1239 Tasting Notes

70
drank Purity by Tavalon Tea
1239 tasting notes

I made this once last week but didn’t pay attention so I couldn’t write a note. Then for a change of pace, I made a pitcher of it cold.

It was really quite good cold, except that some of the mint leaves are small enough to be able to slide through my strainer, so it was leafier than other cold brews. So much so that no. 1 asked if it was ok to drink the leaves.

As a hot tea, it is heavy on the mint, light on the ginger, and ultra light on the tea. Mostly what I see, taste and smell, is mint. I can taste the effect of the ginger. I say effect because it’s more a cutting into the wall of mint than a flavor unto itself. I don’t taste black tea at all.

So I’m torn here because the flavor is very minty, and its a nice mint. Not a mouth full of dirt or bitter as some mints can be. And it tastes natural, not like a Tums. On the other hand, I hoped there would be more to it. Ginger and mint together can be a really nice blend, but the ginger isn’t strong enough here. And I can see why the other reviewer said they don’t really consider it a black tea so much as an herbal.

So balancing out the very nice mint with the disappointment on other fronts, I’m giving it a low very good.

Flavors: Ginger, Mint

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

I want to check this tea company out, but Google says “it might be hacked”??

__Morgana__

Bummer. Not sure what that means. I wouldn’t risk it until they clean it up, though it could just mean some spammers have changed the HTML on the page to advertise Viagra (which happened to kid’s elementary school site once).

The thing that first attracted me to Tavalon was their name, which is sort of the same idea as Teavana.

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78
drank Kashmir Rose by Simpson & Vail
1239 tasting notes

First tea this morning and I’m noticing the spice a lot more.

I haven’t had a Simpson & Vail tea I didn’t like, but I also haven’t had one I adore. They fit into a bit of a niche for me, which I suppose if I had to name it I’d call “nicely done floral.” I expect that if I drank a number of them side by side I’d be able to differentiate them, but when I drink them only occasionally, they meld together as a memory.

This one is reminiscent of the Earl Grey (which had no bergamot flavor to speak of) and I wonder if it is because the cardamom is serving the same purpose, which is to be a punctuation mark within the floral.

I’ll enjoy it while it lasts, but I have a large number of other S&V “nicely done florals” and this one isn’t enough of a stand out to go on the list for 2020, when I come out of lockdown ;-).

Tabby

Their Earl Greys are so disappointing. :/

__Morgana__

Yes, really they are just “nicely done florals.” :-)

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80
drank Hojicha by Kusmi Tea
1239 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 37 of 2016 (no. 248 total).

This became my daily “take it to work” tea after the Kusmi Sencha.

I will make one additional observation about it. It was much more interesting as a sometime tea. As an every day tea it quickly becomes boring.

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78
drank Kashmir Rose by Simpson & Vail
1239 tasting notes

In the tin it smells remarkably like every other Simpson & Vail tea I’ve ever had. Floral, particularly rosey. Reminds me of the various incarnations of Earl Grey from Simpson & Vail, but even the non-flavored teas smell this way, which I attribute to their being stored together in their paper bag sample bags. And like the other S&V florals, it’s a pretty tea with the petals and pod pieces adding visual interest.

I don’t really smell cardamom in the tin. After steeping, I smell something in the aroma that is spicy, and if I try hard enough I can single it out as cardamom. The spice is actually the predominant note in the steeped tea’s aroma. The floral sort of heads to the background. The liquor is clear medium brown.

It’s mild, pleasant, with some spice and some flora. I have to run out, so I may have more to say about this a bit later.

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

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84
drank Cookie by Lupicia
1239 tasting notes

I’ve had this in my cupboard for a while and I can’t believe I haven’t cracked it open before now. I realized that I have rather an overabundance of flavored blacks in my stash. My buying pattern before I went on hiatus was, go to an online retailer to get one or two things, and end up buying about 30 because they all looked so interesting. And yet, I can’t really drink more than a couple of cups of flavored blacks in a day. Hence the overabundance.

In the packet it smells rather intensely of caramel flavored coffee to me, a little on the bitter side, a little on the sweet side, and something in the middle that’s like baking powder. It has a dark reddish brown liquor. The aroma is less baking powder and more baked something else which is good. Not as bitter smelling after steeping.

The taste has no bitterness at all, and is in fact remarkably smooth. It’s a nice caramel flavor, not too sweet but just sweet enough. At first it reminded me of the amaretti cookies, but more in terms of texture and atmosphere than in terms of flavor as there’s not an almond note that I can discern, though supposedly this contains almond. Perhaps it was the luck of the spoon. If there had been almond to my tastebuds, this would be more similar to Brioche than it is. But in addition to not tasting the almond, this also doesn’t give off the same bear claw type baked goods flavor. The “cookie” part is not a soft, baked, flaky sort of flavor, more of a hard, chewy sort of flavor.

The package recommends having this with milk, but I don’t think it needs it. Which is a good thing, or I probably wouldn’t give it high marks.

It’s tasty, just not as cookie-ish as I had hoped. But perhaps, as I mentioned, that’s the luck of the spoon and I’ll get more of that flavor on the next try.

Flavors: Caramel, Cookie

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

This review makes me happy. Now I need to try this tea. But because I am quite like you in terms of browsing for one or two and ending up with thirty, I am not even going there.

Anything right now that involves spending American dollars for us Canadians right now is a dangerous dangerous thing. So, I will patiently wait until our dollar starts doing something a bit more splendid than what it is doing right now.
__Morgana__

We’ve been on the other side of the dollar issue, so I totally get it!

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74
drank Peachy Oolong by Tavalon Tea
1239 tasting notes

Tried this hot today, steeped Western style.

I know I’ve had peach oolongs before. I remember having the Adagio and not being a fan. This is better than I remembered the Adagio being, both in terms of the peach flavor, which is not juicy, but rather floral and subtle, and the underlying tea’s flavor which I expect is a better quality dark oolong.

It has a clear, dark apricot liquor and a pleasant, mildy peachy aroma. The tea has a smoothness to it, which makes it more pleasant than the sharp notes of some flavored dark oolongs.

Flavored oolong is so hit or miss for me. I’ve liked a few, but I’ve felt pretty meh or worse about most of the ones I’ve tried. I don’t see spending time trying to make this perfect. I don’t love it enough for that, and I expect I won’t even try it in the gaiwan. I’ve sort of come to the conclusion that with the exception of jasmine oolongs, it’s really not worth the trouble to do anything other than Western in the Breville.

The BF likes this cold quite a bit. I think most of the remainder of this second container will be dedicated to cold brew.

Flavors: Peach, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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78

Sipdown no. 36 of 2016 (no. 247 total).

Nothing to add to the previous note in terms of description. I liked it but some other yunnans do more for me.

Busy week! I have been drinking tea, but not trying anything new on purpose because I haven’t had time to write notes. No. 1’s basketball season is in full swing. Fortunately I think it only lasts a few more weeks, because little league baseball season has started. Both kids have games today. They also both have a piano contest in about two weeks. Things should calm down a bit after March, which I’m also expecting to be a very busy month at work.

Still liking the new job. Now just have to get the rest of my life (exercise, writing) in order. Oh, and my shoulder stopped hurting after three days of Aleve and heating pads, pretty much as abruptly as it started. I’m now wondering whether I had the standing desk at work positioned too high. I lowered it some and haven’t had a repeat.

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85
drank Assam Reserve by Teas Etc
1239 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 35 of 2016 (no. 246 total).

I don’t rush to Assams because some grab onto the back of my throat in an unpleasant way. But sometimes I wonder why I don’t give them more of a chance. Usually, after drinking one like this.

It has a lovely sugary sweetness, a bit of breadlines and a cocoa note. It doesn’t grab my throat, at least not enough to bother me.

I would mourn it’s gone-ness, but I have plenty of others.

Yesterday around 4 I was at work and my right shoulder started hurting for no apparent reason. It’s better today, but it was a rough night, involving lots of Advil and a heating pad. I briefly worried about heart attack, but I don’t think it’s that as I have no other symptoms.
It put a crimp in my plans for today, though, because now all I can think about is when I might be able to take a nap.

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74
drank Peachy Oolong by Tavalon Tea
1239 tasting notes

Somehow I have two containers of this. Not sure why. I think I must have ordered one and then got another one through the tea of the month club. I likely ordered it because the BF is a big peach fan.

I was looking around for things to try in cold brew, and because I had so much of this I thought I might give it a shot.

I dunno. The peach is fine as far as it goes. It’s a light, almost floral peachiness, not a juicy, fruity peachiness. But the tea, at least cold, is a rather single note dark oolong, heavy on the woodsy. It makes a decent cold tea, but I hope that when I get around to trying it hot, that will reveal more depth and complexity.

Flavors: Peach, Wood

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90

Sipdown no. 34 of 2016 (no. 245 total). Backlogging from yesterday morning.

I had big plans for this long weekend on the clean up front, but alas, I got sucked into playing Unravel. I loved it, but this reminds me why I stopped playing computer games. I get obsessed and don’t get to the other things I need to do. It’s the first time I’ve really played a computer game I wanted to play with my kids (as opposed to one they wanted to play), and we made an excellent team. I was the brains and they were the brawn-I figured out the puzzles and they got me past the parts that required fast-twitch reflexes.
Much fun.

I started yesterday morning with this, on my continuing crusade to sip down things I like, not just things I don’t like as much. It’s remarkable how well this captured the butter pecan flavor. The only real negative about this one is that sometimes it could hit my stomach wrong, particularly if I hadn’t eaten first. But in terms of flavor accuracy and pleasantness, it was very nice and I’m sorry to see it go.

Evol Ving Ness

Have you been drinking it straight-up, milked, or sweetened?

__Morgana__

Straight up.

Evol Ving Ness

Me too, usually.

My default is drinking everything black and unsweetened, but lately I have taken to buying a small thing of milk from time to time, and I’m noticing that it makes a huge taste difference in some teas. I find myself wondering what people take in their tea so that I can more understand their review.

OMGsrsly

If this is the new one, yes, the base can be really strong. I love it though. Totally up my alley. (I almost always drink black teas with a little milk, Evol.)

__Morgana__

It was not the new one, but in general I found the 52 teas base strong, though I haven’t tried the new blends (lockdown and all). I pretty much always drink things straight except for chai. If I have to add something I will record that in the note, but it probably means the tea isn’t doing much for me.

Evol Ving Ness

For the most part, I love the bases of the new ones straight up. This milk and honey thing is just temporary experimentation for me.

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Profile

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.

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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