255 Tasting Notes

drank Rose Tea by Golden Moon Tea
255 tasting notes

Golden Moon Tea Sample #12 selected at Random

Dear RICKY sent me a sample of this so I knew what to expect. My opinion has not changed really; I think it would be nice to keep a rose tea in stock but I don’t know how frequently I would choose this. I could see getting this if I were inviting certain types of people over—-Anglophiles who would prefer that we were still in the Edwardian period, if not the Victorian period. It’s most certainly an evocative tea.

3 min, 30 sec

AHhh didn’t realize you had this already! Then again I should have guessed since you had the sampler. Woaps! Sorry!

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drank Breakfast Blend by Samovar
255 tasting notes

Thank you so much to LENA for sending me a sample of Samovar’s Breakfast Blend. The dry tea has a very pleasant and sweet aroma. It’s quite robust but the sweetness adds an appealing twist. This is a mannish tea with some real sweet soul.

The brewed tea is quite strong and certainly deserves consideration for anyone looking for a good shot of caffeine. It’s very malty. I added some milk and a bit of sugar and decided I prefer this tea with the additions. The sugar and milk seem to elicit more of the sweet overtones of chocolate and raisin and the milk cuts through the strength a bit to make the tea relax a bit.

I will certainly consider buying a full-size tin of this tea when I, inevitably, place another Samovar order.

4 min, 0 sec

Now you can join me in a daily visit to the Samovar page to see when the large tins come back in stock. It has been weeks. They were supposed to get it last week but apparently it didn’t come in. I did buy small in case they ran out of that too. Unfortunately, they seem to have a supply issue with a lot of their teas.

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drank Holiday Tea by Harney & Sons
255 tasting notes

It may be the end of April, but we’ve got frost here. That’s right: FROST! So I decided to try a tea that I might have otherwise saved. This holiday tea is a delight for a chilly morning. It’s not heavy-handed at all, as some holiday teas can be. It’s got some restraint with the cinnamon (how I deplore the unrestrained use of cinnamon!), and genial highlights of clove and orange. It’s nice to taste a “holiday” flavored tea that has such a good blend.

I think this is a good afternoon or evening tea and it would be great for festive moments. Right now I’m feeling about as festive as a lump of clay drying out on an unused and unloved potter’s wheel, so this might not be the moment but I can taste how the nose and mouth must be willing to meet the tea on positive terms. This tea is lifting me up a bit! Well-done!

Thank you so much to LENA who sent me this tea.

4 min, 0 sec

We’re expecting snow tomorrow. :)


I nearly spat out my coffee at “how I deplore the unrestrained use of cinnamon!” :) My own issue with spiced teas (other than chais) is that many of them are not very milk-friendly, and I have not yet evolved to the point where I can fully enjoy black teas au naturel.


You are more than welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s really cold here in TN too. I’m currently wearing a longsleeve shirt AND a jacket. I hope my flowers are going to be ok.


This is one of the few teas I’d purchased about 2 years ago (sachet form) and really enjoyed it during cold weather. :)


Frost?! That is amazing! You are so lucky! Where do you live?

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This is a very buttery and mild green tea. It’s utterly delicious, however. The liquid is medium yellow and the taste is vegetal but not as strongly so as some green teas. Overall, I think that this would make a great introduction to green teas for those who hesitate: it’s got some veggie but not too much; it’s got quite a bit of butter, and it’s not at all fishy. Overall, it’s delicate and discreet, but not a simpering wallflower.

I would most certainly consider this to be a go-to green tea and will invest in a larger size.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 45 sec

I’ve had a Yunnan Green from Santion and it was really nice, I agree that it would be a good introductory tea!

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Golden Moon Tea Sampler #11, selected at random

I do like melon and was looking forward to this tea very much. It is not disappointing. I brewed only about 3.5 ounces of water because I didn’t want to flavour to get watered down too much. Am I the only person who uses a couple of tablespoons of loose-leaf tea for a decent sized mug?

In any event, I think I got the tea/water ratio spot-on; the water was boiled and then cooled somewhat (although I don’t know to what precise degree) and I set the timer for 4 minutes (Golden Moon advises 2-4 minutes).

So….I’m most certainly going to put this on my list for a “treat tea”. It’s a bit delicate for a morning tea and probably a bit costly for an everyday tea, but this is the first of my Golden Moon samples where I know that I will have to purchase the tea. I’ll wait to see what else becomes a “must”. This melon’s divine!

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

I’ve always avoided mentioning the size of my favorite mug – it’s somewhere between 16 and 18 oz. I’ve tried smaller mugs in the same curved shape, but none of them compare to my favorite. There’s something about how it helps the aroma linger. And I like to just plop down and not worry about steeping again for awhile. With that said – I am getting a gaiwan this week to try with my oolongs (and maybe other teas). I really look forward to seeing if this can sway me to the “less is more” when it comes to volume.


My standard cup is a glass bodum 10oz cup, but if I fill it close to the rim it’s 12oz. I use about two heaping teaspoons whenever I make tea. If I’m making a tea I won’t like so much, I use my 8oz cup and use one heaping teaspoon. I think this tea needs more leaves as it’s so subtle. I have a large tin ;) yay!


my dragon mugs are um….maybe 3 measuring cups worth, i only use them when i know i like the tea :)


Thank you for sharing the amount of water you used!! I just got my GM sampler and they’re sooo small I’ve been debating how much water to use for this white. I use 4 heaping tsp. of most teas for my 12 oz. mug…Anyways I’ve been combing through comments on GM teas hoping someone would mention water to tea ratio, so again thank you :)


I think you will enjoy the tea better if you use a really small amount of water. I used between 2 to 4 ounces only of water for the GM samples after I realized that these samples are lost in an 8 ounce mug—and even more lost in a larger one. Good luck with your GM samples, Tammy!


Thanks! That’s good to know. I did it for the melon and it was great, but I was still unsure about the other samples, so thanks for the input!

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drank Berried Treasure by Tea Source
255 tasting notes

Thanks to MeghannM I had the opportunity to sample this tea. The black tea looks promising with the dried berries and the peppercorns, but there was not much of an aroma. I guess that unless the peppercorns are at least somewhat broken, they may be there only for decorative effect or to provide the smallest nuance of flavour.

The brewed tea is another example of what I would call a “pleasant” tea. A “pleasant” tea is certainly better than the average tea-bag but does not really stand out as a memorable experience. This tea certainly has some berry taste and perhaps a shade of piquancy but it’s no better than adequate. The more I drink tea, the more I realize that there’s no reason to settle for adequate when there are so many exceptional teas out there.

This might be worthy of a try for fans of strawberry for an afternoon refreshment.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Life’s too short for merely “pleasant” tea! :) If I drove, I would have that made into a bumper sticker.


I agree completely, there is no reason to settle for pleasant teas. I only order pleasant teas once, the exceptional teas get ordered again and again.

Meghann M

I’m starting to think that the teas I chose from teasource weren’t the best I could have chosen. They are all “pleasant” teas, nothing is stand outish, nothing that would bring me back to the store again. I just was hoping to find something wonderful tucked away near my birthplace in MN. Sadly, nothing strikes my fancy.


Buried treasures eh? I’m running across a lot of teas with great names today.

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drank Lemonberry by TeaSource
255 tasting notes

Thank you to MeghannM for the opportunity to taste this tea. It’s a discreet little black tea with definite lemony and berry overtones. What berry? I don’t know—the berry is too elusive to pin down. I think that it’s a nice blend but when I say “nice” perhaps I am damning the tea with faint praise. Nothing really steps up and shouts out “Look at me! Smell me! Taste me!”

If I had had this tea 6 months ago I would have been mightily impressed but I’ve tasted so many black blends since then that I’ve become a bit fussy and I want all teas to stand up, salute, tap dance, and do cart-wheels in an utterly original way. This particular blend seems like it could be a great basic afternoon blend for somebody who wants something different than Earl Grey or other well-established afternoon teas.


Lol! I love your criteria for a good black tea :D

Meghann M

This tea definitely was not deserving of an encore, standing ovation or any high praise. It held up well as a lightly flavored black tea, but it seemed to blend into the flavored black tea crowd rather than be a misfit. I prefer the misfit.

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drank Bolder Breakfast by The Tea Spot
255 tasting notes

I want to thank LENA for sending me this delightful tea. I liked it quite well although not enough to want to buy it. I thought of Maiden’s Ecstasy by Samovar (with which Bolder Breakfast shares some traits) when I was drinking this. The tea is, as another reviewer, the wonderful Auggy described, a pu-erh with training wheels and there’s certainly a place for that for tea-drinkers. The tea is robust and has some chocolate qualities. And yet I ask myself what is missing here?

I am not sure what it is I want. I want more of something—a je ne sais quois—to be elucidated here. Maybe I want more pu-erh or maybe I want more of the chocolate to step forward. This is a tea that may (or may not) stick in my memory and call forth an urgent order in a day or two or a week or two. That has happened to me a lot here: I’ll give a tea a good but not rave review and after I while I will find myself wanting to return to that particular taste and revise my opinion upwards.

I added some milk and a small lump of sugar.

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This was only so-so. I am still sampling some decaffs and rooibos for evening potations, and this seemed to lack flavour. I’ve had decent chocolate mint black teas, so maybe it was the rooibos standing in the way of a tasty experience.
Worst than meh but not so bad that I wanted to toss it.

200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 15 sec

Oh the places my mind goes: with the name of this tea I started thinking of Charlie Brown and his teacher’s voice. With your last line there the trumpet voice did the “wah-wah-waaaah” of disappointment.

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drank Jasmine Pearl by Samovar
255 tasting notes

How lucky I was to get these from the generous LENA. Thank you! 6 months ago I would have confidently asserted that I dislike Jasmine tea because my only experience was with one of those wretched tea-bags (probably Bigelow or perhaps Twinings).

But recently I’ve grown to really enjoy and be impressed by the subtle aromas and tastes of green and white teas. The Jasmine flavour is one that I’ve grown to esteem. I think that Samovar’s Jasmine Pearls are, hencefar, the best I’ve experienced. The tea manages to be floral and biscuity. The characteristic buttery taste of some green teas is here but this is most certainly a jasmine tea and not merely a riff on a green tea.

The jasmine aroma is delicate and demure, yet it asserts itself beyond the taste of a biscuit-y tea, or a butter-y tea. I suspect, and not just from the price, that Samovar has one of the very best, if not the best, Jasmine Pearls for offer on the marketplace.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Excellent! I’m so glad you liked it! This is my all time favorite jasmine tea…but I still have to be in the mood for it.

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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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