401 Tasting Notes


We had no electricity last night. It was cold, rainy and windy, hard to believe it’s the end of may…

Sleepy Mr Right was kind enough to start the BBQ burner at midnight for my pure enjoyment. Had to find a way to boil water for tea!

He gave me the speech about how that was his way of showing me love and it should buy him some points.

«What points?» I ask.

« Well, points to go out with the guys for example.»

« Honey, when did you ever need points for that?»

«Well… true» he admits. (I’m more of a freedom kind of gal.)

«I could keep them in the bank then, you never know, you might change as you’re getting older » he says.

«Well, as you’re getting older just costed you 500 points. Deducted from the 100 points I was about to give you, you now owe me 400 my darling.» See, I can play if I want to.

He gave me his best smile and said he always admired my negotiating skills. Love the guy.

Time for a no-fuss tea, one that will accept any temperature variation, greens don’t stand a chance under those conditions.

When Stacy from Butiki asked me not long ago how I would describe my tea preferences, I took a few minutes to reflect on that and came up with this:

I’m married to straight Blacks. I have torrid love affairs with Oolongs. My BFF are Greens. I have distant White acquaintances that I visit once in a while. I socialize more and more with Pu’erhs. I party with Flavoured.

Now, the mood called for the marrying type, so black tea I chose!

Poeple, this is the epitome of good straight black tea. You can brew it western style with confidence, it won’t let you down. It’s as sweet as can be, fruity, honey, bakery like, it has it all. Those leafhoppers sure know how to work their miracles. Don’t want to be judgemental, but if you choose to add sugar in this, something is wrong with you, have your blood sugar level checked out, haha!

It’s full bodied, and the mouthfeel is creme caramel like, that’s the best way I can describe how it feels in my mouth as it cools down to lukewarm.

Butiki’s brewing parameters are also perfect for it. I may have let it steep for a little longer than 4min this time, but no harm done.

I have this old kettle, it took many beatings over the years, it now looks like it was made out of hammered metal! We used to bring it on camping trips, it was put many times directly on the flames of fire camps, I can still smell the smoke on it! That’s the one we used last night. We hadn’t seen this old friend of ours in a long time, and that started some conversations.

We ended up staying outside, freezing to death in the gazebo, looking at old pictures from our early years together. Now, I could lie and tell you we snuggled by the candlelight and that would be so romantic right? But my man insisted on using the mega-power flashlight he just bought from home depot instead. That made him happy. For those of you who don’t already know, I live close to the woods. It did provide acres of light to our backyard’s wildlife. Boys will be boys.

And good tea will add to our book of memories once again. Thank you Butiki.

Doug F

Great review!


Very cute review!! And that’s a funny way to describe tea preferences, but it works well to convey them!


Thanks guys, It was such a fun night, I had to write about it here!


this is an awesome review! i slept in a funky position and my neck is killing me, but you really made me laugh, thank you!


Hahaha! careful james!


Love this tealog – made me feel like I was right there sipping along with you under the glow of the mega-power flashlight.


congrats on the note, very funny and refreshing


canadianadia: You are invited if you bring good tea…and sunglasses for your protection!


This sounds like a wonderful tea, and I love your point system there!


Ysaurella: thank you!

Incendiare: the tea is fabulous! The point system, well it was his idea and I think he forgot about my mathematician skills when it comes to keeping scores, haha!


Haha it’s like Whose Line is it Anyway, where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter.

Terri HarpLady

Cute review, love the negotiating skills too!


@Incendiare: don’t you miss that show?
@Terri:Thank you Ms Harplady!

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Thank you so much Ysaurella for this surprise sample!

Once upon a time, there was a Fairy who had given up on Apple tea… She thought she could never find an apple tea that could meet her requirements and expectations.

What she had always longed for, was a tea that could reproduce the juicy and delicious taste of apples, without the company of the harmful Wicked Army of Additives! The WAA had terrorized the world of tea for centuries and was the main cause of discord between tea and flavour.

What she wanted seemed so simple: an apple tea that would simply taste like… APPLES!

Just as the Fairy had finally resigned on the idea, Princess Ysaurella from the heights of her French Kingdom, decided it would be otherwise. The injustice had to stop!

Apple tea should take its place in the wonderful world of Fairies and no longer be a forbidden tea!

From the other side of the ocean, she did everything possible to arrange safe transportation for Pomme d’Amour, and it quickly reached destination to the Fairy.

When the Fairy examined the offering, she remained skeptical: how could a spell that was there for so long could be lifted so easily? How could the WAA be defeated so easily?

As she had nothing to lose, she focused her attention on the infused elixir’s aroma…Oh, the scent of fresh apples! Was it possible? She cautiously moved to the next step and tasted.

Awww … divine potion that finally valued the Apple as the Queen of fruit she really was, allowing her to shine in her beautiful black China-Ceylon robe, without any unnecessary garments such as cinnamon, cake or pie flavours! Just the right amount of sweet and juicy apple taste!

It goes to say that without Princess Ysaurella reconciliation could not have taken place! The WAA was put to rest, and all the Fairies lived happily ever after, sipping their Apple tea.

The End. Thank you Princess :-)


I’m glad you liked this one !
I really like it too, it is just the taste des pommes au four :)
I didn’t know you were experiencing disagreement with apple teas but that’s true this one is just so natural.


I actually stopped buying any apple teas! I just have the ones I get as samples in various tea orders., which I never care much for. Now too bad this one was just a teaser since I can’t buy it here!! Let me know if from one of your North American swaps you ever get an apple tea that is worthy of the name :-)


only had 2 :mom’s apple pie (DT) and another from Della Terra and they were just inferior to this one.
As you’re near Montréal, you may buy some Betjeman & Barton : Il était une fois Noël, it has apple but it’s a xmas blend so not a mono apple blend.


Yeah, it’s not that those two are really bad, it’s just that I don’t care much for them, they leave me indifferent, which is never a good sentiment to carry around tea!

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ETA: I had what was left of this sample yesterday and I find myself wanting more tonight, even if I have like a zillion more unexplored teas in the cupboard!! It seems the heart always wants what it cannot have :-(

I had a crappy Monday and thought nothing would make the day better. That was before I got the mail. Yay, a swap from Ysaurella ! Thank you so much for this generous sample!

After tasting this little marvel, I understand better why it is named this way. This tea is so romantic, it’s a flirt in a cup!

This is the epitome of refinement in terms of essence and aroma. I am not easily seduced by flavoured teas, I’m pretty hard to please!

Ysaurella got me dreaming about this tea when I first read her lovely review. Thanks for introducing me to this little treasure from the old world!

This blend does something not many are able to achieve: it provides a perfect balance between flowery, spicy and fruity notes. Love the pink berries, such a nice peppery addition!

I don’t have a detailed list of ingredients, but something in there reminds me of Turkish Delights! I also appreciate the delicate citrus breeze that circulates around all the other flavours. It’s nothing like bergamot, more of a shy lemon :-)

Rêverie d’un soir sur la Néva is simply dreamy… This is the tea I would choose to have at a Café in Saint-Pétersbourg, waiting and longing for my lover…


isn’t it wonderful how odds and sods mixed with tea can turn your day around completely? i’m working my way through a tea shipment that arrived today… very exciting.

glad the tea did the trick…. now i want to your new sample, lol.


I’m glad you liked this one so much. I am in love with this tea, sometimes I just open the bag to sniff it !
The brand is really a very good quality brand, I need to explore it more.


This sounds quite lovely!


@JustJames: How right you are! Hope you’re enjoying the new shipment. As for this sample, I’m afraid it’s all gone :-(

@Ysaurella: please don’t nag about it, I for one CAN’T open and sniff it whenever I want, IT’S ALL GONE! But I’m keeping the zip lock, that will do the trick for a while (now I sound like a real tea nerd, hiding and sniffing tea bags, lol!)

@Sil: it is sooo lovely :-)

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drank Black Pearl Sumatra by Tealux
401 tasting notes

This is sold as an oolong at Tealux, but I’m unsure if it should be listed as a black tea instead. It’s rolled and looks like it’s oolong, but the taste tells a different story. I’ve had dark oolongs that were closer to black teas, but this one has crossed the border it seems! Feel free to enlighten me if you know more please :-)

So first sip got me so confused, I googled it to find out more. I hardly found any information, but it seems I’m not the only one who can’t make up her mind about it! Some shops have it listed as black tea, some as oolong. Nevertheless, it is the same tea, grown in volcanic Indonesian soils. And quite frankly, (though it got me curious enough to look it up) in the end, I don’t care if it’s completely oxidized or not, it just tastes happy to me!

The liquor is a deep amber sunset, very orange pekoe like. First impression (meaning this is what I think of while I close my eyes, inhale the aroma and drink it): cinnamon, brandy, raisins, big fruity notes and so sweet! It’s just superb and it produces a rich flavorful cup. Now, did I find the described Washington Red Apple in there? No I didn’t, that’s a little too far fetch for my taste buds! But it reminds me a lot of Taiwanese Assam, maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to it. It has no roasty or nutty characteristics, and not a tiny little bit of astringency, even in that forgotten 10 min. 2nd steep! If anything, the burst of flavor described above increased tenfold, very forgiving!

A new treasure tea that will be added to the permanent collection!

Wish I had bought a pound instead of just a sample, I would sprinkle all of you Steepster friends with these little nuggets so you could have a chance to taste it!

Talking about black, I am on cloud nine right now, just found out The Black Keys are playing outdoors in my area in July. Guess who’s going? Oh yeah, this Fairy is a happy one, doing «sauts de joie»!!

Good tea… summer…picturesque outdoors venue… epic music…all the right ingredients for a good life recipe :-)

Cheers everyone!


Oh wow that should be an amazing concert!! Crossing my fingers that they come out this way!


Ill have to put this on my shopping list.


Alysha, I checked their schedule, don’t see any tour dates for BC, but the schedule stops in july, so there’s still hope they’re heading west in August :-) I adore them!


Sil, I’m pretty confident you will like this one since it’s the most «un-oolong» oolong I’ve ever had, LOL!


Thanks for checking that. I’ll keep an eye out. They are one of my favourite bands too :)

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Made tuna tataki and soba noodles for supper tonight. I usually have Genmaicha or Sencha with this type of meal but wanted to try something different. This tea is perfect!

What a beautiful green! It’s sweet at first, midly grassy/vegetal, then It releases just a touch of smokiness with a nice astringent finish. I know most poeple don’t appreciate astringency, but strange enough, I love it, especially with food. This type of tea is a real mouth wash! Yet, it’s delicate enough to have on its own.

I will surprise my guests tonight with something new, perfect!

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The accidental pairing of Banana & Keemun

Soooo, being a big fan of The Banana makes me quite critical and hard to please when it comes to recreate its taste.

I have encountered only one banana tea that I truly enjoyed, the others end up tasting weird to me.

One day, I was drinking some Keemun tea while eating a very sweet and ripe banana. I thought, hey! That’s pretty awesome, they taste incredible together!

Then I decided I wanted to have fun and pretend I could make my own blend. I soaked some walnuts in a Keemun infusion then added some mashed banana and a little nutmeg. Beleive it or not, it was tasty! ( but of course the texture was awful, unless you like banana grime floats!)

I started wondering how come Butiki didn’t have a banana tea to offer, cause if someone can do it right, it’s Almighty Tea Alchemist herself, Stacy!

So I emailed her and told her about the accidental pairing on Banana Keemun and my own concoction. Turned out she was already working on a banana blend! She told me she had tried a few blends so far but was not completely pleased with the results, so she gave the Keemun a shot!

The rest is history :-)

So, am I biased when it comes to describing this tea? Of course I am! But the fact that I am is so irrelevant…just try it and see for yourself! It is fantatic!

The dry blend looks amazing as always. Lots of walnuts and pieces of sumptuous freeze dried bananas! I am loving the sweet natural banana taste, and paired with the walnuts, it’s an instant cupboard classic!

I love the fact that the taste of walnut isn’t overpowering. I’m glad she didn’t put any nutmeg, it would be too much. Her Keemun makes it just the perfect base to bring it all together. And it re-steeps pretty well!

Thank you so much Stacy for giving me my perfect banana cup and making me part of that process, it was so much fun! Whenever I have a conversation about customer service, I mention you cause you are the standard in my opinion. At this rate, I think your business will unstoppably bloom, like a big blooming tea flower!

But I hope not too much though…selfishly, I wouldn’t want to lose that proximity you so graciously offer :-)
ETA: Well, this was good while it lasted…but I’m afraid it’s all gone now :-( So long Foxy Roxy, till we meet again. Don’t want to tease too much, but this little tea just got better and better, such a nice and soft creamy bananarama delight, let’s just see how long I can resist another Butiki order!


Yay! I’m so glad you sent her a note about this one. I’m excited to try it out :)


Ok, I could persuade myself into not buying the Caramel Vanilla Assam right now but this is another story. It sounds amazing.


Haha crow kettle….


Girls, feel free to indulge! It is amazing! Caramel Vanilla also looks irresistible, I got a sample of it, smells divine, yum! Can’t wait to try, but I have to calm down my banana fever first!


Oh i’ll be placing an order, but first I need a few more sipdowns and my swap packages to arrive because otherwise i’ll be back up to 300 before you can blink!


Oh, Sil, just embrace your addiction, I accept you as you are :-)

Butiki Teas

I’m so glad you mentined the banana keemum combo and at just the right time. :)

Terri HarpLady

Wowza! This is officially on the list for my NEXT butiki order!


Terri Harplady, hope you like it as much as I do :)


on my list as well! lol


Sil, no more list for you!! Just sipdowns, remember???


hahaha ok fine, it’s on my spreadsheet? :) I’m actually hoping i get put a nice dent in my tea stash on the weekend since i have a lot of small sample sizes to go through (like 60). Luckily with stacy’s teas, i can hold off because they’ll be there for a while, and because i like to place giant orders at a time. I have about 20 of her teas in my cupboard so i need a few more of those gone first heh


LOL for the spreadsheet! Have a happy sipdown week end then :-)


Oh, wow, thank you for helping bring this to the world! ~~
I love banana, I’m excited to finally try a tea blend that lives up to the fruit.


Rie T., what I like the most about it is the fact that there’s none of that artificial banana taste your normal get from banana flavoring. It is subtle though, you can really taste the base tea and the walnuts through it all, so don’t expect a big bold banana taste, this is not it. But if you want a delicious mellow black tea enhanced with natural banana and walnut , THIS IS IT :-)


In that case, definitely cemented on my list. (‘v’)/


Mashed banana and tea. Crazy!


Incendiare, oops! What can Ii say? I know this one was a little over the top, my tea obsession gets messy sometimes :-)


Wow I can’t wait! I ordered some of this and Ruby Pie because… after reading this… I just could not resist! Ack!
It’s allowed though, since Butiki is one of the only companies I will allow myself to buy from while I do my sipdowns lol

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I woke up with a stomach ache. Too much food for Easter last night, and I don’t eat meat very often. So I turned to puerh to help out. As I was getting things ready, the doorbell rang. Jack, the son of a dearest friend, was at the door. We’ve known him forever and he’s family to us. Says he was in the neighbourhood and wanted to say hi. He’s a troubled 18 year old kid but he has a good heart and I love him. I have my ways with teenagers, they trust me and confide in me. I help in ways I know how. As a true teenager, he usually drops by for two things:

1- Load his ipod with awesome music for free (never a problem!)
2- Money (and I’m hoping he doesn’t ask today)

I ask how he’s doing.


That’s all I’m gonna get.

«Come, I’m about to have some puerh tuocha, want some?»

«????» then a big smirk on his face.

Oh, I get it! It’s in a wrapper half opened… from his perspective, it «kind of» looks like some other substance… He thinks I’m about to roll something??

«No silly, it’s just tea!»

I go through the process. As I’m pouring, I explain what a Yixing is and why I have to rinse the tea first. That part makes him question my sanity.

«as I understand it, you rinse it cause it’s old and dirty?Now why would I want to drink some old and dirty bad smelling tea?»

I know he doesn’t have the patience to listen to the lecture I could give him on the subject so I spare him.

«Oh Just sip it! If you’re man enough that is».

I’ve had this puerh only once, over a year ago, at a time when I could not appreciate it much. Things have changed, though I have only scratched the surface of puerh knowledge, at least I’m past the stage of being scared of it.

This tuocha is big. The first very short steep after the rinse is a dark brown purplish color. It’s so fragrant of leather, I can’t help thinking of horse stables, the smell of heavy duty leather that worn saddles are made of. It’s rich and bold. I get a faint sweetness, reminiscent of ripe figs or dates. Also very woodsy. It’s accessible I would say, a good quality everyday tea.

A much better experience than the first time I had it! I knew nothing about puerh and had done no homework. As I remember, I over steeped and the taste was revolting! Took me a while after that to start experimenting with any puerh. But I now find myself liking it more and more. There’s just so much to explore!

As for Jack, well, he just spitted his in the kitchen sink. Not his thing apparently!

The only word that came out with the tea was «Gross!». We laughed!

After the fun puerh tasting, he asked for the usual iPod refill. I was so relieved that the money issue was left alone.

Means he’s doing well this time. Sober for the last 45 days. Longest time since he was 16.

He’s not giving up. Happy fun little moments like this morning have been rare between us in the last two years and I will cherish that. Happy tea day…

ETA: This afternoon, Jack and I had this tea again. We’ve had a few tea sessions since that day, and to my disbelief, he asked if he could try the «gross spitting tea» again! (his words, not mine!) I said yes, but only if he’d promise to keep at least one sip in this time.

Not only did he drink many Gongfu shots, he actually liked the last ones as they were getting weaker. I think tea is becoming a project to him and that’s what I had hoped for…it keeps him away from other stuff that’s bad for him. Thanks to this little tuocha, we had once again a terrific time together! For that alone, I am grateful…


Love your description and his reaction. Bet he wanted to spit out the first alcohol he sipped as well. Keep working on him!


KS, Thank you. Yes, I’ll definitely keep working on him, for the tea and for his well being…


at least he tried …the main point is YOU loved the pu-erh


thank you for sharing this story. :) and i’m with Ysaurella, at least he tried it!


Kids often spit out veggies that they love later on as adults. I love your stories! You inspire me.


Sil & Ysaurella: How right you are! I admit I explained about «rinsing the dirt» to gross him out a little, thinking he wouldn’t want to try it anyways. I was shocked that he actually tasted it and told him after how brave he was, that’s why we laughed so much :-)


Thanks Bonnie! Aside from the spitting part, I think he was intrigued by this new experience. He needs new things in his life right now, I won’t push it on him, but I have a feeling he’ll be around for more… I told him that there are better choices for beginners and that this tuocha was pretty bold to start with!


Tea is a cool subculture thing for many young people. At my shop, you see lots of young people (no oldies except me) and they hang out there. Free wi-fi, not expensive and good place to meet people.


YAY! thanks for the update on jack :)


Agreed! That’s awesome to hear :D


thanks girls, I’m so proud of him, he’s doing great…

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Thank you so much Stacy for letting me try this jewel of the mountains!

On this beautiful Easter Sunday morning, I needed the perfect tea. Time to open this coveted oolong sample.

Over the past year, I have developed a profound love for Oolongs. It has emancipated my palate by offering me an infinite range of variety and possibilities.

One thing I love the most, is the anticipation it creates each time I try a new one. Oolongs are so different from one another, on so many levels. (I realize this is fact for most teas, but I find it to be particularly true for Oolongs.)

It goes from the % of oxidization, the roasting process with the aged ones, the way it is rolled, the way the leaf unfurls, the climate it is grown in, all the way to the insect that will ignite the sweetest defence mechanism. No surprise that Oolong is on my list of this world’s greatest wonders!

Gungu brew will allow me to experience all its subtleties.

The look: beautiful unbroken leaves that unfurled rapidly. The infusion is bright yellow, almost phosphorescent, it is worth pouring in clear glass to appreciate all its nuances.

The taste is so sweet and delicate. The fragrance brings the image of a rare and fragile flower, a unique gem timidly revealing its splendour. One sip and I’m transported in altitude, at the top of the highest unattainable mountain peak. If I could take a bite out of a mellow fluffy cloud, I’d imagine it would taste just like this tea.

It is slightly vegetal, fresh notes of flowers and citrus. It is exquisitely balanced by a sweet buttery mouthfeel that lingers for a long time.

Not long enough though, cause I feel sadness when it’s all over after 6 steeps…

The fact that Mr. Right unapologetically salivated all over it (sorry for the mental image, it happens on very rare occasions) helped in my decision to immediately place an order with Butiki!

Happy Easter everyone!


Yay! That’s awesome news :) sounds like you and mister right had a fantastic time with this tea


Well, he’s not into tea the way I am ( then again, who is?? Oh yeah, you Sil!!!! ), but once in a while comes a tea that he just freaks about and if it turns out I equaly like it, then from the hungry look in his eyes, I get scared and very protective of my supply depending of how little I have in custody at the moment. Having only a sample of this one, IT WAS A SCARY SITUATION THIS MORNING! But I always en up sharing anyways :-)


this tea sounds really appealing !


haha my other half is the same way. everything tastes like “tea”


So nice to see your beautiful face Bonnie :-)

Charles Thomas Draper

And a Happy Easter to you as well…

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Who said white teas had to be bland?

The smell of the brew: I get lost in it, tea drunk at first sniff! Oh, I could just bathe in its holy water!

1rst steep:

It has a round texture, feels like a cloud of pudding in my mouth!

Of course, I can’t deny the freshly cut hay, it dominates this first infusion. It’s sweet and slightly flowery. Beautiful pale yellow nectar. I’m slurping it like there’s no tomorrow, thinking my 4oz Gaiwan is way too small, I’d rather have a gigantic pot of this! But as they say, with great patience comes great rewards!

2nd steep:

Brings more sweet, honey like flavor with hints of citrus and melon in the background. I can see this being an excellent iced tea.

The later steeps are still sweet, but they also kick in with a peppery aftertaste, nice addition to the already complex symphony of flavors, it gives it a second life. It’s definitely very potent.

L-O-V-E it!

In conclusion, this is white tea with an attitude , some kind of a white boy with a James Brown swag signing «I got soul!!»


I got the feelin..Uh…


I’m superbad, Uh!


I’ll answer your note when I’m better.I am sick. Glad to see you here!


I had a strange feeling when I say today that your last post was 3days old, not a habit of yours.but then I saw your comment on my post and I stopped worrying. Should have known… Please be well soon, sending healthy vides your way.

Charles Thomas Draper

When the surf is huge and epic this song always comes into my head and gives me wings…


Hahaha! Now that’s a vision!

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To me, Earl Grey is the father figure of all tea. A solid dude that you can rely on at all times.

Always there to support you, loving you and hugging you when you need to. Keeping things simple and comforting cause you know exactly what to expect.

This Earl is a very good illustration of that. Not all Earl Greys are created equally, they often are unbalanced, bergamot kicking a little too strong.

The balance on this one is perfection! The bergamot is done just right in a non bitter way, leaving plenty of room for the excellent assam base to shine through. It’s creamy without any vanilla flavouring addition.

This is my go to tea of the morning when there’s no time for fuss, knowing I won’t have to compromise on the quality.

Thank you Teajo for giving me a good Papa Earl to rely on :-)

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I am French Canadian, so please forgive me if my English is not always perfect!

My relationship with tea in a nut shell:

I’m married to straight Blacks. I have torrid love affairs with Oolongs. My BFF are Greens. I socialize more and more with Pu’erhs. I have distant White acquaintances that I visit once in a while. I party with Flavored!

Love Steepster, a place for tea lovers, where you learn and share with others…

About me:

I am a free spirit, I let people be who and what they want to be and expect the same in return.

Books! I love French and classic literature, but also modern and pretty much anything that captures my attention.

As tea and books, music is something I can’t live without! From Bach to Nirvana, my ears know no boundaries…

Art is food for the soul…I consume lots of it.

Animal and nature lover, I will never let a fury friend in needs.

I’ve been drinking tea for as long as I can remember. But since I’v joined Steepster, my tea knowledge has emancipated exponentially.

Drinking tea is a sensorial experience. The name in itself “Camellia Sinensis” lingers the promess of an adventure for the senses…

As for my rating system, well it’s pretty much inexistent…Since I don’t write many reviews, I try to focus on the good stuff and will usually review teas that left a big impression on me.

Not a big «swapper» but if we do get to swap together, you’ll remember me, I live up to my Fairy reputation :-)

I love taking tea pics, here’s my Instagram:



The Laurentians, Canada

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