609 Tasting Notes

81

Very fragrant, fruity aroma like baked plums. Fairly light bodied with a little malt and sweet potato. Good but nothing special. Will have to play around with it to see if I can bring out the fruitiness from the aroma.

Flavors: Malt, Plum, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 2 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
Courtney

Love seeing some reviews from the Georgian tea!

Martin Bednář

Me too, Courtney :)
LuckyMe, you tried it western or gongfu? Seems like gongfu to me with steeping paramaters and Georgian teas are usually better with western steeping method.

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70
drank Wild Thyme Tea by Alattar
609 tasting notes

Smells like dried thyme or zataar. Brewed tea tastes exactly like how it smells. Initially herbaceous, then roasted sesame seed flavor intensifies. Slightly bitter thyme finish. Tastes like I’m drinking zataar. I love zataar with olive oil on pita and in labneh, but it feels odd to have it in liquid form.

The packaging mentions this is used as a natural cough remedy. I can see how this might be soothing if you’re sick. My family hated this tea but I don’t think it’s totally irredeemable. A little honey or maybe lemon would be nice and take the edge off the bitterness.

Flavors: Bitter, Herbaceous, Sesame, Thyme

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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95
drank Strawberry Green Tea by Tapal
609 tasting notes

Man, I’m liking these cheap bagged Tapal teas way more than I expected. This one has a nice subtle aroma of freeze dried strawberries and Nesquik. When brewed, it’s a like a creamy strawberry milk latte. Nothing fancy here. Just a classic, simple strawberry flavor.

Flavors: Cream, Strawberry

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 10 OZ / 295 ML

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95

I think this is the first tea that I’ve almost exclusively cold steeped. I find that I actually prefer roasted oolongs this way. It brings out more of their sweetness and caramelized flavors and less of the roast.

For a budget tea, this one really impressed me with its depth of flavor. Elegant, brown sugar sweetness with notes of marzipan, raisin, and crème caramel. It’s fine hot steeped, but the roast is a little more assertive and loses its subtleties.

I tried the green version of this tea a few years ago and it was okay. The roasting takes it to a whole new level, unveiling real complexity and nuance.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Custard, Marzipan, Raisins

Preparation
Iced 2 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
Daylon R Thomas

I do for some of them too. I have a lot of roasted oolong from the club I get rid of through cold brew.

LuckyMe

Cold brew is really a godsend for getting rid of less loved teas.

Leafhopper

I’ll have to try this with some of my “aged” roasted oolongs from the tea club.

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76

First tea from the Georgian tea group buy.

Dark green strands resembling Huangshan Mao Feng. Dry leaf is fairly odorless until dropped in a heated vessel where it emits a faint green bean aroma.

This one tastes more like sheng puerh than a green tea to me. Golden yellow liquor with hay and straw flavors and a light fruitiness. Has that earthy-woodsy sheng type flavor going on. Ordinarily not a flavor profile I’m fond of – I prefer fresh tasting green tea – but here it’s fairly enjoyable because the earthiness is soft and doesn’t have the bitterness and smokey flavor often found in puerh.

Flavors: Earthy, Hay, Straw

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 g 9 OZ / 265 ML

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64

Shincha 2022.

This was a challenging tea. I waited for a while to rate it as I’ve been trying to make it work to no avail. Now that I’m down to the last few grams of the 100g bag, I’m convinced that the problem is not me but the tea.

Despite playing around with different temperatures and times, the tea remains stubbornly bitter. Once you get past the bitterness, there is umami mingled with spinach, an oceanic saltiness, and fatty tuna. It lacks the freshness of new spring tea and just seems flat to me.

O-Cha is one of the OG online Japanese tea shops and usually has good quality teas but this was a rare miss for me.

Flavors: Bitter, Fish, Salty, Spinach, Umami

Preparation
150 °F / 65 °C 1 min, 0 sec 9 g 14 OZ / 414 ML

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55
drank Rooibos Earl Grey by Adagio Teas
609 tasting notes

Not sure if it’s just me or whether this is what the combination of rooibos and Earl grey is supposed to taste like, but I just couldn’t get into this tea. The aromatics were certainly inviting. Potent aromas of cinnamon bark, lemon peel, and orange from the leaf. I steeped this in a tea bag as Rooibos isn’t easy to strain well. The brewed tea was far from enjoyable. It tasted medicinal with a strong star anise like flavor accompanied by notes of clove, root beer, and menthol. All flavors which I otherwise enjoy but here it just tasted weird. I may need to try this with a little milk and sweetener as it’s just not doing it for me on it’s own.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Clove, Medicinal, Menthol, Root Beer, Star Anise

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
TeaEarleGreyHot

Do you normally like straight rooibos?

Mastress Alita

I have tried several rooibos EGs and have just come to the understanding that while I like rooibos and bergamot on their own, I do not like them together. Milk did help me finish off a bag in my stash, though.

LuckyMe

@TeaEartleGreyHot, it’s been a while since I’ve had straight rooibos. I’ll admit the smell is a little off putting but it takes the right flavoring to make it work. Like Mastress Alita, I can stomach it more easily with milk and sugar. One of the best drinks I ever had was a rooibos chai latte from a small cafe in Anaheim.

Cameron B.

Interesting that there are so many spiced notes when the ingredients don’t list any spices?

LuckyMe

@Cameron, rooibos is pretty spiced on it’s own. I reckon the combination of it and bergamot amped up some of the spice

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78

Didn’t love this one as much as previous Kamairichas I’ve had. This one tasted like a middle of the road Laoshan green tea. It’s heavy on the grain and bean flavors. Notes of soymilk, chestnut, lima bean, and corn silk. While not a bad tea by any means, I miss the fruitiness and fresh flavor of better Kamairichas.

Flavors: Beany, Chestnut, Corn Husk, Grain, Lima Beans, Soybean

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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98
drank Apple Cinnamon by Tim Hortons
609 tasting notes

One of the teas I brought back from Canada. This one is unbelievably good. The smell alone is just divine. Like a freshly baked cinnamon roll. Brewed at boiling for 5 minutes. On it’s own, it’s cinnamon forward but not offensively so. More like cinnamon spice oatmeal. A touch of sweetener however transforms it into something like cinnamon buns or an apple fritter donut. Would have never expected something this mouth wateringly good from a fast food chain.

Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Martin Bednář

I really liked this one too and it was also very surprising to me!

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95
drank Tropical Peach Green Tea by Tapal
609 tasting notes

Another humble bagged tea that far exceeded my expectations. At $1.49 for a box of 30 teabags, it’s some of cheapest tea I’ve ever bought yet surprisingly good and a better value than similarly flavored loose leaf teas. Very tropical tasting with notes of honeyed peaches, mango, and papaya. The fruitiness is reminiscent of an old Teavana favorite, Fruta Bomba. Don’t taste the green base but for a tea at this price point, that’s probably a good thing. Can’t wait to try it iced.

Flavors: Honey, Mango, Papaya, Peach, Tropical

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Profile

Bio

My Rating Criteria:

95 to 100: Top shelf stuff. Loved this tea and highly recommend it

90 to 94: Excellent. Enjoyed this tea and would likely repurchase

80 to 89: Good but not great. I liked it though it may be lacking in some aspects. I’ll finish it but probably won’t buy again

70 to 79: Average at best. Not terrible but wouldn’t willingly drink again

60 to 69: Sub-par. Low quality tea, barely palatable

59 and below: Bleh

Fell into tea many years ago and for a long time my experience was limited to Japanese greens and flavored Teavana teas. My tea epiphany happened when I discovered jade oolongs. That was my gateway drug to the world of high quality tea and teaware.

For the most part, I drink straight tea but do appreciate a good flavored tea on occasion. I love fresh green and floral flavors and as such, green tea and Taiwanese oolongs will always have a place in my cupboard. After avoiding black tea forever, Chinese blacks have started to grow on me. I’m less enthusiastic about puerh though. I also enjoy white tea and tisanes but reach for them less frequently.

Other non-tea interests include: cooking, reading, nature, philosophy, MMA, traveling when I can, and of course putzing around on the interwebs.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/melucky

Location

Chicago

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