1613 Tasting Notes

drank Taiwan No 18 by Sanne Tea
1613 tasting notes

You know you have too much tea when you find a Sun Moon Lake sample at the bottom of the stack boxes. I can understand losing a lesser tea but few teas hit all my buttons like Taiwan Sun Moon Lake black tea. Dry it smells of cocoa, honey, kind sweet potato, with a Darjeeling like muscatel. The whole mix has a baked quality to the scent. Mmmmm.

Tasting is similar to the scent. It is an easy sip that builds to what I am going to call a presence. It isn’t a hefty bite. Its more refined than the raw bite of some teas.

The second cup had me mentally thinking cinnamon candy. It is so sweet and feels syrupy on the lips. The cinnamon image is welcome but weird, in that there is not so much a cinnamon taste, and certainly no cinnamon burn, but the image remained after several sips. I love when a tea does that kind of magic trick. Even in the second cup I still catch grape notes under the cinnamon, honey, sweet potato.

Complex and delicious.


few teas are as good as Sun Moon Lake teas, fully agree KS


Yes, ditto here!

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drank Hibiscus Orange Nectar by Rosali Tea
1613 tasting notes

Rosali Tea is just launching a monthly subscription service. I received this and a milk oolong for review. When I opened the box and saw hibiscus on the label, I went eeuuuwww, hibiscus. When I opened the bag to sniff, I expected a tart blast. Instead I got this incredible vanilla orange scent. I poured out a spoon of leaf and immediately saw rooibos. That is often another red flag as it can be throat scratchy rough. I could not smell it until after I steeped. Even then it is light and its sweetness fills in around the orange and vanilla. I see hibiscus. I do not taste hibiscus. I added a little sweetener for science. Holy Wow! This is unquestionably the best blend I have ever tried with either hibiscus or rooibos. So very good.


I love it when teas pleasantly surprise us!


Especially when you are certain you won’t like it.


Yes especially then.

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drank Deluxe Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1613 tasting notes

Having now sampled somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 unflavored matcha ranging from $20/lb to $48/oz, this one remains my favorite. Best part is, this is one of the least expensive. I can actually enjoy this straight without additives. It really shines as a cold milk latte. Today I added just a splash of vanilla and caramel syrup along with a packet of Splenda. It was out of this world good. I used my handy dandy battery operated frother which easily whipped this into a thick and creamy consistency. It was so thick the tumbler straw stood up straight. The taste is floral and kind of a green oolong with orchid notes. Maybe it was the syrups that brought this out or maybe I had just forgotten but this had a nutmeg flavor to it this morning. I am glad I have a pound of this in my freezer. So good.


That is great to know since I’ll admit I’ve been a sucker for their flavoured ones, and as such, always ignore their unflavoured options.


I’m working my way through a few flavored ones now.


Going on my wishlist…

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drank Fujian Silver Needle by teasenz
1613 tasting notes

This is very nice. The dry scent is typical of silver needle yet the taste is a little different. It is clean and crisp. It is sweet. Not at all bitter. Instead of a hay and cucumber profile, this one leans a little more towards green. It has floral/fruity notes. I also catch fast and light hints of minty. I steeped for the recommended 4 minutes at 175F. Had I gone short steeps at slightly higher temp, it would almost certainly turn out differently. As prepared the flavor is bold for a white tea and has plenty of depth. I feel refreshed and relaxed after sipping. Teasenz sells some pretty good tea.

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drank Earl Grey by Ahmad Tea
1613 tasting notes

Celebrating national coffee day with my Earl Grey of choice. I’m sure you understand. Don’t even care that none go with me, this still speaks to me after all these years. My yardstick earl.

On a side note, I am so stiff today I can barely maneuver. Went out on the porch Sunday night around 11 pm to get a look at the super blood moon. Of course didn’t turn on a light and didn’t have my cane. Tripped on the mat at the steps. Fell on my face (on the porch). I might add, I was in my underwear as I live out in the boonies. So here is this fat boy sprawled out on the porch and after realizing I wasn’t broken, found myself thinking next time I wear pants! Saddest part is I couldn’t really see the moon through the trees.


Yikes! At least there’s good tea :).


Bummer all around :(


Will you forgive me if I chuckle a little bit at this one? (I gave my husband a t-shirt that says ‘I DO ALL MY OWN STUNTS’. Mercy is not one of my spiritual gifts.) Glad you could live to sip tea another day!


I wouldn’t have told this one on myself if I wasn’t chuckling myself. Stupid is as stupid does. Oh, and we share a similar lack of a certain spiritual gift, though I have an abundance of sarcasm.


Yeah, wouldn’t it be lovely if sarcasm was right up there with charity, mercy, teaching, hospitality….

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drank Pumpkin Pie Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1613 tasting notes

I read through some of the reviews on this one. The majority seemed to think this captured the essence of pumpkin pie. I had it as a cold milk latte. My opinion is it gets pumpkin spice but does not capture the pie filling or crust. It more reminds me of a powdered chai mix a friend and I use to buy. Really sweet and heavy on the spice. Liked it fine but it is not pie. I will try Sil’s suggestion of adding French Vanilla matcha.

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It is fall already. Where did summer go? We are getting some really cool nights and some awesome warm days with very low humidity. The leaves are turning. This made me crave white peony. I don’t know if others feel this way but white peony just feels fall to me. It tastes dark but feels light. The leaf on this one is very lovely and smells like fall with touches of honey and melon thrown in. The brew is honey colored and just goes with the sunshine. The taste is pronounced for a white tea. Of course light by assam standards. It is deep woods leafy with honey drizzled lightly on top. While it has a natural sweetness it isn’t overly sweet. A really nice example of the type.


You make this sound lovely

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drank Peppermint Hot Chocolate by 3 Leaf Tea
1613 tasting notes

I know this is not tea but it is blended by a tea company and hey, it’s hot chocolate! This morning started out at 45 F. The beginning of the month it thought it was July. Now it thinks it is October first thing in the morning. Perfect weather for this one.

Frothed this up in a mug of micronuked milk. I am in love. I am used to the grocery store variety of peppermint cocoa powder. They sort of work. This is a way better. The first sip is so rich, creamy, and chocolaty. Mom use to mix hot cocoa on the stove in the winter. This brings those old memories to mind, however this is like an adult version.

It is sweet but not overly so. I probably notice the sweetness of the pure cane sugar more because I never use real sugar. As I am indulging myself in this decadent mug, I suddenly think where is the peppermint. No sooner does that enter my head, my mouth is filled with the wonderful cooling sensation of the mint. To me that shows great restraint.

When I drink flavored tea, I want to taste the tea first then the flavor. That is exactly what 3 Leaf has done with this hot chocolate. First, deep rich chocolate and then a little something extra to add to it, not distract or take away.

Very nice job!


Sounds yummy!!


mmm… peppermint hot chocolate…mmm…

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drank Cheesecake Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1613 tasting notes

I got this because it sounded fun. Using my frother turned this into a foam filled buttery and creamy sweet delight. I followed the directions on the product page and used only 1/2 tsp for 8 oz of cold milk. That’s it. Normally I use 2 tsp in 12 oz and add a packet of Splenda and a splash of vanilla and caramel syrups. None of that is needed here. To me, the taste bounces between actual cheesecake and Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride. OK, you know I stockpile Sleigh Ride so I have a year round supply, so I am more than good with this taste. In fact, my occasional nighttime Sleigh Ride may now have a morning companion. Cheesecake Matcha makes this dinosaur happy.

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drank Baozhong Oolong Tea by Oollo Tea
1613 tasting notes

So it is upper 70’s today and will top out around 80 F. It has been 90+ all month until today. We could really use rain but it keeps passing us by. But it is beautiful outside, so cause for celebration and some of the first hot tea I have prepared this month! Yes I’ve been living off a combination of cold milk/matcha lattes, Diet Mt Dew (purely for the caffeine rush), and Lipton Diet Citrus Green Tea. Don’t judge.

I’ve had Baozhong before. That’s what I told myself, until I opened this sample. I literally said, “Oh, Wow!” when the aroma hit me. I can’t paint a word picture as beautifully as Amanda, but this smells so wonderful. Lilacs! After reading Amanda’s review, I agree on peonies as well. Really, I could almost use this as potpourri and be happy. I brewed it instead.

The cup looks like liquid gold. It glimmers in the light.

The taste is softer than I expected. Once I tuned in to it this really opened up. The front of the taste is very much like the aroma. The mid sip I get what to me is a spice quality about it that reminds me of very mild custard and nutmeg. At least that is how my brain interprets it. The aftertaste is a classic Taiwan green oolong vegetal.

A wonderful light cup.


Local forecast for Saturday - 69!


Same here. July yesterday, September today, October Saturday. Someone put the brakes on!


You are having Winter already…. :P


We have had a lot of thunderstorms over here and it has been very hot until this week. I’m hoping the rain will go away.

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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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