Tea Story

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Recent Tasting Notes

83

Went through a melon sort of phase/mood earlier in the week – so, drank this one the same day that I had the iced Melon Drop. If I had a cantaloupe tea at home, I would have probably gone for the “melon trio” and done one of each of the three primary melon types…

This one was also iced; definitely delivered good watermelon notes though not as sweet/potent as the last time I had this one. Instead, I got some plum notes as well and a lot more of the very floral greener oolong base. The increase in base tea flavour was a really welcome addition though because it really balanced out the sweetness of the watermelon in a very natural way and made the whole cup feel a lot more level in terms of sweetness. Also a good reminder that I am still drinking tea and not just fruit juice – ’cause sometimes with a tea you can forgot if the tea is sweet and fruit heavy enough…

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83

This one reminds me a lot of another Watermelon oolong tea I’ve had before; similarly both of these teas don’t actually have melon in them but instead rely more on plum and flavourings to achieve the delicious melon taste. I just can’t remember the name of the other melon oolong I’m thinking of…

Regardless; I really enjoy this one. It’s a little obvious that it doesn’t use actual melon because the melon flavour is really over the top sweet/candied and a little bit “too perfect” to be real melon; it’s like the idolized version of what watermelon should taste like – if that makes ANY sense at all? I still really enjoy it though; it’s a very tasty flavour! The oolong is ok too; definitely not the world’s nicest quality oolong but it has those grassy, soft floral notes that I like a lot and a touch of creaminess/nectarine that I think pairs super well with the otherwise very sweet watermelon notes.

I’m really glad that this is one of the teas my mom decided to bring home with her for me from Winnipeg – it’s been both fresh and exciting, but also a little nostalgic.

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80

Iced, from today.

I think I like this one even more iced – it’s very sweet and juicy with a really nice, medium bodied strawberry note that reminds me of very ripe strawberries and then just a hint of kiwi. Kind of like a strawberry kiwi Slush Puppy/popsicle or other summer time treat. Finishes with some tartness.

Good shit, right here.

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80

Midevening cuppa.

I drank this one hot for my first tasting, and I was a little bit fearful that it would be like most generic fruit infusions from smaller retailers – either very heavy on the apple or very heavy on the hibiscus with no real defining flavour to reflect its namesake. I feel like that happens a lot. That fear was also a little amplified because the other tea I’ve now tasted from this company was pretty dull and disappointing.

Thankfully, this actually was really lovely! I’d describe it as somewhat medium bodied with a sweet and juicy strawberry flavour creating the overall body of the sip. There’s definitely room here where the flavour could be a little more robust and defined but I also think it’s far from feeling weak or flat. The kiwi was present, but it’s definitely younger sibling to the strawberry. Both sweet and tart, but not too much of either. Of course, does have that apple-y backing note that a lot of fruit infusions have, but it doesn’t overtake what else is going on here. Quite pleasant overall, and I don’t feel like I was lied to about what the tea would taste like!

I also feel like it will be even better iced or cold brewed, and I can’t wait to try that!

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50

Hot with vanilla agave and an extra long steep.

Making it this way was a huge improvement; I think the agave probably carried the flavour a lot but this actually did seem to resemble white chocolate in terms of creaminess and overall body. The liquor felt thicker, also. Pleasant honey wood notes from the red rooibos base. Good tea for late night sweet cravings.

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50

My mom decided to go on a spontaneous vacation to Winnipeg earlier in the week, and today she got back in town. Turns out there was a tea place near her hotel that she decided to check out, and she wound up bringing me back some tea!

The place is called “Tea Story” and I’ve actually heard of it before… kind of. When I was last in Winnipeg it was on the list of tea places that I had looked up to visit, but we didn’t end up going to it because it seemed more like a cafe and we had a limited amount of time, so we prioritized the places that weren’t cafes.

This is one of the teas she brought back, and I think it was a good pick – looking at the ingredients list it seems a little plain/boring (rooibos, white chocolate, cocoa shells) but the name is something that would have also caught my attention too, and I do like white chocolate so if it tastes like white chocolate then it could definitely be a winner! The dry aroma is a little sweet and creamy, but mostly it smells just like boring, plain rooibos so I’m not getting my hopes up. Steeped up, it’s pretty bland. I mean, it definitely doesn’t taste bad BUT it’s a stretch to say there’s more going on here that slightly sweeter than usual red rooibos in terms of flavour. It’s not especially creamy or distinctly white chocolate tasting. So, pretty ‘meh’ overall.

Hopefully her other two picks are a step up.

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74

Sipdown (139)!

Thank you to Tea Story for providing the sample! Silver Needle is definitely in my top five favourite types of pure tea, and I always love trying new companies’ selections of it. Since the brewing instructions on the sample packet were Western style that’s how I decided to prepare it.

It was actually my commute to work tea for the morning; this week is my first in my new production position so I’ve gone from catching the bus to work at 8:10 to catching it at 6:40 in the morning. It’s a harsh change of pace; but I’m really appreciating the stillness of getting up so early. The world is so quiet! It’s the perfect time of day to drink my tea and appreciate it fully – for the same reasons I so greatly love having a cuppa in the dead of night.

All in all I enjoyed the cup quite a bit; although I have a hard time calling it anything more than average. It demonstrated very typical Yin Zhen flavour notes: sweet hay/straw, lightly floral characteristics, and slight peachyness. I also thought that it had a bit of a heavy whipping cream sort of vibe and while I can’t call that super typical it also isn’t a flavour note unique to this Yin Zhen. And typical isn’t a bad thing by a long stretch. If I was looking for a very simple, every day drinking Silver Needle that I wouldn’t feel bad for drinking quiet casually I think this would likely be a good choice if it was offered at the right price. I also think, however, that between this and the Big Red Robe I tasted from Tea Story the oolong was definitely the better offering.

Again, I’m very grateful for the free sample though! It was a very pleasant and enjoyable cuppa for the commute to work, and I can never pass up a mug of Silver Needle.

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77
drank Big Red Robe by Tea Story
6851 tasting notes

Sipdown (140)!

Thank you to Tea Story for kindly sending me some samples to try out and review for them. Since the steeping guide on the sample packet has Western brewing instructions that’s how I decided to try out the sample.

My first infusion was very warm and toasty with some great, roasty flavour and a bit of a softer nuttiness. Definitely no bitterness or astringency; just a very smooth flavour and mouthfeel. I’d say probably more of a medium body than anything else. Other than the roasty notes, I also found that this was a bit floral, especially as it cooled and had a nice sweetness that was a bit of a cross between a lighter caramel and sort of a honey sweetness. Maybe the tiniest hint of light peachy fruitiness?

My second infusion was a much lighter roasty flavour that was less of a top note and more of a body note. Instead, I’d say the focus was definitely shifted more in favour of the floral notes in the tea. It maintains that honey sweetness in the finish, although this one doesn’t have a super long lasting aftertaste.

I know traditionally is usually reserved for people of high esteem or special occasions but I think because of the lower caffeine level, general ‘smoothness’ of the blend, and really nice flavour profile this would make for a very unobtrusive daily drinker. Thanks again Tea Story for the sample!

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84

Tea sent to me by a Tea Story. Ceylons tend to get a bad wrap around here – they’re often too brisk/coppery for a lot of folks or people think of red rose sort of experiences. I’ve had a few really great ceylons but this one is super. Missing from this cup is that brassy/copper note that a lot of ceylone have. Instead this is very smooth and easy to drink. Resteeps of this were also great – not diminishing in the flavour. Looking forward to trying a few more from a Tea Story if this is my first experience with them.

thanks so much for the sample!

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drank Milky Fruit by Tea Story
9755 tasting notes

HGTTB i had the last cup of this one a few days ago. It wasn’t bad but i’m also wondering if it was missing some of the ingredients that make up the tea. Always trickey with heavier teas. It wasn’t bad…but it didn’t make me swoon with delight. just a nice cup for the evening!

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26

This is going to sound idiotic, but this brew tastes only like overly sweetened milk. I know its called milky fruit, and I should have seen this coming. I do not taste any fruit only the milky part. Others may enjoy this tea but I do not. This is a beautiful tisane though, it looks like trail mix. I thought of maybe just brewing some of my trail mix to see if it would taste similar.

Flavors: Milk, Sugar, Yogurt

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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92

I mistook this for a lightly roasted oolong so I brewed with very hot water. I now know that this is a green tea, hahah, but it was still amazing. In the package the floral smell almost went pungent and I was wary of this brew. I brewed in my gaiwan and the floral notes calmed out and brightened. The aroma of this was spectacular! I was transported to a sweet and sunny garden. It was a nice escape from my regular “winter wonderland.” The taste was sugared and like nectar. The brew is a brilliant jade and glistening.This is a very good tea and I will be gathering some in the future.

Flavors: Citrus Zest, Guava, Jasmine, Nectar

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 3 OZ / 88 ML

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53

Thank you Roswell Strange for the share but unfortunately I am getting none of the lychee you got when it came to this tea. What am I getting? Peas. Lots and lots of peas. It’s actually not bad but in general, when I reach for a cup of tea, that’s not the flavor I am reaching for.

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25

Nope… I taste neither jasmine or lychee. I just taste dill…. I am… so grossed out right now. It hurts my stomach. yuck. I steeped it for 2 mins. 1 tsp. I can’t drink the rest…. _

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25

I… uh…. I’m not tasting Lychee or Jasmine. Just lots of vegetal notes. Maybe hints here and there but I feel like I’m imagining them.

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30
drank Milky Fruit by Tea Story
531 tasting notes

Hidden Gems TTB #16

This looks like one of those fruit blends that Teavana is so fond of: lots of chunks of dried fruit, plus some little white chunks that I can’t identify…freeze-dried yogurt, maybe? I tried to get a good mix of everything in my cup, but I wasn’t super impressed with the flavor. There was no milkiness that I could detect, and the flavor was just a generic fruit blend; I really couldn’t pick out any specific types of fruit. Not a fan of this one!

Flavors: Fruity

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90
drank Pink Grapefruit by Tea Story
531 tasting notes

Hidden Gems TTB #1

There are so many amazing-looking teas in this box, but I’m limiting myself to herbal tisanes at this time of night. This one is super delicious! Not a generic citrus flavor, but a very distinctive juicy grapefruit taste with just the right amount of tartness. I’m enjoying it hot tonight, but I’m guessing it would be a wonderfully refreshing iced tea in the summer.

Flavors: Grapefruit, Tart

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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82

Sipdown (114)!

Supernatural Spoilers

So, tonight’s episode was kinda intense, right? Right. I’m conflicted – I mean it was angsty and there were great moments between the brothers (and I loved all the Crowley stuff) but is that really it for Demon!Dean? Three episodes and we’re done? I know there’s still the whole Mark of Cain thing like Cas pointed out at the end – but surely “curing” Dean cannot be that simple. There HAS to be more to this.

And, if there’s not, I’m going to be so sad and disappointed because the Demon!Dean set up just had so much promise, and he really was set up to be this seasons “Big Bad” – and that would have been just fantastic. But no. I guess not…?

Anyway – this is the tea I chose to drink while watching the episode! Thanks again to Anlina for passing the sample along in my Secret Pumpkin parcel. Despite the fact this is a green blend, I was very excited to try it because of the lychee – which I could clearly smell when I opened the package earlier today to split it so VariaTEA can try it too. It was very juicy, and the floral aspects of the lychee were already exaggerated and complimented by the addition of the jasmine even before steeping.

Once steep, that held true though: the lychee flavour was definitely present and sweet with drawn out floral notes both from the fruit itself and the jasmine. The green base was smooth and light as well, just contributing a faint vegetal “snap pea” kind of quality to the overall flavour. Very much in the background. Jasmine is a very soothing and calming flavour, and it definitely “pacified” me in a way.

I’m definitely very sleepy/drowsy right now, and that’s probably a really good thing since my jaw tenderness has yet to go away. With work again tomorrow, I’m absolutely going to need a sound sleep tonight. So three cheers for this gentle, soothing tea! I am absolutely a fan!

Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Jasmine, Lychee, Peas, Vegetal

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66
drank Brown Rice by Tea Story
894 tasting notes

This was labelled brown rice, but I’m fairly certain it’s actually roasted buckwheat. It doesn’t look or taste like rice.

It’s warm and toasty tasting, quite dry, no sweetness. Quite nice, though I find myself wishing for it to be a little bit malty. It was a good cup to accompany dinner.

Flavors: Grain, Nutty, Roasted

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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82

Mmm. Fruity and floral. The jasmine and lychee are very distinct. I’m not sure what the green tea base is – it’s a bit woody and not my favourite, but overall, this is a lovely tea.

The lychee flavour is very similar to the one I’ve experienced in lychee congou teas.

Flavors: Floral, Jasmine, Lychee, Wood

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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97
drank Pink Grapefruit by Tea Story
894 tasting notes

This is one of those rare wonderful tisanes that are loaded with hibiscus and rosehip, and the tartness works perfectly to give the grapefruit flavour an authentic punchiness. I don’t drink this often enough, but it’s wonderful and I love it.

Flavors: Citrus, Grapefruit, Hibiscus, Tart

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 4 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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97
drank Pink Grapefruit by Tea Story
894 tasting notes

Oh, I’m ever so pleased to have this back in my cupboard. The smell of it is incredible – intensely tangy and citrus, with the distinctive tart-bitter of grapefruit.

There’s a lot of hibiscus tart at the beginning of the sip, and then the grapefruit notes build and last through the finish.

This is one of my favourite fruit tisanes ever. Far better than anything else I’ve tried that’s supposed to be grapefruity.

Flavors: Bitter, Citrus, Grapefruit, Tangy, Tart

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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70
drank Milky Fruit by Tea Story
894 tasting notes

I picked this up today because it sounded different from anything I have in my cupboard.

The loose tea is very pretty. The ingredients list a vague “tropical fruits”, which is kind of annoying. It looks like tropical fruits is dried pineapple, papaya and maybe mango or guava?

It’s very tart, tangy, and a bit sweet. There’s a taste of pineapple and a bit of creaminess on the finish.

The more this cools the more I like it. There’s a distinctive flavour at the beginning of the sip that I can’t quite identify but that makes this unique, which only came out once my cup went from hot to warm. It kind of makes me think of the taste of artificial sweetener, except it’s pleasant instead of disgusting.

Definitely need to try this one iced.

Flavors: Cream, Fruity, Pineapple, Sweet, Tart

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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63

It’s been a long week with lots of tea, had to see if I couldn’t unwind with a decaf. I didn’t open the bag until I got it home. Usually I’m smell conscious with tea, though I thought it was fresh smelling straight from the bag.
Initially, on the trek through the forest there are dank smells and surroundings are woody, so too was this tea, like stopping dead in your tracks on a trail because you’ve spotted deer. I steeped it long as it was not changing color right away as a normal red tea.
Further, deep in the woods on the path there are glimpses of astringency and a tonal cadence very english breakfast. I like the sweet taste and mellow but full mouthfeel. Its probably best to drink it slowly despite my urge to slurp it down.
Further still, winding up the trail to the summit of this tea experience is my own realization that I was drinking far too much tea and coffee this past week.
I sat up late one night waiting for sleep when I had the image of loose leaf teas being cupped someone at a different time zone. I then figured well it’s ‘tea time someone’ I brewed up only hot water, drank a full glass and sat in my bed with a new mystery novel. The mind races and anything could happen if Ceylon could be made decaffinated.
End of story

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