66 Tasting Notes

drank Sweet Apple Cider by DAVIDsTEA
66 tasting notes

Got this one in the mail today from Cameron B, my first ever Steepster swap! Huzzah!

The dry leaf has a lot of apple pieces, and leaves small enough that I went for a tea sac instead of a regular steeping basket. Smells like apple and vanilla, definitely more of an emphasis on the sweet than the cider.

Brewed up the taste is similar to the scent, and it’s nice and strongly flavored. Not quite the tartness of a green apple, but there’s an element of Golden Delicious which I really like, overlaid with a caramelly vanilla. The sweetness tames the apple sharpness very nicely.

I do miss the spicier elements of apple cider, there’s a hint of cinnamon here but it could be drummed up to really capture that autumn feeling. Still, I’m enjoying this cup pretty well. Sweet and tasty!

Flavors: Apple, Caramel, Vanilla

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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drank Warm Cider by Tealux
66 tasting notes

Man, I just could not for the life of me figure out how to party with this. I tried it on boiling and didn’t like the result, tried it on a lower temp and it was even worse. I think the culprit was the powdery stuff in the blend – it was like a very sharp, super sour green apple all ground up, maybe even with some lemon in there. Honestly one of the sourest things I’ve ever tasted, and not in a way that could be pleasurable. I tried to work around the powder the last time but it still made for a sour cup. I didn’t get the cider element at all, just sour lemon/green apple strong enough to even override the flavor of the nice-looking leaf.

Glad I only got 25 grams of this one. The final go was one of the few cups of tea that I’ve made that I’ve ended up pouring down the drain.

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drank Chocolate Energy by Tea Man
66 tasting notes

I just bought a sampler pack from this vendor on Etsy and this was one of the teas I was most eager to try! Upon uploading all the teas to Steepster and comparing what came up it’s clear that he sources from Bulk Barn in Canada. This actually is fine with me as I don’t live in Canada and Bulk Barn doesn’t sell online.

I’m very glad to have access to this tea! It has a very fresh chocolate flavor that blends quite well with the yerba mate. I like the choice of unroasted mate here, it adds a very pleasant sort of body to the tea, like milk chocolate instead of dark. There’s a pretty intense aroma as well – it sticks around even after the tea’s been drunk, my roommate noticed it when she came home and asked if I’d had something with licorice or anise. I don’t believe this tea contains either but I can see how she got that impression! It’s a very rich scent.

Overall a very good tea for the price, I’ll likely pick this one up again!

Flavors: Chocolate

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank BB Detox by Kusmi Tea
66 tasting notes

So obsessed with this tea. I’ve purchased a lot of tea recently so I’ve been really trying to spread out what I’m drinking, but I’ve had a big mug of this one pretty much every day. It’s a great tea for around 6 or 7 p.m. when my energy is flagging a bit – it gives me enough perk to take a nice evening walk.

Also I swear it helps me focus? I’ve had a lot of yerba mate in my time but something about this one really helps me zone in on things. Okay, honestly it mostly helps me zone in on this Winter Soldier fic I’m writing, so I’m wondering if I’ll just always associate BB Detox with thinking a lot about Sebastian Stan’s face. There are worse fates in this world. Anyway, any tea that helps my easily-distracted brain is A+ in my book.

The biggest surprise on the this one though is how much I love the flavor, given that I’m not and have never been a grapefruit person. I don’t even usually like citrus that much at all. The grapefruit taste is clearly identifiable but not very strong, which may be part of it. It’s just the perfect amount of flavor for me.

I’d originally tried a sample of this at the Kusmi store in NY and was surprised at how much I liked it then. So glad I decided to take the plunge and get a tin. Addicted enough for now that I already looked up pricing on the 8.8 ounce tins. We’ll see how I feel once I’m further through what I’ve got, but for now I’m calling this a big winner!

Flavors: Grapefruit

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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drank Pu-erh Caramel Chai by Tealux
66 tasting notes

After a hideously extended tea buying hiatus I nearly tackled the UPS guy at the door when he came to deliver my Tealux order. WONDER! JOY! GLORY! TEEEEEEA!

Once I’d literally hugged the multitude of packets to my chest, I set to the lovely and soothing task of putting everything in tins and jars. Ah, the ritual. I picked up 11 different teas in 25 gram packets, just trying a bit of everything since I’d never ordered from Tealux before. I was especially excited about their pu-erh chais, so this is the first one I’m trying from the batch!

I’m surprised I don’t taste more caramel considering the pretty little round chunks of it I found in the mix. The spices are heavy but I’m not sure what’s standing out – the clove, maybe, and a bit of tingle from the ginger? It really has a great depth of flavor and is hitting the spot for me as I’ve been craving more savory flavors lately. Part of it must be the pu-erh, as I literally can’t remember the last time I had a cup of it. Could be far enough back that I actually forgot how it tastes (pitiful). It’s a much richer base than the black teas I’ve been used to, and I have to say I’m loving it. Must do a better job keeping up my pu-erh stock, clearly.

Might try it with vanilla soy milk later and see how that does it, but I’m definitely enjoying this!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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The first sip of this literally prompted an “Ooh, hello baby” out loud from me – so delicious I apparently felt compelled to flirt with it. The delightfully complex, dessert-y floral taste really fills the mouth and lingers. I’m definitely getting the cotton candy notes. Very full-bodied for an oolong on this type.

Did thirty seconds for my first steep, looking forward to seeing how the flavor develops through successive steeps! It’s the first I’m trying of the Verdant $5 for 5 package I got in the mail yesterday, I’m definitely excited about the rest now.

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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drank Cinnamon Roll Honeybush by 52teas
66 tasting notes

You know that very particular smell of a cinnamon roll, that combination of hot caramelized cinnamon over freshly baked bread? That is exactly what this tea smells like, both in the bag and in the cup. The taste isn’t quite as strong as the smell, but definitely gets across that baked cinnamon taste. Towards the bottom of the cup a faint note of icing even comes into play – brilliant. This is a dessert tea that I’ll be reaching for at every hour of the day.

205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 30 sec

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I’m excited to dive into the world of Red Leaf’s flavored matchas! I sort of chose vanilla at random because there were so many that sounded good, and I’d never tried a flavored matcha before so I wasn’t sure what would go well with the pure green tea flavor of standard matchas. That seems like it would be a beast to try and flavor! But Red Leaf does it well, from what I hear.

I love a good vanilla flavoring, but this one is more subtle than most – more of a hint in the background than a loud presence. It adds a smooth sweetness compared to other unflavored matchas I have. As for the matcha itself, it’s quite delicious. A great example of matcha in general, without the astringency that’s put me off matcha before. You can tell they’ve used high quality green tea for this.

As for the whole presentation: the shipping is quick (and free if you order a 60g pack), and the tea comes in a foil bag that isn’t resealable, so have a small tin at the ready to transfer it over. Once I emptied mine into a tin I shook a bit of water into the packet just to make sure I got all the matcha-y goodness available to me.

I’m glad to have this in my cupboard and excited to try their other flavors! Maybe chocolate next?


You’ve got to be kidding, NOT resealable? That’s inexcusable IMO.


that kinda reminds me of the Teaopia packages, if you get 50g (like I usually do) they come in paper bags, with the foldup seal.


Not really because fold up seal = resealable.


Not resealable? Yeesh. Does the matcha actually have sugar in it, or just vanilla flavor?


@Katie, it’s just infused with vanilla, no sugar added.

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I have no idea why Bird Pick is trying to front that this is a green tea when judging from the taste, shape, and brewing parameters it’s obviously an oolong. I picked some of this up in store because someone I follow mentioned it and I loved the idea of a buttery green…but yo, this is a milk oolong. It’s not a super high grade one, but it’s a milk oolong if I’ve ever tasted one. It’s a green oolong, yes, in that it’s not roasted (or whatever they do to oolong sometimes to make me dislike it – oxidize it? pan-fry it? overdry it?), so maybe that’s what it meant. Bird Pick can be weird with their naming, as with their Beauty Slim tea, which they sell as a green and which you would think means weight-loss, when in fact it’s a ku ding and slim refers to the needle-like shape of the leaves.

That said: I am not mad at this! It’s a tasty tea, and a sick deal for the price. As mentioned above, this is clearly a milk oolong (or silk oolong), referring in this case to the way the leaves are processed as I don’t think there’s any flavoring added. This tastes a lot like David’s Tea Quangzhou Milk Oolong except not quite as creamy – a few rungs lower in quality, but still a totally epic deal since milk oolong can be ridiculously pricey. If you have a Bird Pick shop near you I’d suggest a visit, their prices are reasonable and there’s none of the two ounce minimum nonsense that Teavana forces down your throat.

Anyway, here was my actual experience with this tea: I brewed it at first at 170 degrees for two minutes, still thinking it was a green, and that did pretty much nothing for it, the leaves barely unfurled and I didn’t get a lot of flavor out of it. Upon realizing it was not in fact a green tea, I did a second steep with water a minute or so off boil, and gave her three minutes. This let the leaves really start to open up and I got a delicious cup off of it. A nice, creamy mouth feel, rich buttery flavor, just a quality milk oolong through and through. I did two more steeps after that, again both near boiling, three and a half minutes and then four, and these cups were great as well. The fifth steep was pretty weak, but still gave me a little something. Not exciting enough to drink on its own but I stirred a teaspoon of matcha into it and it was great, gave the matcha some added interest.

Anyway, I really recommend this tea! Tastes great, resteeps well, marvelous value for the price, sucks that Bird Pick have trolled us all by calling it a green!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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I was hoping to find this in loose leaf, but for some reason Bird Pick only carries this flavor in bagged form. The scent is what got me – dry it’s a sweet, milky caramel, no green at all in there. The bags are odd little things, silky pyramid pouches with strings too short for all but the smallest cups, so you have to clip the string to the cup or it gets dragged in by the weight of the bag. The tea within looks like ground spinach, a very lovely green color. No visible caramel bits, so I think this one is just infused.

I’m still learning my way around sencha, so I was pretty conservative with the steeping parameters on this one. The first time I made it I definitely gave it my standard three minutes for a green and boy did I end up with a cup of sweet spinach water. Blech. Cut the steep down this time and it’s better.

A whiff of caramel on the nose when I raise up the cup, but mostly this one’s all sencha. The first hot sips give me sencha all the way. As it cools down the caramel starts to come out, but only a hint of it, an extra sweetness that lingers in the mouth. Cooler still and the caramel finally begins to dominate, which is good since I don’t think sweet caramel and spinach-y sencha are the most natural pairing. Still, not a bad cup!

165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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I like ‘em sweet, spicy, fancy, and sometimes French. I’ll choose intriguingly flavored over single estate every time.


Glendale, CA



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