New Tasting Notes

93
drank Jiri Horse by teabento
888 tasting notes

This is another sad sipdown. Earlier mornings and the most basic of basic kettles has suddenly turned me into a black tea enthusiast..

Also this tea is just ridiculously forgiving and resteepable. You only need to steep it for 45s to get good flavour, but forget about it for 30 minutes and it still comes out tasting like hot malty cocoa water.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Leafhopper

This tea is impossible to mess up. Wish I had more!

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drank Namastea by DAVIDsTEA
6619 tasting notes

OK…

So, this tea smells and tastes STRONGLY of buttery noodles. Like, straight up ramen coated in butter. It’s actually more buttery than Butter Sencha, to be honest. I didn’t think I’d like this one because it’s mostly just Valerian and green tea; I didn’t expect to like the strong green tea taste I was sure it would have. Really though, it’s the BUTTER NOTES that are ruining for me. I think I’d actually prefer a more grassy taste…

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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80

This tea mostly has fairly standard Chinese green tea characteristics, but with better mouthfeel.

The smell is similar to longjing – nutty and a little floral, but more fruity. The taste is brothy, vegetal and fruity. In terms of flavours I can pick up some grapes and courgette. Overall, it is fairly light and crisp tasting, medium-bodied with nice thick and oily mouthfeel that gets a bit astringent in the finish. In the aftertaste, there are some sour flavours emerging as well. The feeling in the throat is warming for a while after drinking the tea.

Flavors: Fish Broth, Thick, White Grapes, Zucchini

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 15 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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drank Goji Green by DAVIDsTEA
6619 tasting notes

Very raspberry. A little licorice root. Not nearly as sweet as it usually is, but I had it hot with a shorter steep time so that’s likely why. Generally you can’t taste the green tea in this at all, but I found it pretty noticeable as this mellow grassy quality in the top/body of the sip that then really quickly/suddenly moved into the fruit elements near the swallow.

Very last sip of tea in the cup was SUPER intense and almost like a raspberry syrup: it was as if 70% of the flavour in the cup had ‘sunk’ to the bottom. Kind of shocking.

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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80

Revisit.

So, I had a near identical experience with this tea to my first time trying it. Strongest note was bright, sweet and succulent ripe peaches and then there were supporting apple and floral element. I feel like the lavender was a little stronger this time, and more weighted towards the finish of the sip so that this played out like a bright peach transitioning cleanly into soft, comforting lavender. No weird muddling in the middle. I saw A LOT of coconut in the leaf for this, though, and just didn’t taste it.

Really loving the peach/lavender though – makes me want to see that combo in more blends…

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84

Made a small batch of cold brew into popsicles using this tea a few days ago.

I wanted to make them, initially, with a puree of fresh mint leaves, watermelon and agave but my mom ended up using all the fresh mint for a mint milkshake and my sister at like 90% of the watermelon so I ended up only using the tea – no extras. I think that was a mistake because texturally these were basically just GIANT ice cubes and as far as flavour goes they were oddly bitter, even though I tested the cold brew before pouring and it tasted perfectly fine.

So far I’ve had one of the batch which has tasted good – and it was pretty mellow, with a slight watermelon taste and then a more cooling minty sort of finish. It was refreshing but just not what I was really going for…

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81

Hot latte!

So, I liked this a lot better as a latte – it was especially creamy and rich and all three flavours in the blend came through very well. The mint was the strongest; very crisp and cooling and refreshing. You could very much tell that it was achieved through natural peppermint leaf and not oils or flavouring because it had there slight grassy/herby quality that real peppermint leaf has. The pistachio was the second strongest of the three; it was more of a “lower” body/slightly undertone note that was definitely nutty and sweet consistently but at times didn’t come off as specifically pistachio. I felt like it was more of a pistachio “flavour” the same way, say, Dammann Freres uses pistachio flavouring in their Carcadet Fraise Pistache blend. It’s a good compliment to the latte format though – definitely adds to the richness of it all. Finally you have the cardamom, which was the most subtle of the three main flavours in the blend. It was also more of an undertone to the mint/general milk creaminess, and I felt like it was most clear in the finish of the sip where it popped a little bit alongside the pistachio/nutty quality. It’s kind of hard to describe cardamom as tasting like anything other than cardamom – it’s such a distinct flavour. However, the combo of pistachio and cardamom really reminded me of Halva and with the overall profile I was really getting the Persian inspiration of the blend.

I will likely finish the rest of this as a latte again or, possibly, try to make some sort of Mint Pistachio rice pudding dish because just now I realized how well this tea would compliment that sort of dessert…

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80

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70

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65

The last few days have been very stressful and I don’t handle stress well. As in I screamed at my poor dementia patient mother. Not to her face., I was upstairs in my bedroom and she was down in the hall. She asks over and over and OVER the same questions. I just lost it. I opened my mouth intending to answer her again but instead, I screamed my reply. I feel awful, not jsut because I screamed, but because I hurt mom. I don’t want to do that, and she cannot help asking the same question every thirty seconds. She literally cannot remember that she’s asked already.

I knew helping take care of her would be challenging sometimes, but I am at the end of my rope. I require alone time to recharge, but I have no privacy. Even my bedroom isn’t not my own space. She comes up at all hours of the night and flips on the light to chat. I am going to have a heart attack or a nervous breakdown.

Sorry for the vent. That was all to say that I went through my tea box looking for something that would be a special treat. I found a pouch of Banana Nut Bread. I’ve had it for more than a year and it’s never been opened, so I figured this was the perfect time to try it.

I brewed it for about 8 minutes in 205 degree water. The liquer is light, a little darker than yellow, but not brown or even amber. The flavor is equally light. I don’t know if it is the age, or the amount I used to brew, or the fact that I can’t smell, but I don’t taste much. It is mildly sweet. I enjoyed it. While I drank it I had an entire 30 minutes alone while my brother entertained my mom.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
derk

I understand your frustration. My grandmother started presenting signs of dementia over ten years ago. My aunt was her primary caretaker and I saw the effect my grandmother’s follies had on her. She often vented to me when she could no longer stay calm. Keep venting whenever you need to. There is a lot of information out there with suggestions on how to deal with the burden. I found that doing something easy and new with my grandmother, like watercolor painting, somehow kept her focused for a few hours. And while she couldn’t remember anything beyond 30 seconds, she at least derived some pleasure and sense of accomplishment from those simple things. I’m glad to hear you have other family around to take at least some of the load off temporarily.

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87

This is one of the several free samples generously sent to me by AprTea, a new Chinese tea vendor located in Anxi (Fujian, China). I much appreciate both the samples and the fact that we seem to have gotten another quality vendor of Fujian and other Chinese teas, of which I am a big, big fan. The collection of samples came in simple but visually appealing sample bags packed in a cardboard tube. I actually like their design that is minimalist with a touch of a faded antique style: it’s practical, tasteful and good for the environment.

The tea itself consists of visually pleasing golden snails, quite uniform in size and color. This is the tea that is well suited to gongfu. I had three infusions and all of them gave something new. The aroma was the one that you often get from a good Yunnan tea with honeyed sweetness and malt.

The first steep was short (10 seconds) and the tea came out quite mild, with the notes of baked bread, sweet potatoes, honey, hay, malt and wild flowers. It came out as very fresh and authentic , i.e. “real”. I increased the second infusion to 25 seconds and the tea aquired a pleasant bitterness , metallic and minty notes. The bitter chocolate aftertaste lingered for a long time. The third and final infusion (25 sec) gave me a very mellow tea with all kinds of muted sweetness and barely a hint of bitterness.

Well, I liked this tea quite a bit. It tastes very “real” and three-dimensional and responds well to experimenting with a gaiwan. On the negative side is that I am not a big fan of a strongdark chocolate bitterness and that this tea does not give you a lot of quality infusions, both of which is not that uncommon in dianghongs.

I am really looking forward to trying other samples from AprTea.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Dark Chocolate, Flowers, Herbaceous, Honey, Malt, Mint, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
Boiling 4 g 70 OZ / 2070 ML

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58
drank Cerise Noire by Dammann Freres
4048 tasting notes

As a plain tea, this was very typical french tea to me, more base than anything and red fruit flavors that maybe leaned to cherry.

As a chocolate milk latte, this was a huge miss. Too dark, bitter, and just heavy.

Check out my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2018/08/14/cerise-noire-from-dammann-freres/

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99

I bought this tea some time ago, but just haven’t gotten around to reviewing it yet. Since it is the iced tea I have been lugging around in my big water bottle today, I figured I’d better rectify that!

This is one of my favorite Earl Grey blends. I used to hate bergamot, but once I adapted my palate to its flavor, I initially was most interested in EG blends, that would take the edge off it slightly by including a few other flavors to play with, and since I love lavender, this seemed a good fit for me. Even better, this blend also incorporated the typical “Earl Grey Creme” vanilla and creme flavorings.

The leaf smells heavenly; the bergamot and vanilla remind me of a lemon meringue or key lime pie, because it is so citrusy but desserty at the same time, and there is a sweet, slightly minty lavender aroma that mixes beautifully with that sweet citrus scent.

The warm cup is lovely; a lot of lavender teas I try are either too heavy-handed on the lavender, so it comes out with a sort of floral-bitterness, or way too light on the lavender, so you don’t really taste its flavor at all. This one has just the right balance. The base tea is nice and dark but the astringency is quite mild compared to most Earl Greys I’ve tried (which I appreciate!), and there is this nice blend of bergamot and lavender flavors that hit the tongue mid-sip, with the lavender lingering a touch in the aftertaste. Occassionally the creme notes come through on the roof of my mouth; it’s a subtle note, and I think it mostly pulls back the base from having that strong bite that I often get in Earl Greys; this one is much more smooth.

I enjoy this plain, but the flavor is just perfect to take London Fog style as a latte with vanilla almond milk. It adds a delightful creaminess and the vanilla almond milk pushes the vanilla and creme notes to the forefront a bit.

This tea makes a fantastic iced Arnold Palmer, which is how I’ve prepared it today. I made a strong brew of four tsp. to two cups water, hot brewed, which I mixed with two cups lemonade, and then let the tea chill in the fridge overnight before drinking. It is divine! The sweet vanilla/creme note still comes through as a sort of natural sweetness to the iced tea, and the lavender and bergamot are such complimentary flavors to the citrus of the lemonade. I could drink this stuff all summer! Easily one of the best iced teas I’ve had yet.

This is just such a versatile tea that can be enjoyed so many ways in many different weather conditions. I plan to always keep it in my cupboard.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Cream, Lavender, Malt, Smooth

Preparation
Iced 4 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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90

I’m actually really happy I have two packages of this because the more I drink it, the more I like it. It’s like a revamped Banana Pudding and it is amazing. Malty, creamy, but more than anything banana. It is rich enough that it could be nice on a winter day but with tropical flavors that are delicious in the summer. This is a tasty, tasty tea. Upped my rating from 81.

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Sipdown (626)!

Finished off this morning while I was getting ready for work. I felt like I could really taste both the orange and the anise; which would have been fine on its own but the rest of the spices felt weird and aggressive combined with those two notes. I added a little milk to soften things; it helped a touch. There’s also something about this blend that seems a little savory/broth like to me, but not sure what.

Ultimately, I feel relieved to have finished this one off. It’s not that I think it’s a bad blend; but it’s just so clearly not one intended for my tastes.

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49

iced Sipdown (627)!

Don’t know why, but I had just assumed this was a herbal tea. I opened up the sample bag that VariaTEA sent me of it today, though, and I saw right away that it’s definitely NOT a herbal tea. Nope, definitely very much a black tea.

It’s ok iced; kind of has a sour passion fruit/mango taste to it that would be perfectly fine (arguably even delicious) if it was the only flavour in the cup. However, it’s also somewhat floral and the finish is really buttery and I’m just NOT into that buttery tropical/citrus fruit duo so it detracts a lot from the overall flavour for me. I wonder where that buttery quality is coming from!? If it could be eliminated this would be such a more pleasant cuppa…

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75

I received this as sample from Bird & Blend with their Christmas in July sale. It’s one I REALLY wanted to try. I love a good jam and a good jammy tea. I’m glad I didn’t use more than one heaping teaspoon, as the black tea tastes richer here than the usual black tea from B&B (which I think is usually Ceylon unless they changed it). That is because this one is a mix of an Indian assam black tea and a Kenyan black tea. The black tea itself is definitely for breakfast, even if the brew color is more red than black. The flavor is malty, bready deliciousness. I really appreciate the different black teas used here, but the strength might overpower much of the raspberry flavoring. I think it’s all in the luck of the teaspoon scoop though because I might be tasting more hibiscus than raspberry. B&B is usually really great at taming that hibiscus. Or maybe I just like a ton of jam. Overall, this one just isn’t the blend that I’d hope it’d be. I’m very glad the base isn’t the usual Ceylon, as that would be even more disappointing. Nothing magical here like with their Jelly + Ice Cream blend (which sold out almost instantly for their sale…. maybe they shouldn’t offer some teas only during a sale? Supply & demand sort of thing?) But I have at least one more teaspoon to try — maybe the magic will be there.
Steep #1 // 1 heaping teaspoon for a full mug// 14 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // couple minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep

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87

Finishing up my bag of this.

Gone western. 1tsp, 8oz, 175F, 60/90/120s all combined into one big glass. Don’t oversteep! It can get really astringent.

Who doesn’t love snails?

I bought this tea right after it became available in the spring. I can’t recall what the dry leaf smelled like when it was really fresh but at the moment I can’t pick up on anything definable. It’s just soft. Plop these downy snails on the top of some hot water. Watch them unfurl. The brewing liquor smells much like bacon-wrapped sweet scallops. Very umami!

After pouring all three steeps together, the liquor is a light green-yellow with a ton of down floating around even after using a strainer. If you don’t use a strainer, you’ll end up with some black bits floating around that eventually settle to the bottom. The taste is soft with scallops, grass, mineral lemon water, white florals and a sweet, very light peach. The peach becomes quite prominent in the aftertaste and resembles peach gummy rings, though not nearly as strong. The mouthfeel is thick, light and glassy, with a complementary astringency and saltiness as long as you don’t overbrew. Salivation is also present.

This tea is still nice, light and refreshing 6 months after harvest. Very affordable.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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83

I love the look of this tea, it is a large 8 gram rolled up ball of white, yellow, and black leaves. I couldn’t help myself and steeped the whole ball, even though it is more tea than I usually steep at one time. It steeps darker than most whites I have had, but it has the honeydew haw flavor of a good white. There is also the subtle flavor of a young raw pu-erh on the back end. It is a tasty tea, which is nice because I was worried that it was just trying to get by on its looks.

Flavors: Hay, Honeydew

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 8 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Vanilla Sencha by DAVIDsTEA
77 tasting notes

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68
drank Apple Custard by DAVIDsTEA
77 tasting notes

I got this as part of the Throwback Sweethearts gift box. As with most fruit infusions, I fell in love with the smell of the dry loose leaf, and I didn’t like much about the flavour. The hint of cream needs to be much stronger in order to compete with the apple.

Flavors: Apple

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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85

This is really hitting the spot today. I had relegated this tea to my work stash as it just wasn’t doing it for me. Here at the office, I don’t have the benefit of my fancy clay kyusu, gram scale, or precise water temperature. So I’m basically winging it most of the time and end up brewing more or less western style.

I reckon I brewed this close to 180 F and with a lower leaf to water ratio. It’s astonishing how dramatically different it tasted after tweaking just a few variables. Instead of the usual muddled flavor and astringency, I got an intensely sweet and floral cup. Reminded me of some high mountain oolongs. Resteeps were good, but not as amazing as the first steep.

A finicky tea that can be rewarding once you figure it out. Bumping up my rating for this one.

Flavors: Floral, Grass, Sweet

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML

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