136 Tasting Notes

85
drank Darjeeling de Triomphe by Teavana
136 tasting notes

Picked this up during their 75% off sale, but hadn’t been inspired to try it until this morning (continuing a theme). The only other darjeeling that I’ve tried is from Adagio, and I liked that one (Darj. Sungma Summer #22), so I have at least one other experience to compare this with.

Brewed at the low end of their recommendation, my first sip impression is that this seems more like a green tea, or at least a combination of black/green. Very pleasant taste. Having added my usual T. of honey, there is a sweetness to this that meshes well and has me thinking that I need to do a side by side testing with the Adagio one (will rate the same for now).

I’m not sure I’d spend the regular price of $20 for 2 oz. for this, but am pleasantly surprised that I’m enjoying this cup of tea this morning. This is a SFTGFOP-1 … anyone have any experience with Darjeelings from Upton to give a recommendation? (did anyone see that Upton added a Wishlist function this past week? Yay!).

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
momo

I want to go on a Darjeeling ordering spree from Upton sometime soon lol..that of course doesn’t help right now. I do have a couple from another company and I see Upton has a Castleton like I have, and it’s my absolute favorite. Theirs is a second flush.
I am now going to make use of that wishlist.

Cheryl

Thanks for the suggestion (Castleton). I really need to show some restraint, and drink down some of what I have, which is why that wishlist feature was extra appealing (rather than having stuff sitting in the cart, tempting me each time I went there, lol). Will be on the lookout for your Upton reviews : )

momo

Just ordered eight different samples to try out :D I’ve been wanting to order from them for a long time now, and my sudden obsession with Darjeeling seemed like a good push.

Cheryl

They will ship out tomorrow (USPS) … Upton is super fast. Hope you find some winners : )

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97

Been testing various Upton black teas lately… mostly the blends, but thought I’d try this out this morning. The leaves look very fancy, for sure.

Added my typical T. of honey to sweeten and the first sip is amazing. Not one itty bitty sign of bitterness anywhere. I am getting a sense that there is already sweetness to this tea, and the honey is blending in nicely.

Amy oh, you were right about exploring non-blend blacks… if this one is any example, I think I might have hit my stride in my quest. This is EXCELLENT. If I really like this one, what’s next? (ponders)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
JacquelineM

Try some Fujian teas, and explore more Chinese teas in general. I find them to be smoother, less bitter. Anything Chinese with “Golden” in title (like Golden Yunnan) you might like, too. Have fun :)

SimplyJenW

Oh yes, Chinese black teas. I think it was Adagio’s Golden Monkey and their Fujian Baroque that got me hooked, and then I continued onto the China congou teas at Upton. Keemuns are a little smokier, Yunnans a little maltier, but both pretty smooth. If you think you might like a light rose scent, try Upton’s Rose Congou.

Cheryl

Taking notes… thanks ladies : )

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65

This is the last of the breakfast blend type teas from Upton that needed testing (of 5). I started with the simplest of blends, and ending with this one. To be honest, it’s the smoky part that worries me.

I’m not sure how much the added tbsp. of honey is altering my impressions, but first taste does not make me think “smoky” (phew). This tastes very similar to the Scottish blend, except there’s a little sharpness to it… a scratchy feeling (is that the smoke?). I’m liking the overall taste of this… probably 2nd fave out of 5… but, but, not the aftertaste at all (harsh). It’s making my throat a little scratchy too (ok, it’s raining out there and it could be a coincidence, as my major allergy is mold/mildew and it flares with rain… doesn’t help living across street from lake either).

Will retest on a clear day.

ETA: Yikes, can’t finish because allergies really flaring (doubt it’s the rain).

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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79

Sample 4 in my breakfast blend quest from Upton. Truthfully, by now I am wondering if I’ll be happy with any (to the point of “love” that is). Negative attitude = not fair, so while it’s cooling a bit, I’ll adjust : )

First off, disclaimer: a wimp size amount of honey was added while brewing (tbsp).

First sip: hmmm, wow, this is not bitter at all (like the others)… shocked.
This tea is definately on the strong side, but liking it so far. Being sensitive to bitter, getting beyond that hurdle is most important. Looking back at the description, it does seem to fit: brisk, malty and definately “full flavor” (not a wimp, like me…umm, me as a tea drinker that is, not in general, lol).

This is my favorite so far. Baker Street yet to go (that one scares me).

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

I LOVE Baker Street, and so does my youngest daughter! It does smell scary, but it is really quite sweet! I do hope you like it!

ScottTeaMan

Baker Street is a good blend.

Cheryl

Ash: does your daughter like coffee too? (I don’t and that’s what the aftertaste is reminding me of… did tealog, but not sure.
Scott: maybe, maybe : )

TeaBrat

often I find I’m not a huge fan of black tea “blends” I’d rather drink a single tea by itself. I have no idea why…

ashmanra

Cheryl: my daughter tried coffee once or twice and she said it tried to kill her! LOL! I was really surprised when someone so young had an affinity for smokey teas. There are several that she likes. She is fond of See’s Mocha chocolates, though.

Cheryl

You may have a point Amy… that’ll be next route to go.

Ash: Not liking coffee at all, I steer clear of mocha too … maybe the coffee she tried was just too strong. For me, it’s the bitterness that bothers me. I never grew into it (but was the picky eater growing up…and remain one).

ashmanra

I grew up smelling coffee every morning because my parents drank it, but I just can’t. My oldest daughter loves the smell of it because she said it reminds her of bookstores and she loves books, but she only drinks “foofy girly coffee drinks.” Her words!

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60

This appears to be new at Stash (online) and is offered in loose leaf variety. The leaves look amazing and promising. What I missed in the description was the “vanilla nut” part. What kind of nut? Well, my tastebuds are telling me hazelnut, and that’s unfortunate…hazelnut and I don’t get along. Hazelnut booms my tastebuds and everything else fades into the background. I don’t taste bergamot, only a little vanilla (but at least the tea base came through, which is really good).

For not being an Earl Grey, as titled, it’ll get low marks from me (sad).

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
SimpliciTEA

Back in the day when I used to drink flavor-added coffee, there was a flavor I didn’t care for, and I think it was hazelnut. It did the same thing to me that it sounds like it does to you in this tea: it stood so boldly in the forefront of the overall taste that “everything else fades into the background.”

Cheryl

Speaking of coffee, I can detect that taste in anything and everything too (and do not like it at all). Love chocolate, unless it’s “mocha”. There we a few split seconds when I wondered if there was pistachio in this tea, then it boomed back to hazelnut, so who knows.

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72

This is my 3rd sample of various Upton “breakfast” blend type teas. So far, I haven’t had much luck finding one to love …

Not being brave enough to test this “naked”, I added a T. of honey to sweeten. First sip tastes promising. But now a bit of bitterness is creeping in. Phew, this is strong…too strong for me. Adding a touch of “sweet cream” is helping, but not sure this would be a blend for me (don’t want to have to add too many calories).

ETA: This got way better as it cooled (no bitterness).
Note to self: try less steep time next time, and level tsp, not rounded

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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85
drank Christmas Tea by Twinings
136 tasting notes

This tea has cinnamon and cloves and falls into the “medium”, leaning towards light spiced “chai” category. Twinings does not reveal other details, but I’m definately getting an orange flavor in this mix. Since cinnamon and cloves are my 2 favorite chai spices, I’m finding this tea good … very good if you want a light take on chai.

The orange is making me wonder how this would taste with a smidgen of cream … hold on … mmmm, creamier (good). Btw, this orange is more of a fresh orange taste (not bergamot). And it stays bright underneath the cream (for the record, I use Coffeemate “Natural Bliss” Sweet Cream).

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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77

Prompted by ScottTeaMan’s tealog about Christmas Tea, I was reminded that I had 3 “Christmas” teas that still needed tested (since it’s snowing this morning, might as well). After not liking Upton’s Irish Breakfast at all, I thought I’d start with this one (a breakfast blend type).

This one is strong, but not bitter. Having added only a tbsp. of honey, this would probably benefit from a little milk/cream as well. I’m too much of a tea newbie to recognize the separate tea qualities, but the taste is pleasant yet complex. Not rating, other than to say that I will finish this cup (without any further additions). Not sure if would seek out more….will see.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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54

2nd of 5 breakfast blend samples from Upton … tested with T. of honey.

I remember testing Adagio’s Irish Breakfast and liking it … setting it aside to retest later, and it seems to have gotten buried by so many others which have met the same fate (one of these days, I really need to revisit that box).

This blend is VERY strong. I’m one of those people who hates (capital H) coffee. I am not trying to substitute for coffee, but am looking for a non-Coke morning caffeine boost. This tea is very bitter, and is getting more bitter as it cools. I’m not even going to try and temper it with milk or cream. This one goes into the “omg NO” pile (thankfully a much smaller group).

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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88

This is ETS’s “Loose Organic” Earl Grey Cream (not the “Metro” Blend). The picture above matches, but not the description. I think there’s some confusion with ETS’s 2 versions.

Description: “Flavored with oil of Bergamot, like all Earl Grey teas, Cream Earl Grey was created through a series of experimental blends with flavors like cinnamon and vanilla.
For added depth and dimension, our blenders mixed fresh cream with this classic Earl Grey.”

Adding only a T. of honey to test, this blend is smoother than the Metro blend (imo). No bitterness detected. The bergamot level is about the same (as the other blend). I prefer more bergamot (for creamsicle effect). Has a slight creamy feel. Not noticing cinnamon or vanilla, but there is a slight sour cream aftertaste. As with other Earl Grey’s, my next step is to add some cream to bump up the yumminess, but could more easily drink this without.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Bio

Originally started testing teas, to replace a lifelong Coke (Coca-Cola) habit. Now I’m just amazed at all the choices. Still in beginner stage of tea education. Until I get really good at iced/cold tea, the Coke habit remains, but is down to a minimum.

My cupboard here on Steepster was ridiculous, containing each and every sample size that I have been accumulating. It now only contains non-sample size teas. Loose leaf outweighs the bagged teas, but it doesn’t look that way by the list (over 100 samples).

I started my tea journey testing flavored teas. My favorites are chai and mint flavored teas, along with Earl Grey. Also like chocolate, caramel, coconut, almond, vanilla, cinnamon, clove and some others. Most flavors are better with a nice black tea base. The mint ones seem best paired with greens. I’m branching out now to unflavored teas and it is way more overwhelming then the flavored category. Phew.

My (grown) son has decided that he wants to try to find tea that he likes too, so I’ll be passing along the ones I don’t care for to him (with instructions to then pass them on to his sister…evil plot? yes!). So I’ve removed my shopping list from Steepster and moved it to a spreadsheet (swaps are out for now). My shopping list had grown to 197! By going through each one, I was able to split that in half (since many were added in beginning, before I knew what I like/don’t like).

While not swapping, if there’s something in my cupboard that you’d like a sample of, please feel free to ask : )

Ratings (for now):
90s: Must have in personal rotation. Crave it.
80s: Makes me a happy tea drinker. Very good. Unsure of long term relationship.
70s: Like this. Will drink what I have (sample/tin/box), but unsure of whether I’d buy again.
60s: Probably a good tea for what it is. Just not to my personal liking.
50s and below: Do not like…at all. Either poor quality, yuck flavor or … (see tealog).

Old (and still current) obsessions: books, music and fragrances. Hopefully my tea collection stays much more “normal” then those. (too late)

Location

Central Ohio

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