278 Tasting Notes

I just finished steep two of this tea, after 2.5 hours of vacuuming in this disgusting heat and humidity (I love the beast, but man, can he shed!). I debated whether I actually wanted hot tea after vacuuming and sweating (and, yes – some cursing), but decided to go for it anyway.

The dry leaf is interesting. LooseTman already said it…short dark twisted leaves, and some tiny dark pebble-like leaves. I’ve never heard of manuka, and since looseTman already provided links in his post, I now know what it is, and I guess that’s what those green leaves in the blend were.

The manuka provided a light aromatic essence of pine in dry leaf form, which I don’t recall getting in my brewed cup in the first steep. But I added a bit of creamer to the first cup, so that was probably why I didn’t get the pine essence. I don’t usually add creamer, but I think my time contraints this morning made me add it, so that I could sip it quickly and do my chores and errands.

I found the pine notes were more prominent in steep 2 – no creamer additives this time. The second steep was malty delicousness. The manuka leaves added an interesting note, with what I might otherwise find to be just another malty assam.

I appreciate the sample looseTman…this was different in a good way! I have enough leaves for a few more cups, and will be very sad when this is gone. Tasty indeed.


“Tasty indeed.” +1 I’m glad you enjoyed it!


The addition of manuka leaves added a different and welcome dimension.

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The first time I had this tea, the smokiness that I usually associate with keemuns eluded me. I couldn’t find it. What I do recall from the first cup was the fruitiness that came through.

Today’s cup is different. I took my time and paid attention. The fruit note was still predominant, but I found those subtle tobacco and smoke notes. They came through at the end of the sip and sat on the tongue for a bit before disappearing. Interesting.

I have a couple of keemuns in my cupboard that I need to taste to see how this compares. I haven’t had keemun in a while. When I finally found the tobacco notes I enjoyed that, although I wish there was a touch more smoke.

My thanks to looseTman for providing me with a sample!

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drank Je t'Aime by Nina's Paris
278 tasting notes

I received a surprise package from JustJames quite some time ago, and I’ve been remiss in posting any notes on the lovely tea’s that were generously sent my way. Partly because I’ve been turning away from flavoured tea’s in favour of straight up tea’s. But once in a while I indulge and reach for flavoured.

On opening the sample packet I could immediately detect the sweetness and vanilla. I used to be fanatical about vanilla tea’s, and this just reawakened my love for all things vanilla.

Sweet, delicious caramel and vanilla. Mmmm.

Thanks JustJames!

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I slept in this morning, and now I feel a little groggy and out of my element. I’ve got a lot of stuff/chores to do, and ‘cos I feel so bleh, it’s gonna be hard to get going.

So to make myself feel better I decided chocolate was the way to go. Chocolate tea, that is. YUM! Malty, chocolatey deliciousness.

Thanks for the sample, Dexter!

Cameron B.

How did you brew them? Trying to find the sweet spot on this one. :)


Western style. 4 pearls with near boiling H20. Hope you find what works for you! Is so good.

Cameron B.

How long did you let it go for?


Oops…sorry, meant to include that. 1st steep 4 min, 2nd at 6 min.

Cameron B.

Thanks for the help! I really want to love this one but I felt it didn’t live up to its full potential when I tried it. :P

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It is really stinky hot and humid, and for these type of days I usually find myself slurping back cold brews, but they don’t usually give me the caffeine jolt that I need to get going. Usually I drink fruity herbals cold brewed. So, I do need a strong, caffeinated brew to get me going. This one.

This is strong – just what I needed. First steep at 3 minutes with near boiling water resulted in a coppery clear brew that was strong, malty and earthy. My second steep at 4 minutes was still flavourful, but the malt was toned down, letting through more of the earthy notes.

A surprise and a delight, I think I’ll have to explore more Kenyan blacks. I like to start my days with a strong malty tea and this satisfied that need. Thanks to looseTman for the sample!

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For some time this company and these tea’s have intrigued me, and I wanted really badly to sample the tea’s, but for some reason never placed an order. My opportunity to try a couple of these finally came up in a recent swap.

I’ve had the merlot twice. My first sampling of it yesterday didn’t work out. While the leaf in the bag smelled sweet, it didn’t translate to flavour. That was my fault. I think I over-leafed and water temp was too hot. Yesterday’s cup was disappointing.

I tried again today, and decided to let the water cool a bit longer and used less leaf. I also added a drop or 2 of agave, just to see if that would pull out more flavour. Today’s brew was a lot more flavourful. I definitely got the grape/wine coming as the cup continued to cool down. The problem today was the agave that I thought would help, but in fact made the brew too sweet.

So maybe third time will be the charm, and hopefully tomorrow’s sipdown of this I’ll get it right. I guess I should bust out the thermometer for proper brewing temp and skip the sweetener.

Thanks to looseTman for providing me with a sample.

Cameron B.

I’ve been very curious about these too, since stumbling upon the website. Especially the white tea riesling version. Good to know they’re at least decent. :D


It’s pretty good. I’m glad that I finally got to try it via swap rather than purchase.

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I haven’t had pu’erh in a while, even though I adore it. So I decided to crack this open to start the day.

The dry leaf smells of worn leather and sweet tobacco. The taste is smooth and mellow – a hint of damp earth. While I don’t find this complex, I do find it enjoyable and easy to sip.

I’m on my third steep (western style) and I can see that I’ll get a few more steeps out of it.

Thank you Dexter for sharing this sample with me!


Love the name of this one! Sounds opulent.

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I’ve never been to House of Tea, although it’s really close to another local tea shop that I frequent. I haven’t been because the website is really outdated, and I had no idea what type of tea’s or blends was sold, and the cost. But I finally decided to check it out. I’m still not sure about all the tea’s, only because I was overwhelmed and very happy with the tea ware selection, and I’ll go back for that reason.

So this is my first time trying one of their and tea’s and…WOW!..this is a strong cuppa. But I am lovin’ it. This is exactly what I needed to get my butt in gear for a busy day. My first couple of sips found some fruity note that disappeared as the cup cooled. It’s got a bitter edge to it, but it works. I may have oversteeped a little, causing the bitterness to be more pronounced, but I still enjoyed it. I think my sample will probably be finished a lot faster than I thought, and will be probably be replenished just as fast.

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I do like Yunnan tea’s, so I was pleased that looseTman included a sample in the swap package. This is my first experience with Arbor Tea’s, and it didn’t disappoint.

The brew was a deep red/brown, and when I see a tea that colour I already know that I’m gonna like it. I was right…it was delicious.

No additives to this tea – it doesn’t need it. It’s a bit malty, satisfying and naturally sweet. I found a bit of a pepper bite at the end of the sip, which I don’t object to, since I find that it adds a pleasing kick.

A positive first experience with Arbor Tea’s. Thanks, looseTman for the sample!


You’re welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Arbor Teas are all USDA organic too!

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This is a pleasant change from the buttery Japanese greens I’ve been drinking these last few days. This is quite a bit stronger in taste which is exactly what I was after.

I had it in my head that this would be smoky, and I kept looking for it. Did I miss it? Or was I looking for a note in this tea that wasn’t present. Don’t know. And because I was looking for a hit of smokiness, I missed out the flavours that were present. I was watching Masterchef and realized that there was something that I recognized in the taste of this tea, but couldn’t define or name. Regardless, I enjoyed the fuller bodied flavour, and I still have a few more steepings with this tea, so I’ll be sure to pay more attention.

This tea was courtesy of looseTman – thank you!


You’re correct. Pinhead Gunpowder (Organic) is a fuller-bodied green tea and it’s not at all smokey. I’m glad you enjoyed it. You’re welcome!

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My tea journey started in 2012, when a friend gifted me some loose leaf. I guess she thought I was drinking too much coffee. Blown away by the amazing flavours I immediately embraced the loose leaf tea. I still drink coffee, but my main choice of beverage is now tea.

My tea preferences are blacks, pu’erhs, oolongs and greens.



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