504 Tasting Notes

drank Buddha Smiles by SAHARA TEA
504 tasting notes

Yesterday, my hubby and I decided to get away for the day and headed down to Carmel. Great idea when it’s not a holiday weekend….took us an extra hour to get down there with all the traffic, but still worth it!

Of course, we had to go to all our favorite places, and one is this shop full of sauces and dips and jams. They put some out with crackers so you can taste things. Way too much fun! We love their fruit curds, so we picked up orchard peach and mango. Mmmm!

So, they were ringing us up, and I saw a couple of tea tins on the counter and started to check them out, and then the cashier said, “oh, you can have one of those for free if you like…we’re not selling them anymore.” Free tea! Score!! Makes me wonder a bit why they aren’t selling them anymore, but who can pass up free tea?

I couldn’t wait to try this one out iced. The ingredients just sound like they’d be so refreshing that way. I have to say that it’s not bad, and I think it’s growing on me. It’s definitely got that “herbal” taste to it, if you know what I mean….could be the lemongrass, or the green rooibos. If I try to ignore that, though, it almost tastes like an orange creamsicle. Not too shabby for a free tea. Woo!!

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I’ve been drinking a lot of tea lately, but haven’t been logging much because they’re the same old teas I’ve already logged and I don’t have anything new to say. I can say that I’ve been enjoying many white, green and oolongs though, and a few are excellent iced.

So, this tea…I fell in love with it when I had a sample from Angel, and so ordered a bunch, but since then I’ve had a little trouble getting it to be just as good. I think it has to do with the steeping temperature. The bag recommends 176 degrees, but I swear the sample bag said something higher, like 186 degrees….of course, I don’t have the sample bag anymore. Poo! So, I tried it at 186 degrees today, and I think it came out a lot better. Much more rounded out flavor, and those sweet potato notes were spot on. Only thing is, it was a tiny bit astringent, so maybe I need to cut down steep time a bit. I did it for 3 minutes, but maybe 2 or 2 1/2 would be better. Anyhoo, I think I’m getting there! At least I have a lot left to enjoy!! :)


I have a sample bag of this and it says 184 degrees for 3-5 minutes.


I knew it! Thanks, caile!!


“The bag recommends 176 degrees, but I swear the sample bag said something higher, like 186 degrees …”

It sounds like the quantity you purchased must not have been from the same crop year as your sample. Growing conditions do vary from year to year and can affect the flavor profile of tea.

Per Angel, “Once we have new batch of this tea, we will brew this tea to find out the best brewing guide and adjust the brewing guide.”

Such dedication to finding the optimum brewing recommendations for each year crop for all of their many teas is what makes TeaVivre a superior supplier of Chinese Tea. Angel may be able to further help you optimize the Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea – Golden Tip you purchased.

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Okay, okay, I get it now. This tea is pretty fantastic! It lives up to the hype!

It had a little side-trip on its way here, though. I thought it was going to arrive on Monday with the 52teas I ordered…would have been the perfect mail day. Instead, USPS failed, and sent my package 90 miles north of me, and then sent it back. Good job, USPS. Oh, and in the 100-degree heat. Poor tea! But it’s here now, so I’m happy.

Real vanilla and cocoa notes makes this one of the few teas I could drink instead of hot chocolate. It reminds me a lot of Tealux’s chocolate delight; however it is much more amazing, since the only flavoring here is vanilla beans. Delicious milk chocolate in a cup. Yum!!!

Now, if only I had ordered North Winds, I could have tried the base tea….!!!

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Mmm, almost as good as DavidsTea’s coconut oolong, when iced! I’m definitely going to be enjoying this tin all summer!


I also enjoy this one, haven’t tried it cold yet!


You should! :)

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drank Melon Oolong by Lupicia
504 tasting notes

Yes, I drank 2 huge mason jars of this tea iced, right after I drank 2 huge mason jars of coconut oolong iced, and I can’t even tell that’s it’s 100 degrees out. It could be that I can’t tell because I’m in the AC! Haha!

Awesome tea iced. Absolute melon goodness. Wow, I haven’t even had one cup of tea hot today….so weird.

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drank Coconut Oolong by DAVIDsTEA
504 tasting notes

OMG, this is SO hitting the spot right now! I think this has to be my favorite tea iced. It’s so coconutty and creamy. Mmmm! Might have to pick up some more of this, even though it’s now formulated a bit different. I remember when I tried the new one, it wasn’t hugely different, so no worries!

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drank Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
504 tasting notes

This turned out particularly delicious this morning as an iced latte with almond milk. I sipped it slowly, so maybe letting it sit a bit is the key. The flavors need time to meld together? Anyway, it was yummy, and perfect for how hot it is today!


Courtney lets her cold lattes steep overnight. I tried it and it seems to help! I just need to get my act together and remember to make my matcha the night before I want to drink it…heh


I’ll have to try that! :)


I enjoy it much more when I let it sit, it’s true. Even a few hours is better than nothing. :)

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drank Birthday Cake by DAVIDsTEA
504 tasting notes

I thought I read somewhere on here that this was like vanilla icing when you cold-steeped it. I tried it, and it didn’t work out. It tastes too medicinal, which is such a bummer. I guess I’ll have to stick to enjoying this one hot.

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I’ve enjoyed this tea twice now and it is really delicious! I thought it might taste like fresh banana in cereal, and it does! The banana pudding taste is awesome. I haven’t had the same tea with the black base, but I bet that’s awesome too! The banana is not like a banana runts flavor…it’s more natural…sweet though, like a ripe banana. I’m pretty happy I picked up this pouch! :)

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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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