281 Tasting Notes

drank Cranberry Chai by Teajo Teas
281 tasting notes

One more sample from TheTeaFairy bites the dust. I am running out of lots of favourites so this weekend when I’m downtown doing gay things during World Pride (yay, toronto!) I plan to use up my tea budget for a couple of months and stop at DAVIDs. In the meantime, no favourites means go through these samples I have around the house.

I left this toward the bottom of the pile because:
“cranberry: bleah.
chai: could be bleah, depending on mood”

I read someone’s tasting note and the person liked it cold better. I decided to go for broke and use the entire 2-cup sample. I tried it hot in a mason jar. Then I put a couple of ice cubes in to attempt “warm” and finally more ice for the “cold” version. I added sugar, it is a bit astringent. I’m also not getting much chai in the traditional sense, but that’s bonus tonight.

Really, a somewhat cranberry tasting astringent average black tea. Meh.

Thank you TheTeaFairy for your generosity!

Boiling 2 min, 45 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

Have fun at Pride!


Thanks, Christina!


oh man pride is going to be insanity…it’s already a little crazy downtown and work is on the edge of all the fun :) Have a great time!


Ooh! Have fun! I almost wish I wasn’_t going up North this weekend. It’s awesome to see what pride has grown into over the years. From the street March/Block Party I remember when I was little! Have a blast.

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drank Mocha Mint by Mate Factor
281 tasting notes

If you guys saw all my samples that are unaccounted for in my virtual cupboard… I think I have 200 teas. And while I should be drinking mostly those, I seem to be in the mood for more flavoured stuff. This sample came to me courtesy of TheTeaFairy . She’s been very generous with me on more than one occasion so my house is littered with these baggies. Not a complaint, merely an observation. Please don’t stop showing me tea love, Fairy! :)

Although this is a very tasty chocolate mint tea, it still doesn’t take away the #1 spot from DAVID’s “read my lips.” I think there is more chocolate there, whereas here I am getting more mint. I should do them side by side but I’ve never had the time or inclination for those sort of experiments.

I drank this tea yesterday, added sugar and dairy-free creamer. It really is a nice dessert tea. If you haven’t had DAVIDs and you can’t compare the two you are better off. Kinda like seeing a movie before reading the book it is based on. If you liked the movie, stay away from the book.

On a side note, chipmunks are running laps in my backyard. I knew there was one but I have never ever seen him this active. And I think he brought a friend. I wonder what happened?

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drank Nina's Japon by Nina's Paris
281 tasting notes

Many thanks to Laurent at Nina’s Paris USA for this sample.

It seemed from previous notes that it was the green tea to try. (yes, I know there’s black tea too but anything with sencha and genmaicha is green in my book). Caramel and genmaicha, both of which I enjoy, are supposedly present here. I brewed at 175F for fear of burning the leaves and rendering the brew too bitter to enjoy. It works fine at 175F. No additives.

It’s a nice colour, reminds me of apple juice. Clear liquid, I love those. So nice when you don’t get cloudy muck. Flavour wise I get a sweet sencha mostly. Buttery and sweet but sencha is not on my to-die-for flavour list. I also pick up something floral-y. I resteeped and it does well for a second go around.

Sadly I am not going to jump on the bandwagon of Japon lovers. To each his/her own. I enjoyed 2 out of 3 of these samples from Nina’s so pretty good I’d say!

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drank Thé sur la Lune by Nina's Paris
281 tasting notes

Thank you to Laurent @ Nina’s Paris USA for this sample. I have been curious about these teas for a a while now.

At first I wanted to write that I liked Ma Passion better than this. This is strong at first, punchy base. Seeing this and realizing it isn’t what I had in mind I combined the two steeps in a 16 oz mug and added a touch of raw sugar. I also started goofing around on the iPad and the tea had a chance to cool. The end result is that I like this tea better than the other now.

I can’t taste any of the fruits individually, nor can I tell there’s pu’erh leaves in here, which is fine by me. The smell of the dry leaf reminds me a lot of H&S Fruits D’Alsace. And something in the taste also reminds me of it but a little less so.

I do have one comment to make and it has not to do with the tea but with the length of time it took for the samples to reach me. More than 3 weeks. In case I want to order some, three weeks is more than I like to wait for my stash. Anyone in Ontario ordered from Nina’s USA? How long did it take, do you remember?


I got mine today!

Maybe they just mailed different batches at different time to ensure ongoing reviews on Steepster? One month just seems impossible otherwise…

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drank Ma Passion by Nina's Paris
281 tasting notes

Thank you for this sample, Nina’s Paris! I had it iced and have to say I enjoyed it quite a bit. Resteeps well too, which is always a bonus.

I’m writing this from memory, had it yesterday. I loved the base and flavour balance, it was not a “juice” tea, it was definitely black tea with some passionfruit throughout. The wet leaf as it cools is all fruity goodness in smell, which is what made me resteep. I mean, if it smells so good still it has to have more to give. And that it did :)

The colour was what I would expect of a black tea, a deep brown and there was not a lot of aroma at first. Good lingering fruit aftertaste. Purchasing this would be considered for sure, it makes a good summertime beverage!

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drank Gnarly Masala Chai by Steep This!
281 tasting notes

I have this sample from Dexter3657 from a while back. I tried it when I first got it, didn’t like it hot that time but kept it just in case. I made some iced chai latte a couple of weeks ago using a different chai, and it worked great, so this morning when I read that TheTeaFairy made herself some iced chai latte I thought to myself "yes, yes, that is what I am going to do right this moment. "

So I used the remainder of this sample. Ok, so what I found is that I liked this one iced with almond milk way better than I did hot. Alas, maybe sugar and coconut or almond milk is the great equalizer. That, and a breath of cardamom was the ticket this time. Same steeping method I always do. Steep the chai in hot water as I would any other black tea and then pour it over ice. 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup sweetened chai. Bam!


Haha! We’ll drink cold chai non stop if we keep inspiring one another like this ;-)

Terri HarpLady

For a couple of years I had an iced Chai habit. I think tonight I’ll start of pot of my crock pot chai & strain & chill it for tomorrow. Yeah, that sounds wonderful!


Yes, I have crockpot book here somewhere and they have a chai recipe. This was before I was into tea and found the whole idea quite dumb at the time. Like… Can’t you just do it on the stove? Who needs a crockpot-full of the stuff. Now I’m thinking we are onto something.

Terri HarpLady

I want that recipe! LOL


8 cups water
8 bags black tea
3/4 cup sugar
16 whole cloves
16 whole cardamom seeds, pods removed (optional)
5 cinnamon sticks
8 slices fresh ginger
1 cup milk

Combine everything EXCEPT milk in pot. On high, 2.5 hrs. Strain. Add milk before serving.

*Rival Crock-pot Best Loved Slow Cooker Recipes. No publication year available.


Mmmmmm, sounds good and so easy in crock pot, I love no supervision cooking!!! Too much sugar but that’s easily fixable. I have everything right here, might try it tonight…thanks for sharing!

Terri HarpLady

Thanks! I’ve been making mine is the crock pot with only almond milk, no water. It’s pretty damn good, but I’m using a pre-blended Chai (mostly Verdant), & even though I made my own chai a long time ago, who knows where that recipe is?

Terri HarpLady

And I agree, that’s a lot of sugar. I’ll leave it out & then sweeten lightly with either stevia or (more likely) a little maple.

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Can I get a “Wooo!” This drink I made is making me do that and I haven’t gone “wow” in a while.

I haven’t had chai in a looong time but I bought almond coconut milk yesterday and I have been itching to make a cold drink of sorts with it. As I pondered for a beverage again this afternoon the idea struck me: iced chai latte. Now this might have to do a bit with Oprah — that woman knows how to make money, eh? — because I’ve been going to Starbucks a lot these past few weeks and there’s the giant sign about Oprah and some chai. So maybe my subconscious took a chai battering all these days because it came screaming out this afternoon.

So I dug out this sample from Dexter3657 that came my way during a period when I was interviewing chais for a regular spot and dumped it all in the steeper. Overleafed a little because I knew I’d be going in with ice and milk and after 4 minutes I dumped in some sugar in the raw, ice cubes halfway in a mason jar and then filled half with tea, half with almond coconut milk. Sprinkled on a small pinch of cardamom for good measure, stirred and WOW. I love this. Must make it again. Thank you to Dexter3657 for this oldie but goodie sample.


Awww, almond coconut milk, best product ever!!
I will try this for sure, thanks for sharing :-)

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drank Cherry Fantasy by Tealux
281 tasting notes

I cold steeped the rest of the sample from TheTeaFairy — I had about 3 tsps or so from her. So I hot steeped the first time and then confident that it would be more flavourful cold steeped I dumped the rest of the sample in a 500 ml mason jar for a couple of days.

The flavour is about the same on the cold steep too, it doesn’t become more cherry like I had hoped. Therefore, cold or hot, take it as the mood strikes. I think I almost prefer this one warm not because of the flavour but because of the strange comfort of a warm cup of somewhat cherry tea.

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drank Jardin Sauvage by Lupicia
281 tasting notes

TheTeaFairy sent this one my way and I’ve been saving it for a day when I crave a juice iced tea. Although it’s Rooibos, the tea gods gave us the green kind for those of us folks who don’t care for the red. This has tropical fruit and it’s good but I have to say I will not be rushing out to add this to my cupboard no matter how good. It’s not fruity enough for me. It seems from other tasting notes that cold steeped is better but I made the entire sample with boiling water and iced so there’s none left to try cold brewing. No matter. It’s good but not enough to go to all the trouble and jump through all the lupicia hoops to get it in my cupboard.

Thank you to TheTeaFairy for satisfying my Lupicia curiosity.

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drank Pu-Erh Gourmand by Dammann Freres
281 tasting notes

I have only ever bought one pu’erh for myself. Everything else I’ve tried has been courtesy of generous, kind folks like Dexter3657 and TheTeaFairy and one other. These opportunities to try the bizarreness that is pu’erh I will forever be thankful for.

This one I find tolerable. I can taste pu’erh so I had to add caramel creamer some stuff to it to actually enjoy it. I do recognize that to others might taste good. If it’s tolerable to me that’s saying a lot! I can see how one day if I persevere I could like this.

Thank you to TheTeaFairy but … This is far from gourmand for me. Or maybe I’m not gourmand enough for it. That’s probably it.


‘Some stuff’. Hehehe.


Caramel creamer is not a crime with this, you can scream it loud and clear!!!
Bravo for trying, mon amie, you are the brave one :-)

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I started drinking loose leaf tea in the spring of 2013 (why do we feel compelled to mark the date of tea drinking somewhat like addicts counting their sobriety days?)

Never been much into tea before. Growing up in Romania, tea was something mom made for you when you were sick. As an adult, my hot beverage of choice has been coffee, both flavoured and regular. I’ve recently stumbled upon Teavana and DAVIDs TEA and quickly got addicted to the latter. Then came steepster and all else followed.

Formerly a mathematician and insurance adjuster, I gave up the corporate world and am now a professional chef. I drink wine and sometimes cheat on it with tea.

I lean heavily towards flavoured black teas. I’ve started to crave the occasional straight oolong and green but so far unflavoured black teas leave me unimpressed.

I’m learning so I drink them all. Am even introducing myself to pu’erh. So far I can do fine with the sheng cause frankly, they don’t taste like pu’erh to me. The shou is another story.

Note*: The virtual cupboard does NOT contain any of the samples I hold since most of them are one-cup quantity.

Note**: My partner, our home improvements, gadgets, mortgage, travel, wine and food have budget priority over tea.


Toronto-ish, Canada

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