863 Tasting Notes

drank Houjicha Karigane by Hibiki-an
863 tasting notes

So in my first tasting note on this tea, I only had a chance to try the first steep. And as it got cold, it got really bitter. I have had a few more chances to try it.

2tsp in boiling water.

First steep of 15 seconds- remains the same as my first review. Very roasty nut and buckwheat flavours. Does get a bit bitter as it cools.

Second steep of 30 seconds- pretty much the same flavour as the first steep. But no bitterness as it cools. I think I might like this one better cold. Very similar to a buckwheat cold brew/iced tea. But there is a more in depth roasty flavour profile and it is somewhat sweeter.

Third steep of 45 seconds- this one is holding out really good for a third steep. It is starting to mellow a bit but the flavours are still quite strong. And it still brews up quite dark. The roasty flavour profile is subsiding and it is a bit more nutty tasting. There is more of a sencha type buttery green tea flavour that is starting to emerge.

I am sure I could do more steeps with this but I haven’t had the chance to try yet.

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drank Houjicha Karigane by Hibiki-an
863 tasting notes

This is for the superior version of this tea.

The tea appears to be a lot of little twigs and stems and long spirals of rolled tea leaves. It smells very roasty, almost burnt.

Hibiki-an recommends double the amount of usual tea you use, boiling water for 15 seconds.

It brews up a light brown colour. It tastes super roasty. Definitely both buckwheat and roasted nut flavours. There is a lot of popcorn scent and flavour. It is very smooth. There is a slight sweetness. The liquor has a moderately creamy taste and texture.

I am super impressed with this one. I bought it on a whim in order to hit the free shipping threshold

They recommend at least 3 infusions but I only have time for one is afternoon at work

Edit: This tea got quite bitter once it cooled. It also developed quite an earthy flavour that reminded me a bit of pu-erh. I don’t know if this would make the best work tea as I often don’t get to my tea when it is hot.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I have had a huge bag of this sitting around for a while. It kinda got lost in the tea shuffle.

So for a while I have been trying to drink a lot of lemon-ginger water. Just basic glass of water with slice of lemon and slice of fresh ginger in it. It tastes good and I have a feeling it keeps me somewhat alive.

I decided to brew up some of this and try it I place of water with the lemon and ginger,

I used 6 tsp of buckwheat for 2 L of boiling water. I steeped for 5 ish, probably more like 7ish minutes. Then threw in the fridge. After it cooled I put it in my glass with my already kind of used lemon and ginger.

It actually tastes pretty good. The lemon and ginger are very subtle and it works really good with the roasted buckwheat flavour. It adds a but of depth and sweetness. I thinks it works well like this but I think if the lemon was stronger it would not work out so well.

Glad I rediscovered this one.

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This is another sample that Liquid Proust provided for free for the GCTTB5.

I quite like blackberry anything. I have had many blackberry and blackberry sage teas. Some of them have been good and some not so good. I find it mostly comes down to the base. And with this tea, the keemun base, works real good.

I don’t get much scent from the dry tea but as soon as the hot water hit the tea a sweet candy like blackberry smell wafted up. It was delicious.

The brewed tea is slightly smoky from the keemun base. There is a candy, slightly tart, blackberry flavour. The sage is super light, which actually works well with the tea. It gives it that slight pepper on the back of your throat with each sip. The candy blackberry flavours lingers for quite a while in the aftertaste.

I quite like this one. The keemun and blackberry work well together.

P.S. LP – you should make more of this :)

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

most excited about this one…

Liquid Proust

I have three left, but they are reserved for those who help with my fundraising. I may look into doing it a third time :)

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drank Fake Mead by Liquid Proust Teas
863 tasting notes

Liquid Proust very generously offered up samples to include in the GCTTB5. I snuck a sample of some of the teas before I sent the box out as chances are there will be none left when it comes back to me.

This one sounds interesting. I quite like mead, the drink, so I thought this would be right up my alley.

The dry tea smells mostly just like a gold tipped tea to me. Nice and malty. The brewed tea does have a hint of bees wax scent, it is slightly sweet smelling and malty.

To me the tea is moderately bold, there is definitely quite a bit of malty flavour. There is just a slight bit of astringency at the end of the sip. There are hints of the bees wax flavour. There is a very subtle sweetness to the tea. The liquor feels quite thick as you swallow. Not so much honey flavour though. As the tea cools, it becomes more sweet with slight fruity undertones.

This one was a good tea. I would have like it to be a bit more meady, but that is just my preference.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Liquid Proust

I’m right there with you on these thoughts. No honey taste is quite disappointing :(
At least, while not tasting the way I/anyone is wanting it to taste like, it wasn’t a bad cup of tea.

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drank Russia Host Tea Estate by What-Cha
863 tasting notes

Received this one from a swap with Christina!

I generally like Russian teas.

The dry tea is nice long, spiraled leaves which look quite nice.

This one is good. It is not too strong but still has some boldness to it. Very slightly sweet. There are definitely burnt flavours, without any smokiness, and I like that. There is a bit of malt to the tea. I don’t get any astringency with this one. The second steep brews up quite a bit lighter, but the burnt flavour profile is stronger.

Still like Russian teas.

Thanks Christina!

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Thanks Christina for sending me a sample of this tea.

This is the spring 2015 version.

I thought based on the reviews and the initial dry tea smell that I would love this one but it has been weird for me.

The dry tea smells nice and sweet and malty, with a bit of dark chocolate notes. However after brewing, the initial sip is quite a turn off for me. All I can taste is burnt dirt, earth, and mushroom-y type flavour. As it cools, it turns into the more malty, sweet black tea I was expecting. There is no more earthy or mushroom flavours. But it unfortunately loses a lot of its “punch”. It is not horrible but luke warm tea is not my favourite. I have played around with steeping parameters but just can’t find what works for me with this tea.

Thanks Christine for sending me this one to try.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Ying Shan Hong by Yunnan Sourcing
863 tasting notes

Thanks so much Christina for this sample!

I had started a thread regarding compressed black tea. I received a lot of recommendations and Christina thoughtfully offered me some of this tea to try.

The sample I received was a few “chunks” of this tea. The smell upon the hot water hitting the tea immediately reminded me of sweet cinnamon. I wondered for a second if there was some contamination from my tea implements. But the smell quickly faded to subtly sweet black tea scent. A bit of an earthiness smell but still every once in a while my brain tells me cinnamon.

I did the first infusion with just boiled water for 60 seconds. My first thoughts were this tastes kind of musty, or dusty. After a few sips, I think what I am tasting is the chrysanthemum. There is what I would guess to be a slight dried flower floral flavour. The black tea does not seem to be very strong. It is slightly sweet but not getting the cinnamon flavour that I get in the scent. There is a generic light spiciness to the tea. At the end of the sip there is some dryness in my mouth but I would not describe this as astringent. I read someone’s tea blog that described this tea as “autumn” and I would agree.

I am unsure about this tea as of yet. I would not describe it as bad or that I dislike it. I think I am just having a hard time harmonizing with the flavour. I am going to try a few more steeps.

For the second steep I added 30 seconds. I feel like in this steep there is more astringency, especially as the cup cools. The dried floral flavour profile has morphed into a dry hay flavour. I feel like there is quite a bit more earthiness into this steep.

More to come…..

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I picked these ones up on my last visit. It was a bit of a surprise, I had never seen them here before. I am always a sucker for packaging. The store had these bricks packed 5 into a cute little box. I didn’t necessarily want 5, but that is how they came and it was better than having to purchase 50 or 100g.

They are really small mini bricks. About a half inch by half inch. I tried to confirm with the owner of the tea shop what kind of tea it was. All I got was it is real green tea leaves. So I am not sure what kind of green tea, but it is green tea. There are also what appear to be small rose petals in there.

The first time I tried this yesterday, it didn’t quite turn out. I did a quick rinse. I then planned to steep for about 30 seconds as that is how I prefer my green tea. But after about 30 seconds it wasn’t quite the right colour. So I wanted to leave it for a few seconds longer. Then my phone rang and it was an unexpected but important call… And it steeped for about 10 minutes. The brick was completely turned into just free floating large green tea leaves and fair sized pink rose buds. The tea was really bitter and had quite a strong roasted flavour. I steeped the leaves again, for about a minute and it wasn’t too bad. Still roasty, but there was quite a creamy flavour. It reminded me of sencha. There was not much rose flavour.

Today I thought I would try again. I did a quick rinse. I then steeped for 45 seconds, standing over the pot while it steeped. The brick expanded but stayed intact. The liquor was light straw colour. It was a nice, light, fresh green tea. There were light hints of creaminess. There was a very, very light rose, florarl flavour. The rose blended well with the green tea.

The second steep I did about 30 seconds. The brick was starting to break apart but still remained intact, and it brewed up really quick. There are starting to be metallic mineral notes to the green tea. It is also starting to get a little bit astringent. The rose floral is becoming a bit stronger but it is still pleasant.

More steeping to come…. I am not much of a re-steeper but I am interested to see how long this brick lasts for.

Update: I ended up getting 6 – 30 seconds steeps. That is how long it took for the brick to completely break up anyway. I am sure there were more steeps available. It did start to get quite astringent in the last steep and that is why I stopped.

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This tea was a tea that was blended by a local tea merchant, Cuppa’T Specialty Teas, for 2016, which is the 125th Anniversary of Government House in Regina, SK.

Government House was built in 1891, and served as the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of the Northwest Territories. It currently serves as a multi-purpose Heritage Facility and museum. And most importantly, in the spring/summer it serves Victorian High Tea on the weekends.

They did a contest where people could sign up to be a tea taster, there were 3 blends, this fruity blend, a traditional blend, and a maple blend, and I guess this is the one that won.

It is definitely not what I was expecting to be a Government House tea. I would think a bold black with creamy notes, or a black with vanilla, maybe a green with a bit of spice. Something simple but very elegant. I never expected a strawberry mint blend but I guess the description about the gardener makes perfect sense.

The dry tea is small leaves of black tea with very finely chopped mint. There are largish dried strawberries that are all clumped up with tea. It makes me think there was some oil or liquid type flavour that then clumped up all the tea.

The smell is super delicious. It smells like strawberry bubble gum; candied strawvberries with a bit of mint. It is sweet and has quite a bit of “pop” to it.

The tea brewed is ok. There is a black tea base that is slightly astringent at the end of the sip. It is light to moderate boldness. There are definitely cooling mint undertones. I think it is a bit of a spearmint/peppermint mix. It is not very strong but definitely present. The strawberry flavour is unfortunately lacklustre. It is an artificial, but not bad, strawberry flavour. But it loses the pop that the scent had. It definitely needs some sweetness added to it I think.

Overall it is good. The flavours were definitely a surprise from what I was expecting. I think it would be great iced. And maybe iced with lemonade :)

It is available only at Cuppa T and at Government House. All the proceeds go to the Government House Historical Society which supports and preserves this historical site.



200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

that’s pretty cool


I’m quite proud that a historical place would be able to team with a small local artisian to be able to develop a blend/product like this, rather than do something way too commercialized.


That’s so neat!

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I am a lifetime tea lover.

I did foray into the world of coffee for a period of time, but I returned to my true love. I still, however, enjoy a good cup of java.

My all time favorite tea is Earl Grey, which I drink every morning, the stronger the bergamot the better. I definitely prefer natural oil of bergamot to artificial flavouring.

I mostly like black and dark oolong teas. My current favs are Fujian blacks, Keemun and Assams, and Wuyi oolongs. I gravitate towards anything with lychee in it. I also drink a lot of herbal blends but am wary of hibiscus. I do not favour mate, or pu’erh tea, although I have found a few blends that I like. (I so badly want to like straight pu’erh tea but it all tastes gross to me. I keep trying though). Rooibos, green and white teas fall somewhere in the middle. I find myself gravitating towards heavily roasted oolongs and teas from Paris/France based companies.

I love iced teas and cold brews.

My current tea goal is to make the perfect cup of chai from scratch – almost there…I think.

I am in love with the whole experience of tea.


Saskatchewan, CANADA

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