American Tea Room

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Recent Tasting Notes

77

Sipdown no. 81 of 2018 (no. 437 total). A sample.

This time I steeped according to the white Breville setting.

It was better at the recommended time and temp but the lower temp and shorter time didn’t render it entirely tasteless or weird.

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77

Another ATR sample white. I steeped according to the directions on the packet and I’m thinking this may be the way to go for white tea in the future. 190F at 6 minutes.

While I can’t go so far as to say this makes me get white tea, or it makes me understand it, or whatever, I can say that compared to the ones I’ve had lately this one is different in a good way.

It doesn’t have a planty smell in the packet, or after steeping. In the packet, it actually smells a tad like cantaloupe.

After steeping it smells more floral. It’s a clear, light golden yellow and it has a pleasant sweet taste that’s refreshing in the mouth. Actually, in reading the description ATR gave for it, I have to say I get pretty much what they say out of this, even down to the cherry. Maybe not the apricot.

My rating is cautious because I have white tea PTSD and I’m not sure I know what I’m talking about. It is just meant to reflect that I like this quite a bit more than the other white teas I’ve had recently.

Flavors: Cantaloupe, Melon, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 6 min, 0 sec 5 g 500 OZ / 14786 ML

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51

Sipdown no. 78 of 2018 (no. 434 total). A sample.

I didn’t have quite enough for the minimum steep in the Breville this morning, so I rounded it out with some Jasmine Silver Needle from Todd & Holland.

From one perspective, this was a mistake because I really can’t taste anything other than the jasmine. From another, this was not a mistake because at least I can taste the jasmine.

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51

I have a number of unopened American Tea Room sample packets, still. It’s kind of sad to know that when I drink them down, that will be the end of American Tea Room in my stash.

And yet, this one is consistent with my experience of white tea so it won’t be one I’ll miss. I tried it at two different steeping temperatures: the Breville white setting (4 minutes at 184F) and as an herbal. Neither way gave much aroma, color or flavor. The color was a very light beige that was almost clear. The most interesting parts of it were the leaves (very fluffy and furry) and a sort of artichoke like aftertaste.

Flavors: Artichoke

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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93

June Wedding! This is another of my newer aquisitions, also from the American Tea House “going out of business sale” when I got the Citron White tea (which I can report was better as an iced tea, but I still found a little cloying in citrus flavor… I wish I had some fresh mint sprigs, which I think would’ve helped? For the hot cuppa, I actually ended up making it as a choco-milk latte, and the lemon-chocolate flavor combo worked quite well! So at least there is that for finishing it up…)

So this is another lavender tea, something I’ve been really into lately, though I have found some blends can be heavy handed on the lavender, and then they just taste sour. The Lavender White tea I got from Lupicia ended up that way to me, so I am a little skeptical… I love the stuff, I really do, but I find the proportions and blending has to be just right, so I guess I’m a bit of a picky fan…

Fortunately, this is a really wonderful sencha, the kind that is smooth, with a soft grassiness and just a little buttery, and a nice buttery sencha is my favorite flavor. The lavender is not too heavy and blends nicely with that buttery note, adding a minty floral flavor to the grassiness of the green tea. I have a feeling that if I added a little sugar to the tea, it would remind me just slightly of a lavender pastry, if not for the grassiness of the green tea. This is definitely a tea that I’d recommend going light on the leaf, using 160-175 F water, and a shorter steep of no more than 2 minutes.

I also really love cold-steeping this stuff in lemonade! The lemonade has a very subtle hint of the green tea, but mostly, it is just left with a very nice lavender flavor, and since lavender and lemon is a flavor combination that works so well together (in my humble opinion), it just works. It’s tangy, sweet, and a bit floral… pretty much everything I love! I imagine I’ll be drinking tons of this over the summer!

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Grass, Lavender, Mint, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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67

June Wedding! This is one of my newer teas, which I got during American Tea Room’s “going out of business sale” (yes, last March is still quite a “new” tea in my collection as far as I’m concerned… it’s still from this year!) I have a quart of this cold brewing in the fridge, but it won’t be ready until tomorrow morning, so for now I’m sipping up a warm cuppa.

This is a very heavy lemon-flavored tea. It doesn’t have that pine note that I’ve tasted in some past lemon-flavored white teas that gave me a horrible Pine Sol cleaner impression, but it is still so strongly lemon that I can’t quite shake that slight impression of cleaner. There is at least a subtle vegetal note of the white tea beneath the strong citrus flavor, and the tea does have a really silky smooth feel… this could’ve been really nice if the lemon just backed off just a bit. I just don’t like my flavors to be so dominating. I’m hoping the cold brew will turn out a bit better…

I got some honey from the Farmer’s Market in Boise last weekend during my vacation, and while I don’t normally sweeten my tea, I decided this would be a good one for some honey, just to try to give it a bit more varied flavor. The honeyed sweetness did help mellow out some of the overpowering citrus a bit, and probably will be how I’ll take this tea in the future, unless the cold brew proves to be a vast improvement.

Flavors: Citrus, Lemon, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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58

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93

I got this tea during American Tea Room’s going-out-of-business sale, as a hopeful replacement for Bluebird’s The Cat’s Pyjamas (which was just too chamomile-flavored for me to finish off so I gifted it, but I liked the way the valerian root knocked me out). This tea included valerian root, but looked like it had enough ingredients to drown out the chamomile and hopefully have a more pleasant flavor for me to drink before bed.

When I first opened the package, what I first noticed is there wasn’t much chamomile in the blend, so I definitely wasn’t going to be getting another Cat’s Pyjamas. The scent was strongly that of fennel, and a bit minty. Brewed up, the fennel is definitely the dominant flavor, which is fine by me; being new to it, I immediately found I absolutely love it! It’s like a vegetal licorice, waaaaaaaaaaa! Sooooo good! There was a slight cooling, minty aftertaste, and a tiny hint of rose right at the end of the sip. Despite the amount of lovely schizandra berries in the blend, they don’t really impart much on the flavor. The floral notes, apart from the rose oil occassionally ghosting through, are also far too subtle to have an effect on the flavor.

I’m not sure how much valerian root this blend has compared to The Cat’s Pyjamas, but there is at least enough to wind me down and have that drowsy effect on my system. That particular herb just seems to work for me, and I’m glad to have found this tea, since I’m really digging the taste of that warm fennel. I think this is going to be my go to when I need to get to bed early from now on!

Flavors: Fennel, Licorice, Mint, Rose, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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90

This is one of the teas I picked up during American Tea Room’s big going-out-of-business discount sale. I’ve never had any of their teas before, but can’t resist a big discount, and I admittedly grabbed a lot of floral flavors since I really enjoy those. While I’m always a little hesitant when teas include jasmine after my experience with jasmine pearls, overall this blend had me curious, with its mix of florals, mint, and white tea base.

Opening the bag, the scent was heavily that of rose and mint, and honestly if those are the only two flavors I end up getting from the brewed cup I know I’ll be satisfied, because that is a flavor combination that I really enjoy. The brewed cup was a lovely yellow color, that didn’t have such a strong minty scent, though it was still noticeable. There was definitely still a lovely rose aroma wafting up from the cup, with another more subtle floral scent in the background. Jasmine? If so, it’s certainly light, which is exactly how I like it in my floral teas, which bodes well. Oddly enough, I didn’t notice any hint of lavender at all.

The flavor of the tea was very much like a rose mint tea. The base was minty, leaving that cool, freshing feeling in the mouth, but it wasn’t overwhelming or overpowering. A strong rose note sweetens the mint and leaves a strong presense in the finish of the sip. There seems to be a softer background note of jasmine, but it is very subtle beneath the mint and rose flavors. The lavender seems to be lost beneath the other more dominant flavor notes; since lavender has a floral-minty note, paired with the stronger floral rose flavor and peppermint, I can’t make out a lavender flavor in my cup. The tea is very smooth, and the aftertaste is sweet, floral, refreshing, and leaves a slight peppery, tingly note.

While I wish the lavender had been a touch more pronounced in the final cup, I absolutely love the mint rose flavor, which is refreshing and relaxing. I think this is going to be a favorite nighttime warm cuppa, but I also can’t wait to also try this iced.

Flavors: Floral, Mint, Pepper, Rose, Sweet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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85

good basic breakfast black tea. A little astringent, good black tea flavors.

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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83

medium black tea but with very light Bergamot Flavor, much less than in like Twinings earl grey. A very smooth tea, not acidic or sharp at all.
Good, just different.

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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83

light, a little fruity, not very black-tea heavy.

Preparation
2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 15 OZ / 443 ML

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83

Delicious. Nutty, bready, goodness in a cup. A great dessert or breakfast time tea.
I don’t really see anything else jumping out at me from the American Tea Room to purchase — but this one came highly recommended. If you have not tried this, it is an excellent flavored black tea.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Honey, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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88

Sipdown no. 18 of 2018 (no. 374 total). A sample.

Just as tasty as it was the first time. Nothing to add to the previous note.

The kids have a piano recital today, and I plan to ride the Peloton. Other than that, it’s a toss up between cleaning out the master bedroom closet, which I’ve been meaning to do for a while, or sending stories out that have been accumulating in the rejected pile.

The way I’m feeling about writing these days, I’m thinking the closet is more likely.

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88

Another never before opened sample packet. I believe it’s the last black tea sample I have from ATR. I still have a number of oolongs and white tea samples, also some pu erh.

It has a spicy smell in the packet. A bit like cinnamon. The aroma of the steeped tea is really appetizing. Malty-chocolatey, bready, and a hint of coffee. Its a very dark amber color.

The flavor is smooth and mild for an Assam. It’s not the heavy, black coffee-motor oil combo of some Assam. I’m not getting sweetness until the finish and aftertaste, but it’s not bitter or sour in the sip.

It’s even easy on the stomach, and in that sense is better than many Assams in my book. I like this one well enough to consider it something could easily drink more often than not. It’s going on the wish list and fortunately, it’s still available.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Coffee, Malt

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
teepland

An Assam that is easy on the stomach? I need to try this one! I love Assam but only have it occasionally because too much of it makes my stomach upset. :(

__Morgana__

I hear ya, which is why I found this one surprising.

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89

Another unopened ATR sample. I steeped this one according to directions with a slight modification. I didn’t take it to 5 minutes. That seemed too extreme to me.

I’m surprised no one else has written about this one. I even had to create the entry.

This is a really lovely tea. It has some smoke in the dry leaft and steeped tea aroma and also in the flavor. But it’s just a tad. For the most part, what I smell and taste is that yummy American Tea Room base. Pretty sure it’s lapsang mixed with Yunnan, my desert island black tea. But the lapsang is a grace note here and not the focus.

I’d consider buying this again instead of the lapsang. I think where I’m ending up on lapsang is that it’s something I might want once in a while, but I’d be more likely to drink something like this more frequently.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Smoke

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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90

Unopened sample packet, steeped according to directions.

OMG. The leaves are so gorgeous and they smell like a gazillion different yummy things. There’s the chocolate-vanilla continuum thing going on — it’s so amazing, I can’t tell which end I’m on. It could be either, or both at the same time. There’s a confectionery aroma that is stunning.

After steeping some of that goes away or at least flattens out and there’s more of a malty/bready smell. It’s a dark copper color.

The tea is smooth and easy to drink. Delicious but without the same depth and malty quality of some of the other ATR Yunnans. It’s not that there’s no depth or maltiness, just that it’s a different version, like the difference between milk chocolate and dark chocolate. This one is the milk chocolate version.

After reading others’ notes, I wanted to love this so much it would be my first 100 rating. but I can’t give it that, at least not based on my tasting today. It’s an excellent tea, but to my personal palate prefers the darker flavors of other ATR Yunnans.

It’s still going on the wishlist, though.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Butterscotch, Chocolate, Malt, Toffee, Vanilla

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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87

Sipdown no. 11 of 2018 (no. 367 total). A sample.

Compared to the Todd & Holland sipped down earlier today, this seems more complex and nuanced. Not sure whether that has to do with grade, or with year or harvest, or some other thing, but there’s a definite difference that I don’t think is placebo effect.

Teatotaler

Margaret’s Hope Second Flush Darjeeling is the tea that started me on my tea journey – My first tea love. I am never without it!

__Morgana__

It’s a keeper!

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87

This is a backlog from yesterday while the site was down.

A never opened sample packet, steeped according to directions.

This one strikes me as different from other second flush darjeelings, even other Margaret’s Hope second flush darjeelings. I don’t know whether that’s because of the grade or not, because some of the others I’ve had aren’t graded. This one is FTGFOP.

In the packet there’s a scent that I recognized but it took me a while to put a name on it. Honey!

The steeped tea has prominent grape notes, with the characteristic muscatel flavor and sharpness. This one is quite astringent, which cools the mouth in the aftertaste.

It’s a great darjeeling.

Flavors: Astringent, Grapes, Honey, Muscatel

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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95

Another unopened sample, steeped in accordance with package directions. They worked well for this one.

This is a backlog from two days ago while the site was down.

This is a wonderful tea. It’s definitely on the wish list.

In the packet it smells like earthy chocolate. After steeping it smells and tastes like the base of some of the ATR blends I love.

There’s a quality to this tea that I have tasted in Samovar teas and also in Cline Zinfandel. I don’t know what it is or how to describe it, but I think of it as depth. It’s also part of the quality I identify as malty. There’s no taut surface tension to this one. It’s like falling into a flavor. The tea is also quite a pretty color — mahogany, and clear.

And that flavor is naturally just sweet enough. I taste molasses, baked bread, chocolate.

I’m so glad they still offer this. It’s a close to perfect black tea.

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

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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74

Sipdown no. 4 of 2018 (no. 360 total). A sample.

Since just wrote about this one yesterday, I don’t have anything to add.

I have picked out another lapsang sample to try tomorrow.

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74

So, having killed a 4.4 oz tin of lapsang souchong yesterday, I thought I’d move to something smaller before starting on the next tin. This is probably enough for four cups/two servings, which is what ATR samples usually generate.

Steeping hotter and longer than the directions, which are 200F for 5 minutes. Instead, I’m doing boiling for 3. It’s what I used for the Kusmi, and it worked.

In the packet, the smell is mostly of smoke. There’s a salted meat aspect as well. This led me to believe that I’d find this too … lapsangy.

But it’s actually milder than I expected in all respects. There’s not a lot of ashiness, not a lot of tar or resin or even meat. There is smoke, and it’s a gentle smoke.

But what’s missing that was in the Kusmi is the sweetness in the aftertaste. So this gets a bit less in terms of ratings.

Flavors: Meat, Salt, Smoke

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

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