1689 Tasting Notes

drank Salted Caramel by Bigelow
1689 tasting notes

It’s Cheapster Steepster time, it’s Cheapster Steepster time. I love bargain teas when they deliver. This one does. GGmathis shared this with me. It is not something I would have tried on my own. The smell when I open the bag is spot on to those little square squishy candies. The tea brews up a dark reddish brown. The taste was at first less than spectacular. I could taste the simple black base and faint traces of caramel. Nice enough but mostly meh. Then I noticed on the bag it said to add sugar and milk. I opted for Splenda. Just wow! it is like biting into one of those candy squares without the calories. Pffft. I could have the whole bag and not feel the least bit guilty. Except with green tea powder, I never add milk. Today, I made an exception. The taste was not a lot different but the tea looked more like the candy and it did feel richer and a little more decadent.

I am left wondering, if I used an apple tea bag and a bag of this, would I get a good caramel apple – the kind that does not get all over my beard? I guess first I would have to find a cheapster apple tea that actually tasted tart.

Oh and bonus, my fingers smell like caramel from squeezing the bag.


woohoo cheapster! :D


Glad you warmed up to it :)

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drank Malawi Zomba Pearls White by What-Cha
1689 tasting notes

It’s 6 AM. I’ve already had my morning green tea powder. Started to grab a black tea when I remembered this was still in the press from yesterday. This is the third western mug and the pearls have loosened up a lot. I suspect being left for several hours allowed them time to unfurl. One review I read elsewhere said it took 7 steeps to get the leaf to relax. The liquor is golden this morning. The scent is different today. It reminds me of a high mountain oolong from Taiwan. The aroma is fruity and floral. The taste is different too. The butter is gone. This now has a tangy bite at the beginning that fades quickly into a flavor I don’t quite know how to describe. It is kind of earth, slightly mushroom, and nutty. Combined with the aroma it makes for a great cup.


Zombie pearls :) You know we’re all thinking that.


Hah, I totally was. :P


I know how to describe the taste now… it tastes like BRAINS Muwahahahaha!


Yep, I was just going to say zombie pearls too. :D

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drank Malawi Zomba Pearls White by What-Cha
1689 tasting notes

I finally convinced the government I do exist even if my old email address does not. Whatever you do, if you change email accounts, inform them long before you lose access to the old one.

Today, I am celebrating with some Zomba Pearls. These look so cool. It reminds me of Cicada right after they crawl out of their shell. That’s awesome. After the first steep they look like cocoons (tent caterpillar – hate the real thing) which again I think is so cool.

The first mug I am expecting cucumber as the label says. I got something totally different. The scent is kind of green tea like. The taste is is butter, and corn, and hay. Very smooth. No bitterness. Only he slightest dryness. I love it.

The pearls are still very tightly wound and What-Cha says it takes six or so steeps to get them to completely relax. I hope to find out. Maybe the cucumber comes in later but even if it doesn’t this is a delicious cup of white tea.


This one really interests me.


I’m glad you were able to sort out that government business. Sounds like a lot of unnecessary stress to me.


This tea sounds ‘so cool’. Cicadas, cocoons and everything.

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drank Red Jade by Eco-Cha Artisan Teas
1689 tasting notes

I found this in one of my boxes. I really don’t recall who sent it to me. Apologies.

This is an interesting tea on many levels. The dry scent is awesome – malt, honey, sweet potato. The leaf is beautiful. The first sip is Mmmmm. It starts honey, sweet potato, and woodsy. Then after reading BrewTEAlly Sweet’s review I realize I am tasting cinnamon and clove, but without the sugar I normally associate with it. So, I am chugging this cup down when I begin to notice the white wine dryness. I’m still thinking where is the mint. That is when the cheek tingle kicked in. It has staying power. My cheeks tingled long after drinking. The first cup went straight down and immediately I started number two. What I thought was woodsy in the first is now much stronger and it is like apricot without the sweetness, surrounded by the spices. The mint sensation is also amplified. So this cup went straight down as well.

I am left perplexed. I just drank two cups straight down – that means I had to enjoy it, right? Yet, I find I am not craving any more of it. I’ve never had this experience before.

With the remaining leaf I will add sugar or honey and see if additions change my view one way or the other.

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drank Assam 2nd Flush Green by What-Cha
1689 tasting notes

I get to be the first to review this. If I have ever had a green Assam before, I don’t recall it. In fact, I have had very, very, few Assams that were made of entire unbroken leaves. So I’m impressed from the start. The dry leaf smells of malt and oat cereal (otherwise known as Cheerios). The wet leaf is vegetal with an ocean breeze freshness and a hint of citrus. Now describing the taste is harder because it reminds me of a memory from when I was 12. Simplified – it reminds me of a fountain that tasted like a fresh mountain stream. Pretty sure it will not evoke the same for you – sorry. It has a touch of astringency and a light amount of bitterness that add to the experience. I also get lemony citrus notes. The aftertaste really lingers with grassy notes. The second mug had even stronger flavors. Especially while hot this had cave notes or sort of mild mushroom. It became more green tea tasting as it cooled. I am pretty certain this would go at least another mug. A neat everyday green.

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Digging through one of my tea drawers and found this half used sample. It looked so alone. One minute and 30 seconds later, I was sipping perfection. Cucumber and hay. Seems to have suffered very little from my absentminded abandonment. My favorite silver needle.

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drank Orange Pekoe by Mother Parkers
1689 tasting notes

My Saturday morning restaurant tea. It is pretty funny right now watching the guy server trying to butter up to me because I gave tea to the lady server. He is trying. It is kind of like an agnostic trying to talk Bible with a believer. He doesn’t really ‘get’ the connection. I’m working on him. I think I’ll take some Candy Cane Lane and Sugar Cookie for him to try. He isn’t ready for meat. Right now, he sort of heats the cup but the water is already cooling by the time he gets to the table. Still a pleasant tea for cheap bagged stuff.

Total Tea Girl – the lady server – was swamped but we talked as she ran past the table. She wasn’t feeling well so kind of glad she kept her distance. ;) First time she ran past she said, I just have to say I have been enjoying some amazing teas all week. Specifically she mentioned the Dragon Pearls. The one’s I gave her are good but no where near as good as the Teavivre Premium. I’ll dig through my stash and find her the good stuff.

She also mentioned the Nina’s Earl Grey. She said it was amazing. Her roommate could smell it across the room and asked what she was drinking – nothing, move along nothing to see here. This is not the tea you are looking for. (I sense a disturbance in the force from a pilfering roomie – just guessing)

Talking about all of the teas, and especially some of the green’s (dragon well for one), she commented on how clean and crisp they were. This comment made me very happy.

She told me she lived in China for a while and has been asked to return as an English teacher. Can’t wait to discuss this more in depth with her.

I promised her some lapsang souchong next time, which she has never heard of, and I think she needs to experience golden tips. It was a game changer for me. I’m debating on pu-erh. Ashmanra has much success with it. Since I can’t control the pot, I’m not sure about it yet.


It’s nice to gain converts or find other fans among the already converted. :)


haha, love hearing about your weekly restaurant encounters!

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Last night’s late night tea. I could drink this every day. I always add sweetener for that extra cookie rush.

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drank Candy Cane Lane by Celestial Seasonings
1689 tasting notes

Last night’s evening tea. The only mint tea I crave. This stuff just makes me all happy inside.

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drank green tea powder 250g pack by Tradition
1689 tasting notes

I saw this mentioned in a discussion. Read the reviews – Gingko and The DJ Booth both seemed impressed. I drink green tea powder everyday and let’s face it, I’m cheap. I looked this up on Amazon and it was like $10.50 for over half a pound of tea. I got free shipping with some accompanying Christmas present orders. This is half the price of what I normally drink. The company is in Taiwan, so I believe the tea comes from there as well.

Long introduction to say with the addition of milk and flavoring added, I can tell very little difference between this and the costlier (but still pretty cheap) version. I’ll watch it for a few days before totally committing – although with over 8 oz of it, I am kind of committed anyway. What difference I did note was this may be a little less bitter, with a little less potent flavor. Or maybe, I just haven’t got my mix right yet. Either way, I am satisfied at the moment.


That’s my strawberry tea people…can’t be too bad!


I thought the strawberry tea was from Good-Young or something like that. I have searched for a strawberry tea I like as well – haven’t found one yet. Next time I am near the world mart I need to try Ahmad Strawberry. They have never let me down yet.


I think it’s got about twelve names, but Traditions is also on the box. We were at a World Market last weekend (I was so-o-o-o-o good in the tea aisle, I still have claw marks on my palms from clenching my hands). But not much Ahmad there at all.


I remember the Traditions/Good Young thing now. I have a tin of loose poo like that. Mostly not English. I think I had it for a year before I learned the company that distributed it.

I know too well the claw marks but it did allow the Ahmad to stay in the store – until next time.

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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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