620 Tasting Notes

55
drank Tamarind Pop by Butiki Teas
620 tasting notes

Honestly I never knew what to make of this. I have no knowledge of tamarind outside of this tea, and it’s just such a unique flavour that I have no idea what else I would compare it to. It’s earthy, a little sour, and has hints of caramel which only really pop when sweetened. It sounds like this is pretty accurate for what the concept of this blend was going for though, so I guess that’s a plus. It’s not a flavour I would really crave or actively choose often, but as I’m sipping on it it does grow on me. It’s much better sweetened than plain. This final cup is cold brewed, because it’s named ‘pop’ and that’s something you drink cold. I do think I prefer it this way. It’s less fruity, more earthy, and still a little on the bitter side, which surprised me because it wasn’t steeping for that long. I think this might be part of the ‘tamarind’ flavour, though, so I’ll give it a free pass on the bitterness. Again, not my favourite, but a super unique tea I’m happy to have tried.

Sipdown 232/400.

Preparation
Iced 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML
tea-sipper

Yeah, I had this the other day and the flavor is vastly faded since the last time I had it. It was so good when fresher though.

Nattie

Even fresh I didn’t like this much to be honest. I think it’s the tamarind itself I don’t like though, rather than it being the tea’s fault.

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92
drank Bubbie's Baklava by DAVIDsTEA
620 tasting notes

ohhh myyy godddd.

I love this tea. Honey, nuts and cinnamon are all things I love, so it’s no surprise that I like the tea when those flavours dominate the cup. It really is reminiscent of a baklava! There’s a hint of apple and cardamom towards the end of the sip and even though I don’t like cardamom as a general rule, here it adds to the overall profile rather than detracting from it. It’s definitely a busy tea with a lot going on, but I’m okay with that. This is going to be a short tasting note because I find myself wanting to gulp the tea down and savour it without really thinking about separating out the flavours and breaking down the experience in my head. It’s really, really good though. This is probably one of my favourite DAVIDsTEAs, and one I would stock up on if I could. If my boyfriend and I ever make it to Canada (it’s a big trip for us and will be a few years from now in all probability), I might try to find a Davids to stock up on this and Pumpkin Chai.

Sad sipdown 231/400.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
ashmanra

Ooooooo that sounds good!

tea-sipper

Just for your future reference, the new name for this is ‘Nutty & Spice’… though it might be retired? Seasonal at least.

ashmanra

tea-sipper: Thanks for the very helpful info!

Nattie

I wonder why they changed it? Haha I love the old name! I assumed it was a different tea because usually the name gets updated on Steepster. Hopefully it’s seasonal, because this is too good a tea to retire.

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80
drank Apple Custard by DAVIDsTEA
620 tasting notes

Sipdown 230/400!

I accidentally way over sweetened this tonight (experimenting with golden syrup) but it’s still delicious if a little sickly. This is one I really will miss. It’s a perfect herbal for when I’m craving dessert late at night. I honestly don’t think I have anything else like this in my cupboard, and it’s a gap I will try to fill.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
AJRimmer

I remember the time I added a strong sweetener to a tea I didn’t realize was mostly licorice. Almost died.

tea-sipper

oh boy AJRimmer. haha

Martin Bednář

That reminds me I tried “Raspberry Tea” in vending machine. It was good if I have removed some sugar, otherwise it was so sickly sweet!

Nattie

AJRimmer – I’ve done that before! It’s not a good time. I did it with Sweet Harvest Pumpkin the first time I tried it too. Never again will I add sweetener before trying the tea first!

Nattie

Martin – I don’t think I’ve ever seen vending machine tea before! Interesting! Ours only have coffee or hot chocolate.

Martin Bednář

Nattie – if you consider it tea and not “tea”. Usually it has got Lemon black tea flavour, but in my hometown they changed to raspeberry tea. It is artificial (and instant) for sure, but actually it is not bad, when you remove that sugar.

Nattie

I’ve tried a few instant teas from Whittard’s here in the UK, and though they’ve been nice they don’t really taste like ‘tea’ to me. They are highly sweetened too.

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72

Sipdown! 229/400.

This is so much better now I’ve been steeping it at a lower temperature. I’m almost sad to see it go! But the last of this is being sent out to fellow tea friends who might appreciate the chance to try it. It’s so good when you get it spot on, but it’s a very temperamental tea and I’ve struggled to hit that sweet spot with it reliably, so even though it’s one of the best first flush Darjeelings I’ve tried, I wouldn’t actively seek out a new harvest. If I were already placing an order somewhere and saw that they also stocked this tea, I might be tempted to pick up a small amount to compare harvests though. That’s kind of high praise for someone as ambivalent about Darjeelings as I am.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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54
drank Genmaicha by DAVIDsTEA
620 tasting notes

Even though I’m not the biggest green tea fan, I think there’s too little of it in this blend. The majority of the blend is made up of rice, so the cup turns out a very light colour with light toasted rice flavour and not much backbone. It’s not a bad genmaicha though, just not really my thing.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
So Keta

Most of David’s Tea blends have little to no tea leaves. It’s really sad. I once dumped out an entire bag of a blend and sifted out the tea to weigh it.
There was like 8 grams of it in a 50g purchase……

Nattie

That sucks. If I’m buying tea, I want to get tea. :/

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59

After the Puerh I had this morning I wanted something lighter that wouldn’t sit so heavy on my stomach, so plumped for this paired with some fresh strawberries. It’s not my favourite tea ever but it’s a nice calming tisane. Only a slight hint of hibiscus makes it tart without being overly sour, and the chamomile, mint and lemongrass make a nice herbal combination. I’m not one to choose teas based on their purported health benefits, but it’s nice to have something like this in to settle my stomach when I feel like I need it.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Mystery tuo cha which either came from KittyLovesTea or the EU TTB some time ago. I did have it saved in my cupboard as something else, but when I went to log it realised that that was a sheng and this is a shou. So, this really could be anything, but at least it’s still technically a cupboard sipdown? The wrapper is blank, totally white, and the only label I have to go off is my own writing which says ‘Xiao Tuo Cha’. Totally helpful. I’ve searched the database and unsurprisingly had no luck. The tea I originally has it saved as was by Wan Ling Tea House, so I guess there’s a change it could be from them.

The first 5 steeps were very mild, vanilla-light steeps with sweet caramel and floral tones. After the fifth steep roasty and woody notes crept in, and after the 8th steep the more typical damp and leathery notes began to appear with a building smokiness. I would say that these middle steeps were my favourites. Up until then I was really surprised by how light, floral and sweet this sheng was. I did short steeps of a few seconds for around 12 steeps, at which point the tuo was fully broken up and each steep began to taste the same. At that point, I did one long steep of around two minutes and filled a mug, rather than steeping it out. I think if I did continue I probably could have gotten a good 20+ steeps from it. I was actually really pleasantly surprised by this unassuming little tuo which has been hanging out patiently in my focus box for pretty much years now. I wonder if I’m finally getting a better appreciation for puerh, or if this was just a really good one? Rating around a 77.

228/400.

Preparation
Boiling

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58
drank Butterbeer by 52teas
620 tasting notes

Sipdown! (227/400)

I cold brewed the last of this, mostly because I prefer root beer teas iced over hot, but also because I wanted to see if out brought out the more delicate vanilla or butter flavours, since I couldn’t taste them at all in the hot version. It didn’t. If anything this is more of a one-note flat root beer than ever, with the black tea and the chicory root not coming through like they were in the hot brewed cup. I still prefer it iced though, just because root beer and hot tea don’t go together very well in my brain.

Preparation
Iced

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61
drank English Breakfast by DAVIDsTEA
620 tasting notes

Sipdown! (226/400)

I didn’t have quite enough left for a whole cup of this on its own, so I mixed what was left with the Cream of Earl Grey resteep of this morning’s leaf. It was actually pretty good! The vanilla was less overpowering mixed in with this tea, and this tea was less underwhelming with something else added to it.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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91

I loved this tea when I first got it. I’m still a huge fan of EGCs in general. I don’t know what’s happened between then and now, but this is just too strongly vanilla and artificial tasting for me now. The vanilla is creamy and almost custardy. The flavour itself is delicious. What I don’t understand though is how it can be so strong – I swear, it’s stronger than it was back when it was fresh! Maybe it’s just held up really well, and I’m used to drinking old, faded teas now?! The bergamot has definitely faded quite a lot, so that it’s mostly custardy sweetness with a slight hint of citrus whispered in the background. Perhaps the reason the vanilla is coming across as so strong is that the bergamot isn’t really there to balance it out any more. I still enjoyed my mug, and I think vanilla fans would really like this one, but since it’s not a flavour I enjoy unless blended with other, stronger flavours I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d expected to. My rating reflects how I felt about this when it was fresh, and I was head over heels with my first sip. Maybe it’s for the best this way, since I can’t get DAVIDsTEA over here – it’ll be easier to say goodbye.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Profile

Bio

I first got into loose leaf teas when a friend of mine showed me Cara McGee’s Sherlock fandom blends on Adagio a good few years back, but they weren’t on sale in the UK so I started trying other kinds instead and have been hooked for almost three years (and have purchased several fandom tea sets including the Sherlock one I lusted over for so long).

Flavoured teas make up the majority of my collection, but I’m growing increasingly fond of unflavoured teas too. I usually reach for a black, oolong or white tea base over a pu’erh or green tea, though I do have my exceptions. I will update my likes and dislikes as I discover more about my palate, but for now:

Tea-likes: I’m generally easily pleased and will enjoy most flavours, but my absolute favourites are maple, caramel, chestnut, pecan, raspberry, coconut, blueberry, lemon, pumpkin, rose, hazelnut and peach

Tea-dislikes: vanilla (on its own), ginger, coriander/cilantro, cardamom, liquorice, pineapple and chocolate

I am a 25 year old bartender, English Literature sort-of-graduate and current student working towards finishing my degree. I am hoping to one day complete a masters degree in Mental Health Social Work and get a job working in care. Other than drinking, hoarding and reviewing tea, my hobbies include reading, doing quizzes and puzzles, TV watching, football/soccer (Sunderland AFC supporter and employee of my local football club), music, artsy weird makeup, and learning new things (currently British Sign Language).

I should probably also mention my tea-rating system, which seems to be much harsher than others I’ve seen on here. It’s not always concrete, but I’ll try to define it:

• 50 is the base-line which all teas start at. A normal, nothing-special industrial-type black teabag of regular old fannings would be a 50.

• 0 – 49 is bad, and varying degrees of bad. This is probably the least concrete as I hardly ever find something I don’t like.

• I have never given below a 20, and will not unless that tea is SO bad that I have to wash my mouth out after one sip. Any teas rated as such are unquestionably awful.

• This means most teas I don’t enjoy will be in the 30 – 50 range. This might just mean the tea is not to my own personal taste.

• 51+ are teas I enjoy. A good cup of tea will be in the 50 – 70 range.

• If I rate a tea at 70+, it means I really, really like it. Here’s where the system gets a little more concrete, and I can probably define this part, as it’s rarer for a tea to get there.

• 71- 80: I really enjoyed this tea, enough to tell somebody about, and will probably hang onto it for a little longer than I perhaps should because I don’t want to lose it.

• 81 – 90: I will power through this tea before I even know it’s gone, and will re-order the next time the mood takes me.

• 91 – 100: This is one of the best teas I’ve ever tasted, and I will re-order while I still have a good few cups left, so that I never have to run out. This is the crème de la crème, the Ivy League of teas.

I never rate a tea down, and my ratings are always based on my best experience of a tea if I drink it multiple times. I feel that this is fairest as many factors could affect the experience of one particular cup.

I am always happy to trade and share my teas with others, so feel free to look through my cupboard and message me if you’re interested in doing a swap. I keep it up-to-date, although this doesn’t mean I will definitely have enough to swap, as I also include my small samples.
Currently unable to swap as I’ve returned after a long hiatus to a cupboard of mostly-stale teas I’m trying to work through before I let myself purchase anything fresh

I also tend to ramble on a bit.

Location

South Shields, UK

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