398 Tasting Notes

drank High Mountain Jin-Xuan Tea by Ten Ren
398 tasting notes

This is a strong tasting and very fruity version of a high mountain Jin Xuan that has not been flavoured. It is quite resilient and can last well over 10 steeps with strong and pleasant flavours. Throughout a brewing session there are dominant flavours notes of pineapple, peach, cream, and gardenia with notes of peaches and cream corn, clover, hay, lemon, artichoke and grass appearing through out the brewing process. The tea retains a relatively thick and creamy mouth feel for about half of the brewing session. This tea would probably be enjoyed by those who love fruity green oolongs, the floral notes are present but remain mostly in the background blending into the cream. On taste alone I would probably rate this tea around 95. However at $38.00 per 150g it is hardly the most affordable Jin Xuan available. Mountain tea’s option is $13.00 for around the same amount and Teavivre’s would cost around $17.20 for the same amount. I am curious to compare this to Mountain Teas once I open it and will probably adjust my ratings then.

Below are more detailed notes

Dry leaf – lime to spruce green tightly coiled leaves, with a fruity, peach, pineapple, cereal/hay scent.

steeped at 60s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 65s, 80s, 85s, 90s, 95s, 105s with water temperature between 85-95 degrees Celsius (increased for later sessions)
Tea consistently brewed to a bright green gold yellow colour.

60s scent – sweet pineapple peach, cream, hint of gardenia and corn.
taste – pineapple tempered by warn peach, hint of cream, hint of gardenia hint of hay, smooth, medium to thick bodied, light freshening feeling at front of mouth. Aftertaste of pineapple and hay.

40s scent – pineapple peach, hay, cream faint floral notes
flavour – stronger vegetal notes of hay ,and floral spice of gardenia, still strong notes of pineapple and peach, creamy buttery mouth feel with stronger hints of cooling at top and front of mouth. Aftertaste is similar to original with slight floral notes.

50s scent – cream, peach pineapple faint hay
taste – gardenia mixed equally with peaches and cream with a hint of pineapple over a faintly bitter vegetal note. Slightly thinner body but still creamy.

60s scent – same
flavour – fruit/gardenia and hay thinner and slightly more astringent, clean feeling in mouth including back of mouth, aftertaste of eating peaches with clover. sweet and slightly spicy.

65s scent – fruit and gardenia and cream
taste – cream, peach mixed with gardenia and faint artichoke, slightly less sweet, and more vegetal with a hint of bitterness.

80s cream gardenia and faint fruit taste consistent with smell plus a hint of hay and a vegetal bitterness. slightly more astringent aftertaste of peach and pineapple and clover.

85s scent – same as above with a hint of lemon.
taste – thinner still with a light creamy floral note over peaches over a now stronger bitter artichoke note and a hint of grass. mildly astringent.

90s smell – sweet cream with a hint of floral
same taste touch thinner with slightly more grassy aftertaste.

95s same scent
taste – more sweet fruit with a hint of floral spice mixed with artichoke.

105s scent – corn, cream and a hint of peach with floral note
taste – sweet green tea with fruit and cream tones followed by bitter tones followed by spicy floral notes with a slightly grassy aftertaste with a hint of lemon.

spent leaves – fairly large with hints of brown along the edges.


That is an amazing amount of dedication to a tea tasting!

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Still beautifully sweet, fruity, and floral, this is probably my favourite Jasmine green.

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drank St Petersburg by Kusmi Tea
398 tasting notes

Kusmi’s St Petersburg reminds me on some sips of a monks blend with its mix of vanilla, from the caramel, and red fruit, but as I drink further on you get a more dominant tang and a hint of floral from the bergamot.

The caramel is buttery and creamy with a hint of vanilla and I can see why people love Kusmi’s Caramel tea. Later on in the cup, I smell the red fruit more than I taste it. There are hints of cherry and currant and blackberry.

The base is quiet and unassuming, it is quite smoooth and sweet but it doesn’t seem to have a great deal of complexity. There is a touch of bitterness that adds a bit of depth to the tea but otherwise is fairly thin. The flavour of this tea is fairly subtle it is not strongly sweet or creamy.

The second and third steeps are more bergamot and red fruit, with the caramel fading and the bergamot leaving a tingling on the tongue and it tastes at times slightly metallic.

The kusmi tins are certainly useful and fairly beautiful and the tea comes wrapped in folded plastic inside with a nice presentation.

This is a pleasant tea that makes a nice afternoon tea especially for those who may appreciate a lighter bergamot earl grey with deeper fruit tones. I think I still prefer a tea that has a stronger more flavourful base underneath it.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Vanilla Sunrise by LuxBerry Tea
398 tasting notes

This tea in a some ways reminds me of starburst orange candies and orange milkshakes and a little bit of childhood. It makes a nice creamy orange rooibos honeybush blend for someone who wants one that is neither tart, overly sweet, or that is not a chai.

The tea brews up to a beautiful peachy deep orange tone. With an orange, vanilla and peach scent over a slightly powdery sweet tone from the base.

The flavour is a nice blend of fruit and vanilla. Orange is the top note followed by peach settled in vanilla. The base is pretty well hidden by the flavouring. The vanilla makes the tea taste fairly creamy and the peach acts to sweeten the tea and temper any tartness and bitterness from the orange. The vanilla is nice, it is not syrupy nor is it a cool vanilla. There is a faint powdery aftertaste from base, but it is not medicinal and is partially hidden by the tang of orange peel. The aftertaste is of creamy orange. The tea re-steeps pretty well. It looses most of the vanilla but the fruity tones remain strong. This tea would probably be really nice with cream or milk and might make nice popsicles in the summer as it tastes pretty nice when cooler. When cooler the peach comes out a little more.

Altogether this was a nice introduction to LuxBerry Teas for me. It is much more a fruit tea than you would expect from its name.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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I really don’t have much information on this tea the Company name I gave above is the only thing written in English on the packaging. I don’t know where the provenance of this tea is, so I don’t know if it was produced in traditional regions known for biluochun or whether it was grown in Yunnan and made in the style of this type of tea.

The dry leaf is fairly tightly coiled with about 25% of the leaf showing the creamy yellowish hairy bud and the rest being a sage to spruce green colour. The dry leaf smells of wood smoke, and a spicy fruity green scent.

This tea is quite resilient and can easily brew up 6 or more times starting at 40s and going up by 5 second intervals if one is careful with water temperature. I was told to use a slightly cooler water temperature than I normally use for greens in order to bring focus to the fruity tones of this tea.

This tea brews up to a pale golden yellow and smells of grilled peach with a hint of pineapple mixed with smoke, salt, and a nutty tone blended with a sweet floral note.

It tastes of grilled peaches and smoke, creamed chestnut, the sweet tone of artichoke blended with the robustness of spinach, salt, and a slightly sweet at times lemony floral note. There is a light astringency at the front of the mouth though the tea tastes creamy with a medium to thick body.

The tea remains quite consistent in flavour throughout the steeping though the smoke looses it’s dominance and the tea does become a little lighter, brighter and lemony in later steeps.

This is a pleasant rather full bodied green tea that I will enjoy drinking.

170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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I was excited to get the chance to try this Earl Grey because Assams, or an Assam rich blend are my favourite bases for this type of tea, mainly because of the chocolate, or biscuity tones that they often have that nicely support the citrus notes and secondly because they usually have a thicker body to them that I feel better supports the Strong Bergamot Earl Greys which are most often my favourites.

In Silky Earl Grey, Teajo comes close to creating my ideal earl grey. It has a really lovely Assam Base, paired with a heavier sweeter bergamot. I would like just a bit more of a spicier bergamot to create my ideal Earl grey.

Dry Smell
- fairly strong , spicy and sweet bergamot, hint of lemon rind and cocoa.

Brew Colour
– nice, clear, classic amber colour.

- Tastes quite smooth at first, finishing with a drying effect at the front of the mouth. The tea has a medium bodied mouth feel.

Flavour – A nice balance between a sweet bergamot baked goods taste, sweet red fruit in the tea base, and chocolate undertones. The base tea has enough depth to support the strong flavouring. The re-steep contains a flavour consistent to the first steep, with just a little bit more malty, chocolate tones shining through the lemon pound cake with custard smell and taste. The third steep was sweeter with less citrus notes but still a rich flavour.

Aftertaste – lemon(the taste you get when you drink lemon in hot water), lavender, with bitter sweet chocolate notes and a hint of malt.

This is a really nice strong and fruity Earl Grey with a great deal of flavour and a natural sweetness.

Thanks Piccolo for the chance to try your tea! It has a really lovely base and I look forward to trying some more once I make some room in my cupboard.

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drank Morning Kick by Bluebird Tea Co.
398 tasting notes

I don’t know why I don’t drink more mate, I like the kind of mellow alertness it tends to leave me with, different than the buzz I tend to get from coffee or strong tea. I suppose It has to do with a bad experience I had with a jarring tasting lemon mate I had once, where it tasted harsh and unpleasant. However my other experiences were positive. My first experience with mate was at the debriefing after a contract I had in Ecuador. One of the other people I was with had been in Rosario, Argentina and she shared a pleasant sweet tasting mate with us while sharing stories of riots in the streets after the bank collapse there. In Ecuador I had very little tea but I did have some great coffee, even the chain coffee was great. Anyways that first experience was pleasant and mate is a really nice tea to share among friends.

Anyways, I think this tea has helped to cure me of my mate aversion. It is really quite a pleasant and balanced tea. Once brewed the tea has a scent of green tones from the lemongrass and the mate, and hints of ginger, lemon, and of something floral from the calendula. It brews to a nice light amber yellow.

Flavour wise it has top notes of lemongrass and lemon (creating a toned down baked lemon flavour), and ginger. There is a sweetness provided by the mate and calendula. These notes are all over a sweet and savoury vegetal note. Everything is done to a nice balance, neither the ginger, nor the lemon or the mate over power each other. Ginger provides a light bit of warmth but not too much heat and the lemon and mate help to create a sense of alertness and clarity. I am quite enjoying this cup and it would probably be nice cold as well.

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drank Monkey Chops by Bluebird Tea Co.
398 tasting notes

This is a really nice banana flavoured black tea that avoids the traps of
tasting artificial or overly sweet. Throughout the cup it tasted of green fresh bananas, a banana smoothy and a good quality banana muffin. It’s really tasty, but still lets the qualities of it’s base shine through. Thoroughly enjoyable.

A more thorough discussion of this tea is below.

The dry leaf is black and wiry with pieces of fruit and some pieces of calendula petals. It smells lightly fruity, but not of distinct banana, and has an almost chocolate like smell.

I steeped this tea for around 3 minutes.

Brewed tea is a copper colour.

There is a scent of chocolate, a slightly savoury spice like rosemary from the calendula, and dried banana.

At first sip there is a taste close to slightly green fresh bananas, or the flavour of a banana smoothy, or good quality fresh banana chips. It is not artificial tasting and not overly sweet. The tea base is smooth, sweet, with a faintly vegetal undertone melding into a taste of a semi-sweet chocolate. The calendula lends a brightness and a spicy taste to the tea and makes it taste like fresh banana. The tea has just enough tannin to give it some body. It leaves a slightly drying feeling in the mouth but is not overly astringent. The flavour compliments and blends well with the tea but does not overpower it. There is a hint of raisin and biscuit in the base. It tastes a little bit like really nice banana muffins towards the end of the cup.

The re-steep has an indistinct sweet baked good flavour with a hint of floral, and chocolate. Pleasant but not really banana. The base looses its astringency.


205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Red Sour Cherry by Malwa
398 tasting notes

The cherry taste is there in this tea but I think I had too much hibiscus in my scoop, as this cup tastes too sour even with sugar. I can smell cherry, and a sweet berry scent, part of the smell references cream soda and cherry popsicles, but the taste is hidden by the sour aspects of this tea (ie hibiscus, rosehips, red currants). The sweet fruit accents become more apparent in the tea as it cools as a slightly candyish cherry taste ( similar to the notes found in cherry scented green tea), leaving a bright fruit note. However this taste is still buried underneath the sour notes. I will try this tea again after removing some of the hibiscus and try it cold brewed to try to bring out the cherry notes and reduce the sour notes. It is supposed to be a sour cherry tea but as it is this brewing was so sour that this over shadowed all of the other flavours.

Boiling 8 min or more

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
398 tasting notes

I decided to do a comparison between two supermarket earl greys.

Twinings and Ahmad Special Blend.

Cost Twinings between 5.49-6.99 CAD for 100g tin.
Ahmad 6.99 454g box

Dry Leaf
Twinings The bergamot smells more of baked lemon with soft powder floral accent, bop leafs are larger and coarser than Ahmads with a light baked goods smell to leaf.

Ahmad The bergamot is slightly lighter and smells of fresh lemon rind with a floral accent(lavender and rose), and ginger, dry leaf bop ceylon blended with other black teas.

The teas both brew to the colour of maple wood.

Scent of brewed tea

Twinings bergamot(lemon foral) over slightly woody, slightly orange scented black tea smell including rind with a hint of ginger and a cinnamon like scent.

Ahmad strong scent, of malty lemony tea with deeper lemon scent with a hint of ginger, and floral notes.

Taste Twinings Tea is slightly vegetal, with slightly malty tone underneath a citrusy top note. Hint of lavender present, mixed with lemon rind taste, It brews lighter than I remember with less of a rich tea taste. This tin tastes like it is using the same base as Lady Grey.
It is thin bodied with a spicier bergamot. I like the spiciness but I wish there was more citrus. It is a light tea. Relatively smooth and relatively insensitive to steep time. It leaves a spicy floral with hint of citrus aftertaste.

Ahmad This tea has a malty undertone, with hints of red fruit mixed with orange (almost a shirley temple cocktail note), not quite as spicy on the tongue as twinings, with a hint of cooked lemon mixed with orange and rind, rose, and lavender. This tea is more tannic. The tea has more depth than twinings. I would like more spice. It benefits from a shorter steep time as it risks getting bitter and astringent. It leaves a citrus aftertaste.

Both of these teas lack either the rich sweetness of the tea base in the cjay earl grey http://steepster.com/teas/cjay-tea/36148-earl-grey or the bright citrus of the big active tea http://steepster.com/teas/big-active/35256-essence-earl-grey-superior-with-rose-petals.


Wish I could find Ahmad at a local supermarket!


Its kind of funny because the store where I bought this one is near the store where I usually go in to by Indian goods, but I had never been in it. I was planning to buy some Kenyan CTC but unfortunately they only had 1KG bags in stock a lot of tea to buy for someting I’m not sure if I will like anyways.

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