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499 Tasting Notes

28

Sipdown #44

Thanks to my husband, this has finally become a sipdown! It’s funny, the last time I tried this tea, he was only my boyfriend. Now he’s my hubby. ;)

My love let me have a sip and it was significantly more drinkable than I remember. It mostly tastes like kiwi and Bai Mu Dan now. No more rancid funk from whatever that tequila flavoring was. Nevertheless, I’m going to leave the rating unchanged, although I’d probably rate this particular cup around 65.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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93

After forgetting about the re-blended batch of this tea in my cupboard for 7 months, I decided to break it out and try it again. And I’m so glad I did! To anyone else who was disappointed in this re-blend, it actually tastes really good now!

I guess it needed a looong time to sit and chillax because it’s turned back into the blueberry cream cheese heaven dream I remember it being. Hooray! I feel like celebrating! (In fact, I’m doing a little happy tea dance in my kitchen right now). Balance and order have been restored, my tea-loving friends! This tea is delicious again! :D

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

Oh really? Hmmmm maybe I can open my package….

CHAroma

I’m not lying! It really has improved in my opinion. If you do try it again, let me know how it goes.

Sil

I was SOOOO disappointed by the reblend. But i couldn’t bring myself to trade away the second bag i bought. I’ll have to dig it out of the back of the cupboard where i left it haha

CHAroma

I did the same. I found it in a bag labeled “52teas I don’t like :(” Complete with the frowny face and all! LOL!

Sil

hahahaha

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79
drank Candy Corn Black Tea by 52teas
499 tasting notes

I think the worst part of tea is waiting for it to cool before you can drink it. I amused myself by watching Daniel Radcliffe’s audition tape for Harry Potter. You can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7KbQLJLBAo

I love Harry Potter. Who doesn’t? It’s a wonderful story in a wonderful world. I recently visited the set at Warner Brother’s Studio in Leavesden, England. It was AMAZING! Here’s a picture of my husband and me on the Hogwarts Bridge: http://instagram.com/p/fDqizKF-iA/

I don’t want to give too many things away because discovering all the sets and costumes was really fun. If you’re ever in London, I strongly recommend a visit to Leavesden. It’s very easy to get to by train, and it’s easily one of my favorite parts of our honeymoon trip. I wish I could go back every day!

The Chamber of Secrets is playing on HBO right now, and I recognize so many set pieces and props! I watch the movies from a completely different perspective now. Knowing the secrets behind the filming doesn’t ruin anything for me. It’s quite to the contrary, really. I’ve always loved movie making, so the studio tour experience just adds to the magic of the films for me. But this isn’t a Harry Potter review. It’s a tea review!

ON TO THE TEA!

The aroma of the dry leaf isn’t anything too special. When I saw whole candy corn pieces in the blend, I was afraid that Frank had just taken some black tea and added candy pieces to it. I was worried that the tea was lacking any additional flavoring and wouldn’t taste anything like candy corn. But the reviews here are glowing, so I’ll reserve judgment until I actually taste it. ;)

The brewed tea aroma is somewhat recognizable as candy corn. I enjoyed the first cup sans additions. It is definitely an enjoyable tea! Without being told that it is candy corn flavored, I’m not sure I’d be able to distinguish that for myself. For the second cup, I added a little honey and a splash of skim milk. Unfortunately, I think these leaves had only one good steep in them. This cup mostly tastes like milk. :/

Whoops. Well, live and learn. I did like the first cup a lot. It’s not the most amazing of Frank’s blends in my opinion, but it is a delicious novelty. And just in time for Halloween too! Who’s dressing up this year?

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Cavocorax

That’s so cool! I didn’t even realize you could see all the sets etc, but obviously they would want to make that available. That sounds so cool!

CHAroma

It does seem obvious, doesn’t it? But it’s actually the first permanent exhibition of its kind. I wish they would have made something like it for The Lord of the Rings too. They would make sooo much money!

tigress_al

That’s so cool! I also had no idea you could see the sets! Now I wanna go to England!

JennyFur

I was velma and hubs was Judge Doom. Halloween is our favorite.

LiberTEAS

Harry Potter … the whole series, I just love it. It remains my favorite series of movies and books. JK Rowling is brilliant.

VariaTEA

I was looking at different novelty flavors and I was about to pass over reading reviews on this tea until I saw your first sentence. As someone who is sitting with my cup of Oh Canada tea in my hand, getting a noseful of maple but not being able to drink I can definitely relate. And then I kept reading and was suckered in by your tales of Harry Potter sets. I think its amazing you got to go see the sets – the closest I have gotten to anything so excitingly Harry Potter themed is when I visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park in Orlando and got to enjoy some delicious butterbeer!

CHAroma

Ooh, I’ve been wondering how that place is. Was it mostly rides or set reproductions or something else entirely?

VariaTEA

It’s a lot of Harry Potter themed rides and the section of the park is meant to look like diagon alley so it has some shops you can go into and shop in like you can go into Ollivander’s and buy a wand. Also they have restaurants where you can get butterbeer (the frozen butterbeer is really good) and some food from the Harry Potter world.

CHAroma

Were things really overpriced or were they reasonable for a theme park? That was the only thing I found disappointing at Warner Brother’s Studio; everything was beyond expensive. You want a replica Maurauder’s Map? That’ll be $75! You want a fake plastic wand? $50! Butterbeer? $10! Come on. No non-alcoholic drink served in a plain clear plastic cup should cost $10. I think we paid something like $40 for 2 photos of us, and that was the only souvenir we bought.

VariaTEA

The prices are all pretty high and I guess its because they can be since people obviously pay them. I know wands were at least $50 and like for a small triangle flag of the houses you paid like $25. I bought bertie bott’s every flavour beans for my friends back home and each small box cost me around $8 or $9. And the place was jam packed despite it being pouring rain and a million degrees outside (that’s what I get for going in the summertime though)

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99
drank Finest Gyokuro by Fortnum & Mason
499 tasting notes

This was my husband’s choice of afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason during our London honeymoon. (For more details on our fantastic afternoon tea experience, see this tasting note: http://steepster.com/Charoma/posts/199271).

He generously shared a few sips with me. ;) And wow! This was one delicious tea! It was buttery and crisp and smooth. Not bitter or astringent in the least. Just a perfect cup of Gyokuro! I highly recommend it to any green tea lovers.

Anna

Afternoon tea at F&M is seriously the best. <3

CHAroma

It really is!

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99

On our honeymoon, my husband and I went to Fortnum & Mason to have afternoon tea! What could be more fun than having traditional high tea in London?? :D I made reservations at the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon in Piccadilly about a week or so before we left. We were seated in a gorgeous tea room with a live pianist. We ordered from the standard “Fortnum’s Afternoon Tea” menu, which comprised of a different pot of tea for each of us, finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and preserves, and afternoon tea cakes.

OMG YUM!!!! Everything was to die for delicious! I was swooning with every bite and sip. The finger sandwiches were cucumber with mint butter, coronation chicken, rare roast beef with gherkin and caper dressing, rare breed hen egg with mustard cress, and Fortnum’s smoked salmon with lemon dill butter. Wow! Soooo good! And I don’t even like half that stuff, LOL!

The scones were the epitome of perfection. The clotted cream (which I don’t think I’ve ever had before) was melt in your mouth delicious. We had lemon curd and raspberry preserve, which were equally tasty. The individual cakes and patisseries were super cute and super yummy. I swear they served us a rose eclair! Click here to see photos: http://instagram.com/p/f0K-Agl-lN/ and http://instagram.com/p/f0LmSKl-mA/

I highly recommend a stop at Fortnum & Mason if you’re ever in London. Even if you don’t want to have afternoon tea, their store is HUGE! I’m talking five levels of awesomeness. They sell all manor of things from jackets, scarves, gloves, and fancy lady hats, to Christmas ornaments and decorations, jewelry, perfume, wedding cakes, chocolates, and of course, all things tea! I wanted to get a souvenir teacup, but the cheapest one I could find was about $75. O_O Yeaaah…I didn’t get the teacup.

ON TO THE TEA!

This tea was very delicious! It is pretty much everything I’d want a Ceylon tea to be. It did tend to go bitter since all the leaves were left in the pot. After finishing the first pot, they brought me more hot water, and then I could steep one cup at a time. It was much more enjoyable this way.

I think the waiters thought I was funny because when I asked for more hot water, they said, “Would you like a new pot of tea?” I told them I was fine with re-steeping the same leaves, and really they had a lot of flavor left in them! I enjoyed many delicious infusions. Come to think of it, maybe they just wanted to charge me more money for a new pot? I don’t know.

The entire experience was absolutely perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing. We left completely full and absolutely happy. I don’t think I’ll ever eat such delicious scones or clotted cream ever again. Perfection, I tell you! This tea seems to be fairly priced as well. According to their website, you can buy 50g for £7.50, which is about $12.25. Of course, I just went on a crazy shopping spree on the 52teas website and purchased about $70 worth of tea. At a discount, mind you! I only paid $55. ;) So, this purchase will have to wait. But if you enjoy Ceylon teas, this one is great!!

Bonnie

Looks delicious! The decor almost looks retro 60’s elegant…like I remember my grandmother having when I was little. Her house was on the Peninsula Home Tour during the Holiday Season (San Francisco area). Proper dining room and china from Bavaria and real silver. Bygone era.

teataku

Well, doesn’t that just look like three tiers of pure delight?? I’m so glad you got to try clotted cream, which is my favorite condiment OF ALL TIME. Once you’ve had it on scones, you’ll never go back to eating them plain. My husband and I got a jar of it at World Market so we could have it when I make scones at home. It was definitely worth it! It’s one of those foreign cultural products that doesn’t have any problems with international shipping (unlike, for example, real Guinness).

greenteafairy

I love Fortnum & Mason’s teas! And that afternoon tea sounds wonderful.

CHAroma

Ooh, thanks for the tip about World Market! I’ll have to stop by and pick up some clotted cream. Mmmm! :)

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80

I enjoyed a takeaway cup of this while on my honeymoon. We had just left the Louvre and were walking through an underground passageway filled with shops when I spotted a Mariage Frères store! I immediately went inside and bought some Sablés au Thé in Marco Polo flavoring and a cup of this tea. :) I didn’t take notes while I drank it, but I remember it being a lovely green tea with delicious yet natural flavoring.

I wanted to buy more tea, but food and drink abroad was significantly more expensive than we had anticipated or planned for. The shop itself was fun and different. It was super high-brow. The men who helped me pick a tea were separate from the cashiers, who sat in a little windowed area near the door like a box office at the theatre. And they even served my to-go cup of tea on a platter! Hahaha, it was quite the experience.

Ahh, it’s so nice to be home drinking tea again. France was full of tiny, overpriced shots of espresso. I did try (and buy) some tea while there, but I found that I really relied on multiple espresso shots to get through the day. It was A LOT of walking! We climbed just about everything there is to climb: the Eiffel Tower (we climbed down, not up), the Basilica of Sacré Cœur, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, the Catacombs, and St. Paul’s Cathedral (in London).

It was a fantastic trip, but we are happy to be home again. We definitely live in the best country by far. Go America!! We left the day after the government shutdown started and returned home the night they passed the budget to re-open it. Since I’m a federal employee, I got paid for my time out and didn’t have to use any of my leave! How’s that for timing? I’m still upset the shutdown happened, but there’s a silver lining to everything.

Bonnie

Much love and happiness to you! Not a bad silver lining!

Josie Jade

Sounds like a wonderful honeymoon, and with perfect timing! Congrats on being a newlywed! :)

teataku

Congrats to you! Sounds like a fantastic time! :)

CHAroma

Thanks all! ;)

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80

The dry leaf aroma is strawberry fruit roll-ups! OMG YUM!! The flavor is a soft green tea with a light, natural, strawberry flavor. It isn’t quite as intense as the aroma, but it’s definitely there. I added a little agave and that really made the strawberry pop!

I’ve only recently discovered agave. It’s like honey but different. It’s less viscous, not quite as intense, and sweet in a different way. Like more of a green, vegetal type way. I think I like it more than honey! Mmm, it is a delicious addition to this tea. Thank you to Shmiracles for giving me this sample!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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79

This is another free sample I received from Little Red Cup Tea Company in exchange for a review. Wow! This is night and day from the previous tea I drank. This is flavorful and delicious! The leaves themselves seem to be in much better shape too. They’re wavy, fuzzy, whole leaves varying in color from white to dark brown.

I’m going to disagree with most of the other reviewers on here and say that this does taste like a green tea. There’s a soft but apparent grassy note followed by a naturally sweet, vegetal aftertaste. In my opinion, this is a common flavor profile of green teas, while white teas are less fresh cut grass/buttery vegetables and more dry hay/sunshine.

This is a yummy green tea. I’m really enjoying it! Thanks to Little Red Cup for providing a generous sample so I can enjoy it again later. :)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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50

I received this sample from Little Red Cup Tea Company just before leaving for my honeymoon. There wasn’t time to try it before I left, so I stored it in my cupboard away from light and moisture. I always feel bad about writing a review that’s anything but glowing when it’s for a tea I’ve received for free, whether that be through a swap or directly from a tea distributor in exchange for a review. Sadly, this is one of those cases.

I believe this tea is about the same quality as most bagged teas, maybe slightly better. The leaves are crushed enough that they’d probably fit in a bagged form as is. The tea produced is not very flavorful, but it’s also not bitter or astringent. I tried brewing this with 2 tsp of leaves in about 8 oz. of water and it was nearly flavorless. With 3 tsp, it’s a little better. However, it’s missing the lovely sweetness and hay-like qualities that I’ve come to love about Bai Mu Dan. It’s just a rather lackluster cup of tea.

That said, it’s not bad. It’s just not great either. If I really needed tea and this was all I had, I’d still drink it. But if I was in the mood for a White Peony tea and had other options, I’d turn elsewhere. Overall, I rate it along the same lines as I rate the bagged teas I used to love before discovering loose leaf. I am glad I had the opportunity to try it though!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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76
drank Jardin Bleu by Dammann Freres
499 tasting notes

Sipdown #45

Thanks to Sil for this sample! The brewed tea aroma is fruit and flowers. Hmm, there’s something weird about this flavor combo. I can’t readily identify the type of fruit or flowers that this tea is supposed to taste like.

I added some almond milk and agave, and now it’s much more to my liking. The black base is calm and floats in the background behind the added flavorings. Overall, this isn’t an incredibly complex or nuanced tea, but it is delicious! Yum!

Please pray for my husband’s father. His name is Bob, and he was just admitted to the hospital tonight with complaints of chest pain. They are doing a cardiac catheterization first thing tomorrow morning to diagnose what’s going on. They currently think he might have a blood clot or some other type of blockage, but we won’t know for sure until they do the diagnostic test tomorrow.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
yyz

My prayers with you and your family and that everything will turn out well.

Sil

hug i will send positive vibes your way darling.

OMGsrsly

I wish him and your family the best.

MissLena

Sending prayers your way!!

tigress_al

Oh no, my thoughts will be with you and bob. Hope he’s ok

ashmanra

Praying!

CHAroma

Thank you all SOO much for your prayers and kind words! Bob had the cardiac catheterization. The procedure normally lasts 30-60 minutes. He was in surgery for 4 hours. One of his arteries was 100% blocked! The doctors said that they haven’t seen a blockage this large before and that they only had a 20% chance to clear it. However, they kept working at it and didn’t give up (thus explaining why it took 4 hours), and they were able to completely clear the blockage!

Bob’s blood pressure immediately improved, and he is already feeling much better! We are so blessed that he walked into that hospital on his own power. He could have had a heart attack at any minute! Coronary heart disease is the #1 killer in America for both men and women. He had just come for a visit and played tennis with my husband out in the hot sun for hours. It’s simply a miracle that he’s okay!

They have him on new medication to help lower his cholesterol and another one that will scrub his arteries to keep future blockages from happening. This all happened so fast, and it’s already over. I think we’re all in shock. But now we can go on our honeymoon without worrying that he’s going to need a bypass or anything more serious.

It’s just amazing how God took care of him. I am so thankful to be part of this community of genuinely good-hearted people. I’m convinced that this truly is a miracle brought on by everyone’s love, support, and prayers. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Sil

oh that is AMAAAAZING news. I’m so happy to hear that things went better and that he pulled through. That is incredible news….totally just made my day :) so happy for you!

OMGsrsly

So glad to hear he’s doing better! Hope you have a great honeymoon. :)

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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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