972 Tasting Notes


Hooray, my monthly “press” samples from Yunomi arrived! They’re so generous with their free samples. This month I happened to choose two teas from the same brand independently of one another, and without noticing the connection until I was typing them in the “Notes” box of my order. I’ve been very interested in trying more kukicha teas, and especially karigane, after tasting a couple different ones and loving their mild, sweet flavor. So this was a natural choice for a free sample! The stems have their usual stick-like appearance with mixed deep green and yellow colors. Dry scent is grassy, but in a sweet and creamy way.

The steeped tea has a mild but very sweet aroma. This is so yummy! I noticed that other reviewers steeped this for much longer than I did (2 minutes vs. my 45 seconds) so I’m not sure if I’m doing it wrong… It certainly doesn’t taste like I am! The flavor is light but it feels like it should be, and there’s no lack of taste here. Main flavors are mild, sweet spinach with some grassy freshness. Maybe even a tiny bit of honeydew melon. Overall it’s incredibly sweet and creamy and silky smooth! Delicious!

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Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Honeydew, Mineral, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Nilgiri Blue by The Tao of Tea
972 tasting notes

This sample came from cookies. Another Nilgiri tea to try! The leaves of my sample and much more broken than the picture implies, but they still have that light & feathery Nilgiri look about them. Color is a dark and warm chocolate brown. The leaves smell of dry, sweet hay.

This tea smells and tastes rather generic to me. When I say generic, I mean that it reminds me of unsweetened iced tea that you would get at a restaurant, or Lipton tea bags. It’s not unpleasant to drink, there just isn’t a lot of flavor aside from that plain ol’
“black tea” that I don’t know how to describe. There’s a touch of grassiness perhaps. It’s not bitter at all, and quite smooth, so it has that going for it. Overall, just not enough flavor for me!

Flavors: Grass, Smooth, Tea

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Good morning, Steepster! This is my Yunnan Sourcing black tea of choice for this morning, and it was sent to me by a lovely tea friend. The leaves of this tea are quite beautiful – they’re long and thin and very straight, similar to pine needles. Color is mostly dark grey/brown with about 30% golden tips. Dry scent is sweet honey and malt, om nom nom.

The steeped cup smells malty and somewhat sweet with mild dark fruity notes. Wow, this tastes completely different than I expected. It’s dominated by dark notes of earth, wood, and mineral with a tiny touch of smoke. Definitely not a sweet tea! There is a bit of molasses-like, dark richness but it doesn’t add sweetness here. In the aftertaste I pick up on a hint of dark fruitiness, such as raisin or date. Overall, this is a very manly tea. :P

Flavors: Dates, Earth, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Raisins, Smoke, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

It sounds like a Keemun or a Shou.


cowboy tea

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This was a surprise sample in my swap with Tealizzy! She kindly included two extra teas that were on my wishlist. It’s been a while since I last had the Golden Snail base, but I do remember liking it (and really, it’s a Yunnan, what’s not to like?), so I’m happy to try this one even though I’m not a big chai fan. There are a lot of crushed spices mixed in with the base tea, though I don’t actually see any pieces of vanilla bean. Dry scent is very strong on the cardamon and ginger, which is not a good sign for me.

Happily, the steeped tea smells much milder and sweeter, and I can smell the vanilla and cinnamon now. Oof, the cardamon is strong with this one! A little too strong for me, as I don’t add sugar or milk to my teas. The clove is fairly strong here too, though I don’t mind that as much. I can taste perhaps a tiny bit of vanilla? And it’s a shame, the strong spicing is drowning out the base tea for me, which I know to be quite tasty. Oh well.

Flavors: Cardamon, Clove, Ginger, Spicy, Vanilla

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I had the same problem with the base and I like my chai with milk and sugar, so I thought the milk was drowning it out, but maybe not, based on your review. Interesting!

Cameron B.

Yeah, I’m not a chai person in general but I find the WP ones to be very strongly spiced. Which is probably a good thing for most people, but not for me. Teehee. :P


too bad you didn’t like it! i love strong and spicy chai. Cardamom is also a good sign for me too :P


i didnt like it with milk but a little maple syrup (yes dear) does the trick!

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This is the last tea from the Bluebird group order a couple of months ago. I guess I’ve just never felt in the mood for a lime cola tea, but today is the day! I’ve only had one guayusa tea before, and I didn’t really get a good sense of the base because it had lavender in it… So this should be interesting! The dry leaf is quite beautiful. It has a lovely “herbal” appearance – all pieces of leaves, flower buds, etc. And everything is a lovely muted shade of green/yellow. Dry scent is lime with a bit of cola underneath.

The steeped tea smells a little bit lime-ish, and there’s a certain effervescent aroma and sweetness that suggest cola. Hm! It definitely tastes herbal, and a bit earthy in a good way. I can taste the lime and cola, but they’re both quite mild and they meld together nicely. I’m really enjoying the gentle and sweet herbal flavor of the guayusa/linden, and the lime is a lovely touch. Pretty yummy!

Flavors: Earth, Lime, Smooth, Sweet

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Absolute Spearmint by RiverTea
972 tasting notes

Another one from Roswell Strange. I didn’t look at this tea very closely, so I thought it was a spearmint gunpowder green tea. Imagine my surprise when I opened the bag to make some, and discovered it’s actually a rolled green oolong! In my opinion, that makes it about five times more interesting. Dry scent is mild and sweet spearmint.

The steeped tea has a mild spearmint smell, but I can also smell the oolong underneath. The spearmint is also fairly mild in the taste, which is very nice, as I find that strong spearmint teas remind me of chewing gum. The oolong base contributes and thick and silky mouthfeel and a little bit of “green” flavor. Happily for me, it’s not an overly flower oolong. Pretty tasty!

Flavors: Green, Smooth, Spearmint, Sweet, Thick

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I bet I would like this

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drank Toffee Dream by Cornelia Bean
972 tasting notes

This sample came from Roswell Strange. I once tried a tea from Zen Tea Life that had the same name and looked identical to this one, so I’m going to assume they’re the same tea and it’s from some kind of wholesaler. The white tea leaves are fairly broken up and there are tiny blue flower petals mixed in. Dry scent is mild and sweet caramel.

The steeped tea smells quite caramel and toffee-like with a touch of cream. Hmm, this tea is just okay for me. The caramel and/or toffee flavor is much milder than I expected, and it sort of tastes coconut-y for some reason. There’s also a vegetal flavor from the white tea that reminds me of cucumber, and it doesn’t mesh all that well with the sweet flavoring. It’s also a touch musty. Meh!

Flavors: Caramel, Coconut, Cucumber, Hay, Musty, Sweet

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Yi Mei Ren by Yunnan Sourcing
972 tasting notes

Good morning! Another lovely Yunnan Sourcing tea for me today, I actually got two samples of this one! One was from cookies and one was from my anonymous tea friend. This tea has beautiful leaves. They’re rather large and twisty, almost Taiwanese-looking, and the color is jet black. The dry leaves smell very sweet with fruity and honey notes.

The steeped cup has a sweet smell, but I also detect a sort of caraway/dill aroma along with some roastiness. Yum! This tea definitely has a unique flavor, with a mild rye bread sort of flavor along with caraway and dill seeds. However, there’s also a sweet note present, possibly honey? And there’s a distinct floral note here, though thankfully it doesn’t overpower the other flavors. I wish I were better at identifying floral notes, I’ll just say it’s not overly heady, and it’s somewhat sweet, but not quite as sweet as jasmine. Slightly perfumey but not in an entirely unpleasant way.

Overall, this is definitely a unique tea! Starts out slightly roasty with rye bread and nutty notes, but ends up quite floral with some honey accents. Very yummy! :)

Edit: As it cools, there’s more honey! Om nom nom…

Flavors: Baked Bread, Dill, Floral, Honey, Nuts, Roasted, Rye, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Miss Roswell Strange was nice enough to send me a sample of this and the Green Tortoise version. She works at a grocery store and they carry David Rio chai mixes. I’ve tried the Maple Moose flavor before and liked it a lot, though I will admit that these mixes are very sweet. However, I have a huge sweet tooth so I like sugary drinks sometimes. So I’m happy I get to try a couple more flavors! This powder is a pale reddish-brown color and it smells sweet and vanilla-y with some spice. I used the whole sample (somewhere around 2 tablespoons I think?) in 8 ounces of hot vanilla soy milk. Double vanilla!

Mm, so thick and creamy and decadent! Sometimes it’s nice to have a sweet and super rich beverage, although I suppose that’s why so many people go to Starbucks. I’m not one of those people, so this is a nice treat for me! It’s very vanilla due to the soy milk, and I love vanilla. The spicing is present but still mild enough that it doesn’t overpower the vanilla flavor. I would say there’s definitely cinnamon and clove, possibly anise? Overall, yums! :) I would totally keep some of this around for a treat every once in a while. And I bet mixing this half-and-half with the maple would be amazing!

Flavors: Anise, Cinnamon, Clove, Spices, Sweet, Vanilla

6 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Mmm… vanilla soy milk with this sounds yum!

Cameron B.

That’s generally all I ever have for “milk”. :P


I generally have 2% or 1% moo-milk but when I want it in tea I usually want that creamy texture so I have cream or half-and-half. Soy milk sounds like a less fat filled option. :)

Cameron B.

I’m not a fan of actual cow’s milk so I generally only use it in baking and such.

Roswell Strange

I like having these two around as well because I can get Tre to drink them; to him it’s like drinking fancy hot chocolate. Plus, part of the sale price goes to animals! :)

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Last Camellia Sinensis sample! Thanks again to Roswell Strange for sending these my way. This one… I’m hesitant to try. It has a lot of coconut shreds in it, and I can already smell the soapiness even through the bag. Oh well, I will try it anyway! This tea is a mixture of small black tea leaves, coconut shreds, and some kind of dehydrated fruit chunks that I’m going to assume are pineapple. Dry scent is pretty much just coconut and soap.

The steeped tea also has a coconut/soap aroma. Honestly, the taste isn’t terrible, but there is a noticeable soap flavor that makes this hard for me to drink. Other than that, it’s a nice, creamy, mildly flavored coconut black tea with some pineapple in it. I’d imagine this one is quite tasty without the older coconut in it. Withholding rating.

Flavors: Coconut, Creamy, Soap

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Hello, my name is Cameron. I’m 25 years old and currently living in New York state with my lovely boyfriend (a software architect). I am currently not employed, which leaves plenty of time for cooking and tea-drinking! I am a staunch lover of pugs and other squishy-face dogs, although sadly I do not currently have one. :(

I originally got into tea a couple of years ago. My sister introduced me to Teavana (there was a store in the nearby mall) and I was hooked. I have just started to drink tea again and I am very grateful to have found this community where there are so many with experience and wisdom to share!

I am a shameless Western steeper!

I love swaps! If you see something in my cupboard that you’d like to try, shoot me a private message and we’ll work something out!

My general tea info:

Taiwanese Blacks
Yunnans (esp. Pure Bud)
Lightly Roasted Oolongs
Japanese Greens
Most “Dessert” Flavors (caramel, toffee, butterscotch, cake, cookie, etc.)

Favorite Companies:
Capital Tea Limited
Yunnan Sourcing

Not A Fan
High Mountain Oolong
Overly Floral (esp. Rose)
Strong Licorice Root
Rose Hip
Strong Bergamot

Rating Scale:

90-100: Spectacular, a staple
80-89: Delicious, might buy again
70-79: Pretty good, won’t repurchase
60-69: Just “okay”
00-59: Undrinkable!


Saratoga Springs, New York

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