629 Tasting Notes

65

I’ve tried a few different Rooibos EG’s and haven’t liked a single one thus far. I’ve had this one in my cupboard for ages and have yet to have tried it, probably because of my bad track record with bergamot on rooibos. However, I’m out of a black lavender EG and that was what I was craving to go with my lemon poppyseed cookie, so I finally decided to try this. Maybe the lavender made a big difference, because I actually didn’t mind this. The bergamot tastes a little grapefruity, but doesn’t come across too sour, even on the lighter base. The lavender is lovely and strongly floral, and pairs well with the strong citrus flavor of the bergamot. The rooibos is a strong flavor, a bit woody, hay-like, and sweet. I wouldn’t select this over a good black lavender EG, but this is surprisingly suitable for a rooibos alternative when I have traditionally hated bergamot paired with rooibos.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Floral, Grapefruit, Honey, Hot hay, Lavender, Sweet, Tart, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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80

I received this from Ost’s cupboard sale in summer 2018. I had about enough for a single cup so I brewed that up this morning. The tea is a lovely brown color and does have a nice fruity aroma.

The taste of the tea is slightly malty with some honeyed notes, but the lychee flavor fills out strongly in the brew. I really love the taste of lychee, I get strong notes of pear and rose. The fruitiness and florality leave a lot of sweetness in the brew and the tea is very smooth. I think I enjoy Art of Tea’s Lychee Peach a bit more, but the age of this sample might have something to do with that; fresh, it could easily be on par with that one for me. Even aged, it is still a very enjoyable cuppa.

Thanks for the sample!

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Honey, Lychee, Malt, Pear, Rose

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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78

I thought I had reviewed this before, but a Ctrl+F of my steepster.txt file proves that my memory is atrocious as ever. And since I’m working on sipping it down, I’d better rectify that before it is gone. I received this from tea-sipper in a cupboard sale in early 2018, so thanks, tea-sipper! I’ve prepared it as a cold brew, letting the leaf soak in a glass mason jar overnight before straining and then drinking ice cold.

The tea is a purpley/crimson hue, and has strong aromas of berries (a bit of a blueberry/muscatel scent), citrus (heavily lime), and pine/sage. And the flavor reflects the aroma. I’m getting hit with a strong lime flavor, and this nice, fresh pine note from the juniper and find this sort of cooling effect left on my tongue from the citrus and pine. The fruity notes are more muted against the strong citrus/pine, but there is a berry sweet/tart note beneath that, and it can be tasted at the back of my tongue, especially as the citrus and pine starts to wear off. The berry flavor tastes more like red berries in the brew, while the aroma smelled more like blueberries/grapes on the nose.

It’s a nice iced tea, and I always like the inclusion of juniper in a blend. I’m not sure how I’d feel about this tea as a warm brew, and am kind of content to just drink it as a refreshing iced blend during these warm months.

Flavors: Berries, Citrus, Fruity, Lime, Pine, Sweet, Tart

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 8 g 32 OZ / 946 ML
AJRimmer

Ooo I love pine type flavors. I hope B&B brings something like this back!

Mastress Alita

I do too! Usually whenever juniper berries are in something, it’s a win for me. I’ve been drinking more of this today, it’s a scorcher today and its so refreshing!

tea-sipper

I’m glad you like it. :D

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69

I received this as a sample from Plum Deluxe some time ago, only now getting around to it. I love chocolate and lavender as a flavor combination but have never seen any tea go down that route and was excited to see they had a chocolate lavender tea so of course I selected that as one of my samples to try. Thank you, Plum Deluxe! And this is a lazy, Sunday morning, so it seems appropriate, even if I do usually reach for caffeinated tea in the mornings and reserve my herbals for the evenings. I felt the mood for this and a cookie for breakfast… the sweet hankering hit me hard today, I guess!

I didn’t really like the aroma from the dry leaf, which smelled a bit artificial/alcoholic in the bag around the chocolate. But brewed up. that isn’t really coming out so strongly as it was letting off. The chocolate is a bit liquer-like when it hits the back of the tongue, but also more fudgy, in both aroma and flavor, but the lavender is a nice, strongly floral note that helps balance out some of the artificialties of chocolate-in-a-bottle flavorings. It carries a lot of weight here. The tea is fine on its own, but I think it would probably do a little better as a warm latte, as I think the creaminess would help it even more. Doubly so with a chocolate almond milk. That may be what I do with it next time.

So, I think the chocolate flavoring could be a bit better, but I am certainly happy there is a chocolate/lavender tea out there to scratch that itch, since it doesn’t do a terrible swing at it and I think it could be even more workable in a latte form.

Flavors: Alcohol, Artificial, Chocolate, Floral, Lavender

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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78

For my birthday this year my boss got me one of those glass water bottles for cold steeping with the strainer in the top, and while I still tend to make a lot of mason jars of iced tea that I strain and keep in the fridge, this is a nice alternative for something that brews a little quicker. The only real problem I have with it is the condensation on the bottom is very bad, so I have to remember to always have a coaster handy…

This was another unopened, and now expired, bag of tea from an ancient Tealyra order. I wanted a fruity hibiscus iced tea and it’s a nice red color, so hopefully it’ll deliver. I am getting pear, and it is a nice, juicy flavor, but not as strong as other pear teas I’ve had. It does have that tangy fruity hibiscus flavor, but it isn’t as tart or as fruit punchy as I’m used to in hibi-fruit iced teas, I think because the cinnamon in the blend is acting as a sweetener. I don’t really taste a distinct cinnamon flavor brewing this as a cold brew, so I may need to try this one as a warm cuppa as well, to see if it presents more as a cinnamon-baked pear or cinnamon-baked apple flavor. It is getting the job done as an iced hibiscus tea with a strong fruit flavor, though, which is what I was craving in this warm weather, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a pear one before.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Fruity, Hibiscus, Pear, Sweet, Tangy

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 3 tsp 24 OZ / 700 ML
tea-sipper

I hope you had a pleasant birthday, whenever it happened to be.

Mastress Alita

Saint Patties! Snuck it in just before the world went mad.

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76

My cat has a very weird hang-up about going downstairs to eat unless I go with her. She’ll just lurk in my room giving me the evil eye as I try to work on my computer or get downright whiny until I finally take a break and escort her downstairs… once we are both on the bottom floor, she will happily eat. Don’t know why she can’t be a strong, independant woman who can eat by herself, honestly… in any event, since today she was doing her thing, I decided I may as well have a tea break while I was sitting there letting her take her nibbles before I got back to what I was doing, and brewed a small pot of this from a sampler so old I should be ashamed. Doubly so since it is green tea (the packet says it is an Autumn 2017 harvest, cough cough). Ah well, I’m still going to drink it. With everything else going on in the world, I think drinking expired tea is the least of my worries…

It smells surprisingly floral, an aroma I’d expect more from a green oolong than a green tea. I do get a somewhat beany scent from the aroma as well, but it is overpowered by the perfumy florality. The tea is a goldenrod color in the cup, and the flavor is like some of the more floral Bi Luo Chuns I’ve had in the past. I’m getting that vegetal beany/pea sort of flavor I usually taste in a Bi Luo Chun, but I’m also tasting a sweet orchid/lilac flavor that I most often taste in green oolongs. There are also notes of hay and minerals that settle over my tongue towards the end of the sip. I really like it! Neither flavor really overpowers the other, and while they may sound quite uncomplementary, the taste is very pleasant.

Flavors: Beany, Floral, Green Beans, Hot hay, Mineral, Orchid, Peas, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 g 14 OZ / 400 ML
tea-sipper

What about keeping a bit of cat food upstairs? But that just means your cat loves having you around. :D

Mastress Alita

When I go to bed at night, I actually do have to move the food dish upstairs! (It was the only way I could stop her crying in the night when I first brought her in!) During the day I tend to leave it in the kitchen, though. Just to lessen all the trips hauling the thing up and down the stairs, heh.

tea-sipper

Oh jeeze. Maybe she just likes to see you move the food around. haha

eastkyteaguy

I have one who requires constant company as well. I can’t sit down anywhere in my house without her jumping on me. Bending over is dangerous too, as she likes to climb me and sit on my shoulder. There is no longer any such thing as a peaceful trip to the bathroom. She literally has to go everywhere with me when she’s awake. Bizarrely, she will not sleep in my bedroom. Instead, she sleeps outside my bedroom door. Her new thing is crying and rattling the door if she doesn’t think I’m getting up early enough. Needless to say I have not had much sleep in the last couple of days.

tea-sipper

That is very bizarre, eastkyteaguy. If only there was a cat psychologist…

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73

I ordered this tea so long ago that I have had the UNOPENED package sitting in my cupboard all this time, and I pulled it out, and the expiration date was 05/2019. …And THIS is why I refuse to buy/trade/etc. anything that has to do with tea. SIGH. At least it still smells nice when I cut it open, bright citrus with floral undertones, so I suppose I can use it for sachets if nothing else…

Aroma off my steeped cup isn’t very strong, which is a bit worrisome, coming across more like a standard English Breakfast — that malty black tea aroma, with a subtle lemon aroma. However, the sip is far more pungent than the waft was letting on. It isn’t so strong of bergamot (which is okay with me, I don’t mind bergamot these days, but it isn’t a necessity for me either, and this is already scripting itself as an EG blend rather than the Earl himself) so rather it’s a strong citrusy black tea, with notes of orange, lemon, and a more subtle hint bergamot mixed in that citrus flavor. I’d say the bergamot is waxing somewhere a little between a lime and grapefruit. It packs quite a tart hit with three citrus notes paired together, and they are the strongest flavor in the tea, though there is a noticable rose floral flavor that comes out at the end of the sip, towards the back of the tongue, after the bitterness of the citrus starts to subside and the sweetness of the floral is able to fill the mouth. I really like it, but I also am keen on tart/sweet flavor combinations, and I particularly am known to have a palate that can handle tart/sour flavors better than most (I drink hibiscus straight with no sweetener). I think most would probably find the citrus in this one too strong, even with the floral chaser.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Floral, Lemon, Malt, Orange, Pleasantly Sour, Rose, Tart

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML
Nattie

My entire cupboard is so old right now that I got excited when I found a tea which was only a couple of months out of date, haha. I’m trying to drink down the majority of my teas before I buy anything new.

Mastress Alita

I am exclusively sipping down right now. Have been for a while, other than the odd box here and there of bog-standard grocery store bag standards. I’m two sipdowns away from finally hitting 400… (At one point it was around 600…)

Leafhopper

The sipdown struggle is real! Maybe these long shipping delays will make me drink what I already have (though I’m browsing the spring 2020 oolongs right now, so maybe not).

Nattie

Congrats, and good luck! I’ve just made it under 300 for the first time in a long time (: Aiming for 100 so still a long way to go!

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50

I think I have finally entered an acceptance with myself that I will never be a “proper” tea-drinker because I simply can’t find “enjoyment” in pu-erh; I never taste all the “nuances” one should taste in these expensive, fermented tea leaves, other than dirt or swamp water. Every. Single. Time. And I don’t enjoy either flavor note. Sue me. So after a week of not particularly looking forward to my morning cup of swamp water-flavored beverage (as that is the category this particular tea fell in for me; an earthy, yet marshy/vegetal taste, like something distinctly pond-scummy, which I taste very often in pu-erh) I have finally sipped this sample down (which I think came from Ost’s August 2018 cupboard sale, thanks for sharing!), and am quite pleased to have one less pu taking up space in my house.

Flavors: Earth, Marine, Mineral, Smooth, Vegetal, Wet Earth, Wet Moss, Wet Rocks

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 350 OZ / 10350 ML
tea-sipper

NO! You don’t have to like pu-erh to be a “proper” tea drinker! It’s understandable you don’t like it. And hopefully you aren’t basing this on mostly Adagio’s pu-erh, because I find those are very pondy. Maybe someone can send you small samples of very definitely not swampy pu-erh whenever your cupboard is pared down.

Mastress Alita

I have gone to tea expos, an nice tea shops, and sampled fancy, expensive, aged pu-erh from puportedly schmancy leaves that have rested longer than I’ve been alive, and have STILL thought it tasted like pond scum. Clearly it is my problem at this point. _;;

tea-sipper

Yeah, pu-erh just isn’t your thing then. Forget about it. haha But I wouldn’t call it a problem, unless you were bound and determined to be a pu-erh fan. :D

tea-sipper

Yeah, pu-erh just isn’t your thing then. Forget about it. haha But I wouldn’t call it a problem, unless you were bound and determined to be a pu-erh fan. :D

ashmanra

You don’t have to like puerh! I don’t love darjeeling…and the only other local tea lover I knew at first drank it nearly exclusively and I got the impression she was horrified that I didn’t love what was clearly best! Ha ha!

It seems you are drinking ripe puerh. Have you tried raw or sheng? It reminds me of green or white tea, depending on the type, but I find it too brisk and astringent, sometimes even sour, unless I make it way less aggressively than called for. But then I enjoy it very much! So maybe sheng is more your style, or no puerh at all, which is also perfectly good! A lot of purists would probably say only sheng counts anyway. Ha ha!

Mastress Alita

Come to think of it, I think I did drink one sheng at a tea festival that I actually liked. And i think my thought at that time was something along the lines of, “I can’t believe I actually don’t hate a pu-erh.” You may be right, perhaps I need to try more shengs. So far, other than a few flavored blends, my track record with shus has been terrible!

Martin Bednář

Honestly I prefer shengs to ripes too! So, I am totally on same boat as you; I like to drink pu-erh now and then, but sometimes they are way too time consuming. Or blend isn’t great. Depends!

If you won’t like it, not a big issue! I felt bit miserable when I came here and r/tea drinking mostly only tea bags, because of my collection. Now I am drinking almost everything.

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70

I had pulled the sampler package I had received of this from Ost’s cupboard sale all the way back in August of 2018… and I have no idea the age of that sampler packet. I was going to make a warm cup of tea with it (we’ve been bombarded in rainy weather here) but since it was a foil-sealed package and I wanted to use all 5g up at once, I decided to cold brew the whole amount in a Mason jar for iced tea instead. And then it was just too cold for me to be in the mood to drink it. I noticed the pale yellow color of the tea started to look more orangy over the course of the week and thought… I better drink that tea. So now I’m trying to get through it, despite the fact it still feels really cold in my house…

I was expecting heavy jasmine (something I’m not especially a fan of) but mostly I’m just tasting peach. There is a strong peach note hitting the back of my tongue, with a bit of a juicy and pithy flavor. There is a floral note, but nothing I can pinpoint specifically… a bit sweet and honeysuckle like, if anything. Maybe a hint of hay beneath the strong peach flavoring. Very refreshing, but other than the peach, I am not picking out much other flavor (but that could be due to the age of the sample… or even how long I left it in the fridge, to be fair).

Flavors: Floral, Hay, Honeysuckle, Peach, Stonefruits, Sweet

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 5 g 32 OZ / 946 ML
Roswell Strange

Hello friend! :)

tea-sipper

Oh I almost had this one today. :D

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50

This is another sampler that came to me a few summers ago from Meowster’s cupboard destash, so thanks Meowster! I honestly don’t have the highest expectations, though. For one, because it is a pu-erh, the one type of tea that despite me trying again and again, it just always taste like dirt or swampwater to me and I can’t quite understand why it’s considered the “fancy coffee” of the tea world and be a “true tea connoisseur” you should be drinking expensive puerh and nothing else… when it tastes like dirt or swampwater. I’ve been okay with a few flavored puerh blends I’ve tried, but that leads to my second point… the only other Adagio pu-erh I’ve tried was their Pu-erh Chorange, which I personally found awful, like a very fake, artificial-tasting orange was dropped in a pile of dirt. So… ya. Maybe the sheer age of this sampler at this point may have improved it?

So, this one falls into the “swampwater” realm. Again, not really a flavor I enjoy, but I suppose it is slightly more preferable than the “dirt” ones. It’s like a strong, vegetal, marine/earthy taste. It isn’t undrinkable and actually very smooth for what it is. There is an earthy taste that lingers in the aftertaste, as well as some minerality. It actually is better than the Pu-erh Chorange, since it doesn’t have that awful artificial orange flavoring smothered over the top of such a conflicting flavor. But it still isn’t really a flavor that is for me. I wonder how many pu-erh samples I’ll try, trying to convince myself to “like” this stuff because proper tea-drinkers are “supposed to like it”…

Flavors: Earth, Marine, Mineral, Smooth, Vegetal, Wet Earth, Wet Moss, Wet Rocks

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML
AJRimmer

Yep, I have similar feelings toward pu erh. I don’t really get it.

gmathis

I feel the same way about Earl Grey. I feel like I really need to like it to be a well-rounded Steepster, and I try, but it’ll never be my favorite.

tea-sipper

Adagio has the WORST puerh I’ve tried… at least years ago anyway. So I doubt it’s the age of the sample.

Mastress Alita

@gmathis : I actually went through a phase when I did not like bergamot at all either. And it lasted for quite a while. Something in my palate changed, and I started to like the flavor over time, but it was still more gradual than a sudden change. I started by having flavored EGs that were a lot lighter on the bergamot, and even now I tend to not like the ones that are really harsh bergamot bombs or ones that pair bergamot with a strong Ceylon base which tends to come off a little too citrusy too me. But I definitely went through a full-blown “don’t like EG” phase before my palate changed and the flavor grew on me (I still don’t like grapefruit, and find bergamot “similar” to it, at least to me, which makes me wonder if one day I’ll start liking the taste of grapefruit, as well…)

@tea-sipper: Well, they say pu-erh “gets better” with age, hense why I wondered if it being old would’ve actually done it some favors in this rare case.

mrmopar

@AJRimmer we may have to change your outlook on that.

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Profile

Bio

Hi! I’m Sara, a middle-aged librarian living in southern Idaho, USA. I’m a big ol’ sci-fi/fantasy/anime geek that loves fandom conventions, RuPaul’s Drag Race, coloring books, simulation computer games, Japanese culture, and cats. Proud asexual and supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m also a chronic migraineur. As a surprise to no one, I’m a helpless tea addict with a tea collecting and hoarding problem! (It still baffles me how much tea I can cram into my little condo!) I enjoy trying all sorts of teas… for me tea is a neverending journey!

Favorite Flavors:

I love sampling a wide variety of teas! For me the variety is what makes the hobby of tea sampling so fun! While I enjoy trying all different types of teas (pure teas, blends, tisanes), these are some flavors/ingredients I enjoy:
-Dessert/chocolate/vanilla/caramel/cream/toffee/maple
-Sweet/licorice root/stevia
-Vegetal/grassy
-Floral/lavender/rose
-Spices/chais
-Fruity
-Tropical/pineapple/coconut
-Bergamot (in moderation)
-Roasted/nutty
-Tart/tangy/hibiscus/rosehip

Disliked Flavors:

There are not many flavors or ingredients that I don’t like. These include:
-Bananas/banana flavoring
-Smoke-scented teas/heavy smoke flavors (migraine trigger)
-Perfumey teas/extremely heavy floral aromas (migraine trigger)
-Gingko biloba (migraine trigger)
-Chamomile (used in blends as a background note/paired with stronger flavors is okay)
-Grapefruit (used in blends as a background note/paired with stronger flavors is okay)
-Extremely spicy/heated teas
-Medicinal flavors/Ginseng
-Metallic flavors
-Overly strong artificial flavorings

With the exception of bananas and migraine triggers, I’ll pretty much try any tea at least once!

Steeping Parameters:

I drink tea in a variety of ways! For hot brews, I mostly drink my teas brewed in the western style without additions, and for iced tea, I drink teas mostly brewed in the cold brew style without additions. Occassionally I’ll change that up. I use the https://octea.ndim.space/#/ app for water-to-tea ratios and use steep times to my preferences.

Currently Sipping Down: Tealyra teas, Adagio teas

My Rating Scale:

90-100 – Top tier tea! These teas are among my personal favorites, and typically I like to keep them stocked in my cupboards at all times, if possible!

70-89 – These are teas that I personally found very enjoyable, but I may or may not feel inclined to keep them in stock.

50-69 – Teas that fall in this range I enjoyed, but found either average, lacking in some way, or I’ve had a similar tea that “did it better.”

21-49 – Teas in this range I didn’t enjoy, for one reason or another. I may or may not finish them off, depending on their ranking, and feel no inclination to restock them.

20-1 – Blech! My Tea Hall of Shame. These are the teas that most likely saw the bottom of my garbage can, because I’d feel guilty to pass them onto someone else.

Note that I only journal a tea once, not every time I drink a cup of it. If my opinion of a tea drastically changes since my original review, I will journal the tea again with an updated opinion and change my rating. Occassionally I revisit a tea I’ve reviewed before after a year or more has passed.

New Teas Tried for 2020: 38
Sipdown Count for 2020: 57

Inventory:

My Cupboard on Steepster reflects teas that I have sampled and logged for review, and is not used as an inventory for teas I currently own at the present moment. An accurate and up-to-date listing of my current tea inventory can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AvGT1XwgJUTErt3zhjpHbXf6HNS3k_Ym85zoHJPmhX4/edit?usp=sharing . A downloadable spreadsheet version with more detailed information can be acquired here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1D2J0sUMNItRsf0jBRBR6XDFUimm60f0o/view?usp=sharing . I am currently on a tea trading/ordering hiatus to get my collection under control! I cannot participate in any tea boxes, group orders, tea exchanges, or accept any tea gifts at this point in time. If there is something on my spreadsheet that I have in large quantity (50g or higher) that you would like to sample, feel free to contact me about it, as I am open to limited gifting (USA only!)

Contact Info:

The Steepster PM system has been broken for some time. If you need to get ahold of me, check the website URL section below; it goes to a contact form that will reach my personal e-mail.

Location

Idaho, United States

Website

https://teatimetuesdayreviews...

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