1390 Tasting Notes

81
drank Rhubarb Cream by TeaGschwendner
1390 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 25 of 2018 (no. 381 total). A sample.

The packet only contained enough for about 500 ml of tea, the lowest amount I can make in my Breville.

I wasn’t paying attention (I was talking to No. 1 about why he should not eat an entire box of Girl Scout cookies before breakfast), and so didn’t focus on sniffing the packet before steeping. I can’t talk about details, but there was a general fruitiness that wafted from the packet when I opened it.

The steeped tea smells heavily of vanilla. The creamy kind, not the beany kind. There is also a sort of generic fruitiness and an undercurrent of malty black tea. It’s a dark copper color, and clear.

To be honest I’m not sure I could describe the flavor of rhubarb. I know I’ve had it in pies and such, but it’s not like it’s a staple around my house. So I can’t say that this tastes like rhubarb or not.

I can say that the creamy taste is mellower in the sip than in the sniff. It isn’t overpowering, and the underlying tea and fruit flavor are evenly balanced and quite pleasant.

Real big question mark for me as to how to rate this, since I rate flavored teas in part based upon whether they capture the flavor they claim to capture and I am at sea with regard to a taste memory of rhubarb. So I’ll give it low excellent.

Flavors: Fruity, Malt, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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89

Pretty sure this is the same tea, except that mine has the number 09-DJ1.

I should have read the label before I steeped. I didn’t realize this was a first flush, so I steeped it the way I’d steep a second flush (a bit hotter). But then I just read an article that said 205 is the right temp for first flush darjeelings that are more than 3 months old. So everyone’s got an opinion.

The tea is consistent with my observations about the difference between first and second flush darjeelings recorded elsewhere. In the tin, in the steeped aroma, in the taste, there’s less sharpness — none of the sharp, high notes that I associate with second flush darjeelings. Instead, it’s more mellow and round. More stone fruit (peach in particular) than grape/wine.

The dry leaves are smaller and darker than some other darjeelings I’ve had, and the steeped tea has a light, peach-gold color and is clear.

In the aroma and flavor, there’s an unusual note that’s reminiscent of a malty black tea.

Definitely a distinctive flavor, and less of the filling, water-logged feeling after drinking this than I sometimes get with first flush darjeelings. Which are all to the good.

Flavors: Grapes, Malt, Peach, Round , Stonefruits, White Wine

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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85
drank Passion by Tazo
1390 tasting notes

I have to up the rating on this, because now that I am hibiscus tolerant, I’ve been drinking it a lot. It’s not bitter or too sour to my mind, just pleasantly tart.

Big change of heart on this one. It’s become a staple.

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80

I drank this one Sunday, too, so it’s a backlog from before the Great Steepster Freeze of ’18.

In the packet, this was very minty. The chocolate was so much less present that I worried about balance.

After steeping the aroma was a little weird. It had a quality to it that was like the floury residue on the cake pan after baking cake, but with chocolate and mint aspects as well. The steeped tea was dark amber and cloudy. It looked like an amber beer without the head.

As it turned out, the flavor was nicely balanced. It’s a solid chocolate mint tea — not too minty, but could be a bit more chocolatey for my taste. Still the balance was better than in some others I’ve tasted.

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

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52

I drank this for the first time Sunday, but couldn’t post a note about it due to stuck feed syndrome. So I took some notes and now this is, as they say, a backlog.

This tea has big, curly leaves, like an oolong, but they’re a dark, chocolate brown. In the sample tin, they small like seaweed with a tinge of smoke.

After steeping, the tea’s aroma reminds me of miso soup but not as heavy. It’s tangy and savory. The tea is a light yellow-gold and clear.

I found this to be a light bodied, rather innocuous green tea. It was neither sweet nor bitter. I didn’t find it to be highly flavorful, but it isn’t without flavor. It’s a sort of a middle of the road generic green tea.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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89
drank Golden Spring by Adagio Teas
1390 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 24 of 2018 (no. 380 total). Sample tin.

And there goes the last of my Adagio samples from way back when. I had been hoarding this one, but lately my theme song has been “Let it Go.”

It’s a lovely, deceptively complex, smooth black tea and I’m sorry to see it go.

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83

This is a sample tin I decided to crack open.

I’m surprised it has had such a lukewarm reaction here. I find it interesting and tasty.

The dry leaves have a touch of something almost smoky in the aroma, and yet it’s also got a remarkable sweetness. It’s juicy smelling. Like sweet grass that’s just been mown. There are also floral and fruity notes, which makes it pretty complex as green teas go. I thought I might be imagining the fruit notes until I read someone else’s tasting note as it seemed unlikely a single green tea could have all of this going on. But I’m now convinced I’m not imagining it.

The liquor is a clear, medium-light gold, surprisingly dark for a green tea. The steeped tea smells like sweet grass with a slightly earthy/smoky note. I detect a touch of this morning’s cinnamon tea in the flavor (it must have survived the washing), but because the dry tea had a sweetness to the aroma I’m betting it’s not just the residuals that give it the sweetness.

It has a touch of bitterness in the finish, but not unpleasantly so. There’s a freshness in the aftertaste that feels clean and cool.

I’m looking forward to trying this again without the cinnamon memory as I think there’s a lot here to appreciate. I’m just not sure I’m fully appreciating it yet.

Flavors: Earth, Floral, Fruity, Smoke, Sweet, warm grass

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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82

One of the last, if not the last, as yet untasted Todd & Holland black tea samples. I think I found them all. At one point I had all my sample packets lined up in rows in shoebox sized plastic containers, but I liberated those to store my unrefrigerated Nutrisystem food. When I did that, the packets mixed in with the rest of my tea stash in an unhelpfully disorganized way. I thought I’d found them all, then found this. It’s possible there’s a straggler out there somewhere.

In the packet, the tea smells mostly of cinnamon with a little orange around the edges. The cinnamon is strong — almost eyewateringly so — and reminds me of red hots, or cinnamon toothpicks.

Cinnamon, clove, orange… it’s the Constant Comment flavor profile in the ingredients, essentially. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a soft spot for Constant Comment. The difference here is the flavor balance. I can’t really smell or taste the clove, and I can smell the orange but I can’t really taste it.

It makes a rust-colored, clear liquor that smells strongly of cinnamon. With the heat of the water, it’s less like red hots and more like a cinnamon roll.

The flavor is surprisingly sweet, sweeter than I would have anticipated from the aroma.

This is basically the Todd & Holland version of Harney’s Hot Cinnamon Spice. I haven’t had that in a while, but reading my description of it in an old tasting note, that’s pretty much the same flavor I’m tasting here. Sweet-hot cinnamon.

Harney’s gets points for being direct about it in the name, but this is a good cinnamon tea. It’s a little less hefty than I remembered the Harney being, which can be good or bad depending on one’s mood at the moment.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Orange, Sweet

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

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52
drank Love Essence by Simpson & Vail
1390 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 23 of 2018 (no. 379 total).

I never really did find the rose in this tea, and without it, it was a pretty run of the mill green tea.

The dry leaves are gorgeous, but the flavor seemed nondescript to me.

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78

Not a green tea, but I decided to crack this one open this weekend before I cut myself off from caffeine for the rest of the day.

I steeped 5 degrees hotter than directed.

The dry leaves remind me a little of dragonwell. They have a roasty green smell to them.

The steeped tea has a nutty, sweet aroma. It reminds me a bit of water chestnuts. Weirdly, it’s almost citrusy.

The tea is also nutty and sweet, and reminiscent of hay. It’s like what I imagine white tea ought to taste like, but I can never get it to taste that way.

Definitely more flavorful than the last yellow tea I tried, Rishi Ancient Yellow Buds, but since I don’t have a baseline to compare it to, I’m rating it somewhat conservatively for now.

Flavors: Chestnut, Hay, Nutty, Roasted, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 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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