561 Tasting Notes


My first impression of the dry leaf is that it is extremely smelly. Smells like traditional Xmas but I don’t actually like traditional Xmas smells so there’s that. Very smelly. If I liked it I might say aromatic, but I don’t.

Well now that it has cooled down a bit, I don’t hate it. It finishes with cinnamon which I am not a fan of but it is not overwhelming. The bergamot is strong enough to turn my mother off when she took a sip. It kind of tastes like stale crackers with an aftertaste of spice to me. Not very appealing since my last experience with stale crackers involved a meal worm in it. Yesterday. So this is 0 for 3 for this Verdant box for me. Hopefully January will be better.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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I need to fix this tea entry when I get back to having a real computer.

This is a really deep intense rich black tea out of Kenya. Apparently a Chinese hybrid varietal. Very interesting. I gentled it down a bit with milk and sugar and it is really quite pleasant. I’ll start heating water up for the second steep in a minute but the first was very very nice. Ever since I discovered Justea, I have found a fondness for nice Kenyan teas. Also any of my friends living in Vancouver BC should PM me, speaking of Justea.

ETA: 2nd steep was good but the 3rd was really weak. A two steep tea for me.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Seriously, it’s about a free thing.


lol if i lived in vancouver i’d bug you. I’m really like justea’s kenyan black. it’s on the reorder list at some point :)


It’s a thing actually. A tea cupping class I got from supporting their most recent campaign that I can’t get to so I thought I’d offer it to the people on here. If it weren’t a week long in the evenings I’d drive up myself.


oh that’s awesome!


Oh? I’m in Vancouver. Do you need me to get it to you somehow?


It is a class to attend by the Justea guys.


missB..she’s offering to let YOU go silly goose… (well someone in vancouver)


Sil – I… bought the 3 pack so I can share some Justea with you, or slip some into a little envelope once it shows up here.

Starfevre – that’s too bad about missing the cupping class! That sounds like it’d be quite the experience.


hahahahahaha of course you did


In theory I could attend but I am just not up for that much driving anytime soon.

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Trying this out since it came in my club. It smells very spicy and the back of my throat is already protesting the dry smell. It seems exactly like the teas that I hate very much. Waiting for the water to heat up.

Have to close this note to look at the ingredients to see what it is that I’m smelling besides ginger. The Verdant website doesn’t show it.

Edit: I don’t know where my previous edit went. Boo. I think the spice is sasparilla because I can’t recognize it and I’m not familiar with that one. It is very spicy. I’m hoping the sugar I put in wil gentle this blend.

First steep was 2ish minutes. The blend is sweet but the ginger and yabao itself put a shudder down my spine and there is an unpleasant pricking at the back of my throat from one of the spices. Warming sensation from more than just the warm water. Trying to drink this quickly because I do not like.

Thinking I won’t go for any more steeps due to the headache onset almost immediately after I started drinking. Not the tea for me.

190 °F / 87 °C

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drank Karigane #22 by Kettl
561 tasting notes

I really think I am not experienced enough in the various green tea flavours, being a green tea newbie for the most part, to really fully appreciate this tea. It smells very robustly green and vegetal, although I could not tell you what plant. It smells like a strange combination of edamame and spinach to me but I have no idea what nori smells like so it could be that too. Not so much grass.

I managed with the tools I have to steep this in approximately 175 degree temp as stated by the really unrefined meat thermometer my mom got me for this purpose. Best I could get on short notice from a pretty rural Massachusetts grocery store, really, and I broke her crappy gravity infuser the first day so I was grateful for the teabags that came with this. The tea ball she has is not a very fine mesh.

First steep: definitely a deep and rich cup, nothing simple about this. Picking up some grass now, especially in the aftertaste. I can sort of taste the nuttiness in the cup but nothing specifically hazelnut.

I am super craving something sweet so I am debating whether to go to the next steep now or make a detour. I have about 3 more tea hours this afternoon to play with.

Second steep: the vegetal smell is weaker and the grass is much brighter this steep. I drank this one warmer and I definitely get ‘chewy’ this time around. There is more taste up front and it matches the aftertaste better and soy beans is what I am getting. I like this steep better than the first.

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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drank Wuyishan Black by Steepster
561 tasting notes

Steeped this at lower than the suggested parameters because I’m stuck with just a stovetop kettle at my parent’s place and the meat thermometer said this was at 180 when I tested it at the beginning of the steep.

This is altogether way too smokey for my tastes. I can’t pick up much beyond that. I’ll likely not try a second steep because of it so I will have the second pouch available for trading when I get home. I did not bring it with me. Glad I did not serve this to my mother as I’m pretty sure she would hate it. I wish I could pick up the sour cherry and caramel notes as they sound delicious.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Or maybe I will put it in the tea box.

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Since I can’t do scroll bars on the iPad, which is what I have when I travel so my parameters were 2 teaspoons in the big mug with boiling water and 3 minutes steep time. I also made a cup for my mother and she likes it a lot.

It smells really nice. I don’t remember drinking it the last time although I obviously did since I have a tasting note from a year ago but a year ago I would have just been starting out at steepster. I think my tastes have changed since then. So let’s see.

This definitely tastes like caramel. Enough so that it wish it were thicker so that I could chew on it. Not much aftertaste at all besides what I burp up because drinking from my mom’s oddly shaped mugs tends to involve a lot of slurping. A little drying after the fact. It still smells so nice. I’m not going to change the rating because without the tea of the month sample pack I would not have ordered this again and I stand by that statement. Still, a nice sweet little interlude to an otherwise not very good day.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

It took me a while to figure this out on my ipad (someone else on steepster made a comment about it), you can’t “slide” the slider bar but you can just tap the spot and the slider will move to it. It is hard to be exact with this method, but that is how you can do it.


Tried that. It worked before I upgraded to iOS 7 but not after. Stupid apple.


I still use that method with iOS 7, no problem. Make sure you are not trying to tap too close to where the marker is already located.


Alright it worked but it was very frustrating and took at least 20 taps to get it right. Bleh.

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First steep was very nice though my bitterness conversation earlier made me paranoid and I over sugared it. I’ll try better next steep. It’s very chocolatey and it tasted malty to me and I definitely can taste the sweet potato.

2nd steep was also very tasty but I couldn’t pick up much to differentiate from the first steep. I like this tea a lot.


you can’t go wrong with zhu rong..it’s zhu right!

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I usually hate tea with cinnamon in it but I put in 2 full spoonfuls of sugar to make it not awful so this is not awful. I can’t say I like it very much but I will give it that it is tolerable which is more than I can say for most cinnamon teas. The fennel is very strong as well and the mint is faintly present, also briefly in the aftertaste.

My mother said it tasted like cinnamon gum to her but my cup was steeped and sugared to my taste and not hers. I have more of a sweet tooth.

I have seen reviews that say the second steeping is stronger cinnamon so I might skip that. If I don’t, I’ll come back and edit.


Put a tea with it to tone it down if the spice is too much…
I use puer or black tea and half the amount of an herbal many times.

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Tried this this midnight. It was generously included with my order so thanks guys.

Can’t say I love it though. I’m not a huge fan of ‘tropical’ black teas because they all taste very similar to me and it’s just not a flavour I particularly enjoy but this one was as good as any and better than some because the base tea didn’t act up at all and ruin the blend so that is something. A lot of flecks escaped my tea ball though so that was a bit disappointing.

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I’ve apparently had this before but I don’t remember it and I kinda liked it and I made it 3 times tonight because the first time I gave it to my mother (who really loved it especially the aroma and the finish, and told me as I asked her that she felt a lot like she was doing a wine tasting since I asked her a bunch of questions about this). (She just reminded me to not forget to mention the turkey poop). After I made it, I went to empty the no-name gravity infuser outside since they do not have a functional garbage disposal and it fell to pieces, one of which I did not realize had come off.

So when I made myself some of this, it did not hold the water and made a huge mess. While we were trying to find the piece that I don’t even know what it looks like, outside, in the dark, I definitely touched a piece of turkey poop, which is just as disgusting as it sounds. And we did not find it.

Thankfully I had left behind a large teaball when I visited last time so I was able to make this for myself with the 3rd set of leaves and yes it tastes very good. I over leafed a bit I think which meant it had almost the perfect amount of vanilla flavour for me. The tea itself was pretty light and definitely smooth as anything and the immediate aftertaste was really nice though not so much now so I should go eat or drink something else soon.

Maybe it was the thrill of victory of overcoming all of the obstacles to drink this tea but it was pretty damn good.

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

Oh no, glad you finally got your cuppa!!


The lengths we’ll go to for our tea eh?


Yes. I saw some of the actual turkeys this morning. They are enormous and fearless.

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Single, vegetarian, asexual, 5 cats. Airplane Engineer. I drink most of my tea with a bit of sugar and all the ones with a black tea base with a little bit of milk too. I’m super sensitive to bitterness and spiciness so I tend to avoid those.

I am also a flavoured matcha latte fanatic.


Renton, WA, USA

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