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91 Tasting Notes


Sipdown! (I think…)

Used my last bag of this today. It’s quite good for a CTC supermarket tea, but I’m not really sure how to rate this compared to the unadulterated teas I’ve logged. (I brew this strong to take milk & sugar, and it’s kind of disgusting at that strength without the additions.) Anyway, it’s a solid breakfast tea, brisk and sturdy. I liked it, but not so much that I’d seek it out specifically.

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reviewed Brewing Basket by Finum
91 tasting notes

Bought one of these on my last US visit so I’d have something for brewing loose tea. I already had a Chatsford basket, but this one is much better. The stainless steel mesh is much finer and more durable than the Chatsford’s nylon (or whatever petroleum derivative), and a bit easier to clean, too. Haven’t gotten any fannings in my cup yet. It’s a very handy thing at a very reasonable price, so I suspect I may get a few more in the future.

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Brewing this up for the first time was an interesting experience. I’m not the biggest fan of melon, but the premise of cantaloupe flavored tea was too intriguing not to try. I gave the bag a sniff upon opening and was met with surprisingly little fragrance. Okay, I thought, maybe it’ll smell stronger once it’s steeping. It did, but not by much.

The taste was pretty nice – it had a subtle floral-fruity thing going on, much like an actual cantaloupe. It was pleasant and thoroughly sippable, but it didn’t quite wow me. Then I added a tiny drizzle of agave.

BAM, fruity-creamy-juicy goodness, just like a slice of cantaloupe with a smidgen of cream. Maybe better. It was just as tasty after it had cooled to room temperature as it was hot, and probably would be awesome iced. I gotta get me some more of this.

Thank you Stacy for the sample, and the triple-take!

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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drank Jade Cloud by Lahloo Tea
91 tasting notes

Aha, now I think I know what people mean when they describe green teas as “brothy”! This was a lovely, almost savory brew that I just wanted to keep slurping. A bit like the cooking liquid after steaming kale, with a hint of seaweed and barely any astringency. Second infusion wasn’t as captivating as the first, but oh well. Definitely a keeper!

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Back from the US, and with my Butiki orders! This was one of my sample requests (thanks Stacy!) which I figured I should drink first because the chocolate chips had gotten a bit melty from being stashed in the attic (uninsulated & with a dark roof, it can get hot up there in warm sunny weather). If the quality suffered, I wouldn’t know it – the brew came out lush, with understated fruity and chocolaty flavors, and really sang with the addition of a tiny bit (~1/8 tsp) of sugar. The astringency of the black tea base was slightly stronger than I would like, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the tea.

Exceeded my expectations. I’ll definitely buy a full bag of it when it’s cool enough to send chocolate in the mail again. Well done, Stacy!

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Oh, yum. I think I managed to brew this one correctly, since Whittard was kind enough to include brewing instructions on their website for this one.

Dry leaf is deep green and wiry, with a scent that I can really only describe as “fresh”. The liquor is a medium-pale greenish-gold color with an aroma of buttery steamed spinach. Flavor is light, sweetly vegetal, with some butteriness and perhaps a hint of smoke.

This may be my favorite unflavored green tea so far. (Granted I haven’t tried that many yet, but believe me, it’s good!) I can see this becoming my everyday green.

2 min, 0 sec

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Whoa! This is some powerful stuff. I took a sip at about 3 minutes in (1 heaping tsp for 8 oz water), and it packed quite a wallop. Not a tea I would drink black, though I’d err on the side of less milk so the flavors aren’t masked (I used 1/2 tsp sugar and just enough soymilk to turn it an opaque medium brown).

The write-up for this tea says it’s good for breakfast, and I would have to agree. It’s a better breakfast tea than their English Breakfast blend – fuller, more well-rounded, and less harsh. This might become one of my regular morning teas.

Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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Thanks to Mike Turner for the sample!

Well, I did it again and used too much water for the packet, so no rating. Dry leaf smells appley & spicy, with the clove becoming more dominant during steeping. Taste is mostly clove, with a faint apple & cinnamon background, and I couldn’t detect the pomegranate or sage. The clove is a bit more gentle on the second steep. May try for a third.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Thanks Mike Turner for the sample!

I really liked how this smelled out of the packet – a distinct fruity tang from the dried raspberries without being overpowering. The creamy coconut scent came out during brewing.

I initially steeped it for 4 minutes in about 200mL water, but found it a bit weak for my liking. I let it brew for a total of about 6 and a half minutes, but it still didn’t get as strong as I would have liked, which just means I’ll have to order a bag of it so I can overleaf it :)

No rating at this time, but I liked the not-too-powerful, not-too-subtle raspberry flavor and the hint of creaminess. Will be trying this one again!

Boiling 6 min, 30 sec

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Backlog. Thanks to PureAromaTea for the sample!

The dry blend is emerald-green sencha mixed with chamomile heads and dried strawberry pieces, and very strongly scented of strawberry. The fragrance persists during steeping, but the flavor is surprisingly subtle, despite having a recommended steep time twice as long as the Japanese cherry tea. There was also much more astringency from this blend, very likely a result of the longer brew time, though it was only present in the first steep. I couldn’t taste anything that resembled champagne, but that’s not a problem for me. I got about 6 steepings out of this blend before it started to lose its flavor.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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I grew up in New Jersey drinking Celestial Seasonings, and now I live in England, where I developed a taste for a good builder’s brew. Sometime in 2012 I bought my first loose teas, and my collection has since spiraled out of control. Still quite a novice, due to not drinking enough tea to keep pace with the amount I keep buying.

Some things I’m pretty sure I do like:
- most florals (jasmine, orange blossom, osmanthus, etc)
- buttery, vegetal greens
- malty blacks (usually with milk & sugar)
- oolongs that aren’t too heavily roasted

All tasting notes use unfiltered hard tap water, unless otherwise specified.

No real method to my numerical ratings yet, but we’ll see what develops.


Bristol, UK

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