70 Tasting Notes

62

This is my first time trying this tea. My first sips, hot and unsweetened, have a lightness, and a bit of astringency, not much apple, though it’s there in the background. Pleasant, but unremarkable.
Having added a teaspoon of sugar to the cup, the apple is now pronounced! The sweetness heightens the fruitiness, brings it to the forefront. I had bought this box of tea because apples are everywhere, it being harvest time in autumn. But for now, drinking this hot, it seems like more of a springtime, light refreshing tea.
I shall have to try it iced, to see what my response will be then. For now, it is a pleasant, enjoyable light tea, only mildly apple flavored—until it’s sweetened, and then one really tastes the apple. A nice choice for an afternoon pick-me-up. Just not a cup for something more bracing; look elsewhere for autumn!

Flavors: Apple, Astringent

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 20 OZ / 591 ML

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60

This is the third of three Camomile-Honey-Vanilla teas I am comparing tonight. CS is the one which puts Honey first in its description. This is evident in its taste.
Of the three teas I compared tonight: Ahmad, Twinings and Celestial Seasonings, this was both the darkest and most flavorful for the single cup. For that alone it deserved the highest rating of the three, since to me that means one gets more oomph for the money. I haven’t looked to see whether the teabags themselves weigh more or not—they all seemed to be of the same quantity per bag. After all three cups had steeped for 5 minutes, I sampled them in order of mildest to strongest, out of fear the weaker-looking ones wouldn’t have the same olfactory overtones if I waited for them to cool.
I have to say that of the three, the Celestial Seasonings one has the best ‘stand alone’ quality. The one aspect I didn’t like as well was its aroma: I found the predominant honey just a bit cloying. However, that was not evident in the cup.
While I prefer the aroma of the Twinings, I have to admit that to drink alone, the Celestial Seasonings wins this particular taste test. I can still mix them with White Tea for a special nighttime blend, but now I know which one to go to if I want just one cup by itself!

Flavors: Apple, Chamomile, Honey, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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58

This is the second of the three Camomile-Honey-Vanilla teas I’m comparing tonight. (The others are Ahmad and Celestial Seasonings.) I brewed each at the same time, individual cups, poured quickly, consecutively, one bag to one cup.
This, the Twinings, was the middle one in color and strength. Of the three, I have to say I like the perfume of this one the best. The accent is on the camomile, not the honey, so it has a more delicate, perfumy quality, which I like. The honey and vanilla are there as pleasant undertones in the background, but not vying for attention.
This one, too, is a bit weaker than I’d like, but not disappointing. It seems delicate rather than outright watery.
At night I like to mix the flavor of this combo with white tea, for a perfect night time blend.
This is not as robust as the Celestial Seasonings, but it is a lovely blend, and I like it.

Flavors: Chamomile, Honey, Perfume, Sweet, Warm Grass, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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51

Tonight I’m comparing this and two other Camomile-Honey-Vanilla combo teas. I’ve poured all three cups separately at the same time (quickly, consecutively). I’ve used one teabag per one 10 oz cup apiece, steeping for 5 minutes, the recommended time.
This one, the Ahmad was the lightest in color of the three cups, also the weakest tasting. I hate to say this, since I love various Ahmad teas, but this one is insipid. The perfume of it is lovely and light—but sadly, it doesn’t translate to the cup, at least not with only one teabag.
I can taste the camomile, and maybe a little vanilla, but I’m missing the honey. Quite frankly, I’m disappointed.
I’m also comparing the Twinings and Celestial Seasonings versions. But just looking and sniffing, then tasting, this seems to be the least satisfying of the three.
I shall use this one for mixing with other teas to blend in a mixed pot—it should work well for that, especially if I pair it with something I want toned down.

Flavors: Chamomile, Flat, Vanilla, Watery

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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72

One of the most unusual teas I own. I bought this from 52teas when I was ordering Mom’s Spiced Peach Preserves Black Tea a few months ago. With a name of “Graveyard Mist”, I’d deliberately saved this one to try on Hallowe’en. So here it is!
Others here are more familiar than I with marshmallow root. If I remember the essence of marshmallow—that light sweetness—then that is what I taste. Strange how it’s such a strong yet subtle a flavor all at once. In combination with the spearmint, however, the predominant flavor tastes to me like…wintergreen, of all things.
If you like wintergreen, then you will definitely like this tea. I enjoy a good toasted marshmallow about once every five to ten years. That should tell you why I have to work a bit when trying to remember what marshmallow tastes like. They’re normally too sweet for me. It’s an interesting taste juxtaposition, with the green tea, malt, and spearmint.
I made it as hot tea, but it’s also cooled quite a bit, so I have literally enjoyed it both hot and cool tonight. This tea is for when you want a cup of something out of the ordinary. This is the tea to drink when you want to look up at the moon and just dream.

Flavors: Malt, Marshmallow, Spearmint, Wintergreen

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 6 min, 0 sec 15 g 60 OZ / 1774 ML

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78

This is one of my go-to teas. I grew up with my Grandpa and Mother teaching me to drink black tea with lemon and sugar, so that’s how I prefer it. But tonight I’m drinking it black, to taste the tea itself. When it comes to a plain, satisfying black tea, Twinings Irish Breakfast is strong without being overwhelming, and it stands up nicely to whatever one chooses to put into it.
Tonight I’m comparing it to its sister, Twinings Irish Breakfast Decaf. Tastewise, this one is definitely fuller, deeper, and more complete. This is hardly surprising, since caffeine by itself is naturally bitter. So there are bound to be flavor notes in this regular cup that are missing in the decaffeinated version.
So grab this one in the morning, when that caffeine jolt is needed, with a thicker mouthfeel for a brisk beginning to your day. At night, you can still have that flavor, but in a more delicate fashion, when you’re trying to rest before bed. I usually make a pot of half & half. It’s the best of both worlds!

Flavors: Malt, Tea, Thick

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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72

I’m testing this plain, no sugar, no lemon, so that I can just describe the tea itself. Twinings Irish Breakfast Decaf is one I always keep in my cupboard. I generally drink tea at night, so I need to watch my caffeine intake. I’m taste testing this against Twinings regular Irish Breakfast tonight.
Obviously, the Decaf is not as strong as the regular. There’s still a note of depth, but it’s far in the background when compared to regular Irish Breakfast. And that’s fine for evenings when one wants a nice cuppa that hits the spot, but isn’t going to make one twitchy when trying to fall asleep.
It’s not as strong in flavor or in depth of"oomph" as Irish Breakfast original. But it serves very well in a blend with herbal or even rooibos teas, when a deeper note is needed, but without a lot of caffeine. I usually make a pot of half this and half regular. I get to enjoy the depth of the original, with the lightness provided by this decaf. It’s a good balance.

Flavors: Malt, Tea

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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58

It’s the first day of autumn, so I picked this for that reason, and also since it doesn’t have caffeine. It’s a rooibos tea, I don’t really taste that. Its mouthfeel is a trifle dry, but it’s not overly acidic. Hard for me to differentiate the hibiscus and cranberry flavors—there’s just a nice deep note. The citrus is mildly above that. Smelling the tea, there’s a subtle sour note, but I didn’t find that when I was drinking it. A nice, mild tea, especially if you don’t want to drink something caffeinated in the evening. The tea itself is a lovely coppery color liquid—and the tin it comes in is a nice coppery color, too!

Flavors: Citrus, Cranberry, Hibiscus, Rosehips

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 45 sec 6 tsp 60 OZ / 1774 ML

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72

This, for me, is a summertime tea. It’s excellent chilled, whether sweetened or not. I can’t really taste the sage. I always let RoT steep for a longer time than recommended, as I personally feel their teabags could use a bit more tea than they actually put in. It’s late August now, and I’ll be finishing my tin soon, as I’m not too keen on this one during the cold months.

Flavors: Blackberry, Fruity, Summer

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 7 min, 0 sec 7 tsp 60 OZ / 1774 ML

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92

I mostly make decaf teas in the afternoon or evening, since too much caffeine will have the usual unpleasant fidgety results at night. I also love fruit/tea blends in the summer. So I was very happy to find Harney & Sons blends this marvelous Midsummer’s Peach, which features decaffeinated black tea.
Since this is a decaf tea, it’s definitely milder. For more flavor, I simply steep it longer. I love peach teas, especially in the warmer months, so by definition, this smells and tastes like summer to me. There’s a little creaminess to the flavor, as well as a note of nectarine peel. It’s not as strong as 52Teas “Mom’s Spiced Peach Preserves” tea, which I rated a few months back. But this one’s a decaf, nor does it have any spices added to it—so it’s a different kettle of tea!
This is a very easy tea to like, whether hot or chilled/iced. It’s perfect for summer, and I highly recommend it, especially if, like me, you’re sensitive to too much caffeine.

Flavors: Creamy, Nectarine, Peach, Summer, Tea

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 0 sec 6 tsp 60 OZ / 1774 ML

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Seems to me there’s a thin line between true discernment and pretentious twaddle. I’ll write what teas work for me, why I like them or not. I’m not the connoisseur some folks here are, but I think you will get a fair assessment of whatever tea I write about.

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