631 Tasting Notes


I received this sample from Little Red Cup Tea Company just before leaving for my honeymoon. There wasn’t time to try it before I left, so I stored it in my cupboard away from light and moisture. I always feel bad about writing a review that’s anything but glowing when it’s for a tea I’ve received for free, whether that be through a swap or directly from a tea distributor in exchange for a review. Sadly, this is one of those cases.

I believe this tea is about the same quality as most bagged teas, maybe slightly better. The leaves are crushed enough that they’d probably fit in a bagged form as is. The tea produced is not very flavorful, but it’s also not bitter or astringent. I tried brewing this with 2 tsp of leaves in about 8 oz. of water and it was nearly flavorless. With 3 tsp, it’s a little better. However, it’s missing the lovely sweetness and hay-like qualities that I’ve come to love about Bai Mu Dan. It’s just a rather lackluster cup of tea.

That said, it’s not bad. It’s just not great either. If I really needed tea and this was all I had, I’d still drink it. But if I was in the mood for a White Peony tea and had other options, I’d turn elsewhere. Overall, I rate it along the same lines as I rate the bagged teas I used to love before discovering loose leaf. I am glad I had the opportunity to try it though!

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drank Jardin Bleu by Dammann Freres
631 tasting notes

Sipdown #45

Thanks to Sil for this sample! The brewed tea aroma is fruit and flowers. Hmm, there’s something weird about this flavor combo. I can’t readily identify the type of fruit or flowers that this tea is supposed to taste like.

I added some almond milk and agave, and now it’s much more to my liking. The black base is calm and floats in the background behind the added flavorings. Overall, this isn’t an incredibly complex or nuanced tea, but it is delicious! Yum!

Please pray for my husband’s father. His name is Bob, and he was just admitted to the hospital tonight with complaints of chest pain. They are doing a cardiac catheterization first thing tomorrow morning to diagnose what’s going on. They currently think he might have a blood clot or some other type of blockage, but we won’t know for sure until they do the diagnostic test tomorrow.

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My prayers with you and your family and that everything will turn out well.


hug i will send positive vibes your way darling.


I wish him and your family the best.


Sending prayers your way!!


Oh no, my thoughts will be with you and bob. Hope he’s ok




Thank you all SOO much for your prayers and kind words! Bob had the cardiac catheterization. The procedure normally lasts 30-60 minutes. He was in surgery for 4 hours. One of his arteries was 100% blocked! The doctors said that they haven’t seen a blockage this large before and that they only had a 20% chance to clear it. However, they kept working at it and didn’t give up (thus explaining why it took 4 hours), and they were able to completely clear the blockage!

Bob’s blood pressure immediately improved, and he is already feeling much better! We are so blessed that he walked into that hospital on his own power. He could have had a heart attack at any minute! Coronary heart disease is the #1 killer in America for both men and women. He had just come for a visit and played tennis with my husband out in the hot sun for hours. It’s simply a miracle that he’s okay!

They have him on new medication to help lower his cholesterol and another one that will scrub his arteries to keep future blockages from happening. This all happened so fast, and it’s already over. I think we’re all in shock. But now we can go on our honeymoon without worrying that he’s going to need a bypass or anything more serious.

It’s just amazing how God took care of him. I am so thankful to be part of this community of genuinely good-hearted people. I’m convinced that this truly is a miracle brought on by everyone’s love, support, and prayers. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!


oh that is AMAAAAZING news. I’m so happy to hear that things went better and that he pulled through. That is incredible news….totally just made my day :) so happy for you!


So glad to hear he’s doing better! Hope you have a great honeymoon. :)

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Sipdown #46

Even the dry leaf aroma is wild! The brewed tea aroma is spicy and nutty. Mmm, this tea is another magical creation of Verdant Tea. This has the full-bodied flavor I expect from Yunnan teas. It’s malty and luscious and just wonderful! At the tail end of the sip, there’s a light floral note that I haven’t encountered in Yunnan teas before.

It’s very flavorful and delicious for the first two infusions. By the third, it was pretty weak with only the aftertaste having any flavor. I tried a fourth infusion for 10 minutes just for the heck of it. Even with such a long steep time, there wasn’t quite enough flavor left to cut through my snack of chickpea popcorn. In my opinion, this tea is good for only two infusions when brewed Western style.

In other news, I’m gearing up for our European honeymoon by downloading tons of apps (especially those with offline maps) and working out the kinks in our itinerary. I CAN’T WAIT!! London and Paris, here we come!

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That sounds like a lot of fun!


Wonderful fun!!!

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It’s time for my morning cup of chai! I was all out of my regular chai concentrate mix, and I didn’t feel like running out to the store. I bought this chocolate chai concentrate as soon as it was released. I was super excited for it! After trying it once, I stuck it in the fridge and promptly forgot about it. Well, it’s time to drink and log it properly!

This one will not be replacing my regular chai. The chocolate is like chocolate syrup. It’s very thick and viscous and not at all like the regular chai mix. It just tastes weird and artificial to me. I feel like I’m drinking Hershey’s chocolate syrup with a kick of spice. Blech. That’s just not really my thing.

And to pour salt on the wound, this mix cost an extra $1 more than the regular chai mix. Now that may not sound like much, but it made me feel like I’m getting jipped. You can’t honestly tell me that it costs an extra $1 to add chocolate. I don’t know. Maybe I’m overreacting. But every dollar adds up over time!

This will not be a restock for me, and I think I may just pour out what’s left in the box. Since it’s premixed in liquid form, I can’t pass it along to someone who might enjoy it better. And that makes me sad. :(


I’ve never bought any chai mixes before, let alone theirs, but now you have left me curious. I always imagine them to be super sweet. Do you find the regular one to be so?


It does have added sugar, but I don’t find it to be too sweet. It’s so spicy that the spice balances out the sugar, especially when you add milk. Try ordering the chai tea latte from Starbucks first. If you like it, then you know you’ll like the concentrate mix, which is a MUCH better value for your money.

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drank Pure Leaf Sweet Tea by Lipton
631 tasting notes

I bought a bottle of this at work when I was really in need of tea. Now, I love adding sweetener to black tea. I have a huge sweet tooth! But this tea was waaaaaaay too sugary for me. I swear I could feel my teeth rotting out of my skull. I honestly thought about adding some water to dilute it.

One bottle has 160 calories and 42 grams of sugar. Umm, does anyone else see the problem with this? And to think they also make an “Extra Sweet” version with 250 calories and a whopping 65 grams of sugar!!! Ack! Never again.


Once was definitely enough

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drank Paul & Virginie by Dammann Freres
631 tasting notes

Sipdown #47

The dry leaf aroma is sweet and fruity. The brewed tea aroma is distinctly cherry. I’ve had a few cherry-flavored teas before, but this one has the most spot on, authentic cherry flavor. It is pretty good plain, but I did add a little Truvia to ramp up the sweetness. I let the cup cool and enjoy this much better as an iced tea. Overall, a very enjoyable cuppa! Thanks Sil for the sample!

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Sipdown #48

The brewed tea aroma is…not my beloved Yunnan black! It almost smells like Keemun…WEIRD! This tea is what I refer to as “dirty diaper tea.” I’m so confused. I LOVE Yunnan black teas! They are one of my all-time favorite tea regions. So, what is this cuppa? Is it a blend of Yunnan and something else?

The dirty diaper aroma doesn’t fully make its way into the taste. It’s more in the aftertaste, which unfortunately builds and gets stronger as I take more sips. Booo! What has Mariage Frères done to my beloved Yunnan? :(

It’s borderline undrinkable and not something I’d want to try again. I’m sure others could drink this and enjoy it just fine. It’s just not for me. Big thanks to Sil for this sample! I might have bought 100g of it thinking it was a safe bet just to be disappointed when I got home. Catastrophe avoided! ;)

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Sipdown #49

Finished this off with some unsweetened almond milk and agave. Mmm mm! Thanks to Shmiracles for the sample!

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i love this tea…i’ll be so sad when i’m done my bag..


I feel like it’s a whole new take on caramel teas. It’s so delicious without being super sweet.

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Sipdown #50

The dry leaf aroma is mostly berries. Catching a whiff of the brewed tea aroma, I was immediately hit by jasmine. But this isn’t a jasmine tea. Odd. I kept sniffing and slowly the aroma transformed into something floral and gritty, tugging at the edge of my memory. Honeysuckle? I think the floral aroma is honeysuckle.

First sip…the immediate taste is rose and rock sugar…then it ebbs into that grittiness from the aroma. I’m guessing that’s the cedar note. Then slowly it transforms again into a lovely floral aftertaste very reminiscent of honeysuckle. The goji berry melds with the floral notes so that I can’t quite separate its distinct flavor.

I should add that what I describe as “gritty” is really my way of trying to describe a flavor, not a texture, that I haven’t come across before and therefore lack the vocabulary to portray properly. This tea is very smooth.

Overall, I’m very impressed with this tea! It has a nice progression of flavors that I haven’t encountered often. I believe that’s a characteristic of the pu’er coming through. I don’t have too much experience with pu’er, but it’s the only tea variety I have tried that morphs in your mouth like this.

It’s a naturally sweet blend and much more yummy and drinkable than I had anticipated. Too bad this one is all gone now too. Alas, my Verdant tea blend samples are all drunk. But there’s still the straight ones to sample!

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

I love this tea! Hoarding the rest of my 1 oz bag in case it doesn’t get re blended again this year.

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Sipdown #51

The dry leaf aroma is intoxicating! It smells predominately of Yunnan Black and Bai Mu Dan. The brewed tea aroma is mostly Yunnan Black.

Wow! The taste of this tea is incredibly unique and familiar all at the same time. I can taste the Yunnan and the Laoshan, the Bai Mu Dan, and a hint of Shui Jin Gui Wuyi. How can this tea be so amazingly complex and yet distinctively each tea in the blend? All I want to do is buy more of this tea!!! But it’s currently out of stock. :( I guess that’s God telling me to stop buying new teas.

Second infusion for 2 minutes yielded a very different cup but still a very tasty one. It’s softer, more balanced, and more cohesive now. I then cold brewed the next cup overnight. This blend makes for a yummy cold brew even on the third infusion! I really like this tea, and I’m sad it’s gone. But I’m very happy I decided to buy a sample and had the opportunity to enjoy many delicious cups!

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i snagged the last little bit of this from verdant…looking forward to try it out!


So you’re the culprit! LOL! You’ll love it. ;)

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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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