382 Tasting Notes

drank Lychee Fruit by Silk Road
382 tasting notes

how is it possible to be chronically busy? even on weekends? even in free time? it must speak to a time management issue or a problem with prioritization, and yet….

i got pictures of a snake basking in the sun today and got chased out of an urban exploration photo shoot yesterday by drug dealers… i found the snake much more relaxing, let me tell you! the rcmp and i are getting to know one another quite well ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MNANgFCYpk) lol.

as i review this tea i am drinking a dreadful one, but that’s just the way it goes….

the first note i observed about this blend once the water was poured was a light wood essence. it verged on smokey, but didn’t quite cross the boundary. light sweet wood… maybe balsa by comparison. i wasn’t sure how that would factor into the tea. the smell of lychee wasn’t as strong as the wood element.

everything changed with sipping. i realized what silk road had been striving for (i think)… they weren’t trying to recreate a lychee flavour, they were looking to create a lychee experience. the wood element built the suggestion of the lychee’s woody rind in china town, the warmth of the beverage reminded me of the boxes of lychee fruit basking in the sun, the lychee notes themselves had a NEARLY overripe quality, almost bruised… that ‘peel and eat me as soon as you get in the door’ urgency.

impressive. if you’ve spent time in china town (1 block down the road from silk road teas) then you know that this tea is less a flavour and more a spring scenario painted for your nose and tongue. very clever.

back to being busy… royal roads begins at the end of august so it isn’t going to let up anytime soon, lol.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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i am on here too rarely… from feast a year ago to famine now!

i got a notification from ATR that they had a new website up and running, that if i wanted to sign up all over again there were discounts to be had. i have my favourites with ATR, i made a list and my package arrived today.

sitting on top of my items was THIS sample. i usually try samples first… suspicious nature maybe, or perhaps adventurous spirit? i don’t know know if this classes as a gift or a torment. it’s fantastic— like home run fantastic. like add milk and it’s a grown up creamsicle with way more layers and perfectly balanced flavour… …… ….. but. (of course there’s a but) IT ARRIVED WITH THE ORDER I ALREADY PLACED!!!!!!!!!

pretty funny when you think about it. it’s as though ATR has been taking lessons from stacy lim.

awesome blend on the heels of a great honour at school that will look fantastic on a resume. not a bad day… maybe i’ll behave badly and order more of this blend. maybe. =0D

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

interesting… and nice to see you around again ;)


That’s great to see you back James !


it was too good not to review, sil. seriously. if you flavoured teas, and these days i defer to iced greens, high quality blacks or flavoured then i can’t recommend this enough!


hi ysaurella, it’s been an age! sorry i’ve been so busy my friend. :0/


wishlist it goes heh


JustJames!!!!!! I missed you!!!! Am so pleased to see you :)


Good to see you James


hi scribbles! it’s been far too long…. i do apologize. xoxo


Methinks I need to send you some tea from my travels… seeing you back here reminds me to add it to my list. :)


tea swaps are always a lovely thing, MissB… though i do have to update my tea cupboard! hope your travels were excellent!


Come baaaaaack to steepster, my dear. I miss you!


Good to see you!


hello keychange! oof! i am so busy in school… residency is kicking my butt, lol. i miss you too. xo


good to see you as well gmathis :-) …sorry i’ve been out of touch.


Yaaay, you’re here! even just a little bit.

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far too long since i’ve been on here to review a tea!

how good is this tea? how’s this for a measure… last weekend the phone rang interrupting my homework. it was my financial institution. i was impatient. i had dropped a class taught by a difficult instructor late in the game and was playing catch up. i was not in the mood for service calls!

‘sir, i just wanted to check…. did you try to use your credit card at abercrombie and fitch online for 427$?’

‘no… WHAT? NO!!!!’

‘future shop online, sir? um… banana republic?’

‘no, i have a future shop just down the road, and definitely not banana republic!’

she continued, the sum total coming to just shy of 2000$. the conversation, beginning with my impatience ended with sincere gratitude! it was a long conversation- nearly 30 minutes. by the end all i wanted was a cup of tea! this was the blend i chose. it was perfect. depth, complexity, muted fruit tones, tempered malt… perfect.

you could argue i was tasting anxiety and then relief, however everytime i’ve had it since it’s been better. my only criticism? that steepster won’t let me rate it higher… c’mon jason, get on that! =0D


I’m really glad you had a good cup of tea waiting for you after that ordeal! That happened to me, and it was absolutely hysterical, being that I’m the type of person to spend about $100 TOTAL in a year on clothing (tshirt and black jeans kind of lady…)…. No, those Tory Burch charges are not mine! lol
I hope you’ve gotten it all sorted out (and have had plenty of tea, in the meantime…). :D


Sorry your card got compromised. It’s good that the companies are on top of it, but also scarry how much they know about our regular habits. Glad the tea helped:-)


@DeleriumFrogs @yyz i think it was the abercrombie and fitch that cracked me up the most.i admit i own a couple of their t shirts, but they’re all from value village. too expensive! (though really comfortable). i guess the repeated attempts were what gave it away, using inaccurate info. every purchase they tried to make failed except one….. i don’t want them to have even one! i don’t care that it’s covered!


So glad to see you back JJ. Pls keep them coming. and sorry abt cc scam ;(


Hi! So glad that got cleared up for you. :)

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i can’t remember the last time i had a moment to review!

this tea is beautifully balanced, and a very mouth-round feel. it reminds me vaguely of malt and the sweet smell of pipe tobacco.

i have 10 seconds to review a half hour worthy tea!!!!!! ack!

lovely. worth the money. made my day. wouldn’t change a thing….. my new fave.

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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this was a lovely sample shared with me by my dear friend Xylona as we tried t get down to studying (still haven’t accomplished that yet!). there was a remote familiarity in the taste of this one. what was it? it was going to drive me mad!

then i had it. for me this tea has smooth overtones of roasted plantains. not just a little either. once i identified the note it became overwhelmingly clear, also charmingly engaging. this is a lovely oolong.

bit of turbinado, otherwise clear. thank you Xylona for sharing!!

Cameron B.

Xylona is such an epic name! :P And I want plantain tea!


well, Xylona is a pretty epic friend =0) and the roasted plantain is just so nice in this one! absolutely lovely. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!

Cameron B.

I need to place a Verdant order soon before they run out of Minnesota Blend, so I’ll definitely pick up a sample of this and some others. :D


Mmmm, love plantains! I might need to pick some of this up the next time I’m at Verdant :)


lol…. quite outstanding. =0)

Terri HarpLady

This one always tastes like grapefruit to me :)


Haven’t had plantain in a long time. Though in Ecuador I loved the pan fried ones. In general we were more likely to have roasted green bananas ( Verde vs Amarillo) than roasted plantain.

I just saw this recipe for green banana soup. That’s definitely something I haven’t tried before.


isn’t individual interpretation remarkable! grapefruit is not a flavour is have detected!

i adore african roasted plantains… the deep roasted not-yam not-fruit deep, round essence of plantain. i find that in this oolong. =0) a caramelized essence…. =0)


You’re so right james, how different we taste. This is what I wrote in my review :

«Have you ever grilled Ruby Red grapefruits on the BBQ?» Totally grapefruit for me, just like Terri, but also caramelized like you ;-)

I wish I had found plantain, will look for it and keep it in mind next time I drink it :-)

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very nice. so glad i bought! teavivre had a sweet discount coupon going that i totally took advantage of.

exam tomorrow. aside from saying malt, chocolate, don’t want to study, wonderful to resteep, malt that isn’t astringent, very smooth and impressive pearl size!

does anyone have a suggestion for a magical tea that inspires a person to study? i am SO done. =0(

1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

My study tea used to be Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Sunset. I graduated with honors, so it must have worked some ;-)


mj…. you rock. thank you for answering my plea!!! xoxo =0)


FWIW, mine used to be Runa Guayusa. Pots and pots of it.


I hope it works for you!


=0) thank you!!


My tea was coffee, but that won’t work for you! Oh, or Mighty Leaf Orange Dulce, but that was before I got back into loose leaf.


Ginseng oolong is for super brain power! I haven’t tried the one from Teavivre yet though, I was planning on it tomorrow actually!

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this is a poignant paper umbrella!

a graceful gift from the brilliant VariaTea…..

this tea is velvet sadness. a paper umbrella driven outside by circumstance into a rainstorm, facing uncertainty. how is a paper umbrella to handle the onslaught of water? the rhubarb is a bitter stab of upset softened by the strawberry strands of optimism.

ombrelle de papier is whisked out the door under an impetus of regret, cushioned by the unconditional love of strawberry, padded by the dissolving paper umbrella structure of beautiful white tea.

magnificent. a story. poignant. although all the fruit is red i see it in my head as blue. bright and sprightly, but somehow tragic.

i am a ham. =0/

1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I love this review!


sometimes i taste scenes in a tea…. when they are truly amazing. =0)

Skye Comstock

breathtaking review!! Now I want to try it!


it was lovely….. i am sipping away blends, if i knock my collection down far enough i may buy myself some, lol.

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drank Rembeng CTC BOP by SpecialTeas
382 tasting notes

this tea is the whole reason i headed in to special teas originally! i met a woman who works on campus who saw me carrying tea which started a conversation……. lol. ‘the rembeng!’ she said. ’that’s all you need to know…. that and they’re almost always out of it!’

i have never had a tea even remotely like this. it looks like tiny perfect ball bearings….. THIS is an ASSAM in vietnam? i wondered? okay. finer than any coffee grounds— believe me, i managed to spill it. we became intimately acquainted!

the second i poured water over it the water transformed into a charcoal colour. no waiting.

it didn’t smell like anything particularly familiar… a vegetal assam…. but i was missing something. that said, it was early yet, the steep was only a minute into three.

honey, yes. malt yes. sweet caramelized seaweed, yes. a perfectly smooth black base, oh yes. evolves over the span of degrees, each flavour taking its turn as the lead separately. it’s like they caramelized the tea….. how do you caramelize a tea? astonishing.

for the record, i had to call this morning and have them HOLD 100 grams of this for me. by the time i got there their entire supply was exhausted. i absolutely see why. i picked up a friend and offered her a sip….. i didn’t get much of it after that and i still have lipstick all over my travel mug, LMAO. (she apologized but didn’t stop stealing sips, ha ha ha)

would i recommend this tea? HELL YES! prepare to have your mind blown…..

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

;0) yup. says so in the name. not like any ctc i’ve ever had in my life. not in taste, not in physical texture.


Oh duh LOL I’m stupid sorry!


Butiki Crimson Horizon is the only CTC I’ve had and it is addictive :)


NO!!!! not stupid!!!! you had me scared i’d entered the data wrong, lol. i’ve had ctc’s before, nothing like this though…… nothing nothing.

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nice! never had a black like this…. took me completely offguard.

chocolate suggestion but not evolution, dark, dark cherry, malt…… strong neutral black base. complex. and i’m pretty sure i underleafed!

very nice =0)

back to the crush…. 12 hours until the exam and sadly i must sleep. (a little)

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Blackcurrant Cassis by Tea Guys
382 tasting notes

i am studying for an exam that i have only had 2 classes before. i was not in the mood for surprises. i wanted this tea. everything was fine- it was exactly the same as the last time i steeped and reviewed….. except this time instead of tea with cream and sugar i got curds and whey?!!!!


i refused to drink it on principle. my steeping parameters were identical. the tea was identical. it was sitting in a cool dark area in a dark glass container with a silicone seal. there are no excuses, at least none i am prepared to hear.

my response (after chucking the clumpy mess down the sink)? ‘i want butiki’.

why? because i can count on it.

tea guys, my number is dropping by 20- that’s how ticked i am. and my recommendation is changing from yes to no. if your product changes under controlled conditions in such a short period of time then you either need to a) check product quality or b) issue a statement saying as much so people aren’t surprised.


Didn’t they go out of business?


i don’t know, but now i’m cross and i hope so. =0[


Good luck on the exam…now go fix yourself a cup of Butiki something! :-)




Looks like they’re still in business – http://www.teaguys.com/
I like the company for the most part but only got four samples. This was my least favorite.

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Time For A ReWrite!

A good friend of mine on here kindly asked me to do the Steepster world a favour and list my allergies front and center (fair enough, lol):

-COFFEE … rare, nasty, not even a bit funny if i’m exposed. (call me original)

-ROOIBOOS … is a new appearance. under certain circumstances i’m okay with it (ie if it’s GREEN and paired with mate) but because i have an auto immune disease i try not to poke at things.

*NOT an allergy, but an abnormality that drives my tea buddies bananas, i AM INCAPABLE OF TASTING CARAMEL AND TOFFEE. so i thought i’d list it at the top too. it’s very annoying. they smell great!!?

Hi! I’m James!

I’m a student: double major of human geography and psychology with the intention of chasing a double doctorate. (reading that over it occurs to me again that i must be crazy).

i’m a live and let live sort. i look and see alot of silver linings. my discovery of tea has only served to further that viewpoint. for me tea is art and nuance, watercolours and bold brushstrokes….

swaps are grand things! the element of surprise in a tea swap completely trumps forrest gump’s chocolate box life metaphor, lol.

favourites: french teas dammann freres, mariage freres and nina’s paris especially.

i have recently discovered a german tea company that has romanced me: tea gschwendner (sp?)

mandala teas is brilliant and a company i count on.

justea and tealet are companies i study because of both their exceptional products and and business models, as well as their work with farmers who are TOO POOR for fair trade certification. this is highly relevant to my studies.

90-100 i need more
80-90 i might need more, or it might be a respect vote
below 75? it was likely an oops buy. my evolution into french teas has vastly focused what i like!!

however, i’m always open to trying things.

dislikes so far: guayasa, darjeeling, most peach teas.


Victoria, BC

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