1338 Tasting Notes

drank Earl Grey Lavender by Zen Tea
1338 tasting notes

ANOTHER one with no tasting notes yet? Could it be… all the blergamot and lavenblerg fans?
I don’t think that Zen’s Earl Grey Crème can be topped. It might be the best current EGC that is actually for sale today. It will be my go-to for Earl Grey Crème. I expected great things from a lavender EG. I think though, that it’s asking too much, as that EGC is just perfect and even if you add some lovely lavender, it just isn’t the same. It’s very good.. but the lavender or bergamot just isn’t strong enough for me, or they cancel each other out or something. If I want lavender and bergamot, I guess I want a lot of it. Maybe that’s too much for most. I do like the black tea base for this one… it isn’t like the one with the Vanilla Black I’m not a fan of. A nice black tea with bergamot and lavender is just what I crave once in a while. Give this one a try but the EGC is a MUST try!
Steep #1 // two minutes after boiling // 3 min steep

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drank Yerba Mate by Zen Tea
1338 tasting notes

No tasting notes for this one yet! Sad sad. A solid no-nonsense yerba mate! This is a good yerba mate to stock up on if you want some energy in the morning and a change from black tea. This yerba mate is also a great price! For yerba mate newbies, I do NOT suggest you use boiling water, as it burns the yerba mate… it might scare you away from mate for good with that brisk flavor. A lower temperature is best! The flavor is very earthy and sweet tasting – just like you expect a yerba mate to be. Apparently there are a ton of vitamins and minerals in yerba mate as well (I could always use more of those). This is the plain yerba mate I would keep in stock at all times. This yerba mate is also a great price! It seems like Zen is my source for many cupboard staples.
Steep #1 // 35 minutes after boiling (unintentionally a little too long) // 5 min steep

180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 30 sec

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Additional notes: Sipdown! The color of the cup steeped is so light… like an apple cider. I love the idea behind this blend, but I think it would be improved with whatever that Herbal Infusions Cacao tea is made from (now I think ALL chocolate teas could be improved with that). Also, it should have actual popped rice, you know, like a genmaicha. But I guess some people like this one the way it is. :D


Cacao is pretty awesome.

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Another sample from Teavivre. Thank you so so much. I always appreciate these samples! This is the last of my last sample package to review, but there is already another sample package on the way! The leaves have a bright and fresh fragrance, very floral, though not as floral as another Teavivre oolong (the Nonpareil Anxi Qing Xiang TieGuanYin smells like an entire Spring garden). I tried to go with the steeping parameters for their other green oolongs, since I don’t like this suggestion of 17 ounces (a tablespoon of leaves, 212 degrees, a rinse, 1,2,3,4 minute steeps). I went with two teaspoons of these bright green bundles.

Steep #1 // 7 minutes after boiling & a rinse // 1 1/2 min steep
The leaves are almost bursting out of the basket, I can’t imagine using more! The flavor is nice but it doesn’t taste overly like flowers, or peach (or any other type of fruit), or like a creamy milk oolong, or vegetal. Usually oolong can fit into a category, but this one does not, at least not on the first cup. This is a different oolong — it isn’t as floral tasting as the scent is. There is a bit of an odd flavor to it but it certainly isn’t astringent or oversteeped. It’s quite a mystery. The color of the cup is between the mellow yellow of a light oolong but not quite bright yellow.

Steep #2 // two minutes after boiling // 2 min
Hmm. This is the oddest oolong I’ve ever tasted. I don’t think it is oversteeped but it has a sour flavor to it, even a fuzzy texture to it. It has hints of pineapple flavor to it… or maybe some unripened fruit and autumn leaves. It’s such a different flavor for oolong. Not a fan of this oolong, but it could just be my tastes. I think some of Teavivre’s other oolongs are better. Give them a try!

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Note to self: Stop boiling Darjeelings just because the package says to! I’ve ruined two Darjeelings this week by using boiling water. Maybe it’s just me that prefers the flavor at a lower temp. I’ll try this one again soon with 185-190 degrees.

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thank you CharlotteZero for a sample of this one! I had no idea how to steep this one, so I just wung it… but then I realized I had a Phoenix oolong from Verdant before. Verdant’s suggestions: Use 4-5 g of tea per 8oz or water. Rinse leaves once with 205 degree water. Steep for 25-35 seconds. Enjoy at least 5 infusions. Yeah, I kind of knew I was overdoing these steeps. Definitely should have looked it up before I steeped, as I usually do. I used two teaspoons and forgot the rinse.

Steep #1 // 8 min after boiling // 2 min
Almond oolong sounded interesting, but I don’t taste the almond here. The dry leaves are twisty, dark and dusty but once steeped they turn green. This cup wasn’t terribly overdone, but it did have hints of astringency. Rather than almond, the flavor was like juicy honey peach.

Steep #2 // a few min after boiling // 3 min
The first cup tasted like it probably should have, but this one was sadly ruined. Too bitter. I was tasting peach from Verdant’s phoenix oolong and really enjoyed that one (looking at the tasting notes), so it’s too bad I ruined this one. I have a few steep sessions worth to actually do this tea some justice…

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Thanks again for the samples, Just Organic Tea! I’m always up for trying a new chai! It’s STILL annoyingly cold in MAY, so it’s still perfect chai weather. Just Organic Tea suggest 195 degrees for 4-5 minutes. I went with that, though I usually think chai should be boiling for maximum spiciness! The sample size wasn’t as much tea as I’d usually use. The dry blend looks like it has mostly orange in it (along with the black tea). I also added some of the Organic sugar that JOT sent along!

Steep #1 // 11 min after boiling // 4-5 min steep
I like my chai robust and SPICY, and this one isn’t quite that. (Then again I’ve never found a chai that was spicy enough.) But the flavors in this one lead to something unique. I don’t think it’s just the sugar in this that are making it taste like a dessert – I think it’s the combination of the cinnamon and the orange. The sugar reminds me of brown sugar flavor unless it’s something in the tea itself. The base tea has a squash or pumpkin aspect to it. Very interesting! I’m not sure if the pumpkin would be there if I had used boiling water.

Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 min
This cup was fantastic as well – had that pumpkin flavor even at boiling. The cinnamon was stronger – still tasted like a dessert. This is really an exemplary chai. Again, not as spicy as I’d like, but it’s probably impossible. I think many people could stock up on this to fit the ‘chai’ spot in their cupboard!

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Additional notes: Sample sipdown! Sad to see this one go. This was actually 2 1/2 teaspoons. I probably could have halved this and had two smaller steeping sessions. Ah well. The cup was perfect anyway. It’s a super sweet tea, not a strong tasting assam. It even had the texture of a thin caramel.

Steep #1 // 2 min after boiling // 3 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 min
Steep #3 // just boiled (half a cup) // 3 min

From Teavivre, I’m planning on eventually ordering one of the Keemuns, Bailin Gong Fu which I just can’t live without and with every steep I seem to remember that, and maybe even that brick of ripened pu-erh that just happened to be my favorite. I should have one brick of pu-erh, right? But I also want to place an order from Bluebirdteaco.com at the end of the year, Steap Shoppe’s Cinnamon Swirl Bread, AND a few from Butiki. I must have resolve that these will be the only four tea companies I will buy from the remainder of this year!!! And all of these orders will be a while from now anyway.

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I was excited to try one month of Simple Loose Leaf for a dollar! I went with the five samples instead of picking two. I’m actually kind of surprised at how big the samples were. I might not be able to subscribe to Simple Loose Leaf right now, but at least I learned that the sample sizes are bigger than I expected. I used two teaspoons of leaves – not sure if I should have, but I think I’ve had another Formosa Oolong that recommended two teaspoons. The dry leaves are dark and flakey, not like the little green bundles an oolong usually consists of.

Steep #1 // 2 min after boiling // 3 1/2 min steep
It’s always difficult to say what a Formosa Oolong tastes like. It’s autumn leafy. A bit of charcoal.. but not to the amount I usually dislike. Maybe hints of cherry, a bit smoky. It seems like two teaspoons was the right call because it doesn’t seem overdone. It’s such a different flavor than other teas. I like it, but I think the discontinued Whispering Pines Formosa was slightly better.

Steep #2 // just boiled //5 min
This cup was less spectacular, the leaves had that oversteeped taste (not sure if anyone understands what I mean when I say this – not astringent, but the cup has had a slightly leafy/bark taste). It’s probably my fault though, and the not the fault of the tea. I enjoyed it anyway, as that flavor was mostly at the top of the cup. When it the cooled, it tasted like cucumber or some sort of melon.

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I wanted berries! Time to try this one! (Better this one than the last couple of teaspoons of my Vicky’s Cake from Bluebird before I place an order at the end of the year!) I used a teaspoon and a half. Fusion suggests 180 for four minutes.

Steep #1 // 28 minutes after boiling // 3 min steep
Brewed, this one actually has a scent like it could be shampoo? In a good way? The slight strawberry flavor and whatever makes it seem like a flowery shampoo combines really well with the buttery oolong. I think this is the first oolong I’ve tried from Fusion and I like it. The flavor just lingers. I bet this one is really niced iced. Niced iced. hah.

Steep #2 // 25 min after boiling // 4 min
This steep seemed a bit harsh – tough – oversteeped. There was still some strawberry flavor left. But I think I should have steeped it like the first cup. The leaves were too unraveled for such a steep. I’ll enjoy the rest of my sample of this one!


I don’t normally think drinking shampoo sounds appealing, but you’ve made it sound down right delectable. :)

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Hi! I love tea and trying new ones – it adds a bit of variety to my day! Books, music, TV & movies are my thing… and tea, of course.

Some of my favorite teas:
52 Teas – zoomdweebies.com

Most of the teas listed in my cupboard are actually sample sizes. I don’t really have 2,000 ounces of tea around here! I was bored one day and found out that most of them have only one teaspoon left… maybe two. But I like keeping them in my cupboard list for reference to what I could be sipping. Usually, I write tasting notes once for each tea. I’m still drinking them, just not writing tasting notes each time!

My dislikes: hibiscus, ginger (unless in chai), charcoal type flavors

My ratings:
95-100 – Super awesome deliciousness favorites
80-95 – Also pretty delicious
65-80 – Pretty good
40-65 – Okay
1-40 – Probably won’t want to sip it again

I’m planning on being a Steepsterer as long as there IS a Steepster, so if you’re not hearing from me, that means something happened to my health… if you know what I mean. :D

Happy sipping!



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