16 Tasting Notes

I found myself in a situation where a pre-bagged tea would’ve served me better. I’m pretty sure I used too many leaves in my Tea Forte Kati strainer mug (I have the spring grass design), and it resulted in a very strong brew. I had to add some water to make it drinkable, but that cooled it considerably. I used three sugar cubes and no milk. Bad first impression, so I’m reserving judgement until I can try it again.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Of course, watching the tea bloom is most of the fun, but this sweetly flavored tea was a great surprise. It was big enough for a whole pot in my Teavana Belle Amitié glass pot. Per the instructions, I let it steep for 10 minutes after filling the pot with water heated to the “green setting” on my electric kettle (I need to actually measure the temp at some point…). I had mine with a little bit of blue agave.

190 °F / 87 °C 8 min or more

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This is one of my go-to teas when I’m in a hurry in the morning. I have no idea at what temperature I’m actually heating the water, but it’s the “green” setting on my electric kettle. I steeped two bags in my travel mug and added restraint… I mean I added only two level teaspoons of Trader Joe’s Organic Wild Collected Raw Honey (say that five times fast). I think I prefer it with agave, but this was fine. In fact, this is one of those rare teas that I’ll actually drink unsweetened from time to time. I also have it in regular, and I plan on doing a side-by-side tasting at some point.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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The aroma is just like a vanilla almond cookie, and I’m a sucker for great aroma. The taste, however, was far weaker than I expected. Perhaps because it’s decaf? I was surprised that the tin recommended only 2-4 minutes to steep. I think I’ll go longer next time, or maybe use more than 1 bag in my cup. The flavor intensified a bit as it cooled, though (the lady at Sparrow Hawk did mention that it was great iced!). Milk and sugar, as usual.

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec

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I’m an elementary school teacher, so I have some interesting mental associations with the smell of cake (think classroom parties with 25+ overly-stimulated, frosting-covered children). This tea immediately brought to mind our recent Valentine’s Day celebration and the multitude of confections I was force-fed. Not a good start for me.

I used two bags in my travel mug along with my customary milk and sugar. I was pleasantly surprised by the deep pink color the milk revealed in my dark mug. The scent was strong in my car as I drove to work – not terribly unpleasant, but persistent.

Yep. Tastes just about like red velvet cupcakes. Perhaps I’ll give it another shot this summer when my classroom associations aren’t so vivid. I finished the cup by mostly ignoring the taste. I’m glad I only have a few bags of this – I got it in a Republic of Tea sampler cube. Perhaps part of the problem is that it suffers in comparison to yesterday’s Coconut Cocoa, which came in the same cube.

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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I steeped two bags in my travel mug to have at work (milk and two heaping teaspoons of sugar, cuz that’s how I roll). I’m not a coconut fanatic usually, but WOW. The coconut flavor really came through. It reminded me a little bit of an Almond Joy candy bar. I can’t wait to have it again!

Boiling 6 min, 30 sec

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I won’t lie – I like my tea sweet. I’m the girl dumping two packets of sugar into my jasmine tea at the sushi place, stirring it with my chopstick. Earl Grey, predictably, makes me cringe. Black teas get the milk and sugar treatment; my greens are sweetened with agave. I’ll drink loose tea, but I prefer bagged teas for convenience. I know I have a, shall we say, “unrefined” palette when it comes to these things, but I know enough to not boil the hell out of my green tea.


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