3217 Tasting Notes

78

Thanks to Boxermama I get to give this one a second shot! I was worried that my first sample had sat too long and lost flavour, and felt I was perhaps being unfair to the tea. (This is the same thing that I think happened with Pistachio Ice Cream, so I figured it was worth another shot.)

Turns out, I do think my sample had lost flavour. Although the flavour is not strong here (I also may have underleafed), I can taste hints of spices and pumpkin (like, actual squashy pumpkin) and creaminess. It’s growing on me the more I sip it, which unfortunately means it’s also almost gone :( I’ll have to use the rest of my sample in a teensy mug to see if I can amp up the flavour, but I’m certainly more impressed than I was the first time. However, I don’t think that this tea is what most people seeking a pumpkin spice-flavoured tea would be looking for – it’s tasty, but the flavours are too light (although deliciously complex), and I highly doubt it would hold up to sitting in a travel mug all day. For those occasions, Della Terra and/or DavidsTea would be better options, but for a nice mug to savour, I’d certainly choose this above some more robust options!

Thanks again Boxermama! Hopefully I’ll get to more of your samples (which are nearly all Butiki teas, super excited!) later this week :D

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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80

Threw some of this in a travel mug yesterday because I was in a hurry and wanted a tasty flavoured black, but didn’t want to finish off anything (and I had enough of this left to still leave a cup’s worth). I don’t honestly remember thinking too much about it as I drank it, but I finished it, and it was good. Tasted much like the chocolate base of many of Della Terra’s teas, minus any of the additional ingredients that make them extra delicious.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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98
drank Quangzhou Milk Oolong by DAVIDsTEA
3217 tasting notes

Sipdown! I was going to pick more of this up, but instead I ordered some milk oolong from Tealux. Hence, this purchase will be postponed for a while. Tasty tea though (even though it didn’t taste quite right in the mug this time for whatever reason).

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
OMGsrsly

I think I might like the David’s version better, so I’m excited to see your opinions on the Tealux one.

Plunkybug

I think I actually like Teaopia’s version better, but they are close.

Kittenna

I lately have actually been loving the quangzhou milk oolong from a local place, Bon The Place, so yeah, it will be interesting to see how everything compares! Really, as long as I enjoy one, I’m happy though, haha.

Indigobloom

I haven’t found one that compares to the uber expensive American Tea Room version. Sooooo heavenly!

Kittenna

I feel like I tried that from someone, but wasn’t wowed. Either way, price has gotta factor in. The DT one is quite expensive; Tealux’s is definitely cheaper, and I don’t know the price of the locally-available one.

Indigobloom

Might have been me, but the sample was super old.

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82

Apparently I don’t have too much of this one left! Which is ok only because I have too many other teas :D Anyhow, into the travel mug it went, and it was oh-so-tasty. I had somehow forgotten about all my S&V teas when choosing flavoured blacks for the morning; I’ll have to migrate some into the “potential morning selections” bin :P

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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91

Delicious, delicious tea-for-breakfast yesterday morning. I think this and other dragonwells may become my go-to first thing in the morning teas, because they sit so much better in my stomach than flavoured blacks which sometimes edge towards astringency (Laoshan Black and Premium Taiwanese Assam are good too, but more limited in their supply in my cupboard at the current time). Anyhow, it was great in the travel mug yet again, all rock sugar and chewy vegetal. I deliberately overleafed to give it a stronger flavour, which was quite successful.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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86

Brewed up at the boy’s place and didn’t really finish it…. but it was good! This is definitely more of a travel mug tea for me than anything else though. A nice flavoured black to look forward to when working hard :)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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100

I’m bad; had another travel mug of this one and now I only have enough left for a single small cup :( It was sooooooo good though.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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93
drank Coconut Chai by Zhena's Gypsy Tea
3217 tasting notes

Drank at the boy’s place yesterday, but regret throwing out the bags after one infusion. Sigh. Also, definitely should have used Brita water.

Indigobloom

I hear you on the brita :/

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77
drank Smoky Chocolate by 52teas
3217 tasting notes

So I’ve been craving a smoky tea for days now. I keep thinking of brewing up some more of my Verdant reserve lapsang souchong, but I don’t have much of it left…. (Ok, I should just brew it up before it loses flavour!)

Anyways, I have a pouch of this from LiberTeas, and also acquired a pouch during one of 52teas’ sales, so I figured I should try to drink it down. I don’t recall liking this tea much straight, but to me, smoke goes incredibly well with milk + sugar. In this case, heavy cream and sugar, because we happen to have cream in the fridge from some culinary experiments last week.

Aside from the fact that this is absolutely decadent due to the cream + sugar… this is perfect. Delicious smokiness. Not tasting chocolate per se, but all I was really after tonight was the smokiness.

When I got in on an Upton order a while back, I ordered both their Lapsang Souchong Dragon (??) and Baker Street Afternoon Blend, which IIRC has something smoky mixed in there. I’ll have to try them and see if either’s something I can drink straight, as having my tea doctored is not a good routine option for me (the only tea I allow that treatment with is Mayan Chocolate Chai, because it’s smoky too, and because it’s a chai).

ETA: Had an amazing second infusion too. Soooooo good. Holds up to additions so amazingly well.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Sil

the 12 days of christmas tea i picked up from majesteas is a really nice smokey tea that has a unique profile to it. If i end up picking up more i’ll pass a sample off to you.

Kittenna

That would be awesome! I seem to like smoky teas, but need to work on finding ones that are smooth. The Verdant one is so good, I wish it was available for purchase :(

Alphakitty

Tealux has a very smooth maple-flavored Lapsang Souchong, I have no issue drinking that one straight (but I do love smoky blends)!

Kittenna

Maple-flavoured??? Heck yes….. searches

Kittenna

More details, please? :)

Sil

noooooo alphakitty! no recommending companies that aren’t on our existing lists lol Kittenna! don’t you dare do it! lol sooo many teas to order still..

Alphakitty

http://steepster.com/teas/tealux/27381-russian-maple-souchong

They have sample sizes so you don’t even have to invest in a large portion! Maple and smoke go perfectly together in my book

Kittenna

Too late…. :D :D :D :D

Kittenna

PS Thanks Alphakitty!

OMGsrsly

OMG. I might need to place another tea order! Russian Maple sounds amazing. Thanks Alphakitty! (I’ve ordered from there, and my parcel took forever after Christmas. They were very quick authorizing a trace and offering to re-send if it didn’t make it.)

Terri HarpLady

maple lapsang souchong? hmmmm….I might like that…

Kittenna

Soooooooo thanks entirely to you, Alphakitty, I now have a wish list of like 20 teas, totalling like $40, and will be making an order very, very soon. Thanks….. ish? :P

Alphakitty

Haha, sometimes I think Steepster is the worst thing that ever happened to my wallet. We’re all enablers XD

Kittenna

Wallet, space in my room….

Terri HarpLady

Yes, we probably all need a 12 step program…if only we were willing…

OMGsrsly

I wish I knew more locals who were into tea, since I pretty much want sample sizes of everything to try, but $60 of samples is just too much.

Sil

just find tea friends! kittena and indigobloom and raritea and i found each other :)

OMGsrsly

Know anyone on the site in or near Vancouver, BC? :D Ooh, or maybe there’s a Discussion thread…

Kittenna

Actually, I think there are a bunch of Steepsters in Victoria? I know, not the same place, but neither are Guelph and Toronto :D

OMGsrsly

Victoria is easier to get to, AND there was a post for a meetup that I have hijacked! So awesome.

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79

Augh. My computer is all sorts of not-working, and even writing tasting notes is not going so well. I think the computer needs a restart, and perhaps some “medical” attention…. :/

Anyways, this was the last of the teas I threw into a travel mug this morning, courtesy this time of LiberTeas. I’m still quite the fan of this tea and the hojicha base. It’s so toasty and perfect; the banana flavour isn’t runt-like, but like actual banana chips, and there’s such a lovely creaminess. I’m getting some astringency with my boiling water infusion, but it’s the sort of astringency that I find bearable (hard to explain). I would really like this blend to make a reappearance!!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Indigobloom

that sounds interesting. I don’t remember this blend coming out!

Kittenna

It was from probably a year or more ago; I got some from both LiberTeas and momo.

Indigobloom

ah. I wasn’t paying as much attention to 52teas back then

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Bio

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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