172 Tasting Notes

drank Mango Fruit Punch by DAVIDsTEA
172 tasting notes

This one ripped open when I was sorting through the last third of my package from beelicious consisting of all the DAVIDsTea samples, so I might as well have one more tea tonight! It’s caffeine-free, so no need to worry about whether it’s too late for tea.

The blend is made of dried fruit pieces (proven to be delicious by taste-test) and some flower petals. The tea steeps up yellowish in color, and has a sweet tropical fruit smell. The taste is also similar to a tropical punch with mango, pineapple, and citrus flavors. It’s a bit on the sugary side, especially when warm. In my experience, fruit pieces themselves don’t impart a very strong taste, so some of the taste might be due to added flavoring. That thought aside, it’s not bad and is exactly what it’s supposed to be like, though it reminds me more of the typical juice drink than a tisane.

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It’s dark outside and I’m still running experiments…time for one more tea from the great beelicious 2014 bag of goodies, late as it is!

This one sounded good in theory—I’m a big fan of coconut, and peppermint patties aren’t half bad either. Unfortunately, it lacks a little in the execution. The blend does have a nice minty, chocolatey smell, but with an undertone of something that’s slightly musty or chemical. I’ve found this in some other chocolate-flavored blends before (and the reason I gave up on chocolatey teas until I discovered Butiki), so it might be an issue with the flavoring, maybe it doesn’t age well. The taste is similar to the aroma. The mint part is nice, but the musty, almost medicinal part is back with a vengeance. It really overshadows the coconut and the tea base. There’s a winning combination somewhere in there, it just needs a little more work.

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drank Paris by Harney & Sons
172 tasting notes

Cold brew for the afternoon…and finally, sipdown! It took me a decently long time to get through the 4 oz tin. It was always an enjoyable, fruity and crisp black tea blend to have around, but there are many more to explore, so I’m not in a hurry to restock.

How many teas do I really love enough to want to stock 4 oz (or more) at a time? That is the question…


It takes me so, so long to get through their 4 oz. tins in particular. Not sure why. And then it gets old and sits there for even longer…


And 4 oz is still among the smaller of their bulk options, I can’t imagine how long it would take for some of the others!


Seriously! It’s a shame they don’t have a 2 oz. option. But that said, congrats on actually getting through this one! I’ve had my 4 oz. of SoHo for over two years now and I feel like I’ll never finish it. Barely got through my tin of Florence.

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I thought I’d try one more tea before heading out today, so I picked a lighter, fruity green one. (I’ve finished my degree, but still have some labwork to wrap up before the holidays—and if I’m going to work through a Saturday I’ll bring more tea!)

The sachet is plump with green tea and smells like fresh strawberries. The instructions said to use boiling water, and in spite of that, the green tea didn’t turn bitter. It’s nicely smooth, the tea is not masked by the fruit flavors, and the strawberry is creamy and sweet. There’s a touch of other fruit in the background as well (the ingredients say papaya). I think this would make a fantastic, fruity, but still tea-like iced tea in warmer weather. Thanks beelicious!


One of my favorites! The strawberry is delicious!! Glad you enjoyed it :)


It’s a really fresh and natural-tasting strawberry! Thanks for introducing me to a great lesser-known tea company :)

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drank French Toast by 52teas
172 tasting notes

This morning I had to decide which of my new teas to have with breakfast, so why not one that already sounds like breakfast itself?

The dry blend smells like maple syrup, cinnamon, and sugar. It does remind me of a slice of French toast with all the trimmings! After brewing, I could already smell a strong, clear black tea base, which was a good sign. The flavor of the tea leans more heavily toward cinnamon and brown sugar, more like a snickerdoodle cookie than French toast, but I’m not complaining. The tea base is quite nice—with a bit of peachy sweetness and a strong, malty-bready undertone, giving it more of a toast-like quality. Thanks beelicious for the opportunity to sample some of 52teas’ creative blends!

I think I need to try some of these teas, particularly black blends, with milk…I’m not a big milk drinker but maybe almond milk could be nice!

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Thanks to beelicious for the wonderful gift of this sample and many others!

This is a fantastic green blend. Visually, it’s an interesting blend of pine needles and tea leaves. The leaves are so dark that it’s hard to believe they are green tea, particularly next to the contrast of the pine needles. The aroma is light and refreshing, a mix of floral and pine. The brewed tea is, first and foremost, an excellent jasmine green. It’s delicate and lightly sweet, with a fruitiness in the background, and a touch more of that refreshing quality imparted by the pine needles. There’s no vegetal quality, nothing too heavy, nor is the pine too strong. It really does remind me of the fresh air out in a forest. I don’t often get excited about green teas (they’re usually in the range of “okay” to “pretty good”), but this one is well worth trying!

Edit: I wasn’t sure what other reviewers meant by “buttery” at first, but on the second infusion, there is definitely a smooth, buttery note. The tea remains light and almost airy in spite of this!

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This is one very good tea (that I almost burned myself preparing, as the lid to the kettle fell off when I picked it up, but it was worth the danger)

The dry blend consists of tightly rolled oolong tea, raspberry bits, and cashew pieces. The aroma is rich, buttery cashew. Brewed up, there’s an entirely different dimension to the aroma, floral, complicated, and a little mysterious. The oolong in this blend is not as green as Tie Guan Yin, and has a richer and darker feel overall, though with some similarity in floral notes. In terms of flavor, there’s a light touch of raspberry sweetness, and the cashew note is still quite strong, but the tea itself is dominant. Having grown up in a region more known for greens and oolongs than black teas, and with a family that favors them more, the taste of this brew is what I immediately recognize as what “tea from back home” should be like. It’s very distinct and almost indefinable, and the addition of raspberry and cashew, in this case, balances it quite well in a way I would never have imagined. I also sense that the caffeine content of this one is fairly high, it definitely wakes me up a little bit while having a calming effect as well. Overall, very glad I tried it, and sad that there’s only a little bit.

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[This note was originally posted to the older version of North Winds but is intended for this version.]

I’ve been interested in trying more black tea blends lately, so this is one of the ones I ordered. The blend is composed of two kinds of tea leaves, both spindly and dark but one with golden undersides—this is probably the dian hong. The aroma is an intense, pleasant waft of chocolate and malt. The taste is just what you’d expect from that too, a very welcoming combination of chocolate, malt, and nutty notes, and plus there’s that full-bodied, bready richness from the dian hong. The finish is clear and sweet, and reminiscent of apricot. It’s a wonderfully cozy tea for breakfast or any other time of day!

Brendan’s inspiration behind this tea is also great to read. Maybe we’ll see some lovely teas inspired by the Oregon wilderness in the future :)

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Having this on a cold evening, I think I have to increase the rating because it’s just that scrumptious. It really has the wintry sweetness of a liqueur-soaked plum just right, and isn’t overwhelming in spite of the multitude of rich flavors. A perfect little dessert tea!

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I was very excited to try this one after I heard about it! The dry blend has leaves of varying sizes, nice and fresh green-colored, with some flower petals. The aroma is definitely creamy, with a bit of liqueur and caramel undertones. The overall effect is quite rich and intoxicating. Brewed up, the tea has a light clean green color (devoid of yellow undertone) that I’ve only seen with white teas so far. The overall mouthfeel of the tea is light, and the creaminess is nicely mellowed out, with a bit of savory quality that is reminiscent of baked goods. There is a light floral-vegetal sweetness that I’ve encountered in other white blends from Butiki in the past, which brightens the effect somewhat. Overall, one of the most unique dessert-like blends I’ve tried so far!

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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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