2276 Tasting Notes

drank Grey Duchess by Souvia
2276 tasting notes

In an attempt to get through all of the teas in the huge box I received from LiberTEAS, I decided to randomly select one tea to sample whenever I have time to brew up more than just a couple of teas. I think today would qualify :)

Obviously, this is the tea I picked out! I’m a fan of earl greys – they bring back happy memories of getting tea drunk with my best friend back in elementary school. Great fun :) And more recently, they remind me of my boyfriend and his mom, as they both like earl greys and earl grey cream teas; his mom always serves them after dinner. Lately I haven’t had too many though, as I’m interested in exploring other flavours of tea.

Anyways, onto the review! The dry tea, in spite of many lavender blossoms, just smells like an earl grey. However, the lavender comes out quite strongly when steeped. I used a slightly heaping tsp for about a cup of water and am hoping it doesn’t come out too strong!

Not surprisingly, the dominant flavour in this cup is lavender, with bergamot notes and a vanilla finish. At three minutes of steeping, the tea is definitely not overpowering, and quite pleasant to drink without additions, which makes me happy. I think I could use a bit more cream/vanilla, and perhaps a touch less lavender, but this is tasty! Thanks LiberTEAS!

ETA: I realized a bit belatedly that this reminds me a lot of DavidsTea’s Jessie’s Tea, likely mostly because of the strong lavender flavour and creaminess. I think I preferred this tea though. Can’t compare the two because I sent off the remainder of Jessie’s Tea with my boyfriend, but that’s ok.

Also, second infusion of this one the next day is pretty good! 3min infusion. Can still taste the lavender, and am not really perceiving it as an earl grey until maybe the aftertaste. Definitely worth the second infusion though. Not sure about a third as I threw out the leaves to use the teaball for another tea – but they did still have some aroma left, so there might be further potential!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

This sounds very pretty to watch let alone drink. I’m becoming a tea voyear.


Unfortunately lavender blossoms aren’t as pretty as they sound! But I wasn’t steeping in glass, so perhaps it looks nicer than my imagination thinks it would be :)

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drank Honey Bush Choco Caramel by ZenTea
2276 tasting notes

Time for a break from black teas – a brief honeybush interlude! Thanks Amanda for this sample!

Based on Amanda’s notes, I made sure to use an ample amount of the dry tisane and the tea ball has now been sitting in the cup for…. ever. I don’t know, maybe 30 minutes? Maybe more? I want something really desserty!!

Dry, it smells DELICIOUS! Sweet and caramelly with almost a hint of cheesecake zing? Odd, but whatever, it smells good! Not getting chocolate, but I don’t particularly care.

Steeped, I can smell caramel and honeybush. Mmmm.

It tastes pretty much like a caramelly honeybush, too. Ooh, and the caramel taste is lingering in my mouth! Delicious. It could definitely stand to be stronger yet, but I like the flavour. Desserty without being overly sweet. I think maybe I am getting a bit of a chocolatey flavour, but it’s pretty subtle. Thanks Amanda, this one’s quite nice!

Boiling 8 min or more

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Thank you so much LiberTEAS for giving me a sample of your cherished 52teas blend! I’m a huge tomato fan myself, and this tea sounded SO interesting! Perhaps if there are enough of us who swear to buy it, Frank will create another tomato-based tea??

Anyhow, onto the review. The dry tea smells like a slighty smokey, peppery black tea. I wasn’t expecting to smell too much else, so am not terribly surprised.

Steeped, the tea smells a bit smoky and peppery. Not much tomato or basil flavour apparent. Hmm, and it’s pretty much the same as that, flavour-wise. I’m not perceiving any basil flavour, nor tomato, despite intentionally putting in the large piece of sundried tomato that was in my pouch, and selecting out some basil flakes.

Ok, I just dug the steeped tomato out of the tea ball and chewed on it a bit – there’s some flavour left; perhaps a longer infusion would have helped, but I don’t think there’s enough left to have flavoured the whole cup. Eating the tomato chunk while drinking some of the tea helped a bit, but the chewing distracted me from paying enough attention to the flavour, haha.

Ok, so this was somewhat disappointing, but I think there’s real potential in a tomatoey tea! At least for my personal preference though, there would need to be a heck of a lot more tomato, as well as more basil. I still have a couple cups worth left, so might try adding some extra dried basil, and using some sundried tomatoes I have (although they are packed in oil, so that might be a tad gross).

(Alternately, was four minutes of steeping too long, and it made too much ‘tea flavour’ come out, masking the tomato?? There isn’t really any astringency/bitterness, so I thought I had done it correctly this time…)

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

I usually steep this one for three minutes. Did you add a pinch of salt? This helps bring out the tomato a bit. The basil is very subtle.


GOOD LORD this sounds AMAZING! The sad thing is they don’t sell it anymore right? So you find something so good and can’t get more OUCH! But oh wow to sample it would be devine!


Nooo! I forgot that you had recommended that! I’ll try that next time.


This tea log made me incredibly hungry. Oh man!

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Another unfortunately-stored sample from my unenlightened days. Here’s hoping I can get something out of it! There were no recommendations for steeping parameters, so I went with two heaping tsp of leaf (it’s rather fluffy and old) and the parameters for TreasureGreen’s ‘Treasuregreen Silver’ green tea.

First infusion (~84C/2min)
As I’ve had a fair bit of luck steeping greens in increments of about 30s, I started with this one at 30s, but after pouring it out, the “tea” smelled like hot water, so I poured it back in to infuse for another 30 seconds. Same deal at this point, so I let it go another full minute. Don’t really have high hopes for it, because the water probably cooled down quite a bit with all the back-and-forth I was doing.

Steeped, this one pretty much has no smell to it. Hoping it tastes like more than just water… Ok, it does, but definitely not very strong. It’s a very mild green tea, I am getting a vegetal taste, and almost a bit of a toasty flavour(?) No astringency or bitterness, but just VERY mild. I like it though! If it was stronger, I think I would quite enjoy it.

Second infusion (~87C/3min)
This one got a solid three minutes. Again, no real aroma. The flavour is a bit more on the toasty side and less vegetal, but still rather weak. I’m pretty sure age and storage are huge factors here.

I’d like to try this one again, freshly purchased. I think there’s potential! It just wasn’t very strong. I think I have enough of this left to give it one more shot, and there might be a bit more leaf left than I used today, so here’s hoping that decreasing the amount of water + more leaf might bring out a bit more flavour. Current rating is based on a bit of speculation that this tea will be stronger when fresh :)

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

such bad luck with teas lately! maybe it’s your kettle? :(


I’m pretty sure that this tea is just a consequence of poor storage and age. It is upwards of a year old, and has likely been stored nearly that long in a definitely-not-airtight clipped bag. I actually don’t use a kettle at home – I microwave water in a cup :D (Or boil in a pot on the stove.) Can’t justify buying two kettles, and the one I do have is much more necessary at work. Neglected to use filtered water today though; that could have muddled flavours.

Work is a different story though since I have an electric kettle there and because Guelph’s water is pretty hard IMO, it’s quite caked with scale. I wonder sometimes whether teas brewed there are off because of the water.

However, I think the main reason for my bad luck with teas lately is just that I haven’t paid enough attention to steeping parameters (or I have, and it turned out they weren’t really appropriate). Things are looking up though! I haven’t really screwed up any teas today, and I’ve tried five!


oh hard water is not fun to make teas with! though it tastes good cold, I guess the minerals affect the flavour. Bleh!
phew, I was getting worried for you. Bad tea runs are so depressing.


As depressing as it may be, my wallet certainly approves! Haha :)


heh, yes mine to! it’s a balancing act… my tea happiness vs that of my wallet!


Just curious, when you use filtered water what are you using? I always use tap water, but I never considered that using water that goes through a brita might produce a better taste.


Yep, a Brita pitcher filter in my fridge is how I filter my water. I dislike the way tap water tastes here when it warms up (it’s fine cold), and the Brita fixes that. My assumption is that it’s better for brewing teas (particularly straight, lighter-flavoured teas) than unfiltered water. To be honest though, I’m not sure about that – I actually just posed a question on Verdant Tea’s website (on an article about water for tea) regarding water quality & filtration, as I would like to know!


Actually, http://verdanttea.com/the-first-ingredient-in-tea/

David Duckler has already replied to me :) So informative! I should probably go replace my filter now though – just occurred to me that I haven’t since early January! Whoops!


I’ve read about that. It’s funny because I hate drinking tap water. It tastes like pools smell especially when its warmer. I keep telling Dylan you need to drink spring water, minerals taste good. I guess it makes sense it would make tea better too.


Krystaleyn – Oh… Oops. I haven’t changed my filter in about that long either. That could explain the less-than-stellar results with my fave greens lately.


Oh my, that sounds tricky, trying to manage water quality and hardness! I’m glad I live in an area that has pretty good tap water (and I can get lovely water fresh off the mountain 15 mibs drive away from my house!)


smartkitty – Haha, even though I signed up for Brita’s filter change reminder program, I still forget (such is what happens when you read reminders at work). But I changed it yesterday, go me!

TassieTeaGirl – I was a big fan of my hometown’s tap water. When I drank filtered stuff there it was more because it was colder having been in the fridge. Here in Guelph though, the water is considerably harder and like Missy says, tastes/smells like a pool (so heavy chlorination?) when warm, and that makes me gag.

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drank RadioactiviTEA by Man Teas
2276 tasting notes

Ok, I’m only trying this one because of my curiousity about 52teas’ blends and the generosity of Azzrian! It’s not something I would typically pick out myself…

The dry tea looks so much like coffee! I suppose that’s because it’s CTC, but it’s really odd. And consequently, requires a filter with teensy weensy holes, or alternately, a disposable filterbag, which is what I went with. There isn’t toooooo much smell to the dry tea. It smells kind of like a… black tea. And perhaps has picked up the slightest hint of Mayan Chocolate Chai in its aroma. Highly doubt it will be present in the tea though.

I’m really hoping I didn’t oversteep this one… used a level teaspoon’s worth in a regular mug, and 95C water for just over 3 minutes… and it smelled POTENT. The aroma actually reminds me strongly of Red Rose, an association I’m only making because of recently having drank some Red Rose. Had I not, I probably would have recognized it as a familiar smell and been frustrated at not being able to place it!

The flavour is definitely not as strong as I anticipated. It really just tastes like a “standard black tea”, which I would use to describe any black tea I had prior to 2012. There is some astringency, and a hint of bitterness – I probably could have used a bit less tea and dropped the infusion time to 2:30 and been a touch happier, but it’s not bad. I am not really caring for this one plain though, it’s just too boring-black-tea-like. It really does taste like a bagged tea. So, I’m sure it will be great once I add some milk and sugar, and I’ll be able to finish it off that way, but not a tea I’d purchase myself!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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drank Southern Belle by DAVIDsTEA
2276 tasting notes

Continuing my flavoured black tea exploration this morning!

I picked a sample of this one up a while back but just haven’t gotten around to trying it yet, primarily because it’s a black tea. Really, I should have taken it to work, because that’s where I’m looking for caffeine, but for whatever reason I didn’t. Anyways!

The smell of the dry tea is pure peachy goodness. Reminds me quite a bit of Long Life Oolong (no surprise). I suspect that I would only ever need/want one peach tea in my cupboard at a time though. I think I’m going off fruit teas a bit, and being more intrigued by other flavours and straight teas. I’m sure this will turn around eventually though!

Er… I think I’ve let this one cool a bit too much. It looks like there are yogurt floaties in the cup XD Ah well, too lazy to go down and re-heat, so I’ll just try it! Can’t be worse than rooibos floaties (ick!)

Yum!! It tastes VERY peachy. Granted, I made sure that there was a lot, probably a disproportionate amount, of peach chunks in my brewing basket, but it definitely achieved the desired result of MEGAPEACH! With definite yummy creaminess. I really can’t taste the black tea at all, but given that this doesn’t taste like peach juice, I’m sure it’s lurking in the background giving this tea a fuller body than just peaches. Might also be that my mouth is still accustomed to the stronger tea flavours from the previous teas I drank, and so it’s not picking up the subtler taste here.

Ok, drinking more of it I can taste a malty sort of background which would be the black tea. Also – yogurt floaties not an issue at all. They may look a tad odd, but I can’t even tell that they’re in there, so they’re probably re-dissolving in my mouth or something.

I actually am really liking this tea! It’s better than Long Life Oolong (although that tea hasn’t been given a fair shot yet), and as Uniquity says in her review, it does taste like a peach Campino! Maybe a touch less sweet, but that could be remedied with a bit of sugar. Now I’m craving Campinos…. are they still around?!

ETA: Second infusion surprisingly good! Enough that I may try a third (although I’m getting a bit tired of black tea by now… go figure!)

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Oooh no! I was eyeing this tea and decided not to purchase based on the reviews. I think I will have to try it just because of this post!


Well, I thought it was a pretty good creamy peach tea :) So if that’s your sort of thing, I think it would at least be worth a sample size!

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This tea is from my sister’s cupboard – she’s only a fan of rather flavourful/sweet teas, and this one didn’t fit the bill. She had been given a whole box (100g) of it, so when I visited at Christmas, it came home with me! My first attempt at this tea back on my birthday in January wasn’t bad, but since then I have learned quite a bit about tea and steeping times, etc., so I’m thinking this cup will be better! I also feel like I should note that the box for this tea is covered in greek writing – I don’t know if this is a greek company, but the tea was possibly purchased in Greece :)

The instructions for brewing call for one level teaspoon per 2 cup pot, steeped with boiling water. I was just using a mug, so went with a generous half teaspoon and boiling water.

The dry tea looks like a typical black loose leaf tea, with a couple small caramel-coloured chocolate chips. I made sure to get one into my tea ball, but am skeptical that I’ll have enough for one per cup by the end of this bag! It smells a bit chocolatey, but isn’t particularly aromatic. I tend to find that with flavoured blacks and many straight teas, so am not too concerned. Steeped, the smell is of chocolate and caramel… yum!

Ok – this is definitely better than I remember! I can taste a mild black base, mixed with creamy and vanilla-y flavours with a hint of chocolate. There’s no astringency at all, which is lovely. I am getting a bit of a strange taste at the end of the sip, after the delicious flavours have faded. Can’t really place it though. A part of me wants to say cardboard, but that would be very harsh, as that’s not really it. Maybe… it’s a bit woody?

I think I’d try this one again at 1 tsp/cup just to see if I can strengthen it a bit. It’s not really all that weak, but I would like to give it a shot stronger, and given that there was absolutely no bitterness or astringency, I figure I have a bit of room to play around! Overall a pretty tasty straight chocolate tea! I’m impressed :)

ETA: Second infusion is a bit weak, but still pretty tasty! A bit caramelly sweet and smooth. Worth it, IMO.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Mmm, it’s morning, so time to start making my way through my black tea stash!

This tea I received from Azzrian, and I’m so excited to try it!

The dry tea doesn’t smell like much; there’s a bit of vanilla aroma, perhaps, but that’s about it. Entirely different story steeped; it smells malty , sweet, and with a hint of blackberry. Yum!!

A pleasant surprise – this is pretty good! A malty blackberry (or blueberry, my palate can’t make up its mind!) tea with a bit of vanilla is what I’m getting. There is some astringency at the end of the sip, not likely caused by oversteeping, but I perhaps used a touch too much dry tea. It’s a bit annoying, but it’s not bitterness, so I can deal with it.

Overall, I’m pretty impressed, and I liked this one more than I expected to! If I drank black teas more frequently I would consider picking this one up, but as I don’t typically drink teas for their caffeine content, and often drink them in the evening, I don’t need more black teas than I already have!

Thanks so much for the sample, Azzrian! An unexpected treat :D

ETA: Second cup, also steeped for 3 minutes, is weak but also tasty. In the future I might use a smaller volume of water for the second infusion to concentrate the flavour a bit, but I do like it even a little dilute :)

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

I thought this was an interesting one too. Mysterious!

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drank Lime Gelato by DAVIDsTEA
2276 tasting notes

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Iced 8 min or more

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drank Matcha Matsu by DAVIDsTEA
2276 tasting notes

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Iced 8 min or more

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I have always been a tea fan (primarily herbals and Japanese greens/oolongs) but in the last year or so, tea has become increasingly more appealing as not only a delicious, calming drink, but as a relatively cheap, healthy reward or treat to give myself when I deserve something. I should clarify that, however; the reward is expanding my tea cupboard, not drinking tea – I place no restrictions on myself in terms of drinking anything from my cupboard as that would defeat my many goals!

My DavidsTea addiction was born in late 2011, despite having spent nearly a year intentionally avoiding their local mall location (but apparently it was just avoiding the inevitable!). I seem to have some desire to try every tea they’ve ever had, so much of my stash is from there, although I’ve recently branched out and ordered from numerous other companies.

I like to try and drink all my teas unaltered, as one of the main reasons I’m drinking tea other than for the flavour is to be healthy and increase my water intake without adding too many calories! I’ve found that the trick in this regard is to be very careful about steeping time, as most teas are quite pleasant to drink straight as long as they haven’t been oversteeped. However, I tend to be forgetful (particularly at work) when I don’t set a timer, resulting in a few horrors (The Earl’s Garden is not so pleasant after, say, 7+ minutes of steeping).

I’m currently trying to figure out which types of teas are my favourites. Herbals are no longer at the top; oolongs have thoroughly taken over that spot, with greens a reasonably close second. My preference is for straight versions of both, but I do love a good flavoured oolong (flavoured greens are really hit or miss for me). Herbals I do love iced/cold-brewed, but I drink few routinely (Mulberry Magic from DavidsTea being a notable exception). I’m learning to like straight black teas thanks to the chocolatey, malty, delicious Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea, and malty, caramelly flavoured blacks work for me, but I’m pretty picky about anything with astringency. Lately I’ve found red rooibos to be rather medicinal, which I dislike, but green rooibos and honeybush blends are tolerable. I haven’t explored pu’erh, mate, or guayasa a great deal (although I have a few options in my cupboard).

I’ve decided to institute a rating system so my ratings will be more consistent. Following the smiley/frowny faces Steepster gives us:

100: This tea is amazing and I will go out of my way to keep it in stock.

85-99: My core collection (or a tea that would be, if I was allowing myself to restock everything!) Teas I get cravings for, and drink often.

75-84: Good but not amazing; I might keep these in stock sparingly depending on current preferences.

67-74: Not bad, I’ll happily finish what I have but probably won’t ever buy it again as there’s likely something rated more highly that I prefer.

51-66: Drinkable and maybe has some aspect that I like, but not really worth picking up again.

34-50: Not for me, but I can see why others might like it. I’ll make it through the cup and maybe experiment with the rest to get rid of it.

0-33: It’s a struggle to get through the cup, if I do at all. I will not willingly consume this one again, and will attempt to get rid of the rest of the tea if I have any left.

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