1545 Tasting Notes

75

Deeply appreciate getting an oz of this with the $9.99 flat shipping. This one was interesting, and definitely another coffee alternative marketed tea.

I was not a huge fan of this one because it reminded me of Bengal Spice, but I do appreciate it and see it more as a mixing/latte kind of tea. It’s like a chai version of a Cafe du Monde, and I enjoyed it a little more as I read Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour, right in the chapter where Michael Curry fawns over its syrupy taste in New Orleans. The tea itself is meant to emulate Cafe du Olla, and it’s definitely got that vibe.

Coincidentally, Anne Rice’s son posted about how Anne felt about New Orleans in comparison to the harsh cold air in Seattle, which is word by word reflected in her book. I’m still sad I didn’t get to go to one of her book signings-I grew up loving Vampire Chronicles and her campy Mummy series, and would have loved to meet her and talk about history. I know she was very reserved, but still-she’s a person I think would be cool to talk to.

Back to the tea, I’m going to have to serve it with cream and sugar. Many people on the site mix it with chocolate almond milk, but I’ll be more straight forward with it. I enjoyed it more cold than hot without additives. When I oversteeped it, it got a little bit too spicy like a fireball. Still pleasant, I’m not sure I’d drink this one on its own often.

My nitpick is really with not being able to drink it straight and the chicory, but it’s intended to be served with some kind of milk or cream from utter or plant grinding. Reading Anne Rice while looking at a Witch Themed Tea company is also not a good combo for my wallet. Luckily, this was a free sample and I’m still thoroughly happy I got to try some.

Flavors: Chicory, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Herbs, Malt, Spicy, Tannic

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83
drank Happy Heart by Magic Hour
1545 tasting notes

Down the marketing hole I went, and this one was hyped a lot on youtube and the website. This is one of many of the Chakra teas, and it’s interesting that they went with a vanilla almond combo. Usually, heart chakra teas tend to be jasmine or a green herbal combo, yet this one has more appeal to a western palette. Many people raved about the creaminess of it, and some described tasting cocoa or milk chocolate.

I’ve only had it western, cold brew tumbler, and tumbler so far. You have to be pretty friendly with your servings and steep times (3-5 min) to get a fuller flavor and to rebrew it more than two more times, but it’s not bad grandpa style. I’ve avoided using temperatures hotter than 175-180 F so far, and the vanilla really comes out cold, but it takes a few more hours for the matcha to diffuse. The leaves are also small to medium sizes, so a strainer is necessary, maybe not a whisk.

Okay, I didn’t expect chocolate profiles from a Matcha tea. I had a feeling I was going to like it though and got the traveler bottle. Smelling it, it’s heavy on the almond and vanilla amidst a pretty earth tea. I was surprised that it felt like smelling vanilla flavored chocolate powder. Trying it, it’s more white chocolatey than grassy….which again, surprising. There’s enough earthiness to pull you back into the reality that this is a green tea, but it’s far more subdued. I know that’s due to the flavoring. Companies make white chocolate with matcha all the time anyway, so I should not be surprised…even though I am.

I really like this one, but I’m not sure how to rate it. Biggest gripe is price because I’ve had almond and vanilla flavored matcha before for a lot cheaper, but I’m impressed the matcha is pretty light in combination with the green tea (I’m assuming sencha-could be wrong). The moringa addition is nice too, and is one of the few herbs that might actually have nutritional benefits. I also love the flavor profile, but usually don’t get more than three cups of tea out of a single serving of leaves.

I enjoyed this change of pace from my oolongs this summer and might cut back on some. I’ve started liking green teas again recently as I’ve noticed more people have with more warm weather in the last few years. I could easily see myself drinking more of this tea regularly to help me chill the F out while maintaining some energy.

Flavors: Almond, Cocoa, Creamy, Earth, Moss, Nutty, Sweet, Vanilla, White Chocolate

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

I was surprised to find out that Zhena relaunched another brand. When I started drinking tea, my mom used to get Zhena’s pretty often. The Egyptian Mint and both Green and Black Coconut Chais were my favorites before I upgraded to loose leaf tea.

Now, Zhena has upgraded too selling exclusively loose leaf blends. A lot of people on Steepster would be turned off by the SoCal health marketing approach-each ingredient-even vanilla-is described by health benefit-but the blends and the quality of the teas in their catalogue is higher than normal, and the flavoring is actually fun and clever.

While some of the old Zhena blends still exist in a loose leaf form, there are many new flavors that have become trademark for this company that are actually unique. This one is heavily sold as an coffee alternative and as the buyers next staple breakfast tea. However, the pomegranate+currant+vanilla combo is not something you see in something like an English Breakfast, nor is a Pu-Erh as the most prominent tea in the base with Rwandan Tea. The only other comparable teas I’ve had to this one are Morning Mojo, and more so, Boulder Breakfast. However, this tea is significantly more mild than even those two.

Opening the bag up, it’s really nice to smell as a dry leaf. It’s woody and heavy with vanilla with fruity notes sneaking in without being overwhelming. Brewing the tea up, it’s the same way and thankfully has no Pu-Erh stank. It’s exceedingly smooth, and resistant to bitterness and astringency.

I could see some people using dark chocolate as a note, though I’d say dark wood, malt, and clear hints and textures from the flavors. The vanilla is what I’ve tasted the most, but the pomegranate and currant add a lot more thickness to the body of the tea while the other black teas prevent it from being too heavy. I was able to rebrew three cups western before it lost flavor, and steep four actually retained light vanilla.

Making it with a splash of cream and sugar (and collagen for protein-I know-stupid health nut thing), the fruit flavors stand out a lot more. Even my mom liked it, and she’s not a fan of Pu-Erh.

Overall, this is not a super bold breakfast tea that my weaker stomach enjoys. I also know I’m a blasphemer and prefer Pu-Erh in blends over true pure pu-erh. I think the tea is a little bit too expensive for being around $8 an oz, but the company makes up with it by sending an oz sampler with my order, great customer service, and insanely pretty packaging.

I’m fairly sold on this one even though I’m usually an unflavored tea purist. I can see a lot of purists enjoying this one because it takes advantage of the qualities of the leaf bases and enhances them with slight flavoring rather than heavy flavoring. On the other end, some drinkers might think this tea is too weak, whereas others might be impressed with the full silky body and texture without astringency or bitterness. Ignoring the heavy marketing, this is a good quality blend that could make a great morning work tea.

Flavors: Black Currant, Cream, Creamy, Dark Chocolate, Dark Wood, Malt, Pomegranate, Smooth, Thick, Vanilla

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Leafhopper

Sounds like an interesting and well-thought-out tea.

Daylon R Thomas

I was surprised how well thought out it was. If I didn’t go over budget, I’d might get some more.

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83

Well, I really spoiled myself before the beginning of the school year. I earned it after working summer school and at a NEH seminar, so screw it, I’ll splurge a little bit.

Instagram is dangerous for me because it’s gotten better at marketing. This company was on my feed a few times, and they are a smaller store in Philadelphia specializing in coffee, cocoa with chocolate in it, and Taiwanese teas. Their selection is well rounded for Taiwanese tea lovers, but they actually push for both loose leaf and higher quality bags for the same loose leaf. I bought a bunch of a samples, consisting of: Greenwood, this one, Warm Winter, Golden Sparkle, Osmallure, and Honeybrook.

Warm Winter is likely an Alishan or a Dong Ding, Osmallure is Baozhong with osmanthus, Golden Sparkle is Baozhong, which I haven’t tried yet, and Honeybrook is a Jin Xuan black-likely bug bitten. I was considering on writing a note for each of them, but I’m being selfish with my time in describing them in because it won’t take an Anne Rice or Tolkien-esque style prose to do so.

Before I go into writing about them, the bag gives the leaves ample space and they look beautiful. Their scent is a bit muted, but I can tell it’s decent quality leaf. I tried Honeybrook first. It’s a little bit too on the bitter/breakfast style black tea side for me, but there was enough floral and fruity honey notes to add more dimension than a regular black tea. The tea was still a bit muted despite following the instruction, and could be a good boba base or a breakfast style tea for most. Osmallure looked pretty, but was the weakest tea out of all of them. I only got whisps of osmanthus in a generally green body. Warm Winter was shy too and pretty similar, but a lot creamier. After sitting a while, it had some stonefruit, but was mostly floral and creamy and faint in flavor, full in texture.

Greenwood, however, was the most full tea. Their description says this one is fruitier, and it is, but it’s got the profile I love in a Shanlinxi, leaning into a coconut oil like body with macademia and plumeria notes. There are definite hints of peach and some green wood qualities typical of a shanlinxi, but they mesh well in the longer steeps the company recommends and stands out as the most flavorful of the bagged teas so far. If I weren’t stocked on other oolongs, I’d consider getting a few bags of this one or more leaves.

I’m not surprised I liked this one the most-Shanlinxi’s are among my favorite after all. I think this company is worth checking out because of it’s unique approach to selling a western audience Taiwanese tea.

Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Cream, Floral, Green Wood, Macadamia, Oily, Plumeria, Spinach, Stonefruit, Sweet

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Tumbler fuel for the morning as we begin our school year. I over leafed it a little, but the tea was insanely smooth. The vanilla is really balanced, but I didn’t expect how forward the stone fruit/apricot notes were. I was very tempted to say “peachy keen” out loud as a response to anything for the day.

I won’t be able to write more than that, but I’m personally really liking it. I agree with custard comments because of how creamy it is, and it’s not as robust as most vanilla blacks. Sometimes, vanilla blacks can be too much for me, but I like that this is a lighter tea overall. I’m also biased to lighter keemums.

Flavors: Apricot, Custard, Peach, Vanilla

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85

Okay, I’m one of the weirdos who really likes this one. It fits my personal niche really well. I look for chocolate qualities in black teas as well as fruity ones, and this one tastes like a blended version of a unroasted Lapsang to me. I know I’m being subjective.

It’s one of those teas that taste like home to me. Waxing poetic, it makes me think of the sunset on Kualoa mountains on the beach while drinking pineapple orange guava juice, AKA POG. I know, weird comparison. The pineapple is actually subtle and highlights the finish more than the body, like how you get orange at the end of a Blue Moon or a belgian ale. Mom got that POG taste too. She mostly tasted the chocolate qualities, and same as her boyfriend, Rich. Both liked it. I really liked it. The darker chocolate and earthy/rye qualities made me think of mountains. I’ve been able to brew this MULTIPLE times. More pineapple. This is a very light black tea reminding me of very light weather.

I have a feeling this is a very limited limited edition tea because it’s so off kilter for a lot of people who think the combo too odd. Granted, people are particular about how pineapple is combined. YES, I will eat pineapple on Pizza-I GREW UP IN HAWAII with REAL Pineapple on Pizza-that is Da Big Kahunas using Hawaiian sweet bread. Hence, I’m digging this tea and am actually ready to rate it higher. I’m holding back a little bit because light tea, but I see a higher rating in the future. I barely used more than 3 grams, so I’m getting a lot out of it.

Flavors: Beer, Bread, Caraway, Chocolate, Guava, Orange, Pineapple, Rye, Sweet

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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I kept swinging back on forth on whether or not to get this one. Spooky vibes=YES, and but I was mixed about the toothpaste qualities. Smelling it, I got that vibe, but tasting it…it’s a really good vanilla mint tea. Actually, it reminds me of vanilla mint quality of tic tacs. The spearmint can be a bit much for me, though keeping the steeping time under 2 minutes gets the profile I like. The body is also viscous from the green tea and very smooth. The vanilla was more prominent in steep 2 as well.

Again, I’m very happy I got to try it. I’m not sure if I’d make it a staple, but this beats out a lot of other green mint teas I’ve had that are just too grassy. My mom was very much into this one, and she’s picky about some of the flavored teas.

Flavors: Creamy, Green, Smooth, Spearmint, Vanilla

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80

I finally got the chance to get some 52 Teas because I finally timed it to get the kind of samples I want. I got this one and a two new ones that might not be there for long. Smelling the bag, it smells like marshmallow flavored popcorn, or white chocolate covered popcorn. Brewing up the leaf, it’s smells like typical Genmaicha. Tasting it, it’s very savory and desert-like-it makes me imagine white chocolate with popped rice in it. It’s a weird combo that works, and I like how much the marshmallow offsets the marine green tea qualities, and balances the toasty rice qualities.

I’m glad I tried it because I’ve had very few teas like it. I’m still preferential to blacks and oolongs, but I’m very happy to have this unique blend on hand as a sample.

Flavors: Creamy, Marine, Marshmallow, Popcorn, Salt, Savory, Seaweed, Sweet, Toasted Rice, Vanilla, White Chocolate

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Craved this one. This oolong shows what oolong can do green and oxidized. Unusually balanced for a Gaba.

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98

Brewed it up in my Eclipse….still sooooo good. So tempted to raise it up to a 100.

Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Milk, Passion Fruit, Peach, Sweet

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Bio

First Off, Current Targets:

Whispering Pines Alice
Good Luxurious Work Teas
Wang Family’s Jasmine Shanlinxi
Spring, Winter Taiwan High Mountain Oolongs

Dislikes: Heavy Tannin, Astringency, Bitterness, or Fake Flavor, Overly herby herbal or aged teas

Picky with: Higher Oxidation Oolongs, Red Oolongs (Some I love, others give me headaches or are almost too sweet), Mint Teas

Currently, my stash is overflowing. Among my favorites are What-Cha’s Lishan Black, Amber Gaba Oolong, Lishan Oolong, Qilan Oolong, White Rhino, Kenya Silver Needle, Tong Mu Lapsang Black (Unsmoked); Whispering Pines Alice, Taiwanese Assam, Wang’s Shanlinxi, Cuifeng, Dayuling, Jasmine Shan Lin Xi; Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co.“Old Style” Dong Ding, Mandala Milk Oolong; Paru’s Milk Oolong

Me:

I am an MSU graduate, and current alternative ed. high school social studies and history teacher. I formerly minored in anthropology, and I love Egyptian and classical history. I love to read, write, draw, paint, sculpt, fence(with a sword), practice calisthenics on rings, lift weights, workout, relax, and drink a cuppa tea…or twenty.

I’ve been drinking green and black teas ever since I was little living in Hawaii. Eastern Asian influence was prominent with my friends and where I grew up, so I’ve been exposed to some tea culture at a young age. I’ve come a long way since I began on steepster and now drink most teas gong fu, especially oolong. Any tea that is naturally creamy, fruity, or sweet without a lot of added flavoring ranks as a must have for me. I also love black teas and dark oolongs with the elusive “cocoa” note. My favorites are lighter Earl Greys, some white teas like What-Cha’s Kenyan offerings, most Hong-Cha’s, darker Darjeelings, almost anything from Nepal, Green Shan Lin Xi’s, and Greener Dong Dings. I’m in the process of trying Alishan’s. I also tend to really enjoy Yunnan Black or Red teas and white teas. I’m pickier with other teas like chamomile, green teas, and Masalas among several.

I used to give ratings, but now I only rate teas that have a strong impression on me. If I really like it, I’ll write it down.

I’ll enjoy a tea almost no matter what, even if the purpose is more medicinal, for it is my truest vice and addiction.

Location

Michigan, USA

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