707 Tasting Notes

drank Caramel Vanilla Chai by 52teas
707 tasting notes

This one comes from my 12 Teas of Christmas sampler – when I opened it, I thought it was the Extra Bold Masala Chai, and was surprised to read it was Caramel Vanilla. The aroma pre and post steeping is just that of the bold chai (which I have had bad experiences with, it can get very very bitter). I did this cup with boiling water and a brief steep, maybe two minutes. After letting it cool I could get a hint of caramel aroma, but the taste was pure chai. Very similar to the Extra Bold Masala Chai. I get a hint of caramel at the end of the sip, but it is more an echo than a taste. As it cools it becomes more bitter, so I added a bit of milk which enhances the illusion of caramel and vanilla. Certainly not a favourite, but I haven’t had a chai in a while so that’s nice.

Update: That black tea is SO BITTER. Might do the rest of the sample as stovetop with milk, but I definitely shouldn’t use boiling water. Might go add some sugar as well as the milk (neither of which I usually add. I happen to think it’s a poor tea that requires milk or sugar, but I know that isn’t a popular opinion). Hoping that with alternate preparations I can really get the most out of this sample. Sugar and milk helped cut down the bitterness, but I’m still making a pinched up face while I drink!


I agree with you—teas that require milk and sugar are lacking. Let the stoning begin for our heathen opinions! :)

aisling of tea

I enjoy teas occasionally with milk and sugar, but I agree, if a tea requires it to be drinkable, then it’s a poor tea indeed.


REQUIRES is totally the word I needed. I’m going to edit that in there. i have no problem with a tea being enhanced by additions, but requiring it is just upsetting.Good to know I’m not alone. : )


I definitely agree with you… I only rate a tea based on it’s taste straight without additions. If the taste is no good without milk and sugar it’s not going to get a good rating from me!

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drank French Vanilla Assam by 52teas
707 tasting notes

Well. Once upon a time, I had a pouch of this tea. I found it too boldly vanilla, almost coconutty – My pouch moved along to a proper vanilla loving person and I moved on with my day. But, then came Christmas and the 12 Teas from Frank. Yesterday was the dreaded Coconut Cheesecake Honeybush (I loathe coconut) so I took the day off, looking forward to today. Imagine my unease when I smelled today’s blend. Luckily, I’m liking this. I learned from past mistakes and went light on the steep time, and I have a nice smooth vanilla, with no traces of coconut. Of course, the re-blend is likely a bit different from the original, but I am glad to enjoy this cuppa. I am moving the rating up a bit based on today’s success, but don’t regret my passing along of the original pouch. Merry Christmas, all!


2nd steep took some extra time – Still impressed with the marginally toned down flavour and smooth consistency. Steep #2 really pushing it but worth the shot.

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Wow. I am finally in the same residence as may 12 Teas of Christmas (and my family, yay!) so I am giving this a shot. I’ve got to say, I’m impressed. I don’t like green tea as a general rule, and the idea of marshmallow green tea never appealed. However, this is quite tasty. While my conditions are far from perfect (microwaved water, eek) it yields a tasty sweet cp of tea. I’m not getting much green (which I don’t mind) but there really is a marshmallow and rice krispy taste going on here. I am pleasantly surprised! I’ll give it another steep later on and see how that goes, for now I am saving the other half of my sample for my beau, when he arrives on Friday.


Second steep went well enough, but much weaker. Not going to push it to three.


Oh crap, is microwaving water a bad idea?! I’m getting into all sorts of trouble here on Steepster for my bad brewing habits.

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An explanation, first. I have tried a small number of flavoured oolongs but am not overly keen on them. Nothing wrong with them, but never my go-to tea. I have never really given unflavoured oolongs a try, though I did try a sip of the beau’s at Sawadee Tea House once (brewed Western style) but I mostly found it bitter and over-steeped. Tonight I brought out my gaiwan and my tiny cute double walled glass teacups to do “Western style Gong-fu” (I am not using flash rinses, but instead a sightly lower temperature for 1 minute or so). I don’t really know what to call it, but that’s what I think of!

Also, a note for poor Mercuryhime who sent me a couple of lovely looking oolongs to try – I wanted to cut my teeth on the relatively inexpensive and very available DT Tie Kwan Yin so I can (hopefully!) better appreciate the ones you sent. I WILL be trying them soon!

Initially, the dry leaves smell delicious and appealing, lightly sweet and floral, but mild (remember that I’m a dedicated black tea drinker!) First steep got 1 min or so and yielded a light greenish liquor, with a mild floral taste. As I told the beau, it reminds me of a blooming tea but not as strong in flavour. Likely a user error, but really nice nonetheless. The leaves unfolded a lot and are HUGE at this point, lovely full leaves. Stunning to watch.

Steep 2: Similar steep time/temp (I don’t use a thermometer or timer, hah!) Flavour is similar (sweet, lightly floral) but with a bit more strength. The liquor is a bit more yellow, and this too is a satisfying cuppa. I’m definitely not catching any nuances of flavour here, but there is definitely nothing objectionable. I am used to bold flavours, but for a lighter sort of tea, I have no problem drinking this. I know I’ve said it already, but this still reminds me of blooming teas I have tried. I presume it is the floral notes that I am being reminded of here.

Steep 3: Stepped up to boiling water, to see if it would add anything to the mix, really. I’m afraid that if I don’t I will just be drinking hot water. This steep came the closes to a hint of bitterness, but was really the same smooth sweet floral taste I’ve had all along. I’m out of time for today, might try some more tomorrow or might let it rest.

I’m gonna give this a rating of high 70s for now, likely to be adjusted when I have more experience in the field. This was a beautiful tea and experience, and I’m glad I gave it a shot. I didn’t experience any bitterness from this tea like I did with my bad experience Western style attempt many moons ago – Yay for potential oolong appreciation!


Ok, I admit I’m anxious to see what you think of the oolongs I sent, but I can wait. Take your time. :)

I tend to like my black teas bold as well, so I need to be in a certain mood for them. My default cravings lean towards lighter and more refreshing flavors. Lately, I’ve been really craving minty and desserty teas though. Anyways, oolongs can be an expensive habit. Just a warning. hehe

Maxime-Daniel Friðrikson

It’s a great Oolong tea to start with the Oolong family and most of all, it’s cheaper! You can also steep it 3 times with the same leaves. I personally love this one. Great review!

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Having a cup of this while in switchboard today. Unfortunately, today it isn’t quite what I wanted. The chocolate is still rich and bold, but I am not in the mood for that. I think I’m really in the mood (once again) for a lovely black tea with natural cocoa notes rather than a flavoured tea. I also desperately want to try the oolongs sent to me by MercuryHime (and the two I picked up at DT last night to go with them) but first I need to have time to sit down with my gaiwan (and the beau) to try them out. I am excited because I can use my tiny double walled glasses when the time comes!

Anyway, this tea. Getting dark chocolate, with a hint of sweetness (more on the end of the sip than the flavour). I am feeling a hint of chili burn on my lips, but it isn’t overly present in the taste. I do remember that coming out more as I got deeper in the cup last time though. Solid tea, just not to my tastes at the moment. If only I could afford to go home in the middle of the day for a couple hours and have lovely tea as I want it.


the wrong tea at the right time is terrible! Some of my faves have to be consumed at just the right time… *sighs

Maxime-Daniel Friðrikson

I just want to try this one…

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drank Santa's Secret by DAVIDsTEA
707 tasting notes

Santa Baby, Coming down my chimney tonight…

But only with this tea! Creepiness of that song aside, this tea is still going strong. Delicious, creamy and smooth, it has a richness that is surprising, considering the fairly minimal ingredients list. I wish I had ice cream that tasted like this… Though at this point, I wish everything tasted like this. Yum!!

aisling of tea

Seconded on the ice cream (even though I shouldn’t have it). The only candy cane ice cream I can find is full of chocolate, booo!


There was a Chapmans one at my grocery store that looked good, but I boldyl walked by. not sure if it included chocolate, though..

aisling of tea

If it was the one with a penguin on it, then yep! Choco city. Boo. But I have grown to love Chapman’s since moving up here!


I’ve had candy cane ice cream without chocolate…I think Scotsburn has it without chocolate (actually, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it with chocolate).

I find this tea much more satisfying (and makes me feel less guilty) than the candy cane hot chocolate from tims!

aisling of tea

Oh, I’ve had it, I just haven’t been able to find it since moving to Toronto. It’s for the best anyway, I can’t really have it.


God I miss Scotsburn. It doesn’t exist outside of the Maritimes.


Whaaaaaaaaaaat? Man, Scotsburn is a staple here. Obviously.


I knooooooooow. It’s so sad! Those towering scoops of ice cream is every flavour imaginable . . . I miss it so much.


Creepyiness of the song?
I loved Eartha Kitt’s version the most.
You must be too young to enjoy real music :-(

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drank Nepal Black by DAVIDsTEA
707 tasting notes

I’ve had this for a while but somehow never got around to trying it. I only bought 20 grams, but it is such a light tea that I got one of those little silver bags DT uses almost full. The smell of the dry leaves is fairly typical black tea, in my opinion. The steeped smell however, is a different beast. I smell honeyed notes, a natural sweetness that I LOVE to find in my black teas. Honestly I am in the mood for something with cococa notes, but I don’t think this will suit that need. Also, I’m having some almonds with this, so we’ll see what impact that has!

Almonds aside, this was surprisingly mild. I get a honeyed sweetness in the taste, but it’s not overbearing. There is no bitterness at all, and this is a very smooth tea. I don’t know that I can pick out any specific flavours, but I am loving this. It’s a nice easy drinking black tea, the kind that would make a good companion to a lazy afternoon with a great book. MMmmm…


This is my favourite straight black tea.


Sounds great! I wish I had a better sense of picking out flavour notes in straight teas.


I pushed this one to three steeps in my small/medium sized Gaiwan – The first two were really good but the third was a bit of a stretch, I think. Can’t fault a black tea that yields two delicious steeps, though!

@Cattibrie – I’ve had a couple plain blacks that I am crazy for, but they are largely inaccessible to me (Harney’s Golden Snail, Keemun Mao Feng). This one is a pretty good stand in though, and I do love some natural sweetness. Now I need DT to have a yummy Golden Snail-ish tea! : )

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Found some of this in the “far back” of my tea cupboard while digging out some favourites over the weekend. I brought the few remaining bags with me to work to use while at reception/switchboard. Had a sore throat this morning so I went for this one rather than a bagged black and was glad I did. I still quite like this one for a bagged tea, the flavour comes through as sweet mandarin, but not cloyingly so. I’ve had trouble finding nice orange teas, so this one is a treat. : )

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I’ve been having this one lately at work while at switchboard – When I find myself wanting something unflavoured this is the only one lying around (at work) that isn’t in bags. I find it has a tendency to become bitter if I am not careful about steeping time, but it is certainly a servicable black. I think if I could add a drop or two of milk or a few granules of sugar after a while it might improve that hint of bitterness, but when in switchboard there is none of that.

All that said, I would prefer a higher quality keemun to be the one I have on hand (something with some depth and nuances of flavour) but I should be able to use the rest of this tin with ease. When I did my large scale exploration of black teas a number of months back I made the fatal mistake of buying large volumes of tea before testing them, so I have a couple tins of servicable (but not fantastic) tea lying around that I need to use up before I can justify getting some of the good stuff. I can’t resist a bargain and the price of tea in the tin is usually far superior to the cost of samples (on a per gram basis, of course). Ah well, at least I have tea!

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drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
707 tasting notes

Had a DELICIOUS pot of this last evening with the beau (after packaging up an ounce or two for a swap!) We used two heaping teaspoons for the pot and each got two 8 ounce cups out of it, so that’s pretty good in my book. The taste was rich decadent vanilla with a hint of caramel, just the way I like it. Adjusting the rating back up based on that perfect pot – I think the key to this one for me is a bit more leaf and only about 3 minutes to steep. I don’t like astringency, so most of my blacks get about 3 minute steeps and that’s just what I like – No additions.

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Well, this needed refreshing. I have been drinking loose leaf for many years, and have fairly well nailed down my tastes. I love Chinese blacks and some other unflavoured teas. I occasionally drink flavoured teas, or herbals, but the bulk of my tea is unflavoured with no additives. I stock regularly from Teavivre with the occasional Verdant purchase and the odd re-stock at Davids. I love mint, am learning about the wide world of puerh, and prefer ripe to raw, so far. I don’t like green or green oolongs very much, white is okay and roasted oolongs are pretty good. Coconut and chamomile are awful, and I wish they weren’t in so many blends!

At home, I live with my husband and cat in a house built by my grandfather, which we love. We share many interests – books, tea, video games, board games, tv/movies. On top of that, I love crosswords and recently took up knitting again, so I’m having a hard time balancing all my passions at the moment. I’m a big fan of Doctor Who, as is my entire immediate family. I love spreading the Who love!

We also spend a lot of time with family, when we can. I’ve got a gaggle of younger brothers, and we like to spend time with them. The wonders of the internet allow us to spend time together even though some of them live a few hours away.

As for ratings, I try to only log teas once or twice because I drink a lot of the same ones repeatedly. My rating is based on my perception of the tea at first tasting and is adjusted if anything notable occurs in subsequent cups. I may also factor in the price and customer service but try to note that when I can.

81 – 100: These are great teas, I love them, regularly stock them or savour them as unique treats.
71 – 80: These are solid. I drink them, I like them, I may or may not keep them on hand regularly. This is still good stuff.
61 – 70: Just okay. I can drink it, but it doesn’t stand out to me. Might be lower quality, not to my taste, or outside my comfort zone.
41 – 60: Not likely to keep drinking…hoping hubby will enjoy!
0 – 40: No thank you, please. Take it away and don’t make me finish the cup.



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