1731 Tasting Notes

85

What have I got to celebrate? Absolutely nothing. I’m back at work, I’ve got a cold, and I lost the flat I spent three months thinking I was buying because “estate agent” is apparently a synonym for “liar”. But I’m still going to treat myself to some champagne matcha, all the same.

This one came to me as a sample from Roswell Strange, and I actually should have started it ages ago. A combination of factors put paid to that, but better late than never. I think I held off on this one for so long because I only drink my matcha in milk, and champagne and milk seemed like an odd combination. I’m surprised to say that it works, though. It tastes like champagne. Which is obviously not the most helpful or descriptive tasting note, but it is a fact. It’s not bubbly, and there’s no hint of effervescence (I wasn’t excepting there to be, because…how?) but it’s definitely champagne and it even stands up to the milk. We’re not talking super-strong, but you can tell that that’s what it is.

I’m hoping a matcha latte will perk me up a bit, because something honestly needs to. I think I might buy some tea this evening. That’ll do it, for sure.

Preparation
Boiling
Evol Ving Ness

I’m sorry to hear that you’ve lost the flat you thought you were buying because of a less than honest agent. It’s a terrible feeling. May this pass smoothly and easily and may the right flat be just around the corner.

Scheherazade

I hope so! It’s been an epic waste of time and money. I was pretty angry at first, but now I’m just sad. It would have been a good fit for me.

Super Starling!

But is there a violent champagne headache? That’s my main question. Ugh. Champagne. So tasty but so vicious on the brain.

I one rented an apartment from a company and then, when they blasted out the “renew your apartment!” mass-mailing to everyone, asked to renew. Turns out they’d rented out our apartment to someone else without asking us to renew first. But the apartment NEXT DOOR was available. So my friend and I had to just spend a day with both doors open hauling everything across the hall.

Turns out the new apartment was MUCH BETTER, though. Sunnier and a better cross-breeze.

I suppose this is to say “those people are shady monsters, but it might turn out for the best.”

Scheherazade

No headache, thankfully :) You’re right, though – the real stuff is vicious!

It seems like you don’t have to look far to find a housing horror story. I’m just hoping it all comes right in the end (and hopefully this year, because I’m not much enjoying being back with my parents at my age.)

Super Starling!

I’m not sure I enjoyed living with my parents at any age. My parents, mind you, are excellent people, but I have a strong resistance against being told what to do. And against making the bed (WHY?). I basically came out of the womb a full-fledged, impetuous adult.

Roswell Strange

Glad you enjoyed the matcha, and sorry to hear about the awful housing situation. I can only imagine how frustrating it’s been. It’s a good thing we’re all hooked on the most relaxing beverage there is, apart from alcohol. Though you can always top off your tea with something stronger, and no one has to know ;)

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90

I bought a bag of these on the strength of all the good reviews I read about them at least a year ago, and then never got around to drinking them. At least that’s been remedied now – I’ve been drinking this one pretty steadily since November, mostly in my Timolino at events. Hence, I’ve never logged it either. I’m in the office today, though, and drinking this one. It’s really good. Hazelnut is the main initial flavour, followed by a dark-ish chocolate. It reminds me a lot of nutella, which is probably the intention. There’s not a whole lot else going on with this one, except a light maltiness from the base tea. It stands up to milk well, if you give it a decent brew time (I went for 4 minutes), but it’s best to drink it hot because it seems to get bitter as it cools…

I like this one. It’s probably my favourite Twinings tea.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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60

This is the second of the Twinings chai latte blends I’ve tried this week, and the second that contains only black tea and “flavourings” – this time vanilla spice and syrup flavourings. And that’s my problem with these blends – chai is surely easy enough to put together from actual spices, and there are clearly none in these bags. Why resort to chemicals? There’s no need.

I used 1 bag for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in 1/2 cup of boiling water, topped up with hot milk. I like this one better than the Bollywood Chai, for some reason, but it’s a close thing. Both have a weird, artificial quality that’s just plain odd, but the vanilla in this one pips it for me. At least I can taste vanilla and identify it as such, even if it is a bit on the fake side. It reminds me of coffee syrup vanilla, rather than vanilla pods, but it’s sweet and warming, and it’s cold out, so I’m not particularly hard to please this morning.

I wouldn’t buy these again, though. Any of them. There are far, far better chai blends out there. Ones that are actually properly blended from spices and accordingly taste that much nicer. This just seems kinda lazy to me, and I expected better.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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60
drank Chai by Twinings
1731 tasting notes

Another free work thing. Clearly there’s some Christmas spirit in the office, if people are giving away tea. I suspect desk cleaning is more likely, though, but never mind. Free tea is free tea. I’m SURE I’ve tried this one before, and logged it. This isn’t exactly a new tea to me, being readily available in the UK and whatever…Hmm.

Anyway. I prepared it as a latte, using two bags in 1/2 cup of boiling water, because memory tells me that they’re not particularly strong. I topped it up with hot milk. The plan is to see if we can improve on this morning’s lacklustre Bollywood Chai.

Apparently, we maybe can’t. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this one. It’s less artificial in flavour terms that the Bollywood Chai, but it’s also not particularly strong or flavourful even with two bags. There is a warming spiciness at the back of my throat, but I’m struggling to identify individual ingredients. It’s kinda generic and one-note, maybe a little flat tasting? That could be an age-related issue, I suppose. The black base is strong and fairly malty, and holds up to the milk well. I just expected a little bit more, I think, and I’m not quite getting what I thought I would. Another chai that’s not quite met my expectations this morning! Perhaps those expectations are too high?

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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80
drank Cinnamon Heart by DAVIDsTEA
1731 tasting notes

I’m going to go against the crowd and say that I actually quite like this one. It’s nearly Christmas, it tastes of cinnamon…that makes it nearly perfect in my book. It’s a little bit simple, maybe, but it’s festive. It’s cheering up my work morning, that’s for sure!

My main complaint about this one is that it’s promoted as a pu’erh, but there doesn’t actually appear to be all that much pu’erh in the overall blend. It certainly doesn’t show up much in the flavour, other than as a mild background earthiness. According to the ingredients list, it also contains black tea as a base – more of that than the pu’erh, I suspect. Still, that’s okay, because I’m drinking this one for the cinnamon and not the pu’erh…I’ve plenty of those I could drink if that’s what I wanted.

I’m enjoying the flavour of this one, for the moment. I think the novelty will probably wear off after a couple of cups, but for right now it’s a sweet, strongly cinnamon blend, and very welcome pre-Christmas.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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55

Finally remembered to buy some milk, so this one finally got a turn this morning. It’s promoted as a latte, so that’s how I made it up – 1 tea bag in 1/2 a cup of boiling water, topped up with hot milk. It certainly smells nice, although the ingredients list is a touch dubious – “almond, spice, and honey flavourings”, anyone? Why not just the actual things? The bag contains little white specks in addition to the black tea leaves, so I guess that’s something to do with it.

In terms of taste, it’s okay. It’s a fairly mild chai, but it does have quite strong almond notes which makes it a little bit unique. I might add less milk next time – maybe a slightly more western-style preparation – in the hope that the spices will shine a little bit more. It’s warming and comforting, if a little lacklustre. I think maybe I’ve just tried a lot of other chai blends which wowed me more, and so this one’s not quite living up to my expectations. Still, you’ve got to try these things!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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60
drank Redbush by ASDA
1731 tasting notes

These teabags were going free at work, and because you never turn down a free thing (particularly when it’s tea…), I happily gave one a go this afternoon. I wasn’t planning on having more tea at work since there are only 30 minutes left before home time, but I figured I could make an exception for the sake of science.

I gave one bag 3 minutes in boiling water. Looks like rooibos (brassy red-orange), smells like rooibos (wood shavings), tastes like rooibos (woody, in the way of sawdust, a touch metallic). It’s nothing exceptional, and I didn’t expect that it would be, but it’s a fair enough plain rooibos at what I assume is a fairly low price point (it ought to be, because it’s just Asda’s own brand normal stuff…) Mixed with something a bit classier, it could be made nice (something vanilla or caramel flavoured, maybe…) or perhaps with a splash of milk just to tone it down a bit (it’s quite strong for a red tea, and slightly drying at the back of the throat.)

It’s plain and straightforward, but it’s okay. Better than I thought it might be, if I’m honest.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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50

I was on the fence about this one last time I tried it, which makes sense to me since liquorice root is basically my nemesis. For the record, I didn’t buy this bag (and it’s a big ‘un – 50g!) I _wouldn’t_ buy a bag of tea this big when the word “liquorice” is right there in the name. No. It was a gift. Because it’s the thought that counts, I’m going to give this one another go. It’s been sitting in my cupboard for nearly a year now, so it’s definitely time.

On opening the bag, I was pretty pleased to see a lot of chamomile. And I mean a lot. Like, loads. Whole flowers, too. There’s also a significant amount of peppermint. And then there are the cubes of liquorice root, but the less said about those the better. It smells nice – like chamomile and mint. Sweet, creamy, like a candy cane. I know what you’re thinking – how seasonally appropriate!

To taste, it’s actually okay. The liquorice is very much in the background, and the main flavours are chamomile (honey, hay, sweet), and mint (cooling, refreshing). I can taste a sticky sweetness at the back of my throat, and it builds with successive sips, but at least it’s not too apparent overall. Still, not a favourite. I’ve left my rating as it was, because it reflects pretty accurately how I feel about this one. I don’t mind chamomile and mint, but I’d like it a lot more without the liquorice.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
Memily

It’s just the worst flavour.

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85

Open the pouch, smells like…banana? Although having skimmed the other notes on this one, it looks like this is a fairly common reaction. I’m also going to say that I didn’t know kiwi cheesecake was that much of a thing…I’ve certainly never come across one, and I’m wondering how a fairly wet fruit would pair with cream cheese…Not well, my brain tells me. I’m probably wrong, though.

I gave 1 tsp of leaf 3 minutes in water cooled to 175 degrees. Once brewed, it still takes like banana. I don’t have any real complaint about this, because I like banana tea. Given that it’s supposed to be kiwi, though, it’s a little odd. There’s a definite cheesecake-like creaminess alongside the banana, which reminds me a little of Red Leaf’s Cheesecake Matcha in terms of flavour. The oolong base works well – probably better than I thought it would if I’m honest. It’s smooth and only very slightly mineral, mostly absent from the overall flavour profile. Pretty good, all told, as long as you remember it’s banana cheesecake and not kiwi. Not sure what happened here, but it tastes excellent!

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

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90

I keep drinking this one at events, from my Timolino, and then forgetting to log it. It’s one of those teas that everyone comments on, because it smells so deliciously rich and creamy even while it’s just sitting there. It’s not particularly unique – I’ve had many an Earl Grey Creme, some better than others – but it’s still one of my favourite kinds of blend. I think you can tell a lot about a company based on their success at creating an EGC (or otherwise…)

This one’s a good ‘un, as you’d expect from David’s. The creaminess is very prominent, and it’s not too artificial considering it’s probably primarily flavouring and not anything especially natural. It’s too strong and thick tasting to be just vanilla, let’s face it. The earl grey aspect (very important!) is good also – there’s a hint of citrussy bergamot, but it’s not too bitter or overpowering. The black tea base is smooth and gently malty, and gets strong enough to take milk if that’s the way you like to do things.

I like this one. I wish it were more readily available in the UK.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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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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