618 Tasting Notes

drank Luscious Watermelon by DAVIDsTEA
618 tasting notes

I tried an iced sample of this in the NYC Bleecker store. It was a little watered down, but it did taste exactly like fruity, juicy, watermelon. I was surprised how much it tasted like watermelon. There’s no doubt that’s what it was. An expertly crafted iced tea.

By the way, the staff in this store is AMAZING!! So knowledgeable and soooo nice! I was blown away. It was definitely a highlight of my trip, and I’m very happy I decided to go. Plus, I got the best glass, double walled tumbler with infuser and bamboo lid. Yipee!!!


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I have had a stressful couple of days, and then came home to find some chocolate tea waiting for me in the mailbox! Boy, did I need this!

I wasted no time boiling water and brewing a cup. The aroma is chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! It reminded me of Milk & Cookies, which brought a smile to my lips for the first time in days. I took one sip without additions, and it tasted like watered down chocolate. I mean literally, like someone had melted chocolate and added water. I couldn’t believe how chocolaty it was! The only thing that was off was the viscosity. It’s too liquidy to be a chocolate bar. I crave the texture of solid chocolate when drinking this.

But, I added some Truvia and skim milk and prayed for the best. Mmmmmm!!!!!!! This is really yummy chocolaty tea! It’s hard to even think of it as tea! It’s pretty much just liquid chocolate. I’m going to wait a little while now to let the flavors meld into the tea leaves. I bet the next I try it, it’ll be even better!

Thanks to LiberTEAS for suggesting and Frank for blending! Now, I’m off to NYC first thing tomorrow morning to go wedding dress shopping!!!!!!!!!!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

good luck!


have fun shopping!

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I’m really craving something bad for me, like cupcakes or cookies. I’m trying really hard to avoid these things (and carbs in general) because I’m going wedding dress shopping on Saturday!!!! I really want to look my best, and I can fluctuate as much as 7 or 8 pounds in a week depending on what I eat. So, alas, the sweets will have to wait until after dress shopping.

I decided to blend together some vanilla and cream teas to make a black tea version of whipped cream! Mmmm, this turned out delicious! It definitely benefits from the addition of Truvia and skim milk. It’s just not quite right sans additions.

I’m really enjoying my spontaneous creation. Nothing in my cupboard sounded quite right, but this is hitting the spot nicely. :)

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

get your hands on some of the birthday cake tisane from David’s Tea. Seriously, it tastes so much like a cupcake that you won’t crave the sweets or miss the carbs! Sure … a cupcake IS better, but, if I must avoid cupcakes, the Birthday Cake tisane is definitely a good alternative.


Thanks for the suggestion! I’ve been following all the recent tasting notes on that one, and it does seem universally liked. Only thing is I’ve never been a rooibos or honeybush fan because of the strong medicinal taste. Can you taste much of the base in it, or is it heavily flavored?


If I recall correctly, the base is not an issue in that one, and I usually notice when a tea tastes medicinal due to rooibos. It’s really quite good!


Thanks, Krystaleyn! I’ll try to get my hands on a sample. :)


I’m sure I could pass some on if you’re interested and don’t have a DT near you :)

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The first time I tried this tea, I was a little harsh on it. I wasn’t in a particularly good mood because my fiancé was cooking habanero peppers and poisoned all the air in the apartment. I sequestered myself in my bedroom where the air was marginally more breathable. But I don’t think I was in the proper mindset to fully appreciate the #1 highest rated tea on Steepster.

So, after reading an enthralling review by jason I decided to give this tea another chance. The dry leaves are very small and very dark with a few sporadic golden tips. The dry leaf aroma is scrumptious. It’s like smelling fresh, warm baked bread hot from the oven.

I started with the same steeping parameters as the first go around. The resultant brew was light and yummy sans additions. I wish I had the words to adequately describe its taste. But I’m afraid I’m still a fairly inexperienced tea taster when it comes to high quality Chinese blacks. All I can think of is that it reminds me of a grainy, seed-riddled loaf of bread in liquid form.

The second steep was at 185 degrees for 4 minutes. Hmm, honestly there’s not a whole lot of difference between this infusion and the first. I’m going for a third steep! Less water this time and 6 minutes. It’s still not earth shattering. It’s good, but I guess I’m just not enraptured by Fujian teas the way others are. It doesn’t have a memorable flavor to me. The first infusion is definitely the best.

The thing I like most about this tea is that it’s not even the slightest bit bitter. Normally, I have to add milk and sugar to black teas to mask the tannic bitterness. But this is smooth and delightful on its own, and I can’t bring myself to mar its beauty with additions. A slight astringency only peeks out at the tail end of the third infusion. But it’s not an unpleasant level of astringency.

Funny, I stopped writing my note to read some other reviews and see what exactly everyone loves about this tea. So many other people described it as grainy! I’m impressed with my taste buds. Maybe they are more developed than I thought they were. Pretty cool if I do say so myself. It does have some caramel and cocoa-esque notes, but those aren’t entirely prominent in my opinion. I also wouldn’t consider this malty or beer-like at all. Grainy, yes. Malty, no.

Hey, we can’t all adore the same things or the world would be a pretty boring place. Nonetheless, I’m raising the rating from 75 to 79.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Green Apple Tea by Ovation Teas
618 tasting notes

The dry leaf smells really interesting! It’s not what I expected, but it’s surprising in a good way. At first sniff, the pomegranate, juniper, and lemongrass combine to create something that does smell very much like a granny smith apple, oddly enough. I wouldn’t think that’d be the case, but it is.

The rose and marigold add a nice floral element. This tea just has so much going on! I don’t think I thoroughly read the ingredients before I bought it. Or if I did, I just don’t remember there being so many ingredients.

Again, the brewed tea aroma smells surprisingly like apple! I know, I shouldn’t be surprised. But so far, I’m just really impressed by how accurate the aroma is. Apple is hard to pull off in tea form. It’s one of those flavors that usually gets suppressed or concealed entirely. I’m hopeful that won’t be the case here.

Now the taste! Oh, wow, the taste!! This is fantastic! It’s a little flaky hot. I think it’d be better iced. But it’s still very enjoyable and a pleasant way to spend the evening. The flavors are fairly muted compared to the dry leaf aroma. But I’ve come to expect that in Ovation Teas after the Green Tea Fruit Smoothie experience. The subtler fruit flavors do allow the green tea base to shine, which it truly does here.

Well, this ends my new Ovation tea notes. I’ve tried everything from my last order. The Cherry Joy Black Tea was my favorite by faaaar. I highly recommend Ovation to people new to or hesitant with green teas. They’re not vegetal or grassy at all. It’s just pleasantness in a cup! :)

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Caramel by ESP Emporium
618 tasting notes

1/5 ESP Emporium Teas

This is my first ESP Emporium tea! I just got my shipment yesterday, and I can’t wait to try these! The packaging was very nice and minimalist. I’m not sure how airtight it is because the bags don’t have a ziplock. You just fold them over and secure with a bendy thing, similar to a Starbucks coffee bag just a whole lot smaller.

I chose Caramel this morning because I wanted something sweet. The dry leaves smell like caramel and black tea, so we’re off to a good start. But I couldn’t really find any caramel pieces. The picture on the site makes them seem abundant. I fished around for a while and eventually found one. Hopefully they all just fell to the bottom of the bag or something, and I’ll find more later.

Anyway, I followed the steeping instructions on the bag, even though I don’t usually steep black teas for 4 minutes right out of the gate. The resultant brew is dark and yummy smelling! Oddly enough, the aroma is nearly identical to 52teas’ Buttered Popcorn…really strange.

I think it’s finally cool enough to try. First sip is sans additions. Okay, the flavor is definitely not buttered popcorn, phew! I’m not really getting caramel though either. Oh wait! There it is! It doesn’t appear until the aftertaste. Hmmm, it’s definitely not very strong for a tea that’s supposed to only have caramel flavoring. I expected to drown in sticky caramel sauce. Time to add some sweetener and skim milk to see what happens.

Just as I suspected, the caramel flavor is more pronounced with additions. It is quite yummy. I’m not floored by taste, but it’s enjoyable. It’s just so funny how much this reminds me of Buttered Popcorn. Except now with additions, it tastes like caramel popcorn. That’s really unexpected, but I’m kind of liking it. Maybe it’s the same black tea base or something? I dunno.

If you’re looking for a knock-your-socks-off caramel tea, this probably isn’t it. But am I glad I got it? Yes, siree! Bring on the caramel popcorn!

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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I totally caved to peer pressure. After all the rave reviews, I just had to buy a pouch of this tea!

The dry leaf aroma is pure berry! Blackberry, raspberry, and yes, even strawberry is detectible in the aroma. The brewed tea aroma is nearly identical, which is very cool! So far, so good.

First taste…hmmm, the white tea actually isn’t overpowered by berry. And the berry is still very present too. The white base adds a slight nuttiness, while the berries are both sweet and tart. Blackberry is the most prominent of the berries in my opinion. This is an interesting blend of flavors and perfectly balanced. I’ve definitely never had another tea like it.

Second infusion was steeped at 180 degrees for 4 minutes. I know it’s a drastic change. Normally, I would only increase the steep time by 30 seconds with a white tea. But I really wanted to see if I could intensify the flavor. I was probably a little light on the leaf, but 1 ounce doesn’t go very far.

Mmmm, I like this better. It’s not a huge difference in intensity, but I can pick up on the difference. This second steep is definitely my favorite. It’s going to be interesting to see how many steeps it can hold up to before the berry disappears. Of course, I usually get full on tea before the flavor runs out. So, maybe I won’t find out the answer.

This is good, but when it comes to 52teas white tea blends, I have to say that I enjoy the Ginger Ale Bai Mu Dan better. Don’t get me wrong; I am enjoying this too! But at the steep price of 52teas’ Very Important Teas, I just can’t afford to restock it. That’s probably better for the Steepster tea community anyway. Gotta’ spread the love around, not horde it like a dragon! Oooh, now I’m totally picturing Smaug sitting on a pile of tea leaves and furious with Mr. Baggins for stealing his prized Darjeeling!

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

Not sure if tea infused with the odor of dragon is worth all the trouble Mr. Baggins had to go through. haha


ROFL!!! Probably not, but then again an awful lot of people showed up to fight over it! ;)

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drank Cotton Candy Black Tea by 52teas
618 tasting notes

Mmm, the dry leaf smells exactly like cotton candy! At first I thought maybe it didn’t because it’s so floral. But then it really hit me! I’m hopeful the aroma will transfer into the taste.

The brewed tea maintains that sugary cotton candy scent, but the black tea is very present as well. Here we goooo!! Wow, surprising! It does kind of have that melt on your tongue texture like cotton candy. And it definitely has that pink cotton candy flavor, but it’s a little understated. I’m going to add some sugar to coax it out a bit.

Now it’s sugary, but it tastes like a regular sweetened black tea! I added a tiny splash of skim milk and presto! Cotton candy in a cup! It’s perfect!! Oh, this is really lovely. Really really enjoyable! No one but Frank could create a blend like this. It’s 100% original and 100% fabulous!

Also, major complements on the new black tea base! It’s not bitter or astringent in the least, and I like it much much more than its predecessor. It’s an ideal balance of flavors and holds up to re-steeps better too. The second infusion was almost identical to the first, and I’ve never experienced that with 52teas before!

This is definitely a newfound favorite. I never never do this, but I’m going to buy another pouch. I know I’m getting married and I’m supposed to be saving, but this is just too good to only have 1.75 ounces! Shhhh, just don’t tell the fiancé. ;) Look out, Steepsterites; buy this while you still can!!

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Strawberry & Vanilla by Lupicia
618 tasting notes

This is Lupicia’s free sample of the month! Yay!! The dry leaf aroma is yummy! I can detect strawberry and green tea, but no vanilla scent. I can’t bring myself to follow the instructions and use boiling water, so I settled for 190 degrees. I’m also not sure about that “goes well with milk” description. I can’t imagine adding milk to green tea!

One and a half minutes later…it almost smells like baked goods. Yes, that’s it; it smells exactly like those vanilla bean scones from Starbucks, mmmm!! Wow, really really mouthwatering, fresh out of the oven, vanilla bean scones!

The taste is underwhelming, but that’s because the aroma is so magnificent that I want it to taste exactly how it smells. If I ignore how much I love the aroma, then it tastes pretty good. Maybe even great.

The vanilla blends very nicely with the green tea. The two flavors really complement each other. I think I may have to investigate other teas with this combo. As for the strawberry? Hmmm, I’m not sure I can detect it. If it’s there, it blends so well with the other flavors that I can’t isolate it.

Time for a second steep at 190 degrees for 2 minutes and 15 seconds. Yum, still very delicious. Even the third steep for 4 minutes is tasty! I’m raising the rating from 71 to 80.

AAHHHHHH!!!!!!! And this was my 200th tasting note!!!!!

190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 30 sec

Congrats on 200 tasting notes!


Congrats on 200!


Wow… 200th!!! Congrats!


Thanks all! A couple years ago, I never would have thought I’d try this many teas! :)


This actually sounds like a good tea.


It is a good tea! This is one of Lupicia’s best sellers. The first time I tried it, I wasn’t floored. But this was a different experience. It’s probably even better in loose leaf.

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Ugh, I haven’t been able to login in days! Every time I’ve tried, Steepster has failed to load. When I checked Down For Everyone Or Just Me, it always said it wasn’t just me. So, I’ve been logging my teas in a Word document, and now I have tons to post!

I didn’t rate this the first time I tried it because it was a bit of a disappointment. I had high expectations and then didn’t prepare it correctly. That always sucks. But the dry leaf aroma is even more intoxicatingly fruity than I remember! The tea has sat for a while, so hopefully the flavors will be more developed. I added a bit more leaf than last time too.

The brewed tea aroma is still strong, though not quite as strong as the dry leaf. And the moment of truth…yes! The flavor is definitely better. Much more fruity, but the green tea is still holding its own too.

Oh, sweet relief! I was so worried about this tea, but it’s turned out quite all right. First to hit my taste buds is definitely pineapple, followed by mango, strawberry, and then a sweet green tea aftertaste. This is a lovely tea! If you decide to buy it, definitely wait a few weeks for the flavors to develop and be generous with the leaf.

The only negative I have to say about it is the more I drink it, the thirstier I get! My mouth feels parched, and I really want to drink a giant glass of ice water. Second steep for 6 minutes was still good, but now I’m really parched! Maybe it would be better as an iced tea…hmm, I’ll have to experiment.

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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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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