396 Tasting Notes


I made this again, and divided some to try it with milk (I didn’t want to add milk to ALL of it because I’m not really in the mood for milk in my tea [I hardly am {see: never, sans chai}]). You can still smell the maple, that’s a good sign… And the maple taste is actually a bit more evident. The milk mellowed the tea but not the maple. This’ good. It’s still not strong, but it’s slightly more evident in the aftertaste.

I actually made it with a cooler temperature and longer steeping time today, just to see if I could get any stronger of a taste. There’s a moderate difference (not dramatic, but not weak at least).

Maybe I’ll try sugar. But I’m enjoying my tea as it is right now, so perhaps another time.

190 °F / 87 °C 6 min, 15 sec

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I’m going to start out by saying that the smell of the dry tealeaves is strong. And it is NOT the artificial maple smell so many Canadians are used to in buying their fake Doesn’t Actually Contain Any Maple syrup (because as well all know, the ones that ACTUALLY contain maple are USELESSLY expensive and usually reserved for the tourists, while packaged in nice maple leaf-shaped bottles; they’re also a fraction of a size of the two-litre “Pancake Syrup” you can usually buy [which, at least, doesn’t even TRY to claim that it contains any maple]).

This is MAPLE. MAPLEMAPLEMAPLE. I passed it around for smells and got some “woah strong”s (although most were a good “woah strong”, because it is delicious, delicious maple). I realize I’m not really sure if I can smell the actual tea used, but there is a ‘down to earth’ness to the smell which I think may be the tea smell mixing in perfectly with the maple smell.

I walked over to grab my steeped tea and didn’t even need to lean down to smell it—sniffed the wet tea leaves, and the smell was good and strong. The tea itself—mmmm. This tea, I predict, would make a very good breakfast tea. Especially for people who need to cut some sugar and starch out of their diet and need to stay away from pancakes and maple syrup.

I’m really hoping the taste is as evident and wonderful as it smells. The taste usually has to be pretty strong for me to really like it, and most flavoured teas I end up drinking, the taste is too weak for my personal preference. Pleasepleaseplease…

Just tasting the tea. Astringent, a tad bitter even though I only steeped for five minutes. There’s a maple aftertaste. I’m thinking I should have steeped this at a slightly lower temperature (that can be could for flavoured blacks, I’ve been told).

I let it cool a bit, and that definitely made a difference. The maple lingers all through the taste, and I would like to commend the very nice base black tea, because it is quite nice (and the bitter has faded mostly with the heat). I think next time, a lower temperature for a slightly weaker tea taste to see if I can taste the maple more.

The maple that I CAN taste is delicious. Yum. Noting, though, that this tea is not sweet. It’s just maple, not any sort of maple sweetness. Although now that I think about it, I bet the maple taste may come out more with sugar. Maybe even milk (the black tea used seems like it should be able to stand up to both). But I didn’t add any myself. Maybe next time.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Black Ginger by Tealicious Tea Company
396 tasting notes

Today was a good day. I got tea, I got dice (you can never have enough dice; these ones are blue flecked with gold!), and I got comics. No, I didn’t just get comics either, I completed a comic series I have had, incomplete, for many years. Hurrah (just Deadpool The Circle Chase, nothing exciting or expensive)!

I can definitely smell the ginger in this, although it is a bit ‘dry’ I suppose (gingeraleish?). I had to be sure about the smell, so I got a hunk of real ginger out of my freezer (yes, I have a giant hunk of gingerroot in my freezer—it’s best not to ask) and grated some onto a spoon to get the smell going. My ginger smells a bit more ‘gingerbread ginger’ish.

I figure it might just be the smell of the black tea. Hmm. But there is ginger in it! You can SEE the hunks. They’re not huge, but there’s a lot of them.

You can smell the ginger in the tea… Not as strong, but that’s because there’s a good ‘tea’ smell in there too. Still slightly gingerale smelling (but I think what I mean by that is a sort of carbonated smell—I have no idea). The more you smell the more the ginger smell comes out. …Which is making me want to just sit here and sniff this all day. Mmm ginger. I can do that for a little while, because I’m letting it cool to a drinkable temperature first.

There is a bit of a bite, and then a black tea taste. I suppose I could have let it steep for six minutes instead of five. If you let it sit in your mouth for a moment you get a ginger taste, with a bit of sweetness. The more you sip it the more ginger you get. It’s not insanely strong, which I think makes it perfect for most people (but others—my dad included, love ginger so much they eat chunks of pickled ginger whole, with nothing else; they might want something a little stronger than this).

I’m glad it doesn’t taste gingeraleish. Hurray! I’m glad she gave me a sample of this, because I like it but I don’t love it, but I’m glad I got to try it (I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but I wanted to try a ginger tea). Mmm, there’s actually a spicyness developing in the back of my throat now from drinking this. It’s a nice, subtle flavour that sort of develops as you drink it. Yup, I can definitely taste the ginger when I breath out now.

I’ve got a few teaspoons of this left, and I’m going to enjoy using them up another day. I think I’m going to attempt a second steep of the leaves right now though, to see if the ginger will be weaker or if it’ll get stronger.

I keep smelling the ginger I grated and wondering how easily I could add it to some black tea and make my own ginger tea. It’s certainly fresher, so it should make a strong cup. From what I know of spices, ginger starts to lose its strength pretty quickly (most spices do; dried spices are like tea—their greatest enemies are light, moisture and air, and most are only ACTUALLY good for about two months, and yet we store them in clear containers, and keep them from years on end, and still use them after that—go figure).

Second steep was for six minutes, fifteen seconds. The colour’s about the same as the first steep—maybe very slightly lighter. Hmm… Smells just as strong as before, although I think the ginger is (slightly?) clearer—not stronger, just clearer.

More of just a tea taste this time, but the ginger’s in my nose and on the tip of my tongue. Yup, the ginger’s still there. Mm.

Overall I like this tea, and the only ‘downside’ is that it’s got that dried ginger taste and smell (if you don’t know what I mean, if you have any dried ground ginger in your spice cabinet [I do!], go and smell it) instead of that ‘fresh’ ginger taste and smell. But that can’t really be helped because it contains dried ginger, obviously. Fresh ginger only stays fresh so long, and is moist. I think the only way you COULD get a ‘fresh’ ginger tea taste (other than loading the tea up with preservatives to keep it ‘fresh’, or artificial flavours to get the taste) would be if you just grated fresh ginger right into your tea leaves right before you steeped (which I have always thought about doing, hmm).

Of course I only vaguely know what I’m talking about when it comes to dried/fresh ginger. Just thoughts and opinions!

Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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Trying this again, different steep temperature and time! At first I tried to measure the temperature, but couldn’t seem to get anything over 170 even for freshly boiled, and the needle started going down so QUICKLY (I blame Canada and our temperatures, for some reason), that I just, instead, boiled water fresh, living it only enough time to STOP boiling before pouring it (I’m hoping that’s somewhere over 185, I was hoping for 200). Steeped for five minutes.

It only smells MORE green (and floral jasminy). About the same temperature of the first steep last time.

Huh. This is definitely more pleasant, somehow. Vegetable and greenish, but also sort of milky, I think.

That peppery taste in the back of my throat after the first steep is back. I’m describing it as a sort of harsh grassy taste. Or feel. Hm.

The smell’s not as veggie-like. In fact, I can’t really smell it at all… But that might just be my younger brother making scrambled eggs in the kitchen.

Buttery taste, I think. Lot less veggie tasting too. Last few drops are more vegetable tasting (due to the piece of leaf and leaf dust at the bottom of my cup). Didn’t really consider this one as closely as the first steep because I was talking to my brother as I sipped it. Sweet butteryness. Hmm.

Free pop tart from my sister’s boyfriend! SCORE.

Third steep—the colour’s not getting any lighter (in fact, it’s been identical all three steeps so far) but I’ve got more tea particles in this one. I smell… Ehr. Nothing. Hm.

Wow veggie taste. And not green tea veggie taste. Just VEGGIE taste. Wonder if it has anything to do with the poptart I just ate. That probably wasn’t a very good idea in terms of timing. The other tastes sat sort of in the middle-to-pack of the tongue, but this one’s mostly at the front, reaching towards the middle. It’s… acidic, but not at all sour. Metallic, I guess. Yeah, I’m getting metallic.

Rinsed my mouth out, but still getting the same taste. A normal sort of grassyness returns too—the metallic taste has sort of faded.

Fourth steep—again with the sharp green metallic taste on the tip of my tongue. Curse you poptart! I somehow know this is all your doing. I think I’ve pinned down this kind of vegetable taste as a sort of spinach taste. With almost slight butter. Butter’s getting slightly stronger. Spinach green taste… butteryness is gone again. Hmm. I don’t think I’m going to steep this a fifth time. Seriously drank too much tea at one in the bloody morning. Hmm… It’s sort of a slightly sweet spinach taste. Butteryness comes and goes.

I don’t dislike or like it, but I have so little experience with oolongs that I still don’t feel right attempting to give this a rating. I think I just like babbling about flavours.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Earl Grey by Hazo
396 tasting notes

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I would really rather my first oolong NOT have been scented, but the lady at Murchie’s gifted me a sample of this “On The House” because it was apparently top-rated and one of the best sellers last year. Very nice of her.

Going to brew this in my Libre because it’s glass, and I wanted to watch the leaves unfurl. I plan, once it’s done steeping, to pour all of the tea out into a teacup (I’m not making very much).

Water is cooling… I have no idea what temperature to brew this at. I tried to look it up, but oolongs are quite variable anyways, and I was getting results anywhere from 180-boiling. So I went “screw it, 180 it is”. Or, rather, slightly under 180. Nevermind. Steep Time was another issue, so I’m going to do four minutes.

The dry leaves are a sort of milky green jasmine maybe? The milky smell was more evident in the bag, but I transferred them to a small tin. Slightly floral sort of smell too, that reminds me a bit of Andrews and Dunham’s jasmine green.

This is very pale. Sort of a tinge of green. Light a light green tea. Dunno how it should look—the tea leaves themselves did look fairly ‘green’, so.

No milkyness in the taste. Very… green. That’s really all I’m getting. It was interesting to watch the leaves, though. They didn’t open up as quickly as I thought they would. Slightly sweet. As I continued drinking it started to get sort’ve astringent. I always figured that I would enjoy a “blacK” oolong more. This hasn’t changed that opinion. Although this is only the first steep.

Wet leaves smell… vegetal, green. Something else, which I want to say is nutty, but it’s not.

Oooh leaves are huge now. Got this water closer to 180. Going to steep this one for four minutes too. While waiting for the second steep, I noticed a weird taste in the back of my throat… Uh. Peppery, maybe?

Second one is darker, probably because the leaves were already open for this steep. Only slightly, though. Stronger smell, but still just green. More strongly vegetal than before. That almost maybe? Not quite pepper taste is back, stronger. Don’t know. Still don’t really like it. Floral jasminy smell’s still there. Oh! Buttery! I got a buttery taste for a moment there. Like a watery, milky buttery taste. I’m not sure.

Not liking this one again. Ehrck.

Third steep smells… Sweeter? Tastes sweeter too. This one’s actually kind of pleasant. When I breath out there’s a butteryness. Vegetal pepperyness.

I’d go for a fourth steep (I hear good things about fourth steeps!),but I’m too full of tea now.

Don’t know how to rate this. Hrm.

180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Damnit, I was just at Murchies a fews days ago, why didn’t I get a free sample? ;P


I’m sorry! Maybe I just attract free stuff. I was showing interest in a different oolong, but they said they were out, and she offered that one instead, but I said it was okay (I was already buying something else anyways). So she just went, “I’m going to give you a few scoops on the house to try at home!” And here I am.

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Having this in between class. I was carrying three tins on me today—Earl Grey, 1001 Nights, and this. My travel tin of Lapsang is almost empty, oh no! I need to go home and refill it.

My Libre has been on and off temperamental today. It leaked the first time, not the second or third, and then I flip it for my smoky tea, and it leaks ALL over the place (and usually it only leaks when it’s on its side, and if you wipe the inside rim before you screw the parts together, it prevents this!). It stopped quickly enough, flipped it back rightside up and it was fine, but then I went and opened it (I waited a few seconds and gave it a few shakes to get rid of water that may have collected in the rim) and it EXPLODED water everywhere. Not a good thing to have near a laptop.

So I LOST some water in the process, but there’s still a drinkable amount here. Baaah.

The cafeteria at my college gives you water at 190 degrees (I know, I checked—got weird looks the whole time standing there with a thermometer in a weird glass travel mug).

Even after this I can’t hate Libre; I just keep blaming the leaks on myself. I probably didn’t wipe the inside enough, or screw the pieces together tight enough, or shake the water out of the cap well enough. I still love you, Libre.

Hmm tea came out a bit watery (funny, considering how much water I lost in the process of making it), but still deep and smoky pine tasting (I love that pineness—it’s weird and sweet), and seriously warming to the soul. The Libre container keeps my hands pleasantly warm and the smokyness of the tea keeps my insides pleasantly warm, and now it’s almost a bad thing because I’m feeling somewhat sleepy as a result, and I want to climb into a sleeping back outside in the fresh air and take a nap.

If I wasn’t so impossibly busy with class and work, I would go camping, I think.

There’s a slight, weird aftertaste in the back of the throat—it’s not bad or good, and I can’t really tell what it is (or if it’s due to the tea, or if it had already been there and I just hadn’t noticed it until now). Barky, I think. Maybe it’s the pine taste.

Also, mmmm smoky breath. My favourite part.

190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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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 or with the full gongfu set. 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 I tend not to work on them as a whole, but rather add notes as I sip without rereading what I’ve already typed.

I take my tea straight, with the exception of chais (or matcha); very rarely, I’ll sweeten things the Russian way. I also have a soft spot for earl greys.

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

And I’m a Doctor Who fanatic (Jon Pertwee, if you were wondering).

“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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