2390 Tasting Notes

drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
2390 tasting notes

David very kindly included this, at my request, as a sample in my last Verdant order. I’m not sure I’ve ever tried a straight black loose-leaf tea before, so this will be a new experience! I really felt like trying it tonight because of the Chocolate Chamomile Curiousity Brew I had yesterday and today that has Laoshan Black as an ingredient.

I accidently brewed this with less-than-boiling water; hopefully that won’t be an issue. I’m not sure what the temperature was exactly, but somewhere around 200F. ~5g of leaf in my 250mL infuser.

The aroma of the steeped tea is very malty and bakey. Perhaps slightly sweet, but only just. I’ll admit that when I initially smelled it steeping, it almost smelled icky and fermenty to me. I’m not sure where that was coming from, and I still get a hint of it, but I can deal with it.

The flavour is definitely very baked-goodsy, ending with a sweetness that reminds me of… malted barley? Beer? Oh, perhaps that roasted malted barley they use for “chocolate” beer? (I did try some, on a recent brewery tour.) Actually, that’s kind of what the whole sip tastes like. I’ll say that there are some hints of flavour that remind me of, say, a standard bagged black, but it is much different, and a pleasure to drink unaltered.

Oh – I should note that there is not a hint of bitterness or astringency. None.

Also just realized I lied :D My first loose leaf straight black was actually from the DavidsTea advent calendar – David’s Organic Breakfast. Although I think that was a blend.

Anyways, this exceeds my expectations for a straight black tea! It’s complex and interesting, malty and a bit sweet. I don’t think I’d be likely to order this or keep it on hand; I’d more likely go with a flavoured black, but I’m SO glad I had the chance to try it and know what all the hype was about! I can definitely see why black tea lovers like it; my palate just prefers oolongs and greens :)

ETA: Figured I’d go for multiple infusions the next day. Why not! Second – boiling water, 3 minutes. The flavour is pretty similar, just a bit weaker, but still quite tasty. I’m definitely getting a burny sort of flavour this time; don’t recall it from last time, but my memory isn’t great. This is also still quite smooth, except at the end of the sip there’s a lingering sharp bitterness in the back of my tongue/roof of my mouth. Haven’t experienced that before. It’s a little odd. Third infusion – boiling water, 4 minutes. Considerable loss of flavour, although it’s still the same flavour that’s there. Same weird lingering bitterness. I should note that it’s not a problem though, and it’s nothing like the bitterness from oversteeping, although that could be the cause? I don’t think this tea has anything left now though, but I think it’s good for two solid infusions!

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Uggg yet ANOTHER to add to the shopping list!


Uggg yet ANOTHER to add to the shopping list!


Haha, I know. Had I a bigger sample I’d pass some on (in a future swap, as per our discussion :P).


If you get another chance try sweet with milk for breakfast using boiling water. Excellent morning brew!


I think I might have juuuust enough for two more cups, so should be able to try it that way!


This tea is so delicious iced. Save a steep to stick in the fridge! Naturally sweet and delicious.


Oooh. I should try that!

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drank Sakura Sencha by Den's Tea
2390 tasting notes

Ok, figured I should get going on trying my samples from Den’s Tea before my $3 off coupon expires!

I wasn’t in the mood for a straight green, so was eyeing up the genmaicha w/matcha until I noticed this one! Yes! Yum, fruity green tea. That’s what I want.

I’m not exactly sure how this one will turn out though – as I was waiting for the water to cool to 180F, I noticed that it indicated the volume of water should be 3oz. Three?! I probably have 10 or so in my cup! So I made a quick decision to split it in half, and infuse one, then the other. Soooo we’ll see. The teaball was an inappropriate choice due to water volume, as it turned out, because it wasn’t even fully covered… oh well.

The dry tea smells mostly like tart cherries. Yum.

First infusion (179F/1min):
The aroma is slightly sweet, and a little cherry-tart. Weak, but smells delicious. Woah. Hmm. How to describe the flavour. There’s a bit of cherry sweetness, but not much, and there’s a definite slightly seaweedy green tea flavour. Drat – I drank some oolong before this and just realized that the flavour is lingering in my mouth too much. Time for some Malted ChocoMate (?) Great, now I have malty goodness lingering in my mouth. Sencha Pear? Ok, that was probably the best choice. Now to wait out the lingering pear flavour.

Ok! Back to the tea. Oh yes, flavours much clearer now. A nice sencha base with just a hint of floral, tart-ish cherry. Really lovely, actually. I thought I wasn’t a big sencha fan (probably because it has usually been bitter or astringent for me), but this is neither, and quite tasty. Ok, my taste buds are getting confused. I’m tasting oolong aftertaste again. Maybe I’m getting it confused with green tea aftertaste? Maybe they are one and the same!? Ack!

Second infusion (180F/2min):
A bit more cherry here, and definitely more astringency than I’d like, but no bitterness. Should have gone with another 1 minute infusion, I think, not 2 minutes. I really like how subtle the cherry flavour is. I was expecting it to be more overpowering, but its probably much better just being light and subtle. I feel like this tea has at least 1-2 more good infusions to give me (but I think I’ll drop the time back to 1.5 minutes).

ETA: Third infusion
Light cherry flavour, but I can’t really taste the green tea anymore :( I think I used too much water, in part, and I may have worn it out with the last infusion. I must remember that greens can’t be re-steeped as much as oolongs (IIRC). Oh well!

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

This post made me search for more tea companies I have not heard of… resulting in two new tea orders …oh my o.O (sorry wallet)


Lynne-Tea if you ordered from Den’s you should be delighted! :)


I didn’t go with Den’s, but I did get lots from Life In A Teacup, and Teavivre! Both were so well rated for their teas and such astounding prices I couldn’t say no to so many tasty oolongs that I so love. I will absolutely have to try Den’s next time I allow myself to go on another ordering spree!


Oh yes and BOTH of those are also excellent choices! :) Haha I too am an Oolong fan! I think you will be happy with your teas and I totally understand about having to hold back on the sprees! At least ONE more day just ONE more day hahaha

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drank Malted ChocoMaté by 52teas
2390 tasting notes

Uh…. I really like this one. The fact that I’m logging it a second time when I have so many other teas to try should be proof of that. Upping the rating.

I only wish the flavours were stronger. But, that’s probably my fault. Mental note to increase infusion time and/or dry tea next time.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Pistachio Lime Mate by Fusion Teas
2390 tasting notes

Thank you to Fusion Tea Room for the absolutely HUGE box of samples I received a couple days ago! Wow, I cannot believe the generosity of the tea companies I’ve been dealing with lately. And the customer service has been spectacular with all of them :D

Onto the review. The dry tea definitely has a limey smell. Exciting; I love lime. I’m not getting any pistachio smell, but then again… do pistachios even really have a smell? I know what they taste like, but…. Anyways, I’m also smelling a bit of what’s making me think of a medicinal smell. I don’t know if it’s the mate or green rooibos; I don’t have an awful lot of experience with either. Let’s see how it is steeped.

Forgot to log notes on steeping aromas again. Oops. I also did steep this one too long, and should try a shorter infusion next time.

Hmm, I’m getting almost a bit of a medicinal taste. Or that’s how it’s coming off to me. I blame the green rooibos. I can definitely taste the lime, which is lovely, but I’m not catching the pistachio. Hrm. This tastes familiar, and not in a good way, unfortunately. It reminds me of a tea from DavidsTea that I wasn’t fond of. Oh – in a way it’s reminding me of Honeybee. That’s probably the mate? I’m getting a sweetness at the end of the sip that also reminds me of Honeybee.

I’m not sure that this is a tea for me. I’m pretty new to mates, and have only tried a couple, so I’m not sure if I like them yet. Or perhaps I like the roasted mates (since I quite enjoyed 52teas Malted ChocoMate). Either way, I think I need to try this one with a shorter infusion to see if I can taste the pistachio and reduce a bit of this medicinal taste. So no rating yet.

Boiling 8 min or more

I prefer roasted mates in general (I;m a big blak tea drinker and the two seem to go hand in hand – I also prefer roasted oolongs to green!). Glad to see others are enjoying the bounty of Fusion samples – they were very generous in mine from months ago, I still have enough left for a couple glasses of 2 or 3 of them!


Yes, they were so generous! I’m really hoping I like one of the other teas :)

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Uh oh, first to review this one? Eep.

Dry tea smells quite vegetal. Almost overwhelmingly.

First infusion (204F/30s)
Smells floral. Smooth, light, buttery. Delicious. I think I’d prefer it to be stronger, but it is delicious.

Second infusion (204F/1min)
A bit vegetal, and there’s a bit of a sharp spicy almost astringent flavour that is quite lovely. That flavour is familiar, but not always as strong in other teas. Still somewhat floral, and an oolong aftertaste.

Third infusion (205F/1min)
Less floral, again I think I’d like it a bit stronger.

Fourth infusion (205F/1min (I think))
Losing flavour, more of a fruity, round sweetness with lingering oolong aftertaste. I think if I continue steeping I’ll bump up the infusion time. Nearly did it earlier.

Ooh, returning to the first sip, it’s definitely sweeter. Mmmmm. I take back my comment about it being too weak. Retrospectively, the second infusion is actually too strong.

Oh, this is fun. I’m sipping back and forth between my four cups, tasting them all in and out of sequence. Yum yum yum.

I think next time, I’ll go with 30, 45, 60, 120 seconds for my infusions.

I have to admit that during steeping, when smelling the wet leaf, I was very worried that this was going to be intensely vegetal, but only the second infusion was a bit.

Man. This was good. I’m going to have to compare it to the Autumn Tieguanyin, and the one from DavidsTea. I don’t know whether a “good” oolong is judged by its longevity (i.e. how many good infusions you can get), or its flavour. I’m not sure I’ve yet had a “bad” oolong. Or at least, not a bad green tieguanyin-style one or milk oolong.

I just read this over and apparently I am incredibly scattered tonight! Ah well. I was in lovely oolong land. Forgive me :P

ETA: Love how I reviewed this, and was promptly followed by two others :P I guess everyone received their orders last week and waited to try things until the weekend! Fifth infusion (203F/2min). The aroma is wonderful – I don’t know if this is because the leaves sat overnight, or what. But Yum. All oolongy and floral. The flavour is surprisingly strong for a fifth infusion. I am getting some grassy notes and astringency along with – oh, there it is, the oolong aftertaste! Nom nom nom – the rest of the deliciousness, but they’re manageable. Looks like I should be taking this to a sixth before throwing out the leaves so I can try my shu nuggets…

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

I couldn’t resist anymore with people reviewing all the teas I was going to order that I finally just ordered. I want this one now!


Oh jeez this post makes me even more impatient for my Verdant Tea order to show up!

Autumn Hearth

Must try this in the next three days, I’ve been putting it off due to migraine land. Question is do I bring this in to work to let others try, or savor at home first? Hmm.


How much do you like your coworkers? :P


I’m waiting for more spring greens to arrive before I place my Verdant order and the anticipation is just KILLING me! Gotta make the last of my autumn TGY last. rocks back and forth hugging it

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Aaaand evening tea time commences! A whole load of new teas tonight, because I got a bit carried away!

Starting off with some of my brand new Verdant Tea! (Yes, I realize I have yet to try some of the ones I previously received, haha, just too excited about the new ones!)

I was admittedly rather skeptical about this one. It has multiple ingredients I typically dislike… in fact, I think it contains all three of my least favourite tea ingredients! Mint, chamomile, and fennel/anise/licorice. But my curiousity (haha) got the better of me, and the reviews intrigued me.

The smell of the dry tea has me a bit worried. It smells minty. And I can smell fennel, I think. Crap. I was really hoping they wouldn’t be predominant in the blend. Oh well.

And then…. it gets wet. WTF?! Cinnamon sugar toast? That is ALL I am smelling! It smells marvelous! This is entirely NOT what I was expecting! I noted down that it smelled extra bready as well, although that has disappeared a tad as it has cooled, and I feel like I can pick out the barest hint of mint.

Wow. This is so complex. I can taste the mint, but it’s tempered enough that I can handle it, the fennel/anise/whatever is present but only just barely, which is quite acceptable, it seems. And the finish is a lingering, lovely chocolatey flavour. Of course, I’m failing to appropriately identify the flavours in amongst those. There’s sweetness, yeasty bready flavours… so many. This was definitely worth the try! There’s a bit more peppermint than I would like, but everything else is delicious. I’m really loving the lingering aftertaste.

I have to admit that I’ve tried neither the Laoshan Black nor Wuyi Big Red Robe (although I have both), so I should probably do that before trying this again; perhaps it will help me elucidate some more flavours.

Overall, very satisfied with this blend! I might try it stronger next time; I brewed it cautiously tonight, with maaaaybe 1.5tsp of leaf, which was pretty “fluffy”.

ETA: Second infusion (boiling, 3 or 4 mins, I can’t recall), day after. The steeped tea still smells strongly of cinnamon sugar toast. Today, I feel like I’m tasting some cinnamon, and some sweetness. The peppermint is tamed more today (yes!), and other than being a bit weaker than I would like, this is really tasty :D

ETA: The second day after. I probably shouldn’t be re-steeping at this point. Ehhhhh… The aroma is still cinnamon-toasty. Before it cooled, I was getting some stronger peppermint aromas, which turned my stomach a tad. Today, it tastes… oh man, choked on my tea for the second time tonight… sweet and cinnamon toasty, with an undertone of peppermint. It’s rather mild, even though I steeped for four minutes. This is probably as far as I’d bother taking this one in the future.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Rebecca Lynn

This sounds really exciting!


It is so neat!


I’m going to have to try this one!


I recommend it! Particularly if you aren’t averse to peppermint in tea. The dichotomy between the cinnamon sugar toast smell of the steeped brew and the complete lack of cinnamon in the taste is really interesting!

Yogini Undefined

This sounds delightful! Looking forward to getting my hands on some :)


Haha, I nearly posted an identical response to the one I already did above :P Can’t wait to try this one again!

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drank Goji Pop by DAVIDsTEA
2390 tasting notes

So glad this is back in my cupboard… but it’s been there for probably a month now and I haven’t tried it! I keep wanting to ice it, but am worried about the hibiscus if I cold steep, and am simply too lazy to brew it and cool it in the fridge. Anyways, tonight I brewed it and as is typical of me, it has cooled to maybe 10 degrees above room temperature now. Perfect :D

Yum yum yum. So perfectly tart and fruity and sweet and delicious. I had forgotten how much I liked it!!

Boiling 8 min or more

I love Goji Pop!

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drank Sencha Pear (organic) by DAVIDsTEA
2390 tasting notes

Sipdown of this one tonight (stealing the term from TeaEqualsBliss !)

Well, I managed to make a pretty good cup of it for my last one. This tastes the way I initially remembered the tea, light and a touch sweet, with a fragrant pear flavour. It’s really rather nice tonight, actually. Enough to bump it up a few notches on the rating scale. I think I’ll keep looking for a pear-flavoured tea though, since this one’s now only available in 50g size online, and I don’t think I want that much of it in my cupboard. Also, it’s finicky :P

ETA: Goodbye Sencha Pear. Steeped this a second time and… it’s just not very flavourful. Kept the time to 3 minutes as I know this one gets bitter easily, but perhaps that wasn’t enough. Either way, I suspect I’ll never drink this one again. Sad sad.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 15 sec
Dylan Oxford

You’ll have to let me know when you find a good pear tea. I’ve been recommended the Honey Pear from Golden Moon (but haven’t tried it). The spiced pear from Market Spice has this awful soapy aftertaste to the pear flavoring, ick.


You shall see it in my tealog!! Haha, it’s not a huge priority for me atm, but if I come across one I’m likely to order/try it. Pear is a tasty flavour.

Dylan Oxford

Haha, yeah it would show here, wouldn’t it?


Oh yes. I am far too Steepster-addicted right now to drink anything without logging it! :D


I can’t stand sencha pear because it’s so fussy. I find you have to brew this one exactly right or it gets all uppity and starts tasting bad. I like my teas to be forgiving of my mistakes. I have tried it a few times and it only tasted good once. bratty little tea.


Hahaha, same thing with me! I’ve had it like 5-6 times, and only twice was it good. That’s just not an acceptable failure rate for me. And I couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong, either (I mean, when 3 minutes and 15 second at 82C ruins it one time and is great the other….?!)


I’ve decided it’s either inconsistant mixing in the factory or black magic.





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drank Oh Canada! by DAVIDsTEA
2390 tasting notes

Holy maple! Wow. The scent of this one is POTENT, both dry and steeped. Delicious. I brewed it up last night and the mug has been sitting in my room all day, and it smells absolutely lovely.

I find it difficult to believe this tea has no calories – it is SO rich and delicious! So mapley. So sweet. I can taste the rooibos, but it isn’t taking over, so I can deal with it. This one’s another for the supersweet dessert tea pile. Will have to compare this to Birthday Cake – I think I prefer Oh Canada due to the lack of weird sprinkles though.

ETA: Second infusion is pretty good. Predictably less mapley, but enough remains to make me happy. Downside? I’m not sure what happened, but my little teabag thinger opened in the mug, so there were rooibos sticks EVERYWHERE in the mug that I had to drink around. Annoying… and that’s why I used the teabag in the first place… to prevent that…

Boiling 8 min or more

brave girl!! I’ve only re-steeped rooibos a few times, with varying results.
Have you tried the Maple tea from Second cup? It’s so similar!! more maple like I think. and a bit astringent


I figured it was worth a shot – it still smelled super potent! I haven’t tried Second Cup’s Maple tea – I tend not to buy tea out as I always feel ripped off :P But I might keep it in mind for the next time I feel like treating myself at work (there’s a Scup in a building near mine).


Oh Canada and Birthday cake are very very similar in taste. Birthday Cake has 10 calories per cup though. So Oh Canada wins most of the time. Unless you want to have an unbirthday party (or, I guess. a regular birthday party)


the maple thing is limited at SC, I learned that the hard way with another of their teas I loved lol
Between birthday cake and maple tea… I’m not sure which one I’d choose!

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drank The Earl of Lemon by DAVIDsTEA
2390 tasting notes

The dry tea smells like a regular earl grey to me. Heavy on the bergamot, which I’m not always fond of.

Didn’t note what it smelled like steeped, oops :)

This one tastes like a really lovely, light, creamy earl grey! I quite like it! I’m definitely getting creaminess, likely from the yogurt, and the bergamot would likely be the reason it tastes like earl grey… but it’s so light! And no astringency at all, not even a hint, which is probably another reason I like it. This might go on the re-purchase list before it’s gone :)

ETA: Second infusion of this is nearly as good as the first. I increased the time to 4 minutes, and got a lovely brew smelling lightly and sweetly of bergamot, and tasting much the same. I think I prefer this to regular earl grey…

180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

This sounds like my kind of Earl Grey. One more to add it to my shopping list. :)


I was impressed. Probably my favourite of the new teas to come out (that’s actually a tea and not a liquid cake in a cup!)

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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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