62 Tasting Notes

drank Euphoria by Kusmi Tea
62 tasting notes

Hmmm nah. I was not really impressed with this, but drank it anyway for testing’s sake and for the caffeine. Without milk, this smells and tastes gross. The combination of the strong orange with the roasted mate and the chocolate just tasted wrong completely. With soy milk and sweetener, I found it okay. I was really expecting the Jaffa taste to come with the dry, Jaffa-like smell, but it has a thick, strong, liqueur-like tastes that was really unappealing to me. I’ve had worse, but this is one tea I’m pretty glad I got as a single sachet sample.

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drank Russian Morning N°24 by Kusmi Tea
62 tasting notes

I like it! It has something almost a touch floral and something very vaguely fruity, and a good tea flavour. It tastes good without sweetener, it tastes good with sweetener, it tastes good with soy milk and sweetener. I’m not that much of a fan of unflavoured black teas, and I’ve found the flavour can sometimes be a letdown. It wasn’t so with this tea. It’s not a very complex flavour or anything, but it satisfies.

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drank Earl Grey Green Tea by Twinings
62 tasting notes

I’ve wanted to try a green earl grey for a while, and when I was ordering stuff on Amazon last week, I noticed this one was readily available. I tried it for the first time today, and I’m not very impressed. This could be to do with the fact that I really oversteeped it, but it just doesn’t seem to work work flavour-wise. The bergamot flavour is very strong and a little biting, and with the green base, it veers into that off-putting herbal-tasting category. This is bizarre, because with the fresh, grassy tastes of green tea, it’s surprising that citrus doesn’t work in this case (and actually, in other cases with lemon green tea varieties.) I don’t know if it’s just because this is a supermarket quality brand that skimps on ingredients, but I’ve had a number of good teas in this price range over the years, so I don’t think it is. It’s not bad or fake tasting, but the strong bergamot just doesn’t go. My immediate thought when I took the first sip was, “The taste of this reminds me of the smell of citrus detergent.” It really doesn’t taste as bad as that would imply, though.

This was quite bitter for me, but I’ll chalk it up to my irresponsible steeping. Still, the flavour wasn’t very good. It’s not in the “instantly in the trash” category, but it’s definitely not in the “MORE!” category, either. I guess you could apply the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” logic to earl grey with black tea, but I thought this would be good to mix things up. I’d [possibly try another earl grey green in future, and will just assume this is Twinings’ mixing, but who knows! It’s unimpressive and has that annoying lavender element I sometimes taste in earl greys, to boot. Maybe it really is just that black tea can’t be replaced with green when it comes to this flavour combination…

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In a word? No. This tea is just godawful in my books. The first time I drank it, I finished the cup, because I’d just had my wisdom teeth out and couldn’t eat anything, so I was taking anything I could get. At the time, I distinctly remember thinking, “This is really excessive on the almond flavour.” When I first drank it those weeks ago though, I didn’t have any soy milk, and I think it’s a flavour that wants milkiness. I tried it again this morning with it. Took some sips, had some pauses to think about what I was tasting, and decided the tea is going to have to be passed on to someone else. The marzipan flavour is like almond extract on steroids. It’s so in-you-face. With a more subtle or nutty almond taste, this could have been a good tea (especially because I think rooibos’ flavour seems conducive to nut mixtures), but as it is, it’s way too much. It’s all marzipan and no rooibos and it’s kind of sickly.

I felt like this was one tea that really made me take to heart those ideas about tea being bastardised into a dessert-y item that waters down tea traditions. Normally, I don’t think much about that idea, but nothing about this felt very tea-like. I think I’m going to have to stop these flirtations with rooibos, as well. Even slightly better rooibos teas just can’t measure up to the richness and flavour complexity of black tea.

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drank Imperial Earl Grey by Lipton
62 tasting notes

What’s that? Tea in a bag, by a supermarket brand, not just bought in a shop on a whim but sought online? I regret nothing! I first had Lipton Imperial Earl Grey (well, that’s what I’m assuming it is, because I bought mine online from France, trying to replicate the Lipton tea I drank when I was in Paris, and what I bought tastes just like it [and has the exact same ingredients as the tea Lipton elsewhere calls Imperial Earl Grey]). Clearly, this probably isn’t the best quality earl grey that can be gotten, but I like it. Unlike other bergamot teas, it doesn’t get that annoying peppery aspect, yet has a lot of floral flavour. The downside is that it can get a little bitter and at times have something like a bit of a very slight baking soda kind of flavour. But overall, I like this tea. I feel like it’s got a pretty great flavour for bagged tea, and it’s very drinkable without seeming like it’s playing it excessively safe with its flavour. It’s good with a bit of sweetener and while best hot, can also be drank cold.

I don’t know if the cornflower and jasmine petals are present in big enough quantities to make any difference to the flavour (they’re .5%), but the tea does taste floral in a more complex way than some other earl grey teas I’ve sampled over time. As I see it, one of the main benefits of this variety of earl grey is that the bergamot flavour doesn’t taste cheap and out of place. The tea tastes complex enough for its dominance to be a good thing, and the floral aspect blends in almost seamlessly. At the moment, this is my go-to earl grey, but I’ll be open to other options in future (maybe not earl grey rooibos so much though, since the last one I had just couldn’t stack up to the rich flavour of black-based versions [on that note, I feel like I’ve lost a lot of faith in herbal teas over the past few months as I’ve drank more of the caffeinated ones]. Anyway, good stuff!

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This was quite good! If you’re from Australia, you’ll know the taste of this as a smell you often smell in tree-lined walkways. When it brewed my immediate thought was, “Mmmm! That smells like Australia!” I liked that thought, because I’ve been out of Australia for nine months now, and I guess it’s the little things that count. If you’ve never smelled or tasted lemon myrtle, tsk tsk! I’d compare it to a cross between lemongrass and lemon zest. It’s good! This tea just works, and really well. It has a fresh, bold taste, and doesn’t have that fake flavoured downfall that many other “green + something” teas seem to have.

The lemon myrtle is not only clearly present, but strong and assertive to an extent I wouldn’t necessarily have expected when it’s only 20% of the content. Yet the green tea’s flavour is still there, especially at the end of the mouthful. It has an aftertaste that’s like a smoother version of green tea mixed with lemon zest, and leaves your mouth very clean tasting. I think this is some of the best quality green tea I’ve found in bags. The difference between this and the mass market fanning ones I used to regularly drink is pretty clear, and the mingling of higher quality green tea and the lemon myrtle in this tea is so delicious to me.

There’s not that much to say about this tea—but not because it’s forgettable or disappointing. It’s because it’s simple and effective. There’s only two elements here, but because of their obvious good quality, the tea’s flavour is great. Unfortunately, I got just one full leaf tea bag of this as a sample with a tea order, so I have no more, but I think I am going to check it out online and maybe get some for my parents, too. I’d recommend this tea to you (if you can find it) if you like green teas with something different. It’s not a groundbreaking concept for a green tea combination, but who cares? It tastes damn good!

The bite of the myrtle does become more of a thing if you steep this tea longer, but it doesn’t become bad-tasting or even problematically bitter. I had this without any additives, and I think that was the best way to go. However, it could also be good iced with some sweetener, mint, and citrus juices.

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drank Vanilla Lapacho by Linea Natura
62 tasting notes

Unsweetened and without soy milk, this tea tasted bizarre and quite unpleasant. The best way I can describe it is to say that it tasted like what it would be like to drink paper. Really. With sweetener and no soy milk, it was pretty much the same story. I was going to write this off as a complete failure, but thought I’d give it a go with a bit of soy milk (I’d guess about ¼ of the drink was made of up soy milk and ¾ from water.) It changed the tea a lot! It then had a taste (and I know this sounds like not the best thing, but bear with me) that was creamy, woody, milky, and sweet. There’s something just a bit unpleasant in the end of the mouthful, but otherwise it’s pretty comforting, soft, and smooth. If the idea of drinking something that tastes like wood sounds off-putting to you, just think (in this case, at least): the smells of vanilla and wood together are so good. This is that smell in drink form. It makes sense.

After this experience, I would strongly recommend never drinking lapacho tea without milk and sweetener. It’s really gross, to be honest. The milk is essential here. Otherwise, you’re drinking bitter, paper tasting, wood water. Does that sound appetising? What about a milky, light, sweet combination of woodsy tastes with a very subtle hint of cherry and a delicate taste of vanilla? I didn’t know what to expect with this tea, and the smell beforehand told me nothing. If it were nothing else, this would be a unique take on vanilla tea for sure. But it’s also an airy, comforting tea that for some reason reminds me a little bit of drinking warm milk before bed when I was younger.

Update: I drank this again today…it tasted like drinking dirt. I don’t know if the tea went off or something, but I was not at all impressed with what I tasted. There’s “earthy” tastes, and I think they can definitely be appealing, and then there’s things that just taste like licking the ground.Id have to put this in the latter category.

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This tea has a number of very negative reviews on here, which certainly didn’t make a case for my trying it. What did urge me to do so was that it has almost the exact same spice mix as my holy grail chai—something I’ve been unable to get in other chais, maybe because they rarely have star anise and nutmeg, which I find really rounds out the flavour. The only difference between the ingredients is that this has vanilla, pepper, chicory, and black tea. Other than that, in its ingredients and in the thrust of the flavour, it’s somewhat reminiscent of my favourite chai, and more so than any other chai has been so far. Of course, the quality of the other chai is much higher, because it uses whole spices that are boiled for a long time and this uses a tea bag (and as anyone who uses spices knows, when spices are ground or cut into little bits, they lose their flavour and potency more quickly than whole spices do.) Wanting a spicy cup of deliciousness, faced with the lack of availability of my favourite chai, and unwell to boot, this chai was what I needed. Yes, this tea’s not fancy, but it does the spice mix pretty well and it’s a quick, easy treat.

I had this as a latte with sweetener, the way I always drink chai, so I can’t comment on the bitterness other people have had (I really can’t understand the idea of drinking chai unsweetened, anyway). This tea smells good, tastes good, and in stark contrast to my favourite chai, is quick to prepare. It’ll never be my favourite chai, but unlike a number of others I’ve tried, it’s worth drinking again.

I’m unclear on whether the reason people don’t like this may be because the spices are different to that in a lot of chais and that doesn’t appeal to them. It’s hard to tell, because a lot of them just seem to say, “It’s not good!” I’d say for me, the main disadvantages to this are the vanilla (not only was it a bit strong for my liking, I still kind of feel like vanilla is a bit inappropriate in chai [maybe that’s just because it’s easily overdone, though]) and the fact that the spices weren’t assertive enough with their spiciness. The combination of the spices not being spicy enough and the vanilla being a bit strong meant that, although the spice flavour itself tasted authentic, this execution of chai didn’t seem very much so. I missed that sense of heat that I got with my favourite chai, something that I think really adds to that “chai comfort effect”, and I felt like the strength of the vanilla in this pushed it into dessert territory in a negative way. Also, the black tea flavour doesn’t make its presence felt that much, but since I’m really in the chai for the spices anyway, that didn’t matter to me.

I guess if you’re looking for a robust black tea with heavy chai spiciness, this isn’t going to be for you. But if you’re looking for that, do you think you’re going to get it in a tea bag, and one with a dessert-y element like vanilla at that? If you read the box and thought that the black tea would be “rich and hearty”, the spices “lively”, and the vanilla present as just “a touch”, then I could maybe understand disappointment with the product.

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drank Rooibos Earl Grey by Linea Natura
62 tasting notes

After the fail that was Linea Natura’s Orange Sencha, this has pleasantly surprised me. It’s not a black earl grey, so I feel like it would be lazy of me to criticise it by saying “It’s just not a black!” But that’s the thing—it’s a good approximation of a black earl grey, but it’s really its own thing. I’m trying to find a way to describe it, but basically, it’s a combination of the taste of rooibos and the citrusy taste of earl grey, and that’s kind of all there is to it (I’m not saying that in a negative way.)

The flavour of this tea is actually better than I thought it’d be, but a notable downside to it is that it just isn’t delivering that assertive, deep flavour that black tea can. The upside is that it’s 2am and I know it’s not going to ruin my chance of being able to sleep at some point. The tea actually tastes a tiny bit lemony, particularly in the aftertaste, which makes me think of iced tea (and makes me think this could really make a good one, maybe benefitting from the added lightness of rooibos as opposed to black tea.) Alternatively, it may seem that way to me because the other earl grey I have isn’t quite a straight-up one, containing flowers as well as the bergamot flavouring, so when I think I know the taste of earl grey, my ideas about it might be a little different to other peoples’. Also, the lemony kind of taste could also just be the way the bergamot combines with rooibos. Maybe the lighter flavour of rooibos showcases the flavour of the bergamot in a different way. In any case (taste-wise), I’d describe it as about 70% rooibos, 20% bergamot, 10% lemon. I haven’t really thought about this until now, since the last time I drank rooibos I didn’t have Steepster yet, but it’s a little bit difficult to describe the taste of rooibos. To me, it’s a bit like the second steeping of a black tea, or a watered down black tea, but the aroma and taste has something different that’s hard to really put my finger on.

Also, I think this tea would go really nicely with something peachy, like peach juice or something.

Anyway, this is good tea. It’s certainly not as good as my black earl grey, but it’s good all the same.

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drank Orange Sencha by Linea Natura
62 tasting notes

I feel pretty let down by this tea, and that concerns me, because I got a delivery today of this and four other bags of this brand’s tea. I had been looking forward to it and there’s a whole lot of tea here. This tea probaby would have been a decent quality plain sencha, but instead of setting it apart, the orange flavouring seems to have ruined it. It imparts an orange sherbet candy kind of flavour that has a strong soapy element and it just really doesn’t work. I added sweetener and soy milk because when I first tasted it I was like, “???” and it needed something to change the taste, which was basically gross. This made it drinkable (not enjoyable, but drinkable), though it’s a big disappointment for me overall. Like with other teas that disappoint me, this one could probably be at least in part redeemed by adding some fresh flavourings like orange juice or zest, but the flavouring added to it is quite prominent and it may well keep the tea being a letdown.

I wouldn’t have guessed that being too strongly flavoured would be a problem with organic, fair trade tea. I associate those things with a higher level of quality (perhaps more justifiable with organic than with fair trade, but anyway) and I thought that if anything, the flavour would be a natural, possibly too subdued, zest-tasting orange. It’s not at all. It’s harsh, soapy, chalky. In short, the orange tastes pretty fake. It says the flavour is from natural orange oil, so the problem might be that it’s gone rancid over time or something like that. It was pretty cheap tea (about 5 euros for 100g, though maybe I’m not the best judge of good value, since I think this is the first time I’ve bought loose leaf tea), but as usual, money isn’t the issue—it’s that feeling of being letdown by tea that isn’t what you wanted.

This tea could perhaps be good in cooking, if making something in which a Pez kind of flavour is no problem or is desired. Generally though, if someone asked me “Hey, do you wanna try this tea? It tastes like orange candy!” the answer would probably be “No. No, I don’t.” I don’t know, maybe it’s just the fact that this orange flavour is not only candylike but is also soapy (which probably isn’t a necessary characteristic of a candy-flavoured tea [as you may have realised by now, I’m no expert on the subject.]) Ultimately, this tea is neither what I expected it to be, nor something different that has left me pleasantly surprised.

After the somewhat yucky latte, I tried the leaves re-steeped in a cup of boiling water with the zest of a whole orange. I microwaved it until it was bubbling to really get all the flavours together. I strained it and added sweetener and a bit of cinnamon. It was okay, but by that point it really just tasted like one of those drinks from orange concentrate. Yes, this drink’s healthier than those are, but that’s hardly the point! With a bit less zest and from the second steeping onward (when some of the dreaded flavour may have gone out of the leaves), this could be a passable drink. I don’t think any modifications could make it any more than that. Overall, this is essentially a tea for someone who wants to put in a log of work to get an average drink—i.e. no one.

I don’t have that much experience with sencha, so the bad taste could actually be partly to do with the fact that this sencha is perhaps not as good quality as others have been, though that would explain the soapy taste at most and could do nothing to explain the sherbet-like orange flavour. Then again, the particular type of orange flavour would possibly not have tasted bad or as bad had the soapy element not been there.

I really don’t like throwing tea out, and I’m not going to throw this out immediately (probably because with this very flavourful, strongly zested version of it I’m sipping now, the soapiness is out of my mind), but I think the possibility of ever really liking it is slim. In principle, I’m not opposed to soap. I just don’t want to drink it.

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I come from Australia, but I’ve been in Europe for the last eight months and tea-wise, it’s been surprisingly good for me.

All teas rated and reviewed by me on here have been paid for by me. No rating or review posted by me has been conducted with product given for the purpose of giving ratings or reviews, or for the promise of stock discounts.



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