1165 Tasting Notes

drank Je t'aime by Nina's Paris
1165 tasting notes

I had forgotten why I requested a sample of Je t’aime—until the scent began to waft off the pot, and I was reminded of Florence, Vanilla Comoro, and some of the other delicious Harney & Sons flavored blacks.

Je t’aime is scented with caramel and vanilla, but it possesses the rich voluptuousness of creamy chocolate as well. The liquor is reddish amber, and I took a couple of sips before adding a bit of half and half. It definitely seemed potable au naturel, but I love to add cream to flavored black teas.

My impression is that the base black tea is of somewhat higher quality in this blend than in the Caramel tea from Kusmi, but I’d have to do a steep-off to be sure…

(Blazing New Rating #63)

Flavors: Vanilla

Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Pi Lo Chun by Tazo
1165 tasting notes

I must have got the last bag of Tazo Pi Lo Chun, as it is no longer even listed at the Starbucks website! The demise of Tazo is imminent…

This is my third experience with Bi Luo Chun, the first and second having been from Teavivre and Tealux. These Tazo leaves are not as airy and voluminous as the others, and they are darker in color and more robust in scent. Today’s batch I drank right after a big bowl of oatmeal, which I prepared to celebrate the unseasonably cool and rainy weather we’re having.

The liquor is peach veering gray more than green, and now that I’ve read the story of this tea, it makes sense, given that the leaves are charcoal fired. I like this pleasant, slightly sweet and not very vegetal green tea, and will surely finish this bag!

(Blazing New Rating #62)

165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 30 sec 4 g 17 OZ / 502 ML

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I was craving jasmine this evening, so I threw caffeine caution to the wind and brewed up a small pot of Teavivre Jasmine Bi Luo Chun Green tea. The dried leaves are of all different shapes and sizes, with silver striations woven throughout.

The liquor is pale greenish yellow, and the taste is very smooth. I really like the jasmine used by Teavivre in both this tea and the Jasmine Pearls. Which do I prefer? I’ll have to do a steep-off one of these days.

For now, my jasmine craving has been satisfied!

(Blazing New Rating #61)

Flavors: Jasmine

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

I have so many jasmine teas right now. I am definitely considering a massive steep off to compare them all.


great idea, lolainred: just do it! ;-)

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No one ever seems to talk about Chun Mei—Long Jing, Sencha, Mao Feng, Gunpowder, the list of famous green teas goes on and on, but poor little Chun Mei seems to get little respect. The only time I’ve ever seen it named as a China green tea is on the box of the Tazo filterbag Chun Mee. Lots of other filterbags appear to contain Chun Mei—or a blend one of the components of which is Chun Mei—but when it comes time to rave about loose leaf greens, the topic never seems to come up.

That’s why I decided to order a sample of this tea from Teavivre. I wanted to know what this tea looks and tastes like in loose leaf form. I agree with the description of the dried leaves as eyebrow-like. They are very cute. The dried form also looks a bit like something on the road to becoming Gunpowder.

The liquor is light golden brown and tastes rather robust and earthy. It’s actually quite good, with a stronger cooked flavor. This tea is hearty but not at all bitter. I’ll definitely be ordering a full supply, as I find Chun Mei to be tasty and think that it would pair well with spicy food. In fact, I enjoyed this tea right after a heavily spiced Thai meal.

I wonder whether the low price of Chun Mei is an indication that many green tea drinkers prefer less assertive flavors? No matter: I like it, I do.

(Blazing New Rating #60)

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 45 sec 4 g 17 OZ / 502 ML

I’ve had Chun Mei that I really liked before. I haven’t seen it in a while.

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With the memory of another sakura-style green tea fresh in my mind, I decided to go ahead and try Palais des Thés Fleur de Geisha. This is also a Japanese style green-tea base (theirs appears to be from Japan), but the flavoring is somewhat more floral and less intensely fruity.

The liquor is pale greenish gold and the taste is rather more harmonious than I’ve come to expect from cherry-scented teas. According to the description, cherry blossoms, not cherry essence are used to flavor this tea, so that must make the difference.

I’m looking forward to trying a second infusion of the spent sachet (which plumped up quite a lot) later on tonight.

(Blazing New Rating #59)

Flavors: Fruit Tree Flowers

160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 g 9 OZ / 266 ML

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drank Sencha Cherry Rose by Thé Santé
1165 tasting notes

The labeling of my package of this tea from Thé Santé is a bit confusing. The first line reads “Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose” and right underneath, in doubled-sized font, reads: “China”—rather like the tetsubins advertised as “Japanese” when they are in fact produced in China. I see that the website has now removed “Kyoto” from the name, so perhaps someone complained?

Anyway, this is a good flavored-green tea. The base seems to be of quite decent quality. It’s identified as “luxury green tea” in the ingredients list, and my suspicion is that there may be a smidgeon of bancha thrown into the mix along with the sencha. I happen to love bancha, so that’s no complaint, mind you!

The rose petals are beautiful in the dried tea, but I’m not sure that I really taste them with all of this cherry. As I often find to be the case with cherry flavoring, it can easily become overwhelming. Here it works pretty well, but I feel on some level that the underlying tea (which is of high quality) is being done some sort of injustice. Rather like a pretty young woman who piles on thick make-up. Or an older woman whose attempts to look younger are undermined precisely by a foundation which magnifies the lines on her face.

Anyway, this is perfectly fine, but I think that I prefer to imbibe green tea of this quality au naturel. This may be a better choice for people who dislike Japanese green tea and wish to shroud it in strong flavors.

(Blazing New Rating #58)

Flavors: Cherry

160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec 4 g 17 OZ / 502 ML

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drank Sencha Jade Reserve by Teavana
1165 tasting notes

Teavana’s sole straight sencha offering, Sencha Jade Reserve, is an excellent one! Very smooth and slightly sweet, with a pale green clear (not cloudy) liquor. I drank my two glasses quickly, right after lunch, in part because I had steeped at a sub 70C temperature, so the tea was starting to descend below my optimum drinking preference. (That happened because I changed my mind and switched the cooling water from a 17 ounce to a 22 ounce tetsubin, as I realized that I wanted two full glasses. As a consequence, the temperature dipped lower than usual. A propos: tetsubins are great for immediate temperature reduction, among their many other functional and aesthetic virtues…)

I’ll have to compare this sencha side-by-side with the Tazo Collection. Both are very good and haute senchas, veering toward gyokuro!

(Blazing New Rating #57)

155 °F / 68 °C 1 min, 30 sec 5 g 20 OZ / 591 ML

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I was curious what a peach-scented jasmine-scented tea might smell and taste like, though I admit that I was not entirely optimistic. Sometimes I find that doubling up on flavors leads to a less appealing result. In the case of the Teavivre Peach Jasmine Dragon Pearls, my worries were for naught, as the end result was perfect potable and even rather pleasant.

The dried pearls are quite strongly scented, which also had me worried a bit. The scent is peach, peach, peach, with not much jasmine breaking through the fruity aura. I was surprised that the pearls were of various sizes, as the straight-up jasmine pearls from Teavivre were of uniform size. I weighed out about 3 grams, since I could not really estimate the weight by sight alone. I infused them in about 10 ounces of water at 76C for about 3 minutes.

The liquor was pale peachy, and the flavor was more peach than jasmine, but I could taste some of the jasmine in the brew. The peach still dominated but not nearly as much as it did in the dried form.

All in all, I like this tea, but I do believe that I prefer the straight jasmine pearls and will be restocking with those not these. That’s probably just a reflection of the fact that I happen to prefer jasmine to peach. I am sure that peach amateurs will love this tea, and it’s definitely good for a change of pace.

The second infusion was nearly as flavorful as the first, so this is a good example where it’s definitely worth reinfusing the leaves. They were so tightly rolled that they did not finish fully unfurling until the second round. The resultant liquor was more green than orange, and I could taste the green tea more than I did before.

(Blazing New Rating #56)

Flavors: Peach

170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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This Tamaryokucha Imperial is definitely my favorite from Le Palais des Thés so far from among the green tea offerings. (I do like Thé des Moines probably as much!) The texture is very smooth and the flavor midway between a darker Chinese and a lighter Japanese variety. I have only tried one other tamaryokucha before, and this one seems better than my memory of that one.

The liquor, which I prepared using one of the cotton muslin sachets, is pale greenish yellow. The flavor is not really like sencha or gyokuro. In some ways it reminds me more of genmaicha, though there is no popped rice here—only green tea. There is something of a cereal note, however.

(Blazing New Rating #55)

160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 15 sec 2 g 9 OZ / 266 ML

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drank Jun Shan Yin Zhen by Tazo
1165 tasting notes

My second yellow tea, Tazo Jun Shan Yin Zhen has a much more uniform leaf form—very similar to silver tips, except more yellow—than the Teavana Yellow Tea I tried yesterday. The shimmering leaves are covered with tiny hairs.

The flavor of the similarly pale peach-colored liquor is very similar. The aroma, too, reminds me of the Coors Beer Company boiling barley emanations. Maybe I don’t understand what tea masters mean by “floral”, but to me this tea does not really offer any identifiably “floral” notes. I find it closer to cooked vegetables, but with a smooth finish.

Anyway, I like it, and am happy to have tried Chairman Mao’s favorite tea!

(Blazing New Rating #54)

Flavors: Vegetables

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 45 sec 4 g 17 OZ / 502 ML

I also really like Jun Shan Yin Zhen from Tealux, it’s very sweet. Not floral either, just sweet, creamy and slightly vegetal. Yum.


Mandala also has a yellow tea which is nice.


I have yet to try a yellow tea. On to the mental list it goes!

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Update: 28 September 2014.

I am officially going on strike. You have lost another contributor, Steepster. Two months is too long to endure total site dysfunctionality. I’ll be writing about tea-related matters at a new blog, sherapop’s tea leaves, from here on out. I cannot waste any more time here.


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 usually 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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