1388 Tasting Notes

68
drank Cold 911 (organic) by DAVIDsTEA
1388 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 33 of 2018 (nol. 389 total). A sample.

I got this as a free single serving sample when I ordered various fruit mixes and herbals from David’s. I was hoping to never taste it, as that would mean I have a cold.

But then I got a cold. Or allergies. Or something. Itchy runny nose, a little dry cough.

Man, this puts some hair on your chest. But in a good way. I expected it to be unpleasantly medicinal. And while it isn’t something I’d choose to drink absent a cold, it’s pretty tasty when your taste buds are off. The flavor is strong enough to penetrate clogged nasal and throat passages, though it doesn’t really open them.

I get mostly a menthol taste and some mint. Not really getting juniper — I expected to taste gin, and I smell it but don’t taste it. And I don’t get any orange.

It’s a pretty mix, with the colorful berries against the green mint. It’s copper-gold in color and clear.

It’s a good thing this doesn’t claim to be a cold remedy, because it isn’t. Its main relationship to colds seems to be that it can break through the taste/smell deprivation caused by them.

Flavors: Alcohol, Eucalyptus, Menthol, Mint

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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85
drank Caramel & Rum by Lupicia
1388 tasting notes

I haven’t had rooibos in a while and this one was a good pick to break the trend.

The dry blend smells really intensely of rum and less of caramel. It’s pretty amazing smelling. The BF walked by while I opened it and said he had to have some.

The liquor is a clear cherry red. This is where it gets weird. The aroma is funky after steeping. The funky smell is more caramel than rum, but a kind of hot plasticky caramel.

And yet, the taste has none of that. It’s both caramel and rum in equal measure, and the rooibos basically is just a flavorless delivery mechanism for the caramel and rum, which is how I like my rooibos. The rum isn’t overly alcoholic tasting, either.

It’s rather hearty, and I’m not sure I’d drink it in hot weather. But on a chilly day when I may be coming down with a cold, it’s quite nice.

Flavors: Caramel, Rum

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
Bluegreen

“…and the rooibos basically is just a flavorless delivery mechanism for the caramel and rum, which is how I like my rooibos.” Very well put – you helped me to define my own vague feelings about rooibos. Thank you.

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82
drank Mango Sorbet by Todd & Holland
1388 tasting notes

This is another blend full of fruit chunks.

In the packet, the smell is kind of bitter. It’s a citrus rindy smell, with some sweeter notes of pineapple and mango.

The tisane has a cloudy yellow color that leans toward orange. It smells first of orange/tangerine, then of mango, then of something more generically fruity.

Fortunately, the taste isn’t nearly as bitter as the dry mix smell, though it has a slight downturn at the end of the sip. The mango is to the front, and in the center as well, with orange and pineapple at the back.

It’s pretty good for a mango tisane. Many of them don’t really live up to the name, as the mango is more in the background.

I even sort of get the sorbet appellation, as there’s something vaguely creamy about the flavor.

Flavors: Citrus, Mango

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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80
drank Pink Flamingo by DAVIDsTEA
1388 tasting notes

Wading into the fray on this one (wow, so many notes)!

The first of the David’s tisanes I bought a number of weeks ago. I picked one at random to try.

Yes, it’s weird that I am steeping at 205 (really 208) degrees, but that’s because I’m using the Zojirushi to make hot water these days instead of steeping strongly flavored items in the Breville. Less likelihood of cross-over residual flavor that way.

I mostly smelled orange when I opened the packet, which is good because I’ve been really in the mood for orange tisanes lately. I over “leafed” (really “mixed”) significantly out of habit and experience.

Really intense dark red color. So dark, it’s almost opaque. Its a cranberry red color that’s quite pretty. The aroma is sweet orange, and a bit of a sideways mentholated note which must be the eucalyptus.

I dunno. I see so many folks who have posted who don’t care for this. Am I weird? I like it!

A lot of the thumbs down seem to be on account of the hibiscus, which I no longer detest and have even started to enjoy, so there’s that. It’s not even really that strong to me because I’ve been drinking a lot of Tazo Passion lately which is probably mostly hibiscus. This seems almost tame by comparison. The orange mellows out the tarter aspects with a sort of juicy sweetness. And the eucalyptus is actually a nice addition — it gives the aftertaste a freshness without being medicinal.

Lemongrass? Maybe I can taste it a little, but mostly it’s orange and hibiscus and eucalyptus that are playing rather nicely together.

I can already tell that overleafing with this one will be key. That’s the only way to get the requisite sweetness into the mix.

Flavors: Eucalyptus, Hibiscus, Orange

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 500 OZ / 14786 ML

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52

Sipdown no. 32 of 2018 (no. 388 total). Sample tin.

Meh.

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69

Sipdown no. 31 of 2018 (no. 387 total).

The version I sipped down was called Homemade Apple Pie, but as I’m pretty certain I ordered it after tasting the sample I recorded in my original note, I am logging the sipdown here.

I thought I preferred the Canadian Maple Cream to this, but over time, perhaps my tastes changed. This isn’t bad. It does have an apple pie filling essence to it, but no crust. So I can’t give it full marks for living up to its name. Still, it was decent enough.

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87

Sipdown no. 30 of 2018 (no. 386 total). A sample.

This time, I steeped at 212 for 3 minutes and it was a vast improvement. The rose was more muted than last time (which was fine, because it was too strong last time), and there was more flavor of the underlying tea discernible.

I’d drink this again, but unfortunately, they no longer carry it.

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87

I don’t think I’ve ever met a Yunnan I didn’t like. I cracked this one open because I’d forgotten I had it and I seem to be on a bit of a Rishi kick lately.

This one has small, dark (almost black) twisty leaves, with golden ones for highlight and contrast. It smells sweet and bready in the packet.

It smells wonderful. It has that rich, dark (smoldering, really), malty, chocolatey, baked bread, peppery thing going on that gets me every time. The smell is the same smell that gives the ATR and Samovar breakfast and Earl Grey blends their depth and complexity over that of others.

It’s not quite as chewy in the taste as those, but it’s smooth and sweet with a bit of molasses and pepper.

It’s a sexy tea. :-)

Flavors: Baked Bread, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Molasses, Pepper

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
Nicole

This was my very first golden Yunnan. My gateway tea… years later and I have to have a shelf in the cupboard just for Yunnans. :P

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89
drank Prince Igor by Mariage Frères
1388 tasting notes

Steeped according to package directions.

I wanted something fruity this morning and it was between this one and another that was more of a red fruit blend. I went with the citrus/tropical ingredients instead.

I bought this before the moratorium on green/black blends, which I believe I’ve since broken in any case. But it seemed to steep just fine with the time and temp listed — no bitterness to the green and enough flavor to the black.

Despite the lack of vanilla in the ingredients, there’s a creamy, vanilla-like smell to both the dry leaves and the steeped tea. The next strongest smell is the fruit, and it’s less a citrus than a stone fruit smell. The peach and apricot seem to predominate, but there’s definitely citrus in there somewhere. More of an orange than anything else I can identify, and in addition to making the rest of the mix smell more interesting, it gives a freshness and tang to the finish and aftertaste.

I’m not sure I can pick out the mango, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there somewhere. No one single flavor jumps out of this mix, which is pretty much characteristic of most French tea blends I’ve enjoyed. It’s truly a blend, where all the ingredients work together to create something that isn’t just a sum of its parts.

This may be why they’re so great with perfumes, too.

Flavors: Apricot, Citrus, Peach

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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88
drank Nilgiri by Teas Etc
1388 tasting notes

I think I bought this a while ago because I wasn’t sure I’d ever tasted a straight Nilgiri. It was sealed in the packet when I opened it this morning.

The dry leaves smell earthy, but not deep earthy like an Assam or sharp earthy like a Darjeeling. On the scale between those, it’s closer to the Darjeeling side.

The tea steeps to a really gorgeous deep red color that is clear. After steeping, the aroma is deep and smooth. Not as harsh as Assams usually are, with a fruity note. I think it’s citrus, but it also has just a hint of apple to it.

There’s a coffee/chocolate note as well that comes out in the flavor along with the apply/citrusy note. A touch of maltiness as well.

This is a really delicious, medium-light bodied and somewhat brisk (but smooth) tea with far more complexity than meets the eye.

Flavors: Apple, Chocolate, Citrus, Coffee, Earth, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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Bio

I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became less appealing to me — but I still enjoy nicely done blends where the base doesn’t taste like hamster cage chips. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation. These days, I’ve been drinking primarily green tea during weekdays after my first cup of coffee. On weekends, I’ve been drinking only tea.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

My current process for tea note generation is described in my note on this tea: https://steepster.com/teas/mariage-freres/6990-the-des-impressionnistes

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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