Recent Tasting Notes

drank Marquis de Gris by RiverTea
538 tasting notes

This tea smells so wonderful when it’s dry and when it’s brewed – I really get that zap of mango. For some reason, I like mango in teas, but I really have to be in the mood for it.

The amazing thing is that I barely get a hint of bergamot with this. If I hadn’t known it was a variant of EG, I would never have guessed.

The taste is a bit weaker, less fruity, and more malty, with a slight yeasty overtone that I’m surprised but not put off by. I might restock this? Maybe?

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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drank Spring Fest by RiverTea
138 tasting notes

I took a tsp of this when I had the Marco Polo TTB. It was rather cold today and when I got out of work it was super dark outside so I really wanted to be reminded of spring. Also- my first try of RiverTeas!

Maybe because the sample was old- I was trying to drink a spring tea in late autumn. I didn’t get very much in the way of strong flavor from my brew. I also may have underleafed, but I followed the package directions! There were LOTS of jasmine flowers and other things scattered in with the green tea leaves. In the end though it only tasted like a vaguely floral and vaguely sweet green tea. I was really hoping for something similar to Sakurabo (sp?) from Lupicia. That’s one really cherry tea! I think that cherry-ness plus jasmine on a green base would be really pretty.

A plus at least for RiverTea, they use fairly large and intact jasmine flowers in this. I was expecting more from the tea because of that, but I guess they are mostly decorative. I’ve had jasmine teas in many forms, and this is among the most pretty (excepting blooming teas, of course).


I think that jasmine flowers really are very light in flavor at best. They are pretty, though.

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drank Marquis de Gris by RiverTea
2160 tasting notes

Sipdown (113)!

Been curious about this for a while; not curious enough to buy 50g worth and the last couple RiverTea orders I’ve placed there’ve been other teas I was more interested in requesting as a sample so I really pounced on the chance to grab some from Marzipan in our swap.

I like Earl Grey; it’s just not really even close to being a part of my daily tea drinking routine; one EG blend in the house is enough to totally sate any bergamot cravings and I definitely don’t tend to get fancy with it. And mango and I? We have a love hate relationship. But something about this blend interests me. Maybe it’s just the fun name drawing me in, but I was excited to try it!

Dry, I thought this smelled really strong and fruity. Such a bright “orange” smell very distinctly of mangoes, with the FAINTEST bergamot undertone. Steeped up, not as “brightly” fruity but still very rich – I think I taste the mango just slightly more than the bergamot in the blend. It came off as fairly light handed to me. But the balance between the two really worked for me; it was kinda summery and vibrant and fun but with that “soothing” quality of bergamot that makes you feel just right. And I’m not sure why I’m surprised, but the mango and bergamot complimented each other very well too. Plus, the black base was present without being bitter, astringent or too brisk.

And, for my own personal bergamot tastes, I thought that the “light handedness” of it was very suited to me because it makes this blend something I would consider drinking on a more frequent basis, and separate enough from the Cream Earl Grey I stock to maybe be able to justify having both in my cupboard!

Side note – I should add “bergamot” to my online dictionary or whatever because my computer keeps correcting it to “Bertram” and switching it back is annoying.

carol who

I love the spell check errors! :)


Let’s just call it Bertram. I like it.


:D I’ve had to add bergamot as well as blergamot to my dictionary.

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This was a sample sent to me from Marzipan. It’s a black tea which I don’t have much experience with. I couldn’t put my finger on the flavor. I looked it up on the River Tea site and it says Mango and bergamot but they aren’t listed in the ingredients. Says rose blossom, cornflower blossoms and sunflower blossoms. This is in my top 3 favorite teas!! I made several pots with this sample and was very sad to see this end. My son and I both enjoyed this one all day long. It was sweet, had a well rounded taste. The flavors went well together. The site says it’s a summer tea- but I could drink this all the time! I do see how this is a lighter mouthfeel than a spicy chai but it was perfectly balanced in the flavors for us. Thank you so much for the sample Marzipan!! I never knew my life was missing this one!!!! Only problem now is that it’s gone!! (I did use my local honey to sweetened this one)

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drank Golden Himalaya by RiverTea
538 tasting notes

Backlog from last week:

I think I understeeped this, as when I drank it, it was quite weak in flavour. Similar to a Darjeeling I have in my cupboard, but I wish I had gone for 3 minutes at least instead of 2.

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Backlog from the recent past:

I’ve had this tea a few times since I won it as part of RiverTea’s Facebook contest. When I won, I asked them what teas I’d be getting, and they said it would be a surprise unless I requested a specific tea.

You know, I kinda wish I had asked RiverTea to send me more of their Golden Yunnan, because that stuff is so good.

This is decent, but I’m not a big Darjeeling person. However, I do like it more than the summer flushes I’ve tried – it’s mild, undemanding, and somewhat savoury. I normally brew it at 85°C since Darjeelings work best at lower temperatures than other black teas.

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drank Boatsman by RiverTea
318 tasting notes

Pass the Stash TTB #7

Something drew me to this tea as soon as I saw it. It just spoke to me.

I had a bad night last night. I got some bad news that left me feeling emotionally off-kilter. Sleep helped. But tea is also a healing balm.

This tea is lovely. It’s light, fruity without being perfumy, and just what I needed to pick me up. The mango is subtle and not overpowering, and melts into creaminess from the vanilla. There’s only a little bit left in the bag so I’ll be finishing it up before the box moves on.

Flavors: Cream, Mango

3 min, 0 sec

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drank Mulberry White Tea by RiverTea
81 tasting notes

When I was growing up, my best friend had a mulberry tree in her backyard. I have such happy memories of summer days of picking those tart, juicy berries until our fingers and mouths were stained purple with juice! So I had high hopes that this tea would capture that flavor. To my disappointment, this sample didn’t taste like mulberries at all. To me, it had more of a floral scent and flavor with a slightly sour aftertaste. Not something I would drink again.

Flavors: Floral, Sour

160 °F / 71 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Happy Banana by RiverTea
1489 tasting notes

Thank you Ost for the sale! I’ve seen tasting notes for this one before and it sounded good. It is — it tastes like a liquefied banana coconut cream pie! I may have left this one steeping for 25 minutes but the steep instructions suggest 10-15 minutes anyway. The most noticeable flavor is the banana with hints of coconut. I’m not sure what sultanas taste like but there wasn’t much flavor from the mangos and papaya… they probably lent some extra syrupy sweetness. (Also, NO hibiscus in this one. I feel like if it’s a herbal blend I have to give a hibiscus report.) It is certainly a dessert tea without caffeine! (Or with some graham crackers I was eating with the tea – it’s like the pie crust paired with the filling.) One of the best herbal blends I’ve sipped. There is just some ripe brown bananas in the infuser is all. :D Amazing that the bananas can be in a tea but I taste NO preservatives.
Steep #1 // just boiled // 25 min


Sounds delicious! Real banana flavour as opposed to banana runts??

Tea Sipper

Real banana!


this sounds so good… I love banana teas :)


Darn. I may have to get some. I love teas with real banana flavour.

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drank Bad Weather by RiverTea
538 tasting notes

First note for this tea! I had this last night when I wanted something without caffeine. The fact that it had raspberry leaf as the first ingredient was perfect, since I’m on my period right now. (TMI? Perhaps. But that’s one thing that raspberry leaf tea is good for.)

The ingredients list includes apple and rosehip, but I have to say that the most obvious flavours in both the dry leaf and the liquor are the fennel and anise. I used to hate licorice-flavoured things a lot, but I’m warming up to fennel because it has savoury applications as well as sweet ones (fennel is great in sausages and pot roasts, I find).

There’s also a bit of mint, but oddly enough, under the fennel/anise blast, I also get a sense of chamomile – which is weird, since there is no chamomile in the blend. Perhaps that’s because of the apples?

Anyways, I can definitely see this being a good winter/nighttime/lady’s time of the month tea. Even better: I had a scratchy throat last night, and I’m fine this morning. I know that licorice/fennel is often used on “throat coat” teas, so perhaps it helped.


I love the name for this tea. It already makes the bad weather seem much better!

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drank Milky Oolong by RiverTea
466 tasting notes

How odd, I was sure I reviewed this last time I drank it! It certainly made an impression on me, but maybe I just wasn’t up to putting my thoughts into words at the time. This is my first milk oolong and I have to say I really like the style. It’s slightly sweet and undeniably milky with a little bit of earthiness—I’ve never put milk in an oolong before but I imagine this is what it would taste like. It’s an interesting and satisfying cup and I can easily see myself going through a pot of this at a time.

Flavors: Creamy, Earth, Sweet

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drank Superfruit by RiverTea
513 tasting notes

Sipdown (97)! I’ve been hesitant to try this one because I do not like rooibos. However, I thought after a few other flavored rooibos teas that turned out okay, I could venture into this sample. I can’t remember who sent this one to me, but thanks!

I’m pleasantly surprised that I could not take the rooibos at all. The raspberry note is the most prominent in this cup and it almost has a heavy, syrupy texture to it as well. I can tell that there is another fruity flavor other than raspberry, so I’m guessing that’s the pomegranate? It’s hard to tell. Considering the rooibos base, it’s not so bad. I probably wouldn’t buy this for myself, but it was a pleasant afternoon tea for today!

Edit: As the cup cooled down to lukewarm temps, the rooibos suddenly jumped in and said, “Here I am!” That medicinal taste was not a pleasant surprise. In conclusion, piping hot, this tea is decent. As soon as it cools a bit, my dislike of rooibos takes over and refuses to keep drinking.

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drank Baked Apple by RiverTea
538 tasting notes

Backlog note 11 of 13. Almost there!

I had this yesterday and I think I’ll need to play around with it a bit more – lower temperature, different steep time, etc.

However, this first taste doesn’t leave me too hopeful. I like the idea of combining apples each with green tea, roses, and almonds – but I think having apple, rose, and almond all together in the same green tea is a bit much. I really just want this to have green tea, apple, and maybe some almond and cinnamon.

The tea base in this was a bit too bitter and astringent, I think. More experimentation is a must.

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drank Sweet Seduction by RiverTea
538 tasting notes

Backlog note 10 of 13.

You know, I told myself that I didn’t like vanilla when it was mixed in with green tea. There’s something about the combination that just doesn’t work for me. The smoothness of vanilla with black tea? Hot damn. But green tea has a sharper flavour that I think works better with fruit than with vanilla.

However, I got excited when I saw all the positive reviews for this tea by other steepsterites – especially the one by Sil. Although her review was somewhat guarded, I figured that if she liked this green tea when she so rarely enjoys greens, maybe it was worth a shot.

Um…. no. I’m wishing I hadn’t bought this tea. It’s sweet, but the leaf was too bitter and umami to really meld well with the vanilla/nut flavour of the nougat. Perhaps I steeped it for too long, or at too high a temperature, but my first experience with this tea was not positive.

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drank Granny's Cake by RiverTea
341 tasting notes

Was hoping that this one would be more cake-y. But it just tastes like a cinnamon tea. :S A mild cinnamon tea, which makes it more drinkable for me.
But…I had expected more. :/
Well, now I know at least.
Thanks for the sample, Christina! :D

Flavors: Cinnamon, Spices


Oh, that’s too bad. The description makes it seem to promising.


a lot of people seem to get more than just cinnamon. But that’s all I get! Maybe you will get more than that!

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drank Dolce Vita by RiverTea
1042 tasting notes

I brewed up a cup of this one on Sunday afternoon, but I clearly haven’t got it quite down pat yet. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. It smells like raspberry straight out of the box, and even more so while brewing. It was suggested to me that this one could be a runner for the title of Best Raspberry Tea After 52 Teas Raspberry Cream, and because that’s what I’ll clearly be spending the rest of my life looking for, I can only imagine it’s a positive step in the right direction.

It’s good. The raspberry flavour is juicy, but very candy-like (not really fresh, tart raspberry at all). There’s an added sweetness from the meringue hats, which is enjoyable, although it doesn’t add much in terms of flavour. I wasn’t getting coconut at all. In an effort to bring out more creaminess, I added a splash of milk. That was the wrong decision; the base tea is too light to take milk without the whole thing becoming a washout. Mistake.

So, for my next cup I will leave out the milk. Probably. Unless I use a lot more leaf. I’m torn on the amount of leaf to use in order to get the best flavour. I think probably I’ll stick with 1 tsp, and maybe extend the brew time a little? If that doesn’t work, I’ll use a little more leaf. Clearly there is some experimentation to be done.

At the moment, what I can say is that I liked this one right up until I added the milk. I would like some more creaminess, and to taste the coconut, but the raspberry flavour is strong and delicious. I can see this being a tea I enjoy even if I can’t have anymore creaminess/coconut, just because a candy raspberry tea is a good thing in my book. And I like the meringue — it’s a cute touch. I’m willing to experiment a little bit yet, but for now I’m going to rate this 75, because it’s nice and I’ll guzzle it whatever happens. A positive introduction to River Tea!

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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drank Sweet Osmanthus by RiverTea
538 tasting notes

Drank this a few days ago, but I don’t remember much of it. The base tea was quite vegetal, and I don’t know if that melded well with the osmanthus flowers. However, I really need to be more attentive the next time I make this.

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drank Golden Yunnan by RiverTea
223 tasting notes

This is actually my second time drinking this, but apparently either I didn’t post here or Steepster ate it. Who knows.
So I was having a bad-ish day. Work was alrightish. Nothing major except I couldn’t find my work lanyard, which was really vaguely upsetting. All stuff I could replace kinda except for one of the pins that was a ’you’ve been here 5 years’ and I’m not sure if they’d give me another one if I said I lost it.
Got home, grouched about and got myself into a worse mood (especially when I realized I hadn’t stopped at the store for the pot roast I was going to make for dinner so now I don’t know what to make) so I decided to make tea. Grabbed this one since I wasn’t in the mood to try something I’d never had before, but didn’t feel like something flavored. This was in my ‘finish off/don’t reorder’ and I remember it was good so this went into the cup.
It’s not like how I remember it. Or else I’m in such a foul mood that it’s skewing my memory. This is alot fruitier than I remember. Almost reminds me of a Darjeeling, which is irritating to me since I rather detest Darjeeling. It’s kinda plummy/grapey with a bit of malty-ness in there. And something smoky at the edge. But it wasn’t the rich malty tea that I think I need(ed) to get me down off the ceiling. /sigh/
Now I’m on the fence about whether to keep this to drink down, or toss it into my stash sale post since I didn’t care for this cup at all. /grumbles more/

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Hope today was better

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drank Midsummer Night by RiverTea
1042 tasting notes

This is my second attempt at cold brewing this tea. First time, I used 1.5 tbsp of leaf in 1 litre of water, and left it for around 10 hours overnight. The resulting brew was very weak, and didn’t really taste of very much at all. A disappointment. This time, I used 3 tbsp of leaf in 1 litre of water, again for around 10 hours. I’m much happier with the result.

Looking at the dry leaf worried me a little when I spotted pieces of liquorice root. Liquorice has become my nemesis recently (it ruined Bluebird’s Aniseed Balls for me, in the end, and also their All Things Nice blend). Fortunately, I can’t taste it at all in the actual tea. Relief! What I can taste is lemon, quite sharp and fresh tasting, and a background tartness from the hibiscus and rosehip. It’s a combination that works fairly well, and I can completely see this being a wonderful drink on a hot summer evening, with plenty of ice and some slices of fresh lemon, maybe a sprig of fresh mint. The mint is what I miss here, I think. Spearmint is listed as an ingredient, but I can’t taste it at all. I think it would help to augment the sharp tartness this one has with a touch of natural sweetness, so I’m sad that it’s not really making itself known.

I’m going to try this hot next, to see whether that makes a difference to the dominant flavours. I doubt it will, somehow, but you never know. I might try adding a little honey or crystal sugar, maybe some fresh mint leaves, depending how I get on. This is the second RiverTea blend I’ve tried from my first order (other than samples) and I’m fairly encouraged so far. This is a pleasant summer blend, and I like the accuracy of the lemon flavouring. No bathroom cleaner, no artificial sweetness. I think I’m a fan!

Iced 8 min or more

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Marco Polo TTB

Well, it happened, Microsoft bought Mojang and by extension, Minecraft, when the rumor was first leaked and no ‘damage control’ happened I pretty much assumed it was a done deal. It is not all doom and gloom though, Microsoft has done some awesome things and from the press release details, as few as they are, it seems like they are going to treat Minecraft right. I am cautiously optimistic and look forward to watching Minecraft grow, and hey, maybe the Xbox 360 version will get quicker updates now (doubtful.)

Today’s tea is possibly being reviewed at the wrong time of year, depending on your hemisphere, presenting Spring Fest by RiverTea! Inspired by the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan, this tea is a blend of Green Tea, Papaya Bits, Pineapple Bits, Sour Cherry Halves, Raspberry Bits, Rose Blossoms, Jasmine Blossoms, and Flavorings. The aroma of the leaves is quite fruity, blending cherries and papayas with floral notes of jasmine and roses. It does not really evoke spring to Japan to me, it evokes summer in a more tropical climate to me. Of course how well it matches its name is not really what is important, what is important is rather or not it smells good, I think it does, the fruit and flower notes mix really well, however the cherry aroma is much stronger than the other notes and has a bit of a tart quality that has me nervous.

The steeped leaves are really quite sweet, lots of sweet papaya and cherry notes with a hint of pineapple, the initial fruity sweetness fades to rosy perfume and heady jasmine at the finish. The aroma of the liquid is a mixture of jasmine’s subtle sweetness and floral intensity along with fresh vegetation and a hint of rose. The liquid smells more like a jasmine green tea than a fruity blend.

The taste is very mild and subtle, it starts out floral and sweet with faint notes of roses and jasmine with a hint of vegetation. This transitions into slightly tart cherry and sweet tropical fruit, the aftertaste is rose and tropical fruit. Spring Fest is pretty light and fairly refreshing, one of those teas that is very unassuming and can be used as a ‘background’ noise tea that you want to sip without having to think about. Obviously this is not my favorite type of tea, but they certainly have their purpose and are good to have around when in need.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/09/rivertea-spring-fest-tea-review.html

Flavors: Cherry, Jasmine, Rose, Tropical

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drank Golden Yunnan by RiverTea
77 tasting notes

Tea & Cards TTB
I purposely overleafed this tea because Marzipan reviewed it as bland. I think it helped because I got quite a bit of flavor out of the tea. It’s very malty. Pretty tasty. No complaints. Sort of blanking on how to describe this one.

On another note I bought a cupboard/cabinet at an estate sale today just for my tea! It’s already organized and it makes me way more happy than a cupboard should.

carol who

Yay for organization! I sure could use some more in my life!


It will definitely help me drink more of my teas! I had some hiding in cabinets before. Now if I could just organize my closet..


If I had somewhere to put a tea cupboard, I would. As is, I have taken over half of the pantry in the kitchen. I just need to clear the rest of it out. (Really, we can store that chicken stock and angel hair pasta somewhere else. I need pull out shelves and a whole pantry for my tea, thank you very much!)


Tea is definitely more important than chicken stock and pasta.

Terri HarpLady

Yay for cupboards!


Ooo… a tea cupboard… what a great idea!

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drank Crazy Mint by RiverTea
250 tasting notes

Marco Polo TTB

I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this, I almost decided not to try it because of the orange and I could not smell the spearmint when it was dry. I cold brewed it and as soon as I added the water I could smell the spearmint. The orange somehow made it brighter without being bitter.

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I don’t like this as much as some of the other black teas I’ve got, but it’s serviceable enough. This is a backlog note from last week, but I don’t remember when exactly I had it. It’s a good no-fuss tea.

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Backlog note 2 of 13. Hi guys!

My first note on this tea wasn’t that impressed, but I think I’m liking it better now. It’s not that bright and citrusy, but just like my Golden Yunnan from RiverTea, it’s an unfussy tea blend. It’s not smoky, but it is a tad malty. This is a good tea when you want tea, but don’t want to devote too much attention to what you’re drinking. A good “doing chores around the house” tea.

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