1048 Tasting Notes

77
drank Grey Grove Black Tea by 52teas
1048 tasting notes

July 2021 Tea

I wasn’t super stoked about this one when I initially received it but it won me over for today’s sipdown. It’s just a solid Earl Grey with ALL the citrus. There’s a bit of a sugar cookie (or some kind of fluffy sugar dessert) to it as well. It’s super smooth and mildly astringent with a juicy citrus finish (even through oat milk).

It reminds me a little of a less astringent Silk Road’s Canton Orange (RIP), but then the lime kicks in with all it’s complex lime magic. I love lime; it’s probably may favourite citrus (except when it’s orange or grapefruit), and it’s here in all its splendour.

There’s also lemon and bergamot flavour, but I oddly get orange (while cup was hotter) and then lime (as it cooled and as a lingering flavour). Lots of citrus – only missing yuzu and grapefruit (that’s ok, because those two are a lot).

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Cookie, Lemon, Lime, Malt, Orange, Powdered Sugar

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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74

Sipdown!

Ok, I actually can’t handle this tea without some kind of milk. Without – it reminds me too much of a scented candle. It’s cloying in an artificial and heavily perfumed way; it makes me feel faint. With oat milk here it tastes like brown sugar mixed with melted butter, caramel pieces, and actual pumpkin (for real raw pumpkin in all of its questionable glory). It’s very rich but sometimes that’s alright. The aftertaste is nutty, apple-like, and buttery-sweet.

Flavors: Apple, Brown Sugar, Butter, Butterscotch, Caramel, Nutty, Pumpkin, Vanilla

Evol Ving Ness

Hmm, one that when good is very good. And otherwise horrible. Great.

CrowKettle

Yeah. I’m deeply conflicted about this one. Would score my oat milk cup last night as mid 80’s with it’s decadent flavours, but the aroma during all stages of its life is so overbearing that I’m not sure I’d want to repurchase more.

Evol Ving Ness

Yeah, I haven’t tried it and probably don’t need to.

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78
drank Cabaret by August Uncommon Tea
1048 tasting notes

This is a super cozy cup and so easy to drink. Trading the smoke of Outlaw for chocolate, this blend almost makes me like chocolate cherries and remember that Black Forest Cakes exist and are some of the few cakes I like.

This tea is also a nice consolation for an eventful Canadian Thanksgiving (only three of us this year). First, my father accidentally poured the gravy into a pot with soap (ahhh… he’s the saddest about the loss of gravy). Then I placed a stirring fork on a hot stove element and then touched said fork with my middle finger, somehow. My finger is currently in a nice cold glass of water… but I at least I have tea!

Taken with oat milk.

Flavors: Alcohol, Cake, Cherry, Dark Chocolate, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Leafhopper

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, and I hope your finger feels better!

CrowKettle

Thank you! My finger shall recover but I need to up my multi-dish cooking/baking game for next time lol

mrmopar

Happy Thanksgiving.

gmathis

Sorry about the owie, but hope the misadventures make you smile in years to come! (Multi-cooking is beyond me. If I get two dishes on the table at the same time, I feel like a MasterChef.)

Evol Ving Ness

Happy Thanksgiving! the very best holiday of the year. Sorry about the mishaps. Yesterday, I poured boiling water over my hand while carrying the over full kettle. I suffered for about half an hour while dousing the injured hand with ice water and then soaking it in epsom salted bath. Then, it was fine. I hope your suffering is brief and the celebration is joyful.

CrowKettle

Ouch, Evol Ving Ness! I’m glad to hear your hand is healing well. Oh, yeah – mine was super minor, just salt in the wound that is cooking mishaps (RIP gravy). Our Turkey was done an hour before any of the other dishes and none of us realized our miscalculations until too late. Then we danced, haha

ashmanra

I am seriously considering celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving in the future. Ours is so close to Christmas! Happy Thankssgiving, and I hope your finger feels much better!

Evol Ving Ness

Sounds like a pretty great celebration, CrowKettle.

Thank you, ashmanra. Truly, I can’t see why you wouldn’t. The timing is perfect. The weather is perfect. And then, Black Friday turns into a holiday on its own. And the Christmas season gets its proper due.

CrowKettle

@ashmanra, why not celebrate both? They may both be called Thanksgiving but they’ve both got their own unique spirit. The Canadian one is pretty laid back and “do what you want and be where you want but in ‘fall’ fashion” kind of deal (and reflect in that bit of grace on the cusp of the weather committing to bad-not-good and while local produce still being fresh-ish).

One year my whole family was abroad without me so my bestie roommate and I decided to go out for “Thanksgiving” BBQ Duck and Mapo Tofu lol

Evol Ving Ness

Thanksgiving BBQ duck and Mapo Tofu sound glorious! And CrowKettle, you’ve summarized it all beautifully.

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73

This is definitely a niche tea but I like it more than not for its similarities to Silk Road’s Chocolate Panda (which contains vanilla so I like that one slightly better).

I think the aroma and flavouring is reminiscent of those licorice hard candies you get at Greek restaurants (there are also cinnamon ones). Sweet sugar, anise, with a touch of chocolate and barley (all hail the Barley Mother) to give it a “thickness” which I will generously dub “creamy.”

I added milk to my last steeped sample portion and kind of wish I’d been drinking it that way the whole time. It toned down the more medicinal aspects of this blend and made “creamy” truly creamy. Also a nice way to wind down with some “horror” novels (plural) last night. I don’t usually read or watch a lot of horror – I’m more a fantasy/sci-fi person but it’s always nice to branch out to the other speculative fiction genre every now and then.

My mom could not even handle the smell of a steeped cup so your mileage may vary.

Flavors: Anise, Chocolate, Creamy, Licorice, Medicinal, Roasted Barley

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
derk

Hm, yes. I might have to buy this again.

CrowKettle

When I’ve worked my way through the AU samples I think this will be part of the reorder too. It’s soothing.

tea-sipper

ooo.. wondering which horror novels?

CrowKettle

Oddball ones: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones (almost finished), Revelator by Daryl Gregory (just started), Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo (finished; more of an LGBT+ Southern Gothic), and queuing The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher. Also queuing the not-horror Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett because I value my sanity and it’s spooky month themed too.

I’ve never read a single King novel in my life and I feel a tiny bit bad about that. I’m open to general horror/gothic recommendations right now, lol

tea-sipper

Oh cool, no time for King because you’re reading a bunch of new stuff! Everyone else can have him covered. haha. I have been meaning to read ‘House of Leaves’ for about a decade of spooky months now. :/

CrowKettle

Picking up the more recent stuff means I’m not sure I’ve the best baseline for what “horror” in book format is supposed to look like. I’ve read some old Victorian gothics, children fic (Coraline count? lol), and then this new stuff – a lot of it reminding me of the old gothic stuff or the kids stuff haha.

House of Leaves sounds interesting (and also a lot): “their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.” – Dr. Who, is that you? Will also to the TBR list for.. one day.

derk

House of Leaves was the most intense read I’ve ever experienced and it so deftly applied fire and ice to exposed nerves. It was like a Choose Your Own Adventure for overthinking adults. How far into insanity I was willing to go was up to me, though I wouldn’t say I was always at the helm.

derk

Either of you have any southern gothic recommendations? Why am I asking, though. I should really finish the Dark Tower series.

mrmopar

Twilight Eyes by Dean Koontz.

CrowKettle

I just learned Southern Gothic is a thing 9 days ago and was sort of hoping for suggestions too, haha

Thanks, everyone.

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75
drank Outlaw by August Uncommon Tea
1048 tasting notes

I like this one more than I remember. It takes well to milk and the combo of fruit and smoke is charming. Bumping the rating from a 75 to a 77. It’s solid.

I like lapsang souchong, especially in the fall, so really appreciate it in all of these AU blends right now (and it’s in a lot of them).

Steep Count: 3 (and it held up so well, even with oat milk!)

Flavors: Cherry, Cherry Wood, Malt, Mineral, Smoke, Stonefruit

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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85
drank Pumpkin Chai by DAVIDsTEA
1048 tasting notes

Another DT sipdown tonight.

This, along with losing Cardamom French Toast, triggered a re-order. I haven’t payed attention to DT in a while but they appear to have brought back a few old “comfort” staples like Forever Nuts and Coco Chai Rooibos (and my old undergrad favs: the bubble teapots… and just when I lost my white one at someone’s house!). So that was a big cave.

It’s raining, it’s windy, it’s dark, and it feels like fall. I’ve gone through two pots of black tea and three mugs so far. To be expected at this time of the year. Hello darkness my old friend.

Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Pumpkin Spice

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 30 sec

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82

I didn’t have this one in my virtual cupboard but it’s a sipdown nonetheless. This is one of those comfort teas that I keep around in large quantities and pull out whenever I have guests or tea requests by housemates.

This easy peasy cardamom black tea that takes so well to milk/mylk and pleases all the people at this time of year. I both love and hate that sugar is part of the blend (it works here though). Also, tastes eggy and “french toast-y” so it’s a win even for me.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cardamom, Eggnog, Sugar

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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60

This one tastes strongly of prunes (plum), which I was force-fed as a child. I cannot find the will to love it or even like it much (A+ prune flavour). The citrus and spices do remind me of seasonal things though so that’s nice.

If this had not been prunes I may have enjoyed the interplay of stonefruit, clove, and bergamot a bit more, but alas…

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Clove, Nutmeg, Prune, Stonefruit

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

Funny how those childhood food things last a lifetime. To this day, I can’t stand mashed potatoes.

CrowKettle

I can tell prunes are a good thing and I love fresh plums and other dried stonefruits. But the history is rife D:

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78

Picked up a big bag of this a while ago during a time when there was a pancake syrup tea void in my heart.

While I enjoy it (but not so secretly yearn for maple syrup walnut tea), my parents appear to be super fans. They demand more of this tea. I suspect Pancake Breakfast is going to get a lot of rotation with them during the upcoming cool fall months.

Taken with oat milk.

Flavors: Malt, Pancake Syrup

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
52Teas

So, would this secret yearning be for a pancake maple walnut, or just a maple walnut? Also, would you require actual walnuts in the blend (as we are a nut-free company, this is not something we could accommodate) – we do have nut free flavorings and can obtain nut free walnut flavoring – but I cannot actually create a blend with actual walnuts. Also – what sort of base would this dream tea be?

CrowKettle

I think that tasting note tangent stems from simultaneously craving both Purdy’s “Maple Walnut Ice Cream” and Butiki’s old “Maple Pecan” Oolong, which used a Nilgiri Frost Oolong. So ideally some kind of high altitude slightly roasted oolong or black tea (Nepalese, Darjeeling, Himalayan, Fujian types) that’s nutty, roasted, and even fruity sweet to carry the “nut” note – but I defer to others here. I’m a little sensitive to actual walnuts myself and totally support your “no nut” policy!

Honestly, I just like maple teas a lot and believe you can’t go wrong with making one – no nut flavouring necessarily needed! Maple walnut pancake/ice cream, maple glazed butternut squash, apple maple blondies, baked peaches with maple, deep fried chocolate maple banana, maple mascarpone eclairs… Your Maple Cheesecake Oolong, with the Qilan base, is already an awesome maple tea too!

Anyways, my folks love your Pancake tea so much + it’s a comforting cup for me; It’s a definite repurchase as needed, regardless on whether it has maple and walnuts (or bananas) :)

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78

August 2021 Tea

I drank this one up last week but just wanted to give it a quick shout out because I love lavender. Also, Anne does pretty good things with blueberries. Not sure if I’m 100% behind the combo but I think I mostly liked it. This tea and I had good times.

The black tea base is also pretty, with twisted leaves, and is a nice change from 52teas other black tea bases. It does come across as delicate and complex though, and I felt a little bad adding milk to it (did not stop me though).

Flavors: Berry, Blueberry, Floral, Frosting, Lavender, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
52Teas

I’ve been using what I have in my pantry of this to cold brew – it is SO GOOD cold brewed.

CrowKettle

I thought it would be good as a cold brew but it was honestly so satisfying as is (plus the changing cool weather)that I never got around to “experimenting” with it. I’m a fan though :)

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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 favourite teas are stuff like Milk Oolong, Dragonwell, Silver Needle, Japanese Sencha, Kenyan White Rhino… but I generally enjoy all the tea.

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

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

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

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

FLORALS
Lavender, Jasmine, Rose, Lilac, 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)
- Coconut pieces (as a sub/filler ingredient)
- Cocoa Nibs, 95% of the time.

Subjective Rating System 3.0:

90-100: My absolute favourite tea. I’ll impulsively buy in large quantities and hoard like a dragon.

85-89: A favourite tea. I’ll try to keep this one around when it’s practical.

76-84: A good tea, but lower on my “to repurchase” list

70-75: Alright, but I may have a few problems with quality, consistency, ingredient chemistry, or personal preferences.

50-69: Average to mediocre cup. Personal preference issues are apparent.

11-49: Varying levels of undrinkable tea. I don’t give a lot of these ratings out, since I tend to grab tea I know will appeal to me.

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

Location

BC, Canada

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