New Tasting Notes

drank Summertime by 52teas
30 tasting notes

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drank Earl Grey by Higgins & Burke
15 tasting notes

Maybe I was insane, going out after 10 o’clock just to get a flavour of tea that wasn’t in my cupboard. Earl Grey it was. I have always had a love hate relationship with this tea. When it’s badly mixed in a cheap tea, or adding milk to it, which seems like someone answering the question: “Do you want milk or lemon?” with BOTH!

Actually, I don’t use milk at all in tea, anymore. Perhaps Earl Grey was invented for people who don’t. The oil itself comes from the Bergamot Orange. Who knows, maybe a Brit was offered Uzu in Asia, only to return home and find none. Tea with toast and marmelade is a classic too.

I’m doing shots of this tea. The first two were not that good. It does take a little time for black tea to get ready. I can see now how bergamot might have been used to immitate better tea. It must add a bit of sourness to the taste as well (think lemon). Living in a Coca-Cola society, we should know this flavour? I’m sure that anyone dealing with bad tea everyday might look for something to make it taste better.

By the fourth steep the tea base is almost gone, still some bergamot, though. At package opening, you could smell the flavour. Now it’s tongue smackingly good.

Flavors: Bergamot

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Tried this with different, less drastic brewing parameters. 1st steep, 2m at 150F, then steeps of 20s, 40s, 75s at 175F. First steep was still quite tasty, and the subsequent steeps didn’t have that nearly overpowering astringency to them that made them a little tougher to drink. Made for a smoother overall session. Pretty good either way though.

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Today I decided to have a change of name, specifically username. If you see me floating around social media, no longer am I SoggyEnderman, now I am TeaNecromancer. Still super dorky, but now with a more tea themed flair, as it should be. This review is going to be as a pirate, the internet requested and how could I deny that! Ben, ever the story-teller, helped me with the pirate speak!

Avast, ye lubbers! Let me tell you a tale of a lost tea of the high seas – the fabled Black Pearl of Gramercy Tea! But be it a treasure fit for Hong Beard, or a mere watery grave? I set sail to find out.

Me map was incomplete, so I know not what port the tea hails from – my keen sea-dog’s nose caught a hint of Yunnan on the breeze off the Black Pearl, which suited me well enough. I’ve a great fondness for those shores. But don’t hold me to that, mates – the Black Pearl’s scent is light as a mermaid’s sigh, and as varied as the haul of a fat merchant freighter. Cocoa, molasses, malt, peanuts… the tea played coy with the smell of such plunder, but what I could catch was robust and pleasant.

It was a long and bloody battle to claim those pearls of tea, and get them loaded into me pot for the long voyage down me throat, and into Davvy Jones’ Locker. I’ll spare the squeamish of ye lubbers the details – but I will say that as that tea steeped, the air grew sweet, as the molasses, peanuts, and malt from before were joined by honey and sweet potatoes. As for the tea itself, it was a thing of toffee, peanuts and caramel – with a molasses and cocoa finish, which almost distracted me from the terrifying sight of a veritable kraken rearing up in me own tea gear! Clearly, there was a fearsome curse upon these pearls, and if I’d be lucky to finish the session alive.

But no captain could show fear in front of their crew, and I led the charge into the first steep. Though it was light as a breeze with a smooth mouthfeel, it held tastes as rich as any galleon, from the start of molasses and honey-coated peanuts, through a cocoa middle, to a finish of yams with honey aftertaste.

The crew, though, were afeared of the tea kraken, and I knew they plotted mutiny against me – they were in it thick as thieves, though still less think than the second steep, richer than the first, with a cocoa and molasses aroma, tasting first of molasses and malt, then cocoa and peanuts, before finishing with the very taste of the pine wood deck me own first mate smashed my face down into, as he pressed the Black Spot into my hand. I chuckled for a moment, savorin’ the irony of our predicament, along with a light honey-yam aftertaste, before I shot the scallawag dead through the heart.

I’ll not lie to ye, mates – few of me crew lived to taste the third steep. In a way, that’s just fine – devouring their bodies kept the beast busy as I sailed away, and after all the taste was all but a twin what had come before – though a twin who spent a little more time in the malt, if you follow me. On the other hand, it was a bit of a shame to kill so many old salt dogs, when we could have shared the treasure among us all – it holds several good steeps in it, and is a fine bowl steep for a day caught in the doldrums.

Now isn’t that a tale worth the tellin’?

For blog and photos:

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drank Mild Mint by Touch Organic
371 tasting notes

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Good, standard black tea. Slight blueberry flavoring adds a bit of sweetness; subtle blueberry aroma is rather nice as well. I’d added some sweet cream creamer, which I think helped bring out the blueberry flavor (and added some creaminess as well).

The tea can be purchased from their Etsy shop:

Flavors: Blueberry, Fruity

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I haven’t been as active in my reviews lately because I have been a little under the weather for the past week. I still have a backlog of reviews I need to hurry up and post, but aside from this tea, I have not really tried anything new. I should be back up to speed within the next week though.

This tea is a Nepalese black tea. It comes from a region that not only borders Darjeeling, but is said to have virtually identical growing conditions, so one can expect this tea to share at least a few similarities with Darjeeling teas. While there are indeed similarities, this tea has a character that clearly separates it from the black teas produced across the Indian border.

I brewed this tea using the method recommended by Simpson & Vail. I steeped 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 212 F water for 3 minutes. I did not perform any additional infusions, as I usually do not resteep black teas unless specifically recommended by the vendor. I did try a slightly longer steep time at one point, but was not thrilled with the results, so I went back to using the vendor’s suggestions.

The infused liquor showed a clear orange in the glass. This was the first indication that this tea was not going to be a Nepalese copycat of an Indian Darjeeling, as I’m used to seeing either a slightly more golden or amber hue in Darjeeling teas. The nose revealed delicate aromas of honey, toast, malt, almonds, nutmeg, and orange. In the mouth, I detected distinct notes of cream, toast, almonds, malt, honey, straw, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange underscored by traces of wood, grass, and herbs. The finish was particularly interesting, as it offered powerful notes of cream, almonds, nutmeg, and orange along with a faint woodiness.

Honestly, I expected this tea to sort of be a Nepalese Darjeeling, but it very much has an identity all its own. It is spicier, creamier, and more citrusy than a Darjeeling. To me, it also lacks the distinctive Muscat grape presence of many Darjeelings as well. I could see Darjeeling fans being into this one, though I also think it has more than enough character to appeal to tea drinkers who are not necessarily impressed with Darjeelings as well. All in all, this tea is definitely worth checking out if you do not mind the idea of a unique black tea with a slight Indian influence.

Flavors: Almond, Cinnamon, Cream, Honey, Malt, Nutmeg, Orange, Straw, Toast, Wood

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Sans Complexe by THE O DOR
2768 tasting notes

Something about this screamed chocolate to me but then I remembered this is meant to be a lemon meringue tea. Yeah, not getting that at all. If I concentrate really hard I maybe get a touch of lemon but that’s it. It’s not a bad cup by any means as the base itself seems flavorful but the flavors premises just aren’t there. Nonetheless, I am grateful to Sil for the share because this is one I would have grabbed and been disappointed by and then stuck with probably 50-100g. Gotta love tea friends who enable you to try before you buy.

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Brewed in a ceramic gaiwan. Ratio of 1g of leaf per 20ml of water. I followed Bitterleaf’s infusion instructions before switching to my own. Gave the leaf a 7 second rinse. As was promised, I got more than 10 infusions (14) even with a higher ratio: 10 sec, 10, 15, 22, 29, 36, 40, 60, 90; 2 min, 4, 7, 15.

This is my first experience with Moonlight White. While I’m unable to compare this other Moonlight Whites offered by other companies, I do know that I had a fantastic experience with this one.

First off, dat leaf:

I was floored by how aromatic the dry leaf when I opened the pouch. Incredibly sweet with honey and a hint of blueberry! My kettle spent a good time reheating itself because I couldn’t tear my nose away. After resting in the pre-heated gaiwan bowl, the leaf smelled like – oh yes, it did – marshmallow fluff and toasted marshmallows. I thought for a second they may have added some marshmallow root the scent was that uncanny. When I rinsed the leaf, the aroma had more of a baked quality, resulting notes of blueberry crumble and gooseberry cobbler arising from the gaiwan. In spite of this richness, the aroma was very light. Later in the session, the wet leaf aroma became less complex and generally smelled of tart berries.

The first couple infusions produced a pale yellow soup with a light body, delicately tasting of hay and marshmallow root. Following the third infusion to the end, I was hit with a creamy, thick, and medium-bodied soup. It was so rich with a honey!!! Plus the marshmallow root note strengthened (though it didn’t even come close to the same intensity as the honey). I was so surprised how sweet this tasted and how creamy it felt. I let my piggy tea pet Georgie Pie down this session because I was so stingy xD (I did eventually pour some on him)

Also, the color had changed to bright orange and continued to deepen in shade. Beautiful in a white porcelain cup no matter the color.

I’m not much of a white tea drinker (can’t remember the last time I drank some). Moonlight White blew me away. Or keeping Bitterleaf’s elephant theme, swept me up and charged away!!!

6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Dropped my leaf down to 3g this session. I think it’s actually a bit better this way.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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This tea has been sitting around for a couple of weeks, in a snap-top storage tub with airholes. The “rest” time since unsealing it from the ziplock bag the brick came in has done it some good.

Very little fermentation smell even in the rinses. After 2 rinses it was gone from the tea itself. Like last time, it was a smooth, earthy cup, easy to drink.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

I always recommend a rest period after shipping. Makes the tea much better.

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This is a nice semi aged tea. Thank you to the good tea friend who so generously gave me this sample. I was not in time to Wilson’s site to buy this. This is a nice smooth semi aged tea. There were little in the way of storage flavors in general. There were hints of leather and tobacco but not much. In it’s own way this developed a form of a sweet note. Not the sweet note of a young sheng, but the smoothness that comes when a tea is well aged. I am not sure what to call the predominant note of this tea. As to if this is real LBZ I don’t know. I do wish it was still for sale because if it was I would buy one. As to the theory that this tastes like old books, I don’t know. What do old books taste like. I don’t really know if I would use that phrase. I do know I got no wet storage flavors out of this despite that I think it was stored in Malaysia. There were little at all in the way of storage flavors interfering with the taste of this one.

I steeped this sixteen times in a 50ml gaiwan with 4.3g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, 2 min, 2.5 min, 3 min, 3.5 min, and 4 min. I stopped at sixteen because I figured it was enough caffeine for one day. I am also beginning to discover that I like young sheng better than semi aged sheng. This was one of the best semi aged sheng I have drank but I still prefer the 2014 tea I had yesterday if truth be told. I guess I just like young sheng better than semi aged sheng. I am not sure I have ever tasted a truly aged sheng, something more than 30 years old. The oldest I can recall was a 1999 from Yangqinghao. That was an excellent tea but even that probably doesn’t truly qualify as aged sheng. I would say to qualify as aged sheng in my book the tea needs to be at least 30 years old. Anything less is semi aged. Still this was one of the best semi aged sheng I have drank and I wish he had more for sale.

Boiling 4 g 2 OZ / 50 ML

What I call old book flavor is leather and wood, paper or vellum with a bit of mustiness. After all, old books were leather over wood.

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drank Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake by 52teas
7630 tasting notes

not so much pumpkin but a delicious creamy caramel cheescake tea.

Evol Ving Ness

This one sounds yum.

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I went into DAVIDs to pick up some of their sale items and they gave us a sample of their tea of the day which was Just Peachy. My sister, who doesn’t drink tea, actually liked it and asked if they made it in a cup to go so in addition to the little bit of tea and the sale tumblers, I got her a to-go of that and this for me, as it was the other tea of the day and thus readily available.

This is good if you want something tart. I don’t love it enough to keep it stocked or anything but it made for a nice change. My sister, on the other hand, hated this. I figured she would.

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drank Energy charger by a Tea story
7630 tasting notes

Free Sample from a Tea Story – thank you so much for sharing. I’ve had this type of blend before, so it wasn’t a shocking new thing for me. What i can say about this particular blend is that it hits the spot. this is light, refreshing and i am a fan of the slight orange that comes through. I think this would be particularly delicious with a dash of honey. Thanks for sharing!

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I was really impressed by the quality of this tea. The first thing you notice is the aroma. The colour is a really nice yellow. The taste is really good too.

First and second steepings really good. I recommend this tea.

I brewed this using 2 tea bags and 200 mL of water and left it for 2 minutes at around 170 to 180 approx.

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This tea is a lightly roasted oolong that is light amber in color with an inviting aroma. This tea is a little spicy with a hint of cinnamon and has a little creaminess to it. The flavor is unique to me and I am a little on the fence of rather I liked it a little or a lot. It also has a nice lingering aftertaste.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Creamy

205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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Is this even the same Pinglin Bao Zhong tea that others are writing about? I am currently too lazy to get up and reread the tea pouch. Edit—I did get up and check the tea pouch and yes, that’s all the label says. I can only guess that this newer batch, purchased July 2016, is a totally different creature than those previously written about. Completely different flavour profile.

Totally coconut, which is being lost on me today as I just had another but different coconut oolong yesterday and I had forgotten how coconut this one is. Delicious coconut which is not quite was I was in the mood for, so I will postpone proper reviewing for another time.

Yesterday, I had an early doctor’s appointment in the city, which meant that I was perfectly positioned to wander over to Chinatown and treat myself to dim sum. A large group, about seven or eight, older men were there, old as dirt, really, and it was a delight to watch them hang out, joke, read their papers, eat, torment the servers, and carry on. Although they were speaking in Cantonese, it was clear that they had great affection for each other and had known each other for a long long time. I wonder how often they have their morning breakfasts together. I suspect rituals and camaraderie like this have much to do with their longevity.

Apart from this group, was an older gentlemen having breakfast alone. He had brought his own yixing teapot, teacup, and huge thermos of boiling water for the gazillions cups he drank with his meal. I. was. dying to go over there and ask him what kind of tea he was drinking, but I didn’t: too embarrassed and concerned about the possible communication gap. After his meal, he dumped his mountain of leaves out onto an empty plate: curly, fizzly, dark. I asked one of my favourite trolley people if she knew what kind of tea that was and she suspected it was heung pin, which we later got translated as jasmine. Yeah, maybe she just felt she needed to give me some sort of answer. It doesn’t necessarily tell me anything about the leaf.



I understand why you didn’t go over to him, and I also wish so badly that you had! I would probably have chickened out unless maybe a staff member could have told you if he was a regular and if he spoke English. Maybe you can go back and see him again!

Evol Ving Ness

I was fascinated that this gentleman brought all his own paraphernalia and tea despite the endless supply of cheap restaurant tea available. Perhaps that was the point. Hard to suffer if you are a tea connoisseur. While I was watching him, I had considered many of the possible stories behind this moment. That he had spent his life as a tea importer and had his home stuffed with the favourite teas he had spent decades narrowing down. That he wasn’t drinking tea but rather a medicinal herbal concoction. That the restaurant tea was too caffeinated for his health now. That he had been seasoning his teapot for decades and refused to drink tea without his ritual. And so on.

I go to this particular restaurant for dim sum from time to time, but usually a bit later in the day. Perhaps I will see him again. Communication in this place is a real thing though, so we’ll see.

Evol Ving Ness

Few of the staff speak English and probably wouldn’t know if he did.

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This was part of a sampler pack I obtained of flavored teas and were wasn’t much info available about it. The leaves are small and the peach scent reminded me of artificial flavoring though I can’t say of sure that this was the case. There are bits of something in the tea that could be dried peach or could be ginger. I couldn’t tell. I couldn’t detect any hint of ginger scent at all.

This probably isn’t a great candidate for gong fu style brewing but I wanted to try out my new gaiwan so I gave it a try. I did a quick rinse followed by an initial steep of 5 seconds. The tea cam out a medium orange brown and was on the weakfish side but not unpleasant. The taste of peach was medium strong but still no ginger to be noticed. There was the normal black tea bitterness but quite subdued. Not at all unpleasant but nothing spectacular.

I did the second steeping for 15 seconds and the tea was a bit stronger and this was the best of the three steepings I did. The tea was stronger and enjoyable but the peach flavor was the weakest part.

The last steeping was 45 seconds and the peach seemed to be gone at this point. The tea was ok but a bit thinner. At this point I decided that I’d probably had enough for now and concluded.

Overall, an interesting experiment but probably not a tea that is worth the time for brewing in a gaiwan. Might make a decent iced tea though. I don’t know where the ginger was. I could neither smell nor taste it so it’s influence was subtle at best, at least on my probably unrefined palate.

Flavors: Peach, Tea

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 50 ML

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Dropping my rating as the bag i purchased has been all over the place. My original sample from dexter was about a 90….this batch has been maybe a 65.

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