The Tea Table

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Recent Tasting Notes

85

I think I ordered this way back when based upon the reviews here. I’m just now opening my packet.

Ordinarily I might have passed on something containing white chocolate. I read an article about white chocolate once that put me off of it. It’s been a while and I don’t remember it all, but the thrust was that white chocolate, unlike chocolate, doesn’t have any sort of quality and purity standards so people can sell pretty much anything as white chocolate. Also, isn’t it basically just cocoa butter without the bean, which is the part that really gives that rich, chocolatey flavor?

So if not for the notes here, I would likely have passed.

In the packet, the mix has a minty aroma, which is weird because there’s no mint in this. I suspect it’s the coconut in combination with the other flavors that is leading the charge there.

After steeping, I mostly get caramel and a hint of something chocolatey in the aroma. Not much in the way of coconut, which is surprising given that coconut usually dominates any mix it touches. For such a highly flavored mixture, the tea is remarkably clear. It looks pretty much like the Keemun I just had, down to the redness in the color.

It’s a tasty flavored tea — in this cup I get mostly the caramel and white chocolate as identifiable flavors. The coconut is definitely there, mostly in the front of the sip and the aftertaste. So good for The Tea Table for being able to put together a blend with coconut and other things where the coconut doesn’t shove everything else to the side.

The flavors are nicely balanced and work well together. I do find myself wondering whether this would have been that much better with chocolate instead of white chocolate.

Of course, it could just have been that I had less coconut in the spoons I used today than I might in the future. Time will tell.

Flavors: Caramel, Coconut, White Chocolate

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

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50
drank Rum Cream by The Tea Table
579 tasting notes

Oof. I wish I’d gotten this as a sample and not a whole ounce.

I agree completely with AlphaKitty saying this smells like barf. It does. Barf, vague fruitiness, and maybe feet.

The flavor reminds me of Kahlua or Bailey’s, with a strawberry and butter aftertaste. The feet/barf smell is still present, but you don’t really taste it. There’s also a note of vanilla-like creaminess that I like. Still, I find this tea pretty off-putting. I mean, I guess it’s nice that it doesn’t taste like alcohol. But… yeah. I’m gonna use it up. Blended with other teas. And then never again.

EDIT: Ok, I opened the pouch this morning and just… no. It went in the trash.

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Fruity, Irish Cream, Rum, Strawberry, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Mastress Alita

Hahaha! The description of that tea aroma sounds exactly like a few of the returned library books I’ve run into at my library job… #librarianwoes

At least you managed to find a use for it? I tried to blend one I didn’t like this week and its nasty flavor was so strong that even with my strongest-flavored teas I could still taste it! I had to give it away on the Reddit CupOnMe.

Tabby

What?? Why would books smell like that? D:

Mastress Alita

We tend to just not want to know the answer to that question, for our own sanity… Glad to see you trashed the offending tea! Some tea just has to go!

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77

Sipdown no. 44 of 2018 (no. 400 total). Wow. I didn’t even know there were 400 teas in the world when I found Steepster!

Put the last of this into a cold brew yesterday along with some Yunnan from Premium Steap.

I also wrote a note about this just yesterday, so I don’t have anything else to add.

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77

It’s true, this is better when steeped for 3 minutes rather than 3:30. Ironically, the flavor is deeper and the body comes across as rounder.

And it’s also better with food that has a sweetness built in. I had it this morning with a cinnamon roll and it was delish.

I’m not going to increase the rating, though, because my first assessment is still true even after the change in steeping times. After the cinnamon roll was gone, the flavor resumed it’s sour downturn.

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77

I love how tippy teas look. This one has some pretty golden tips among the chocolate brown leaves.

In the packet, there’s a sharp note that I associate with Darjeelings rather than Assams, but that smooths out pretty much completely after steeping. The aroma is mouthwatering — it has notes of chocolate, coffee, honey and molasses.

The tea is a dark amber color and clear.

The tea is smooth, and the description of it having almost no astringency is consistent with my experience of it. It has a chocolate note in the flavor, but the sweetness of the molasses in the aroma isn’t something I’m tasting. In fact, the tea tends toward a slight sourness that is disappointing. It’s not bitter, though.

I’m wondering if steeping for less than 3:30 would make a difference. I picked that time since the directions said 3-4. Next time I’ll try less time.

I sort of think it is unlikely that less time will make for more sweetness, however, as I find the sweetness, if there is any, usually comes out early in the steep.

It’s a nice tea, I just expected more from it.

Flavors: Chocolate, Coffee, Honey, Molasses

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

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90

I’m the first to review this? Neat!

This one turned out to be a surprise winner. You can always tell it’s a good coconut tea when there’s a bit of coconut oil floating on top. Though the shavings they use are finely minced, you still get so much flavor. I’m impressed. The coconut is creamy and realistic, sort of like a Mounds bar but without the chocolate. Delicious.

I’m excited to try this again later over ice. Maybe with milk. I bet this would also make a great bubble tea base. Absolutely on the re-order list for summer.

Flavors: Candy, Coconut, Tropical

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Faisal Ahmad Zahoor

i think it will be good taste.

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78

I bought this expecting it to be pretty generic. I was right.

There’s nothing wrong with it. Assam base with a bit of an astringent bite. It offers an inoffensive, natural-tasting vanilla. But the vanilla is more in the aroma than the taste. It’s not quite as creamy and lingering as I tend to like. I tend to prefer vanilla teas that are more cupcakey and decadent than this. So it’s a little boring, I guess.

I will be using this to blend with my other teas, I suppose. Vanilla goes with everything, so…

Flavors: Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec
Evol Ving Ness

Ayup, that’s the destination for the vanilla teas that I find to be lacklustre as well.

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91

Last week was busy and this weekend has been even busier. I had wanted to get to part 2 of the house organizing project this weekend but it will have to wait. The good news is that the worst of the closet organization is done. I can find my shoes now. LOL.

I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. It was hermetically sealed in its shiny gold packet. The dry leaves smell very lightly smoky and have a mouthwatering breadiness.

I would call the color closer to a dark amber beer color than copper, as I don’t see much pink in it. The liquor is clear and smells divine. There are very definite cocoa notes in this, with the breadiness of the dry leaf as an undercurrent. Chocolate croissants! The smokiness smooths out in the steeping so it’s just a mild hint around the edges. I can see what they mean in the description about the floral notes, but I wouldn’t have identified them as that. I might have said honey, only a bit fresher and less heavy smelling.

The flavor is pretty much just like the aroma. It’s a smooth tea with no sharp edges, and a rather soft mouthfeel that leaves behind a fresh coolness in the aftertaste. It’s chewy without being as hefty as most other teas I’d describe that way.

It’s really lovely.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Cocoa, Honey, Smoke

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

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75

I picked this as one of my three free samples in my last order. My thought was that it would be like Constant Comment, what with the orange and clove.

However, where Constant Comment goes heavy on the clove, this goes heavy on the orange. Not really what I was hoping for, but it’s still pretty good. Orange isn’t exactly my favorite fruit in tea, but this has that nice tangy citrus rind flavor. The cinnamon adds a comforting layer. Can’t say I really detect the vanilla. But this is lovely on such a wet February day.

Still, I can’t help but feel like I’m drinking the Christmas potpourri my mom makes on the stove every year. (In a good way.) But I think I’ll stick with my Constant Comment.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Citrusy, Clove, Orange

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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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91

Sipdown no. 73 of 2017 (no. 354 total). A sample.

This was only enough for a single serving, which is a bummer because it’s lovely.

It smells divinely fruity in the packet, more berry than citrus. After steeping, the smell intensity reverses and the citrus is more prominent though both smells come through. The tea is clear and an intense orange-brown color.

The fruit flavors are not overwhelming, but not overly subtle either. The tea has a nice balance. It’s clearly tea, not a vehicle for fruit flavor delivery, and the flavors permeate the tea rather than sitting on top of it.

I can imagine this would be lovely iced. I wish I’d ordered more. It’s going on the wish list.

Flavors: Berries, Citrus, Fruity

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

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90

+ latte e miele

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 300 OZ / 8872 ML

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90

Sipdown no. 41 of 2018 (no. 397 total). A sample.

Gosh, I wish I had more of this. I just had a tiny bit left in the packet, so I had to combine it with the Sencha Arihara to have enough for my take it to work tea today. But I’ll remember it fondly. I wish they still carried it.

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90

What a lovely tea! A berry/fruity floral mix sitting lightly on top a green base. The lemon is present but barely, just enough to perk it up a bit. The dry leaf has a strong, but gorgeous, raspberry smell — not medicinal like some fruit teas — but the aroma of the steeped tea has a strong lavender note. It reminds me of that je ne sais quois of the French flavored teas done by Mariage Freres, Damman Freres, Kusmi, and The O Dor. It’s a clear medium-deep golden color.

I wish I had more than a sample. And of course, now I can’t find it on The Tea Table site.

Flavors: Green, Lavender, Raspberry

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

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84

So that thing I said about flavored green teas being hit or miss? I realized that when I wrote that about the Todd & Holland Copacabana, I was thinking about tropical fruity teas. The thing about those is if they have pineapple in them, and sometimes even if they don’t, I mostly taste pineapple. It’s a strong flavor and it overshadows other more subtle ones. Same with coconut. In any case, I often have trouble differentiating the various tropical flavors because everything tastes like pineapple or coconut. And then I say to myself, eh, another one of these.

I wasn’t thinking of this. I’ve known about Japan cherry tea for a while but I have never tried it until now. And I’m a fan.

Cherries, fresh cherries, are one of the fruity pleasures of life in my book. Cherry flavor, in my experience, is usually pretty consistent. It often reminds me of Kool Aid or Luden’s cough drops, and it’s more the associations that are off than the actual flavor. I’ve never really had a cherry flavored thing that I thought had flavoring that was too bitter or too sweet or too anything. Even the medicinal aspect often doesn’t bother me unless it has an alcoholic side to it.

I steeped this a bit hotter than usual for greens because the packet said to take it to near boiling. But I think the temp I chose was close enough. I steeped a bit longer than the directions (by 30 seconds) but I may try a shorter steep next time.

Cait said that this smells like cough syrup in the packet and I get what she meant — it’s a strong cherry flavored scent. But for me, it wasn’t medicinal because no alcohol side. It was more like Jolly Rancher cherry. It retains a cheerful candy-like aroma in the steeped tea, which is more golden than yellow.

But all of that smooths out in the flavor, which becomes more reminiscent (for me anyway) of the true cherry fruit flavor than candy. There’s nothing sweet about the flavor, though nothing sour or bitter either. It’s pretty mellow, but strong enough so that there’s no mistaking it.

I had this just after breakfast, but I’d like to try it with a clear palate and see if I come out the same way.

Flavors: Cherry, Grass

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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90
drank Sencha Arihara by The Tea Table
1499 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 42 of 2018 (no. 398 total).

My opinion of this hasn’t changed in the intervening months. It’s a juicy, tasty, wonderful sencha. As it aged, it took on a more standard sencha flavor, which was also lovely.

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90
drank Sencha Arihara by The Tea Table
1499 tasting notes

Oh wow. This is my 1200th tasting note! It only took eight years…

The description the company gives is “round.” That’s not the word that comes to mind for me, but this is definitely an unusual sencha. There’s a dewy sweetness to the aroma, honey-like, which has a hay note that’s apparent in the dry leaf but not so much in the steeped tea.

The flavor is also quite unusual. It’s not grassy or vegetal so much as it is very subtly sweet and a little tangy. It doesn’t really taste like any tea I’ve had before. It makes me think of bees and pollen. It’s extremely pleasant (which is why it gets a high rating).

About the only thing that’s usual about this is it’s color, which is the golden straw color described on the packet.

Flavors: Hay, Honey, Nectar, Sweet, Tangy

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 500 OZ / 14786 ML

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86

A pretty blend, with lots of shapes and colors including the ever lovely and visual interest-adding red peppercorns. In the packet it smells primarily of spices, but there’s also an orange zest note.

It makes a light orange-brown tea that smells like a spice tea with orange notes.

But amazingly, it somehow gets a pastry flavor into the mix in the sip. The spices sort of blend together with no single note leading, and there’s an unexpected sweetness to the flavor. The orange is a little on the subtle side but definitely there, and what it lacks in strength it makes up for in non-fake orange flavor. I wonder whether making the orange flavor stronger would also make it fake tasting, and if so, this strikes a balance that makes sense. I don’t get a strong sense of the underlying tea, but that’s not really why you drink a tea called “orange cookie” now, is it?

Flavors: Cookie, Orange, Orange Zest, Pastries, Spices

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

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78

Sipdown no. 64 of 2018 (no. 420 total).

As it was the lowest rated black tea in my cupboard, it went into a cold brew mix — there wasn’t enough of it alone to make a full pitcher so I combined it with the last of the Richmond Park Blend from Upton and Snickerdoodle from Leland.

The cold brew is quite weird, and not the parting note this tea deserved.

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78

A never before opened packet of this has been sitting on my counter for a while. I’ve been waiting for the right time to give it a try.

I always think Keemun leaves are fascinating in a iron filings sort of way. They look like if you held a magnet against them they’d jump right up. The picture is very accurate. They have a very earthy smell in the packet, a dark smell with a sharp, high note.

For me, the liquor wasn’t all the coppery. Unless your penny has been in circulation for a while. It’s much darker than the color I know as copper, but has a reddish/orangish tinge.

The aroma suggests something deep and flavorful. There’s a slightly bready note and a tad of smoke. I had never heard “the burgundy of teas” before, but I get it. It has the same feel.

The flavor is very nice. At first, it seems somewhat less complex than the smell suggests it might be. But the finish and aftertaste belie that impression. There’s a sweetness to it and the smoke is subtle, which I like. The mouthfeel is pretty interesting. Soft and smooth. There’s a dark cocoa note, like a baking chocolate, a slight metallic/potato note and something that’s a cross between coffee and caramel, but not really either.

Not my favorite Keemun as I don’t love the metallic/potato aspect. But everything else about it is lovely.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Caramel, Cocoa, Coffee, Metallic, Potato, Smoke

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

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82
drank Green Chai by The Tea Table
2480 tasting notes

Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox – Round #5 – Tea #42
Another interesting green. I didn’t really think there would be much spice flavor if I couldn’t fully boil this with the green tea without making the cup bitter. But overall there was a perfect balance of green tea flavor and spices and a nice dose of spearmint as well, which was a refreshing surprise.
Steep #1 // 30 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep

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