1354 Tasting Notes

79

This is a very nice, lightly spiced vanilla chai type blend. The spices aren’t very strong but they are certainly present. It reminds me a lot of the rooibos latte that Starbucks used to have. I think it was Tazo brand? It was my favorite for a while.

Looking at the ingredients, it does have rooibos and also stevia and licorice root (one of which would likely explain the slight artificial sweet note I picked up on in the very beginning). It’s been several years since I last tried this blend and my last note mentioned a bitterness, but I do not taste it here now. It must have been because I steeped it so much longer last time.

Thank you, Michelle, for sending a bag of this in my box. It’s definitely one I could see myself drinking regularly. It has some great ingredients.

Flavors: Artificial, Cinnamon, Licorice, Spices, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML
Michelle

I like this one for its caffeine kick, and mellow vanilla spice. And the small bit of wisdom attached to the bag.

Shae

I really liked this one – not overly spicy with a nice vanilla creaminess. And I love reading the Yogi tags too!

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72
drank Black Tea by Unknown
1354 tasting notes

I am working through some tea bags from recent swaps and decided to start this morning with this black tea from Devon Bartholomew. It only says “100% Natural Black Tea” on the wrapper so I’m not sure which brand it is. I’m looking forward to a good, strong black tea this morning though so I hope this fits the bill. It’s a perfect shade with cream, so fingers crossed for a good cup.

Yes, very good. A bit astringent but nice and caramelly-tasting.

Flavors: Astringent, Caramel

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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48

My manager gifted us a Stash sampler last Christmas, so I have one or two bags each of about 25 or 30 different Stash teas. This is one I probably wouldn’t have purchased on my own, simply because I get tired of the hazelnut chocolate combo. Even though I like it, it just seems to be everywhere and has been for the last fifteen years or so. But tonight I did want something chocolaty and since this is decaf it seemed a good pick. I read through some tasting notes to get some ideas and came across Caitlin and her recipe for a chocolate hazelnut latte. I made it just as instructed, except I used six ounces of water instead of Stash’s recommended eight. Steep according to package instructions, add 1/3 cup frothed milk and one tablespoon chocolate syrup.

I’ll admit, my first thought was that it tasted like watered down hot chocolate. My husband tried it and remarked that at least it was better than what you get at hotels, the stuff from the hot chocolate dispensers. That’s not saying much. It does taste like chocolate at least, but I don’t taste any hazelnut. Or anything nutty for that matter. The milk makes it creamy, which I enjoy, and the chocolate syrup adds some sweetness. I wonder how much chocolate I would taste without it. It did have a strong chocolate scent before steeping, so that’s something. I guess.

Also, I just remembered that this is supposed to be a decaf black tea (or it is a decaf black tea rather). I’m not tasting any tea at all! Such a disappointment now that I think about it, because it really does just taste like a watered down chocolate herbal. I know it’s just a Stash tea bag, so maybe I shouldn’t have high expectations, but I was hoping this would be a good one. Surely there are some Stash blends that are decent or even excellent. Maybe I’ve tried one, I’ll have to go back and look at my notes. I have several more Stash teas to go through though, so I hope some of them are good at least.

Flavors: Chocolate

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 6 OZ / 177 ML
Michelle

There are a few Stash holiday blends that I like. And their lemon ginger is decent.

Shae

I went back through my list and saw that I liked the Chocolate Mint oolong. That one isn’t in my sampler, but I do have a couple bags of the Lemon Ginger.

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I’ve never had a yellow tea that I can recall, so thank you to Michelle for sending this. I don’t notice any particular aromas from the dry leaf as I pour it into my brew basket. The leaves look like Dragonwell green tea, long and flat, but (wait for it …) they’re yellow. Or rather, a yellowish brown. Once the water hits, this tea does have an aroma. Though I’m more inclined to call it a smell. Goodness, I’m not sure I like it. I can’t quite place what it is, but it’s very strong. The liquid, on the other hand, is very light. It reminds me of a white tea in the way that it looks and tastes. Meaning, I don’t taste much of anything. White teas taste to me like lukewarm water, no matter what I try. I guess yellow teas might be the same, for me at least. There is a bitter, tannic flavor/sensation, but otherwise it is tasteless. I’m sorry I didn’t like this one – it seemed so fancy!

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Metallic, Tannic

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 6 OZ / 177 ML
Michelle

I thought this one was like a very light hojicha. Oh well, not every tea is for everyone. Glad you got to try.

Shae

I don’t know if I like hojicha, I’ve only had it once before I think. Maybe that’s what it is. I just don’t like that flavor profile. Still glad I got to try it though, thank you!

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drank Strawberry Oolong Tea by Teavivre
1354 tasting notes

The dry leaf was fresh strawberry, but as soon as the water hit the leaves I got a strong aroma of cooked spinach. I used 2.5 grams (all that was left in my sample packet), though Steepster will not recognize it and will say I used only two.

This does taste somewhat vegetal and is very light in color. I don’t taste any of the strawberry, which is disappointing after reading such high praise for this tea in other reviews.

I’ll leave off the rating since this tea seems to be loved by many. It must just be that it’s not for me.

Flavors: Spinach, Strawberry, Vegetal

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Harvest & Year: Spring 2020

Flavors: Astringent, Metallic, Roasted

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74
drank Cinnamon Spice by HEB
1354 tasting notes

There are quite a few ingredients in this rooibos blend, but all I can smell and taste is the cinnamon. It’s that Big Red gum cinnamon, so I thought I wouldn’t love it, but I really actually do! It’s sweet, not spicy like I expected, and really tastes just like Big Red (without the mouth burn). Still not tasting any of the other flavors, but I’m cool with it. Thanks for letting me try one of your favorites, Michelle!

Flavors: Cinnamon

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 15 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML
Michelle

You certainly wouldn’t guess that the base is chamomile here. It makes a soothing bedtime cup in the winter. Glad you liked it :)

Shae

I’m not much for chamomile, except for one AQ2T blend, and I never would have known there was chamomile in this if I hadn’t seen the ingredients. Even knowing it was there, I couldn’t taste it.

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78
drank Earl Grey Creme by Teavana
1354 tasting notes

Such a nice treat for a Saturday morning. I’m really surprised I never tried this one when Teavana was open. If I did, I never left a note about it here. It’s a fluffy marshmallow bergamot delight.

Flavors: Bergamot, Marshmallow

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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82
drank Juniper Mint Honey by Tazo
1354 tasting notes

From Michelle.

I’m not too familiar with juniper, but I had some juniper berries in my spice cabinet so I pulled them out to compare. I don’t notice any connection in the aroma or flavor of the tea. Instead, I smell and taste vanilla mint. I really like it actually.

Flavors: Mint, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML
gmathis

Ooh! Bet it’s good cold.

Shae

I bet it would be!

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79
drank Blue Lady by Zest Tea
1354 tasting notes

I used the least amount of leaf and the most amount of water, steeped for the shortest amount of time so that the caffeine does not overwhelm my senses. Surprisingly, I like it! I’ve been putting this one off not only because of the added caffeine but also because of the hibiscus. I’m not opposed to the flavor so much as to the fact that I can’t add milk to my black teas when it’s present. But I have to say that this tastes good without the dairy, so I’m pleased with the cup. I also really enjoyed Zest’s Earl Grey, but I had to space it out over the course of the day because it was just too much. This one has CBD, so maybe that will help balance the jitters a bit? James loves, loves, loves the Superberry Samba green tea from Zest (the CBD version) so much that he rarely drinks any other tea these days.

Second Steep
8 ounces water + 212 degrees + 20 minutes

The second cup still has flavor, but I’m not sure it’s enough to warrant an additional steep. Especially since I’m already fully caffeinated from the first cup and I’m getting into the afternoon now.

Flavors: Citrus Zest

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Profile

Bio

Lifetime student. Lover of books and paper and ink. Kitchen dweller. Aspiring herbalist, excessively proud cat lady, and tea fanatic. Thirty-something elder millennial. She/her.

I love flavored black teas most of all, always with cream and honey. I prefer to sweeten my tea as it seems to bring out the flavor. I enjoy floral and fruity teas, as well as flavored or scented ones. I’m not overly fond of green or white teas, but I’ve found a few that I enjoy.

I’m open to tea swaps and/or just sharing what’s in my tea cabinet! Please reach out if you see something I have that you’d like to try. I do my best to update my cupboard regularly.

It will take me longer than usual to get to the post office while we’re in the midst of this pandemic, but I would still love to send you something next time I’m out and about!

Favorites
Any and all black teas, smoky teas, raspberry, strawberry, red fruits, bergamot, chai spices, floral teas, caramel/toffee, jasmine, rose, vanilla, peaches, plums, valerian root, cinnamon, cardamom

Not a huge fan
Lime, white teas, green teas, artificial sweeteners, sarsaparilla, licorice, lemongrass, lavender, hot hibiscus, hibiscus in black tea blends

Rating Scale

1-20: By far, one of the worst teas I’ve tasted. I most certainly will not finish my cup and will likely “gift” the rest to my sweet husband, James, who almost always enjoys the teas I dislike (and vice versa).

21-49: This tea is not good but if I mix it with another tea or find another steeping method I might be able to finish it.

50-70: This one is just okay. I might drink it again if someone were to give it to me, but I probably won’t be buying more for myself.

71-79: This is a consistently good tea. It’s reliable but not necessarily special.

80-90: This one is a notch above the rest and I would gladly enjoy a cup of it any day of the week. I’ll likely be keeping this in my cupboard, but it isn’t one of my all-time favorites.

91-95: One small change and this tea would be perfect. I’ll definitely have a stash of this in my kitchen if you come over for tea.

96-100: No words can describe this tea. It’s an experience, an aha moment. Closed eyes, wide smile, encompassing warmth. Absolutely incredible. Perfect.

Currently reading:

A Breath of Snow and Ashes
by Diana Gabaldon

Updated October 2020.

Location

Alabaster, Alabama

Website

https://www.instagram.com/sph...

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