147 Tasting Notes


Backlog sipdown!

In my experience Dancongs, moreso than any other Chinese tea, are remarkably consistent. Of all the ones I’ve tried from different sources, they’re all quite good, and good in the same way, with that sublime incense-grapefruit-esque fragrance. It’s good to have a tea that one can hardly go wrong with!

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drank Golden Honey Dew by Lupicia
147 tasting notes

Sipdown! This one has grown on me a lot, although it does seem to be a better choice for the summer season than colder weather. In any case, it’s a very soothing evening treat.

I’m still really busy, but looking forward to having more tea and the time to enjoy it, come this time next month…

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Malt, cocoa, and earthy/roasty notes in a very smooth, gently sweet cup. This one just might be perfect. Thanks to everyone who recommended it way back in the day!

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drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
147 tasting notes

Smells like vanilla and cream, tastes like vanilla and cream, with a touch of peachy Ceylon crispness to let you know it’s really tea. I was impressed with Harney’s decaf Ceylon before, and this is along the same lines. Not very strong or resteepable, but good for a cool evening at home when you’ve already had enough caffeine for the day.

Things are pretty crazy around here—I’m finishing up my PhD, so if I drop off the face of the earth I’m probably just working madly. All tea is appreciated at a time like this!

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drank Pan-fried Barley by Lupicia
147 tasting notes

Finally, I’m trying the unflavored barley tea from Lupicia after having enjoyed a few of their flavored ones. This one is just what I expected: a rich, roasted-grains flavor and aroma, with a slightly coffee-like edge and a natural sweetness. It’s deliciously cozy hot, and quite refreshing after it cools down a bit too. We’re getting a final burst of summer-like weather (in November!), and the chilled version of this tea reminds me of the bottled barley iced teas that were a favorite while I was growing up.

Cameron B.

I finished my sample of Watermelon Barley today, so good! I’ll definitely be trying all of the other flavors. :D


The watermelon sounds delicious too! :)

Cameron B.

The lychee is my favorite so far, but I really want to try the pineapple and apricot! :)

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This was one of the teas I just had to try from Butiki, since it sounded very unique, and I’m generally a fan of pistachio. The dry blend does smell delectable and just like pistachio ice cream, with the pistachio being toasted or slightly caramelized. Brewed up, it becomes more complex, and the first note I smelled was actually salt. The flavor is dominated by the green tea, very vegetal and savory, with a little hint of seaweed. The pistachio is there in the background as a roasted nut flavor, and there is also a sweetness and cream note.

I think I’ll hold off on rating for now—there’s a lot going on in this tea and I’m not sure I fully appreciate it yet. It’s also a little late in the evening for a robust green tea, I just hope it won’t keep me awake later…

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drank Green Tea by Bigelow
147 tasting notes


I’ve had a box of this at work for a while, but hadn’t really thought to make a note for it since it seems like your typical, grocery-store green tea. The tea is probably Japanese in origin as it has that flavor profile.

I hadn’t really noticed this tea until I was traveling through one of the wine-producing regions here in California. I wasn’t expecting much in the way of tea, but every single restaurant, cafe, and hotel in town seemed to only be serving this kind of tea, so I couldn’t avoid it. A tea monopoly in wine country might be a dubious distinction, but it was better than I expected (granted, I was expecting something fairly bad). It’s quite smooth and and mild, not very fussy, and not easily made bitter or astringent even with neglect, which I’m grateful for since I often make a cup of this in the busy after-lunch hours.

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This is as rosy as tea can get! The blend consists of silver needles and brightly-colored rosebuds, and no matter how I tried to portion it, I was going to get more rosebuds by volume than tea leaves. The dry scent is very strong rose, but not cloying or perfume-like. The brewed aroma has an added note of tart champagne. I’ve played around with this one a bit, and while the champagne isn’t too obvious in the flavor at first, it becomes more prominent and crisp as the tea cools, and is a good balancer to the very strong rose aroma. The rose fragrance really lingers after the tea is gone. There is a touch of something vegetal from the silver needle tea as well. It also brews to an interesting, light green color. Overall, this is a very, very floral tea, dainty and not overwhelming. Maybe a bit of an acquired taste for some, but fairly enjoyable.

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This is an unusual-sounding tea, but I’m very glad I tried it!

The blend consists of purple oolong tea as well as red and blue flowers. The aroma has everything promised by the name: plum, brandy, and a very authentic, tart and somewhat creamy whiff of cheesecake. The cheesecake isn’t as present in the flavor, which is probably a good thing, because otherwise it could get quite overwhelming. Instead, the tea tastes like preserved plums and sweet liquor, reminiscent of a fruity and rich holiday dessert with a splash of alcohol. I think this is the right time of year for this tea!

The purple oolong base is also interesting. It’s fresh and, for lack of a better word, really does taste “purple”—there’s that slightly tart but rich quality found in dark purple vegetables and fruit. The finish is very sweet. As noted, the recommended brew temperature is lower, at 175F. I’ll play around with this tea some more in the future.

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Biologist, aspiring writer, and a cat that learned to type.

I grew up in a tea-loving family, and tea has always been a part of the daily life. I’m still astounded by the amount of tea and teaware back home every time I visit! While I’m most familiar with straight Chinese teas, I’m growing to explore and appreciate other types of tea, including blended and flavored ones. A good blend can reflect the thought and creativity that was put into making it, instead of being too sweet or busy in a way that gives the “genre” a bad rap.

-most black teas (even lapsang)
-most oolongs, especially Fujian teas, baozhong and dancong
-straight white teas

Variable (some are great, some not so):
-most green teas
-tie guan yin
-flavored white teas

90-100: definite repurchase if possible, recommended
80-90: enjoyed, might repurchase
70-80: fair to good, wouldn’t mind a cup now and then
60-70: not great, won’t actively warn people away from it
50-60: there’s still a chance I’d take this if it were free
under 50: didn’t like it


Southern California

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