632 Tasting Notes

92

White Peony Tea always reminds me of hay and sunshine. Today, it’s a little different. Today it’s dry summer grass lightly laced with salt. Yum!

It’s the perfect calming cup of tea that I need after a stressful day of packing. We’re moving in 3 days, and we’ve been packing for 4. Tonight I tried to tackle the front coat closet, which I use to store a lot of my old costumes from high school plays and musicals. Somehow, the entire closet was wet and moldy! I have no idea how, but it’s as if the water is seeping up through the carpet. I think my costumes made it through mostly unscathed, but my computer software didn’t fare as well. Mold covered the boxes that were on the floor. Ugh. What a pain.

Anyway, this cup of tea is hitting the spot nicely. After two cups, I’ve mostly gotten over the closet. Mostly. :/ Maybe the third cup will take mostly to completely. I think if any tea had that power, this would be the one. :)

My favorite part of Bai Mu Dan is the prominent flavor of hay. And with the hay always comes the sunshine. It reminds me of happier days riding horses with my best friend, returning to the barn after a long trail ride and kicking a bale of hay down from the loft into our horses’ stalls. But more than just bringing up happy memories, it promises future happiness as well. Thank you to Teavivre for this beautiful white tea!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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48

This tea has gotten some really low marks from the Steepster community. Therefore, I had low expectations but was holding out hope nonetheless.

There is a surprisingly potent aroma and flavor to this one. But honestly, it does taste like Cherry Coke in my opinion. The cherry is prominent, as is that classic Coca-Cola flavor: overly sweetened cola nut with a caramel aftertaste. I’m drinking it hot and sweetened by Truvia. It would probably be more enjoyable and Coke-like as an iced tea.

However, just because this tastes like a tea version of Cherry Coke doesn’t mean that I like it. In general, Coca-Cola upsets my stomach since I stopped drinking soda a few years ago. This tea is similar. Although I don’t necessarily feel sick, it doesn’t make me feel 100% right as rain either.

My body anticipates feeling ill just by tasting the flavor of Coke it seems. So although it was fun to try a new tea, I think I’ll avoid this one in the future. Thanks to Kittenna for the chance to try it!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Kittenna

Haha, you liked this more than me! This was apparently just a terrible idea for a tea (or perhaps just terrible execution). Blech.

CHAroma

I think it’s probably an okay idea but yeah…it just doesn’t work as a tea. LOL!

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53

Reading all these posts about matcha really makes me want some! The closest thing I have at the office is this bagged, minced green tea. When I say minced, I mean shredded into itty bitty tiny dust particles. And yes, that means they escape from the fine mesh of the bag. Still, it’s green tea (or close enough to it) so I can’t complain.

I used the tap at work, which says the water is about 200°F. I then let the cup sit for a little while before adding the bag, so I can’t say for sure what temperature the water was. Definitely not hot enough to scorch the leaf particles. After a three minute steep, I removed the bag and took a sip.

Just as I remember, it’s vaguely grassy swampwater. Not terribly sophisticated but could be worse. I gulped it down and promptly re-steeped the bag. Sometimes all you need is tea! And now I’m a couple minutes closer to the end of the work day. :)

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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84
drank Tropicalia by DAVIDsTEA
632 tasting notes

I ripped open this sample package I bought back in June and took a deep whiff of a pineapple, coconut, apple yumfest!! I know this is supposed to be a great summer iced tea. And quite frankly, I’m not ready to give in to fall yet (despite my love of pumpkin and spice teas). Everyone was raving about this tea a few months back. Who cares what season it is? I’m sure I’ll enjoy it just as much now as I would have then.

I’ll make the first cup hot and ice the second. Seriously though, the dry leaf aroma is a cornucopia of awesomeness! This will definitely help me stay cheery while I do a ton of laundry. I’m surrounded by mountains with a kitty who has a desire to mountain climb. Mr. Frodo!! Stay off my underwear!! LOL!

Anyway, time to try the hot version. Mmmm, yum!! This is delicious! Tropicalia is the perfect name to describe these flavors. I don’t think DAVIDsTEA could come up with a better combination of fruity summery flavors. I’m not gonna’ lie, I kind of chugged this cup down. Time to try the iced version!

Since I re-steeped the same leaves, I decided to go for a solid 10 minute infusion. Of course, then I left the apartment to go down to the laundry room and missed when the timer went off. So, who really knows how long this steeped for. Even though this is a beloved iced tea, ironically I enjoyed it better hot. It’s just okay iced in my opinion. As good as this tea is, it doesn’t really qualify as dinner. Therefore, I’m off to make some!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

I’ve never had this one but it sounds good.

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90

I’m emotionally and physically exhausted. It’s time to sit back and relax with a nice cup of tea. Lots of people have given these dragon pearls high marks, so I thought it would be an easy winner.

I used 5 pearls instead of the recommended 3-4 because I prefer strong tea to weak tea. Last thing I want is to brew up a new tea and then find that it tastes like barely flavored water. I’m really glad I added that extra pearl! The first cup was pretty calm. Light cocoa notes playing in a sunny field of Yunnan. Anything lighter than this and it probably would be barely flavored water.

The second steep was for 2 minutes, and it has a much richer and more developed flavor. There’s an added component of spiciness to this cup too. This is a much better tasting cuppa than the first. Let’s go for a third steep for 3 minutes. The spiciness has dissipated, but the Yunnan flavor is still going strong.

This is truly an excellent tea. It’s not bitter or astringent, and it’s put me in a better mood. The world just doesn’t seem as dreary when you’ve got a nice cup of tea in your hand.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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79

I’m soooo sleepy but there’s still a couple hours left in the workday. I need a cuppa! I grabbed a free tea bag of this at work several months ago, and it’s sat in my office desk drawer ever since. Time to drink it down!

I let it steep for about 4 minutes, give or take a little. The resultant brew is a lovely reddish brown with a divine earl grey aroma! I’m actually looking forward to this now! (Earl Grey is not one of my all time favorites, but beggars can’t be choosers).

Hmm, not bad! This stuff actually tastes halfway decent. I can feel a bergamot-induced headache coming on though. Ugh. From sleepy to headache-y. Why don’t I just bring my good teas in to work? Oh yeah, ‘cause they’re a pain in the behind to brew. I just can’t win.

Oof, where did this pessimism come from? I need another cup of 52teas’ Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake to turn this day back around. Really, this tea is okay though. I think I’m just feeling overly sensitive to bergamot today.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Ellyn

I despise bergamot. I understand the “bergamot infused headache” completely.

KeenTeaThyme

Agreed – bergamot * shudder *

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97

I’m starting the morning off right with a cup of the new 52teas creation! The dry leaf aroma is immediately creamy cheesecake and sugary caramel, followed by a pure pumpkin and spice undertone. Mmmmm!! This is going to be decadent! The aroma alone is to die for!

The brewed tea aroma is all I could hope for and more! It smells like pumpkin spice tea at its best. Now this, my friends, may cure me of my Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte addiction. First sip is spice with an aftertaste of sweet caramel. I’m going to add skim milk and Truvia to try and coax out more flavors.

Hmm, the tea base actually tastes a little weak here. The predominant flavor is caramel followed by pumpkin spice and then maybe a hint of something cheesecake-like. Overall, I really like it! It’s super sugary sweet, so if that’s not your thing, you may want to steer clear. But I have a big sugar tooth, so this is hitting the spot nicely. It’s definitely a dessert tea. I probably should have chosen something a little stronger to wake me up this morning. But waking up is overrated.

The more I sip on it, the more I notice how perfectly balanced the spices are. I don’t think the proportions could be any better. Bravo, Frank! It’s also a mood lifter. I have a feeling today is going to be a great day! I’m loving this tea!! I’m going to take the second cup to go so I’m not late for work. Enjoy this beautiful Wednesday everyone! And if you haven’t bought a pouch of this yet, I suggest you do soon before it’s gone!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Azzrian

I LOVE this stuff!

CHAroma

It is super yummy! I want the work day to end so I can go home and make another cup, LOL! :)

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82
drank Gooey Butter Cake by 52teas
632 tasting notes

52teas always seems to create something magical that pulls me in even when I’m hemorrhaging money into an over budget wedding. Gooey butter cake?? Who can resist that?! Obviously, not me. ;) Budget smudget.

The dry leaf aroma is butter and…something fruity? That’s unexpected. Reading the label, it must be the lemon myrtle. What’s lemon myrtle doing in my butter cake? Ironically, I had some butter cake earlier today. It was definitely not fruit-flavored, although it was paired with cinnamon apples and vanilla ice cream (which by the way is a to-die-for combination!).

The brewed tea aroma is most definitely lemon! Lots of lemon with black tea, and a hint of butter. Reminds me of that lemon, marshmallow, green, kitten-in-the-sky tea from a while back (if you couldn’t tell from that horribly inept description, I’m referring to Sun and Cloud Mist Tea). Kind of tastes like a black tea version of that too.

I’m not sure why lemon was added to this blend. It’s not a normal ingredient in any butter cake I’ve had. And it overwhelms the butter flavor almost completely! Hmm, well that’s a bit of a disappointment. It’s not a bad tea. But it’s not the gooey, buttery, cakey tea that I wanted.

It’s also a little bitter. I’m going to add some skim milk and Truvia and see what happens. Wow, much better! I also altered my expectations whilst exiting the kitchen. If I sip this thinking I’m about to have a nice black tea with lemon, it surpasses expectations! It’s really very yummy. But if I think I’m about to indulge in a liquefied butter cake, I’m left disappointed.

Goes to show that expectations really can alter our perceptions. I think I’ll stick with thinking of this as a lemon black. Because in that respect, it’s very very good.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Ninavampi

I have this one on its way. Hope I don’t find the lemon overwhelming!

CHAroma

The lemon doesn’t overwhelm the cup. It was just an unexpected flavor. I’d say it’s actually balanced nicely.

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73
drank Apricot Guayusa by Butiki Teas
632 tasting notes

Apricot Guayusa! My first flavored guayusa. This is definitely better than unflavored guayusa. Nice apricot flavor. It’s not bad. I wish I had more to say about it, but it’s a fairly simple cup of tea. There’s not a lot of dimension to guayusa in my opinion. It’s a unique flavor, just not one of my favorites. It is nice every once in a while for a change of pace. Thanks to Kittenna for the chance to try another Butiki creation!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 min, 0 sec
Kittenna

Not my favourite. I definitely recommend you try Good Morning Sunshine and/or Killer’s Vanilla! Or Tangerine Creamsicle. They’re all far, far better IMO!

CHAroma

I have heard a lot of good things about Good Morning Sunshine.

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72

Hmm, this tea is pretty bland. Not sure what all the hubbub is about. I received this sample from the lovely Kittenna who also sent along a giant assortment of teas (thank you!!!). The entire package smells like a hodge podge of tea aromas. So every time I open a baggie and have a whiff before brewing, there’s no way to tell it apart from the rest. It just smells like hodge podge.

But usually once I steep the tea, the brewed tea aroma is clean and whatever the tea is supposed to smell like. But this one? The brewed tea aroma still smells like hodge podge! Which leads me to believe that maybe this little sample overwhelmed all the other aromas in the package…but then it should be quite flavorful, no? Hmm, I’m perplexed. It’s not a bad flavor per say. Just light and kind of neutral and a tad hodge podge-y like the aroma.

I’ll go for a second steep before calling the verdict though. This time I used less water and let it steep for a full 6 minutes. Hmm, there’s really no nutty pistachio flavor to speak of still. Perhaps I let the sample sit too long in my cupboard…Suffice it to say that this tea is not a winner with me. Sad. It had so much potential.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

If you have a little raw sugar or something, add a little since this is one that comes alive that way. Hint!

CHAroma

I’m going to give this one another chance..just placed an order for an ounce!!

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Bio

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).

Location

Maryland, USA

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