1130 Tasting Notes

30

I got this one on a whim some time ago because I had tried a few violet teas and loved them. Sadly, that was not the case with this tea. The black tea in the base just had a really bitter taste, which was made even worse by all the hibiscus. Now, I’m probably the biggest hibiscus fan on this website, finding it tart, tangy, and pleasant, and I can happily drink plain hibiscus steeped in water without sweetener, but the combination of it with this black tea was just awful! The whole thing was just overly bitter and drying, with a floral violet note that fails to add anything because that florality really needs some sweetness.

After one awful warm cup I switched to iced tea, thinking that might smooth things out since I find iced hibiscus teas extremely refreshing. It was… an improvement over the hot cup, but still too bitter to be “refreshing”. For the last few pitchers to use up the leaf I started adding liquid sugar syrup to the iced tea, which at least helped the violet notes and did smooth out some of the bitterness, but it still had a biting aftertaste.

Glad this one is sipped down. Not one I’d have any interest in revisiting again.

Flavors: Astringent, Biting, Bitter, Floral, Fruit Punch, Hibiscus, Violet

Preparation
Iced 3 min, 0 sec 7 g 32 OZ / 946 ML

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75

For the sipdown prompt, “a tea from a small company.”

The dry leaf has a very sweet “candy grape” sort of aroma. Steeped, the flavor is more of a sweet berry note, though I do still taste a little grape toward the end of the sip. The base black tea has a slight florality coming through for me, which is likely adding to the sweetness of the tea. The flavor pops a lot more as the tea cools, as well.

Flavors: Berry, Candy, Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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81

For the sipdown prompt, “a cranberry tea.”

The smell of the dry leaf is really lovely; it smells like creamsicle, with a slightly sharper edge to it that does read closer to tangerine than orange. That aroma also comes through in the steeped tea… sharp citrus and a pillowy, creamy vanilla.

I’m one of the few (it seems) that just can’t seem to taste/detect cranberry in teas (I have had this problem across the board with cranberry teas in general). I really just get a lovely creamsicle flavor, with a bit more of a tart edge to the citrus than you would get from the ice cream, though it still has that creamy vanilla/marshmallow tone to it. I got a bit more of a cranberry note as my cup cooled, but it was still pretty subtle. Though I did recall that I had better luck with “Crisp Cranberry Soda” when prepared cold, so I decided to start coldbrewing this tea, and it is a very satisfying cold, thirst-quenching tea. I still don’t really taste the cranberry, though… but that isn’t really a complaint. This is reminding me of an orange version of “Sun and Cloud Mist.” I really like the citrus/marshmallow combo Anne does in teas… lemon, lime, tangerine, they are all great! It just works so well with that creamy sweet vanilla-esque flavor.

Looking back at my notes, it looks like the cranberry popped the most in flavor for me when I actually added carbonation to “Crisp Cranberry Soda,” so I think I’ll try my next coldbrew batch as tea pop.

Flavors: Citrus, Creamy, Herbaceous, Sweet, Tangerine, Tangy, Vanilla

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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82

For the sipdown prompt, “A tea you are thankful for.” Honestly, I could use any Chinese black for that prompt, but this meets my age criteria. I have, shockingly, prepared it gong fu… it seems wrong somehow not to when it’s in the actual name of the tea. Not my preferred method of brewing, but on a rainy weekend when I have the time to slowly savor a tea through several infusions, it is fitting…

180ml (mini teapot) | 5.6g | 205F | 15s/20s/25s/30s/35s/40s

This is definitely a very frangrant tea… the steeped tea smells of malt, citrus, smoked wood, and leather. It tastes that way, too… very brisk with a dark, bittersweet quality, with a flavor that is malty, smoky, and leathery with a slight peppery edge and a little citrus quality in the aftertaste. The second steep is a bit smoother, with some of the leathery/peppery notes toned down and a slight florality peeking through. Perhaps even a hint of a muscatel note. The fruity and floral notes popped a bit more by the third steep, with a sort of citrusy orange aftertaste, but the darker malty/woody flavors continued to dominate. The briskness of the tea paired well with my very-sweet breakfast of off-brand PopTarts (thanks tea-sipper, I blame that impulse grocery purchase on you!)

Very tasty, ticked all the boxes of a Chinese black.

Flavors: Citrus, Dark Bittersweet, Floral, Leather, Malt, Muscatel, Orange, Pepper, Smoke, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 6 OZ / 180 ML
Cameron B.

I was thinking about doing some gongfu too, maybe today is the day!

tea-sipper

haha, of course my eye gravitated to “Poptarts”. It’s funny…this week I for some reason tried the Great Value cherry “poptarts” and they were much better than I expected them to be! (not expecting greatness there.)

Mastress Alita

These were generic Kroger ones. Fine enough to save some $$$, especially with how groceries are these days.

tea-sipper

Same reason I went with the Great Value instead of the real deal – the dang price increase.

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84

For the sipdown prompt, “a tea paired to music.”

I don’t, in general, turn on music (crazy, I know) but after decades of living with chronic migraine I’m just sort of used to it. But I put on some Emancipator this afternoon to provide some mellow and relaxing vibes while I do some manga scanlation work.

I had a sample of this tea, I believe acquired from Ost from a cupboard sale back in 2018 (thanks, Ost!) that I just dumped in a cold brew jar and left overnight, and am sipping on now. It is delicious… has those hay and flower pollen notes I typically get from white teas, but it also has a distinct honeyed apricot flavor going on as well.

Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Fruity, Hay, Honey, Pollen, Stonefruit

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 6 g 32 OZ / 946 ML
derk

This was one of the first teas I had from Whispering Pines many moons ago and I’m glad it was my introduction to white tea. Glad you enjoyed the cold-brew!

Mastress Alita

When I first got into tea, I really didn’t like white tea; either it was the low-grade shoumei and baimudans used in blends being really off to me or simply my tastes changed, but now I’m quite a fan (especially of silver needles and aged varietals).

derk

Cheers to good white tea and changing tastes.

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78

For the sipdown prompt “a dessert tea.”

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a chocolate mint rooibos in my collection… I bought this in my birthday order last year, and it’s the only tea from that order I’ve broken the seal on because I was craving it so bad.

It isn’t my favorite Chocolate Mint Rooibos that I’ve had… I had one once that had apple and yogurt pieces in the blend and that one had a richer and more creamy flavor. But this is perfectly serviceable, and is scratching the itch I had for a chocolate mint herbal this evening. There isn’t a strong chocolate flavor, but it is present enough that the flavor of the rooibos base isn’t discernable. The mint has a strong presence, a little cooling and a little candy sweet. It gives off a very soothing vibe.

Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Mint, Peppermint, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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85

For the sipdown prompt, “a coffee tea.” It isn’t really a coffee tea, though. I am only left with two of those now, and both were from my once-a-year-birthday-order I’ve been doing the last several years, and I want to keep the packages sealed until I’ve worked through older tea. Of my older tea, this one at least has some elements of the base that remind me of coffee — pu’erh and roasted mate — but the sarsaparilla in the blend takes the actual flavor in a very different direction.

I’m really liking Jasmine Pearl’s pu’erh blends. I think I like “Black Wolf” a bit more than this one, but this is also really great… mainly because I’m a huge sarsaparilla fan, and its chock full of it. The tea liquor is thick with slightly earthy/roasty notes, a strong sarsaparilla flavor on the sip that lingers a bit at the back of the throat. There is almost a “woody cinnamon” sort of flavor in the aftertaste. It smooths out the pu’erh flavors that I typically just don’t care for, but it doesn’t taste “soda-like” either.

Sadly it looks like they don’t offer this tea anymore. A shame! I love sarsaparilla and it isn’t used in tea blends that often. This will be missed when I finish working through the pouch.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Earthy, Roasted, Sarsaparilla, Smooth, Thick, Woody

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML
Lexie Aleah

This was one of my favorite teas from them. I haven’t had it in quite awhile and am sad to hear it is gone. Sarsaparilla teas are so yummy.

Lexie Aleah

Hey, I went to Cody’s Portland tea meetup recently and someone there told me there’s another tea company that sells this blend still. I think the company was called Cup Of Tea. I was excited to hear that and thought I’d share here since I remembered seeing your post.

Mastress Alita

Huh, I’m pretty sure Jasmine Pearl (at least claimed) that they were the blenders of that tea, so I wonder if the other shop wholesaled it from them and are just going through pre-existing stock.

Mastress Alita

Yes, but as I said, they also have other Jasmine Pearl blends, which, Jasmine Pearl claims are their original blends (on the website they had “Origin: JP Signature Blend”… not that I haven’t seen tea companies lie about this before, but I’d like to give the benefit of the doubt…) so I think they might just be going through old stock and once it’s gone, I don’t think it would still be available (unless perhaps they are custom blending it for those other shops despite no longer carrying it themselves, which could be a possibility).

Lexie Aleah

I think the person who told me about it mentioned that they were blending it for that other company. Nice to know that there are at least two possible places to still find it.

Lexie Aleah

Don’t quote me on that though because it could end up just being old stock.

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80
drank Butter Sencha by DAVIDsTEA
1130 tasting notes

For the sipdown prompt, “a vegetal tea.”

This tea had such a strong aroma that I could smell it any time I opened the gallon ziplock bag that housed this and several other green teas… and that was with the package still factory-sealed. (I do hope the other teas in that bag haven’t taken on any residual aroma…) And this tea is from 2018, I believe? The test of time apparently hasn’t dialed down the butter flavoring.

It’s the same sort of butter flavoring that is added to many Milk Oolongs, which (controversial, I know) I don’t mind, and sometimes downright crave. I really like naturally buttery and sweeter sencha, but never know how to find them and always end up with sencha that is strongly marine/seaweedy or really umami which just aren’t my favorite flavor profiles, so I was intrigued by a butter-flavored sencha. It’s good, but doesn’t taste too much different than what I’d get from a flavored Milk Oolong… it even sort of has that silky mouthfeel. I can taste a grassiness beneath the butter, but the main flavor note is brussel sprouts drenched in melted butter.

Oddly satisfying on an extremely gray, downpouring day.

Flavors: Brussels Sprouts, Butter, Grass, Silky, Smooth, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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80
drank Sweet Autumn by Lupicia
1130 tasting notes

For the sipdown prompt, “a pumpkin tea.”

This is an interesting tea. It’s a combination of Japanese autumnal flavors: pumpkin, sweet potato, and chestnut. It has an interesting squashy pumpkin flavor, which is so unique to taste in the absense of spices. It reminds me a lot of the pumpkin-flavored houjicha by Ocharaka in flavor, though obviously much sweeter and less roasty due to the different base teas. I don’t really taste any sweet potato, and wonder if it’s just adding some overall sweet notes to the tea, as it does veer sweeter rather than really savory despite the squashy aspects. The chestnut, however, is quite distinct and tasty; it’s the same flavor from their Marron Chocolat tea, which is one of my Lupicia favorites.

I’ve had this now as a straight hot cuppa and also as a warm latte; both are nice, but I prefer the latte. Plain, more of the umami characteristics pop, as the rooibos tastes a bit more woody, but the creaminess and sweetness of the milk makes the rooibos base have a sort of sweet caramel note which mixes so nicely with the pumpkin and chestnut.

Flavors: Caramel, Chestnut, Nutty, Pumpkin, Squash, Sweet, Umami, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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90

I believe this is the last of the tea I received from Meowster’s cupboard de-stash back in 2018 (the tea itself is likely much older than that). For the sipdown prompt, “a Chinese tea.”

The smell of my warm cuppa is delightful. I get a cocoa-esqe backdrop with a sweet floral rose note, underneath a much stronger brisk smokiness. All my favorite things in a Chinese tea, and I’m surprised it still has such a distinct aroma for such an old tea.

The brew is rich with an umami quality I often taste in Chinese blacks but can’t describe well… something about the brassy malt, deep smokiness, and slight honeyed tones read as a sort of “barbecue sauce” or “steak marinade” flavor. The cocoa and rose mostly appear late in the sip or as an aftertaste that lingers on my tongue.

Super satisfying. I wasn’t expecting such good results from such an old tea. It will make for an easy sipdown!

Flavors: Brisk, Cocoa, Floral, Honey, Leather, Malt, Rose, Smoke, Smooth, Umami

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
Cameron B.

I’m always pleasant surprised by how well straight black teas hold up!

Michelle

Upton’s griffins wharf has some congou in it, and it always tastes sweet and smoky to me.

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Profile

Bio

Hi! I’m Sara, a middle-aged librarian living in southern Idaho, USA. I’m a big ol’ sci-fi/fantasy/anime geek that loves fandom conventions, coloring books, simulation computer games, Japanese culture, and cats. Proud genderqueer asexual (she/they) and supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m also a chronic migraineur. As a surprise to no one, I’m a helpless tea addict with a tea collecting and hoarding problem! (It still baffles me how much tea I can cram into my little condo!) I enjoy trying all sorts of teas… for me tea is a neverending journey!

Favorite Flavors:

I love sampling a wide variety of teas! For me the variety is what makes the hobby of tea sampling so fun! While I enjoy trying all different types of teas (pure teas, blends, tisanes), these are some flavors/ingredients I enjoy:
-Dessert/chocolate/vanilla/caramel/cream/toffee/maple
-Sweet/licorice root/stevia
-Vegetal/grassy
-Floral/lavender/rose
-Spices/chais
-Fruity
-Tropical/pineapple/coconut
-Bergamot (in moderation)
-Roasted/nutty
-Tart/tangy/hibiscus/rosehip

Disliked Flavors:

There are not many flavors or ingredients that I don’t like. These include:
-Bananas/banana flavoring
-Hemp/CBD teas
-Smoke-scented teas/heavy smoke flavors (migraine trigger)
-Perfumey teas/extremely heavy floral aromas (migraine trigger)
-Gingko biloba (migraine trigger)
-Chamomile (used in blends as a background note/paired with stronger flavors is okay)
-Extremely spicy/heated teas
-Medicinal flavors/Ginseng
-Metallic flavors
-Overly strong artificial flavorings

With the exception of bananas and migraine triggers, I’ll pretty much try any tea at least once!

Steeping Parameters:

I drink tea in a variety of ways! For hot brews, I mostly drink my teas brewed in the western style without additions, and for iced tea, I drink teas mostly brewed in the cold brew style without additions. Occassionally I’ll change that up. I use the https://octea.ndim.space/#/ app for water-to-tea ratios and use steep times to my preferences.

My Rating Scale:

90-100 – Top tier tea! These teas are among my personal favorites, and typically I like to keep them stocked in my cupboards at all times, if possible!

70-89 – These are teas that I personally found very enjoyable, but I may or may not feel inclined to keep them in stock.

50-69 – Teas that fall in this range I enjoyed, but found either average, lacking in some way, or I’ve had a similar tea that “did it better.”

21-49 – Teas in this range I didn’t enjoy, for one reason or another. I may or may not finish them off, depending on their ranking, and feel no inclination to restock them.

20-1 – Blech! My Tea Hall of Shame. These are the teas that most likely saw the bottom of my garbage can, because I’d feel guilty to pass them onto someone else.

Note that I only journal a tea once, not every time I drink a cup of it. If my opinion of a tea drastically changes since my original review, I will journal the tea again with an updated opinion and change my rating. Occassionally I revisit a tea I’ve reviewed before after a year or more has passed.

Inventory:

My Cupboard on Steepster reflects teas that I have sampled and logged for review, and is not used as an inventory for teas I currently own at the present moment. An accurate and up-to-date listing of my current tea inventory can be viewed here: https://tinyurl.com/xjt9ptx3 . I am open to tea trades (within the United States only!) at this time. Note that I will not trade teas that I currently have in a quantity less than 50g (samplers, 1oz packages, etc.) or any teas that are currently still sealed/unopened in my cupboard.

Contact Info:

Feel free to send me a Steepster PM, or alternatively, check the website URL section below; it goes to a contact form that will reach my personal e-mail.

Location

Idaho, United States

Website

https://teatimetuesdayreviews...

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