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767 Tasting Notes


I’m feeling a little under the weather and needed something strong and comforting.

This fit the bill, like always.

Boiling 8 min or more

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Today’s my one year steepster birthday!!! Whoo hoo!

This tea came in a package of Christmas goodies from the boyfriend’s mom. Mint is more his thing than mine, so they’ll probably be going with him to work, but I wanted to give it a try first.

Preparation notes: Steeped in 500 ml. water in the Breville at the below parameters. No additives used.

Dry leaf: The leaf was relatively small, and packaged in sachets. It smelled like a typical mint tea. It reminded me a lot of a mint gum, actually.

Steeped tea: The steeped tea is yellowish and the mint is as strong as you would expect. Which is to say – STRONG. There’s supposed to be some floral notes in there somewhere too (I think that’s what Tilleul is) but I’m not getting it.

In short, a solid mint tea – but nothing new. The boyfriend will love having it at work, I’m sure.

180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec

Oh man, it’s been a year for me as well. Congratulations! : )


Thanks! To you, too!


Happy Steepster Birthday!!!! : )


To both of you!

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drank Milk & Cookies by 52teas
767 tasting notes

I am just now getting to try this last (the surprise) tea in 52teas Christmas sampler.

Part of that was because I was a little worried from the smell. I’m the pickiest person ever about cookies (texture is a big thing for me – they have to be chewy and soft) and the smell of this dry was exactly like storebought Chips Ahoy! cookies. Which immediately reminded me of their dry crumbly nature and why I don’t like them. So it sat in the little red box, the last lonely package, until today.

I steeped 2 heaping tsp. (more or less the whole sample) at the below parameters in my Breville, in 500 ml. water. Milk and brown sugar were added after an initial tasting of the plain tea.

The steeped smell of the leaves still has a Chips Ahoy note, but the smell of the black tea has smoothed it out a bit, so it’s not reminding me of the hard dry cookie. The smells very chocolatey, like the chocolate in the Cashew turtle blend, which I really liked.

The first sip of the plain tea was strongly reminiscent of that chocolate Cashew turtle flavor – only then this STRONG note of bitterness overtook everything else and dominated the swallow. I’m glad I went with other reviewers and steeped it for a minute less than I usually would! I didn’t get any cookie or milk notes before additives were used.

Once milk and brown sugar were added a buttery, bakey note becomes more evident in with the chocolate. Ah, fresh cookies! No more storebought stuff! I’m not really getting any milk essence (besides that which I added, anyway) but strangely there seem to be hints of caramel (which, again, I’m probably imagining because of that Cashew turtle similarity).

Even though I’m very late to the party, I get the Christmasy feel of it – leaving milk and cookies for Santa was something I loved doing on Christmas eve as a kid. This wasn’t my favorite 52teas blend, but it is very fun for the nostalgia factor!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Doh! I still have to have my 12 Teas—I’ve only had this one so far. Maybe this afternoon I’ll start working on them….

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Mmm…strawberry sencha, it’s been too long. The smell of the leaf, both steeped and dry, is very strong on the strawberry, but that’s fine by me – it’s one of my favorite fruits.

Brewed 2 heaping tsp. at the below parameters in my Breville, with no additives. I’ve found that 2 minutes is the sweet spot for this particular tea – it strikes a balance of tart strawberry and sweet sencha – which makes me happy because I’m drinking tea to taste tea, not just the fruit.

I like this both hot and iced – one of the few teas I own that has that distinction. A wonderful choice for tonight!

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Earl Grey Creme by Teavana
767 tasting notes

Tried this as sort of a latte, sort of a Hong Kong style milk tea.

Basically that just means that I steeped 1.5 tsp. of leaf in boiling water for 2 minutes, added an equal amount of evaporated milk (had to use some up) and let it boil for another 3 minutes, strained, and added honey to sweeten.

I find it interesting, for sure – an orangey creamy honey like drink that only indirectly resembles the tea it originated from. I haven’t experienced authentic milk tea so I have no idea how accurate it is, but it’s hitting the spot on a cold day.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Ali Shan by thepuriTea
767 tasting notes

This is the last of the samples I bought from thepuriTea during their Cyber Monday sale.

Preparation notes: I prepared about 6 grams of leaf in 500 ml. water at the below parameters in my Breville. No additives were used.

Dry leaf: The dry leaf consisted of very small tightly rolled dark green balls. The scent was lightly vegetal and floral. It could be that my palate just isn’t sophisticated enough, but I don’t sense anything that separates it from other green oolongs that I’ve tried.

Steeped tea: The steeped tea is a light golden yellow color. The dominant scent of the liquor is floral – slightly honeyed floral.

Unfortunately I think the taste falls short. It’s not bitter or astringent, but the mouthfeel and taste are thin and watery, and even when it cools I get nothing more than light floral notes.

Steeping parameters from the website recommended 1 or 2 grams of tea per 8 oz. cup, and I did 3 grams, but it still seems weak. And seriously, if I have to use more than this amount of leaf each cup it would get really expensive really fast.

It was drinkable but not something I’ll be seeking out in the future.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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Free sample generously provided to me by Teavivre. Thanks so much!

Preparation notes: 2 of the 4 enclosed tuo cha in 500 ml. water in my Breville at the below parameters.

Dry leaf: My only other run in with pu erh tea was with a Teavana blend roughly a year ago. It was a fruit blend, and in loose leaf form, not a cake, so I guess you could say this is my first authentic pu erh experience.

The tuo cha are small – maybe the size of a quarter, or slightly larger. The immediate scent that came to mind was fishy, which my boyfriend interpreted as food pellets. There were also notes of dirt. Very organic smelling.

Steeped tea: I opted toward the later steeping time with this one, and though it isn’t bitter, I’m thinking I might have gone a little strong and would probably dial it back next time. This brewed up a dark brown to black color which totally shocked me, even though it had been noted by others. I guess I just didn’t think it would be possible to get so dark despite the short steep time.

The predominant smell from the steeped tea is that of the hamster food pellets my boyfriend smelled initially. The fishy smell is displaced more toward the background, with hay and dirt taking the center stage. It smells a touch sour, too.

Surprisingly, given how dark it is, it doesn’t taste astringent or bitter. Just…strong, with a full mouthfeel. It seems like a midway point between black tea and coffee. The taste itself does have some earth on the swallow, otherwise, think a very strong black tea, with the accompanying maltiness and smoothness that it has when steeped properly, and you will have an accurate picture of what this tastes like as well.

I understand why people say that pu erh is an acquired taste. In my case the taste wasn’t the issue – it was the smell I’ll have to get used to. After my experience with Teavana I had written this type of tea off completely, but it turns that I may actually like them after all. I think further exploration is in order!

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

I had to giggle at “hamster food pellets” :)


I completely agree… Taste of Pu-Erh is fine, the smell is what requires getting used to! (this from my first experience today)


@Amy oh – that description was courtesy of the boyfriend. I’m going to have to stop asking his opinion while I’m still drinking a tea, because once he says something like that it’s all I can pick up on for the remainder of the cup. Boys!

@Ninavampi – I just saw your tasting note on the pu erh – I am SO jealous of your dad for going to China and getting to pick out tea! One day I will go to there…


I also want to go to China one day! : ) I think I might go crazy with the options!

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Some days, especially days that start with cold mornings, you want a stout black tea to convince you to get (and stay) out of bed.

I’ve found that this one will always do the trick. Especially if milk and sugar are involved.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Free sample generously provided to me by Teavivre. Thanks so much! From what I’ve tried of oolongs so far, my favorites are the milk oolong and dan cong varietals – so I was really excited to give this tea a try!

Preparation notes: 2 of the 4 enclosed red packets in 500 ml. water in my Breville at the below parameters.

Dry leaf: The dry leaf is typical of milk oolongs I’ve seen – small, tightly rolled dark green leaves that give off a grassy smell with a slight creamy hint.

Steeped tea: The steeped liquor is a greenish yellow with a predominantly creamy scent and underlying grass notes. A slight floral aroma seems to become more evident as it cools.

The tea itself is quite smooth – I don’t pick up on any bitterness. I feel like I’m getting hints of milk or caramel towards the beginning of the sip before it fades into more of a green, buttery taste (with some floral accents) typical of a ti kwan yin. Towards the end of the cup I did notice that it seemed to be drying out my mouth, but this wasn’t unpleasant, just something I picked up on.

This is yet another solid offering from Teavivre – while it’s not my favorite milk oolong, it is still very good and an affordable option for what can be a pricey tea.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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This tea smelled so good in the tin this morning that I decided to have honeybush for breakfast (even though I’m a caffeine addict). 3 tsp. leaf, 500 ml. water, in my Breville at below parameters. Added milk and sugar because that’s what I like with my breakfast.

Unfortunately, I think I over sweetened it, or my tongue has been desensitized to the flavor too easily, because right now it tastes mostly like icing. Cinnamon infused icing. If I take my time between sips a hint of breadiness sneaks back in, but mostly the sweet is overpowering. The mouthfeel is a little thin too, strangely, because I’ve added milk so you wouldn’t think that’d be a problem.

I think I liked it better when I had it iced because it had more of a well rounded flavor. I will likely use the rest of the leaf this way, and save my coconut cream pie/coconut cheesecake honeybush to be made hot.

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A few of my favorite teas (in no particular order):

*Dessert flavored blacks
*Breakfast blends
*Virtually any black tea (but lapsang/keemun!)
*Dancong oolong

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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