325 Tasting Notes


Oh my goodness. For Christmas, I was surprised by a gorgeous H&S box with my initials monogrammed onto it – which I didn’t even know they made! Inside was a bunch of bagged tea of several different flavors, one of which was this.

I’d had the sachet version of this before, but I actually enjoyed this one more because it is a lot less spicy. More of the warm, sweet cinnamon flavor. Good enough to be mistaken for a loose-leaf.

Mmmm comfort tea.


I didn’t know they made the monogrammed stuff like that either – sounds like a very nice Christmas present.

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drank Paris by Harney & Sons
324 tasting notes

I don’t know why, but for some reason I’ve been craving foody-sweet teas lately, like chocolatey teas or flavored teas. I’ve been doing Earl Grey de la Creme a lot, and My Morning Mate happened for breakfast this morning, but I’m really running out of options. I need to get some more of my favorites, but I can’t seem to stop myself from spending money and/or finding things I want to spend money on, and I still have a credit card bill to pay. But for now, this fit the bill.

I’m on the verge of having had this tea too much. I still love it, but I’m getting used to it, like a song I’ve heard too many times (I feel like I compare tea tastings to listening to songs a lot? Like, the first time you hear it, it’s magical because it’s so unexpected, but once you get used to it, it gets almost cloying?)


Oh yeah, that is a great analogy! There are so many teas which I loved in the beginning but over time, got waaaaaay too sweet.


Yeah, I remember Paris as being pretty awesome, have needed more for awhile. Need to get a tin this time instead of sampler size though!

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drank Royal Wedding by Harney & Sons
324 tasting notes

The good news: Just submitted my final project for class!
The bad news: ….it was due at noon.

If this were me during my undergrad years, I would probably be pacing around, hyperventilating, crying, trying not to throw up right now. But me now? I just… I can’t help but keep it in perspective. Yeah, I shouldn’t have done it, but I’ve gotten all A’s in this class so far, and losing some points on this project… not going to end my life.

So I’m both celebrating/lamenting with some ice cream and Royal Wedding. I don’t know whether or not I actually published the review where I talked about getting placebo-effect caffeine from this tea before I found out it was a white tea, but I’m hoping I don’t have that tonight. It’s still so soft and sweet (although a little odd with ice cream.) Hot tea is especially comforting right now, what with it being cold and my body being like eggh. Yay royal weddings!

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drank Zhen Qu by Butiki Teas
324 tasting notes

Backlog from Friday night.

I was so excited to make this in the gaiwan and to test out my newly-acquired gaiwan pouring skills.

I don’t think I ever noticed how cute the leaves were. They’re downy, and the contrast of the black and gold is very pretty.

Steep 1: 1 min. Everything you hear about this tea is about deep, sweet flavors like sweet potato and yam, but the predominant flavor I get is mulchy, wood-like, with a sweet undernote.

Steep 2: 2 min. Eh, still getting the mul – YEP there it is! The sweetness comes later in the sip. It’s the sweet potato/yam thing, but there’s also some fruit.

Steep 3: PBBT
Knocked over the gaiwan in the middle of the third steep and spilled tea and water everywhere. Computer was just barely rescued. Siiiiiigh. And I still have hot water left…

So I put in some new leaves and started over, steeping until there was no hot water left.

Not quite the tea tasting I’d hoped for, but still quite enjoyable before and after the spilly spilly.

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drank Pu Erh Poe by Adagio Teas
324 tasting notes

Errgh. Didn’t sleep well last night, and one of those mornings I woke up stressed. Need something thick.

Made an extra big cup this morning. I know this isn’t the highest-quality pu erh by any means, but the musty-earthy taste has grown on me. And it’s SUPER musty.

In other news, I did Drink Militia’s autumn interview! http://www.drinkmilitia.com/autumn-2014-interview-holly-faye-steep-inclined/ Pretty sure I have nowhere near as much expertise as some of the people who’ve already done this. But I had fun!

2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank My Morning Mate by Teavana
324 tasting notes

I had completely forgotten about this tea. I really need to start drinking it on work mornings instead of coffee. I still really enjoy the thick, chocolately-banana mix. It’s not subtle by any means, but it’s just fun and it smells so good.


This used to be the tea I drank every single morning when I was getting up at 5:30. I loved the taste and it was a good caffeine boost when having to deal with children so early.

Holly Faye

Right? I don’t like the taste of normal mate, but I could very easily see myself drinking this every day!

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First things first: it’s me, formerly known as TeaKlutz! I’ve changed my name and image in the hopes of being able to better connect this to my blog, Steep Inclined! http://steepinclined.wordpress.com/
(Gotta say, I do kinda miss my old profile pic… ah well.)


So I poured the last of my leaves into the infuser, expecting there to be, oh, about a teaspoon. Out come like two and a half teaspoons of tea. Oh well, I think. Just steep it for three minutes and maybe it’ll be alright.

Oh no. Oh no. Oh lord did I screw this up. Bitter. Maybe if it cools – egh. Nope. Bitter bitter bitter.

Sad sipdown. I really liked this tea, I wish I had given it a more carefully prepared sendoff. :C

Oh well. More room for new teas!

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Your blog looks good! :)

Holly Faye

Thank you! It’s my first real blog, so I’m learning a lot. And thank you for checking it out!


I like your blog too! It’s organized nicely and you’ve already got a lot of great articles.

Holly Faye

Thank you!

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drank Royal Wedding by Harney & Sons
324 tasting notes

…Wait a minute, this is a white tea?

So I totally thought this was a black tea this whole time. Welp, the caffeine from last night’s cup must have been a placebo effect!

Somehow I wound up with like 50 sachets of this. This tea smells sooooo sweet. In a good way. It’s fruit-y and light vanilla-y. When I drink it, I get more of a light floral flavor, but the sweetness lingers as an undertone once the tea cools a bit. Of course, now that I know it’s a WHITE tea, I want to try it at a lower water temperature next time.

I like it!

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This is my second cup of this today. (I’ve been writing a blog post about Earl Greys.)

Oddly enough, I think I like this tea best when I’ve had it for a few months and it’s mellowed a bit. The first time I had it, it was a sample sent by someone else and I LOVED it. When I ordered my own batch, I was kinda “meh” when I made the first cup. But now I love it again! I like when the cream flavor is able to shine through and offset the bergamot, without either flavor being IN YOUR FACE.

Happy place. :)


I have read that newly made flavored tea needs time for the oils to absorb and for the flavor to meld. Maybe that is why it needed to sit awhile!

Holly Faye

I’ve never heard that before! Perhaps that explains it. I’ll keep that in mind! (And now this makes me want to go back and try my other EGC that I always find WAY too strong…)

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drank UVA Highlands by Harney & Sons
324 tasting notes

This is literally the THIRD Saturday I’ve had off since early August. And this is the first one of them I haven’t been traveling. I don’t know what to do with myself! (Oh, wait… yes I do. Homework.)

Normally, I shy away from this kind of tea; I have to be in the right mood for something “minty” like the packaging describes. Today, I wanted to try something different, and this fit the bill.

The leaves are small and dark brown. The aroma is pretty faint, but a little odd… it’s not quite smoky, it’s more rubbery.

The water wasn’t quite boiling when I took it off the stove, but I steeped for about four minutes. It might be partly my fault, but this tea is quite brisk. I can see where they get “mint,” but it’s more of a vaguely “cool” note than true “mint.” Not really a flavor I enjoy, but definitely a good pick-up.

I may have to try this on a shorter steep time before I pass my final judgment, but my first impression: not bad. Nothing to write home about, unlike some of the other teas in H&S’s same sample pack, but not bad.

EDIT: Almost forgot – I have a tea blog! http://steepinclined.wordpress.com/

This is my first blog, so I’m still learning a lot of the ropes. It’s a beginner’s guide to loose-leaf tea, and while it’s basic at this point, it will eventually become a “tea guide” so that if you’re curious about something particular about tea – say, Earl Greys, Da Hong Paos, variable-temperature kettles, or shopping for matcha ware – it’ll give you a starting point.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

Congratulations on the new blog!

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The name’s Holly, and I’ve been a tea drinker since spring of 2013. Tea is my happy place – it picks me up, it calms me down, it helps me focus, it helps me loosen my grip, it’s a little bit of positivity in each day. I do not drink alcohol, so tea is my recreational beverage. I love learning everything there is to know about it and sharing my experiences.

When I’m not drinking or writing about tea, I’m working at a music store and pursuing a Master’s degree in professional writing. You may also find me reading, writing, trying to learn French, cycling on the weekends, being a klutz, or making horrible puns and Star Trek references. Likely all at the same time.

My Tea Blog: http://steepinclined.wordpress.com/


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