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drank Almond Cookie by SpecialTeas
1183 tasting notes

This is another of my unopened SpecialTeas samples from a while ago, and having recently gone over the moon for ATR Brioche, I am finding the ingredient list on this one extremely interesting… and the aroma in the sample packet is like deja vu all over again.

I’m using the same temp and steep time as with the Brioche for comparison purposes, though SpecialTeas recommends a higher temperature and shorter steep. I may try that if this comparison run isn’t satisfactory.

The aroma after steeping is very much of buttery almond pastry. The flavor is as well, and I can see why this got high marks from folks here on Steepster.

The good news for me is that I prefer the Brioche, which is still available, to this one despite the fact that this one is quite yummy. The reason is the complexity of the Brioche’s flavor. Almond Cookie’s flavor, despite its delicious almondy sweetness, doesn’t evoke the same bready pastry flavor like a croissant or bear claw. But on the other hand it does taste a lot like a very buttery version of a biscotti (the ones I eat are far crisper and less shortbready than some I’ve tasted and correspondingly lower in calories). The body of the tea is a bit lighter and crisper.

I’ll enjoy this one but I’m relieved to find I don’t prefer it to the Brioche, since SpecialTeas is no more.

Flavors: Butter, Nuts

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 25 OZ / 750 ML

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Sipdown no. 101 of the year 2014.

Today it was a little on the too much side, really dense. Almost like an oil slick, really.

I attribute this to the descent of the chocolate pieces to the bottom of the sample packet and their concentration there much more intensely than its blenders intended.

I had some nicer cups out of this and the bottom of the barrel experience doesn’t ruin it for me.

This concludes the sipdowns of my SpecialTeas samples, though I still have part of a tin of Rooibos Lemon Chiffon. I’ve been enjoying it in the evening, when it has been populating the mug beside my bed. Though it hasn’t aged particularly well, it is far more enjoyable than the last tisane to fill that role, Tazo’s Sweet Cinnamon Spice.


I try to remember to shake all teas with big pieces of something or the other, but it’s so easy to forget.


I know! I need to put a post it note on my counter that says “remember to shake.”


Oil slick hah. How appetizing. :P


Haha, well at least it was cocoa oil. ;-)


Oh dang it: “This video is not available in your country.” I’ll have to search for it.


It is! Creepshow 2, ‘The Raft’, an adaptation of a short story by Stephen King.


(I guess it says a lot that it’s the first thing that comes to mind whenever I hear ‘oil slick’, haha.)



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I have a small group of still sealed SpecialTeas flavored black samples that I might as well break out. I am hoping I don’t fall in love with any of them because SpecialTeas no longer exists…

This one says it has chocolate chips, cocoa kernels, and flavoring, which makes me wonder where the cream comes from (is that the flavoring)? It has little pieces of chips and such in and among the black tea. The smell in the packet is chocolatey, but not in an overly rich way.

The aroma doesn’t have a lot of chocolate smell except perhaps in a baked way, but not as rich as baking cake or brownies. The liquor is cloudy, likely from the melted bits, and brown orange tea color.

The flavor is better than I expected from the aroma, and it is a tasty, milk chocolately black tea. It’s not nearly as wonderful as Harney’s chocolate, though, which makes me silly with happiness since Harney’s is still available. It makes me want to taste the Teafrog Chocolate and Cream again to see how these compare. I may very well need to bump up the Teafrog.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cream

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 25 OZ / 750 ML

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This is a lovely rose tea. I’ve generally come to not like rose teas, but this one I love. I think the rose adds a honeyed flavor in addition to the obviously perfumy rose taste. The black tea is nice and soft in the background. I particularly enjoy it iced.

Yes, SpecialTeas disappeared years ago. A sad event I still bemoan on occasion. However, I still have a few of my favorites from this company stocked up. When I learned that I wouldn’t be able to get any more I began to search for other options and hording what I had. This was about the time that I discovered Steepster.

Some tea really is only good for a year or less, but some seems to last forever. This is one that has changed little in taste in all the years it’s been stashed away in my cupboard. And, while I still find it delicious, I have since discovered other favorites that I enjoy more, so it is time to decupboard this one once and for all.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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Was a tea I made only once in a cosplay event in England, and when I did not like, but admit that it is good quality.

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Maybe this is what I am drinking? It’s labeled only “SpecialTeas Ti Quan Yin”, and I don’t even know who to thank for this sample! Pretty nice tea. That is all I have the energy to write. You know it’s been a rough day when your first cup of tea isn’t until 8 PM!

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec

Yikes- I’m not sure I could live without tea until 8PM.


:-) Sometimes work can be just crazy!

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drank Vienna Winter Green by SpecialTeas
1868 tasting notes

Another blend that I’ve been drinking but never got around to logging. This tea reminds me a bit of Davids Tea’s Toasted Walnut with its rich nutty flavours. It’s sweet with hints of creamy white chocolate and the green tea base is light and refreshing enough to keep it from being too cloying. By all the rights the camomile shouldn’t really belong in a blend like this, but somehow it works.

I’m glad I bought a big bag of this tea – I’ll be able to enjoy it for awhile yet. :)

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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Deeply jasmine with the nuttiness of great white tea, and multiple steeps! It’s amazing in a tea jar with continuous hot water poured over it, for most of my afternoon pick me up. But I really have to be in the mood for a perfumed cup to drink it.

180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

What’s a tea jar?


It’s also known as a tea bottle? Mine is a double walled glass tumbler with a filter that fits in the mouth and a lid that can go on it. http://www.branders.com/product/14oz-personalized-double-wall-glass-bottles-140133/ has an example.


Cool. Like a tall glass.

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not sure if this is because it’s an old tea but um no. gross.

Terri HarpLady

LOL, I hate when that happens!

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Flavoured teas are all very well and good, but I was craving a nice, plain black tea today. This tea comes from the now-defunct Special Teas (another casualty of Teavana). It’s a very nice-looking tea – small twists of black and gold and it has the classic malty Assam scent with a hint of smokiness. The tea is robust but not bitter and at a steeping of 3.5 mins it’s fine without milk. It has wonderful fruity notes underneath that maltiness that give the tea a layered subtly you don’t normally get with Assams.

I stocked up on this tea but I’ll have to see about finding another source for when my stash runs out.

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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From the HHTTB

Very lightly scented, not much flavor. I would probably get more strawberry flavor if I sweetened it, but I didn’t.

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drank Sunny Dream Organic by SpecialTeas
8055 tasting notes

stupid steepster ate my note again…i should know better. bah! bah! wasn’t impressed with this one.


Tell me about it. I can’t even like reviews tonight. Bah.

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Another tea from Mercuryhime that I unfortunately can’t entirely recall, haha. I remember a bit of green beaniness, but not much else, as I don’t think I paid a great deal of attention while drinking it. Oh well. Again, I have enough for a second/third shot, which I will hopefully be more attentive to.

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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drank Rooibos Savannah by SpecialTeas
1952 tasting notes

It has been a generally crummy week and a particularly rotten evening. I am tired and out of sorts. Do you know where one goes to find more sorts?

So I grumpily grabbed this, and knowing it’s a bit on the elderly side, goosed it with a quarter-teaspoon of bulk cacao bits. Pepped up the taste a bit; made me think of Cadbury dried fruit-and-chocolate candy bars.


I often find my sorts in the tea cupboard and my yarn stash… :)


Aww I hope your week gets better! When I’m out of sorts, I tend to take some time and do something that makes me happy… biking, photographing stuff, writing, reading a good book with a cup of my favourite tea… Anything that will make me feel better. That’s where I find my sorts :)


I think many of my sorts will return when the sun comes out…we’ve had dreary skies for more than a week. My solar battery is in need of a recharge. (It’s in the back of my neck :)

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drank Rooibos Savannah by SpecialTeas
1952 tasting notes

I can’t remember which one of you fine folks mentioned mini marshmallows as a tea additive, but when my husband brought home a container of mini chocolate marshmallow bits, I decided to get a little adventurous.

This is a nice chocolatey-almondy rooibos on its own, so I reasoned it would welcome said marshmallow bits. It wasn’t bad, but there’s something a little, uh, sharpish about the rooibos flavor that doesn’t combine smoothly. Two separate flavors on your tongue instead of one lovely smooth chocolate mishmash. Does that make sense?

However, I shall persist to find my favorite marshmallow friendly tea. (Doesn’t that sound like a rotten task? Doggone it. More teas to taste. More marshmallows to chomp.)


mini chocolate marshmallow bits? Now I know why my wife won’t let me go to the grocery store with her. lol.


They have peppermint, too.


I love this country!


I think we all got the idea from Stacy of Butiki Teas, who once mentioned getting marshmallows for her blends and polishing off a bag before ever getting anywhere near the tea. Since then, I’ve read a bunch of tasting notes involving the addition of marshmallows to the steeped tea to discover a new flavour or enhance an existing one. I actually got a bunch of different, flavoured marshmallows (toasted coconut, strawberry, etc.) to try this myself, but, um, I ate them all before I got to the tea. =(

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drank Rooibos Savannah by SpecialTeas
1952 tasting notes

This was a pass-along from Nicole; a really pleasant rooibos with a bit of chocolate and almond in the background. I should have tried it straight first to get a better read on the base flavors, but the half-and-half was calling my name. Made a nice, creamy after-dinner treat on a chilly evening.

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I must thank JacquelineM for this sample. I’m not going to write a lengthy note on it because I ended up becoming disappointed. I did not start out as such, but let me explain.
I’ll start by letting you know that there is no tune to be paired with this note. We were watching Snow White and the Huntsman… the film proved to be the undoing of this tea. You see I found it to be delicious from the first sip. I have less to say about the Earl Gray part and much more of the de la Creme portion.
The Earl Gray was smokey but not as bold as I would have guessed, my assumption being that it would take something with kick to be coupled with the sweet vanilla notes that are so prevalent in this tea. The de la Creme part was so creamy and smooth that the only thing I can think to compare it to is actual cream, maybe with honey as well.
Now back to the movie…It starts out a captivating film with wonderful special effects, an intriguing character (evil queen), and an unpredictable twist on a classic tale. And here lies the problem with the drink. I was drinking happily away on this juice when I got pulled in by the movie long enough for my drink to cool just a bit. Before that happened I was sipping on it while it was still plenty hot yet once it cooled it became bitter. I’m talking hard to continue bitter. Tis a shame because it started out so good.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Wow, what a shame. I’ve had some teas like that, that start out wonderful and full-flavored and then turn into something else as they cool. I wonder what causes that?


I had something grow bitter as it cooled too. Strange, I thought that only happened if you left the tea in it to oversteep. I guess you learn something new everyday.

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What wretched weather! Upper 30’s, sky like a wet gray blanket, threats of snow tomorrow, haven’t seen the sun since last Tuesday.

A copious tea day, but trying to lighten it up a bit this afternoon so I can sleep.

This is deliciously light, silky, and a little bit fruit-juicy. Is aging well; doesn’t seem to have lost any of its elegant punch after all the months I’ve had it.


We have low 50’s and not a cloud in the sky :) Of course we are scheduled for 6-10 inches of snow tomorrow late. Seriously – does spring not know its late March!


I am aching for the first Saturday I can hang rugs and bedding out on the clothesline to air.

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Subscribing to the it’s-going-to-be-stinkin’-hot-so-make-your-one-good-cup-count theory today. This is light and sweet, but enough so that the flavor makes itself known to you—your taste buds don’t have to hunt it down. What I wish all white teas tasted like (if this were a white, which it isn’t).

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I had this one misfiled as a green/oolong, and I believe it’s a Darjeeling — and wow, what a nice one! Big old fluffy leaves that are, indeed, silvery. At just 2 1/2 minutes, it’s a light copper color with what I think is the fruitiest flavor I’ve ever encountered with a Darjeeling. Almost apple cidery. Medium weight and very silky to the tongue.

Since SpecialTeas is obsolete now, I’ll have to putter a bit and see if this variety is available under another umbrella.


Hope you find something comparable!


Check Upton Teas, they have a ton of darjeeling…


It’s a bummer that they went out …


Amy, my Upton catalog is rife with highlighted longings and desires; unfortunately, my available funds for longings and desires keeps getting eaten up by necessities and unexpected unfortunatenesses ;) Soldiering on with my summer plan to use up scraps and stuff that’s getting old, with a nice treat-y order in time for good tea weather.

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Age of leaf: I wish I knew; unfortunately, as I bought this over three years ago, and as SpecialTeas is out of business, and I have no record of it’s production date, I can only guess: it must have aged a few years before they put it up for sale, so my guess is this must be 6 or 7 years old, at the very least.

Brewing guidelines:
Ceramic 4 cup teapot, no sweetener, 5 gram toucha, 2 cups of water.
……….1st: Just under boiling, 2.5’
……….2nd: Boiling. 5’

Aroma of tea liquor: Smelled just like the dry leaf: strong, and for now (I am wanting for better descriptors here) I will call it ‘fishy’—in a good way, not a bad way (although my wife smelled the dry leaf, and reacted as I thought she would: “Yuck!”).

Flavor of tea liquor: Again, I am wanting for better descriptors here (I hope to increase my arsenal of more precise Pu-erh flavor and aroma descriptors over time), so for now suffice it to say: earthy, fishy.

Appearance of wet leaf: Tiny little dark bits of tea.

Overall: Good. I vaguely remember trying this about two years ago (my first Pu-erh ever), and I think it may actually be smother now (however, I may just be perceiving what I expect). There was no sign of bitterness, and it was heavy on the mouth—enjoyably so.

For comparison purposes I also decided to steep another toucha today (brewed with the same parameters) that I bought through a seller on Taobao (again, little information on its age: the rice paper wrapper had a number appended with “-2008” on it, though) to compare with the SpecialTeas toucha. The Taobao toucha was a tinge bitter, and not as full, or heavy, on the tongue, as the SpecialTeas toucha on both the first and second steepings. This was a meaningful comparison, as it at least begins to give me an idea of what I am looking for in a Pu-erh. In this case, I prefer the SpecialTeas toucha: smooth, with a heavy mouth-feel.

This is my first real foray into Pu-erh tea. I recently bought a Yixing, and I am trying out a few Pu-erh teas I have on hand (I have a number of samples) in my ceramic before I decide which one to use to season my new Yixing with. So far, I am enjoying it. I hope to have the time and energy tomorrow to try at least one more.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

thru your note I don’t know if you rinse for 15-30 sec? This step is essential.


boychik: Very good question. I forgot about that step; silly me. : }

I did a ~5 sec. rinse on the last toucha though, and I plan to do that going forward.

Thank you for your suggestion. : – )

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