120 Tasting Notes


Merry Christmas everyone! This is the first of the 12 days of tea 2014 set.

I drank it blind at first, without scratching the panel, and assumed some sort of pumpkin white tea. I brewed it accordingly, at a fairly low temperature (no way to check exactly here at my parents’ house), and still found it very astringent and drying after only a couple of minutes of brewing. This surprised me when I scratched the panel and found out it was a green, so theoretically should have been able to take the temperature much better than it did. Next time I will try only brewing it for 90 seconds.

The pumpkin flavour comes through very well, and tastes pleasantly natural, which I think is helped by the dragonwell base. I do think, though, that maybe a different base would have helped the toffee come through more, which as it is I get only as a faint butteriness, and only after I’d read the name and discovered that I was supposed to taste it. I did quite enjoy it, despite the astringency, and think I might actually really enjoy it after a little bit of tweaking.

Happy holidays, everyone! (:

165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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drank Afternoon Infusion by Graze
120 tasting notes

Super quick note on this one as I’m meant to be writing an essay! I had this at work with the banana bread it came with (which was pretty yummy) and was pleasantly surprised. It paired really well with the cake, and was more bold than I expected. I also detected some citrus notes, and to me it almost seemed like a very light earl grey. It definitely brightened up my afternoon.


I’m doing “homework” today, too. (Freelance writing project.) What do you have to write about?


That sounds fun! Good luck (:

I’m writing about Renaissance plays and society.

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drank Lavender Earl Grey by Ovation Teas
120 tasting notes

Sipdown! (19/254)

This sample came from the EU Travelling Tea Box Round 2, courtesy of KittyLovesTea. This was actually Frank’s pick from the original box, I think mainly because I was badgering him to go outside of his usual straight black or earl grey comfort zone, and this was the least outside of it he had to go to get me off his back. He turned out to really love it, and I was originally going to put the samples back ater one cup but he asked to keep it. I kept enough back to have my own cup at the end of the sample to satisfy my curiosity. Honestly, I think it must have been contaminated since, because if not, I don’t understand why he loved it so much.

I have since bought him some lavender earl grey from Adagio,which I have tried myself and really enjoyed. I assumed that this would be similar, but it turns out not really. The lavender scent is very powerful, and the whole kitchen smelled like my grandma’s garden right away when steeping. The bergamot was also present I a light, citrusy way. The smell was super good, but unfortunately the earl grey just didn’t translate into the flavour. The lavender is EXTREMELY strong, and completely drowns out the other flavours. For my first few sips, I found this enjoyable, although as my cup went on I started to find it cloying and was actually quite sick of it by the end of the cup. I also started to notice a sort of stale taste part way through, which I will attribute to the fact that I haven’t kept it entirely well, and the sample has been open for quite some time now. I can’t mark it poorly, though, as I did enjoy the first quarter of the cup, and Frankie’s opinion should be taken into account, too. It’s only fair. Plus I also seem to remember sneaking a sip each time I made it for him, and enjoyed it considerably more than I did today.

Drank with milk to tone down the punch of flavour, and a sprinkling of sugar to round it off.

Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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drank Chilli Chai by Teapigs
120 tasting notes

Sipdown (18/254)! So my cupboard may have exploded again… and there’s more coming

I went home this weekend for my mam’s birthday and have been too busy to post anything for a few days. This is a backlog from Friday night. This sounded really warming, so I had it on a cold night waiting for my dad in the rain. It was nice enough, although I got absolutely no chilli whatsoever. I brewed it for ages, too, as I left it steeping while I was making sure I’d packed everything. The cardamom was pretty strong in both the initial sip and aftertaste, which is probably one of my least favourite chai ingredients. The other spices came through a little after the initial whoomf of cardamom, but the chilli itself was nowhere to be found. I would probably have been happier with it if the ‘chilli’ was omitted from the name.

Boiling 6 min, 30 sec

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drank Jasmine Green Tea by Twinings
120 tasting notes

I took some teabags of this to work with me today for my first full day(!) as I noticed last week when I started that a lot of people kept teabags in their desks and I didn’t really want to be the weird new girl that brings in loose leaf tea right away… But I did hear people discussing different types of tea today, so I might ease into it! Lol.

Just to clue you guys in, as part of my course I am doing a work placement module. It was meant to be done in second year, but I didn’t find anything so am trailing it in final year. A lot of the reason I didn’t find anything is because I was so stubborn – I was adamant that I wanted one at a publishers, as that’s what I want to do and what good is it going to do me wasting 180 hours (the required minimum) doing something which is irrelevant when I could be studying? I was told several times to just get one at a library, or a charity shop, but I held out on the hopes of a publishing offer, which in the end didn’t come through. A lot of the major publishing houses won’t take anyone on for longer than a week, which means I would have had to find six separate placements. I was so frustrated with getting nowhere and worried about failing my degree than I almost caved and just worked in a library. I was about to send off that application when I got an acceptance email from the first placement I applied to this year – and the only publishers! The one I wanted the most!! So it’s more ‘experience’ than ‘job’ since I get graded instead of paid, but it’s a foot in the door and I’m super excited :D it’s amazing and scary being able to say that I’m going to work. I’m starting to feel like an adult, which I love, but it’s also making me wistful for childhood. So yeah, I started last week (I only do Wednesdays – my only free day) but only for 3 hours and mainly a sort of induction, whereas today I did the whole 9:30-5:30, getting up at 5:30 and reading on the commute (an hour each way). I was exhausted by the time I got back tonight after 7pm, having been gone for 12 hours, and I imagine it must get tedious when you get used to it, but for now I am loving it.

I made sure I was well-stocked tea wise, with a few bags of this in a zip-loc pouch, a graze box cake with an included afternoon teabag, and a travel mug of Butiki’s Killer’s Vanilla. I chose to review this as I was far too tired to pay enough attention when I was drinking KV this morning. I drank this while working, which (don’t laugh) I found amazing. The only “proper” work experience I’ve done before is in primary teaching, so you definitely can’t sip tea while you work there! Such a small thing felt like an amazing privilege. There weren’t any teaspoons so this oversteeped – I waited until it was cool enough to take the bag out with my fingertips. As a result, it was quite bitter and very astringent at the end. There was a sort of greasy sheen on the side of my mug from the top of the tea, and it moved when my tea sloshed around. This was disturbing, but I attributed it to the fact that the water from the kettle had been boiled a lot, came straight from the taps of hard-water Yorkshire, and that I was using the same mug I’d taken KV in earlier that day. The jasmine was a bit more muted than I’m used to, which allows the green tea to shine. I would have preferred a stronger jasmine flavour. And less of the green tea, but that’s just personal taste.

Disclaimer: I may be viewing this tea through rose-tinted glasses, since I was just super happy to have any tea at all.


Congrats on the “job!” Love the note.

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drank English Breakfast by Sainsbury's
120 tasting notes

Sipdown! (17/203)

I’m cheating again, as this is only a sipdown because we don’t have it any more and it shouldn’t be in my cupboard still. And I thought it was up to date, too! Well it definitely is now.

This is a little expensive for what you get, and I can’t help thinking that I’m better off with my stash of loose leaf anyway. It is fairtrade, though, so I will always make an effort to go for the ethically sourced teas whenever possible. I think I will up my rating slightly, to reflect that, since at the moment it’s on a par with the budget range, mark-wise, and I feel it should get a bonus for being kind. These bags did well to tide me over, but my parents brough some Rington’s with them on their last visit, which will always win when available.

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drank Earl Grey by Clipper
120 tasting notes

Mmmm. This tea is often in my cupboard, so I don’t usually bother to take it out, although I thought I should for my sipdown challenge.

This is hands-down my favourite traditional Earl Grey. It is a staple in my house and the houses of extended family members (it now strongly reminds me of Frank’s family every time I drink it, as they have it more often than unflavoured black tea). Clipper is one of the better brands of teabags usually found in British supermarkets, and I prefer to buy these when we run out of EG when I can afford it. The bergamot is very strong, as is the base tea, which is good for me as I love strong teas. The citrus-y bergamot has a lingering almost orange note, which adds a lovely extra dimension. I wish we had some of these in at the moment – writing up this note is giving me cravings!

Sipdown! (16/203)

Red Fennekin

I know what you mean about Clipper teas! For a ‘standard tea bag’ company, they really are quite decent! :-)


Definitely! There isn’t much choice around me, tea-wise, so Clipper is usually my go-to brand when I’m food shopping and get new-tea cravings. (:

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drank Jasmine Pearls by Teapigs
120 tasting notes

Sipdown! (15/203)

Another one I forgot to remove from my cupboard a while ago. If I’m remembering right, this was the first time I tried a jasmine tea, a flavour which I still love. Despite my usual indifference to/slight dislike of green tea, I can drink it all day when paired with jasmine. For now, I have a few better loose jasmine greens, but when I first tried this, it was mind-blowing to me. The jasmine isn’t so subtle the green tea overpowers it, but it also isn’t too strong that it’s offputting or perfume-like. A delicate and tasty match, overall. Possibly my favourite of the Teapigs teas I have tried.

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drank Popcorn Tea by Teapigs
120 tasting notes

Sipdown! (14/203)

Apparently I liked this a lot more the first time I had it, because I’d rate it in the 60s at the moment. Reading my previous tasting note, the deep, grassy green taste doesn’t seem to have bothered me at all, and now, that is a flavour I try to stay away from. Maybe I used to be more tolerant of green teas than I am now, or maybe my tastes will continue to change throughout the years. Who knows. I still don’t think this tastes like popcorn, and I think they should rename it. People might be tricked into buying it expecting it to be sweet or buttery, and it may but off genuine fans of genmaicha. Even having said what I have about green tea, it’s not my favourite genmaicha I’ve tried – I prefer both 52teas and the custom one blended by KittyLovesTea. It’s an accessible route into genmaichas for the inexperienced, still, so I won’t begrudge it a place on shelves of my local teashop.


I never thought it tasted like popcorn either! Very misleading, not near sweet enough for that. I’m happy you liked mine :) That would be the additional bancha, adds a thicker roasted flavour.


That was my thought process exactly. I really enjoyed yours, I have enough for a few more cups and will probably write up a tasting note soon. That’s good to know, thanks! (:

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drank Silver Tips White Tea by Teapigs
120 tasting notes

Sipdown! (13/203)

At some point, I really must pick up another bag of this to try again. I bought only one from a teashop nearby, and didn’t realise I hadn’t logged it until now.

This was very early on in my tea enthusiast days, and (I am ashamed to admit), I poured boiling water straight onto it, completely ruining the delicate tea. At the time I hated it, and wondered why anyone would enjoy drinking such a thing, but I now realise that I messed up and it had nothing (or very little) to do with the tea itself. A fair review is in order in the future. This cup just tasted bitter.

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I first got into loose leaf teas when a friend of mine showed me Cara’s Sherlock fandom blends on Adagio a couple of years back, but they weren’t on sale in the UK so I started trying other kinds instead and have been hooked for almost three years.

Black teas make up the majority of my collection, but I am expanding my horizons and trying to include a variety of other teas, too. Flavoured blacks are my favourites, but I’m growing increasingly fond of unflavoured teas too. I will update my likes and dislikes as I discover more about my palate, but for now:

Tea-likes: a lot of different things, but my absolute favourites are caramel, chestnut, raspberry, coconut, blueberry and pumpkin

Tea-dislikes: vanilla (on its own), ginger, coriander, cardamom, liquorice and pineapple

I am a 20 year old student, studying English Literature and hoping to go into publishing one day. Other than drinking, hoarding and reviewing tea, my hobbies include reading, doing quizzes and puzzles, TV quiz shows (about the only things I watch regularly, unless Sherlock or Doctor Who is on), basketball (NBA, both the video game and actual sport – Chicago Bulls fan, and playing with my university girls’ team. I also watch my parter play, as he’s on the men’s team) and football/soccer (just watching – a lifelong supporter of Sunderland AFC).

I should probably also mention my tea-rating system, which seems to be much harsher than others I’ve seen on here. It’s not always concrete, but I’ll try to define it:

• 50 is the base-line which all teas start at. A normal, nothing-special industrial-type black teabag of regular old fannings would be a 50.

• 0 – 49 is bad, and varying degrees of bad. This is probably the least concrete as I hardly ever find something I don’t like.

• I have never given below a 20, and will not unless that tea is SO bad that I have to wash my mouth out after one sip. Any teas rated as such are unquestionably awful.

• This means most teas I don’t enjoy will be in the 30 – 50 range. This might just mean the tea is not to my own personal taste.

• 51+ are teas I enjoy. A good cup of tea will be in the 50 – 70 range.

• If I rate a tea at 70+, it means I really, really like it. Here’s where the system gets a little more concrete, and I can probably define this part, as it’s rarer for a tea to get there.

• 71- 80: I really enjoyed this tea, enough to tell somebody about, and will probably hang onto it for a little longer than I perhaps should because I don’t want to lose it.

• 81 – 90: I will power through this tea before I even know it’s gone, and will re-order the next time the mood takes me.

• 91 – 100: This is one of the best teas I’ve ever tasted, and I will re-order while I still have a good few cups left, so that I never have to run out. This is the crème de la crème, the Ivy League of teas.

I never rate a tea down, and my ratings are always based on my best experience of a tea if I drink it multiple times. I feel that this is fairest as many factors could affect the experience of one particular cup.

I am always happy to trade and share my teas with others, so feel free to look through my cupboard and message me if you’re interested in doing a swap. I keep it up-to-date, although this doesn’t mean I will definitely have enough to swap, as I also include my small samples.

I also tend to ramble on a bit.


Huddersfield, UK

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