559 Tasting Notes

drank Darjeeling Tea by Twinings
559 tasting notes

I’m not sure why this tea appears twice on Steepster, so I’m just going to post the same review under both of them.

I first tried a bagged Darjeeling tea from Lupicia. It was a Second Flush and pretty light. I probably watered it down too much, which I tend to do sometimes with Lupicia teas.

But this Twinings bagged version was a completely different experience, and not for the better! This wasn’t watered down at all. It created a nice brown liquor and seemed to be a normal cup of tea. I drank it straight without milk or sweetener.

It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever tasted, but I did not like its taste at all. It’s hard for me to pinpoint what it is I don’t like. I think it’s just the taste of the tea itself. It’s not that it’s bitter or astringent. It just tastes…not good.

The first sip is unassuming, average, black tea. But then it’s just yucky. I couldn’t finish my cup. But my boyfriend drank his and the rest of mine down and said, “It just tastes like tea. I don’t know what you don’t like about it.” And neither do I.

But this is not one I’d buy again. Now I want to try the Lupicia version again for further taste comparison.

Anyone know why this is called the “champagne of teas”? It does elicit the same reaction from me as champagne: Blech. I’ll give it that.

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Don’t give up on Darjeeling completely… I’ve noticed that there are so many unique nuances with different Darjeeling teas. When you find a good Darjeeling, you might understand why it’s called the Champagne of teas. It has a light, almost crystal-like taste that is crisp and fruity. The finish is dry and wine-like. Sweet.

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drank Irish Breakfast Tea by Twinings
559 tasting notes

Hmm, I taste something funky going on.

Lacking a good night’s sleep, I reached for this upon arriving at work with my eyelids still crusted shut. I don’t know if it’s just because I bought my first Brita water filter after returning from a vacation to find the kitchen flooded with dirty water and knowing I can’t possibly make myself drink water straight from that faucet again.

Or maybe it’s because my mind is considering the possibility that perhaps milk marked for expiration today shouldn’t go into my tea, especially since it’s the same milk that was in my fridge when the power went out for 24 hours. Thank you, Hurricane Irene.

Regardless, there’s definitely something funky going on here. I’m not at home, so the Brita water filter would have no effect on this straight-from-the-boiling-hot-water-tap water. And I haven’t even poured the milk of questionable integrity into it yet either. Yet still, funk. What could it be?

I added a little Truvia and it just made the funk more pronounced! Perhaps I need to re-roll this morning. I’m blaming the water quality at my work. What could be in this water to make my Irish Breakfast Tea have an aftertaste like cheese??? I’ll be back…

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Today is just a day of weirdness. After a failed cup of Twining’s English Breakfast too, I’m switching to coffee. I bought a cup of Organic Serena Blend from the coffee cart lady. It claims to be a Starbucks blend, so I went to look it up online (because it’s delicious & I must have more of it!). I come to find it’s been discontinued. And yet, here it is in my cup with its beautiful, floral and citrus notes of awesomeness. Hmm…I’m stumped. I guess I’ll just bring some bottled water in tomorrow to make my tea. What a weird day. First cheesy aftertaste water and now coffee that no longer exists. O_oo_O


Do you think it might have been the Truvia? I feel like that always makes my tea taste funky, no matter the type of tea.


No, I absolutely love Truvia and think it tastes exactly like sugar. It was definitely the hot water tap in my office. Other people noticed it tastes funny too. I did end up bringing in bottled water, made the tea the same way, and it tasted perfectly normal. Just goes to show that the quality of the water does affect the taste of the tea. :)


Really? Every time I try to put Truvia in tea or coffee, I think it tastes…dirty? I don’t know how to describe it. And I know what you mean about water quality. Mine at work is awful, too.

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drank Pure Mint by Twinings
559 tasting notes

This tea = win.

I love reading fantasy. I’m currently eleven books into Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. The characters are often drinking mint tea. “Mint tea?” I thought. “I have to try that!”

I looked around for a while, but jeez! There’re just so many different mint teas out there. Moroccan mint, herbal mint, mint melange, citrus mint, white mint, so much mint!!!

Unfortunately, much of what I found had mixed reviews and was on the expensive side. I also mostly found a lot of herbal tea blends. Herbal tea is okay, but I can never get over the fact that it doesn’t have any actual tea leaves in it. How can it be tea then?

Trying to avoid drinking a cup of hot water with mint leaves floating around in it, I finally stumbled into this box of Twinings tea in the super market. Black tea leaves with peppermint and spearmint. Kaching!

I can smell the mint right through the box. Upon opening a packet, it smells exactly like spearmint gum. Uh oh. Not a good sign.

Two minutes later…I’m drinking my first mint tea!!! Mmm, this is good!

I drank it straight without any added sugar or milk (which I usually add to black teas). Twinings did not let me down! This is expertly blended and balanced. And it’s only 18 cents a cup!

There’s no bitterness or mint overload. It doesn’t taste oily or flaky or like mint bubble gum (thank God). It’s just a perfect cup of mint tea. Yum yum!

No longer wondering what I’m missing, I can plunge into my book and drink mint tea right along with the characters. Hooray! :)

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I tried Wheel of Time series, I’ve read the first two books. I wasn’t super convinced by them though, too many of the characters annoyed me. (Matt for example. Irresponsible little brat.) And then RJ passed away and I lost the interest to keep going, really. I’m considering once in a while getting the third book, but I keep finding other things I’d rather read so I don’t get around to it.


I actually despise Robert Jordan’s writing style and characterization. All the characters are exactly the same, especially the girls. But I’m trying to read all the major fantasy authors, so I have to include Jordan.


David Eddings is a favourite of mine. I forgive him for writing the same plot again and again and for all the cliches and what have yous, because I just love the story so much. Elenium and Tamuli most of all. Read the Elenium the first time when I was fifteen. Fifteen years later I can’t even make a guess as to how many times I’ve re-read. I think it kickstarted the entire genre for me.

I haven’t read too many of the major ones. Eddings, CS Lewis and Terry Pratchett. And that’s it really. And JK Rowling of course, does she count?

Currently enjoying Karen Miller and Frances Hardinge, both very recommendable ladies. The latter especially having a wonderful way with words. Unfortunately I don’t think either can really be called ‘major’ authors…


I read the whole Sword of Truth series (Terry Goodkind) but not really any others. I like sci-fi/fantasy, but I am a stand alone kind of girl more often than not.


Frances Hardinge writes stand-alones. Gullstruck Island is my favourite of hers.

I haven’t read Terry Goodkind, but I’ve thought about it now and then. But every time I think I’ll do so, I seem to hear bad things about it, so I don’t know. I want to finish the series that I’ve got started on now first anyway, or at least get caught up on the books already published. I just went and counted them on the bookshelf. I’ve got 9 that I’m actively following at the moment! O.o Some of them I’m caught up on, but still. That’s a lot more than I thought.

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drank Kiwi by Lupicia
559 tasting notes

Mmm, the smell of freshly sliced kiwis!!!

The dry leaves have a nice fruity aroma that translates well into the aroma of the brewed tea. The taste is sharp! It nearly bit me back!

Lupicia recommends adding lemon and honey to this tea, and I bet that would help cut back on that sharpness. I don’t want to immediately say bitterness because the aftertaste is actually quite lovely and fruity. So, I’m going to stick with “sharpness.”

The dry leaves had ample kiwi shavings as well as some weird little brown sticks. I have no idea what those are. From looking at the black tea leaves, I don’t think they’re stems because they are a much much lighter brown color than the leaves. But who knows? I guess they could be stems. Or maybe it’s some sort of added spice or something. I doubt it’s from the kiwis…But okay, moving on.

I added a tiny splash of skim milk and that made the tea much smoother and more to my liking (I’m a cream and sugar kind of gal).

Overall, this tea isn’t WOWZA! But it’s not bad either. It’s getting a middle of the road rating from me. Good, but not the best.

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The brewed tea smells exactly like the salted shell of a peanut. You know, like the kind you get in a bucket at some steakhouse restaurants.

The taste is even nuttier than the aroma. The smokiness is very slight and complemented perfectly by the nuttiness. The aftertaste is mouthwatering and tastes just like the aroma. The shells, not the peanuts themselves. So strange.

This doesn’t taste too much like an oolong to me. There’s no vegetal flavor. The liquor is a very dark brown. It’s quite smooth but the astringency becomes more pronounced the more you drink it.

It doesn’t taste sweet to me either. There’s definitely no peach notes. It pretty much just tastes like a salty peanut shell. So weird. Instead of quenching my thirst, it just makes me thirstier.

Not an oolong I would drink all the time. I’m interested to see how subsequent steepings turn out though.

The second steep (for 3 minutes again) still has an extremely mouthwatering aftertaste. The nuttiness is much less pronounced. The third steep (for 5 minutes) is very bland. Perhaps it needed longer to steep, but I don’t know how you could get 8 steeps out of this as other users have said.

I’m not really a fan of the peanut shell-like nuttiness, so that’s why this is getting a lower rating. If you like nutty teas, then go for this one!

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drank Coconut Pouchong by Adagio Teas
559 tasting notes

Now this is what I’m talking about!

This has the beautiful smooth mouthfeel of pouchong with the lovely sweetness of coconut. This tea has what the plain, bland pouchong was missing: flavor!

The aftertaste is literally mouthwatering. After every swig (yes, swig. I can’t just sip this, it’s too good!), my mouth waters and begs for more. The more I drink it, the more complexities of this tea come across.

Big beautiful leaves open fully with just one infusion. The liquor is a gorgeous shade of pale yellow.

It has a slight astringency in the after-aftertaste. It’s not immediately apparent and could probably be diminished by steeping this in less than boiling water. But every time I smell the luscious, subtle coconut aroma, I just want to keep drinking it!

This tea is delicious and exactly what I was looking for! It’s still a very light oolong and more reminiscent of a flavored white tea due to the lacking vegetal “oolong” quality.

But the coconut is very well executed in this tea. It’s not overwhelming and still allows the subtleties of the pouchong to shine through.

And I don’t know what it is, but this tea puts me on point. I always set my timer and leave the kitchen while the tea steeps. But with this tea, I walked back in the room right before the timer went off! Whether I set the clock for two minutes or six, I walked in at the perfect time, every time! Maybe I’m the only one who thinks this is cool…

Coconut and pouchong just fit. This tea’s perfect!

First infusion was boiling water for 3 minutes. Second infusion was 190 degrees for 8 minutes.

EDIT: For whatever reason, this tea is just awful now. It almost tastes spoiled. Rating is sinking like a stone, from 80 to 47 to 12. I just can’t make myself drink this anymore. Yuck. I guess I thought it was fantastic when all I was drinking was bland oolongs. But I strongly don’t recommend this now.

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drank Pouchong by Adagio Teas
559 tasting notes

Pro: very smooth, no astringency. Con: a little lacking on flavor.

This is my first Adagio tea experience! I bought the white tea sampler, dragon (aka oolong) sampler, and one sample of Coconut Pouchong. I’m excited to try out another online retailer and what I hope to be some fantastic new teas!

This is a very light tea. It actually seems to be more like a white tea than oolong because I’m missing that vegetal “oolong” quality.

The liquor is pale yellow/green. The taste is a very much like a white tea, subtle and somewhat floral. It’s a good hydrating tea.

I think I understand what others have described as a “buttery mouthfeel.” But I personally wouldn’t describe this tea that way. It’s not pronounced enough for me to compare it to butter, especially not movie theatre butter!

Overall, it’s a good light tea. But it’s not knocking my socks off with flavor. I’m more excited to try the Coconut Pouchong because I think this needs some added flavorings.

First steep was boiling water for 3 minutes. Second steep was 185-190 degrees for 5 minutes.

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drank Lychee Black by Vital Tea Leaf
559 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.

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drank Grapefruit Green by Lupicia
559 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
559 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!”

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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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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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