391 Tasting Notes


The water temperature’s really very low because I was impatient and downstairs waiting for something on my laptop, but also wary around leaving the water upstairs alone waiting for it to boil. So I just hoped it was hot enough, poured it into my pot, brought it down, and stuck my thermometre in it. Bah! I didn’t want to go back up and finish boiling it.

It smells like fruit rollups. Seriously. The kind of strawberry flavouring they use in fruitrollups. It’s making me crave them.

Slighty tart from the berries, and faintly green. A bit meh, but I did steep it at a rather cool temperature. Pleasant, actually. I don’t know how strongly I’d be able to drink this tea, so the mildness is nice. Berry with a hint of green. Less green than I was expecting. I get a very fruity tartness at the back of my throat after each sip. I sort of get the green tea taste first, and then get hit with the berryness.

I wouldn’t mind getting this myself, to drink on occasion. Actually, the deli inside the department store I work at sells Stash teas, including this one, and I was amused (and reminded!) when I saw it.

I’m noticing more tartness the more I sip it. Also, my cat seems to approve, because he keeps eyeing it.

For something that’s supposed to contain matcha, I really don’t taste it. Hmm. Ah well. Still enjoyable.

With this gone, I think the only thing I have left from Jillian is the darjeeling and the white pear.

155 °F / 68 °C 5 min, 15 sec

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drank Assam Pure by Murchie's Tea & Coffee
391 tasting notes

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WHY DO I KEEP DOING THIS TO MYSELF? It’s like a train-wreck!

I seem to have sworn to find out what’s wrong with this tea and FIX IT. I bumped the temperature down to 180, even though it’s a very black tea, and was very vigilante about my two-minute steep time.

I kept sniffing the teabags and thinking, “does this smell bitter? I think it smells bitter” and then calming myself and telling myself that “it’s just the bergamot”. I got the actual tea, set it on my little teatray, and carried it downstairs.

Tasting it, it’s got a faint tea astringency, and a touch of bergamot. And I think I can SENSE the rose in there somewhere. At least it’s not outright bitter anymore. I’m getting a very slight sort of bitter aftertaste, but I don’t know if that’s just me being paranoid or what. It’s fairly watery (for a black), but it’s drinkable now. Hrm. Maybe next time I’ll try boiling water, but add honey. I haven’t sweetened anything in a while.

Hrm. It gets a little more bitter as it cools. Still drinkable, though. At the moment.

And then it go REALLY bitter towards the end. THIS TEA REFUSES TO BE LIKED.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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I couldn’t stop myself, and decided to try this one again. The tea smells of rose. And bergamot and tea, but the rose is what I noticed first this time around.

Lighter cup, because I shortened the steep time to somewhere around two minutes (I didn’t have a timer on me to use, so I stared at my computer clock).

Still got bitterness at first, although not as bad, and it seems to have lessened with cooling. I wonder if it’s the rose. I don’t know. It’s mostly on the tip of my tongue. It’s different. Not getting that artificial numbing taste this time, though. But still very bitter. I had to pour the last cup out. Two minutes! Aaaugh this tea. Why?

Is it the rose? It reminds me a bit of Twining’s Earl Grey.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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So this tea confuses me. I looked up the site (this is another tea found in Winners, by the way), and on it, I found that ‘Darjeeling Earl Grey’ was not one of their blends, and ‘Singbulli’ was not an estate they had listed (which may not mean that they don’t necessarily USE it, but…).

I thought it was interesting that the company is so dedicated to the estates. Each tea is not a blend. All the tea comes from a single estate, and the estate is listed on the cat, along with the grade, etc., a bit about the estate, and the name of the actual planter.

Also, it’s earl grey. Earl grey with ROSE.

The dry pyramid bag smelt strongly of the bergamot, and more faintly of rose. Brewed, it smells mostly of tea and rose, and only very faintly of bergamot.

I think the five minutes recommended on the package is a bit of an oversteep (especially since it’s darjeeling), but I tend to do with that first then start experimenting. So it’s somewhat bitter.

I’ve never had anything with rose in it before, but I definitely smell it, and I taste SOMETHING. I’ll have to make this properly next time. I’m also getting a very weird artificial sort of bitter taste that I’m unsure about. It might just be the tea-bitterness, but I don’t know (it’s almost numbing, it’s weird). I really wish I’d prepared this one more properly so I could tell.

I’ll give it a rating next time. I’m sure I’ll end up making it in the morning.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

Earl Grey and rose….. that’s definitely a weird scary combination.


I thought it would be weird GOOD. I was wrong.

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drank Uva Ceylon by Murchie's Tea & Coffee
391 tasting notes

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Usually I don’t like going out and buying teas without first checking Steepster to see what’s been said about them (although I always get a little excited when I find teas that haven’t even been added to the database yet), but I decided to just go for it and got this one. I wanted a herbal, but I also wanted a vanilla. And they had vanilla rooibos’, and vanilla white teas, and other chamomiles, and then a lady came by and slapped a half-off price on this one. I figured it was a sign.

The flavour’s very light, and mostly chamomile, but there’s a sweetness of slightly-artificial-tasting honey in there. The vanilla is more in the smell, although I didn’t really drink it with a Steepster Review in mind, so I suppose I wasn’t really paying attention or searching for it in the taste. I remember smelling it though, and picking up a good vanilla and strong honey, and thinking “I bet this would be wonderful iced”.

After drinking it, the flavour’s probably too light for that, and if you made it double-strength, the chamomile would just overwhelm the honey (and supposed vanilla).

It didn’t make me sleepy, but that may just be because I’ve already felt tired most of the day. Didn’t get much sleep last night. I downed two cups of Murchie’s Assam Pure, then passed out on the couch no more than three minutes later; I woke up about four hours later, finished my statistics homework, and stumbled off to college. Came home, bought this—I like it, but not enough that I think I’ll get it again when it’s done (honey and vanilla are a good IDEA, but they’re sort of muddled in this, and I don’t like it much with the chamomile; maybe I’ll try CS’s Honey Vanilla White Tea next, that looked promising!). I’m still on the lookout for my perfect vanilla caffeine free drink for bedtime (although caffeine doesn’t do all too good a job of keeping me up anyways, but). I actually went to IGA with the intention of picking up a vanilla rooibos, but came home with this instead. Hm.

Sweet, light, oddly fruity, honey taste, but vanilla’s only in the smell. Ended up leaving the teabag in there the whole time. I took it out after five minutes, but decided that the flavour was so light that I’d just leave it in.


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I decided that I have been drinking the other two of the set way too much compared to this one. Green tea is okay! I don’t hate it! I need to drink this more. So I decided to make a cup. At midnight.

Also thought it was a good idea to revisit it, since it’s been a while.

Strong jasmine smell still, although I think I smell an earthyness of the green in there somewhere.

I’m not getting the grassy taste as strongly, and I don’t know if it’s just because it’s been a while, and I’ve had some experience, but I’m finding it more enjoyable. Enough so that I might try to drink it more often.

I’ve still no idea if I should be tasting jasmine or not (or what it would taste like if I should be), but there is a pleasant ALMOST floralness somewhere in there that might be it. Otherwise, just light green. I think I made this weaker than I did my last cup. One teaspoon for a cup (eight ounces); I THINK I may have done it one teaspoon to six ounces. Which may have been my problem, because I’ve since realized that lighter teas (oolongs, greens, darjeelings) are best 1/8 instead of the 1/6 I’m used to.

It’s starting to cool, and I think I’m tasting the jasmine more. Hrm. Don’t know if it’s good or bad. Although I’m also getting a very faint bitterness.

It’s gone cold now, and it tastes better (going along nicely with the claim that this would probably be very nice iced), although yeah, jasmine (I don’t drink green teas often—I’m inexperienced!).

I still meant to try it iced. I think it would be nice iced. But I’ve got a LOT of teas I mean to try iced. Some day!

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Ti-Kuan-yin Tea by Shantou Tea
391 tasting notes

Drank this on-campus, away from computers, but I carry a little notebook exactly for this reason.

The teabag had a sort of dusty, maybe… fishy? Smell, with that greenoolongblack smell. Wet, it smelt… spinagy green. As did the tea, a bit. In an ‘oversteeped green’ way, maybe. Steeped to a dark greybrown with a green layer over top. Smells fairly vegetably, green, though darker.

I almost didn’t want to drink it because it DID smell a bit… off on top of the very strong green smell. Took a sip when it was still quite hot and got a very green taste. I returned to work, and after a minute or so got this HORRIBLE gas after taste. What.

Let it cool, and tasted it again—this weird vegetable taste. Just sort of off. But also oolong in that it reminds me a bit of the oolong I got from Murchie’s. Just stronger. Gas aftertaste again. Disgusting. I don’t know if it’s the water I used (free water on-campus put in a mug then microwaved until it started boiling). Around this point I didn’t want to finish it.

Continued to sip it though, and the gas aftertaste lessened, and it reminded me more of the magnolia oolong. Just stronger, and the tea was darker. I steeped at the recommended three minutes on the package, but I think this would need a shorter steep time than that.

The strength and the weird aftertaste was enough to make me toss the cup (or rather, go outside and dump), and I did use more water from the campus (boiled in the microwave) to make other teas, and there was no gas aftertaste, so maybe it WAS the tea. It was cheap though (1.20). But I’ll try different steep times in the future or something. Yick until then, though.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

The few Ti Kwan Yins I’ve tried were sort of characterized by a sort of baked, spinachy-bready flavour – this just sounds icky!


There was definitely a spinachyness in there, but no bread/baked taste that I could tell. Maybe it was just cheaply processed (/located near an oil refinery?). Who knows. All I know is, it cost a buck, and I’ve still got nineteen teabags left.


Garden compost, maybe? I suppose the saying that you get what you pay for might be true in this case. Still I’ve found a few gems in the foreign food sections of grocery stores. I got a 225g tin of an excellent jasmine green for only $4.


Lucky! I just wandered into my local asian market and was faced with a WALL of teas, most of which I couldn’t understand because they were only marked in characters.

There were a few with a bit of English, or the names written out in the Roman alphabet (like this one), or ones that were kind enough to show a picture of the tea on the front (a SEVERAL-pound bag of genmaicha, for example, which I wasn’t about to buy). I decided to go with something cheap(er) that I wouldn’t feel horrible about if I didn’t like it (although I suppose I could have always traded it).

Ahwell, I’ll probably fool around with it a few times (maybe microwaved water just brings out crazy flavours in it?).


I’d advise not using boiling water since this type is one of the greener oolongs. Maybe start somewhere around 80-85ºC.


I should know by now not to listen to package brewing instructions. I’ll try that temperature next time.

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I change icons often, apologies. On that note, they are usually Doctor Who related (so no, that is not me pictured in the icon, it is most likely one of the Doctors).

A tea-drinking transgendered Canadian, currently in the third year of university, majoring in geology (yes, “rocks and things”). I take most of my tea made straight into a mug, although occasionally if I’m not in a hurry (this isn’t often), I’ll have time to sit down with a pot. It’s the highlight of a good day if I have time for a pot.

My notes and reviews will often sound dis-jointed, repetitive and confused, as usually I don’t work on them as a whole, but rather add notes as I sip without rereading what I’ve already typed.

On most occasions I won’t take my tea with anything (I reserve milk for chai). Occasionally agave nectar if I want to test to see if it’ll smooth it out. Chais I will make with either the nectar or honey. Although on occasion I will sweeten unflavoured blacks the Russian way—with jam or jelly. Occasionally I will take it instead with a slice of a citrus fruit. Normally orange, occasionally lemon if I have any on hand.

I prefer Earl Greys.

Lastly, I keep a teatra.de blog for reviewing and rambling about tea books/publications.

Also, I am a Doctor Who fanatic. As one may have noticed by my icons. For the record, my favourite Doctor is number three, Jon Pertwee.

“But you should never turn down tea, when it’s offered. It’s impolite, and impoliteness is how wars start.” ~Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann


BC, Canada



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