2796 Tasting Notes

drank Irish Breakfast by Twinings
2796 tasting notes

It’s a sipdown! Farwell Twinings Irish Breakfast, you have served me well. But I must now make room in my cupboard for some other things. :)

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I like some other Celestial Seasonings teas, so don’t get me wrong, I’m not a tea snob.

Although this is far from terrible I really was hoping for something more? I love the smell of this, it’s definitely got a sugar-y vanilla aroma that is quite authentic. As for the flavor though, I found it to be kind of weak, like a watered down barley water with lemon & vanilla essence. I did like it a little bit better after I added soymilk but I’m not a huge fan of it.

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

Did you use two bags? To get the best flavor you really need two bags.


I will try that next time, thanks


I typically use 5-6 bags for 16 ounces of tea. Let it steep for 15 minutes or so with a little less than a teaspoon of rock sugar. It turns out soooo good!

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Thanks to TheDJBooth for a sample of this one.

I wasn’t sure about this because my one other experience with Ginseng Oolong (Rishi’s) was not such a positive one.

I did steep this one up and noticed the leaves smelling very roasted which of course is an intriguing sign. I know some king’s tea is charcoal roasted but the Dr. Tea website does not any information about it whatsoever, why I have no idea. That seems kind of strange!

I think perhaps the ginseng is throwing me off a bit here but it isn’t as prominent in the Rishi tea, you can hardly taste it at all, which is a good thing. This isn’t a very flowery or buttery tea at all. It’s more nutty and roasty with a slight ginseng aftertaste.

I think the third steep was my favorite here which often seems to be the case with oolongs. I also let my water cool down a bit which is helping to bring out a bit more sweetness.

I’m not really sure if I need ginseng in my oolong tea, aside from the supposed health properties it has. This is fairly stimulating as well, would be good for when you need an energy boost so I think I’ll save the rest of my sample for a day when I need a kick in the pants. Glad I got to try it, definitely better than I thought it would be.

Dinah Saur

I have a couple of very nice ginseng oolongs my brother gave me. If you’d like to try some, I’d be happy to send some along! It adds a new layer and mild sweetness in the ones I’ve had. I have never ordered a ginseng oolong from any tea vendors, so I’m not sure how they compare (I see you note Rishi’s is not particularly exciting).


The one from Rishi just tastes like a smelly old root.


If you’ve read my review of my Ginseng Oolong my friend brought me from China, the tea is coated with licorice, which I like. The ginseng is never bitter, but I did taste less of the oolong tea itself. My experience with my Gin Oolong was quite positive. :))

Dinah Saur

Yes, Amy, you should read his review. It’s very nice and has an interesting story in it, too!

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I decided I had to have a cup of this after lunch for something dessert-y.

Steeped at 212 F for 4 minutes in an infuser mug. It is pretty potent when you steep it that long, I might try for a little less next time around. The cinnamon is pretty strong in this blend but it is definitely a bit on the sweeter side. I didn’t love it plain but it was perfect with a bit of soymilk for a kind of dessert tea. If I really wanted a cinnamon tea on hand at all times I would probably pick some more of this up (it’s a sample size), but I might be more of a chai person. I do wonder what he Indian tea is they’re blending this with here, I don’t think it’s a ceylon. I’m thinking perhaps it’s the Singampatti Oothu Estate?

An enjoyable afternoon cuppa… for cinnamon lovers only. :)

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Thanks to oOTeaOo for a sample of this one. Flavored greens can be tricky. A lot of time they can overwhelm the tea so I wonder if they are made for people that don’t really like green tea. I was worried this one would be too sweet but it isn’t. The cinnamon and orange flavorings both seem to be very subtle which is nice. Something about this combination always seems to remind me of the holidays.

This seems to be a lighter Chinese green although I’m not sure which one. I feel like the cinnamon is quite predominate here especially in the finish. That isn’t really a problem for me because I like cinnamon. Although I liked I am not sure I would buy this for myself. Now I wonder if I can find a green chai I would like?

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Thanks to ashmanra for this one, I have tried some wuyi oolongs but I was pretty curious to try a black tea that comes from the wuyi region. I just checked Harney’s website and they don’t have it anymore so I guess this is another sold out or limited production thing for them.

I ended up steeping this at 4 minutes @212F. Lots of cocoa here and some malt, it’s a nice dark red color. Very smooth and delicious. As it is cooling off I’m also getting a bit of floweriness in the nose, curious. I think this one is very enjoyable for my morning brew, although it does seem to lack some of the complexity of a wuyi oolong.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Charles Thomas Draper

I emailed to inquire if they were getting anymore and they never responded.


How typical – they do kind of suck in the customer service dept.


I quit asking H & S questions for the same reason…….emails never got answered. A big problem for me because I consider quality of tea & customer service to be equally important!

Charles Thomas Draper

I have not bought anything from them nor will I….

Charles Thomas Draper

There is too much tea in China….


I placed an order with them a few months ago but have not been that tempted recently. There’s too many other companies that are nice and friendlier.

aisling of tea

I had a horrible experience with them a while ago and I’ve been finding local replacements for everything I was tempted by. Why order from a cruddy company in the States when Toronto has so much amazing tea to offer?


@aisling – I don’t blame you one bit and you certainly must have lots of great tea in Toronto…

Charles Thomas Draper

Wow. I wonder how many others have have similar complaints….


I agree there are lots of better, friendlier, customer conscience companies, but I still order from them sparingly. Another thing I don’t like about H & S is their limited selections. They say they only pick the best teas from the best gardens. Well, I’ll give them that to an extent…….but even that is subjective. I think the more honest answer is that they focus on a limited number of teas per category, and focus more on selling bulk to hotels and resorts. That’s OK too, if that is what they choose to focus on. Personally, I like more choice, and if I have questions about a tea, I choose a company with more selection, and better customer service. If I choose a tea, and it is not to my liking, then it’s on me.


I just wonder if they really did not know when it would be back. It is still wrong for them to not answer. I asked about Golden Monkey in the early spring of last year and did get a response of September, but it was part of their usual offerings. (I work in online CS. Sometimes a “We don’t know” answer if it is true is still a good one because the customer is no longer hanging, and I think companies forget that. If you had asked the question at the shop, it is likely the answer you would have gotten.) I am betting with the seasonality of tea, they are not getting more until next year at the earliest, so they should have said “maybe next year”. And then will it be up to their standards for selling like the new crop like the issues with Golden Snail? I still have a few favorites from Harney, but you are right, they are not the only place to buy tea.

aisling of tea

@amy oh When my tea-loving brother came up for the weekend, we visited 6 tea stores in the area, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. It seems like every time we go out, we discover a new tea place, it’s awesome! Though I am sad that the teascape in Toronto is about to be tainted with Teavana :(. But I have 5-6 stores in TO that I regularly visit and there are still more on my list to try! I love living here.


Most of my experiences with Harney have been good. I sometimes got an online response from Michael himself. When they revamped the website I did notice that inquiries seemed to be falling through the cracks, but for most orders I had great service and extremely fast shipping. Since they were the first good loose leaf tea company I found I was extremely loyal to them, and still like many of their teas, but I agree that there are many great places to buy tea! For customer service I have been really impressed by purepuer.com though it is mostly tea ware rather than tea that I have purchased from them. I am sorry to hear that so many people have had bad experiences with Harney.


My one experience of them was it took them a long time to ship my order and it also seemed to take a long time for them to answer e-mails. Then my BF went to one of their tasting rooms in NY and he was quite un-impressed by their lack of friendliness.


I’ll still order from them for a few teas here and there…….if I can find what I’m looking for. Also, if it is stock. That is the problem with let’s say their Assam selection. They usually carry 6 or 7, & I may only be interested in one or two. If they sell out of those, they tend not to restock-maybe they can’t until next year. All the more reason to carry a few more selections. So they lose a sale.

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My sweetie got this one for me from a Williams Sonoma store in San Francisco. They also had the Marco Polo but I wanted to try this instead.

I steeped it at 212F for 2 minutes – might try a bit longer next time but I wanted to err on the side of caution. This is a very nice blend of first flush teas. Lightly floral, slighty fruity, woodsy but not really astringent or pungent. It’s gentle and great for the afternoon. Interesting how the other tasters thought it was slightly bitter since I’m not really picking up on much bitterness. Perhaps the shorter steeping time helped. I liked this one but I am thinking it could be a bit more aromatic. It might be interesting to try it also at a lower temp for longer period of time…

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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I am having a good tea day. I’m at home relaxing so why skimp on the quality stuff – lol. It’s been a while since I had this so I decided to have some today. I really think the xi ying teapot is the perfect way to make wuyi oolongs.

I decided to steep this up at 180 F for 2 minutes. It’s very roasty and woody with cinnamon notes and dried fruit. Someday I need to go back to Red Blossom and get another of their Wuyi teas. I seem to remember the Tie Luo Han as also being very good.

A guy at another local tea shop told me that the darker style oolongs don’t really go stale and might even improve with age. I wonder if that is true.

see my previous notes on this if you are interested. :)

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

I’ve heard the same of the darker oolongs.


Saturdays were designed for good tea that you can take time to enjoy :) This definitely sounds like one of those!


at least that makes me feel a bit better about not drinking it really quickly. :)

Charles Thomas Draper

Yes about the darker Oolongs….


@Charles, it is nice to have some tea I don’t have to worry about going stale. That is a definite benefit of pu-erhs as well.

Charles Thomas Draper

My thoughts exactly….

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drank Hand Picked Bao Zhong by Samovar
2796 tasting notes

This was the very first Taiwan oolong I had ever had at Samovar. At the time it really blew me away so I bought 50 g of it!

I think this was less than 6 months ago but now I’ve tried so many more oolongs I have the benefit of a bit more experience. I still think this is great, very lemony, creamy and light. A slight feeling of asparagus and butter. Today I steeped this in the gaiwan.

I am feeling like I need to get with the program and drink more of my older green oolongs and green teas because they will go stale before the others. Cheers!

180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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I’ve been wanting to try a black tea from Taiwan so I decided to pick this one up from Asha in my last order.

I followed the instructions to steep at 212 for 2 minutes. This is a gorgeous dark red mahogany brown. It smells intensely malty but the taste is very smooth. At first it seems very subtle but then the longer you sip on it the more the layers of flavor kind of hit your mouth. It’s very pecan nutty also with a touch of fruit – perhaps roasted peach or cherry,. Nutty is one of my favorite flavors in tea so I am enjoying this one quite a lot. It does have a rich mouthfeel and a crystal clear radiance in the liquor. No astringency, no bitterness anywhere. Also re-steeps well.

I can see where the comparison to a fine aged whiskey comes from. You really want to take your time with this one and savor it slowly. It is an elegant tea for anytime but it might be really nice in the evening.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

I think that oolong you rated 100 was from Asha, Amy.


yes it was!

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My profile pic is of a pink dahlia at Golden Gate Park.

Hobbies include: tea, making art, animals, vegan things, buddhism, nature, creativity, books, writing, cooking, meditation, yoga.

I am a fan of many different teas but my favorites are blacks and oolongs, chai, also like darjeeling and pu-erh. I’n always learning and expanding my horizons!

Dislikes include: bergamot, jasmine, highly tannic or bitter teas, overly judgmental and bitter people. :)

Live in San Francisco, I’m a SINK (single income, no kids) and love the urban life, but traveling out to the middle of nowhere is always fun too.

I tend to not drink things I know I will hate so a lot of my tea ratings are on the higher side. Here’s my rating system, sorta

95-100 I love this tea and would like to keep it around

94-90 An excellent tea which I may or may not repurchase

89-80 Pretty good, above average

79-70 Acceptable

69-60 Mundane – Will probably drink it if I have it

59-50 Ick

49 and below Nasty


San Frandisco



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