1231 Tasting Notes


The leaves are dark green with the occasional pale yellow/silver spot. They are thin and curly with a light but sweet honeysuckle scent.

My steeping parameters:
Leaf – 3g
Water Temperature – 60C
Vessel – Glass Gongfu 140ml
3 Steeps – 2 minutes, 2 minutes, 3 minutes

First Steep – 2 minutes
Very light yellow liquid with a sweet floral scent, similar to honeysuckle and sweet pea. Flavour is very light but has a sweet after taste. Crystal clear and very smooth and buttery with a slight crispness. A little grassy after a few sips.

Second Steep – 2 minutes
Still very light and more so than the previous steep. Tastes like sweet grass and butter with a slight mineral after taste.

Third Steep – 3 minutes
Extremely light but floral and it’s sweetness toned down somewhat. Less honey more sugar cane though again I stress very mildly. A slight dryness in the after taste this time.

A light green tea that offers high sweet and floral notes with a buttery finish. Was very refreshing and clear.

For pics and more information please view my blog – http://www.kittylovestea.co.uk/2014/05/14/review-three-teas-from-zen-tea/

Flavors: Butter, Grass, Honeydew, Peas

140 °F / 60 °C 3 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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Not sure what angle to come at this tea as I’ve never tried anything like it before. Seaweed (or Kombu/Konbucha/Kombucha – not to be mistaken for the mushroom) is a new type of tea completely for me. In powdered form you add 2g of powder (which they kindly provide you a spoon to measure with) and mix it with boiling water for roughly 100ml volume. Very simple and quick.

Reading about Kombu on Wikipedia it claims to be high source of B Vitamins, K Vitamin, Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium and moderate-low levels of Vitamin C and E. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kombu

Flavour wise this is very salty, I’m talking one of the saltiest things I’ve ever tasted. Not as bad as my experiment with pickled Sakura Blossoms (which I found to be inedible) but for someone who rarely uses salt this is very strong for me. Adding to the salt it’s also thick which makes it very broth like, so rather than salt water it’s a salty broth/soup which in a strange way is sort of nice. It tastes exactly as you would except seaweed to taste like. Sure I’ve tried seaweed from my local Chinese takeaway but it’s fried and mild…this tastes more raw.

No rating as I am still thinking ‘wtf is this’and ‘damn this is salty’. Will take some time for me to get used to this…if I ever do. But at least I can keep this down ie looking good so far.

Flavors: Seaweed

Boiling 2 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Thank you Yunomi.us for this free sample that added as a nice surprise as I opened my order today.

Nice large leaves and lots of sticks in my 5g sample. Beautiful sweet and toasted scent that I liken to a honey cake I used to make in my automatic bread cooker machine. The more I sniff the more grassy and mineral it becomes but it is a very nice scent.

Since there were no instructions on the website for steeping this or any other bancha (that I can find) I will use Yunomi.us standard steeping method.

Tea – 5g
Water – 80C
Volume – 180ml
Vessel – Kyusu

First Steep – 30 seconds
Yellow green in colour with virtually no scent despite it’s very apparent colour. Flavour is mild with roasted grass tones and sweet honeysuckle that dissipates quickly and you are left with a touch of smoke in the after taste.

Second Steep – 10 seconds
More roasted and less grassy. Honeysuckle and sweetpea tones with a slight smoky after taste. Also a little sour. For the most part it’s sweet and a perfect strength for me personally.

Third Steep – 30 seconds
More toasted than sweet but it does lighten a lot in the after taste. Tastes like raw pea. No smoke this time, instead the after taste is grassy and mineral.

I enjoyed this Bancha much more than I thought I would, though the first steep was nice it was far from ‘special’ compared to others I have tried. It kicked up a gear after that and steep two and three were delicious, so very natural and sweet with light smoke. Plus now my mouth is coated in a delicious roasted sweet pea flavour that reminds me a little of light pea soup. I may get more of this in the future.

Flavors: Grass, Honey, Peas

175 °F / 79 °C 5 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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I waited in all day for a re-delivery that failed to actually be re-delivered, my early morning and severe tiredness from lack of sleep was all for nought. Now I just have to hope my parcel isn’t being sent back to Asia, customer services said they will contact me in a few days. Pft, bloody Royal Mail!

Now I’m tying to relax by watching House MD (on my fourth or fifth re-watch in completion) and by sampling this tea, I do love almond and am in need of something sweet.

Served with a splash of milk. Once steeped it has a subtle nutty scent (like almond and walnut ie sweet yet creamy) and a hint of cinnamon spice.

It tastes strongly of mixed roasted nuts which is a little dry with some sweetness in the after taste. I think it’s one of the nuttiest teas I’ve ever tasted, though I’m not digging it’s dryness (which nuts tend to be) I am liking the flavour. From time to time I do like nuts, I eat them often as their good for vegetarians. It tastes a little like candied almonds but more like old stock from a pub machine that isn’t used often.

I do like this one, not sure if it would be something I would purchase (if I could) but I could certainly drink it again happily.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Nuts

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

Loooove House. I miss that show. I don’t want reruns though, I want more new episodes. :)

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Good Morning Steepster. With having little sleep last night but having to get up early and wait for a parcel re-delivery (which could be here as early as 7am) I’ve been forced to shuffle downstairs and start my day. An Earl Grey is my ‘drug’ of choice for this morning and a cream version sounds perfect, something soothing but with enough kick to stop me being zombie-fied.

New Mexico is a company I consider ordering from as they have reasonable UK shipping rates and sooo many tea blends. Not got around to it yet but it’s always good to try a sample or two before I order.

Raw scent is very perfumed and thick, the bergamot is waxy and the vanilla sweet which is a beautiful contrast.

Tea is medium strength with beautiful vanilla tones (pod ie natural)and the bergamot is waxy but light and sweetened by the vanilla. Also a light toffee style flavour. I bought some sweetener in just in-case but it’s sweet enough without it, husband agrees too.
Not as strong as it smells but it does have a nice level of flavour and it lingers in the mouth nicely.

Glad I made a pot of it this morning, it went down very well. When I eventually get around to doing an order I will get a bit more of this.

Flavors: Vanilla

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

I feel the same. yawn

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drank Paris by Harney & Sons
1231 tasting notes

With a name like Paris I thought this tea would be an Earl Grey but reading the description it’s more of an Earl Grey with a big twist. Caramel and vanilla tones and light bergamot, sounds interesting. Not sure it’s my idea of Paris but at least it’s black tea based and will suit me well this afternoon.

Raw tea is sweet and perfumed with high vanilla and bergamot tones, which actually smell very nice together.

I put a small piece of rock sugar and a drop of milk into this tea, was in the mood for something sweet and creamy so hopefully it will suit the flavours.

Flavour is different from it’s scent, berry is the strongest flavour which was a complete surprise as I didn’t smell any at all. With the berry is a cocoa, dark caramel flavour with only a hint of vanilla/cream in the after taste. It’s too different to be lumped in with Earl Grey so it’s not what I thought it would be at all, that can be good and bad.

A nice tea but it’s just not for me, not a huge berry fan and while this is pleasant enough for me to drink my pot full I would by no means think of re-stocking this in the future.

Flavors: Berries, Cocoa, Vanilla

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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drank Himalayan Blend by DAVIDsTEA
1231 tasting notes

I would like some black tea this lazy Sunday afternoon and this sample has been in my cupboard for way too long. It looks like a Darjeeling blend in colour and I do love Darjeeling so those holds some promise of being a nice tea. Not sure what it’s mixed with but as a whole it as a sweet, wooden and light musk scent.

A long steeping time for this but it suits me well, I had too much tequila beer last night (yes beer with tequila in it, spells trouble from the start) and went to my parents to watch the Eurovision finale and have a Mexican feast. Why Mexican when it was Eurovision? Well why not? It was delicious. Well done to Conchita Wurst of Austria for winning Eurovision 2014, if anyone hasn’t seen or heard about it she is the drag act that caused much controversy with countries such as Russia and Armenia. A man dressed as a beautiful woman but with a large beard. Vocally one of the best in the competition. Picture Kim Kardashian with a beard and you have Conchita Wurst.

Tea liquid is burnt orange with a sweet wood and light earthen scent. Flavour is light yet earthy with mild sweetness and a musky after taste. It tastes like a second flush Darjeeling but a very mild variety. A little astringency is present but not much, though it leaves a slight sour tang in the after taste.

It’s nice but nothing special, though Darjeeling is one of my favourite black teas so perhaps I’m overly critical because I’m used to higher quality. Not meaning to come off snobbish there.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 7 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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This is a pre-made iced tea which I don’t usually drink but my parents got me one to try (their idea of ‘if it’s tea, Kayleigh will love it’). Yes for those who have not read my name is Kayleigh, just to make sure no one gets confused.

Well I like that this tea is organic and natural, never tried any of Hampstead’s range before so it’s a new venture completely.

Flavour is mild in terms of thickness, very lemony and refreshing. Like a mild, flat lemonade. Very light and sweet but not overly so. Still I’m finding it very pop/soda like. Though honestly it’s not too bad, not sure I would buy it in but if I saw it in a restaurant I may have some. Stronger than Lipton’s Lemon iced tea.


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drank Dorset Tea by Spicers
1231 tasting notes

Let me begin by saying I have never been a huge tea bag fan despite being British. They always tasted old and dusty and virtually the same so given the choice I took either fruit tea or just plain water. Now I see the convenience of bagged tea but am still not a fan, if buying some in for the house (which would mostly be for my husband) then I get what I consider a ‘nice’ bagged tea such as Twinings Everyday or Teapigs Darjeeling Earl Grey. I can stomach those and drink with no problems. Then on Twitter I saw Dorset Tea offering free samples for UK citizens so I signed a small info form and a week later the samples arrived through the door (which was today).

Opening the sealed foil pack I notice a strong black tea scent, primarily Assam. Now I am not sure if it is purely Assam or a blend of Assam and Ceylon, the little pack had no information and their website is under construction at the moment so I can’t check their either. Still to me it smelled like Assam ie rich and spicy. A nice full on tea scent.

So steeping my usual teabag way (three minute steep with two sugars and milk) I take a sip for the all judging result. The result was a good one. Not only does this smell like Assam but it also tastes like it too, very full on to match it’s scent but as far as bagged teas go (and my dislike of them) this one has flavour and though a little dry it’s strong and for me easily drinkable. Rather smooth considering it’s so spicy and rich with just a hint of smoke in the after taste.

Compared to Twinings this tea is stronger and more on par with TeaPigs Breakfast Tea but much cheaper. Next time my husband asks for some ‘normal’ tea I will get some more. Not my usual type of tea but for when you have 5 minutes in-between cleaning it’s pretty darn good.

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drank Tropicalia by DAVIDsTEA
1231 tasting notes

I’m watching the Eurovision semi finals tonight for a bit of a giggle. Thank you Nattie for this tea.

The raw mix smells like pineapple and coconut which is nice but also a little dry. The blend is very mixed in size. Nice though so far, especially for a DavidsTea fruit blend as they are not usually to my taste.

In the mean time I’m watching the Belarus entry called ‘Cheesecake’ and though the song is awful (sorry Belarus) it’s given me a sweet craving. Now I’m hoping this tea is sweet and fruity.

The long 6 minute steep later and a burnt orange liquid is produced but it has a dusty coconut scent, more unpleasant than it’s raw form. :(
Flavour wise the coconut is heavy and sweet which is actually surprisingly nice compared to it’s scent. The other fruit is more behind the coconut and it’s hard to make it out other than to say generic tropical fruit.

Tastes just like tropical fruit juice that has been warmed up, like you’ve left it in the sun and forgot about it and when you go back to take a sip it’s warm and tangy and you end up throwing it away.

Flavors: Coconut

195 °F / 90 °C 6 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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I’m 26 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.



Leicester, England, United Kingdom



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