153 Tasting Notes

83
drank White Hibiscus by Beleave Teas
153 tasting notes

Ninth day of my advent calendar from Sara!

This smelled delightfully of hibiscus while brewing. That’s the main flavor too. There’s also a bit of a mild white tea flavor. If you love hibiscus, I think you’ll love this tea. If you hate hibiscus, please look elsewhere.

It’s also excellent iced!

Flavors: Hibiscus, Tea

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 354 ML
Mastress Alita

I actually don’t taste hibiscus at all in this one. It’s really floral, but I get a really sweet floral taste, and lychee fruit… and, oddly enough, bubblegum. But I don’t get that tart fruity hibiscus flavor at all, which always confused me about the name. I have my review over under the wholesaler, here: https://steepster.com/mastressalita/posts/370920

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70

Day 8 of Sara’s gift tea advent calendar!

The scent is very mild.

The taste is mild too. It’s a bit earthy, with something… metallic at the end of the sip. There’s a bit of a woody note in there somewhere. The notes are quite balanced. I feel like it’s the kind of tea that could grow on me.

Flavors: Earth, Metallic, Tea, Wood

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 354 ML
Mastress Alita

It’s a very dark oolong using purple leaf tea and it’s from Indonesia. Purple leaf tea itself can be very hit-or-miss for people. It’s been a while since I had this one, I remember it being very earthy, mineral, and like roasted nuts. Definitely one of the more unique teas I have, and now that I have a gong fu setup I really should revisit it eastern style when I have a chance. I’m curious what the short infusions would bring.

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90

I poured in the hot water, and the whole kitchen smelled like peppermint. Mmm.

Mmm, it’s a nice minty chocolate, more mint than chocolate. It’s rather sweet and very holiday. There’s also a little tea note, though I can’t pick out what sort of tea with the other flavors. I know it’s pu-erh from the ingredient list.

This is really almost a perfect chocolate minty tea. I’m going to try adding some cocoa powder to the infuser on my second steep, as I often do with chocolate teas to make them more to my taste.

Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Peppermint, Tea

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 354 ML
Todd

It is gooood with the extra chocolate, though the whole flavor has diminished thanks to it being a second steep. Next time I’ll add chocolate for the first steep, as I have another sample bag.

Mastress Alita

By itself, I think it tastes like York Peppermint Patties. Chocolate in teas is typically a more subdued note, and sometimes those notes come from the tea leaves themselves, too (many Chinese blacks have cocoa notes to them). I think latte style with chocolate almond milk would be better than just throwing cocoa powder in though to get moar chocolate since then it would be creamy and thick, myself.

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81

The smell is very vanilla! Like the vanilla coffee is sometimes scented with.

Hmm, I feel like I’m tasting the vanilla and then the mate, but not together. Or something grassy. There’s a very slight note of macadamia, but I wish it had a little more of that.

It’s not bad, but after smelling it, I’m a bit disappointed by the taste.

Edit: Okay, I tried it again cold, and I like it much better! I moved it up from 65 to 81. I also now taste a coffee note.

Flavors: Coffee, Grass, Nuts, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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85
drank Amazon Spice Guayusa by Fusion Teas
153 tasting notes

5th day of the Sara Advent Tea Calendar! As soon as the hot water touched the leaf, the kitchen smelled like… is that the guayusa? It smells like tulsi!

It doesn’t taste that much like tulsi. But it does a tiny bit to me. It’s sweet and herby with a hint of spice, cinnamon? It tastes like warm goodness. Mmm.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Herbs, Tulsi

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 354 ML
Mastress Alita

Guayusa is a close cousin of yerba mate, the two caffeinated herbals from South America. I find guayusa to be a bit more naturally sweet than yerba mate, but they both taste sort of like gunpowder green tea to me — a sort of tobacco smoke, grassy green taste (I usually get sort of hay-like notes from both guayusa and yerba mate), with occassionally mild notes of coffee bean (I usually get more of the coffee notes if the leaf has been roasted, which it was not in this case).

Tulsi is an Indian basil that has three varieties, and usually when I encounter it in tea, they are typically using a blend of the three types rather than just one (krishna, rama, or vana). Krishna tulsi has more of a purple color and a taste described as being clove or pepper-like, rama tulsi has green leaves and a more mellow taste than the krishna variety, and the vana variety has light green leaves and is described as having a more citrus flavor. Tulsi to me typically tastes a little minty and a little citrusy with a peppery aftertaste (for a typical 3-varietal blend).

There is lemongrass in this, which would account for a lot of that herby, grassy citrus flavor.

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92
drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
153 tasting notes

Coal!

In day four of my advent calendar from Sara, I got mystery cheap pu-erh. Labeled “Coal!”

I found Sara’s review of this tea, and it came in a sampler from Liquid Proust. She said:

“This one was simply labeled as ‘Cheap.’ Yup. Just that. No year, no sheng/shou differentiation, but I guess whoever got this didn’t pay much for it! Fair enough. I never judge a tea by its price anyway. Taste is what’s important!”

I boiled water, rinsed it for about 10 seconds, and steeped for two.

The aroma is neutral, very slightly eartly. The taste is kind of smoky, earthy, roasted, and like black tea. Not very good black tea… I’m getting a bit of a “Lipton” note. The aftertaste has an artichoke note.

With all the hype about this tea, I am shocked at how inoffensive it is. It’s better than plain Lipton (I haven’t tried their discontinued berry tea), and I’ve certainly had worse bagged tea in restaurants which I’ve gotten down. I wouldn’t recommend it, but I don’t hate it either, hence the 51% rating.

The taste lingers somewhat pleasantly in a “please don’t hate me” kind of a way.

Flavors: Artichoke, Earth, Roasted, Smoke, Tea

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 354 ML
Todd

EW. I tried a second steep. Well, a few sips of it. I found that “wet earth” flavor Sara tasted, yuck. And I tossed out the rest of that cup.

Mastress Alita

Now if you can picture the wet earth with tobacco smoke, that was pretty much my gong fu session in a nutshell.

Hehehehehe… COAL! At least you got the worst over with early in the month. No more evil Slytherin surprises, I promise. :-)

Todd

Aw, no homunculus tea?

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90
drank Chocolate Stout by TeaSource
153 tasting notes

Day 3 of my advent calendar from Sara!

Out of the bag, it smells like roasted chocolate! Mmm. I smelled it brewed and opened the TeaSource page on it without even tasting it yet. There was a train station I would stop at on the way to work, to catch a shuttle. It was near a chocolate factory, and a few days a week the whole area smelled like chocolate. This smell is bringing me back there.

I took a few sips. Roasted chocolate, and a hint of apple. Okay, I ordered four ounces.

Yeah, that’s good. I’ll bet it would blend well with others too.

Flavors: Apple, Chocolate, Roasted

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 354 ML
Mastress Alita

And would you believe I actually haven’t even tried this one myself yet? Maybe I should, hahahaha!

Todd

Oh I believe it. I have the first tasting note for it on Steepster!

Mastress Alita

Yes, I see the blend has been long updated since it was added to Steepster. Like I would ever send you something with marshmallows in it, pfft.

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55

Day two of my custom advent calendar from Sara!

The taste of it brewed is vaguely vegetal. The color is very blue!

The flavor is very mild, but it’s… a bit vegetal and earthy. Like I just steeped some high-quality dirt. The vegetal notes are pleasant, and even the earthy flavor isn’t bad, just… not really my cup of tea. I love the color, and it could go well with other things.

Sara recommended combining it with honey and lemon juice. I didn’t have those on hand, but should pick them up when I want to brew the other sample bag.

Flavors: Earth, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 3 g 12 OZ / 354 ML
Todd

I found some honey I’d forgotten I had. It makes a big difference, even without any lemon juice. The main flavors are the same, just more pleasant.

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80

Custom advent calendar day one! My good friend Sara brought me my first ever advent calendar of any kind, and it’s a tea a day! The teas aren’t numbered. It’s luck-of-the-draw. So I grabbed a tea for today! They have been pre-measured for steeping with 12 ounces, and she gave me a lovely Pusheen mug to drink them from. Also, it looks like I have two samples of each tea! Oh, the bag was 2.5 grams. I’ve only just noticed that Steepster doesn’t use decimals there.

Still, it’s a very limited amount; there are a lot of teas; and my memory isn’t that great. I’d better do a tasting note for each of these!

The smells of the leaf and the brewed cup are primarily black tea and fruity. I had to set it aside for a few minutes after brewing so I don’t burn my tongue. I’m sensitive like that.

The taste is a nice one-two punch of black tea and fruitiness. Possibly strawberry. The black tea and fruity flavors are together in a proper harmony as I sit in a gazebo surrounded by a flower garden, while cats and children run around and play and somehow don’t trample the flowers. At least, that’s how it tastes to me. That reminds me, there is a bit of a floral note too. The pleasant flavor lingers on my tongue for several minutes after drinking it. Thanks, Sara!

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Strawberry, Tea

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 354 ML
Mastress Alita

Oh, I sipped that one down within the last month.

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93

I tried a sample cup at the San Francisco International Tea Festival and had to buy some on the spot. I don’t collect a lot of black teas, mostly green. My favorite is houjicha. But this black tea is great.

It took me a few tries to get the amount of leaf just right. I may need to buy a tea scale. Now it tastes just like the sample they served. I get a smooth black tea flavor with strong honey notes and scents. It doesn’t taste bitter at all, but rich and full of light, whatever that means.

Flavors: Honey, Tea

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
derk

Todd, if you’re ever back in the city, this is available bulk at Rainbow Grocery!

Todd

Thanks, good to know!

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Bio

I have enjoyed various teas most of my life, but have recently started exploring higher-end teas. Still, plain houjicha (loose-leaf or bagged) makes me feel like I’m in Japan.

Location

Boulder Creek CA

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