1293 Tasting Notes


Yesterday when I was perusing the £1 shop I found a diamond, faceted glass (like mason jar size) with a groovy patterned lid and straw. It screamed ‘Ice Tea’ to me and I had to get one then and there. Several hours later I remembered my purchase and I really wanted to use it but had no ice tea prepared, on top of that the sticker on the bottom of the cup said it is not suitable for hot liquid. I came up with a solution, half cold water and half 70c water. Last night this was tested with another tea and it worked very well, so much so that I cold steeped a strong concentrate of it overnight (roughly 1/4 of the mug full) and left it in the fridge. This morning I was able to add 70C water to it without additional cold and it filled up again with flavour to create another good steep. Plus it must be said that the straw also keeps most of the leaf parts out of my mouth, something I sometimes have issue with when doing the traditional method of high tumbler.

So with that introduction you have some understanding of how I have steeped this tea today. Different from my usual methods but sometimes the ease of making tea beats the ceremony of it (not always but sometimes). For right now it’s the perfect method to use whilst I finish cross stitching a Christmas card for family this year. As such a simple method there are simple tasting notes. While I have had this tea several times before I can happily say it tastes similar to a gongfu or gaiwan steep. Primarily this tea is very subtle in strength but does have some dryness in the after taste, not to mention a mild sweet, grassy tone that is rather refreshing. Also just a touch of astringency and sweet pea notes. It’s a nice Mao Feng but would not say this was particularly special or memorable. Still I can’t complain, it’s nice enough and I’m thankful to be able to steep it easily now.

Plus in my cup the leaves float, which I was really not expecting.

And a picture of my cup.

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I want to apologise for being inactive. A lot has been going on recently. I had my driving test and study before hand, of which I failed and have had to re-book. That was very upsetting, the nerves got the better of me and I made stupid mistakes. So this left me feeling down, as did the fact that if I want a car I need to find a job and save up for one. My husbands money is covering everything else but we can’t get a car as well, so for the last month or so I’ve been job hunting. After starting at one place and fainting on my first day, there has been no other progress. I was messed around a few times with training and supposing to start work but at the last minute they let me down. So needless to say everything has left me feeling about an inch small and my depression got the better of me. Hence no blog writing, no SS posts, no Steepster posts and so on. It’s been difficult and I’m just back on the road to recovery. This really is a long story put simply into a small paragraph, please know it was not my idea to leave the wonderful tea community for the time being but was rather something I needed to do. I was away from most online communities but continued to cross stitch as a sort of therapy, stitching away my problems.

Anyway that is enough of that, I’m not back to bloody depress people! So today I’m drinking this English Toffee Matcha which was with my last RLT order. I tried it originally in normal flavour but thought I would order distinct, to really see what the difference was. It actually does make a substantial difference, this one is creamier and more toffee flavoured though it does still have some of it’s Matcha flavour characteristics. In the background especially; for example it starts off creamy, sweet and toffee but turns stronger and slightly bitter with mild grass tones. Despite that it leaves a very creamy after taste in my mouth, making it seem that the Matcha qualities were just a figment of my imagination…until I take another sip and taste them again.

This truly is delightful and I’m glad I went for distinctive. It was worth the extra money for it :D And this still tastes like English Toffee so I’m happy on all levels.

I will be working on articles hopefully this weekend, if not the start of next week. I have 2300 Magic The Gathering cards coming tomorrow so I will be busy sorting them out before I go down on Sunday to play with people. So please forgive me for that additional delay, but believe that I am back and plan on staying. It’s time to stop letting my depression get the best of me.


Cyber hugs! So happy you are back and finding the things that build you up, like the simplicity of a good cup of tea, and sharing with friends!


woot woot! glad you’re back! we’re always here for ya.


2300 Magic cards scares me. I am lazy and like the pre-built decks, whenever hubby and I make a deck I can’t get the balance right. Have fun though! Go with Forest, it’s the best. :)


So glad you’re back as well, and I too am back from some time away from steepster. Depression has a way of tricking you into thinking so much less of yourself, and I’m so glad you’re making an effort to connect with communities that have uplifted you. :)


Happy that you are back and feeling much better! I hope tea and Steepster helps with your recovery!


Great to see you back and I hope things will get better for you from here!


Welcome back!! don’t worry you are not the only one to have been inactive and/or depressed for a bit. But now that your back we can cheer you up!!


sorry you have been going through a difficult time!


Welcome back! I’ve been massively inactive due to depression and anxiety too, and have discovered that the tea community is so understanding, so don’t worry about it! If you need time off take it. But I’m glad you’re back and overcoming it. Good luck with your driving retest, too!

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This was with my last Yunomi order and I added them purely because they were on sale. Plus I have been trying a few tea bags from Nakazen recently and this is another to add to the collection.

These teabags are each individually sealed in a silver foil pack for added freshness. The outer packaging can also be re-sealed.

Opening the foil pack I am met with a large polystyrene teabag with a white appearance and a tag attached to string. I cannot see any dust/fannings in the silver foil pack or my hand as I handle the bag. Though white I can see dark leaves filling roughly 1/4 of the space. They are small pieces of leaf. As I sniff the bag it is subtle with some wooden tones and a hint of dryness.

Steep one tea bag for 1 minutes with 100C water. (As seen on the pack)

While it steeps I don’t believe I’ve heard of Tsubaki tea before. A Google search says that it’s also known as: “camellia japonica (a relative of camellia sinensis or tea)”.
The Yunomi website also offers some information on this.

Well once steeped the colour is golden brown (like a dark honey) and it bares a bitter, earthy, wooden and smoky tea. It smells like Pu Erh! I was seriously not expecting that. Just like a Ripe Pu Erh.

Flavour is milder than the scent though still somewhat similar to Pu Erh. It’s medium strength with damp earth, dry wood and a soft smoke after taste. There is also some sweetness to it though mild compared to the earthiness. The dryness increases and coats my tongue over time.

Half way down the mug at this point and I keep having to tell myself it’s not a Pu Erh. Still despite the fact of something it isn’t I like what it actually is. It’s not as ‘offensive’ as Pu Erh can be at times but you have the characteristics of it, plus it has a calming effect. I’m losing train of thought as I carry on typing.

In terms of this being bagged I would not have guessed had I not seen it with my own eyes. It made for ‘unusual’ drinking but I’m still happy I picked this one up.

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In raw form the Oolong consist of average size pieces with a beautiful dark and light green colour contrast to them. Also some brown is present and the stems on some appear long.

They have a subtle but sweet and floral scent with a milk after scent.

Steeping Method:
Leaf – 5g
Gongfu Teapot – 125ml
Water – 85C
Time: 3 minutes and increase accordingly.

First Steep – 3 minutes

Once steeped the colour is light yellow with a soft, floral scent.

Flavour is very soft but bares soft, sweet floral tones. I liken it to gardenia and lily, with a touch of cream in the after taste.

Second Steep – 3 minutes 30 seconds

Still a soft steep but the gardenia is becoming crisp with grass notes. The milk covers my tongue like silk as it slips down. With some sweetness that lingers in the after taste, also with a touch of dryness.

Third Steep – 4 minutes

Still sweet and floral though the milk is toning down to a more buttery affair. Also dryness remains minimal in the after taste though it lingers softly on my tongue.

Fourth Steep – 5 minutes

Buttery flowers with a hint of grass and fresh sweet hay. So soft and delicate in strength and tone, but pure tasting.

Sixth Steep – 6 minutes

Very subtle at this point with very little left. A touch of sweet flowers is all that really remains.

Overall: This was a soft and delicate Oolong with floral and milk notes that developed into butter and grass. Pure and natural tasting with no bitterness and only very minimal dryness. An Oolong that uses very little leaf but gives beautiful flavours despite the soft strength. Note – The after steep picture of the leaf was all one part that was connected at the stem. It is one of the largest full ‘one’ pieces I have found in an Oolong after steep.

For pictures and more information please view my blog. http://www.kittylovestea.co.uk/2015/08/19/an-introduction-to-beautiful-taiwan-tea-company-with-paul-adamson-interview/

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The raw leaves are long, thinly rolled and with some curl. From what I can tell they look full leaf for the most part, I can tell easier after steep once they open. Colour is deep, dark green. Scent is sweet with hints of butter and grass and honeysuckle floral finish.

Steeping Method:
Leaf – 7g
Gaiwan – 100ml
Water – 85C
Time: 3 minutes 30 seconds and increase of 1 minute each steep after that.
(Note) Why the long steep for a gaiwan? Don’t forget these leaves are big and full so they will take longer to steep in general.

First Steep – 3 minutes 30 seconds

The colour is yellow with a grass, butter and fresh spinach scent.

Despite the long steep the flavour is subtle, even compared to it’s mineral scent. It’s soft and delicate with a hint of butter, grass and flowers (sweetpea). Refreshing due to it’s subtleness though a hint of dryness in the after taste. Further sips reveal some mineral flavours albeit soft, spinach and kale springing to mind.

Second Steep – 4 minutes 30 seconds

Still delicate but an increase of butter and spinach notes. Very clean tasting. No astringency. After taste is of sweetcorn with some dryness though not increased from the first steep ie minimal drynes still.

Third Steep – 5 minutes 30 seconds

At this point it’s starting to become even softer which alleviates the grass flavour. An increase of the dryness is noticeable in the after taste. Still beautifully buttery and the fresh spinach is still poignant.

Fourth Steep – 6 minutes

So much butter and spinach is left in this steep, though it’s short lived and does not linger for long in the after taste.

Fifth Steep – 7 minutes

My last steep. All that really remains is butter and spinach but there has still been no harshness/astringency throughout to speak of. The dryness slowly increased but it still at a reasonable level.

Overall: This was delicate in strength but it’s pure, clean flavours had a beautiful eloquence that made it delicious and special. It’s freshness and quality was wonderful and I will be honest to say it exceeded my expectations. Perhaps the nicest BaoZhong I have had the pleasure of tasting. Note the after steep pictures, they show whole leaf (mostly) and with no imperfections.

For pictures and more information please view my blog. http://www.kittylovestea.co.uk/2015/08/19/an-introduction-to-beautiful-taiwan-tea-company-with-paul-adamson-interview/

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Recently I received an order from Yunomi of which they were kind to include this tisane as a free gift. While admittedly hibiscus is not something I would usually order it is nice to try something different. Plus I feel tisanes are something I should drink more of, going caffeine free every now and then sounds like a good idea.

They do offer this as two versions on their website: loose leaf and teabag. This is the teabag version.

The bags are a good quality thin polystyrene (very typical Japanese tea bag design). They are white and a little bit see through with 1/5 filled with small, chopped petals. As I sniff the bag I am met with a dry, sweet, tangy and herbal scent. Very hibiscus strong and herbal but also not overly thick.

Steeping: Popping one bag into boiling water for three minutes.

Colour is deep, deep red. Scent is floral, sweet yet sour and overall rather soft.

Flavour is stronger than the smell though it’s not as thick as I expected (or feared). The hibiscus is sweet with sour after tones and a touch of dryness, this leads to a herbal after taste. The sourness is actually rather minimal considering, likening this to sherbet. ie. More sweet than sour.

Half way down my mug I’m finding this to remain consistent with the first sip. The dryness is not increasing and nor is the herbal tang that tisanes tend to have.

Overall I thought this was nice, more pleasant tasting than I had imagined being generally a non hibiscus fan. This was of fair quality and strength which complimented the hibiscus. A simple tisane but a nice companion on this warm night.

As reviewed here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/08/15/nakazen-hibiscus-tea-herbal-tisane-yunomi/

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drank Sweet Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1293 tasting notes

I’ve tried this twice and both times not according to instructions, quite frankly the recommended 1 tablespoon is too much in my opinion. The first one was half hot water (80C) and half milk, mixed well with 1 heaped teaspoon of matcha. I found this to be rather bitter after a while and while it was sweet at times it tasted too strong and not evenly balanced.

So I tried warm water (50C) with 1 level teaspoon of matcha and 4/5 water to 1/5 milk. This was almost perfect. The sweetness is enhanced with cream and sweet but lightly bitter grass. The sweetness is like honey, not too much but a nice level. Overall flavour is lighter but the matcha flavour is distinct and as it settles towards the bottom of my cup it becomes stronger with each sip. Plus I also found that it tastes lighter and stays foamier with most water in the mix.

Next time I may try a bit more matcha but it makes for a nice treat every now and then. I picked up a pound in their sale :D Should give me enough time to perfect the brew.


I use less of the mix than they call for, or just increase the amount of milk over what they recommend. I agree with you! I just have the caramel one.


i usually use 1/4 or 1/2 a teaspoon when dealing with matcha unless its a smoothie or matcha pancakes

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This was part of my recent Golden Tips order. In the morning (particularly on weekends) I share tea with my husband and he tends to favour strong black tea, perhaps from habit. So this was really bought for him, while I doubt he would use it without me I thought it was something we could enjoy together. So for this morning I did a large pot (around 1 litre) with lots of milk and sweetener to accompany with it. I don’t usually have him home on Saturday morning because of football but as we are going out later to another concert (same band as before) he is having to stay home. Though it must be said he is mourning the loss of Rowdy Roddy Piper so this tea is being enjoyed whilst watching numerous wrestling clips.

Loose leaf looked nice, large pieces and full with a smoky, wood and malt scent.

Steeped colour is dark red brown.

Flavour is strong and dry with wood, malt and cocoa notes. English breakfast is spot on, it tastes similar to Twinings EB but this is a little stronger and much cleaner/pure tasting. Slight touch of smoke in the after taste but the wood/malt combination remains thick and full in my mouth.

I took a sip without milk or sweetener and it was smooth enough to drink which was rather a pleasant surprise. Strong but not compensating on it’s smooth quality with unwanted harshness which I’ve experienced with other companies EB.

So frankly this is an English person saying that this is a fine English Breakfast tea, and one would hope I know what I’m talking about :D And when asking my husband for his opinion he added “Yeah it’s nice” which is something for him. So it looked like a winner all around. Happy I got 100g of this :D

Top rating – This received top marks as I could drink this all day/any day in terms of it being a standard black tea used for a ‘pick me up’. Compared to quality black tea this would not nearly be so high but for rating it out of every day black tea this does get top marks.


Sounds like a good stiff choice. :)

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Quick notes for this one. (For the time being).

Raw leaf: Sweet wood and earth scent with mild smoke. Also some creaminess in the after scent. Pure and very nice overall.

Taste: Pretty mild actually, more than I anticipated from the smell. Even after a few steeps it’s very mild. I’m using roughly 5g in 125ml and thought it would be about the right strength for me. It’s slightly sweet and creamy with some dryness.

Since this wasn’t working for me I decided to long steep it. So on my fourth steep I went straight for 1 minute 30 seconds rather than the 10-15 seconds previously. This worked much better, now it’s thick with some bitterness but the sweet and creamy tones are still present and linger nicely in the after taste with a hint of smoke. Much better than before, though the bitterness was a tad strong and is taking some getting used to.

Since it went from one to another extreme (very light to very bitter) I will not rate it this time. I still have enough left to experiment with but so far I’m not impressed. I have a feeling this one just isn’t for me, I like a strong and creamy Sheng with minimal bitterness and dryness. Oh well, worst case I can always western steep this to use it up.


This is Autumn Gushu. i suggest you to increase leaf to 7-8g if you have enough to experiment. my usual ratio is 5-6g for 80ml for gushu


i’m not sure if i tried this yet :/


Thank you for the tip @boychik. I have around 20g left I believe so I shall increase the leaf amount next time.


You are making me want this one….

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My Golden Tips order arrived this morning with this tea being amongst them, something I purchased 100g of after craving Assam. Usually when I eat Indian food (which is a few times a week) I like to follow it with a pot of tea, unfortunately my supply ran dry of everything but Darjeeling. So during the promotion of spend $75 and save $25 I thought it was too good to pass up. From those I ordered this is the first I am tasting, it called to me in particular today.

Again this is quick notes as my back is still bad and I’m not in the right frame of mind to write a full review.

The leaves were thin, long, a bit squiggly and very wooden smelling with a hint of sweetness.

Steeping in my new teapot (red clay measuring 125ml) with approx 1tsp/3-4g leaf.

Flavour is malty but not as thick as you would think. Dominantly sweet wood with soft dark fruit tones (date and mature plum) before the malt and dryness kick in during the after taste. Some musk/smoke in the after taste which leaves a thick and full flavour in my mouth.

I liked this tea quite a bit, the flavour had authentic Assam tones I had expected but was also more delicate and pure tasting than I had anticipated. This had no bitterness and was not overly rich as some Assam can be, perhaps helped by the rather large leaves. Glad I got 100g of this rather than a sample as my husband would probably like this too.

In other news it looks like I’m too ill still to attend tomorrows concert, which with the hotel booked has cost us £80 and now shall go to waste. Money isn’t everything though and we agreed to spend the day together regardless. We also have tickets for Saturday so with some luck I will be able to make that one.


Oh no! Feel better!


Love this one. Hope you feel better soon.


The fact that they were totally unbroken could have something to do with the delicateness, maybe. Do you think that contributed to it?

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I’m 27 years old from Leicester, England named Kayleigh. I have a wonderful husband called Richard whom I am very lucky to have in my life.

I started off many years ago drinking herbal and fruit teas which over time peaked my interest in trying new types. Eventually I began to import and sample many different teas and cultures which I still do today. My life goal is to try as many teas and ways of having tea as possible.

Tea wise my cravings change constantly from pu erh one month to jasmine green to the next and so on.

I adore cats and have four of my own called Honey, Cassie, Mr Soots and Ivory.

I also have two fish tanks which thankfully my cats have no interest in. They house an array of tropical fish and shrimp.

I am a proud vegetarian and have been for the majority of my life. When I say vegetarian I mean just that as well, no fish or seafood, no chicken now and again, no animal products such as gelatine and cochineal.

I also enjoy watching Japanese Anime and horror films.

I am always up for tea swaps so if you see anything in my virtual cupboard then please contact me.

A short list to help swapping with me easier though honestly I am not fussy and am willing to try anything. Plus the notes below are usually, sometimes I love a tea that has an ingredient I tend to dislike and other times I hate a tea that I thought I would love.

Likes: Any fruit but especially melon and orange, vanilla, all tea types (black, green, white etc), nuts (any), flowers, ginger, chai.

Dislikes: Licorice, aniseed, clove, eucalyptus, lavender.

My rating system
I have my own way of rating teas that makes each one personal. I have different categories, I rate each tea depending on what it is made of. For example: I rate green teas in a different way to black teas or herbal teas. So black, white, green, Pu Erh, Rooibos, Oolong, blends and tisanes all have their own rating system. That way I can compare them with other teas of the same or similar type before for an adequate rating. And when I do give top marks which is very rare I am actually saying that I would love to drink that tea all day, every day if possible. It’s a tea that I would never turn down or not be in the mood for. So while I agree that no tea is 100% perfect (as nothing is) I am saying that it’s as close as it comes to it. After all, in my book the perfect teas (or close to perfect anyway) are ones that I could drink all the time. That is why you will find a high quality black or Oolong will not have as high a score as a cheap flavoured blend, they are simply not being compared in the same category.


Also a proud SororiTea Sister


Leicester, England, United Kingdom



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