593 Tasting Notes


I’ve had quite a few cups of this tea and I found the first few to be very confusing.. but now I feel like I’ve developed a reasonably solid opinion to write a review.

The first times I had this tea, I was expecting there to be a lovely french toast flavor just bursting with each sip. The first thing that I noticed, though, is the rather prominent floral note. It’s a vague and soft background for what should be french toast and I can see how this tea would be a nice base for flavoring in general.

Behind the flowers, I honestly just taste a smooth chocolate and vanilla combination. Both are so light, though, and I just want something stronger to push it over the edge.. to make it really delicious.

I do like this tea and enjoy having it in my collection since I don’t have anything else like it. Despite having experimented with this tea at higher and lower water temperatures, I just can’t get any french toast flavor or really anything that resembles it… disappointing.

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drank Snow Day by DAVIDsTEA
593 tasting notes

Not sure if I’m ready for winter yet if I’m honest. I am quite excited for the limited edition and festive holiday teas, though! This one caught my eye because of its herbal base and combination of chocolate and peppermint. I also think the snowflake sprinkles make a cute addition to the blend.

The scent of this tea isn’t that different from other peppermint and chocolate blends I’ve had in the past. It’s a very earthy, minty and sweet scent.. I’m already expecting those familiar flavors to come rushing back. Sipping… wow! I didn’t think that the peppermint would be nearly that strong. It’s certainly got that sinus-clearing strength. The peppermint slides quickly into a sweetness that reminds me of licorice or perhaps stevia without a funny aftertaste. The end of the sip is where the chocolate comes out.. I do detect just a wisp of white chocolate with a thin mouthfeel.

While I do think that this blend is a great addition to a winter collection, the peppermint is too strong for me.. and the sweetness from the peppermint takes over the cup. I would have liked the chocolate to be a bit stronger and creamier as well. If you enjoy peppermint, this is definitely a blend to try this winter.


I’m never ready for winter!


Winter :(. Snow :(

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drank A Li Shan by Tao Tea Leaf
593 tasting notes

[Backlog] – I find myself reaching for hot teas despite the rising indoor and outdoor temperatures. Iced tea certainly has a time and place, but for me, nothing can replace the comfort of a hot cup of tea. I tend to drink black or darker teas in the morning and follow them with greener, lighter teas in the afternoon and evening.

The beginning of the sip reminds me a little bit of sweet butter with corn. It quickly changes into something more floral, but lingers around just long enough to keep me interested. The rest of the sip is very green, almost a bit earthy. Flowers are still quite prominent and the buttery corn is nowhere to be found. I don’t detect a whole lot of fruit as the description mentions.. mostly leaves and flowers. I think that I’d like this cup more if it had creamier, fruitier elements. I do enjoy a floral oolong, but I suppose that I have to be in the mood for it.

This is a very nice choice to drink during the summer. It has a satisfying richness, but is still light enough to sip into the late afternoon or early evening. This tea would be a good choice for someone’s first oolong. It gives you a little bit of everything – flowers, earth, a hint of creaminess – without sacrificing body or the cup as a whole. I like that no single flavor takes over, but that they all contribute something, leading to a very balanced cup.

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drank Gold Rush by DAVIDsTEA
593 tasting notes

[Backlog] – I was very surprised to open up the pouch of this tea to see large chunks of coconut and huge mulberries! Where’s the white tea? There are a few leaves in there, but it’s mostly coconut and mulberries. The scent of this blend is quite interesting, as well. It smells sweet, tart and a bit like juice. I’m starting to think that this might be a good blend for those who don’t like the taste of tea, but maybe the white tea will come out more in the flavor.

Wow, I wasn’t expecting this blend to taste like this given the ingredients! It’s certainly sweet and a bit creamy. I definitely see the comparison to caramel, but a version that has a tinge of fruit. The finish reminds me of almost burnt, crusty sort of sugar. Yum! I wish that the cup had a bit more body only because I think it would make it a richer treat, but it’s certainly drinkable the way it is.

I would recommend this blend for anyone who is looking for a unique, sweet tea. To be honest, I can’t really taste any of the white tea and wouldn’t know of its inclusion had I not read the ingredients list. I might try to fish around in the pouch to see if I can gather more leaves. I’m not missing the flavor all that much, but I’m not sure if the tea is worth the price given the large volume of coconut and mulberries.

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[Backlog] – I adore Jin Xuan oolong teas. If you find the right one, you can get everything from leafy and green to peachy and creamy flavors in just one cup! Plus, the leaves are usually champs with resteeping so you do get more cups of tea for your money. This particular Jin Xuan is natural, according to Tea Ave, and lacks any sort of artificial flavors or additives. I don’t mind a flavored oolong tea, but there is something so beautiful about a natural oolong that can offer such an incredible range of flavors.

These tea leaves produce a lovely golden cup with just a hint of green. The first sips offer beautiful milky notes which linger and softly transition into a leafy finish. I also taste salted sweet cream butter and just a hint of mango. There is a slight drying sensation on the tongue, but the lovely creamy start keeps you coming back for more. Oh so delicious!

I can definitely say that this is one of my favorite Jin Xuan oolongs I’ve tried. It’s creamy, sweet and milky – just what I needed! I have a feeling that further infusions will bring out even more interesting flavors, but I will have to save that for another time. If you’re looking for a natural Jin Xuan oolong, this is a great place to start. It’s certainly worth the price, plus Tea Ave’s packaging and presentation are simply wonderful.

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[Backlog] – I really enjoy a rooibos tea blend, but I especially love one that has chamomile, too. Many of the chamomile blends that I’ve tried in the past have been mixed with strange herbs or things that I don’t like. I’m so pleased to see that this one has rooibos, chamomile, lemongrass, coconut, lavender and banana. That’s it! Nothing weird or funky here.

This blend is so delicious! I love the strong chamomile flavor, the banana (you can actually taste it!) and the sweet rooibos. I feel like I should mention that the chamomile is very bright and bold so if you’re not a fan, this blend likely isn’t for you. The chamomile, banana and rooibos blend so well together – sweet, soft and very comforting. I don’t taste a whole lot of coconut, but if I really look for it, I can find it in the background.

One thing this blend could do without is the rather soapy lavender. It’s not strong enough that I can’t finish the cup, but I think this blend would be better without it. Actually.. now that I’m thinking about it, that soapy note could be from a combination of the coconut and lavender. The rooibos is surprisingly a bit mild. It seems to hug the other flavors with its woody sweetness and doesn’t take over.

If you’re looking for a soothing and tasty blend, I highly recommend this one. It’s caffeine free so it can be had any time during the day or night!

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[Backlog] – I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest fan of puerh. It’s one of those teas that my tastebuds can’t seem to enjoy. Most of the puerh teas I’ve tried seemed too dusty, earthy and the very worst, fishy! I’ve personally found that there are so many teas out there that I enjoy more so I haven’t gone out of my way to find puerh. I have high hopes for this blend, though, as it’s supposed to have notes of chocolate and strawberry. Lupicia does fruit flavoring quite well, in my experience, so I bet this will be a tasty cup.

Ooh, this is lovely! The beginning of the sip offers a strong chocolate flavor and a bright strawberry. It reminds me a little bit of a melted chocolate bar with strawberry jam. How delicious! The puerh is actually so far in the background that I can’t truly taste it. I suppose it does come out at the end of the sip as something a bit dry and dark. If I gulp the tea, the puerh does become more present. This is where the blend falls flat.. but only because I don’t like puerh. Hah! The tea base does work with the flavorings, though.

I recommend this tea for anyone who loves the combination of strawberry and chocolate. Lupicia could not have made a more perfect blend of the two. Those who enjoy puerh might be a little disappointed as it’s not terribly strong, but really.. it’s all about the chocolate and strawberry!

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[Backlog] – I’m always hoping to find a nice chocolate tea, but haven’t really found one that is the most delicious yet! Sometimes the chocolate is too faint or fake… sometimes the tea base is too bold. When I saw this black silk chocolate milk blend pop up for sale, I knew that I had to give it a try. It seemed like it would have a great combination of chocolate and a smooth black tea base. Plus, I love the addition of marshmallow root as I think it adds a creamy element to the blend.

After the tea has been steeped, I smell a rather strong black tea with a tiny bit of chocolate in the background. The first part of the sip is of the black tea base. It’s a little more astringent than I expected, but I do pick up on notes of hay and earth. The chocolate, for me, comes toward the end of the sip. It’s not a strong chocolate flavor, but is faint and dark like cocoa. Happily, I can taste a bit of the marshmallow root in the form of a quick creamy finish. The cup is very drinkable, but I really want the silky smooth black tea and that strong chocolate! They’re just not there for me, unfortunately.

I’m happy that I tried this blend, but it hasn’t filled my needs for a chocolate blend. That being said, it’s not a bad blend and if you’re looking for an average black tea with a hint of chocolate, this is a good choice.

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drank Special Dark by Mandala Tea
593 tasting notes

This one has been in my collection for a long time now and I’m slowly moving through everything I have. I’m typically not a puerh drinker, but seeing that it has received great reviews, I must give it a try.

First Steep: I’m surprised to see how dark this cup is given the short steep time. No wonder it’s called Special Dark! Sipping… hm, this is nicer than I thought it would be. I first taste bits of dry bark, wood and cocoa. There is a shadow of dirt that I pick up in most puerhs, but it sits in the background and doesn’t grow too strong. The cup also has a vague creamy element which I’m enjoying. Really looking forward to future cups!

Second Steep: This one is a bit more.. earthy. There is something a little tangy about this cup, too. I’m not sure if it has to do with the earthy note combined with the dry bark flavor, but it’s definitely a little strange. That being said, it is drinkable and there is still that nice chocolate note – a bit weaker than the first cup.

Third Steep: Reminds me a bit more of the first cup. I still taste bark mixed with a bit of dark chocolate and dirt. This cup also has really nice sweetness that wasn’t as prominent in previous cups.

This is definitely one of the better puerh teas I’ve had and I love that there isn’t that fishy scent or flavor. Yum!

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Even though I wasn’t thrilled with this tea when I first tried it, it’s been my choice for an morning or afternoon cup. I’ve really been enjoying it with a splash of milk. The tea base isn’t terribly strong and is a little bit on the weak side, but it seems to work with the chocolate flavoring. It’s strange because on its own, the chocolate is more on the bitter, darker side. With milk, though, the chocolate seems to be more between a milk and a dark.

Even though it’s not my most favorite tea in the world, I would add this to a future order. It’s a gentle and sweet cup that’s very drinkable.

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Tea (& Coffee) lover. Bookworm.

Favorite teas: Milk Oolong, Flavored blends, Dessert teas, Creamy Teas, Rooibos, Oolong, Black, Green
Dislikes: Spices, Peppery flavors, Cloves, Cardamom, Licorice, Peppermint, Cinnamon, Mate, Puerh, Chai, Ginger

My Rather Picky Ratings
90+ – Reserved for the very best! Always in the cupboard!
80-89 – Quite good! A very pleasing cup.
70-79 – Room for improvement, but not bad.
60-69 – Mediocre.
50-59 – Bad. Will not purchase.
49 & below – Depending on the more specific rating: Undrinkable. Yuck. Will not purchase.

Note: Teas in my cupboard are all of the teas that I’ve logged, regardless of their current presence in my actual cupboard. For an updated list on what teas I have available for swap, check out the swap thread and not my cupboard! Thanks!

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