618 Tasting Notes

drank Milk & Cookies by 52teas
618 tasting notes

I’m finishing up this sample from the 12 Teas of Christmas 2011 box.

I took my first small sip of this and paused to let the flavors melt on my tongue. Yum, this has a very different black tea base than the Cherry Joy Black Tea from Ovation I just had. And then POW!!! The aftertaste was like someone shoved a warm doughy chocolate chip cookie hot from the oven directly into my mouth!! WOW!! This is insane!!

Oh man, this is to die for amazing. I don’t know why I didn’t have this experience the first go around in December. Maybe it’s because I had tried it first without additions. This time I added milk and a pinch of Truvia right away. But this is exquisite now. Truly, it tastes exactly like chocolate chip cookies!!! AHHH!! And now there’s no more!! *Begins wailing in despair.

At least I get to experience this one last time. Make some more chocolate chip cookie tea, Frank!! Or how about chocolate chip pancake tea? Or chocolate chip scone tea? Or chocolate chip anything tea!! Oh, how will I survive without this?! Upping the rating from 80 to 97. This tea is perfection. Minus three points for being extinct. :P

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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How funny that LiberTEAS and I both ordered this tea at the same time, hahaha! This wasn’t planned, I swear. I guess there was just something alluring about it we couldn’t resist. :)

The dry leaves smell exactly like the description. I can discern all three ingredients individually: cherries, coconut, and almond. The steeping instructions recommend 5 to 6 minutes, which is a little longer than I usually steep my black teas (with the exception of Chai). But I figured since this is my first experience with this tea, I’ll follow the instructions and then play around with it later.

Boy, am I glad I did too! At first, the brewed tea didn’t smell anything like the dry blend. All I could get out of the aroma was black tea…how strange. But then as I let the tea cool to a drinkable temperature, the aroma shifted back and all three flavorings made themselves known. This smells scrumptious!

First sip, it is largely coconut, as LiberTEAS mentioned. But I am getting almond next. It’s a subtle, slightly sweet almond flavor. It actually reminds me of Almond Joys!! Maybe that’s where the name came from? Cherry Joy, hmmm, that didn’t occur to me before I bought it. Anyway, the cherry is the lightest flavor of the three. You have to let the flavors sift in your mouth and then wend your way through them to get to the cherry. I do wish the cherry were a bit stronger, but this tea is still remarkably delicious! Much more dessert-like than I was anticipating.

The tail end of the sip has an inclination to go slightly bitter. Mind you, I’m very sensitive to bitterness, so this probably wouldn’t be noticeable to other people. I overcorrected by adding too much milk, and now it’s kind of squashed the other flavors. But with a pinch of Truvia, the flavors came back out. Definitely don’t be heavy handed with the cream in this tea! It really overwhelms the flavorings. By the second infusion, the coconut is worn out and the cherry becomes the most prominent flavor. The coconut is still there, but it’s more in the background and allows the cherry its turn to shine in the spotlight.

Overall, I’m really quite pleased with this tea. The more I drink it, the more I love it! It’s also going to be a great treat when I’m craving candy or sweets. Who knew this was a dessert tea? I’ll probably keep drinking it as a breakfast tea in the morning anyway. ;)

I wasn’t expecting to fall head over heels for this tea, but I am in love with this flavor combination!! Next time I’m going to go for the 4 ounces instead of 2. I might even have to keep this around all the time.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Grapefruit Green by Lupicia
618 tasting notes

Sipdown…Wow, with a name like Grapefruit Green, you’d think I’d be ready for the citric punch in the mouth. But this tea took me by surprise, and I’ve even had it before!

This tastes like pure grapefruit was squeezed into a nice green tea base. It is strongly citric and strongly acidic! These aren’t bad things. But it was a little much for me first thing in the morning. Still, if you love eating grapefruits, this tea would be heaven for you!

I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I’ll re-stock it. I’m in an exploring-new-teas kind of mood. Lucky for me, I finally received my first ever Ovation Teas order today!! So, I’ve got plenty of new teas to explore in the coming days. Yay for adventure! :D

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Buttered Popcorn by 52teas
618 tasting notes

I don’t know what it is about this tea, but the flavors really fade over time. It doesn’t taste much like buttered popcorn anymore, and I was really careful to keep it in an air-tight container. :(

I added milk to try to cut the bitterness. That didn’t quite do it, so I added a pinch of sugar. Now it tastes like a buttery sweet tea. The popcorn flavor is kind of there if I really search for it.

It’s still pretty good, but it’s no buttery popcorn and it doesn’t settle my craving for the real stuff. The second steep was surprisingly yummy though. I’m enjoying this, but I’m afraid I have to drop the rating from 100 to 96 because it’s not as perfect as that first experience.

And now on a completely separate note, my Kindle Touch FINALLY came today!!!! EEEEEHH!! Now I just have to resist the urge to buy a million books and figure out whether or not the Amazon Prime membership is worth it…hmmm, decisions decisions.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec

I have a Kindle fire and I love mine – they used to give away a month’s free membership to Amazon Prime when you bought one…


I can’t figure out whether the Amazon Prime membership is worth it or not. But I’m also still learning what the Kindle can do. So far, I’m loving it!


On the Kindle books page, on the right is a list of the bestsellers. If you click “see all …”, it will take you to the top FREE books. It’s my favorite page on Amazon (well, other than the free music one). But freebies are a good start. You are going to love it.


Thanks, Cheryl! I’ll definitely check that out!

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drank Momoko by Lupicia
618 tasting notes

Today was a long annoying day. I really needed a tea break. This tea came to my rescue! I made sure to be more careful with the water to leaf ratio than I had been a couple days ago with the Happiness tea.

Oh, yum yum yummy yum! This tea is floral, fruity, and oh so sugary sweet. Delicious! Delish-ioso! So so good! Plus, it re-steeps exceedingly well. It really helped me through the day. I’m upping the rating again, this time from 77 to 81.

If you haven’t tried this yet and enjoy sweet, flavored green teas, add this to your shopping list while it’s still in season! It comes around in the springtime, and I highly recommend it. It keeps well over long periods of time in your cupboard too, which is a definite plus.

See my other notes for a more descriptive play-by-play…

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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Backlogging from yesterday…I went to the mall with my fiancé. It was a really fun trip! I bought my first ever full-size Coach bag and looked at Tacori wedding bands!

The bag is gold metallic textured leather, and I got a great wallet too in a fun spring pattern. My Vera Bradley purse broke recently, so I needed a replacement. I’m usually not a fan of Vera Bradley, but that purse was a gift. It was brown and white with trees, birds, flowers, and Asian-themed pagodas. Pretty, but not very durable.

The straps were completely worn out and the clasp on the inside ripped right out of the fabric! So, it was time for a replacement and nothing in my closet would do. All I have is a collection of very small handbags. But I had gotten used to the medium-large Vera Bradley. I could put whole books in there! Books, hairbrushes, lunch, pretty much anything!

The Coach purse is a dream come true!! I’ve always wanted one but never been able to justify the price. Now that the fiancé and I have had good jobs for a while, our quality of life has substantially improved. Looking at wedding bands was almost as much fun as picking out my new purse!

I’ve made a running list of all the Tacori rings I like (my engagement ring is Tacori too). The list was up to 21 different styles before our venture out yesterday. Seeing a lot of the rings in person completely changed my opinion of them. I still think they’re beautiful, but many of them didn’t match my engagement ring the way I thought they would. So, now the list is down to 13 styles. And I’m pretty confident I can knock out 5 more at least.

I’ll settle on something eventually. My fiancé wants me to get the wedding band that matches my engagement ring (like the one they made to match it). But even though it’s pretty and definitely not off the table, I have my heart set on something a little bigger and more blingy. I’m a big fan of glitz and glamour!

I’m also a big fan of reality TV shows, so I’ve been watching all the wedding shows available on Netflix (we don’t have cable). My most recent addiction is Bridalplasty, where women compete to have plastic surgery procedures and a free, celebrity-style wedding. It is ridiculously hilarious, but I just can’t stop watching it!! I highly recommend it if you like reality TV. It’s my guilty pleasure.

Ohh, I’m 100% in the wedding planning mood!! We’ve got a trip coming up in a couple weeks to go look at venues, and I’m soooo excited!!!! I just can’t wait!! I’ve been waiting for this trip for about 4 months! We’ve been working on the guest list and have cut it down from 100+ to 87. That will allow us to have a much nicer event. Prices are just outrageous! I’ll probably never get over the sticker shock.

Anyway, this post is becoming really long and not at all tea related. This genmaicha was okay. I wasn’t floored by it, but it wasn’t terrible either. Of course, it’s always an interesting experience when you go into Teavana. I only bought a cup of this to have in the store. I was really feeling like a genmaicha, and I hadn’t had any tea that morning.

I ordered one cup, which cost about $5.50. The lady making it asked if I wanted it hot or cold, sweet or unsweet. I replied hot and unsweet. She said, “Okay, well just let me know if you change your mind. That one can be a little…mreh unsweetened.” Thank goodness she wasn’t looking at me, so she didn’t see me roll my eyes. A couple minutes later she handed me the cup. I could tell just from holding it that she must have brewed it with nearly boiling water. I said thanks and asked how she had prepared it. She replied, “Well, the water comes out at about 205 and I added 4 ice cubes. So, it’s supposed to be 175 but I didn’t really measure it or anything.” She said this perfectly nonchalant as if it didn’t matter that she was admitting she put literally no effort into making my tea. That was kind of bold of her. But I knew I wasn’t going to be making any new friends at Teavana anyway. Really, who adds sugar to an unflavored green tea before even trying it?!

We walked out and went about our shopping. The tea was perfect without sugar, so I’m glad I followed my instinct there. It was roasty toasty with a nice grassy flavor underneath. Overall, a success despite the slightly too hot water. That only added a little bit of bitterness to the tea, but at a tolerable level.

After the mall, we went to go see The Cabin in the Woods. After all the raves it received, I had pretty high expectations. It definitely wasn’t a bad movie, but it wasn’t that surprising either. The twists and turns were predictable to me, and it was more of a comedy than a horror flick. It definitely wasn’t your standard psycho killer/slasher movie. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Okay, that’s the end of my un-tea related rant! Thanks for listening, and now I’m off to make lunch!

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The chores are done, so it’s time to relax with a wonderful cup of green tea! I carefully cut open the silver package and discovered very thin, very dark leaves with a lovely aroma of spinach. The leaves are such a dark green that they look black. It reminds me of dried black moss, if such a thing exists, but with a much more appealing bouquet of aromas I’m sure.

I think I’m going to go for several steeps with this one to see how the flavors morph. This is going to be fun! I was generous with the leaf too because I almost always brew my teas too weak. First infusion for one minute, and the little leaves opened all the way up! They’re actually a very vibrant green color now that they’re open. The brewed aroma is very green, very vegetal. And the taste? Matches the aroma perfectly!

This first cup is alive! There’s no better way to describe it. It reminds me of spring, flowers blooming and grass growing. Vivacious and thriving with a nice balance between spinach and nori. It’s naturally sweet and light but also very flavorful. This is a perfect complement to my mood. :)

The greatest part of this tea is that it has a lovely lingering aftertaste. And even though it’s so green, it doesn’t taste grassy. It’s definitely a steamed veggie taste. Butter not chlorophyll. But as it cools, it loses its vibrancy. Time to move on to steep number two (176 degrees for two minutes)!

The second cup is less salty nori and…flatter. It’s still sweet, but a lot less so. It’s also no longer buttery. The first cup was definitely the best. But what’s remained constant is the lingering vegetal aftertaste, although it’s a little delayed now and less green. As this cup cools, it’s darker with hints towards, but not fully reaching, bitterness.

I don’t think this is a marathon infusion kind of tea. At least not the way I approached it with multiple long steeps. Maybe a series of short steeps would have yielded better results. Of course, now I’m sloshing with tea. So, I think I’m done for now. I was going to go for a third infusion, but I don’t think the leaves are up to it.

Still, that first cup was magic! So, I’m rating it accordingly. This is a solid choice for green tea fans.

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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drank Christmas in a Cup by Element Tea
618 tasting notes

Thanks to Mercuryhime for making this tea experience possible! This is the last tea of the many generous samples she’s shared with me. You’re the bomb, lady! :)

Wow! This has a lot of cinnamon in it! The dry leaf aroma was equally both orange and cinnamon. But the brewed tea aroma is pure cinnamon.

First sip, and my instincts are confirmed. This is hot cinnamon water with a weak black tea background. Perhaps it would have been improved with a longer steep time? The orange citrus notes I crave are sadly nowhere to be found. The base is slightly bitter and…waxy? It was crying out for milk and sugar, so I kindly obliged.

It’s more drinkable now, but pretty much still strong cinnamon in weak tea. It also doesn’t remind me of Christmas much at all. Then again, I don’t necessarily link cinnamon and Christmas. Cinnamon is great in Chai tea or hot apple cider. But this is missing all the other lovable spices that go in Chai. So, I’m left with a tea that’s just okay.

But, of course, you never know what a new tea will bring until you try it. If you like cinnamon, then this would probably be right up your alley! But I think there’s a green tea in my cupboard that’s calling my name, so I’ll finish this cup and move on to greener pastures. ;)

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

It’s been great seeing your reviews!

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drank Decaf Carol by Lupicia
618 tasting notes

I wasn’t going to brew another tea tonight because that requires me to wash my cup and strainer. But I’m intrigued by this loose leaf sample from Lupicia, so I’m washing some dishes!

The dry leaves smell fruity and delicious! It must be the strawberry. Oh, it smells so good!! It’s funny because I just read a post by Angrboda where she said she had to try and type around a “sleepy but social cat (what do you mean make her go away??? I can’t! She’s cute!).” Now I’m doing the exact same thing, precariously balancing my laptop on the edge of my knees with my arms wrapped around a purring kitty who demands attention now. :) I can’t possibly move him when he lays his head on my hand and sleeps.

“You’re making this impossible,” I say to him. And he responds by looking up at me, still purring, and doing that slow blink thing cats do when they’re happy. He’s just the cutest thing in the world! How can anyone dare to disturb that happiness?

At least the distraction has allowed my tea to cool to a drinkable temperature. Wow, this tea is delicious! The strawberry is definitely the most prominent flavor. It lends a great sweetness to the brew so that I’m not immediately compelled to add milk and sugar. Still, I’m going to add just a tiny touch of milk anyway because the kitty decided to get up.

This is really really good! Even though I’m not individually tasting all the flavorings in this tea, I’m sure it wouldn’t be the same if they were left out. This tea has really impressed me! It’s too bad it’s no longer available since the holiday season is over. I really missed the boat with this one. But now I know to look for it next year! And that’s what I call a tea success!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

I know how that goes. I have a very aptly named puppy (Mr. Snuggles) who insists on being on my lap the moment I sit down. I sometimes find myself pressing my laptop against my chest with my knees and typing with my hands just under my chin so that the spoiled brat can curl up on my lap with the laptop acting like a little heat pad above him. Of course he’s absolutely adorable and utterly trusting and he’s licking my toes and GAH! Just dang irresistible. Other puppy is content to pull at my hand until I’m petting him so I’m also typing one handed. I know, I’ve spoiled them, but cute little animals will probably always get their way with me. Except for house training. That’s serious business. :)


Kitties. They own us. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve sat bouncing on full to bursting bladder because there was a content cat on my lap so I couldn’t move. Usually don’t push them off until I absolutely have to.


I just stayed in bed an extra half hour because my spoiled princess (kitty) was being cute and purring next to me. Not that it was any great struggle. : )

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drank Happiness by Lupicia
618 tasting notes

A free sample tea bag of this came in my latest purchase from Lupicia. And by latest purchase, I mean the one I got about 6 months ago, hahaha!

I made this at work, so I don’t really know what temperature the water was or how long I steeped it for. I definitely used way too much water because I forgot that most Lupicia teas say to brew it in only 5 ounces of water. I probably used twice that much at least.

So, it didn’t really taste the way it was supposed to. Honestly, I couldn’t discern much beyond a low-grade green tea flavor. I’m disappointed I messed this up because I don’t really remember what it tasted like the one other time I’ve tried it. So, I guess the rating will remain unchanged. Too bad. I thought this was my second chance with this tea.

Alas, I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

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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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