4414 Tasting Notes

80

Received a bit of this as a sample in my last 52teas order. It’s not something that appealed to me based on the description, so I wasn’t overly interested in trying it, until I read ShanieOManiac’s note on it… but even then, the thought of a green/green rooibos blend turned me off somewhat.

Ran across it yesterday, and decided to bite the bullet and try it – and I was very pleasantly surprised! The dominant aroma is definitely jasmine, as was noted by others, but chocolate is a strong secondary flavour. I can’t say I recall ever having that pairing before, and it’s actually rather intriguing. The jasmine, of course, is quite pleasant – no soapiness, just a clean, sweet flavour – and it’s grounded by the nib/shell chocolate, which is rich and given the source, not at all fake-tasting. Berries are present, but only barely, and in some sips. The bases suit the blend – I don’t taste either specifically, though there’s definitely more green tea than rooibos (which I can’t taste at all, and didn’t even really notice while measuring the leaf out, either).

Overall, an interesting tea that’s considerably better than I was expecting. Jasmine-heavy, so it wouldn’t appeal to those who dislike such florals, but a different take on jasmine with the addition of cacao shells/nibs. Not a tea I’d likely reach for often, mostly because I don’t like to drink jasmine teas too frequently, but I’ll look forward to my second cup of it, and wouldn’t even mind having a bit more in my cupboard!

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40
drank Electric Lemonade by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

Ugh. I’m all confused right now because somehow this package of tea isn’t listed in my spreadsheet? Also because I apparently sipped down some Electric Lemonade fairly recently, and it was from Aug 2015, while this is from July 2015… I don’t usually buy a tea twice unless I like it, and I’m really not a fan of this… (I have two other packages of it as well, but one was part of a set I didn’t buy, and one came along with some teas I purchased.) Now I’m wondering if I mistook Electric Lemonade for Electric Lemon? Or…? So anyways, confused because I definitely thought I had accurately recorded at least all my DavidsTeas!

This tea is suffering from too much blackberry leaf. Is it because it’s the bottom of the bag? I don’t know. Either way, they’re imparting both a sweetness and a bitterness (well, I guess it could be anything providing that bitterness), and it’s not pleasant. There’s a hint of cleaner-y lemon here, but it’s mostly a mess of bitter sweetness. Rating it now, but might change it in the event that the new bag of it that I open has any redeeming qualities.

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62
drank Red Velvet Cake Mate by 52teas
4414 tasting notes

Sipdown! 263/365!

Today, this is nothing but roasted mate. Fine in itself, though boring, but no flavouring whatsoever. At least it’s gone now, though! (And I can stop grabbing this sample in the evening and then rejecting it due to it being mate!)

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85

Sipdown! 262/365!

I think this is a sample from either Sil or VariaTEA? It wasn’t listed anywhere though, so maybe nobody actually reviewed it here (perhaps it wasn’t intended for that, but I figure it’s so much after the fact that it probably no longer matters).

Anyhow, this is a very sweet matcha blend. I assumed it would also contain the latte portion, but it definitely is just matcha + sweetener or some sort, likely just sugar. I added some milk to the second half of it, and it makes quite a nice-tasting latte. I imagine there was some sort of comparison being done at one point, given that this is labelled #3, but as a standalone product, it tastes fine. I still prefer things unsweetened though, and have now located my decently large, decently old RLT matcha stash, and will be slowly making my way through it. (I don’t actually have all that much, about 4 partial small packets, and 2 unopened small packets, but it’s enough to last me a few months, I think!)

Thanks, whoever this was from!

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88

Sipdown! 261/365!

Made a large mug of this tonight just to finish it off. Yay for sipdowns of old things! I’ve been drinking a lot of new stuff lately. Anyways, this is one of my fave chamomile blends – sweet and creamy and delicious. I can taste caramel, but not as much banana today – which I’m totally fine with. And the coconut, which I think I’d remarked was on the way out, is just fine today. Fingers crossed this will counteract the effects of 3 cups of caffeinated tea before bed! Haha. (What good is a chamomile tea for helping you sleep when you pair it with a bunch of caffeinated beverages?)

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55
drank Stressblocker by Floragold
4414 tasting notes

Sipdown! 260/365!

Stressblocker… sounds like a good tea for me right now. The teabag smelled lemony and kind of a herbally sort of sweet, but not overly so; the herbally aroma predominates in the brewed cup, however. Likewise with the flavour – there are certainly lemony overtones, but it kind of tastes mostly like a herbally blend, which I can’t pick out specific ingredients from. But – something in here is bitter, like citrus pith. It lingers on the palate after swallowing, and I’m not the biggest fan of it.

I grabbed the packet to look at the ingredients, and this is a strange mix of ingredients! Mistletoe(?!), bean peels, birch leaves, lemongrass, nettle leaves, St. John’s wort, gingko leaves, flavouring. I’m not sure what is contributing the bitterness, but I’m unfamiliar with the majority of these ingredients, so who knows! Maybe I’ll be lucky and it will have some sort of stress-reducing effect, though.

Thanks for the share, Roswell Strange!

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76
drank 2005 Aged Mao Xie by Verdant Tea
4414 tasting notes

This is nice, but nothing too special, at least to my tastebuds. Roasted flavour predominates, there’s some sweetness, but there’s also a sharpness to it. Just kind of rough around the edges? I don’t think it was oversteeped. I’m sure this performs better gongfu, though.

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83

I liked this previously, but today I’m getting too much orange, and it’s coming off somewhat cleaner-esque. Still not a terrible tea, just not as good as I remember. It’s slated for the iced tea pile, though.

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71

My thoughts remain about the same on this tea. It tastes like cola and has a cakey sweetness (using Della Terra’s signature cakey flavouring), but not really getting any cherry. It’s nice for what it is, though, and might be tasty iced, though that may mask the cake flavouring more than I’d like.

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78
drank Cantaloupe Ice by DAVIDsTEA
4414 tasting notes

Finished off a package of this, iced. Tasted kind of artificial this time, but my husband liked it and that’s what matters.

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I have always been a tea fan (primarily herbals and Japanese greens/oolongs) but in the last year or so, tea has become increasingly more appealing as not only a delicious, calming drink, but as a relatively cheap, healthy reward or treat to give myself when I deserve something. I should clarify that, however; the reward is expanding my tea cupboard, not drinking tea – I place no restrictions on myself in terms of drinking anything from my cupboard as that would defeat my many goals!

My DavidsTea addiction was born in late 2011, despite having spent nearly a year intentionally avoiding their local mall location (but apparently it was just avoiding the inevitable!). I seem to have some desire to try every tea they’ve ever had, so much of my stash is from there, although I’ve recently branched out and ordered from numerous other companies.

I like to try and drink all my teas unaltered, as one of the main reasons I’m drinking tea other than for the flavour is to be healthy and increase my water intake without adding too many calories! I’ve found that the trick in this regard is to be very careful about steeping time, as most teas are quite pleasant to drink straight as long as they haven’t been oversteeped. However, I tend to be forgetful (particularly at work) when I don’t set a timer, resulting in a few horrors (The Earl’s Garden is not so pleasant after, say, 7+ minutes of steeping).

I’m currently trying to figure out which types of teas are my favourites. Herbals are no longer at the top; oolongs have thoroughly taken over that spot, with greens a reasonably close second. My preference is for straight versions of both, but I do love a good flavoured oolong (flavoured greens are really hit or miss for me). Herbals I do love iced/cold-brewed, but I drink few routinely (Mulberry Magic from DavidsTea being a notable exception). I’m learning to like straight black teas thanks to the chocolatey, malty, delicious Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea, and malty, caramelly flavoured blacks work for me, but I’m pretty picky about anything with astringency. Lately I’ve found red rooibos to be rather medicinal, which I dislike, but green rooibos and honeybush blends are tolerable. I haven’t explored pu’erh, mate, or guayasa a great deal (although I have a few options in my cupboard).

I’ve decided to institute a rating system so my ratings will be more consistent. Following the smiley/frowny faces Steepster gives us:

100: This tea is amazing and I will go out of my way to keep it in stock.

85-99: My core collection (or a tea that would be, if I was allowing myself to restock everything!) Teas I get cravings for, and drink often.

75-84: Good but not amazing; I might keep these in stock sparingly depending on current preferences.

67-74: Not bad, I’ll happily finish what I have but probably won’t ever buy it again as there’s likely something rated more highly that I prefer.

51-66: Drinkable and maybe has some aspect that I like, but not really worth picking up again.

34-50: Not for me, but I can see why others might like it. I’ll make it through the cup and maybe experiment with the rest to get rid of it.

0-33: It’s a struggle to get through the cup, if I do at all. I will not willingly consume this one again, and will attempt to get rid of the rest of the tea if I have any left.

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