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170 Tasting Notes

Double sipdown time! I’ve reached my goal of 8 for Easter weekend!

I used about 3 tsp of Forever Nuts and 2.5 tsp of Big Apple, brewed with my uber-big teapot of 45oz. I didn’t boil enough to fill the teapot all the way, but I guess there was at least 40oz by the end. Steeped at 85C for 5-6 minutes. I know that the Forever Nuts blend requires a higher temperature, but I didn’t want to burn the green and white teas in the Big Apple sample. I also added a dollop of cinnamon honey to round it out.

Brewed, I’m getting a lot of flavours, but nothing in particular is winning out except possibly the green tea. I let one cup of this cool and it’s surprisingly good cold, with more of the fruit and cinnamon flavours coming out. But I have to admit that this isn’t the blend for me – especially considering that Big Apple is going to be discontinued soon.

Thanks again to Aimee Popovacki for giving me a sample of Big Apple to try! I’m glad I got to give it a nice sendoff.

185 °F / 85 °C 6 min, 0 sec 5 tsp 42 OZ / 1242 ML

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drank The de Vendome by Nina's Paris
170 tasting notes

Easter Weekend Sipdown 6/8!

Many thanks to Laurent for including this as a sample with my Nina’s order. This came in a plastic sealed packet with a single teabag inside, which is just perfect for my sipdown purposes.

When I first opened the bag, the strongest smell was of the grapefruit – phew! A minute or so later, it softened so that I could smell the orange as well.

However, when brewed, the base seemed the strongest taste, with the citrus fruits becoming noticeable only at the end of the sip or in the aftertaste. I still haven’t quite figured out the magical steeping parameters for Nina’s Paris teas yet, but I hope I will soon.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank Guayusa Ginger Citrus by Runa
170 tasting notes

Easter Weekend Sipdown 5/8!

I still didn’t get much citrus or ginger in this steep, and I’m still getting my bearings on how I feel about guayusa teas. But at least I have one less tea in my cupboard to worry about.

Happy Easter/Passover/spring holiday of your choice, everyone! Many thanks again to kaylee for the sample.

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drank Big Apple by DAVIDsTEA
170 tasting notes

And to round out my day, I figured I’d go with a tea that is approaching sipdown status…

This one is ok, but I think I oversteeped it a bit. It’s a tad astringent. I have just enough of this left to combine with my remaining stash of Forever Nuts to make apple pie tea. I’ll do that Monday night, probably – double sipdown in the works!

EDIT: My husband, who rarely drinks tea because he thinks most teas taste weak and “watery”, says that he would probably enjoy drinking this tea! As a caveat, he’d probably only drink it if he were sick, but this is progress! One day, with my tea wiles, I will slowly wean him off of diet coke. The only problem is that this tea is being discontinued soon. Bah.

180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Saturday Sample Sipdown #4!

I’m halfway towards my sipdown goal for Easter weekend. Go me!

As with my first attempt at this tea, this is heavily honey-flavoured, with a bit of the ginseng in the background. There’s not much else going on. However, this was soothing to my stomach, which is digesting a very large evening snack of crusty bread, brie, and caramelized onions. Mmmm.

Thanks again to darby for the swap!


That snack sounds delicious.


If you’re interested, here’s the kind of caramelized onion I was eating – soooo good with bread and brie: http://www.bo-coq.com/site/index.php/en/products-brickstone

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Saturday Sample Sipdown #3!

The first time I tried this tea, I steeped it for 3 minutes and it tasted strongly of rose with a hint of apple. The second time, I reduced the steeping time by one minute and didn’t get much flavour of anything beyond the base. This time, in a final attempt to get the apple flavour to the forefront, I steeped it for 4 minutes.

Alas, I still didn’t get the apple flavour that I was hoping for. Which is a shame, because I really wanted to make this tea work for me, and while the first steep was lovely, the rose was a bit too strong for me.

Ah well. There are some teas that you can never quite see eye-to-eye with, no matter how high-quality they are. So long, amazing-smelling tea.

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
170 tasting notes

Saturday Sample Sipdown #2!

Today’s a day to get things done – the sun is shining, the laundry’s in the wash, there’s a fresh breeze blowing, and my mother is baking bread for Easter. What better tea to drink and take a pause to reflect on things amidst all the hubbub?

This tea smells like strawberry jam. There’s no better way to put it. Unfortunately, the strawberry taste recedes a bit when the tea cools. However, I can taste it slightly on the back of my tongue after I sip. Ahh. I’ve learned that shorter steep times work much better for French blends – hopefully I can apply the lesson to my Nina’s teas.

Many thanks to Indigobloom for giving me a sample of this to try!

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

Sounds so pleasant! I washed all the throw rugs today and it was such a good feeling to hang them out on the line. You win, though, with the fresh bread; I just sent hubby to Food 4 Less for sweet rolls :)


Hehe, it’s my mother who bakes it, not me. I really should learn the recipe though. It’s an egg bread rolled up into several layers, and crumbled feta cheese is sprinkled around between each layer. The whole thing is then baked and topped with a sprinkling of sesame and poppy seeds.


Yum! Weather looks pretty promising today, too…your review is teasing me to try Marco Polo iced this afternoon.

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drank Glitter & Gold by DAVIDsTEA
170 tasting notes

Saturday Sample Sipdown! I plan to do 8 sipdowns between now and Monday night, and this is the first one.

I really wanted to like this tea because it smells so nice and gentle when dry. However, the brewed taste is really disappointing. I want more orange and sweetness than there actually is. I do like how the tea glitters with gold specks right after you finish steeping. But alas, glitter is not enough. So long!

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drank Grand Genmaicha by Sloane Tea
170 tasting notes

And this tea rounds out my “green-tea-only” efforts for the day. Something warm and soothing with low caffeine.

This one tasted a bit more bitter and less rice-y than normal today. Still comforting, though. I probably have enough left to do 1 or 2 more pots of tea. I’ve got a few genmaicha samples coming from Yunomi.us, and once I have those I’ll see if I like this one as much.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec 4 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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And yet another generous sample from Angel at Teavivre.

I think I may have overleafed this slightly, but the jasmine in this particular tea is a bit strong and one-note for my tastes. I’ve had jasmine dragon pearls in the past with a hint of sweetness underneath almost like orange or honeysuckle, but I’m not experiencing that in this blend.

I steeped the leaves twice, both for 3 minutes: once at 85C and the second time at 80C. Both times the tea was palatable, but I believe that this tea might be better at a slightly lower temperature than indicated on the label.

Maybe this will really blossom if done gong-fu style. I’m withholding a rating for now.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

The brew guide on the label is according to the usual guide that is suitable for most people and according to our own test. Of course you can brew the teas according to your own favor.

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I’m a writer and editor who, after years of bagged-tea purgatory, has finally seen the light and glory of loose-leaf teas. I’m still just starting my journey, as it’s been only in the last 2 years that I’ve started drinking loose-leaf tea, and only in the past few months that I’ve been trying different varieties in earnest.

That said, I drink green tea most often. I’m trying to learn more about herbals and oolongs, and have just come to the realization that I like flavoured black teas and flavoured rooibos teas. I’m still trying to find my footing with white teas, and have barely gotten started with pu’erh teas.

For those interested, here’s my scoring system:

100-85: A winner!
84-70: Pretty good. This is a nice, everyday kind of tea.
69-60: Decent, but not up to snuff.
59-50: Not great. Better treated as an experiment.
49-0: I didn’t like this, and I’m going to avoid it in the future. Blech.


Toronto, ON, Canada



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