255 Tasting Notes


This tea is acceptable. The Raspberry overwhelms the much more subtle melon flavor, alas. And the freeze-dried raspberries taste a little bit more like Smart-T’s than fruit.

Overall, this inexpensive tea might be worth a try. I don’t think I will reorder it because I’ve found a much nicer melon tea that I prefer (that would be you, Golden Moon) and the raspberry flavor is all over the place.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Lapsang Souchong by The Tea Smith
255 tasting notes

Today I rolled a “1” in the fabulous Geek Pride game created so wonderfully by RABS. Right now I have only two packets left and both are “8’s”. I was, of course, thrilled to see a Lapsang Souchong because that’s my personal favorite default tea. But because it had a label of “1” I thought that there might be a flaw.

Lapsang Souchong does not always work. It ALMOST always works but not always. I don’t know, for example, what that stuff is that Tea Farm sells under the name. This is better, but I gave Tea Farm a rating of “3” out of “100”. I wanted to give it a “0” but the furthest to the left I could go was a 3. I digress.

This is a better Lapsang Souchong, but I would call it only marginally better than Tea Farm. This one does have some taste but I kept drinking it and hoping to get something more. I felt a bit like a Marlboro smoker who was suddenly trying the lightest cigarette out there—-(not having been in the situation, my metaphor may not work). Sometimes you see smokers frantically sucking on their cigarettes as if they are trying to pull in even more tobacco. Well, I was slurping at this tea trying to find more flavor, more smoke, more something. It’s got enough taste to remind me that I love a good Lapsang Souchong but not enough taste to provide any satisfaction.

I felt glad to sample this tea because I am collecting Lapsang Souchong experiences and it’s good to know the gamut.

Thank you, Rabs for giving me a new one to try!

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

I’m so glad to get your opinion on this one! This is from the shop where I had such negative customer service experiences, so I was concerned that those associations were tainting my experience of this tea. I now feel that my scathing review of this one was based on the tea itself and nothing else.

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drank Bohea by Teas Etc
255 tasting notes

I have fallen in love with this tea! Does anyone else recall the mention of “Bohea” in “The Rape of the Lock” by Pope? I first encountered this word back in my university days.

Belinda and her bohea and her billets douxs is duly celebrated by Alexander Pope. I ever more appreciate the luxurious and wealthy life Belinda led when I sample this Bohea which came in a package numbered “6” in the wonderful, generous “Geek Pride” package which RABS so nicely sent to me.

One sniff of the dry leaves and I knew that I would love this tea. One person’s old ashtray is another person’s heady perfume! And so this tea brought me waves of exhilaration. It’s a smoky/sweet adventure treat!

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec

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drank Raspberry Nectar by Tea Forte
255 tasting notes

Thank you so much to AmazonV for this loose-leaf sample. I concur with her review/tasting note except that I think I liked it better. The raspberry tasted a bit more true to me and the color of the brew is a luscious ruby red.

I also agree that this will be better iced. As a hot herbal tea, it really is not bad. Once again I am reminded of how much rooibos can interfere with flavors. No rooibos here, thankfully. This will be a contender for purchase.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 45 sec

i’m glad you enjoyed it :)

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drank Vinegar Black by The Tea Farm
255 tasting notes

I didn’t really get along with this tea. I will try it again with less tea and less steeping time. It just tasted more than a little acidulous and acerbic. I may revise my note after a second tasting.

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

I have a sample of this from Liber-Teas and I haven’t gotten the courage to try this one….

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I rolled an “8” on the die that RABS provided in the wonderful Geek Pride Tea Game Giveaway today. It was so exciting because I had gone two days in a row rolling numbers that were no longer valid. I did, however, congratulate myself on my virtuous failure to cheat.

So I opened the lovely package: http://www.flickr.com/photos/destro/4675967968/

It was the one marked “8” in the upper portion of the photo. And I was enchanged. Georgia Tea Company? Russian Caravan? I briefly thought that this tea might have come from Georgia SSR, but immediately returned to reality. I remember reading the reviews that Rabs had posted of this tea and I have it on a “to purchase” list. So I was absolutely thrilled to have it in hands and water on this afternoon.

The dry aroma is enchanting and robust—very smoky with a bit of tar, just the way I like it. Very smoky which I love. I felt tranported to a Russian troika where the horses are neighing as they approach the Kremlin and a very young Omar Sharif (transplanted to the 19th century) is guiding the reins and we are both wearing traditional Russian hats because it’s a universe in which we are oblivious to animal cruelty and the evils of the Tsar. Maybe we even are the Tsar? Or would that be the Czar?

This is the best Russian Caravan I have had. My typical response to Russian Caravan is that it stops short of its full smoky and flavorful potential. Not in this case! This one is no shrinking violet. As Rabs says in her review, there is a natural sweetness underlying the smoke (a delightful combination). Both the sweetness and the smoke are bold interpreters of the Russian Caravan concept.

Georgia Tea Company and this tea are on the top of my “to be ordered” list.

What a magnificent cup! Thank you, RABS! You are a genius!

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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drank Maple Sugar by Tea Guys
255 tasting notes

Thank you so very much to RABS for sending me this. I cannot imagine living without it now.

I rolled the die two times today for my GEEK PRIDE contest and came up with numbers that had already been used. Mindful that I could only take 3 rolls a day, I focused hard and came up with a “7” and this is the delightful result.

I don’t adore maple sugar. In fact, if given a choice between candied maple sugar and chocolate, the chocolate will win 100% of the time. I grew up in a family of 8 and packages of maple sugar candy were the default gift chosen by friends, family, and other unfortunates who had to find a gift to appease the gift-giving gods. I always thought that maple sugar was TOO sweet and used to give my pieces away to younger siblings who, in return, had to sign up for a tedious length of indentured servitude in making my bed, cleaning my room, and. my favorite of all, being compelled to speak in a French or English accent. It was the time of the Cold War so sometimes I made them approach a stranger on the street and announce that they were Russian as payment for the maple sugar. It was also the time when approaching a stranger on the street and speaking of your antecedents did not seem to shockingly creepy and dangerous as it does now.

In any event, the dry tea smelled like the maple sugar candy on quaaludes: the sweetness was muted so I was gung ho. I do like maple sugar when it’s taste is softened by a sufficiently of waffles, pancakes, etc. and you don’t feel as if you are applying cavities directly to your teeth.

I liked the aroma and was optimistic. But then I went crazy. Black tea is the BEST delivery system for maple sugar! This tea is sweet and filled with the great flavor of maple sugar but it is never cloying. That’s what I don’t like! Cloying and treacly! This is perfect. Now I totally “get” why people love Maple Sugar so much.

And I will place an order! This is simply the best use of maple sugar known to humankind, in my opinion. Totally and outrageously deliciously sweet but not too much at all. Just right! It’s a Goldilocks moment.

Thank you so much to RABS!

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

Hooray! I’m so very glad that you loved it :D


oh happiness :)


LOL at this tasting note. Too funny poor little brothers and sisters, makes me relieved I’m a lonely only!


Me too, SM! But as a kid, I REALLY wanted an older brother. I guess if I’m pressed, I still do.

Doulton, I loved that you made them speak in accents. When I was a kid, my friends and I used to go through entire days out where we agreed ahead of time that we’d speak in English or Irish accents and it was hysterical when people asked where we were from.

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Yesterday I could not roll a number on the Geek Pride D & D die that RABS had so thoughtfully provided in her magnificent package—see pictures at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/destro/4675973000/

Today I rolled a “1” and opened a package with two offerings in it—who doesn’t love a bonus? I’ve chosen to try this one first and will write a review of the second one within 24 hours. I was away from home for quite a bit and discovered that using tea bags is not the death of Western Civilization nor of me specifically so I was happy to try Stash tea. I’ve not had it before as far as I know.

This Breakfast Blend is a bit mysterious: it contains a “blend of organic black tea” and I cannot pick out a single black tea that I could swear is contained herein. It’s a good tea bag, but does not have the strength of some of the kickier blacks I like to drink in the day time. I used 6 ounces of water and steeped the tea for 4 minutes and a few seconds. Perhaps I should have used less water or steeped the tea longer, because this tea is going to end up with the strange verdict “Pleasant”. A ruling of “pleasant” is not fatal, but I guess it’s damning with faint praise.

Nonetheless, I am very happy to have tried this tea and can attest that it’s a nice, pleasant brew.

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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What a magnificent tea!
I’ve been away (and life with tea bags is not fatal, actually, it’s just not nearly as much fun). I returned home and at the first opportunity rolled the die I got from RABS in the ongoing enchantingly marvelous Tea Geek Game. I rolled a “4” (I still have not rolled a “1” or an “8”) and got this tea: Organic Yunan Gold.

The dry tea has a pleasant aroma—earthy and a bit spicy but the dry aroma does not really give up the multitude of nuances the steeped tea will reveal.

It’s an exceptionally good Yunan and Yunans are amongst my favorites along with Lapsang Souchongs and Keemuns. I loved the play of flavor: the characteristically malty taste of a good Yunan is always a deep pleasure for me. In addition, I picked up on the peppery taste (before I had read the notes of others here) and loved it. It seemed as if each sip was a little bit of a yeasty pepper dancing a tango with some fleeting but at least momentary distinct overtones of chocolate and/or chestnut.

Overall, however, I’d say that this tea is unique in that I know of no other tea that brings in so much pepper in such a graceful way. It’s a bit tangy but not so much that the other tastes are overwhelmed. Although I didn’t need it, I think that this tea would do very nicely with milk and/or sweetener.

Another great selection from RABS, my teamonger of choice!

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

I’m so tickled that you liked this! And I’m ridiculously excited to be called your “teamonger of choice.”

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This tea came packaged up with the Number 3 brew I enjoyed so much yesterday, thank to RABS and her incredible, creative, ingenious, wonderful Geek Tea Prize. In following the rules of the game, I have certainly consumed this tea within 24 hours but it may be longer for me to have posted this tasting note.

(Parenthetically: my mother in law is visiting and I’m feeling slightly deprived of computer time: I won’t have much access to the computer for the next week but I will be peeking in. We are going to take her on a road trip to meet up with another one of her sons. If you had told me a year ago that my biggest fears and trepidations about a roadtrip would not be car crashes or bed bugs, or a diet of fast food but rather no control over water temperatures for my teas, I may not have believed you). I hope that this deprivation will be good for my moral fibre.

This is a WONDERFUL tea. All of the tasting notes rave about this tea. I am now on infusion 4 or 5 and it’s going very strong. For those who do not like green tea, this might be one to sample. This tea never seems to get that bitterness that some greens have if they are not coddled. Perhaps because it is Chinese instead of Japanese? I am not sure.

As others have written, I can attest: this tea opens up to a floral/vegetal buttery aroma that is simply devastatingly wonderful. It seems to have a lighter touch than many greens in terms of going full-fledged vegetal—that is, I don’t have any sense that there is spinach or asparagus in my tea (are you listening to me, JacquelineM?). At the same time, perhaps paradoxically, I taste this tea as richer and deeper than many greens but more towards the floral side.

Like the An Xi Tie Guan Yin Charcoal Oolong of yesterday, this green counterpart is a miracle of tea growth. This plantation must be a spectacular place. This tea comes in a small package and yet contains within it a full canvas of artistic splendour.

I really have to agree with Morgana: newborn babes really smell exquisite. They have not accumulated bacteria. IF they sweat or burp or engage in other bodily functions there is a pureness to it. Stench is acquired with age! And this tea has that kind of brand-new purity and freshness and lightness. It tastes as if it has never been contaminated with man-made “stuff”. Other-worldly, I would say.

I really cannot thank Rabs enough for her kindness. Life in Teacup will hear from me, eager to place an order, when they return from holiday in August.

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

LOL, stench is acquired with age may become my new motto. Right after retirement is wasted on the old. ;-)


I think I’ll make that my motto as well ;)

Doulton: I’m also really pleased that you liked this one. I wasn’t sure how you felt about oolongs so I put these two together. I guess I didn’t make clear in the instructions that if there’s more than one tea in an envelope then you get to chose which one is the “must have” and the other may be opened at your leisure.


Man the more I hear about this game, the more awesome it sounds and the more I wish I was clever enough to think of something like it :P

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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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