403 Tasting Notes


Another tea from Jillian (or rather THE tea from Jillian). The dry leaves didn’t have much of a strong smell, and it steeped to a sort of pale red-orange (not the “rich red” the description led me to believe it would be). The smell is faintly ‘tea’ like, with a sweet smell overtop. Kind of reminds me of keemun.

It’s got a somewhat green taste. It’s light, and I think it has a faintly wine-like quality to it; I’m not getting any nuttyness. Nor any real fruitiness, but it is still sort of wine like taste.

I’m getting bits of sweetness and bits of astringency. When I breath out I am getting a sort of nutty taste now, actually. Yes, definitely getting a nuttyness now. It’s part mouth-feel part aftertaste. Sort of walnutty. That sweet bitterness. Very nice.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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drank English Breakfast by Harney & Sons
403 tasting notes

Chapters (Canadian bookstore for those who don’t know), I found, carries a LOT of loose-leaf tea accessories (to which I mean pots with infusers, mugs with infusers, infusers by themselves, travel tea tumblers with the removable infusers…), but NO actual loose-leaf teas. All of the teas they have are bagged. Whoops. Although there were still some good teas there (“full leaf sachets”). Harney and Sons being one of them. And I had remembered seeing a tin of Paris sachets the last time I’d visited, and thus I returned today to purchase it—only to see that there didn’t seem to be any (and I don’t say ‘any left’ because I remember, distinctly, that they had four Harney and Sons teas out, and they still did, but none were Paris; maybe I was mistaken?). But I’m sure they had had some! I noticed in their giant variety sample pack for thirty dollars that Paris was included, but I didn’t really want to buy the whole giant chest of teas. Curses!

So I opted for this one, because I always enjoy a good morning tea. Opening the tin the smell is strong and divine. Very tea. It brewed quite light, and the smell of the wet teabag and the tea itself is very faint, and… different.

Granted, I’ve never really tried Keemun (that I know of), thus excuse my naivety. The tea is nice, light, and slightly (but noticeably) sweet. The ‘tea’ taste that I’m more used to IS in there, but it’s mixed with other tastes. Almost a sort of greeny taste (if you removed the vegetable). There’s something stronger in the aftertaste. Robust. Not sure. I really rather like this. I don’ts think it needs anything (certainly not any sugar), but if made a bit stronger it would probably be good with a splash of milk.

Edit: …And also mildly, faintly peppery but in a good way, and I like this very much. And did I mention that I liked this?

Boiling 5 min, 15 sec

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drank Bora Bora by Vykasa
403 tasting notes

Just got the package from Jillian. I think I’m psychic (or have impossibly discerning hearing) because I heard the mail come in through the slot and thought, ‘PACKAGE!?’ And I had been about to head out the door to get tea at Murchie’s too.

I added all of the teas to my cupboard, even though most are just a single teabag (and I certainly don’t afford that luxury to the many of OTHER single teabags that I have) and thus will end up removing them after that single use (minus this one, because I’m using it up RIGHT NOW so I didn’t add it).

At any rate, I dubbed this the ‘Mystery Tea’. It wasn’t in a bag and it wasn’t labelled. I looked up the company on steepster under the assumption that it was one of the three that we have listed. I eliminated the rooibos easily enough, because even though I couldn’t smell anything really, it definitely had some green tea in there.

Steeped it as a green, and I could smell it STRONG for a few minutes (not very pleasant, but luckily that seems to have dissipated). If I stick my nose in the cup, it smells minty. Whaddya know, I think I know which one it is. Every so often I get a whiff of something REALLY weird (and not in a likable way) smelling, but then it’s gone.

Going to sip this. I’m afraid. Mint! But black AND green tea, and I usually like blackgreen tea blends. I can do this.

Don’t taste really any green. I got a slight black tea flavour and then a stronger mint that trailed into the aftertaste. There’s a fruityness in there too, but I don’t know of what. This almost just tastes like a herbal tea. A slightly fruity mintness. I’m basically just assuming it’s Bora Bora now. Too obviously mint. I don’t have much experience with any of the other ingredients listed, so I can’t pick them out, but maybe those are that weird smell I keep getting but can’t seem to taste.

It’s not bad. It’s actually kind of nice and refreshing. The mint isn’t overpowering (it usually is for me, but that’s probably just my bias against mint), but I still don’t get really any other flavours. Actually, there’s an earthy turmeric aftertaste to the mint. Huh.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec

I got green, no black! Ahhh, did we switch?


Really? I got a sort of watered down weak black taste. Weird. Maybe we did!


Sorry, I must have forgotten to lable that one. Yeah it is Bora Bora, I had one bag left after I sent Ricky’s so I chucked it in the package with the other stuff.

It’s supposed to have tropical flavours (hence the name), but I’ve never tasted them.


Well, I ALMOST got a sort of fruity taste. But not really enough to make it seem ‘tropical’.

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Drinking this with my very late-night dinner (two hours ‘til midnight) of baked potato, perogies, and yorkshire pudding sans the gravy. Very starchy indeed. But I love my starchy foods. Maybe I’ll try to down a few strawberries and a banana afterwards to even it out.

I wanted something savoury and dinnery to go with it. I didn’t go for the lapsang because although I was craving good smokyness, I also wanted a good strong black tea taste as well. This isn’t filling that spot as well as I thought it would, I don’t think (maybe I should have mixed it with some Assam), but it is still quite good, and definitely fits in with starchy foods (and the mysterious, unknown spices on my potato).

Also, there seems to be something wrong with my NEW kettle. Although the water was CLEARLY BOILING (and had been for SOME TIME—I know, I sat and watched it do so for a while), the kettle itself refused to whistle.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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I called it Operation Murchie’s.

I was faced with a unique opportunity. My geomorphology teacher was feeling fairly under the weather, but forced herself to come into class long enough to answer questions concerning our next lab, as well as give out the compiled Class Stats before leaving to head home and rest.

Thus I found myself with three and a half hours to spare before my statistics class began. My first thought, logically, was “I should go to Murchie’s!” it’s usually a forty minute skytrain trip to get there from home, and only a slightly shorter one from my campus. Thus I’m usually unable to make the trip between classes (unless I fully intended to run to and from stops, and only spend a maximum of about ten minutes in the shop itself). I worked out how much time I should be able to spend, and then headed off.

The trip took barely thirty minutes (less time than it should have!), and here I am. I’d been planning to try the Library Blend for a while (it just SOUNDS deep, earthy and relaxing). I’ve sipped a few of Murchie’s black/green tea blends, but most I found I could only taste the black tea in.

This one is definitely green, although the colour is only slightly paler than the usual black. It’s okay, but I think I like their Queen Victoria better (a green black blend with a bit of lapsang; it tastes mostly black, but you do get hints).

The initial taste is black, but then very green, but it’s got a bold, taste—the black grounds it and keeps it from being TOO vegetable tasting. It smells green too. Overall it’s nice, and I think the name is very fitting (I could see myself sipping this in a library while reading), the taste is lovely (although not overall ‘for me’), and I might just get it again some time.

Murchie’s doesn’t have a wifi connection, so this was typed up in Word while I was there with the intention of posting once I returned to my campus.

I don’t know how hot the water is that they give you, but I think I steeped it roughly around five minutes before removing the teabags.

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drank Black Ginger by Tealicious Tea Company
403 tasting notes

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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
403 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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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 gaiwan. It’s the highlight of a good day.

My notes are pretty disjointed because I’m a fairly absent-minded individual, and I also 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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