1617 Tasting Notes

reviewed Tea Infuser Mug by Aladdin
1617 tasting notes

I have had my Aladdin tea infuser mug for at least four years and I still love it. It is a double walled plastic thermos mug with and internal fine mesh basket in the lid that sits above the water line until you lower it. You fill the basket with your tea, fill the thermos to the fill line with hot water and when you are ready to lower the basket in the water or raise it, you use the lever on the outside of the lid to move the basket. You never have to open the mug to steep your tea. I read that it is microwave safe, but I have never put mine in the microwave. The lever mechanism has metal, so it would I’d microwave only the mug part.

I first bought one for my sister as a gift and a few months later purchased my own. When comparing notes with her, she complained that the infuser basket on hers would always fall down into the water. Mine clicks when put up and stays in place. I called the company to inquire about the difference and they offered to send a replacement! The new one was just like mine with a clicking sound when the basket is raised. I have read other reviews complaining about the falling basket and I’m guessing Aladdin was paying attention to it and fixed the issue in later models.

My experience with this mug has been fantastic. I do try to keep it upright and and not just toss it in a bag and I haven’t had any leaks. The inside of the mug has etched a little over years of use and slightly discolored, but it doesn’t seem to hold onto smell much. Pouring boiling water and baking soda resolves both those issues. The basket mesh is fine enough that I haven’t had any issues of smaller particles finding their way into my tea. My only complaint is that the basket is small for teas that need lots of room for expansion, but it would make the whole mug bulkier so it’s a trade off I can live with. With the double walled design, the mug keeps tea warm for a while. I find it irritating when I want to drink my tea sooner than later, but it’s better than the opposite problem and my tea is still warm if I forget it for a while.

Someone asked me how well it holds heat so I did an experiment. I poured boiling water in the mug and took the temperature every half hour. It was sitting inside my house (kept at 70F) and I opened the part of the lid that you sip through to stick the thermometer in, then closed it again when I got a temp. Here is what I got: @0m/188F, 30m/149F, 60m/130F, 90m/120F, 120m/109F, 150m/98F It won’t keep your tea warm all day, but it will be warm for a couple hours.

Overall I’m quite satisfied with this mug and I would happily buy it again if it eventually gave out.

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I first tried this tea years ago when frequenting coffee shops for their internet access. I remember really liking it. I liked it with cream. I liked it with sugar. I ordered it often. I believe it was my first rooibos. When I saw it in the store recently, I could not resist. Scooped it up, took it home, brewed it, siped it and… huh? I used to like this so much more! It still has that unique blended fruity taste, kind of bubblegum like, that I can’t quite put a good name too, but it is so much less exciting. I’m bothered by the dry feeling left in my mouth after every sip, something I have heard others mention with rooibos. It’s still good a good tea, but it is kind of like a relationship that you try again and it just doesn’t feel right. Not like the first time. Sigh

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drank Amandine Rose by Teavana
1617 tasting notes

I love floral flavoring in food and dessert. Rose, violet and jasmine! Jasmine does well in tea, but I have found rose tea to be lacking. It seems like they rely on the natural concentration of rose and it just ends up seeming weak, empty and unbalanced to me. Because of that experience I probably never would have tried this tea, but I read a review that it was a revamp of the discontinued Almond Biscotti that I dearly loved so I had to give it a try especially when prompted by a super sale.

When checking it out in the store I noticed candied violets! There aren’t enough candied violets to make sure you get one in each cup or even each bag so I’m curious as to how that would affect the taste of the tea on a cup to cup comparison. The sales guy let me try one (it was delicious) and I let him pour me more tea than I asked for. The smell of the dry tea is overwhelmingly rose, but there is depth behind with the almond and black tea base.

The flavor holds quite well for at least two steeps with the rose weakening significantly on the third. The brewed tea gives off a lighter scent of what the dry tea does. I can taste the Almond Biscotti/marzipan that I love so well and it is nearly overpowered by the addition of the rose, but not quite. It’s like they took the rose level up to the line but didn’t quite cross it. It’s almost rose syrup like in it’s intensity. It is really quite amazing and the flavors pair well. I might have to eat my words and take back my damning of Teavana for discontinuing a favorite of mine because I think this just might be better than the original. I have had four cups over two days and found myself thinking about the next morning cup as I was trying to settle down to sleep. I would drink it in a box, I would drink it with sugar rocks!

Could it be I’m falling in love? I am totally going to hoard this one if I ever hear it’s being discontinued. Hell, I might hoard it anyways.

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The smell of this tea dry is very true to it’s name. LOTS of rich berries with chocolate undertones. The smell of the tea brewed is pretty good too, but when I tasted it the power and flavor that I was expecting just wasn’t there. It seemed watered down and bland. A very small chocolate taste with a couple tart berries. I hate it when teas don’t live up to their smell! After trying it again at a higher concentration I gave up. This one was returned.

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drank Crème Brulée by DAVIDsTEA
1617 tasting notes

Forgettable. Utterly forgettable. It tastes like the dishwater in a rinsed out ramekin. Just a lingering touch of flavor that once was. Such a tease!

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drank Graveyard Mist Green Tea by 52teas
1617 tasting notes

This was a tea I was sad I missed out on buying, so I was pretty excited to see it in the 12 Days of Christmas pack. The marshmallow root seemed especially intriguing as did the name. The dry tea had a touch of smooth mint aroma, almost like it had vanilla to mellow it out. When brewed, the minty taste is quite subtle for a mint and the more I taste it, the more I feel like the marshmallow really does act like vanilla in it’s ability to balance and tone down the mint. As mellow as it is, I don’t really taste the green tea base, so the minty-mallow must be strong enough to overpower the tea without being overpowering on it’s own. What a strange but beautiful balance! I enjoyed this tea hot, but it was also good cold and seemed more cold bodied rigamortis graveyard misty that way. Although I liked it, I feel I escaped it totally sinking it’s claws into my heart. Okay, maybe it got one or two claws in.

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drank Lime Jello Salad Green Tea by 52teas
1617 tasting notes

Whoa there lime smell jumping out of the bag! Easy there! Down boy. Once steeped, the lime smell simmers down a bit and I can smell a gelatin scent coming through. I can taste the lime and the jello flavor, but I think this is going to need some sugar to not taste like super watered down jello. The aftertaste is the same that I’d expect with jello and it does taste better sweetened. It is a little unnerving that the gelatin taste is in there so perfectly, defying the laws of reality. I’m not a lime jello fan (pistachio pudding would have been more up my alley) and this isn’t one I’d feel compelled to buy again, but I’m quite impressed at how dead on the flavor of this tea is. It’s good, but it’s also just weird.
A few days after I had this tea I was at a party and tried lime jello salad for the first time and found it a pretty close match to the tea!

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drank Boo-Berry Cotton Candy by 52teas
1617 tasting notes

Attack of the sugary berry as soon as I open the bag! Once steeped the smell mellows out a bit. It’s a little bland before I add sugar, but the aftertaste is distinctly berry/candy like. I’m finding a lot of 52teas need sugar (sometimes more sugar than I normally use) to make make the flavor taste right. What is cotton candy without the sweet, right? The green tea is present in the aftertaste and mellow, but isn’t very detectable in each sip. I’d have to sum it up as an amusing light sweet treat.

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drank Double Chocolate Decadence by 52teas
1617 tasting notes

The first time I brewed this, it seemed weak and kind of boring. The scent of the dry leaves wasn’t super strong like the other teas in the Christmas pack. The second time I brewed this I made it quite strong. Almost too strong, but I planned on adding a little cream which would dilute it and some sugar. This time it is pretty good. I taste chocolate mostly after each sip. Chocolate flavoring in tea always intrigues me, yet when I taste it, it confuses me because it is never as full of a flavor as I am used to with chocolate. This tea has a nice hearty well rounded base to it that so many teas lack and I appreciate that! It feels filling and satisfying. I’m not quite getting a decadent level of chocolate, but I taste more chocolate on the sip as it cools. I can see this tea partying it up with other flavors really well, but if you want chocolate all on it’s own, this tea is what you are looking for.

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drank Santa's Secret by DAVIDsTEA
1617 tasting notes

The little candy cane slices that are in the dry tea are amusing. Kinda cute, even to someone who doesn’t like Xmas. I can smell a little mint when the tea is brewed and I’m also getting something buttery like. When I sip it, I taste a little mint. It seems unbalanced and sharp at first, but mellows out a few sips in. I’m getting a butter like aftertaste similar to what DT’s Buttered Rum tastes like. I wonder if they have the same base. This tea doesn’t stand out to me in any way. I find myself trying to find something additional in every sip, like it will become more interesting if I keep drinking it and I come up with nothing. I dub it… boring.

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My name is Dustin and I like tea.

I’m an added flavor kind of tea fan, but have had a growing appreciation for plain. I want my tea to remind me of cookies and cakes with coconut and almond slices with a hint of chocolate drizzled on top. I want dancing ponies and flying monkeys shooting off fireworks! And no hibiscus. Hibiscus is the devil.





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