1675 Tasting Notes


The sample I’m working on currently is from Christmas 2014. I believe I still have some in a tin from 2013, but I didn’t have that to hand this morning. Needless to say, I really enjoy this one. It tastes like Jamaican ginger cake – warming, spicy, with a sweet biscuit/bread/cake like element underlying the spice. It’s my favourite of the Bluebird Christmas blends, but one I’m also happy to drink year-round. It certainly brightened up today.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

Loving the sound of both this tea and the cake.

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drank Teatoxy Energize by Teatoxy
1675 tasting notes

I’ve been drinking this one on-and-off for the last few months, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really work for me, at least from an energizing perspective. I’m not wild about the flavour either, so it’s not one I’d repurchase. It’s definitely my least favourite of the three teatoxy blends.

I do enjoy the effect of the bluechai flowers. That never gets old. Colour isn’t enough to earn this one a long-term place in my cupboard, though.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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My second matcha of the day – I’m going to try and stick to one morning matcha and one post-lunch, which is when I really start to flag. This afternoon’s is a quarter teaspoon of Morning Organic Matcha, whisked into a shot glass of coconut water. It certainly looks healthy.

I have to say, I’m not such a huge fan of this particular preparation method. The coconut water is sweet and slightly thick-tasting, exacerbated by the matcha which thickens it still further and has a natural sweetness of its own. Plus the flavour of strong, grassy green tea. It’s not the best of pairings, at least in my book. I’ve hot and cold water and milk still to try, so hopefully I’ll find a “shot” version that does agree with my tastebuds.

I hasten to add that there’s nothing wrong with the matcha – that I have no quarrel with. It’s user preparation error only, and for that reason my rating remains unchanged.


Too bad it didn’t work out better because I still think that’s a brilliant idea.

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I finished off my pouch of “old” 52 Teas Boo-Berry Cotton Candy at the end of last week. It was a sad moment, because I genuinely enjoyed every cup. I’m wary of gunpowder in general, but I had no problems with it here. It never overpowered the blueberry, which was sweet, fruity and a touch sugary, perfectly reminiscent of candy floss. This isn’t a total sipdown, though, because I have a taster pouch of Anne’s version in my cupboard to try. I’m intrigued to see how they’ll compare.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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drank Kashmir Tchai by Kusmi Tea
1675 tasting notes

I’m drinking this one as a latte today – clearly that’s what I’m about this morning! I actually started my sample tin yesterday, when I was out of the office running an event. I prepared that just like I would any black tea – 1 tsp of leaf in boiling water for 4 minutes, finished off with a splash of milk. I enjoyed it – it has a pleasant spiciness that really helped to warm me up on a chilly morning. I really, really enjoy chai as a latte, though. It’s probably one of my favourite things in the world, if I’m honest. For this cup, I used 2 tsp of leaf in half a cup of boiling water, topped up with hot milk. It’s sufficiently spicy that the milk doesn’t drown it, and I can easily pick out clove, cardamon, ginger and cinnamon. The black tea base is smooth and inconspicuous, which is nice in this case because it really lets the spices shine.

I find this to be a fairly mild chai. It doesn’t have anything to give it any real heat – no pepper, chili, etc. I don’t always want that in a chai, but it adds an extra dimension. This one is moderately spicy, not too in-your-face, and the milk gentles it still further. It’s a comforting, warm hug of a cup. Just what I need right now, basically. I’m happy with this one!

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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drank Vanilla Matcha by DAVIDsTEA
1675 tasting notes

This, I think, is my final pick from the EU TTB. I knew I wanted to try it, and as I’ve not that much experience with matcha I set it aside for a later date. It turns out today is that later date. There are a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, it’s no secret that I’ve not been feeling great recently. I’m tired a lot of the time, and I never feel like I have enough energy to do all the things I need to do in a day. My doctor will only recommend vitamins and early nights, both of which I have already. I’ve lost interest in a lot of things, probably because I’m so tired, and I know something’s likely wrong by I don’t know WHAT. I’ve also had what’s becoming a permenant headache for the last week or so, but I’ve been drinking less tea so I’m sort of thinking that might partly be the reason. I do get headaches if I don’t have caffeine. That’s reason one – if I increase my tea intake so it’s near where it used to be, my headaches should clear up a bit. If they don’t, then it’s back to the doctors for me.

Reason two, specific to this tea, is that people tell me matcha has energy-giving properties, and I could seriously use some energy right now. Teapigs have a matcha challenge which I’m going to take – at least one shot of matcha every day for two weeks. I figure it can’t hurt to try, so that’s what I’m going to do.

Today is day one, and I’m starting with a matcha latte. I used 1/2 tsp of matcha whisked into boiling water, topped up with heated, frothed milk. I’m using an aerolatte whisk for now rather than the traditional kit, but if it turns out that matcha is my thing then it’s something I might look into. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m actually really enjoying it. The vanilla flavouring is pretty strong, so it doesn’t taste too much like milky green tea. It’s sweet, creamy, and mostly reminiscent of vanilla milkshake. The powder combined well, with no clumping, which is always a bonus in my book. I’d definitely drink this one again!

Boiling 0 tsp

Over the last year or so I’ve been trying zero-carb or low-carb diets. I get tired when eating carbs and I feel better when I dont eat them. Not sure if this is something you have tried. Also – juicing fresh veg (& fruit when i’m allowing myself sugar) and drinking that instead actually gives me energy instead of sapping it.


There are so many possible causes for low energy that it can be really frustrating trying to figure out what to do about it. I know Vitamins B6 and D can help. Making sure you stay hydrated and eating more protein and vegetables sometimes helps. Getting more exercise sometimes helps. I know thyroid issues or sleep disorders can cause it (you could try to see a specialist to rule those out?). I’ve heard that light therapy can sometimes help, especially in the winter. Good luck trying to figure it out.

With regard to caffeine, it is a mild drug that your body gets dependent on. If you have a particular amount of caffeine every day, your body will adjust to that amount after 17 days, and it will no longer give you any extra energy, you will need that amount to maintain your normal energy levels. Caffeine withdrawal takes 10 days. For me the first few are usually accompanied by exhaustion and a headache. I’m especially sensitive to caffeine so I’ve researched it, and mostly stick to herbals.


I hope you figure out what’s wrong


Thanks for the suggestions. I’m up for trying anything at the moment, but one thing at a time so I know what works and what doesn’t. It’s horrible to feel so tired all the time, and I can’t ignore it any longer.


I really hope the doctor figures this all out and doesn’t take it lightly. I’ve had similar symptoms for years and after getting off my butt and visiting several doctors, they finally found out that I am/was anemic (again). So you never know.

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I’m in a bit of a funk…not just tea-related, but life/work related (or that’s how it feels, anyway). The only thing I’m making progress with at the moment is my stitching, which is odd because usually I have to be in the right frame of mind for that kind of thing. Instead, it seems to have increased exponentially in importance in relation to pretty much everything else. I think maybe because it’s totally different to my job, and when I get home I really do just want to switch off and lose myself in something unrelated to the day.

That kind of means that at home I’m drinking mostly this one – Twinings Everyday. It’s pretty good as “normal” tea goes. It’s strong, malty, reassuring kind of stuff. I don’t have to think about it at all. I’m still drinking “proper” tea at work, but I think now I’m starting to associate it with work, and so it’s become one of the things I don’t do at home in an effort to not think about work while I’m not there.

Clearly I need to sort myself out, but other than applying for jobs I’m not really sure how to go about that right now. I want to move out of admin, but I don’t know what I’d prefer to do instead and that’s at least half the problem.

I know things will come out on an even keel sooner or later, because they have done before, but I’m just not feeling myself at the moment and that’s why I’m not really posting anything new. Basically, I await the return of my mojo.

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Christina / BooksandTea

It makes sense that you’re using the stitching to get into a better headspace at home. I know that being unemployed was one of the big factors why I started going into tea a few years ago – it gave me something nice to focus on.

What if you switched to bagged tea at work and loose leaf at home? That way you have better tea to go with relaxation at home.


I hope you can find your mojo soon!

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Mao Jian has become one of my favourite green tea varieties over the last year or so, and I’m always pleased to try one that’s new to me. This Hunan Mao Jian from Harney and Sons looks pretty much as I’d expect – thin, wiry leaves that are a little curly and twisted, a fairly uniform dark green in colour, and pretty long (most around 2cm, but some more like 5-6cm). Dry, it doesn’t seem to have a great deal of scent. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 170 degrees.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/12/29/hunan-mao-jian-harney-sons/

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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drank Pomegranate Detox by Tea Drift
1675 tasting notes

The first thing to say about this one is that it smells so, so good. Strong, rich, fruity pomegranate, as soon as you open the bag! The leaf itself is a pretty thing to look at, too, with whole golden chrysanthemum flowers plus a few stray petals, and tightly rolled oolong pellets. The scent, though! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/01/01/pomegranate-detox-tea-drift/

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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drank Pyin Green Tea by Shan Valley
1675 tasting notes

Although I drink a lot more green tea than I used to, I still consider myself a learner when it comes to my familiarity with different types. This green tea looks like none I’ve seen before.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/01/05/pyin-green-tea-shan-valley/

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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Hi :) I’m Sarah, 28, and I live in Norfolk in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s my latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

In addition to Steepster, I also write for the SororiTea Sisters. My reviews there will typically be posted here also, although typically in a shorter format. Any teas I’m sent specifically for review will only appear in full on the SororiTea Sisters website, with only a short introduction and link to my review here.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.


Norfolk, UK

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