Featured & New Tasting Notes
Blooming Tea Sipdown (208)
I submitted my last law school exam today!! Provided I pass everything, that means I am now a graduate…again. Yay!! It’s a weird feeling because if Covid was not a thing, I would have been walking out of the exam next to a friend and being all excited about being finished. We probably would have gone for a drink or lunch or something to celebrate after chatting with all the other people who just submitted their last exam. Instead I pressed “Submit” exam while sitting in my bed. Something just less anti-climatic about that and I think it hasn’t fully hit yet but I know today is an exciting day!
My sister surprised me with a light box for my tea pictures. I keep complaining to her that all her surfaces look the same so all my tea pictures look the same. I told her she should change her countertop to accommodate but I guess she decided instead to get the lightbox. I was having a lot of fun messing around with it. https://www.instagram.com/p/COLtmlpgfSu/
I decided to do a time lapse with my bloom tea except the bloom decided to not work with me. It refused to sink and bloom well. That said, the light box still made it fun. Also, I realized after I did the photo that this is the last tea in my stash from The Tea Haus. So on the same day I finish school, I am finishing the last tea I bought in the same city as my school. Seemed like a fun fact.
Tastewise, its fine. It is sort of floral. Sort of sweet. Sort of nothing interesting at all. That’s usually the case with these blooms though so I’m not too upset. At least its not bitter.
I’ve been neglecting my tea of the last week or so. There’s just been so much going on. I’ve been searching for another job for about a year (transitioning into a sole focus in Human Resources), and have had the absolute worst luck. I’m also starting graduate school next week (yay!), which has taken a lot of preparation and planning.
On top of the work/school stuff, my foster cat was diagnosed with FIP. Up until the last couple years, FIP had a 100% fatality rate. Luckily, there’s been some excellent research done, and there is an underground d treatment available with a very high success rate. Unfortunately though, the treatment requires daily subcutaneous injections for 3 months minimum. Learning to give my poor cat injections has been quite an ordeal.
Anyway, I haven’t been drinking as much tea as I normally would. But, I’m finally getting back to some sip downs.
Added some cashew milk and a bit of honey to this and it was the best cup yet.
And not a tea I wrote tasting note before. Mostly because a first steeps I had were mostly chamomile only. And I kind of dislike it. But now, I had the rest in the strainer (approx. 3 tsp used) and decided to brew it as celebration tea. Celebration tea? Well, there is a reason to celebrate… two exams today (one oral) and both passed. Two exams to go and then finals!
But I needed to unwind. Afterall, it was 8 pm when I brewed this tea. Exam was at 6 pm. So late!
But to the tea…
It is chamomile. Luckily with other herbals. The lemongrass is giving it nice flavour other than apple like chamomile. It’s quite floral as well and thus quite nice. I am not sure about honey, but yes, there are sweet notes. I guess it is actually nice blend. And unwinding for sure… and hopefully I will sleep better than last few days as well.
Won’t rate, as apparently biased of chamomile. And even no idea how to rate it. It’s very nice though. And moreover for a good cause!
Flavors: Chamomile, Honey, Lemongrass, Sweet
I adopted this off the pay-it-forward table at work because…well…a perfectly viable unopened tin of tea. Do I need more justification?
Actually, with iced tea season almost upon us, I thought it would be pleasant this summer. But before chilling it, I made a conventional cup this afternoon. For a grocery store selection, it isn’t bad. The jasmine didn’t taste like guest soap. I was a little heavy handed on the water temp so it was a little bitter this time around, but next time, with a little more care, I think it will be acceptably leafy and vegetal.
A good cheap date, especially with your eyes closed, listening to the maple tree “helicopters” plinking on the roof.
I was positive I had reviewed this but it wasn’t even in the database!
I am trying to get in the habit of going to bed early and getting up earlier. Successful so far for three weeks! One habit I have adopted to help is avoiding caffeine and large snacks at night. Honestly, most herbals just didn’t excite me. Chamomile and mint are all well and good but I didn’t look forward to them.
Cuppageek to the rescue! I have found a number of blends that I really do look forward to. Spiced Fall Evenings, Baked Apple pie (with a dash of rum) – and that’s the name, I don’t mean I am adding rum to it!, Jaffa Cakes (oh my goodness!), and now this one!
This steeps up a pale yellow. I rather dislike red rooibos but I like green rooibos a lot. I don’t love hibiscus but there is so little in this it doesn’t even turn pink. This is a sweet and soft berry flavored cuppa. Imagine the tart sweetness of a strawberry pie, then imagine the bites where you get some whipped cream on the fork with it, and THAT is what I get here. The berry flavor is there but it is softened and sweetened by the marshmallow.
It just happens that we had it last night with just such a strawberry pie made by my friend Melissa here on Steepster and dropped off yesterday. It was nice with that before bed, and we had it again this morning with bagels for breakfast.
So delightful, and it would perfect for a tea party or picnic with children.
Ashman liked it, too!
Labor-intensive curriculum writing project done. Microwave, stand, and everything on it swabbed down. Living room vacuumed. Fresh sheets on the bed. A celebration is in order.
And, boys-a-dear, this is the tea to celebrate with! Upon opening and contemplating the bonanza of dried strawberries, chocolate chips, and rose petals in this CuppaGeek blend (dare I say masterpiece?), I couldn’t decide whether to steep some or use it for potpourri. The scent of real chocolate and real fruit (not syrupy candy flavoring) made me giddy.
The actual cup did not disappoint. I expected it to be a little oily due to the chocolate, but there’s just a little opacity. The strawberry is real, the chocolate (to me, anyway) leans a little to the dark side, and the rose petals just add a lovely element of fancy-pants.
I anticipate it to make a perfectly acceptable second steep, which is going to be needed very soon. This cup’s gone!
I needed a bold and pure black tea today afternoon, as in the morning I had no time to drink any tea (blame my dentist, not me!) and then I had swollen mouth and had no mood to drink anything but water.
Anyway, I took this tea from Izzy though again, as a Basilur I am sure I had it before. Anyway, thank you! I have last one left to make face-to-face comparison with same region tea, but from MlesnA. I am pretty sure I know the winner already, but whatever.
This tea, after four minutes steeping is indeed a bold black tea, which is quite malty, but as well quite sweet (read: no, or low bitterness) and I notice nuts as well. Mostly in aroma than in taste and pretty much not sure which ones. Theris is some tannic note showing that it is pure tea and no additives added and I liked it, indeed. Low grown Ceylon teas seems like a good daily-drinker teas, I am trying to remember Wild Monsoon tea from teakruthi but unfortunately it is already 4 years and I wrote no notes back then. I recall some nutiness, but if it was Wild Monsoon, I am not really sure about.
Well, into further research of southern Ceylon teas!
Flavors: Malt, Nuts, Sweet
V is for…Vive le Thé!
This is the only non-vanilla “V” tea I have. I am not complaining about that but made this one a priority to throw into the mix today.
I also wrote my exam this morning. The day started with the exam but before that I recall my first of many alarms waking me and me turning it off and being confused as to why I was being woken by my phone. Thank goodness for my million alarms because my sleepy brain completely forgot that I had an exam at that first alarm. However, I figured it out and despite only the one day of studying, I actually think the exam went pretty well. Either that or I was so underprepared I didn’t even know what I was missing. Hoping is the former. I think its the former.
As for the tea, its alright. It says it has “delicate” flavoring and in this case I feel that delicate is a little code for bland. It’s supposed to be citrus and ginger and I guess I taste both but its very light flavoring. That said, I am glad I don’t get a lot of base tea either which means no grass, vegetal, bitterness, nothing. Just some citrus and ginger – very, very light citrus and ginger.
#tiffanys2021sipdown Tea #161 overall / Tea #32 for April
Wednesday 4/21 — Harts of America Dandelion Mint. So, my side hustle hotel does water that has mint + cucumber in it. I’m not a huge fan of flavored water but trying to recycle the water when ice starts melting, I usually grab a pitcher to use for my cold brew tea. I’ve been mixing the HoA Dandelion Mint with it and it’s a nice herbal refreshment. Not my favorite tea from them, not something I’d purchase or look to get again but not bad. I actually think they make very nice tisanes and enjoy my monthly subscription ($7.98 USD per month for two 2 oz tisanes with shipping)
#tiffanydrinkstea #tiffanys2021 #tiffanysfaves #tiffanyinthe614 #tiffanysteasipdown #sipdownchallenge
Decided to brew this one, though I have several pouches unopened from previous subscription envelopes, but this one is new for me!
April 2021 subscription
To be honest, I have no idea what poached pears are and I don’t expect it means stolen pears. Or being hunted down illegally. I guess I need an enlightenment for that.
Anyway, I have a few green tea based flavoured teas, but pear… is quite uncommon and not sure if I had it before. Although pears are common here (we even have a few trees in garden), I rarely see pear teas in stores.
Honestly, this tea is quite interesting, but somehow, boring? When I brewed it I got rather some minty notes, like bubble gum rather than jasmine. Lightly the pears. After three minutes steeping I got quite basic green tea with some hints of jasmine and pears, but not in distinctive way I have been expecting. It was underwhelming, especially after reading so rave reviews beforehand. It wasn’t that flavourful as I have been hoping for.
I am with Cameron B. hoping for more flavourful sessions in the 20 grams I have got. Now, it’s shamefully underflavoured.
Flavors: Hay, Jasmine, Mint, Pear
An Ode to Tea challenge – P
Precious Poundcake! I despaired! I was distracted and went an entire minute (or more) on that first steep. I haven’t had a sheng in a while! My mind blanked! Only 30 seconds is my usual steep method!!! The first sips tasted like an overdone sheng… but then behold, the flavor of poundcake was there once again. A hint. But gone for all four steeps. No hints. The one minute steep seemed to set all the other steeps up for failure. I’m wondering if even much shorter steeps even for Western steeping works much better for this? Like water cooled to lukewarm and steeped for 15 seconds at a time? I looked at my first tasting note afterwards, and the magic of this one is waiting almost an entire hour for the water to cool. I’m smacking myself in the face for not looking at my old note before steeping. I’m very sad about this steep session compared to the last one!
2021 sipdowns: 52
An Ode to Tea challenge – Q
I was hesitant to finish this! I loved keeping the last steep session around for the name alone. This might be one of my favorite tea names ever. Qing Pin! Such a play on words. But I only had so many teas for ‘Q’ so it was time to drink this up. I wasn’t expecting much with the flavor due to the age…. but it’s still delicious! Oh how I love Chinese black teas. Before, I didn’t really say anything substantial other than it reminded me of Laoshan black, which isn’t my favorite. I wouldn’t say this tastes like Laoshan black now. Black teas don’t really taste like this anymore, so I’m surprised it is so gooood. Three solid strong steeps. Depth without bite or astringency. I’m GLAD it was hoarded! Raising the rating from an 82. Also having an OLD Bao Zhong today and I feel like oolong also doesn’t taste like this anymore… maybe I’m on to something.
2021 sipdowns: 50
An Ode to Tea challenge – S
Another I assumed would be a sipdown, but next time. Since this is cheating (for my personal sipdown challenge), I should really be finding another appropriate lettered tea that IS a sipdown for each letter. I wanted to drink this lovely tea while fresher anyway. It’s so delicate and fluffy! Like a healthy cotton candy, maybe lemon flavored. A very unique white I wouldn’t mind stocking up on. Uping the rating from 84. Thanks again for introducing me to it, SkySamurai!
An Ode to Tea challenge – U
I went through my entire tea list for ‘U’ teas and only have three! Wow. I thought this would be a sipdown, but no, AJRimmer sent me a lot. I think many of these teas for this challenge might be sipdowns from AJRimmer, as two serving amount swaps are enough for me to try a tea twice. :D However, the last note said I wanted to try this again and remove most of the hibiscus from my serving. I did, and the flavor doesn’t leave much! Even with a steep of a few minutes, the brew is a pale pink and the flavor is mildly fruity. Not worth it, really. I might as well just steep this up when I want to drown in hibiscus and leave the hibiscus in (or remove half?) I think it’s my least favorite of the hibiscus blends from Teavivre.
Sidenote: anyone else a fan of Fear the Walking Dead? I watched this week’s episode last night and NOOOOOOOO. My favorite character! I won’t spoil anything though. I like to watch the heartbreaking shows while I’m already heartbroken, and I had just been watching the news before that with the necessary protests and hearing about the 45 mass shootings in America in a month! Unimaginable. There definitely should be a protest about that as well. So sad.
Strange VariaTEA TTB: Tea #1
I can’t remember if VariaTEA has mentioned this before, but the two of us are starting a travelling tea box – no discussion board post yet because I still have to fill my half of the box and we want to coordinate with some instagram tea friends as well, but this is one of the teas that she added that I decided to try!
I’m probably going to try a handful or two before I pass along to the next person, because there are plenty of teas added in that I’ve not tried and am curious about – but I don’t intend on finishing any of them off or removing any entirely. Blends from Necessiteas can be so hard to get ahold of though, so even though this doesn’t seem super up my alley flavour wise I thought I should take advantage of the chance to try it!
It’s actually not bad – I find the black tea a little astringent, and that is something I’ve observed for many of the black blends from Necessiteas, but the ginger is prominent and definitely natural tasting but not spicy and I like all the brown sugar flavours that are coming through along with some warming cinnamon undertones. Plus, it’s sweet but not sugary. I didn’t think to add milk when making the mug, but I think that would have been an excellent way to curb some of the astringency and make the mouthfeel a little fuller and more appealing.
Seems like a pretty solid option for the ginger lovers.
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDM27AqJscM
An Ode to Tea challenge – V
I honestly believed this would be a sipdown when I scooped it out of the package. Nope, next time. It was a perfect tea for a cloudy, blustery day anyway. I guess I never realized a “london fog” requires milk which I never tried. So I tried it. Must have added too much milk, as then I was only tasting milk and this is actually a stronger tea for the milk to take it over. I prefer it without milk – strong lavender and bergamot.
March Mad(Hatter) Tea Tournament! Round #4
This is honestly not really the teas I thought I’d end up with. I guess it’s good to have a reminder to revisit teas. And fun to compare teas. Much like one of my favorite things, the arbitrary Tournament of Books, is about comparing two random books.
Match #1 52Teas – Spiced Cucumber Melon VS. Teavivre – High Mountain oolong
A perfect blend up against an oolong that was never really a favorite and lacked distinctive notes. Winner: Spiced Cucumber Melon
Match #2 Octavia – Berry Mocha Truffle VS. Tealyra – Parisian Sparkling Wine
Another tough one. Both great blends! But the lovely black tea that accomplishes what it’s trying to do perfectly wins over the herbal that accomplishes what it’s trying to do perfectly. Winner: Berry Mocha Truffle
-————————————————————FINAL MATCH -—————————————————
52 Teas – Spiced Cucumber Melon VS. Octavia – Berry Mocha Truffle
I didn’t see this final coming! This has been so fun. Of course two flavored teas make it. What can I say, I like what I like. Both the ultimate of flavor combinations. One a green tea base! One a black tea base! The Berry Mocha Truffle is a lovely chocolate berry blend, but is it the best of its kind? I don’t think so. The 52Teas might be a bit faded now (I just noticed it’s five years old) but when fresh this is unbeatable! It’s magic! Some ingredients here shouldn’t even work for me! My original note mentioned a tea magician created it. It’s a unique one and memories of these teas also help. Winner: 52 TEAS - SPICED CUCUMBER MELON!!!!!!
I enjoyed a free sample of this, so I bought a 50g bag, which I enjoyed considerably less. It was confusing since I liked the sample so much. I kept having it cold, brewed various ways, and it always tasted so weak and vaguely orangey. I gave up and gave the rest to my sister. She drank it hot and loved it. I tried the last cup hot, and actually, it was pretty good! Like a warm orange cider? I wish I’d tried it like this earlier! I still won’t buy this again, but I’m glad I finally found the right way to drink it.
Sipdown! (30 | 234)
This one seems so intriguing to me, so I was so thankful to get a few bags in a swap! I love pine and juniper, so I’m always happy to try more teas with those notes.
Unfortunately, this is not for me. It’s mostly honey, and the flavoring is fairly artificial-tasting. There’s also a sort of cloying floral note that I assume is part of the honey. I do get a bit of mint, and it’s nice and cooling and refreshing. Juniper? Nah, not really. There’s a weird bitterness in the aftertaste as well.
So mostly it’s artificial floral honey. Womp womp.
Flavors: Artificial, Bitter, Floral, Honey, Mint, Perfume, Sweet
N is for…Ning’er “Golden Honey Aroma” Yunnan Black Tea
Thank you Sil for this sample. Last time I had this, I remember being surprised it did not have as much honey as expected given the name. Today I am in the same boat. It is more savory (for lack of a better term b/c that isn’t quite right – smoked w/o being overly smokey? I don’t know) than you would anticipate a tea called honey to be. That isn’t bad, just different. That said, its not exactly savory – more bready…maybe like slightly charred crust and malt.
Thanks to White Antlers, I was able to have a full pouch of green tea to serve as the herald of spring before any fresh harvests could arrive at my front door.
The dry leaf of this smells a lot like Caramel Creams – those Cow Tales candies. I don’t recall ever seeing those candies in this area of California. I’ve mostly been cold-brewing this because the tea is old (though in fantastic shape!) and it makes a nice cold cup that tastes like the quintessential iced green tea in a bottle. Kinda sweet, kinda nutty, kinda ‘green’ and kinda bitter. I’m having a cup grandpa style today. With all the pollen doing its sticky business, my schnoz is stuffy so today this smells like peanut butter toast when brewing.
Little personal edit: Large gatherings leave me milling about looking for people to chat with one-on-one. My cousin had her wedding shower this weekend and because of my tendency to stray from the crowd, I of course chatted with the tender of drinks. I have a date after my second vaccine, the first of which I received this morning.
Well, lookee here what I found!
This morning, when I was ready to put the kettle on, I was really in the mood for one of Anne’s glorious creations. It didn’t really matter to me which one, but I was in the mood for
A 52teas that l rate as stellar.
This is one of them.
Lovely rich black base. Hints of bergamot on a river of vanilla.
Start the day right!
This tea I bought today (but won’t count in the spending list, as it isn’t from my money); hoping it will be a kind of relaxing blend (I am running a bit short with my Relax from B&B).
It was a cheap buy, again. And again from Lidl store, so no big expectations.
It’s earthy. And quite hoppy, though nonewhere close to beer. Cardamom is quite present and it’s having sweet aftertaste due to licorice I guess. But that’s not bad, as it mellows the earthy notes. It’s somehow generically herbal as well, the mint and rooibos isn’t prominent at all in taste though. Maybe it’s a good thing.
If it relaxes me, it does a good job. For the price, it’s nice tisane for sure.
Flavors: Cardamom, Earth, Herbs, Hops