New Tasting Notes

88

I received this as a freebie with my latest order. Thanks! The envelope says Spring Harvest with no year indicated and the website states Spring 2017. Who knows.

This tea struck a very positive and uplifting note with me but is a one-hit-wonder following the recommended brewing parameters of 1 tsp, 8oz, 212F, 3/5 minutes. I even did a third steep at what was going to be 8 minutes but turned into 11 due to forgetfulness.

The dry leaf is a sight to behold, full of twisty brown, black and gold needles that smell only of malt and sweet potatoes. The aroma of the first steep promised an exciting session with scents of orange, moss, orange blossom, molasses and milk. Indeed the first steep tasted wonderful, possessing notes of orange, walnut, mossy wet river rocks, milk, malt, light brown sugar and non-spicy ginger. The mouthfeel was smooth and milky, like 1% milk. There was a lively energy in the mouth. I was instantly warmed from the inside-out and happy.

Unfortunately, the second steep fell flat. The aroma of the liquor lost everything but the orange. There was an addition of orange zest and light ginger and the milk faded. The body became very light and watery and the mouthfeel slightly tannic with tastes of orange, apricot and wood. I wanted more than this so I went for a Hail Mary third steep. Sadly, even after 11 minutes, I was left with a nose of orange zest and orange and a taste of apricot. Very watery. There were no lingering tastes, but as I write this review, I notice a pleasant kind of watery, sour apple mouthfeel. I will say it made an excellent post-dinner drink that complemented my salmon, rice, broccoli and sweet corn.

This would be the perfect tea for those gray and frozen winter days when you need a ray of sunshine. I’ll move this one to the back of the drawer for now. Hopefully some light aging will work its magic and allow for some longevity and cocoa notes to develop but I feel like realistically it might not happen.

Edit: I think I was too harsh on this tea. Ratings are tough without clearly defined criteria and I sometimes think about dropping that habit. That said, I’m not ready to drop the habit yet. I was disappointed to not pick up on any of the chocolate I’ve gotten in other dianhong teas. There’s something really nice about this tea that I can’t define. Some of the best things come in short bursts. Increased rating. Still going to let the tea sit for a while.

Preparation
Boiling 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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73

Summer Vacation! Going to try some oolong tonight, and a little earlier in the evening, hopefully I won’t get too much of an energy spike. This is a Chinese oolong that I picked up at Snake River Tea in Boise during my Anime Oasis trip last May, and since I don’t know their wholesale source for it, I’m just logging it under them. I recently picked up a Se Chung from Upton from the generous Meowster, and I’m curious to compare if their flavors are pretty much the same, or if they have any notable differences.

This tea was very bubbly right after dispensing it from my infuser, with a deep yellow color and roasty, nutty aroma, with a touch of subtle honeysuckle to the scent as well. The flavor has a mild roastiness, with a strong roasted nut flavor, and a background vegetal note. A slight floral and somewhat honeyed sweetness comes out towards the end of the sip. I’m a fan of both dark roasted flavor profiles like houjicha and also light, vegetal/floral green oolongs, and at first this seemed a bit of an odd juxtaposition of flavors, striking this strange place between the two flavor profiles, but the more I sip on the cup, the more I find that it is growing on me. It’s like, at first my tongue wants more of the roasted/nutty qualities to come out or be stronger, but then it just sort of settles into that softer/delicate vegetal/floral finish and is fine with it. I’m actually finding this quite warm and soothing as I watch the latest episode of Penn and Teller’s Fool Us.

Will have to try my other Se Chung from Upton soonish while this one is still fresh in my memory for comparison.

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Honeysuckle, Nutty, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Smooth, Vegetal

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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The WMD was one of my favorite teas of 2017 and this years is up there as well…but I’m a big fan of Mansa teas as they seem to combine the floral notes of Yiwu area teas with the backbone of a Menghai. This tea is no exception. This years WMD is very similar to how last years tasted this young except last years was fruitier early on while this years has a more vegetal pea soup character akin to a Japanese sencha or gyokuro. This seems like a common theme this year. Teas that had lots of apricot notes the past few years seem vegetal and minerally this year. Don’t know if it’s different climatic conditions or what. This tea steeps forever and bitter vegetal oily sage and camphor notes fade to sweet orchid and lemongrass. Potent, meditative energy emerges from this tea starting with a tingle in the forehead then spreading through whole body. I see why some monks believe that to drink the good stuff and not meditate afterward is a waste. This is a small vendor that sources a modest but diverse assortment of teas. All are worth sampling but this one is the flagship.

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70

Summer Vacation! I decided to do another bagged tea revisit. In general these are always such a disappoint, as I continually discover that the grocery store teas I used to be fine with back in the day I just can’t tolerate now that my palate is more sensitive. But I’m always willing to give them a second chance.

I do like Moroccan Mint blends, and this one actually uses Young Hyson Chinese green tea rather than gunpowder green (Moroccan Mint is one of the only times I actually find gunpowder green somewhat tolerable, it definitely isn’t my favorite kind of green) so that already improves it a bit for me. It’s also a mint/spearmint blend and includes a touch of lemongrass, and the last Moroccan Mint blend I tried that included a touch of citrus (it had lemon verbena) really worked for me, so maybe I’ll still like this one as much as I remember I used to? Then again, Stash has not had a very good revisit streak with me… I think I’ve only still liked one Stash tea upon revisit, with all the rest scoring very lowly with me upon revisit. Hmm…

I decided to do this one as one of my quart mason jars of iced tea. Prepared hot brewed first, then left to fully chill overnight before drinking. Call me shocked, it… still holds up! I mean, it’s by no means the most amazing Moroccan Mint tea I’ve had or anything (Steven Smith Teamaker’s full leaf Fez is far nicer), but as far as cheap, bagged tea goes… I can actually drink this and not think to myself, ugh, this tastes nasty, like I usually feel when I’m drinking cheap bagged tea. The spearmint leads as the dominant flavor, and is really refreshing as an iced tea. It’s nicely minty and lingers a bit on the tongue, and I feel I get that slight touch of citrus.

You’ve done okay with this one, Stash.

Flavors: Citrus, Menthol, Mint, Spearmint

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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89

Another very fine tea bargain from Puershop. This is an uncomplicated yet high quality ripe. It is quite smooth, with little fermentation flavor, a medium heavy level of fermentation, and a decent caffeine boost. It doesn’t have too much character, and fades a bit more quickly than I would like, but it is a very good tea. It is $11 for a 200g cake at the moment, making it a great daily drinker.

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85
drank Ruby Oolong by Rishi Tea
37 tasting notes

Picked this up from the co-op a while back. It was much cheaper per pound there than through Rishi. Yay high turnover bulk.

Gone grandpa, 1 tsp, 10oz ceramic coffee mug, 195F, 2 top-offs.

The dry leaf scent resembles a young, non-boozy cabernet. I pick up on red fruit, green bell pepper and woody vanilla. The liquor smells mostly like baked cherries and honey with a dash of cocoa.

The taste is more complex. It seems like a medley of malty dark cherry pie and a flakey apricot and blood orange pastry with large sugar crystals sprinkled on top. The most prominent notes are honey, baked cherry and rose. Other, non-dominant tastes include a swirl of wet wood, musty autumn leaves, red plum, green bell pepper, golden syrup, violet, black licorice, cacao, vanilla, black pepper without the spicy bite and mineral. Mouthfeel is pretty light and later quite drying especially at the back of the throat and uvula, making for an awkward swallow. Aftertaste lingers early on before the astringency takes over.

This is a very tasty tea. Compared to previous brews western style, I pick up more flavor complexity with grandpa style. However, due to the astringency in the throat, I think it’s better-suited for western.. In general, it does lack the fuller, thicker mouthfeel that I appreciate, though that makes it good for a light daily drinker. I’ll have to try it out in a gaiwan.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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79

This tea is a medium oolong with a light amber color and a nice sweet aroma. It has a pronounced honey taste and is sweet but not overpowering. It has a velvety texture that makes it feel like I’m drinking a warm glass of honey. There is a hint of floral flavor that comes on a little stronger as the tea cools.

Flavors: Honey

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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Picked up a bottle of this from the farmer’s market last week!

This is one of Crave’s two limited edition summer flavours; haven’t had a chance to try out the other one yet because they’ve always sold out every market by the time I get down there. I like this one as a concept though; however as far as flavour goes I didn’t find it as exciting as a lot of the blends that they carry year round. It’s a little simplistic; and just tastes like especially tangy/acidic/vinegary lemonade. Not bad, per say, but I think that most kombucha really benefits from ‘dual’ flavours so give more balance/depth to the profile. So, like, a “Pink Lemonade and Peach” or something…

derk

Agree with kombucha benefitting from dual flavors. My favorite for homemade kombucha is doing a second fermentation with fresh pineapple and ginger juices.

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82
drank Pink Flamingo by DAVIDsTEA
6619 tasting notes

Iced, with lemonade.

So I had kind of forgotten that while this is citrus/grapefruit it’s not a sweet citrus blend. I mean, it has been a long time since the last time that I had this blend, afterall. So, I was initially a bit taken aback by the tartness and straight up hibiscus flavour. It also seemed a little bit drying. However, I added a splash of lemonade to sweeten it up a bit and that made a big improvement for me – still plenty of pleasant grapefruit notes but also a juicier lemon/orange quality and then more of that eucalyptus undertone that adds a differing note to break up all the citrus. Also just makes it more refreshing.

I missed this tea!

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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drank Copabanana by DAVIDsTEA
6619 tasting notes

So, this is the only tea out of the eight anniversary teas that I hadn’t tried before – and of course I had to rectify that as soon as possible!

First tasting is hot; and based on the ingredients list I knew that this was something that would be suited for a long steep time to really pull out all of the flavours so I let it steep for about ten minutes while sitting on a mug warmer so that it stayed nice and hot. It smells fucking divine – rich banana notes, hints of cocoa, and lots of coconut with just a bit of brightness that I assume is the strawberry. I wonder when this tea was originally released? Steepster reviews seem to indicate that it’s at least seven years old…

Taking first sips and immediately this reminds me of the banana hot chocolate that the specialty coffee shop in the mall I work in makes. It’s really sweet, and definitely a little bit “artificial banana” but also really tasty. I think they call it Banana Split Hot Chocolate? Which also works here, with the very minor notes of strawberry and slight nuttiness. Really though, the strongest flavour here is banana followed by chocolate/coconut. I wanted to find something to replicate the whipped cream topping that the coffee shop adds, so I put a little scoop of vanilla ice cream in the cup to melt into the tea and it perfectly fit in with the overall profile and just made this even more banana split like.

Definitely really enjoyed this one! I’m excited to try out other things with it; like either cold brewing it or doing it up as a latte.

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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85

Oh maple tea, you are still deliciously maple even though you’re well over a year old. The white/green tea flavor comes out slightly but more than anything it acts as a base to highlight the maple flavor.

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drank Horchacha by DAVIDsTEA
6619 tasting notes

New collection launch at DT today; lots of really cool llama themed stuff. I’m not totally sure how this collection’s tea/animal theme ties into the last one though: if someone wants to explain the connection between toucans, succulents, and llamas & beets, pears, peaches, and horchata to me then I am all ears

I had this one as a latte; it only seemed right since horchata is a creamy drink. I’ll be honest, I’ve never had straight horchata before but I have had my fair share of rumchata which I know is similar but just boozey. So I was kind of looking for something comparable to that in terms of flavour. I really enjoyed the flavour of this one all latte-d up, but I struggled finding a good way to articulate what it tasted like/reminded me of. I think what I ended up comparing it to when I was talking to a coworker about it was a mix of the following teas; Let It Snow, Spice is Right, Carrot Cupcake, and Sticky Rice Oolong. ’Cause really, it is different parts of all of those teas just mashed together. Let me elaborate though…

The overall creaminess is very similar to Let It Snow, as if the amount of green tea base that comes through in the overall taste. Plus, both blends have some very soft/gentle spice to them. Spice Is Right is another green blend heavily spiced; the clove is the connector here, I think. With Carrot Cupcake, I think the thing that most connects this tea to that blend is the weird whipped cream flavouring that they both share; however, they also both have the same sort of spices. And finally this is similar to Sticky Rice Oolong because of the rice flavour that both blends share – specifically the pandan leaves which have a really strong rice flavour.

I think I do want to buy a little of this (probably less that 50g) for at home; but I actually own another Horchata green tea already – one from A Quarter To Tea. I haven’t tried it yet, so I want to do that and see if it’s better than this one before I go and buy any of this for at home. It’s quite interesting though – and I can definitely see it being a go to latte at work for the next little bit.

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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90

Didn’t really get any flavour out of the cold brew I did of this not too long ego, but now I’m drinking this one hot and it’s definitely flavourful – but in a weird way? Hard to describe, exactly, but it tastes like a sort of mix of apricot, black licorice, smoke, caramel, and papaya notes!? I’m digging it though. Just – what even is this flavour combination!?

Anyway – thanks VariaTEA

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ld-2ajawhxs&list=LL1M1wDjmJD4SJr_CwzXAGuQ&index=85

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78

Made this one in a tea press with a little lemon honey to take to work.

We ended up getting pretty busy during the day and I really didn’t have time to drink my tea at all. Then, after the store closed it was a Merch Flip to put out all the super cute new llama stuff that came out today. So, I didn’t really get a chance to enjoy this until that Merch Flip – and by then it was definitely cold. However, I don’t think it being cold made it any less tasty. Instead, it just made it more reminiscent of a raspberry/lemon infused apple juice sort of flavour because it was an especially apple note heavy cuppa.

Hydrating, though! And honestly, that late in the day and moving around all that stock I think iced/chilled/cold was really the way to go anyway for tea.

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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79

Had a killer migraine on Sunday so I was really favouring mint and eucalyptus blends – and guess which tea I own has a whole lot of BOTH of those things!? That’s right – this one!

So, I didn’t do my crazy “triple strength” brewing method this time because I don’t actually have a cold and wasn’t having issues with normal breathing. However, even just brewing this are normal strength produces a pretty intense cuppa. Lots and LOTS of mint, but really I think it was the eucalyptus that actually provided me with a sense of relief and comfort from my migraine. I mean, pain killers were the thing that did the most help: tea should not replace medicine. However, this was an aid for sure.

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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90

Drank on the way home from work; wanted something thick and full bodied with shou earthiness but other flavours as well. Rice seemed perfect; it’s a very comforting tea and I like the idea of finishing off the work day with a relaxing blend…

This was tasty, but far more weighted towards the shou than the rice. Rice was still present, but more muted than I’m accustomed to tasting with this tea. I think I likely didn’t let it steep long enough; I didn’t want the pyramid bag steeping the entire time I was on the bus so I threw it out right before I got on – which was probably only like a two minute steep time!?

It still achieved that relaxing/stressing releasing effect I was going for though.

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Broke into my stash of this one because I was craving something very sweet and creamy, and I thought that the mint in this would be somewhat refreshing as well considering how hot it’s been as of late.

It was good; definitely hit all of those creamy dessert cravings I was having what with the surplus of white chocolate in the blend. Seriously, I got SO MANY white chocolate chips in the scoop that I measured out. The flip to that, though, is that because there were so many white chocolate bits there was a lot less candy cane so while it was minty it wasn’t in your face “slap me with how refreshing you are” minty. Still good though! I kind of secretly/low key hope this comes back for Christmas – it’s so sugary/sweet and I typically hate that in a tea, but it’s such a guilty pleasure indulgence blend for me that I almost don’t care…

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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100

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Flowers, Fruity, Honey

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 g 7 OZ / 207 ML

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So, our city now has two Board Game cafes – one recently opened up. This one is a bit different from the other in that they serve alcohol and also just have a full menu just like a restaurant would so that you can eat/drink while you play. The other cafe just sells coffee and various baked goods…

So, the fam jam and I were there earlier in the week to check it out and I saw that they sold matcha lattes so of course I opted for that instead of coffee or alcohol. It was ok; about the quality I’d expect from a cafe that doesn’t really specialize in tea at all. So, that is to say it was VERY sweet/sugared up and that I found multiple matcha clumps in the bottom of the mug from poor whisking/lack of sifting.

Not bad for the price though.

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60
drank Coconut Breeze by Harlow Tea Co
4051 tasting notes

This tea was so thick that it moved like jello so I was worried that the coconut in this would come off a little lotiony. However, it wasn’t lotiony because it wasn’t even present in the flavor. Lemongrass is what takes over here. Lemongrass and a bit of the vegetal base, along with a slightly creamy texture, as such it had a real Island vibe to it.

Check out my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/12/14/calling-all-coconut-lovers-coconut-breeze-from-harlow-tea-co/

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75
drank Rebel by Wild Leaf
105 tasting notes

I just had this black tea with dried fruits, coffee and rooibos. It smells a bit like Bailey’s for some reason actually. The additions are somewhat subtle in taste, but definitely make the tea less boring.

It seems like there are not many artificial flavourings and aromas, which is nice. The taste is not too sickly.

Obviously the texture cannot compare with higher quaality tea, but that just comes from the tea leaves used.

I think it would be really nice as a latte and slightly sweetened. I can’t try that out though, because I only had a 5g sample, which I used up.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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69

So my final pot of this tea didn’t have the problems I’d noticed with previous cups- namely that it is a bit soapy and leaves the mouth feeling dry.
No, as is typical, I got the steep time right at this last moment. Grumble.
This was a decent Earl. Not an exceptional one, so I doubt I’ll get any more of this, but it was nice enough to have.
Sipdown!

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56
drank Chocolate by India's Tea
4051 tasting notes

Latte Sipdown (355)

I didn’t love this one. It wasn’t bad per se but it’s a little lacking. I found the tannins in this to be quite strong and any chocolate flavor is weak. It’s sort of there but mostly this tastes a little more dirty than delicious. Nevertheless, thank you Arby for sharing this with me. It is always fun to try new things, even if they don’t always taste amazing.

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