1095 Tasting Notes

drank Longjing by Infussion
1095 tasting notes

Thank you Infussion Tea for this generous sample!

When Infussion’s parcel arrived, my parents took one look at the Polish address and said you didn’t… No! I didn’t! This was a kind free sample from the company. I haven’t ordered a big box of expensive teas from overseas… Yet. I’m looking at you, Mariage Frères

I’ve had Dragonwell from a few places now so I was stoked (do people still use that word?) to try another! Infussion’s Longjing reminds me the most of Silk Road- not too dry and not too buttery. The Dragonwell from David’s Tea is so dry and nutty it makes my mouth pucker, while a cup from Andrews & Dunham’s is like butter on my tongue. The first steep of this caused neither of those reactions.

I don’t have a gongfu pot here or own a gaiwan so it was Western brewin’ style for me. The first steep was noticeably roasted and vegetal with some slight nuttiness (don’t ask me to name the nuts). The cup was also somewhat astringent as the water temperature was likely too high. Not bad for a kick. It came off a little strong but this is one of those teas that taste a lot better if you let it sit for a few minutes before drinking. Lowering the temperature sometimes helps with reducing astringency or bitterness.

At this point I was thinking it was OK but not sure if I would want to order this particular one again. Then I second steeped it. More roasted butter nut soft veggies!!! This is how I like my Dragonwell- mellow. I’m a wimp.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
cteresa

I nearly had this yesterday! but with dragon well I like to be able to take my time making it.

CrowKettle

I really like to make time for this tea too and relax with it although I don’t do anything special. How do you prepare yours usually?

cteresa

Usually with dragon well I like to do several steeps and try to pay real attention to temperature and time. A little teapot, warmed, mineral water, and several steeps. This morning made some though not with all due care, been craving some dragon well and your review made me decide to just have it, so just had it relatively easy, normal tap water, a generous ammount on my favorite little pot, water about 80 degrees, and about 3-4 minutes. I am not feeling much difference between the first and second steeps, though will try for a third!

CrowKettle

I think I butchered my first steep to be honest. The water temperature, at least was very different between the two.

I’ve never steeped my tea in anything but the tap water here but if any tea deserved fine water it’s dragonwell.

cteresa

Water taste can vary – in some places it can be awful! And depends a lot on weather and everything. I swear some bergamotish teas can pick up any hint of bleach taste (for example Harney´s Paris blend. horrible chemistry with my tap water). And I do not like filtered water, tastes too sweet and all. But mineral water in 5 or 6 liter bottles is less than 1 euro, I got a couple around for tea and visits and stuff. I feel bad about the packaging, but a large bottle lasts me weeks and it´s always reused or recycled.

CrowKettle

I should do some water comparison tests because you’re right, water does taste very different. I know the tap water in the city I go to school in is atrocious. Too alkaline and smells “off”. I tend not to notice the difference in water unless I have been traveling around from city to city, or country to country. I never thought bergamot in particular could be affected so drastically though. Thank you for the advice! :)

cteresa

The bergamot thing might be a quirk of mine – but some teas can handle any water just fine, others no. I think I notice differences in some bergamot teas sometime, but not a perfect correlation. Maybe jasmine as well.

Water can be horrible on some places. In Barcelona you could even taste the bleach in coffee!

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drank Earl Black by 52teas
1095 tasting notes

Day Four

Before steeping it smells like pomegranate and black current juice. After steeping it luckily mellows down a bit and I’m able to pick up more of that vegetal, buttery white tea. Instead of following the packet instructions, I steeped “a small spoonful”, in my Perfect Mug, in low temperature water for about 4 minutes.

I can pick up citrus qualities from my cup, although it’s nowhere near as extreme as my Silk Road Earl White- a tea with a real overload of citrus and bergamot. Earl Black is more like a tame, almost flat, juice that may have seen a squeeze of citrus; just enough to give it a sour note.

It has a similar body to Big Apple from David’s Tea. Buttery mellowness, a little bit of fruit pizzazz, and some other notes that indicate that all the ingredients at one time or another came from a plant. The texture is oily. Astringency is almost nonexistent. Somewhat pasty, flaky, doughy when it cools down.

Comforting buttery qualities make me really like this but it isn’t a Super Adventure 9000+ Tea. The oil may seem ill-fitting with the fruity flavours at times, too.

I’ve never had a blackcurrant tea so I am personally highly amused and won over by this, although bergamot and strong flavoured it is not. The tea was also pretty lackluster on second steep.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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79
drank Sun and Cloud Mist by 52teas
1095 tasting notes

“Day three” of 52teas advent. This note seems to be malfunctioning on multiple levels. Sorry!

the dry leaves are like a cross between delicious lemon meringue pie and fabric softener.

The liquor has more of a sanitized leafy scent but the taste is all lemon dessert for me. It’s a multiple part tasting experience: sweet and soft (marshmallow), lemon, sugar, then tart astringent green leaves. Aftertaste is very sour, as if I had just bitten into a lemon. I’ve had many kinds of citrus teas but I’ve never actually had one that seems to channel lemon flavour. By default this is the best lemon dessert tea I’ve ever had…

The downsides are that the sanitizer/freshener quality gives it a chemical funky taste on some notes. The multiple flavours may be jarring and the green tea brisker than what some may ideally want.

I don’t know, but this tea makes me want to embrace a soft white kitten, while eating lemon meringue pie and walking on fluffy plump clouds. At least, I think it’s the tea that makes me want to do that. It could be the lack of sleep. Possibly.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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“Day two” of 52teas twelve day advent.

I’m not a huge fan of the smell of this one; it reminds me of those medicinal powdered dairy energy drinks. The liquid has that chalky Tums quality to it too- like the fruit ones. Maybe it’s because I haven’t slept in the last twenty-four hours but I think I like the “healthiness” of this more than I would on another day. Although, quite possibly, the opposite may be true and my grogginess may be hindering my appreciation for it. Will definitely try it again tomorrow.

Besides Tums, this also reminds me of a banana & pineapple flavored Orange Julius, which I don’t mind at all. Still not a huge winner for me at the moment, though.

This tastes increasingly better and less chalky when it cools down- more like its smoothie namesake.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 30 sec

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drank Cotton Candy Black Tea by 52teas
1095 tasting notes

I’m finally home for the holidays with my folks and I’m so excited! All the tea I ordered on the Black Friday-Cyber Monday sales was delivered here so coming back after semester finals was doubly anticipated. I’m running around with all these tea parcels and my father is just shaking his head. He told me that all he needs is his Red Rose. He’s missing out…

I didn’t know where to start but I figured I should get caught up on my 52teas advent calendar first.

Day one

Ah, my first cup ever, from this company! It’s funny that in all the times I’ve eyed the 52teas website and the various crazy “food items” I never imagined I would actually be able to smell or taste the tea in the blends. Yet, here the black base is unmistakably prevalent beneath a layer of fluffy cotton candy aroma. Neat! The scent that wafted from my advent packet makes me feel like it’s my birthday, or something equally exciting. Still, I’m somewhat skeptical; it smells so very airy and sugary but it has such a strong base!

I steeped it for two minutes. First impression is that it has a bit of an astringent nip! I was half expecting this to be over the top, artificially sweet, and the other half expecting it to be all bitter leaves. I’m pleased that it actually falls somewhere in the middle. The first notes are nippy but then it mellows down into a smoother black before finishing with a soft cotton candy brush. Melted caramel notes.

I’m torn on whether or not I love it. I’m disappointed in the astringency but I’m also happy that this is more a black tea with some unique flashiness than liquidized cotton candy that may have rolled in some tea leaves. I also appreciate that the flavour is prevalent and vivid without being overwhelmingly, nauseatingly sweet. It gets points in my book just for the subtle finish and true “tea-ness”.

I need to experiment with the rest of my sample. Maybe it would go well with milk? Iced? Iced latte?

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec
gmathis

Welcome home! (I remember coming home at semester’s end and Mom complaining because I didn’t want to do anything but s-l-e-e-p!)

CrowKettle

Thank you! That scenario sounds very familiar. :)

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75
drank Yuzu Temple by Mariage Frères
1095 tasting notes

This is more of a (temporary) farewell than a tasting note. I have two full pots of tea beside me to help me get through this fifteen page paper. Yuzu Temple is one of them. Honestly, I don’t think this one is going to get done on time but I can only keep working!

The citrus is strong with this one and at times it has salty and peppery notes. It has that sticky, cleaning, invigorating quality that you may notice in fruits of the same variety. It can be somewhat overwhelming like a perfume if you don’t keep it in check. I accidentally poured some into my cup that had previously been filled with English Rose and they surprisingly weren’t as oppositional as you would think. Hope the sweet and floral perfume overload doesn’t make me feel faint. It can do that sometimes. Need. TO. Be. Awake!

Anyways, I’m already excited to resume reading everyone’s tasting notes on the 16th! No sooner because I don’t want to see any spoilers for the twelve days of tea from 52teas. I don’t get to open mine up until I’m back on the mainland for the holidays. Happy tea drinking, everyone! :)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Cavocorax

I’m surprised you’re still working on your paper! I would have assumed you had to turn it in on the last day of class. Anyways… good luck! I found I did my best writing when I was up til 3AM. :P (Maybe not best, but.. quantity-wise I did well).

CrowKettle

Thank you!I’ve had to turn in three papers since class ended on the 3rd. This is the last of them and has the weird due date of Dec. 14th at 4PM. Whining about it is so much easier than actually doing it. :)

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drank English Rose by DAVIDsTEA
1095 tasting notes

I went to David’s Tea today specifically for a tin of this and guess what? They were essentially all out! I still managed to get 92 grams worth but only in the result of emptying the wall tin of all its tea dust and white chocolate crumbs…uhh… Maybe I should have forgone all of the “special bits”, as my server put it, and saved myself a few extra dollars. I was hoping to be in the position to ask for extra rose buds too. I really love this tea.

That love appears to be a very subjective feeling for this tea, however. It makes sense, but I hadn’t realized the emotions that the strong floral notes rouse up in people would be so “strong” as well. Personally, the aroma alone is enough to make me skip in happiness. It makes me nostalgic too and reminds me of the rose flavoured Turkish Delights that my dad and I both enjoy around Christmas. I actually bought a box of Turkish Delights the other day but there were no lemon ones and too many crème de menthe ones. Disappointing

The first time I had this I liked it so much that I re-steeped it three times! Tonight’s cup isn’t as good as that. The excessive white chocolate residue made this particular steep rather scummy. It’s also slightly bitter which is probably due to me over-steeping it and the tea powder. It’s still has the ideal creamy, floral, and sweet profile so I will do second steep.

The white chocolate helps to offset what would otherwise be a very perfume-like drink; flowers cutting through cream. The fragrance’s sweetness is doubled, I feel, from that same chocolate, however. English Rose has a very dominant personality and, while I’m on the ‘pro’ end of the spectrum the sheer decadence and richness of it prevents this tea from being a drink I have on hand 24/7- just like how Turkish Delights are not a food to eat all day, every day. It’s more like something I want once every couple days

I’ve noticed that all the teas I went for today (Banana Dream, Ceylon Star, and English Rose) have white chocolate as an ingredient. I guess I like white chocolate.

The bitterness has actually nearly vanished after cooling down for a few minutes. Success!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Cavocorax

Interesting! I haven’t really had any floral teas, but maybe I’ll have to give this a shot! At the very least, get a take home cup of it!

CrowKettle

It’s definitely a neat thing to try once. If you can’t finish it I’m sure it would make a nice soap too! I’d be pretty happy with some Rose white chocolate soap, myself.
A side note: all of those high ideas about " ladylike gentle floral scents" is a lie. If you stick your head into this tea’s tin it will give you a smart face smacking. It’s not subtle at all.

Cavocorax

Thanks for the sidenote there. :P I always need some face-smacking teas! Especially mornings when the baby doesn’t let me sleep… :P

I do like white chocolate in tea so that sounds promising. I haven’t head any Earl Gray blends, but I’m not opposed to trying those either…

So many teas to try, so little time.

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drank Salted Caramel by DAVIDsTEA
1095 tasting notes

I put off trying this toffee scented tea for the longest time. It smelled yummy, it just wasn’t something I particularly wanted to drink- especially in the context of all my other teas.

I finally got around to trying it today, along with sending out the majority of my parcels. In both cases (tea trying and parcels) I don’t know why I put it off for so long! Parcel sending is easy and this tea is tasty.

This teas has an imbedded natural sweetness that reminds me of Glitter & Gold and makes me feel reluctant to add anything else to it. It ends on a reminiscently salty note with a tad bit of astringency. It tastes exactly like salted caramel and is truly only missing the texture.Now I want some plain toffee. I really noticed the black tea on the first few sips when it was still hot.

The only downside is the flavour and scent are somewhat strong for me at times and makes me slightly lightheaded but I can overlook that.

Now, on to my last fifteen page essay of the semester. Maybe that will be easier than I thought too. Fingers crossed!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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drank Ceylon Star by DAVIDsTEA
1095 tasting notes

I’ve wanted to try this one since people began to post notes about it here on Steepster; the coconut, chocolate and star anise pairing had me intrigued. The last teas I tried with anise was Merry Cranberry and, while I wasn’t a huge fan of it initially, I’ve been craving to try it or something similar again since I ran out. Today I bought a 50 gram bag of this on impulse so I guess I better like it a little..

Wet leaves are 90% anise but the liquor has a pleasant cocoa scent. The flavour seems to be a compromise between the two with a dash of creamy coconut. The coconut and the chocolate components add a natural creamy sweetness while the anise gives it a soft licorice-like nip. I added some milk to my second cup and I’m picking up some discrete chocolate orange notes. There’s no orange in the tea so I don’t know where that comes from- probably the Ceylon?

From the remnants of a can that I should probably throw out, I added some pure warm coconut milk to my remaining glass which really just acts to strengthen the already present coconut, as well as to ascent the astringency and spiciness. Not noticing the chocolate orange bit anymore.

Despite my animosity to all things licorice I really enjoyed the pot of this with my kimchi soup. I don’t think I’d drink this regularly because of the anise but I definitely wouldn’t pass it by if it was offered.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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drank Canton Orange by Silk Road
1095 tasting notes

This tea exemplifies the impact of steep time, temperature, and pre-existing biases to the tasting experience. It reminds me that my first impression (also, second and third) may be wrong.

Every time I drink this tea I feel differently about it. Today it wasn’t bad: citrus-y but drinkable with milk. It’s a very vigorous, bergamot-driven earl grey that may be appealing to some :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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Profile

Bio

I started my Steepster loose leaf adventure back in 2012. I can’t say I’m completely new anymore, but I still view oolong as a magical, extraterrestrial creature that unfurls in water.

My favourites are teas like Milk Oolong, Silver Needle,and Japanese Sencha/Gyokuro, but I generally enjoy ALL the tea, including flavoured blends and a good ol’ cup of Earl Grey.

Subjective Rating System 4.0:
I don’t give a lot of low ratings out, since I tend to grab tea I know will appeal to me.

90-100: Exceptional and all-time favourite teas. I struggle between hoarding these like a dragon and consuming them like a poorly adjusted black hole.

80-89: Favourite teas (usually flavoured) that I try to keep around when possible.

70-79: Good teas that I’ll happily drink up, but with minor issues.

60-69: Ok teas, but I may have a few problems with quality, consistency, ingredient chemistry, and/or personal preferences.

50-59: Average to mediocre cup. Personal preference issues are apparent but still drinkable.

11-49: Varying levels of undrinkable tea.

1-10: Nightmare tea from the chaos realms. This tea is the embodiment of the primordial swamp, an unholy abomination. It’s very gross and I’m almost positive it doesn’t exist.

FAVOURITE INGREDIENTS/NOTES:

DESSERT FLAVOURS
Vanilla, Maple, Caramel, Butterscotch, Cream, Toffee, Nougat, Marzipan, Butter

FRUIT & BERRIES
Blackberry, Raspberry, Currants, Blueberry, Elderberry, Banana, Melon, Pineapple, Persimmon, Rhubarb, Passionfruit

CITRUS
Lime, Grapefruit, Lemon, Bergamot, Yuzu (orange is a hit or miss)

SPICES
Anise (but not licorice), Ginger, Clove-forward chai

AROMATIC & HERBACEOUS NOTES
Musky, “Fresh,” and/or Woody Incense-like stuff: Sandalwood, Frankincense, Juniper Eucalyptus, Mints

FLORALS
Lavender, Jasmine, Rose, Lilac, Violet, etc. ALL the flowers!

VEGGIE/GRAIN NOTES
Spinach, Grass, Hay, Cucumber, Rice, Sweet Potato

Less Preferred Flavours/Ingredients:

- Stevia and most sweeteners
- Cinnamon-forward blends
- Prunes
- Dark Roasts (oolong)
- Orange (if it’s a creamsicle)
- Mango pieces (love mango outside of tea though)
- Cocoa Nibs, 95% of the time.

Location

BC, Canada

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