1362 Tasting Notes

45

A vanilla tea for National Vanilla Pudding Day from Devon Bartholomew.

Unfortunately, I don’t taste vanilla and I don’t really even taste tea. All I can taste is the milk powder. It’s very much like the Nestle hot chocolate powders, but without the benefit of the chocolate. :/

Flavors: Milk

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 OZ / 236 ML
Mastress Alita

Way back in the day, before I was a “tea person,” I remember having a box of the regular Oregon Chai that I would make often. After I got into “proper” tea the box sat, untouched, for years. Then I decided to make a cup one day, and that milk powder had gone so off there were clumps of it in my cup.

Shae

Oh gosh, I can only imagine how awful that tasted. I hadn’t thought of powdered milk going bad, but of course that makes sense.

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Switching over to decaf this afternoon courtesy of Devon Bartholomew. Devon sent a bag of this over in our last swap, and it’s really nice. I love the happy surprise of finding bagged teas that actually taste as good as some loose leaf teas out there.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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My first Andrews & Dunham tea ever! It’s as good as promised. I steeped according to the directions on the tin. With one teaspoon, I thought it might be a little light. It wasn’t. The tea was just strong enough, and I could taste the caramel notes I’d read about. Very good morning cuppa.

Flavors: Caramel

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80
drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
1362 tasting notes

Michelle’s Tummy Tamer

This is the last of the custom blends that Michelle sent in our swap. I really loved the Assam, Sage, and Lemongrass blend, and I think I like this one almost as much. It’s obvious that it’s puerh, but not because it’s fishy or anything. It just has that unique puerh aroma that I really enjoy. I don’t know how else to describe it, but it’s certainly distinguishable as puerh. I typically prefer shou and I believe that’s what’s included in this blend. The mint pairs really nicely with it. I can’t remember if the company is listed on the bag, but I’d be curious to know where the puerh is from. I think I would probably buy more of it on its own. It has such a good flavor, very deep and dark.

Flavors: Mint

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML
Michelle

Ah well, that’s the trouble with my blending method, I don’t have a spread sheet and precise quantities or sources. The Assam, sage and lemongrass were all from SF Herb. The puerh was from a tin I got at an Asian grocer in Houston, and liked it enough to drink on its own. I had and ounce of SF loose puerh left and I mixed it in the tin (The tin was why I took a chance on the puerh as it had a pretty picture of people drinking tea, apparently I’m a sucker for that type of marketing) so the loose shou was a combination of the two. Its nice to start with a tea I wouldn’t mind drinking on it’s own to use for a tummy tamer, but I do have some leftover shou tuo chas that really are better with mint and used for a rumbly stomach.

Shae

Both blends were delicious. I think maybe your Assam blend was my favorite of all the teas you sent!

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drank Autumn Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
1362 tasting notes

Autumn 2020 Harvest
Date of Picking: October 2020

Dry leaf smells nice and chocolaty. The taste isn’t doing it for me today though. I know in my mind I’m comparing it to the Jin Jun Mei I had earlier this week. I guess I should have had that one last, since none of my other Verdant teas can seem to compare.

Flavors: Chocolate

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Autumn 2020 Harvest
Date of Picking: October 2020

I again failed to write a tasting note for this as I was drinking it, but my main takeaway was that it tasted like bread crusts. Is that weird? Or even a thing? It’s not the fluffy middle, but the darker almost burnt ends that I’m getting here. I noticed that lovely chocolate aroma from the dry leaf but was completely missing it in the cup. Compared to yesterday’s tea, this one didn’t quite rise to meet my expectations.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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82
drank Jin Jun Mei by Verdant Tea
1362 tasting notes

2020 Harvest
Date of Picking: May 2020

I didn’t take many notes on this one as I was drinking it. Instead I wrote down some words as I made my way through the cup. The dry leaf had a chocolaty aroma, but the flavor was surprisingly fruity. I was able to narrow it down to berries and then strawberry and finally strawberry jam. That’s it – it tastes jammy! What a really delicious tea with so many layers. I’m sure those with a more refined palate could find so much more.

Flavors: Berries, Chocolate, Fruity, Jam, Strawberry

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

I just had this last week (twice!), but it absolutely fits today’s sipdown theme – National Pack Rat Day. It’s a tea I normally save for special occasions or especially bad days. It’s no longer available, so the day it’s finally gone I’ll probably be devastated (not an exaggeration). It is both a tea I just can’t bring myself to sip down and a permanent cupboard staple (at least it was until Teavana went under). I don’t have much to add to the notes I’ve already written – this is my ultimate tea. In fact, I’m bumping this from 96 to 100 because to me it is perfection.

Flavors: Strawberry

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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68

Oh hot hibiscus, how I love you!

Okay, really this isn’t as bad as I was expecting. Sure, it’s making my mouth pucker and dry up like a raisin but the flavor’s alright with a little honey thrown in. And of course it tastes better as it cools. This is the last of my opened herbals, so I’ll be moving on to a few teabags next. Glad to get these marked off my list. My husband can have the rest.

Flavors: Astringent, Cherry, Dust, Tart

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Spring Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
1362 tasting notes

Spring 2020 Harvest
Date of Picking: Late May 2020

On to my next Laoshan Black from Verdant. This time I made it the way I would normally steep my black teas. In the bag, it has that chocolate syrup aroma that I love so much. Baked bread while steeping, that same mineral note in the first sip that I found in the Autumn 2019 harvest. The chocolate is more forward in this cup than in the last, which I enjoy, but I also did a poor job steeping the last one so it wouldn’t be fair to compare them too closely.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Fruity, Mineral

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Profile

Bio

Lifetime student. Lover of books and paper and ink. Kitchen dweller. Aspiring herbalist, excessively proud cat lady, and tea fanatic. Thirty-something elder millennial. She/her.

I love flavored black teas most of all, always with cream and honey. I prefer to sweeten my tea as it seems to bring out the flavor. I enjoy floral and fruity teas, as well as flavored or scented ones. I’m not overly fond of green or white teas, but I’ve found a few that I enjoy.

I’m open to tea swaps and/or just sharing what’s in my tea cabinet! Please reach out if you see something I have that you’d like to try. I do my best to update my cupboard regularly.

It will take me longer than usual to get to the post office while we’re in the midst of this pandemic, but I would still love to send you something next time I’m out and about!

Favorites
Any and all black teas, smoky teas, raspberry, strawberry, red fruits, bergamot, chai spices, floral teas, caramel/toffee, jasmine, rose, vanilla, peaches, plums, valerian root, cinnamon, cardamom

Not a huge fan
Lime, white teas, green teas, artificial sweeteners, sarsaparilla, licorice, lemongrass, lavender, hot hibiscus, hibiscus in black tea blends

Rating Scale

1-20: By far, one of the worst teas I’ve tasted. I most certainly will not finish my cup and will likely “gift” the rest to my sweet husband, James, who almost always enjoys the teas I dislike (and vice versa).

21-49: This tea is not good but if I mix it with another tea or find another steeping method I might be able to finish it.

50-70: This one is just okay. I might drink it again if someone were to give it to me, but I probably won’t be buying more for myself.

71-79: This is a consistently good tea. It’s reliable but not necessarily special.

80-90: This one is a notch above the rest and I would gladly enjoy a cup of it any day of the week. I’ll likely be keeping this in my cupboard, but it isn’t one of my all-time favorites.

91-95: One small change and this tea would be perfect. I’ll definitely have a stash of this in my kitchen if you come over for tea.

96-100: No words can describe this tea. It’s an experience, an aha moment. Closed eyes, wide smile, encompassing warmth. Absolutely incredible. Perfect.

Currently reading:

A Breath of Snow and Ashes
by Diana Gabaldon

Updated October 2020.

Location

Alabaster, Alabama

Website

https://www.instagram.com/sph...

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