454 Tasting Notes


Backlog. After an uncharacteristically unpleasant experience with a sencha earlier in the day, I needed a palate cleanser of sorts. I love this tea with all my heart, so I decided to steep this one after dinner. It also is supposedly lower in caffeine, so I felt okay about drinking it later at night. I’m bumping this tea up to a full 100 since I always seem to reach for it when I need something reliably delicious and roasty.

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Backlog. Yesterday was inadvertently a very Japanese day- all Japanese green teas and Japanese food for dinner. Not that I’m complaining! Anyway, I had this after classes to relax before I headed back out into the cold for dinner. I have to say, I was really excited to try this one but was disappointed. It tasted just like a regular sencha (grassy, a bit murky) to me with nothing really coming from the “flower” part of the blend. And I did make sure that I had flower buds in the tea. I also tried resteeping a few times to see if the floral flavor would show up, but it never did. As a sencha, it was also very finicky. It turned from very mildly flavorful to bitter much too quickly for my lazy self to babysit. Sadly, I’m not going to be reordering this one. I do have one teaspoon left, so perhaps it will miraculously taste better or I will be more patient, but I don’t really see that happening.

Flavors: Grass

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Backlog. Yesterday, I had an early start to classes, so I brought this with me in my tumbler. I have decided that I’m only going to bring less finicky teas to school, and I remember this one as being very generous. I’m increasing the rating because even though I’m pretty sure my water was too hot, it didn’t get bitter. I like the combo of the flavorful toastiness from the genmaicha and the energy boost from the matcha. I only have one teaspoon left, though, nooo!

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After tasting a bunch of new teas from the TTB, I wanted to wander back into familiar territory for a bit. I tend to love Japanese greens, so I came back to my sample of this tea. It was nicely savory and grassy at the same time, and I think I’m gonna bump up my rating of this a bit. I will say, though, to be careful because it can get very bitter quickly. I think I steeped for one or two minutes and it was fine, but I left the leaves in my teapot, and the rest of it got bitter. I added some more hot water to try to rectify the situation, but ended up making it too diluted. Anyway, keeping an eye on steeping the first time around seems to be the key here. Looks like I only have enough for one more go, so I’ll be sad to see it go.

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Thanks to Tea at Sea for the free sample! A month ago, this probably would have been a contender for one of my favorites, but I have had many many oolongs since, so I’ve become a bit pickier. This one was floral and smooth, which was very nice. However, the flavor was a bit mild for me. Perhaps I should have used more leaf. Also, there was nothing particularly special about it that made me instantly want to order more. I definitely enjoyed it, though, and I would recommend it as a nice oolong, just not the best I’ve had.

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I ordered one of each of Shan Valley’s teas when they first came out with the 1 oz samples, which are very reasonably priced. I love my roasty oolongs and houjichas, so I was expecting a little more from this than what I got. For the first few sips, I was snacking on some heavily flavorful foods, so I didn’t even notice any taste at all from this tea. After I stopped eating, though, I did notice a very mild, subtle roasted flavor and not much in the way of a typical green tea. I usually take my teas very mild, but even for me this was too subtle. Perhaps I need to play with the steeping parameters a bit, but I have a feeling that this tea is just fine, but nothing extraordinary. I’m curious to see how the other teas fare.

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Tea & Cards TTB #12
Ugh, today brought a string of little failures. I tried to mail off the TTB, but there was some problem with the tape or something. I was then late for class and couldn’t get hot water for my tumbler. Then as I was trying to keep awake in class, I somehow managed to get a papercut right between my fingers, eek. Anyway, I finally managed to get some hot water between classes (hooray!) for this tea. The tea was nice and bold as a breakfast tea should be, yet it was also a bit sweet. As it cooled down, I could swear I almost tasted an apple-like flavor, but that may be contamination from my tumbler or other teas stored next to it. Thankfully, it’s now the weekend, so I can recharge for a better start to next week!


I hope tomorrow is better. :)


It’s a sign you have to sample more TTB teas!

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Tea & Cards TTB #11
Today was a crazy day with a stressful meeting with my advisor, so I took special care to choose the next tea from the box. A nice, mellow dragonwell seemed to fit the bill, so I steeped this one up in my teapot. It has a nice buttery texture and vegetal taste. I actually looked at some other tasting notes and read “asparagus,” so now that is stuck in my brain about this tea. I actually do think it tastes of asparagus, but it might be partially from my easily influenced mind tricking my taste buds. Anyway, there is awkwardly less than a teaspoon left of this, so I think I will pull it from the box and steep it up in a small cup at a later time. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer, calmer tea at this time!


I absolutely loved this tea!

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Backlog. I was running awfully late for class today because I was wrapped up watching the ladies’ figure skating finals. Halfway out the door, I realized I didn’t bring tea with me, so I rushed back inside and filled my tumbler up with my trusty LB Chocolate Genmaicha. It must have known that I was frazzled because it steeped up extra chocolate—y today for some reason. And as always, many lovely resteeps.

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt

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Backlog. Last night, I wanted something really light because it was getting a bit late, so I opted to reach for this one. I also resteeped the leaves in the morning when I rolled out of bed. This is a nice, reliable houjicha, but I normally prefer something a little roastier.

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I’m a California girl temporarily located in Boston for school (brrr). I only recently got into teas because I’ve never really liked coffee (too bitter), but I have been a daily barley tea drinker since I was little.

Through some timid tastings and exploring, I so far like:
-Japanese green teas (genmaicha, hojicha, sencha, etc)
-Oolongs! (Most kinds except formosa and dan cong so far)
-Straight black teas
-English Breakfast teas
-Fruity teas (peach, apple, strawberry, other berries)

NOT a huge fan of rooibos, matcha, heavily artificial tasting teas, or anything gingery or peppery, but I’m trying to keep an open mind and taste everything that I can!

I’m trying to sample more straight teas and have been having pretty awesome discoveries so far. Thank goodness for sample sizes!

My tentative rating system:
90-100: Woohoo! I’m loving it, and I’m definitely restocking when I get the chance and/or crying when I’m out.

80-90: Yum! I’ll try to restock if it fits in my budget when I run out.

70-80: Probably would not buy again, but it was nice enough to finish the cup.

50-70: Would not choose this tea for myself if given the situation, but would not reject it if someone offered it to me and would gulp down politely.

50 or less: Nope. Don’t care to taste that tea again, sorry!

I’m always down to swap, so send me a message if anything in my cupboard is calling your name!

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