23 Tasting Notes

81

Loved this tea. The rhubarb is so fresh and real… despite there being no rhubarb in it, just rhubarb flavouring.

Brewing it hot was lovely, the longer it brewed the more the colour of the tea transformed through shades of rose gold and peach. Then the aroma develops from tart and almost sour to sweet, vanilla, rhubarb and crumble. The flavour is spot-on. Rhubarb is not the sweetest, friendliest fruit – it’s got a bite, an edge. This tea has managed to perfectly balance the tart vibrancy of rhubarb with sweetness. It should be sour and suck in your cheeks, but the sweet aftertaste rushes in and saves it.

I greedily drank the whole cup. Definitely going to buy this fruit tea again. Full review and a few pictures: https://www.immortalwordsmith.co.uk/taylors-of-harrogate-sweet-rhubarb-tea-review/

Flavors: Jam, Rhubarb, Sour, Stewed Fruits, Tangy, Tart, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
23 tasting notes

Found this very old pack of oolong plum tea in the back of a cupboard this week. The label is half worn off so I can’t tell where this tea is from, just the name “oloong yello plum”… and a use-by date of 2014. So I guess random steepings is where I’m supposed to review this tea?

5 years past the use by date… can anyone beat that?

Smells amazing despite being so old (it was sealed up very well, although opened inside) with plum and apricot and warm black tea.

I brewed it. First few sips there’s a light fruity sweetness and earthyness that’s lovely. Then there’s what I can only describe as bin juice. To be precise, it’s the smell of the juice/liquid that’s lingering in the bottom of your bin after being too lazy to take the trash out for a few too many days. Rotting garbage and earthy and sweet, because the trash is full of sugary drink cans.

Once you’ve got that smell in your mind and what you imagine it would taste like, this tea becomes a mind battle. The more you think about the bin juice, the more you can taste it. I battled to the bottom of the cup by focusing on the taste of plums.

I’m now pretty sure the plum flavouring was added, not just a description of the natural oolong leaf flavour. I think that’s what has started to rot. Throwing this tea away now, sadly. I imagine it was delicious fresh.

Leafhopper

Mmmm, bin juice! Thanks for that description. I’m also sad when old teas are no longer drinkable.

Mastress Alita

“The more you think about the bin juice, the more you can taste it.” That just makes me think of when the weather is bad and I don’t want to haul my trash bag all the way out to the dumpster, so the next day when I do it, there is weird liquid on the kitchen floor under where the bag was sitting… I definitely would not want to imagine drinking that mystery liquid…

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61
drank Blue Lady by Zest Tea
23 tasting notes

A nice tea to power me through a dreary week. It has a juicy aroma and flavour that’s quite pleasant, probably from the passion fruit in this blend.

I’ve found it’s the least bitter of all the Zest Teas – I’ve no idea why, but I’m glad. The hibiscus is nice but I wish the citrus flavours would come out more. There’s this sort of generic citrus flavour which isn’t detectable as lemon or orange, but some kind of hybrid. I think adding some bergamot would really lift this tea.

Nonetheless, it’s enjoyable and I finished the cup easily.

The only downside to the high caffeine level of this tea is that it becomes my one tea of the day. Having another tea later on is just too much, even if it’s a normal caffeine level for a tea. I’m too sensitive to caffeine.

Full review and a few pictures, like usual: https://www.immortalwordsmith.co.uk/zest-blue-lady-tea-review/

Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Hibiscus, Tropical

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 45 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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68

Love the aroma of this tea, it’s very fragrant and tropical. I get this really lush juicy aroma of mango and passion fruit, but there’s also something starchy about this tea that I don’t think anyone else has picked up on from the tasting notes I’ve read. It’s just a vague hint of sticky rice but it works so well. You have to really stick your nose in the cup to find it.

The flavour is also delicious, even though I slightly over-brewed it. I’ve had this tea many times, so I know what it’s capable of delivering when I get the timing just right. The green tea isn’t anything to shout about, it’s the fruity flavour with citrus kick that’s the highlight of this tea.

There’s a chemical/nail varnish tang that I’ve noticed as well – it’s not ruining the cup but I can’t ignore it either. It’s happened before when brewing these tea bags but not when brewing the loose leaf version. It’s still a good tea so I’ve rated it as such.

I also adore the new tea discoveries caddy it’s available in, so pretty.

https://www.immortalwordsmith.co.uk/whittard-mango-bergamot-tea-review/

Flavors: Astringent, Citrus Fruits, Green, Mango, Tropical

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 45 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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44
drank Strawberry Tea by Lipton
23 tasting notes

Reviewed this tea last week when the sun was shining, but I’ve only just got round to posting my review and tasting notes.

I’m a freelance writer and I’m currently on a short contract to write website content and articles for a Chinese tea company (can’t share any details, sorry!) so they can launch in the UK and start selling. It’s hard to write about tea all day for work and then write even more about tea in my spare time. You’d think writing about tea for 8+ hours a day would be fun, but it’s starting to get to me. Hopefully the contract will be finished by the end of this week.

Anyway, this seemed like an easy tea that wouldn’t take me too long to write about. Picked up 3 sachets of it from a hotel last year. It’s very artificial and one dimensional.

Couldn’t finish the cup because it’s just too powerful. As a soft drink, the sickly sweet, strong, fake strawberry flavour would be nice. As a black tea with fruit flavouring, it’s just not good.

I brewed it lightly and there’s definitely nothing subtle about the syrupy texture and strawberry flavour. The black tea is barely detectable.

Artificial strawberry and banana are probably my least favourite flavours because, to me, they never taste anything like the real fruit.

Full review with a few pictures: http://www.immortalwordsmith.co.uk/lipton-strawberry-tea-review/

Flavors: Artificial, Strawberry, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 250 ML
gmathis

One can reach a saturation point with just about everything!

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84

Thank you Martin Bednář for recommending this! It arrived a few days ago but my first cup was really underwhelming.

I gave it another go tonight, doubling the amount of leaves, and I’m so glad I didn’t give up on this. It’s smooth and malty and rich, yet it still feels light.

I brewed up a 3-cup teapot western style – the first cup was smooth and malty but relatively flat. The second cup, however, had steeped for quite a while longer (probably 5 to 6 minutes instead of the recommended 3 to 4) and the resulting tea was richer and far more complex. The jammy, fruity notes are subtle at first but they grow as you take more sips. It’s definitely a raspberry jam but there’s a hint of strawberry too.

I’m onto the third cup now and it’s getting quite strong and not so smooth. The jam notes are holding up though. I can’t detect any of the spicy notes that other tasting notes have described.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this tea and I’m really looking forward to writing out a full review… but there’s currently a backlog of teas I need to write long reviews on for my blog. Might be a month or so until I get round to doing my usual analysis with pics for this tea. It’s going to be a real test of my resolve to keep the last of this tea sample in my cupboard that long without drinking it.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Jam, Malt, Raspberry, Smooth

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 tsp 20 OZ / 600 ML
derk

It seems I am alone in experiencing the pronounced florality of this tea. derk sits in the corner

Martin Bednář

You are welcome. I liked it so I hoped you will too. And apparently you did!
Can´t wait for full-lenght review.

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68

Ok, so I’ve given this tea a mildly good score, as it was certainly had a drinkable flavour and I’m going to finish the pack I have (because I can’t stand throwing away tea or creating waste) but it’s not special. If someone came to me asking to recommend a tea blend that contained fennel and orange, I’d probably help them research and find a new tea rather than recommend this one.

It lacks… something.

The fennel and anise are subtle and balanced but they’re not outstanding. The orange is barely detectable too. It’s a nice flavour that you can drink easily. Like drinking a glass of water, to be honest. So, why spend money on it?

I can definitely say that this herbal tea calmed me, but other than that there’s really nothing to report. I wrote up a longer review, like usual, but by the end I was struggling to think of anything to say. I researched a little into how this tea is used as part of the medical Ayurveda traditions, but that’s not why I purchased the tea, I just thought it sounded like a great flavour combination and the price was low enough that I thought “what the hell, just go for it.”

The main reason for the positive tea score is the quality of ingredients, misleading aroma (it really does smell quite delicious), the calming effects and drink-ability. It’s just missing something to make it stand out.

Of course, it’s just my opinion. I’m hoping someone else will come along and find this tea delightful.

Full review: https://www.immortalwordsmith.co.uk/ayurveda-pura-orange-fennel-bliss-tea-review/

Flavors: Anise, Fennel, Spices

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 250 ML
Hanna Clutterbuck-Cook

Do you think it might be better iced than hot? I’ve sometimes found that fruit flavors do better when cold-brewed.

Izzy

Sounds like a great idea. If it was you, how would you cold brew it? I don’t have any experience cold brewing herbal teas, so I’m not sure about water/tea ratios and timing

Martin Bednář

The wrappers are so pretty! I can not imagine a fennel with fruits though.

Mastress Alita

I’m not sure how I’d feel about fennel cold brewed, but then again, I’ve never tried it. When I’m cold brewing tea, I use the same amount of leaf as I’d use brewing it hot (water is water). I don’t use teabags very often since I like being able to measure/weigh my leaf, but I find with bagged grocery store teas, I tend to prefer “two bags to a cup” as my standard for most herbals (most bagged herbals I’ve tried have tasted so weak otherwise, I think it’s because they grind them to a pulp), so if I was going to cold brew one, I’d use the same ratio. I tend to make my iced teas a quart at a time (4 cups) so then I’d be using 8 teabags. (Looseleaf is a different matter, it isn’t crushed to a pulp and is rather chunky and heavy so I usually use 4 heaping teaspoons, then add 1-2 extra depending on the size/bulk of the herbal I’m dealing with, like if it’s a heavy fruit blend. If it’s mostly leaf/herbs usually the four heaping teaspoons does me good for the cold brew. I quite like minty herbals and hibiscus/rosehip fruit herbals as cold brews!)

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55
drank The Earl Grey by Twinings
23 tasting notes

An additional tasting note for this tea. This time I baked it into an Earl Grey cake yesterday evening.

It’s actually my second time baking with this exact EG blend. The first time was years ago when I made an EG and white chocolate brioche loaf – it tasted delicious, but only of white chocolate. The EG just vanished while it was baking. I’m going to try this brioche recipe again with Assam/milk chocolate as soon as my tea order arrives.

I was more confident this time as I found an EG cake recipe that actually had the tea bag contents mixed into the cake mix, plus an EG syrup that had an amazing bergamot and vanilla aroma. But no, still no hint of EG flavour in the cake. Very disappointing – I was looking forward to having a slice of cake with my evening tea.

I’m not changing the tea rating, but I need to leave a note to remind myself in the future: if you want to bake with tea, don’t use Twinings EG, pick something more robust.

AJRimmer

I’ve made Earl grey ice cream, and I’ve been looking forward to making it into a cake, but this is exactly what I was worried about. Definitely post a review when you find a recipe that works!

Izzy

Will do!

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65
drank Detox by Pukka
23 tasting notes

I think I picked this tea up from a friend a few years ago, not reading the ingredients list until I got to adding it into my tea cupboard. If I’d seen the heavy anise-flavoured ingredients I wouldn’t have touched it.

But here we are, it’s still in date and I need to clear down my huge box of single-serving tea bags to make room for more worthy loose leaf blends.

I was surprised at how subtle the flavours were – I brewed for half the recommended time in an attempt to calm the anise, but I don’t think that was really necessary now I’ve read other tasting notes for this tea.

It’s not too strong, the anise flavour from the aniseed and fennel is hugged by the cardamom to add some warmth. There’s also a damp grass/woody herb aroma/flavour. It provoked a very specific memory for me, from summer mornings in my garden. I describe it a bit better in my full blog review.

Despite not being a fan of anise, I’d still recommend this tea. It’s quite nice and I’d drink it again… but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it. Full review with comprehensive notes and a few pictures of this tea in my favourite vintage tea cup: https://www.immortalwordsmith.co.uk/pukka-detox-tea-review/

Flavors: Anise, Fennel, Herbaceous, Sweet, warm grass, Wet Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 250 ML
Martin Bednář

I had detox tea just once. It was from Slovak compamy and only “detox” was that I was going to pee every 30 minutes.

Izzy

I don’t think this tea is really for detoxing in the medical sense, it’s just a marketing gimmick so they can sell more. I didn’t notice any difference at all after I finished my cup. At least it didn’t make me pee haha :)

Martin Bednář

Certainly it is a marketing. For detox we have liver, right? Apparently Pukka have got better blend when it comes to convenience I guess.

derk

Real Talk.

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69
drank Lemon Vitality by Ahmad Tea
23 tasting notes

Brewed this tea with low expectations so was pleasantly surprised at the result. Sure, the green tea is nothing special, but the lemon is good. It’s very drinkable, you don’t have to think too hard about the flavour or take time to savour it to pull out the flavour notes. A good, light tea when you want something quick. For a tea bag, it pretty good quality. Better than most green teas I’ve had from similar tea bag brands like Twinings.

It has a lemony bitterness, warm grassy green tea body, and slightly sweet aftertaste. There’s no sharpness or tartness that I can detect, which makes me think it’s at least partially artificial lemon flavouring.

I’ll happily finish the box of tea bags, but won’t be buying again. There are better lemon green teas out there, but this tea certainly isn’t bad. In one word, it’s a “nice” tea.

Full review with pictures: https://www.immortalwordsmith.co.uk/ahmad-tea-lemon-vitality-review/

Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass, Green, Lemon Zest

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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Profile

Bio

A British tea lover with the crazy idea that she can review every possible tea. Ever. Check out my blog to see my progress so far…

My all-time favourite tea brands that I go back to for a cup of comfort:
Clippers
Whittard of Chelsea
English Tea Shop

I rate teas on a spreadsheet, giving marks out of 10 for:
Condition of the tea leaves/ingredients,
Quality of ingredients (e.g. artificial flavours or freshly dried fruit?),
Dry aroma,
Wet aroma,
Flavour,
Texture,
Sensation (how does it make me feel?),
and Colour.
Then, with a little head scratching, I do the math and work out the score out of 100.

Open to tea swaps – even internationally!

Location

Chelmsford, UK

Website

https://www.immortalwordsmith...

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