2613 Tasting Notes
I had to support this company, as I received samples of a couple of Java Tea’s blends from another Steepsterer years ago and the flavor amazingly held up. So I had to spring on the 50% off sale. I definitely don’t use more than a teaspoon and a half for these, even though Java Tea suggests something crazy (six teaspoons!?!) This is supposed to taste like a vanilla latte. I’d say I’m not spotting much vanilla in the blend itself OR tasting much in the flavor. The mug certainly turns a deep scarlet though. I hadn’t tasted this blend previously (that was The Diplomat and The Liberator) so I can’t judge the new blend from the old as this blend is new to me entirely. The flavor has a bit of roastiness that is probably the barley. I’m also tasting the chicory root, which isn’t a favorite tea ingredient for me. I don’t think I noticed the chicory root in the other older blends as much. These are definitely unique blends that no one else carries, but I really wanted this one to be VANILLA and I’m not getting that. Even if the other blends get a boost from large amounts of caramel or chocolate flavoring, I wouldn’t mind a large amount of vanilla flavoring here, as long as it is a good flavor.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a mug // 12 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 min steep
Additional notes: Another one I’m trying with the cooler/shorter steep parameters. This one always tasted pretty much like cherries to me, just like the Noel Paris blend but it definitely isn’t supposed to be cherries. This time around, I get an odd flavor at the top of the cup that I realize after looking at the description could be pear. I’m not sure how different a mirabelle plum tastes to a typical plum. But possibly all these other fruit flavors are combining to taste like cherry to me somehow. SO with these parameters, I think I was able to parcel out a bit more of what the tea is supposed to taste like. But this still isn’t a great tea for me.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a mug // 14 minutes after boiling// 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 min
Another single serving of tea I removed from the Discovery tea box. I really had to look for those single servings in their own pouches so I would actually have room to add teas to the tea box. The leaves here are like those sickle shapes. I was a little worried that they wouldn’t have too much flavor, since the counterpart white tea that looks like these leaves also never has much flavor. But the flavor is fine enough. Light on flavor, yet complex for what is there. The mellow gold brew has flavors of sweet potato, plenty sweetness. The second steep at just boiled is even more deeper, even more sweet sweet potato flavor. I haven’t actually had this type of leaf yet from YS, so it’s a nice tea box find. This is like a not-too-light, not-too-dark black tea. It’s nice for a change of pace when I’m drinking black tea after black tea after black tea. My poor other teas are so neglected from my black tea addiction.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 23 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 minute steep
Flavors: Sweet Potatoes
Another single serving from the Discovery tea box. I really wanted to go light on steeping this one, in my experiment to eek out more flavor by using cooler water and shorter steep times for initial steeps. This seems to be a black tea with flavoring and it’s delicious. Nice cocoa flavor with hint of cherry in the first steep. Considering the cool temp and short steep, there was quite a bite to the black tea when it cooled. In the second steep, the cherry disappears but there is quite a starchy quality. The description says Ceylon… I usually find Ceylon boring but this one is delicious with these flavors. Otherwise, the base might be boring by itself, but not as boring as Ceylon CAN be. This was quite the lovely tea to try.
Steep #1 // 1 1/4 teaspoons for a full mug// 20 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate
Additional notes: Note to self, never put this lovely tea in a disposable tea bag again, only in a tea basket… the tea barely unraveled and I know there is a TON of tea here. So I wasn’t giving this tea a fair chance. But I know it’s lovely anyway. I’m not sure if it’s because it didn’t unravel or if it’s a different harvest, but I was noticing a huge syrupy sweet quality in the 2016 harvest which wasn’t present here as much. Maybe that quality would have appeared in a third cup that I mistakenly didn’t make. I don’t like wasting my tea.
Also, Teavivre is having an amazing black tea sample sale right now. (And larger amounts of black tea are 15% off.) Some teas are 75% off, but you can only buy one of each sample (meaning two sample packages of each black tea). It’s a great sale if you want to try most of their black teas!
I bought this from the Liquid Proust sale a while ago, sadly only now writing a note. This must be the DARKEST oolong I’ve ever seen. Entirely black. They also never unraveled during any of my steeps (and the last steep went for a WHILE for this reason), so possibly these were a little too roasted! I love seeing the big pieces of vanilla in the blend. I have been steeping up so many vanilla teas lately. Roasted oolong isn’t usually my thing. This one is good enough. I’m not really tasting much vanilla at all though, which is a shame. The vanilla would have really elevated the flavor. The oolong itself has less flavor than you would think, since this charcoal oolong REALLY looks like actual charcoal. I don’t think there was any saving this particular oolong, no matter how much Liquid Proust tried. Always happy to try any tea though.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // half a mug of tea // 6 minute steep
Additional notes: this one might be better with a teaspoon and a half, waiting the water to cool 12 minutes, and then steeping for only two minutes on that first steep. Many more of those unique flavors this way. I liked it before but it’s awesome now. (The second steep at just boiled for three minutes.) I just want to dive into that lingering flavor. I think I should try more of my DF teas this way. Much more of that rummy plum that makes this an essential DF tea for me, whenever I happen to place an order. I think I’m starting to learn that with any flavored tea, the longer you steep it, the base tea takes over and any flavors disappear in that base flavor. Raising the rating from 86 and I’m very happy I’m NOT getting any of that chocolate flavor in this one.
This is from Ost’s sale and another that I really wanted to try. So thank you Ost! I LOVE a good vanilla black tea with actual vanilla pieces. I’m loving the big vanilla pieces here. Somehow oddly enough, the first steep has a massive note of sarsaparilla even though this is stored in very nice packaging. The black tea is certainly deep enough for me but it’s hard to tell what the black tea itself tastes like with that root beer flavor! The second steep — more of those vanilla notes. And like it oddly appeared in the first cup, the sarsaparilla disappeared in the second cup. I don’t get the lower ratings for this on Steepster, maybe the older formula wasn’t as good? Also, Golden Moon has a free shipping sale for a couple days, if anyone is interested.
Steep #1 // 1 1/4 teaspoons for a full mug // 12 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
If anyone liked my Ed Harcourt rec the other day, I have two more. I’m always a little disappointed when the best of year lists come out and not many of my favorite things from the year are included. So here are two: Jonathan Wilson had an excellent album this year. Way better than annoying Father John Misty whom he sometimes works with. I could suggest songs from the album, but they’re all so different. I also loved Kimbra’s album this year. I usually am NOT listening to pop but her talent can’t be matched. If the radio isn’t playing her, they should be. All of her albums are solid. Give ‘Top of the World’ TWO listens and tell me you aren’t addicted. Or the live version of ‘Plain Gold Ring’ from the deluxe version of Vows to hear her talent. Or ‘Everlovin Ya’ for a very unique sound. Much like Jonathan Wilson, you can tell Kimbra’s musical influences are all over the place. They are true music fans.
Additional notes: From the advent. The flavor is holding up very well and I end up enjoying it more than I think I will when I’m pouring that teaspoon into the infuser. Pomegranate, raspberry and lychee is an interesting combination and works very well together, at least in this tea, especially with this particular black base… even the bits of hibiscus are acceptable! Raising the rating from a 72.