Featured & New Tasting Notes

70
drank Blueberry Shake by DAVIDsTEA
2747 tasting notes

I wanted this to be super creamy, thick, sweet, maybe some ice cream and sugar notes. I do taste blueberry, but it takes more like apple and coconut than cream in the base. Also there is a fairly noticeable rooibos flavour that doesn’t make me think of a dessert. If this was called blueberry granola I would be more accepting of the flavour combination, but there is nothing that makes me think smoothie or milkshake.

Flavors: Apple, Blueberry, Coconut, Nutty, Oats, Rooibos

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 45 sec 2 g 15 OZ / 450 ML

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82
drank Precious Eyebrow by Shanti Tea
1919 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 3 of September 2019 (no. 93 of 2019 total, no. 581 grand total).

I am in love with this tea’s name. It makes me smile.

It was a perfectly solid take-it-to work green tea. It reminded me of gunpowder green in flavor, only a lighter version.

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I came on here this morning to remove a couple of teas that I have finished lately…only to discover that I had never added them to cupboard. Sigh.

I have actually been icing this one because it is so blasted hot and sticky here still and I thought the orange aspect would be refreshing and would take sugar well. It does, indeed.
Although I have enough left to drink this one more time, I am going to be cheeky and remove it from my cupboard so I can bask in the glow of a sipdown.

I did order two teas recently but they were desert island teas. My tea shelves are starting to look a lot less messy and I am loving it.

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95

Ordered at Dobrá čajovna tearoom in Pardubice, as I am waiting for bus. Yep, another inventory check. This time groceries in Prague. I don’t feel great – last one was poorly made (my part) and I will got less money because of mistakes

Ordered this one, as I never had tea from Georgia. Received a teapot of volume I guess around 250-300 ml, a tea cup and thermos of hot water to add it to the pot.

Tea itself is quite sweet. But delighful sweetness. Bit like oolong sweetness. Roasted sweetness. I don’t know how to describe it better.

It tastes bit like jam. Malty jam. There are no citrus/lemon notes. Full of malt. But in no way drying.

Wonderful tea.

Leafhopper

I had a Georgian tea from What-Cha and “malty jam” describes it perfectly. :)

Martin Bednář

Haha :)
I could not resist and bought 50 grams of it. Lots of to find all the secrets of this tea.

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95

This year’s early harvest Laoshan green tea was superb. Lush aromas of soy, leafy greens, nori, and oats. The steeped tea is fresh and full bodied, sweeter than the later flushes with pronounced notes of anise and kettle corn. I prefer slightly cooler brewing tempertures, around 175 F, to bring out the delicate sweetness. Hotter water makes the savory, toasted notes stand out more.

Flavors: Anise, Kettle Corn, Lettuce, Oats, Rice, Roasted Barley, Seaweed, Soybean, Spinach

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec 2 g 96 OZ / 2839 ML

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78
drank Lemon Kandy by teakruthi
164 tasting notes

I like Teakruthi’s minimalist approach to their flavoured teas. Where many vendors would have a whole grocery list of ingredients, this company has only black tea and lemon. I steeped 2 teaspoons of leaf in a 355 ml mug at 190F for 4, 6, and 10 minutes.

When I opened the bag, a strong lemon scent wafted out, which made me worry that the tea would taste like drain cleaner. Fortunately, the first steep is mild, with a nice balance of natural lemon and malty, slightly drying black tea. Unlike the few other lemon teas I’ve had, the flavours don’t seem to be competing with each other as to which will be the stronger. Subsequent steeps retain this good balance, but are weaker in taste with a greater amount of dryness. There are also huge lemon pieces among the spent leaves.

This is a pleasant, unfussy brew that I enjoyed. I found that the lemon distracted me from paying attention to the base tea, but this just shows how well integrated it is. I probably won’t purchase it because I don’t tend to go for lemon teas, but I recommend it highly for those who do.

Flavors: Drying, Lemon, Malt

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 355 ML

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83

100ml shibo, 200F, 5g (~10 or so steeps with varied timing) Sipdown
A lot of roast in the aroma of this tea. It’s a thick, slightly sweet tea with some minerality. Lightly roasted – which is in the aroma, but not in the liquor until it cools down toward room temperature. Slightly longer steeps (~20sec) bring out fruity and juicy notes. The aftertaste of this tea is long and sweet.
I wasn’t too excited to try this tea – most roasted oolongs are not for me. Pretty sure I received as a sample with my order. This one is an exception. I enjoyed this tea.

Flavors: Fruity, Mineral, Roasted, Sweet, Thick

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 tsp 3 OZ / 100 ML

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78
drank Choco Chaga Detox by DAVIDsTEA
29 tasting notes

I brewed this tea after wanting to have a nice late afternoon treat that wasn’t fruity or too dessert like but still sweet.
I cannot say that this tea was sweet, but it did satisfy my craving for chocolate. While brewing it smelled like a tootsie roll (according to my roommate), and while it did have a very strong nice chocolate taste, it was not a sweet chocolate, more comparable to a very dark chocolate. It did not have a creaminess, or a strong aftertaste. I could taste a little bit of like a natural bitterness as well.

I am someone who does love a good piece of dark chocolate, and so this is something I enjoyed. It was however not something I would recommend for someone looking for a nice chocolate tea unless you want that slightly bitter dark chocolate taste.

It is not a tea that I could drink too often because it is rather unique combination for me, that I do not crave too often.

Flavors: Bitter, Dark Chocolate, Wood

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec

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Sipdown (204)

This was a sample given to me by Sil and it has been one I have pulled out to make countless times and just never got to it. Today I decided to just go for it and while it is not bad, per se, I am not really enjoying it either. Sil got no astringency but I am getting astringency and that sort of perfumey dryness/metallic quality that I normally associate with Darjeelings. It is sort of malty but everything else going on really takes away from that. Perhaps it is age that is to blame? Nevertheless, thank you Sil for the chance to try this.

Sil

haha hey at least it gives you things to try for your 365 days when i give you random ass black teas

VariaTEA

Very true and I need things to try since I only have 200 teas. Need to stretch them out over 365 days

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drank Organic Copper by teakruthi
46 tasting notes

Not my favorite from the teakruthi samples. The first timed I brewed this I used their instructions and it was a bit weak. The second time I added more leaf and it was still weak, though a bit better than the first time. I don’t taste copper or bitterness, it’s a rather blah cup of tea. Maybe some hints of copper in an aftertaste, but this is not a tea that I would reach for in the morning for a wake me up cup. Now I’m gonna go sip some Assam and get going for the day.

Flavors: Metallic

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85

This was my most recent sipdown as I finished what I had of this tea earlier in the afternoon. You know it’s funny that the opportunity to try this tea and some other Ceylonese offerings came along when it did because I’d been getting steadily more curious about Ceylonese tea over the course of the year, and then Lasith at teakruthi came along and offered the opportunity to try some free samples in exchange for Steepster reviews. Naturally, I jumped at this opportunity. I was going to be setting aside some money to purchase some new Ceylonese teas in the fall months, but I figured if I could get some free Ceylonese tea instead, then I may as well do that and use the money I was going to be setting aside to make a few other tea purchases instead. More tea, especially more free tea, is never a bad thing, and quite frankly, I’d been getting a bit bored of Chinese black teas and needed something new and exciting to keep me going during the season’s long, grueling work days. This tea certainly fit the bill.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped approximately 3 grams of loose leaf material in 8 ounces of 194 F water for 3 minutes. I did not rinse the leaf material prior to steeping, but I did follow up the aforementioned 3 minute infusion with a 5 minute infusion and a 7 minute infusion.

Prior to the first infusion, the dry leaf material emitted aromas of honey, malt, pine, straw, orange zest, and chocolate. I noted new aromas of cream, steamed milk, and toast afterwards. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of pine, straw, toast, cream, honey, malt, orange zest, chocolate, caramel, prune, steamed milk, and roasted almond that were accompanied by faint hints of apricot and slightly stronger hints of beeswax, minerals, earth, and leather. Each swallow yielded menthol, black pepper, and tobacco notes that imparted a combination of prickly and cooling sensations on the tongue and back of the throat. I could also pick up the expected coppery tang that seems to be so common to Kandy black teas.

The second infusion saw the tea’s bouquet greatly soften. Roasted almond scents emerged alongside stronger aromas of cream, malt, and steamed milk. A slightly amplified earthiness came out in the mouth alongside stronger notes of malt, steamed milk, roasted almond, and cream. New notes of sweet potato emerged, and I also was still able to discern some lingering honey and caramel notes as well as slightly muted black pepper, menthol, and tobacco impressions after each swallow. Interestingly, I picked up far less of a coppery note in the liquor, though I could still make it out to a limited extent.

The third and final infusion saw the liquor lose virtually all of its bouquet. On the palate, the liquor was soft and subtly malty and creamy. The previously subtle minerality was greatly amplified at this point, and much of the liquor’s other notes had either completely disappeared or were so muted as to be just barely perceptible at most times.

This tea was a pleasant surprise for me. It was deeper and more complex than I was expecting, and it also displayed more longevity than I’m used to getting out of many Ceylonese black teas. I could easily tell that this was a Kandy black tea due to it frequently emphasizing body and texture over individual flavor components and the fact that it displayed that unmistakable coppery note. This being a flowery fannings grade tea, I was not expecting much, but this tea delivered on all fronts. Though I would have liked to see greater separation between some of the flavor components at several points, this was still an incredibly likable offering that would probably be especially enjoyable for drinkers who look for a good deal of body and texture in their brews but who also appreciate strong aromas and flavors. Essentially what I’m getting at here is this struck me as a very well-rounded Ceylonese black tea that had a bit of everything to offer. It would be well worth a try for those who are looking for a great value black tea suitable for afternoon consumption.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Black Pepper, Caramel, Chocolate, Cream, Dried Fruit, Earth, Honey, Leather, Malt, Menthol, Metallic, Milk, Mineral, Orange Zest, Pine, Straw, Sweet Potatoes, Toast, Tobacco

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80
drank 2016 A&P by White2Tea
468 tasting notes

Brewed this black (red) tea pretty strong western, a small-heaped tablespoon, roughly 5g at 205F for 3 and 5 minutes.

The dry leaf has an awesome aroma dominated by cocoa, molasses, tobacco, and berries with fleeting hints of red plum, brown sugar, coffee, barnyard, malt, sweet potato, and woody incense.

When it was hot, the tea tasted mostly of malt and leather. I approached the cup again after a lengthy cool down. Flavors of chocolate barley malt, leather and coffee presented in the oily and smooth brew. As Togo mentioned, it’s savory and earthy. I’m not finding any bitterness. There is a delayed light returning sweetness of dark brown sugar. Freaking delicious!

Brewed at this strength, it tastes like a flat English stout with some sweetness and a light finish not dry but one that tastes like marion berries and clotted cream.

I had been wanting to try A&P since it was released. It is not sold as a sample and I never felt like committing to a 100g cake. So thank you Togo for the opportunity to try it! I might have to order a cake for winter evenings.

Todays pairing: WHAT?! YAYUH!! OKAAAY!

Flavors: Barnyard, Berries, Brown Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa, Coffee, Cream, Earth, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Plums, Roasted Barley, Round , Smooth, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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75

Finished the last of this one off today. Hard to believe it’s already September. Kiddo is officially 6 months old and that means time is moving way too fast. I’m so not ready to go back to work in 6 months (sorry US friends, I shouldn’t complain given how little time you guys get). This wasn’t bad, but this years harvest was sort of meh. Decent enough for an every day tea but nothing spectacular and captivating. Smooth, slightly malty. Glad for the sipdown though since I was able to pick up my tea order from my us tea mule this weekend. Cupboard size is creeping up again

VariaTEA

“Cupboard size is creeping up again” – the lady with 40 teas lol

Also 6 months already?! I find this insane.

Sil

Yes already! I don’t wanna go back to work! I mean I do cause I miss “money” and the people who work there…but i hate the work heh. And yes! 40 can very quickly become 100!

VariaTEA

That is true about the 40 to 100 but I have confidence in you to get it down again. Also I too miss money.

mrmopar

Yes but they grow up so fast!

Sil

yes they do mrmopar!

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73

Spent the afternoon at Barnes & Noble yesterday while my car was in the shop. It’s funny, although I read almost exclusively on the Kindle these days, nothing beats the experience of browsing an actual bookstore. I’m aware that bookstores and libraries are an endangered species these days, and try to support them in some way whenever I visit. So I went to the cafe and ordered this unsweetened Teavana iced tea.

As soon as I took a sip, I instantly recognized it as the old Starbucks Tazo Zen Green Tea now rebranded as Teavana. A tea I used to be quite fond of but hadn’t tasted in years. The tea was light amber in color and very heavy on the mint. Not the fresh mint you taste in Moroccan mint tea but the dried variety in your spice jar. There is a bit of lemongrass and citrus but the dominant flavor is mint. When I’m drinking a blend, I like to be able to taste some of the base tea however this felt like I was drinking dried herbs steeped in water.

It’s interesting how your tastes evolve over time. Although i used to love this tea, I struggled to finish the entire cup. It’s palatable and was nostalgic for me, but wouldn’t recommend it unless you really love mint.

Flavors: Herbs, Mint

Preparation
Iced
Mastress Alita

Libraries, an endangered species?! I should hope not, I’ve worked at one now for 15 years…

I also have converted to reading on Kindle, for two reasons: 1) I just don’t have the storage space for physical books, and 2) I have a hard time holding a book while I’m eating or sipping a cup of tea, but can easily lay a Kindle on the table and free up a pinky for page-turning-via-swipe. That said, I agree there is still something “zen” about the “paper smell” of a bookstore/library and the experience of holding a book/physically turning pages; zen, and also nostalgic as a long-time reader/book-lover.

LuckyMe

I hope not either but the funding cuts at some branches and the decline in foot traffic concerns me. As someone who basically grew up in libraries and worked at one for 5 years, I hope they can evolve and remain popular in the digital age.

The convenience of an e-reader can’t be beat. I often read multiple books at one time and I love having them all in one place. Plus I realized I seldom re-read books, so with the exception of a few non-fiction reference books, I’ve been Marie Kondoing my physical book collection. And speaking of libraries, I love using the Libby app to check out e-books and send them directly to my Kindle in seconds!

ashmanra

Our community college library was recently gutted of books and filled with nonsense and computers if the irate traditional instructors were accurate in their descriptions. They were very upset. I love “real” books, but I, too, read a lot on my tablet. If I really love a book, a hardcover is purchased, needless to say, we are short on space now,

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80

[Spring 2018 harvest]

I got this tea as a free sample with my latest TS order and kept it sealed until today. I found it to be a very flavour focused tea with good complexity and a very long aftertaste, but lacking body.

The dry leaves exude aromas of baked apple, various flowers, cookie dough, and citrus fruits. The wet leaves have a meadow-like floral complexity and a much sweeter smell with notes of fenugreek, prickly pear, and popcorn.

The taste has a lot going on too. The profile is savoury, sour and floral. In the beginning, I get notes of fenugreek, grass, walnut skin, plant roots and a slightly metallic, sour finish. There are many other flavours appearing later, kumquat and cabbage to name a few. The aftertaste is also very floral, but much more sweet. One extra flavour I notice there is the one of coriander leaves.

Flavors: Apple, Cactus Flowers, Candied Apple, Citrus, Citrus Fruits, Cookie, Coriander, Floral, Flowers, Grass, Herbs, Metallic, Plants, Popcorn, Sour, Sweet, Vegetables, Walnut

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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70

Well, this definitely isn’t the freshest matcha anymore – but it’s still ok.

Flavour wise, this still tastes like a buttery vanilla cake frosting to me, but this cup also had a sharpness to it that was like a sour grassy note – possibly from being overleafed? Possibly from age? I’m not sure what exactly caused it but it’s not something I’ve observed in this way from this matcha before. The colour was also REALLY dark blue; sort of a murky blue-y green colour that reminded me more of concentrated spirulina that the brilliant blue you usually get from butterfly pea flowers. It was good overall in terms of flavour and I’d rather this be ‘overly blue’ than not blue at all given that’s what the selling point of the tea actually is.

But the texture! Ugh, the texture! The butterfly is just so mealy – and it floats on the surface of the liquor because it’s so light and isn’t finely ground down like the matcha. Really detracts from the experience and it makes me feel like I need to strain my matcha – which is a sentence I should never have to utter for matcha.

VariaTEA

Do you put this in water or milk? Hot or cold? and how much? I have a sample and want to get the most out of it :)

Roswell Strange

This time it was in water, but usually I whisk it/shake it into straight cold milk and I think that does taste better.

VariaTEA

I will do that then. Thank you :)

VariaTEA

Do you use the same 1/2 tsp/cup measurement as usual?

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I got a sample of this from tea-sipper last year before I was posting reviews on here. Since I had no written record, I didn’t remember what I thought of it, and I bought more. That was a mistake. There is just such a strong, unpleasant smoky flavor, and the other main flavor is a strong orange. There’s nothing bready or cinnamon about this. I swear the formula must have been different before because I would have remembered this level of dislike. If you like smoky teas, maybe you’d like this, but it’s sadly not for me. I find it very unpleasant no matter what I do to it.

Martin Bednář

Maybe it turned out badly?

AJRimmer

I’ve made it 2-3 different times and allowed other people to try it as well. It’s just not agreeable to me at all unfortunately!

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77

Sipdown no. 1 of September 2019 (no. 92 of 2019 total, no. 580 grand total).

I seem to have a fair number of fruit blends and herbals at the lower end of my rating scale still in the cupboard, so I’m taking steps to clear some of those. I made this one into a cold brew for the last bit.

It’s nice cold. Both kids quite liked it. No. 1 said it tasted “like Indian food” — I am not getting that, though I think the juxtaposition of the mint with the tartness of the gooseberries may explain it.

Every time I drink a non-tea tea, I think pretty critically about whether I should boost or drop the rating. This one seems to have the rating right. I wanted to rate it higher because I love the idea of gooseberries (and I don’t think I’ve had another with that as an ingredient) but the overall flavor, while pleasing, isn’t enough to invite a boost.

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100

This has become one of my very favorite coconut teas (tied with Fava’s Coconut Soufflé White…I reach for this one when I want a bit more caffeine and that one in the evening). It’s super smooth and creamy with loads of rich coconut flavor and it holds up to multiple re-steeping. Another one I’ll be stocking up on next time I get to visit The London Tea Room!

Flavors: Coconut, Creamy, Smooth

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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86

I’m not detecting any banana in this. It is pleasantly nutty though. The nuttiness goes well with the rooibos. It’s quite a pleasant blend, just not exactly as described. It’s a shame I only have the one bag of this because I would definitely drink this regularly.

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63

Sipdown (211)

Cold brewed the last of this one and didn’t love it. It just came off so waxy to me as pineapple fruit teas often can.

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79

I gotta say Taiwanese greens are the most aromatic green teas I’ve come across. Yet the actual drinking experience seldom lives up to the aroma. Such was the case with this tea. It had an incredible honeyed narcissus aroma but I got only the barest hint of flavor in the brewed tea. I had a little more success today following Togo’s steeping parameters.

The dry leaves emitted sweet aromas of maple syrup and apple cider when dropped into a heated shibo. Wet leaves had an interesting smell of eucalyptus and spice. First steep had a buttery, smooth vegetable soup flavor. Second steep was similar with a hint of juniper berries. The third steep had a cooling herbaceous taste mingled with sandalwood and a floral finish.

This was a mellow tea reminiscent of mao feng green tea. It had a sweet though indistinct vegetal flavor and a little tingle of spice. After trying a number of Taiwanese green teas, I’ve come to the conclusion that while interesting, they just don’t measure up to their counterparts from China and Japan. They seem more one-dimensional and lack that depth of flavor.

Flavors: Eucalyptus, Spices, Vegetable Broth

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 45 sec 2 g 2 OZ / 48 ML

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77

This is another of my old Fusion Tea samplers I haven’t gotten around to yet, “Good Morning Yerba Mate” (you can find all the other reviews for this tea under “Good Morning Mate” for Fusion Teas). Like their Caramel Cream Mate, it appears to be sourced from East Indies Coffee & Tea Company, and of the two, this was the one I was worried about, because it has coconut flakes as an ingredient… but I also never unsealed the packet. I was having trouble with my “is the coconut rancid?” sniff test, since the spices in the tea were overwhelming in the aroma. Hmm. I picked out a piece of coconut and chewed it and it didn’t seem odd, but it was also quite small. Ah well. Sometimes you just have to take a gamble, I guess. I’ll note I have terrible luck with my coconut going bad quickly, hense the trepidation…

Brewed up, the tea smells oddly… alcohol-like? There is a sharpness to it I am not sure how to describe. And sipping it, I get that too… sort of like a chocolate liquor. It’s pleasant, though. I get a mild caramel sort of note, adding a touch of sweetness, but it is rounded out by deep roasted barley flavors from the mate, with some very subtle cocoa notes and that liquor flavor. Though the tea smelled heavily spicy, I don’t really taste a heavy spice note coming out on the sip, but do feel a warmth and just a touch of cinnamon left on my tongue in the aftertaste. I’m not tasting coconut at all, rancid or otherwise, so I think it’s okay? Meh, if I live to finish the sampler then I’m going to assume it was at least fine enough to consume.

Yerba Mate blends are hard to find and so far only Fusion and Tea Chai Te seems to have a decent assortment that taste really nice. All the ones I’ve tried so far have been really solid.

Flavors: Alcohol, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Sweet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML
Martin Bednář

I do not know why, but it sounds bit appealing for me. Maybe because of the blue flowers on the photo? Dunno. Just sounds nice to me.

Mastress Alita

It was nice. Good balance between sweet and roasty with some cocoa notes. I enjoyed it!

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83

Sipdown; grandpa strained after few minutes (5+).

Evening here again. More over cold one – just about 15 °C ! Autumn comes quickly apparently. Not a day for shorts and tee, as I was wearing this today. In buildings it is okay, but outside it is chilly.

I used about 4,3 grams (weighed it) of mix, and as I said, prepared grandpa. It is because I could not find any strainer and even more, the mesh is usually not so fine so rooibos came through.

Tea is what I needed! And this one (thanks gonzobot for choosing; it is really a bot ;) ) was great idea. It is nicely refreshing, though it could be more “pie” like. It is not much biscuity. But certainly I notice lime and some kind of creaminess.

Overall good evening tea. Keeping the rating.

Flavors: Creamy, Lime

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 300 ML
ashmanra

That’s a fast cool down! I bet it feels great. My daughter who is in Poland said it has been very hot and they do not have air conditioning. The temperature is over twenty degrees cooler today and she is very relieved.

Martin Bednář

ashmanra – yup, AC is not very common here (for families). Moreover it would be awful on that old buildings we live in :D

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