523 Tasting Notes

drank Organic Mao Jian by Butiki Teas
523 tasting notes

I have a major case of the munchies tonight. And I’m doing everything I can not to munch, LOL! So, it’s tea time!!! Somehow, I missed trying this tea when I bought a boatload of Butiki Teas a few months ago. Whoops! Well, I get to try it now! :)

Even after all this time, the dry leaves still smell very green. They’re long, paper thin, crispy, dark green curls. The brewed tea aroma is rich, buttery vegetables. Yummy! I’m not gonna’ lie, I used more leaf than was recommended. I do it every time! I can’t help myself! I just love strong tea. ;)

And this certainly is strongly flavored! Well, it’s unflavored but it has a lot of flavor. You know what I mean! :P Gosh, I sure do love smiley faces today. I guess I’m just happy and in the mood to emote! The wedding is swiftly approaching, and I’m getting more and more excited with each passing day. It’s going to be AMAZING! Probably more amazing than this tea, although this tea is pretty darn good.

I’m so impressed with Butiki Teas. The lowest rating of the thirteen teas I tried was 72. The average rating was 83. Five teas scored in the 90s, and one tea even got a 100! This tea is remarkable and uber delicious. I love the butteriness. I haven’t eaten real butter in about 4 weeks. So, this tastes almost forbidden. ;)

Mmmm, it’s almost creamy but not quite. Buttery is a better description. And it is sweet too. I love sweet! Fresh, crisp vegetables dripping hot butter. YUM! I love this! Go get some Butiki Teas right now. Seriously, you will not be disappointed. Flavored or unflavored. White, green, black, or oolong. They’re all amazing!!

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

Who would have thought that describing tea as fresh, crisp veggies dripping with hot butter would be so intriguing.


Hehe, thanks! :)

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drank Daydreamer by DAVIDsTEA
523 tasting notes

Oh, wedding planning just never calms down, does it? There’s too much to do!!!

I need some tea. So, I reached for this free sample I received from DAVIDsTEA. The dry leaves smell strongly of guava candy. Like super sugary guava. The brewed tea aroma is guava and mango and a little more subdued.

The ingredient list says that this guava flavoring is artificial. That’s a mild disappointment. But what’s more disappointing is the taste. This tea tastes like a low-grade bancha with very little fruit flavoring. It actually reminds me of some low quality bagged green teas I used to drink before I found loose-leaf.

For all that sugary aroma, this is fairly bland and leans towards the bitter side. Unfortunately, this tea has artificial additives and you can really tell. Thank goodness this was only a sample. I am not a fan.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Honeydew Mate by DAVIDsTEA
523 tasting notes

In exactly three weeks at precisely this time, I will be a newly married woman! I can’t believe the wedding is so close. I’ve waited my whole life for this moment, and now it’s almost here! Eeeeeeehhh!!!

Well, on to the task at hand. This was a free sample with my latest DAVIDsTEA order. I recently broke my favorite travel mug: a double-walled glass tumbler from DAVIDsTEA. Luckily, it was in stock on the website! So, I was able to buy a replacement immediately. While I was at it, I figured I might as well pick up some tea! Shhh, just don’t tell the fiancé. I’m technically not allowed to buy any more tea. :P But I only picked up a small package of Love Tea #7, so my stash hasn’t noticeably grown. ;)

I don’t usually like mate all that much, but I’m willing to give this one a go! The dry leaf of this sample smells sweetly of honeydew melon. The brewed tea aroma is a nice combination of honeydew and mate. First sip is surprisingly yummy! It’s juicy and flavorful and reminds me of a Honeydew Skittle. Mmm, those tropical Skittles are so yummy.

Anyway, this is a really lovely tea. The green rooibos helps even out the mate. The melon flavor tastes true and authentic, not artificial at all. Of course, I am comparing the honeydew taste to Skittles, which isn’t the most dependable comparison. But I don’t believe I’ve ever eaten a real honeydew melon before. So, it’s all I’ve got!

I am pleasantly surprised by this tea. The only negative I can think of is that with each sip, I seem to feel the caffeine hit my system. It’s an impact that first strikes my soft palette and then moves up into my head. It’s an odd sensation but tolerable. Thanks to DAVIDsTEA for the free sample!

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Super exciting! Good luck with all the last minute preparations.


GOOD LUCK with wedding stuff!! also, this tea is GREAT


Have fun on your wedding!! Congrats.


Yay, hope all goes well! My friend is getting married in three weeks in Mexico, and my sister in 3.5 weeks (not in Mexico, haha). So I will be very much in the wedding spirit at the same time as you (although hopefully much less stressed?)

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Life has been brutal. My fiancé was diagnosed with a disease last week. His treatment plan is intense for the next 8 weeks…and our wedding is only 7 weeks away. I feel sad and angry and frustrated and defeated. His health is the #1 priority. I suggested we postpone the wedding so he can concentrate on getting better. He doesn’t want to postpone because he’s worried about the money we’ve invested. I’m a lot less worried about money and a lot more worried about him getting better. There’s just no good option, and I feel powerless.

On to the tea, which was a free sample from Nuvola Tea. I apologize it’s taken me so long to get around to tasting it. This tea appears to be everything anyone could want from an Oriental Beauty Taiwanese oolong. Sadly, my heart isn’t in it and this has always been one of my least favorite varieties.

I’ve known that there’s been something wrong for a while. I think he has too. But we’ve just been in denial. It’s easier to ignore than to deal with. I apologize for hijacking this tasting note with sadness and bad news. It truly is a great tea: woodsy, dark, a little nutty, and a little spicy. I’m sure others would really enjoy it. It’s just not meant to be for me.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec

I’m so sorry to her about your fiance. :( That sounds so stressful, I hope he recovers soon!


That is distressing news, I’m so very sorry to hear it.

Bonnie Oh no. I pray for peace were there seems to be none,and that your love will help the physical healing come quickly.

I am so sorry. :( I will keep my fingers crossed that his treatment will be successful.


Oh no, that’s terrible CHAroma! I’m so sorry to hear that. I’m hoping that whatever disease he has is fully curable. I completely agree that his health is worth more than any money you’ll lose from postponing the wedding, but understand how tough something like that would be. Please keep us updated :(


Thanks for the love and support, everyone. Last week was pretty brutal, but this week has been much better. Unfortunately, we found out that his illness is chronic. So it’s only treatable, not curable. :( But the good news is that he’s doing great and we decided not to postpone the wedding! I’m confident that he can beat this and life will eventually become almost normal again. I appreciate you guys so much. This community has been a life saver for me in so many ways.


Hooray! Getting married is a cure for the heart that is beyond what people imagine. My parents and my brother have had much happiness even through illness. My dad knew my mother would always be sick when they married. He cared for her for over 40 years with great love.


Thanks for the kind words, Bonnie! I hope to be married for over 40 years too. :) I’m so happy to hear that your parents had a long, happy life together.


My mother wasn’t supposed to live as long as she did, which just goes to show you how we never know what the future holds. Love and faith were the center of my parents lives.


I’m happy to hear that your fiance is managing well with the treatments.
Sending you both many wishes for a long, happy, and healthy life together.

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drank Tiger Eye by Adagio Teas
523 tasting notes

Thanks to Ninavampi for a large sample of this tea! The dry leaf aroma is strongly caramel and chocolate. Yum! Totally mouthwatering. I tried it first sans additions and it was okay. It’s much more enjoyable with milk and sugar. The sugar brings out the caramel and chocolate flavors more, and the milk cuts the bitterness of the base.

With additions, this is a yummy dessert tea that delivers what it promises. It’s not like eating a Ghirardelli chocolate square, but it’s also way fewer calories than the real thing. This reminds me of 52teas’ Cashew Turtle. It’s not quite as good as that, but it’s pretty close. This is a safe bet if you’re a fan of chocolate/caramel combos. Thanks again, Ninavampi!!

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Strawberry Oolong by Butiki Teas
523 tasting notes

I opened the ½ ounce packet and was surprised to find tightly rolled, green oolong leaves. For some reason, I thought this would be a roasted brown oolong like in Butiki’s Maple Pecan Oolong. But this is a pleasant surprise for me because I adore green oolongs. :)

The dry leaves give off a lovely strawberry aroma, and yet there doesn’t appear to be anything in the pouch except oolong leaves. I wonder how this was flavored…hmm, that remains a mystery even after tasting it. But I’m jumping ahead.

The brewed tea aroma is much like the dry leaf. The taste is a beautiful, floral, green oolong with juicy strawberry flavoring. It tastes of both strawberry fruit and strawberry seeds. Yum! It’s a wonderful flavor with a natural sweetness.

OMG, this is divine!!! It has all the wonderful characteristics of floral green oolongs that I love. But it also has one of the tastiest and truest strawberry flavors I’ve ever had. This is one yummy cup of tea! I honestly can’t do it justice with words. I feel like any time I wanted a green oolong, I could just drink this instead. It’s a perfectly balanced, perfectly flavored, natural tasting, fruity tea. I am in love! *Swoon!

180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Wha? Only oolong? There are tons of teensy little blossom-y things in mine, like those in the picture (and I’ve ordered this tea twice now, and received some from Sil).


Well, if they’re small, I could have overlooked them. Or they could have fallen to the bottom of the pouch and just didn’t end up in my scoop. It was very delicious anyhow and recognizably strawberry.


I didn’t get any in mine either!


… really? That’s odd…


It really is!


Still uber tasty, either way! :P

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drank Dragon Feelers by Butiki Teas
523 tasting notes

I randomly chose this out of my Butiki bag of fun leaves today. :) The dry leaves certainly are interesting. They appear to be striped in the picture. But in actuality, they’re creased in perfectly spaced lines. The aroma from both the dry leaves and the brewed tea is subtle, generic green tea.

The taste, however, is not subtle or generic. It’s delicious! Savory. That’s the main word that comes to mind. It’s very flavorful and savory. The taste is buttery veggies and salty nori (seaweed). It’s an interesting combo that I don’t know if I’ve come across before.

I’m wicked surprised that this tea calls for boiling water. It was really hard for me to put the brewing basket into that steaming cup. I thought for sure the whole thing would be so scorched, it’d be prone to burst into flames at any second. But luckily, the brewing instructions did not lead me astray.

I’m sipping at a yummy cup of green tea with a perfect balance of flavors. It’s not grassy at all and it’s also not overly veggie. Sometimes the green teas that lean too heavily towards artichoke aren’t to my liking. This is simply perfect. No bitterness and only a little astringency as it cools.

It’s different and yet the same. That’s what I love about green teas. At their heart, they’re mostly all the same. And yet, somehow they are all different and unique. If that’s not evidence for God’s beauty in nature, I don’t know what is.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Strawberry Orange Scone by 52teas
523 tasting notes

I dug this out from the bottom of my stash this morning. Literally, it was the last pouch on the verrrry bottom. It’s been a really long time since I last had a cup. According to Steepster, my last tasting note on it was about 11 months ago. I’m excited to see if it’s still as tasty as I remember!

The dry leaf aroma is still going strong: orange and strawberry and sugary sweetness over a black tea base. This is the “old” 52teas black base. But you know what? It’s still delicious! I don’t think their former base was ever bad really. Just fickle. Luckily, this cup wasn’t fickle in the least.

I added a splash of skim milk and a bit of Truvia. Mmmm!!! This tastes like a strawberry orange scone all right! Why haven’t I drunk this up yet? It’s utterly scrumptious! The orange and strawberry flavors are about equal. The milk added a nice creaminess that doesn’t overwhelm the other flavors. And this former black base has a nice cake-y, scone-like quality to it. It’s completely YUM!

Wow, I’m so glad I decided to brew this up today. What a treat! If anyone else has a pouch lingering somewhere in their stash, I strongly recommend you pull it out and make a cup. It yields a tasty surprise. :)

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

I feel like I have a sample of this lurking around from someone…. I should try to dig it up!


I too was pleasantly surprised with this one! :)

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drank Black Night by Red Leaf Tea
523 tasting notes

Thanks to Indigobloom for providing a generous sample of this tea! My taste buds may be a little compromised because I just ate pan-fried hashbrowns followed by a glass of Moscato d’Asti. Why did I just drink wine in the afternoon when I plan on working out soon? I have no idea. Just like I have no idea why I’m watching commercials on a pre-recorded show. I keep forgetting I can fast forward. Anyway, I digress.

The brewed tea aroma is STRONG. Luckily, the flavor is less intense than the aroma, but definitely still flavorful in its own right. This tea is assertive and tastes of bergamot and citrus. I wish I could add some milk, but it looks like my carton expired four days ago. Thank God I read it before I poured it into the cup.

I accidently let it cool off too much, so I threw it in the microwave for a minute. This one is good. I feel like the base is a little heavy for these flavors though. I wish I had more adjectives to describe it. It’s not malty or robust nor does it have notes of cocoa or honey. The base just strikes me as heavy and dark, although not bitter thankfully.

I generally like lighter, more complex black teas. This tea oddly doesn’t give off any flavor if you swirl it around in your mouth. The flavor comes only in the aftertaste. I think that’s what I dislike about it. I’m willing to give it another shot again once I buy some more milk. This is definitely not my cup of tea sans additions. But I look forward to experimenting with it.

Boiling 2 min, 45 sec



LOL maybe you are forgetting to fast forward because of the drink? :)
I do the same thing though and I don’t drink lol


Interesting! I’m not a fan of EGs so never tried this one… but I’m curious now lol


(not enough to wanna actually try it though. Ha!)

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I’m in an adventurous mood, so I’m going to try a tea I bought on a whim and am most likely not going to like. Yep, it’s my second experience with the dreaded puer!! Dun dun DUN!

Just from reading the label, it’s already a new experience for me. You’re supposed to steep 4 grams in 4 oz. of boiling water for 3-5 seconds. And you get 20+ infusions??! Wow. Okay, here goes nothing.

First, the aroma. Leather. It smells exactly like leather. I like wearing leather and smelling leather but drinking leather? Hmm. First sip is…surprising. I do taste leather but there’s a lot more going on too. It’s very complex. Naturally sweet and a tad spicy. Aromatic and interesting. Wow!! Maybe I can enjoy puer?

I’d never be able to go 20+ infusions if I drank the whole cup each time, so I’m going to take a few sips, pour it out, and then move on to the next steep. Please forgive this blasphemous behavior. I can tell from that first cup alone that this is a high quality tea that any puer enthusiast would drool over. Lucky for this tea, I just set up a swap with someone who does like puer. So, the rest of this ½ ounce sample will go to the loving home of Shmiracles!! :)

Anyway, back to the mission at hand. Here are my thoughts from my inexperienced tongue:

1st steep: As described above, but also with a bit of something akin to dry autumn grassiness. The aftertaste is reminiscent of a high quality green; something like Organic Dragon Tip.

2nd steep: Wow! Burned my mouth. That’s HOT! Anyway, the leather is a little more enjoyable now and not so horse saddle-like. The grassiness/vegetal flavor is more pronounced now as well and reminds me of buttery vegetables. I had to read the description for more ideas of how to describe this unique flavor. I definitely get the association with oak. It is oak-y.

3rd steep: Leather is continuing to fade and is being replaced by a floral oak-y-ness and buttery vegetables. This is the first steep that I detected floral notes. This infusion also has a great umami!! Buttery and silky smooth. My favorite mouthfeel and flavor so far.

4th steep: At this point, the buds are open. Leather is almost completely gone now. Floral oak is the most prominent flavor now. It still has that buttery vegetable aftertaste too. This is becoming more and more drinkable for me! I can say that I’m actually enjoying it!

5th steep: Floral oak. Buttery vegetable. And some unidentifiable puer-ness that distinguishes itself as definitely not a green tea, despite the similarities I’m finding. After this cup, my teapot ran out of hot water. So, I had to wait while I boiled more.

6th steep: Same as 5 above but maybe a tad lighter on flavor. Very enjoyable.

7th steep: Went with a little longer steep this time. About 15 seconds. A tad more spiciness is apparent, matching what I tasted in that first cup.

I’m getting a little bored now though, so I think I’ll call it quits here. Although I’m rating it a 79, I’d probably rate it a 100 if I actually liked puer. A 79 from me is extremely high considering that my only other puer experience gathered a whopping 25 and was thrown out after a couple sips. No re-steeps there. So, don’t mistake me; I’m giving this one high praise!!

I have the 2012 variety by the way. Also, the liquor was extremely light yellow the entire time for me. It never reached that light brown color as pictured. But I did use very short steeps. Another thing to note, it’s really hard not to burn your mouth in between steeps. How do you puer drinkers do it? I don’t have a gaiwan, so I just used my regular stainless steel infuser basket and 8 ounce owl mug (although I was careful to only fill it up halfway each time).

205 °F / 96 °C

I usually get bored after 3 infusions, which is bad of me I know!


Yep… I don’t usually want more than three cups of a tea before I’m done with it too, expensive pu’erh or not…


I’m bad at 3+ infusions too. And leather? I can see that being an acquired taste.

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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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