250 Tasting Notes


This tasted weirdly like roasted beets to me. Very earthy, almost dirt-like, and slightly sweet. It was strange. Not good, not bad. Just strange. I’ve never had a tea that made me think of beets before—but why not, if there are teas that taste like squash and sweet potato and spinach (and, according to the flavors dropdown, bok choy and green bell peppers)? This was an interesting one to try, for sure. Thanks for the sample, CharlotteZero!

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Fuzzy_Peachkin gave me a sample of this a while back, and while I’ve drunk it a few times it looks like I haven’t written a review yet. This is an okay blend, although I’ll admit it’s not really my kind of thing—I’m not crazy about teas with lots of stuff added in (Iike the chocolate pieces here, or candy sprinkles elsewhere), and the chocolate + orange flavor combination has never been a particular favorite of mine.

Anyway—the pu’erh’s lightly earthy, and it works surprisingly nicely as a background. I’m getting much more chocolate than orange, and while the chocolate flavor is done reasonably well (by comparison with other chocolate teas I’ve tasted) I’m increasingly of the mindset that, for me anyway, it’s just not a great flavor to try to recreate in tea form. I imagine this sample is pretty old—I’ve had it for quite a few months now myself—so that may explain the relative absence of orange flavor. Another thing about this tea is that it’s got that trademark oil slick, which I suppose is a necessary consequence of including actual chocolate bits in a tea. Still, I find it slightly off-putting.

I can see how this might be a good, gentle introduction to pu’erh for a fan of dessert teas. I am less into dessert teas and more into (some, selected) straight pu’erhs, but still, I’m glad to have been able to try this!

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First sample from my swap with Dustin! I’d only tried one 52teas blend prior to this one—Blueberry Cream Cheese Danish with the black base—and didn’t care for it at all, mostly because I thought the base tea was just gross. I’m pleased to say I like this one quite a bit better.

I love genmaicha in general and find it relatively hard to mess up, so that’s a point in this tea’s favor going in. Dry and while steeping, the aroma’s all genmaicha—I love that combination of toasty rice and faintly seaweedy sencha, so we’re off to a good start. The initial flavor’s all genmaicha too, but the cherry comes through in the aftertaste. It’s candy cherry—it makes me think of cherry popsicles, actually—but it’s done well; not cough-syrupy at all. The cherry’s on the faint side, and I find I have to really focus on each sip to detect it. I used 1 tsp./8 oz. of water here, so I think I’ll try going a little heavier with the rest of my sample to see if that makes a difference to the strength. It’s by no means bad as is, though. I’m not getting cheesecake (or creaminess), but I think there’s enough going on here as it is.

Cherry and genmaicha doesn’t strike me as a natural combination, but it works pretty well. I still think I prefer straight genmaicha, but I’m glad to have had the chance to try this blend and certainly wouldn’t object to trying it again.

2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This is my kind of oolong—a little bit roasty, fragrant, sweet, and lightly floral. I don’t get plum initially, but it comes in very nicely in the aftertaste. Just the thing for yet another snowy day. Thanks very much for sharing this with me, CharlotteZero! I wasn’t familiar with Silk Road Teas prior to this swap, but this lovely tea has prompted me to check out their site and I see they have lots of other exciting offerings. Definitely one to keep in mind for a future order.


Yay! I’m glad you liked it. :-)

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After three or four hot steeps last weekend, I thought I might as well try cold-brewing the leaves on the chance there was anything left in them. And I’m glad I did. It’s pure rose petal—the way a fresh rose petal actually smells, light and fresh and not at all like the heavy dried-flower perfume rose-flavored teas often turn into. The base is hardly detectable, and I can’t say I mind. If only this is how it tasted all along and not just after a bunch of steeps; it’s much more my sort of thing this way.


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I’m working from home today because of the blizzard here in NYC, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to try out a few new teas. Although most of my tea drinking happens at work, I don’t like to try anything for the first time there since I’m not able to be too careful with my parameters.

Anyway, this tea has been sitting forlornly in my box of untried teas for longer than I care to think about… actually, I’m pretty sure I picked it up during Stacy’s birthday sale. This has the usual first flush herbal/grassy thing going on, but it’s not as strong—or as off-putting—here as they are in many Darjeelings I’ve tried.

I’m getting the hint of lemon mentioned in the description, and, I think, also the almond. There is that trademark Darjeeling fruitiness, but it’s nothing I’d especially associate with either peaches (well, perhaps under-ripe, slightly sour ones—and I mean this in the most complimentary way possible) or blackberries, I don’t think. There’s a bit of astringency, which is a plus for me as far as Darjeelings go.

Even though I’m usually not the biggest fan of first flushes, I’m really enjoying this! It’s definitely a tea I’ll consider restocking next time I place a Butiki order.

3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Another green oolong. Still not my favorite, but I am enjoying the osmanthus flavoring. It’s floral in more of a rose petal way as opposed to the base oolong, which has that green honeysuckle semi-vegetal thing going on. I far prefer the former type of floral to the latter, and I’m finding that the combination of the two makes this far more palatable for me than your usual (straight) green oolong. I’m not sure it’s something I’d feel the need to purchase, but I wouldn’t be averse to drinking it again. I don’t think I’ve ever had osmanthus anything before, and I’m glad to have had the chance to try a new flavor. Thanks to Nicole_Martin for the sample.

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Very green, with some sweetness and strong honeysuckle notes. Not my favorite kind of oolong—I like them darker—but very pleasant for what it is. Thanks for the sample, Nicole_Martin!

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This is by far the best experience I’ve had with any white tea, ever. I suppose it’s not surprising, since I love jasmine and it’s done perfectly here. The jasmine is soft and natural and totally lacking in those jarring soapy notes lesser jasmines sometimes have. It’s certainly the dominant flavor, though; happily for me, the silver needle really just serves as a sweet, mellow backdrop. There’s something very relaxing about good jasmine teas, and this one’s no exception.

There’s a purer jasmine flavor here than I get with my usual jasmine greens; there are no vegetal notes to complicate, distract from, or clash with the pure, delightful floral. Depending on the tea and my mood, I sometimes enjoy the interplay between sweet jasmine and savory grass and sometimes don’t. I think this tea will be a wonderful option for those times when I’m in the mood for something more one-note (in the best way possible).

This is a very old sample I received from Rie, who I don’t think is on Steepster anymore. But I’m very grateful for the chance to have sampled it! I’ll definitely be picking up some more of this whenever I (finally) get around to ordering from Teavivre.

Flavors: Flowers

0 OZ / 0 ML

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I like this one quite a bit. It’s very fruity. I’m mostly getting dried apricot, which really comes out in the aftertaste. There’s just a hint of something floral lurking in the background, and exactly enough astringency to keep things interesting. It’s complex, full bodied, and an all-around enjoyable tea.

To be honest, I have a hard time picking out the differences among Darjeelings—I can tell a first flush from a second, but beyond that I’m lost. I don’t get the whole muscatel thing either; neither this nor any other Darjeeling I’ve tried strikes me as particularly wine-like (although I admit I’m not much of a wine drinker) and I only occasionally get grape notes. I do tend to like second flushes quite a bit, though, and this one’s no exception. Thanks to Nicole_Martin for the sample!

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

i like 2nd flash or autumn more than 1st. less finicky with temps and time, more flavor. i love strong stone fruit flavor.


Same here. I really enjoy cold-steeped first flush, but otherwise I find they tend to be too grassy and herbal for my liking.

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Likes: greens, dark oolongs, genmaicha, fruity greens and oolongs, chai, matcha, jasmine, Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling

Dislikes: spearmint, chamomile, stevia, marshmallows, unflavored white teas, green oolongs

I’m always open to swaps; let me know if you’re interested!


New York, NY

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