998 Tasting Notes

85

June 2020 Blend

Wooo! My box finally arrived! I potentially received too many tea parcels lately but opening them up never gets old.

This Tieguanyin is coming across as pretty silky and buttery with some florals (maybe a musky sweet violet). The ginger is more of a complimentary savoury-sweet component to the citrusy pineapple at first, adding some extra ginger zest to the finishing note (Edit: most zingy on my second steep).

My brain may be faulty after such a long period of time, but this is a pretty close approximation of Butiki’s Flowery Pineapple, the main difference being that this uses Tieguanyin and adds ginger while Butiki used a Wen Shan Bao Zhong (for the life of me I cannot recall what that base specifically tasted like besides “green oolong” and that I always seemed to oversteep it). Another easy comparison is 52Tea’s Banana Oolong – if you liked that you’ll probably like this too.

Steep Count: 2

Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Floral, Ginger, Pineapple

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Sil

Jealous! Hoping mine gets here soon.

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82

Sipdown!

My last two servings weren’t quite as good as earlier cups but it was still pretty delicious and it’s still on my “reorder” list. The last two cups were a bit more cardamom heavy. Cinnamon was also more noticeable and gave the blend some fiery sweetness. I prefer the cups with slightly more cloves, but there was still enough clove goodness to keep me satisfied.

Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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88

Essentially nailed it! Who knows what it tasted like. I gulped it back in about two mouthfuls and followed it up with a fruity macaron. Now, off to make myself another bowl because this stuff is addictive.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 OZ / 118 ML

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88

Spring 2019 Harvest, Winter 2020 Grind

Oh, man. I haven’t whisked a bowl of matcha for over five years and it shows. And I thought I could get away without sifting and winging the portion ratios/whisking motions? Nope. Waaaay too many clumps.

Thankfully, this matcha is a tasty forgiving kind. It’s mellow and grassy (bitter and sweet like dark chocolate), with a banana sweet finish. Today I tried it directly as powder (when it coated my fingers, don’t ask), as a hot whisked cup (strong but smooth), before dumping most of that cup over ice cubs and adding milk (mellow, grassy, gentle, savoury herb and sweet banana finish). It was tasty and flavourful in all forms. Looking forward to drinking this up and, hopefully, treating it with more respect!

Flavors: Banana, Dark Bittersweet, Grass, Herbs, Moss, Umami

derk

When I use less powder, I can taste banana just under-ripe in the finish.

CrowKettle

So far the banana has been a one off and occurred after adding the milk and doing weird things with ice cubes and water ratio. It was super vivid, and you’re right- totally a green banana, but like I don’t even know what I did to get it. It was such a mess. Haha

CrowKettle

Yeah, today is more moss, grass, umami, and maybe slightly sweet plantains to finish. A faint starchy/fruit sweetness.

CrowKettle

I also get the faint rosemary note when I ice latte and “clump” it. Such a weird flavour. I haven’t tasted it in my warm cups though!

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75
drank Unicorn Dream by DAVIDsTEA
998 tasting notes

Initially I wondered who was dreaming of unicorns and in what decade (Answer: an awesome and eccentric 6-year-old, 1980’s). But then my mind went to other places that may or may not be less anthropocentric and more low-brow fantasy. Blame the tea.

What do imaginary creatures dream about, if anything at all? Are those dreams reminiscent of mundane slice of life dramas? Or are they something so fantastical and whimsical that we can’t (and wouldn’t want to) comprehend them?

Judging by the dry blend makeup, I’m assuming David’s Tea went with the latter theory (RIP to the sanity of anyone involved in the creation of this blend). There is so much stuff in here it’s absurd and frankly intimidating (just like a real unicorn! Haha). Pineapple and papaya pieces, a million different kinds of sprinkles, flowers, and stevia.

Steeped up cold it’s a bit more tangible. My taste buds translate the chaotic array of confectionery, dried fruit, flowers, and cotton candy flavouring to cake. Or cotton candy ice cream, because this blend is creamier than plain old cotton candy. Citrus and hibiscus notes and flavours prevent this from turning into a saccharine nightmare.

I think Roswell Strange is on to something when comparing this to a mixture of rainbow cereals from different brands. Major Fruit Loops and Lucky Charms vibes. Also, Unicorn Vomit is a better name, albeit probably not super PR (I would buy that though).

Flavors: Cake, Candy, Cotton Candy, Cream, Fruity, Hibiscus, Lemon, Marshmallow

Preparation
Iced
Roswell Strange

Fun Fact: We referred to this as “Unicorn Vomit” as a nickname before the tea was officially named.

CrowKettle

For some reason I find that both delightful and endearing. I love that nickname.

derk

Thanks for the laugh :)

Martin Bednář

Nickname made me laugh too. And… looks too sweet for me.
And we have unicorns in our World. They just went fat and we call them rhinos :)

tea-sipper

Hahaha. I love this tasting note.

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79

Cold Steep over night in a giant glass mug.

Based on VariaTEA’s note, I skipped over trying this hot and went right for the cold tea. I didn’t even add milk or anything, just had it straight up, and it’s good. It reminds me a tad of 52Tea’s Coconut Pie Tea a while back but this is smoother and more decadent, with maple syrup and custard flavours, the latter of which can come across as kind of tangy (but not tangy? Good job describing stuff, Crowkettle)

I would like to say more but my Mom promptly stole my mug and refuses to give it back. I’ll just have to make more.

Flavors: Coconut, Custard, Maple Syrup, Vanilla

Preparation
Iced 3 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
VariaTEA

You were healthier than I am. I’ve been adding milk to ALL the teas!!

Glad you (and your mom) liked it!

CrowKettle

Aw, that’s only because I ran out of milk that day. Next time I’m just going to steep the tea leaves directly in milk in the fridge over night. :P

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75

This was kindly included as a free sample from Dessert by Deb. By the way, the packaging was absolutely adorable, with owl and tea stickers all over the parcel, pink paper, a hand written postcard, note paper, and coordinated gold, silver, and pink coloured tea packets.

To me, this tastes exactly like a Matcha Cream Puff so I can’t really complain. Coconut, rice, and the more buttery qualities of the matcha create a convincing cream filled pastry profile. Maple Crystals sells the dessert.

I like this a lot more than the Marshmallow Crispy Square, which while relatively tasty is also (maybe overly) coconut heavy. The coconut in the Cream Puff is a lot more balanced and complimentary. Also, Matcha Genmaicha is generally more fun than regular Genmaicha so there’s that going for it too!

Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Cream, Grass, Maple Syrup, Pastries, Toasted Rice

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
VariaTEA

I got this as a sample in my second order. Perhaps I will need to try it sooner rather than later

CrowKettle

Hopefully this one works out for you! Results have varied slightly for me but it’s usually decent to good!

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70

This tea is a coconut monster. If it was a chimera it would have a coconut head, a coconut body, and a coconut tail (three coconuts joined together, gasp!). I kid you not, coconut is listed three times in the ingredients section (coconut, toasted coconut, palm sugar).

The pairing of toasted coconut and roasted rice in a genmaicha is a nice one. I’m just a little unnerved because I thought 52Teas Marshmallow Treat was a candy tea. The palm sugar and the 500 coconuts present in this blend are zealously excited to show me all the ways in which I was mistaken.

For the most part I enjoyed this tea, but there is something present that is making my mouth dry and my throat sore; I may possibly be sensitive to something in the blend (I can’t see it being coconut, but who knows). I’ll try this again both hot and cold and see if I get the same results.

Steep Count: 2

Flavors: Coconut, Marshmallow, Sugar, Toasted Rice

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Roswell Strange

Haha, I’m waiting with bated breath to try the teas from my order with Sil and VariaTEA – though sounds like I’m in for a sugar rush! Guess I shouldn’t be surprised given the company name. How would you compare the sweetness level to some of the more sweet DT blends (like Cotton Candy, etc.)? I know DT has a rep for sweet teas – is it comparable?

CrowKettle

I’ve only tried this (palm sugar), and am currently sipping on the Matcha Cream Puff (maple crystals)… but I think they’re comparable? The Matcha Cream Puff in particular reminds me of Cardamom French Toast despite not having much in common besides being sweet.

CrowKettle

Although, I just tried Unicorn Dream and that deserves its own sweetness league. lol

Roswell Strange

Yeah, 100% agree with you on that one!

OMGsrsly

I wish I could use emojis here. I’m laughing so much at your description! IDK, is there room for more coconut?

Mastress Alita

I can only imagine the kind of monster this would become if all that coconut went rancid at once…

CrowKettle

@Mastress Alita, that is definitely one of greatest fears. These coconut teas are not going to stick around for long!

CrowKettle

and, yes, I would love emojis! Another thing for me to abuse on here! XD

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77
drank Citrus Green by Jayida Ché
998 tasting notes

I love the aroma of this blend. It brings to mind Sage’s Liquid Sunshine diffuser blend, with a hint of creamy peppermint and tea. It’s bright, juicy, and refreshing. The liquid hue is equally pleasant, steeping up to a muted pink halfway between a white grapefruit and pink grapefruit.

Despite the presence of hibiscus and a load of citrusy ingredients, including lemongrass, and grapefruit, orange, and lemon peels + oils, this tea never got bitter or mouth-puckering. It tasted pleasantly of citrus fruits, mint, lemongrass and hibiscus “berry”. Rose hips are also present but I didn’t really taste them in this session.

This was a good morning starter today, and I could see it being equally wonderful when stuffed up with a sinus infliction. It’s such a clean tea, albeit the green tea is pretty hard to taste under all of those super strong herbs and fruits!

I’m looking forward to seeing how my cold brew turns out later this evening.

Steep Count: 1 minute 30 sec, and 2 minutes respectively.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus Fruits, Fruity, Grapefruit, Hibiscus, Lemon, Lemongrass, Orange, Peppermint

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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83
drank Razzle Dazzle by Jayida Ché
998 tasting notes

I’ve tried to steep this twice and neglected it both times! Ah, luckily it’s not something a little milk can’t fix. This is a fun take on an Earl Grey after all.

At the beginning of the drinking process the sweet, nutty and slightly tart profile of goji is what caught my attention but midway through pink grapefruit has usurped the goji’s spot. My oversteeping this cup means this is tarter and drier than I normally prefer, even with the milk. However, it also emphasizes that fresh grapefruit beautifully, rind and all! There is no sugar coating on this citrus.

I really like how seamlessly goji and grapefruit flavours blend and merge into each other here. As a big fan of grapefruit in every form I’ll seriously consider reordering this again.

Steep Count: 2

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Fruity, Goji, Grapefruit, Nutty, Sweet, Tart

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Profile

Bio

I started my Steepster loose leaf adventure back in 2012. I can’t say I’m completely new anymore, but I still view oolong as a magical, extraterrestrial creature that unfurls in water.

Ingredients/flavours I tend to dislike or stay away from: apple, cocoa nibs, stevia, dairy products

Subjective Rating System 2.0:

90-100: My absolute favourite tea. Will impulsively buy and hoard like a dragon.

85-89: A favourite tea. May have quality flaws that I choose to ignore.

76-84: A lovely tea, maybe of high quality or masterful blending, but not one I’m likely to order again.

70-75: Enjoyable, but I may have few minor problems with quality, consistency, ingredient chemistry and/or personal preferences.

50-69: Quality, consistency, blending, or personal preference problems are apparent, but I wouldn’t pass up a cup.

11-49: Varying levels of undrinkable tea. I don’t give a lot of these ratings out, since I tend to grab teas I know will appeal to me.

1-10: Nightmare tea from the chaos realms. This is last year’s low-grade bancha mixed with rancid coconut, stale cocoa nibs, over-enthusiastic hibiscus, and stevia sweetener. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist.

Location

BC, Lower Mainland

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