187 Tasting Notes

3

Oh. My. What a nightmare! Ugh! After the disappointment of Celestial Seasonings’ Gingerbread Spice this afternoon, I decided to brew up a cup of something different and decaf. What a disappointment.

This one smells overwhelmingly of cloves. I can’t smell much of anything else. Like liquid clove. The color is gorgeous, though. But the taste? It doesn’t really taste like much of anything! There’s really no black tea taste, and I couldn’t even taste the orange peel in there. It was just cloves, cloves, cloves. I’m not the hugest fan of that particular spice, so it was very off-putting. Almost all of this cup went down the drain. Blech. My face looked exactly like the first one on steepster’s slider. Except not as red.

I will not be drinking this again.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Suzi

I should not laugh at your pain, but I did anyway. Sorry! :D

teaplz

No need to apologize! :D The smell was making me nauseous and numb. And since the tea barely tasted like anything… what a miserable combination. Today’s lesson: start getting into loose leaf tea!

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25

I really cannot bring myself to drink this. My friend gave me an entire box of this tea a while ago. The blend smells delicious both wet and dry, and the murky orangey cup it creates smells like liquid gingerbread. But the taste just isn’t there! This doesn’t really taste like gingerbread; just a muddle of spices without any real direction. Surprisingly enough, even when I steep this for a long time, it still has a watery taste. Not a favorite at all.

Do NOT add sugar to this. It makes it taste ridiculously awful. I couldn’t even down most of my cup today as a result.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
takgoti

This is exactly, EXACTLY what my experience with Adagio’s Pumpkin Spice was like. It’s always a downer when the taste doesn’t live up to the smell. That’s what eventually made me stop eating scented candles.

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78
drank Irish Breakfast by Twinings
187 tasting notes

Boy is this tea a kick in the pants! This is my first Irish Breakfast, so I’m not going to pretend I know what I’m talking about. But this is a lot stronger and heartier than the English variety. This one brews up dark and rich. It’s not a taste that’s subtle. It’s pure tea flavor, punching through your tastebuds and into your nose, clearing out those sinuses.

The flavor almost has a spiciness and a bitterness. It’s a bit astringent too. I’m drinking it neat, without any sugar and milk, because that’s how I roll (and I’m lactose intolerant). I don’t think I could have tolerated this one when I first started drinking tea. It’s a very aggressive blend. But now? I’m really enjoying it. I don’t know if I could drink it every single day, but I could see this coming in handy, especially as it gets colder outside.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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20
drank Green Tea Decaf by Bigelow
187 tasting notes

I tried to prepare this as one would traditionally prepare a loose leaf green, and I ended up with something that tastes like the definition of average. Definitely easy to drink, but lacking in a lot of flavor. It doesn’t taste particularly “green” to me. Then again, I’m not the biggest expert on green teas at all (I’m barely a novice in that regard).

Next time I think I’ll steep this a bit longer, but I really didn’t want it to get bitter, and I didn’t want to “cook” the tea in super-hot water. I guess it doesn’t matter with a cheaper, bagged variety like this.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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52
drank Earl Grey by Twinings
187 tasting notes

My second real attempt with Earl Grey after a horrific Tazo cup a few months back.

Since my Tazo hot cup was so bitter and oversteeped when I followed the instructions on the packaging, I might have understeeped this cup. The teabag smelled very fragrant and quite delicious, with the bergamot a subtly sweetening the blend.

The bergamot in this isn’t the strongest, which is what I like. However, the taste was overwhelmingly floral, which was quite odd. Almost potpourri-like. There isn’t a real strong taste of bergamot; it’s more of an aftertaste that lingers on the tongue and in the back of the throat after each sip. A pleasant aftertaste that was altogether welcome. But the black tea itself didn’t have any real presence at all, which surprised me. I wanted it to be a better balance of the two, and I didn’t expect the bergamot to taste so cloying and floral.

I’m going to try to brew my second cup a bit stronger next time, in hopes that the black tea taste will rise to match the flavoring in this package. It was a very drinkable cup, with no bitterness whatsoever, but I’m not sure if this is going to be the perfect blend of Earl Grey for me yet. More tinkering needed!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
teafiend

No matter how hard you try, Twinings will be either disappointing or horrific. Good luck though!

teaplz

Twinings in general, or just their Earl Grey? Hopefully I do like Earl Grey, and I just keep having the wrong blends.

teafiend

I will hesitantly say most Twinings because I’ve had only subpar results from their tea. Their Breakfast teas and Lady Grey are okay, but others are much better for the same price.

Jillian

I second that Twinings’ Lady Grey is quite decent, but I’ve never been a huge fan of any of their other teas.

kai

Seconded on Tazo. Their Earl Grey is one of the worst things I have ever drank in my life.

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50
drank Earl Grey Tea Latte by Tazo
187 tasting notes

I had this at Starbucks today. I wasn’t completely impressed. This is the second time I’ve tried Earl Grey, and the second time it’s been the Tazo blend. The first time I tried Tazo’s blend, I probably oversteeped it (although I followed the instructions on the package). The resulting brew was so bitter that I needed to throw away my cup.

It’s a bit annoying that they put the tea bag in there and leave it in. It means that you need to open your cup after a certain steepage (and how can you figure this out?) and throw away the teabag before your brew becomes bitter. I had this particular latte with soymilk, since I’m lactose intolerant.

While it was enjoyable, I didn’t think it was anything particularly special, and I still don’t think I’m a fan of Earl Grey. Maybe it’s Tazo’s blend that’s not spectacular. The soy didn’t really work with this; the nuttiness of its flavor pretty much completely masked the taste of the tea, and I instead was left with bergamot-nut. It was pretty odd. Easy to drink, but not compulsively sippable. I didn’t finish the entire thing.

Preparation
Boiling

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78

This is probably the true beginning of my tea education.

Before I move on to loose leaf tea, I wanted to try some of the best, traditionally bagged variety. My friends kept bringing up Twinings, and I bought myself the black tea variety pack.

This is my first English Breakfast, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I probably could have steeped this a bit longer, but the taste of this is what I think of when I think of the word “tea.” I knew I was missing something with all of those Lipton-dishwasher-hot-water tasting teas I disliked as a child. A basic black, smooth with a very slight, bitter aftertaste.

I really liked the strength of this just plain, without any added milk and sugar. I’m a purist, what can I say. I can’t wait to try even higher quality loose leaf English Breakfast blends, because I feel like this could be a favorite morning drink.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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50
drank Peppermint by Celestial Seasonings
187 tasting notes

Just another cup at night before going to bed. I don’t think I steeped this long enough; it’s not as strong as I usually like it. I wasn’t really paying attention, which was probably the problem.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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50
drank Black Tea by Prince of Peace
187 tasting notes

I steeped this this morning for breakfast. It steeps to a rich brown color, a hue very similar to coffee without any milk in it. It’s so dark that I can barely see my spoon at the bottom of the cup! The aroma and taste of this tea is decidedly smokey. It isn’t bitter at all, but the flavor isn’t really pronounced. This black tea by Prince of Peace pretty much tastes like a slightly stronger, more breakfast-y version of the tea served in Chinese restaurants throughout the country. Nothing special.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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50

I’m drinking a cup of this right now to wind down from a long day… This tea has a very pleasing aroma, a spicy lemon quality that smells altogether delicious. I really like the subtlety of the spice and lemon flavor. It’s not overpowering, but it’s soothing in a nice way. The black tea underneath isn’t the strongest; the tea overall is quite mild. Lemon with a black tea base is infinitely better than lemon tisane (like the awful Lemon Zinger that Celestial Seasonings puts out!).

I can definitely see myself drinking more of this!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Jillian

Gawd, I can’t even drink CS Lemon Zinger, it’s pucker power could be turned into a lethal weapon by the millitary! Why they feel the need to take hibiscus, which is powerfully tart as it is, and make it stronger by dumping a ton of lemon in it is beyond me.

teaplz

Lemon Zinger is definitely better iced than hot. But not by much! I am definitely not a fan; in fact, the flavor borders on dislike. There’s nothing really soothing or tasty about that tea. It tastes like someone broke open Warheads in my cup!

Hibiscus is frighteningly overused in fruit herbals!

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Profile

Bio

28-year-old NYC girl just starting out on her tea adventures! I used to hate tea. If you asked me a few years ago what I thought of tea, I’d tell you it tasted like hot, dirty dishwater. Not anymore! I acquired a taste for tea when I started drinking peppermint tea for my upset stomach problems. From there I graduated to teas like chamomile and Lipton. But Lipton wasn’t strong enough!

I’m getting the hang of this loose leaf thing. Black’s my default, but I’ve found that I really love teas that fall into every category. I’m a purist – I always drink my tea neat. I prefer unflavored tea over flavored tea, and really dislike anything flavored with artificial-tasting substances. I’ve grown up a bit in my tea drinking, and I find that novelty appeals to me less and less.

I also am the happy wife of the boy that created the tea randomizer, which can be found here: http://www.jaydeee.net/pickatea.php

Location

New York City

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