Featured & New Tasting Notes

85

Colour me surprised and delighted because this taste eerily accurate to a soft and doughy sugar cookie to me! Like, one of the closest sugar cookie tasting teas I’ve had in a long, long time. Y’know the little circular sugar cookies you get at the grocery store that almost become a paste in your mouth? With the bright layer of super fun colored icing? Yeah, exactly that!

Cameron B.

Is this S&V Almond Sugar Cookie? Because that one is delicious.

Shae

Oh I LOVE those cookies.

Roswell Strange

Cameron B. Yes and no ;) They’re definitely the same tea but because of all the weird backend wholesale craziness it’s not really correct to say it’s S&Vs tea – they just happen to be buying from the same source (along with MANY other teas).

Cameron B.

I think S&V blends their own teas? At least they claim to, and their prices would seem to support it.

Roswell Strange

It’s… complicated. Lots of grey area. I can send you a DM on IG if you want :)

AJRimmer

I’m curious about this as well! I try to mostly buy from companies that blend their own teas, so I’m interested in these details too if you wouldn’t mind sharing!

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This was probably my favorite from the sampler box. I held on to this one for quite a while not wanting to finish it off. It was minty and mocha-like and delicious. The soymilk I added turned it into a creamy lazy latte. I would repurchase this one for sure!

Flavors: Chicory, Mint, Mocha, Roasted

Preparation
Boiling 14 OZ / 414 ML

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71

This is the final tea in an order I made from Mountain Stream several years ago. Given my well-known penchant for bug-bitten teas, it was inevitable that I’d pick this up, especially given Derk’s glowing review. It isn’t currently on their website, so I’m following Derk’s parameters of 30, 45, 60, 70, 80, 90, 120, and 240 seconds using 6 g of leaf in 120 ml of 195F water.

The heady dry aroma is of honey, grain, and citrus. The first steep is very light and immediately indicates by its strong cereal aroma that this is a roasted tea. I get lots of honey, citrus, rose, and wood. The next steep is stronger and has citrus, cherry, grain, mild spices, rose, and lots of honey, but also a touch of astringency. The aftertaste is woody, drying, and a bit sour, though the honey aroma at the bottom of the cup is mouthwatering. The next couple steeps feature the same flavours, but the fruit starts to disappear by steep five, leaving honey, grain, and roast. The end of the session is much like a black tea, with notes of malt, honey, and tannins.

While I enjoyed the fruity flavours and beautiful aromas in this tea, the roast was quite noticeable and I didn’t think it was well integrated. I’ve had many bug-bitten teas and am a bit spoiled regarding this type, and my rating probably reflects that. The tea also lacks longevity. I won’t have trouble finishing my 25 g pouch, but am glad I didn’t buy more.

Flavors: Astringent, Cherry, Citrus, Drying, Grain, Honey, Malt, Roasted, Rose, Spices, Sweet, Tannin, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
derk

Oh, I remember this one clearly and the way I felt after drinking it. The roasty flavor, like if you could lightly today honey, was well integrated for me. Maybe you had a different harvest or age didn’t treat it well. If not, then a case of different palates! Looks like I’m the only person here who truly enjoyed it :P

Leafhopper

I looked it up and I had the 2019 harvest, so age definitely could be a factor. I didn’t get any body feels from this tea, but then I usually don’t get body sensations (except for white teas, which tend to hit me hard). The fruity flavours were nice, but dissipated quickly. Do you want me to send the rest of this in our swap?

derk

A sample would be nice :)

Leafhopper

Okay, will do. :) It’d be nice to give this tea a good home.

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drank Pu Erh Impérial by Palais des Thes
2518 tasting notes

Unless it was part of a blend, my poor, impaired tastebuds never equated pu-erh with much more than cave water or sweet tree roots. To see some of you mention menthol or camphor as flavor notes mystified me.

Well, today, I finally got it. Cave water first, tree roots next, but then I caught just the smallest breath of mentholated sippiness just after each swallow, which immediately created a mental image of Mama Bear lining the cave with pine and wintergreen branches so that it wouldn’t get too stinky while she hibernates. I’m ready to go back to bed now.

Skysamurai

Yeah. This one was weird for me too. I can see how it equates to being a pu er but… idk

Mastress Alita

Most puerh I try ends up as either “dirt” or “marshy swampwater”. Whenever I taste something else I get pretty excited, hahaha.

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74

We’ve spent the last couple of days preparing to learn and attempt TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return) for the first time. Someone from our local cat-loving FB group came to our house last night and taught us how to use and bait the traps, and so today we’ve been trying to catch the two ferals who live in our community. We tried for a couple hours last night and now again all day today, but we haven’t seen either cat at all (which is very unusual). I had reached out to my neighbors earlier in the week to make sure the cats were indeed feral and received some pushback about trapping them. Apparently at least one of the neighbors thought I was trapping the cats to hurt them, which makes me really sad, and now I’m starting to worry we’ve been sabotaged. I explained what I was doing and why, but I don’t know if they were convinced. My brother says the cats are probably feasting on a gourmet buffet down the street, so they aren’t at all interested in my smelly mackerel. I’m a little bummed, no point in pretending I’m not. I don’t know why I thought we’d get them on the first try, but I suppose this is a good test of my patience.

So while I sit here, with one eye on the trap and the other on my inbox, I’m sipping on this mug of deliciousness. This tea is oh-so-dark and deep and smoky and bittersweet. Just perfect for this chilly afternoon. Bonus: I can drink it inside with the heat on, at least until dark.

Flavors: Bitter, Dark Bittersweet, Smoked

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
AJRimmer

That’s so awesome that you’re doing that!

Mastress Alita

I really want to do TNR, but don’t know any groups in my area. :-(

Shae

I was so intimidated, but the trap is so much easier to work than I thought it would be! Of course I haven’t actually caught anything yet so stay tuned. :D

It was good to have someone show me, but I learned a lot of the details from this video: https://youtu.be/wF_omFE7Etc?list=PLZyDy7gy9vwr0m119g5poGvgHM-4Wxv80.

Mastress Alita

I recommend the videos by Kitten Lady on YT. She has some good TNR ones with tips for dealing with both the kitties and the humans that look after community cats.

Shae

Yes! Kitten Lady is my go-to for just about everything.

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75

This is one of my oldest teas, as it came from the final “Here’s Hoping Teabox” which was the first teabox I joined as a newbie on Steepster back in… 2016 or 2017, I think? I finished everything I had from that box except a few pu’erh samples, as I always think to myself, “Age can’t hurt this!” and try to drink other things that are getting less and less fresh each day. But I failed my “one gong fu session a month” goal last year, and want to try that goal again this year! So I pulled this out to gong fu this morning.

My package simply says “Yiwu Sheng Pu-erh 2016” on it, and since this is the closest match I can find, I’m putting it here (if it is something else, apologies!)

80ml (mini pot) | 4.43g | 205F | Rinse/10s/13s/16s/19s/22s/25s/28s/31s

The wet leaf has a really pungent aroma… smells like umami cooked meats, bitter fruit rind, hay, and minerals. The rinse had a strong aroma of sour fruits and hay. The first steep, after a bit of cooling, has a gentler aroma, and tastes surprisingly fruity and smooth… I’m getting a cooked stonefruit vibe, particularly plum, with a bit of a dry hay/herbaceous backdrop and a bit of minerality in the finish. The next infusion smells and tastes delightfully plummy, a little sour at first with a honeyed note coming forward afterward. I’m getting a sort of black licorice aftertaste on my tongue (which is fine by me, I’m one of those rare black licorice fans). That aftertaste becomes more of a mild muscatal note in subsequent steeps, with the sip continuing to be very plum forward, with a bit more florality/wildflower honey and graham cracker popping up in the taste. Around the sixth infusion the stonefruit notes disappeared and it became more of a mix of bitter melon, hay, herbaceous, citrus peel, and mineral notes. Steeped for eight infusions.

Flavors: Bitter Melon, Citrus Zest, Floral, Graham Cracker, Herbaceous, Honey, Hot Hay, Licorice, Mineral, Muscatel, Plum, Stewed Fruits, Stonefruit

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 g 3 OZ / 80 ML
derk

Pu’er and gongfu in one session? With no complaints of swamp or scalded fingers? Glad it wasn’t a terrible experience :)

Mastress Alita

Well, I did cheat on the scalded fingers by using a tiny, handled teapot. But yes, no dirt, swamp water, or ash smoke!

derk

If tiny teapots are considered cheating, then we’re both chumps! Good notes you got there, btw.

MadHatterTeaReview

I wish I kept some of this lying around for a while. Silly me, I drank it within the year it was released. I knew so very little about puerh, then.

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drank Crescent Green by Spirit Tea
1163 tasting notes

Another new to me vendor, Spirit Tea, which I see Daylon has been posting notes for lately. I came across them looking for something but don’t remember what They have a gentle, relationship-building vibe about their work and marketing that I admit drew me in. If you get warm fuzzies seeing pictures of traveling tea hunters with tea farmers, one or all of them pointing at leaves or in the distance, Spirit Tea may be for you (tongue-in-cheek — they have a LOT of teas that sound fantastic). Looks like they really get around, offering landscape, production and intimate encounter photos of nearly every tea they offer, which are sourced from their travels through China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan.

Quick cups this morning before I try to take advantage of this spring weather in January. It doesn’t feel right that the daffodils bloomed this morning or that the blueberries are fully flowering.

From Yunnan, China, this green tea is grown and processed in a Muslim-Chinese minority village.

This large-leaved green tea is rich and so satisfying, unlike any other green tea I’ve had. Sweet, viscous, a little tongue-numbing and with practically no astringency. Aroma matches the taste and aftertaste of the tea. The tasting notes of honeycomb and sandalwood are spot on. Apricot is more of a bright undertone. A comforting toasty nature rounds out the flavor flawlessly. If you want to try a green tea without the typical beany, grassy or vegetal notes, or one that won’t upset an empty stomach, I highly suggest this nourishing tea!

I’ve had no communication yet with this company and am trying to not come off as sounding like a shameless plug. Hopefully the other 3 teas I ordered are just as satisfying.

Flavors: Apricot, Honey, Mineral, Round, Sandalwood, Sweet, Toasty, Viscous

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML
Daylon R Thomas

I’m glad you liked it! I had a mixed opinion about the company at first. I tried them at a local coffee shop, and fell in love with their silver needle and Saigon Hebral. I really liked their approach to partnerships, and I’ve been using the Manual Gaiwan for years. I stopped buying a little bit after the Meishan they had, which I thought they overcharged for, but I think their selection has drastically improved selling some extremely unique teas. I just made a big order from them recently, and really look forward to what they’ve got. I am excited to see what you think of the other teas!

Evol Ving Ness

I am looking forward to hearing more about their teas from you both. goes to check their shipping to Canada policies

derk

Lucky you to have had their teas at a local joint. Some of their teas are a bit pricey and I did end up indulging in one of them. This Crescent Green is one of the cheapest ones and well worth the $0.24/g for my tastes!

It seems like you experience the same desire I do with wanting to try all the things so I like that Spirit Tea upped their package weight to minimum 50g. That encouraged me to be more thoughtful about my purchases. Hopefully everything in your big buy puts a smile on your face. I look forward to your notes, too :)

derk

Evol Ving Ness, the other day Leafhopper told me that their shipping to the great CA is only through DHL at $32. Maybe worth a group buy for you Canadians.

Leafhopper

Derk, there are no daffodils blooming here in snowy Toronto. :P Sounds like a nice green tea.

Evol Ving Ness, they only offer DHL to Canada and it starts at $32. This is sad, as they have some unique stuff.

Leafhopper

Derk, I think our comments overlapped. :) It seems to cost less to ship packages across the world than across the Canada–U.S. border.

Daylon, I also look forward to your notes on your Spirit Tea purchases. I hope there are some oolongs!

gmathis

Sigh. We’re weeks away from daffodil and crocus shoots yet. Green tea that sounds apricotty sounds like a lovely snatch of spring.

Daylon R Thomas

Leafhopper, I got three oolongs, two of them new-the Qin Xin/Jin Xuan hybrid and leafhopper bitten Dayuling, and two blacks, a Yin Hong and a Qilan fashioned into a black. I spent too much money…I have high hopes for all of them.

Leafhopper

Daylon, that’s a nice selection. I was looking at that Exuding Jade myself until I saw what it would cost to ship it to Canada.

Leafhopper

And of course, the bug-bitten Dayuling was what made me investigate the shipping charges in the first place. :)

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93

This is a really lovely chocolate orange blend; the orange is aromatic and sweet and the chocolate notes so dark and rich. The both play beautifully with the tastes of malt, honey, grains, sweet potato, cacao, and soft fruitiness of the black tea base as well. However, I’m not necessarily getting anything that makes me think of cannolis specifically. That could be either the fried dough/shell or more of the sweet cheese/cream filling – I’d take either.

I see I rated this very highly in the past, so I’d be curious to go back and read those tasting notes. Maybe this is something that’s unique to the cup I steeped in particular, or just this reblend? Perhaps my tastes have changed slightly. Regardless I still liked the mug a lot and thought the flavours were exceptional. Just missing a slight ‘something something’ in terms of nailing the name perfectly.

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73

I received a sad e-mail from S&V today – Jim Harron, Sr. passed away a couple days ago. I didn’t know him, but appreciate what the Harrons have done with Simpson & Vail – one of my favorite tea shops and a small business too! So I wanted to sip a cup of tea today in his memory and appreciate that S&V exists in the world.
Some have recently wondered about Black Currant teas – I have never actually tasted real black currants but I know I have had some dismal black currant teas before with awful flavoring. This is not one of them – almost a floral flavor with the fruit. Now if that fruit is black currant, I can’t say. But knowing that S&V usually has accurate flavors, this probably tastes like black currant.

Michelle

I saw that email too, I like that they shared his passing with their customers so we could all appreciate what he has done and sip a cup in his honor.

Martin Bednář

I wish I could send you some fresh harvested currants to try while they are ripe in July. But I guess the trip would be too long for them :D

tea-sipper

haha, a great thought though, Martin.

Martin Bednář

I will keep this thought and I will ship them to you from my workplace, packed with dry ice. That could work I guess :D

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drank House Blend by Geek + Tea
12484 tasting notes

I can’t remember what the context was, but Marika brought this tea up in a conversation recently as just being perfect and cozy and it made me want to pull out my sample of it to revisit. I’ve been hard core channeling the “cozy” feeling with my working from home tea selections lately and she was dead on that this reaaalllyyy fits well with that! Rich black tea with notes of malt, walnut, and honey mixed with silky vanilla and warming cinnamon undertones.

As I sip this tea I can definitely picture myself in the Gryffindor common room over the winter break, all curdled up with a mug of tea in a jumper made by Molly Weasely.

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This tea is from my Poland trip made in the end of 2021 and start of 2022. I bought it in “Pod Lampionami” tearoom in Poznan (search for pictures, it is super cute and cozy). Translated name means “From Persian Market”

However, this tea seems not being from them directly. I have found (and downloaded pic from) Herbatyczas.pl — seems they have more teas from them in Poznan tearoom. I have added it under “Pod Lampionami”, because bought there, however not sure if it’s correct at all.

I bought it on blind buy… I just saw the glass container and it was looking nice, but no ingredients were listed. So, that said, I am not even sure about ingredients. But if they really used Persian tea base, I think it’s amazing.

However…
let’s try the tea. First of all, I notice mostly mint. They say it is nana mint and I didn’t had that much, but seems to be indeed that, but my limited experience notices only mint.

Based on taste, it indeed contains stevia. Sadly, it is indeed very sweet. The mint is refreshing. But the base tea is muted from the stevia. Argh! Why to kill so great, Iranian, tea with sh*tload of stevia?

I am so disappointed. I will save a little, but the rest will go to the TTB for sure.

On the other news: my mother was tested positive for Covid. We made a little improvised quarantine at home, but it is only improvised :(

Flavors: Mint, Stevia, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML
ashmanra

Praying for your mom ever since I saw your email! Looking likely my son has it for the second time.

Michelle

Hope you are spared from the Covid and that your mother recovers soon.

CrowKettle

Wishing your mom a speedy and easy recovery.

Evol Ving Ness

Oh dear, I hope your mom and your whole household stays safe and well.

Ftr, nana in Arabic means mint. Farsi has adopted some words from Arabic. Perhaps this is one of them. As far as I know, nana does not specify any particular type of mint, just mint.

Evol Ving Ness

Oh, in both Morocco and Egypt, I remember nana referred to fresh spearmint. Whether that was specifying kind or that is the regional garden variety available, that I don’t know.

mrmopar

Speedy recovery to her I hope. Expect the first week to be rough. I am finally getting over my case of it.

Leafhopper

I hope that your mom has a fast and safe recovery and that you and your family are okay.

Martin Bednář

Thank you all! She is doing well, the symptoms are gone and she is just tired often. I am in quarantine till Sunday and I was supposed to be in since Wednesday, but no-one (from Public health offices) wrote me before.
I read the SMS today at work (where I have been tested yesterday — negative) that I am supposed to be in quarantine. Well, dang. Welcome to the Czech Republic

ashmanra

Glad she is feeling better! And my son’s test came back negative so that’s a relief.

Evol Ving Ness

Yay! Better late than never. Good opportunity to drink more tea. :)

Martin Bednář

Haha, indeed Evol Ving Ness. It’s time to have cup of tea next to me all the time.

Martin Bednář

ashmanra we are happy as well. And we get used to it pretty well I think. It’s not fun, but it is not that bad at all.

tea-sipper

I’m happy your mom got through covid okay!

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90
drank Classic Laoshan Black by Yunnan Sourcing
13268 tasting notes

SIpdown. And now i have to decide if i want to re-order. I’m not really all that impressed with YS as far as the customer experience goes on this one. I haven’t had issues before but no issues does not mean that it would have been handled better. I’m not demanding but i have recieved exceptional customer service from places even during covid and this was not that. Make a mistake – own it, resolve it in the customers favour.

having worked in multiple roles over my life so far that were customer facing maybe my expectations are too high but i DO praise/celebrate companies that do it right, so i don’t feel bad knocking companies doing it less well. All in all just a missed opportunity to make me a high promoter of the company.

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80

So a couple of weeks ago, I somehow found myself on the Andrews & Dunham website. I don’t recall how, maybe I saw something on Steepster that made me curious to see what teas they had in stock. Regardless, I found this tea in stock and promptly ordered a tin. I have four of their other teas and they’re always enjoyable, if slightly neglected in my cupboard. I then promptly forgot about the purchase.

So fast forward to two days ago, this tea showed up at my doorstep and ooh, what a lovely surprise gift from my (slightly) past self! XD

I admit, I was slightly nervous when I smelled the dry leaf, as the smoke dominates the aroma. I don’t dislike smoked teas, in fact I often quite enjoy them, but it’s not something I drink often, and sometimes I do find them a bit too smoky. But I needn’t have worried, this is very well-balanced. The smokiness is obvious, but it’s not the only thing I taste, and it has a lovely savory meaty flavor as opposed to a charred or ashy one. Underneath is a lovely sweetness, an earthy woodiness, and also a satisfyingly chewy bread note. Perhaps a touch of dark dried fruit as well?

Very yummy, and I certainly don’t regret ordering it on a whim. I haven’t been disappointed by A&D yet! :)

Flavors: Bread, Charcoal, Dried Fruit, Earthy, Malt, Meat, Savory, Smoke, Smoked, Smooth, Sweet, Thick, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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70
drank Chocolate Chip Cookie by DAVIDsTEA
1348 tasting notes

The first thing I taste is a bit of pepper, which doesn’t seem to fit. I guess there’s some chocolate flavor, but it tastes sort of like low quality Easter chocolate. It all combines to taste sort of…meh? Pepper, low quality chocolate, and possibly a little of something else, but this really isn’t great. It tastes better after it cools to room temperature. I get a little bit of salt, like in a raw cookie dough. It’s also pleasantly desserty. It’s still not too special, but I sort of like it.

Lexie Aleah

I really liked this one that you included in the Advent. (:

AJRimmer

I’m so glad! If I had any more, I would definitely send it your way! For some reason, I often find myself not loving DavidsTEA black teas.

Lexie Aleah

They actually have free shipping right now and it’s on sale so I’m debating on ordering it.

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78
drank Peach Brulée by Tea Forte
3603 tasting notes

Another from TreeGal a while ago!  Thank you!  A single sample that looked so fancy – the package makes it seem so classy and dessert like, so the actual tea was confusing.   I expected a long leaf black, with creamy peach sugar flavor.  Really, it’s like a tart peach, not even a candy peach.  The black tea is finely chopped – very small.  I only see an occasional marigold flower, but upon steeping, I definitely taste some coconut and yep, there it is in the description too.  No idea how old this is now, but I know I have had this sample for at least a year or two.  The description mentions mango flavor?  Not even peach flavor?  I guess it could taste like mango, but then why not call it mango brulee?  It isn’t brulee either.  Just confusing all around.  I didn’t hate it, didn’t love it.  I probably would have been better blindtasting it, than relying on the name to guide me.  Glad to sample, glad it’s gone.  Next morning cold tea tasted like stone fruits on rich black tea — I love next morning cold tea. :D
Steep #1 // 20 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3-4 minute steep
2022 sipdowns: 6

Flavors: Cherry, Coconut, Mango, Peach, Stonefruit

Evol Ving Ness

I love next morning cold tea, not even kidding.

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84
drank Face the Raven by Cuppa Geek
1348 tasting notes

The blueberry flavor is pretty authentic and tasty! The black tea goes with it well. I don’t really taste any elements other than blueberry and black tea, but it does a good job at those flavors. It goes well with milk. This one is simple, but impressive.

Courtney

I’m always on the lookout for a nice blueberry black tea — wishlist, yay!

AJRimmer

I don’t love fruity black teas – blueberry is one of the few exceptions!

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76
drank The PomPom by Akova Tea
1226 tasting notes

Skysamurai’s TTB
I just wanted to bring some TTB teas to work, and this is one of them. I didn’t had there much of flavoured black teas and this one sounded great.

TEA #2

As I said in preface, I brought this tea to work. I am after booster vaccine and this time I decided (as it was suggested by doctor) to change it. So, not a third Pfizer, but this time Moderna. Sadly, it hit me hard. Yesterday only sore arm, today I am all sore. Feeling sick. I had to leave work after three hours because feeling so bad. Now, at home, I feel a wee better.

But the tea I actually had at work, while having breakfast. I have noticed very robust base filled with caramel sweetness and decent vanilla notes! In flavour there were some fruitiness which can be mentioned pomergranate.

Honestly, it has remembered me Hunky Dory Breakfast I had actually yesterday at work! With extra fruitiness.

So, in the end I can tell, it is decent dessert tea, but nothing I will have again. Maaybe I like pure teas more. Thank you Skysamurai, though I am returning it to the TTB.

Flavors: Caramel, Fruity, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
Shae

I hope you’re feeling better soon, Martin! The third shot was rough for me too, so you’re not alone.

Courtney

I hope you feel better soon! Ours our booked next week and I’m thinking I might get Moderna as well.

Evol Ving Ness

I had my booster yesterday too, also Moderna. (My first two were also Moderna. With the first one, I felt very flu-ey, but the second was fine.). Feel pretty poorly today. Stringing a sentence together is an effort, as is lifting the tea kettle. Going to stay in bed. Hope we both feel better soon.

Leafhopper

I hope you feel better soon! My second dose was Moderna and it made me feel bad, while my first and third doses were Pfizer.

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, Leafhopper. I think it’s the luck of the draw. Friends, some anyway, had wicked sideffects with Pfizer too.

Martin Bednář

Thank you all! Yesterday evening wasn’t good, everything was hurting badly. Muscles, headache… so I have decided to take pill of paracetamol and decided go to the bed early. Today I feel much better.

Evol Ving Ness

Glad to hear you are coming back to yourself, Martin. Much better here too.

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73
drank Bonfire Herbal by Tupelo Tea
242 tasting notes

This one was sent by Shae, and I’m just getting around to a note when it’s a sipdown.
I’m not sure if this has caffeine in it, the ingredients are Lapsang, but it’s in the herbal section of the Tupelo tea web site.
I like this tea because it has a bunch of different notes that may not seem to work together, but I like cinnamon, licorice and pepper so I don’t mind them all melded into one. Add a bit of smokyness from the lapsang and there is a lot going on here! I’m not sure if I need this in my cupboard, but I’d be tempted to add it to an order. Thanks for sharing, Shae!

Flavors: Cinnamon, Licorice, Pepper, Smoke

Shae

I bought this one thinking it was caffeine-free and didn’t notice the Lapsang until later. I’m not sure why they labeled it as an herbal.

Roswell Strange

Sometimes it can be a really tough call how to ‘class’ a tea – I’m sure if it were in the black tea section you would also have people complaining that it’s barely a black tea/mostly herbal. That said, it doesn’t make sense to class it as caffeine free unless their website is just set up to automatically display everything tagged as ‘herbal’ in the caffeine section.

Shae

That definitely makes sense. I haven’t had this one in a while, so I can’t remember how light it was or if the black tea was more of a background note. I could see people being irritated though if they were expecting a black tea and it was more honeybush. I bought mine at a physical storefront, and if I remember correctly it was in the herbal section but I don’t remember it saying caffeine-free. That was probably just my assumption because they had it under herbals vs black tea.

Michelle

I think it would help if they labeled it ‘low caffeine’ or ‘not caffeine-free’ so customers could know at a glance, especially with the word Herbal in the tea name.

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This tea smelled so promising in the bag, but the flavor didn’t translate into the cup. I get a little hint of dull lavender when I’m focusing on it. Maybe something masquerading as citrus? The whole cup is dull and depressing and I overleafed this one a touch. I don’t know what it is about Harney teas, but it’s rare that I find one I enjoy!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Cameron B.

We all have companies that we just don’t gel with. There are several teas that I really like from Harney, but for some reason they’re not the popular ones. shrug

Lexie Aleah

I have a sample of this one I still need to try. Aside from Paris and Bangkok, I’ve also found that the rest of the teas I enjoy from them are not the popular ones.

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57
drank Twilight Rose by The Tea Spot
3603 tasting notes

This was from TreeGal a while ago!  Thanks so much!  It’s actually in a package that looks like it contains a teabag but it’s actually a surprising amount of loose leaf!  This could have been enough for a teapot… but into a teabag it went, and into a big mug it went.  This seemed like it would be my thing. The ingredients are lovely and the name sounded like I would fragrantly be drifted off to sleep on this blustery night.  Sadly, there is a flavor note here that seems odd — like licorice —  and I can’t tell where it’s coming from.   But it kind of takes away from what should be a lovely blend of flavors.  I can’t even smell these bright rose petals.  Maybe it’s just an unusual flavored chamomile, when usually I wouldn’t have a problem with chamomile. I really wish this tasted like a great mix of these four ingredients: chamomile, rose, fennel and lemon verbena. And I also can have no idea how old this tea is… Oh well, it was worth trying one serving anyway!
Steep #1 // 20 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3-4 min

Evol Ving Ness

Fennel can taste like licorice.

tea-sipper

Well, that was probably it then. :/

Leafhopper

I tend to avoid fennel and anise because they both taste like licorice to me.

Evol Ving Ness

And star anise.

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91
drank Oi Ocha Green Tea Bags by Ito En
583 tasting notes

A belated happy new year Steepsterites! Hope 2022 will be a great year for everyone. Still on semi-hiatus due to studies – can’t wait till March when I’m finished with it all – but do plan to post here and there.

I picked this up on a whim a couple of weeks ago when I was in Florida for a wedding. It was in the checkout aisle at Ross of all places. I had bought loose tea with me as I always do during my travels but not sencha. Although I seldom bother with teabags, Ito-En is a reputable Japanese tea brand and I drink their bottled tea all the time. The date of production stamped on the package showed it was only 6 months old, which is about as fresh as it gets with bagged tea.

Color of the tea is intense green and infuses rather quickly, which indicates a fukamushi. The flavor is also characteristic of a deep steamed sencha. At higher water temperature, it’s matcha like with raw wheatgrass and chlorophyll. Smooth and full bodied. Lower temperatures bring out spinachy, grassy notes with a mellow sweet taste. Doesn’t have all of the nuances of loose tea but still delivers with a rich flavor and freshness.

I’ve continued drinking this upon returning home. Despite having plenty of sencha in my cupboard, the convenience of teabags can’t be beat. Especially during busy times when I just need a quick cup and don’t have time to fuss with gaiwans and pitchers. Is this the best sencha ever? No, but it’s more than serviceable and head and shoulders above standard bagged tea. The only downside is it can’t be resteeped so this is a one and done kind of tea.

Flavors: Spinach, Vegetal, Wheatgrass

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 6 OZ / 177 ML
Martin Bednář

Happy New Year!
Ito En, even in tea bag form, are pretty much decent as I have tried a few… actually I guess only Oi Ocha.

Cameron B.

Ooh I like their bottled teas too! Never tried the teabags though.

Cameron B.

And Happy New Year! \o/

LuckyMe

@Cameron B, their bottled teas are the best! I especially love Olden Oolong.

Evol Ving Ness

Happy new year! Good to see you.

Leafhopper

Happy New Year! I’ll have to look for Ito En tea, though I doubt my local grocery stores will carry it.

Evol Ving Ness

I don’t remember seeing it here though I am not often in the RTD tea, soft drink section.

LuckyMe

@Leafhopper I believe Costco carried it under their Kirkland brand.

ashmanra

Happy New Year!

Alreot

Happy New Year! This tea sounds nice I enjoy sencha as well, I’m going to have to give it a try

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I’ve been on a bubble tea kick lately while at the office. It’s the one thing I have to motivate me to be there. I’m the only person alone in a 2500 sq ft space for the past month, so it’s all I have. Hopefully they’ll send me back to remote working next week. I’m starting to lose my cool. ;)

Anyway, back to the bubble tea. I’ve had several teas that were really really amazing. I noticed a new barista, so I asked my age old question, “What do you recommend?” They said to try the “Black Cream Bubble Tea,” so I went with it. I disliked it. A lot. It reminded me of Lipton tea with cream and very little sugar. The tapioca was the only thing keeping me from throwing the cup away, but that was barely.

So, it looks like I’ll just stick to my Brown Sugar Black with pudding balls or the Kiwi Strawberry.

Cameron B.

Yum, I love the pudding/flan chunks… ❤

MadHatterTeaReview

Me too! Totally my new thing!

Cameron B.

Love pairing it with coffee jelly too! Now I want boba ha ha…

MadHatterTeaReview

I hope you enjoy! I had another cup this evening. Haha

LuckyMe

Same work situation here as well. I was somehow tagged as essential and come in every 2 weeks to a ghost town of a office. It’s a little eerie but on the bright side I can do full on gongfu sessions at my desk without worrying about looking like a weirdo :-)

MadHatterTeaReview

You inspired me to take my clay pot and oolongs to work today! It helped a lot :)

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78

Thank you derk and Leafhopper. Received from first one mentioned, with second name on the label.

Steep count 2, both brewed similar.

I guess it is my first GABA oolong? Not sure, but certainly I don’t recall having any before. Who cares? Not me.

Leaves are big and have amazing look even when dry. Steeped western, in big strainer, however even this one is too small maybe?

Nose is saying honey for me, lightly vegetal, baked apples and spices, probably cinnamon.

Taste is great, very smooth, very similar to aroma described above, with some fruity note in the end of sip. In the second steep I notice more of the spices, fruitiness and vegetal notes are a bit stronger too.

I read that GABA should have inhibitory function (I read it after drinking first steep) and I feel I have to agree. I have been pretty much tired after work (long, monotonous job today) and this calmed me down and moreover, I have enjoyed a nice oolong at home. That all counts.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 300 ML
Leafhopper

I’m glad you liked this tea. I have plenty more to swap if you’re interested.

Martin Bednář

I will consider it for sure :)

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95

additional notes: There has been talk of this one in the discussion thread, and yes, I still have some actual ATR Brioche that I decided to dig out and have a cup of and oh wow, the flavor is still so so good. It’s amazing really, as this is one of my oldest teas. I can never give up on these old teas. I’m noticing a pattern now: when a new year starts I like to start drinking my oldest teas, which means not many tasting notes from me but I’m still drinking away.

Evol Ving Ness

I have some left too. Somewhere. One day, I will find it.

Dustin

We should have one of you do a side by side comparison with some of the other suggested replacements! I ordered some of the Teasmith’s Almond Biscotti, which Mastress Alita says is the same tea from a wholesale distributor. I can send out a sample when I get my order if you are up for it.

Evol Ving Ness

That would be awesome, Dustin. I suspect I would know how close it is without even having the original, but to be on the safe side, I will start poking around to see if I can track it down. Thanks to Mastress Alita, master sleuth, I’ve discovered that a Canadian shop carries it, or something very similar. I’ve put it on my list.

Dustin

I feel like I’d know too, but it would be interesting to hear the review of a side by side comparison.
I got the shipping notice today. Hopefully it gets here soon!

tea-sipper

They are probably from the same source. I actually have my Brioche mixed with a Teavana blend I was convinced was the same, and around the same age anyway. But harvests/flavorings might be different by now. Since “organic” is in the name, it really is a shock that there is any flavor left here at all.

Dustin

Must have been either Almond Biscotti or Amandine Rose. Organic seems like such a loosely used term these days.

tea-sipper

yep, Almond Biscotti!

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