1764 Tasting Notes

80

A sample from Teavivre. The first thing I noticed about this one, other than it’s long, thick, twisty leaves, was how light it is. Even after 3-4 minutes, it’s still a medium golden brown. Most of the Yunnan/Dian Hongs I’ve tried have been similar, but still usually darker (at least on first steep) than this one gets. It’s actually quite refreshing, because there’s none of that black tea “heaviness”, and (of course) no bitterness or astringency. There’s no impact on the flavour, either – that’s still full and surprisingly fruity.

I was expecting bread/chocolate, but this one’s a little different. I’m getting mostly stone fruit flavours – apricot, maybe a touch of plum. There’s also a mild earthiness that reminds me a little bit of ripe pu’erh, but it’s by no means overpowering. Subsequent steeps have a little breadiness in the mid-sip, and a touch of honey towards the end of the sip, but the main flavour for me is the fruit. It’s light and juicy, perfectly smooth, and just right for a warm summer afternoon. Another win from Teavivre!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
TeaVivre

Lots of my teavivre colleagues enjoy this tea quite much, including me!

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90

A sample from Teavivre. I’ve been excited to try this one for a while, since Yunnan teas are a favourite of mine. Somehow, though, I’ve just never got around to it. Call it life, maybe. Today is as good a day as any, besides.

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in almost-boiling water. The scent is malt and honey with a hint of chocolate, and the taste is similar – it’s always nice to find a tea that lives up to its scent! The initial sip is brown sugar and malt, but a dark chocolate flavour develops in the mid-sip and lingers nicely. It’s super-smooth, with absolutely no bitterness or astringency. I’ll be resteeping this one!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

This one came to me as a free sample from Teavivre ages ago, and I’ve only got around to trying it now. I don’t know what’s wrong with me – some extreme form of lethargy, apparently. I’m drinking tea, but I’m not writing about it; there are a lot of things I’m just not feeling at the moment, sadly.

I used half the sample pouch – 5 pearls – for my cup (I’ll be resteeping for sure!) I gave them 3.5 minutes in boiling water. No additions. To taste, it’s pretty much as I expected. I feel like I’ve tried something very similar from Teavivre before, but I’ve no previous notes on this specific tea, so it can’t be this one. Maybe it wasn’t organic, or something? Anyway, it’s malty, with all the thick-tasting sweetness that suggests. There’s also a chocolately, cocoa-like flavour, which, if I’m honest, was what I was hoping for when I picked this one out today. Delicious! This is a dragon pearl I’ll seriously consider keeping around.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
Terri HarpLady

I haven’t written tea reviews for ages, although I did finally write one yesterday.

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25
drank Retro Ted by Bluebird Tea Co.
1764 tasting notes

I didn’t much care for this one the first time I tried it, but I thought I’d give it another chance last time I placed a Bluebird order. Turns out I still don’t like it. It sounds good in principle – pineapple, lemongrass, coconut – a Hawaiian/tropical fruit tea blend. But no. It also contains rose, and I’m wondering if that’s what’s making it sit wrong with me. I’m not generally a fan of floral teas (although there are a few exceptions…), and I think it’s the rose-coconut-pineapple combination that’s kinda “ugh” to me. Most people seem to quite like this one, but I really, really can’t abide it. At least now I know!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
ashmanra

That sounds like a very odd combination of flavors to me!

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55

I’ve been drinking a new sample bag of this one over the last couple of days, and I think, on the whole, I like it a little less than I used to (and I didn’t like it a lot to begin with.) Hot, it’s a whole lot of hibby – tart, sour, and tell-tale red in colour. It’s just about possible to taste the mango and papaya, although they’re almost-but-not-quite drowned out. There’s a pepperiness that’s very pleasant, though, and which somehow manages to cut through the hibiscus. Mostly, though, the fruit flavours feel like a bit of an afterthought. It’s okay – sort-of tropical fruit, but really no worse or better than any other hibi-fruit blend I’ve tried. Talk about faint praise.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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70
drank Japanese Cherry by Pekoe Tea
1764 tasting notes

Another of the teas I bought while on holiday in Scotland last year. Still behind! I drank this one a couple of times before I went away this year, but I was so busy with work that I didn’t take the time to log it. I’m still busy now – helping out the same team I was helping before I went away, but I’ve also decided that I’m not going to work my butt off if the people I’m helping aren’t putting in a similar amount of effort. And they’re not. So I’m logging my tea, and doing things at a more leisurely pace.

I used 1 tsp of leaf for this one – it looks like sencha, and contains a lot of really pretty pink cherry blossoms. So far, so good. The downside is that is smells a little too much like cherry cough medicine for my liking – artificial, over-sweet, and strange. I gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees.

Turns out, it’s actually not too bad. There are hints of Carmex in the cherry flavour, but it doesn’t come across as super-artificial, which was my main fear. The flavouring is by no means subtle – you definitely know it’s cherry – but it’s fairly accurate in terms of flavour, so that’s okay. The green tea base is smooth, sweet, and slightly grassy. It’s a good pairing with the cherry – they get along well.

Overall, I’m okay with this one (which is a good thing, as I have a whole tin…) I’m tempted to try it cold brewed.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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65

Another of my 52Teas finds as I cleared my room to move. I’m a little less impressed with this one – I get “upside-down cake”, kinda – there’s a background buttery sugariness that’s fairly spot on. What I don’t get is banana, or actually (surprisingly?) coconut. That leaves me feeling, on the whole, a bit meh about the whole thing. I wanted banana! A good banana tea is a rare thing on this earth, apparently.

I think next time I might try adding a bit of crystal sugar, just to see if I can amplify things a bit. I might also try increasing the brew time a touch, although it got a good five minutes or so while I was on the phone.

I wanted to love this one, and as an upside-down cake replica, I do. Banana, though.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75

Last of my teas from last year’s trip to Scotland. I’ve been again since (just back!), so I’m clearly as behind with my teas as ever. I’m not entirely sure what thistle should taste of, if I’m honest. Floral, maybe? The description says fruity, but I’m not really feeling that. I used one bag for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. All of these have brewed up pretty quickly (and dark, because CTC), so I added a splash of milk.

To taste, this is pretty much just your average Indian CTC black, as far as I can tell. There’s a tiny bit of something that initially made me think lychee, but that might be overgenerous. I certainly get where the “fruity” in the description comes from, though, because it kind of is. It’s maybe like someone added a teaspoon of syrup from a tin of fruit salad to a cup of thick, malty assam. Not bad, as far as it goes. I’m reminded a little bit of Mighty Leaf Celebration, but only a little bit. It’s not as chocolatey as all that.

This one surprised me, though, I’ll admit. It might actually be my favourite of the four after all. Thankfully, there’s no floral to be found (and no bitterness, either!)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Raritea

Let me know if you’re ever around Edinburgh :) I can recommend some nice tea shops in the area!

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70

So I came across this one pretty much by accident when I was clearing my room in preparation for my move today. I thought I’d bought some, but I couldn’t ever find it when I went looking for it. Turns out it must have fallen out at some point and got a bit lost – but still, we’re now reunited and it’s all good.

That includes the tea. It’s perhaps doesn’t taste quite as much of banana as I thought it would, but very few banana teas do (I think I must like my banana really strong!) It does have a bread-like thickness with a touch of sweet maltiness, though, and a silky almost-creaminess that’s kind-of buttery. The spicing is probably the best thing, though. It’s absolutely spot-on; not too strong or overpowering, not too subtle. It’s mostly cinnamon, I think, with just a touch of ginger providing a warming heat after a few sips. Delicious!

Loving this one this morning with a splash of milk!

Just to be clear, this is the “Anne” version.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
Dustin

I love a strong banana flavor too. Butiki’s Smoked Maple Banana was the best!

Evol Ving Ness

^Wow— that one sounds like a winner!

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70

After my relative success with Maple Marshmallow, and being slightly leery of pouring boiling water on a large bag of green tea to make a concentrate, I decided to cold brew this one. It got around 10 hours overnight in the fridge, in 2 litres of cold water. Like Maple Marshmallow, the base is just a little more prominent than I’d like it to be. I think that’s my fault for not taking the bag out soon enough, but it takes me a while to get going on a morning, and slightly over-steeped tea (cold or otherwise) is a price I’m usually willing to pay. On the plus side, it’s not bitter or astringent – it’s just really obvious that it’s green tea, and maybe a little too vegetal for the otherwise sweet flavour profile.

I have to say, though, the cotton candy is good. It’s pretty much spot-on in flavour terms, although it doesn’t sit entirely happily with the green base. They’re just two flavours that I don’t think work together all that well. Cotton Candy black is more my thing, and that’s the one I’d repurchase if repurchasing was possible. Sadly, it’s not. I’d be willing to try a Cotton Candy white – that I can see working.

Still. It’s tea, it’s cold, and it’s a hot day. It’s tasty, and that’s good enough for me. There’s not much to say about the flavour, I don’t think, it’s sweet and sugary, as you’d expect, maybe slightly strawberry-ish. It’s good stuff, and I’m sad SBT is no more.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 29, and I live in Norfolk in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s my latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.

Location

Norfolk, UK

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