1814 Tasting Notes

45
drank Buddha's Blend by DAVIDsTEA
1814 tasting notes

002/365

I’ve tried this one a few times in the past, and I can’t say I’ve really enjoyed it. I think that’s why, of the 8 tins of tea I got in a David’s gift box…last year? Earlier? It’s one of the last three I still have kicking around. I don’t really get on with Jasmine.

It’s not so bad today. I can taste peach, and it’s a pleasant peach – juicy, fruity, as opposed to artificial/floral. I’ve certainly had worse peach teas. The jasmine is there, too, but it’s fairly mild. I see it almost as a complicating flavour – the peach with the white/green base was nice. Jasmine also? Unncessary. One step too far.

The thing I really don’t like about this one is how it becomes bitter and chemical as it cools. It starts off okay, but it quickly deteriorates into something I don’t really want to drink.

This one’s best drank hot and quickly. Lesson learned.

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

Pretty much agree with everything you’ve said. I’d recommend keeping your brew time VERY short with this one – definitely less than two minutes. It helps out a lot.

It’s also probably the white hibiscus you’re reacting to in terms of that weird chemical flavour. When we had Peachy Lychee this year we did some experimentation since both this blend and that one use white hibiscus blossoms (and are the only ones that do). Everyone at our store that finds Buddha’s Blend really chemical tasting had the same observation/experienced the exact same chemical taste in Peachy Lychee, and the staff that DO really enjoy Buddha’s Blend/don’t taste the chemical flavour didn’t experience it in Peachy Lychee either.

Scheherazade

That’s really interesting. Hibi is evil however it comes, it seems! I’ll try a much, much shorter brew time for my next cup, and hopefully that’ll help :)

Roswell Strange

Someday I want to look into what exactly the differences are between white and normal hibiscus, ‘cause there’s certainly both a visual difference and a flavour difference. Interestingly, white hibiscus doesn’t cause milk to curdle like normal hibiscus does either which I guess is a plus? Still don’t love the taste of it though…

Scheherazade

A small plus, maybe :) I tried a shorter brew time this morning, and it works wonders. There’s less flavour overall (of everything), but it’s a lot more palatable.

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65

001/365

In an effort to maintain my current inspiration, I’m going to take a lead from the truly amazing Roswell Strange and attempt 365 days of tea. That should see me through my current cupboard (92, some of them older than I’d like to admit…), and into a whole, joyful world of brand new tea. What’s not to love?

Starting straightaway, as I obviously mean to go on, this is today’s tea. I haven’t had a matcha latte in fucking forever, so it felt good to finally do something other than dump a tea bag in a cup. I used 1/4 tsp of leaf, whisked into about an inch of boiling water, topped up with milk.

To taste, it’s maybe just a little on the artificial side, although mostly it reminds me of the jam you might find in a cherry bakewell. That, and cherry tunes, and maybe carmex. Let’s face it, there’s absolutely nothing natural about this cherry. Having said that, though, I do like it. It’s deliciously creamy as a latte (of course), and it’s got a candy-like vibe going on that suits my mood this evening. There is maybe a touch more grass to the overall flavour than I’d like, but it’s not too obtrusive.

Now I’m thinking of cherry bakewell, and as I also have a sample of Red Leaf’s Almond Matcha too, that’s something that could really happen…

Watch this space :)

Roswell Strange

Excited to see how it goes for you! Worth noting, though, that I 100% stole the 365 Days of Tea thing from VariaTEA though :P

Scheherazade

We’re all such terrible thieves :)

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85

Finally getting around to trying this one (it’s been a long time!) I like that the base is a combination of Yunnan and Sun Moon Lake, because those are two of my favourites where black teas are concerned. Any tea with either of those as a base is most likely going to be a winner with me. This one’s no exception, although it’s got a lot more going on than just the base.

I’m still stuck on the base for the moment, though. It’s rich and malty, with heavy, thick cocoa notes that are almost drying – it comes across as a little brisk initially, but that fades as it cools. There’s a really nice dark chocolate vibe straight off. The mid-sip brings more of the other flavours into play, beginning with a prominent nuttiness. That’s no surprise, as there was a huge whole pecan in my scoop of leaf. More unexpected was the fruitiness, which is reminiscent of a thick red-fruit/berry syrup. It’s an interesting in combination with the chocolate and pecan – very dessert-like. Further cooling brings out more of a smooth sweetness – caramel, vanilla, a hint of cream. It’s a great way to round off.

I brewed 1.5 tsp of leaf for 4 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. I might perhaps try it with a touch of sugar next time – I think that would make it more truly a dessert tea right from the get-go, and perhaps smooth out the initial roughness a little. I like this one, though. It’s my kind of tea.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Liquid Proust

I loved working on this one. One of the unique things here is that the Sun Moon Lake black tea in this was processed like an oolong and completely oxidized. I had a few people ask where I found rolled/balled Sun Moon tea and I said ‘Taiwan’ :p

Glad it’s still enjoyable : )

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75

I wasn’t all that impressed with this one last time I tried it. From what I recall, it was mostly rooibos and not a lot else, except maybe in the aftertaste. When I placed my last Bluebird order, what feels like a decade ago, I thought I’d pick up a sample and give it another try. I finished that sample today, and I was much, much happier with it this time.

For a start, it actually tastes like a rhubarb and custard straight up, from the very first sip. The initial flavour is sugared rhubarb; sweet, a touch tart. It’s easy to imagine the sugar coating on the sweet. The “custard” follows, more of a creaminess than anything, but totally delicious. The rooibos, for once, is confined to the background. It makes a good job of supporting the flavours, but it doesn’t impose its woodiness on everything in sight. It just…lurks. And that’s okay.

I’ve increased my rating of this one, because this time it lived up to its name. And I enjoyed it. It’s not world-bothering, but it’s nice.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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I’ve been MIA for a long time, and to be honest I don’t know whether that’s (quite) over. I’ve had a lot on in the last year, I guess. I’ve moved into my own flat (and I’m very much enjoying living with absolutely no-one, let me tell you), but getting to that point was a 9-month thriller with more ups and downs than the average rollercoaster. I came out of it feeling pretty rough. Then there’s my job, which I dislike intensely, but still haven’t managed to change. All that kind of took a backseat while I was moving, because I felt like I had enough on right at that moment. Maybe next year I’ll be able to focus on improving things there. Other, mostly random, shit has happened along the way. I’m not going to bore you with it.

What it all adds up to is that I haven’t even opened my tea cupboard since I took ownership of my flat back in…May? I put the tea in there, closed the door, and haven’t even looked at it again since. For a while, I didn’t even feel the loss. I’ve still been drinking tea, but mostly just bagged black (Twinings English Breakfast or Everyday) that I keep in a different cupboard (because it shouldn’t be in with the proper stuff, am I right?) I’ve also been drinking those few that I have left at work, although generally I’ve stuck to one until it’s gone (since the beginning of the year, I think I’ve only drank Pekoe Orange Blossom Oolong, Pekoe Japanese Cherry, Bluebird Rhubarb and Custard, and a few Teavivre samples?) It got to the point where I would actually feel anxious about finishing a tin or bag, because then I’d have to find something else to drink, and that’s a very, very odd thing to feel anxious about. Particularly when you love tea like I do. I think it’s somehow all tied up with how I feel about work, like maybe I’m projecting my anxiety about/dislike of my job, onto the tea. Don’t know. Don’t really want to know.

Today was one of those days, except that, for the first time in ages, it didn’t feel so bad. I picked out a tea with no great enthusiasm, but by the end of the cup I was feeling enthusiastic again. Maybe because I liked it when I didn’t expect to? But it’s not like that’s never happened before. Then I came back on here, and I read some of your notes, and in some ways it felt like emerging from a dense fog.

I think I’m almost back.

I think I might look in the tea cupboard this evening. I might even actually buy some tea this weekend.

This is fucking fantastic.

Unless it’s just an illusion. Then it’s not.

Evol Ving Ness

I am going with the fucking fantastic possibility. Here’s hoping.

Roswell Strange

Gotta agree with Evol! :)

__Morgana__

I totally understand! Tea is a repeating serial obsession for me. I drop in and out of it. When I’m in, I’m very very in. When I’m not, I look at the notes steepster sends me about new followers and feel guilty for not being around. Hope you’re back!

ashmanra

Hope the return to tea is also a return to EVERYTHING getting better and better!

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85

I ordered this one kind of on a whim, because I’d had a couple of decent peach teas at the time, and it was a Bluebird blend I’d somehow managed to overlook. Judging by the name, I was expecting this to be mostly ginger, maybe (if I got lucky) a little like ginger biscuits. It’s no secret that I don’t really like ginger, though, so I was hoping that the peach in the description would somehow come out on top.

Thankfully, it does, and that only reinforces my opinion that the name of this tea is misleading. It’s primarily a peach/papaya blend, very fruity, with just a touch of pepperiness in the right places. There’s a kick of ginger heat/spice/warmth in the background, but that’s all it is. Ginger haters need not fear! I would go so far as to say that I actually actively dislike ginger, but I have to admit that here it works well. It’s the perfect counterpoint to the peach, which is pretty sweet, and complements it graciously. It’s a well-rounded, well-balanced blend, of the kind you don’t come across too often. The fact that it’s a heavily fruit-based blend with no hibiscus pleases me, as does the smooth, slightly grassy green tea. Don’t be fooled, though – green tea (like the ginger…) is firmly in the minority here. There are a scattering of leaves in the blend, but its impact is small. I would consider this a fruit blend, first and foremost.

It’s a shame such a great blend is so badly named. Ginger and green are not what you’ll get if you buy this tea, and that’s somewhat bewildering.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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85

I’ve surprised myself by developing a craving for this one over the last couple of weeks. Pu’erh is a thing my brain is still afraid of, even though I’ve tried enough by now to know that I actually quite like it. My first experience with this one was good, as far as I can recall. My reacquaintance with it was, possibly, even better. It’s the sweetest pu’erh I’ve ever tried, with a really prominent sugar cane flavour and a decent dose of creaminess. It mellows with successive steeps, the initial heady sweetness fading as more earthy, mulchy flavours develop. It’s kinda perfect for this time of year, and I’m just a little bit addicted. I’m nearly done with my pouch, and this is one I’m (quite unexpectedly) going to miss.

Preparation
1 tsp

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65

A work kitchen freebie. I feel like elderflower tea is a relatively rare thing in the UK, so I rarely pass up an opportunity to try one. This box was sitting out in our work kitchen, so obviously someone didn’t like it. It’s generally always worth a punt, though, isn’t it?

I gave the bag (a silk pyramid thingum – I don’t rate these any more highly than normal tea bags, to be honest) 4 minutes in boiling water. Probably I could have left it longer, but I’m impatient. To taste, it’s actually…pretty good. I can taste the elderflower, although the pear is clearly the primary flavour. If I had one criticism, it would be that it’s a little over-sweet. It reminds me a lot more of a pear drop than an actual pear, in that floral, sugary, powerfully intense way that pear drops sometimes have. The apple is lost entirely. I wouldn’t know it was there based on taste alone, and I don’t think it should have headline billing in the name – that’s kinda misleading, because this is not an apple tea. It’s a pear and elderflower tea, and nothing else.

I like it, though. If I found it in my local Tesco, I might even pick up a box.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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80

I’ve been drinking this one every day at work for a week or so now, and I’m more pleased with it than I expected to be. Oolongs aren’t usually my favourite thing, but this one is very much like a light black tea, with just a touch of roastiness in the mid-sip. The orange flavouring is pretty natural-tasting, neither too sharp nor too sweet. Thankfully, there’s very little floral.

I bought this one on holiday two years ago, so it’s about time it saw the light of day. I’ve got so lazy in recent months that I’m basically just resteeping a generous teaspoon all day. The orange flavour departs around the third steep, but the light oolong that’s left behind is very palatable – no fuss, easy to drink, and not a tea I really have to pay attention to. That seems to suit my mood at the moment. I know it’s not like me, though, and I hope that one day soon I start to feel more like myself again.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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95

Kinda hurried today, but these are my thoughts on this one:

For the first few steeps, I get primarily freshly baked bread with a touch of chocolate. After the third steep, there’s more of a honey-like flavour. Deliciously smooth throughout, with no bitterness or astringency. First steeps around 2-3 minutes, later ones around 3-4 minutes, always in boiling water, no additions.

Another excellent tea from Teavivre, would absolutely, definitely purchase again.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
Fjellrev

Sounds mightily lovely!

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Profile

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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