1095 Tasting Notes

65
drank Earl Grey by DAVIDsTEA
1095 tasting notes

After being pretty awesome otherwise, the person helping me out accidentally gave me this instead of Cream of Earl Grey. Imho, It is not nearly as a good as The Cream, nor does it have the pretty blue cornflowers. Luckily, I have clueless family members whom I can serve this too, so a tin will go by quickly (here’s hoping)!

Yeah, I should’ve taken it back, but it’s also nice to have an “average joe” tea in the cupboard? Waste no tea.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Floral, Malt

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

If you took it back I bet you could of kept it and gotten the other for free. (: I’ve never had that experience with them so not sure though. Nice that your family will enjoy it.

CrowKettle

It was definitely a first! I’m pretty sure the individual who was helping me tried to make a point of not mixing them up (it was a cluttered counter) but stuff happens! I should’ve taken it back, but I was sick when I bought it back in February and never got to the store again. Oh, well- I’ve never actually had their plain Earl Grey so at least there’s that!

Lexie Aleah

That makes sense and that’s nice that you’ve never had it before. I don’t think I have either only their creme one as well.

Evol Ving Ness

Their regular Earl Grey is quite good, imho. Could be worse.

CrowKettle

Agreed, it’s not bad! When I first started drinking tea, before I learned how accommodating David’s Tea is about weight, I used to buy everything at 100g. I picked up some real stinkers (and gems); this is a nice middle road. My sister and mother appear to like it a lot too at least. :)

Evol Ving Ness

Yeah, but the DTs stinkers are painful to sip down—if ever. I have more of those hanging around than I like to remember.

Arby

If you ever feel like you have too much of it, Earl Grey banana bread or Earl Grey scones are a great way to use it up without feeling wasteful. (this also applies to chai blends)

Mastress Alita

The leaf can be crushed in a spice grinder and infused into hot chocolate powder too, which is really tasty!

I think my go to with a plain EG would be making it London Fog style — mixing it with some steamed milk and vanilla extract. Or because I’m lazy, I just whisk some vanilla almond milk to get both in one. Then it gets a bit of a sweet vanilla flavor and creamy texture from the milk even if the “cream” flavor is missing from the leaf.

CrowKettle

Oh, those are both wonderful ideas! I definitely have enough to play around with :)

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89

Received this lovely Shu blend as a free sample again and I couldn’t be too disappointed at not getting a new tea to try because it’s such a delight. I’m already in love with it in the Rice Aroma blend (I grabbed 4oz). Given enough time, I may just fall in love with it on its own.

I’m putting it in that easy-smooth drinker category with Noble Mark and Special Dark- the two teas that taught me that shu puerh isn’t always disgusting and “fishy”. I still haven’t really ventured past them though.

On a side note, my five year old temp varient HB Pro Kettle is starting to leak from the water level gauge. When I went to buy a new one I noticed almost all of the brands have only 5-6 crappy temp settings now. I’ve become spoiled with my kettle’s versatility and lack of presumption when it comes to assigned tea type temps; we’ve brought two home so far and taken both back after deciding our leaking kettle is better. C’est la vie (looking for recs).

Steep Count: 2

Flavors: Berries, Brown Sugar, Camphor, Chocolate, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Milk, Mushrooms

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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76
drank Warm Maple Cream by 52teas
1095 tasting notes

I swear I wrote a tea note for this guy ages ago. Eh.

I don’t love this as much as some but I did enjoy it while it lasted. Hojicha and I are just not very close, although it’s alright on occassion. It has a decent second steep too, which is a boon in a flavoured tea.

This was also a good self-reminder that I’m still looking for my ideal Maple tea to replace my old flame, Butiki’s Maple Pecan Oolong. I miss that tea so much; it replaced ice cream for me, folks! I think I just need a base that’s a little darker (coughNiligriFrostOolongcough)

Flavors: Cardamom, Cinnamon, Maple Syrup, Nutmeg, Spices, Toasted, Vanilla

Evol Ving Ness

Hmm, I know what you mean about Hojicha. I too have found it a hit and miss base for me. There was a 52teas blend not too long about that rocked my world though, so I haven’t given up on it completely.

Arby

You could give Murchie’s maple chai or Canadian breakfast a try. If you don’t have a Murchie’s near you, I can send some your way. :)

CrowKettle

Hmm, Canadian Breakfast is alright but it’s been a while since I’ve visited Murchies; We have a few locations around here but my favourite location is still downtown Vic. Also miss Jaga Silk and Silk Road (Vic trip may be in order for late spring).

CrowKettle

@Evol Ving Ness, I’m not going to give up on Hojicha just yet. I liked this one more than I usual so there’s hope. I also have “cardamon fatigue” so I shouldn’t blame Hojicha completely here XD

Lexie Aleah

maybe try adding pecans to a similar blend.

Arby

The downtown Vic one has a great bakery too. If you come to the city, consider going to Special Teas Inc on Yates street. They have a great milk oolong and they blend all of their own teas.

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80

Think the peanut profile of a Dragonwell with the backdrop of a Japanese green (grass, grass, and more delicious sweet grass). I’m having a hard time finding anything negative to say about it. I’m seriously thinking of swapping my essential but problematic (ie.- pollution prone) Dragonwells for this tea type.

Thanks for the the sample, Teabento- I’ll be playing with this one all Easter! It’s also nice to be reminded of the existence of Pikas.

Flavors: Grass, Nutty, Peanut, Sweet, Toasty, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 15 sec
Evol Ving Ness

By pollution-prone, do you mean easily contaminated by the fragrances of other teas?

CrowKettle

I’ve seen a few tea shops market their Dragonwell as “clean options/cultivators” because Hangzhou in general is building up a reputation for air and water pollution. Not sure if that’s supposed to be a marketing gimmick, defamatory or a real concern with this tea type/area, but it has made me a little hesitant. :/

Evol Ving Ness

Wow!
Well, truly, China is seriously polluted. I wasn’t in Hangzhou, but Guangzhou for example had pollution so thick that it felt and looked like a perpetual ceiling.

CrowKettle

I’ve only been to Shanghai, which is an extreme case in such a huge country, but maaan was the pollution bad- in what is otherwise an incredible city.

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This tea should have a Beware label. Do not go above that recommended 170F temp; doing so is akin to taking dynamite to the mouth. So Sour. Such Bitter. Tongue is blown to pieces. However, if you steep this right you will have a spirited fruity-tart refresher, with a dash of gunpowder smoke to keep things.. interesting.

I’m not generally into flavoured Gunpowder green tea blends but think it’s a lot of fun here. Glad I got the chance to try it!

Flavors: Lemon, Raspberry, Smoke, Tart, Vegetal

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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73
drank Cookies for Santa by 52teas
1095 tasting notes

Like the old version of Glitter and Gold from David’s Tea, except without the golden sparkle and with more emphasis on gingerbread (or gingersnap!) cookies. Today it’s heavy on the ginger but sometimes this tea’s more of a Snickerdoodle (cinnamon!!!). Now think if I had a gingersnap or snickerdoodle cookie to dunk into this cookie tea? That would be our circular tea drinking narrative for the day.

The weather is starting to get nice here in the Lower Mainland so disappearing this one, and some of the other winter teas, is Number One drinking priority today! Looking forward to seeing you and your kin next year, Festive Winter & Christmas Teas!

Flavors: Cacao, Cinnamon, Cookie, Ginger, Nutmeg

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

I hope the nice weather will actually be there to stay! We had spring ripped away from us and it snowed again ugh.

CrowKettle

Friends from Toronto, Regina and Calgary have been sending me pictures of their driveways and my back feels sympathy. Here’s hoping spring visits the rest of Canada soon!

Arby

Yes, the spring of deception struck me again, too.
https://i.redd.it/idobsdftbxn01.jpg

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92

This one is such a joy to drink- a white tea that’s versatile enough to convince the sleepy drinker that it’s something much darker. I compiled my top teas of recent years and this one easily makes the exclusive list. It’s too bad my pouch is starting to look a little light because an order with What-Cha is not in the cards until end of summer. Hoarding is happening. Good thing I have about 70 other teas to drink (they don’t compare at all)…

(2017 harvest)

Flavors: Cocoa, Hay, Lemon, Molasses, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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98
drank Milk Oolong by Mandala Tea
1095 tasting notes

Best friends reunited again.

Steep Count: 6

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Mango, Milk, Stonefruit

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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85

Ovetime, I’ve become skeptical when tea companies list oolongs as buttery; when I see “buttery” I expect a flavour and texture explosion evoking all the oily, salty-sweet richness of life. Butiki’s ambiguously named “Organic Sparrow Tongue” Oolong always delivered. Some batches of Shan Li Xi deliver (with jam like a delicious, fully loaded scone). This Tie Guan Yin delivers too and its glorious.

I’m internally squeeing right now. I want to yell and to curse all the other Tie Guan Yin oolongs I’ve had, which will now and forever be deemed insufficient. It’s like, after years of being indifferent to Chardonnays, stumbling upon a “butter bomb” Californian Chardonnay and realizing life could be beautiful (I’m sorry Chardonnay purists, I know this preference is wine sacrilege of the highest order). This is a Lilac butter bomb and it’s even better.

Anyways, I’m so grateful for this free sample. I would’ve never ordered this on my own because I thought I was done with Tie Guan Yin varieties. You did right, Mandala!

Now I’m off to play with the rest and see how it holds up to multiple steeps and sessions.

Steep Count: 3 + Rinse. Subsequent steeps taste of lilac cream.

(2017 harvest)

Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral, Gardenias, Salt, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Garret

I really loved reading this review. Thank you so much for taking the time to type this up. So glad I sent this sample to you. I think it’s a great one. Grateful, Garret

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drank Pomegranate Green Tea by 52teas
1095 tasting notes

I haven’t been in the mood for the smokiness of gunpowder lately but I do appreciate the juicy-tart flavouring of the pomegranate here. The concept seems so simple but when I go through the list of tea flavourings I’ve encountered I realize this one is quite unique! At the beginning of my tea journey (2011) David’s Tea had a Pomegranate Silver Needle, which I thought was decent at the time, but I haven’t seen one since! Kudos to 52teas!

(2017 blend)

Flavors: Red Fruits, Smoke

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 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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