2068 Tasting Notes

60
drank Apple Strudel by Hoogly Tea
2068 tasting notes

152/365

This is a blend of Chunmee (which I feel like I don’t see very often) and Hojicha, which makes a nice change from the sencha-based green blends I’ve been drinking recently. It’s flavoured with apple, cinnamon, and clove, supposedly to create an apple strudel effect.

It’s pretty effective. I can taste the apple, although it’s relatively muted. It’s a green apple kind of flavour – sharp and crisp – and maybe not exactly suited to a blend that’s trying to achieve a baked flavour. That’s my main criticism of this one – there’s nothing that really makes me think strudel; no pastry, butter, or remotely bakey flavours, including the apple.

The spicing is nice. It’s more powerful than the apple, and sweet enough to balance out what sharpness there is. It does almost remind me of strudel filling, so it’s not completely without merit, but it’s not quite there either.

I’d try this one again, if I came across it, or other blends from Hoogly. It’s not the greatest thing out there, but it’s okay.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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65
drank Moroccan Mint by Dragonfly Tea
2068 tasting notes

151/365

I’ve not had a moroccan mint in the longest time, and I’m only sad that I don’t have copious amounts of sugar and a pretty tea glass here with me at work today. Still, this hot weather seems particularly suited to a moroccan mint, so I’m going to go ahead even if I can’t do it as much justice as I’d like.

For a bagged tea, this is good. The gunpowder base is just on the right side of bitter, and the mint comes in just before you’d expect the astringency to hit. In the way of mint, it adds a cooling, refreshing edge and is nicely prominent without being overpowering. I added a little bit of crystal sugar, and that helps to brighten and sweeten things a little. It could hardly be considered the best tea out there, or even the best moroccan mint, but it’s hitting the spot today and that’s all that really matters at the moment.

I’d pick up a box of these if I ever saw them around. They’re great for easy-drinking on hot days!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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65
drank Berry Infusion by Bellevue tea
2068 tasting notes

250/365

I didn’t have particularly high expectations for this one, and it’s probably just as well. It’s a bagged fruit infusion, heavy on the hibiscus, and reminiscent of many other similar teas. I’m reminded most of Twinings Cranberry & Raspberry, which is actually really nice as a tea pop, but otherwise is too tart/sour to really be enjoyable.

This one starts in the same way, with lots of hibi up front. It’s not too sour, but it is pretty tart. It’s hard to pick out specific fruit flavours to begin with, but the one thing that redeems this one for me is a the strong blueberry note that develops at the end of the sip and lingers deliciously into the aftertaste. It’s sweet and clear, and impossible to mistake for any other fruit. Otherwise, it’s fairly meh.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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70

249/365

I felt like something pretty straightforward this morning, and this blend of peppermint and spearmint seemed like just the thing. It’s pretty nice, but also pretty much as you’d expect – there’s nothing especially unique here. I’d say the spearmint is more prominent than the peppermint, and contributes a delicate sweetness that sits over and above the danker, more cooling peppermint. It’s one of the better balanced mint teas I’ve come across in a while, and I actually wouldn’t mind keeping a few around to drink after dinner or just before bed. I’ve never seen these around, though, so that might be a pipe dream. I’d probably not order online/direct from the company just for these, but if I found them in a shop I’d happily buy a box.

One thing I’m noticing about some of the teas in my Varieteas box – this one included – is that they’re marked as free samples (and so presumably not for resale?) While I appreciated the convenience and variety while I was off work and travelling, I’m not sure I’d subscribe or buy another box from them. Some things about it seem a little dubious – like the age of some of the teas (what I recognise as old branding/packaging on more than a few), the inclusion of trade/catering brand tea, and those that are clearly marked as free samples. I’m not particularly pleased to be paying a premium price for that kind of thing, to be honest.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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65

248/365

I’m wondering whether age is affecting this one, because I don’t get a lot of flavour from it at all. I haven’t experienced that with other SBTs I’ve drank recently, but I suppose there’s an exception to every rule. I was kind of intrigued by the idea of caramel peanut, but in practice all I’m getting from this is a vague sweetness that could be caramel, or equally just the natural sweetness of the honeybush base. I think it’s at least partly flavouring, since I’m pretty familiar with the flavour of the SBT honeybush now and this has something extra about it. It’s smooth and sweet in the way of caramel, and undeniably pleasant. I don’t get any peanut at all, though. Not a hint of nuttiness. Not even a smidge. It’s a shame, because I think a savoury nutty edge would really bring this one to life, but it is what it is. Possibly it’s my fault for leaving it too long.

Some you win, some you lose, I suppose.

Preparation
Iced

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90

247/365

The last of the Leaves of the World summer collection, and another that smells divine! I think this is the first fruit-based pina colada blend I’ve tried, strangely enough? I’m pretty sure all of the others have been rooibos. I could be wrong about that, but I don’t think so. This one is pretty delicious – strong, creamy coconut right up front, followed by the thick smooshiness of banana, and rounded out with high, sweet, pineapple notes. Very juicy and flavour accurate, in the latter case!

I’m drinking this one hot today, but I’ll probably try it cold brewed in the weeks ahead – it’s just so hot at the moment. The suggestion on the pouch is to cold brew in coconut milk, and I imagine that could be deliciously smoothie-like. It’s probably not something I’m going to try, since coconut is the strongest flavour in the blend and I have a feeling the other flavours would get lost in all that extra coconut, but still. The idea is pretty appealing now that I’m sitting in a sweaty office, that’s for sure!

I’m really pleased with this collection, on the whole. The only bum note for me was Hemingway Mojito, which I wanted to love, but which just didn’t live up to it’s name/descrption/my expectations. The other two blends? Stellar. I’m sure I’ll be ordering from Leaves of the World again soon!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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100

246/365

- The second of the Leaves of the World summer collection, and the one I’m happiest with so far.
- Reminds me instantly of those Fruit Salad penny sweets I ate as a child!
- Scent is amazing; really fruity and tropical.
- Green base (sencha) is light and refreshing. Not even a hint of grassiness.
- Pineapple and peach are the two main flavours, and they’re sweet and accurate.
- I drank my cup hot, but I’m eager to try it cold brewed or iced because I think it might really shine that way.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp

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55

245/365

- Cardamon, clove, ginger, cinnamon, pepper.
- I like it more than the Spiced Apple from Taylor’s of Harrogate – less hibi.
- Quite heavy on the spice, not so much apple
- Pre-sweetened with stevia, and obnoxiously overdone.
- Good autumnal blend if it weren’t for that, but too sweet for my tates.
- I’d like more apple, and some pepper!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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80

244/365

- Assam/Ceylon blend; pretty straightforward!
- Malty, sweet, bold
- Not too tannic
- Would be excellent actually with breakfast – I find some teas too strong for early morning drinking, but this one strikes a nice balance.
- I feel like I’ve heard of this one before, and maybe seen it in some stores, but I’ve never paid much attention to it. I would now, if I were looking for a solid EB, particularly if there’s a loose leaf version.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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45

243/365

Last week was pretty busy for me (strangely, since I was actually on holiday!), so the next few notes are mostly just the bullet points I noted down while sipping on the tea or soon afterwards. I’m back at work today, sadly, and it feels all the worse for having been away. I’m still waiting for a contract for my new job, which has been a bit of a rollercoaster if I’m perfectly honest. I’m sure I’ll feel a lot better about things once I’m finally able to resign, and hopefully that’ll be soon. In the meantime, there’s tea!

So:

- This one smells gorgeous; really autumnal!
- Unfortunately, the flavour is mostly hibiscus; quite tart & sour.
- There’s a hint of red apple underlying, quite sharp & crisp. Definitely not floury/floral.
- Spicing is light, but pleasant. Vaguely reminiscent of pumpkin spice spices – cinnamon, clove, maybe a little ginger. Could be stronger.
- On the whole, not a favourite. It’s too similar to lots of other bagged fruit blends – too much hibi, and consequent sourness.
- Repeated sips begin to remind me of cherry tunes? Sweet/medicinal artificial cherry flavour.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
mrmopar

I have been there too. Hope it all works out for you.

Scheherazade

Thanks :) I think it will eventually, but the waiting is painful!

mrmopar

Yes but sometimes perseverance has its rewards.

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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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