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522 Tasting Notes


This decaffeinated Earl Grey by Numi is surprisingly good. It’s organic and fair trade, but also decaffeinated and yet quite flavorful and substantial. The base black tea tastes very good, and the bergamot scent and flavor are fairly strong but still allow the tea to shine through.

My previous experience with Numi has been with mainly herbal varieties, some of which I liked but others not so much. This excellent black tea makes me want to explore more of the nonherbal varieties, so I’ve now ordered some boxes of their sample pack, which contains 18 different teas… Including more Decaf Earl Grey—-hurray!

I was chuckling on reading the text on the box, where the people at Numi are bragging about not using plastic “silky” sachets! It’s so funny how one company’s virtue is another’s vice…


What do they use?

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Harney & Sons Valentine’s Blend really is a light tea. Is it a Ceylon base, I wonder? I might try to brew this double strength, but it seems that this light effect was intended by the blenders. I should try this sometime at night and see whether I stay up or not. It seems quite a bit less strong than Vanilla Comoro, though that is a decaffeinated black blend. Hmmm….

The rose petals are yellow, and I do not taste any rose flavor in the brewed tea. The dried leaves smell splendid but, again, it’s the scent of chocolate, not flowers.

Flavors: Chocolate

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drank Valley Green Tea by Shan Valley
522 tasting notes

I was looking forward to my first pot of Shan Valley Green after my positive experience with their First Flush Green. The leaves of Green are similarly dark and petrified, but they are somewhat larger and thicker than the First Flush. I also noticed that the dried leaves smell much less smoky. The color of the thick, crisp, compact, gnarled knots is the same slate grey/blue veering teal as in the First Flush. Very nice.

Interestingly enough, however, the brewed liquor is very similar in taste to my memory (from yesterday!) of the First Flush tea. The color is basically the same—perhaps a tad bit darker but still gold veering brown with small amounts of white particulate matter floating about. The same vegetal quality is dominant and, again, the leaves do not fully unfurl during the first infusion.

I don’t really know what to say about the drastically low ratings which this tea has received from a couple of reviewers. True, this is not a Japanese green, but on the other hand nor is it a grocery store lint-filled filterbag green. This is a single origin, high-quality full-leaf “terroir” tea, if you will, with a distinct personality and appeal. I like it!

Looking forward to the second infusion… especially since with the First Flush, the flavor becomes richer and smoother in subsequent infusions.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
522 tasting notes

I drank a cup of Harney & Sons Vanilla Comoro last night and was pleased yet again to find that a decaffeinated black could be so satisfying and flavorful. This was better than the Mighty Leaf Vanilla Bean, which I tried for the first time yesterday (and which is not decaffeinated).

Flavors: Vanilla

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drank Vanilla Bean by Mighty Leaf Tea
522 tasting notes

I’m still working my way through the Mighty Leaf cotton-stitched sachets which I acquired on sale recently at the grocery store. It took me a while to get to Vanilla Bean, because I did not have any half and half on hand, and I usually drink flavored black teas with cream.

I have to say that I was not impressed with this tea. The black base was not very good—apparently it’s a blend of China and Ceylon. The liquor was dark amber, but the tea is only lightly flavored, so the base tea is more important than the vanilla bean.

Flavors: Vanilla

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 30 sec

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drank Coconut Almond by Paromi
522 tasting notes

I picked up a couple of jars of Paromi tea at Whole Foods. The matte-surfaced steel-gray-colored jars sure are sleek, but is that the explanation for the elevated price of these teas? I don’t usually complain about price, but $10 for 15 sachets seems a bit steep to me—especially if what I’m really paying for is the shipping cost of a heavy glass jar.

Fortunately, Coconut Almond also tastes very good. Of course, I love both coconut and almond, so I was off to a good start already, but the dark amber liquor (Assam is apparently the base tea) tastes better than just the usual hum-drum mediocre black dressed up in fancy flavors. This is a high-quality flavored tea featuring both natural essences and a worthy black tea base. Unfortunately, it does not seem possible to buy envelopes to refill this attractive jar….

Note to Paromi people: how about letting us but large envelopes so that we can refill these jars? That would definitely increase the probably of my purchasing this tea again.

Flavors: Coconut

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 45 sec

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I brewed up a big tetsubin of Shan Valley First Flush Green today, and once again I am pleased with the quality. The liquor is light gold veering peach, and there is no denying the dark vegetal flavor. In fact, this tea bears some similarities to Tealux Cloud’s Green, which I drank only yesterday. One of these days I’ll have to draw up a flavor map of green teas—there are so many different varieties with so many entirely distinct personalities!

I would have to say that this is a more serious green tea. Not for those who prefer adulterants along with their greens. This is a tea for green tea drinkers, definitely not for the Teavana crowd. For purists only.

Tomorrow I’m going to have to try some more of the offerings from Shan Valley. I meant to do that the last time I brewed this tea, but I got distracted and then pretty much lost track of where everything was. I now know where my big Shan Valley envelope is, happily…

One final point on the appearance of this unique tea: the leaves are a dark bluish-green. It’s midway between teal and the blue analogue to teal (not sure what that name is). Very attractive. I’m looking forward to the second infusion, as this tea does not fully unfurl in the first infusion. A lot more flavor lies ahead!

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No 72 White Petal is my very first tea from Steven Smith Teamaker. I picked up a box at Whole Foods this afternoon out of curiosity. The liquor is light gold and the flavor only barely floral. A very subtle blend. I’ve been noticing of late that white teas sometimes remind me of the second infusions of green teas…

I do not really taste either the osmanthus or chamomile as distinct. Instead, there is a more general and very light floral facet to this tea.


although im not much for chamomile, ill try this. can I buy it in Canada?

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I brewed up a large tetsubin of Cloud’s Green today, using a liberal amount of dried leaves, as a result of which I now have a much clearer concept of this tea than I had the last time I tried. It’s really very good, with a completely distinct personality from other greens, whether Chinese or otherwise. I find the strong vegetable quality very appealing, and I can certainly see reaching for this particular tea to imbibe alongside savory lunch fare. The flavor is not at all like roasted spinach or green beans. This seems more like artichokes to me. Yum!

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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A long-time tea and perfume lover, I have recently begun to explore the intersections between the two at my blog: http://salondeparfum-sherapop.blogspot.com//

I participate at fragrance community websites, and I care about tea as much as perfume, so why not belong to Steepster as well?

A few words about my ratings. In assessing both teas and perfumes, my evaluation is “all things considered.” Teas do not differ very much in price (relative to perfumes or any luxury items), so I do not consider the price when rating a tea.

What I do consider is how the particular tea compares to teas of its own type. So I might give a high rating to a fine herbal infusion even though I would never say that it is my favorite TEA. But if it’s good for what it is, then it deserves a high rating. There is no point in wishing that a chamomile blend was an Assam or a sencha tea!

Any rating below 50 means that I find the liquid less desirable to drink than plain water. I may or may not finish the cup, depending upon how thirsty I am and whether there is another hot beverage or (in summertime) a source of fresh water available.

From 50 to 60 indicates that, while potable, the tea is not one which I would buy or repurchase, if I already made the mistake (I have learned) of purchasing it.

From 60 to 70 means that the tea is drinkable but I have criticisms of some sort, and I probably would not purchase or repurchase the tea as I can think of obvious alternatives which would be better.

From 70 to 80 is a solid brew which I would purchase again.

From 80 to 90 is good stuff, and I probably need to have some ready at hand in my humble abode.

From 90 to 100 is a tea (or infusion) which I have come to depend on and look forward to imbibing again and again—if possible!

If you are interested in perfume, you might like my 2300+ perfume reviews, most of which have been archived at sherapop’s sillage (essentially my perfumelog):



Somerville, Massachusetts, USA



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