1696 Tasting Notes


This is for the 2016 tea. Thank you Angel for the sample.

Opening the packet this has a savory malt aroma. The flat leaves are smaller than I remember so I checked out the website and learned the tea is made of a bud and tiny leaf. The color is a soft spring green.

I couldn’t decide how to prepare it. I don’t really enjoy gaiwan brewing but I didn’t want a long 3-5 minute western steep either. I decided to use 8oz of water heated to 175F and steeped the leaf for 1 minute. The aroma as I removed the lid was a wonderful umami and steamed veggies. The brew color is very light – someone called it straw, I think that is close enough. Its clear and bright.

The taste is somewhere between nutty and creamed corn. It is very smooth and without bitterness. The aftertaste trails off into a lingering grassiness with just a mild bite.

This is really a light tea. If you enjoy the subtle nature of silver needle white tea (as example) you would enjoy this one. Not because they are similar because they are completely different, however both are subtle and mellow.

I personally prefer the taste of the more robust premium version for its bolder presence. That said, what moves me with this tea is the inner warming glow I get from drinking it. This one has possibly the strongest Qi I have experienced. I don’t feel buzzed or euphoric. Instead it gives me a strong sense of alertness and calm. Very few teas have this affect on me. A pot of this and I think I could snatch the pebble (the elders of us will get that reference).

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I get to be first to review this one!

First I have to tell you, when I originally came to Steepster I was drinking all Twinings and Ahmad. Shortly after, Angel sent the first set of samples to me and I was absolutely blown away. Everything I tried was a new eye opening experience. Now several years have passed and I have tried literally hundreds of teas. Teavivre remains the yardstick by which I compare all natural unflavored teas. It is rare when I taste something I enjoy more.

On to this one provided by Teavivre – a simple sniff of the bag was enough to convince me I loved this. It is like sticking your nose in an ear of sweet corn without getting butter all over your nose.

The leaf is cool. Looks for all the world like a white tea. Lots of downy white needles and deep green leaf.

Once steeped the leaf smells of corn and creamy vegetables. The liquor is bright clear yellow with golden highlights. The liquor scent is corn and a comforting spicy/floral mix.

The taste is sweet corn (see a pattern here?) and a stone like mineral spring water. I think Teavivre mentions chestnut, but since I have never tasted one I can only offer from a reference point I know. It feels smooth and kind of thick but not syrupy.

I prepared this western mug style with a 3 minute steep, so I am getting a green briskness late in the sip. It is not bitter or drying. This fades into a leafy plant green aftertaste. I pretty sure short gaiwan steeps would be absent of the briskness.

This is plenty sweet on its own. Any addition of sweetener would ruin a beautiful cup in my opinion. As a former Splenda junkie trust me.

I wrote on my blog this is “Complex enough to entertain but not so much as to demand concentration.” It is more than a comfort tea but not necessarily a deep meditation tea.

Miss Starfish

Sounds like a great tea! I had a very similar experience re: Steepster & Teavivre. I’ll always have a place in my cupboard and heart for them :)


Same here! I did drink DAVIDsTEA at the time as well


I like the “not so much as to demand concentration” aspect. Needing that a lot these days!

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drank Primetime by Ahmad Tea London
1696 tasting notes

So, not long ago on my FB feed Ahmad had a post where they gave away a few samples of this tea. I was there at the right place at the right time and scored a box of 10 tea bags.

The bags are tagless and each contains just over 3g of CTC leaf. This is a blend of Assam, Kenyan, and Ceylon tea and it smells pretty good. Fresh and fruity with almost a pipe tobacco scent.

Steeping 3 minutes produced probably the best looking cup of tea ever from a bag. It was a deep cherry mahogany and had kind of a purplish cast. This is full bodied and brisk just as you would expect from the blend. The bite is not overwhelming or excessively bitter. I have read comparisons to PG Tips but I found that one and Yorkshire Gold to both be far too bitter for my tastes.

This one I liked straight up. Sweetener took away from the cup when added. For me, same with milk. It took milk fine but I like the bite and I hated ruining that color.

If you aren’t opposed to bags and you can find it – this is worthy of trying.

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This kind of a non-tea post. I’ve said before I love this stuff. Last night I was mostly sipping memories. The end of this box is over a year old and it shows. I think. It took two bags. I normally just use one. I could barely taste the orange. Now I say I think this is showing its age because it may be me. I am using Flonase along with an inhaled steroid. I’ve noticed lately I am having problems pulling out and and separating tastes. Yesterday, I also had an herbal tea that to me was mint and ginger – except there isn’t any of either in the mix. I am barely functioning with the meds, hate to think I may have to stop blogging because I am not sure what I’m tasting. Hopefully, my senses straighten up on their own soon.

Funny non-tea related story – Tuesday night I was at praise band practice when it began to lightening with torrential rain and wind. It made some of them real nervous to where practice became almost impossible. After it slacked off and without the singers realizing it, they wanted to sing “I’ll Praise You In The Storm”. Then one asked for “Til The Storm Passes By”. I kept quiet until one of our singers blasted into “Wade In The Water”. I lost it and rolled on the floor laughing. I had to explain it to them as they were totally unconscious of what they were doing.

Anyway, Sugar Cookie – I still have a sealed unopened box. I intend to break into it soon.


I remember a Sunday evening service that got moved to our church basement when sirens started up and the first hymn (that was already on the order of service) was “A Shelter in the Time of Storm!”


I love it when stuff like that happens. I imagine it set a mood for the rest of the service.


I hope you can resolve your taste issue!

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I hope all of you are experiencing the same awesomely beautiful weather we are enjoying. Not a cloud in the sky. This morning I decided to completely forget all the stuff that I am supposed to be doing. Instead I got out my gorgeous Tivelasi teapot and filled it with Little Red Cup Lapsang Souchong. Grabbed the accompanying mug and a bowl of grits and parked myself on the front porch. It was so peaceful. No traffic. The sound of faint hammering across the road – the neighbors are building a barn for their horses. The sweet pine smoke from the tea along with the gentle warm breeze simply melted the stress away. The perfect early morning porch tea. Highly recommend you start your day the same way.

Unfortunately back to reality this afternoon.

Evol Ving Ness

A bowl of grits! How I miss grits.

Evol Ving Ness

Sounds like a perfect morning.


What a beautiful, evocative post!

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drank Earl Grey by Starbucks
1696 tasting notes

Had this yesterday while shopping. Actually it is the Teavana version from Starbucks. Iced with one Splenda. I always have to tell them 3 minutes on the steep. They will go 7 if I don’t. I figure they think tea is supposed to be as bitter as coffee. Anyway, made correctly this is pretty good. Buying one is a good reminder that we don’t flinch too badly when charged $2+ for a iced tea in a plastic cup, but hesitate to buy a tea leaf or bag when it is $0.60-$0.70 each. If we had to buy Starbucks 15-20 at a time the real cost would be more obvious and sales would plummet. Made correctly, this is bright and citrusy without bitterness

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drank Starter Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1696 tasting notes

Sitting here this morning checking email with a matcha latte and a bowl of grits that I added a 2 tsp of ground flax and a tsp of chia seeds. (My nurse practitioner said she lowered her cholesterol 40 points using flax)

So I am having my daily starter matcha from Red Leaf and I notice an ad from Amazon where this is on sale for $16.99/lb. I still have about 3/4 pound in my freezer and a full pound of Deluxe Matcha so I am able to resist but man that is a bargain price.

I used to add fruit to my morning glass, but now I’m just too lazy to get the blender out. Milk, matcha, and sweetener. I like the mildly grassy taste. It is better than any of the other starter matcha I have tried.

So would it be wrong of me to consider 2 tsp of powder to be equal to one serving of vegetables? ;) Yeah, I gained 10 pounds this winter and trying to do better. Heard on the news last night about the pizza and doughnut diet. Woman lost over 100 pounds. She ate what she wanted one day and fasted the next. I could do that, especially if they are chocolate eclairs with custard filling.


Interesting that flax lowers cholesterol.

I guess it’s, for the most part, about calories in and calories out, but damn, I could never eat nothing but pizza and donuts and successfully lose weight since they’re so calorie dense. I’d have to stretch out two slices of pizza and one donut throughout the entire day haha.


Flax – I mentioned adding flax to my oatmeal, after reading about it, at the NP’s office with my wife. Her cholesterol is up. NP said it worked for her. Flax and chia are both high in omega 3. I hate HATE fish, so thought I would try his route. Best part – no fish burps.

Pizza and doughnut diet – pretty sure the report was a bit exaggerated. The woman did say she ate normally (including pizza) one day – abt 2500 calories, then only took in 500 calories the next. Sounds like a normal weekend to me, so rinse and repeat.

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drank Traditional Chai Latte by Petit Tea
1696 tasting notes

Easter is over. Why haven’t I been able to have some down time yet? I just want to sit quietly with multiple cups of tea and get lost in them. Since that apparently isn’t going to happen soon, I am glad I have options. The Petit Tea sachets are actually pretty good options for days (week?) like these. Listing at $5.95/15 sachets = $0.40/mug. Cut that in half with a resteep. The sachets do not contain dust. The scent and taste are nicely balanced.

I prepared this chai with boiling water and steeped two minutes with sweetener added (because chai), then added hot milk and steeped two more minutes. I don’t have a stove top in my den so I couldn’t cook the tea in the traditional manner but close enough.

The taste is a medley of flavors. The cardamom drives with the clove close behind. Pepper, ginger, and cinnamon all pop in and out at different times. After some research, I decided I was tasting a mix of mace and anise late in the sip drifting into the aftertaste. It is a kind of sweet taste and kind of spicy floral but not really. I don’t recall having mace before. I like it, assuming that is what I am tasting.

More complex than I was expecting.

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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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