1785 Tasting Notes

80
drank Grape Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1785 tasting notes

Finished off the last of this sample today. I made it up as a latte again, because I’m pretty sure last time it didn’t go so well as a result of unexpectedly expiring whisk batteries. Fortunately, that’s not today’s problem.

I used a little more powder than I usually would, partly because there wasn’t a full 1/2 tsp left (so it would be two under-strength cups or one over…) and also because it’s the delicate flavouring level, and I’m finding that I drown the flavour in milk when I use my work cup (which is on the larger side…). So that’s how it is this morning.

Also, I’m bored. I have plenty to do, but I don’t really want to get on with any of it. What I’d really like is a new job with some new challenges, but that doesn’t seem to be on the cards at the moment.

So, the latte. It’s good – it tastes like candy grape. I think the extra bit of powder has amplified that a bit, because it’s a touch stronger than I remember it being last time, although still subtle on the whole. It’s also mildly floral, which could be either the grape flavouring or the matcha itself…it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins, which I think is a good thing when it comes to flavoured tea of any variety.

I’m thinking of placing an order with Red Leaf/Matcha Outlet in the next few days, and this one could well be on the list if it’s available. It’s different, and enjoyable – a good combination!

Preparation
Boiling

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55
drank Apple Brandy Assam by 52teas
1785 tasting notes

First cup of the morning. I have to say, I’m not particularly wowed by this one. It has a very faint sweet apple flavour, no brandy to speak of, and the assam base seems quite thin and weak. All this, despite using nearly 2 tsp of leaf and a 4 minute brew time. It’s pleasant enough, but it’s not really living up to its name. Sad face.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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90

A sample from Roswell Strange! One thing I wondered as I was preparing this one – butternut as in butternut squash? Or butter and nuts? Based on the initial sip, I’m thinking the former, probably. It has a sweet-savoury vibe going on, and it reminds me a bit of pumpkin pie, although without the spices. It also tastes pretty buttery, though, so who knows? Clearly not me. I prepared this one as a latte, using 1/4 tsp and then an extra bit for luck. I like that it’s one of the more savoury matchas I’ve come across, because it makes a refreshing change. I don’t always want sweet or desserty tea, and it’s nice to have the option. Pistachio is another one that ticks that box for me.

I’m going to assume that the flavour here is butternut squash. I have the delicate level of flavouring, so it’s fairly subtle, but that’s what it’s reminding me of most. There’s a hint of pastry/pie crust, which probably accounts for the butteriness I’m tasting. Together, they’re a good combination, and I’d happily drink this one again. I’m not sure that any pie flavoured thing, particularly when it comes to matcha, will ever beat Rich Berry Pie in my estimation, but this is a decent contender.

Preparation
Boiling
Roswell Strange

Rich Berry Pie is the best one.

And yes, butternut squash :)

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65

No notes for this one? It’s not exactly new, either – I ordered it in June last year, then I got scared, and it’s been sitting in my cupboard until now. I figured a medicinal style blend might be appropriate given that I’m feeling pretty icky just at the moment, so here goes.

This is Bluebird’s version of a Ba Bao Cha, and it contains jasmine green tea, ginger, goji berries, ginseng, extra jasmine, and gynostemma. I have no idea about that last. I do remember now why I’ve put this one off so long – jasmine, ginger, and goji berries are not among my favourite things. Quite the opposite, in fact. But tea is there to be tried, so I bought it anyway.

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. There’s not a lot to say about this one, I don’t think. It’s not a strong flavour, but what flavour there is is mostly jasmine with a hint of smooth, grassy green tea. It has a “herbal” aspect to it, and it verges on medicinal. You can tell it’s a blend that’s trying to do some good! It’s easy enough to drink, fresh and clean tasting. I’d not hurry out to buy it again, but it’s certainly not obnoxious!

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

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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
1785 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
1785 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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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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