530 Tasting Notes

drank White Chocolate Kisses by Bigelow
530 tasting notes

One of my friends gave me this to try AGES ago, and I’m on a chocolate kick, so I decided to give it a try. I should note that on my bag’s packet, it’s called White Chocolate Obsession, but it has the exact same art and it’s still by Bigelow. I dunno what’s up with that. Maybe it’s an earlier/later version.

Good lord, this smells chocolatey! Though what kind of chocolate, I’m not sure. Too strong and sweet to be a Tootsie Roll, but it kinda reminds me of that. You know, like chocolate candy that doesn’t actually involve any real cocoa. Or chocolate lip balm. Or the brown chocolate-scented magic marker from my childhood. This does not bode well, but I’m brave.

I lightly sweetened it and let it cool, thinking about adding a splash of milk even before having a taste. The flavor is less strong than I expected, and slightly metallic under the odd chocolate taste that lingers upon exhaling. It does actually taste a bit like white chocolate, but I’m a dark chocolate kind of girl. The black tea base is very mild and smooth, but it adds a pleasant maltiness. It tastes like it’s mostly there to support and add depth to the chocolate.

After a few sips, I went for the 1% milk. It holds up against my generous amount of milk well, still very flavorful, but still not good. Creamier, but just sort of sad, like it wishes it was a white mocha or hot cocoa.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

Sounds nice! Haven’t seen it locally, but now that I know which local grocery stocks Bigelow seasonal Christmas teas, I’ll have to check for this one in the Valentine aisle. Should be stocked about Wednesday ;)

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This is what I took to work today. We’re getting the outer edges of Hurricane Sandy, so the world outside is gray, cold, and very windy. The perfect day for something that smells and tastes of woodsmoke.

I’ve reviewed this tea before, so I won’t go to lengthy detail, but this was pretty perfect for today. Like I’ve said before, it smells more smoky than it tastes. Underneath the smoke, there is the delicious taste of Fujian black tea. Mmmm.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Geoffrey Norman


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drank Earl Grey Imperial by Harney & Sons
530 tasting notes

So, for a week, I couldn’t find my metal infuser and I was incredibly frustrated. I finally caved and bought myself a new one on Amazon, plus some Harney & Sons consolation that I had been wanting for a long time. The day after I ordered it, yes, I found my damn infuser. Of course.

Anyway, I’m still very happy to have this pretty blue tin in my cupboard. I popped it open and it smelled amazing. Strong! Peppery! Lemony! The bergamot isn’t as strong as their Earl Grey Supreme, but it’s still definitely the dominant flavor. This is a perfect standard for Earl Grey. Not too bitter, not too astringent, on a satisfying black and oolong blend. And also not so heavy on bergamot that your mouth goes numb.

Again, about the bergamot, Harney and Sons have set a bar for me. They use this Italian bergamot that just makes other blends taste cheap to me.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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So, I decided to give this another go with the same leaves. This time, it got a longer steep time and hotter water. I wanted to see how this liked being treated more like a traditional black tea.

The liquor came up a bit darker, but not by much. Not amber or anything like a regular black. More like the picture shows here: http://www.nuvolatea.com/upload/product/14l.jpg It smells more like a black tea. Heartier, with a hint of smoke. The taste is slightly more toasted and astringent, but oddly not much different from the first infusion. It seems like the more I treat it like a black tea, the more it tastes like one, and the same when I treat it like an oolong. But the change is very subtle. Interesting.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Good that you experimented and looked information up. Sometimes people just gulp their tea down and miss out on half of the adventure. I received this sample some time ago also and shared it with the Happy Lucky’s guys because it was so different.

Geoffrey Norman

I wonder if it’s the Ruby 18 varietal that they use for the black.

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My first thought when I picked this tea to try was “Oooh, black oolong. Now this is interesting.” Honestly, as long as I’ve been here at Steepster, I had somehow never heard of such a thing. I ripped open the little packet and inspected the leaves. Dark and thin, rolled into long narrow strips. It looked like a fine black tea with a few hints of golden brown here and there.

I treated this one gently as well, and may or may not have used a bit too much water in my ceramic teapot. The liquor is a pale tan, and smells like black tea with a hint of sweet fruit. The taste is very, very interesting. While it does have hints of floral, spring-like oolong, I can taste the black tea oxidization more. It’s caramelly and much more robust than a traditional oolong. Malty, even. Like a light golden tip tea… sort of. This is hard to describe and delightfully complex, and I love it.

Also, after checking the website to see how much this tea is, it’s listed as $60HK for 50g… I was horrified at how expensive it is. But then I checked a converter on Google. It’s only about $8 USD. Whew!

170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec

ahaha, I had the same thing happen to me; the HK$ thing. Gota love google…


It got me as well. Brain totally skipped over the HK. All I saw was the dollar sign. LOL!

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Giving this a try iced, since even through we’re halfway through October, it’s still pretty warm here in Atlanta.

It makes a pretty refreshing iced tea, I have to say. The caramelly flavor I described previously really comes out when it’s chilled. Same with the creamy pumpkin. Also, I can somehow taste the tea base better this way, too. Not sure why. I think next time I make this iced, it’s going to get a splash of milk, too. Should be a nice treat!

Iced 5 min, 0 sec

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Thank you very much for this tasting opportunity, Nuvola Teas! They sent me a small sampler, and I am very excited to try all these high grade teas.

The leaves of this tea are lovely. Glossy and dark green, rolled into little nuggets with their stems on the outside. They smell delicious and springlike, with a hint of sweet creaminess. I’m still getting into oolong, and this seemed very promising.

I was gentle with it, brewing it just under 185 degrees for a minute and a half. The resulting liquor was a pretty pale green that smelled faintly nutty. I allowed it to cool for a minute or two before tasting. It’s an absolutely pristine flavor… somehow rich and mildly vegetal. The creaminess I smelled translates well into the taste. So smooth. There’s also a gentle floral taste in the background that I mostly taste when I breathe out. I think I like that part the best.

In all, this is a very complex and tasty oolong. I made a cup for myself and my brother, and almost wish I had kept it all for myself!

185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 30 sec

Did your brother enjoy it?


Yes, he did. And one of my friends tried it from my mug. He said the taste reminded him of standing in the florist aisle at the grocery store.


What a unique, interesting description!

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Why did I wait so long to taste this tea?! Maybe I was waiting for fall? Anyway, I got in a trade with QueenOfTarts almost a year ago.

This is great stuff! Much, much better than the Pumpkin Spice Adagio sells. The most prevalent spice in it seems to be cinnamon, as the ginger is more subtle. The pumpkin flavor is surprisingly realistic! Like pumpkin pie filling, especially with the touch of nutmeg. It really makes me think of Thanksgiving. Also, there’s a taste of caramel, to me at least, though it could be my imagination. I can’t really taste the actual tea in it, as it’s buried beneath layers of delicious spices. I’m going to have this as my breakfast tea until I run out.

Best pumpkin tea I’ve tried so far!

Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

I am also looking for pumpkin spice teas that are winners. Just added this to the shopping list.


This one might be kind of hard to find. Apparently it’s only sold seasonally at World Market. :/

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drank Ginger Peach by The Republic of Tea
530 tasting notes

I’m still sick with this stupid cold! I am well over two weeks into this thing now. I have Nuvola teas to review, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to taste them well enough, so they’ll have to wait. Ugh.

I snagged this from work because I thought the ginger in it would help. While I can taste it, I don’t think there’s enough in it to really do anything medicinally. Also, I don’t remember it being this boring. Something about it tastes sort of artificial to me now. Like Peach Nehi. Lowering my rating a bit.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

I kind of had the same reaction to this tea after a few cups. The ginger definitely is pretty light. I hope you feel better soon!


My feeling about The Republic of tea is that all of their teas are really too weak to give sufficient flavor. They send them to me for review and then I have a hard time giving them one because I do not do bad reviews. The Eat, Pray, Love tea was okay. Not to my taste, but good for someone who is not heavily into tea. Their Pink Ribbon line in the pink tins tastes good, actually, but it is hard to taste the tea itself.


get better soon :)

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drank Tuocha Yunnan Tea by Tuocha
530 tasting notes

This one is the last of the teas from First Oriental Market that I snagged and hadn’t reviewed yet.

Both the dry bag and the tea as it steeps smell very much like a puerh. I guess I should have expected that when I read “tuocha” on the package. I was more excited by the word “yunnan”. But there’s no fishiness in the scent, at least, while I let it cool to a drinkable temperature.

The taste is pleasant and complex. It’s definitely a puerh. Sure, something about its flavor reminds me of the beach, maybe a bit of seaweed, but it also has that flavor of yunnan that I love so much. Like fruity bread and hay hiding in the background. But at the same time, it has that coppery puerh-ness that I’m not sure if I’m used to. I’m so torn!

Also, I might have oversteeped just a little bit. If you try this, don’t go with my preparation time!

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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Quiet, strange, and in love with the world of tea. 20-something and living just outside of Atlanta. Cat lover, electronic music geek, balcony gardener, and collector of fossils. On the hunt for the perfect tea in each of my favorite categories.

I prefer black teas, but I’m trying to broaden my horizons. My favorites tend to be yunnan tips, earl grey, chai, and pretty much any black tea from Fujian, China. My favorite add-ons are plum, cinnamon, sage, apple, coconut, raspberry, lychee, bergamot, osmanthus, cucumber, lavender, vanilla, cardamom, ginger, and caramel.

I’m shy about green tea, curious about white, and learning to love oolong. I hate rooibos and anything with orchid, fennel, or jasmine.

Since joining, I’ve traded with: Kaliska, QueenOfTarts, LiberTEAS, JustJames, Spencer, Ninavampi, Jillian, Teafreak, KeenTeaThyme, and RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas.

You can assume that I’m preparing my tea using the Western method. I use zero-calorie sweeteners and in the hot months, I drink my tea almost exclusively iced.


Decatur, GA



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