535 Tasting Notes

O. M. G. YUM!!! This is absolutely fabulous! This tea was one of the samples Angel sent me and I can see now why it’s such a popular tea. Thank you so much, Angel!!

When I first tried a cup of this, I wasn’t really sure how many pearls to use, but it turns out I estimated correctly for western brewing based on their website. I also couldn’t believe the recommended steep time ranged from 5-10 minutes. I mean, 10 minutes for a black tea? Are you crazy? So, I went with 5 minutes. That turned out to be a mistake, because, although the flavor was good, I could tell it was weak. I guess I should just follow directions!

So, today, I put 9 pearls in a 16 oz. mug (my whale color-changing mug ;) ) and steeped it for 9 minutes. That’s the way to do it! Those little pearls are so cute, but once the water hits them they totally unfurl. Have you ever had a tea with a pearl-like shape that didn’t want to fully unfurl? I’ve had that happen and it’s kind of annoying, especially with those flowering teas. Anyhoo, this tea is amazing! It has a rich black tea and unsweetened cocoa taste. It’s like those dark chocolate bars that are 60-80% cocoa. Amazing! Teavivre’s teas are so good and of such high quality, it’s sad that I’m just now discovering them. I do have to admit though, that the timing is right, since I seem to have developed a much stronger taste for unflavored teas lately. This is going on the order list. :)


Love these!


I know! They’re awesome!

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drank Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
535 tasting notes

After I tried the cheesecake matcha sample last month, I was totally obsessed with matcha. I really enjoyed the iced lattes I made, so I thought I’d order the steepster favorite, caramel matcha. I ordered it at full price like an hour before they put in on sale, and was pretty bummed, but I emailed Red Leaf about it, and they were super generous and sent me a free package of the special offer version. Pretty freaking awesome! Customer service like that makes me want to be customer for life!

So, this matcha is good, but I ordered the distinctive flavor level and now I think maybe I should have gone with robust. I can taste the caramel if I add a little sugar, but it mostly appears in the after taste and as the matcha gets cooler. I tried this both as an almond milk iced latte and straight. I thought the almond milk was hiding the flavor, but now that I tried it straight, I don’t really think it does. I think it’s just my lame tasting abilities. I did find, in drinking it straight, that it was not nearly as grassy as DavidsTea’s matcha matsu, which was a good thing in my eyes. It’d be interesting to see what it tastes like as a hot latte…I’ll have to try that. Overall, though, when the flavor comes through, it’s really delicious with a sweet gooey caramel flavor. I might just up my flavor level next time around.


It’s my fave as a hot latte :)


Awesome! I’ll make it that way next time!


Hopefully you will enjoy it more that way!


What’s your recipe? How much matcha vs. ounces of milk? I just made it this morning and I think it had too much matcha because it was nasty bitter. Smelled like delicious caramel though. :(


Aw. I just do as Red Leaf recommends, about 1/2 tsp matcha to 6-8oz of milk, plus a bit of hot water at first to melt-mix the matcha into a liquid

If I use a bigger mug, I put more matcha and more milk but the same water, maybe half – a full shot glass worth (I’m not overly specific but have always enjoyed it!!)


Thank you!!!! I was led astray by one of the pamphlets from Red Leaf, which recommends a tablespoon! I didn’t put that much because I thought that was ridiculous, but I did put in about a half tablespoon! Man, it was so icky! :P Another pamphlet from Red Leaf correctly recommends 1/2 tsp. I’ll try it again with 1/2 tsp. :)


Sometimes I do 1tsp, which I still enjoy, but I’m sure 1tbsp would be extreme!! Hope you like it :)

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Let me just start by saying I love milky oolongs! I have had natural ones and those with added flavoring and I loved the flavored ones until I tasted the natural ones. Ha! This one has been on my wish list. I’ve actually thought about ordering the oolong sampler from Teavivre because I really liked the idea of trying a whole array of oolongs.

This is one of the samples Angel sent me. Thanks, Angel!! I was very excited to try this one! The recommended steeping temperature threw me off a bit, because they recommend 212 degrees, and I normally steep oolongs at a much cooler temperature…especially greener oolongs. I went ahead and steeped it at almost the recommended temperature (205 degrees) and it was great! I guess they know what they’re talking about!

They also have a huge range of steep times…3 to 8 minutes. I did 3 minutes, but plan on trying 8 next time! The leaves expand a lot when you steep them, going from small little rolled up balls to full leaves. Pretty awesome!

This milky oolong is probably my favorite. It’s sweet, but not unnaturally sweet. It has a creamy soft mouthfeel, is smooth to drink, and isn’t overly vegetal. I love it! Makes me think of the song from the Lego Movie: “Everything is Awesome!” :) I think the oolong sampler is in my future.


So glad you like this milky Oolong tea.

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Angel at Teavivre was extremely generous and added me to their free tea tasting activity and sent me free samples of 5 teas. Everything came in pretty silver packaging, and it arrived very quickly from China (like 10 days!) I thought it would’ve taken a lot longer, but that’s great! Also, the sample sizes were quite generous…at least 3 cups worth, but most likely more, of each tea.

This tea was the first one I tried. I actually took it on the go with me in my timolino. Shocking! I know, I felt a little bad drinking these fine teas out of a travel mug for my first taste, but it didn’t seem to matter. This tea is absolutely delicious! The dry leaf is like little pieces of hay, but curly. The aroma is very pleasing…I just wanted to smell it forever!

The flavors I could detect in this tea were definitely sweet potato, caramel, and some warming spice (like nutmeg?) Teas that taste like potato haven’t really been my thing, but I really liked this one. I can tell this tea is high quality…it’s very smooth and the leaves don’t look overly processed. I think this tea would be amazing in the Fall (or now!) I’m really enjoying unflavored black teas right now, so this one is right up my alley. I knew Teavivre teas had good reviews on here, and after tasting their teas for myself, I think they’ve just jumped right to the top of my list. Thanks, Angel!!

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drank Apricot by Harney & Sons
535 tasting notes

We also enjoyed a pot of this tea yesterday. I usually find teas that are supposed to taste like apricot mostly taste like peach to me. This one does not disappoint. It has a “warm” fruity flavor, with a nutty-ness that definitely reminds me of apricot. Nicely done. Wouldn’t scoff at another cup of this.

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drank Queen Catherine by Harney & Sons
535 tasting notes

Had this yesterday at afternoon tea. Not a fan. Too smoky, although I do have to admit the smoke flavor was smooth. Maybe it would be a good tea to pair with a meat dish for those who aren’t vegetarian. Ooh, or smoked salmon!

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Yesterday, we had afternoon tea for my mom and grandmother’s birthdays. I brought a large bag of teas, but my mom had quite a few herself! She recently ordered from Harney & Sons and Stash, so I got to try a few new ones. We enjoyed lemon cream scones, egg salad sandwiches, haystack cookies, white chocolate kona shortbread cookies and lemon bundt cake. Yum!

So, I’ve always kinda poo-poohed (if that’s a word) Stash tea because I thought everything they sold was bagged tea. Plus, I’ve had their spicy chai and I hate it. My mom, however, changed my opinion when she brought out a couple of their teas in loose form and gave me samples to try at home. I’m not sure I’ve ever really had a straight keemum before, but after reading the description for Golden Moon Tea’s version, my curiosity peaked. (I still intend to order some of that tea).

As for Stash’s version, it wasn’t exactly love at first sip, but as I sipped, it really grew on me. The description talks of plum and orchid notes…not sure I get that. What I did taste was a sweetness that was hard to place, but by the end of the cup I thought I got cocoa notes. Yay! I also tasted some smokiness, which I’m not a fan of, but it was balanced by the other flavors in the cup and didn’t overpower. Not bad! I guess Stash could still be a player in my cupboard. ;)

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drank Sinharaja by Golden Moon Tea
535 tasting notes

This may be my favorite unflavored black tea. It’s so freaking delicious! I made some at work with microwaved water and it was still delicious! It tastes like a smooth malty berry tea. I see another order from Golden Moon in my near future; however I’ve got to get through some of my massive cupboard of tea first! I really want to try their keemum! Oh the temptation!


This is the one that tastes kind of like molasses, too, isn’t it?


Yep! Delicious!!


“I really want to try their keemum! Oh the temptation!”
Did you know it’s on sale 25% off now? :-)
Offer ends April 10, 2014


Since you enjoy Keemun, please stop by:


I know, I saw the sale, but I’ve bought too much tea lately! ;)

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drank Coconut Oolong by DAVIDsTEA
535 tasting notes

I ran over to DavidsTea during lunch today so I could pick up the new teal mason jar with straw. I’m so excited to use it for iced matcha lattes once my matcha from Red Leaf gets here (expected on Saturday!) It’s nice and big, so the ice will fit nicely. One of the reasons I was so excited to get this is the lid with straw, since I found out recently that matcha is hard to get out of clothes…I spilled on my 10k run shirt when the ice rushed back at me. :( Yes, such a klutz! This new cup should prevent that! Yay!

Okay, so they re-released this tea and messed with the formulation a bit by adding lemongrass. I saw a lot of complaints online about that change, but thought I would check it out myself. You see, when I had this tea last year, I thought the coconut flavor was overpowering when hot, but very much enjoyed it iced! Iced, the tea was much better balanced. So, I asked for an iced cup of this tea, and the saleswoman asked if I wanted it in the mason jar that I was clearly going to buy, and that’s what I did! Honestly, I kind of like the lemongrass, and that’s coming from someone who’s not a fan of lemon. It brightens up this tea, but doesn’t completely change the delicious creamy coconut flavor. The tea looked pretty funny in the mason jar….kinda yellow-blue, and a coworker of mine suggested it looked like “alien juice.” Lol! It will be interesting to see what the green matcha latte looks like in the jar!


Sounds delicious!


this makes me excited to try it!

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drank Mom's Apple Pie by DAVIDsTEA
535 tasting notes

Felt like something cozy since it was raining all day and I’ve been freezing!!! I thought it might be weird to have this tea at this time of year, but it was perfect and delicious! I also made some cookies while drinking it. :)

Now it’s sunny out! Must be magic tea!


Pie is never out of season!

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I thought my profile needed a facelift, so here we go:

My obsession with tea really started around October 2012 when I discovered DavidsTea. Before that, I had the occasional cup and enjoyed going out to afternoon tea with my mom. I was really into An Afternoon to Remember’s creme brulee tea, since they had an afternoon tea place at that time, which has since closed…so sad and I haven’t found a good replacement.

So, I kinda went nuts when I discovered both DavidsTea and Lupicia in the SF mall, and I still frequent them, though my tastes have substantially changed over time from wanting to try all the teas to being a bit more particular.

Once I discovered steepster, literally by looking up reviews of a DavidsTea tea, I was hooked! So many tea companies I never heard of and everything sounding so delicious!

I found I still love dessert teas, like flavored black teas, but I also really enjoy oolong (both green and roasted). I occasionally enjoy flavored rooibos and white teas. I’ve had a rough time with puerh, and still think it tastes like leather. Recently, after having some really amazing teas from Teavivre, I can now say I love unflavored Chinese black teas and green teas.

Favorite tea companies right now include: Teavivre, Golden Moon, Butiki, Lupicia, and DavidsTea.

Just a note: I don’t rate my teas numerically because my iPad doesn’t like the scroll bar. Maybe someday that will change…hint hint, steepster! ;)

P.S. My profile picture is of one of my 2 cats, Holly, who is a little princess but very photogenic, and she loves boxes, including those that bring me tea! :)


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