1403 Tasting Notes

drank Pure Chai by DAVIDsTEA
1403 tasting notes

A sample of this turned up. It’s probably ancient.

Never mind. Quite tasty in a cinnamon black tea kind of way.

I’m not a big fan of cinnamon, but this is the good kind of cinnamon.

The cinnamon is punchier than the base. A glug of milk makes this rather tasty for a slow day.

Grateful that this doesn’t contain anise.

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Ok, everything I previously said about this tea, I take it all back.

Maybe, this new development is because I gave the bag of leaf a good shake. Perhaps because I almost doubled the amount of leaf I used. Perhaps because today I am drinking it with organic milk. Maybe all these factors have nudged this cup into becoming something completely new and magnificent.

This cup is all bright tart raspberry and marzipan cookie on a punchy black base.

Just wow.


Oh good! I think this is one of the first teas that ever “knocked my socks off.” I got it in my first ever tea swap, sent by teaequalsbliss. My daughter saw my tasting note and bought some for me at the very next holiday.

Evol Ving Ness

Sweet! It is lovely to find that the issue was user error rather than the tea itself. Now, if I can only find the way to save Boston…

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The mood for what gmathis calls builder’s teas seems to come upon me more and more often. Perhaps this is because the flavoured teas I have been drinking lately are so over the top, with a gazillion flavours dancing together.

Enter Malachi. Simple. Uncomplicated.

Yesterday, I picked up some milk, so I had it with milk, a lot of milk.

So far, this blend of Assam and Keemun is one of my favourite H & S’s teas.

It steeps up a deep mahogany. Punchy, malty. A great tea to start the day with.

Also, I like the label: a decent cup of tea. And that it is.

There must be some sort of pan-national Steepster crowd mind intuition thing happening today as everyone is reaching for Harney.


Do you know, I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Malachi. I need to remedy that soon…I’m long overdue!


Or have I? Oy. Oh, for Sheldon Cooper’s identic memory…

Evol Ving Ness

I noticed that Harney’s has 20% off now.

Note that this is what I imagine builder’s teas taste like. Others have noted that it is along the same lines as an Irish Breakfast blend.


I liked this one! I gave it as a gift to a builders tea lover a few years ago. She read the “Decent cup of tea” bit and looked confused and worried and laughed, as if it was admitting to be only “decent.” After she tried it, I got a phone call saying “Wow! That really IS a decent cup of tea!”


Would love to try this one! Sounds great. What do you think of their Irish Breakfast blend (100% Assam)? It’s one of my favorites when I want a plain, strong black tea with a splash of milk.

Evol Ving Ness

Ashmanra, that’s a good story. :)

Andreas, I haven’t tried their Irish Breakfast, so I can’t compare. Yet, anyway. I will put it on my list.

so far, I like this one, Scottish Morn, Queen Catherine, and Brigitte’s Blend when I reach for an unflavoured tea by H & S.

Evol Ving Ness

Ooops, I just realized that your name could be Andre or Andrea, so my apologies if I got it wrong.


Andreastt, I just had a cup of H&S Irish Breakfast yesterday (bagged version). You described it well: plain, strong black tea is as about as accurate as you can get. However, just like the book is always better than the movie, I’d hazard a guess that the loose leaf version is better than the bagged!

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This one’s been kicking around for a while.

Whenever I pick it up to steep, I remember that anise bite and I think, ah no, and put it down again.

Too bad because this is one delicious tea. Prune, plum, dried cherry, stone fruit, dried fig, malt.

The anise peeks through ever so slightly. Perhaps age has muted it. Perhaps a cooler steep has.

I’ll be sorry to see this one go. Sometimes hoarding is not such a bad thing.


Yes! Sometimes teas actually taste better upon aging, if there were certain aspects that I didn’t like as they were too strong. I’ve found this with bergamot in some blends, and some mints as well, I believe.

Evol Ving Ness

Hmm. I haven’t figured out the pattern. I’m just grateful for the times when it happens. Sadly, there are some packets I look at that I doubt will EVER improve.


Haha, I haven’t figured it out either. And I had some teas (a couple Frank-era 52teas) that seemed like aging was just what they needed, but nope, still terrible.

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Either this tea is too sweet for me fullstop or I shouldn’t have reached for a flavoured tea today. Or maybe it is one of those that, according to CrowKettle, needs milk.

I had no idea that this blend contained maple. Had I known, I would have saved it for another day.

Blueberry and chestnut—that’s what I signed up for. But I was counting on blueberry and chestnut of the North American Imagination: roasted chestnuts and fresh blueberries. Granted, an odd combination.

Instead, I think what is going on here is the highly sweetened chestnut purée, sweetened with maple syrup, with a sprinkling of blueberries.

Probably needs milk. None in the house at the moment and snowmageddon outside, so going the the store is out.

It’s fine. Just not something I am in the mood for today.

Edit—also should have read CrowKettle’s note before selecting this. Oh, regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention…


Yeah, I find this one too sweet. I wish it was toned down or completely void of maple.

Evol Ving Ness

Ayup. Unsatisfying tea day. A spoon of my Keemun classic probably would’ve fixed this experience for me.

The maple is absolutely superfluous. Actually, I think DF should leave the maple alone altogether. Theirs is a nice quality maple, but using it in blends with other notable flavours is just way too fussy. I would appreciate it more in a straight maple tea or smoky maple or something uncomplicated.


I think I agree with you. It’s overly busy and overwhelming to taste.

I don’t mind the DF’s banana blueberry flavoured oolong though! Blueberry is such an intense flavour on it’s own and maybe it’s better served by a light, creamy accompaniment – like vanilla or banana. Or that’s my preferences speaking :P

Evol Ving Ness

Agreed. Maybe a soft lemon cloud too.

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drank Plum Pryanik by 52teas
1403 tasting notes

The rare mood to have an uncaffeinated tea struck me last night. This blend is all spiced wine, including that slight catch at the back of the throat.

This cup has a nice citrus rind presence, but, for me, the plum is absent. What I am getting is the slightest bit of rose.

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Took a travel mug of this with me for booster day. See previous note. No menthol or eucalyptus detected in this steeping.

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My booster appointment was on the edge of Chinatown: fortuitous planning, I’d say.

After my shot, I thought I’d walk over to pick up my favourite Hong Kong-style milk tea and a few delicious things to eat on recovery day, just in case.

My usual HK tea place was a bit of a distance. My bag was heavy. By the time I had walked a few blocks, my arm was hurting.

We’re still in lockdown here. Still? Again? Our numbers are going up, so amongst other things, restaurants are closed— takeout and delivery only.

I wouldn’t be able to have my tea and breakfast inside anyway. Favourite HK style was still quite a hike. #2 favourite place was closed. #3 milk tea place was still a ways away.

Decided to stop into a bubble tea shop I’d been to before. Not HK-style but mainland China-style.

I ordered a milk tea hot. Would you like cheese? Huh?

The last time I was there they asked if I’d like the cheese topping on my tea and I had declined. It must be a thing. This time I thought well, why not.

It turns out the that the cheese is whipped cream with the slightest tang—maybe a bit of cream cheese added?

The milk tea was milky and mellow. More creamy now with the hint of whipped cream on top. No punch of strong black tea base. The surprise was the addition of a thinnish jelly that kind of slimed itself into sips through the fat straw. Not boba, but something like the gentle almond jelly you can sometimes have in Cantonese dim sum restaurants, usually accompanied with fruit cocktail.

Yeah, it was good. Unexpected composition but good. I’d have it again, more as a dessert rather than a caffeinated beverage.

Oh, and my tea was served to me in a lovely paper bag with a trio of what looked like white chocolate truffles. It turned out that they were sweet chewy rice balls. Not as chewy as mochi, but along the same lines.


Oh, yeah – the tangy dessert “cheese” used in Bubble Tea and other stuff interesting, eh? I think it’s most like cream cheese too.

Congrats on your booster! :)

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks! It was good to get out in the world (except for the people who wear their masks at half-mast or less).

it is interesting. I prefer my HK-style bakery milk tea with that punchy black base, but this is a tasty diversion.

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Vague tart red fruit. Sour cherries? Red currants? Bah!


“Red Fruits” the flavour :O

Evol Ving Ness

Yeah, I know. As it sits a bit, it becomes distinctly tart raspberry with red fruits as the backup. So far, not impressed. Maybe with milk? Maybe with cream? Maybe as a cold steep?

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A monk sips morning tea

A monk sips morning tea,
it’s quiet,
the chrysanthemum’s flowering.

- Basho


Note to self—-you do not actually need any more tea.

My real tea obsession began in February 2015.

Not, sadly, when I had been living and working in China, though I very much enjoyed sampling a variety of teas during my travels there as well. No, no, that would have been far too sensible.

I am a reformed coffee drinker. I still enjoy a long double espresso with a good quantity or milk or cream from time to time, but for now, tea is my thing. All day.

*note—this is way out of date, so if we are doing a swap and you are checking to see what I like and dislike, mostly never mind what you find below. One of these days, I will update this. In the meantime, check what I’ve been drinking and use your own judgement. I like all the teas. Well, I am open to trying all the teas.

I tend to drink black, green, or oolong tea in the morning to early afternoon. Rooibos or
Honeybush or herbal in the evening. And perhaps some sort of sleepy-type tea in the wee hours.

This year, I’ve been discovering flavoured teas, so it may look like that is all I drink although that would provide a false impression.

Not a big fan of chocolate or mint in teas, but I will try them and, from time to time, have been pleasantly surprised. Also, usually I dislike a prominent cinnamon flavour, if untempered with other things, in teas. Again, I say usually, because there are exceptions.

Also, please note that haven’t quite gotten into the habit of updating my tea cupboard on Steepster, and it is unlikely that I will do this on any kind of regular basis.

I drink my tea black and unsweetened. If there comes a rare moment that I add something to it, I will mention it.

Finally, while I thank large and successful tea companies for tantalizing and beckoning me to the world of tea, I prefer to support independent ventures with real people, real enthusiasm and commitment, and real dreams.

Currently, I am researching monthly tea subscriptions. Perhaps it will keep me out of tea shops.

And here is Shae’s rating scale— which I am using with permission, of course— which more or less describes the way I have been rating teas. I am going to make more of an effort to stay very close to these parameters now.

Rating Scale

1-20: By far, one of the worst teas I’ve tasted. I most certainly will not finish my cup and will likely “gift” the rest to my sweet husband who almost always enjoys the teas I dislike (and vice versa).

21-40: This tea is not good but if I mix it with another tea or find another steeping method I might be able to finish it.

41-60: This one is just okay. I might drink it again if someone were to give it to me, but I probably won’t be buying more for myself.

61-75: This is a consistently good tea. It’s reliable but not necessarily special.

76-90: This one is a notch above the rest and I would gladly enjoy a cup of it any day of the week. I’ll likely be keeping this in my cupboard, but it isn’t one of my all-time favorites.

91-95: One small change and this tea would be perfect. I’ll definitely have a stash of this in my kitchen if you come over for tea.

96-100: No words can describe this tea. It’s an experience, an aha moment. Closed eyes, wide smile, encompassing warmth. Absolutely incredible. Perfect.


Mostly, but not always, Toronto, Canada.

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