1815 Tasting Notes

90

Returning to my original bag of French Toast Dianhong, which I found a little floral the first time around. I’m pleased to say that I’m not getting any floral flavour today. I’m steeping two pearls in boiling water for about three minutes (no additions), and I’m currently on my second steep.

The first steep was quite sweet, with very strong vanilla notes and an overall caramel-like flavour. The second steep is a little more muted, but still delicious. The vanilla seems to have mellowed into a thick creaminess, and I’m tasting chocolate and a touch of hazelnut. It’s reminding me a fair bit of nutella, actually, although not as intense.

I’ll probably stick with this one for a while longer, maybe another steep or two. It was a good choice for today’s cold work morning!

ETA: I’m on my sixth steep now, and it’s holding up a lot better than I expected. It’s less intense in terms of flavour, but there’s still plenty of delicious creamy vanilla, and just a touch of chocolate. The base tea is more prominent, but it’s so pleasant; smooth, malty, and eminently drinkable, that it’s no chore to keep going with this one. I’d not tried resteeping it before today, but now I know what I’ve been missing!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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100

I first tried this ones ages ago, as a sample from Shmiracles. Not long after Harvey Nichols started stocking it, and I loved it so much I bought a full tin. I’d not opened it until today! As soon as I removed the ring-pull seal, it smelled amazing – pure salted caramel! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. I added a generous splash of milk, but no sugar because I can tell from the scent that it’s going to be pretty sweet.

To taste, it’s a lot stronger than I remember it being. The initial sip is soft, rich caramel with hints of vanilla and salt, really decadent and dessert-like. Dark chocolate emerges in the mid-sip, along with thick, sweet malt. It’s like drinking chocolate sauce poured over caramel – a rich, high-cocoa dark chocolate that’s leaning towards being bittersweet. The bitterness gains a little prominence at the end of the sip, but at this point it’s actually quite a welcome distraction. How often do I get to say that?!

When I added the milk, I was slightly concerned that it would drown everything out, but there’s no chance of that happening. The flavour is so strong and intense, but I guess it’s freshly opened and it might dissipate a bit over time. A little of intensity fades as the cup cools, so maybe it’s also a hot water thing. Trying this as a cold brew has just become an appealing idea! I love the fact that the base tea here is an Assam. I adore Assam, and I feel like it’s a bit underused in blends at the moment – particularly chocolate or caramel blends, which IMO it’s perfectly suited to. It does make for a strong cup overall – quite tannic in some ways, and thickly malty, but done well (and it’s done exceptionally well here) it can be a great thing.

This one is pretty much the ultimate dessert tea. If you’re looking for a chocolate or caramel black tea, look no further. I could take this one a little less intense, so I’ll probably fiddle around with my brewing parameters a little, but there’s no question as to what this tea is about. Chocolate. Caramel. Malt. I wasn’t sure how our reacquaintance would fair, but it looks like it’s still love at first sip.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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100

Sipdown! Last night’s cup was SO chocolatey, I really had a hard time convincing myself it wasn’t flavoured. Beautiful dry cocoa notes, with a good dose of malt. Totally delicious stuff, and a very, very sad departure from my cupboard.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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100

Sipdown! Had an excellent last cup of this one, that tasted perfectly of cotton candy. It was a good way to say goodbye to a much loved blend.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75
drank Tea Rex by Adagio Teas
1815 tasting notes

Finally making a start on these. I’ve three sets of these tins, and they’ve been sitting on top of my wardrobe for…bloody ages, frankly. I vaguely remembered hearing good things about this one, so I pulled it out to try first. It helped that I was looking for a caffeine free tea at the time, and these were closest to hand, otherwise I think they might still be sitting there. I really should make an effort to drink up my oldest teas, though, but it’s silly to say there’ll be no more new tea until I do because I simply KNOW that won’t be the case.

Anyway, the tea. I gave it 4 minutes in boiling water, no additions. Once brewed, it tastes really nicely of cherry with just a hint of chocolate. There’s also a slightly muddled fruity flavour in the background – I was thinking blueberry at one point, and then raspberry. I’d have to try another cup to be more certain about that, since I was half asleep and my memory of the flavour is a little hazy now. The rooibos was sweet and pretty unobtrusive – it’s not really possible to taste it much underneath the flavouring, which is only ever a good thing in my book. No woodiness, though.

I enjoyed this one. It’s a good pre-bedtime cup, and tasty to boot. I should have no trouble working my way through this tin, at least!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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60
drank Sweet Nothings by Adagio Teas
1815 tasting notes

This is still my oldest tea, and it’s been kicking around for a good long time now. I took it to work in an effort to finish it off, but it wasn’t getting a whole lot of love brewed hot, so I brought it home again for cold brewing. As I suspected, it’s a lot better cold than it is hot (but it’s not bad hot, so I’m really not sure why this wasn’t finished up ages ago). I used 2 tbsp of leaf in 2 litres of water, and gave it around 12 hours in the fridge overnight.

Cold, the main flavour is apricot and fuzzy peach, mostly natural tasting so I’ve no real complaints. I’ve had better peach/apricot tea, but I’ve also had worse in terms of plastic/generally artificial flavour. The flavouring is clear and unmuddied by other influences, and the white base is pretty much totally unobtrusive. I’d happily drink this one cold again (doubtless I will be in an effort to finally say goodbye), but it wouldn’t be a repurchase simply because I’ve mostly moved on from Adagio and there are definitely better peach/apricot white teas out there. For today, though, this is fine.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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95

Sipdown! I’ve enjoyed this one a lot – it has a great juicy blueberry flavour, and the genmaicha is toasty without being overpowering. I wasn’t sure how blueberry and toasted rice would work together when I first tried this one – it turns out pretty well! I’m sad to see this one depart my cupboard.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp

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100
drank Movie Night by DAVIDsTEA
1815 tasting notes

Of all the David’s Teas I’ve tried, I love this one the most. And it’s real, genuine love, let me tell you. I’d only had one cup in my life, and I thought we’d never be reunited, but thanks to Roswell Strange I now have a fresh sample pouch.

Its good getting reacquainted, and absence really has made the heart grow fonder in this case. I’m fully aware that there’s hardly any tea in this blend – I think my current cup has maybe three green tea leaves? – but I just don’t care. The wet leaf smells a lot like freshly baked apple pie – delicious in itself – but the flavour I get from the brewed cup is pure, buttery popcorn with just a touch of crisp green apple in the background. There’s also a maple-like flavour that’s adding a touch of sweetness, and the whole thing together – popcorn, butter, apple, maple – is pretty close to perfection in my book (as far as flavoured tea goes, anyway).

I’m so glad to have this one back in my cupboard – it’ll definitely be coming to the movies with me next time I go…

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Fjellrev

Oh, I should get more of this! It is lovely, indeed.

Super Starling!

Eeep. This is going on my wish list for sure.

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100

I must be on a roll with 52 Teas at the moment, because I’ve had some truly amazing cups of this one in the last couple of days. I helped out our enquiries team yesterday afternoon, so I wasn’t paying close attention when I prepared this cup – it was a couple of minutes grabbed between calls. I know I used 1 tsp of leaf, and no milk or sugar, and I’m pretty sure it got less brew time than normal because I was in a hurry. Maybe 2 minutes tops? The candy floss flavour was light and almost fluffy tasting…very sweet and crystalline but not in any way artificial. The black tea base was fairly unobtrusive, and not at all astringent. The biggest struggle I’ve had with this one has been the fight between artificial sweetness and astringency, but here I somehow managed to avoid both.

I’ve also had a couple of cups with milk this week that were also seriously good, but I can’t remember anything now about how I prepared them. Middling brew time, 1 tsp leaf? So vague. Why is it that I only manage brilliance when I’m not concentrating?

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85
drank Butterbeer by 52teas
1815 tasting notes

This morning’s cup of this one is really good, unexpectedly because I kind of threw it together without paying a great deal of attention as soon as I got to work. I think I underleafed at least a little, and added no milk or sugar. It got a reasonably long brew time – maybe 4 minutes? I went downstairs and back up before I returned to the kitchen, so probably at least that long. All I really know for sure is that the water was boiling.

Anyway, it’s great and now I’m kicking myself because I don’t really know how to recreate it. It’s so, so buttery with just an undertone of chicory and black liquorice. Delicious! If only ever cup of this was as good…

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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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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