1755 Tasting Notes

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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60

First cold brew of the year! Usually, I prepare my SBTs using a hot concentrate, in that I leave the bag in 1/4 litre of boiling water for about 3 minutes, and then top up to 2 litres with cold. I’ve had mixed results with this method, though, so I decided to try this one cold brewed. I left the bag in two litres of water for around 10 hours overnight, and I’m pretty pleased with the result. My only complaint is that the black tea base is a little too prominent, and it’s bordering on bitter, but that sometimes happens with the hot prep method too. Otherwise, this is good – marshmallow is the strongest flavour, but it’s swiftly followed by maple and somehow (somehow) that seems to help round things out. I thought, initially, it was going to be too sweet, but the maple cuts through that and brings it back to a level I’m confortable with. It’s not that the maple isn’t sweet, either, because it is…it’s just a different kind of sweetness. Maybe because it’s got more of a defined flavour than marshmallow has? Maybe because it’s richer? I’m aware that this doesn’t make much sense, but it’s hard to explain. Despite maple and marshmallow being two very sweet things to my mind, they actually seem to work well together and one balances the other out.

Is this my favourite SBT? No. I’d like a base that’s just a bit less obvious, and a touch less sweetness. Maple on its own would have been just fine with me. This is where you need to be if you’ve got a sweet tooth, though. Or maybe that should be needed, since I think Southern Boy Teas are now no more.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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95

So today I’m drinking the 2015 harvest of this tea. I’m so far behind with my cupboard, it’s unreal. I think I must have last tried this one the year before – in 2014, and judging by my rating (95) I liked it a lot. I’m hoping, second time around, I like it just as much. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, or as close as I could reasonably measure given that the leaves are too big for my measuring spoon. They’re a mottled green in colour, flat and folded in the usual style. The scent, dry, is lightly vegetal.

I gave the leaves approximately 3 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. It’s light and refreshing to taste, with a mildly floral undertone and strong top-notes of green bean and fresh garden pea. It’s a flavour that lingers – not quite perfumey, but almost. I like it because it’s not overpoweringly strong – the flavours are delicate, but well defined. There’s no bitterness or astringency, and it would make a good introductory green for people who think they don’t like green tea (which used to be me!)

I’d happily drink this one again, and my original rating remains unchanged.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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70

I felt like something light and fruity this morning, so this one finally got its turn! In practice, it’s not quite what I expected it to be. I understand immediately where the “fruit salad” vibe comes in, although it’s not quite candy-like enough to pull off a resemblance to the chewy sweet. It’s mixed fruit for sure – strawberry, raspberry, pineapple, orange, and papaya – but to me it tastes more like an actual fruit salad than a sweet. That’s not a problem, but it’s not exactly how it’s billed. It needs more sweetness to be an effective “candy” replica, and it’s not often I say that about Bluebird teas.

One of the big positives here is that, even though this blend contains quite a quantity of hibiscus and rosehip, it doesn’t lean sour or become over-tart. I gave this one a good 4 minutes in boiling water, and at the end of that it’s still only a pink-red which I always take as a good sign where fruit blends are concerned.

I’m drinking this one hot this morning, but I actually think it might work even better cold. I might try adding a tiny bit of sugar to my next cup, just to see if I can amplify the “candy” vibe a little more. On the whole, though, it’s pretty great.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

This one has made a welcome return to my cupboard. It’s deliciously creamy, with a strong vanilla sugar flavour and a milder note of almond. It’s very reminiscent of cake, to me – a vanilla sponge with buttercream icing. The rooibos base isn’t too woodsy or medicinal, and while black tea appears in the ingredients list, there isn’t actually a great deal of it in practice. The pastel colourd star sprinkles are a cute touch, and they don’t gum my infuser up too much (or make the tea oily…) The purple-ish blue mallow flowers also add an additional touch of special. It’s a nice blend to look at, and a nice blend to drink.

When I finally suceed in getting my cupboard under control – and it’s happening, slowly! – this might well be a blend I keep around pretty much permanantly. It’s that good.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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90
drank Mocha Chai by Bluebird Tea Co.
1755 tasting notes

Coffee, chocolate, and chai sounds an excellent combination to me. Even though it’s technically summer, it’s actually pretty chilly, dull, and rainy today. I wouldn’t usually choose a tea like this – particularly a chai, I guess – at this time of year, but today it jumped out at me from the small selection of Bluebird samples I brought to work. Warm, comforting…just the thing.

I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it a good 4 minutes in boiling water, with a decent splash of milk. The dry mix contains a decent amount of coffee beans, and a few chocolate chips, so the main “mocha” credentials are covered. The chocolate chips leave a light oily scrim, as you might expect, but nothing too extreme. It’s a price I’m willing to pay for a soild chocolate flavour, anyway.

To taste, it’s almost as good as I hoped. The black tea base is perhaps a little on the light side, but that’s a complaint I have about Bluebird’s black teas in general – their blend base is primarily Ceylon, and I think for a chai like this I’d prefer Assam. Still, that’s a persona preference only, and it still tastes good. The coffee is more prevelant than I expected, so I think there’s probably some added flavouring. It’s hard to believe that a few whole coffee beans could achieve that in just a few minutes, but maybe it’s possible. I’m no expert on coffee! The chocolate is discernable, too, and pairs nicely with the coffee to create a distinctly “mocha” vibe – I’m very happy with how that turned out. There’s just a touch of vanilla, also, which, with the milk and chocolate, creates a deliciously dessert-like background. The spicing isn’t overpowering, and comes out mostly in the midsip – it’s a pleasant blend of ginger, cardamon, and cinnamon, and it works well with the other flavours. I can see myself really enjoying this one come autumn, but it’s equally perfect for a cold, miserable day like today. This might just have become one of my favourite Bluebird chai blends!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85

I forgot about this one for a long time, maybe because I’ve only ever had one cup (which was a sample with a previous order). It’s part of their permanant collection, so I tend to overlook it when I’m placing an order – last time, though, I remembered! I still think it’s as good as I did when I first tried it – the first thing I can taste is creamy, milky chocolate, and that’s followed swiftly by a hit of tangy orange. It’s a pretty good match for it’s chocolate namesake!

The base here is ceylon, which possibly helps the citrus vibe. I’m drinking today’s cup without milk or sugar, and it makes for a smooth and complementary base. There’s a mild nuttiness in the aftertaste, but I suspect that’s a result of the combined ingredients, rather than the base tea alone.

Still scrummy! My original rating is unchanged.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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50

Apparently, I last drank this one 4 years ago. This is a new bag, though – don’t worry! I read quickly through my last notes, and it looks like I was in two minds about it. The banana was milder than I wanted it to be, and I mostly got caramel and vanilla (not a bad combo, though!) I was drinking it with milk back then, though, so maybe that has something to do with it.

Today’s cup is without additions. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2.5 minutes so as not to give the base tea (Ceylon, of course – it’s Bluebird!) chance to become too overpowering. The dry leaf contains a decent amount of banana chunks (more than I remember it having), so I’m fairly hopeful.

To taste..? Initially, it’s nuts. You know how walnut skins can be slightly bitter? Like that. Then there’s banana (hooray!), and it’s quite natural-tasting, so that’s all to the good. It’s not super-strong, which would be okay if it lingered, but it doesn’t. A few seconds, maybe, and then it’s the base tea I can taste and nothing else. It’s a touch bitter, even with a short brew time. Hmm.

I think I actually like this one less than I did last time I tried it. The bitterness was unexpected, and the banana really isn’t prominent enough for my liking. No caramel or vanilla this time, either. Maybe I should go back to drinking this one with milk…

I originally rated this one 70, but I’ve lowered that as a result of today’s tasting. Maybe it’s me, or maybe it’s the tea, but someone’s tastes have changed.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
Evol Ving Ness

:( :(

Too bad, this sounds like a good one.

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75

There are a good few Bluebird teas that remind me of Davids Tea blends, but this one is probably chief amongst them. It’s not a flavour thing, necessarily, but more of a chunky-blend-with-lots-going-on kind of thing. I think it’s slightly unfair on my part, but similarities to Davids Tea are not a bad thing in my book, so it’s really a disguised compliment.

The dry leaf is so pretty – easter in a bag, basically. There are large, chunky chocolate chips, cacao nibs, mini marshmallows, toasted rice, and a smattering of black tea. There are a few green leaves in there, too, and I think this is the base blend that combines Ceylon and Houjicha. It’s not my favourite of Bluebird’s base teas, but there isn’t a great deal of it here so I suspect I’ll be fine.

I used 1.5 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. The marshmallows and chocolate chips melt fairly readily, although they give the finished cup a murky, oily appearance that’s not entirely attractive. I can forgive that, though, because it smells amazing – hot chocolate, anyone?

To taste, it’s also pretty good. It’s a chocolate rice crispie cake in a cup, basically. The initial flavour is a chocolate/marshmallow combination, and tastes as sweet and sugary as that sounds. That’s quickly followed by a light toastiness from the rice/genmaicha element, which helps to tone things down a bit and makes for a more rounded flavour. Really, though, this is an in-your-face sugar bomb, a brilliant dessert tea, and a good alternaitve to Easter Eggs if you’re trying to stay away from chocolate. Tasty!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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95

I’ve had this one a while, though as I’ve been trying to drink up teas that are even older, it hasn’t been out of my cupboard until today. I love the idea of this one – I’ve not tried many bacon teas, but those I have had have been positive experiences. It something that sounds like it shouldn’t work, but somehow does. It’s an idea that’s super appealing to me as a breakfast tea, so that’s how I’m drinking it this morning. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. No additions.

The initial sip is pancakes smothered in maple syrup. The maple is up first – sweet, rich – and then there’s a thick butteriness that’s very reminiscent of pancake batter. It’s like taking a bit of freshly-made pancakes that you’ve just added a lot of syrup to. Maybe too much syrup for some, but I think it’s pretty perfect.

The bacon is more muted than I expected, and seems more like a flavour that evolves as the result of the ingredients, rather than an additional “thing in itself”. It’s not like 52Teas bacon, for example, or like bacon teas that actually have those bacon crispies in them. I think, here, it’s the combination of the smoky lapsang souchong, the earthy pu’erh, and maybe even just suggestion brought to mind by the strong maple/pancake elements. It’s subtle, in any case.

There’s a hint of cinnamon in the aftertaste, and a touch of smoked chili, which add a little something extra to the overall effect. On the whole, this strikes me as a tea that’s been well blended and put together with care. The flavours work well together, and the overall effect lives up to the name. I’m really pleased with this one!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
mrmopar

Mmmm bacon….

Evol Ving Ness

Now this one sounds right up my alley. Nice review. Thanks, Scheherazade!

Fjellrev

Wow, sounds really complex and well thought-out. I seriously need to order some Bluebird someday.

Evol Ving Ness

^ You and me both.

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 28, 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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