404 Tasting Notes

drank Pumpkin Pie Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
404 tasting notes

This is the first flavored matcha I have tried. The smell of pumpkin pie (predominantly nutmeg) hits me as soon as I open the bag. I have drunk it a few times already and have been playing around with the ratios and reading about people preparing it as a latte. So today I used two spoonfuls of matcha, one teaspoon of sugar and a scoop of powdered goat milk in a regular sized mug full of hot water. If you don’t mind that distinctive goaty taste (which I don’t), it’s pretty good that way! The creaminess of the milk works really well with the pie flavor. Through half the cup, each sip had a wave of bitterness on the sides of my tongue which crept close to the line of unpleasant and quickly receded back. As it cooled that bitterness was more mellow, but lingered more. I kind of liked it. With so many pumpkin pie flavored things (this tea included) I have a hard time figuring out if I’m actually tasting pumpkin or if they are relying on the nutmeg and other spices to carry the assumption of pumpkin. Looks like I won’t figure it out with this cup because I finished it already! I liked this tea, I’m intrigued with the whole flavored matcha idea, but I don’t know that this one was something that I’m crazy about. I’ll have to try it a few more times to be sure.

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drank Wedding Cake by Tea Embassy
404 tasting notes

I am plowing through this 2oz bag I got! It smells very similar to the Tea Embassy’s Almond Cookies Green tea, which is also being drunk at record speed. Both have a powerful almond and coconut smell and that strong smell carries through to strong flavor once brewed. Both are quite delicious with this one being non caffeinated! I didn’t understand why it was called Wedding Cake until I went to a friends wedding the other day and had a slice of cake. I was floored by how similar the cake tasted to the tea! My friend said it’s vanilla cake with almond frosting. It was delicious, just like this tea. The rooibos is a bit drying as it tends to be, but the fantastic taste distracts me from that most of the time. I think I’ll make a permanent spot in my cupboard for it in the non caffeinated section.

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drank Caribbean Calypso Mate by Teavana
404 tasting notes

Another tea that smells sweet to the point of sickness when dry. I might have passed this one up if I had smelled it in the store first, but I decided to take a risk during the heavenly sale. I taste lemongrass and it is very citrusy. The more I sip, the more I realize it taste like a near match of the discontinued Bangkok Lemongrass Rooibos. This one has caffeine and a rose like aftertaste. I’m not picking up on much of the coconut that was promised. It is good, but I have been wowed with this flavor before and I think I prefer the rooibos blend since I need more non caf deliciousness for the evenings.

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drank Sweet Mango Chai Oolong by Teavana
404 tasting notes

This tea looks like trail mix when it’s dry. It’s just a bunch of dried fruit pieces with a few tea leaves found after looking really hard for them. I’m not sure if this is the correct mixture of it or if I got some of the product after it had separated. The dry tea smells almost sickeningly sweet and the first sip of it brewed was quite sweet as well. Once steeped, I noticed there had been a little more leaves hidden in there, but probably not enough to give you any caffeine fix if that’s what you are going for. I ended up not adding sugar, which is unusual for me and a testament to the sweetness this tea carries on it’s own. Mango is the main flavor I pick up on with a little pineapple. There is a sweetness that covers my tongue and a tang that hits the sides. They got the sweet mango part of the tea right, but I’m not sure where they got the chai part. There was just one lone clove and a couple peppercorns in my tea maker. It’s a nice light tea, but I’m not overly impressed. I’m guessing it would work well blended with something that has a deeper flavor, but I really don’t like the idea that I have to add another tea to make the first tea taste better or right. I expect to leave that work to the “teaologists” and to be purchasing finished tea. I’ll have to try it iced sometime.

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drank Earl Black by 52teas
404 tasting notes

This tea smells really good dry! I’m not sure what I’m smelling because I’m not familiar with black currant or shou mei, but it seems kind of delicious. I have smelled bergamot before, but I don’t remember exactly what is smells like aside from citrusy, so I really can’t pick out any of the flavors individually. What I can say is that it blends well together. Each sip tastes and smells very floral and I like floral! Adding a little sugar really brought out the flavors. I’m a little sad that this is the last of the sample, so I resteeped it for all it was worth. The first steep was really flavorful with the second being fairly close to the first with only a little diminished flavor. The third time still had some of the flavors but was a bit on the boring side. This one ends up being a little pricer that the other teas which is a bummer because I really want more and I’m trying to be good about a tea budget right now! I’ll just have to keep huffing the empty packaging and hope it doesn’t sell out before my tea buying ban is over.

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drank The Skinny (organic) by DAVIDsTEA
404 tasting notes

I’m sure this tea has more flavors in it than orange rind, but that’s all I can pick out. Just a nice even non overpowering orange rind taste. NEXT!!!

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This smells like root beer syrup in the bag. That is the only way I can describe the concentrated root beer smell which carries over to the steeped tea. The first sip was horrible. There was some root beer taste in there with an overpowering bitterness that hit the sides of my tongue. I hate bitter. I added a little sugar to it and it tasted slightly better, but still quite bitter. The next delivery of a metric ass ton of sugar seems to have tamed the bitter beast, but I’m left puzzled. Why make a drink that tastes like warm flat root beer, but isn’t root beer? Would I think to pour tea into my root beer? Nope. So why this mix of flavors? It tastes like quality old fashioned root beer at least, not that cheapy mass produced stuff, but it is probably not any better for me after balancing the balancing all the bitter with sugar. Sadly, I didn’t catch any of the creamy float part of the name. Amusement of making an apple taste like an orange aside, I really don’t get this tea and would rather just have a glass of real root beer instead.

It’s too bad there isn’t a puzzled or bewildered face to use for this rating, because that would have been perfect for me!

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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reviewed Aladdin Tea Infuser Mug by Teaware
404 tasting notes

I have had my Aladdin tea infuser mug for at least four years and I still love it. It is a double walled plastic thermos mug with and internal fine mesh basket in the lid that sits above the water line until you lower it. You fill the basket with your tea, fill the thermos to the fill line with hot water and when you are ready to lower the basket in the water or raise it, you use the lever on the outside of the lid to move the basket. You never have to open the mug to steep your tea. I read that it is microwave safe, but I have never put mine in the microwave. The lever mechanism has metal, so it would I’d microwave only the mug part.

I first bought one for my sister as a gift and a few months later purchased my own. When comparing notes with her, she complained that the infuser basket on hers would always fall down into the water. Mine clicks when put up and stays in place. I called the company to inquire about the difference and they offered to send a replacement! The new one was just like mine with a clicking sound when the basket is raised. I have read other reviews complaining about the falling basket and I’m guessing Aladdin was paying attention to it and fixed the issue in later models.

My experience with this mug has been fantastic. I do try to keep it upright and and not just toss it in a bag and I haven’t had any leaks. The inside of the mug has etched a little over years of use and slightly discolored, but it doesn’t seem to hold onto smell much. Pouring boiling water and baking soda resolves both those issues. The basket mesh is fine enough that I haven’t had any issues of smaller particles finding their way into my tea. My only complaint is that the basket is small for teas that need lots of room for expansion, but it would make the whole mug bulkier so it’s a trade off I can live with. With the double walled design, the mug keeps tea warm for a while. I find it irritating when I want to drink my tea sooner than later, but it’s better than the opposite problem and my tea is still warm if I forget it for a while.

Someone asked me how well it holds heat so I did an experiment. I poured boiling water in the mug and took the temperature every half hour. It was sitting inside my house (kept at 70F) and I opened the part of the lid that you sip through to stick the thermometer in, then closed it again when I got a temp. Here is what I got: @0m/188F, 30m/149F, 60m/130F, 90m/120F, 120m/109F, 150m/98F It won’t keep your tea warm all day, but it will be warm for a couple hours.

Overall I’m quite satisfied with this mug and I would happily buy it again if it eventually gave out.

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I first tried this tea years ago when frequenting coffee shops for their internet access. I remember really liking it. I liked it with cream. I liked it with sugar. I ordered it often. I believe it was my first rooibos. When I saw it in the store recently, I could not resist. Scooped it up, took it home, brewed it, siped it and… huh? I used to like this so much more! It still has that unique blended fruity taste, kind of bubblegum like, that I can’t quite put a good name too, but it is so much less exciting. I’m bothered by the dry feeling left in my mouth after every sip, something I have heard others mention with rooibos. It’s still good a good tea, but it is kind of like a relationship that you try again and it just doesn’t feel right. Not like the first time. Sigh

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drank Amandine Rose by Teavana
404 tasting notes

I love floral flavoring in food and dessert. Rose, violet and jasmine! Jasmine does well in tea, but I have found rose tea to be lacking. It seems like they rely on the natural concentration of rose and it just ends up seeming weak, empty and unbalanced to me. Because of that experience I probably never would have tried this tea, but I read a review that it was a revamp of the discontinued Almond Biscotti that I dearly loved so I had to give it a try especially when prompted by a super sale.

When checking it out in the store I noticed candied violets! There aren’t enough candied violets to make sure you get one in each cup or even each bag so I’m curious as to how that would affect the taste of the tea on a cup to cup comparison. The sales guy let me try one (it was delicious) and I let him pour me more tea than I asked for. The smell of the dry tea is overwhelmingly rose, but there is depth behind with the almond and black tea base.

The flavor holds quite well for at least two steeps with the rose weakening significantly on the third. The brewed tea gives off a lighter scent of what the dry tea does. I can taste the Almond Biscotti/marzipan that I love so well and it is nearly overpowered by the addition of the rose, but not quite. It’s like they took the rose level up to the line but didn’t quite cross it. It’s almost rose syrup like in it’s intensity. It is really quite amazing and the flavors pair well. I might have to eat my words and take back my damning of Teavana for discontinuing a favorite of mine because I think this just might be better than the original. I have had four cups over two days and found myself thinking about the next morning cup as I was trying to settle down to sleep. I would drink it in a box, I would drink it with sugar rocks!

Could it be I’m falling in love? I am totally going to hoard this one if I ever hear it’s being discontinued. Hell, I might hoard it anyways.

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My name is Dustin and I like tea.

I’m an added flavor kind of tea fan. I want my tea to remind me of cookies and cakes with coconut and almond slices with a hint of chocolate drizzled on top. I want dancing ponies and flying monkeys shooting off fireworks! I like a little sugar in my tea. I love caffeinated tea, but since I limit myself to one cup a day, I have been exploring more rooibos and honeybush teas.


Austin, TX

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