2230 Tasting Notes

65

Day 24 of the Whittard advent (and yes, I am very late with this one!)

It’s partly because I’ve been putting it off, since it’s a black/green/oolong blend, with rose to boot. Rose tea isn’t generally my favourite, and honestly, brewing something well that’s got all those things to contend with was beyond me before Christmas. Now, of course, I’m absolutely up to the challenge! Maybe, anyway.

I was totally scientific and let the water cool a bit while I wandered around and did some other things. Turns out, it’s actually pretty nice when all’s said and done. Quite sweet, but with an underlying earthy woodiness and just a hint of floral. Nothing overpowering, thankfully. I’d compare it to walking through a forest on a slightly damp but sunny day, I suppose. Fresh, like.

It’s probably not one I’d actively seek out just because I think it’s a weird combination of things in general and it strikes me as fussy. I like my life as straightforward as I can get it, and that usually includes tea. I’m glad to have tried it, though. It’s drinkability surprised me!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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65

Another I’ve apparently tried before…like, when?

It’s back to day 15 of the Whittard advent, because I could finally be bothered to pay attention enough to make a green tea well. The ingredients actually consist of pineapple and mango, but I can actually taste passionfruit which is a bit of a surprise…

It’s fruity and juicy, although I’d have liked more mango just for a peppery edge. As it’s predominantly passionfruit, it’s quite sweet with little to temper it. It’s also maybe a touch too floral for my tastes…

I’m thinking I’d probably prefer this one iced or cold-brewed.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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65

Apparently I’ve tried this one before, although I have absolutely no recollection of having done so…

It’s day 22 of the Whittard advent, in any case, so I guess I get to try it again!

It has orange, clove, and vanilla, and tastes like a light-weight chai. The spicing is mild, and there are some nice sweet overtones from the vanilla. Ultimately, though, it’s a little thin and probably needs either more spice or a more robust black base.

I originally gave this 80; I’ve reduced that a bit (okay, a lot), because today’s cup wasn’t that good. I mean, it was drinkable but not particularly satisfying…

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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90

Day 21 of the Whittard advent. This one’s a black with juniper berries (yes, please!), strawberry and blackcurrant. No hibi, thankfully!

It’s fruity; really fruity. There’s lots of strawberry and a touch of underlying sharpness which is very much reminiscent of blackberry. It has a great summer pudding vibe going on, and I’d absolutely buy this.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
Martin Bednář

Sounds good for me!

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85

Day 19 of the Whittard advent, and I’m actually almost up to date. Just day 15 to return to, at some point. Probably next week now, but you never know!

This is a breakfast style black. Strong, with really nice bready undertones. Not too tannic. It’s pretty malty, but still somehow savoury. It’s doesn’t head into the realms of the super-sweet in the way that some malty teas do. It’s also really smooth, which is nice. No real bite to speak of. I find some breakfast blends too heavy on an empty stomach in the morning, but this one’s actually really nice.

It’s very reminiscent of Twinings 1706 and B&B’s Great British Cuppa, if you’re familiar with either of those.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Shae

Sounds delicious!

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70

Day 18 of the Whittard advent. This isn’t a style I drink very often, largely because I didn’t used to like smoky teas very much. Times have changed, though. I’ll drink pretty much anything these days!

This one’s only lightly smoky, not overpowering in the least. There’s a malty sweetness in the background that pairs well. It’s very drinkable! Another I can see myself at least revisiting at some point.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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75

Day 17 of the Whittard advent. There used to be a Twinings orange blossom tea that I was totally obsessed with for a while, and then I think they stopped producing it. I still have the fondest memories, though, so I’m hoping this could be a replacement. I feel like I’ve not come across an orange blossom tea particularly recently…did they go out of fashion?

This one has sweet, juicy orange notes and a floral backbone. Not too floral, though. Just right. I could drink this fairly regularly, I suspect. Maybe especially in the summer…

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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90

I skipped ahead to day 16 for today’s first cup (15 is a green, which is fine, but not at this hour of the morning!) I love a good vanilla black, though, and this one is gooooood. It’s sweet, creamy, comforting; you name it. It also has a nice vanilla bean flavour and doesn’t come across as artificial even though it probably is…

It’s a classic, imo. I’d buy more. In fact, I probably will.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Sil

Man. THIS is an advent I need next year!

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75

Day 14 of the Whittard advent. I’m getting there; possibly by tomorrow I’ll be caught up.

This one apparently contains liquorice, which is my nemesis, but it’s muted enough that I can’t really taste it. I noticed it a little at the back of my throat by the end of the cup, but I can live with that. It wasn’t in my face from the first sip, at least.

There’s lots of sharp green apple (nice!) but not a lot of elderflower. I want more elderflower. This is actually okay for a fruit tea, though. I’d definitely drink it again.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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55

Day 13 of the Whittard advent, and a change from rooibos at last! Having said that, this one’s mostly hibi so it may be a case of “out of the frying pan, into the fire”…

It’s tart and a little sour. Hello hibi! There’s a mild fruitiness, but it’s far from exceptional.

Probably one of the most disappointing so far (and I have at least another 50g of this from a present I was given earlier this year. Life is a chore sometimes.)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, and I live in Norfolk in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s my latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.

Location

Norfolk, UK

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