255 Tasting Notes

drank Orchid Temple by Golden Moon Tea
255 tasting notes

Golden Moon Tea Sample #8, selected at random.

The buttery note of this type of tea is always pleasing and so is the floral note. It’s good and pleasant but I don’t think that there’s anything here that will sear this tea into my memory and impel me to spend money on a full size. I like, but am not in love with, oolongs, green teas and white teas, so if you are reading this, please be a bit jaundiced about my opinion. I’m the person who thinks that the smokiest Lapsang Souchongs should be smokier. I am the person who drowns herself in perfume instead of applying a tiny whiff. I’m the person who used to wear Bob Mackie knock-offs. So I can respect this tea but not, perhaps, love it.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 45 sec

Yes! Down with subtlety! I fail at it so hard.

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drank Masala Chai by Indigo Tea Company
255 tasting notes

This is a serviceable Masala Chai. It’s not at all bad, but there’s nothing particularly memorable or outstanding about this one. Chai lovers might want to sample this.

For what it’s worth, I’m not a big devotée of chai, so my ability to judge fairly or to detect differences may be limited.

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 45 sec

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drank Earl Grey White Tip by TeaSource
255 tasting notes

Thank you to Meghann for this sample. The dry tea has got a wonderful typical Earl Grey scent and there were quite a few white tips visible in my sample. The brewed tea is a very good Earl Grey. The bergamot flavour stands out clearly. The quality of the black tea seems to be decent at the very least and perhaps better.

I would most certainly recommend giving this a taste for those who are in search of their perfect Earl Grey BFF.

205 °F / 96 °C

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Golden Moon Sampler Tea #7 selected at random

I was glad to select a robust tea. It’s too early in the day to go in for an airy-fairy white muskmelon with breath of lilac type of tea. This English Breakfast did not disappoint me. It’s full and rich and the blend is a lovely combination. I would consider making a full purchase of this. I’d like to have a breakfast tea in stock aside from my beloved Lapchang Souchongs to offer visitors or in case my taste shifts—-and taste, as we know, can be fickle.

I’ll see if this tea calls to me in the next several weeks. Overall, a hearty recommendation.

Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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This tea is just another tea that Randy Jackson would call “aight”. It’s most certainly blueberry but neither the black tea nor the blueberry are strong enough for my taste.

I would recommend this tea to a blueberry afficianado looking for a lighter afternoon fruity tea

3 min, 15 sec

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drank White Licorice by Golden Moon Tea
255 tasting notes

Golden Moon Sampler Tea #6, selected at random

I was glad that I picked this out rather early in the evening. I would have tossed back a very robust tea into the “ocean” of the basket.

I don’t hate licorice, but I’m not a huge fan. I found this tea more pleasant than anticipated, but I don’t think I would feel a need to keep it in stock. If I knew a big licorice lover, it might make a superb gift.

Pleasant and light, the anise flavour shone through but was not overwhelming. It was a great one-note white tea.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Russian Blend by Samovar
255 tasting notes

Thank you so much to LORI for sending me a generous sample of this tea. I knew that I would like it. As a Lapsang Souchong addict, I’m partial to any smoked teas. This Russian Blend is not exception. While it does not have the deep scorched-earth taste of some smoky teas, it is an exceptional blend that adds an element of fruit and natural sweetness to the smoke. Their notes suggest an apricot taste and I fully concur with that.

This may be another tea that I will have to purchase a full tin of because of the exquisite blend. I’m not certain how Samovar’s blenders managed to strike such an expert balance between smoke and fruit without allowing the smoke to take over. It’s a nifty hat trick.

5 min, 0 sec

This is one tea I cannot live without!


Ooooh – I want! I’m adding this puppy to my ever-expanding shopping list which (as of yesterday) exceeds the # of teas in my cabinet. ’Twas inevitable! :)

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drank Black Forest by TeaSource
255 tasting notes

Thank you so much to MEGHANN for sending me a generous sample of this tea. I certainly tasted the cherry in the tea and, although you can see the coconut, I did not pick up on the coconut taste. It was a very pleasant afternoon tea, but I’m not likely to invest in a full bag unless the flavor really “pops” out distinctively.

I enjoyed it, however, because the light taste of cherry was very nice, but it made me crave a more distinctive flavour.

4 min, 45 sec

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drank Maiden's Ecstasy by Samovar
255 tasting notes

Thank you so much to LORI for sending me a sample of this tea. I can understand why many drinkers rave about it and I can also understand the audacity of the name “ecstasy”. The flavors are very complex and in some ways contradictory:

The aroma and taste remind me of an exotic market where one is besieged by a plethora of odor. The fish stand abuts the chocolate-covered fruits and the artisanal breads are next to a display of dripping honey. The garden soil is adjacent to the herbs and spices. It’s a mélange, and a very good one at that. I would say that the “earthy” aroma and taste predominate over the others. I could close my eyes and be carried away to the exotic bazaar of world flavours and foods.

I’m looking forward to multiple steepings.


Fish?? Oh dear…


Just a little bit in a way that I like—-a sort of salty, organic way. Perhaps I should have said the sea instead of “fish”. A lot of Japanese teas seem to be raised alongside nori or kelp. Please don’t be put off!


A quick hot first steep, disposed, will eliminate the fishy quality. I say this with authority only insofar as this particular pu-erh goes, because it was the one recommended to me as a way to acclimate to the type of tea. For me the mental hurdle was to stop thinking ‘mushrooms cooked in honey’ and start thinking ‘this is a very dark yunnan tea’.

I have no explanation for that, since I like both mushrooms and honey…but the earthiness was off-putting.

I drink this fairly often, now…and I like the market metaphor a lot.


I think, after my second steep, that this is a tea worth investing in a full canister. It passes a couple of tests for me: I don’t know of any other tea quite like it and I really like this and want to have it around. I’m quite impressed with the Samovar teas that I’ve had so far.


I have to admit Doulton – I haven’t tried this one yet but plan to do so tomorrow… I am glad that you liked it!

In regards to the steeping, the Samovar tin recommended Sophistre’s method- about discarding the first steep of water….I may/may not have scribbled that on the label…


@Shanti: For me, the description of “fish” in a tasting, usually means “brine-y” or like ocean salt water. At least to me, pu-erh is like that. :)

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drank Barberry Fling by DAVIDsTEA
255 tasting notes

I got this as a free sample in my last order from David’s Tea. The Barberry, by the way, resembles small cranberries, but the taste it not as strong.
This sencha is perfectly pleasant and a good choice for a basic fruity green tea with few, if any, vegetal overtones. I also think this would make a delicious iced tea.

I’m not in love with it, but when I survey my iced tea options as the weather gets muggier, I might order a large size of Barberry Fling.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

Cool, I’ve planted barberry shrubs before but I always thought they were purely decorative (and evil – they have wickedly sharp thorns).

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I really love big, bold, brash teas. Smokiness enthralls me. I don’t seem to do subtle.
I don’t do rooibos.

My rating system:
Never again in a hundred million years

31-55: This tea probably has some redeeming qualities but I won’t would not seek it out again.

Shows some promise but also has a fundamental flaw. I probably owe these a second taste but am unmotivated.

Good with at least one strong quality; I probably would not buy it but would drink it cheerfully.

81-90: Worthy contenders; they might be ranked 100 on somebody’s else’s scale. I like them a lot but have not fallen in love. Will probably buy and use.

91-95: These are the true loves, the chosen ones, the ones I dream about and crave. Unless they are in a limited edition—la! how you tease me!—I will always keep in my cupboard.

96-100: I cannot be separated from these teas and would develop a panic attack if I were to run out.


“She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain.”

Elderly dowager. Quintessential cat lady.

Tea which must be in stock always:

Black Dragon LS by Upton Teas: My choice every morning.

Florence & Lapsang Souchong by Harney & Sons

a good Gen Maicha

Samovar: Russian Blend, Maiden’s Ecstasy, Ryokucha

Mariage Frères: Confucious, Vivaldi, Eros, Aida, Marco Polo

American Tea Room: Brioche

Leland Teas: Bogart

Life in Teacup:
An Xi Tie Guan Yin Grade II modern green style & also Charcoal Style


In the midst of the middle of the heart of nowhere in particular.

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