620 Tasting Notes

89

When I had the Sweet & Spicy tea from Good Earth earlier, I got some hot water from the coffee shop to drink it with. They wouldn’t give me it by itself, so I bought this tea and asked for the bag separately, hoping to keep it for later. Unfortunately, the guy opened the little sachet so I couldn’t keep it and had to drink it today.

I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the last time I had this tea, possibly because it was in the little pocket bit of my bag for an hour or two, which I suspect might have had an affect on the weaker flavour. The ginseng was still prominent, but this time around the raspberry wasn’t as strong and the fruity taste was definitely diminished.

Still a good tea, but not as great as I remembered.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Flyawaybirdie

How odd they wouldn’t just give you the water, with the exception of a couple of shops that charges for cups if you don’t bring your own… I think it’s mandated in the law for us that water is free unless you get it bottled. But I see you’re from the UK, do they not have that kind of law over there?

Nattie

I’m not sure to be honest. I know that a lot I places will give you hot water if you ask, maybe because it was a coffee shop they didn’t want to lose business?

I think there’s a law that if you ask for tap water they can’t charge you and have to give you it (as opposed to giving you bottled if you just ask for ‘water’ so they can charge you) but I don’t know if it applies to hot water or not.

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26

This is going to be a hard tea to review. But first, I’d like to say that my Hapa-tite tea swap from Hapatite arrived today! Well, yesterday, but I only got it today. I am so excited!! All of the teas look very interesting, and I can’t wait to try them all.

I had arranged to go out for coffee with my partner before the swap package arrived, but wanted to stay in and drink tea instead, so as a compromise I picked this bag out and went for coffee with him, and asked for hot water at the shop.

Like Nicole stated in her review, I wish I’d read the recommendations on here before making this tea! A short steep would definitely have been enough, but as it is, I left the bag in the water for a good 4 or 5 minutes. I had a sugar sachet ready which I definitely did not need, as it was overpoweringly sweet, and actually probably the first tea I’ve had which had lived up to its ‘sweet’ promise. The cinnamon taste is also very powerful, and tiny sips reminded me of cinnamon fireball sweets I ate as a child. However, if you drink this is anything larger than little sips, the flavour becomes seriously strong. I could not believe just how strong it was. By the end of the cup (which wasn’t even that big) my lips were tingling and the inside of my mouth was on fire. This is a seriously intense brew.

I have a feeling it would have been nice had I steeped it only for a short time, and I actually put the teabag in a cup of iced water to see what that would do. The result was a pretty tasty, mild, crisp version of the hot cup I’d just drank. I didn’t think there would be much flavour to it but the same flavours were obviously present, which was good. In the second/cold steep, the sweetness was more apparent than the cinnamon, instead of the other way around, which was definitely better for me. I could also taste the orange a bit this time, which was completely lost in the cinnamon first steep. It’s worth noting that there wasn’t even a hint of black tea in either steep.

I really don’t know how to rate this tea, because if I’d just had the iced version, I would have rated it better than average. However I struggled to finish the first cup so much I actually started to think I was having an allergic reaction because my mouth was burning so bad. I usually go with the rating based on my best experience with the tea, but this time I feel like I have to take the first steep into account. I think it’s going to have to be half way between the two.

Thanks for the try, Nicole! Sipdown.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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76

I got these teabags for Christmas from my amazing parents who know me too well. I always loved liquorice root as a kid, and this tea sounded amazing.

It smells really good brewed, mainly peppermint with a liquorice background, and that’s how it tastes, too. The peppermint comes through strongly first, then lets the liquorice root come into play a bit more, giving a nice natural liquorice flavour instead of a taste of the mass-produced sweet. However liquorice root is very sweet, and the aftertaste of this is just too sweet for me unfortunately (and I like my teas fairly sweet, too). It hasn’t stopped me from getting through the majority of my teabags already, as it’s the only negative to a good herbal.

I got around it, though! Tonight, I fancied a hot chocolate with a twist, and, whilst I would normally go for a chocolate chai latte, I fancied mint. Sooo, I brewed a cup of this, and added it to cocoa instead of plain water and BAMFT! mint hot chocolate! It’s goooorgeous, and the sweetness means no added sugar! Plus the liquorice aftertaste is still present, giving it a more sophisticated twist. Yummy.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
JustJames

no one will buy me tea… they’re too afraid lol. very odd- i’m not THAT picky and i’m certainly not rude =0/

Nattie

You could try dropping hints? Everyone buys me tea – they know it’s usually a safe bet (:

Or you could show them steepster, and point out your wishlist!

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76

YES. I like this.

I had been craving a fruity iced tea all day, so around 11 this morning I put a few spoons of this in some iced water to cold brew. Warm, I couldn’t taste any of the fruity flavours in this and it just seemed like a decent enough black tea, so I wasn’t too hopeful for the results of my cold brew.

I am pleased to report, however, that the cold brew really lets the flavours shine, and I am really impressed with the results. Predominantly grapefruit with a suggestion of blood orange and the black tea base complement the citrus flavour, this is SO much better iced! This will be perfect for the summer, I can imagine it will be perfectly refreshing.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 3 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
Hello.Kiki

I drank most of my sample cold as well. Much better that way IMO.

Nattie

So much better!

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89

I ordered this from Caffé Nero today as I went quite late on, and didn’t want to have something caffeinated. This was a welcome surprise – a bit on the tart side, the raspberries enter the sip first, with the ginseng playing around the background. The flavours meld beautifully together, and I’m not even sure I’ve had ginseng before but it is a flavour that I recognised and reminded me of something that I still can’t place. Nevertheless, this makes for a beautiful cup, and a new favourite flavour which I can add to my list. I LOVE ginseng! Or at least I think I do… This calls for more research.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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88
drank Coconut by Adagio Teas
620 tasting notes

Today is not a day for new teas. Today is a day for tried and tested, I know I love this tea teas.

I got a notice yesterday saying that my water would be turned off today at 11am to deal with a burst pipe. Naturally, I panicked, then decided to get up early, have a shower and then fill any and all receptacles I could find with water. That didn’t work out. I woke up this morning at 10:58am, flew out of bed and managed to fill two water bottles before the water was turned off. So I have exactly one litre of water to last me the entire day D:

On the plus side, the kettle already had enough water in for a morning mug of tea.

Because I am limited by the amount I can drink (and only have 3 infusers, which I have no way of washing out) I decided to stick to teas that I know I’ll enjoy today, so I went for this as a creamy favourite.

Toasty and sweet, this was the perfect choice to calm me down after my panic this morning. I only have a couple of cups of this left, but might have to sneak another sample into my next order (which I have already selected as adagio). I will be very sorry to see this go. I added milk and sugar this morning, and I wish I’d left the sugar out. It’s too sweet, as the coconut is a sweet enough flavour on its own. However, the added sweetness reminds me of coconut icecream – which I am now craving despite the rain – and I have a feeling this would make an awesome tea latte. I like it too much to sacrifice double the tea for one drink at the minute, but when I have more I will definitely have to test that theory out.

FYI: I freaking love coconut. Especially coconut teas. This may cloud my judgement. But this tea is awesome.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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86

I didn’t post anything at all yesterday I’m so sorry! I try to post at least one note a day, which isn’t much considering I usually drink at least three different teas in a day (four yesterday) and I still didn’t manage to get anything posted. I’d like to say I was super busy, but really I just forgot.

So, backlog from yesterday. I had this again last night, but in a larger mug so I added an extra teaspoon. I also let it steep for almost half an hour as I forgot about it.

I don’t know which element caused it to change so drastically, but this time the smell was less bowl of fruit and more metallic coins. I found this really off putting, but the strawberry smell was still present in the background so I held out hope.

Nope.

Even though it had steeped for so long, I could still taste tap water, with an added taste of sucking on a coin. There’s a vague strawberry taste behind the coppery awfulness, but it does not dominate as it did last time. This really disappointed me, as I seriously loved it then, and I hope future brews work out more like the first one. It’s also extremely tart, and I have a feeling the hibiscus may have gotten the better of this cup. Like I said in my previous review, the dry mix of fruit etc. is so varied and chunky that it’s hard to get the same thing in two spoonfuls, and I definitely had more hibiscus and less strawberry this time around. The longer I drink it, however, the more the strawberry comes out, so it’s not so bad.

If this was my first cup, I would have rated it somewhere around the 38 mark and left it untouched in my cupboard for months. I’m not going to change the rating, though, as I use it to reflect the best a drink can be, and always use how I best enjoyed it to give my rating.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 2 tsp 15 OZ / 450 ML
Anna

If you don’t feel like writing a whole review, you can always just post an empty tasting note. =)

Nattie

I want to log my teas fully the first time I drink it, or if I have a different experience than previously. I will definitely keep that in mind, though! (:

Anna

Oh, I completely understand that – I just meant for those ‘oh, this tastes the same as ever’ notes.

Nattie

Yeah, definitely a better idea than repeating the same thing over!

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54
drank Redbush by Tetley
620 tasting notes

This is my first time posting from the main website on a computer instead of my phone! :O Maybe I should do it more often, it’s so much easier!

I’ve had these teabags lying around my cupboard for a while now, probably verging on 10 months, so I thought I should try to get them used up (and then buy more tea. Yay!) I bought them from my on-site campus shop last year as I wanted a caffeine-free tea, and it was either this or chamomile, which I don’t much care for. I remember thinking that it tasted like regular tea, only with an odd aftertase, and haven’t had plain rooibos since, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

My first mug of this, drank plain, was quite disappointing. It was very bland, with only a little flavour that I could make out at all, and not enough to tell what it was. Maybe the teabags have lost their potency over time.

I am curently drinking my second mug of the night, which I brewed using two teabags for twice as long. This seems to have helped, as the flavour is more present this time around even though I added milk to make it more soothing. Brewed, the smell reminds me of honey, and I expected it to taste like regular tea does with a spoonful of honey stirred in. The actual flavour is more woodsy than I expected from the smell, but commonplace in other rooibos drinks I own. It is a very suitable bedtime drink, with a deep, woodsy taste in the sip, and a floral honey (I knew I smelled it!) aftertaste which I find very soothing.

Now that my collection has vastly expanded, I own many rooibos blends which I would choose over this in a heartbeat. Having said that, it will not be a chore to finish the remaining teabags.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 14 OZ / 400 ML

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86

My latest Bluebird order arrived today and I’ve already tried all of them! Apart from the sample, which was of a tea that I already have so I suppose it doesn’t count. This was the last one I tried, as my bedtime drink to replace the Berry Blues from Adagio that I finished last week.

The dry mix is overwhelming strawberry. It smells very strong, and reminds me of a block of jelly/jello before you add the hot water to it. This tea looks AMAZING in the bag, it’s so pretty with huge chunks of strawberry and other fruits, and sunflower petals. I’m kinda sad that I bought this so early in the year, it just makes me wish it was summer already to look at it. It also makes it kinda difficult to get an equal amount of ingredients in each spoonful though, so that could be a downside. It could also be a plus, though, as I can’t really get bored of a tea which is slightly different each time. Steeped, it turns a deep reddish colour, which I was a little surprised at, thinking it was going to be a pale infusion. On second thoughts, the colour is probably down to the hibiscus. The smell is also insane – exactly like jelly once you’ve added the hot water! Which is very fitting considering the smell beforehand. Still so so strawberry.

I have read a couple of reviews of this tea that noted a lack of strawberry flavour, but I honestly have no idea where they got that from! Maybe Bluebird changed their recipe? Whatever the reason, my first sip is pure strawberry jam. Like, it’s as if I have just dipped a spoon in strawberry jam and shoved it right in my mouth. A little tart, but nowhere near as much as I had expected considering the lemonade aspect, and actually I can’t taste or smell the lemons at all. Regardless, it is a lovely hot fruity tea.

I added a spoon of sugar to compare with the berry blues tea I used to drink (which needed two, because hibiscus) and it instantly becomes super sweet. Now, it actually tastes like strawberry jelly! But hot, and liquid… Still no sign of the citrus aspect, which is disappointing, but this is an amazing strawberry tea. I have a feeling it would also be great iced in the summer, and that this might bring out the ‘lemonade’ more. Maybe I just got a disproportionate amount of strawberry in this cup? I’ll have to wait and see.

Not my favourite fruit tea – Berry Blues is a tough act to follow – but a close second, and one which I will be happy to drink as a replacement.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 225 ML

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65
drank Pure Camomile by Twinings
620 tasting notes

I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately, so I’ve lowered my caffeine intake to before 6PM, meaning I have to drastically expand my caffeine-free stash. This was a one-off teabag I took from a hotel room, as I thought it was worth a try but don’t really drink chamomile often enough to buy it. It just doesn’t do it for me, if I’m having a caffeine free tea, I’ll usually go for a rooibos. As it was free, there’s not harm in trying it!

The bag itself smelled kinda funky, nearly like feet, so I wasn’t exactly excited about it. However when brewed, the feet smell dissipates (thank heavens!) and leaves a kind of honeyed floral smell instead, which is SO much more pleasant.

I’m still not a huge fan of chamomile, but this is a lot nicer than others I’ve tried, and a lot nicer than I was expecting. It’s a more rounded flavour than I’m used to in chamomiles, and the flower somehow tastes more mature (?). I’m not even sure what I mean by that, but it’s less sharp and more ‘friendly’ than your average chamomile. Very calming. I added a teaspoon of honey and it added a smoothness as well as sweetness to the taste, and made it a drink which I would happily turn to as a nightcap.

I should also mention that the sachet this came in read ‘calming chamomile’. Since I could not find any information about that one, and it is by the same company as this one and contains exactly the same things, I assumed they’d just changed the product name, maybe to fit in as part of a set? It seems to be the same thing, anyway.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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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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