. Could be that previously the water was too hot, or the steep time not long enough. Anyway, I really like it, and am happy I gave it a shot!

Flavors: Fruity, Honey

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This is a sample size I got at last year’s NYC Coffee and Tea Expo. It’s been on my mind and I finally had a little time to brew this up. I have a lot of respect for Camellia Sinensis, having gone to their shop in Montreal a couple of times and purchasing different kinds of teas from them (and begging them to open up shop in NYC). They’re completely serious about tea, so I take their recommendations to heart.

I brewed this up gong fu, with the new tea tray (yay!). A rinse, and four infusions. The liquor is pale, the flavors are on the subtle side. As others have noted, this tea is very floral. Buttery, creamy floral, actually. An aftertaste of candy sweetness that lingers. Kind of pleasant, but I don’t usually enjoy floral notes, and this one does get a little cloying after awhile. So, if I don’t like floral teas then why do I have this one? Because “trying new things.” All in all, pleasant enough, but I’m not in love. The quality is there, but the flavor profile just isn’t my thing.

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