New Tasting Notes

79
drank Good Night by Yerba Buena Tea Co.
48 tasting notes

What’s with the headaches lately? I need a sleep-hard tea and this is one of the better ones I’ve had. It’s well-balanced in flavor when brewed 1tsp to 10oz. Light and sweet.
None of the herbs stand out which is nice and what I look for in nighttime blends. I bought this at the San Francisco Ferry Building which is total money pit. $15 for an herbal blend. I’d buy it again if it weren’t for SF storefront/tourist inflated pricing. I don’t know what I was thinking. I was probably tea drunk from spending $12 on a gongfu oolong session at the Imperial Tea Court. At least I have a nice tin when it’s gone. But yeah, it’s good and makes me sleep hard.

Preparation
Boiling 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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86

Today’s cold brew.

I just had to revisit this one – I know I had it recently, but I couldn’t get that grape note out of my head. It’s something that AQTT does really well. True to my cravings, this brew was super smooth and juicy with really plump, bursting with flavour deep grape notes in the top of the sip and in the body, and then more of that raspberry taste in the undertones. It almost felt like it should be fizzy, but it definitely wasn’t.

Very, very good.

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89

A little bit astringent, but mostly a really nice sweet orange profile atop a good quality black base. It’s not really anything “new” at this point; but just a good consistent staple tea in my cupboard. Glad I stocked up. I feel like I say that a lot when I drink this one, but that’s just ‘cause it’s true.

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfOckNahTTU&t=0s&list=WL&index=17

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68

Cold Brew!

Another one that tasted pretty reminiscent of some sort of childhood candy; still can’t totally nail down which one but I feel like I can get close in terms of the general category. I feel like it’s reminding me of some sort of hard candy – like a jolly rancher, but also definitely not a Jolly Rancher because none of the Jolly Rancher flavours match up with the sweet, jammy and tropical pineapple/cranberry profile this one has. It was bloody good though, and the whole time had me going “Well shit, why don’t I drink this more often!?”. And really, why don’t I!? It’s so popular at work, and accessible to me…

I don’t really have a good reason. I’m just glad I brewed it up…

Friendly reminder that I do not numerically rate DAVIDsTEA blends as I’m currently employed there and it would be an obvious conflict of interest. Any blends you see with numerical ratings were rated prior to my employment there. These reviews are a reflection of my personal thoughts regarding the teas, and not the company’s.

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Hot cup from yesterday.

This tasted pretty distinctly like some sort of berry candy from my childhood, bu I couldn’t 100% put my finger on exactly what it was reminding me of. Maybe one of those berry gummy candies!? I just know it was sweet and juicy, and definitely blackberry flavoured.

Friendly reminder that I do not numerically rate DAVIDsTEA blends as I’m currently employed there and it would be an obvious conflict of interest. Any blends you see with numerical ratings were rated prior to my employment there. These reviews are a reflection of my personal thoughts regarding the teas, and not the company’s.

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Three minute steep, 80C water in a pretty new/unused carry travel mug from DT.

Just throwing those parameters out there at the top for myself as a reference, because this was THE BEST version of this that I have ever tasted. It almost perfectly tasted like really smooth, high quality/well refined honey but with the tiniest edge of florals, and green melon. Truly perfect infusion – and I’m so glad it was one where I paid CLOSE ATTENTION to how I was making it because damn.

I sipped on it while binging the whole first season of Disenchantment, Matt Groening’s new show, on Netflix. By some miracle I made the whole carry travel mug last ten episodes. YUMMY.

derk

I didn’t like it brewed in a gaiwan because all I could taste was wheat toast, but cold-brewed with a short rinse to help the nuggets open up was a whole ’nother story. Wowza.

Roswell Strange

Ooh, that actually sounds really good! I can’t remember if I’ve ever done this one Gong Fu before – I could browse through my notes on this one and check, though. Obviously if I did it wasn’t memorable. Sometimes it’s hard to remember, now that I’m like 6000 notes in…

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Iced, with a shot of agave.

Was looking for neglected teas in my stash to revisit, and released it had been a while since I last had this tea so I made a cup. It was alright, but maybe showing its age a little? Not nearly as bright/sweet pomegranate as it once was – more so a grassy profile with hints of woody rooibos, and an also “pine” sort of taste!? Mostly liked it, but was craving sweeter in the moment.

Friendly reminder that I do not numerically rate DAVIDsTEA blends as I’m currently employed there and it would be an obvious conflict of interest. Any blends you see with numerical ratings were rated prior to my employment there. These reviews are a reflection of my personal thoughts regarding the teas, and not the company’s.

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50

Hot with vanilla agave and an extra long steep.

Making it this way was a huge improvement; I think the agave probably carried the flavour a lot but this actually did seem to resemble white chocolate in terms of creaminess and overall body. The liquor felt thicker, also. Pleasant honey wood notes from the red rooibos base. Good tea for late night sweet cravings.

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Sipdown (644)!

This was a free sample with my last BLT order, and one that I thought would be a really nice sipdown that I could knock out that would still yield a really pleasant/memorable Gong Fu session. What I didn’t expect was how fucking BEAUTIFUL that session would be. I took a ton of photos, and not to be totally immodest but they look really damn good.

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bmj3b-fnjee/?taken-by=ros_strange

Didn’t overly track infusions – something like ten in total, but I stacked them two at a time in a larger pitcher and poured into a much bigger cup that the teapot I was brewing in. So while I steeped ten(ish) times in total in the pot I really only drank five cups of tea. If that makes sense!? I’ve been pretty into stacking infusions lately – it just works well for me in terms of flow of the session.

The first half of the overall session was a lot better than the second; the tea was a lot sweeter and more fruity. A mix of peach, really juicy orange, and a sort of cherry flavour. Bright, ripe, and really smooth. It was almost like drinking the tea version of fruit salad, with a more sharp grassy and vegetal undertone and finish. The second half of the session leaned way more heavily into the undertones that had been present in the first stacked infusion – quite sharp and grassy, with really intense vegetal element and a whole lot of bitterness and astringency. Some mineral taste, and a bit of a dry woody quality as well. It was much more reflective of the sort of sheng/raw pu’erh type of profile that I personally really don’t enjoy and so after a couple of these infusions I decided to just stop brewing.

To be clear, just because it evolved into a profile that was something I didn’t personally enjoy at all doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s a good tea – I REALLY enjoyed the early infusions, and the other ‘half’ of this tea’s profile is definitely something that would appeal to other tea drinkers – but as someone who’s just really not super fond of Sheng/seems to have a really distinct profile that I enjoy from Sheng I just knew the rest wouldn’t be for me.

Very grateful for the sample and experience, though.

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26

Sipdown (645)!

Hot cup of tea from work today, with only a two minute steep time, light leaf, and a pump of agave. That’s a LOT of precautions/adjustments from my typical steeping parameters but with what the last cup of this tasted like (bad) I felt like they were all needed. Preparing this one this way was SUCH an improvement though. Like, seriously. More of a sweet orange top note that’s pretty darn pleasant, and then a more boozey body. The finish still tasted a bit like chewable orange vitamins though…

I’m adding the rest into the Discovery Tea Box though – I’m hoping that someone coming up in the line up will be a green tea fan who’ll actually get some genuine enjoyment out of this one. I just definitely caution anyone trying it out to go light on your leaf and steep time! Seriously, it made such a big improvement.

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80

Discovery Tea Box – Tea Four

So, I think this is the only tea in the box that I’m going to sample that I actually have had before – and I’ll admit that it was REALLY tempting to me to just pull out the entire bag of it to keep for myself because I know I love it. However, it also felt like cheating to do that since I’ve owned it before/it’s not a new discovery. So, I just took a mug worth and put the rest back…

This was GREAT getting to revisit this one – it’s sweet and fruity, with just a bit of cheesecake sort of ‘tang’. Really strong honeybush flavour, with lots of wood, graham, and honey and just a tiny little bit of black pepper in the back of the through. Almost identical to the last cup I got to drink of it, but with maybe just a little less fruit/kumquat overall? I still LOVED it.

Crossing my fingers for a reblend sometime in the future.

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68

Discovery Tea Box – Tea Three

So, I think this is what I pulled out of the tea box? It was one of several teas from Yatra that simply had the company and estate name. I may visit a couple of the other teas from Yatra because it’s a company that’s new to me, sorta. I say sorta because I HAVE heard of them but I’m not able to order from them here in Canada (no international shipping). I chose this one specifically, though, because it was the only estate of the teas in the box that I wasn’t 100% certain that I’d tried a tea from before.

My first thought trying it was that it was really bland, however progressing through the cup I’d say that it’s less that it was a ‘bland’ tea and more that it’s just really quite mellow and light bodied. Some fruitiness popped out to me; generic red fruit sort of notes and a mild lemony sort of undertone. Couldn’t help but also think of Yuzu, because there was some pepperiness/SUPER mild spice notes in the blend as well and yuzu is basically peppery citrus – but I don’t think this tea really had the ‘punch’ that I associate with yuzu for it to be a super valid comparison. This was also a bit malty, and sort of honey-ish sweet.

Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it.

Put the rest of the bag back in the box, hopefully someone else will get something from it.

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21
drank Mint Sencha by Pique Tea
6641 tasting notes

Sipdown (646)!

From the Discovery Tea Box – Tea Two

So, I’ve been aware of Pique’s tea crystal/instant tea for years now, and a couple grocery stores in town actually carry their tea as well. However, it’s something I’ve always been HIGHLY skeptical of and just unwilling to spend my own money on because I just know that there’s no way I’m going to like them.

There was one of these little packets in the box though, and I figured now is my chance to scratch that curiosity itch and just give one of these a whirl so I can finally just sort of ‘move on’, if you will. Basically, these are like little premeasured out instant iced tea packets that dissolve the same way powdered juice mix does or, say, instant Nestea iced tea. I think these are meant to be a higher quality than the latter, though.

Anyway, my suspicions have been confirmed: these are GROSS. For starters, it brews up an ungodly fluorescent yellow colour and smells a little bit like an overly chlorinated pool with a tinge of mint. The taste isn’t much different, but in addition to the chlorine and vague mint thing it’s also just REALLY bitter, and had a strong seaweed kind of taste. I swear I tried to be super open minded here. I swear. Like I was telling someone on instagram though, I don’t think the pairing of mint and sencha is an inherently bad one. It’s just not done well in this case.

I guess I can see the appeal to these if you worked in an office without decent tea making conditions or for travel!? But apart from that, it’s pretty nasty. It’s basically bad Nestea instant iced tea mix. Plus, we all kind of just know that while Nestea is technically tea it also just… isn’t. That’s what I’m feeling about this one right now. It’s technically tea, but really it isn’t at all. Worse that most bagged teas, as well.

But hey – at least I finally got to try it so that I could know FOR SURE.

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80
drank Pan-fried Barley by Lupicia
6641 tasting notes

Sipdown (647)!

From the Discovery Tea Box – Tea One

This is my first pull from the tea box; it’s definitely not a new company to me and Lupicia’s barley teas in general aren’t new to me either. However, I’ve had several of the flavoured barley teas and not the straight barley tea itself so I thought that it was definitely worth the opportunity to get this ‘baseline’.

I really enjoyed this; barley teas/tisanes are great because they have this deep, roasty sort of profile that tastes like a lot of ‘actual’ teas (Houjicha or roasted oolong, for example) – which makes for a great caffeine free options when you do still want a tea-like profile. I thought that this had those really great toasty cereal, roasted nut, and light char sort of tastes but it was also surprisingly sweet and fruity!?

Like, it was fruity enough that it pretty distinctly reminded me of the “apple” flavoured version of this barley tea from Lupicia that I have tried before. This was just labelled in the box as the pan fried barley teas so I’m going to still assume that’s what I drank – I just thought it was really interesting how much it resembled that to me.

Enjoyed this a lot though, regardless.

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65

This was another sample given in return of an honest review.

the leaves in the package are beautiful, small handmade balls, and they look beautiful. the fluff on the leafs are wonderfully preserved, and make the balls look silky and shiny. there is a wonderful honey and clover smell, mostly honey.

once again im using the glass brewing vessel as not to alter the taste in any way. i used the entire 7.5 grams in the sample, and 8 oz of boiling water. initial brew is 25 seconds before i start the pour, each infusion will add 10 seconds to the previous brew.

the tea is a light brown, not really any red. it smells faintly of sweet potato.
after letting it cool enough to drink, the first impression is that this tea, like the last i tried, is nice and smooth, and the flavors are light, as is normal for a tippy tea. flavors are nice and balanced. The main flavors i get are sweet potato, with honey and a faint hint of cocoa.

on the second brew, the color is deeper brown, and still smells of sweet potato. the flavor shifts more toward sweet potato, but not much, and a little more cocoa. still smooth, and only light bitterness, only a hint.

third steeping the sweet potato is now almost completely gone, now leaving cocoa, a bit more bitterness, though still not much.

i will stop the review here, as the tea is becoming… not unpleasant, but not as enjoyable to drink.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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75

Sipdown (352)

One sip and I was like “I’ve had this before”. It tastes very much like raisins. Raisins and rye bread. It’s quite nice. Thank you Angel for sending me a sample of this to try!

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Wouldn’t normally enjoy singin’ that corner baggie blues but this Stirling is music to my taste buds.

I kinda like broken leaf anyways for the extra minerality and because the gong fu session gets goin full steam right away.

Keep it comin’ Bitterleaf. Got any other bottom bag material?

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This certainly serves its purpose as a pick-me-up had in between classes. I stopped by the cafe and they filled my crappy 16oz thermos with an unknown temperature water they use for their own teas. The cut leaf makes this good for a teaball, but mine doesn’t fit through the opening of this particular crappy thermos. So I dumped in a heaping teaspoon of leaf and drank it over the course of 30 minutes. Not recommended as it gets a little bitter.

The very fragrant dry leaf, dark brown and cut with gold tips, smells of sweet dark cocoa powder. The liquor tastes like a thinned, good quality, sweet dark chocolate syrup with a little bit of red fruit jam mixed in. Some woodiness and maltiness. It was really tasty, especially when accompanied by yogurt pretzels and one of those tiny bananas (the only banana worth a damn) as a snack.

I brewed it western over the weekend, which was much better than this afternoon’s approach. 2tsp/8oz/205F/3 solid steeps. Very dark the first and second steep.

I’ll come back to this one soon with a little more detail.

Daylon R Thomas

Those little leaves are powerful.

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Brewed this grandpa in a hurry this morning. School started and my reviews will probably be short until I get my schedule ironed out, books bought, etc. 16 credit hours and a job. Woo boy. I’ll come back to short reviews asap with second thoughts.

1 heaping tsp, 10oz mug, 175F, 2 top-offs. Initial thoughts: super sweet smelling dry leaf, liquor was unimpressive, more grassy than vegetal, light sweet thickness, some kind of umami in the back of the mouth that tastes off. Kind of like rancid coconut oil? rancid butter? liver? Maybe I’m crazy, maybe it was being in a rush.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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100
drank Chocolate Éclair by 52teas
23 tasting notes

Lawd have mercy. That’s all.

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70
drank Cookie Dough by DAVIDsTEA
78 tasting notes

I got this as part of the Throwback Sweethearts gift box. I had such high hopes for this tea! However, my first few sips were quite bitter. I added rock sugar to bring out the sweetness, but more than anything else, I could only taste nuts (almond and walnut). Not bad, but not good either.

Flavors: Almond, Walnut

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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80

281/365

This is the agave version (B&B also do honey and maple varieties). I made this one in a pan on the hob, as per the recommendation, using 2 tsp of leaf, heated in milk until just about boiling. It strikes me as sweet, as chai goes, and what I like about it is that some of the more unusual flavours stand out more than the more usual suspects. For example, I can taste the anise most prominently, followed by corriander and fennel. For this reason, it doesn’t strike me as a particularly spicy chai – it’s more gentle/fragrant, but I’m actually enjoying that since I feel like I’m tasting things I wouldn’t usually notice much in other chai blends. The usual things are there – ginger, cinnamon, clove, cardamon, pepper – but they’re pretty muted and remain mostly in the background.

The base tea is assam, and that’s deliciously malty (as you might expect). It works well with the sweeter overall profile, and with the agave particularly. While the blend as a whole tastes sweet, it doesn’t come across as sweetened or artificial. It strikes a nice balance.

I think, in future, I’d probably experiment with a bit more leaf, or perhaps 50:50 milk and water because I’d like the overall flavour to be a little stronger. Having said that, I really enjoyed the flavour I got here, so that’s not a criticism. I’d just like to taste more of it! I’ll return to this one with interest, particularly as the colder weather returns.

On an unrelated note, today was my first day in my new job, and I think it’s going to be okay. Obviously it’s all a bit weird and confusing at the moment, but I think it has the potential to be really nice. I have a cold at the moment, though, that I helpfully developed over the weekend, so I’m feeling pretty tired and just blah in general. For that reason, I’m going to pause my challenge for a few days while I recover, and while I get to grips with my new working arrangements. I’ll be back in a few days, though!

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

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