Cornelia Bean

Recent Tasting Notes

82

Fuuuuckkkk…

(Ok, before we get into the backlogged tasting notes from my queue Imma have a mini rant about my kinda crappy day)

I just tipped over a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch all over my lap. There’s milk everywhereeee…

God damn it!

Just the cherry on top of a roller coaster of a day, I suppose? It started off with me sleeping through my alarm, which was set for 8AM today. When did I wake up? 10:10AM. When did I start work? 10:30AM. Thankfully I live very close to work, so I wound up only being 5 minutes late – but I had to skip a shower, breakfast, and making tea for work. I spent the whole day paranoid that I smelled funny.

And then, upon getting to work I was written up because, I guess, when I closed the store last night I forgot to fully turn the latch on the door to lock the store. I half turned it, but since it wasn’t completely turned it was a security risk. Blah. If they say I did it, I did it – but I just can’t imagine not fully locking up. Oh well. Still, not a pleasant experience today.

And then, my card got declined on break when I was grocery shopping which was really embarrassing. The clerk was super chill about it; but I felt like I had basically just wasted not only the clerk’s time, but my break too which sucked. I got home and figured out why my card got declined though; today is Sunday and I’ve been so out of is this week I thought it was Saturday – I have a “savings” feature on my account that every Sunday morning at 10AM my account automatically transfers $100 from my spendings account to my savings – and it just so happens this week I had only a few dollars on top of that usual 100. Blerg. If I had realized what day it was, I could have transferred it back into spendings before leaving for work.

So yeah…

NOW ONTO THE TEA!

So, this was a cold brew – and one I was really excited about. This blend comes from Anlina courtesy of the secret pumpkin swap. I think it was super thoughtful of her to include a bunch of cranberry teas (as well as other flavours I love) for me to try; that’s the element of this one that really gets me pumped about it! And, cold brew seemed like the natural route to take with prep.

Unfortunately, I didn’t record any notes for this one after I drank it (I think it was on one of the days where I was just exhausted and basically collapsed onto the couch straight after giving home, and went right to sleep) so I’m writing based off vague recollection. That said, I remember really liking this and thinking it was surprisingly sweet and juice like – cranberry always surprises me in tea; it’s never as tart as I think it’s going to be.

If I’m remembering correctly, both the apple and cranberry were present, though the cranberry slightly more so. I think the apple leaned more heavily on the “red” side of the fruit. I don’t recall that more tart/crisp green apple flavour. And, speaking or tartness – I really don’t recall any overwhelming hibiscus flavour in this. For me, at least, the hibby was on its best behaviour.

So really, gotta make this again sometime soon because I want to really, properly review it! This make shift rant/review combo isn’t cutting it, for me. Because I know there were other things I noticed when I drank this, and now I can’t remember the specifics. Smeh.

donkeytiara

oh no…. I had one of those days a few weeks back right after I came home from the hospital and husband was out working. I hope today brings many unexpected smiles to make up for the messiness of yesterday.

Cheri

Sorry to hear you had such a bad day.

VariaTEA

Hopefully the days coming up go much more smoothly for you.

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74
drank Moody Manitoba by Cornelia Bean
507 tasting notes

Sipdown. Making the last of this for my sweetie and me, while we watch some TV together.

Quite a lot of hibiscus, but well balanced with lots of berry and raisin flavours, so the hibiscus just gives them a tart punch, rather than being the dominant note. Pretty good, particularly with a bit of sugar.

Flavors: Berry, Hibiscus, Raisins, Tart

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 3 tsp 21 OZ / 621 ML

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77
drank Passion Fruit by Cornelia Bean
507 tasting notes

The black base is a bit rough but works fairly well with the passion fruit flavour. The fruit is quite distinct tasting – no generic fruitiness. I quite enjoyed this.

Flavors: Passion Fruits

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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63

Hmm, this was interesting. I tried it last night while I was kind of distracted.

Lots of tart citrus and lemongrass, a bit of cranberry, a very faint back of the throat heat, and a fragrance and flavour that I can only describe as horses. Not in a bad way, just slightly confusing – I feel like it might have been the chilis, but I really don’t know. My partner gave me the oddest look when I told him the tea tasted like horses.

The colour of the liquor was an incredible, intense reddish orange. I couldn’t stop looking at the last couple of sips in the bottom of my cup.

Not bad, interesting, and I’ll have to give it another try to see if I can draw out a bit more of the chili heat. I also wonder if the horse thing was just me last night. I gave the steeped leaves another sniff just now and not even a trace of that is present. Who knows.

Flavors: Barnyard, Citrus, Cranberry, Lemongrass, Spicy, Tart

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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71

Sipdown (100)!

Woot! I’m down to 100 teas (technically less, just behind on tasting notes) and officially hit 200 followers last night! Just watch, one of you butts will go unfollow me now.

I cold brewed this to finish it off, but I didn’t actually have enough leaf for a decent cold brew so I “stretched it out” with some of DAVIDsTEA’s Pink Passionfruit herbal blend. The more passionfruit the merrier, right? Err, wrong.

Now to be fair I think this was still better than the straight Passion Fruit cold brew tastes, but there was something very artificial about the fruit flavour. Sometimes these can taste that way individually but it was really exaggerated together. And then, on the tail end of that flavour was this very floral quality and the same funky black base from Passion Fruit that I got with the last cold brew – which I thought was from the CB sitting in a water bottle for hours all day, but I guess not because this one didn’t wind up sitting around for an extended period.

I think I may be describing it fairly harshly though – the reality is that despite the negative things going on, it was still drinkable. Although it’s not a combination I’d try again, and I certainly wont be looking to get more of this one. It’s just been too much of a hassle to make it work for me.

Sil

woot! yay for 100!!

Roswell Strange

It wont last; I have Octavia Tea and WP incoming, plus goodies from group Butki orders, and a larger quantity of a Verdant blend from an order with Kittenna, and whatever you crazy Torontonians send with Kittenna when she visits over Christmas :P

Roswell Strange

And whatever I buy at Cuppa’T on the weekend (yay early birthday presents!). Also, my Mom has informed me that she brought me tea back from Disney when she was there (Alice In Wonderland?) but I don’t have a clue when I’ll see her next, so I don’t know when that’ll make its way to me…

Roswell Strange

**Early Christmas presents… Birthday isn’t for a while. Heh.

Kittenna

7 hours later and you still have 200 followers ;)

Kittenna

You forgot whatever Kittenna foists upon you herself during her visit. Muahaha. Although I’m trying to keep it to things I actually thing would interest you (and that you haven’t tried) and that’s proving more difficult than I thought. For all y’all. :P

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71

Cold Brew.

Sadly this came off as very artificial passionfruit last night, and the black base was a little too weighty as well. It got awfully close to bitter territory as well, but didn’t quite make it there. I’m going to have to go back to hot cups of this one; I just can’t make these cold brews work as much as I want them to.

Nice little bright point in my work day yesterday, I got to ring through my favourite postal worker! She’s the one who works in the mall I’m at – and she’s so sweet and friendly; always helps me figure out the best ways to send things, and lets me know where I can save money. If she lives in the area my Sobeys is located in, then it’s a possibility I’ll be seeing her more often, which’d be kinda cool.

We had a good laugh because she thought I was working three jobs, and she called me crazy. But no, three would just be excessive…

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71

Cold brewed this one for a really nice, fruity work drink but the day was hella busy and then I got majorly distracted by some other stuff going on and so I left this out for a really long time before going to drink it, and by the time I was ready to actually have it the tea had become majorly weird and funky tasting. Since I still have lots left, I decided not to even fight through drinking it and I just sorta dumped what was left – which was practically all of it. It really felt like a waste, though…

The “other stuff” going on instead of work was kinda weird and awkward. There’s this girl Sara that worked for us for four shifts before she quit. She was pretty nice and she really clicked with my friend/coworked Bobbi but we never really interacted all that much, and after she quit I didn’t make an effort to stay in contact or anything. Except, Bobbi did and recently she and her girlfriend have both found themselves homeless and couch surfing.

Yesterday was the first day in about two weeks they couldn’t find a place so, somewhat reluctantly, I let Bobbi talk me into letting them crash here. It’s really weird having basically two total stangers spend the night with you – I didn’t know if they wanted to be left alone or if I should make an effort to try and talk or “hangout” with them. So, we ended up making brownies and watching Breaking Bad for a few hours but it was weird.

Eventually at like 11:30PM they got a call back from a friend saying they could crash there and they thanked me for letting them stay the evening (it was raining SO hard too) but said they’d be more comfortable staying with someone they know. I totally understand, and secretly I was very relieved. I was more than willing to put them up for the night and it’s not at all that I didn’t trust them – it was just such an awkward experience. As someone who’s kinda always had an “I wont rely on anyone else” attitude I could recognize the desperation they had to find somewhere to crash but the stubbornness of asking, basically, a stranger to house them. And I could see their relief in leaving.

So that was my Sunday evening. Definitely not really how I thought it’d go…

carol who

Kudos for being so generous even when it was uncomfortable. (But I bet you were glad they didn’t have to stay!!) But it is the thought that counts. :-)

darby

I always read your reviews…you have such an exciting life and cool stories to tell!

Roswell Strange

Oh man, I don’t see my life as exciting like, at all (when people ask what I’ve been up to usually the ONLY answers I have are either “Work has been busy”, “I tried this new tea” or “well I started watching blahblah”). But thank you anyway!

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71

This one is from my Secret Pumpkin Anlina who very thoughtfully read my whole giant profile thing to figure out which teas to send me (it’s really long; so reading it must have been an endeavor). She ended up sending me a whole bunch of Cornelia Bean teas (quite a bit of each, too!) that I had never tried – and all were definitely thoughtfully picked out, as well as a few smaller samples from assorted companies.

I steeped this one up because I was in the mood for a black tea, and based on the ingredients list this one seemed like a simple enough blend that I wouldn’t have to put a lot of “thought” into while drinking it – I could just sip on it casually while enjoying the other blends I have brewed up.

Taste wise, this isn’t nearly as smooth as anticipated, though it’s not exactly bitter or astringent either – more so that maybe the black base is conflicting with the sweet, tropical passionfuit? The passionfruit aspect is very nice though; it’s pretty strong and fairly accurate to the fruit. Some sugar might round this one out a little bit more. There’s also another thing about it though; it tastes really familiar – as if I’ve had it before, even though I’m sure I haven’t. My brain is hurting a little bit trying to figure out why it seems so familiar.

Overall; this is a nice cup and I’m enjoying it, but I might have to play around with it a little bit more to really make it pop.

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I smelled this in store yesterday and just had to have some to try! The leaves smell amazing, like seriously good enough to eat. Brewed up, the coconut is beautifully creamy while the pineapple adds a nice tart bite to the sip. The base tea is definitely present, and a little stronger than I like my black bases to be. I like a lot of things about this tea, I think I just need to drink a few cups to get a bit more used to the presence of the base tea notes. Overall, I am glad I have some of this to try and I could see it becoming a tea I am very fond of.

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79
drank Sweet Temptation by Cornelia Bean
2613 tasting notes

Sipdown! Thanks for sharing some of this, VariaTea! This reminds me somewhat of Tsaa’s Sweet Temptation (or whatever it’s called), although even in my teeny package of this, I think there were far more little bits of nougat than I had in multiple cups of the Tsaa version. Result? Pretty yummy! Sweet, light, nougatty blend. This (and the next tea I’m reviewing) got an epic 28 minute infusion, and I’m happy to say that this tea didn’t suffer one bit. The rooibos is at that good level where it’s acting as a base flavour for the sweetness, but not contributing it’s own woody or medicinal flavours (and I’m not getting too much of the usual scratchy-throat feeling, which is also a plus).

Anyways, overall a pretty good tea! I prefer Bayswater’s Divine Temptation because I don’t care about caffeine, but this is a pretty good alternative.

VariaTEA

Hahaha “because I don’t care about caffeine” makes me think of you slapping away rooibos and being like “screw you caffeine free”. I think I prefer Bayswater too though. I was also reminded of a RiverTea with a green base called Sweet Seduction.

Kittenna

Hahahahaha :P I keep hearing things about RiverTea… I believe it was a company you guys were all interested in while I was on unofficial hiatus. Maybe someday I’ll get to try that one too (although I probably prefer the black base to green, as well).

Roswell Strange

RiverTea is the bomb.

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drank Creamed Earl Grey by Cornelia Bean
507 tasting notes

I had this again, not at home and not brewed by me, so once again it was oversteeped. But it’s still pretty tasty and with a bit of cream and sugar, worked well. I may have to pick up some for home one of these days.

Okay, so what’s the deal with gravity steepers like the Brewt? They seem to be really popular in restaurants, but I just don’t get the appeal. I never have a cup large enough to drain the whole thing, so unless I’m drinking something very forgiving, half my tea always ends up terribly oversteeped. This does not sound like a good or appealing design. Why??

Flavors: Bergamot, Creamy, Vanilla

OMGsrsly

You don’t have to fill them up all the way. I have 6, 8 and 12 oz servings marked on mine, for ease of rebrewing tea.

Anlina

Ah that makes sense. I don’t have one myself, and any time I’ve had tea served in one in a cafe or restaurant, it’s always filled right to the top.

K S

I use a press, which should also be drained completely. I use two mugs. One I drink from, the other I use to fill the press. Before the two mug method I also used a mark on the press.

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drank Creamed Earl Grey by Cornelia Bean
507 tasting notes

Mmm nice and creamy. Good balance of bergamot and cream. The pot I had was slightly oversteeped and started to feel pretty astringent by the third cup or so, but overall quite good.

Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Creamy, Sweet

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85
drank Pineapple Coconut by Cornelia Bean
507 tasting notes

Mmm lovely. The dry leaf smells very strongly of pineapple and coconut. Steeped for 4 minutes, the pineapple and coconut flavours are strong and well balanced with each other. The black tea is there but not really distinctive, it just carries the flavours nicely.

I added a wee bit of sugar to this which was a good choice. Straight there are some hints of sweetness but not quite enough for these flavours, and the coconut felt a bit oily. With sugar, the oiliness became creamy.

Flavors: Coconut, Creamy, Pineapple

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML

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48

Thanks again to mystery swapper! This tea is kind of a bust – tastes just like a rooibos cream to me. Seabuckthorn is pretty sour and astringent, and I’m not picking up any of that here. Probably for the best; although I wanted to try this tea, I’m not entirely sure I thought it would work anyhow. Kind of makes me think curdled… Anyhow, average rooibos cream, and that’s about it.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
VariaTEA

I think this came from me and if so, I am sorry you didn’t enjoy it.

Kittenna

I honestly don’t recall who sent me this lovely bundle of teas, but it totally could have been you? Either way, I requested it, and it really wasn’t bad… just no seabuckthorn flavour!

VariaTEA

I believe I sent this when I passed along the Butiki Nutmeg Cream and other fun teas.

Kittenna

OH YEAH! Haha, such a bad memory. I think I only juuuust finally relocated those two Butikis. Did I ever send you anything in return? Did you want things? Gah!

VariaTEA

Haha no worries. With a cupboard your size, I am surprised it didn’t take longer until you got to them. And no you never sent anything back because I was sort of just passing along the teas and so I tossed in some samples once I was sending out the package.

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87
drank Apricot Chai by Cornelia Bean
507 tasting notes

This is really great. It has a lot of chai characteristics but is really unique. The start of the sip is sweet but is balanced by the charred notes of the gunpowder green tea. Distinct notes of cinnamon and clove, with pepper spiciness, and then a mouth full of juicy, slightly tart apricot that lingers long into the finish.

I usually add a lot of milk and sugar to my chai, regardless of the base, but I really don’t think this one needs it, or would really be improved by it.

Flavors: Apricot, Char, Cinnamon, Clove, Spicy, Sweet, Tart

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
albertocanfly

Apricot chai… that really does sound unique and interesting! Who would have thought that it would turn out so beautifully?

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42

Meh. This tea is not for me. This is the second time I’ve had it and been unimpressed. There’s a strong soapy flavour to it that’s off putting, and dominates the malt. I thought maybe it was soap residue, but I think this happened last time, and I know that this time the tea ware was rinsed before using.

Ah well. It’s not terrible. I’ll still finish it, I just wouldn’t reach for it, and I wouldn’t buy it. Without the soap flavour it’d be fine.

Edit: This improves as it cools. The malt and a fruit note become more prominent and the soap fades out a bit.

Flavors: Malt, Soap

AllanK

What kind of teaware are you washing with soap? Some kinds must be washed without it because they absorb flavors. Most unglazed pots must be washed without soap.

Cheri

I agree with Allen. It sounds like something has picked up soap on you.

Anlina

It is possible that some soap residue got into the mix, but I’m doubtful. It was brewed with a finium filter which was only rinsed in water between cups, in a glazed earthenwear mug, so no porous ceramics to hold on to soap.

Maybe I’ll give it one more try, just in case it is actual soap and not the flavour of the tea.

AllanK

I have had cases also where my taste buds were just off and brewed the same tea a week later and it was good. It is not impossible that it could be that. Anything from what you ate that day to dental problems can cause your taste buds to react wrong.

TeaBrat

I’ve tried a lot of kenya teas I just don’t care for, they can be very strong! Never noticed soap though :)

Anlina

It’s definitely a possibility that my tastebuds are just off. I scraped my throat the other day with some sharp food or something, so it’s been sore and leaving a weird taste in my mouth on occasion. I haven’t noticed this affecting other teas or foods in a negative way, but senses can be funny.

Anlina

I wonder if there’s something up periodically with the water in the city. I drank this cup at a partner’s house, but my other partner was complaining about soapy taste in a bottle of water I refilled from the tap at home the other day, and he’d drank out of the same bottle earlier in the day with no complaints.

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81

Yum! Used three tsp (as per what OMGsrsly wrote right on the sample bag – thank you!) and it was delicious. I got less fluffy orange and more smoked orange though. No, wait. Sage orange. Yes, that’s definitely it. I’d order more of this were I to grab a bunch of things from Cornelia. Must admit I have a soft spot for them.. my first ever Tea & Coffee exchange on RedditGifts gave me a huge Cornelia Bean package of a variety of teas. Gosh, four, five years ago now? Someday, I’ll visit in person. Someday soon.

Flavors: Orange, Sage, Smoke

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 8 min or more 3 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
OMGsrsly

I think each wee baggie has the recommended amount for a 16 oz cup, or if you like more leaves in your tea use a 12 oz cup. Or, you know, do whatever. :) I really really like this one. It’s like a pillow. :)

Sil

Interesting…

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64

Er…. I don’t remember who sent this tea to me :( It was whoever the last person I swapped with was… who I also got some 52teas from…. maybe if I check my Steepster messages I can figure this out…

Anyhow! My first tea from Cornelia Bean, and unfortunately I’m not overly impressed. The strawberry flavour is very similar to a bunch of other strawberry teas I’ve had previously, which is ok (of course, I’m completely blanking on their names. One I had a sample of from *Sil*… and sometimes teas with this flavour are labelled as “strawberry + papaya”, I think… bad memory today, it seems.). It’s kind of light though, but that’s to be expected as a consequence of old age. I’m more disappointed in the meringue bits – they didn’t even fully dissolve for me, so I have no idea what they really add. I may try a second infusion in less water, adding the other half of the packet into the infuser, and see what results. Otherwise, this tea is probably very similar to those other ones I mentioned, that I’ll have to look up.

ETA: I believe the tea I was referring to would be “Yaya Strawberry” by Steep City, and I believe the swapper in question was Courtney, although I am nowhere near 100% sure about that.

ETA2: This also ended up being a sipdown. Loved the strawberry flavour, but didn’t find any real meringuey-ness, and as I’ve had that same fruitiness before, this is a bit of a miss for me for sure.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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79

Oh this is so nice. There’s a hint of the medicinal note that some roobos has, but it’s very faint, and mostly, there’s just a very pleasant apple and currant flavour. The currant is particularly distinct and delicious.

I think I might need to try steeping other rooibos blends for a shorter time. I did this one for 4 minutes, which is shorter than usual, and I’m really pleased with how well it turned out.

Flavors: Apple, Black Currant, Medicinal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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39
drank Fireside Chat by Cornelia Bean
507 tasting notes

This is weird. It smells like it should be fantastic, with citrus peel notes and lots of spices. The smell really is evocative of sitting by a fire all cozy and bundled up. And there’s lots of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg flavour. But at the start of the sip there’s also this odd taste that’s kind of dry and minerally, almost woody but not in the way that rooibos often is. My partner said it tasted like chard and I can see that – the iron notes of it.

So I dunno, very weird.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Mineral, Nutmeg, Spicy, Wood

Fjellrev

Ech, yeah, mineral notes personally kind of ruin things for me.

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22

I’ve had a few excellent honeybush blends lately, and so during my last visit to Cornelia Bean, I grabbed one of their only honeybush tisanes.

The dry leaf smells amazing – very fruity and tangy, like citrus peels.

Steeped though… I’m not sure what to make of this. There’s the citrusy fruit notes like the dry leaf, but there’s also this really odd fragrance of olives. There’s a bit of tropical fruit flavour on the sip, notably papaya, and the fruit intensifies on the finish, but then transitions to an olivey taste that fills the back of the mouth. It’s weird and off putting.

It’s like there’s two competing things going on in this cup – fruity honeybush and then olives trying to horn in.

I’m going to let this cool and see if it gets any better, because right now, I feel reluctant to finish this cup.

Flavors: Citrus, Olives, Tangy, Tropical

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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71
drank Decaf Earl Grey by Cornelia Bean
507 tasting notes

I’m grumpy as hell because the water is off in my building again, and all I’ve eaten for breakfast is cookies, so I’m rapidly becoming over caffeinated which does not bode well. So, trying out the decaf Earl Grey.

This is not bad for a decaf and it’s not a bad Earl Grey. There’s a good amount of bergamot, and also a black currant note, which is interesting. There’s a kind of juiciness on the finish, which is not something I really look for in an Earl Grey, typically, but it works. Very faintly astringent.

This would not be my go to Earl Grey, but it’d be awesome to have in the evening, if you want that black tea flavour without the caffeine.

Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Black Currant, Fruity, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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72
drank Lime Sage Rooibos by Cornelia Bean
1176 tasting notes

Smells delicious, sounds even better, but it’s mostly woodsy rooibos with hints of lime. Not getting any sage, even after a ten minute steep.

OMGseriously you rock, as per usual, for sending this along.

Flavors: Lime, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 8 min or more 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
VariaTEA

This one really does smell amazing!

Cheri

Too bad about the missing sage.

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95

Oh this is amazing. It’s like gyokuro and milk oolong had a delicious, delicious baby. Nutty and buttery with notes of umami and a slight roasty flavour. A bit drying in the mouth but subtly.

Flavors: Astringent, Butter, Nutty, Umami

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