104 Tasting Notes

40

Received two servings of the old blend from Veronica. I must say, I’m not a fan. I tried a 3min steep with the first sample, then the 8min steep that MissB recommended with the second one. Neither one was a hit with me. Brewed up, it smells promising. It smells like graham crackers, smoke, and fruit (likely from the rooibos). Sadly the taste doesn’t match. It’s a little smokey, a little malty, and a lot of woodsy-fruity rooibos.

…I think that’s my main issue. I don’t really like rooibos but when I drink it, I want it to be matched with fruit or cream flavors to temper the weirdly drying wood flavor it has. To me, those are the more effective rooibos blends. I DEFINITELY don’t like it to be blended with actual tea, and to blend it with a smokey tea was just courting disaster. This cup tastes like burning wood, fruit, and dryness. Bleh. Not for me. And NOT s’mores. ):

I’m holding out hope for the new blend, though. I really like the base tea December, plus there’s marshmallow and cinnamon! And more importantly—NO rooibos!

Flavors: Drying, Fruity, Smoke, Wood

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Do you have some of the new blend on the way?

kimquat

I don’t. I was going to get it with the next order, since I forgot it on the order I placed a few days ago. And I was just thinking about sending you an email…

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Hmmm, would you like this as your sample?

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Also December has changed too :) it’s way good

kimquat

I would love to try a sample of the new blend! S’mores, that is. (:
How is the old December different from the new?

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83
drank Paris by Harney & Sons
104 tasting notes

Backlog and sipdown! Ost sent me a generous sample of this, and I finished it off with a friend of mine yesterday. (: It’s a very good tea to have with friends.

Best when you use water just under boiling and steep for about 3min. (Boiling water made it too bitter for me.)

This doesn’t seem like a very complex tea to me. It’s straightforward and it’s pleasant. There was the tang of citrus and tart berries, maybe red currant, vanilla and caramel. A chipper little tea, bright and sparkling but also with grounding qualities. There was a whisper of cocoa in the background. The tea base itself was also very fruity. It didn’t taste a lot like bergamot to me. Tart and citrus, certainly, but not quiiiite bergamot. It was fruity and a little floral, almost perfume-y, but not overly so. (I’m usually turned off by perfume-y teas. It didn’t taste like soap or potpourri though, thankfully!) I liked it well enough but I don’t know if I’ll buy it myself. It’s good to have around, especially for company, but I think it’s too unexciting for me to keep as a staple in my cupboard.

Thank you Ost!

Flavors: Berries, Caramel, Citrus, Cocoa, Cream, Red Fruits, Tart, Vanilla

Cameron B.

I never taste the bergamot in this tea either! :P

TheTeaFairy

Neither do I…But funny enough, all the bergamot hatters do!!!

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86

Time for afternoon tea! I had a stomach bug for several days, so now that I’m feeling better I should be back in the swing of things! I missed all youse guys.

This cup is courtesy of the lovely Veronica. Brewed up, the tea is a clear shade of warm amber. I’m catching scents of wet wood, bonfire, dark chocolate, and sea salt as they waft from my cup. There’s some fruit tones there too, but I get “berry” while others have gotten “citrus”.

Each sip starts brisk, with a fruity sweetness that to me is reminiscent of Ashes of Autumn and its “longan fruit” flavor. Is this what longan fruit tastes like? I couldn’t say! It’s still not citrus to me. From brisk and bright it moves into a smooth roastiness with undertones of sweet, fresh wood. There’s some cocoa and some malt at the very end, but the predominant tone is a light honey-sweetness. What is that fruit…it’s not citrus, but reminiscent of citrus. Phooey. I give up. There’s a light, hazy smokiness that persists throughout the cup. It gets sweeter as it cools and it gains a sort of thickness in body. More malt—it coats your tongue. Delicious! I’d love to have a cup of this with an omelette or a plate of crumpets. That’s my fantasy and I’m content to live it in my head for now.

Thanks Veronica!

Flavors: Campfire, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Honey, Malt, Roasted, Smoke, Smooth, Wet Wood

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drank White Night by Mandala Tea
104 tasting notes

I feel like this one is going waaaaaay over my head. It’s nice enough, it’s pleasant, but it’s SO light. It’s delicate and hay-like, sweet and creamy. The best description I can come up with is “coconut and cream”. Why coconut, I don’t know. It doesn’t taste like coconut but it reminds me of it, maybe because of the silky texture. I’m at a loss for words here. It’s nice, but it kind of leaves me wanting. I feel like I should be tasting much more than I actually am.

I’ll try a 4 minute steep instead of a 1-2 minute steep next time.

Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Hay, Sweet

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85
drank Maple Pecan Oolong by Butiki Teas
104 tasting notes

Tried this again tonight using 1 heaping tsp for 10oz of water. It’s MUCH better! The citrus is mild, there’s no bitterness, and it’s pure nutty-maple goodness. It’s naturally sweet and sits lightly on the tongue. Creamy aftertaste again. I’m so glad I finally figured out the right parameters for this one. Worth it. (:

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85
drank Maple Pecan Oolong by Butiki Teas
104 tasting notes

Maple-y tea before bed tonight! As all of Stacy’s blends, I find that this is very lightly flavored. The scent is crazy strong in the bag, but the tea itself is mild in comparison. The flavors are more suggested than stated. I used 2.5tsp of tea to 10oz of water—overleafing, per usual. As a result the base tea is the star of the show. It’s medium-heavy bodied. The first impression I have is of citrus fruits. It’s got a little tang and a little bite to it. There’s a little bitterness that I associate with the nuts in the tea. There’s maple sweetness and a light nuttiness from the pecans, and there are woodsy flavors tucked in there too. It all finishes on a smooth, creamy note that reminds me of ice cream. That’s what ties it together for me, that creaminess. I don’t think I would like it very much otherwise. It’s a very understated flavored tea but it’s very pleasant.

I really need to use less leaf next time! I think it would cut down some of the citrus and bitterness that I’m tasting. Overleafing with most other teas works for me, but it’s not a good idea for this one. Either that or I need to cut down on steep time, which I think would affect the way the flavoring in the tea comes through. To be tried again…no rating till then!

Flavors: Citrus Fruits, Cream, Maple, Nuts, Tangy, Wood

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65
drank Carrot Cake by Tea Guys
104 tasting notes

Thanks to the lovely Ost for sending this my way. I was painfully curious.

It smells freaking amazing in the bag! Not a big fan of rooibos, however, so I went in with some trepidation. I used 1.5tsp for 10oz of water and steeped it for a good 9 minutes. It tastes like carrot, cinnamon, and some nonspecific pastry item. No cream cheese icing that I can tell, though it is awfully sweet. Not bad. It’s close! Unfortunately it left a medicinal rooibos taste in my mouth afterwards and that is a thing I can’t stand. I might keep the rest of it around as a before-bed dessert tea, but I won’t be getting any more. Maybe I’ll try it with milk and sugar next time, see if that helps!

Flavors: Carrot, Cinnamon, Medicinal, Rooibos, Spices

Ost

Oy, bummer about the after taste. Glad you got the package though! (:

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96
drank White Rhino by Butiki Teas
104 tasting notes

I. LOVE. This. Tea.

It brews a beautiful cup of clear amber liquid. Scents of honey, cream, malt, and fruit come wafting out of my mug. I want this scent bottled! Sipping, I’m first given the impression of slightly sour citrus fruit. It then evolves into honey and malt, followed by notes of cocoa and caramel sweetness. All of this is underscored by the suggestion of hay in the background. Wow! It’s soft and luxurious. It’s thick and heady and sweet like pudding. It’s truly wonderful. It has the characteristics of both a white tea and a black tea, and it’s everything I love about both.

The second steep is very similar. The citrus, malt and caramel qualities of the first steep are accentuated in the second. There’s a sweet potato thickness to it. The sweet flavor of hay is still present—perhaps a bit stronger. The tea liquid itself has a smooth, creamy texture. And at the end of each sip is the light airy taste of marshmallow! It’s too good. I begin to notice as it cools that the at a lower temperature, it tastes more like a white tea. The malt and thickness of the tea wane and the fruit, honey and hay flavors become more prominent. It seems lighter somehow, and sweeter. That’s really interesting.

Wow, I’m madly in love.
I tried it once after my order came in, and now I remember why I’ve been squirreling this one away! This is exactly what I wanted tonight, exactly what I needed.
Outstanding!

Paremeters:
Pre-boil water
Approx 3tsp / 10oz
First steep – 2min 30
Second steep – 3min

Flavors: Caramel, Citrus Fruits, Cocoa, Cream, Hay, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes

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84

Received a sample of this in a swap with QueenOfTarts. Thanks a ton!

Parameters:
Pre-boil water
1.5tsp / 10oz
2 min

This is really nice. I was worried that it wouldn’t taste as good as it smelled. The wet and dry leaf has an aroma of vanilla, caramel, and lightly buttered popcorn. (I’ve come to realize that I love buttery popcorn-like tea, whether it’s the result of additives or a straight tea!) Many people have said that this tea is bold but I don’t think it’s a punchy Assam base at all. It’s a little fruity, silky and smooth. The fruit flavor is unidentifiable to me. Whatever it is, it’s bright and almost citrusy. It’s way smoother than I would have expected. There is a touch of malt at the end of each sip, but nothing that makes me think “chocolate”. It’s more of a nutty, caramel popcorn tea to me. The tea base and flavoring are in equal balance. Neither overpowers the other. I brewed a second cup for 3 minutes.; it mellowed out without any significant loss of flavor.

I broke out some Biscoff cookies to eat with this tea and it was OMG delicious!

Flavors: Caramel, Fruity, Malt, Nutty, Smooth, Vanilla

Ost

Sounds amazing!

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80
drank Pure Buds Black by Mandala Tea
104 tasting notes

Tea of the evening!

First steep, 1min.
It’s mellow, “bright”, and fruity on the front end. As other people have noted it’s both sweet and slightly sour, though not unpleasantly so. There are grainy, malty flavors on the back end with whispers of cocoa and a lingering honey sweetness.

Second steep, 2min.
A little vegetal on the front end. I’m not a huge fan of it. Mid-sip, it morphs into sweet potato and finishes on a juicy, fresh honey note. Some malt and light cocoa still present (though not overly so).

I think I might have used water that was a tad hot. There is a bit of drying astringency that hasn’t been there before. Oops!

I’m not sure what it is, but something about this tea doesn’t jive with me. Maybe it’s because it’s brightly flavored without being bold, or mellow without enough malt/chocolate. I can’t figure it out. I’ve had it many times before and each time it made me feel blasé. It’s a very nice tea but it’s not what I prefer. Oh, well.

Flavors: Cocoa, Fruity, Honey, Malt

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Bio

I have been drinking tea all of my life, but I have only been drinking loose leaf since 2013. It has been a journey! I’m amazed at how much my tastes have changed just over the past year. I have met such lovely, sweet individuals on Steepster and am so glad to have become a part of this community.

My cupboard is reflective of the teas I have on-hand. (Though, of course, not quantities.) I’m always up for swaps so if you want to trade teas just send me a message!

I love, love love pure black teas. Definitely my favorite. I also quite enjoy white teas, puerh, and darker/roasted oolongs. Matcha is a secret love that I neglect too often. I try to stay away from flavored teas, but I do enjoy a well crafted blend. I drink dessert teas on occasion—usually when I’m craving something sweet. It’s a mood-driven decision. Things I (usually) don’t like: green oolongs, rooibos, artificially flavored teas, straight greens.

Rating System
90+ The very best! Teas that I always need in my cupboard!
85-89 Teas that I enjoy immensely and will try to keep around.
80-84 Makes a very pleasing cup. I will enjoy drinking them, but won’t necessarily try to keep around. (There are exceptions.)
70-79 Decent, but could be better.
60-69 Mediocre.
40-59 Gross. I might still try to finish the cup.
39 & under Undrinkable. I probably dumped this cup. Depending on the specific rating, I probably threw the rest of the tea out as well. It’s basically me saying “I hate it” with varying intensity and inflection.

Some of my favorite tea companies are:
-Whispering Pines Tea Co.
-Verdant Tea
-Mandala Tea
-Butiki Teas

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