58 Tasting Notes

I always do a resteeped pot of the tea that I make at night and chill it overnight in a mason jar to drink the next day. Sometimes, I taste different things in the cold tea than I did when it was hot or warm. This time there was little change. The chilled tea has a bit more bite, but still has a little bit of a murky stewed vegetable taste to it that I don’t like.

In the jar, it looks like I’ve got a urine sample on my desk with a straw in it. :| Also, it kind of smells like marijuana.

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45
drank English Breakfast by Ahmad Tea
58 tasting notes

I bought this for the tins. On Amazon, you can get this in a 4 pack of so-cute-it-oughta-be-illegal little English phonebox tins (not pictured here). I justified the purchase by reasoning that I could drink the tea at work where I still use bags and use the tins at home for tea storage.

Well, the tins are just as cute in person, maybe more so, but my greedy little eyeballs breezed right over the description that they’re also banks. So each one has a coin slot in the top. Sigh.

They come with a bit of tape over the coin slot, and I added a second, bigger piece, and I’ll just put the label for whatever tea it is on top so it looks less wonky.

But why am I spending so much time on the tins? Because the tea is utterly unremarkable. It’s dust in a bag that brews up to an average, slightly tart/sour, english breakfast blend. I have 99 more of these and I’ll drink them easily; it isn’t crap. But there’s not much to say about it. It’s a lot like all the tea I drank before I knew more about tea.

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I’m a green tea idiot, so keep that in mind. I’d always thought green tea was horrible, bitter and undrinkable. Until about 30 seconds online taught me that I’d been brewing it all wrong. I just chucked a bag of it into a cup, covered in it boiling water, steeped it to death, and then tried to drink it. And failed. Because I’d made it taste like a cleaning product.

So, on my last Upton order, armed with the new knowledge that tea cares about brewing time and temperature, I got samples of some greens and oolongs and whites. This was the first one I tried. I brewed it per instructions at 180° for just under 3 minutes.

And I didn’t like it. I didn’t turn it into bitter stew, but it was kind of pale and thin and asparagus-y. I resteeped and the flavor was different, and better, but still a bit too delicate and a bit too brothy to suit my tastes. My girlfriend said it tasted like grass, but not in a bad way. Neither of us found it unpleasant and we drank a number of cups, but we weren’t wowed either. I think I like my tea more astringent.

I’m going to refrain from rating this one until I have more green tea tastings under my belt.

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65

I seem to always have some of this around. I drink bagged teas at work because loose leaf is too fussy. This tea is ok. It tastes like it has always tasted, and I’ve drunk a lot of it over the years. Compared to the new loose leaf english breakfasts I’ve tried, it’s a little less bright and a little less deep, but it is by no means unpalatable.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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reviewed Brew In Mug Infuser by Forlife
58 tasting notes

I like this a lot for brewing a single cup and then reusing the leaves. It’s a little annoying to clean, but so is my other plastic-cloth-style infuser. I thought it would last forever, but after only a handful of uses, there is a cut in the basket. I’m not sure what happened, or if it came that way and I didn’t notice it, but if you get one, assume that it is more fragile than it appears. I might have messed it up in the drying rack or something, I don’t know.

As for the quality of the steep- it does leave dusty particles in the tea, the perforations are tiny and fine, but some bits of tea will be tinier and finer. It doesn’t bother me, I can just play Professor Trelawney with the dust. But if you’re someone who needs crystal clear tea, this infuser won’t make it.

Late edit: After using this for a long time now, I have to amend my earlier assertion that this is a ‘little’ annoying to clean. This thing is really, really annoying to clean. Fragments of tea leaves get stuck in the perforations and you have to really work at it to get them out. The mesh style infusers are vastly easier to clean.

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92

Drinking this on day two now, a second steep from yesterday’s brewing, chilled and slightly diluted. It’s mellow, deep, and oddly toasty. Like toasted bread. I like this tea a lot.

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92

Wow, this is some tea. If it were a beer, it’d be Guinness stout. If it were a coffee, it’d be sumatra. It’s one strong dark note. I really enjoy it. It’s not sharp like some equally potent teas I’ve tried. It doesn’t taste of coffee at all, but somehow it seems more like having a cup of coffee than of tea. Maybe it’s partially because it looks like coffee in the cup- a deep mahogany that’s black once the cup is full.

I’ve tried it plain and with milk and raw sugar and it is good both ways and really holds its own against milk.

I’m only just learning about tea so I don’t yet know how to describe things with correct tea vocabulary. This tea is dark, smooth, rich, deep, and delicious.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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53
drank (Black) Currant by Adagio Teas
58 tasting notes

I thought this tea was fine, taster two quite enjoyed it. I’ve only had currants dried or in jam, so I’m no currant expert, but with added sugar this tea tasted more like hard candy than fresh anything. Which I didn’t expect considering the amazing fresh strawberriness Adagio can deliver. It’s ok. The base tea, as with all the bases on Adagio’s flavored blacks, is unremarkable.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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5

I was really slogging my way through this sample. This tea is mostly boring until suddenly it tastes a bit like kelp. Is that vegetal? Sea vegetal?

I’ve tried it a few times now and it only gets worse. Musty and pickley and undelicious. I tossed out the rest so I wouldn’t do this to myself again.

If anyone can tell me what tea in this blend imparts the undercurrent of seaweed nastiness so I can avoid it in the future, I’d really appreciate it.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Alphakitty

Hmm, usually it’s Japanese greens that are seaweedy. I’ve never had a black with that kind of note!

Anyanka

Thank you. It is a mystery blend where they only list the country so I’m a bit baffled. I prefer my seaweed in miso soup!

ifjuly

Aaaaah tea twin validation! I just tried this for the first time and it was horrible. It’s the first thing I’ve had from Upton where yeah, I struggled to finish the first cup. I don’t know why it brings me such joy to know I’m not alone and some weirdo, ha.

ifjuly

And YES, pickle-y!! That’s what it is! I couldn’t figure out how to describe the weird gross tanginess.

Anyanka

Finally! I thought I was the only one! This tea was ghastly.

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64

This was my first time ever drinking a tea containing Lapsang Souchong. I wasn’t sure if I liked it, my girlfriend was sure she didn’t, and we didn’t finish the pot.

But, I keep thinking about it. I think this is a slow-simmering affair and LS and I are going to wind up together in the end.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

Here are the things I drink: Tea, water, coffee, beer, whiskey, wine.

I’ve been drinking tea since I was a little girl, but only recently began learning about tea and drinking loose leaf.

I prefer unflavored tea to flavored, tea leaves to tisanes, but I’m not inflexible and will try nearly anything.

I’m still learning, so thank you in advance for your patience and your help.

Also, I had to come up with a way to quantify my ratings because I was being really inconsistent:

100-90: Delicious, must keep in stock.

89-80: Excellent, a definite reorder.

79-70: Good, an occasional reorder.

69-50: Pleasant, but it was a one night stand.

49-30: Not good, but drinkable.

29-20: Bad, but I finished the cup.

19-10: Terrible. Couldn’t finish a cup.

10 and below: Undrinkable, requires mouthwash and counseling.

Location

Maryland, USA

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