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149 Tasting Notes

drank Zhen Qu by Butiki Teas
149 tasting notes

I love how the leaves for this look. Like the leaves in Three Friends. Little curls of fuzzy golden rope.
Brews up a dark red color and smells fruity, raisiny maybe? Tasting it, well, for some reason this tastes watered down to me. I can’t understand why since I brewed it with the directions and so far haven’t been led astray. Maybe next time I’ll try a tsp and a half and see if that makes a difference.
I get a nice maltyness from this, and a sweetness which is nice. It’s a little more astringent than I would like, but then I can’t really stand much astringency sometimes. I don’t really get any chocolaty notes from it, but then, I’m horrible at picking out that kind of taste from black teas in my opinion. Added a small bit of sugar since I figure it couldn’t hurt and I get a bit more honey-esque notes (though I don’t know how much of that is just from adding sugar to it).

I’ll try it again with a heavier measuring of tea and see if I get stronger tastes from it. And while I’m glad I tried it, I’m not sure this is one I’d reorder.

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So delayed tasting note since I actually had this over the course of the day yesterday. It was the last tea I had while out on vacation and I steeped it twice, then saved the leaves in my ingenuitea and had two more steeps when I got home that night. Lol.

I put about 4 per 8oz in my cup and have easily gotten 4 steeps out of them (I just add a minute each time). I haven’t tried a fifth steep yet, though I did put the leaves in some water and stuck them in the fridge before I went to bed last night to see what happens. Checked this morning and it’s not looking promising since the water is still very clear with only a hint of tea.

The taste is a very strong, black tea taste. Smooth and kinda rich with no astringency that I could tell, which I always love finding a tea with (without? Lol). I guess malty could be used to describe it if I’m using the word correctly, though I don’t really get the cocoa that other people seem to get. Unless that’s actually what I’m tasting, then it doesn’t really taste like what I think cocoa tastes. Lol.

It also makes a great iced tea by just brewing it normally and sticking it in the fridge to cool then adding ice later. I did this with the second and third steeps the first time I made this and it was just as good as the first two were hot.

I’m not really sure how these are supposed to compare with other companies’ black dragon pearls though. I have the black dragon pearls from Tazo, so it’ll be interesting to see how they compare. Maybe I’ll start collecting them from all the companies and have a big brew taste and compare day. Lol.

I think these are pretty good, though a bit expensive for me to potentially keep around to drink. Though I guess I have to take into account the multiple steeps I get from them. In any case, I’d definitely get these again one day.

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Oooh – I can’t wait to try this one. I’m looking for the perfect pearl. I like the phoenix pearl from Zen Tea Life, but more options is better! (I can send you some of that one too if you’d like to compare!)

Terri HarpLady

I also enjoy comparing the various black dragon pearls. So far I’ve had adagios, Mandala’s, Teavana (no longer available), & thepuritea (red dragon pearls).


Terri – Sil sent me one from TeaVivre that I enjoyed too, so be on the lookout for that. Maybe you could get a free sample? I have one on the way after following them back and replying to their essage. Did you want me to send you some if the Zen Tea pearls? I have 50g coming tomorrow.

Terri HarpLady

I’d love that, Cavo!
I think I tried the teaVivre ones once, but I should probably get more of them to try.

Terri HarpLady

Have you tried the red dragon pearl? I can send you some :)


Cool. I’ll try to send some out this week! :)
And no haven’t! I’d love to try it.


Goodness gracious. I didn’t even notice all these comments on here. Lol.
I’ll have to make a list of all the different companies to start collecting them from.
So what’s the difference between the red & black dragon pearls? Do they taste drastically different? Or is it relatively the same taste?

Terri HarpLady

Thepuritea calls theirs red dragon pearls, but they are basically the same thing. As for taste differences, I’m still trying to compare them all. :)

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I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Mostly because many of the teas I’ve gotten from this company I’ve had pretty rotten experiences with.

1st steeping – 4min @190ish- This is a greener oolong than I’m used to having, but it’s not unpleasant. Kinda green tasting but not like an in your face veggies! kind of taste or like I’m chewing on grass or something. Lol. Just fresh and bright. It also has a nice light sweetness, though I’m not getting much in the way of floral taste. Or else it’s there, just very subtle.

2nd steeping – 5min @ 190ish – A bit weaker in overall taste, but still not bad. I probably should have steeped a bit longer. Maybe next time I’ll try steeping it for 5:30 or even 6 min. Probably try both since I have enough. Still greenish and I get a slight peppery taste from it too, which is strange since I’ve never really experienced it. But it’s not that bad either.

I think it’s about all done out at the second steeping since the flavor was very weak. But it was a good tea. I’l definitely finish the rest of what I have and I might even order this one again.

190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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So I decided to give another rooibos a shot. Mostly because I still had a few from an order I’d gotten before I realized that rooibos is not, erm, my cup of tea. Lol.
This is actually the second one I’ve tried since my last ‘I hate rooibos’ tasting note. But I burned my tongue something awful making dinner while the other was steeping, so I have yet to leave a tasting note for that one. It wouldn’t be fair if I can’t really taste it.

Anyway, so this one isn’t that bad. But for the effort, I think I’d just make myself an equivalent black or oolong tea to be honest.
I get a nice caramel taste from this, especially after a bit of sugar. And it’s pretty smooth. It’s not an in your face caramel, but if I didn’t know this was rooibos I’d almost think it was a nice mild black of some sort. I don’t get the awful minty taste I’ve associated with rooibos since the first time I drank an ‘only rooibos’ tea. Maybe that company’s rooibos had an issue or something so now I’m judging all rooibos unfairly.

But in any case, this wasn’t bad and I’d definitely say give it a shot if you’re looking for a caramel-y rooibos. I just won’t reorder it myself since it’s a pain in the butt to clean out of my tea maker. Lol.

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I thought this would be a good morning tea to try. And it was a good wake up, but not for the reason I was hoping. This tea was horribly bitter with an almost burnt taste that lingered. Even after putting a half a packet of sugar in this it wasn’t tolerable. I couldn’t get past that taste to find any of the other notes that were supposed to be in this tea. I ended up pouring the whole cup out and dumping the leaves. Maybe I should’ve tried this with milk to cut the harshness but I can’t imagine that milk would’ve made it any better really.
Maybe it’s just me but this tea is definitely not for me.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Cookie Dough by DAVIDsTEA
149 tasting notes

Can’t remember who I got this from. So apologies & big thanks to whoever it was. Lol!

This tea….Uhhh….It’s very strange to smell it and smell cookies. Like, woah and a strange look kinda strange. I had to poke through the bag to make sure there wasn’t any of those little cookie dough balls like they have in some ice creams. XD When I measured it out, I got a giant whole half of a walnut which I picked out and tossed back in the bag. I have an oral allergy to walnuts, and though I’m not sure what they’d do to me mixed in a tea, I didn’t want to take any chances with a piece that big. (As a note after drinking this my allergy didn’t act up in the slightest that I could tell so I’m guessing whatever unknown walnut pieces that were in here were safe enough.)

Steeped this and then eyed it in apprehension sitting there in my mug. I dunno why but I was feeling very strange about trying it. I mean, liquid cookies? Really? Honestly I like mine solid, dunked in milk thank you very much. But it was there and I wasn’t about to pour it out ‘cause I was being stupid. So I took a sniff – same cookie smell – and a sip.
Another woah moment. Freakin’ chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in a glass! How the heck did they pull this off? And there’s no greasy residue like I got when I tried DavidsTea chocolate cake (Ugh by the way). It’s just….This is…It’s…I’m totally flabbergasted by this tea. Lol!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to have tried this. It was certainly a new experience for me. But as much as I liked it, I’ll probly stick this in the swap bin anyway. I just can’t get over having chocolate chip cookie dough in my tea mug. For me, cookies belong solid off a baking sheet, piled high on a plate on the counter, not liquid flavor in a tea mug. Lol! But I’ll still rate this fairly high since it deserves that at least, just for sheer impressiveness, even if I’m not keeping this for myself.
I might keep a cup’s worth to make for my Mom, if for no other reason than to see the look on her face when she tries it. Bound to be entertaining. XD

…..Now I want to bake cookies. >>;

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It’s true the tea reminds me of Ben and Jerry’s chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream to!


Yup! That’s the one I was thinking of. Oh man. I haven’t had that ice cream in forever. So expensive tho….

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I’m not really sure what to make of this. Mostly because I’m not really sure how to describe it. Lol.
I keep sipping at it to see if I can figure it out, but my mind draws blank. I guess it’s got a strong malty-ness to it, if I’m figuring what that even means out right. Maybe a bit of woodiness. A strong something taste. Lol.
Strong astringency, especially as it cools.

Bah. I give up! /throws hands in air/ What I do know is that, while it was nice to try, it’s just not for me. I’m just more into fruity/sweet teas in general. Into the swap bin it goes. Lol.

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200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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This was a tea in a mystery box I swapped with Shelley_Lorraine. Such an awesome idea and many thanks for it to her.

Opening this I was hit with a strong strawberries & cream esque scent. Kinda like a strawberry milkshake maybe? Been forever since I’ve had one of those so I could be off. Anyway, big strawberry cream smell.
Used a tad cooler water than boiling since I seem to have better luck with black teas when I use just under boiling. Still steeped for 3 min.
….Then I proceeded to forget about it for about 15-20 min. So by the time I remembered it, it had cooled enough to drink comfortably. Oops. Lol.

I’m not really sure what to think about this while drinking it. Unfortunately I think I over-hyped it in my mind after smelling it. It’s actually kinda weak-ish tasting, though it was kinda sweet on its own and has a nice light strawberry taste. Adding sugar sweetened it, but the flavor overall didn’t change too much.

I’m thrilled to be able to try it, and I’ll probably end up finishing the rest of what I got, but I’m not sure I’d order this myself to be honest. I might try cold brewing it to see if I get more of a fruit flavor out of it. It certainly can’t hurt, right?

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I wanted to cut soda out of my life, so I started drinking more tea. Now I’m quickly becoming addicted. But that doesn’t seem like so bad of a thing considering all there is out there to try.

I started with blacks, but oolongs are quickly becoming my new favorite. Unfortunately, I haven’t really been able to find a green or white tea that I really enjoy. Eventually maybe.

Always open for swaps. If you see something in my cupboard that you’re interested in, feel free to send me a message about it. I do have alot of sample sizes in my cupboard, so there might be a few that I won’t be able to swap. But it never hurts to ask. ^^

Likes – Fruity teas (Peach, Apricot & Pineapple to be specific, but I’d likely be open to others). I’m always on the lookout for a good caramel tea too…and a vanilla one. Or any sweet, dessert teas.
Oolongs and Blacks over any others.

Indifferent/Undecided – White teas are a bit delicate for me but I’m not opposed to trying something new. I haven’t yet found a green tea I like since I dislike vegetal flavors, but there has to be something out there. Coconut can be too strong, or alright depending on the tea.

Dislikes – Spicy/chai stuff not so much since I can’t seem to get past the spice taste to anything underneath. Anything overly astringent, though I can’t imagine anyone /liking/ astringency (but I’m probly wrong. Lol). Earl Greys, heavy florals, tart/sour teas, rooibos heavy, mint of any sort, vegetal, musky/leathery, citrus, hibiscus, coffee-esque flavors, lemon.

Allergies – Mangos, some nuts especially walnuts, cherries. Rose petals/heavy rose teas make me ill though it’s not an allergy so to speak. Heavy artificial flavors also make me ill.

Brief ‘How I rate things’ scale:
(Subject to change at any time. Lol)
100-80: I’d definitely reorder this/Keeping this in my cupboard.
79-50: Possibly reorder these. Either if there’s a sale or I’d consider swapping for it’s on a list and I don’t see anything else.
49-40: It’s alright. Glad I tried it but I won’t be ordering/reordering this.
39-20: Glad I tried before buying ‘cause I’d be ticked if I bought this. Ick.
20-lower: UGH! Get it away!


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