2750 Tasting Notes

84

I finally added all the teas from StarFevre I received a while ago to my Steepster cupboard (again another BIG thank you for those!) Other than the lovely package from SkySamurai and a couple samples from Whispering Pines, I have not acquired any teas in 2019, so I’m doing GOOD so far! I knew I was doing good when I didn’t buy any of my beloved Coconut Banana Cream Pie tea that was recently reblended. That told me I can stay strong! That insane number of teas in my cupboard will be a big NO to any tea purchases, definitely. I need to work on my beloved, precious teas I already have! But I can’t refuse when other Steepsterers want to have a cupboard clear out and send me some things to try. :D But hopefully the cupboard never gets this ridiculous ever again. Yowzas.

This is exactly the tea I was craving today even though I’ve only had this tea once before… somehow I remembered it! Sadly, I only bought a sample from Fusion, but if I’m craving it, that must mean I should have ordered more. It sounded like a chutney tea to me. It has huge mango cubes with some pepper and what looks like two types of oolong: the long black wiry type but also the occasional dark green bundle. The smoke in the name probably scares people away, but it really isn’t that smoky. The fruit flavor is nice with only an occasional hint of spice. The sip is very smooth, like a syrup.. The second steep was the same. It KIND OF reminds me of 52Teas Smoky Butterscotch Peach? That would be the closest tea I’ve experienced anyway… This blend is fine, but I guess I imagine something even more delicious? More mango, more spice? I guess it’s tough to compete with what you WANT something to be. This is a great base to pair mango with though…. smooth, sweet & syrupy and never bitter…

Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug // 19 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 12 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 4 min

tea-sipper

Also, I really am craving a ripe pu-erh… flavored with marshmallow. But somehow none exist? Then I’m wondering which is my best marshmallow tea to combine with a ripe pu-erh…..

tea-sipper

….meant to say, if anyone knows of any marshmallow pu-erh, or knows the pu-erh that tastes most like marshmallow?

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67
drank Winter Spice by Tease
2750 tasting notes

Another from SkySamurai! Thanks so much. You all spoiiillll meeee. I’ve never tried this tea shop before. This blend was odd immediately… upon opening the pouch it smelled distinctly like cola…. slightly strange, as that isn’t what this was supposed to be: a wintery, black chai. The closest reason this might smell like cola would be the anise, as I think they use that in root beer. So drinking, it tastes like half cola and half root beer. Very weird, as the spices didn’t really translate to either cup. It’s very COLA. Very ROOT BEER. And not really any other flavors. So I know where to go if I’m craving soda but don’t want actual soda (like when I’ve already had 4,000 grams of sugar that day)! So the rating won’t be so high for this one, as it isn’t what it says it is.
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon (and a half an anise star) for a full mug // 16 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // 5 minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep

Flavors: soda, cola

Flavors: Root Beer

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87
drank Keemun Concerto by Adagio Teas
2750 tasting notes

From Meowster! Thanks so much — I’m slowly trying to get to all the teas, but usually I go for sipdowns or favorite teas. This one is a quality, tasty keemun. If I was in a blind taste test, I’d definitely say this was a keemun, however this one is a puzzle when it comes to distinct flavor notes. The leaves are very huge and wiry, they seem to be an even mix of black and golden in color. The brew is a medium strength, with a hint of smokiness, but there is so much depth here — it is tough for me to describe. Maybe even notes of grapes, which I don’t usually notice in any teas. It’s funny that so many leaves are huge now, across the board from all tea shops and (I think) that means higher quality for the most part, but I also seem to love smaller leafed teas more… maybe not quite CTC size leaves, but a nice mid-size tea leaf seemed to always be my favorite years ago. Like most of the Teavivre black teas have such HUGE leaves now. This tea is satisfying anyway.
Steep #1 // 1 heaping teaspoon for a full mug // 15 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 minute steep

Flavors: Grapes

ashmanra

Grace Rare Tea sells a Keemun called Winey Keem7n. Maybe it is similar since you taste grape.

tea-sipper

I can sometimes taste wine in tea, but this one wasn’t really wine… it was an actual fruit grape note. :D

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81

Thanks so much again to Skysamurai for that lovely package of teas! Here we have a lemon and cream rooibos/ honeybush blend. I had a sneaking suspicion that this was very similar to the old Della Terra Lemon Chiffon and it does seem very similar. However, this one doesn’t seem to be as fantasticly lemon as the DT blend was. However, if you look at the photos for both teas, they don’t seem the same. The DT seems to have MORE in the blend, even more eyeblinding yellow, rather than Queen Mary’s blend that has one or two cornflowers in many many teaspoons and no noticeable yellow at all. So maybe it’s not the same blend. (I also know the ingredients list for the DT is not including everything that should be there.) Overall it’s a lovely creamy lemon flavor, both steeps. Might not live up to the magic of the DT blend… but if you need a replacement for that beloved favorite…
Steep #1 // 10 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 minute steep
2019 sipdowns: 35

Flavors: Cream, Lemon

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98

Additional notes: I saw that Coconut Banana Cream Pie Houjicha is reblended! One of my beloved blends from 52Teas. However, I can’t justify an order right now (especially do to my self imposed tea-buy ban at the moment), so I will console myself with this lovely blend and hope one day it will be reblended yet again. I’m very happy to hear it won the Christmas box poll though… that means others wanted to see it again. I must make a note: this one isn’t tasty enough for me without that extra teaspoon. I like it with a teaspoon and a half the best. The coconut is still spectacular!

Fjellrev

Oh my, maybe it’s a good thing I missed out on it. I can’t justify ordering either haha.

tea-sipper

I know. sigh. They sold out quick, so I hope whoever bought them loves them!

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90

Note: I realized this might not be the correct tea. AprTea might have labeled the tea wrong… so the note is for ONE of the oolongs they carry…
I received this free from AprTea a while ago. Sorry it has taken me so long, but thank you again for sending them! I expected a dark roasted, brown in color oolong. But no, my leaves look green. This also REALLY doesn’t look like the photo for the tea. The photo looks like a charcoal oolong, my tea does not. I guess I have a different concept of ‘roasted’ teas than AprTea. Then what do they call the roasted teas, because this also has ‘charcoal’ in the name? It might be a darker green oolong, but still green. The dry leaves have a great sweet aroma. The flavor is also tasty, but nothing I would call ‘roasted’. It tastes like a green oolong to me, with a sweet flavor that could be considered caramel. When cooled, a hint of peach. Possibly I’m not steeping this perfectly for the best flavor, as I’m not noticing distinct notes.
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for my smaller mug // rinse // 15-20 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // 13 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2-3 min

I wanted to try another steep session with new leaves, as I wasn’t tasting distinct notes with my parameters last time. Maybe the infuser or leaf amounts weren’t ideal. The infuser I was using previously lets tiny pieces of leaves into the mug (not to say that was the problem) so not ideal for reviewing any teas. So I’m using my netted infuser this time, where nothing gets through. I’m not sure it made much difference in the flavor! But I also used more leaves and different steep times. The oolong is very smooth and the flavor lingers wonderfully. It’s hints of peaches and cream. Very sweet. I’d say the third steep was the best, so I went for a fourth. There is no way these leaves can be oversteeped. They stay sweet with a thick mouthfeel throughout all steeps. Maybe this is where the ‘caramel’ in the name comes from. In a blind taste test I would never call this one charcoal/roasted but I’ve had some very charcoal tasting oolongs in the past. So this one is still tough to pick out distinct flavors, but it’s a very tasty oolong. It tastes like OOLONG.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug // rinse // 14 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // 10 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // 5 minutes after boiling // 2 min
Steep #4 // just boiled // 2 1/2 min
TLDR: Sweet, smooth, thick mouthfeel, never bitter, can’t oversteep it. I wouldn’t call it charcoal/roasted at all.

Togo

I also got a mislabeled sample from AprTea, so it’s quite likely this is not actually the tea you got. “Deep charcoal baking” should have been obvious if present.

tea-sipper

oh no! Now that you mention it, you’re probably right that it’s mislabeled. I’d have no idea which tea it really is and AprTea probably wouldn’t either since it took me so long to drink it. Thanks for letting me know.

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84
drank Highland Breakfast by Tea Queens
2750 tasting notes

For some random reason, SkySamurai decided to send some random teas my way! Very awesome and thank you so much. I tried to convince her to start another teabox because the one she started is now stalled… Somehow, I haven’t tried any of the teas she sent. I’m not sure I know the difference between the TeaQueens tea shop and the Queen Mary tea shop. I like the name. The blend is a black base with roses, bergamot and vanilla. This sounds like an amazing blend in theory! It’s definitely a combination I’d love. The first cup is heavy on the rose with a medium strength black tea. Maybe I didn’t steep it long enough though. Then somehow the second steep is mostly bergamot. The vanilla is missing all around. The black tea gets much darker on the second steep, crisp and brisk like a nice assam. The promise of the vanilla brings my rating down a bit, but I do like this blend overall: the briskness, the rose is nice and the bergamot is delicious enough.
Steep #1 // 14 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 5 minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep
2019 Sipdowns: 34

Flavors: Bergamot, Rose

AJRimmer

I second the vote for another teabox!

tea-sipper

I don’t know… I think SkySamurai probably would have used the teas she sent me to start a new one!

AJRimmer

Oh right. Some day!

Mastress Alita

It’s sad the original teabox never made it back to her, really.

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96

additional notes: I’m enjoying this favorite today, mostly because sinuses need some Cayenne right now… I wonder if the new version also uses the new black tea base that is stronger, like the other new versions of the other black teas? I hope so. I just couldn’t take this Ceylon and it’s the only bad thing about this blend. This is certainly a blend with my name on it. The cocoa shells never age. (This is an older blend…. still so so good, piping hot.)
I watched the movie of ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ last night and what took me so long? I love that movie. It not only made vampires and werewolves funny, but I swear there were various shades of Blair Witch in there as well. I’m a bit afraid for the show though… I have faith that the funny Matt Berry can pull the show off, but I’m already missing Jemaine and Taika’s characters. I’m very glad it’s now a show, because I’m lacking in funny shows lately.

Mastress Alita

That is one of my favorite movies of all time! I plan to give the TV show a chance tonight.

tea-sipper

haha :D And I can’t not mention Rhys Darby as a werewolf! I don’t think the movie cast could have been better. Except for Deacon…

Mastress Alita

Deacon has all my favorite lines in the movie, though. I cry tears every time at his “inspiring speech” about death towards the end every time. Also the “shame, shame, bad vampire!” part. Man. Just too funny.

Supposedly there was supposed to be a sequel movie in production called “We’re Wolves” and also another spin-off TV series set in New Zealand like the movies following the two bumbling buddy-cops from the movie, as well.

tea-sipper

oh man, it needs ALL the spinoffs. :D

tea-sipper

Also, Moss from The IT Crowd needs to be one of Matt Berry’s victims.

tea-sipper

The cat with Jemaine’s face!!! I could go on and on. sigh.

Mastress Alita

“Just leave me to do my dark bidding… on the Internet!” * Vladislav bids on a table on EBay *

AJRimmer

Dude that’s one of my favorite movies too! I saw it at a film festival years ago, and it’s seriously one of those movies that sticks with you. All the people involved are so talented.

tea-sipper

And so much talent just from New Zealand!

ashmanra

We’re werewolves, not swearwolves!

tea-sipper

YEESSS, Ashmanra. Loved that line. :D

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88

Another from Annie— thanks so much for sharing! I better write a tasting note now, as I have less than a teaspoon left. I LOVE 52Teas’ marshmallow genmaicha blends, so always happy to see more variations. This one looked like mostly popped rice (and I didn’t see any peppermint candy in my serving). However, there is plenty of mint and marshmallow flavor. It’s a surprisingly delicious combination. The briskness of the mint with the creamy marshmallow is great. It seems like a dessert! This is a unique blend, yet straight forward. It is what it says it is!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug // 28 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 27 minutes after boiling // 2-3 minute steep
2019 Sipdowns: 32 (52Teas’ Butter Pecan… tossed the last couple of teaspoons because this one is probably around 10 years old and the flavor is just WEIRD now. I don’t mind old teas but not OLD teas.)

52Teas

was that the original butter pecan? From Frank?

tea-sipper

yes,it was Frank’s blend.. it sadly didn’t age gracefully. the flavor was completely different from when I first tried it, when it was an old tea even back then. but the tea was way past the age of me expecting it to be delicious. I hate throwing tea away, but this one was just off.

52Teas

Yeah, that is one drawback to flavored teas especially – is that the flavors won’t hold up for years – so it is not my recommendation to hoard these teas (trust me, I do understand the tendency to hoard teas!) – enjoy them while they’re still fresh and you’ll get the most enjoyment from them. :)

tea-sipper

Yeah, hopefully that was one of my oldest teas!

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74
drank Sticky Fig Oolong by 52teas
2750 tasting notes

I was elated to be able to try this tea! Thanks so much for sending some, Annie! I think I might have been one of the people to suggest a fig tea to Anne? I love the idea behind this one, however, not sure if it works for me in the resulting tea. I used slightly less than a teaspoon, as that is what the package suggested. I see some definite fig pieces which I appreciate! The oolong is roasted, dark and very tightly rolled. Normally I would think a roasted oolong might overpower these flavors, but the oolong used here isn’t too overpowering, just roasty enough. However, reading the description there are three types of oolongs here: Ruanzhi, Wuyi and Qingxin cultivars. The three must me very very similar! The cinnamon somehow didn’t impart much to the flavor — I’d probably rather it be a fig/honey type of flavor anyway. Sadly there wasn’t much fig or honey flavor either, so this mostly tasted like a better yet light roasted oolong. That’s good because I usually don’t like roasted oolong too much. But I can see figs working with this type of oolong best. A little disappointing, but I would love more fig experiments. I won’t say no to more fig teas, there just needs to be more fig in them!
Steep #1 // less than one teaspoon for a full mug // 20 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // 10 minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 3 min
2019 Sipdowns: 31 (This and David’s Jasmine Black Dragon Pearls)

Mastress Alita

And dates! I’m so close to finishing off my one date tea, it’s been discontinued and I don’t think I’ve ever seen them used in any other teas…

tea-sipper

YES and more teas with dates. If Tealyra’s ‘Date Shake’ is the one date tea you mean, I really miss that one! (Thanks again for the sample of it!)

Mastress Alita

Yup. It actually was sourced from Dethlefsen & Balk (as many of Tealyra’s teas come from them) so I was looking for that blend elsewhere, but D&B no longer produce it so it isn’t around anywhere anymore. Booooooo.

Evol Ving Ness

date shake is the bomb

tea-sipper

Well, looks like there are three fans of Date Shake… what the heck tea sourcers..

Evol Ving Ness

mebbe politics we are unaware of

Mastress Alita

Well, as I mentioned, the wholesale source of that tea was German tea blenders Dethlefsen & Balk. They are a major blend wholesaler for many tea sites (one of the majors like International Tea Importers, Metropolitan Tea Company, East Indies Coffee and Tea, etc.) Tealyra was sourcing that blend from them, and many of the herbals still on Tealyra’s site are still D&B blends. Since Dethlefsen & Balk don’t make it anymore, that’s why it is gone. I have no idea why they discontinued it, but I’d guess either they either ran into trouble sourcing the ingredients or not enough shops were buying the blend to offset the cost of producing the tea (just my guess…) They’ve pulled a lot of my favorite blends, another Dethlefsen & Balk blend I loved was Caramel Chai Pu-erh (which Fusion Tea wholesaled from them) which was also discontinued. I remember sampling a spicy chocolate rooibos from Angry Tea Room before that is gone now that I’m fairly certain is also a discontinued D&B blend since most of their teas are wholesaled from D&B as well.

Kittenna

@Mastress Alita – Your knowledge about tea wholesaling is fascinating and eye-opening! :)

tea-sipper

Nooooo not Caramel Chai Pu-erh! I loved that one.

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks, Mastress Alita, for your insights.

Mastress Alita

So while it is true that the blend that Tealyra called “Date Shake” has been discontinued by Dethlefsen & Balk, I have found that they have one other date blend right now, but they consider it a “holiday blend” so availability of it could be limited. It is a date/pistachio blend and Fava Tea wholesales it as “Candied Pistachio Herbal Tea” and Tin Roof Teas wholesales it as “Pistachio-Vanilla Praline”. (Some other tea shops sourcing it can be hunted up searching by the D&B ingredient list: Date pieces (date, rice flour), pistachios, slivered almonds, rose petals, natural flavour. ) That’s the only other date tea I’ve still found out in the wild, though!

tea-sipper

Thanks for the info!

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Profile

Bio

Hi! I love tea and trying new ones – it adds a bit of variety to my day! Books, music, TV & movies are my thing… and tea, of course.

Some of my favorite tea shops (still operating):
birdandblendtea.com
teavivre.com
52teas.com
svtea.com
harney.com
angrytearoom.com
Dammann Freres
Yunnan Sourcing
fusionteas.com
aquartertotea.com
AprTea.com
Javateaco.com
Lupicia
eco-cha.com
justea.com
singleoriginteas.com
teasenz.com
tealyra.com
whisperingpinestea.com
mandala
Teajo
verdanttea.com
thenecessiteas.com
Davidstea

Favorite tea shops (RIP):
butikiteas.com
steapshoppe.com
steepcityteas.com
dellaterrateas.com
zentealife.com
theteamerchant.net
joysteaspoon.com
tealiciousllc.com
Rivertea
Specialteas

My icon photo is Richard Mayhew from the graphic novel ‘Neverwhere’ by Neil Gaiman, Mike Carey & Glenn Fabry.

Most of the teas listed in my cupboard are actually sample sizes. I don’t really have 2,000 ounces of tea around here! Many of my teas have only one teaspoon left… maybe two. But I like keeping them in my cupboard list for reference to what I could be sipping. Usually, I write tasting notes once for each tea. I’m still drinking them, just not writing tasting notes each time!

My dislikes: hibiscus, ginger (unless in chai), charcoal type flavors

My ratings:
95-100 – Super awesome deliciousness favorites – cupboard essential
80-95 – Also pretty delicious
65-80 – Pretty good
50-65 – Okay
1-50 – Probably won’t want to sip it again

I’m planning on being a Steepsterer as long as there IS a Steepster, so if you’re not hearing from me, that means something happened to my health… if you know what I mean. :D

Happy sipping!

Location

USA

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