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Recent Tasting Notes
In an effort to find a cheaper way to make decaf genmaicha, I bought toasted rice (yet to arrive in the mail) and a 16oz bag of Davidson’s decaf green.
It isn’t amazing, but I’m not a big green tea fan. It is very vegetal, very green, will over steep. I found 4 minutes at 85 deg C was too much (slightly astringent and bitter). I’m thinking the best genmaicha would use either a white tea or a toasty green like houjicha or kukicha. I wanted something decaf, and that’s why I’m making my own using this. Why is decaf loose leaf so hard to find. D:
Flavors: Green, Vegetal
Tea Swap Tea
This was a pretty solid tea to have at work. Considering I have a job where I can freely drink as much tea as I’d like; this, among other teas, was a nice little gift to get in the mail today as I was walking out of the house. I had noted that the sweetness of the pear mixes well with the spices. It’s rich in flavor, smooth, sweet, and refreshing. I think it’d be a nice tea to have either hot or cold—however, considering the weather today, it was a nice hot tea.
Flavors: Pear, Spices, Sweet
Again, Davidson’s tea seems to be one of those grocery store brands that doesn’t disappoint. This tea begins by hitting the tip of the tongue with the VERY slight bitter tang of a Chinese oolong.
Now, this is a jasmine tea, and I hate jasmine blends. But the jasmine was so very light and delicate that it was actually a mild flavor, like a spice, to accompany the tea instead of drowning my senses. The oolong carried the jasmine scent to the middle of the palate, where it spread like a warming cloud.
As I swallow, it gets a little strange. There’s a bit of salty greenness, which reminds me of a Chinese green tea.
I can imagine drinking this tea at a really good Chinese restaurant.
This one is a little odd. I have the looseleaf version. When I sent this to a friend, she said it was “oily.” How can a straight tea be oily? I kind of know what she means now.
The mouthfeel is like nothing I have ever experienced. It’s extremely juicy and slick. It’s not oily in an unpleasant way, but I can completely see how she would say that.
The flavor is like most whites I have had, extremely mild. Most of what I get is mild sweet grass, and maybe a little bit of hay. There’s a bit of honey sweetness in there as well.
Despite what people tend to think about grocery store tea, Davidson’s has been consistently good.
This is now my morning and sometimes afternoon tea when I need a boost.
Has low bitterness, and an almost creamy quality. The only tea I’ve had that I think tastes better is Teavana’s English Breakfast. Compared to Teavana’s English Breakfast, this tea is weaker in overall flavor (negative for me), less bitter (positive for me), has a creamy taste/feeling (positive), and is about half the price (biggest positive for me).
This is the only Irish Breakfast I’ve had, so I don’t have anything to compare it to; but from what I gather, Irish Breakfast should be stronger than an English Breakfast. Either way, this is going to be my daily tea until I can find one better at a similar price.
It’s definitely not the highest quality tea, but when I need caffeine and don’t care about the taste (ex. when I’m at work for just need a mid-dance class pick-me-up), it delivers just enough energy and is a low enough price that it doesn’t matter that I’m not actually bothering to taste it. That said, it does taste pretty minty. I have found, however, that I need to steep it for more time than I would normally steep a green tea or else the mint won’t really come through.
The black tea used for this blend is not as strong as I thought it would be. It barely comes through the other flavors. I feel as though the pear is an afterthought in this blend as well. You have to really concentrate to find it.
I have Davidson’s Mulling Spices for making spiced cider in autumn, and you can definitely tell that the same blend was used in this tea. It’s very heavy on cinnamon and clove—so much so that it should probably be called spiced tea with a hint of pear.
Overall though, I like the taste. It would be incredible on a crisp, fall day with a touch of maple sugar.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Pear
This is a very bitter, astringent tea. It tastes more like a black tea than the oolongs I’ve tried so far. The leaf doesn’t even look like an oolong. I’ve heard a couple of complaints about it being weak, so I brewed it for 2 mins. It sure wan’t weak, and the color came out a dark reddish brown.
If I were doing a blind taste test, I would say it was overcooked Lipton. I’ll try it again with a lighter steep time and temp to use up my leaves, but I’m not really looking forward to it.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Hay
This is the second straight green rooibos I’ve tried. This tastes less sweet than the one from Mountain Rose Herbs, but it’s also less astringent. It tastes mostly like hay and green growing things, with a mild sweetness and not even a hint of bitterness. It’s a very light, summery flavor. I bought this on Amazon, and it’s super cheap, but you have to buy a pound at a time. I think I like green rooibos well enough that I’ll drink it before it goes bad, but I guess now I’ll know for sure!
Flavors: Green, Hay, Sweet
I had high hopes for this tea, which is marketed as a “dessert” tea having the chocolate notes of carob alongside the mint. The problem that is nearly a deal breaker is the smell. I suspect its the fault of the barley (why barley in tea??) but there is yeasty unpleasant head to the smell. The taste is nice enough, sweet and smooth from the rooibos and mint/carob combo – but smell is very big for me and the smell at the front of each sip grows very unappetizing by the end.
Flavors: Chocolate, Spearmint
I was really disappointed with this tea. The scent is an on-point bing cherry, but the flavor can only be equated to warmed pool water. No cherry, no almond, mainly a heavily diluted honey. I gave away my box. Should have gotten Caramel Peach.
I had a cup of this while cat sitting. I was surprised by how flavorful it is – most bagged teas don’t do anything for me. I used two because this a big mug and it was pretty flavorful. Not strong enough to be a big wake-me-up in the morning, but pleasant. It is definitely citrussy and tropical, though I can’t say I taste mango specifically.
A sample from KittyLovesTea. I quite like orange in fruit teas, so I was interested to give this one a go. Interestingly, there’s a whole lot of chamomile in this blend. I can also see pieces of dried orange peel, cranberries, rosehip and hibiscus. Maybe good or maybe bad. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is an odd reddish-grreen, and smells distinctly herbal. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact scent, but I wouldn’t say orange or cranberry.
Similarly with the taste, which is mostly chamomile and hibiscus. The hibiscus comes our first, as it usually does, and adds a tart, slightly sour, overtone. Second to emerge is the chamomile, which is sweet and honey-like. Not a great combination with hibi. I can taste a tiny bit of orange right at the end of the sip, but it’s nothing like as strong as I was hoping. Mostly, drinking this one reminds me of berocca.
It’s not unpleasant, per se, but it’s not a winner with me either. I can’t taste cranberry at all, so it’s mostly a hibiscus-chamomile tea, with an aftertaste of orange. Drinkable, but disappointing.
Oh my goodness. I didn’t realize this was a chamomile tea. I totally thought it was rooibos. My cousin in Oregon sent me tea last summer from a tea store up there. I hadn’t had much tea up until then. She sent me a few random RoT tea bags, and a couple tea bags of this tea. I totally fell in love. Thought this was the best vanilla tea ever.
Then a couple months later, I bought a pack of 100 tea bags of it because I loved it so much, and it was a way better deal than anything else I found.
But after entering the tea world, I got wrapped up in trying other teas, and kinda forgot about this one.
Not trying it again today. The chamomile totally caught me off guard. Totally oversteeped it too which made the chamomile have more of the sour bite to it. xD
I remember why I liked it though. It’s super sweet. It’s not a subtle vanilla at all, it’s very in your face.
But since I oversteeped it, it just tasted like super sour chamomile and a crap load of sugar in my mug. xD Anyway, I will definitely not over-steep it next time. And I’ll remember it’s chamomile. xD
On the bright side, the chamomile did relax my muscles some. And it’s been a horrible day, so chamomile is much needed for today!
Flavors: Sour, Sugar, Sweet