540 Tasting Notes

drank Bedouin Chai by Wissotzky Tea
540 tasting notes

This was my favorite tea before I really got into loose leaf. The spice is gentle. The sage lends depth. My brother drinks it with a ton of honey, but I prefer it straight. It’s a little drying at the end. That’s not usually a problem for me. Right now it’s too darn hot to tolerate dryness though.

I think this is a sipdown. It’s hard to be sure. I had another teabag, but it’s gone missing. I suspect my dad of purloining it.

EDIT: It’s confirmed. My dad drank the other bag. He was amusingly surprised that I even noticed it was gone :-)

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drank Hunny by Empress Tea House
540 tasting notes

I picked up quite a bit of this during BrewTEAlly Sweet‘s stash sale. I had high hopes, but it’s turned out to be pretty meh. The base is fine – just a nice woody rooibos. The flavoring is bad. It smells and tastes extremely artificial. I’ve had unflavored teas with more realistic honey notes.

This tea is drinkable, but it’s not actively enjoyable. I used it mostly as a bedtime tea because I tend to fall asleep before finishing my cup and I never felt wasteful letting this one go cold. It doesn’t actually taste any better cold, fyi.

Oh well. Sipdown.

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Whoa. The dry leaf smells just like black cherry soda! Brewed, the scent is a rich, creamy, chocolate with a sheen of Maraschino cherry. But the flavor doesn’t quite live up to the scent. There’s no chocolate! There’s dryness and a heavy mouthfeel, but no particular taste until a lingering Maraschino cherry note comes in at the end. When the tea cools, it just tastes like flat black cherry soda. I have real black cherry soda in the fridge, thank you very much (Dr. Brown’s, of course). Although… maybe this would be a good candidate for a tea soda. Not an impressive showing so far.

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drank Rhubarb Vanilla Ale by Butiki Teas
540 tasting notes

At some point I will write a proper tasting note for this blend. This is not that point.

I have this with the regular black tea base and with an oolong base. The flavor is pretty close between the two. I’m actually not usually a big fan, but yesterday my tummy hurt and this tea really hit the spot. Also, the vanilla flavor becomes more prominent as the tea cools.

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drank Casablanca by Alice's Tea Cup
540 tasting notes

I’ve always enjoyed this hot in my travel mug. Since the weather’s gotten warmer, I decided to try it iced. I brewed the tea hot and refrigerated it for about 24 hours. Made this way, the bergamot really pops. The brew is smooth throughout with a gently minty finish. Very refreshing and light. I can definitely see this as a good summer tea when the weather really heats up.

Flavors: Bergamot, Mint

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I’ve been trying to use weekends as an opportunity to try more teas gong fu style. I made this one in my favorite new teapot/gaiwan. I picked it up for the equivalent of $5 US in a cheap home goods shop in Taipei. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It’s shaped like a gaiwan, but it has a handle and a small spout with built-in filter. I can’t decide if it’s a gaiwan-shaped teapot or a modernized gaiwan. Either way, it’s pretty and convenient and I love it.

I used approx. 3 tsp in 4 oz of water. All steeps used boiling water. I gave the leaves a 5-second initial rinse.

first steep – 1 minute
The scent here is roasty honey goodness. The flavor is toast with a hint of sweetness. There’s a dry mouthfeel after the sip, which works well with the toastiness.

second steep – 1 minute 30 seconds
This came out weaker than the first steep. Other than being weaker, it smells and tastes exactly the same.

third steep – 2 minutes
This straight up tastes like toast with honey. Mmmm.

fourth steep – 2 minutes, 30 seconds
Now it tastes like honey with toast! I love how the notes stay basically the same but their prominence changes.

This tea is great for a chilly night or rainy day. There’s a warmth here that goes beyond the temperature of the brew. It’s comforting without feeling decadent. Just don’t forget to eat actual food at some point!

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A rare Butiki sipdown for me!

This tea is about a year old, so I wasn’t expecting much. I picked it up during our Taste of France swap last year. My best guess is that it came from Fuzzy_Peachkin. Thanks! She hasn’t been around in a while; I hope everything is ok and it’s just a Steepster break.

I brewed this tea gong fu style with boiling water. The first steep smelled sweet and fruity. I picked up notes of pit fruit and either sweet potato or mushroom in the brew. Subsequent steeps were more savory, with just a hint of sweetness. Always a smooth, heavy mouthfeel. It’s ok but it didn’t knock my socks off. It doesn’t seem fair to rate this given that the leaves are so old, but I was not a huge fan when I first tried it 9 months ago either.

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drank Rose Chai by Wissotzky Tea
540 tasting notes

Noooo! I seem to be all out of this! I could have sworn I had a few bags left but now they are nowhere to be found. I suspect my dad of swiping them – he really likes this tea.

So this is a backlog, in that I’m writing from old memory and haven’t had a cup of this in at least two weeks. But I do have a pretty distinct memory of it because I quite enjoyed it. The rose smell of the dry bag is permeating. It’s a very natural scent that’s strong but not overpowering, if that makes sense. Brewed, the flavor is a lovely balance of rose and chai spiciness. My dad and brother both like it with honey. I prefer it plain or with a splash of rice milk. Probably a restock next time I see it in the store.


I love this one! It’s easily one of my favorite bagged options these days.


Me too! I’m glad my family likes it too, but I’m a touch cranky that they drank it all! Wissotzky’s Bedouin Chai is also pretty popular around here. It was my favorite tea before I discovered Steepster and got really into tea. My brother still reaches for it as a first choice.


I’ll have to look for the Bedouin Chai—I don’t think my usual source ever stocks it, but I do see it around occasionally.

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The dry leaf is so pretty! The darkness of the chocolate and the bright red of the saffron really add depth to the medium brown of the rooibos and honeybush. The chiles contribute a strong, spicy smell.

The brew is a medium reddish-brown. There’s a bit of film on the top that I’m not excited about. The chile scent is deeper now, with a chocolate background. The flavor is nummy. Dark chocolate at the beginning of the sip fades into a sharp spiciness. The chile really lingers on the palate. I’m normally not very good with hot spices. The lingering heat of this blend is just on the edge of what I can handle. A bit of rice milk adds creaminess but does nothing to tamp down the spiciness. This is an intense cup for me!

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drank Eggnog Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
540 tasting notes

Sipdown. Thanks for the sample, Red Leaf!

I decided to try this iced today. Cold rice milk + matcha + milk frother. De. li. cious. Vanilla creamy goodness. For about 15 minutes. After that it got grainy. Lesson: drink within 15 minutes of blending.

I wonder if this would be good with coffee. Hot, of course. But I imagine that eggnog matcha + milk would serve nicely in lieu of creamer.

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