1048 Tasting Notes

82

Bai mu dan is an interesting choice to blend with ceylon but it works to create a nice blueberry-citrus base, which enhances the ginger and pear flavours. The hot spices remind me a little of a night cap or a spiced wine. I think it could be slightly more “cakey” with a baked goods vibe, but maybe that’s what sugar and milk are for. There’s already a bit of jam and cream seeping through the fruit notes, so 120% dessert effect can’t be far away!

Looking forward to playing with this one during the holiday season! For now, it makes a nice sipping companion while I finish off another Vorokosigan book (I’m on A Civil Campaign, and the butter bugs have won me over).

(2017 blend)

Flavors: Berries, Cinnamon, Citrus, Clove, Cream, Ginger, Jam, Pear, Spices

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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84

The blackberry flavouring in this is delicious- like some fresh creamy pastry bought and eaten right at the berry farm. A possible downside of this is it makes me wish it was one of 52teas’ full blown “Danish” blends instead of “just” a berry green tea. It tastes so close.

The Zomba works really well here by not intruding into the berry deliciousness with any strong veggie notes. This base does seem to pair deliciously with fruit flavours; I’m down for liking 2/2 of 52teas’ Zomba blends I’ve tried so far (more on the way)!

Thank you, Arby, for sending me this! I’m definitely enjoying it.

Flavors: Blackberry, Butter, Citrus, Cream, Tart

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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86
drank Black Beauty by Mandala Tea
1048 tasting notes

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a Keemun, Laoshan Black, or any other non- What-cha Golden Snail black tea (so good). I’ve forgotten how comforting they are in their cocoa-malt predictability, and subtle but rich profiles. I thought I was over Chinese black teas; it’s probably the time of year? Oolong is out, black tea and white tea are in- I need to draw a better year plan for my tea drinking habits so I’m not struggling at the height of tea-drinking season.

Anyways, this one is really red. Red is good. Red is warm. Red is Christmas. I’m drinking this in a festive red cup too. Lots of red happening.

I’ll write a more thoughtful note later.

(2017 harvest)

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Fruity, Malt, Muscatel, Red Wine, Stonefruit

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Garret

yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

Sil

everyone is tempting me garret! I miss my mandala teas!

Garret

Well, don’t let me tempt you! I wouldn’t want to do that. :) I’m working on a few new sources for 2018 in India and Japan, just looking at adding some new teas to broaden the ol’ tea horizon. I hope you’re really well, my friend!

CrowKettle

I only purchased Mandala teas a few months ago and ever since it’s been a constant battle to put off making another purchase. The free “new tea” samples I received were a complete bull’s eye for striking up even more temptation. Also, the dwindling levels of Milk Oolong on my end are unacceptable.

There is no winning this, but I wish you luck, Sil! :P

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55
drank Zi Mu Dan by Verdant Tea
1048 tasting notes

I am designating this Sipdown Priority No. 4. It’s going to take a few days but it’s time overdue.

Drinking floral cream candle tea after honey cough drop tea is probably ill advised; I think the aftertaste of the honey cough drop is winning! Argh, my life choices!

(2016 harvest)

Flavors: Cream, Custard, Eucalyptus, Jasmine, Mineral

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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40
drank Honey Yuzu by Tea Forte
1048 tasting notes

Smells like grapefruit and honey. There’s a flavour in here that is like neither of those notes, and is quite medicinal- like sweet mint (freshening) and powdery bee pollen, as opposed to liquid honey. It’s an interesting effect, on top of that very dry/vegetal green base. The outcome is like one of those Halls Honey drops, or some other cough candy! I’d place this tea in the category of ‘when I’m sick and want something hot, medicinal, a little sweet, and not fancy.’

Thank you, Arby, for sending me this! I was curious about this one and now I know.

Flavors: Citrus, Honey, Medicinal, Menthol, Vegetal

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec
gmathis

We’d sneak those (Honey Halls), and Cherry Luden’s, into church when I was a kid and suck on them during particularly long sermons. Of course, when you’re 9, they’re all long :)

CrowKettle

Honey halls and similiar cough drops have gotten me through some seemingly trying times too. It always seems you cough or swallow more regularly and audibly during a lecture or a sermon, and it does give your mind something else to focus on if it feels like a slow one. :)

Lexie Aleah

the Halls berry breeze ones used to be my favorite now I opt for Burt’s Bees.

CrowKettle

Burt’s Bees is good stuff! I’ve never actually had the Berry Halls flavour before- it was usually Extra Strength (for real colds) or Honey in my household. :)

Arby

haha sorry to force this tea upon you. I thought it sounded gross and would have thrown it out otherwise. Maybe I should have.

CrowKettle

You have nothing to be sorry about! I’m the one who asked for your “tired, weary, and possibly not so great” teas. It makes your parcel more fun and surprising too; there are ones I’m really enjoying and others I never want to see again. It’s a good spread XD

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65
drank May Flowers by A Quarter to Tea
1048 tasting notes

The florals add dimensions to what is actually more of a honey green tea. We have jasmine, rose, elderflower, and some other florals I’m not too familiar with, but nevertheless add a bit of something to the mix! Mallow is a pretty indisinctive flavour but it’s here too. The Young Hyson (chun mee?) base isn’t too exciting but it isn’t unpleasant either; sweet grassy notes reaffirm this tea’s alliance with late spring/early summer.

I thought this was mainly a jasmine flower tea when I picked some up; the honey was a pleasant surprise and exactly what I needed tonight.

(2017 blend)

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Jasmine, Rose, Sweet, Warm Grass

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

Other than the jasmine, sounds lovely!

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75

At first glance, this is your typical AQ2T sweet dessert tea, with a dash of fall scent and spice. Salty-sweet caramel brittle flavour is delivered (strongly) as promised, followed by the oily-nut quality of pumpkin seeds. The spices remind me of those fall candles or what you’d find in one of those pumpkin muffins- something cinnamon-nutmegy, mixed into icing, that lingers as an aftertaste.

My main complaint is some of that spicing/flavouring comes across as a bitter powdery texture midsip.

Not sure that I love it, but it is a tasty seasonal cup! The loose blend is also delightfully festive, with green pumpkin seeds and orange pumpkin sprinkles.

(2017 blend)

Flavors: Caramel, Nuts, Pumpkin, Spices, Vanilla

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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75
drank Outlaw by August Uncommon Tea
1048 tasting notes

Smoky black teas are not something I reach for regularly, but they have some sort of allure that keeps me coming back (albeit irregularly). Outlaw has a little more allure than most and kept me amused all last night (erm, unintentional Tobias moment).

Honestly though, I think I like this one. It’s something to do with the flat cherry vanilla coke vibe I’m picking up (I mean that in the most flattering way). It also reminds me of the time I got to lick a cave in Poland (mineral notes, kay). It’s a lot of fun, and I’m sitting somewhere in the 80’s on it. I’m going to hold off rating for a bit because I’m not having as strong a reaction to it as I did with the Black Lodge (I think someone thought that name to be nostalgic and homey, but all it makes me think of is some horror story).

And just look at all the parentheses it inspired me to use!

Flavors: Cherry, Mineral, Smoke

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 15 sec
Dexter

I agree that this is better than Black Lodge – but Outlaw is still a strange tea. Happy you didn’t hate it….

CrowKettle

I usually have a pretty large “this is alright” threshold when it comes to tea; my reaction to Black Lodge is an extreme oddity for me! I also had more warning and a wariness going into Outlaw, so it’s strangeness was just par for the course. I kind of want to try it with ice cream or whip cream. :)

Dexter

I go into all AU teas with a bit of wariness – IMHO they are all a little strange. I really like the company because their teas are usually outside the box, but that means some are OMG this is so weird I love it – or OMG this is so weird I hate it. That’s good though – I would rather love/hate than indifference. :)
Icecream….. that’s a great idea – wonder how we could turn this into Outlaw milkshake….hmmmmm

Evol Ving Ness

How about a float with French vanilla ice cream?

CrowKettle

Yes, to both of you! That’s exactly what I want: milkshake/float thing. Maybe I can try steeping it in milk or something and using that in a blended drink?

Dexter I agree with you about love/hate over indifference. Luckily, so far I’ve been on the more positive side of that spectrum when it comes to the majority of the AU teas I’ve tried; they’re a lot of fun!

tea-sipper

A Tobias moment. snerk.
You sold me on this tea with flat cherry vanilla coke. :D
In other shows, the Black Lodge tea will always remind me of Twin Peaks.

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76

“Remedy enough for anything ranging from a cold to a bad day.” Oh, yes, that’s me, sort of. The AQ2T order arriving unexpectedly was a nice surprise though.

Although I enjoy it immensely and consider it an essential part of my tea cupboard, 75 is my default chamomile score. This one’s pretty standard, with the usual apple, hibiscus and rose petal additions, so it falls about on that scale too. Licorice root adds a hint of sleepy herbal sweetness.

I’m going to try putting some fresh burning ginger in it tomorrow, since I prefer it more than the sweet ginger typically found in dry blends (there’s a bit of burn at the end but it’s too faint for my preferences).

(2017 blend)

Flavors: Apple, Dandelion, Floral, Ginger, Hibiscus, Licorice, Tart

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more

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45

Do you know the horrific Nina-chimera from Fullmetal Alchemist? Do you remember all of the raging emotions you experienced upon seeing that thing? This tea is like that. It’s an unholy merging of pure things that brings one to weeping in disgust and horror.

(If you’re not into anime/manga this explains that reference somewhat: https://kotaku.com/a-tribute-to-one-of-the-most-depressing-moments-in-anim-1787400241)

If you’ve ever wondered what truffles, smoked bacon, and banana would taste like in tea here you are. Don’t get me wrong; I love all of those things in different dishes, but tea… The truffle makes this monstrous in my opinion (tone it back). Milk helps to curb down the flavouring, but it’s so… overwhelming and absurd.

This tea is probably just perfect for someone out there, but that person is not me! Still, I’m glad I got to experience it? Maybe? I think I could learn to love it if I sacrificed some small part of me. I don’t know if I want to go down that rabbit hole though. It’s definitely a unique tea.

Flavors: Banana, Meat, Mushrooms, Olive Oil, Smoke

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Dexter

Hmmmmmm I have an unopened tin sitting here. AU tea is always a little odd but that sounds really far out there. Will have to try mine soon and see what happens. I had a hard time with Outlaw until I found the right steep parameters. Maybe play with it? or just let it go…..

CrowKettle

You may love it, especially if you love black truffles!

I will drink all of my 15g eventually, and will definitely play around with it and update my rating here if something changes. I sense (hope) it’s very much an acquired/predisposed taste- like Stilton blue & port, or peanut butter & celery? Fingers crossed (the truffle flavour lingers hours after drinking it).

Dexter

Outlaw – which is their smokey cherry tea – I found better with less leaf, cooler water, and longer steep (than my normal black/flavored parameters). I’m not sure if that will help this one, but if I find it offensive that’s where I’m going to start playing….

CrowKettle

Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll keep it in mind when I open my Outlaw sample too.

Sil

uh oh. I think variatea and i picked some of this up haha

Evol Ving Ness

Hmm, I am wondering how I would fare with this. I am a big fan of black truffles. Dexter, if you can spare a bit, would you be kind enough to add this to the samples so that I could try it?

Evol Ving Ness

But, hmm, yeah, it could go either way.

Dexter

Evol – yes – I will send you some. It’s something you have to experience.

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you. :)

Evol Ving Ness

And now, I am worried. :)

VariaTEA

Sil we have a tin coming but now I am incredibly grateful we are splitting it.

Sil

@variaTEA – watch it be some weird thing where one of us really wants it…

Evol Ving Ness

hahhaha, we await with bated breath as this story unfolds.

CrowKettle

Sil why just one of you? Maybe you will both end up loving it! Dream big.

Sil

hahaha

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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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