1613 Tasting Notes

The Secret Garden Tea Company is a new webstore with its home in Vancouver BC. At the time of this note, they have a contest going that is mentioned on the discussion board, although Steepster’s bad behavior seems to have buried it somewhere in cyberspace.

Any who, opening the bag this has a very strong aroma of rose. Under the rose is a light touch of bergamot and vanilla. The scent is almost too much. The sip however is much less potent. The vanilla adds a sense of creaminess that seems felt more than tasted. The rose is the primary note. I have only recently begun to appreciate rose as a tea ingredient. This is strong but not overwhelming. What surprises me is bergamot used as a support ingredient. If you did not know it was in the mix it would be easily overlooked, yet it adds a fullness to the profile.

The proceeds of this tea go to the BC Children’s Hospital.

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I’ve read through several of the notes on this one. I was not disappointed by Mandarin Cream. I like vanilla but almost always dislike how much is used. It easily overwhelms my taste buds. This one has a pleasant aroma and the taste is very similar. Finally a vanilla tea that does make me flinch. Others commented they could not taste the lemon myrtle. I had trouble picking it out as well – until I added a little sweetener. It came out of hiding and was a lovely addition. The Pouchong leaf is mostly present late in the aftertaste. This makes a creamy cup but nothing that makes me think Mandarin.

The second cup is completely different. Without sweetener it is a cup of green tasting oolong. Add the sweetener and the vanilla reappears as a background support. With the creaminess you can make a orange creamsicle connection in the aftertaste. It is certainly only a hint but interesting.

More complex than expected. I personally liked this one but then I do not like over flavored teas.

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Just got home from Thursday shopping – where I did not stop at Starbucks for a green tea frap – I did however find a Black Sabbath album (Never Say Die) for $5 that I have never had on CD. Vinyl yes, CD no – pretty much no one even has CD’s anymore do they?

Any way I have been craving this tea since yesterday when my wife and sons burned a bunch of the tree tops we have left from when we had the 40+ trees dropped in our yard earlier. I had to stay away because of the lungs but I could smell this awesome smoke. So I brewed a cup this and handed it to my son. He loved it. Brewed one for me because I love it. Poured a little in another cup for my wife. She said, “This belongs on the bottom of the pile with the rest of the pine trees we burned!” You can’t please everybody. At least my stash is safe from her :)


I agree with your wife :)


I still have cassettes…..


I still have a big box of them myself. I’ll bet you remember sticking a knife or pack of matches under the 8 track cartridge so it would play properly.

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Been saving this one back. I can’t remember if I added it in with an order or if this was one Angel sent for review, so I thought I better get to it. This stuff is amazing. When you read the flavors listed on the Steepster page for this tea, that is just what you get. The dry leaf is fruity. Steeped this is cucumber and melon, hay and grass. I have had Silver Needle from several vendors and to my tastes Teavivre is right at the top of the list. I can see if you drink mostly big bold black teas or highly flavored ones, this might be too subtle for you. As for me, I love complex quieter teas that invite you in. This does that beautifully.

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You would think by now I would be over this. While my home version is more to my liking, I still have a soft spot… and brain freeze, for this one. Spent the morning in Starbucks with my son. Not really how I wanted to spend the morning but he asked and I wasn’t going to say no. I even took my own insulated Starbucks frap glass to keep it extra brain freezy. Their WiFi was really fast today. Put my home WiFi to shame.

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My only cup of tea this afternoon :( But it is really hitting the spot :) Back in my tea bag days I hated Assam. Turns out it is pretty good if you use decent loose leaf and don’t boil it to death.

After my morning cup the contractor and his foreman showed up at my house to kill off the items on my punch list – things that they missed or that didn’t suit me. My list seemed longer than it really was, so it only took half a day, then they packed what little they had left behind from last week and are now gone. Just got to get the gutters installed and then it is all ours to deal with. I put a pic up on my blog for those who want to see.


I love your “brand new” house and love the last sentences of your blog post as well, we should never give up in life.

Terri HarpLady

Awesome porch addition!




Porches are just so homey and welcoming!


Love sitting on the porch with a cup.

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drank Nepal 2nd Flush Sencha by What-Cha
1613 tasting notes

I have really missed my time with tea and I am happy I picked out a good one today to get reacquainted. The last week has been basically Tetley and Lipton Citrus Green RTD. I like them fine but there is no depth. So yeah, for the good stuff today. I haven’t had Sencha in a long time. This one is a Nepali version of Sencha. Since I have no real working knowledge of Sencha I can only comment on the cup, free of all outside comparisons. Well except I don’t operate in a vacuum so I guess that can’t be true.

This has a steamed spinach aroma after pouring and the taste reminds me of either Chinese Mao Feng or Xinyang Maojian. It has that good bitter bite up front that fades into smooth grassy. What is different here is the grassy begins to be overtaken by a mineral note but before it completes the mission, the sip moves into a bright finish. I like this one. It is nicely complex and has many of the elements that amuse me in a green tea. It does have moderate mouth drying but doesn’t burn the stomach like astringent black teas.

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Organic Green Tea Powder by Teavivre
1613 tasting notes

I haven’t logged anything in a week! The construction crew has officially left the premises. They made 99% o my vision a reality. Some of the 1% will get fixed before I pay them the balance. The rest doesn’t trouble me enough to make them change it – a choose your battles kind of thing. We still have a lot of work to do on our own but hopefully I am about to have time to drink and review tea again. This morning I made my morning glass of tea + milk. This time I added some ice – for the first time in my life I now have an ice maker in the door of the fridge. What a neat invention. It’s like power windows, until I had them I didn’t know I needed them. Now I don’t want to be without it. I discovered it made crushed ice too so… turns out crushed is not the same as shaved, who knew? Also turns out when you take iced tea milk outside when it is barely 50 F, you realize it is pretty chilly in a hurry. I don’t care about all that piddly stuff. This was awesome just the same. I am blessed.


+1 on being blessed.

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I have been sipping on this one for the last couple days. Thought I should do I note although you probably can’t find this one any more. I was digging through the drawer craving a ripe puerh, I grabbed this instead. I almost put it back because it is a raw puerh. I am so glad I didn’t. My only other note of this one is two years old so I wrote it while this was very new. I loved it then. After only two years it has lost almost all of its young sheng brightness. This is wonderfully smooth and mellow with solid obvious leather notes. It is no where near as intense as a ripe puerh but personally I find its depth and character to be super enjoyable. I’d like to see what happens in another two years but it just may not last that long.


I was incorrect. This is still available. Next order may find this in my cart.

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Prepared this two days ago and again today. First attempt was 12 oz. It was supposed to be 8 oz but there were 4 ounces left in the kettle from a previous gongfu session. The tea was very smooth with no bitterness or astringency. It had a mildly thick creamy feel. The flavor was rather straight forward and reminded me of fall leaves. My brain recalls it tasting very similar to a Formosa oolong I had a couple years ago. My brain very often remembers things quite wrong.

I thought maybe if I tried this again with less water I would get different results, and I did. The second time (today) I used 6 oz and 3 g of leaf. A squirrel named Google distracted me and I steeped this five minutes. Holy Cow! This was bitter! Except for that, the flavor was still light and woodsy.

If you are a big, bold, highly flavored, tea drinker, you will not get this one. I prefer light notes even in flavored teas – except my beloved Earl Grey, which must be able to peel paint when needed. This is a simple, light in taste cup, good for a quiet afternoon like today.

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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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