218 Tasting Notes

drank Jade Dew Gyokuro by Cornelia Bean
218 tasting notes

I cold brewed my left over leaf from my gong fu session last week, and this has been sitting in my fridge ever since. Not bad. Pretty mild, as I made almost 2 litres. It’s very light and refreshing, which is a great quality for cold tea. There’s a great umami, sea weed, nutty finish. I’ve been putting off drinking it because I’ve been worried about the caffeine content, but now seems like a good time for a bit of extra caffeine.

Flavors: Nutty, Seaweed, Umami

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Mmm, had a mango fusion black tea today at Kawaii Crepe, with a pumpkin pie crepe. So delicious. They blend the iced tea with either syrup or juice, so you get a really intense fruit flavour with a distinct tea flavour as well. Very refreshing.


Kawaii Crepe had tea? I did not know that – should really check it out one of these days….


That is an interesting flavour combination: mango and pumpkin. And that restaurant sounds awesome.


Just bubble tea and iced tea with flavours, but it’s pretty good.

I really like it there – it’s adorable and their crepes are delicious. You can also get out of there for very little money – I think drinks are in the $3-4 range, and I think they have some crepes for <$4.


oh I really want a crepe…

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Hmm, not bad. Had this as my first cup of the morning and it was very chocolately, with a berry, fruity note that I’m not sure would have definitely identified as raspberry without knowing what it was.

Flavors: Berry, Chocolate

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Oh this is delicious! It’s light, malty, bready and sweet. I love it. I could see this being a go to black tea.

This deserves a better tasting note, but I just want to say how fabulous it is so I remember to try it again sooooon!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Oh this is so nice. There’s a hint of the medicinal note that some roobos has, but it’s very faint, and mostly, there’s just a very pleasant apple and currant flavour. The currant is particularly distinct and delicious.

I think I might need to try steeping other rooibos blends for a shorter time. I did this one for 4 minutes, which is shorter than usual, and I’m really pleased with how well it turned out.

Flavors: Apple, Black Currant, Medicinal

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Fireside Chat by Cornelia Bean
218 tasting notes

This is weird. It smells like it should be fantastic, with citrus peel notes and lots of spices. The smell really is evocative of sitting by a fire all cozy and bundled up. And there’s lots of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg flavour. But at the start of the sip there’s also this odd taste that’s kind of dry and minerally, almost woody but not in the way that rooibos often is. My partner said it tasted like chard and I can see that – the iron notes of it.

So I dunno, very weird.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Mineral, Nutmeg, Spicy, Wood


Ech, yeah, mineral notes personally kind of ruin things for me.

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Oh I love this kettle. It’s attractive, has a small foot print and heats water quickly and accurately. I love, love, love that it displays the actual water temperature and allows you to set whatever temperature you want in 1C increments.

The hold feature is nice, particularly for doing lots of gong fu infusions in short succession.

There’s a count up timer on it which is useful for really short steeps, but not so much for anything longer. The timer also only works with the kettle off the base, so you can’t use the timer and keep your water warm at the same time.

I wish there was a signal or something for when your water reaches the set temperature. With my old kettle I just waited for the click off sound, but this one clicks on and off repeatedly as it nears the desired temperature.

All in all though, I’m incredibly happy with this kettle. Not sure how I managed without it.

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reviewed Basic Gaiwan by Verdant Tea
218 tasting notes

Nothing fancy, but functional and inexpensive. This did not come with a saucer, just the cup and lid. The porcelain is thin and fine, but pretty durable. I’m not the greatest fan of the flared lip, as it makes pouring off cleanly a little tricky sometimes, but all in all I’m quite happy with this.

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I’ve had a few excellent honeybush blends lately, and so during my last visit to Cornelia Bean, I grabbed one of their only honeybush tisanes.

The dry leaf smells amazing – very fruity and tangy, like citrus peels.

Steeped though… I’m not sure what to make of this. There’s the citrusy fruit notes like the dry leaf, but there’s also this really odd fragrance of olives. There’s a bit of tropical fruit flavour on the sip, notably papaya, and the fruit intensifies on the finish, but then transitions to an olivey taste that fills the back of the mouth. It’s weird and off putting.

It’s like there’s two competing things going on in this cup – fruity honeybush and then olives trying to horn in.

I’m going to let this cool and see if it gets any better, because right now, I feel reluctant to finish this cup.

Flavors: Citrus, Olives, Tangy, Tropical

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Oh interesting.

The dry leaf smells earthy and smokey, and there’s a touch of sea weed. I’m reminded more of a lapsang souchong or pu’erh than a green tea. The leaf is dark, uniform and tapered – very elegant looking.

My first steep is at 80C for 25 seconds. The liquor is a kind of washed out amber colour, very pretty and unique. The taste is light and delicate. Forefront is the taste of smoke, and then in behind that is a lot of earth and some creamy, nuttiness. As I drink this steeping, a sweetness develops at the opening of the sip. A bit of smoke lingers on the finish.

Second steep 79C, 25 seconds. The leaf is starting to smell sweeter, and the colour has shifted to a yellow green colour. Still smokey, a touch sweet and this steep has some flora notes, primarily jasmine. The mouth feel is quite light and just a touch drying.

Third steep, 80C, 30 seconds. Smokey, floral, a bit more bitter. The sweetness has faded out somewhat.

Fourth, 80C, 25 seconds. The smoke is diminishing, and the floral notes are coming out stronger. A bit astringent.

This is nice, but it’s not an easy drinking tea. I think there’s a fair bit more left in these leaves, but I’m done.

Flavors: Astringent, Creamy, Earth, Jasmine, Nutty, Seaweed, Smoke

175 °F / 79 °C 1 tsp 3 OZ / 88 ML

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I grew up drinking jasmine green tea with meals, but really fell in love with tea on a trip to Britain in elementary school. My first great love was Earl Grey, and I still adore it and all its variants.

I discovered the beauty of loose leaf tea much later, when, on impulse, I picked up a few teas that were on clearance at a home store. My introduction to loose leaf teas were Masala Chai and Provence Rooibos by the Metropolitan Tea Co and an unknown brand of kukicha and gyokuro (little did I know what a precious treasure I’d stumbled onto with that.)

At the time I was lucky to live in a place with multiple tea shops and several places to have afternoon tea, which is a delight I still miss.

Tea is part of my daily ritual and a nice, affordable way to appease the collector in me.

I enjoy distinctive whites, greens and oolongs, flavoured blacks, and herbals that are heavy on the citrus, lavender or mint.

Rating rubric, to give myself some consistency:
0-15 Yuck, not even drinkable.
16-30 Disappointing, not really inclined to give it a second try.
31-45 Disappointing, but maybe there’s potential? Worth one more try, prepped differently.
46-60 Mediocre, not terrible but not memorable.
61-75 Not bad. I’ll definitely finish what I have and might buy again.
76-90 Very enjoyable. Tasty, complex, it’ll keep me coming back.
91-100 BEST! I love everything about it and I will drink it forever.

Beyond tea, I’m a sex educator, polyamory activist, and radical queer. I love backwoods camping, abstract painting, baking & cooking, nail polish, cats, ceramic sculpture, and home nesting.


Winnipeg, MB, Canada

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