711 Tasting Notes

80

This one is a sample from Sara. I happen to love vanilla, but I don’t feel I’ve found my perfect vanilla tea just yet. Always on the lookout for more! This one has rather tiny black tea leaves. The dry scent reminds me of vanilla bean ice cream, yum!

Once steeped, the tea smells more woody, which always makes me immediately think of bourbon vanilla. I added a tad bit of raw sugar to my cup, as I am wont to do with flavored teas lately. The flavor is somewhat woody as well, which seems a perfectly natural combination with vanilla to me. The vanilla flavor is definitely similar to a good vanilla extract, and it’s of medium strength. It’s a perfectly nice, slightly more manly vanilla tea (as opposed to the custardy dessert kind).

Flavors: Alcohol, Malt, Oak wood, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Rosehips

I too am always questing for the perfect vanilla tea. This sounds lovely, even if it is not the one true cup.

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65

This sample came from TeaTiff! I’ve tried a few pumpkin-ish teas lately, some spiced, some not. So let’s try one more! This tea has an oxidized oolong base, and the leaves are dark grey-brown and twisty. There’s what looks like some kind of crushed orange candy mixed in, but after looking on Stacy’s website I found that it’s actually pumpkin flakes. Dry scent is sweet and creamy but not necessarily pumpkin.

The steeped tea actually smells like pumpkin pie to me, with a touch less spice. Mm… This doesn’t really taste very pumpkin-y to me. It mostly tastes like a whole lotta nutmeg with some cream and a touch of bitterness. There’s a little bit of pumpkin there in the aftertaste, but it’s mostly a spiced milkshake tea.

Flavors: Cream, Nutmeg, Pumpkin, Spices

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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70

This is the last tea from the free caffeine-free sampler from Good Life Tea. I must say, I do enjoy a good bedtime tea, so I’m not sure why it took me so long to try this one. It looks to be a mixture of red rooibos, crushed mint, and chamomile. I actually used one of my disposable filters that I got with my Select box last month! So hooray for those being useful. Chamomile pollen tends to get stuck in my filter and it drives me crazy.

Steeped up, this is tasty enough. I can taste all three of the components here – rooibos, mint, and chamomile. They’re fairly equal in strength, with the mint possibly being a tad above the others. It’s definitely a mild and mellow blend, and nice enough to have before bed.

Flavors: Floral, Mint, Rooibos

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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65

This sample was a bonus from Blodeuyn in our swap (somehow she knew I wanted to try more pumpkin spice teas!). I was surprised by the smell, it seems quite heavy on the savory spices to me, almost like a curry or something. We shall see! I used 2 bags for 10 ounces of water (recommended is 1 per 6 ounces).

Steeped, it still smells a touch savory, but it’s more along the lines of what I would expect for a spiced blend. I added a touch of raw sugar to my cup, but no milk. Meh, this is another one of those teas that tastes mostly like spices, and nothing like pumpkin. So basically that makes it a rather weak version of chai… Oh well! At least I will have a lovely tin of Sweet Autumn soon to sate my pumpkin cravings!

Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Spices

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Time for my very last Design a Tea custom sample. This one is Mango Amaretto Rooibos. Visually, just red rooibos with a few flower petals. Dry scent is kind of vaguely tart-sweet fruity with heavy marzipan notes.

Hmm, this one is actually pretty good. It doesn’t actually taste like marzipan, it’s actually spot-on for those amazing amaretti cookies (you know the ones I mean, they’re Italian, small and dome-shaped, and a pale pink-tan in color). So hooray for accurate amaretto flavor! The mango is there as a sort of fruity note, but it pokes its tart little head out near the end and gives the sip a nice fresh finish. Yum! :)

Flavors: Almond, Cookie, Fruity, Mango, Sweet, Tart

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This was a bonus sample I got when I ordered 5 samples for $5 from Design a Tea. I think it was because I put in Steepster as a referral? Anyway.

I am really confused by this one… It says “Strawberry Caramel” on the front. For some reason, my sample has lavender in it. And lavender isn’t even on the list of ingredients… Not to mention, it doesn’t fit with these flavors and makes this cup taste like I’m sucking on a medicated strawberry-flavored lozenge…

So confused… And unhappy. I guess I won’t rate this since apparently I got some weird crazy lavender batch?

Flavors: Candy, Lavender, Medicinal, Soap, Strawberry, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cheri

that doesn’t sound strawberry caramel at all. :(

carol who

Yikes! That doesn’t sound good.

Cameron B.

It was a twilight zone moment… The strawberry and caramel were there, too bad that lavender was soaping it up all over them. :(

Mikumofu

I didn’t get lavender in my sample of this…must be some kind of mix-up. I also got a mislabeled tea when I ordered last time…

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90

This one was a single individually-wrapped bag that boychik included as a bonus in her package. I have to say, Kusmi has the coolest tea bags – all muslin and they look so handmade! Photo here: http://instagram.com/p/uV03djGgJt/. I’ve had their Linden tea before and it reminded me of chamomile, it had that kind of mild floral that’s sweet and somewhat musty.

This is so tasty! The mint is light and refreshing, and not at all like toothpaste or other offensively minty things. It goes perfectly with the mild and sweet linden blossom and together they make a perfectly lovely soothing tea that is perfect for evening (or for any moment that you need to relax a little). I guess they don’t make this blend anymore, as it’s not on Kusmi’s website… So I may have to try the Verbena-Mint version and see how it compares!

Flavors: Floral, Mint, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML
boychik

i really liked this one. unfortunately i got allergic to it, my face was all puffy ;(

Cameron B.

Uh oh… Allergic to linden apparently? :P I like it a lot, and I’m sad that they don’t seem to make it anymore…

boychik

Harney does, plain and mint

Cameron B.

I’ll have to try theirs sometime, thanks. :D

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Wow! Those are the best teabags ever!

Stephanie

I have never seen such a cool sachet

Cameron B.

Steph, do you like linden or chamomile at all? I have one sachet of the plain Tilleul that I could send you. :)

Stephanie

I like chamomile- never tried Linden

Cameron B.

I’ll keep it aside for you and include it next time I send a package. :D

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90
drank Thé de Noël by Nina's Paris
711 tasting notes

Having this one this morning (afternoon?) to convince myself that no, I really don’t need that $12 tin of Christmas Tea from Kusmi that’s on Vente-Privee right now… Especially since I’ve never tried it before, so who knows if I’ll even like it… Ahem. Anyway! This lovely sample came from Marzipan, thanks again! Now, I know sprinkles in tea blends are often frowned upon, but I can’t help but find these tiny white snowflakes anything less than completely charming. Some things are just cute, okay?! Anyway, this tea has that familiar holiday fruit and spice combination.

The steeped tea smells lovely, like the canned cinnamon apple slices my grandma makes. Yum, I quite like this one! The flavor is sweet and somewhat light, and the cinnamon is in perfect harmony with the apple instead of overpowering it. I find I’m not tasting a lot of vanilla, but I’m not terribly upset by it (which is saying a lot, I love vanilla). I will definitely have to pick up some of this gem if I ever get around to a Nina’s order. Thanks Marz! :D

Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

I kinda love sprinkles in tea because they are just too cute. There have been a couple teas that have them that I did not like but still felt happy seeing because SPRINKLES!

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90
drank Golden Honey Dew by Lupicia
711 tasting notes

This one came from NayLynn, and I confess I’ve tried it once and not written a note, because I was feeling lazy and it was late at night. This looks like plain green rooibos, so I guess it’s just flavoring and no other additions. Dry scent is a combination of cantaloupe and honeydew melons, similar to their Melon Oolong.

Once steeped, it smells strongly of sweet honeydew melons, and I added a touch of raw sugar as well. The flavor here is lovely, and it tastes like a combination of cantaloupe and honeydew to me. I think it’s the same flavoring used in their Melon Oolong, and I tend to prefer that one because the oolong base adds more juiciness to it. This one is awesome too though, and caffeine free. :)

Flavors: Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
boychik

Oh man, how many Lupicia ’s you had today? They should pay you in tea for all these great reviews

Kittenna

Yum. On my list now, although I would probably also prefer the oolong.

Lariel of Lórien

Hail to our Melon Overlords!

Cameron B.

boychik, If only… ;) Just trying to get through all of my samples so I know what to order.

donkeytiara

The Japanese do melon flavored things really really well. I have some melon chocolate in my cabinet from Hokkaido and it’s phenomenal!

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80
drank Kaga Bocha au Lait by Lupicia
711 tasting notes

Another Lupicia sample courtesy of Dexter. This looks like it’s all roasted stems, so I guess that makes it a hybrid of houjicha and kukicha? Houji-kukicha? Anyway, the stems are brittle and are a light brownish tan in color. It smells very roasty.

Now this is a nice, roasty tea. It tastes like roasted nuts or something similar, and autumn leaves. And it doesn’t make my throat weird and scratchy like houjichas I’ve tried in the past. Hooray! Apparently I’m supposed to enjoy this one with milk, but I like it as is.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Roasted, Toasted

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Lariel of Lórien

That sounds really good.

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Profile

Bio

Hello, my name is Cameron. I’m 24 years old and currently living in Saratoga Springs, New York with my lovely boyfriend (a software architect). I am currently not employed, which leaves plenty of time for cooking and tea-drinking! I am a staunch lover of pugs and other squishy-face dogs, although sadly I do not currently have one. :(

I originally got into tea a couple of years ago. My sister introduced me to Teavana (there was a store in the nearby mall) and I was hooked. I have just started to drink tea again and I am very grateful to have found this community where there are so many with experience and wisdom to share!

I am a shameless Western steeper!

I love swaps! If you see something in my cupboard that you’d like to try, shoot me a private message and we’ll work something out!

My general tea info:

Likes:
Taiwanese Blacks
French Flavored Teas
Yunnan (esp. Pure Bud varieties)
Lightly Roasted Oolong
Japanese Greens (esp. Sencha & Gyokuro)
Genmaicha (traditional or otherwise)
Blueberry
Vanilla
Fig
Almond/Marzipan
Most “Dessert” Flavors (caramel, toffee, butterscotch, cake, cookie, etc.)

Favorite Companies:
Lupicia
TeaVivre
Yunnan Sourcing
Fauchon
Mariage Frères
Yunomi

Not A Fan
High Mountain Oolong
Overly Floral (esp. Rose)
Licorice Root
Hibiscus
Rose Hip
Strong Bergamot

Rating Scale:

90-100: Spectacular, a staple
80-89: Delicious, might buy again
70-79: Pretty good, won’t repurchase
60-69: Just “okay”
00-59: Undrinkable!

Location

Saratoga Springs, New York

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