1755 Tasting Notes

85

I’m glad to be drinking this one again – it’s certainly been a while! For the record, this pouch is the 2016 version (I know, I’m so behind). As usual, I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup. As with the 2015 version, it appears to be predominantly rooibos, with some ceylon leaves – about 70:30 to my mind. Dry, the scent is very orangey, with an undercurrent of almond. I gave it 3 minutes in boiling water, no additions.

To taste, it’s more or less hot cross bun. There’s a lot of orange, some dried fruit (raisin, cranberry), and a big hit of vanilla. There’s a whisper of cinnamon, but it’s fairly fleeting. Lapsang Souchong is listed in the ingerdients, but it’s fairly well down the list, and to be honest I can’t taste it. I’d have liked a touch of smoke – I remember last year’s (2015) sample had just a little, and that was perfect.

Ultimately, I’d have really liked more of a “bread” flavour – maybe if the Ceylon was a Yunnan? As it stands, it’s not quite hot cross bun for me, but it’s close enough. It’s certainly a pleasantly creamy, fruity cup, and great for spring! Next year, if I’m caught up with my cupboard, I’ll definitely try again.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85

This is an interesting looking tea, and certainly one of the most unique green teas I’ve ever seen. I’ve read tasting notes for this one previously, and I know that people said the leaves were large, but I wasn’t actually expecting them to be this large. Like, so-large-they-won’t-fit-in-my-work-infuser large. They’re very thin and flat, like dried seaweed sheets, and feel similarly brittle. The colour is variagated – from dark green tips to yellow-green leaf base. The scent – in keeping with the appearance – is strong, and quite seaweed-y, or marine-like. I like that you can tell they’re leaves. It seems somehow more honest than a lot of teas, and is surely a more expensive production process. There’s everything premium about this one.

I used approximately 1/3 of the sample pouch for my cup, not really having much to go on. I’m kind of hoping that the leaves will soften and fold into the infuser, otherwise brewing this one is going to be interesting. At the moment, they’re leaning against the side of the infuser basket, and poking out a good couple of centimetres.

Fortunately they do, so it’s all good. I gave them 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The scent is milder than I was expecting, vegetal and a little nutty. The taste is similar – quite subtle, with notes of samphire, salt, and an edge of almost-floral. There’s a slightly mineral aftertaste, like wet rock. The floral is a bit of a surprise, especially in the way it “blooms” at the end of the sip. Up until that point, this struck me as a pleasant – if fairly standard – green tea. That floral, which graually gives way to the more mineral, oolong-like end-note, makes this an altogether more unique experience. Added to its overall smoothness, and complete lack of bitterness or astringency, this makes for a very pleasant cup. I’d happily seek this one out again, from future harvests.

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

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95

As ever, I’m well behind with my reviews, because the selection of green teas I’m about to start are from the Spring 2015 harvest. I first tried this one in 2014, and at the time I thought it was vegetal, with notes of green bean and asparagus, and perhaps a touch of grass towards the end of the sip. I said it was clean-tasting and smooth, maybe a little reiniscent of Bi Luo Chun (which is one of my all-time favourite green teas…) It’ll be interesting to see how the following year’s harvest compares!

To begin with, the leaf is similar – quite long and thin, predominantly dark green in colour but with downy creamy-white tips. The scent is mildly vegetal. Definitely green beans! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to 180 degrees.

Once brewed, the leaves fade to a more olive green. The flavour is mild, although with a vegetal edge. I don’t think I’d say green bean so much this time – perhaps freshly shelled garden pea. It’s a sweeter, softer flavour than I remember. The end of the sip has an edge of almost-sharpness that’s making me think of lemon squeezed into water. It’s an interesting contrast with the sweet opening notes.

I’m enjoying this one. It’s clean and refreshing, and I like the sweet/sharp interplay. A great spring cup! My rating is unchanged from my previous (2014) tasting.

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

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50

Another tea I picked up on my trip to Scotland last summer. This one is described as “delicate”, but I think in many ways that’s quite misleading. The only delicate thing about this one is the heather, which is pretty much non-existent, except perhaps very briefly in the aftertaste. The black tea base itself is bold; strong and very malty, with a thick sweetness. It’s not floral, light, delicate, mild, or any of the other words that appear on the box, at least to my mind.

The base tea here is Assam, and while that’s fine as far as it goes it’s really nothing very special. I wanted the heather to be more of a feature, and sadly, it isn’t. I was reasonably impressed with this brand’s Whisky tea, but this one just wasn’t in the same league. Drinkable, but lacklustre.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

This was a bonus tea from my (last?) 52Teas order. I think, anyway. It’s definitely been a while. It’s also the last untried 52Teas blend I have in my cupboard, other than (quite a lot of) SBTs. I’ll be working on those again this summer, though.

I kept this one until last for a few reasons. I love the name, and it’s SPARKLY, and obviously that makes it the kind of tea I want to keep around for a bit. More significantly, though, it contains ginger. And ginger isn’t really (usually) my jam. I’m hoping the pluot is more apparant in the taste than the ginger…

I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. It was kind of hard to measure – these oolong leaves are big! Or at least, long and twisty. Despite my aversion to ginger, I do actually love the scent of this tea. It’s mostly sweet and stonefruity, but there’s a touch of ginger lurking underneath that actually strikes me as appealing…Who’d have thought?!

To taste, it’s pretty delicious! It’s sweet straight-off, mostly plum in my estimation but I get apricot, too. I’ve never tried a pluot before, so this is a learning experience as well as a tea. There is ginger, but it’s reasonably subtle. It adds a spicy warmth to the background, and works better than I expected with the fruit flavours. On the whole, this one’s a lot fruitier than I thought it would be, and juicy-tasting to boot. It’s perfect on a day like today, which is spring in essence but also cold; sunny fruit flavours, warming ginger kick. I couldn’t have chosen a tea more suited :)

The base oolong adds a mild nuttiness, but otherwise is pretty hard to taste underneath the flavouring. It didn’t make much of an impression on the blend, but I suppose in that respect it’s doing its job well – supporting the flavours without overpowering them. It might have some stone fruit notes of its own, but it’s almost impossible to say.

The sparkle in this one is very subtle, but there’s a touch of gold glitter swirling around. It’s not in-your-face in the way that Glitter and Gold is, but it’s cute just the same. More of a Bluebird Christmas Cake level of sparkle, if you’ve tried that.

The more I sip this one, the more I like it. Sad face for it being a limited edition, because I’m pretty sure I’m going to miss it when my sample pouch is gone. My conclusion is that pluots should be used more often in tea!

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

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85

I’m drinking the reblend version of this tea, released during the “Anne” era. I adore maple in tea, although I think up to now the base teas have mostly been black. It’ll make a change to try an oolong! I followed the recommended parameters for this one – 1.5 tsp, in 180 degree water, for 3.5 minutes. It smells delicious, straight out of the bag!

To taste, it’s pretty good. Despite being green, the oolong adds a toasty nuttiness to the overall flavour, enhanced by the sweet, rich maple flavouring. It’s a good pairing! I can even detect just a touch of creaminess that’s almost cheesecake, although it’s not quite as prominent a flavour as I’d hoped. Still, it’s tea, not food. The maple is strong and distinctive, and that’s what I was really looking for. Luckily, it’s here in abundance! Noms.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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95
drank Oui Pour La Vie by Fauchon
1755 tasting notes

I don’t know how it is that I’m the only person who’s ever reviewed this one? It came in the cutest heart shaped tin, so I’m guessing maybe it was a limited edition for valentine’s day once over, or something? It’s been in my stash a while, unopened, at any rate.

I originally bought this one because I was intrigued by the ingredients – strawberry, raspberry, black pepper, rose. I love pepper, so it was a must-try pretty much as soon as I saw it. I used 1 tsp for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water, no additions. It’s pretty well balanced, I think. The initial flavour is red berry – I think I’m leaning more towards strawberry, but there’s a tart/sour end note that captures raspberry well, too. Neither flavour is candy-like or over sweet – it’s pretty accurate “juice” flavouring, as far as I’m concerned. The pepper is discernible in the mid-sip, and it lingers for a long time. It adds a touch of spiciness and a whole lot of heat, which builds with successive sips. I really like the combination, even though it probably wouldn’t have occurred to me to pair those two things in actuality.

This one would have been a good warming winter cup, but it’s still pretty cold out in the mornings so I guess I haven’t missed the joy of that entirely. To be honest, though, it’s so good I’ll probably carry on drinking it this summer. It’s been sitting around long enough!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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drank When Doves Cry by 52teas
1755 tasting notes

Finally got around to trying this one today. As far as first impressions go, the dry leaf is in itself a pretty amazing thing. There are whole sugared violets (which are huge!), cubes of dried apricot, and a base of bai mu dan , which is impressive both for the size and length of its leaves, and the predominance of silver tips. It’s also still fairly green, unlike some white teas I’ve tried in the past! I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup (measuring was a challenge…), and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to 175 degrees.

The small surprise is the blue/purple colour of the liquor once brewed. I guess I should have expected it, with the violet in there, but somehow I didn’t. As a Prince tribute, it’s a nice touch. To taste, the initial flavour is sweet violet – reminiscent, to me, of parma violets only slightly less perfumey. The mid-sip is almost exclusively apricot, also sweet, but not overpoweringly so. It’s refreshingly fruity after the initial hit of floral violet. The end of the sip combines the two flavours in a gradual fade out. They’re both fairly delicate to begin with, but clearly identifiable. It is possible to taste the base tea underneath the flavouring just at the end of the sip, and that, too, is delicate and mildly floral, with the “sugar water” vibe that white tea can often have, although I suspect this may have been helped a little by the dissolved sugared violet. It’s definitely not a blend that would require additional sugar, unless you like your tea super, super sweet.

I’m enjoying this one as much as I hoped I would back when it was first announced. It’s a fitting tribute, and tasty to boot!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75

On the whole, I don’t think this one tastes all that much different from the Scottish Breakfast blend I tried a week or so back, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they shared the same base. It’s sweet and malty, which is never a bad thing, and those flavours work well with the peaty richness of the “whisky”. I can just about tell that this one’s supposed to be flavoured, but it’s very much a whisper in the background rather than a shout. There’s a whisky ghost loitering around, as if I’d used my mug for it beforehand and not rinsed, but it’s not much more than that. Still, a pleasing black tea.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85
drank Sweet Caramel o'Mine by 52teas
1755 tasting notes

I feel like I’m working through these quite quickly, but they are delicious…

I used 1 tsp of leaf for today’s cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in boiling water. It brews up pretty dark (and pretty quickly), but I didn’t add any milk…mostly just to see. Some caramel flavours are drowned out pretty easily, and I generally go with whole milk, so I feel like I should see how things stand first.

To taste, it’s pretty good. The caramel flavour is fairly strong, not overpowering, but immediately identifiable as caramel. There’s a creaminess to it, and a burnt sugar-like flavour in the aftertaste. The black tea base is smooth and malty, but a touch more prominent than I’d have liked. Maybe a shorter brew time, or a little less leaf (or a splash of milk…) would help to round things out a touch better.

On the whole, though, I’m pretty pleased with this one. It’s sweet, caramelly, and it contains caffeine. There’s certainly nothing in any of that to dislike.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
Fjellrev

Nice. Do you have a favourite caramel tea, by the way?

Evol Ving Ness

Good question.

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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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