New Tasting Notes

drank Tender Thoughts by TeaTaxi
9811 tasting notes

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87

So this is basically Chai Tea, without the actual Tea. While my proclivity lately has been more towards loose leaf, I greatly appreciate Bengal Spice for it’s caffeine free nature, and tend to drink it later in the day when I don’t want the caffeine of my usual Masala Chai. It’s really rather good, quite spicy, and I find it drinkable with or without any kind of milk. Without is definitely spicier though. I would recommend this tea to anyone who loves a decent chai, but has tendencies to drink it later in the day when it may interfere with sleep. All in all, not bad for bagged.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cloves, Spices, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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85
drank Black Beauty by Mandala Tea
9811 tasting notes

Tea from yesterday to go with our work lunch. Oh man was it ever good. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, salad, buns, desserts…“wine” even the vegan and vegetarian options looked amazing. I am going to miss this tea when it’s gone. It’s been hitting all the right spots these days with it’s balance of smooth, chocolatey, medium body goodness.

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80
drank Pina Colada by Tealish
9811 tasting notes

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98

I pay a fortune for Amazon to import this bagged tea for me, and it is worth every penny. The flavor is unparalleled for bagged tea and it makes an absolutely delicious iced tea that doesn’t need a single thing added. However, when I want a special treat, I add 2 oz of Simply Lemonade to a 16 oz cup of this tea iced and it makes for a refreshing drink. Love it!

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70

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70

This was my go-to tea for years until I discovered loose teas. It has a lot of flavor and is perfect for a cup-in-a-pinch. The no-fuss bags still provide lots of flavor.

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90
drank Fireberry by Tiesta Tea
4 tasting notes

This tea is flavorful and absolutely delicious. It’s a great afternoon tea when you don’t want caffeine but want something to put pep in your step—the flavor is that good. I love this one!

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81
drank Cardamom French Toast by DAVIDsTEA
2725 tasting notes

Another one of the blends that I used to be absolutely, head over heels in love with, and now think it’s just okay.
What is happening to me? Am I (gasp) growing up in my flavor likes? What is this?
Not to say this is in any way unpleasant, but it no longer sends me into raptures. It’s just a nice enough cup of tea.
Still, the flavors are right for the season, and what are the holidays for if not for consuming things that are a little sweeter than you expected them to be?

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84

This tea was what sold me on my last Harney & Sons order. When I was a kid, I saw a documentary on the Titanic and became instantly fascinated. I read every National Geographic article on it I could get my hands on, and my dad even took us to see a display of the items recovered from the wreck. Fascinating and tragic stuff.

Anyway, I expected this to be some sort of English breakfast deal, and I was right. The leaves are very short, dark, and fine. My teaspoon scooped up what looks like a lot, so I tried to use a little less leaf than I normally would. Though it brews up very deep reddish brown, the flavor is milder than I expected. It tastes mostly like an assam, but I am also getting notes of Chinese black teas. There’s also apparently oolong mixed in, too? I can’t really detect that over the keemun. It’s mostly just a malty, bready black blend. There’s also a pleasant bitterness that reminds me of dark chocolate in a way.

This is a perfect blend for work, I think. High caffeine and a hearty flavor without being too astringent.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Dark Bittersweet, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML
Rosehips

I’ve had this on my list for quite a while. It sounds nice!

Tabby

It’s definitely worth getting a sample to try!

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86

Sometimes a “sweet” herbal tea can taste flat and artificial, but this one has a depth of flavor— maybe from the chamomile? It gives you a little touch of that astringent grass flavor that brings the sweetness down to earth a little. It’s mildly fruity but mostly delivers the honey taste.

Flavors: Apricot, Citrus, Grass

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82

Bird & Blend Matcha Advent Calendar – Day 19

Another non-matcha “matcha”. This one is a mix of cocoa powder, chicory, maca, and guarana with added flavoring. Maca is apparently a Peruvian root vegetable, and I’m sure it’s meant to be good for me in some vague way. I can definitely smell a strong cocoa presence, even in the dry powder.

This is tasty actually. The chicory gives it a rich, roasted flavor that does remind me a bit of coffee. It’s very chocolaty, but not too sweet or too bitter. There is a little bit of an artificial chocolate taste from the added flavoring as well, and perhaps just a hint of an alcoholic flavor?

It’s probably not something I would feel the need to buy, since it has no actual matcha in it and no caffeine. But I will enjoy the mini tin that I have!

The Bonne Maman jam for today is Purple Fig (Figue Violette) spread. I love fig jam! This is quite dark and purply in comparison to the usual golden color of fig. It has a deep, sweet flavor that reminds me a bit of dates in addition to figs. Yummy. I’ll have to make a cheese plate with the rest of this later!

Flavors: Alcohol, Artificial, Chocolate, Cocoa, Coffee, Roasted, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
Iced 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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97

This is so delicious. I love earl grey but the bergamot in some brands is too heavy. That isn’t the case with this tea. Maybe the vanilla tempers it a little bit? You can taste the lavender at the end of each sip but it’s not overpowering at all. Very smooth taste.

Flavors: Bergamot, Lavender, Vanilla

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90

“An engaging and balanced tea with a complex flavor profile and a silky smoove body. An ideal shou for both new and veteran Puer drinkers alike. Drink immediately or age as you please.”

Each mini is ~7 grams, 7 minis in each stack… So cutely wrapped. Because of the shape, by the 2nd infusion, it had pretty much dissolved. I didn’t detect any fermentation flavor. No fishy fermentation flavor, no mildew… And not really any strong earthiness nor leather… Aroma nor taste. The cocoa is barely noticeable (wish there was more) but it was so soothing and creamy to my mouth and throat. I want to say plain, no taste but it is probably my inexperience with ripe pu erh.

Gentle to my sensitive stomach, smooth mouth-throat feel and since I’m still getting used to the earthy-leathery tastes of ripe pu erh, I enjoyed Smoove Cocoa due to the very mild clean and soft taste, and I put this in the keeper category. Perhaps other Pu erh drinkers who don’t like the strong fermentation flavors will feel the same.

I wish there were other reviews available on this, and to think someone like myself who usually has no idea what I taste or smell unless I don’t like it, it won’t be too informative. I can’t really provide a good taste profile for you experienced tea enthusiasts. White2Tea did say it was a complex flavor profile and I would take their assessment over mine. hehe. I can only say that I liked it and am glad I bought the minis and the cake. I think with time, it’ll be much better too.

7g, 110ml, rinse, 5s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 25s, 30s, 35s, 40s, 45s, 50s, 55s, 60s (then I tried it at double the time, still extremely mild)

Flavors: Cocoa

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88

3rd note on this. I got the tea bags for a trip and it tastes different. Still good, similar but different. I had noted that they changed it for their 10th anniversary in 2017 in my first note, and I didn’t notice the difference. Now I do. The bitterness seems to be toned down (different mate blend), little more woodsy. Either formula is good for me because it’s a simple morning kickstarter.

Flavors: Lemon, Lemon Zest, Lemongrass, Wood

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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90

This is a well-reviewed and highly rated tea and deservedly so. It has a charming aroma of greens, spinach, broccoli, butter, and spice. The taste is fairly pronounced for Taiwan oolongs, with the dominant notes of grass, spinach, minerals, and seaweed. Spice, salt , and nuts as secondary flavors, with a lingering herbal and spicy aftertaste.

I usually prefer “louder” teas that grab you and this is still an oolong, which requires you to concentrate and pay an undivided attention to it to appreciate all it has to offer. But it was one of the more assertive, and, frankly, better oolongs that i have tried, without any obvious weaknesses.

Flavors: Broccoli, Butter, Grass, Mineral, Salt, Salty, Seaweed, Spices, Spinach

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61
drank Ruby Pie by Butiki Teas
376 tasting notes

Sipdown 131/395

Upping my rating from 56 because this is waaaay better than the last time I had it. It’ll never be a favourite though, which I’m sort of pleased about since it and Butiki are GONE FOREVER T_T

The scent is still AMAZING, all fresh hot strawberry jam, but it doesn’t fully translate to the flavour. There is more strawberry this time around though, somehow; it’s not just rhubarb. I did have the little bunny cracker in my cup this time, but it didn’t really add much to the tea itself. There’s still that niggling sour note at the front of the sip, and I’m pretty sure it’s meant to be there and give an authentic rhubarb vibe, but I don’t like it very much. I’m also still not keen on the base, though I forgot to look up what it was before I wrote this note. It’s very thick and has a sort of heavy mouthfeel that feels out of place with the fruity flavours. It’s just not my favourite.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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11
drank Pumpkin Chai by DAVIDsTEA
2 tasting notes

Tried this multiple times and it has such an off-putting taste, kind of burnt and cloying. Can’t really detect much of a chai or pumpkin flavour. Adjusted steep time, milk etc, disgusting every time – had to throw it away.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 15 OZ / 450 ML

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75

Nice mellow, tart cranberry taste with a touch of creaminess from the white chocolate.

Flavors: Cranberry

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 15 OZ / 450 ML

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80

5th tea of Christmas

I woke up too late to want to drink a green tea this morning (ended up making Black Sunshine from A&D), and then when I got home I almost immediately fell asleep, so I’m drinking this at like 1:30am. and honestly, I drank this too fast, it’s a tasty green tea, but I’m unsure of the custard tart-y flavour? I mostly just tasted the green tea base and blackberry. it’s a very lovely tea.

I’m very excited about the tea for…uh….later today. I will be making it in a few hours when my dumb alarm goes off and I drag myself to work.

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This is elegant. Nose jammy. I would have believed it if someone had told me this was an artificially scented pu. But it just wasn’t what I needed. After a recent raccoon encounter (I’m okay), an exhausting set of repetitive conversations with medical professionals, and outrageously high bills to match despite having a pretty good insurance, I yearned for a tea that tasted like it understood my trials and tribulations. Really, I just needed a strong alcoholic drink, or if it was going to be tea, I needed something that would make me feel invincible against any more unexpected trouble. I needed a liquid mentor who had been through the bitterness of life before me and could show me the way.

Alas, this tea, if it was a person, would be that insufferably perfect and thus holier-than-thou concertmistress or prima ballerina from the suburbs whose parents were surgeons, grandpas senators, grandmas judges, and cousins European/Southeast Asian royalty. It just tastes like straight up inter-generational, oblivious, imperturbable privilege. It’s that guy set to inherit entire buildings in Manhattan who doesn’t understand the local pizza joint owner is joking when he theatrically demands $60 for a regular pie and fountain sodas, causing the poor man to come sprinting after us for 2 city blocks, tomato-stained apron strings flapping, yelling and waving the $40 of change in the air.

I felt this while working my way through the w2t ripe basics set, and I felt it again while finally trying Storm Breaker from clt’s shou sampler. I don’t respond to newer shou made with higher quality material in a way that corresponds to the greater price and hype. The leaves look nicer as they steep, and it’s easier to clean my brewing vessel after. But that’s it.

I know many others really liked this tea, but I found the notes to be too muted and tame. It’s kinda milquetoast. It seems to say, “all is most certainly right with the world, dearie” with such an eerie wtf calm that I almost feel offended. The idealized world where this tea belongs doesn’t exist for 99.9% of people, so I hope whatever is left of it in clt’s storage makes it into lovely silver teacups in someone’s 407th vacation home.

Meh. It’s not the tea’s fault. I’m just in a grumpy mood. Will try again next year.

Flavors: Chocolate, Jam, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 75 ML

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99

Wow, this is incredible.

I purchased this Large Leaf from Old Trees Pu-erh from the bulk tea section at Rainbow Grocery. I was surprised to see several puerh from the Phoenix Tea Collection as well as a few daily drinkers, green and black. I’m not sure what prompted me to purchase this puerh since the dry leaf looks like it’s had better days, like an ancient pile of dry autumn leaves, ragged and with several large stems. Curiosity again?

It smells like what I imagine the best of aged puerh smells like. There are notes of clean soil and a very particular savory and spicy medicinal smell that I’m close to placing but just can’t get there. A hint of date syrup lies underneath. Warming and rinsing really brings all those notes forward, no new additions. The wet leaf shimmers like velvet under the light.

The first steep of 10s is a clear dark orange-red, thick, oily, and so smooth with a really pleasant soil note backed up by a strong minerality and savory quality. It retains this strength in character for many steeps. Right before I substantially increase the steep times, a very persistent and strong returning date sweetness emanates from my throat. I lost track of the number of steeps because I was in such a relaxed state, but the tea just faded away nicely, not leaving me wishing there was more to the session. Perfect.

I am so grateful to have tried a puerh with so much age. It’s an incredible tea and I’m regretting not purchasing more than one session’s worth. Though that does make for a good excuse to go on a day long bike ride from my new residence up north to the Phoenix Tea Collection and Museum in Lagunitas where I can hopefully purchase more.

Recommended for experienced puerh drinkers. This might be overwhelming or too strong of a flavor for a lot of people.

More reviews of what I think is the same tea can be found here: https://steepster.com/teas/chicago-tea-garden/10957-large-leaf-from-old-trees-pu-erh
As you can see, it has mixed reception.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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