1102 Tasting Notes

73

Here is another US tea that was featured in the library presentation, and it was kindly donated by Derk! (Thank you so much, Derk!)

This tea has a strong hay-like aroma, and that is the main flavor note I get, as well. I also taste a grain note (oats, perhaps?), with a touch of honey sweetness and a dash of woodiness and autumn leaves. This is a light and smooth black tea, which I think is what surprised the attendees at the library presentation the most, who are used to black teas being strong and astringent breakfast fare. The taste somehow makes me think of a cross between a white tea and a darjeeling.

I plan to try this as a cold brew at some point during this unending 90F+ weather. I think it’ll be very sweet, clean, and refreshing!

Thanks again for sharing, Derk!

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Grain, Hay, Oats, Smooth, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
derk

You are very welcome :)

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67

For the sipdown prompt, “a tea from a US company.” Prepared cold brew.

This last Tuesday, I held a presentation at the library where I work as part of our adult Summer Reading program line-up on U.S.-grown tea. Hopefully over the next several days I’ll manage to finally get down my thoughts on each of the four teas that I covered and provided as samples to the attendees. This was the green tea from the line-up, and the only one of the four that was offered cold brewed during the presentation.

Both the cold brew I’m currently drinking in my water bottle and the cold brew that was prepared for the presentation on Tuesday used a 3 teabag per liter ratio, though the tea made for the presentation had a very precise 8 hour steep (teabags went in at beginning of shift, out at end of shift) and what I’m drinking now cold brewed a bit longer in the fridge. On Tuesday, I found the tea slightly bracing with more of a gunpowder/hyson sort of flavor profile, that dry grass/hay mixed with smoke note. This longer steeped cold brew is instead very rich in grassy and vegetal green notes. Wet, squishy green grass and mixed asparagus/spinach. Still a little bracing on the aftertaste.

Not my favorite green, but honestly not that bag for teabag green, where I’ve had a lot worse than this. While I don’t typically sweeten my cold brew, this one may be a candidate since I’m not using much leaf and it’s still coming off a little stronger and more biting than I prefer my greens.

Flavors: Asparagus, Astringent, Grass, Hay, Smoke, Spinach, Spring Water, Vegetal

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 3 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML
Leafhopper

Sounds like a fun presentation! Did the participants enjoy the teas?

Mastress Alita

I think so. Of course not every person enjoyed every tea (I mean, what would be the point of taste testing otherwise?) and at least one was upset there was no caffeine-free option (I had to drop one of the two herbal infusions due to budget and felt yaupon was more “uniquely US”). If the library ropes me into it again, I may just do herbals next time. :-)

gmathis

How fun! I’ve never had the opportunity to do an adult tea demo, other than sticking samples under coworkers’ noses.

Leafhopper

I’m sure it would be hard to find “uniquely U.S.” herbals. (The only “uniquely Canadian” herbal I can think of is Labrador tea.) If there’s a next time, you could always just say you’ll be making caffeinated teas.

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83
drank Matcha Miso by DAVIDsTEA
1102 tasting notes

For the sipdown prompt, “A tea from a Canadian company.” Prepared as hot, steamy ramen broth (I know, such a departure from my cold brews of late, but I woke with a sore throat today).

This is one of those teas that I keep seeing at the top of my “oldest teas” list and keep ignoring because I don’t want to use it up as it isn’t available anymore… It’s one of the few good substitutes I have for ramen broth that is MSG-free. I already love miso, but the subtle hint of matcha adds a sweet vegetal/umami note to the already strong umami bean flavor.

This one will be a hard hit once it is gone! It’s unique and there is just nothing else quite like it.

Flavors: Beany, Salty, Seaweed, Soybean, Sweet, Warm Grass, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
NibbleGuru

That does sound fascinating. Indeed too bad it’s discontinued. A toast to all those glorious teas that will never again grace our cups.

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80

For the sipdown prompt, “a tea you’ve forgotten about.” Derk gave this to me when we both attended the San Francisco International Tea Festival all the way back in 2018… and it has sat in my cupboards since (I’m a terrible person…) Prepared gong fu.

180ml (mini teapot) | 6.5g | 185F | 20s/30s/40s/50s/60s/70s

The first steep, when the leaves hadn’t really broken up yet, tasted like a faint floral dew (in retrospect I properly should’ve given it a rinse to help break the leaves apart, ah well). The second steep was also pretty mild, but had more of a hay/pollen with a hint of honeysuckle floral. The honeyed notes started to pop more as the cup cooled. Next steep brought out a subtle syrupy note that reminded me of a combination of cherry and dates, and perhaps just a little almondy?

Steeped for 6 infusions, which is about the point where my liter kettle runs out and I feel really full and just don’t feel the mood to continue. However, the leaf was still mostly all intact, so I decided to remove it from my little mini pot and stick it in a cold brew bottle, and see what the leaves have left to offer as ice cold tea later. (Which is really what I’m more in the mood for at the moment anyway)

I definitely prefer aged whites to any sheng or shou I’ve tried, so that may just be where my preferences are when it comes to aged tea.

Thanks for sharing, Derk!

Flavors: Almond, Cherry, Dates, Floral, Hay, Honey, Nutty, Pollen

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 6 g

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70

For the July sipdown prompt, “a tea flavored like your favorite ice cream.” I think most types of ice cream I’d say is my “favorite ice cream” but lately I’ve really been enjoying a lemon cheesecake one that is at my local grocery. I no longer have any lemon cheesecake teas, so I went for lemon + frozen-dessert-in-title. Prepared cold brew.

This is just a lemon-flavored green tea, so a pretty standard sort of tea. “Sherbet” is not really a word I’d use to describe it, as there is no vanilla/creamy sort of flavors, nor would I even call it “sorbet” as I’d expect a brighter and punchier lemon if that were the case. The lemon is a bit on the mellower side. Sometimes I feel the lemon flavor comes off a little cleaner-like, but other times it is very refreshing, so maybe it’s just a matter of what ends up in the scoop or how long I left it in the fridge before straining. Over all, it is pleasing enough, but not really anything special. It doesn’t hold a candle to, say, Sun and Cloud Mist by 52Teas, which has such a vibrant and pillowy lemon flavor. This is a much lighter and artificial lemon flavor.

Easy to sipdown, but not a tea I’d order again.

Flavors: Artificial, Citrus, Grass, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Spring Water

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 5 g 1 OZ / 32 ML

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40

For the July sipdown prompt, “a lime tea.” Prepared cold brew.

I had a 20g sample of this, but it appeared to me most of the “weight” was taken up by a lot of dried lime slices in the packet. After picking all those out to see what I had to work with, I decided I should just dump the whole sample into a liter mason jar for cold brew.

Perhaps it was overleafed a bit, or there was just way too much dried lime in my sampling, but this tea is sour. I mean, I’m the person on Steepster that loves sour/tart tea and can’t get enough of it and even I think this is abrasive (that said, I can still drink this without sweetener… not that I would recommend that). It doesn’t really taste like lime to me, rather I get really pithy orange peel. I really can’t taste anything other than orange peel and a generic sour “citrus” taste that lingers unpleasantly on my tongue. And there is absolutely nothing “cola” about this!

The name made me picture decadent Lime Coke… and I got sour orange water. Not a fan and glad this was just a sample and after (begrudgingly) getting through two water bottles of this, it will be gone. Good riddance.

Flavors: Citrus, Orange, Orange Zest, Sour, Tart

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 20 g 32 OZ / 946 ML

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80
drank Mango Cantaloupe by 52teas
1102 tasting notes

For the July sipdown prompt, “a mango tea.” Prepared cold brew.

This tea has a very refreshing “green” sort of flavor. It tastes very fresh, wet, and juicy… there is a fresh grassy/mineral taste to the base that reminds me of dew-damp grass. The mango is more of an underripe flavor, but still had a juicy quality. I was quite surprised how distinctly I tasted cantaloupe… most melon teas I’ve had lean more on the honeydew or watermelon side, but this really reminded me of crisp, juicy cantalope. The flavors aren’t particularly strong but well defined and taste really refreshing with the green base. This is a very nice too-hot summer day coldbrew sort of tea.

Flavors: Cantaloupe, Fruity, Grass, Juicy, Mango, Spring Water, Wet Rocks

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 5 g 32 OZ / 946 ML

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75

For the July sipdown prompt, “A blueberry tea.” Technically this tea has several different kinds of berries, but blueberries is one of them, which is good enough for me. Prepared one liter brewed hot and then chilled overnight, and the other liter as an overnight coldbrew.

Steeped hot and then chilled, the tea was quite brisk, with a fruity berry undertone that read most strongly as blackberry to my tongue. I normally opt to make my black teas “hot” and then chill them rather than coldbrewing, as I typically like the flavor a bit better, but when I tasted how strong it came out, I decided to try a coldbrew. The coldbrew definitely mellowed the black tea out a bit which let the sweetness of the fruits shine a bit more. I also got more of a “generic berry” flavor in the coldbrew. Both were tasty, but I liked the coldbrew preparation a wee bit more so I’m glad I tried it both ways! (And I’ll really have to experiment with coldbrewing black teas more often…)

Flavors: Berry, Blackberry, Brisk, Fruity, Malt, Sweet

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 7 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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60

For the July sipdown prompt, “a pineapple tea.” Prepared cold brewed.

Maybe it’s the cold preparation method (I just haven’t been feeling warm tea at all lately and didn’t even try it that way) but the pineapple flavor is really weak. Mostly I get a tangy citrus overtone, particularly an herbaceous-leaning one with the lemongrass melding with the green rooibos. I get a little pineapple toward the end of the sip, but it certainly doesn’t “pop.”

It’s not a bad iced tea, but it isn’t what I was expecting. I’ve had hibiscus-heavy fruit teas that had a much stronger pineapple flavor than this, and I thought on the milder green rooibos base the pineapple was sure to shine. I may try sweetening/carbonating what I have left in the fridge, but at the moment I’m underwhelmed.

Flavors: Citrus, Fruity, Herbaceous, Lemon, Lemongrass, Pineapple

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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70
drank White Peach by DAVIDsTEA
1102 tasting notes

I just finished off an old package of this I had received in 2018 from a cupboard sale by Ost. Thank you, Ost! Using for the July sipdown prompt, “A peach tea.”

I’ve been drinking this cold brew. The apple pieces come through pretty heavily for me in this one, but there is a gentle, sweet peach candy note to the tea. It’s actually a bit sweeter than I prefer, but it makes a nice ice cold drink.

I had one scoop left in the bag after the last liter of cold brew I’d prepared, so last night I decided to use it up as a very late night cuppa. I actually liked it a little better that way, because it had a slightly tart edge that I personally prefer in fruit teas that smoothed out some of the sweetness. I think, however, that this was due to the fact that what few white tea was actually in the blend sifted to the bottom of the bag, and I had just left the bag in my cup while drinking (my go-to for herbals) which caused the tea leaf to get a bit astringent/bitter.

Not a favorite… I’ve had other peach herbals that were more potent on the peach and tangier in the mouth that I prefer over this. However, this could be a good herbal peach for those that are hibiscus-averse.

Flavors: Apple, Candy, Fruity, Peach, Sweet

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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Profile

Bio

Hi! I’m Sara, a middle-aged librarian living in southern Idaho, USA. I’m a big ol’ sci-fi/fantasy/anime geek that loves fandom conventions, coloring books, simulation computer games, Japanese culture, and cats. Proud genderqueer asexual (she/they) and supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m also a chronic migraineur. As a surprise to no one, I’m a helpless tea addict with a tea collecting and hoarding problem! (It still baffles me how much tea I can cram into my little condo!) I enjoy trying all sorts of teas… for me tea is a neverending journey!

Favorite Flavors:

I love sampling a wide variety of teas! For me the variety is what makes the hobby of tea sampling so fun! While I enjoy trying all different types of teas (pure teas, blends, tisanes), these are some flavors/ingredients I enjoy:
-Dessert/chocolate/vanilla/caramel/cream/toffee/maple
-Sweet/licorice root/stevia
-Vegetal/grassy
-Floral/lavender/rose
-Spices/chais
-Fruity
-Tropical/pineapple/coconut
-Bergamot (in moderation)
-Roasted/nutty
-Tart/tangy/hibiscus/rosehip

Disliked Flavors:

There are not many flavors or ingredients that I don’t like. These include:
-Bananas/banana flavoring
-Hemp/CBD teas
-Smoke-scented teas/heavy smoke flavors (migraine trigger)
-Perfumey teas/extremely heavy floral aromas (migraine trigger)
-Gingko biloba (migraine trigger)
-Chamomile (used in blends as a background note/paired with stronger flavors is okay)
-Extremely spicy/heated teas
-Medicinal flavors/Ginseng
-Metallic flavors
-Overly strong artificial flavorings

With the exception of bananas and migraine triggers, I’ll pretty much try any tea at least once!

Steeping Parameters:

I drink tea in a variety of ways! For hot brews, I mostly drink my teas brewed in the western style without additions, and for iced tea, I drink teas mostly brewed in the cold brew style without additions. Occassionally I’ll change that up. I use the https://octea.ndim.space/#/ app for water-to-tea ratios and use steep times to my preferences.

My Rating Scale:

90-100 – Top tier tea! These teas are among my personal favorites, and typically I like to keep them stocked in my cupboards at all times, if possible!

70-89 – These are teas that I personally found very enjoyable, but I may or may not feel inclined to keep them in stock.

50-69 – Teas that fall in this range I enjoyed, but found either average, lacking in some way, or I’ve had a similar tea that “did it better.”

21-49 – Teas in this range I didn’t enjoy, for one reason or another. I may or may not finish them off, depending on their ranking, and feel no inclination to restock them.

20-1 – Blech! My Tea Hall of Shame. These are the teas that most likely saw the bottom of my garbage can, because I’d feel guilty to pass them onto someone else.

Note that I only journal a tea once, not every time I drink a cup of it. If my opinion of a tea drastically changes since my original review, I will journal the tea again with an updated opinion and change my rating. Occassionally I revisit a tea I’ve reviewed before after a year or more has passed.

Inventory:

My Cupboard on Steepster reflects teas that I have sampled and logged for review, and is not used as an inventory for teas I currently own at the present moment. An accurate and up-to-date listing of my current tea inventory can be viewed here: https://tinyurl.com/xjt9ptx3 . I am open to tea trades (within the United States only!) at this time. Note that I will not trade teas that I currently have in a quantity less than 50g (samplers, 1oz packages, etc.) or any teas that are currently still sealed/unopened in my cupboard.

Contact Info:

Feel free to send me a Steepster PM, or alternatively, check the website URL section below; it goes to a contact form that will reach my personal e-mail.

Location

Idaho, United States

Website

https://teatimetuesdayreviews...

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