1165 Tasting Notes

drank Coconut Oolong by Zen Tea
1165 tasting notes

Virtually everything is better with coconut on it, so I decided to take a chance on this Coconut Oolong from Zen Tea. I say that it was something of a gamble because I have had troubles in the past with oolongs. I used to also have troubles with jasmine, and lately I have found several palatable jasmine greens which have not disagreed with my system, so I was hoping that my problem in the past with these two types of teas was simply that I encountered inferior grades.

Coconut Oolong brews up fairly yellow (I may have oversteeped…), and tastes smooth and coconuty more than oolongy—so we’re off to a good start. The big question is: how will I feel in, say, half an hour? We shall see… For now, I can affirm that this blend is pleasing to this amateur of all things coconut!

second infusion: also tasty. Unfortunately, however, I have been overcome by that vague headache-y feeling induced by oolongs in the past (with only a couple of exceptions involving blends in which oolong played only a minor role). I do believe that this may be an allergy. sigh.

(Blazing New Rating #4)

Flavors: Coconut

165 °F / 73 °C 4 min, 30 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

Do you have an allergy or stomach ache ?


boychik: I am feeling a bit headachy, which is what has happened in the past. I suspect an allergy…


I don’t know how I missed this one when I made my zen tea order the other week. Oolong and coconut? Sounds right up my alley, haha. Have you tried zen tea coconut green? I did get that one, and it’s quite delicious. Creamy and coconutty and good.


oh no, but its so much other teas out there. i hope you got a sample size. i got it too, but didnt try yet

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drank Caramel by Kusmi Tea
1165 tasting notes

I love caramel so much. Whenever I buy a caramel-ribboned ice cream, I excavate all of the caramel out.

So naturally, a large tin of Kusmi Caramel tea seemed de rigueur a couple months back when I placed my first order with this company. No idea why it has taken me so long to try this one—well, except that I have too much tea!—but today’s unseasonably cool and depressingly gray and drizzly weather seemed like the perfect opportunity, so I brewed up a small pot.

The dried leaves smell incredibly wonderful—almost good enough to eat! The brewed liquor is reddish amber and tastes excellent with light cream added. I should have taken a sip before adulteration, but it was clear that this brew could not really be a caramel tea without adding cream!

Interestingly enough, while imbibing this tea I was reminded of Tazo Golden Monkey, which miraculously manages to taste like unsweetened caramel though it is an unflavored tea. I prefer the Golden Monkey, but this Kusmi Caramel is also very good, and I’ll surely enjoy the rest of my big fat tin!

(Blazing New Rating #3)

Flavors: Caramel

Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Marie-Antoinette by Nina's Paris
1165 tasting notes

Apple and rose? Who knew? This unique combination is featured in Nina’s Paris Marie Antoinette. There must be some backstory here of which I am ignorant. Did Marie Antoinette love crisp apples? Was that her final meal request before having her head lopped off?

To be honest, I was not initially sure which fruit was implicated here. I often have a tough time discerning the precise identity of fruits in tea blends—in this case, I even guessed apricot at one point!

Marie Antoinette smelled fruity, but was also lightly redolent of rose. I began drinking the amber liquor au naturel, but as it cooled, I decided to throw in some cream and see how it tasted then.

The result is pretty nice—I definitely prefer the adulterated brew—but this is not something that I’ll make a concerted effort to stock. It’s fine, but I already have several fruity black teas, and I’m focusing more these days on unflavored teas. I’m also not that thrilled with the apple + rose combination.

That said, I do believe that this blend is a must-try for apple lovers!

(Blazing New Rating #2)

Flavors: Apple, Rose

Boiling 5 min, 15 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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My very first Palais des Thés experience, I have to say that Thé des Moines is a very pleasant surprise!

I was concerned that this black and green tea blend would pose brewing challenges, as I have found it tricky to negotiate the parameters for Tazo Joy, which combines black, green, and oolong teas. I read somewhere that the best approach to these sorts of teas is to brew conservatively, as though the entire blend comprised only the most sensitive tea.

When I smelled Thé des Moines, however, it was so reminiscent of Earl Grey cream teas that I threw caution to the wind and brewed up a small pot as though it were completely black. Boiling water; 5 minutes.

The result was remarkably good, so good, in fact, that I enjoyed the entire large glass of dark amber liquor without adding any cream, which is a real rarity for this Earl Grey amateur. I usually take a sip or two of a new Earl Grey before adulterating it, but in this case the brew was so tasty that I preferred to drink it au naturel!

The flavor is subtle and smooth, with all of the beauty of an Earl Grey cream but without the usually mediocre base tea. Very tasty. I was thinking about reinfusing the leaves, because so many of them are obviously green, but then I decided to drink a suite of new teas on this cold, gray day. I’ll try multiple infusions next time.

For now, I am glad to have a beautiful clay potful of this unique blend! The recipe appears to be a carefully guarded secret, but clearly bergamot has been added, along with a smidgeon of vanilla or something else which gives it that “creamy” taste. The black and green tea leaves are visible, so no debate about those ingredients, though it’s unclear which black and green teas they are…

(Blazing New Rating #1)

Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
1165 tasting notes

The temperature plummeted thirty degrees since yesterday, making this evening a perfect excuse to brew up a wonderful comfort tea: Vanilla Comoro. As usual, I drank mine doused with light cream and marveled that this could actually be decaffeinated. I like this tea so much that it may end up being my first completely emptied Harney & Sons tin—which I intend to refill with this same tea in loose form!

Flavors: Vanilla

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
carol who

I love it, too. I can only get it in bags at the local grocery store. I am satisfied with that although loose leaf is bound to be better. It’s a great tea for the evening. I don’t sense anything artificial from the decaf. Love the vanilla. It has been a good one to share with new tea drinkers who are not really ready for the commitment of loose leaf ( insert addiction in place of commitment :-D)


Carol who, I believe that this one is all natural, but it is the remarkable quality of the base tea which really impresses me. It is hard to believe that this is decaf! I am ordering the loose from them directly, online.


It sounds sooooo delicious. I’ll have to double check if it’s at my grocery. I don’t recall this being amongst what was available last I checked.

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drank Jasmine Green Tea by Kusmi Tea
1165 tasting notes

I continue my journey through the world of jasmine-scented teas with Kusmi’s loose-leaf Jasmine Green, of which I have a sample tin (25 gram). The dried tea is strongly scented, but that is to be expected from Kusmi, which appears to have a liberal scenting policy, generally speaking. I should say, though, that there are visible jasmine blossoms in this blend, so it’s not just a matter of spraying on jasmine essence in this case.

The many shapes, sizes, and shades of the leaves suggests that this is a blend of a variety of green teas. I knew that I’d be performing multiple infusions, so I used 4 grams in my small pot (about 10 ounces). The resultant dark gold liquor was, unsurprisingly, rich and potent. In fact, I may have slightly overleafed on this batch. But that just means that the second infusion should be perfect! I’ll report back…

second infusion: as predicted, very tasty—and better than the first!

Flavors: Flowers

170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank The Emerald Path by Nourish Tea
1165 tasting notes

I wanted to compare this Mao Jian from Nourishtea with the one from Teavivre, but this is not exactly a steep-off chez sherapop, as I brewed and drank this tea after the Xin Yang Mao Jian. I also failed to use the same parameters.

For this two-glass pot, I used 76C water (not 79C) and steeped for about three minutes. To be honest, I am not sure which I prefer! All I can say for sure is that I do like Mao Jian, in general.

The liquor of this brew was greener and lighter than the Teavivre, but it might be because there were small particles of broken leaves in the bottom of the glass for the Xin Yang. Another interesting difference is the appearance of the dried leaves, which are darker and more uniform in color in this case.

In order to decide which Mao Jian I prefer, it looks as though I’ll have to do a serious steep-off chez sherapop!

170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

I like Mao Jian too and I have two of them right now. One from Tea Emporium and this one. I’m not sure which one I like better either…

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I am a relative newcomer to the world of Mao Jian, having tried only one other example of this tea. What I can conclude on the basis of an induction on two cases is that I do like Mao Jian! Teavivre’s variety, Xin Yang Mao Jian, has a distinctive dried leaf form, with long, thin, spindly leaves which look a bit like twisted ropes with some silk threads interspersed. Lots of shadows and light—and very attractive to behold!

I brewed about 4 grams in about 16 ounces of water for about three minutes. The resultant liquor is a somewhat darker shade of yellow with a hint of green. The flavor starts out seeming somewhat robust and vegetal but as it settles on the palate it becomes more smooth and soft. My packet contained some smaller particles which passed through the sieve, so it’s possible that the tea would be less robust if I filtered those out.

For now, based on this initial experience, I can say that I am happy with this tea—a fine lunchtime brew! I am looking forward to a second infusion of the spent leaves, which are redolent of further Mao Jian goodness to come…

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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I may have overleafed—or rather overbudded—my big Bodum of Harney & Sons Egyptian Chamomile tonight. Oh well, no harm done. The liquor was darker gold, but the flavor was still chamomile, chamomile, and more chamomile. Next time I’ll weigh out my serving, rather than eye-balling. I should have today, but I just kept popping buds while watching Billionaire Boys Club, which is basically Rope meets Hustle.

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I reached for this Numi Decaf Simply Green tonight because I was suffering from a severe green tea deficit, but it was way too late for caffeine. It was fine. Not Numi’s best offering, but good enough, under the circumstances. This batch seemed more like Chun Mee than Gunpowder, but perhaps it is a blend of n’importe quoi?

On the decaf question, it occurred to me that perhaps I should start setting the first infusion aside to put in the refrigerator for iced tea, and then I could drink the second and third infusions at night. I definitely will not going out of my way to obtain any more decaffeinated green, because I can make my own using this method.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 9 OZ / 266 ML

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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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