359 Tasting Notes


Another tea from the Chanakara variety boxes I found while looking through old things at my mom’s. I have no idea what a guanabana is, so I looked it up. Apparently it’s the same thing as a soursop, which is a fruit that visually reminds me of a giant green burr. I kind of chose this randomly as my caffeine-free tea to have tonight while in bed. Brewed one bag in boiling water for 5 minutes.

Bleck… This basically tastes like weak, tart rosehip and hibiscus water. I don’t get a “vanilla-scented” anything, or even citrus. Just tart water.

Boo hiss. That is all I have to say, Stash.

Flavors: Hibiscus, Rosehips, Tart

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This was my wildcard purchase at Shang today. It sounded interesting and it was only $6.50 for a box of ten pouches, so I figured why not? I like dates. I have no idea what dong quai tastes like (apparently it’s the same thing as angelica root, but I don’t know what that tastes like either).

So I mixed a packet up in hot water while my sister was over for dinner, because we were both curious about it. I originally did 6 ounces, but bumped it up to 8 after the first taste. This is incredibly sweet stuff. I mean, it’s literally like drinking honey and molasses in water. I realize dates are sweet, but dayum! And apparently dong quai tastes like celery leaves, because there’s a very strong celery leaf flavor in here that doesn’t go well at all with the sweetness.

Overall, this is odd but not terrible. I’m not really sure I should give it a rating even… I wouldn’t even know where to begin with this one! :P

Flavors: Celery, Dates, Honey, Molasses, Sweet

8 OZ / 236 ML
Thomas Edward(Toad)

I wanna try this one too,I like trying the little instant tea powders :)

Cameron B.

Hah, well I’d definitely be willing to send you a couple of packets if you’re up for it! :P

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Nicole recommended that I go visit Shang Tea while I’m in Kansas City, so we drove there this morning to see what they had to offer. There was a very nice man working there who brewed us up some samples to try and seemed very knowledgeable about their teas. I noticed later that there was a photo on the wall of him in the tea fields. Apparently he goes there about 2 or 3 months out of the year, he told us. I’m not sure whether he was the owner or not, but he was very nice and I wish I had asked him his name. I ended up buying samples of several different teas and a box of some interesting-looking instant mix.

So I ended up steeping this tea three times throughout the day, the first at 3 minutes, then 4 and 5 for the other two. I think this may be the first tea I’ve had that I’ve enjoyed the second and third steeping more than the first. Honestly, I don’t remember that much about the first, as it was in the afternoon. I would describe it as a mixture of black and white teas. The second and (especially) the third steepings were fantastic, with an amazing creamy grain note that reminds me of something, but I can’t quite place it. I would call it similar to rice or cereal grains, and there’s a bit of a hay note as well. The texture is creamy and light. Yum! I may have to try for a fourth steep in the morning…

Flavors: Baked Bread, Grain, Hay, Honey, Molasses

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Thanks to Nicole i love Shang tea


TeaTiff turned me on to Shang. I really like this one a lot.


You are in KC? If you need any suggestions for food or places to go send me a note. I am glad you got to visit Shang Tea!

Cameron B.

I did a fourth steep this morning, and it’s not bad, but a little weak. I think I should’ve gone for 10 minutes instead of 7.

Thomas Edward(Toad)

Sounds good :) i must try a Shang Tea sampler or something soon

Shang Tea

Thanks for the writeup Cameron and thanks for stopping in to visit us! Yes that was our owner Zehua Shang that you enjoyed tea with.

Cameron B.

Awesome! Thanks very much for the comment! My mother and I had a good time, she just tried the Sweet Leaf Tea that she purchased and she likes it a lot. :D And thanks to Zehua Shang for the great service!

Shang Tea

Fantastic, thanks for stopping by our shop when you visited Kansas City, and let me know if you have any other questions about our tea!

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So I found a couple of boxes of Chanakara Collection tea bags at my mom’s when I was going through some things. They were still wrapped in cellophane so I figured that they were probably still semi-fresh even though they’re a year or more old. There was a time in my tea past when I ordered several things from Stash’s website, and a box of these teas was one of them. I liked them so much that I ended up ordering a six-pack of boxes on Amazon, so that’s where these came from. I felt like having a nice chamomile blend this evening while watching Brave with my mom and boyfriend, so I opened one of the boxes and selected this tea. There don’t seem to be instructions anywhere on the box, so I just did boiling water for 5 minutes. I could definitely steep this one longer if I wanted a stronger flavor.

Overall, I find this to be a perfectly nice and pleasant chamomile-based tisane. I’m not really familiar with lotus or chrysanthemum flowers, so I couldn’t tell you what they add to this, and I found that the linden blossom tea I tried tasted quite similar to chamomile. So overall, this is mostly a chamomile tisane with a little bit of extra. There’s definitely a honey note, and something that reminds me of sweet pastries.

I was pleasantly surprised by this tisane, and I could definitely see myself keeping it around as a nighttime treat.

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Pastries

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Hello from Kansas City! My boyfriend and I are here visiting my mother for a week. We got up at 4 AM this morning for our 6:15 AM fight, so needless to say, I am pooped. We had just under a two hour flight to Chicago, then just over an hour flight to Kansas City. It all went fairly smoothly aside from the fact that they put our one checked bag onto a different flight that arrived an hour-and-a-half later, so we had to wait for that. We took a little nap and now we’re just relaxing, ahhhhhhh

Anyway, I brought about five teas with me, and this was one of them! Partially because I need to be trying to sip down my TeaVivre samples, and partially because it smelled really good when I opened the tin last night. It’s amazing how different this tea is after trying so many “tippy” Yunnan teas from other companies. It’s so good! I haven’t had such a bready-tasting tea for a while now, and it’s making my mouth very happy. :D

I hope everyone is having a good weekend so far! I won’t be posting much for the next week, but I will be around daily to check messages and such. <3

P.S. – Upped the rating from 88 to 90!

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Welcome to a hot and muggy KC! You need to get to Shang while you are here! :)

Cameron B.

I might have to do that! I’m technically in a suburb of KC, but I might run over there anyway just to check it out. My mother did mention wanting to do a shopping trip! :P

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Eww you came here when it is all hot and gross, too bad, we were having some fantastic earlier this month.

I second the Shang recommendation, and then hey…it is not too far to the Plaza with all its wonderful fountains. Also Kauffman Gardens, if you are into lovely flowers and more fountains (really this place is lousy with the things)


Enjoy your trip :)

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drank Birthday Cake by Butiki Teas
359 tasting notes

My last Butiki sample from Mandy! This is actually one of the teas I’ve been most excited to try since I discovered Stacy’s website, and I ordered it in today’s sale. It’s very light and fluffy, mostly marshmallow leaf with various colored flower petals mixed in. Smells vaguely sweet and vanilla-esque.

This actually reminds me a lot of chamomile – it has that same musty, sweet floral taste. It’s very odd, considering there’s no chamomile in this blend… There’s also vanilla there, and a bit of butter. The whole thing is quite creamy and thick in texture.

I like this a lot! I can’t get over how similar it is to chamomile… I stopped buying chamomile blends because they’re just such a pain in the ass to brew. All those little tiny pollen strand things get stuck everywhere. But this is a nice alternative to that! Hooray!

Flavors: Butter, Cake, Marshmallow, Sweet, Vanilla

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

Very interesting. I can’t believe you don’t like eating chamomile bits in your tea!

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Time for my first-ever sheng (and really my first-ever puerh)! Sarsonator sent me a surprise sample along with a note that we should do a tasting together. So hooray! The leaves are large and fluffy and lightly colored. They have a pleasant hay or autumn leaf smell, maybe with some fruitiness included. Time for some gong fu!

Method: 4g tea in 4oz water, 212 degrees, 5s rinse/5/5/10/10s

Rinse (5s): Smells like a pond! I taste dried stonefruit, autumn leaves, very sweet!

Steep 1 (5s): autumn leaves, dried apricot, golden raisin, lightly vegetal

Steep 2 (5s): fruit leather, raisins/prunes, mild autumn leaves, roasty

Steep 3 (10s): very roasty, autumn leaves, sharply vegetal, astringent

Steep 4 (10s): roasty, autumn leaves, dill, parsley, slight floral, buttery

Steep 5 (10s): similar to 4 with some fruit leather

Steep 6 (15s): similar to 2 (dried fruit, autumn leaves)

Steep 7 (20s): light autumn leaves, herbs, citrus

Steep 8 (30s): fruit leather, sweet, leaves

Steep 9 (60s): surprisingly not that strong or different, similar to 8, astringent

Steep 10 (2m): deeper fruit leather, autumn leaves, astringent

Overall, there wasn’t that much flavor variation between steeps, which makes me think that Sars’s method of combining steeps into a mug may be better suited to this, or even a western-style steep. The flavor was largely fruit leather (which is like concentrated dried fruit) and autumn leaves with a roasted edge. Quite yummy! The only issue I found with long steeps was some astringency, but that may have not been the case if I’d done a long steep at the beginning. Thanks to Sarsonator for the sample and for trying it out with me! :D

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Dried Fruit, Herbs, Roasted, Sweet

Boiling 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

Awesome notes!!!!! Next time, I am hunting for herbs!!!!


Yay for first sheng tasting!

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Hooray, another tea from Mandy! And this is actually a tea that I ordered in the sale, too. I love pistachios and creamy things, so it seemed like a perfect fit! The dry leaves are quite spindly and there are pieces of pistachio throughout. It smells like flavoring, with that alcoholic note that makes me go “ick”. I kind of get vanilla from it, I guess. I’ve learned so far to not really bother smelling these teas dry, as the alcohol scent overpowers everything else.

The brewed aroma is vegetal green tea, mostly spinach. There’s a little bit of vanilla scent too. This mostly tastes like green tea… I get a little bit of nuttiness, maybe some vanilla and cream in there. I would call it Green Tea Ice Cream. :P This kind of reminds me of Verdant’s Minnesota Blend in that it doesn’t taste how I would expect, it mostly tastes like a green tea with nice vanilla and nut notes. I think I will try this with more tea per cup when it arrives.

Of course, I added vanilla soymilk at the end, and of course, that makes it taste much more like ice cream! Still not necessarily pistachio though, more of a light green tea ice cream. :)

Flavors: Butternut Squash, Cream, Nuts, Spinach, Vanilla, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I know it’s not exactly related, but you just reminded me that I have vanilla soy ice cream AND matcha. I am SO making green tea ice cream later!


Green tea ice cream is awesome, Sarsonator. Have you ever made it with coconut milk?


Whaaat? No. How the heck do you do that!???? Sounds so good!!!!


Sarsonator: it’s extremely easy. Just substitute canned coconut milk for regular milk. The texture and flavor are splendid!


Oh, I believe you are talking about making it from scratch right? I’ve never done that! I just put matcha powder in vanilla ice cream and stir. :p

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Yay for Mandy! Lol… This is actually one of the teas I ordered in today’s sale, partially on a recommendaton from Sars and partially because it has marshmallow. I didn’t realize that the base tea is Zhen Qu (which I also ordered)! The leaves are super cute, curly and golden. I’m getting that same alcoholic small from this tea, which I guess is just a byproduct of the flavoring. I do smell some chocolate under it, but not much else. 3 minutes, goooo!

Brewed, it smells like those chocolate oranges that I love around the holidays! I don’t know if this is a turn-off for some people, but there is definitely an oily layer on the top of this tea, especially since I stirred the tea before taking the basket out, to make sure the chocolate chips dissolved. Doesn’t bother me much, but it’s definitely there. Yum, this tastes like chocolate oranges too! Definitely the dark chocolate variety. I’m not sure how much marshmallow I get, but there’s definitely a sweetness here and I don’t think it’s coming from that dark chocolate. This is definitely the best chocolate tea I’ve had.

…I totally added soymilk to the second half of my cup, just for kicks. Yum chocolate orange mousse! ;) So glad I ordered this one, thanks for the recommendation, Sarsy! I’m beginning to think all flavored teas benefit from some vanilla soymilk, lol. It adds creaminess without that overpowering “cream” taste that I get from using half-and-half.

Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Marshmallow, Orange

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

I am going to make this with soymilk next time!!!!

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Another Butiki sample from Mandy! I’m not generally a huge fan of chocolate teas, but I haven’t tried one yet from Stacy so we shall see! There are chocolate chips and pieces of dehydrated strawberry mixed in with the Assam base. The leaves are quite small compared to the other black teas I’ve seen from her. It smells like strawberries, yum! Steeped 3 minutes.

The brewed aroma is strawberry and those layered chocolate wafer cookies – the ones with the really light and crisp wafers with the waffle print, and then the chocolate filling between them. I think I can smell a little espresso mixing in with the chocolate. The strawberry flavor in this reminds me of those strawberry goo-filled hard candies that are wrapped in the foil that looks like a strawberry! I find the combination of the dark chocolate and the espresso together to be a bit bitter, even with sugar added. However, the strawberry is definitely the star. I get a bit of chocolate throughout, and I only taste the espresso in the aftertaste.

Overall, this is quite tasty, but I’m glad I didn’t order it over other things. Thanks Mandy!

Flavors: Candy, Chocolate, Espresso, Strawberry

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

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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!

Currently trying to move out of the flavored tea phase and into those tasty straight teas!

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:

Flavored Black
Light to Medium Yunnan
Mild Sencha/Kabusecha
Genmaicha (traditional or otherwise)

Currently Exploring:
Chinese Black
Oxidized/Roasted Oolong

Not A Fan
Greener Oolong
Overly Floral
Licorice Root
Rose Hips
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!


Saratoga Springs, New York

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