620 Tasting Notes

70

Made myself a cup of this right before bedtime, expecting it to be caffeine-free, based on the name, and was surprised to realise that it’s actually a black tea base. I own the same ‘Dreamtime’ blend in regular, non-instant form and it’s definitely a herbal tisane, all apple pieces and rooibos. I wonder what possessed them to add black tea to the instant version? I drank it anyway, hoping it wouldn’t throw my sleep schedule off too badly – I’ve been trying to fix it for a couple of weeks, and avoiding caffeine after 5pm. I did get to sleep about an hour later than usual, but I won’t rush to blame this tea. Flavour-wise, it was quite nice. Very sweet at first, but the acidity grew as the cup cooled to match the sweetness nicely. Honey, vanilla and apricot notes were all present, and as I’ve found with most of Whittard’s instant teas the base was overpowered by the additional flavours. I’m not sure when I’ll drink this, though, because the flavour combination is definitely a ‘bedtime’ one for me, but there’s caffeine in this. Maybe I’ll try a pitcher of it iced, and hope for the best.

Preparation
Boiling 4 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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90
drank Lime Gelato by DAVIDsTEA
620 tasting notes

This is one of my favourite DAVIDsTEAs I’ve tried. I’m a sucker for anything citrus+cream, and lime might be my favourite of the citrus fruits. I remember being blown away with the creaminess the first time I tried this tea, though unfortunately it’s getting less creamy with age. The green tea base used in this blend is a little grassy, which I don’t hate with the lime, but it’s one of the qualities which usually puts me off green teas in general. I added some sugar to see if it brought out the creaminess more. I think it has, but more than anything it’s brought the lime out so it seems fresher and more acidic rather than sweet and creamy, and now the cup is oversweetened. I wonder if this blend has stevia. Note to self – this tea doesn’t need added sugar! It reminds me of Butiki’s lime marshmallow blend, which I love just a little bit more than this tea. That’s gone for good, though, so this tea will do nicely to kill that craving. My only problem is trying to get David’s over here in the UK, but I’m sure I can work around it. Anything is possible if you’re determined enough. Speaking of, I really need to finish this essay…

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Martin Bednář

You can do it! I have another exam tomorrow :(

Nattie

Thank you, and good luck! I’m sure you’ll do just as well on this one as the last (:

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81

This smells sooooo good while it’s steeping! Malt, honey and cocoa mmmm. I might have to tweak my parameters next time I drink this, though, because mostly what I get in the sip is rye bread or sourdough, with a hint of cocoa which is dark and powdery, almost savoury. It’s nice, but I want it to taste how it smells! Experimentation to come, I think. Thank you Sil for sending this my way!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
gmathis

I love Fujian teas!

Nattie

I just had the Whispering Pines Fujian Black, and it was so good! I think I had unrealistic expectations that this one would be similar.

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68

Cold brew. Mostly ginger and clove this way, and while I don’t usually enjoy ginger it went really nicely with the rhubarb I ate while I was drinking this. My first tasting note on this tea (which was also my first tasting note ever) was very thorough and I’m not sure I have much more to add except to say that the flavour profile isn’t massively different iced than it is hot, only smoother.

Sipdown 199/397.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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92

Sipdown 198/397 – I’m in the 200s!!

I’ve really been into the chilli teas lately. Maybe it’s because I’ve discovered that my mam actively likes them, to the extent that she will admit it instead of just saying ‘that one’s okay’. First it was Mayan Chocolate Chai, and now this. I think I’m getting to her! This has always been a favourite of mine, and it still is. Back onto my wishlist, and I’ll be getting a tin with my next Bird and Blend order. I upended the contents of the pouch into my infuser, and it seems like all the chilli flakes had settled at the bottom because this cup is HOT! The chilli is overpowering the fruity flavours, though the lime is coming out more as my cup cools. Still tasty, but I’ll have to remember to mix the tea next time!

Edit: This one is super tasty paired with some of the freeze dried strawberries I had earlier. It brings back the jamminess I was missing.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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72

Sipdown 197/397! I’m down to 300 teas!! It’s a little embarrassing how excited I am about that.

I’m currently drinking this for today’s breakfast, paired with some strawberries from my newly-arrived Rotten Fruit Box! They’re an awesome company which rescue fruit that has been deemed ‘not supermarket grade’ due to its appearance that would otherwise be left to go rotten – hence the name – and freeze-dries it while it’s still fresh. So not only does it reduce food waste, but it provides a healthy and tasty snack for myself, and helps out small farmers (where they get over 80% of their produce) in the process! The bags the fruit comes in are compostable, too! I’m honestly so excited about their business model! If only more companies were concerned with all-around sustainability. Anyway, that’s my daily rant over. I swear they didn’t pay me to give that whole speech! On to the tea.

I really didn’t expect much from this. Partly because Marzipan, who sent it to me, wasn’t a fan, and partly because chocolate teas never seem to hit the spot for me. I sound like a broken record at this point, but I never actually get chocolate from them. This one, though, I actually do! It’s creamy but not artificial, while still being quite deep, and it pairs well with the roasty oolong base. There were a lot of cocoa nibs in the leaf, and it’s definitely that more natural, ‘raw’ chocolate flavour I’m getting, which I think is probably the way to go with chocolate in teas. I don’t think I would call it an éclair necessarily, nor do I feel the need to pick up another tin this instant, but it’s a chocolate tea done well and I’m pleasantly surprised.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
tea-sipper

The rotten fruit box. What an idea. :D

Nattie

Right?! I’m super stoked about it, and I’ve already eaten 3 big pouches (strawberry, fig and blackberry)

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43
drank Eggnog by DAVIDsTEA
620 tasting notes

Sipdown! 196/397

I’m going to bump my rating up from 33, because I think that was a bit harsh and I’m enjoying it more this time. I didn’t really taste much of anything last time, but tonight I made it into a tea latte, and used up the rest of my leaf in the hopes of making a nicer cup. I think it actually worked! While the flavour is still pretty nondescript sweet, I am getting just the slightest hint of the nutmeg that was eluding me last time. Add a dollop of toffee sauce and this is actually a nice evening treat! Not getting too carried away though, because it is still seriously lacking in the flavour department, and I’m not entirely convinced that what I’m tasting isn’t just warm milk and toffee sauce.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML
gmathis

Toffee sauce—would that be the equivalent of U.S. caramel ice cream topping?

Nattie

I suppose it probably would!

gmathis

In which case, it’s time for me to try it as a tea additive!

Nattie

Lol, happy experimentation!

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89

I don’t know what happened, but I followed Stacy’s steeping parameters and it’s completely overbrewed. The tea is sharp and astringent. What a waste! This is one which really hasn’t aged well, too. The delicious apple crumble scent has been replaced with soapy pecans. There’s still a hint of the apple in both the scent and the taste, but it is being completely overpowered by the pecan and something almost floral from the Oriental Beauty which I haven’t noticed before. It reminds me ever so slightly of an overbrewed Darjeeling. I added some sugar and it has tempered the sharp astringency somewhat, and the apple is a little more pronounced. I’m glad I drank most of this in its prime, and I only have one serving left. I won’t change the rating, though, because my hoarding is most definitely at fault here and the tea is blameless. Most of my Butiki teas are doing well, though they have lost a bit of their original sparkle, but a couple have turned like this one has. I think it’s time to finish off the last of my Butikis before the others follow suit.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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94
drank Pumpkin Chai by DAVIDsTEA
620 tasting notes

I cold steeped my leaves from the hot cup I made yesterday, not expecting much, just wanting to try to get something more from the spent leaf and knowing I don’t really enjoy hot resteeps of this so much. Wow! I’m so glad I did! It’s all still there, but the pumpkin is the star of the show while the spices complement it in the background, so it’s much more like a pumpkin pie than pumpkin chai. It has a sweetness which could be from cinnamon, which is the most prominent of the spices. This isn’t a tea I would usually have thought to cold steep, since it’s much more of a ‘cosy round the fire in Autumn’ tea to me, but goshdarnit it works. Bumping my rating from 92 to reflect this newfound dual purpose.

Preparation
Iced

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59

Pushing through the sipdowns today because I’m impatient to get my cupboard under 300 teas. It’s so close!

This came from the EU TTB and is the old blend with less oolong in it. There is a hint of creaminess from the base, but mostly it’s a peppermint-heavy herbal tasting tea. The mint is more sweet than fresh, probably due to the cocoa which comes through a tiny bit right at the end of the sip, as well as the use of the milk oolong. I’d be interested to try the new version which includes more oolong. I think it would give a more successful overall impression of a peppermint cream.

195/397

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 20 OZ / 591 ML

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Bio

I first got into loose leaf teas when a friend of mine showed me Cara McGee’s Sherlock fandom blends on Adagio a good few years back, but they weren’t on sale in the UK so I started trying other kinds instead and have been hooked for almost three years (and have purchased several fandom tea sets including the Sherlock one I lusted over for so long).

Flavoured teas make up the majority of my collection, but I’m growing increasingly fond of unflavoured teas too. I usually reach for a black, oolong or white tea base over a pu’erh or green tea, though I do have my exceptions. I will update my likes and dislikes as I discover more about my palate, but for now:

Tea-likes: I’m generally easily pleased and will enjoy most flavours, but my absolute favourites are maple, caramel, chestnut, pecan, raspberry, coconut, blueberry, lemon, pumpkin, rose, hazelnut and peach

Tea-dislikes: vanilla (on its own), ginger, coriander/cilantro, cardamom, liquorice, pineapple and chocolate

I am a 25 year old bartender, English Literature sort-of-graduate and current student working towards finishing my degree. I am hoping to one day complete a masters degree in Mental Health Social Work and get a job working in care. Other than drinking, hoarding and reviewing tea, my hobbies include reading, doing quizzes and puzzles, TV watching, football/soccer (Sunderland AFC supporter and employee of my local football club), music, artsy weird makeup, and learning new things (currently British Sign Language).

I should probably also mention my tea-rating system, which seems to be much harsher than others I’ve seen on here. It’s not always concrete, but I’ll try to define it:

• 50 is the base-line which all teas start at. A normal, nothing-special industrial-type black teabag of regular old fannings would be a 50.

• 0 – 49 is bad, and varying degrees of bad. This is probably the least concrete as I hardly ever find something I don’t like.

• I have never given below a 20, and will not unless that tea is SO bad that I have to wash my mouth out after one sip. Any teas rated as such are unquestionably awful.

• This means most teas I don’t enjoy will be in the 30 – 50 range. This might just mean the tea is not to my own personal taste.

• 51+ are teas I enjoy. A good cup of tea will be in the 50 – 70 range.

• If I rate a tea at 70+, it means I really, really like it. Here’s where the system gets a little more concrete, and I can probably define this part, as it’s rarer for a tea to get there.

• 71- 80: I really enjoyed this tea, enough to tell somebody about, and will probably hang onto it for a little longer than I perhaps should because I don’t want to lose it.

• 81 – 90: I will power through this tea before I even know it’s gone, and will re-order the next time the mood takes me.

• 91 – 100: This is one of the best teas I’ve ever tasted, and I will re-order while I still have a good few cups left, so that I never have to run out. This is the crème de la crème, the Ivy League of teas.

I never rate a tea down, and my ratings are always based on my best experience of a tea if I drink it multiple times. I feel that this is fairest as many factors could affect the experience of one particular cup.

I am always happy to trade and share my teas with others, so feel free to look through my cupboard and message me if you’re interested in doing a swap. I keep it up-to-date, although this doesn’t mean I will definitely have enough to swap, as I also include my small samples.
Currently unable to swap as I’ve returned after a long hiatus to a cupboard of mostly-stale teas I’m trying to work through before I let myself purchase anything fresh

I also tend to ramble on a bit.

Location

South Shields, UK

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