850 Tasting Notes


Continuing in my theme of drinking teas I’ve had for an embarrassingly long time…

At least this is a sipdown. Seriously, though it was so old I pretty much had to do a process of elimination via my Steepster cupboard just to see what it was (it was in a small vaccuum sealed red package with not a word of English on it) – so, way to go self.

I know I’ve had this once before but it’s been about 2 years so I am can’t speak to whether its aged or not since I don’t really remember the original tasting. But I do know that today’s steeping, done in my DAVIDs tumbler, turned a pretty light green and was not even remotely bitter despite being brewed at the recommended BOILING water parameter for 3 minutes.

There was not much in the way of actual milky notes – maybe more of a floral buttery flavor akin to a Tie guan yin. This was a very lightly oxidized oolong – and perhaps it is due to age that I missed out on some of the milky creaminess I have gotten out of milk oolongs before.

I still much prefer darker oolong varietals, which is why I will likely not be having more of this any time soon. But I’m glad I didn’t let it go to waste at least!

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 7 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Why have I waited so long to have this tea???

It must be because my previous note picked up on the astringence of the pecan as it cooled, and therefore needed some sugar. This cup is not like that at all – maple candied pecans that somehow manage to be both a heavy dessert taste with a light airy texture.

I do not like to add anything to oolong, green or white teas so I’m glad I don’t need to here. However, I will say that I think the oolong is not really discernible, and the color of the steeped tea (a light amber) could almost lend itself to a darjeeling.

Liking this a lot today for sure, I just need to return to it sooner next time!

170 °F / 76 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

It definitely is very yummy!

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drank Peach HoppiTea by Butiki Teas
850 tasting notes

Made this iced in my DAVIDs mason jar (oh, how much I love all the DAVIDs teaware I own!)

Per directions I did about 4.5 tsp. leaf to the 25 oz. water with one tablespoon of sugar to sweeten. I probably could have done a tad more sugar because the hops are quite bitter. But not off putting bitter – I mean, I probably have 6 oz. left and I wouldn’t have gotten to that point if I didn’t like the taste.

The smell is still banana peach and boyfriend tasted it but said he couldn’t pick up on hops. As he is the beer drinker I’m deferring to him and assuming I don’t pick up on it either. What I do pick up on is a lovely iced tea that will herald the start of many iced teas as the weather has finally warmed up for good.

Just got to get through this pollen (ugh, tree pollen, my nemesis) and it’s smooth sailing into summer!

Flavors: Peach

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 4 tsp 25 OZ / 739 ML
Butiki Teas

Sugar really dampens the hops, so that might be why your boyfriend couldn’t pick up on the hops. This particular hops has a strong grapefruit flavor. :)

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I am officially down to 60 teas. Most of what I have left is in larger quantities but…60! Seems like hardly anything. I need to place an order for some more variety if nothing else but the problem is there’s no one company I want to order from – I want 1 or 2 teas from 4 or 5 companies. And I don’t want to place that many small orders. Ugh, I sound so whiny, even to myself.

Can you tell I’m in need of my vacation next week?

Anyway, as the weather seems to finally be warming up for good I’m going to enjoy this last vestige of fall/winter comfort. The spiced apple still smells fantastic and with creamer it is positively lush – it actually kind of reminds me of a hot bowl of apple cinnamon oatmeal, which I think justifies it nicely as a breakfast option.

Come fall, I will definitely be seeing this one again. On the wish list it goes!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

Sounds like a good heart warming one! I need to find something in my cupboard like that today as it’s rainy and dark out.. Urgh… I could take snow & sunshine back instead of this grey & gloom.

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drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
850 tasting notes


I absolutely love this tea whenever I’ve been lucky enough to have it (never bought any myself, just acquired it from swaps), but its not something I see myself able to drink every day. Still, strawberries and cream tea is fantastic every once in a while!

As is the fact that every time I have it I like to imagine what really is in this, since it’s ingredients are so secretive and all.

Ah well, it will be missed but I am sure I’ll see it again someday soon. :)

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Had this for “lunch” at work with some leftover udon stir fry. I brought it in my DAVIDsTEA glass travel tumbler (http://www.davidstea.com/double-wall-travel-mug?&TF=ADA13E5CAE3F&DEID) because I’m really trying to find some system for me to drink tea while I’m at work.

sidenote rant, please skip below if you just want to read the tea review
My work is seriously NOT conducive to tea drinking, guys. First of all, only closed containers allowed out at the nurses station (which makes sense because we don’t need to spill stuff out there and that would definitely happen). Second of all, I’m getting better about managing my time but there are still nights where I do NOT sit down. This is not conducive for fussy teas. Or a tea tumbler that doesn’t hold its heat properly. So…I’m pretty much limited to bagged, non-fussy teas but even then I don’t get to drink the whole thing before it goes ice cold, so I feel like I waste more than I consume.

It’s frustrating because I really think tea would keep me a lot less frazzled at work but there’s just no way to do it well. Welcome to the last… oh… 16 months of my life. Any suggestions on workability would be much appreciated.
end rant

Okay. So the tea tumbler worked great. But I definitely oversteeped this guy because holy wow bitter. I probably overleafed too even though I did follow instructions on based on the volume of water and grams of tea leaves.

Oh well, it paired pretty nicely with my lunch, I just don’t think I’d take it to work again since it’s too easy to mess up. One of these days I will find a winning combination of tea + teaware. Or several winning combinations, I guess, since I get bored if I just drink one tea over and over.

I hope that day comes soon…

Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

Too bad you don’t live near me. We are hiring nurses for a call centre. You could drink plenty of tea there lol


What are your preferences regarding travel tumblers? I may have a solution for you.


Ooh really? Part of my problem in addition to the above is that I can only do glass. Stainless steel lends an off taste to tea. I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts!


Hrm. Unfortunately, my solution is made of stainless. It has a steeping basket that you can twist to shut off the steeping process. It’s really neat, and my husband loves it… but I don’t know if any company makes something like that with glass. :/


That seems to be the problem I’m facing, too – great solutions in stainless, but no glass versions. Do you have the link to what your husband uses? It’s always worth a look just to see I’ve come across it before…


Here’s the link to it: http://www.copco.com/store/site/product.cfm/id/0BE53028-CFBF-D4B2-F3F068D75505414A/fid/0BE5307C-ED52-6763-D498321EA5D826BC.cfm

I actually had to search for a while before I found this. It really works quite well if you don’t have time to take out the strainer and dump the leaves.


Also, how do you feel about plastic? Bodum makes a plastic tumbler with a French press apparatus inside. I know French presses are not ideal, but I’ve found they do LARGELY stop the steeping process.

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drank Coconut Cream Pie by 52teas
850 tasting notes

One cup away from a sipdown for this one. I’ve had it for a while so I’m surprised the coconut flakes are still holding their own, to be honest. But when I made the cup a few days ago it was as creamy and coconut heavy as ever. Not so much a pie or pastry note but still quite good.

One of 52Teas classics in my opinion.

Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Vanilla

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank Houjicha - Amber by Obubu Tea
850 tasting notes

Sipdown! I’m kind of proud of myself for clearing out my cupboard so well. Although I probably will make up for it as soon as I get my Obubu shipment.

I’m not sure if my notes are really reflecting this at all but I’ve been on a big Japanese culture kick of late. Literature, food, tea, everything. I decided to do my first tea subscription with Obubu tea just because I’ve bee having so much fun with it all (that and I like that the subscription also has some benefit to the community).

Anyway, this was a free sample with my Sencha order and I’m drinking it in my new DAVIDsTEA double wall glass tumbler (12 oz volume). I steeped up the whole sample since it was around 8 grams and the instructions said to use 5 g for 5 oz. I used the below parameters and no additives.

The dry leaf smell was of an almost burnt sencha. I know I’ve had houjicha before but I am pretty sure it used bancha leaves as I remember huge brown leaves, and not the blade of grass sized leaves that characterize sencha. I’m not a fan of outright burnt or ash tasting teas so I’m hoping this tones it down just to a pleasant toasted rice-esque note once it steeps.

Despite being sencha based, this tastes a lot like the houjicha I remember. Very genmaicha like, really. It is also very smooth and not bitter in the slightest, with discernible hints of seaweed. Sometimes teas take me a while to drink because my brain likes to ruminate over the flavors. But this – I’m not sure how to really explain it other than for a hot tea it is surprisingly refreshing and slides down your throat like water. Maybe its the minerality I’m trying to describe? Because that is a savory/umami quality I really enjoy in tea as well.

Anyway, I like this. I’m excited to see what my spring tea from Obubu will be because I’ve quite enjoyed their offerings so far!

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 8 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Do you know what happens when you put 5 tsp. of this in a DAVIDsTEA mason jar (25 oz. volume) and let this cold brew for about…oh, 18 hours?

Well, first of all, you get the most fabulous fruity iced tea that there ever was. The base Dammann uses here allows for the juicy fig note to take center stage but this is still very much a good black tea that does not need sweetening to be awesome.

Second of all, you can use the leaves twice and get a lighter black tea with even more sweet figgy notes that is just as amazing as the first go around.

This was a definite win – the mason jar (I love it so hard), the tea, everything. I’ll be experimenting with other fruity teas cold but honestly this may take over peach tea as my cold tea of choice this summer.


Does the metal filter fit into all mason jars or just one it comes with?


I would say yes, though I don’t have any mason jars of comparable size to check for sure. It doesn’t snap in or anything, though – really it’s just like their smaller stainless steel strainers that I use with any mug.


Ah, I see. It looked like the lip was smaller than the perfect mug strainer when I checked the website. I do a lot of cold steeps in the fridge in mason jars over the summer, so it could be handy to have.


Sweet! I want the mason jar for cold brewing especially!

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drank Kenyan Tinderet by DAVIDsTEA
850 tasting notes

Free sample included with my DAVIDsTEA order.

I was actually pretty curious to see how the samples would be handled with this order since I actually didn’t order any tea this go around. I love the aesthetic of most DAVIDs mugs and tumblers but their teas…I just haven’t found one that measures up to what its advertised to be.

So anyhow, I received a sample of this, their second flush darjeeling, and the peaches and cream herbal. The herbal was sorely disappointing but this seemed like a good option for breakfast this morning so I steeped it up.

The dry leaf looks a lot like Butiki’s Crimson Horizon, maybe a bit smaller though. Boyfriend says it looks a lot like grapenuts, but it has my favorite breakfast black tea smell, so very malty and rich. The resemblance to Crimson Horizon has me nervous though because that is some of the most bitter, astringent tea I’ve ever had and that happens after about 1.5 minutes of steeping, nowhere near my 4 minute norm (and the recommended steep time) for this.

After being brewed this is very dark and I chanced a sip plain, though I had the creamer ready. Initially it was a very rich black tea but then the astringence crept in. Great, thick texture but yeah, this cannot be drank plain. I can cut some slack for this because I never drink breakfast teas plain anyway, but it was worth noting.

Once creamer is added this tea is fabulous. The sugar/milk smooth out the bitterness, leaving just the malty notes and thick, chewy texture. This is a very strong tea and could definitely be a coffee substitute in the morning, and honestly, I really do like it. It’s easily the best DAVIDs tea I’ve ever had. I imagine it will give me the energy to start digging into my schoolwork all day – which is great…I really need a kick in the pants there.

Putting this on my wish list just in case I place an order in the near future.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 5 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

When I got this one the clerk told me to only steep for 45sec max, which I thought was weird, but I find that it’s perfect for this one. If you ever find the 4mins too much, try it for a short steep and it might surprise you.


Hmm, I wonder if the Kenyan Sunrise I just ordered from Whispering Pines will be anything like this. It looks about right.


I feel the same way about David’s. I love their teaware and gadgets, but haven’t been super impressed by their teas.

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I have come to the point (as of October 2014) where quality in tea is more important than quantity. Especially because I’m a seasonal tea drinker where hot tea is concerned, and a SLOW one to boot. I generally don’t resteep only because I’d be here all day if I did, though I do break out a gaiwan from time to time.

I adore French teas in practically every iteration, Japanese Sencha (specifically from the Uji region, as they offer the most seaweed flavor), and Dan Cong oolongs. I am trying to focus on plain teas and so companies like Verdant, Upton, and Butiki are on my favorites list.

When it comes to tea, I feel like the 10th Doctor says it best:

“Tea! That’s all I needed! Good cup of tea! Super-heated infusion of free-radicals and tannin, just the thing for healing the synapses. "


Atlanta, GA

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