542 Tasting Notes

drank Lychee Black by Vital Tea Leaf
542 tasting notes

This is a super sweet black tea!

I have a major sweet tooth, so I tried this tea out and was not disappointed. Even over a year later, the tea still brews like the day I bought it.

It has a very sweet flavor, which I guess comes from the lychee fruit. Lychee kind of tastes like honey.

If you love honey in tea, you’ll love this! Don’t even think about adding any additional sugar or sweetener. It would be overkill.

I suppose this tea would also be good with milk, but I love it straight. I’m also sure it would be perfect iced, but I have yet to try that out either.

It’s the perfect tea for when I’m craving something bad for me (cake, cookies, ice cream, anything sweet that I know I shouldn’t be eating). Instead, I can drink this tea and relax knowing that I’m getting a much healthier sweet fix.

I steep about 1 tsp of leaves for 30-60 seconds in boiling water. It can be resteeped 2-3 times. Only by the third steep does it start to get weak, so I just increase the steeping time a little. I can’t imagine steeping this for 3-5 minutes as suggested (in fact, when I bought it the suggested steeping time was 30-60 seconds). To each his own.

Boiling 0 min, 45 sec

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drank Grapefruit Green by Lupicia
542 tasting notes

Officially my last Lupicia tea sample! :( But I’m excited to continue my tea tasting adventures with other online retailers.

This is supposed to make a good iced tea too, but I’m going to have it hot. All I have had to eat today was a grande caramel macchiato from Starbucks. With all the tea I’ve been drinking, it’s the first espresso I’ve had in about a month. It’s making my tummy upset. Maybe a tea with citric acid isn’t the way to remedy that, but oh well.

The dry leaves have a strong grapefruit aroma, but I can still detect the green tea beneath it. Ah, green tea!

This tea has a lovely citrus-laden flavor. I’ve never particularly liked grapefruit, but this is a lovely summertime tea.

It has a slight tart fruitiness. Not real complex, but a perfect blend of complementary flavors.

This is a winner. I don’t often re-steep my samples, but I did with this one!

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Rose Hip Tea by Lupicia
542 tasting notes

Overall impression: this is tomato juice. Definitely an interesting, one-of-a-kind tea experience.

Rose hips are used for a variety of purposes, one being tea and one being itching powder! I’m not sure if that will psychologically affect my rating or not, but it sure is weird. Hibiscus is a flower.

The dry leaves smell interesting, not really like tea at all. In fact, I wonder what actual tea leaves are in this (it says black herbal tea, but I’m not getting any black tea leaf aroma). The liquor is dark like a black tea though.

Some other Steepster users have described it as similar to pasta sauce, and I can definitely smell the similarity. To me, the brewed tea smells like tomato with a hint of onion.

The blend does have ample servings of rose hips in it. I actually squished them with my tea bag squeezer tongs and this red paste oozed out. That’s a first! It only solidified the pasta sauce comparison in my head, but you have to appreciate Lupicia didn’t skimp on the ingredients.

With the aroma of pasta sauce fresh in my mind, I took my first sip. Wow, I probably shouldn’t be surprised, but this tastes EXACTLY like warm tomato juice! I think I could literally pour this over a plate of pasta and not be disappointed (except perhaps for the watery consistency).

It is quite tart when it first hits your tongue, but that tartness fades once you swallow. This is a very flavorful cup! It’s definitely not something I would want to drink when I feel like tea. To me, I can’t find any real tea in the aroma or flavor at all. Also, I get no hint of flowery hibiscus (unless hibiscus tastes like tomato).

But if you love tomato juice, you’d probably love this tea. I’ve never really been a fan of V8, so I’m gonna’ pass this cup along to my beau. He absolutely loves tomato juice. Sure enough, when I handed it to him he tried it and said, “I really like this! You’re really not gonna’ drink it? ‘Cause I will!”

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

To be fair, I hate tomatoes, but this sounds terrible..I think if anything in my tea oozes BEFORE water hits it, I’m running!! : )


Well, I also recently tried a cassis & blueberry tea. I couldn’t detect any actual pieces of fruit in it. It certainly didn’t ooze fruit juices. So, I think that the rose hips were so fresh they oozed is a pro not a con. Although I guess my word choice is off-putting, haha.


Oh and also to clarify, the tea bag oozed when I squeezed it AFTER it was finished steeping. So, it wasn’t oozing “before water hit it.” :)


That actually makes me feel significantly better, I misunderstood before!

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drank Paradise Green by Lupicia
542 tasting notes

Probably shouldn’t have used boiling water, but it’s too late now! After my earlier Muscat experience, I wanted to try a lighter green tea.

This tea’s aroma is very flowery & fruity! I wish I knew exactly what was in it. I can’t identify individual flavors myself.

It seems more flowery than fruity though upon tasting. Part of me feels like I’m drinking a liquefied Amazon Lily. It’s a little too much flower for me. It makes the tea heavy, not the light green I was looking for.

It reminds me of pollen coating everything in the springtime. Sure people think flowers smell great. But when there’s so much pollen that your black car looks yellow, people’s opinions on flowers shift. That’s what this tea is like.

This is a time when I would prefer a higher-grade sencha base. I did follow the instructions of steeping this in only 3.7 oz of water. I’m sure that’s a contributing factor in why I found the taste so much stronger than other users.

With this much flower going on, I couldn’t begin to call this tea weak! It might be a good idea to water it down a bit.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Muscat by Lupicia
542 tasting notes

I put off trying this tea for so long because I was afraid muscat was going to be something really gross. Needless to say, I was surprised and pleased to discover it’s just grape.

I can only smell grape in the dry leaves. The brewed tea has a more subtle grape aroma with the black tea base coming through. But the grape taste is just okay, not amazing.

I don’t usually drink black tea straight, so I added some milk and sugar after tasting it. That made this tea more enjoyable for me.

But overall, I can’t get past the weirdness of drinking a grape-flavored tea. Something tells me this isn’t normal. Maybe that’s the artificial aspect others have pointed out. I’m not sure. But I do know this isn’t a favorite for me.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Cassis & Blueberry by Lupicia
542 tasting notes

Oh, that blueberry smell from the dry leaves is amazing!

The brewed tea still has a strong aroma of blueberry with something else now too. I guess that’s the cassis. I didn’t have any idea what cassis was, so I googled it. Turns out, cassis is blackcurrant, a small perennial shrub with edible berries.

The aroma is definitely berry-laden! But I’m a little let down upon tasting it. That magnificent berry-ness was virtually gone in the first sip.

My second sip had a heavy sweetness to it that the first sip lacked. The third sip was more like the first. Strange. And now I’m getting black tea bitterness.

This review may be little off today since I’m slightly stuffy from allergies. But I agree with LP that the taste is a letdown after the aroma.

What a shame. I really wanted to like this more.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Caramele by Lupicia
542 tasting notes

This is a black tea version of a houjicha I really love called Milk Caramel.
It’s delicious!

I first tried this straight, and it was good. It reminded me of The au Chocolat. The black tea base is blended well with the caramel and almond flavors. I like that there’s almond in it because it brings a new dimension to the tea.

I added a drop of milk and some real caramel. The milk makes it unbelievably smooth and silky. And the added caramel gives it that extra sweetness and caramel flavor I was missing.

This is a solid choice. But I’m still head over heels in love with the houjicha version.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Jardin Sauvage by Lupicia
542 tasting notes

I was a little apprehensive to try this tea. I saw the word “rooibos” and expected to hate it. But I found this to be a surprisingly pleasant cup of tea!

I can definitely smell the mango and citrus fruit in the brewed cup. It has a lovely sweet undertone I wasn’t expecting. It’s not artificial or overly sugary. It’s quite nice. Maybe the perfect balance of sweetness I’ve ever had in a cup of unsweetened tea!

This was a pleasant surprise! I found this to be a very good, easy-going, light-bodied tea. Now it just needs a more appropriate name than savage garden. I’m thinking: Secret Garden or Mango Paradise. And I bet this would make a pretty awesome iced tea too.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Silver Yin Zhen Pearls by Teavana
542 tasting notes

What a disappointment.

This is advertised as one of the rarest teas in the world, a delicacy and imperial reserve. I read a lot about it before heading to Teavana to try it out, so I thought I knew what I was in for.

My past Teavana experiences haven’t been ideal. Overall, I’m not thrilled with their overly spiced blends, unreasonably high prices, and kitschy health benefit claims. But I wanted to give them a second chance and figured to do so with one of their most expensive teas (thinking it must be expensive for a reason and therefore is probably really fantastic).

This tea was so not worth my time. First off, I don’t think my tea barista was very well educated. I went in describing this tea, and she directed me to a Jasmine Dragon Pearl blended with some kind of tropical rooibos. Umm, what?

I picked up one of the tea catalogues next to the register and immediately found the name of the tea I wanted…on the first page…in red font…with a big picture. sigh

Even though this is an expensive tea and I expected her to try to sell it to me, she continued to pull out other “silver” teas for me to smell. I explained yet again that I was there to try the Silver Yen Zhen Pearls, and she finally consented to sell me a cup.

Can’t I just try it without having to pay for an entire cup? Nope! Not an option at the lovely Teavana. So, I spend almost $6 just to try a new tea. I’m already feeling like this was a mistake. But I’m finally getting what I wanted, so I try to keep a smile on my face and let the frustration melt away.

Upon receiving my cup, I knew she had messed up. The tea catalogue I had picked up earlier said very clearly to steep the leaves for 4-5 minutes in 175 degree water. She couldn’t have steeped the leaves for more than two and a half minutes, and this water had to be boiling. I took the top off and tried to smell the tea. I got nothing.

Puzzled, I looked up at another tea barista who was watching me (the one who served me had disappeared into the back). She looked at me like I was weird for wanting to smell the tea’s aroma. So, I smiled and told her which tea I was trying.

She said, “Oh that tea has virtually no flavor or smell. But it can be blended with any of the other teas!” Umm, why bother? I stared at her blankly and she seemed to hear my silent question. “It’s very good for you,” she said with a big smile and a nod. Of course. I should have known they’d try to sell me on its health benefits.

But back to the tea itself, the liquor was a fairly deep shade of brown. Shouldn’t it be lighter, I thought? It almost looked like a weak black tea! Did they use hard water?? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had white teas before. But I’m expecting perfection with a tea that’s $22.00/2 ounces.

After all this build up, I couldn’t wait for the tea to cool off any longer. I tried it a bit early, which just made me burn my tongue. But what did I taste? I’m searching for the words to describe this other than “tastes like water.” I do taste something more than water, but just barely and only when it’s actually on my tongue. There’s no aftertaste of any kind.

Very disappointing. At almost $6 for a cup of burning hot water, I’m convinced yet again that I really hate Teavana. I know white teas can be bland, but this is ridiculous. There’s no flavor at all!

I gave Teavana a second chance, and they failed miserably. Why can’t I try tea before buying it? I thought that was the common practice. That’s the way I’ve been treated in every other tea shop I’ve stumbled into. I thought about buying a package of tea samples, but it’s just as expensive as trying one tea in the shop. Four tea samples for $70?? They’ve got to be kidding! Their only free samples are 2-3 overly sweetened iced teas spread throughout the store. I don’t want sugary juice water! I want tea!

As I’ve always said, Teavana is great for teaware and accessories. But I can’t recommend their tea blends, and I’ll never buy their tea for myself. The rarest tea in the world was nothing more than over priced, tasteless, brown water.
Epic fail.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

Sorry you had a bad experience with this. I don’t like Teavana and your post illustrates one of the reasons why. When I enter another tea shop, I find someone who is knowledgeable about tea. Heck… when I go to Whole Foods, I can even find the person who is working in the tea aisle to be quite knowledgeable about tea. But not so at Teavana. And they not only try to sell me things that I’m not interested in buying, but they treat me like I’m the one who knows nothing about tea. They are interested in their quotas and bottom line at Teavana. The tea is secondary. They aren’t passionate about tea.

That doesn’t mean that I’ve not found really delicious blends from Teavana, I have. But, I only stop in there if I happen to already be in the mall. It is never a “first choice” kind of shop for me.


Part of me is glad I’m not the only one. But then the other part of me says, why am I happy someone else has a bad tea experience too?

I went here again recently and met a fairly pushy tea salesman. He definitely seemed to know more about tea than anyone else in the shop, and I think it’s an improvement that Teavana has started hiring knowledgeable tea salesmen.

But he also didn’t leave me alone. He kept following me around and eavesdropping on the things I said to my boyfriend. It was like, jeez! Can’t I shop in peace? If I said I kind of liked something, he’d say, “Let me wrap that up for you!” Just ‘cause I whisper to my boyfriend that I think a teapot looks cool doesn’t mean I’m ready to drop $400+ on a set.

Seriously, this place could be so good! When I’m in the mall, they always pull me in somehow. But I’ve never walked out with any tea.


Sorry your experience wasn’t great there. I just wanted to note that, although it says steep 4-5 minutes, the tea is actually better at 2-3 minutes. When you buy this tea loose they usually specify this to you. So, the barista didn’t mess up. She was doing it the way she was taught.


She had to mess something up because it was a cup of hot, brown, flavorless water. I’ve had white tea enough times to know that it does have flavor (and probably shouldn’t be brown).


I just meant the steeping time. If it was bad I’m sure yeah she did do something wrong.

Daniel Scott

Reading reviews for this one as I try it, and I had to laugh when I read yours. Yep, definitely sounds to me like the barista botched it. Brewed two minutes, it should be a lighter color than you describe.

From what I’ve heard, American Teavana stores only have one water dispenser. (Unlike Canadian Teavanas, which are all converted Teaopia stores, and thus have both a hotter water dispenser and a cooler water dispenser.) In an American Teavana, they’re supposed to add a certain number of ice cubes to your cup to compensate for the boiling water. Sounds like she forgot the ice cubes!


Daniel Scott – not all Canadian Teavana’s are converted Teaopia stores. They do the ice cube thing in Canada too.

Daniel Scott

My bad, I totally forgot that – there were some locations before the buy-out as well.

Ugh, the ice cube thing just kills me. Admittedly, two dispensers still aren’t perfect, a couple of variable temp dispensers of some sort would be better. But one dispenser, I don’t get that.


@Daniel Scott yeah I’ll admit that’s the worst thing most tea shops are doing these days. At least the ice cube thing is better than nothing. DavidsTea’s water is always WAY too hot.

Brittany Miller

I will agree with what everyone has said. I work at one of the converted Teaopia stores and we do in fact have two dispensers. The Silver Yin Zhen Pearls should be brewed for no more than two minutes and with the lower temperature water.


I suppose it depends on what you like in a white tea, but I definitely think the first steep of this one needs at least 4 minutes. If you’re worried about bitterness, go with a lower temperature. But the pearls have barely started to unfurl before 4 minutes so there isn’t much flavor earlier.

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drank Pommier by Lupicia
542 tasting notes

First impression as I inhale the dry leaves: kimyou. This is going to be weird.

I think I can smell the maple in the dry blend. But once brewed, phew! This tea is stinky! :P

I’m pretty sure I’m not going to enjoy this one. I have to make myself try it and not just immediately dump it out. But I’m not holding out hope.

The verdict: it doesn’t taste quite as bad as it smells. I definitely taste apple as soon as it hits my tongue. But the aftertaste is strong, just like the aroma. It’s a very heavy, spice-laden tea.

Overall, it’s gross red rooibos & I’m not a fan. Time to brew something else!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Entering the sweet blissful world of tea aromas!

Having discovered this website at the end of July 2011, I’m so excited to share my tea adventures with all of you! I grew up with my grandmother serving Twining’s English Breakfast with cream and sugar.

But on a trip to Seattle in 2010, I stumbled into a Chinese teashop and tried my first oolong tea. I was forever changed! I embarked on a startling new love for green and white teas.

With a world of teas to discover, I was inspired to keep a tea journal to record my thoughts and new favorites. Let’s get brewing!

My ratings are completely subjective and 100% my opinion. All ratings are given in relation to each other (ie. teas are rated in the order of my enjoyment of them). Therefore, my ratings will constantly change as I try more teas.

I love swapping!!! If you see something in my cupboard you’d like to try, just send me a message. If you’d like to trade, anything on my shopping list will do or feel free to send something else entirely. I’m willing to try almost anything (although I’m not really a fan of honeybush, red rooibos, pu’erh, Lapsang Souchong, & banana-flavored teas).


Maryland, USA

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