453 Tasting Notes

Work tasting. We’ve been so busy I’ve been bringing home batch-samples to do reports at home.

This one is a pretty heavy flavoured tea, leaving a sort of thick, creamy mouthfeel and a lingering coconut aftertaste. Not much of the base teas come through, but taste-wish it’s got a heavy toasted note to the coconut. It’s less ‘fresh’, definitely not a ‘pina colada’ type of coconut milk, but more a creamy baked consistency like coconut in a custard or pastry. The almost roasted quality does make it stand out to me, compared to other coconut teas I’ve come across over the years.

Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Roasted

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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drank Earl's Gold by Murchie's Tea & Coffee
453 tasting notes

I thought I’d posted a note for this tea already, but I guess not.

Full disclosure, I can’t give this tea an honest review and you can take what I say with a grain of salt, because this is the first blend I created from the ground up and released through Murchie’s. So I’m a little biased and pretty proud of it.

I like earl greys, but personally, am not a fan of Murchie’s earl grey. It uses a lot of bright, light and brisk teas—Darjeeling, Nepal and Ceylons—with a very heavy dose of bergamot. I find it a tad too acidic, so I set out to make an earl grey I’d drink.

This’ what I ended up coming up with. Going the complete opposite direction, this uses Assam, Yunnan and Keemun teas. The result is a very deep, malty brew, with a bit of smoke, a bit of nut, a faint natural sweetness, and overall just very smooth. I opted for tippy Assam and Yunnan teas, hence the name. The amount of bergamot used is medium-light; I was hitting for a ratio that complimented but didn’t dominate it.

It does use artificial and natural bergamot, because the sad reality is natural bergamot oil lasts a whole month on tea before dissipating completely, in every test I tried.

We’ve been extremely busy at work so I’ve been spending a lot of long hours and guzzling Earl’s Gold a lot. I’ve also been bringing a lot of my work home (namely samples that need tasting), so I had this on-hand. I reach for it often enough.

Bergamot in the right context smells a bit like Fruit Loops to me, and this is one of them.

Flavors: Bergamot, Cocoa, Malt, Nutty, Smoke, Sweet

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Salted Caramel Oolong by DAVIDsTEA
453 tasting notes

I had to break isolation and go all the way into the city because the damn library wouldn’t let me renew my book anymore, so I decided to swing around to the only DAVIDsTEA still open in my region and pick up a few things I’d been eyeing.

I noticed they were bringing back a few old blends online-only as well. Hmmm. Maybe.

Overshot the steeping time on this one, but it didn’t turn out bitter, although the roast of the oolong may have gotten a bit sour. I mistook the giant sugar crystals in the mix for salt and kind of made a face at the dry tea, but it’s definitely not salty. Perhaps just enough to enhance the caramel, but nothing more. The pineapple adds to the acidic apple taste, definitely settling this more in the ‘fruit tea feel’ for me. ‘Kind of drying, a bit watery, steeped fruit pieces’ slightly lacking that body I like with more ‘tea’. I would have liked to taste this blend without the addition of the pineapple, to see how it stands.

Otherwise, the caramel is present, creamy, enhanced and lingers into the aftertaste. The roast of the oolong adds to the ‘sea salt’, but otherwise doesn’t overwhelm or interact badly with the added flavours. The oolong they use is… very small. Definitely not whole leaves, confirmed once they expanded in my strainer… Basically tattered shreds. It doesn’t take away from the tea (smaller tea fragments probably held the flavouring better), although definitely results in a darker brew (medium-deep amber).

In the end, it’s not a love or a hate—it sits in the same park as the Maple Syrup Oolong for me. Most of DAVIDsTEA’s flavoured oolongs kind of occupy that zone… The fruit bits detract a bit from the taste. But this definitely tastes like caramel, helped along by the dissolved sugar and caramel bits, I’m sure, heh.

Flavors: Apple, Caramel, Pineapple, Pleasantly Sour, Toast

190 °F / 87 °C 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Time Traveller by O5 Tea
453 tasting notes

Sipping this in a mug as well. Tart and tannic. Cranberries, honey, a faint woodsy undertone. Subsequent sips, the sticky honey note gets stronger. After some thought on it, I agree ‘maple’ probably works, but I wouldn’t have thought about it if I hadn’t scanned the description first.

As it cools, it gets a bit more oaky woodsy. And an acidic taste that sits on the back of the tongue, and maybe vanilla as I exhale.

Flavors: Cranberry, Honey, Maple, Wood

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Old Man's Reserve by O5 Tea
453 tasting notes

I’ll always spring for trying my black teas gongfu, but I always enjoy them better in a mug. Waste of leaf or not.

I got a dry cocoa immediately, subsequent sips sweetening it to a dark chocolate. There are subsequent notes that remind me of Sri Lankan blacks. Right off the tasting notes, oak is there. Sweet woodsy. Fruit… Not quite. Maybe within the cocoa. A sweet nuttyness that reminds me of Keemuns, but without the smoke. A baked sweet potato taste, more than fruit. With the slightest floral aroma when I breath out?

Flavors: Cocoa, Oak wood, Sweet Potatoes

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Lavender by Tea Lani
453 tasting notes

I definitely want to get more small, local companies onto Steepster. Tea Lani… I thought I added, but they don’t have a central website/a source of photos (these are from her Facebook and Instagram) so I guess I hadn’t.

I first encountered her in university. One of our buildings allows vendors to set up along the main hallway to sell stuff. Often people selling homemade jewellery, knitted projects, small stuff like that (some resellers). That’s the first time I bought this tea (at the time called Lavender Earl Grey). It was an instant favourite, because it was a Lavender Cream Earl Grey. Plus a tea seller right on campus!

I was a little sad because I didn’t see her again after that, and I finished my jar.

Fastforward half a decade to the Vancouver Tea Festival: the past two-ish years she’s been there, and I’ve bought a new jar every time.

The smell is a creamy earl grey with light lavender, body about the same. The tea base has a bit of body, Ceylon likely, but carries the flavours well. Lavender as a top note, body largely vanilla London Fog. Bright, citrusy, a bit harsh. The lavender is faintly herbaceous (there is a lot of it), which trails into the aftertaste.

I don’t drink it with milk, but it’s got enough strength that it would probably do fine with it. This is a tea I pick up fairly often. I’m halfway through the jar I bought from the last Tea Festival already.

Flavors: Bergamot, Lavender, Vanilla

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank 2019 Hot Brandy by White2Tea
453 tasting notes

…Could have sworn I added this to my cupboard and wrote a review on it, but it wasn’t even in Steepster’s database, so. Clearly I mindlapsed. Natural Redhead, too.

Wasn’t too careful with weighing since I just wanted to sip and space out with my writing, but have been hitting about 10-20 second steeps. To me, this does muuuch better western than gongfu, so I really packed the gaiwan today. Thinking about bringing some to work in my tea libre. …Which I would need to dig up.

Got this a few sales back. I find it a bit weird. Pungent, but not strong—it doesn’t last. But soupy. The black tea is the dominant flavour, and it’s more like the white tea… Doesn’t so much add anything, as dial back the long-lastingness of the black tea? Maybe add a sweetness? Though it could make it interesting to age.

It’s very tart. A bit of sweetness, but not much. Like fruit juice… Astringent on the tongue, very fragrant on the nose—it SCREAMS that juicy Assam berry note. Strawberry-like, similar to Redhead. But taste is more like fruitjuice, hibiscus, not too grainy. Some honey notes. Some grape notes, wine—or maybe more cider.


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Welp, lost my tasting note. Classic mistake. Let’s see if I can’t retype this from memory.

I don’t see mint black teas very often, so I snapped this sample up when I saw it at the till. Smell-wise, it’s peppermint heavy, no tea aroma, and you have to squint for the chocolate. Maybe a faint creamyness. That carries into the taste. The peppermint is dominant, but not overbearing. Chocolate comes through if you squint for in, mostly on the breath out after each sip.

This would have benefited maybe from a bit of vanilla to add a creamy note… I wonder also if chocolate mint would have worked.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Disclaimer: I work for Murchie’s Tea and Coffee as a taster and blender. I will avoid putting any ratings on teas from them from here on out.

A tea-drinking transgendered Canadian, university graduate, majored in geology (yes, “rocks and things”). I take most of my tea made straight into a mug, although occasionally if I’m not in a hurry (this isn’t often), I’ll have time to sit down with a pot or gaiwan. It’s the highlight of a good day.

My notes are pretty disjointed because I’m absent-minded, and I also keep a teatra.de blog for reviewing and rambling about tea books/publications, and an instagram for photos. Except nerding about tea production and history on both.

I’m a Doctor Who fanatic (Jon Pertwee, if you were wondering).

“But you should never turn down tea, when it’s offered. It’s impolite, and impoliteness is how wars start.” ~Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann






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