132 Tasting Notes

84

This is the closest thing I’ve had to Mariage Freres Vanille des Iles, which is my favorite vanilla tea. This one is full leaf in bags, so it’s good for when I want a quick brew without much fussing. It’s expensive, though. Not sure if I’m paying for convenience or marketing. That being said, it’s delicious. It’s got that same “so vanilla it borders on milk chocolate” flavor that I love. The dry leaf smell is mouthwatering. So, bottom line is, expensive but delicious. I’d probably buy it again if I had a craving for that flavor and couldn’t find Vanille des Iles.

Flavors: Butter, Vanilla, Whiskey

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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75

I’m not much of a puerh drinker – actually not at all, except for a flavored one from Lupicia, which is delicious beyond belief, but doesn’t count in my book as you can barely taste the tea. I bought these mini cakes quite a few years ago at a tea and coffee expo in New York, drank one mini cake, and promptly forgot about it. The last few nights, I’ve revisited it, drinking it to relax at the end of the day. I usually do 2 or 3 steeps (not including initial rinse), use a Western teapot, I basically don’t fuss with it at all – boil the water, drop in the mini cake, brew and drink. In mugs – again, not my usual – I like something finer to sip my tea from, but it all seems to work well for this tea.

Very forward taste of wood, slight smoke, and the earthiness I expected. Quite mellow, and really easy to drink. I find it very warming and relaxing, perfect for the cold weather we’ve been having. A bonus is that it seems to settle my tummy really well. I get the feeling that we’ll be going through more of these mini cakes over the next few weeks. As it says in the description, it’s a good entry tea for newbies to puerh as it’s not expensive, and easy to brew and drink.

Flavors: Earth, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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87

Normally I don’t write tasting notes for samples, because if I like a sample, I’ll buy it, add it to my cupboard and then write a tasting note on it. If I don’t like it, I won’t bother writing about it. Not a perfect system, but it works for me. Chances are very slim I’ll end up with additional samples of a tea I don’t like.

This is different.

I am trying to not buy more tea for now. I already have two other milky oolongs that I have to drink. But, I don’t want to forget this one when I finally do start buying again. I’ve never had a milky oolong that didn’t have additional flavoring added so this was a first. It’s a wonder. Not a “hit you over the head with a baseball bat” milky flavor (which I do love), but I definitely could taste the creamy milkiness. It was delicious – comforting but not overwhelmimg – and I’ll definitely want to get more. Great end-of-the-day cup to relax with.

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78

I’ve been having this with breakfast the last few days, and cold brewing the spent leaves. It’s a solid unflavored black, but no malt, which for me is strange in an Assam. Despite the lack of maltiness, it has a sweetness and full body that I enjoyed. And the spent leaves make a great iced tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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73

I purchased a small sample of this during one of August Uncommon’s sales. Not getting much in the way of chocolate notes. It’s more subtle than their usual fare, but I found it much better if I overleafed a little. Overall, there is a sweetness and maltiness to it that I enjoy, and it goes wonderfully with milk, so it makes a nice breakfast tea. All in all it’s a mild, sweet black that’s very drinkable, just not for when you want a strong black tea.

Preparation
2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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88
drank Jin Die by Camellia Sinensis
132 tasting notes

I am an unapologetic milk-in-my-tea person. Unless it’s NOT a black tea, or if it’s got a fruit flavor, I’m most likely going to add milk to it. I just can’t with this. I don’t want to ruin it. It’s perfect as it is – aromatic, with honey-like notes and an almost fruity finish. This was a generous, not free (but very reasonable!) sample from a tea expo in NY from too long ago, but it’s still lovely, and confirms Camellia Sinensis as a serious, quality tea vendor IMO. It’s a beautiful Chinese black, and I could drink it forever. Even nice as a cold brew using the spent leaves. I would buy more, but will have to hold off as I’ve got the same problem as other tea drinkers – too much tea, not enough time.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80

Had no expectations for this tea, since I am not familiar with the company, and I got it from a Home Goods or TJ Maxx, one of those kind of stores. I just knew that I needed a ginger peach flavored black for making iced tea and this wasn’t an expensive purchase, so if I didn’t like it, it would be no big deal.

Well. This makes a damn fine iced tea. Love the balance of peach and ginger. Neither overwhelms the tea taste. There’s a lot of it to the package, so it’ll take some time to get through, which is more than OK with me! Very pleasantly surprised. Not sure if I would have it hot, but I feel pretty confident that it would be just as nice that way as iced. This is a winner!

Flavors: Ginger, Peach

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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78

This had been on my wishlist for quite some time, and since I was ordering more Green Coconut (the weather is slowly warming up, and this is a solid, refreshing tea in iced form), I tacked O’Conner’s Cream onto my order. I really think Teagschwendner should offer smaller amounts for online ordering (100g minimum? Really?), but I just went for it.

Basically, it’s an Irish Cream-flavored black tea. I happen to love that, and I also happen to love flavored blacks in general. Not to say I don’t love unflavored, “pure” teas, but there’s room in my cupboard for pretty much all kinds of teas. Except rooibos. I will never love rooibos.

Upon opening up the package, there’s a strong alcohol scent from the flavoring. Not the first I’ve experienced this, but it’s still disturbing. If this goes as I expect, after awhile that will dissipate and the flavoring will be intact. If you love Bailey’s, then this is the tea for you. I imagine this would be a great tea for one of those raw, damp, November days when you crave something comforting. Definitely has a taste of whiskey and cream. Does it crowd out the black tea flavor? No, it still tastes like tea. Would I drink it black? Nope – this cries out for milk. Just the way I like it. Great dessert / treat tea.

Flavors: Cocoa, Cream, Whiskey

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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72
drank Chokolat by Ranra Tea
132 tasting notes

Chocolate flavored teas are very much hit or miss for me, so when a close friend was super generous and sent me a bunch of teas from her trip to Sri Lanka, I put off trying this one for awhile. But, it’s good! The flavor reminds me of Chocolate Fudge Pop Tarts (that’s a happy thing for me, I adore them, maybe it’s a holdover from childhood – those of you groaning and shaking your heads in dismay can just get over it – we all have our guilty pleasures).

When I first opened the packet, the strong alcohol scent from whatever was used to flavor the tea was very strong (alarming!), but it’s chilled out over time. The flavor doesn’t overwhelm the tea, it sits nicely with it. I’m reaching for this more than I thought I would, kind of like a tea hot chocolate for the winter. And the leaves are pretty big, as was the case with all the teas she sent me from her trip. Makes brewing tons easier, as the steeps can go well over five minutes without adversely affecting the flavor. Not the most complex cup, but still very enjoyable.

Flavors: Chocolate

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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72
drank Chokolat by Ranra Tea
132 tasting notes

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