325 Tasting Notes


I’m leaving on a jet plane today! Eeeeee! So in an effort to reduce the last minute dirty dishes to wash, I’m dipping into my rarely used stash of individual teabags.

The orange is definitely prominent. On my first sip though I definitely tasted something artificial-y, and took another peek at the wrapper. Orange peel is in there but so it “orange flavor” and “clove flavor.” It went away after the first sip.

The base tea is unidentifiable to me – just generic “black tea” – I would love to try a good malty Keemun or Assam with orange, cinnamon, and clove. That would be good.

This isn’t bad, or offensive, but not great. So I wouldn’t refuse a cup of this if it was offered, but I am not going to seek it out.

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Sippin’ tea and trying to remain calm. I leave to London in two days!

I swear, Keemun is better than any hot chocolate in the world. I love its malty cocoa-yness. This one is a little lighter than I want today, but still a really good flavor though. No astringency or bitterness at all, even after steeping for awhile. The second cup is as good as the first.

My 4th annual Buy Nothing Summer starts the day after I return, so my only new teas for the next 3 months (June, July, August) will be what I pick up as souvenirs on the trip. I am internally debating whether to unsubscribe from the Steepster Select box for those 3 months or keep it as it is a consumable experience. I have an art supply subscription (Artsnacks) to ponder keeping or cancelling as well.

Aside: If anyone wants to join in Buy Nothing Summer, I post about it on my blog (www.evilwidgets.com). It’s kind of like a long, non-religious Lent. You can apply it to as much or as little of your life as you want – my first year, I just stopped buying art supplies.

Teawise, besides souvenir teas, prepare for a 3 month sipdown from me :D Since I have unopened packets in my cupboard, so it won’t be monotonously boring!

Flavors: Cocoa

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

Enjoy your trip! :)


Thank you!

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Chocolate Energy Tea
Tea Man

Black tea, yerba mate, chocolate extract

Initially I was a little meh on this tea, but I discovered today that I needed to use less tea, not more for its flavor to really shine. I was just trying to use it up as a work tea, but now I’m actually really enjoying it. The chocolate comes through a lot more with a smaller scoop.

The tea was a gift, and I wish I knew more about what kind of black tea the base is.

Will I reorder once I’m out? I am not sure – I’ll have to experience a few more brews of it with a smaller scoop to decide. I have not ordered from an Etsy tea blender before, so I might look into it if I decide I do want more.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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I got a sample from Verdant labeled Tea Trail 2004 Shu Pu’er. I am not sure this is the same tea, so I’m not rating it in case it’s not.

I brewed this in a gaiwan, very short times. It brews very quickly – it’s quite interesting. I get the deep forest earthiness that is referenced in the other reviews, but not much else. It’s enjoyable to me in that it’s very intense without being bitter. Not something I would want to drink everyday.

I think I have one more Verdant pu’er in my stash to try, will definitely be giving that a whirl. I am much less hesitant about them now. I don’t think pu’er will ever be my favorite type of tea, but it definitely interests me now.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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drank Mint Rose by Zhena's Gypsy Tea
325 tasting notes

I really like this iced, it’s very refreshing. I don’t enjoy it hot though. It’s one of the few herbals I don’t get a “wet washrag” taste with – probably because I rarely get loose herbals and I suspect that taste comes from the paper from teabags.

Brewed hot, added some splenda, then iced it. Doesn’t need much sweetening. It’s a pretty amber beer color.

I will definitely drink this a lot this summer.

The scoop it comes with is annoyingly small – they say to use 5 scoops of tea with it.

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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Well, my sample envelope is empty. I was going to save the last of this for a bit longer, but I left what I intended to bring to work on the kitchen island this morning. Oops.

The scent of this tea reminds me a lot of milk oolong.

I wish I could train my brain to say Dong Ding oolong instead of Ding Dong. I feel like an idiot, and would never discuss this tea out loud with anyone for fear of reversing the name :D

I’d definitely like to pick up more Dong Dings and try them out. I am enjoying this one.

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I have just a little bit of a sample left of this. It’s open, so I know I drank it once, but I can’t find a review from me on it in order to compare my impressions this time with what I thought before :(

The dry leaf smells nice, it’s a dark green rolled tightly into small, irregular balls. They expand a LOT when steeped.

I’m drinking it with a small amount of sweetener, and I quite like it. Mixed in with the sweet there’s this almost umami taste that I like.

I’m not out of this yet, there’s still more left in the sample envelope, which makes me glad. :)

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drank Silver Bud Ya Bao by Tea Source
325 tasting notes

The last new tea from the Steepster Select box (I still have the second packet of each, yet).

The leaves are pale, pale yellowy-green, like a plant that hasn’t received enough sunlight. And they are covered in golden fuzzy hair. I swear it looks like parts from tiny furry crustaceans, like it came off the Kiwa hirsuta, or wooly lobster. It honestly freaks me out a little bit!

It smells grassy, with a hint of apricot.

I brewed it in my gaiwan. If I had not sneaked a peek at the other reviews, I would have thought I underbrewed it – the liquor is pale yellow, like a white wine.

Taste-wise, I am unimpressed. A light aftertaste of grass. I’m not getting any fruit or citrus from it. I let the second steeping go longer, and I get perhaps a little more grass. The leaves don’t expand much, suprisingly. I am not going to bother with a 3 resteep – it’s like somewhat flavored water to me. I know it says it’s “mellow” on the packet, but this is too mellow – it’s like drinking hot water heated in a kettle that didn’t get washed well.

I might try heating the water a bit more if I do try the second packet.

Flavors: Apricot, Grass

160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Hunan Dark Tea by Tea Source
325 tasting notes

Another packet from the Steepster Select box. Opened it up and took a sniff. Smells quite nice and the leaves are a pretty deep green that has almost blue tones to it.

Brewed it up in my all-purpose white teapot, drinking from a small Japanese cup.

Drinking it straight for now, since I have never tried it before.

First cup: it kinda just seems like black tea to me. I can’t detect a difference between it and something that’s “just” a black. I have no idea what “mahogany notes” should taste like, so ignoring that for now. Not getting any grape.

Second cup: ok, I get grape a little.

Third cup: Not unpleasant, and I’m happy to try something pu-erh related that I do not dislike (the track record has not been good thus far), but I don’t really find it to be anything unique about it.

Fourth cup: switched to a mug and did splenda and half & half. Definitely still getting the grape.

Verdict: Not bad but not something that makes me sit up and take notice. Not clicking the “would you recommend” option because it’s not a tea that I would tell anyone “Oh, you have to try this!” but it’s not something I would warn anyone away from – if offered a pot of it, I would have no hesitation in drinking it, I just don’t need it for my cupboard.

Flavors: Grapes

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Oh my. This is lovely. I needed something soothing tonight, as I research my sudden TRIP TO ENGLAND in 2 weeks!!! So I’m simultaneously excited and terrified. I’ll be there for 2 weeks (near London), with hopefully a weekend trip in the middle to PARIS! Advice/recommendations/tea shop directions appreciated :)

I opened the packet and a took a sniff, and it smelled so nice. The leaves are long and dark and smell amazing. Brewed it up in my small green pot and one of its cups. It’s floral with a touch of honey. No astringency.

I really like this. I want to try the next packet gongfu style but I need to find a gongfu tea tray first so I can make a controlled mess.

Ok, I have gone through the entire small pot and every cup is amazing.

Flavors: Flowers, Honey

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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When I was a very young child, I swallowed an ice cube whole. It got stuck in my throat, and my mother had me drink hot tea to melt it away. That started a love affair with tea that has never abated.

I dabbled with Celestial Seasonings and other grocery store teabags for awhile, in my young and foolish days. But a few years ago, I received a tea of the month subscription from Adagio, and I found that there was a whole other world of tea out there that I had never experienced.

I love drinking tea, and I love the personal ceremony of making a glass or pot of tea for myself. It’s like a meditation.


DFW, Texas

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