2185 Tasting Notes


Ah, finally time to try this one! Oh my goodness, the dried leaf smells amazingly sweet and floral; I am very excited. I’ve tried one plain Tieguanyin before (at the Harney Soho shop), and while I enjoyed pretty well I wasn’t blown away or moved to buy it. I have a distinct feeling this one will be different!

Brewed “western” style in my 12 oz Kati cup. The liquor is a pale yellowish green, and it smells awesome. Fresh and floral, warm and buttery, sweet and creamy. Yup, the raves about this tea are totally warranted: it is amazing. The main body of the sip is light and fresh and green and buttery, and then toward the end the florals (orchid, magnolia, lilac) really come out along with a very lightly sweet aftertaste that gets a bit stronger as the tea cools. It still never gets as sweet as some oolongs I’ve had, just a faint wisp of sweetness to tease your taste buds. All of the characters of a Tieguanyin are present in spades in this tea; truly an amazing example of it’s kind.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Caramel by Kusmi Tea
2185 tasting notes

I’m drinking my afternoon cup of tea a little earlier than I usually do today because I want to have not one but two afternoon cups! I just have so much tea that I can’t wait to try it all, and for some reason today I really want some.

I’m thrilled to get a chance to try this one, sent to me by Angrboda! This is definitely one of those teas that gets raved about so much I really wanted to try it. The caramel smell of the dried leaf is very nice… I could just smell it all day, I think. It’s caramel but not a very buttery caramel, but I can’t quite put my finger on how to describe it. The brewed tea has much more black tea in the aroma, with a burnt-sugar caramel aroma behind it. I feel like the caramel makes itself known a bit more in the flavor, and it’s definitely a roasted-sugar type caramel as opposed to a buttery-creamy caramel. It actually distinctly reminds me of some kind of burnt-sugar candy I bought in London once. It pairs pretty flawlessly with the black tea base, which is pretty smooth but it still has a bit of a kick to it, by which I suppose I mean it’s fairly bold. I was surprised by the low suggested steep temp on this one, but upon drinking it I feel like the black tea might have overtaken the caramel at a higher temp. Overall a definitely delicious tea!

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

I really want to try this one!

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drank Lychee by Harney & Sons
2185 tasting notes

Another sample from SimplyJenW! So glad I get to try this; I love lychee fruit, but I haven’t had a lychee black tea before! My first thought when I smelled the dried leaf was “Mmm, lychee fruit!” But the scent wasn’t overpowering. And even though I distinctly identified it as lychee, I don’t think I ever noticed how much lychees smell like rose. I guess that’s probably why I like them so much.

The lychee aroma stayed niced and strong in the brewed tea, backed with a nice, rounded black tea base. And the tea definitely delivers in the flavor: a good, robust lychee flavor (which comes with a healthy dose of rosey-ness), with a pleasant, smooth black tea base that compliments the lychee well but is still a major player in it’s own right. Mm, this is definitely one I’ll have to keep around!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

I love this one….. I am so glad you like this, too!


I liked this one enough that it is sitting in my cart! I also have Jen to thank!

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drank Caricias para el Alma by Tématyco
2185 tasting notes

This is the first time I’m logging this tea, but it’s not the first time I’ve had it. I randomly found it when I ordered it at a chocolate shop in San Martin de los Andes, and was surprised that it came out loose-leaf instead of in a bag. It was tasty and had a flavor combination I hadn’t seen before—bergamot, jasmine and red currant—and the chocolate shop sold tins of the tea, so I brought one home. The tea company is actually located in another small Andean village near San Martin, which is cool and unexpected.

The leaf is pretty chopped up, composed of a lot of small pieces. There are some jasmine blossoms, sugary looking red currant pieces, and some other brighter pink dried fruit pieces as well. The dried leaf smells nicely red-fruity, a bit jasminey, with the bergamot providing a high bright note.

I meant to brew this for three minutes but forgot to start my timer, so I’m not quite sure how long it brewed for. The predominate aroma in the brewed tea is the red currant with somewhat floral notes behind it. Despite an unknown steep time, the tea came out well! Lots of red currant in the flavor, with some pleasant jasmine behind it. The bergamot isn’t the star here, but plays a supporting role, kind of like Harney’s Paris or Tower of London. In fact, it kind of reminds me a bit of those teas, which is probably why I like it. Even the obviously not high quality tea base provides a pleasant foundation and provides some nice caramely notes. The tea isn’t sweet, but the aftertaste has the illusion of sweetness. This isn’t a tea that will be easy to find again, so I guess I better savor it while it lasts!


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I’ve been drinking a lot of flowery teas lately, and this afternoon I decided I wanted something with a bit more heft. I was going through the tea samples I got from SimplyJenW and this one definitely jumped out at me. Figs are one of my favorite! I’m so happy it’s fig season now and I can get them at the grocery store. I’ve really enjoyed the fig flavoring in some of the Dammann Freres teas I’ve had, so I’m excited to try this one with it’s unadultered fig. Also I have a groupon-type deal for Ovation Teas, and I’m glad to be able to try some of their teas before I buy!

The dry tea smells great, very much like sweet dried figs. The tea is speckled with rather large chunks of dried fig, I got two in my cup this time, which is promising. Steeped, I lose some of that rich, figgy aroma as the black tea base comes out, but I can still detect it when I breathe in deep. The flavor is sweet and nicely figgy. It’s not overwelming, but I definitely am getting the fig-in-tea flavor, as well as nice rounded eating-a-dried fig notes. The brown sugar flavoring just seems to accentuate the fig and give it more of a fig newton filling type of flavor. I am getting a hint of bitterness in this tea base, which means I will have to remember to brew it at a lower temp next time. The only thing I worried about with this one was the Assam, which I don’t think I’m partial to, but as long as I can prevent the bitterness I think the black tea base tastes fine. Thanks so much for the sample, Jen!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

I placed an order with Ovation not long ago to get their white pear tea for a friend… and I included some of this for me on that order… I look forward to trying it.

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Another afternoon, another oolong. This one is another of my samples from DeRen Tea, and it is certainly tasty. Let’s back up, shall we? The leaves in this tea are very large and loosely scrunched, opening up to huge whole leaves when steeped. The scent of the dry leaves is lightly green-oolongy, with a faint floral tinge. Steeped, the liquor is a very pale greenish yellow and the florals have come out much more in the aroma, with the oolong base taking on a warm, buttery character.

The taste is pretty true to the aroma: light, buttery, slightly vegetal oolong, with a lovely dose of florals and a natural lingering sweetness. I looove oolongs with that natural sweetness, so that ups the marks for this one. The florals are somewhat indistinct… this doesn’t have the floral notes of a particular flower (at least not one that I really recognize), but instead amps up that general floral character that some oolongs have. Overall very very nice.

So this is the second Anxi oolong that I’ve had in the last couple of days (the first being the base of the Gardens of Anxi by Verdant Tea), and they’re both really sticking out to me as great. I have an Anxi Tie Quan Yin also from Verdant that is a spring 2011 harvest, so I now can’t wait to try that one too. Yay for tea discovery!

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Several days ago, after I had this tea, I took my steeped leaves and put them in a cup with water for a cold steep. I ended up leaving them steeping for a long time, but I think it was ok because I had less leaves than I would normally use for a 16oz cold brew, and they were already steeped previously. Anyway I pulled it out today and it’s really nice. Very jasminey, with some sweet creamy oolong flavor in the aftertaste that I actually didn’t get in my initial steep. Quite a success, and I’m tempted to cold steep all of my leftover oolong leaves like this to see how they turn out!

Iced 8 min or more

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When I first got this tea I tried it right away because I was so excited, but then ended up a bit disappointed because I didn’t get as much flavor as I would have liked. After that it sat in the back of my cupboard while all manner of new teas piled up around it, but then I read LiberTEAS’ note on one of the other 52teas about how she always waits a while before trying the new blends because it takes a while for all the flavors to meld together and develop. I ordered both the Pumpkin Cheesecake and the Pumpkin Pancake Breakfast recently and have been waiting to try them, so I thought I’d revisit this one since it’s been so long.

To be honest the aroma of the brewed tea still smells like what I remember: black tea. It’s a bit bright, almost like a darjeeling, oddly. I do get a hint of underlying sweetness to the aroma, but it overall reminds me more of Harney’s Indian Nimbu than pancakes! The taste is very interesting, and definitely different from how I remember. I get a bright, clean black tea, not heavy or malty, followed by a slight aftertaste of maple, perhaps. I don’t really know what’s going on… I read all the other reviews and people rave and rave about how pancakey this is, but I’m just not getting it. Maybe I need to try it sweetened, but I’m not big on sweetening my teas. The overall flavor of the cup is interesting enough that I have no problem drinking it down, but I’m a bit underwhelmed. C’est la vie! Sometimes a tea is not for everyone.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Gardens of Anxi by Verdant Tea
2185 tasting notes

After my previous tea I needed something I knew would be high quality and not over-flavored. I reached for this tea from Verdant Tea’s new Alchemy line because it seemed like it would likely fit the bill. The scent of the dried leaf seems to confirm that: the first thing I smell here is an herby green oolong with delicate floral notes over the top. The tea is chocablock full with jasmine buds and small chunks of orange peel, but the rolled up Tieguanyin leaves still predominate.

This one brewed up a pale greenish yellow, and the aroma has a base of buttery green notes along with a light sweet jasmine. First sip was still a little too hot for me, but I can tell it’s going to be good. Scratch that, this is going to be one of those teas that blows me out of the water. My first impression is that of a buttery jasmine caramel if that flavor combination makes any sense at all. The natural sweetness in this tea is amazing… it’s a light, smooth sweetness like sweet cream butter. Combined with this oolong, the jasmine takes on a totally different character than I’ve ever tried before—warm, rich, sugary, almost herby—but is somehow still distinctly identifiable as jasmine. The orange rind doesn’t really make itself known in the flavor, and I have a feeling that it, like the saffron, is just lending a supporting role to the other notes. As the tea cools it just gets sweeter and sweeter, playing up that buttery sweet jasmine flavor. A++ on this tea, David… it totally rocks!

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Ugh… I am currently on some antibiotics which are not kind to one’s stomach, so I was unsure I’d even want any tea today, but I’m doing ok for the moment. Still, I wanted something that might be light and definitely non-upsetting. I chose this new tea, but I forgot what the description was like when I ordered it. Really, Jasmine Lemon doesn’t seem to be the right name for this tea, since it’s really more of a bouquet of all kinds of florals. The tea is full of flower petals and buds of all kinds along with fairly long green and white tea leaves. The aroma is a slightly worrisome artificial sweet-tart fruit candy scent, but I’ve smelled that aroma in dry leaves before and it doesn’t always turn out poorly.

After brewing my tea is a pale yellow with some dusty bits; they are likely small pieces from all of the whole flowers in the leaf. The scent is much more subdued, but still with the same general profile. This tea does taste familiar, but I can’t place it. It’s definitely sweet-tart and slightly fruity in a very floral way. I don’t, however, get any distinct notes; no jasmine, and definitely no lemon. This is the second tea from this company that I’ve tried, and though I’m pretty sure they don’t blend in-house, the teas definitely err on the side of lots of somewhat artificial flavoring that pretty much obliterates any flavors from the tea itself.

ARGH. I just figured out where I know this tea from. It appears to be identical, minus the sencha, to the Macabeo tea from ESP Emporium that I have had and not really enjoyed. A sniff test of both teas confirms that they have the same aroma profile. Interestingly, I do seem to enjoy this one better than the ESP version, but only slightly. Curses! Foiled by a new, tempting name. This is exactly why I wish I knew where the tea was coming from in these places… now I have 2 more ounces of a tea I never would have bought if I had known what it really was.

And with that ringing endorsement, does anyone want any of this? Free to a good home; I have way too much tea right now to have this one languishing in my cupboard.

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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I am tea obsessed, with the stash to match. I tend to really enjoy green oolongs, Chinese blacks, and flavored teas with high quality bases, especially florals, bergamot-based teas, and chocolate teas.

In my free time I am a birder, baker, and music/movie/tv addict.

Here are my rating categories, FYI:
100-90: Mind-blowingly good, just right for my palate, and teas that just take me to a happy place.
89-86: I really really like these teas and will keep most of them in the permanent collection, but they’re not quite as spectacular as the top category
85-80: Pretty tasty teas that I enjoy well enough, but definitely won’t rebuy when I run out.
79-70: Teas that I would probably drink again, but only if there were no preferrable options.
69-50: Teas that I don’t really enjoy all that much and wouldn’t drink another cup of.
49 and below: Mega yuck. This tea is just disgusting to me.
Unrated: Usually I feel unqualified to rate these teas because they are types of teas that I tend to not like in general. Sometimes user error or tea brewed under poor conditions.


Ohio, US

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