13447 Tasting Notes
I didn’t get to bring any tea with me to work today! I was supposed to get up at six so that I could watch an episode of Supernatural, shower, and make my tea without being rushed – but instead I woke up at 8:20 with my alarming going off. I literally slept through my alarm! So, I scrambled to get dressed and do my make up, grab all my work shit and get out the door so I wasn’t late (and I wasn’t) – but that meant I showed up at work all gross and smelly with no tea! Boo…
It DID ensure, however, that I went to Tea Desire on break and picked up a Tea To Go. No way was I going a 9 hour shift without any tea. I decided to get a latte, and to my surprise I met a fourth staff member (I’m there A LOT and up until today I’d only met three staff members). She was very nice, but I’ll admit it was kind of disappointing not being immediately recognized and greeted by name. I’ve sort of grown used to that…
I doubt I’d purchase any of this tea for at home – I already have some good Cream Earl Greys and Tea Desire has a lot more interesting blends that I’d rather keep stocked. However, there are some really nice things about this blend specifically that really make me enjoy it. It has rose petals in it, and I find that the notes they contribute really stand out (they were lovely as a latte today – the rose was so creamy and smooth without being light and indiscernible) compared to a few different Cream Earl Greys I’ve tried, and there are bourbon vanilla bits in the tea too, although as a latte today I got much more vanilla than bourbon.
Anyway, long story short I was a happy camper sipping away at this. I got lots of lovely London Fog(y) foam, and the rest was the perfect temp. and steep time. Yum! It definitely made not bringing tea with me much less of a blow.
So, I guess part of drinking down the teas I’m unsure about restocking means maybe using some of the tea bags I’ve never tried before. This came to me in a box of assorted tea bags from my Grandma when I told her I was moving out (a housewarming present, if you will). Since then I’ve tried and hated most of them (sorry Grandma). I’ve kinda put off trying this one though – primarily because I have no idea what it is.
On the outside of the package, there are no ingredients listed or steeping guidelines – and to me the title of this tea didn’t really clarify much about it (maybe I’m naive/stupid for not knowing, but honestly until I searched this tea on Steepster a few minutes ago I wasn’t even sure which was the company name and which was the name of the tea). I’ve opened up the bags before, but honestly I smell absolutely NOTHING when I sniff at the tea bag (I think that’s probably because this is SUPER old – years at least, and I have no clue how many).
I guessed at Steeping, but in the end I went with boiling water steeped for for minutes roughly. It’s a tea bag, so there was no portioning in that regard (just one tea bag for the oz. mug). Steeped, this smells like a pretty regular Earl Grey – so that’s not too bad. I just looked it up here on Steepster as I started writing this tasting note, and there’s actually a bit of an ingredients description (no steeping guide though): basically it’s an Earl Grey with cardamom (not that I can smell the cardamom in the tea). Here I was thinking it was going to be something really weird and spicey, or some kind of chai blend.
I just finished eating a plate of waffles drenched in syrup, so everything tastes a little syrupy to me right now. However, it tastes like a plain old Earl Grey – I’m literally getting nothing that says “cardamom” spice and that seems to be the selling point for this specific tea. That’s kind of really sad, and maybe a little pathetic. It’s not really too smooth tasting, but there’s no overwhelming bitterness or astringency either. I’d say the strongest flavour is the bergamot.
As an Earl Grey, it’s adequate to average. I’ve had much better bagged Earl Greys and stock some better and obviously higher quality loose leaf Earl Greys already. Plus, it’s majorly failing at what I assume is meant to be the selling point (maybe that’s because it’s old though). I’ll finish the cup, but there’s no way I’d restock this. That probably works out well, though – I haven’t the faintest clue where I’d even look if I wanted to restock this one.
I made this in the morning using the leaves from the cup I had last night with Robyn. Exact same steeping method as last night. The idea was to drink it at work along with the Raspberry Oolong I had also made, but I actually completely forgot that this was in my backpack all day, so I didn’t end up drinking it until after I had gone down to DAVIDsTEA downtown and realized I had it with me.
Actually, I have an awesome story to share from there today (again). Seriously, I think I’ve been down there twice in the last seven days now – and both times I had AMAZING and above and beyond customer service experiences. Last time, they completely replaced my broken timolino when I was just going to buy a replacement part, and this time I got about $20 of free tea…
So, what happened was I had gone in today to pick up three tea tins for teas I’ve decided will be restocked regularly (Minty Cow from Della Terra, Genmaicha from McQuarries, and Buddha Bamboo from Tea Desire), and also 100g of Choconut Oolong because I’m REALLY loving it and I want to have a good reserve of it. Really, that’s all I could afford to pick up until my next paycheck on the 16th (and then after that I’ll be making much more money because of the increase in hours and pay due to my being a manager now). However, when I came to the mall there was a homeless gentleman outside collecting change wearing nothing but jeans and a t-shirt. Today was FREEZING cold, and it’s snowing to. I’m cold and I’m in a GIANT insulated jacket – so I figure he’s probably freezing. I said hi to him and asked him if he was cold, and he said that yes he was cold but he would manage, and then wished me a blessed evening.
So, as I was getting my purchases rung in at the David’s store, I remembered this guy outside who had been very kind to me and who I could see was really cold. Even though I couldn’t really afford too much extra expenditures (I had budgeted money for this tea into my last paycheck, but didn’t really have any other money set aside for things other than bus fare, rent, and groceries) I decided that I’d get this gentleman a tea (plus, it wouldn’t hurt having the good karma on my side what with the fact I’m about to take on a huge amount of responsibility, and I’m training tomorrow).
I asked the salesman what he would recommend for a Tea to Go with the requirements being that the tea had to be able to withstand a very long steep time and have a very low risk for allergens. He looked a little confused at the requirements (like they were very unconventional things to request), so I explained that the tea wasn’t for me but the homeless gentleman outside who was probably freezing cold. He smiled, recommended Currant Affair (which I went with), and then told me that my tea was on the house. I assumed he just meant the Tea to Go (which was awesome because I really couldn’t afford it to begin with), but as he finished ringing everything in he not only gave me the Tea toG on the house, but also my 100g tin of Choconut Oolong! So, all I paid for was the tea tins (an $8 total, approx.) – and I got about $20 worth of free tea! I feel so blessed, and I’m again just BLOWN AWAY with how amazing David’s is.
Anyway, that was a very long story… So, back to the Choconut Oolong that I actually drank. This resteep is pretty good. The licorice root is faintly there, which is keeping this nice and sweet, and the chocolate and hazelnut flavours are also really lightly present. The interesting thing, however, is that this second steep seems to have brought out a flavour not present in the first steep at all, and that’s the flavour of graham crackers.
Actually, it’s a REALLY STRONG flavour of graham crackers. It’s good, but totally different. I wonder what changed that brought this specific flavour out? I tossed the leaves I used this morning, but I’d really love to try a third steeping and see how much this tea changes again. Thankfully, I have lots now to use up and (thanks to the amazing staff at David’s) even a little extra money in my budget!
After work today I realized that since I was going to DAVIDsTEA in the mall downtown by bus but had forgotten my bus pass (I was rushed and forgot my keys too, luckily I was also so rushed I forgot to lock the door as well) I was going to have to break one of the twenties in my wallet since I had no other change. I had forgotten about the second thermos of tea in my backpack (the first I had drank was Raspberry Oolong from Tea Desire, the second was a 2nd steep of David’s Choconut Oolong), so I decided to break it by buying a Tea to Go at Tea Desire.
Since last time I bought a tea to go there I wound up finding another one to add to my stash (Buddha Bamboo – which I purchased 50g of yesterday), I decided to play it safe this time (on my wallet) and get something I was familiar with… So, this one (a favourite of mine)!
It was really nice sipping away at something hot while I waited in the cold for the bus, and it was good (this one hardly ever disappoints) – but I found that it was actually really weak and that was a little disappointing. Although (while I love everyone who works at Tea Desire), it was made by the young lady who works there who seems to be the newest employee (and also my least favourite, but not because she’s new) so maybe she underleafed it.
I also had another realization today… Since I’m moving malls because of my promotion I’m going to be in a mall that doesn’t have ANY tea store. That’s really disappointing since 3/4 of the major malls in the city have loose leaf tea shops (two have a DAVIDsTEA, and the one I’m currently in has Tea Desire). So, no daily Tea to Go during my shift at a discounted price anymore… That’s really sad. Although, I’ll still be over there enough because my bank is in this mall too.
As part of my initiative to, primarily, spend the week drinking down teas I either have excess of but don’t plan to restock or teas I’m not sure if I’m going to restock, I made this in the morning to take to work with me (it was my training shift as a manager today – eeps!).
- 1 1/2 tsp. used for approx. 8 oz. of water
- Steeped at roughly 80 degrees celcius (I didn’t actually use the thermometer to check the temperature – I was running late) for 2 1/2 min.
The first cup I had of this was odd: there was a nasty kind of after taste to it and it tasted very artificial. The second was better – still semi artificial and funny tasting, but more creamyness and raspberry confectionary goodness. This third time trying it? OH MY GOD. It was so freaking good. I have no idea what the variable was that made this come out better, but there was no funky aftertaste or artificial taste, it was smooth and creamy and very intensely flavoured like a raspberry shortcake or raspberries with cool cream or something of that nature. Yummy, confectionary raspberry deliciousness.
After starting to drink this one, I don’t think it lasted even 5 minutes? I basically chugged it. It was SO good.
Maybe it has something to do with my drinking it at room temperature as opposed to hot? Someone wrote a review about this one saying they left it in their fridge for two weeks and it came out tasting delicious and uber creamy and natural tasting. So maybe the temperature of this is a big factor that quite significantly plays around with the flavour?
Anyway, point is that if I can recreate how tasty this was today it’ll move out of my “maybe restock” list to my “restock list”, for sure.
Getting closer to a sipdown for this one. Two, maybe three cups left? Although, even though I’d like it out of my cupboard, I’m not especially in a rush to drink it all up.
Today, I really butchered the the steeping for this one. Firsty, I definitely overleafed (in a small attempt to use up more leaf). For my 8 oz. cup, I used about 2 1/2 tsp. of leaf. And then, I set the teaball with the leaf in it on the counter next to the mug while I waited for the water to cool down enough, but then I got distracted by an email and I let it cool a bit too much. At this point, I just thought “fuck it” and plunked the teaball in the water. I have no clue how long it actually ended up steeping…
Taste wise, this is weird. It’s very, very vegetal and leaves an especially dry and astringent feeling in my mouth after the sip – but it’s NOT really bitter tasting at all. I’m really disliking it, but what else can I expect from preparing this in the stupidest way possible? It’s a combination of not loving green tea and doing a horrible job preparing it – not any criticism against the tea itself.
Perfect Nutella tea is perfect…
Robyn came over for the late afternoon/evening and helped me try to figure out the schedule problems I was having, and in exchange I made her a large mug of this yummy Nutella tea. I was a tad bit worried she would not like it because of the licorice root (which seems to be an issue for lots of people) – but she said she really enjoyed it. I also made myself a Timolino full of it (in the Timolino because I was still sipping at the last of my Buttered Rum, and this way it’d stay hot). I didn’t end up drinking mine until long after she had finished her tea (too hot for consumption)…
We had a really fun time fooling around on Tumblr (anyone on Steepster have a tumblr account and want to share their url?), and messing around with Tre’s Minecraft account in the meantime.
Tea wise, this was super yummy. I know people keep thinking licorice root was an odd ingredient choice, but honestly I think it’s really perfect and complementary flavour wise (of course, if you have licorice root in the first place, obviously it’s going to be a bit of an obstacle taste wise). I’ve figured out that, to me, this tastes like one of those fancy flavored hot chocolates, but a little watered down/weaker. In some ways, it also reminded me of the Buttered Rum I had earlier today. I’m DEFINITELY buying a tin of this.
I know I said that I was going to drink down things I have excess of that wont be restocked, and I will – I swear! However, I just received my manager package, and I started working on the scheduling for the next two weeks. And holy motherfucking shit is this difficult. Seriously, I take back any time I ever complained about my scheduling when I worked at the theatre: they had to balance the availability of 80+ employees, still make sure they got good hours, and not break labor laws…
I only have to do that with 3 to 4 employees… And CHRIST I’m so frustrated my it. I can’t give myself more than 40 hours because that’s overtime pay, and my two other employees don’t want more than 20 hours each. One can work everyday of the week, but only in the mornings. The other can work any week day after 4:30PM, and the weekends (but would preferably only like to work Saturdays)… And, I MIGHT have one more person who would only be able to work Thursdays and Sundays. I HATE THESE KIND OF PROBLEM SOLVING THINGS.
So, I’m drinking a nice, reliable black tea that tastes delicious and is making my head feel a little better. I steeped this perfectly, if I do say so myself. Sweet, butterscotchy with nummy coconut notes and a smooth black base. Yes: this is making my day much better.
Urgh, my throat is suddenly killing me and I’m really wishing for something that’d go down smooth and gently. This is not it.
Part of my initiative to drink down teas that I don’t want to restock, I steeped a tsp. of this in my timolino (a little oversteeped, I was making Genmaicha too, and talking to Tre). Although it’s not helping my throat at all, it does taste a bit better than I remember it being. I’m ACTUALLY getting vanilla from this without having to add cream or sugar at all. Still, it’s good but not great and I have too many black teas.
Not changing my mind about restocking this.
Maybe when it’s done, I’ll chase it back with something minty.
I enjoyed my cup of this so much that I decided to make another cup today, made exactly the same way. Although, to be fair I think this one might have ended up steeped about half a minute longs (I was poorly attempting to multi task by also making a timolino of tea for later tonight, and talking to Tre).
It’s not as good as last night (maybe it’s the over steeping or the fact I’m in a slightly different mood) – but still quite nice and roasty/toasty. Despite being all alone at home tonight (Tre is out with friends again), this cup is making me feel warm and comforted. I think I MIGHT have to rethink not restocking this – it’s, perhaps, growing on me.
Also, for people who read my tasting note on Japanese Cherry earlier today, I DID get a call back a couple hours ago, and I guess I’m now a manager. It’s a weird feeling, especially since I accepted and then was given this huge load of things to do/take in and process. Sometime tonight I’m supposed to receive an email with a whole ton of information to go through, as well as the resumes and availability of my two employees. By Friday, I have to have my schedule made up and sent in to the district manager for approval (it’s so odd that I’m determining my OWN hours), and I have to make the decision to hire someone I’ve never even met or not based purely on his/her availability. I have my training on Friday, and then on Saturday I train my new employees.
And, our store set up is Wednesday, and then my store opens on Thursday. Yeesh: steep learning curve.