634 Tasting Notes

95
drank Yunnan Golden Buds by Verdant Tea
634 tasting notes

I know I just complained about drinking hot tea, but I just have so many new samples from generous Steepsterites that I can’t resist!! So, I cranked up the A/C, and now it’s time for some hot tea! Woot! :D

This one in particular is verrrrrry exciting! I thought it was Golden Fleece, but it’s actually Yunnan Golden Buds. Which means I received yet another awesome Yunnan Verdant tea from Kittenna!! You rock!

The brewed tea aroma is resplendent! Can I say that to describe a tea? I think so. Resplendent!!! After the first sip, I sighed with pleasure. This tea is just…I’m speechless. It’s just incredible. Amazing. It has natural notes of cocoa and malt with some honey thrown in for good measure. Sooooo good!!!!

It’s a good thing I’m home alone, because this tea is evoking some salacious sounds from me, hehehe. ;) I was originally planning on steeping the Golden Fleece right after this to compare the two. But now I kind of want to hoard it, haha! The second steep for 2.5 minutes is just as delicious as the first! Nearly identical, only slightly milder and smoother.

I’m probably gonna’ go for at least four infusions here. There just aren’t enough adjectives in the English language to describe how spectacular this tea is. Thanks soooo much for sharing Kittenna!!!

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
Fjellrev

Ooh, sounds divine.

Bonnie

I might drink this later…yum…I’m feeling better this afternoon and can drink tea again!

Kittenna

Haha, you’re welcome. I didn’t like this one for whatever reason; gave away the rest of my packet to my aunt just recently. I was reluctant to give her the Golden Fleece though (but probably should have).

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73

Phew! How can life manage to be so busy and so dull at the same time? :P I’ve been swamped with school work in the final class of my online graduate certificate. It’s proven to be an astounding amount of work. Luckily, my full-time job is dependent upon the certificate, so they do allow me to complete assignments during work hours. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t be able to do it.

It’s also been so hot, I can’t even imagine drinking hot tea. Well, I can imagine it, but it’s not appealing. Time to try another iced tea from 52teas’ spin-off brand, Southern Boy Teas!!

I love sherbet! Lime sherbet is probably my favorite. My mom always used to buy me some when I got strep throat. I hope this tea will be a healthier alternative! I brewed it up per the instructions on the packet, except I subtracted one cup of water so I could add ice without diluting it.

But just like with ice cream, I’m not sure sherbet translates into tea well. I believe this tea is lime, orange, and raspberry flavored. Honestly, that’s kind of a weird combination in my book. I’m not sure what to make of it.

The more I drink it, the more the flavors blend together to become a true sherbet taste. It’s good, and it’s definitely well made. It’s just not a favorite flavor combo of mine. I think it may take me a few days to finish off this pitcher. If you love these flavors, then you really can’t go wrong with this tea! I just prefer the strawberry, vanilla, chocolate combo in the Neapolitan Ice Cream tea.

Preparation
Iced
SimplyJenW

Man, I am going to have to try the Neapolitan very soon!

CHAroma

It’s INCREDIBLE!!! You won’t be disappointed!

Fjellrev

I can’t wait to try this one!

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96

I made this yesterday and ended up drinking half the pitcher! Hahaha! So, I think that probably speaks volumes about how good it is. I try to make myself a cup of tea in the mornings before heading off to work. But today was a little too hectic, so I just poured a glass of this into my tea tumbler and headed out the door.

I don’t know how, but I had almost forgotten what it tasted like overnight. So, when I got to work and had a sip of this tea, my jaw hit the floor! This stuff is soo good! Sooo incredibly yummy!!!

It tastes like all three flavors equally: strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate. I don’t get much in the way of ice cream, but honestly that’s one of those things that I don’t think can be replicated in tea form. The black tea base is smooth and assertive. It blends perfectly with the added flavorings. Not a hint of bitterness or astringency in sight.

Truly, this is a fantastic iced tea!! And I’m not a huge iced tea drinker. I almost always prefer to drink teas hot. But this, this was made to be iced and it’s just to die for! I could drink this everyday, and I bet I’d wake up each morning and still be surprised that it tastes this good! ;)

Preparation
Iced

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87
drank Movie Night by DAVIDsTEA
634 tasting notes

Wow, this smells exactly like buttery, caramel corn! Yum! I really want to make some popcorn right now. But I’ll settle for having this tea instead. Or at least I’ll try this first and then see if the craving is still around. ;)

The ratio of green tea leaves to apple and popcorn pieces is about 1:20, so I’m interested to see how tea-like this is. I also probably could have gotten two cups out of this sample, but I just dumped the whole thing in my strainer without measuring. :P

The brewed tea aroma is also caramel corn with an added component of green tea. I’m not sure the combination is all that appealing. The other popcorn/caramel corn teas I’ve tried have had black tea bases. The taste will be the deciding factor though.

Wow, this flavor was completely unexpected from that aroma! It doesn’t taste like caramel corn at all. It also doesn’t taste anything like buttery popcorn. Instead, it tastes exactly like caramel apples! I guess that’s what DAVIDsTEA gets for putting tart apple in here and trying to pass that off as popcorn. Surprise! Apple tastes like apple!

This is actually pretty incredible. I’ve never had an apple tea that really tastes like genuine apple. And the addition of the caramel takes it from nice apple tea to awesome treat tea! For all you people out there combining Red Leaf Tea’s green apple matcha with caramel matcha in hopes of making a caramel apple tea, try this instead!!! It’s not what it promises (because it tastes nothing like popcorn), but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fantastic tea! It just needs to be renamed. :)

Thank you Ninavampi for sharing this delightful surprise!!!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

This is tasty stuff! I don’t prefer as much flavored tea as I used to drink but this is really good!

Ninavampi

Glad you liked it!

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67

I’m so confused by this tea. I wanted to fall madly in love like everyone else seems to have. But I’m trying to figure out if I even like matcha, let alone vanilla-flavored matcha. I’ve only had matcha one other time, and it was in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. It was part of my Japanese Civilization class in college. I think I liked it back then, but that was a long time ago…

Anyway, back to this matcha. It’s good. It’s spinachy and grassy. It’s noticeably vanilla. It’s very naturally flavored. There’s no weird aftertaste or funk. So, why don’t I love it? I tried it straight. I then added a tiny bit of sweetener. Then I tried frothing it in my milk frother. Finally, I added a little splash of skim milk. All of this tweaking helped squelch the grassiness. I’ve never really been of fan of green tea grassiness.

I think I would love this if I used it in cooking/baking. I can imagine amazing vanilla-flavored matcha icing on cupcakes (see DaisyChubb’s killer recipe here: http://www.daisychubb.com/recipe-chocolate-cupcakes-with-matcha-buttercream-chocolate-ganache/). I bet vanilla-flavored matcha scones would be good too. But this matcha by itself? Hmm, I think it’s something I’d have to learn to love. I don’t love it right now. I like it, and it’s definitely interesting. But it took me a good hour of slowly sipping on it to finish the cup.

Big thank you to Ninavampi for sharing her beloved matcha with me! I’m glad I got to try this before investing in a 30g bag. I think I’d enjoy a fruit flavored matcha more. So I’ll probably buy the strawberry one next with the strongest flavoring it comes with, which I believe would be “There’s matcha in there?!” I’ll let y’all know how that turns out, whenever I’m allowed to buy tea again that is. ;)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C
Bonnie

I hear ya! I just use it in a blender to make macha smoothies with fruit!

Missy

I have some naked matcha I drink and I would say it’s an acquired taste. It could just be you aren’t big on matcha. I think it’s pretty strange that I like it, because I’m not big on green teas in general. I’m interested in how your next matcha experiment turns out. :D

CHAroma

Thanks, Missy! I’m hopeful that matcha will continue to grow on me. I love all things Japanese, so it’d make me sad if I couldn’t enjoy it. It took a good year or two for sencha to grow on me, and there are still some senchas that I find too grassy. But I’m able to enjoy most of them now! :)

Kittenna

Almond milk latte. I swear by it! I think the fruit one are better though; green apple blew me away!

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73
drank Strawberry Shortcake by DAVIDsTEA
634 tasting notes

Mmm, strawberry shortcake tea! I took one sip plain and immediately knew the flavor would be enhanced with skim milk and Truvia, so I added some. It truly tastes like pound cake laden with strawberries and cream.

My mouth actually felt coated like when you eat heavy whipping cream. That coated mouthfeel overwhelms the strawberry and cake flavor, which is a little sad. I wish the strawberry was more bright and acidic like fresh strawberries.

Still, this is a yummy cup of tea. And who else can say they had strawberry shortcake for breakfast this morning? ;) Thanks for the sample, Kittenna!!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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89
drank Paris by Harney & Sons
634 tasting notes

I have so many new teas to experience from recent swaps! I’m going to try and bounce between swap partners so that everyone feels the love. But since I usually only make one kind of tea a day, it will take a little while to get through all these samples. I’m up for the tea adventure though!! Thanks everyone! :)

This morning I thought I’d go for a much loved tea here on Steepster: Paris! Thanks to Ninavampi for giving me my first Harney & Sons tea!!! I can’t wait to try this! I was surprised to brew it up and get only an aroma of clean, unflavored, black tea. Doesn’t this have bergamot in it? That ingredient usually makes itself known! If I get anything else from the aroma, I’d say berry. I’m detecting a slight essence of something fruity and berry-like.

First sip without additions…hmm wow. This is interesting. It has a lot of flavor but at the same time is kind of delicate and understated. Is this flavored? If so, it’s very lightly flavored. I’m definitely getting berry plus a caramel note and maybe a hint of bergamot. The bergamot could be my imagination though. Honestly, it’s that light. There’s also quite a bit of vanilla in here, which I’m really enjoying. I love vanilla! At the very end of the sip, there’s a quiet burst of citrus.

This reminds me of something I’ve had before…it was definitely a 52teas tea. Actually, I think it’s Cotton Candy! Now, I don’t mean that Paris tastes like cotton candy. I just mean, the flavor profiles are similar somehow even though they shouldn’t be. Maybe it’s the black tea base?? So interesting.

It’s good, and I can definitely drink it straight without any additions. But I’m going to add some now just for fun. With milk and sugar, it’s become more of a generic creamy tea. I think it’s probably better without. I’ll make my second steep plain. I just can’t get 52teas’ Cotton Candy out of my mind. I wonder why this keeps reminding me of it. I might have to pick up a tin of this stuff. It’s complex yet subtle, flavored yet unflavored, berry/vanilla/citrus yet cotton candy! What a fascinating tea! Thanks again Ninavampi!!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
Ninavampi

I’m happy yo uenjoyed it! It is one of my favorites! :)

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95

OMG!! SOOOO much tea!! I received a giant swap package from Kittenna today! Just by opening the box, my whole kitchen now smells like a hodge-podge of tea aromas. :) Thank you so much, Kittenna!!

It was really hard to pick out the tea I’d try first, but I have yoga in a little while; so I wanted something quiet and calming that wouldn’t slosh uncomfortably in my stomach while I’m in downward dog for practically an hour and a half. This was the tea that fit the bill!

On first inspection of the dry leaf, I’m even more excited! They’re long, beautiful, fuzzy silver needle leaves. The jasmine scent is overwhelmed by the hodge-podge scent of teas from the swap box, but I’m hoping it will emerge upon steeping. I also forgot to set the timer on my thermometer, so I caught the water at 172 degrees instead of 175. I can’t imagine that will make much of a difference though.

Two minutes later, I pulled the brewing basket out of the cup and was assailed by a lovely, strong jasmine aroma! Yay! Hmm, the flavor is very interesting. There’s an odd bit of pungency to the aroma and flavor that I wasn’t expecting and can’t quite find the words to describe. As the cup cools, that oddness dissipates. So, maybe it was just the other teas lingering around.

Fast forward 12 hours, and I’m enjoying a second infusion at 175 degrees for 2.5 minutes. Again, that odd pungency is also in this cup. This leads me to believe it’s the jasmine and not the influence of any other teas. It’s not bad, just different. I’m sure the Yunnan white base is also contributing to the unique flavor. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a Yunnan white before. I love Yunnan blacks!

So, the verdict? I’m definitely enjoying it, but I prefer Teavivre’s jasmine greens. Those are the epitome of jasmine teas in my opinion and much more affordable. This was my first Verdant tea experience, and I can tell that it’s not all hype. These teas have something special in them. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to try something new, Kittenna!!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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93

I have been waiting to try this tea for an entire YEAR!!! So, a gigantic, enormous, heartfelt, sincere THANK YOU to Ninavampi, who makes dreams come true! :D

Finally, the day is here and I get to try what is sure to be an amazing tea! As soon as I opened the package from Ecuador, I could smell blueberry! It’s definitely a 52teas blueberry aroma. It’s very reminiscent of BOO-berry. I’m so excited!!!

In my opinion, it requires milk and sweetener to take it from great blueberry tea to blueberry cream cheese danish heaven. As I usually find with 52teas blends, the cream cheesy-ness could be stronger. I want my pastry teas to SCREAM pastry, and this one only whispers it. Regardless, it is still very very uber-delicious! Yum! I’m going to go make another cup right away because I find myself suddenly staring into an empty cup. Thanks again, Ninavampi!!!! You’re the bestest!! :)

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Ninavampi

I’m sooo happy you liked it! It is my all time absolute favorite tea! :) I am happy I get to make your dreams come true! ;)

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82
drank Caramel Vanilla Chai by 52teas
634 tasting notes

This tea seems to bring out the storyteller in me. Soooo, crazy story first! Tea review second! I just got home from buying lunch. I walk in the door and my cat jumps off a chair to greet me. I walk into the other room for a second and come back. My cat is in the corner, hunched over. I recognize that hunch instantly. He’s caught something.

I figured it’s probably just a mouse. Sure enough, he picks something up in his mouth and walks towards me. He drops it at my feet and steps back. All I saw was a bunch of legs in the air, and I turned and ran for the kitchen! That is no mouse!! What is it?! What is it??? I tried to make myself look at it, but he’s brought me things before that aren’t entirely dead. What if it’s a giant spider and it jumps at me! AHH! I kept trying to look at it, but I hadn’t even turned all the lights on in the room yet and it was GIANT!! I’m convinced it was a giant spider. Like a wolf spider or something.

I went back to the kitchen and grabbed a big Tupperware thing. My idea was I’ll put the Tupperware over it and slide a piece of paper underneath. Then I’ll be able to take the carcass, dead or alive, outside and dump it. I finally found Tupperware that was big enough and walked back into the other room. And what do I see?? My cat EATING the spider!!! AHHHH!!!! I couldn’t even bring myself to get close to him until it was completely eaten. So gross! OMG! What if it’s poisonous??! What will it do to him?! AHHH!!!!! I’m soooo freaked out!!! I immediately called my mother and she told me to call the vet. So far, my cat is acting perfectly normal so I think he’s okay. I’m just going to watch him carefully for a few hours.

Oh oh ohhh! So gross. I’m so grossed out. I HATE spiders and that thing was gigantic! I can’t believe he ate that. Shiver He was really chewing it too. Crunch crunch crunch. Blech! And that thing was in my apartment!! What if there’s more?! I’m going to have creepy crawlies all day. We have a centipede infestation right now. Maybe the spider came in to eat them! Ugh, I’d take centipedes over spiders any day.

Okay, now on to the tea review. I’m just finishing up what’s left of this sample from the 52teas Christmas sampler. Yes, I know. Christmas was over 6 months ago. But this tea’s held up surprisingly well! It’s very spicy, and I’m getting a strong caramel flavor. I think the vanilla is in there somewhere contributing to the overall splendid flavor. But the caramel and spice notes are the strongest to me. Yum! I’m so glad I got to enjoy one last cup of this tea. It’s delicious! Raising the rating from 78 to 82.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

That must have been one huge spider!

Bonnie

Crunch! What a good story! You’re going to need lots of comforting tea today!

Indigobloom

ohmygoodness! go for a walk!! get some air… no way I’d stick around the house all day after that :/

K S

I would move! I would walk into a pit of snakes before I’d go into a room with one gigantic spider. Don’t care of phobic that makes me. Take care of the kitty. He is my new hero.

CHAroma

Hahahahaha!! KS, you really made me laugh! I am definitely moving, but unfortunately the lease isn’t up until the end of October. 4 months to go! Once I was sure my kitty wasn’t going to puke up spider bits, I gave him treats so he knows he’s a good little hunter. Thank God for him!

Bonnie

Spiders only go one place in my house, close to the drain in the bathtub…looking for water in this arid climate! So what do I do… itsy bitsy spider went down the water spout…he he he….

CHAroma

Good plan, Bonnie!

Will Work For Tea

A crunchy spider?!? ACK! I’m highly afraid of bugs, so I feel your fright! Luckily my dogs don’t eat bugs – I don’t think I could get my puppy dog kisses from them anymore if I knew they did that …. :(

Azzrian

I have been overcoming my fear of spiders – although I LOVE reptiles, spiders have always freaked me OUT! Just how big was this really? I mean not that initial reaction of its the size of a dinosaur lol but really? I hope your kitty is okay! I imagine that animals eat insects like this all the time and we never know it.

Kittenna

Ohhhh I was shuddering for you that whole time! I don’t like spiders (and have never even met one that big, and I didn’t like when my cat would catch things and eat them! He ate a dragonfly once… I wouldn’t touch him for a day. Gahhhhhhhhh yuck!

Tabby

I love having a cat for that reason, though! She always finds/eats the creepy-crawlies before they get me!

CHAroma

@Azzrian, it was pretty big. Smaller than a mouse, but bigger than a quarter. I thought it was a baby mouse till I saw all the legs.

@Kittenna, LOL! What’s wrong with dragonflies? Hahaha! I think they eat spiders actually, so they’re okay in my book.

@Tabby, definitely! It’s good to have a little hunter in the house to protect us! :)

Kittenna

I like dragonflies; it was more the fact that I was grossed out that he ate it/worried he’d barf it back up onto me or something!!

CHAroma

Oh, I understand that fear. Luckily, my kitty persevered through the spider eating incident. Yay! Since then, the only spider I’ve seen (and immediately had the fiance kill) was a daddy long leg. shiver

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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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