382 Tasting Notes


thank you so much to my far-more-organized-than-i swap buddy, yyz, for this one.

yyz was unbelievably detailed in her labelling of the tea samples she sent me. she notes on this particular one that it was purchased in a polish grocery store. i have one of those not too far from me… i may have to stop by!

this tea was great! quince is a rare thing to find in north american teas. a cross between pear, cirus with an almost aloe like texture. this tea had lovely big chunks of quince in it. i grew up with quince jelly, so for me it wasn’t odd. the candied pineapple was a perfect opposite to the quince.

honestly, i can’t think of a better alternative base than this nice light green! quite excellent! thank you yyz. nas zdrowie =0)

175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec

I’m glad you like it! If they don’t have this one the bastek one isn’t that bad either ( though I like there lemon one best I think it kind of a creamy clover green and a light lemon). The Opuncia one is really good if you like a fruity floral flavour as well. In general I’ ve liked most of Big -Active teas. There Yunnan base is kind of intense in their blacks though, and is almost licorice like and can take some getting used to.


Oh! Hey! Quince!


i am the one in 10 that actually enjoys black licorice, i wouldn’t have a problem dealing with an intense black with such overtones. i really enjoyed this tea, it was great!

i’m kindof ruined for teas from this continent aren’t i? french, german, polish…. sigh. lol. well, it costs less than a vacation!


You would fit right in among the Swedes, then – they’re all mad about licorice. Here’s a selection of some of the specialty licorice stores in Stockholm: http://www.lakritslaban.se/lakritsbutiker-i-stockholm/


I love licorice, that’s one of the things I miss about Guelph they have/had? A Dutch grocery store with an aisle of licorice! Hard, soft, salty, sweet you name it. Well if you’re game to try it my favourite is the Earl Grey which is strong and bold and has rose in it. It took me a bit to get into it but now when I can find it I really like it. I’ve also had the peach apricot and the golden Yunnan ( which had safflower and reminded me of watermelon, though I think it’s only available through their e store and the blend your own section which I don’t think ships internationally yet). The good things are the Polish Teas are really affordable. I get the green teas for under $3.00/100g!


i love dutch black licorice…. the unsweetened stuff especially.

wonder if i can find the big active teas locally….? hmmmm.


ANNA! don’t help! bad enough you tease me with tea leave licorice out of it!!!!!!!!!




I love black licorice, but it all has wheat in it. :( It’s the only way I can consume licorice root, actually. I find in tea the aftertaste is too much.


Oh, but OMGsrsly, there are several companies that make black licorice with rice flour instead – the texture is better, and it’s completely gluten free. Would that work for you?


I’ve seen only one brand, and it was like playdough. I couldn’t get past the texture. If I could find some that’s more like the ‘normal’ chewy licorice texture, that would be awesome.

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when was the last time you had a cup of ‘wow’? i mean on here, although we’re polite about it, we’re all fortunate enough to be afforded the luxury to be tea snobs (or connoisseurs if you’re more comfortable=0). so many companies send out ‘wow’ samples…. how do you measure after such skilled generosity?

for me this is WOW.

LiberTEAS drew my attention to the fact that they offered a sampler. that worked well for me seeing as i had just gone through my ‘rishi chocolate chai’ fiasco and i was not prepared to invest a ton without trying some first.

chico’s a california company, free trade, fresh made, highly spoken of by LiberTEAS. i love chai… never had it fresh =0)…. i was intrigued. the brilliant LiberTEAS even included a link for me!

the sampler included an original mix, a chocolate, a mate and a rooiboos. aw! rooiboos…. i wrote a letter. the tea blender, sarah replied promptly: ‘no problem. we can offer you another sample as your fourth.’ perfect!

as asked i made a note during checkout to remind sarah of our conversation and hit the ‘pay now’ button. …. …….. ………. ‘confirm payment’ WHAT???? THIRTY FIVE DOLLARS FOR SHIPPING FROM CALIFORNIA TO BC? um, no. i politely said so.

again i got a very polite and prompt reply from a now concerned sarah. ‘WHAT? it is NOT supposed to be doing that!!!!’ of course it all wound up fine after a bit of fiddling, and i got my rooiboos free sampler with a surprise strainer included which perfectly fits the top of my mug! sarah! thank you so much!

customer service 5/5. on to the chai.

fresh makes all the difference apparently. it makes very good sense of course, but never having had it how could i know? lots of heat from the spice, a well rounded, comforting punch.

i used 7grams for 1.5 cups of water. water brought to a boil and then dropped to a simmer at which point i added the chai and let it roil for a conservative 10 minutes (they recommend anywhere from 5-30 minutes lol). i thought i’d start conservatively!

OMG…. LiberTEAS… i owe you. this is spice cake, this is spicy enough to give me an endophin rush but not so spicy that i have to sacrifice dignity by fanning my tongue. decadent, fresh, no hint of off-the-shelf spices. beautifully balanced. with cream added it reminds me of the spiced cream i make in the summertime with a lot more punch….

i absolutely see why sarah and chico are award winners. if i had more and (arguably) if i were a nicer guy i’d share to prove my point, but i don’t ….. and i’m rather in love so in this instance i’m not feeling abundantly nice! lol.

by FAR the best chai i’ve ever had. i will definitely order more… just have to figure out which one!


Boiling 8 min or more

Keep it to yourself! :) I’ll definitely order some my next tea-buying go around.


it is UNREAL! i cannot recommend it enough. wow! it’s a rare thing when i am not prepared to share a sample, lol.


Yep – added to the shopping list – not allowed to buy tea at this time, but am really excited by this. Will order some once my stash is under control. The great chai quest is still on. Thanks James for pointing this out!!!


i’m on that same diet dexter. i have a couple of swaps to do then i’m done for the semester or i’ll have problems with grocery money!! lol. hard to study if you’re worried about food. lol.


Nice to find a ‘wow’ tea! Sounds good!

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drank L'Hiver (Winter Tea) by Fauchon
382 tasting notes

every new tea vendor brings with them a new romance. sometimes it takes awhile for a meeting of the minds…. this blend represents that compromise between fauchon and i. we’ve had a touch and go seduction, me often wondering if i was a bit mad because everyone loved fauchon and i was just kindof… there. however, no longer.

mint, maybe rosemary essence? mallow root or something soft like it. the blend itself had little tufts in it, like snow, bits of lightness.

very light, very fresh, an overall elixir no defined winter punch screaming ‘spearming’, ‘peppermint’, ‘white chocolate’, an overall picture of winter skaters on the rideau canal, shivering forms at the top of the tour eiffel…

what’s this is see behind my review page… this is a white tea? i had hoped this would happen, but was losing hope.

i am very impressed.

thanks MissB!

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

I love this tea. Someone else asked me to grab as much of it as I could for them (blanking out as to who on here), because they loved it so. I have to agree! It’s delightful. So glad you enjoyed it too!


thank you for the treat!


yeah…for a white tea…this is pretty tasty heh


I like the idea of calling a new relationship with a vendor a new romance :-)

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drank Spicy Chocolate by Kusmi Tea
382 tasting notes

was this one just me? to me this was HORRIBLE! but i will concede that i haven’t been at my best lately =0( i’ve been on a drug for my illness for 13 years and i’m coming off it finally…. my neurotransmitters feel like they’re being dragged across a grater.

this blend and i work not.

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I hope your neurotransmitters perk up!


to my knowledge there is no bi***er part of the human brain than neurotransmitters. so shuffling off one drug and onto another is simply going to be a tad miserable. …… for a year????!!!!! sigh. oh well. it’s not negotiable.


I actually like this one so, I dunno!


it could absolutely be me. thus i did not offer numbers. =0(


Haha. I think this one tastes like those white iced german spice cookies. Not a favourite. :) (Good luck weaning off your meds!)


it’s one of those things where it was a good beta pain controller (brain level), but it’s been losing efficacy. if it’s not working then i don’t want it in my system. that said, no one told me what a long road it was going to be to come off.

ah well, could be worse!


I hope your neurotransmitter ride will smoothen out eventually, James!


it will, i’m not a fan of unnecessary chemicals in my system =0\

it’ll be fine, might be a tad bumpy in the meantime is all.

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interesting…. american tea room, what exactly are you doing? if i don’t miss my mark ifjuly is in a sassy mood and is deliberately choosing provocative samples to send my way, lol!!!

first, this did NOT look like an oolong to me…. green curls made me think think of another sinensis. second, it smelled very much like bakery coconut. meh. we would see.

what this blend is is GREEN!??!!!! a lightly roasted tasting green-esque tea, NOT a bakery coconut (the smell was lying) more like a green/fresh coconut! light but nutty. not overpowering…. the coconut has a round taste as opposed to the stabbing sharpness that any green fruit has the potential to have.

there is an indefinable floral that is very mild. as it cools, the coconut itself takes on the toasted flavour.

hmmmmm….. american tea room and ifjuly being sassy in a tree!!!

don’t know if i’d buy, but it caught my attention!

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

holy sassy anna!! lol


I can’t help it. EVERY time someone says ‘sassy’, that’s what I hear in my head. It’s an AFFLICTION!



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hey, WOW! first off, thanks to ifjuly for the ninja tea delivery today! it was totally unexpected and wound up being very funny…. ifjuly, in an effort to protect the tea from the elements and ghastly weather, taped everything up to a point where my wrecked hand just wouldn’t do it, lmao!!! i wound up shredding the packaging because i wanted to know what was in there!!!!

the brilliant ifjuly taught me something new about my personal preferences (not something easily fit inside a parcel!) apricot in a tea is fine by me, but peach tends to come off as annoying! NOTE TO SELF!!!!!

the dry blend is bright and colourful. it has a lovely deep smell of dry stewed apricots. i’ve never had saffron, so i can’t say how it affects the blend, but there is an element in this tea that is unfamiliar but not unpleasant.

light, sweet, smooth, deeply apricot….. i haven’t had an abundance of good experiences with american tea room— this improves my opinion!!

thank you so much, ifjuly!

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glad you like it! sorry for my HULK TAPE approach to that weirdly shaped box, ha. and i agree; i’ve had some decent peach teas (i’m a big fan of lupicia’s momo oolong supergrade) but i definitely prefer apricot in tea. IIRC Sil likes it too.

(trying to put a heart but only messing up the code, whoops!)


peach tends to tag team as tobacco with me, which sometimes works, but often times does not….. apricot i get not tobacco at all. this was grand. thank you!!!


I like this too, but I am reserving the last of my sample for a cold steep, I think. Maybe.


i tell myself these things also. and then a day is challenging or i don’t get enough sleep and good intentions vanish, lol.


i love that this one is so dead on apricot. nothing peach about it


agreed. it wasn’t so clear to me until this blend how clear the ‘yes’ versus ‘meh’ values for apricot and peach were. i think i shall not dally with peach anymore….. =0)


Amariel, I loved this one coldsteeped last summer, yum. Hope you enjoy it.

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drank Boston Blend by Harney & Sons
382 tasting notes

this came to me thanks to ifjuly. much thanks!

i don’t get notes of cranberry or of almond, though i do get some tones of strawberry and an element of cream (but not like the donut, lol). smells fruitier than it tastes, but still tastes quite decadent…. would i buy it myself? in the shadow of fruits d’alsace and the black lotus and any other number drop kick blends i’ve had lately (many but not all from europe) no. however, still makes a very nice cup and if i were in ifjuly’s living room i wouldn’t say ‘no’.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Bamboo-Pomelo by TeaGschwendner
382 tasting notes

i do love this tea.

no sugar…. lovely and refreshing, right before bed.

the world is unsettled these days. i have no explanations. some say astrology predicts it, others say there are periods of time where this is just how it goes…. i just wish i could help more.

in the meantime, this tea settles.


That was me through all of October. Coincided with astrology as well.

Terri HarpLady

I think that was me the entire year of 2013…
A month from now I’ll be 55, my 5th palindrome birthday!
I have a good feeling…


ahhhh, you guys are great! =0)


Sooo glad I sent you some of this! Seems like a long time ago now. I’m almost at the point of reordering from my first 100g bag.


this is the first review from MY bag! lol…. i bought because of the sample you sent me!


Heh. I know. Just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy that I’ve helped you find some new tea to love.

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hey! i think i’ve finally nailed this one!!! 2 minute steep (not 4), oolong setting vs full boil, cream, no sugar.

this is my progress so far! although…. jardin bleu is still my fave =0)

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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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