869 Tasting Notes

drank Gyokuro Ureshinocha by Tealux
869 tasting notes

I usually append my second infusion observations at the bottom of the first infusion tasting note, but I feel compelled in this case to honor Tealux Gyokuro Ureshinocha with a separate second infusion tasting note. Why? Because it is totally delicious and better than most first infusions!

I got the brew right this time: short steep using 73C water. The resultant liquor is an exquisite green—the greener the better, in my view—with a bit of the hazy iridescence characteristic of excellent steamed Japanese teas. The taste is superb: smooth and slightly sweet but also steamed green vegetable. Not a trace of bitterness (as I encountered when I oversteeped the first infusion earlier today). Yum.

With a second infusion this excellent, I’ll have to try a third!

165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Another Adagio black-oolong blend which I find quite nice (I have oolong issues but in combination with black teas I seem to be okay…), Aquarius tastes good with or without cream. To fully appreciate the oolong facet, it’s probably better to skip the cream. To bring out the cocoa and the hazelnut and vanilla flavors, it’s good to use the cream and enjoy this tea as a comfort beverage.

I drank a cup of Aquarius with cream upon my return from running errands in the intolerably cold weather of this seemingly interminable winter. When will this end?

The glass half full is naturally filled with hot tea!

Flavors: Cocoa, Vanilla

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I enjoyed a lovely cup of Valentine’s Blend this afternoon. I have come to the conclusion that the Harney & Sons sachets of the flavored teas are the perfect dose for my 11 ounce double-walled Bodum glasses. I added a splash of light cream and the result was chocolate wonderfulness in a soothing brew.

Flavors: Chocolate

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drank Pogo by Tazo
869 tasting notes

The first time I prepared a pot of Tazo Pogo, I found the brew less than appealing and ended up using it as the liquid for a chocolate rice pudding, which ended up being delicious.

Today I opted for a single cup not a pot, and I was somewhat more prepared than last time. Pu-erh and chicory impart a dark, almost subterranean quality to this brew. The scent of the dried blend is highly redolent of chicory, for better or for worse, depending upon one’s estimation of chicory. I suppose that mine is pretty low. Chicory is used to cut coffee—most famously in the French Quarter in New Orleans, but it’s definitely an acquired taste and works best served with powdered-sugar-dusted beignets.

In Pogo, the brewed tea does not really taste like chicory so much—at least not after it’s been doused with light cream, which for me is a necessity to the appreciation of this dark brown liquor. There is a real richness to it, an almost chocolate texture, though the flavor is far more complex and not at all sweet. Basically I find it indescribable, but I did enjoy this cup.

This blend seems intended for pu-erh gringos like me!

Boiling 6 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 11 OZ / 325 ML

“subterranean” is such a good word to describe the earthiness of pu’erh. Fair warning I’m stealing that description. :))


Be my guest, Dexter3657! ;-)


“This blend seems intended for pu-erh gringos like me!” I fell in love with DavidsTea Coffee Pu’erh way back when I didn’t even know what pu’erh was. That was the one that eased me into a fascination with it. I now have several cakes – I love it.
Hope you can find others to ease you into the wonderful world of pu’erh.
Thanks for letting me steal your word… :))

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drank Gyokuro Ureshinocha by Tealux
869 tasting notes

I have been looking forward to trying this tea, as it is produced in Kyushu, where I spent some time during my trip to Japan.

Another promising gyokuro from Tealux, Ureshinochea or “tea of joy” is more broken up than some varieties, so I reached for my smallest gauge sieve when it came time to strain. Unfortunately, I oversteeped. Yesterday’s pots were short one or two minutes steeps. Today I set the timer for two minutes but then ran downstairs. The first cup from the pot probably steeped for three minutes, but the second was difficult to strain, so it may have steeped up to four minutes. The result was a bit bitter.

Lessons learned:
1. make gyokuro only one cup at a time
2. steep for only one minute
3. use the metal coffee cone sieve, which captures more of the smaller particles.

There was quite a bit of dark powder in the bottom of the second cup, which probably also contributed to the bitterness. The dried leaves smell more like cut grass than spinach, so I’m looking forward to trying this tea again. No rating yet. Certainly these cups were potable, but I made too many mistakes to be able to make a fair judgment based on this brew.

Flavors: Grass

170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 17 OZ / 502 ML

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I really do like this even while agreeing with a naysayer that it does taste like sweet perfume!

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drank Coco-Lemon Thai by DAVIDsTEA
869 tasting notes

The scent of this dried blend from Davids Tea, Coco-Lemon Thai, reminded me immediately of Harney & Sons Green Tea with Thai Flavors aka Bangkok Blend. Both of these teas are strongly redolent of coconut and lemongrass. However, upon brewing, significant differences emerge, above all that Coco-Lemon Thai packs a mighty punch of ginger!

I wonder whether the white tea base is more neutral than the green tea base of the H&S Thai blend? I ask because Bangkok Blend, too, boasts ginger as a major component. Upon examining the ingredients list, it becomes clear that even more important than the tea base is the proportion of ginger, which is listed as the second ingredient in Coco-Lemon Thai, making it the number one flavor!

This is a tasty blend. My only regret is the inclusion of artificial ingredients, which are not among the Bangkok line-up, nor that of any of my favorite ginger brews. Still I’ll certainly imbibe the remaining supply of this sprightly Thai blend.

second infusion: with ginger doing the heavy lifting in this blend, I was not surprised to find that round two was just as good as round one!

Flavors: Coconut

185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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The key to this tea, Libra from the Adagio Zodiac series, is to brew it double strength! I used 2 tsp in 10 ounces, and it tastes much richer and fuller than last time. I love the fruity-chocolate flavor, which melds perfectly with the black tea base when doused with light cream. A solid flavored-black wintertime comfort tea.

It’s probably time for me to accept the fact that I like all of my flavored black teas brewed double strength!

Flavors: Berries, Chocolate

Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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In today’s steep-off chez sherapop, Thé Santé Gyokuro Shade is going sip to sip, sniff to sniff against Teavana Gyokuro Imperial. To my surprise, Teavana won the competition!

Gyokuro Shade is good, no doubt, but it brewed up slightly less green and was a bit less flavorful than the Teavana. I used exactly the same brewing parameters for the two teas. Now I must either lower the rating of this tea or raise the rating of the Teavana.

I’ve decided to do a complete green tea steep-off, by the way. You know how they do big tennis tournaments? I’m doing the same thing, in order to determine which is my ichiban green tea. I am starting by comparing the same type of tea with the same type of tea side-by-side—so sencha vs. sencha, gyokuro vs. gyokuro, Long Jing vs. Long Jing, Mao Feng vs. Mao Feng. Then once I’ve found the winner in each category I’ll do steep-offs between my favorite in each category against other favorites in other categories.

Eventually, I’ll learn the truth: which is my favorite green tea of them all?

second infusion: held up pretty well

165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

Will look forward to reading your steep-off notes!


Thanks, caile! I’m looking forward to finding out the answer to the question: which is my favorite green tea of all? ;-)

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drank Gyokuro Imperial by Teavana
869 tasting notes

This stuff is wonderful—and that means a lot coming from someone who has a pretty deep-seated prejudice against Teavana.

Gyokuro Imperial brews up slightly iridescent pale green and tastes just luscious!

second infusion: still wonderful. Who says that gyokuro costs too much? Why it’s a two-fer—at minimum!

165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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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 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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