711 Tasting Notes


Another sample from Starfevre! I am a vanilla fiend, so of course I had to give this one a try. I must say, I am unsure why there is shredded coconut in this tea, it has nothing to do with French vanilla (neither do almonds, but oh well). The base tea is much darker than the picture, it almost black, and there are some stems included. It smells vaguely vanilla-esque, perhaps with a bit of a custard note.

The steeped tea smells sort of like vanilla custard as well, but the aroma is not as strong as I would like. This is definitely a light-bodied and lightly flavored vanilla tea. I do enjoy the vanilla that’s here, and it does remind me of vanilla bean, which is nice. However, I feel this needs more, either in the vanilla flavor or in the base tea’s flavor. It just falls a little flat as-is, with a lack of dimension.

Flavors: Malt, Vanilla, Wood

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

That’s too bad! I love vanilla too and was wondering how strong it was in here.

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This sample is from my swap with Starfevre. I haven’t seen her around lately, I hope she’s doing well. I am a huge maple fan, and even though the maple teas I’ve had have been disappointing, I always want to try more! I would love to find a very strongly flavored maple tea for the fall and winter months. Anyway! This tea is a mix of very dark, generic-looking black tea leaves, little hunks of maple brittle, and some red peppercorns, which I avoided like the plague when measuring out my cup. Seriously though, why are they in there? It smells very sweet and maple-y, in fact I can smell it through the 4 mm thick bag even.

The steeped tea smells quite sugary with a light maple aroma. Hmm, this tastes kind of odd. The base tea seems kind of vegetal, and specifically reminds me of cooked green beans. The maple flavor is nice, perhaps a touch artificial but that’s okay. Overall, a very light-bodied tea. Definitely not my perfect maple tea, but not terrible either.

Flavors: Artificial, Green Beans, Malt, Maple, Sweet

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

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drank Marron Chocolat by Lupicia
711 tasting notes

This sample came from miss Stephanie, it was part of her free shipping order. I am always excited for the opportunity to try another Lupicia tea! Like some other Lupicia black teas I’ve had, this one looks to be a mix of little CTC-style pellets and more traditional-looking small leaves. There are also some rather large pieces of what I assume to be roasted chestnut. Dry, this tea smells quite delicious – it’s a nice mix of sweet cocoa and roasted, nutty chestnut.

The steeped tea smells remarkably similar to the dry version, yum! The taste is definitely heavier on the chestnut. It has a deep roasted, slightly bitter flavor as well as a creamy nuttiness that contrasts nicely. The cocoa is definitely unsweetened (the same as their Thé au Chocolat). Overall, I quite like this as a fall/winter tea, though I’m sure it would be even better with a touch of sugar added.

Flavors: Bitter, Chestnut, Cocoa, Creamy, Malt, Roasted nuts

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

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First tea of the day! This sample is from Dexter. It looks like a pure bud tea, and the fuzzy buds are mostly golden with some darker grey/brown parts. Dry scent is very sweet with some nice, mellow hay notes. I set my kettle to 200 degrees before I had chosen my tea, and I probably should have lowered it to 190 for this tea, but we’ll see how it goes!

The steeped aroma is quite powerful, with the expected sweet potato and bread notes along with sweet honey, stonefruit, and a touch of earth. Woo, this is a very concentrated Yunnan brew! Strong and thick sweet potato and dark wheat bread here. This is the sweeter side of Yunnan, it has yummy honey notes instead of the smoked meats flavor I often find. I can also taste apricot, especially at the end and in the aftertaste. There’s a little bit of a drying sensation at the end, probably from brewing at slightly too high a temperature. Overall though, yums!

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Earth, Honey, Sage, Sweet Potatoes, Thick

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

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drank Paris Ginza by Mariage Frères
711 tasting notes

This tea came from boychik and, originally, CharlotteZero. Thanks, ladies! The leaves are of medium size and jet black, and I can see a couple of teeny pieces of dried strawberry mixed in. It has a delicious sweet caramel and tart red fruit smell, yum.

Mm, the steeped tea smells delicious as well! I can definitely pick out tart strawberry along with a light and sweet caramel scent. Hm, I’m not sure how old this one is, but it doesn’t have much flavor at all. I can taste a bit of strawberry and caramel in the aftertaste, but mostly it just tastes like a slightly bitter black tea. Withholding rating…

Flavors: Bitter, Caramel, Strawberry

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

yea, she sent it last spring…but i find most french teas smell delicious and taste is meh

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drank Polka by Betjeman and Barton
711 tasting notes

This is another one from Dexter (I know, she sent me a ton!). I’ve never tried anything from Betjeman and Barton before. The black tea leaves are very small/broken here, and there are lots of little bits of flower petals mixed in with them. Dry scent is actually very fruity and appealing, with a nice tartness that always improves fruity teas for me.

Mm, the steeped tea smells quite fruity as well. I think I can smell strawberry and orange, as well as that strange powdered sugar aroma that I often find in French flavored teas. Hm, I think I may have overleafed a tad, as it has a slight bitter edge. I almost always used 1.5 teaspoons of tea per 8 ounces, but perhaps I should have used less here since the leaves are so broken. Oh well! The fruit flavor is actually quite a bit more mild than I would like it to be, and there’s definitely orange involved but I can’t really distinguish any other specific flavors. And it also has that chalky powdered sugar texture to it that leaves my tongue slightly dry. I don’t love it…

Flavors: Bitter, Fruity, Orange, Powdered sugar

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

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This is the only other tea sample I could find with actual coconut in it. I believe this one is from KiwiDelight (I apologize if I’m mistaken, feel free to correct me!). This is an interesting concept, as far as I know this is no such thing as a coconut peppermint patty, but I think it would be tasty if there was! This tea is a mix of very broken dark black tea, a few pieces of shaved coconut, some crushed peppermint leaves, and a cacao shell or two. Surprisingly, it doesn’t smell overly minty, in fact it mostly smells of coconut.

The steeped tea does smell quite minty, with a touch of added sweetness from the coconut and cacao. Hm… This actually doesn’t taste like much of anything besides mint, and a slightly bitter base tea. I get a touch of coconut as an aftertaste, but nothing more. It’s a shame, but sadly not dissimilar from other experiences I’ve had with 52teas…

Flavors: Coconut, Peppermint

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

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So I was thinking to myself that I should probably hurry and try any samples I have with coconut in them, because as you all know, coconut gets really weird as it ages and becomes soapy and then just downright rotten. This sample came from Dexter. Though I am most often disappointed by chocolate teas, I still find myself drawn to them. This tea has a lot of stuff in it, like coconut, cacao shells, and even what look like pieces of rock sugar. It smells sweet but somewhat off, as if the coconut has already aged past its prime. We shall see!

The steeped liquid smells very sweet, with notes of coconut and chocolate. I think I’m picking up a touch of soapiness as well. Thankfully, it doesn’t taste soapy. It’s a very light infusion since I only steeped for 3 minutes, but there’s a lot of coconut flavor here, especially in the aftertaste. The texture is quite creamy, and I can taste the cacao as well in the beginning and middle of the sip. Quite tasty, but I wouldn’t buy it since I know the coconut would go bad before I drank it all…

Flavors: Artificial, Cocoa, Coconut

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

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This is the second Czar Nikolas II sample I got from Sara. Looking at the tea itself, I’m not sure what I was thinking when I asked for this one. There are about a million rose petals mixed in with the black leaves, and it smells like a giant rose bomb went off when I open the bag. Ah well, onward!

The steeped tea also smells strongly of rose and not much else. Ick, nope this one’s not for me. It tastes like straight rose black tea. Withholding a rating. :P

Flavors: Malt, Rose

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

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drank Renaissance by Czar Nikolas II
711 tasting notes

I got this and another Czar Nikolas II tea in my swap with Sara. They sounded interesting and unusual, so I had to give them a try. This tea is a mix of very curly jet black leaves and various flower petals. It’s interesting that this tea says it’s only scented with flowers, because it has a tart, fruity smells like apricot or peach.

Mm, the steeped tea smells very fruity as well. I would describe the aroma as strawberry rhubarb – there’s a strong tart element. Wow, this is an interesting one! There’s definitely an element here that’s very tart, in fact it reminds me of a cross between lemon juice and hibiscus. The base tea is super mellow and somewhat malty. I can taste a hint of peach at the end of the sip. Something about this tea is chalky, and I’m not sure what it is. Overall, a strange and unusual tea.

Flavors: Lemon, Malt, Peach, Tart

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!

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:

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

Favorite Companies:
Yunnan Sourcing
Mariage Frères

Not A Fan
High Mountain Oolong
Overly Floral (esp. Rose)
Licorice Root
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!


Saratoga Springs, New York

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