314 Tasting Notes

60
drank Fantasy by Lupicia
314 tasting notes

I’m finishing the last of my pouch and I have to say that I think this tea was just alright. I don’t think I’ll purchase it again.

It really smells luscious but the caramel and fruit flavors are very faint and “watery”. The black tea base is pretty docile as well—not much “kick”.

The taste is faintly like powdery Smarties…..or fruity Mentos.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 8 min or more

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60
drank Dreamsicle Darjeeling by 52teas
314 tasting notes

Just jotting down some quick impressions:

Citrus rind. Lime-like. Orange pith. Grape-notes. Champagne? Milk or cream?—not much. Slight potpourri-ness. Grapefruit.

I guess I sort of like it? …it’s very delicate with an unusual non-bubbly “effervescence”…..but it’s a bit bitter and slightly sour. :(

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 30 sec

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85
drank Dong Ding by American Tea Room
314 tasting notes

Faint floral with a toasty aroma and taste. Hints of green and gardenias. Steamed roasted grains juxtaposed with an essence of tropical humidity. Then there’s something that reminds me of macadamia nuts.

Smooth, no bitterness, just a whisper of astringency. Refreshingly warm and soothing.

A lovely oolong overall. A very pleasant cup.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 45 sec

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89
drank Cherry Cola by 52teas
314 tasting notes

The scent is definitely Cherry Coke!! I can even smell the fizziness! Amazing.

The taste is fizzy cherry cola. This is one of those rare teas where the aroma matches the flavor.

I’m not a huge, huge fan of cherry cola but I can’t deny that this is delicious and refreshing.

And I love honeybush. I find it so calming to drink. I’m a nervous person by nature but honeybush never fails to calm me down, somehow.

I’m really liking this flavor. It’s totally true to its name. And it’s yummy and soothing warm in a tea like this.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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78
drank Elyse's Blend by Harney & Sons
314 tasting notes

Slight malty flavor. Hints of flowery honey. Seems to be a more “delicate” black tea? No astringency. Very smooth and mellow.

I think this would be perfect as an afternoon tea time tea. Complete with scones, clotted cream and marmalade!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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89
drank Mango by Harney & Sons
314 tasting notes

This tastes like mango jelly on rye bread!!

The flavor is full of malt and breadiness. Very full-bodied and “chewy”. And there’s this grain-like “tartness”—similar to rye or pumpernickel. Overlaid with a candied dried mango taste—which not very strong but it’s definitely noticeable and lends a fruity lightness.

I’m surprised how how good this is. It doesn’t taste synthetic and all! And I love the bready flavor. So (like I’ve said before about bready teas) it’s like freshly baked bread without the bloat!

Yeah, this is pretty delicious.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 45 sec

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95

Smells like polenta!!

As for flavor, this does indeed taste like corn! Freshly shucked corn. Very yummy. I love corn.

Also has a nutty undertone, like acorns. And grains—like oatmeal. Fresh and soft too—not earthy or dark at all—sweet even. With an underlying sappy green-ness.

This is delicious. I love it.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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70

Hmm…this is okay.

Kind of earthy, malty, a little sour. Has a biscuity, grainy aroma. Smooth. Not much bite. Soft.

Overall, very drinkable but no “wow”-ness.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec
gmathis

I read Harney & Sons catalogs like other people read fiction, and have always loved the description of this one. (Of course, making that statement here on Steepster probably describes most of us. The rest of the people in my world think I’m a little nuts.)

Stephanie

Yeah I also love the little tea stories and descriptions. It reminds me of the old J. Petermann catalog!

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68
drank Caramel Cream by Adagio Teas
314 tasting notes

Simple, sweet, uncomplicated and straightforward. Good caramel flavor, a bit maple-syrupy and biscuity. No astringency.

Kind of stale, though. Other than that, it’s still pretty good for being over a year old and stored in a ziploc baggie. Poor mistored tea!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more

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93

An interesting tea!! Very unusual. I think I love it. :)

I know I didn’t brew this perfectly. I just felt like I needed to try this today and so I threw it in my bag to try at work. (So my impressions are based on roughly 1 teaspoon of tea and 190 degree hot spigot water in a 12.75 oz travel tea mug):

It smells like freshly peeled corn husks!! With slighty sappy, crisp evergreen and watermelon-like notes.

Tastes delicate and sweet, yet somehow has substance. No strong floral notes or spice—maybe a wisp of clover and grain with a sprinkle of sugar.

I love the scent the best and I also feel very calm and centered while drinking this.

It looks like a full-size order of Late-Winter Budset Yabao is in my future!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 8 min or more
Nathaniel Gruber

I too love this tea! The beautiful thing about this tea is that it is almost impossible to brew it incorrectly. It is so forgiving. Good description of it, too!

Stephanie

Yay! Thanks Nathaniel! I especially love teas that I don’t have to “baby”. This one is practially perfect in that way.

Spoonvonstup

Ditto Nate’s comment. This tea is so ridiculously forgiving! I’ve definitely just thrown leaves (buds?) into a cup at work, and let them sit in water all day as I refilled with hot water.

The only way I wouldn’t recommend this tea is putting it into a fill-yourself tea bag. The ones I tried, at least, were made of a linen-y paper, and they ended up absorbing and masking a lot of the sugar-crystal sweetness and replacing it with..paper. Also, since the buds are so big, you don’t fit as much into a bag as you probably really need.

Glad you enjoyed this one! This kind of pu’er was the very first sheng I fell in love with, and my gateway drug into pu’ers. It’s so pleasant and forgiving; there’s no way to do it wrong, and everyone who tries it invariably enjoys themselves.

I’ve heard that Verdant is trying to bring in some Yabao pressed into bricks and much older than what they have already. If they ever do (fingers crossed!), I’d recommend you try some of that, too.

Stephanie

Hi Spoonvonstup (such a great name…how come I never thought of it??) I agree with you about forgiving teas! I think puerhs are forgiving in general, since they’ve had so much time to “mellow out”.

I don’t have much time for temperamental teas nowadays. So, to a tea, I say: “Just let me throw you in my tea mug and let’s see how you hold up!” ;).

Geoffrey Norman

I loooooooove Ya Bao. Lemoniness and sheng pu-erh. What better combination.

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Bio

Virgo Sun, Pisces Moon, Aries Rising

My ratings are purely subjective and each note varies according to my perception and mood at the moment. So, with that said, my rating scale can be deciphered as follows:
90-100: I am in love! A must have at all times! :D
80-89: This is good. It is full-tin worthy! :))
79-70: This is okay. Glad I tried it. Might get more. :)
69-60: Meh. I’m indifferent. Neither here nor there, this is Tea Purgatory. :/
59-under: Mediocre and Sad. Really not good enough to try again. A disappointment. :(

My Misc. Personal Favorites List (because I love making lists!):
Books = The Mind Parasites by Colin Wilson, The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, Beauty by Sherri S. Tepper, The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher, Personal Darkness by Tanith Lee.
Movies = E.T., The Princess Bride, Babette’s Feast, Enchanted April, The Age of Innocence, Death Becomes Her, GATTACA, Fight Club, The Matrix, The Others, Pride and Prejudice (2005 version), Nacho Libre :).
TV Shows = The Twilight Zone (a classic!), Star Trek TNG, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I miss this!), Mad Men, Sherlock, Being Human.
Music? = I find myself perennially stuck in an 80’s-90’s New Wave & Alternative time warp. ;)
Quote of the Day: “There really isn’t anything; only the story appearing now—and not even that.”

Location

San Francisco, CA

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