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416 Tasting Notes

drank Grand Amour by Nina's Paris
416 tasting notes

Well I definitely have an obsession. Last night, I dreamed that I drank this tea and didn’t like it, and I was so disappointed for not liking it because I’d wanted to like it so badly. Then I woke up and realized it was a dream LOL.

I poured the entire sample the ever so wonderful and generous JustJames sent me into my basket, and steeped for four minutes. I took some time to smell the tea after it had brewed. I could definitely pick up on the fruit, and although I don’t know that I would have immediately identified it as red current and raspberry, it definitely didn’t smell like the typical cacophony of fruit you might find in French tea (stone fruit etc). The raspberry is very clear in the sip though, and so is the base. I can’t say I’m terribly familiar with the taste of red current, although the fruit didn’t taste entirely of raspberry to me, so I imagine it was there. I got a bit of a generically sweet and vanilla end-sip before the relatively strong flavour of the base, which sort of suggests to me that I should have shortened the steeping time by a touch. I’m not sure that I necessarily got caramel though, but that might have been my own rock sugar obliterating that a bit.

I can really imagine myself enjoying the sweet raspberry deliciousness during the summer months. I still think I’m slightly more wowed by Pour Maman, but this would probably make it into an order. That order will probably be placed soon though, but I need to get through some of my h and s teas first. But yeah, definitely a winner here.

Thanks again, JustJames, for not only very generously sending me these samples, but for putting differently shaped/different variations/patterns of raised stickers on them so I could tell which tea was which without any sighted assistance at all! The world is a better place because you’re in it.

Courtney

The stickers are so sweet!

keychange

Isn’t that amazing? It was awesome!

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drank Vanilla Black by Harney & Sons
416 tasting notes

Oh yeah baby, getting down with my h and s samples before busting open the tins. I still don’t have a system of attack regarding how I’m going to open them-I don’t want to savagely tear into everything simultaneously (despite the temptation) because freshness problems, but then how do you decide what to do and all that stuff? man, problems!!

I’m always on the hunt for a vanilla tea, and vanilla Comoro was a pretty significant let-down for me, because I could barely taste anything. I read reviews for this tea while I was at work today, and got kind of excited when I read a few people say it was like a smoky vanilla, because that sounds like a perfect combination (someone needs to do a vanilla keemun one of these days). Anyway, when I opened the package, my nose was immediately assaulted with the sweet scent of baking vanilla, but also a hearty dose of something chemical and distinctly alcoholic. It was like unscrewing the lid to and inhaling the fumes from a bottle of vanilla vodka (which don’t get me wrong is wonderful, definitely soothes the soul and all that sort of thing, but I don’t want that shiz in my tea). But whatever, I set to work and steeped it-a teaspoon for eight ounces of water, four minutes.

When I lifted the basket out of the mug, I instantly thought “I’ve smelled this before! where have I smelled this?” and then I realized that it smelled similar to many of Frank’s banana blends (butterscotch banana, and banana pudding). definitely not a bad association, but definitely a bit of an unusual one. A few seconds later, however, the intensity of the scent dissipated and I could smell gentle vanilla paired with a fairly noticeable but nondescript black base.

My thoughts as I finished the cup:
1. Hmmm. Not what I was expecting. Too much base, and somehow it doesn’t work well with the chosen vanilla, but I can’t quite say why. No smoke, though.
2. I should put this in my swap pile. I wonder who’ll want it. I’m sure there’s someone.
3. Mmm this is pretty good, actually. I’m going to have another cup tomorrow, perhaps.
4. This would be terrific with a bit less sugar in it, you know.
5. Ugh. There’s something cloying about this one. The vanilla is too…something. Cloying. I should give this away.
6. Great cup! last sips were excellent!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s had an experience like this while drinking the same cup of tea. Oh, the internal dialogue. It’s probably not a bad thing though, ultimately. I think it speaks to the fact that we’re determined to give the tea a fair shake, are appropriately self-deprecating when there aren’t fireworks at first steep, and generally want to like a new tea we’re trying because liking things is a good feeling.

So yes, definitely glad I didn’t purchase a tin of this, and as to whether or not I’ll finish the sample pack, it just depends on my mood in a given second. ha.

Also, I received like nine million swap packages in the mail today. Thank you to all of you who sent something. I don’t have access to functional eyes at the moment, but as soon as I do, I’ll set to work labelling samples and thanking those of you who sent them along! but unlike me, you know who you are, so thank you!

__Morgana__

Have you tried Black Orchid (Mariage Freres)? It’s one of my favorite vanilla-flavored black teas.

keychange

I haven’t, actually. I’m going to read reviews and then hunt it down! :)

Kat_Maria

Haha, awesome note :D

keychange

Haha I’m glad you liked it!

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I’m in the midst of frantically putting together a memo for my boss at work, complete with trying to state case law eloquently and succinctly, with an attempt (note the word attempt) at mildly intelligent analysis thrown in in an effort to justify my career choices, and then…then I began sipping this tea. The work on my memo faltered, then I wrote sparingly, and then everything kind of came to a grinding halt because I’m overcome by how awesome this tea is. You see, I’ve had this tea with milk before, and I always felt as though the flavour was somehow muted, or weighed down some, and so this morning, I thought i’d try the tea with only a bit of sugar and no milk whatsoever. And now i’m being hit in the face with an intense blast of warm, tingly cinnamon that burns in the gentlest way possible as it slides down my throat. Who knew there was so much power lurking in the depths of these leaves? I know for sure that this “recipe” won’t hold true for many of my favourite blacks—I like most of my breakfast teas sweet and creamy, but this tea absolutely does not benefit from it. If it was a winter staple before this morning, it’s now pretty much on the instant reorder list. Having said that, I’m glad that I order 4 ounces at a time—any more than that and I’d worry that I wouldn’t cycle through my teas quickly enough to guarantee freshness. But man, this tea is so damned zippy and perfect! whoa!

Ok, now back to trying to sound smarter than I feel.

Preparation
2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Courtney

Some of the teas that taste like cinnamon hearts really surprise me in this exact way. The look of the leaves just don’t do justice to what comes out once they’re steeped haha!

keychange

I know. The flavor is so intense and awesome!

ashmanra

Until recently, I couldn’t drink it because it was too hot for me. I would cut it half with plain black tea. But my new SIL loves it so I had it with him and drank lots of the green version (which I prefer) and now I like it. In fact, the green has become a shelf staple for me, and I have always had to keep the black on hand for a few guests who love it.

keychange

I can definitely see why it’s so popular. I’m glad you enjoy the green version.

Kat_Maria

Aaah, I guess I will have to try it again… I didn’t like it too much the first time I had it.

keychange

I can see why this tea isn’t for everyone, though. If the idea of drinking cinnamon hearts doesn’t appeal to you, then this tea definitely won’t work haha.

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I had a hard time deciding what tea to have this morning, especially since (as I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen) my h and s order arrived yesterday. It’s here. It’s really here! And do you guys want to know what I got? do you?
Queen Catherine (oh the royalty; her beauty, simultaneously simple and complex, can make me sink to my knees, and make me feel as though tea has its very own language)
-Soba-cha buckwheat (on the recommendation of many a steepsterite, and I’m always on the hunt for more evening appropriate teas)
-Eight at the fort (like 8 oz of it! It only came in that denomination-well it was either that or like buy out their entire stock pretty much, so I threw caution to the wind and loaded up my cart with reckless abandon as we tea-lovers are prone to do)
-Big Red Sun (Ifjuly told me to get this one
-she says it’s great with one of those hearty, greasy diner breakfasts, and we all know how delicious and much-needed those can be)
-Scottish Morn (supposed to be their strongest breakfast tea, which i’m down with).
And I also got samples of: vanilla black, mother’s bouquet, and Russian Country (I’ma play with smoke, baby!)

Oh, sorry, Stacy, for highjacking your tea’s tasting note with my excitement for h and s. The good news is that my heart is massive, and my bank account only too delighted to spend money on your teas also, so there’s room for everyone here! In fact, my cup of CVA this morning delivered, as it always does. I’ve often said that the flavours are blended so expertly that I hardly consider this a flavoured blend. And my god how buttery it tastes. I never thought someone could make a tea taste buttery, but you did it and you won and we all love it. Delish.
And of course, I’m more than willing (how can you be more than willing though? like maybe you’re determined?) to share the teas I’ve acquired in my new haul, so request away! :)

Courtney

Woot, H&S! I stocked up when I was there in the summer, but soon enough I’ll be contemplating a new order with them.

keychange

Oh wow, you actually went to h and s irl? so jealous!!

Sil

…thats part of the only reason i want to go to NY again…well that and i think it should be experienced at least once in everyone’s life..and my other half has never been…

Courtney

It was awesome! We added it onto the end of our going home trip because it’s so close, and I highly recommend. Of course, H&S was a delight.

keychange

So so very jealous! sil, I plan on hitting up NY again as well. I’d stock up like crazy.

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Ugh. Just no thanks. Somehow this tea isn’t cutting it for me. it’s weak, I don’t get pancake flavouring, but I know this is a huge steepster fave so I know I can give it to a home where it’ll get more love. This tea isn’t awful or anything, but as I continue to collect teas that I am extremely fond of, I feel less inclined to drink teas that I think are just alright. This one falls slightly below that threshold and so it just isn’t worth it to me to force myself to finish the package. Not when UPS says that my H and S order is on the truck for delivery today!

It could also be that my timolino needs a thorough cleaning, complete with denture tablets.

Kat_Maria

H&S is on the way, woohoo! I am happy for you :D I have some tea orders on the way too (my hiatus lies in the corner shrivelled and beaten up) but not H&S… I already do have a list of what to get from them next though ;)

keychange

Oooh, very exciting! My h and s order is waiting for me at home! I got the UPS email saying it had been delivered and now I’m bouncing in my seat and can’t wait to get home to my precious precious tea! getting stuff delivered is so much fun! What orders are you currently waiting on?

Kat_Maria

A small Yunomi one and a medium Zen Tea one. Also Amoda Box should be here sometime soon… What are you getting in your Harney package? Replenishing supplies or trying something new? I still have a ton of samples from them from my late January order that I haven’t yet tried ;)

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100
drank Pour Maman by Nina's Paris
416 tasting notes

I woke up like two hours before I needed to this morning and lay there annoyed for a while, and then decided I might as well just wake up and turn off my alarm…only I hadn’t set it, so i suppose my waking up early was a bit of a blessing in disguise. Only a bit of one, though—let’s not get carried away or anything. Waking up while the sky is still dark feels wrong on so many levels.

But oh my gosh this tea. I actually think part of the reason I slept fitfully last night is because I was excited to have it again (please tell me this happens to you too? please?). I remember liking it so much the first time, and when I picked it out last night to have this morning, I re-read my initial tasting note for it and got excited all over again haha.

In the bag, I couldn’t really decipher all that much, because I’ve been storing this with other samples. I just dumped the remainder of the sample into my steeping basket (JustJames gives very generous amounts!), and brewed it up for four minutes. After I lifted the basket out of the water, I could smell the tang of fresh, just-picked strawberry, set against a rather airy vanilla. I can’t tell you just how fresh the strawberry scent is in this tea-it is so evocative of summer breezes (well to be fair, no summer breeze where I live smells like strawberries, but a girl can dream—this is in an ideal world, nkay?). The taste of the brew was consistent with the smell, right down to the slight tang of the strawberry and weightless vanilla. The rose in this tea makes a rather understated appearance, so floral-fearers need not get worked up in advance. You get the gentlest hint of rose as you swallow, although it’s more akin to a breath freshener if anything, because it isn’t an adult, sophisticated rose; rather, it’s a very delicate, slightly coquettish presence and it completes this tea perfectly.

I do wish i’d put slightly less sugar in this cup, but alas, that rectification shall have to wait for when I place my first Ninas order. I have yet to try japon (which is being sent to me by the lovely VareaTea, who hates it oh so much…kidding!), and there are a few more NP samples I have here from Just James, and then I think I’ll be ready to order! woohoo!

Ok. So thanks again to JustJames, whose tasting notes and private messages I miss deeply. Thanks for introducing me to Ninas!!

Preparation
1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
aisling of tea

I feel your pain completely, I had trouble sleeping last night because I was so eager to get up and try the rest of my RiverTeas!

keychange

Ok, thanks! I’m so glad I’m not the only one. Can’t wait to read what you think of them!

Courtney

I woke up at 3:50 this morning, just over an hour before my alarm (which is already terribly early). I lay there awake for the longest time, contemplating what tea to make, then just before my alarm I fell asleep again and ended up being late for class.

keychange

Ha-so you think about tea at night too! and don’t you hate it when you fall back into the most perfect sleep right before your alarm and then wake up feeling awful?

Courtney

I know! What is with that? I should’ve just gotten up when I woke up. Tsk tsk.

VariaTEA

I am so happy your first experience with Nina’s was a good one, even if it did keep you up at night :P.

ifjuly

Aw, I miss JustJames too.

keychange

I know! He needs to come back! and Courtney, hopefully we’ll sleep better tonight…as in, right through until morning proper.

Hello.Kiki

mmm, sounds delicious! I would have been kept up by excitement too! :)

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drank Fantasy Island by DAVIDsTEA
416 tasting notes

Alright, tasting note 300!

This was a wonderful tea to come home to. It won’t knock your socks off; instead, it’ll kneel at your feet, remove your socks kindly, and then give you a hug. And it’ll smell of good things: home, innocence, laundry (laundry? shut up, keychange!). Ok ok, so it doesn’t smell like laundry. But how can a creamy cup of coconut tinged with raspberry not be comforting on a day that makes you feel as though winter has taken up residence in your very soul and will be there forever and ever? I hate all these layers of clothes; I hate feeling like a graceless sausage as I try to cram legs into leggings and then dress pants just so I can freeze at the office anyway. I hate having to walk so gingerly so as to not slip and fall, which given that I seem to have terrible balance at the best of times, is bound to happen nonetheless. And I hate the fact that I get cold so quickly—like I’ll be standing outside for ten seconds and then start shaking violently as if I’m having a seizure, and like, no thanks. How needlessly dramatic. But this tea really does make me feel as though a coconut and sun-screen laden summer isn’t terribly far away.

And those are my deep thoughts for the evening. Back to bitching about the cold and being annoyed at having to wake up early tomorrow morning.

Preparation
1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Courtney

300 woot!

Courtney

I also despise winter. We can survive it though. Summer is getting closer every day!

OMGsrsly

300! Yay!

VariaTEA

Congrats on 300!!

Sil

Woot! Go 300 go!

TheTeaFairy

Fireworks for 300!!!!

Kamyria

Yay! 300! Congrats!

Hello.Kiki

Happy 300! I’ve starting burning summery candles to help push those winter blues aside!

keychange

Thanks guys! We can beat this winter! one tasting note at a time!

Charissa

Let me just say that I love reading your tealog notes—your comments on tea are great, but I also love your amusing anecdotes and descriptions (“I hate feeling like a graceless sausage as I try to cram my legs into leggings…” HAHA! I can totally relate!) Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts! :-D

keychange

Oh, thank you! Reading that comment just made my day!!

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I think it’s safe to say that this tea has earned itself a spot in my winter collection, because although I’m certain there are many teas like it, this one is easy to stock and can easily be accompanied by my other favourites from this company in another order. I must say that I need to try this tea without any milk whatsoever, as i’m noticing that it has a relatively heavy and full mouth feel on its own (because despite the fact that it’s a straight-up cinnamon, you definitely get the feeling that a lot is going on), and I think the milk only mutes it or weighs it down, when it seems to prefer to be more buoyant. It travels well though, and is incredibly warming on a freezing cold Monday.

Preparation
12 OZ / 354 ML

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It’s been a while (and by that I mean a few days) since I’ve made tea to enjoy, as I was visiting my parents in Toronto this weekend and packed minimally. My mom did make me Indian-style chai on Saturday though, and drinking it instantly transported me back to my childhood, and I missed it with an aching ferocity. I foolishly thought that if I had my mom’s chai again, I’d probably be all snobby and needlessly analytical about it, but nope-it was spicy and milky and delicious, and I just wanted to live in that bowl forever.

But this tasting note isn’t about that chai, right? right. Sorry.

I’m opening my 52 tea blends one at a time so as to preserve freshness, and this was next up. I have to admit that the scent of the dry leaf did not evoke pancake associations for me. it did smell delicious, but it also bore an uncanny resemblance to butterscotch banana, both in smell and taste. There certainly wasn’t any prominent banana in the smell or the taste, but nor did I find too much banana in the butterscotch one either.

The sip was likewise not overwhelmingly pancake-esque. I did get a buttery bread taste, drizzled in something I swore was chocolate, which really threw me for a loop. Like so much of a loop in fact that I’m going to get a sighted person to confirm that this is indeed my pancake breakfast tea (although I facetimed with my sister last night which is how I learned this was pancake breakfast in the first place). How odd.

Anyway, good cup of tea. I steeped for three and a half minutes, because I’m coming to realize that to steep Frank’s blends any longer results in the base just taking over and drowning the other flavours, and we can’t have that. I shouldn’t have any trouble sipping this down, although it wasn’t quite what I was expecting…you know, if this is indeed the right tea. Ha.

Off to work now!

Preparation
1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
CHAroma

LOL! Very entertaining note.

keychange

Haha I’m glad!

Sami Kelsh

Sounds pretty nice, even if it doesn’t actually taste like pancakes! How deliciously perplexing!

keychange

It was pretty tasty, which is ultimately what matters, I suppose. Haha.

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Oh my gosh. i read roswell strange’s tasting note on this yesterday and realized it had been ages since I’ve had this. For some crazy reason unbeknownst to me, I somehow thought I was getting over this tea, but this morning’s cup was a resounding reminder that this indeed was not the case. I nearly gasped out loud after I took my first sip, and quickly pushed the cup toward Mr. Keychange to have a sip.
“My gosh!” he exclaimed, “What flavour is this one?”
“Aha!” I exclaimed on Stacey’s behalf, “it isn’t flavoured! this is just the great Taiwanese wild mountain black! doesn’t it taste like waffles?”
“Wow, so the tea just tastes like that?”

Which is exactly my own awe at this tea. I don’t know if there’s any left to order, but I sure hope there is, as I’ll be topping up very soon. Mmm. Creamy, honeyed waffle deliciousness, with the signature taste of black tea aftertaste. I seriously don’t know what was stopping me from having this more often!

Preparation
2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Anna

My utmost sads on your account concerning the Violet tea. <3

keychange

Oh, I know. I’m legitimately grieving that one.

Anna

I hoped you stocked up. Plus it might come back!

Kamyria

Ha ha ha… I had to re read the first sentence because at first I thought there was a strange tasting note I haven’t read yet.

Courtney

Waffles! That’s a great description.

keychange

LOL! and anna, I hope and hope it’ll come back, but who knows. :(. And I’m definitely stocking up.

Sil

Oh is it out of Rostock again?

Sil

It’s in stock silly….

Butiki Teas

We still have plenty of the TWMB in stock. The Rose Violent Calendula is the one that is out of stock.

Butiki Teas

errr, Violet not violent.

Stephanie

Now I want some ‘Violent’ oolong \m/ ;)

keychange

I want violent tea also!!

Anna

I am laughing so hard at this…

Butiki Teas

I don’t know that I would want a tea with the word “violent” in it as in violently ill but I am now picturing some tea bushes robbing people at knife point.

Roswell Strange

Everything about this note and its ensuing comments amuses me.

Courtney

Hahaha! Tea bushes robbing people. These comments are awesome. It works so well with this post I found http://funsubstance.com/fun/49946/violently-inserts-title/

keychange

I would be totally down with grappling with a tea bush, as long as it wasn’t too rough and if I could steel some buds to then turn into more rvc! mmm teabush!

Kamyria

lmao!!! Revenge of the tea bush.

BrewTEAlly Sweet

These comments!! (Dying of laughter!)

Sil

love you guys..

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Profile

Bio

Well, it’s been slightly over six months since I’ve joined steepster, and I can’t say enough wonderful things about this community. Like many of you, I began my foray into the world of loose-leaf tea by discovering David’s Tea, and although I’ve ventured out and have discovered many other companies that I’m extremely fond of, there are still many of David’s teas that I hold close to my heart and I will always appreciate it as a starting point for my journey.

As for my preferences, I tend to prefer bold black tea, flavoured and unflavoured alike, and I almost always take my blacks with cream and sugar. This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy a good, flavoured white though, and I’m slowly making my way through the incredibly confusing world of oolongs and greens. I am also not a fan of rooibos, although I am starting to suspect green rooibos may be ok, but you know how it is: when you’ve decided you detest a certain ingredient, you’ll notice it everywhere—perhaps even where it doesn’t exist!

Things other than tea: I’m engaged to be married to my best friend, and feel like the richest woman on the planet because of it. I am also a veracious reader, and I also happen to have an obsession with fragrances, and have amassed quite a collection, although it pales in comparison to some collections out there! As a result of this obsession, I also follow several fragrance blogs, and am always up for a chat about scent. I’m also almost completely blind, and this does indeed mean that I come complete with a guide dog, who unlike me, hales from the sunny California campus of Guide dogs for the Blind. I think I’ve rambled on long enough, but if there’s anything you’d like to know or if you just feel like chatting to someone, please don’t hesitate to send me a message.

Location

Ontario, Canada

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