1289 Tasting Notes

drank Ginger Apricot by Tea Temptations
1289 tasting notes

Tea Temptations is the retail side of Empire Tea Services. They blend their own tea. I have reviewed several teas under the Empire Tea Services name. This one came as a sample in my last order. It smells nicely of apricot when opening the package. Once steeped, the apricot tastes lighter than expected and the ginger adds a depth of warmth and spiciness that leaves the mouth tingling long after the sip is gone. The Ceylon base is present but it kind just fills in the gaps and never really commands attention. I have never encountered this combination before. If the combination appeals to you, I believe the flavors are natural and the quality solid. For me this is not something I would order for myself.

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This is one I forgot to review. I picked it for my wife because it is decaf. She cannot tolerate caffeine. I figure she deserves way better than most of the grocery store decaf. This one dry smells like grain. I steeped it for 3 minutes in a Finum basket with microwave heated water. Not the best way IMHO but it turned out OK. This was a nice gentle tea, soothing and relaxing. Just what I needed this evening. Decaf is never going to taste as full as regular tea but this is still pretty good. What I got was slightly malty and earthy or wood. A solid decaf black.

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drank Strawberry Black by Simple Loose Leaf
1289 tasting notes

I pushed this sample to the front of my list to review after noticing Simple Loose Leaf is running a $1 first month promo. This tea is the last of the six month subscription given me by Simple Loose Leaf. Thank You!

Of the ones I tried, the cherry tea I was least crazy about. I loved the Winter White Chai (really really good) and the Casablanca Earl Grey Green (yum). The rest were solid teas that I found worthy of being in my cup.

This tea has pieces of strawberry in it. Dry it smells insane, mixed with the India black tea it takes on a strawberry dipped in chocolate malt aroma. Brewed it is strawberry. Maybe if I took a sip and smelled the dry leaf at the same time? lol.

This is strawberry but not in your face STRAWBERRY. It doesn’t shout but it isn’t a wall flower. The taste, though a touch lighter than I expected, seems very natural. I can easily detect the black tea base in the long lingering aftertaste. In fact the base stands out more the longer the aftertaste lingers. I have not tried yet but I can imagine sipping this one iced on a porch swing with a warm gentle breeze blowing.

We went from arctic winter to monsoon season. My backyard is completely underwater and my basement now has a stream in it. Come on summer. Planning to have our porch built this summer to fix the stream problem and so I can sip iced tea on the swing.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Tiger Monk by Temple Road
1289 tasting notes

Seems like forever since I have been on Steepster. So today I have Temple Road’s Tiger Monk. I was contacted through my blog and offered the opportunity to review it. Of course I did not turn it down. The 10g sample was vacuum packed with a packet to either absorb moisture or absorb oxygen. I can’t read the writing so I am guessing. The instructions said to use 3 g and 95 C water and a 6 minute steep – so that is what I did. The dry leaf aroma reminds me of the puffed wheat cereal I ate as a kid. The brew though is smoked and roasted. The first sensation when sipping was the roasting. It seemed quite strong, but suddenly melted away with a prickly sensation and became a much greener tasting oolong than I expected. Maybe in part due to the earlier prickly sensation, the aftertaste reminded me of mango.

Strong but no bitterness. Nicely complex.


Puffed wheat is still one of my favorite cereals.


As a kid I wasn’t that happy with it. With 4 kids mom bought the generic that came in a giant bag. Rice Krispies was my cereal of choice when I could get it. Today I look back more fondly on the puffed wheat. Time has a way of doing that. Oh, and today my wife kept walking around trying to figure out where that smell was coming from. Apparently the roasted notes are much stronger than I thought :)

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My stomach quit hurting late Saturday. Woke up Sunday feeling fine. Grabbed the guitar and played at church. Sat down afterward and my head started throbbing. Couldn’t concentrate on the sermon – could barely stay wake. Got home headed for the couch. Got up around 3 and fixed this oolong.

I am feeling like me today and I was still craving this. Imagine me craving an oolong. It figures that the two extreme edges of oolong – Pouchong and Oriental Beauty are the two I love most. I used yesterday’s leaf. This one is just so tasty without being overly floral or roasted. Fresh and lightly malty with awesome fruity notes. My taste buds declare this to be excellent.


Glad you feel better!


Not sure I’ve ever consciously tried a pouchong…can you do a “for dummies” description of its difference from typical oolongs?


If my understanding is correct – and I should have researched this first – Pouchong is lightly oxidized while Oriental Beauty is highly oxidized. This is my first Oriental Beauty. My First Pouchong besides Coconut Pouchong was Bao Zhong from The Persimmon Tree http://steepster.com/ks6/posts/222441

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Shameless plea for pity and attention:

My wife has been sick all week. This morning I got up with a pounding head, hurting ears, and I’m dizzy. Thought getting something in my system might help. Downed a glass of milk. Not a good idea. So now my stomach is rumbling. Drank grape juice for the vitamin C but realized my taster is on the fritz. So I brewed a cup of this. Even if it has only half the flavor it would on any other day, it is still good and comforting. I’m supposed to play at church in the morning. They may just be on their own.

Stay well my friends.


Well poo. I just realized I had never reviewed this one before. Looks like I should have looked before I brewed.


oh no! i hope you feel better soon!


I hope you feel better soon. Best to stay home and rest if you can.


If you have a chance to get tested for flu , tamiflu really helps but you should start taking it like 24 hrs you got symptoms. My daughter just got better after almost 2 wks of flu. All the rest of us were on tamiflu
Hope you feel better soon


I second the flu test recommendation and Tamiflu. When I had H1N1, they have it to me because I’m asthmatic. I Was sick for only a few days.


Hope you feel better soon!


Hope you feel better soon & can make church in the morning… I understand that frustration since I sing on occasion.


Oh no! lots of rest and liquid for you!


Aww, feel better! Both of you!


Thanks all. My stomach has calmed down. As you can tell I become a big baby when I get a cold – which is not often.

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Glass of milk – check
Honey multi-grain bagel with cream cheese – check
Grape juice – check
Morning cup of tea – check and double check

Not sure what I did different today but if I would salt this it would taste like movie popcorn. You know the kind with tons of drizzly butter. Oh yeah. As that rush fades a new one begins with luscious fresh green tea notes reminiscent of dragon well. This is good tea. Much love.

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drank Blue Lady by Darlene's Teaport
1289 tasting notes

I have never seen a Darlene’s Tea Port offering reviewed before – at least not that I recall. This one is old. I found it in the drawer today unopened and thought it needed to see the light of day. This came from Katiek a long time ago. Bad me.

I steeped this 4 minutes. It’s black tea. I knew better. It isn’t bitter but the black tea is pretty assertive with briskness and tongue tingling astringency. Shorter steep next time. There is no passion fruit listed in the ingredients but that is what I am getting in the taste. Along with it is a pepperiness. Not pepper from a shaker but little red peppers from the garden that ought to be adding a bit of heat except they are not. This is spicy tasting but not spicy hot. It is really kind of an interesting tea and currently is $5.49 for 4 ounces. Even old it is way more complex than the price would suggest.

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This is so much lighter than I expected. It has some tongue bite which is interesting. I get a light earthiness with what I agree is olive oil notes. In the aftertaste I get hints of malt. As the cup cooled this became far more flavorful to me. It developed more of the traditional Yunnan flavors I expected – honey, grain, and cocoa. An unexpected flavor is grape. It is more the leaf than the fruity berry but it is grape. It reminded me of the lovely Oriental Beauty oolong I drank yesterday mixed with a mild black from Nepal. Maybe this needed more leaf (I used 2 tsp) or a longer steep. I’ll try that with the second cup. Like not love this one – I normally go for subtle but not so much in my Yunnans.


this sounds so interesting. recently i sampled Yunnan Beauty by Mandala and it was similar to what you described. i love unexpected transformations

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drank Green Tea with Citrus by Lipton
1289 tasting notes

I bought a gallon jug of this for quick glasses of iced tea. I don’t recommend this for its high quality tea but it is a convenient and pleasant diversion from carbonated drinks.

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Having a passion for tea and living in rural America is a tough combination. The nearest tea vendor is 65 miles away. Joining Steepster has completely changed the direction of my tea journey.

My Rating System

90-100 Love it enough to keep around
80-90 Like a lot, would drink often
70-80 Above average
50-70 Average – take it or leave it
0-50 I don’t like it and don’t want to like it


Indiana, USA



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