703 Tasting Notes

drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
703 tasting notes

This is so intriguing. I have some experience with unflavoured blacks, but this is a totally different universe. I get a really rich thick liquor, almost brothy. I get what I refer to as cocoa notes, but I don’t know that it is cocoa per se. At first I wasn’t sure what I thought, but it grew on me through the cup. I wanted to use words like grainy and roasty and even malty, but I don’t know if those are associations or just words that got stuck in my head. Won’t rate until I’ve tried it again as this tea demands attention.

The beau pointed out that it has honey notes and I didn’t get that in the tea itself but in the aftertaste. Dark chocolate in the sip (but not at all bitter!) and sweet honey in the aftertaste.

Steeped 3/4 tsp in smallish gaiwan with boilling water for around 3 minutes.


I hVe a couple of gaiwans and have used them a few times, trying to observe traditional methods. How do you manage not to burn your fingerprints right off? Unless I really leave that cup to sit a while, I get scalded!


I’ve observed when I go for tea tastings that they don’t heat the water up to boiling most of the time…


@ashmanra – the honest answer is that you develop calluses over time. but you can also avoid the brim getting too hot by not filling the gaiwan all the way up. fill to 3/4… although with tightly rolled oolongs in particular the abundant leaf material can make it hard to avoid filling it all the way up. I tend to burn my fingers most when I’m doing a lot of consecutive infusions of a rolled oolong. my calluses are gradually developing and making it easier though.


I actually did burn my fingers this time as some of the water opted to come out the side. : ( It has taken me a couple tries to be able to pour it without a whole lot of pain, but I definitely still feel it and move quickly. I do use boiling water for my black teas, but I also (as Geoffrey said) don’t fill my gaiwan to the brim, so it’s not too hot right at first. I still spill occasionally, or have to set it down for a second so I don’t start swearing. : )


Thank you! I simply trained myself not to fill my gaiwan up very far and assumed it was a deeply imbedded Asian lesson teaching about the evils of greed! LOL! I have read about trick cups from way back that are still being made that will not permit you to get any liquid if you overfill them. I think someone linked to them long ago on the discussions threads.

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drank Northern Lights by DAVIDsTEA
703 tasting notes

This is part of a sample I purchased from David’s Tea in July when this one came out – and I am finally getting to it! In aroma (both dry and steeped) the juniper berries and mint are the stars of this show. They were actually so potent as to make my eyes water when I brought the tea too close for a sniff. I know that might turn a lot of people off, but I LOVE mint and have a distinct fondness for juniper berries, so this is exciting. I am a little worried about how those elements will work out with the apples but these are all ingredients I love independently.

First sips are a little underwhelming. Hint of something fruity sweet at first, with minty ‘burn’ at the end. Nice, nothing very show-offy about the blend. I wonder if perhaps there aren’t too many ingredients and they are muddling a little bit. I’m definitely enjoying this (especially the coolness of the mint) but I’m not quite as impressed as I’d hoped. I was thinking this might be an okay Mojito replacement, but I don’t think that will work. I’m not sad to have this, but I don’t see the need to buy more. A nice middle of the road tea.

As I get further in the cup I almost wonder if I would like it better sans apples. Although then it’s pretty much just mint and juniper berry. I think this one was meant to be iced, and I imagine that would create a totally different set of flavours altogether. I think this would be great for when I have a cold. I just got over mine, but hopefully I’ll remember to dig it out next time!

(Cooler cup yields stronger apple taste, tempered by Juniper with mint in background. Very strange, especially with the apple sweetness. Very very weird.)


Do the juniper berries give it that Christmas tree taste?


Not for me, but I really enjoy Juniper – I didn’t really notice much juniper here though. Except right at the beginning, it was really just apple and mint, which didn’t play so well together as it cooled. There are Juniper berries in Detox from David’s as well, if you haven’t tried that.


I actually haven’t had any David’s! :O I had been waiting b/c the shipping was so high but now that it’s only $5 I’ve been trying to scope some out to try for my birthday later this month :D


Mmm, Birthday tea!! Honestly, I would suggest passing on this one unless something about the idea of it really grabs you. For David’s, this is a bit of a flop and kind of forgettable. In my opinion, at least!


This type of review is exactly why I like this site! I love seeing why people don’t like a particular tea tells me a lot about it. :p And birthday tea is awesome!!!


Oh my gosh a birthday tea David’s order!!! Definitely scope around the reviews and see if you can find something that tickles your fancy, oh that’s exciting :D


Oh I’m excited! I’m really tempted by that lychee I saw the other day b/c it’s my favorite fruit. Today I took a peek over there and they have their new line for winter. The Alpine Punch though looks an awful lot like Teavana’s Zingiber though. My husband wants to try the Buttered Rum and he isn’t even a huge tea person.


Buttered Rum for sure my dear, it’s a favorite for almost everyone – even tea haters!


If you like mint and chocolate, Read My Lips tends to universally satisfy!


mmm, Uniquity that one sounds good too! Basically all of them sound good. :p the long life oolong and the milk oolong also keep catching my eye. I don’t know how anyone can live near these places and not buy the whole shop!

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drank Chocolate Monkey by Art of Tea
703 tasting notes

This was one of the 60 plus samples I received in my box of goodies from LiberTeas via Tea Trade. It seems similar to a few chocolate teas I have come to love so I was really looking forward to trying it. Like Fusion Tea Room’s Chocolate Mint Rooibos, this seems to have some fruit pieces in it (I am assuming Apple?) which lend a distinct “natural” sweetness to the blend. I also spy some red peppercorns, though I don’t ‘feel the burn’ so I don’t know how much they are contributing in terms of taste. As for that taste, I get sweet chocolate, with the fruit pieces really standing out on the sip. That said, it is a bit sweet for my tastes but still yummy to taste. Sort of like chocolate covered raisins, only without the raisin. I almost feel it might have done better with a stronger base – I am partial to flavoured blacks – though I can see the advantages of using rooibos with this.

As a fun aside, I am typing this up in outlook as I don’t have time to log in to Steepster at the moment and Outlook doesn’t think that rooibos is a word!

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drank The Immunizer by DAVIDsTEA
703 tasting notes

Sick again so having some of this. I had the beau add extra mint – all I can taste is berry with a mint background. None of the lemongrass I had last time. Hopefully it helps!

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Trying again. I let the water cool to what seemed like an appropriate level then steeped for three minutes. Ish. I get a fairly bold goji berry taste (there were three in my cup) but not very tart goji. Not getting much flavour other than that. It is a bit ‘thin’, but enjoyable. I think I will keep it in the 75 range.

I might prefer the tea to have a bit more oomph, but I’m not much of a green tea drinker and I suspect that might be the issue. The smell is amazing, however, and if you are into flavoured green tea, definitely give this a go!

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drank Creme Brulee by DAVIDsTEA
703 tasting notes

De-cupboarding! Made a jumbo pot of this – not sad to see it go, but glad to see a hint more room on my tea shelf. I’m finally learning to just hold on to the favourites!


Learning to hold on to just the favorites is a really hard lesson to learn in a lot of areas of life. My home would be the better for it!

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drank Fruity Sangria by Fusion Teas
703 tasting notes

I’ve been saving this sample…I like berry teas but am not always in the mood for them, and I wanted to watch out with both rosehips and hibiscus in the mix. The mix looks divine, with red berries, green lemongrass and yellow/orange bits of rind. I let it steep about 10 minutes as I think I was a little shy on the ‘leaf.’ The taste of this one is nice – There is a wine sort of aroma but nothing over the top. Forget the sangria and focus on the fruit. Is it both tart and sweet and really enjoyable – a dot of honey might temper the hibiscus, but it wasn’t overwhelming at all, just worked with the other flavours.

For those looking for something to replace Pink Flamingo from David’s Tea, this might satisfy. Yummy!

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drank Raspberry Mate by Fusion Teas
703 tasting notes

Another of my samples from Fusion Tea Room…only two more after this! Dry, this one smells a little odd. It is sharp and a bit tangy smelling (from the mate) but with some tart berry aroma to balance it out. Steeped, it smells less appealing. Almost cardboardy, very faint. The taste, however, is a different animal.

It does have the traits I’ve learned are characteristic of green mate, but it also has a really true tasting raspberry flavour. You get a hint of tart in the middle of the sip, but otherwise it is clearly a sweetish raspberry flavoured mate. The taste is a hint more mate than I would prefer (in that the raspberry could be stronger but I think that might make it seem artificial).

This tea is very true in taste to what you would expect and delivers on the name. I am starting to think I prefer teas with fewer ingredients, to avoid taste confusion and this one is just wonderful. For the raspberry lovers in the room, this would be a good one for you to try!

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First off, apologies to Fusion tea room for taking so long to review this generous sample. I mean to finish the last few off a few weeks back but things went sideways after my paternal grandfather passed away. But here I am with a mug of Carrot Cake in front of me. Honestly, I am worried about this one as I get more cinnamon than I would smell in the dry ‘leaves’. Steeped, the liquor is very dark but really does smell like Carrot Cake once you get past the dry cinnamon smell.

Here goes! First sips are very sweet (candied sugar sweet) then I get a hint of smokey flavour and an aftertaste of cinnamon sugar. Once I am done sipping, it is definitely true to carrot cake taste – not so much in the sip itself but in the lingering tastes. Honestly, this cup is a bit sweeter than I can stand, likely because of the hunks of dried fruit I saw in my infuser. This level of sweetness is a bit much for me so I think I will try it again another time, after checking the components in my infuser!

As it cools it is losing some of that over-bearing sweetness and is more of a cinnamon sugar flavour, with echos of raisins and icing. Still over the top but probably ideal for a dessert or sweet tea lover.


I’ve been thinking about this and according to the ingredients there shouldn’t have been any dried fruit in this tea. I saw what looked like a hunk of dried pineapple with sugar on it. Wondering now what that was…Maybe walnut? That wouldn’t explain the sweetness though.

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drank Read My Lips by DAVIDsTEA
703 tasting notes

Oh, Read My Lips – I love you so! When I first smelled and tasted you, I thought you could never be the one for me…but now? Now I don’t know how I ever lived without you. I just sent some of you off to a co-worker who also loves mint and chocolate but I can’t help but mourn that cup I’ll never have. Luckily there are 50 more grams of you at home, and tonnes more at the store. You might just be my winter indulgence this year!

ps – Thanks for making me love chocolate teas…I never knew what I was missing!


Just finished this as a latte of sorts with Vanilla, Almond milk. Oh and I melted a square of an Aero bar in the milk. It was amazing. I really love this tea.


I felt the same the first time I tried it! It reminded me of chocolate lip smackers (which for me was not a good thing at all!!) and now a absolutely love it! mmmm…


Mm I’m also a fan of this one. @Cattibrie, that latte sounds fantastic!

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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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