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New Tasting Notes

drank Oolong Ti Dung by Ronnefeldt Tea
350 tasting notes

Hmm, this tea was not really doing it for me today. Maybe I just need to take a break from oolongs for a bit. I was getting that weird damp taste that I tasted in some other oolongs. It’s strange because they’re all stored in separate, dry, dark places, so I don’t think it’s contamination from something around them. Well, I have enough to keep trying, which is the good news!


I went through a phase where all oolongs turned me right off. I’m waiting it out a bit now before I try any new oolongs.

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So, Sil is safely on the other side of the country, so what better time to do the Great Earl Grey Tea-Off Competition!

I have A&D’s Mount Gray, Hugo’s Grey Line and Justea’s Kathyrne Earl Grey… who will win as the best EG? Will I even notice any differences? Let’s find out!

I started by pouring ½ a perfect DavidsTea’s spoon into 3 different color coded cups. The I poured in roughly 6oz of 205F water, and I steeped them for 4 minutes.

Initial impressions:
I had to re-pour them into different cups because I realized they needed to have the same color inside for comparison. Whoops! So now that they are all in white cups I can tell that the Hugo tea is a much darker colour than the other two. It’s a reddish orange, while the other two are yellow-orange. Justea’s is probably a bit more orange than the A&D.

I sniffed them and they all smelled pretty much the same, except for Justea which was a bit earthier.

First sips:
A&D’s – smooth EG. Nothing to complain about. Bergamot lingers but doesn’t quite cross that too perfumy line.

Hugo’s – not quite so smooth – feels like there’s a little more going on in this cup, although it’s hard to put my finger on it. Bergamot is not quite as present as the A&D cup. I almost get peach or something with it.

Justea’s – this is quite a different animal! It’s musky and dark and the bergamot is fairly strong. Not a subtle cup!

Finishing the cups:
A&D’s seems to be the least complicated of the three. It’s an EG and it knows that and it’s not going to mess around. The base makes me think of a Yunnan black with the subtlest of honey notes, but maybe that’s because I’ve had the other two to compare it with. Overall? A solid EG that I’m guaranteed to enjoy! I know that this one re-steeps well but I’ve only re-used the leaves once.

Hugo’s almost has woody notes to it. At least after trying it after the A&D, that was the most obvious thing I noticed. It smells like lemon too! Along with the woody notes, I still feel like there’s a peach or some kind of fruit note in there. It’s a complex cup. Apparently it’s good for 3 re-steeps too!

Justea’s tea is better once it cools. It loses some of the musk (or whatever it is?) and mellow just a bit. I also can really smell the lemon and it makes me think of lemon cake because of the richness. I definitely enjoy this cup the more I drink of it, but the base tea is one that I’m still not completely used to and it distract me a little bit until I’m at least 1/3 done the cup.

OVERALL: Hugo’s Grey Line seems to be my favourite, although A&D’s Mt Gray is nothing to dismiss. Justea’s Kathryne Grey is enjoyable but one I crave less often due to the base.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

I love how scientific you made your study :-)


(part of me feels obligated to say “ewwww blergamont” on Sil’s behalf)
Nice comparison though. It’s interesting when you try similar teas together, because the differences suddenly really stand out. :))


Haha, Cavo, Sil might be away, but Dexter is around!!!
Great review!


I’m still watching you….I almost picked up the EG you wanted from out here today too but then I couldn’t remember what else we wanted if anything….


I definitely want the Grapefruit EG because it was surprisngly good. I’m not sure what else is available becasue their menu isn’t up to doate, but basically any of the chocolate blends I am interested in. The fruit blends were not as good as other tea companies, but Divine Temptation and Creme Brulee are good. I think those are the two that OMGSrsly blends together as a custom mix.


And thanks guys. :D It was fun to do a for-serious tea review for once!

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I just compared this EG with one from Hugo and Justea. See notes here for detail: http://steepster.com/cavocorax/posts/239066

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I just compared this EG with one from A&D Damn Fine Tea, and Hugo. See notes here: http://steepster.com/cavocorax/posts/239066

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Not really a fan of this tea. Pretty sure i steeped it for the right amount of time. Not tasting much chocolate though. This is one I’ll just have to retry and see if it comes out better next time.

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A boldish, straight-forward, anytime sort of Ceylon; one of my go-to teas.

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I ordered two packages of this, and I am glad that I did.

I tend to have trouble with white teas, I think in general they are too mild for my taste. It could also be that my palate for tea isn’t as developed as it will be later. I know normally whites are steeped short and at lower temps. But, I ran across a thread on Steepster where a tea company owner recommended trying boiling water and a long steep.

So, I tried this tea two ways before posting this. The first steep, I tried boiling water and a (gasp!) 5 minute steep. The second time was preboiling and a 3 minute steep.

While I know the former will look like sacrilege, I enjoyed it far more than the second one. So now I want to go back and try that with the whites that have missed the mark for me before.

In the pouch, this tea has a strong and very appealing berry smell. It also smelled sweet and I have no idea how Frank accomplished that. Steeped for the longer time at boiling, the cup was strong but not bitter (I sweeten my tea a bit). There was a very robust raspberry or blackberry flavor and that stayed behind as a pleasant aftertaste. I tend to like strong black teas best, and steeped this way the tea definitely stood up flavor wise.

The shorter steep didn’t taste like a lot and had a very light color. I also thought the leaves didn’t look like they were “done” if that makes any sense. Method one is definitely the one for me!


I recently read someone tasting note that person always steeps white at 165F long steep like 5-7 min. She says its the best and flavorful. You got lotsa tea to experiment;)


I’ll try that next!

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I’m really digging the hot matcha lattes. Almond milk is so freaking creamy that way! This matcha is nice, but it’s more of a hint of strawberry, rather than a definite strawberry. Maybe I need to up my flavor level to robust from now on. Anyway, it’s still creamy and delicious!


That sounds delicious!

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170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Last tea for Oolong Week! This one is a nice medium roast Dong Ding. This Dong Ding has really nice roasty flavor, nutty sunflower notes, savory elements with a sweetness that shows up in later infusions. Very crisp, clean and fresh tasting tea.

Later steepings has a bit of bitterness, similar to nut shells, and a hint of astringency.

Full review on my blog, The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/dong-ding-oolong-single-origin-teas-oolong-owl-tea-review/

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Such pretty little things. Sweet, malty & smooth.

I steeped them today for the first time for a tea tasting party. I used 4 cones for about 16 ounces of bottled water. Left them in the little glass pot for probably 20 minutes all told.

I tasted it first at about 10 minutes. It was strong but not bitter. I steeped another little 16 ounce pot with 3 cones and tried it at about 5 minutes. It was obviously not as strong, but it was smoother. I honestly liked them both ways.

Everyone at the party liked this one a lot. There was one attendee who was new to our group and she mainly does bagged grocery store greens. She is now a Yunnan convert. :) We also did Harney’s Apricot Black, Butiki’s Rose Violet Calendula Oolong, Boston Tea Company’s Lemon Honey Chamomile Premium Rooibos, Mandala’s Morning Sun (which, by the way, is also fantastic with a spot of cream), New Mexico Tea’s Cream Earl Grey and Capital Teas’ Dragon Pearls. I had planned to do another 3 or 4 but we were all floating after these, even with small cups!


Yay tea party! Are they similar to black dragon pearls?


Similar. I would say they aren’t quite as malty as many of the pearls I’ve tried and maybe a little milder. They hold together like a flowering tea, as far as presentation goes, rather than coming completely apart like the pearls.


But thus far, everything I’ve tried from Mandala (all yunnans, I think) has all been well worth purchasing. :)


I love Mandala blacks. If I was a rich girl…

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A small note about myself, I do not like coffee since I was a child (I know I committed a crime! But I am not American so I guess I get a get-out-of-jail-free-card! ;p!) I mention this because most people try to find a ripe tea to replace their morning coffee but I am on a mission for a morning tea for tea not coffee…

Method: Gong Fu
I used my new gaiwan (120ml) and did 2 flash rinses. Began with a 30 second steeping and increased 15 seconds in subsequent infusions.

The first infusion has a bitter aftertaste, but a good bitter, and a nice full feeling in the mouth and almost cocoa taste in the back of the tongue. However, my favorite infusions were the ones after the first two! Bitterness completely gone by the second steeping but the thicker body and cocoa notes lingered so vividly in my mouth quickly after the second steeping. Utterly pleasant! In this pu erh I do not get any mushroom or earthiness, at least not like Phatty Cake, its tenderly sweet with toffee like notes coating my tongue. Did I mention how pleasant this pu erh is? Its very pleasant and gentle! Honey hints in the middle steepings still lingering chocolately mouth feel. I lost count on how many steepings I did but I brewed this until it was almost hot water! Loved this tea so much! Need to get more later! The last infusions were more floral with a hint of cocoa, like I said, I brewed this until I couldn’t really squeeze any for flavors!

This is truly a Special Dark pu erh! Please, join the Dark side! We have tea!

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Honey

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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I was getting a lot of coconut in my first sips and was surprised to learn that I wasn’t supposed to be tasting coconut! That has faded and now I am getting mostly strawberry and caramel, but I am not the biggest fan of that combination of flavours. This isn’t as good as most of the other MF teas I’ve been lucky enough to try thanks to CharlotteZero!

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drank Zhen Qu by Butiki Teas
196 tasting notes

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I was given a sample of the Blackcurrant Raspberry flavor to try:

You know, there aren’t nearly enough blackcurrant flavored things available in America. I guess we Americans like our sweet flavors, and blackcurrants are more tart and less sugary than strawberries or blackberries. But when blended with raspberry flavoring, as it is in Red Rose Tea’s new water enhancer, the blackcurrant has a rich sweetness that is very pleasant. This almost like real tea, but it’s definitely a doctored flavor, like the drinker added several lumps of sugar before passing the cup to you. Well, cane sugar is the second ingredient, so no surprise there. Still, that distinctive black tea flavor is definitely there. It’ll do in a pinch when I want instant ice tea, but brewing proper tea leaves will always taste better with stronger, more naturalistic flavors.

Flavors: Berries

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I don’t feel like writing separate reviews for the three teas I’ve had already today, so I’ll just summarize here: I’m basically drinking all the spring teas I have lol. A temp near 10 degrees melting away all of yesterday’s snow demands spring teas. Today I’ve had:

Jasmine bouquet – Verdant – an excellent tea, possibly my favorite white tea blend yet
Jingshan Earl Green – Verdant – refreshing and bright to match the sunshine
Sundried jingshan green – keeping with the jingshan theme, I’m having a gaiwan session with this fresh green tea right now

Its sunny and I feel motivated. I had a wonderful visit with a great friend yesterday and this morning, I don’t see her nearly enough since she moved cities, and it was wonderful to catch up. Then I vacuumed up the living room and most of the main floor and am now waiting for mom to come by before we head out to my parents place for easter. I should get packing soon lol. Anyways, wonderful tea on this lovely long weekend!

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drank Original Blend by Red Rose
1626 tasting notes

Warm enough for cold tea! I sun-steeped this yesterday with about 4 leaves from our new potted applemint plant (all I could spare without denuding it). Makes a smooth and non-acidic chilled tea. You have to squint and wrinkle up your nose and think really hard to catch any of the applemint, but hopefully, that’ll resolve itself as I have more leaves to spare.

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drank Superberry (organic) by DAVIDsTEA
1349 tasting notes

A while back I asked steepster what tea was good for coldbrewing. The response I got from so many of you was this tea. When I went to pick some up a while back, I was told it was retired so yesterday when I saw it on the wall, I jumped at the chance to try it. Sipping on it now, I definitely understand why it was so highly recommended. It is basically like sipping on a cup full of berries. No base, just sweet, fresh berries. Yum! Now I guess I better decide quickly how badly I need this around as it is getting retired soon.

ETA: For those interested, DAVIDs added more chocolates. Now they have Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate and Forever Nuts Milk Chocolate.


This one is so good cold brewed. Why must they get rid of the very few teas I enjoy from them?


I’m sorry :(


Haha it wasn’t your choice. :P I rarely drink them anyway, it’s just unfortunate. There are plenty of other awesome teas in the world though. :)


Ooooh, new chocolates!

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You know what tea is amazing? This tea. This tea right here.

I made this to celebrate being put on standby last night for work and thus having the chance to get some school stuff done. Being that it was 1 AM I was not thinking clearly though and used double the amount of leaf. WHOOPS.

Well it actually didn’t work out too bad because I got lots of cinnamon bread that way. It certainly woke me up, in retrospect. I had it with some creamer and enjoyed the sensation of drinking a cinnamon roll, icing and all.

And then I got the ultimate good news – I was called off for the night! This is my lucky charm tea, I think. I love it madly – I know that much!

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 4 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 OZ / 147 ML

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Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank Pineapple Oolong by Lupicia
2169 tasting notes

Sipdown of the day…
I decided I wanted to try this as a cold brew last night and I’m having it today with my lunch. Pineapple seems like a difficult flavor to “get right” in tea but I do enjoy this whenever I have it. Probably will be a restock someday, but I might wait until I have finished off some of the other oolongs I have first or tried a few new ones.

Iced 8 min or more

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drank Green Chai by Design a Tea
44 tasting notes

I was expecting something completely different from what I got, but I wasn’t disappointed!

I’m usually only OK with chai teas, with the exception of a few chais tend to be a bit overwhelming for me. I was making an order already at DesignATea and this is one of their signature blends. So I’m thinking ‘hmm… not as strong, green tea probably means subtly sweet and light… YES!’

The small sachet is SMALL, only 1.1oz, but a few teaspoons was all I needed. The presentation is plain, and purely functional. It’s a transparent plastic baggie with a cardstock sleeve printed with the label. After receiving most if not all my teas from online vendors in those nice foil lined ziplocks, I was a little surprised. I’ll have to keep these in a box or in the cabinet to keep away from light.

The green tea was rolled/curled in dry form, and unfurled in just one steep. The leaves were chopped, but tinged brown on the edges? Roasted perhaps? I don’t know. All the chai spices had settled to the bottom of the baggie. I had heard of other teas settling, but I could actually see the effects of it here with the transparent bag. I shook it up, but the bag is small, and doesn’t leave much room for shaking. I don’t know if I got an even distribution.

The flavor and mouthfeel is so different from what I expected. I expected a nice smooth sweet green with a small hit of chai aroma. What I got was… even made with water! it tasted/felt like a milk-based chai, but made with matcha! I can’t even express how awesome that is because it is entirely unexpected. It reminded me of when I was in college and I got chai lattes from the library cafe all the time. Creamy, lightly heavy mouth texture, with a chai spice. The green wasn’t bright as I was expecting, but a little smokey.

I completely oversteeped the second steeping. I put the water in…. and forgot about it. I found it this morning. Even cold it has that slightly heavy feel in the mouth I usually get from dairy. It was only a touch bitter, but nothing that detracts too much away from how much I like it. I wouldn’t cold steep this, there’s not that much of it, but I don’t mind it cold.

I really do like it. Too bad I don’t drink chai teas as much nowadays, if I did, I could see this being brewed daily.

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drank Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1093 tasting notes

A sample from Red Leaf I’m just now trying. Thanks Red Leaf for offering these! I love the caramel matchaccino so this should be delicious. It’s basically a version of that without sugar. The fragrance wafting from the bag as a sweet fragrance, even without the sugar.

Latte with milk //
For this cup, I heated nine ounces of milk in the microwave for one minute: just hot enough. I accidentally poured a bit too much matcha in the mug before slowly pouring the milk into the mug and stirring/ whisking while pouring. I’m surprised the cup is this smooth even with this much matcha. It must be the sweetness of the caramel flavor that makes it so smooth… or helps it anyway. I’ve tried a few Red Leaf matchas now and the caramel seems to have the least amount of flavor, but maybe that’s my taste buds. Still delicious though. I’m grateful that Red Leaf had a nice sale recently, since I’m shocked at how much matcha I’ve went through and my last order was in September (!)

Just with warm water//
For this cup, I poured some warm water in a mug while whisking the matcha with a spoon. This makes it easier to taste the flavors. It does have more of a sweetness from the caramel blended this way, but I still say that the caramel matcha has less flavors than others. It seems to be more sweet than flavored. Caramel can work with anything though… like smoothies…

BONUS: Smoothie!
Greek Vanilla yogurt, a ton of strawberries, milk, matcha, whipped cream on top! This was really good but the yogurt had such a low amount of sugar that I probably should have opened my new bag of caramel matchaccino… it would have been the perfect amount of sugar.


This one is delightful in smoothies. I currently have it sitting in the fridge with milk as a cold latte to compare to Caramel Popcorn. :)

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