446 Tasting Notes


Okay, here is my official promise that I will not make any new tea for myself that contains caffeine tonight. I will be resteeping that dragonwell because I’m curious how it’ll hold up, but otherwise it’s all herbal/rooibos for me. I haven’t been sleeping well lately and caffeine at 10 pm can’t help (although I don’t think that’s the cause, I just don’t think it helps).

Dry, this smells woody, piney, and a little spicy. As it brews it smells like baked apples! Not what I expected at all. I overleafed this a bit to make sure I got everything in the cup. Considering what’s in it I’m shocked to report that it tastes a little like mulled apple cider! There is a piney flavor to it, but it really does remind me of cinnamon apples in some form.

ETA: As this cools it completely changes. Now that it’s room-temperature it’s piney, wintery, but still a touch appley. I’ve never had anything quite like it!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Glad you liked this! You might enjoy trying out this recipe with Elder Grove :) http://whisperingpinestea.com/healthyliving_files/spicedcider.html

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drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
446 tasting notes

This seems to have resteeped decently, hooray! The smell is more gentle this time around, floral and woody and a little chocolatey. I haven’t noticed much chocolate in the other Yunnans I’ve tried but this one seems to have lots of it.

The taste! Sweet, floral and chocolatey. It’s like someone took lilac flowers and dipped them in dark chocolate. I think most of the smoky notes escaped with my oversteep the first time around, leaving a truly amazing sweet tea. I may be getting this one when I have the chance.

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drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
446 tasting notes

T&C Box 18/18

Well darn, I oversteeped this. I got distracted and it got too dark. This claims to resteep, though, so I’ll keep the leaves and try again. If it doesn’t resteep well I may sneak another teaspoon out before I send the box off to Kat_Maria, there was plenty in the bag.

Even oversteeped this is good. I think I love Yunnan teas after this teabox! It’s a little bitter but there are intense chocolate notes mixing in with the woody, smoky flavor I’m starting to love. The fact that I’m giving this the highest rating possible despite my own errors says it all, I think.


Wow you were fast! Some of the black teas in here sounded amazing. I hope some of them make it my way!

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T&C Box 17/18

Oh, Teavana. I didn’t have a problem with them until I took a snoop around the Steepster boards and found out about how badly they treat their employees. I’ve been in one in Indianapolis and while the employees did overpour me very slightly they’ve never been pushy or rude in any way. I don’t like companies that treat their employees badly, though, so I’m now underwhelmed by them as a whole.

I told myself I wasn’t going to try this one. I was going to pass it along unopened to Kat_Maria. But then I got curious, which means I opened it and made myself a cup. I’ve never had this without the huge amount of sugar Teavana stores put in their samples; however, unless candied papaya now comes in crystal form I’m pretty sure there’s rock sugar in here, and not in the ingredients list to boot. Sigh. There’s also so many ingredients that I’m hoping I got everything in the teaspoon.

This does smell good to me, but that’s because of the overwhelming cinnamon. I tried to get everything into the teaspoon but I see no evidence of blooming oolong leaves anywhere. In fact I see very little that could be qualified as tea at all. This tastes mostly like cinnamon and fruit, with not much going on other than that. It is also definitely sweetened, as I suspected. Maybe I should have left this one alone.


Haha! If you hadn’t opened it I wouldn’t open it either because I currently have 2 of these sachets, unopened :D And I had one of these before – sweet god of sweetest mercy, was it sweet!

Yeah, I have a bunch of blends that I got from Teavana during their recent sale and they are all supposed to be “oolongs” but there’s barely any tea in there. I actually treat them as fruit tisanes, meaning, I add a bit of sugar to them and I drink them very late at night, cause, seriously, how much caffeine can there be? ;)

I will be probably passing a few servings of some of them in the travelling box… They can be decent, but only if you treat them as fruit tisanes, and only if you sweeten them to taste YOURSELF.


Oh, dear! I’ve never gotten their samples before, because I’ve only bought one tea from them in store. It was a straight oolong, but there was something sort of…off about it, so I don’t think I’ll get oolongs from them again.


I believe it does have rock sugar in it. I got that one included as a free sample with a teapot I bought from them online. I’d had it before and knew it wasn’t for me. I hope it finds a tastebud that likes it. :)

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T&C Box 16/18

What a beautiful tea! It has long, flat leaves and uncurls slowly in water in the most lovely way. It also has a surprisingly complex smell, which isn’t something I’ve encountered much with greens. It almost smells like an oolong, with deep green notes and some fruitiness.

Apparently this is a dragonwell, which makes it the second one of that type I’ve tried. It brews up light, but the flavor is intense. Sweet, sweet green flavors, some white flower notes, almost juicy finish. Buttery is a good description but it doesn’t quite explain the rest of what’s great about this tea. I love this but have no idea where to get it, so I think I’ll look out for another company’s dragonwell instead.


I don’t know where to get it, either. It was sent to me by Sil in a swap. I liked it but green teas just generally aren’t my thing even though this one was beautiful. You might check Upton tea for less expensive dragon well. Or just look around here for recommendations. :)

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T&C Box 15/18

Dry, this smells like a cookie. Sort of a mix of a coconut macaroon and a sugar cookie. As it brews it smells equally of coconut and vanilla, and so strongly that it’s almost fruity and floral.

The taste is nice. It’s sweet and tastes much like it smells, so it’s a little like drinking a cookie. This is light for a black tea, and I wish it had a little more body to it. It could probably stand up to a stronger base, and there is something that feels like it’s missing. Stronger vanilla? A fruit note? I’m not sure, but this is just “okay” for me.

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drank Bai Lin Kung Fu by Shang Tea
446 tasting notes

T&C Box 14/18

The smell of this reminds me a little of Yunnan, but it’s darker. Smoky and woody. I really love the smell of these smoky teas and I’m starting to think I’ll have to keep at least one around at all times for when I want a more savory/bolder cup.

As it brews the woody notes come out even more. There’s a definite fruitiness to it, too, almost like cherries or dark grapes. The taste is so interesting! There’s a tang to it and the flavors are assertive, but I’m not finding it overwhelming at all. This is definitely a darker, bolder tea than I’m used to. There’s a malty flavor up front that’s soon followed by wood and fruit notes and ends with a honey flavor. A very good cup.

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drank Oriental Beauty by Butiki Teas
446 tasting notes

T&C Box 13/18

Getting down toward the end of the list of what I wanted to try out of the T&C box. As of right now the number is 17, although there may be one or two more I’ll sample if I feel like it. I might as well have a taste while it’s here!

This is the last oolong I haven’t tried out of the box. I decided to have it now because I was just out shoveling and it is cold (-3 Fahrenheit!). I need a little pick-me-up after that, and oolongs are my favorite pick-me-up.

This is wonderful to look at and smell. The leaves are a rainbow of colors and the smell is gentle and slightly fruity. I’ve used a heaping teaspoon in about 6 oz. of water here, mostly because these are not my teas and I’d feel bad using any of the smaller samples up! I know I’ll be replacing them with my own, but still.

Even slightly off from the recommended instructions this seems to have done okay. It’s very rich and full-bodied, and there are some juicy fruit notes in there. I’m also getting some wood notes, and I understand the comparison to pastry, but the peachiness is strongest and absolutely wonderful. Apricot and peach notes in straight oolongs are my favorite, possibly because the first oolong I tried had a strong peach note. Another beautiful oolong from Butiki!


I think I am the most excited for this tea out of the whole box :)

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drank Earl Grey Cream by Zen Tea
446 tasting notes

T&C Box 12/18

So I went back to check because I suspected as much: this is my first earl grey in a week and a half. A year ago it was all I would touch! There have been so many other good teas in the meantime that I barely noticed.

This definitely smells creamy both dry and brewed. It’s one of the better tasting EGs I’ve had; the cream taste is there, but it doesn’t overpower the EG base and make it taste like something else entirely like some others do. It’s slightly sweet and very nice as a morning cup! I may have to grab some of this one too.

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Another one from MissB! I’m trying the T&C teas as fast as I can, but there’s only so much black tea I can take at once. And I’d like to get to MirandaGou’s swap teas, too… Perhaps over the weekend I’ll go on a spree, since I’m hoping to get the box traveling along soon.

This one smells like…granola bars? An odd thing to say about a tea, but it smells like a berry granola bar. This brews up surprisingly dark for a rooibos. It almost looks like black tea brewed! The granola bar smell is still there after steeping, but I think that’s the berries mixing with the lavender.

I definitely taste the berries up front, and then the florals are more of an aftertaste. The rooibos adds to the florals and gives them some depth, which I sometimes feel is lacking in rooibos blends. It makes for an interesting sip. This is taking a little time to grow on me, but it is growing on me.

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Elizabeth, college student, history/anthropology major. I love to read, travel, and try new foods.

I loved tea as a kid, didn’t drink it for about ten years, and then rediscovered it about a year ago. I’m still pretty new to the types and brands of tea out there, but I’m interested in trying some of everything! My favorites are earl greys, yunnans, medium-bodied oolongs, Japanese greens, and fruit flavors. My least favorites are teas that are overly smoked, bitter, or contain strong hibiscus or orange peel.

About Swaps: I am always willing to swap with anyone within continental North America! Just drop me a note. For anyone in the eastern half of the U.S. I’ll gladly swap small samples of things, but further away than that I would prefer if we dealt with larger amounts.


Indiana, U.S.



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