54 Tasting Notes

Interesting story about this tea.
The first time I ever had houjicha, it was one of those Yamamotoyama teabags at a sushi restaurant near my college. I had no idea how long to steep it, but I fell in love with the result of the union of this one tea bag with one cup of water out of the hot side of the cooler. My immediate reaction was “I need this in loose-leaf, DUH”, so I snagged a tin of this while visiting a friend in Oklahoma. I brewed it perfectly according to the instructions on the back. It tasted…not like the houjicha I knew and loved. No nutty caramel goodness, only that woody taste I know from oolong and most decidedly am not a fan of.
Approximately five billion fine-tuned brewings later, ladies and gentlemen, I have reached HOUJICHA EQUILIBRIUM, and I now have sweet toasted goodness at my beck and call. Bravo, Republic of Tea.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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drank Golden Osmanthus by Lupicia
54 tasting notes

Wow, this was so good! I don’t even know what osmanthus smells like and I was a little nervous about the prospect of tasting it without even that reference point, but I had absolutely nothing to worry about and ultimately I wish I had more of this than just a sample. The initial flavor didn’t wow me that much—I mean, it was good; it’s a light and refreshing oolong with a clean taste, but it didn’t really stand out, but then this gorgeous full smooth aftertaste that I’ve never had from an oolong before showed up and now I wish I could make my one-teabag sample last longer. I don’t know if I’m going to buy more right away, but I’m definitely considering doing so in the future.

Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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drank Cassis & Blueberry by Lupicia
54 tasting notes

The more I try of Lupicia’s stuff, the more excited I get about the idea that I might be able to visit their store when I study abroad this summer. This is really tasty, and I think because of the combination of flavors it would make a really good cold-weather or warm-weather tea (I think of blackcurrant as a winter thing but blueberry as a spring thing). It’s got kind of a colder-weather feel to it, but it’s really light and springy, and it does the thing that tea manages to do sometimes where it tricks me into liking a flavor I normally hate—in this case blueberry. So sad I’m out of samples now!

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Dragonwell Lung Ching by ZenTea
54 tasting notes

I like this a lot! It’s got that great floraly-savory Chinese green tea smell and a delicious light taste. I’m not sure Dragonwell’s going to be one of my favorites, but it’s a good standard green tea and I’m glad I have a bag in case I get a hankering for it.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Sencha "Uji" by Lupicia
54 tasting notes

Oh my GOD.


I literally never want to be without this again. This was the other of the Dynamic Duo of teas (the other one being Brioche) that I received for Christmas and fell immediately in love with upon trying. First of all, I can tell it tastes different from other senchas, which is a step for me since Lupicia’s other senchas that I’ve had (Chiran and Kanaya ♥♥♥) tasted pretty much the same. Second of all, this being said, I am not kidding when I say this is the best Japanese green tea I have ever tasted. Yes, I have had Gyokuro. I have also had Teavana’s Gyokuro Genmaicha, which was basically two of my favorite things married to each other, and THIS IS STILL BETTER.

aaaaaaah I have to stop drinking this long enough to review it. Okay.

Starts off delicate and nice like any other sencha, but the astringent kick hits you sooner rather than waiting until the tea hits the back of your mouth. Also, the aftertaste doesn’t taste so much like nori. Instead, something happens between when the smoothness turns vegetal and when the astringency hits, and it’s the most divine, warm, savory, almost marine note that I have EVER tasted. I want to note that this is kind of subtle if you drink this on its own, but if you’re eating—I had this with sushi the first time—that specific salty savory taste will punch you in the face and make the world taste like God for about half a second.

This is the savoriness I wanted from Dokudami Umami that I didn’t get. I think I might die if I run out of this, but at least I know where to get more. Lupicia is, at this point, trying to usurp ZenTea’s place in my heart between White Christmas and this.

It pairs gloriously with homework on a foggy morning, and also everything else.

160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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This is so lovely! I’d been looking forward to trying it for a while and it absolutely lived up to what i was hoping for. It legitimately smells like cookies in the tin and in the cup, and to be honest? It tastes like it too. I have no idea how this tea was accomplished. I want to give every single award to whoever said “You know what’s not fair? It’s the 21st century, and we’re still not capable of drinking a pastry. Let’s fix that!” I have to assume this was the intent. It tastes like delicious dessert bread or cookies or something, with an almondy-cinnamon aftertaste, which I note because I normally really don’t like cinnamon but this tea blends it so well that I don’t mind.

It’s a great autumn-winter tea, I think, and I will DEFINITELY buy it again.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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Picked this up while visiting a lovely friend in Oklahoma!

My quest for the perfect morning tea is ongoing, but so far nothing’s beaten Monk’s Blend. This is not an exception. It’s…huh. To be honest, I think I might just need to brew more tea leaves, because I’m using one teaspoon per cup and it tastes pretty much like water with a slightly savory coffee aftertaste. I might try 2 teaspoons per cup, as per the suggestion of the person who used 2 tea bags per cup. In the meantime, though…I’ll be keeping it to wake myself up with the yerba mate, but I am not impressed.

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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drank Paradise Green by Lupicia
54 tasting notes

What is it about Lupicia’s fruit teas that my first reaction is always “Oh this is so cute”? That’s not even an adjective you can use to describe food, but seriously, this is adorable. It’s very light, just a tiny bit astringent, and then the aftertaste is pretty much what I imagine might happen if you ate Hawaii—all these summery fruits everywhere!

This was a free sample with my Christmas tea, but I’m actually wondering if I shouldn’t get more for this spring/summer. I’m glad I got to try it! It brightened up a dismal day and did its job well.

Boiling 2 min, 15 sec

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drank White Christmas by Lupicia
54 tasting notes

I’m not really sure I should be reviewing this now—it’s sort of my post-surgery consolation tea, and I’m a little congested, so I’m not sure I’m tasting this right, but it’s been such a good little tea that I can’t really help giving it some props.

The love I’ve developed for sweet-flavored black teas, which I still blame on Zen Tea ( ♥ ), pretty much ensured that I wouldn’t be able to pass up an apricot and white chocolate black tea, especially being the sucker I am for seasonal teas now. And it did not disappoint at all! This is such a wonderful tea. Again, I don’t think I’m tasting this right, but I’m loving what I do taste—the black tea is great, the apricot really pops out and goes a lot better with the black tea than I thought it would, and what I can taste of the white chocolate is sweet and subtle and accentuates the other two perfectly.

Happy winter, everyone!

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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This is less of a tasting note and more of a CAPTAIN’S LOG, because i am venturing boldly into this variety of Dragonwell with no idea how to make it because I can’t read Chinese. Without further ado…

Attempt #1 (11/29/11) – 180F, 4 minutes.
Hahaha oh my god, this tea is a ride. First thing that happens when I take a sip is HOLY SHIT FLOWERS IN MY NOSTRILS. Then a weird, sort of musty-sweet flavor that turns into this delicate astringency at the back of my tongue. This stays for about two seconds and then everything turns into a slightly louder version of That Clean Chinese Green Taste. I am…I mean, it’s good, but I’m more distracted by how it manages to taste like four things.

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MJ is 23, plays with arts and crafts and words and meanings, and prefers a side of tea with her lovely rainy days.

I’m a big fan of Japanese greens and of dessert-flavored black teas. Oolongs too, but my love affair with them has been dying, although I could pretty much subsist on Kwan Yin. Also, I will pretty much automatically love anything with popcorn in it, despite not liking actual popcorn.

Not a huge fan of chai or jasmine.

I’m really fond of seasonal teas, so I’m likely to give something a try if it’s specifically for spring or fall or what have you.

I should mention that I am a complete newbie, despite my enthusiasm, and that I probably sound like I know far more about tea than I actually do.

Mad props to ZenTea for keeping me sane and being delicious.



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