84 Tasting Notes


I tried this tea again with a longer steep time (~ 1 minute) and less milk (75% water, 25% milk). I’m still getting tree bark, but I think the candy taste is more throat lozenge. …It’s like menthol without the cold effect. I think this might be the note that throws people off, but I’m starting to appreciate it now that I’m able to pick apart the complexity.

…Considering how much I’m enjoying the tree bark taste, I think I may want to research whether poplar and aspen can be used as tea…

Edit: Aspen bark and leaves can be used as a tisane to treat urinary tract infection, and poplar inner bark tea can be used as a sedative/inflammation reducer. It looks like salicin plays a part in these effects.

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I’ve only tried a few rooibos teas, and none have really been my fancy. I got this alongside a host of other Equal Exchange teas at my local co-op (they had a Fair Trade Month sale, so they had tons of EE in store. Score!). I figure that I need to expand my tea tastes if I’m ever to become a tea snob (with my degrees, I’m not going to have the money for that, but I can dream, right?).

Since I had such bad experiences with rooibos blends in the past, I figured this rooibos would be a good place to start. Pure, simple, organic rooibos is the only ingredient here. I steeped for about 30 seconds, half a cup of tea to half a cup of milk. Yeah, I’m a wimp, I know, but I figure I can work up to a properly steeped cup.

I actually like this. I think I’m going to have to give the taste a bit of time to grow on me, but I can do it. I can’t exactly put my finger on what the taste reminds me of; it’s something like a candy, a yeast (Kluveromyces?), and bark from a poplar tree (perhaps Populus tremuloides?) put together.

Please don’t ask about why I know what tree bark tastes like. I lived in Idaho, it was rough there.

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I love Equal Exchange teas. Sure, they’re bagged, but the taste is so well-balanced and natural. I first tried the Darjeeling and chai pyramid bags around 2009. Excuse the non-tea review, but the box is adorable. It’s the kind of box that you’d want to reuse as a box for paperclips/hairpins/cotton balls/sewing scraps/anything else that can fit in there. I used my boxes until they kind of died (and then recycled them).

Anyway, EE does Darjeeling well. The leaves they use really live up to the “champagne of tea” moniker. Sourced from small tea gardens in Northeast India, they work off of a sustainable fair trade business model which makes this tea that much nicer. I admit that I’ve only had a few other darjeelings, but there definitely is a difference for me. This tea has a warm taste that’s not bitter, even if I oversteep. However, the taste is also delicate and smooth. It’s really good with milk, but I prefer no sweetener.

Honestly, this is my Darjeeling. I’m not going to accept any other substitutes, even if it’s the most heralded Darjeeling, picked by magical winged kittens on the most auspicious day of the year in the most sacred of mountain promontories. It’s that good.

(PS~ I’m not sure if this allowed on Steepster, but the tea.coop site has a great video of Darjeeling being made by the Potong tea garden. EE will donate 1 tea bush to Potong for every view in October. More tea bushes = more nom!)


LOL magical winged kittens! :P

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drank Perfect Peach by Bigelow
84 tasting notes

So on the scale of world importance, finishing a video game really isn’t high up there. That is, unless it’s Persona 3, one of the most depressing and mind-wrenching fake-dating-sim fake-rpg fake-SMT games ever churned out by the second-most-evil video game company ever (that would be Atlus; I claim that Nitro+Chiral is number one, even though I haven’t played any games they’ve produced).

Now I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with Perfect Peach (or tea at all). The truth is that Perfect Peach is perfectly suited for for P3. At least, for me it is. Brew it up strong in a mason jar and add some milk! A nice, soothing overtone of peach to comfort all your emoness over social links, a nice hint of lemon to perk you up through all the stairs you have to climb in Tartarus, and an underlying artificial flavor to remind you that the end is going to be so depressing that you’ll have to take a time out from life to recooperate.

You know what’s really sad, barring the end of the world that was supposed to happen in 2010? The fact that I can’t save the world because my sister stole the game and console from me and is not letting me play it because she said it was a stupid game and is playing it herself now. I mean, I was ~ 98.5% of the way through, I had gotten like 86% of the personae, and I had even prepared to drink a whole box of Perfect Peach in the last push to the end. …Now I just have this tea to console myself while I reassess whether I should still be playing video games at my age.

….At least the tea is tasty.


this sounds delish!! and at my age… I do whatever I want :P

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I’m really sorry for not being so active lately — my tea budget has dried up and I’ve been drinking tea more for the caffeine than for flavor nowadays.

Anyway, I’ve also noticed that I like to put milk in everything I can — especially oolongs. This will probably annoy some people here on Steepster, but really, it brings out the flavor, especially for this tea. I bought this tea as a little stocking stuffer for my sister about two years back, so it’s old and probably not as tasty as getting a fresh bag. However, straight from the box, it had a flowery, warm scent which was similar when brewing. The taste without milk was slightly malty, round, and warm. There were some nice middle notes of what I can only describe as “Asteraceae-like,” which probably means that it was the safflower. With milk, it was easier to taste the warm oolong and sweet peach notes.

I liked this tea, especially with milk. …I think I should revisit it, though, with a fresher sample…

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I have to get up early in the mornings nowadays, so I’ve been making a 4-cup pot of coffee and downing it all to be able to get through the day. I know I’m ruining my morning tea habit and ingesting far too much caffeine to be healthy, but I’m actually kind of happy to be using all the old coffee that’s clogging up my tea stash.

This is the perfect tea for days when I drink too much coffee. It’s well-built and strong, but easy to mix with milk (anywhere from 10-50% milk), so it’s like cutting the caffeine and adding Vitamin D. The best of all worlds! Magnesium from the coffee, and calcium/fat/riboflavin from the tea-milk! I would totally overdose on this tea when I’m under the weather. It’s especially good with a little bit of honey.

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From what I’ve read here on Steepster, everyone has an opinion on lapsang souchong. Being the not-so-gourment Steepsterite, I had no idea what that was. Luckily, the local co-op sells RTOP loose leaf tea in bulk, so it was really easy to try this tea out. I got about 2 cups-worth of leaves and prepared myself.

Despite a lot of people not liking the taste of lapsang souchong, I find this specific LS pretty enchanting. Now, I haven’t had any others, and I’m sure the quality and taste differ with each blend, but I’m happy with this. It’s smoky, strong, well-built, and aromatic. I also like that it can be watered down without affecting the quality — just add a bit more water if it’s too strong. I think that I would want to serve this at a Steampunk tea party, if those exist.

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drank Genmaicha by Ujinotsuyu
84 tasting notes

My family received a 400g bag of this tea (along with a gigantic bottle of honey and a big box of ramen) from our pastor when he decided to retire and leave the God-forsaken town of Nome, Alaska.

Anyway, I’ve had trouble keeping this tea in the bag. The bag itself is really not that sturdy, so I definitely suggest putting the contents into another tin or jar for storage.

The tea itself is really nice — when brewed accordingly to directions, it’s nice and balanced, with a light popcorn/popped rice taste over a warm green tea base. I’ve had Takaokaya’s genmaicha before, and I like this one more. It’s toasty and warm, but there’s no powdery taste. I’m having it with rasmalai and oatmeal, and it sounds weird to pair it with those, but it works.

I like to pull this tea out when it’s cold and snowing and icy and windy, which is the normal Nome weather. It’s like I associate this tea with Nome. …I wish I didn’t do this. Nome is horrible, really. If you can take one thing away from this review, it’s that you should never go to Nome.

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Calochortus likes plants and knitting and bacteria. She doesn’t have a very large tea allowance, so expect a lot of grocery store/local/home-grown/bagged teas. She’s grown up with tea, as it is part of (half of) her culture.

Her favorite teas are black and usually fruity or vanilla-y. She likes to put milk in her tea, too, but she’s trying to widen her palette with green teas and rooibos. She finds that tea leaves are great for composting, too.


The fictional state of Washidamont (Eastern WA, Northern ID, and Western MT)



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