1180 Tasting Notes

drank Coconut green by Zen Tea
1180 tasting notes

(backlog from 5/29/14)

The sencha base of Zen Tea Coconut Green is very neutral—not at all vegetal. The cloudy gold liquor has a very strong coconut aroma and taste. There are literal chunks of coconut amidst the dried leaves, but there must be some coconut essence as well.

This coconut green tastes different from Harney & Sons Bangkok Blend (aka Green Tea with Thai flavors), not only because the base tea is different (sencha rather than bancha), but also because there is neither lemon grass nor vanilla here.

Coconut, all coconut! For coconut nuts only!

second infusion: coconut flavor still going strong!

(Blazing New Rating #9)

Flavors: Coconut

165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 0 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Arabian Night by Zen Tea
1180 tasting notes

(backlog from 5/29/14)

I don’t usually like flavored green tea (with the exception, I have recently discovered, of jasmine!), but I thought that I’d try Arabian Night just for fun.

The sunflower is the dominant flavor in this blend, but there is also some sort of unidentified fruit (“flavor” in the ingredients list…) present. As I’m not a big fan of the taste of sunflowers (though I love the sight!) this blend is not for me.

From the spent leaves, it is clear that black tea is present here, too. I’ll probably use the rest of this envelope for iced tea this summer.

(Blazing New Rating #8)

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

i eat sunflowers every day. but they go rancid after a while. maybe thats why you had that taste


boychik: I have had dried sunflowers in black tea before, and I didn’t really like it either, so I’m guessing that this is just a question of personal taste.

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drank Be Cool by Kusmi Tea
1180 tasting notes

Be Cool is a part of the Kusmi Tea Wellness collection, of which I have the sampler tins. Essentially this is a licorice-mint blend with some embellishments thrown in for good measure. It tastes good and refreshing and is touted as having various functional health benefits.

I always wonder about those claims. I do not doubt that, in the long run, the consumption of massive quantities of antioxidants and vitamin C will be good for the body. But what about a single cup of tea? It seems to me that in order to reap the alleged benefits of these sorts of teas—marketed as health-inducing elixirs—one would have to imbibe them religiously over a lengthy period of time.

Fortunately, this one tastes good, so I’ll certain finish my 20 gram tin. Will that be enough? That is the question.

I just realized that this was my seventh new tea in a row! This calls for a public announcement of my intention to test and review as many new teas as I possibly can without breaking the series with an old cupboard stand by. How long can sherapop keep up this Blazing New Rating Pace???? The race is on…

Other steepsterites are deeply involved in sipdown madness. For me, the personal challenge will be to see how many untested teas can there possibly be in my house? I am a bit afraid to find out the answer to this question, but we shall see… (This could take a while, as I have two orders en route and only just received two others!!!)

Wish me luck!

(Blazing New Rating #7)

Flavors: Licorice, Mint

Boiling 6 min, 30 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

I have a box that I put all my untried teas in. Right now I’m working on emptying it, because some of them are pretty old and quite forgotten, or things I’ve been too frightened of to try and so I’ve avoided them. I am currently not allowed any new tea at all, no swaps, no stock-ups, no nothing until that box is empty. I’ve made pretty good headway. Currently only 18 things in it. That’s WAY less than half of where it started out a few months ago.


I like your challenge. Have fun!


So far so good… day three of the Blazing New Rating challenge! ;-)

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drank Detox by Pukka
1180 tasting notes

My first observation about Pukka Detox is that it tastes better than Yogi Detox. Of course, they contain completely different ingredients. But that is in part why I am surprised. The number one and number two ingredients are anise seed and fennel seed, so I was predicting that I would not like this blend. Nonetheless, I was willing to give it a try!

What I find is that Pukka Detox does not smack overwhelmingly of fennel seed, which sometimes seems quite harsh to me. It’s fine in sausage (though I no longer eat mammals…), but as a major component in an infusion I usually find it to be too much. One recent example was Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Egyptian Chamomile, which has a huge fennel component nearly wiping out the chamomile.

Here the fennel blends in with the licorice and the cardamom somehow. Not sure how celery seed is contributing in a positive way, but I am happy to report that I do not taste it at all.

A solid functional tisane. I’ll probably reach for this more as a digestive than as a detox, but it’s nice to know that it does that, too!

(Blazing New Rating #6)

Flavors: Anise, Fennel, Licorice

Boiling 5 min, 15 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

I do not like fennel in sausages. I’m just not used to this spice in meat


It’s an acquired taste, for sure, boychik! I rather like it, but I agree that it can seem out of place. How do you feel about nutmeg on spinach? I love it, but a friend of mine recently revealed that he thinks that it sounds like an unappealing combination.


I love candied fennel at Indian restaurants, it really does help with digestion and that overly full feeling after an 8 course meal.


never tried nutmeg on spinach. I love fennel but not with meat. i love it in herbal tea. i think its cultural. we dont add any spices to meat other than salt, pepper, paprika. nutmeg is for cookies for me;)


but i forgot, we use a lot of dill in salads and potatoes, soups. i think dill and fennel are related


nutmeg in creamed spinach is delicious (that’s the only way i’ve ever had it tho). nutmeg with spinach seems strange in theory but works so well!

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drank Three Ginger by Pukka
1180 tasting notes

I was feeling a bit queasy—more of a headache than a stomach ailment—so this seemed like a great time to try another one of the Pukka functional blends: Three Ginger.

With 51% ginger root, it’s no surprise that this infusion is to my liking! There is a nice ginger bite, and the aftertaste is slightly sweet from the licorice root. Other interesting ingredients are galangal (familiar to me from Thai cuisine, and related to ginger) and turmeric.

All in all, a tasty and soothing golden brew!

Now: does anyone know why this is called “Three Ginger”? Perhaps they are counting galangal as a form of ginger, so with the ginger root and the ginger extract that would make three? Still wouldn’t explain why there is no plural, though!

(Blazing New Rating #5)

Flavors: Ginger

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Coconut Oolong by Zen Tea
1180 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
1180 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
1180 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
1180 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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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):



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