1731 Tasting Notes

95
drank Vanilla Matcha by DAVIDsTEA
1731 tasting notes

While I’m chronicling my matcha journey, I might as well note for myself that matcha shots in hot water are an absolute no-no for me. I’m not quite sure what it is about them, but they just hit me all wrong and I end up feeling desperately nauseous. I thought it was just plain matcha at first, but flavoured matcha in shot form has the same effect. What I can drink happily are lattes and shots in cold milk, so I’m thinking maybe the milk makes it more palatable for me? I would like more variety than that, though, so I might try experimenting with different nut milks or maybe some fruit juices. The adventure continues.

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30
drank Sweet Ginger by Teapigs
1731 tasting notes

I saved this Teapigs sample until second last (last will be Earl Grey Strong because I think I’ll need milk with it and I have none this week. Also because I’m just a tiny bit scared of it for reasons mostly unknown). The reason this one got bumped is because it’s ginger, which I’m not massively keen on, and it contains liquorice root which is my absolute nemesis. Why did I buy it, you’re thinking? Well, because new tea is like a challenge. I have to try it. And because if I never question my ideas about taste, I’d probably never try anything new…also, my tastes might have changed. I doubt it, but you just never know. I might only put myself out of my comfort zone with tea, but at the moment that’s absolutely enough.

So. The tea. I gave the bag 4 minutes in boiling water. As expected, I’m not really a fan of this one. The flavour is stem ginger and sticky sweetness, with an underlying chai-like flavour. I actually don’t mind the ginger too much. It reminds me a little of ginger cake, and it’s not too hot or overpowering. The cinnamon is pleasant, too, and the sweet/spicy aspect works well. What I hate with a passion is the liquorice root. For me, it absolutely ruins what could have been a nice cup. The ginger/cinnamon combo is up front and quite nice-tasting, and then the over-sweet liquorice hits me in the back of the throat and stays there in all its artificial sweetener-like glory. It’s just too much, and I rarely say that because I’m quite a fan of sweet in general. Liquorice root is the devil, I tell you. I wish it wasn’t in this one.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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80

Sipdown! Finished off the last of this one at work today. I’m actually pretty surprised I’ve only got one note for it, because I’ve been drinking it pretty much every morning. I do feel like mate blends help to wake me up a bit, although I’m usually so tired that maybe I’m not saying much. Every little helps, though.

I’m quite sad to be out of this one. It has a really pleasant, almost soothing vanilla mint flavour, and while it’s not overpoweringly sweet/strong it’s sufficiently heavily flavoured that the earthiness of the mate doesn’t completely overwhelm everything else. I don’t actually think I have any other mate/guayusa blends left in my cupboard, so maybe this sipdown means I can stock up on a couple of teas soon – maybe from Bluebird. I feel like I could do with a refresh to make me feel inspired again.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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75
drank Rhubarb and Ginger by Teapigs
1731 tasting notes

Continuing with my old “new” Teapigs, today I picked out Rhubarb and Ginger. It’s described on the box as “crumble in a cup” and at the moment that’s really appealing because it’s colder today than it has been recently. It’s a pretty tea to look at – just creamy white ginger pieces, and pinky red rhubarb, and it’s also pretty simple with just the two ingredients. I gave the bag 4 minutes in boiling water.

I wouldn’t say this one reminds me instantly of crumble because it doesn’t have the sweetness I’d associate with that. It does have a wonderful tart tanginess from the rhubarb, though, and a warming, spicy kick from the ginger. Possibly a piece of crystal sugar would help to put this more in line with my expectations, and I might give that a try with my second bag.

I still enjoyed this one, even if it wasn’t quite what I thought. The flavours are clear and well balanced, and it’s nice to have a tasty caffeine free option to hand. I might repurchase this one in the future, if my cupboard if ever under control again.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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90
drank Apple and Cinnamon by Teapigs
1731 tasting notes

After Friday’s success with Chocolate and Mint, I pulled out another old “new” Teapigs to try this morning – Apple and Cinnamon! It has a picture of a muffin on the package, and I’m feeling like muffins might be a good idea this morning, so hopefully this will capture the spirit of that in liquid form. Sadly, I have no actual muffins. I gave this bag approximately 4.5 minutes in boiling water, having taken a couple of sips to determine that the flavour level had reached a point of happiness.

As with Chocolate Mint, this is another happy tea for me considering it’s bagged and herbal. The apple flavour is surprisingly accurate – baked, a little mushy/floury, with the tiniest edge of sharpness. The cinnamon pairs well with it and is nicely balanced – by no means overpowering, but adding just a nice, warming, comforting edge of spice. The overall flavour reminds me very much of apple pie filling, or, indeed, an apple and cinnamon muffin. This is another herbal I’d keep around.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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95
drank Chocolate and Mint by Teapigs
1731 tasting notes

These “new” Teapigs have been in my stash so long they’re not new any longer! Fortunately they’re packaged and wrapped, so they’ve not deteriorated at all in the time it’s taken me to get to them. I’m pleased I only bought “Piglets” (2 bag sample boxes) also, because I think my instinct at the time was to buy the full box of 15 and in hindsight that would have been a bad idea. Not because I don’t like this tea – actually, on first acquaintance, I’m really impressed. Just because of all the other stuff I’ve got going on, the more limited amount of tea I seem to be drinking at the moment, and the size of my cupboard.

The tea, though. It’s a herbal, and those aren’t always my thing. It’s a really, really GOOD herbal, though – the kind I could make an exception for. I left the bag for 5 minutes before I took it out, because tiny sips told me that I was happy with the balance of flavours at this point. The early sips were really just peppermint, but as the chocolate chips melt this becomes something far more indulgent. After 5 minutes, it tastes like liquid After Eight, and that’s no exaggeration. The chocolate is dark, intensely rich and a touch bittersweet, with a slightly dry cocoa-like edge. It pairs really well with the mint, which is fresh, cooling, and even a little sweet-tasting against the chocolate. I’m also reminded of mint choc chip ice cream, largely because of the cooling effect the mint is having.

This is a herbal I’d keep around. It’s bagged, which isn’t my preference, but that does give it added convenience. I can see myself drinking it all year round when the occasion for caffeine-free arises. There’s nothing else like this in my cupboard, and the flavour is amazing. A total (and unexpected!) win.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

Impressive rating for a bagged tea!

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85

Tea of the morning, and another of my older 52 Teas finally started! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. No additions. I was a tiny bit confused by the flavour at first, because it tasted initially very floral, and then mostly of turkish delight. Um, orange? Cream? Absolutely not what I was prepared for, let’s say. I’m hoping that I just left it to brew a bit long, and also that the addition of some milk might help a bit with my next cup. I really wanted a cup of dreamsicle this morning, but for the moment I’m still bereft.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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Today’s matcha was a random Chinese (?) matcha sample from my swap with Roswell Strange. It came in a single-serving pink and green sachet. I prepared it my usual way – whisked into hot water as a shot. I wasn’t hugely keen – it’s quite bitter, yet very “thin” tasting, and it didn’t seem to want to combine very well despite extensive whisking. Possibly it would have been better as a latte, but it’s too late now!

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100

This was yesterday afternoon’s treat. I really like 52Teas Cotton Candy Black, so when the white tea version was released AGES AGO I picked up a bag. Why did I wait this long to try it? I suppose “too much tea” is always a reason, but not a great one. Anyway, it finally escaped the waiting box! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The scent is primarily white tea – a little floral and almost starchy. The flavour, though? Pure cotton candy. There’s an element of “liquid sugar” to this, a flavour which white tea alone can often contribute in my experience. I can detect a hint of strawberry here though, which really helps to take it to another level. I think that’s what makes it less “sweet water” and more “cotton candy”, but it’s a tricky flavour to describe. Great for those with a sweet tooth!

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

this one will actually be reblended soon as a request by one of our contributors to the start-up campaign.

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80

Today’s matcha is a latte, made with actual Teapigs matcha (for a change). I felt kind of bad doing their challenge but not using their matcha, but there you go. Now I am. I hasten to add that I only have a sample sachet containing 3g, at least for now. Their matcha is pretty expensive, and it doesn’t have the best reviews…

This was actually the first matcha I ever heard about, and it’s got to be at least 3 years ago now. I just didn’t get around to trying it until recently, largely because I wasn’t all that keen on green tea and so matcha just wasn’t something I was up for trying. It probably still wouldn’t be if it weren’t for my current health issues. I’m appreciating the energy boost if nothing else!

I used 1/4 tsp of matcha for my latte, whisked into hot water and then topped up with hot milk. It seems a lot more potent in terms of both colour and flavour to Grace & Green’s Morning Organic Matcha, which is what I’ve been using for my plain matcha up to now. It’s mellower, with less of an outright grassy taste, but somehow also more…savoury? It’s hard to describe. I think it’s reminding me of samphire, but I haven’t eaten that for a long time so I’m not 100% sure that’s what it is. Maybe it’ll come to me.

Anyway, it’s palatable. When it comes to matcha, that’s what’s important to me. The only flavoured matcha that’s easy to come by in the UK is Bluebird, and I’ve not tried those yet. I definitely feel that flavoured matcha is the way forward for me, though. I’d love to try more Red Leaf flavours, but I can’t find a UK supplier at the moment, which makes me sad. I’m currently considering offering my first-born as a trade.

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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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