635 Tasting Notes

drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
635 tasting notes

I bought this tea on my mini-moon in NYC and the matching Sablés au Thé on the actual honeymoon à Paris. I’ve been meaning to sit down and enjoy these two together for a while now. I finally decided enough is enough; no more waiting! Today is the day to try them.

The tea is strawberry, rhubarb, vanilla, cream, and flowers. The tea biscuits are butter, vanilla, and that something extra special from the Marco Polo tea infusion. They taste a lot like Scottish shortbread, except better! Way better. Much more flavorful. Leave it to the French to make delicious tea and cookies.

Why did I wait so long to enjoy you, oh glorious tea? This is exactly what I needed after an extremely stressful day. Sometimes I wonder why I’m alive. At least I have tea. Perhaps I can find refuge in several more cups.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I’m sorry the day was so rough and led you to wonder why you’re here. For what it’s worth, I enjoy reading your reviews and am glad that your tea helped ground you today.


sometimes tea is the thing keeping me sane as well…. :)

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The dry leaf aroma is slightly chemically, just like the Strawberry Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha. But just like that one, I’m not overly concerned because I expect it to dissipate soon. Besides that, the aroma is toasted rice and peanut-y goodness. Yum!

With the first sip, I literally thought, “WHOA!” This is very flavorful! I’d like to say it’s as close to liquid peanut butter as tea can get, but I have to agree with Awkward Soul that this is more peanut than peanut butter. Regardless, this is truly delicious! The roasty toastiness of the genmaicha is a perfect base for the nuttiness of the peanuts. (Yes, I know peanuts are actually legumes; but for now, I’m going to call them nuts). There’s even a little saltiness that really amps up the yumminess!

This is an interesting blend. If I’m being 100% honest, I’d say this doesn’t taste like marshmallow treats or peanut butter, which is fairly odd since I definitely tasted marshmallow treats in Frank’s other iterations. The most apt description of this one is peanut genmaicha. Even if it doesn’t entirely live up to everything its name promises, I can definitely recommend this blend to anyone who enjoys genmaicha because on that front, it is super yummy!

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Sipdown #20

The dry leaf aroma is pretty weird. Maybe it’s the lemongrass? I don’t know. But if someone gave it to me in a blind smell test, I wouldn’t guess that it’s tea. I’d probably guess disinfectant. Yikes! Luckily, the brewed tea aroma is a lot more palatable and recognizable as tea. It actually smells quite lovely now.

Mmmm, this is yummy! Chamomile and citrus both come across immediately in the aroma and taste. But then the aftertaste creeps in and that strange disinfectant quality returns. What is that? It’s ruining what would otherwise be a very lovely cuppa indeed.

The more I sip, the more tolerable it is. I was so curious I actually went to the Mighty Leaf website to read the ingredient list. I was just thinking, “You know, a bit of mint in this and it would be even better!” when lo and behold, this already has spearmint in it! Maybe that’s the weirdness in this cup. I’m not usually a spearmint fan. But at the same time, this odd taste seems foreign. I know what spearmint tastes like. This is…something different. Something unknown.

Oh well, I give up. Whatever it is, this isn’t my favorite chamomile citrus nighttime blend. Tea Forte’s Chamomile Citron wins that prize. I don’t think I’ll seek this one out again, but I probably wouldn’t turn my nose up at it either if it was offered to me. All in all, it’s just okay. Although any time I use the word “tolerable” to describe a tea, it makes me wonder why I’m drinking it. Tea should be more than tolerable.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank African Solstice by Tea Forte
635 tasting notes

Sipdown #21

Ewwww, I am not a red rooibos fan. This is medicinal and gross. I’m sure if you like rooibos, this is probably just fine. But this is not my tea at all. Blech. Under 10 and down the drain it goes. :/

And with that, I’ve finished the Tea Forte sampler from my dad before it expired! He only gave it to me two years ago. ;) I got to try a lot of different teas, and I feel confident that I know what my favorite is. And the winner is…drumroll please…a tie between Black Currant and Chamomile Citron! Those were my definite favorites by far. And I have to say, all the teas held up very well considering how long they were shelved. Thumbs up for Tea Forte’s sampler pack!

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

I’m glad to know I’m not the only one that lets teas sit on the shelf for that long. XD


hahaha a rating of five.


@teataku, You’re not alone! I never mean to let them sit that long, but it happens.

@keychange, Yeaaaaah, I didn’t find this even remotely drinkable. LOL!

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Sipdown #22

Mmm, this is a great jasmine bagged tea! I picked this up at work in an underground cafeteria I didn’t know existed. Luckily, I had a co-worker who was kind enough to show me the way. I never would have found that place on my own! But I digress.

This is surprisingly good. The leaves in the bag looked high quality with lots of large, unbroken pieces that plumped up nicely during steeping. The re-steep was delicious too. And it’s organic! Can’t ask for more than that. :)

It’s nice to know I have such a great tea option while at work. I made this at home though, so I was able to steep the tea at just the right temperature. It’s not at all bitter, but I would imagine it would be if I had used boiling water. Brew this one carefully and you’ll enjoy a lovely cuppa!

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Raspberry Nectar by Tea Forte
635 tasting notes

Sipdown #23

My husband stole my other sample of this one, so I have one shot to get this right. The dry leaf aroma is super raspberry! I know lots of people enjoy this iced, but I’m going to drink it hot because that’s how I enjoy tea 95% of the time. The brewed tea aroma is very sweet and intense. Wow, this brews up dark!

First sip…the flavor is tart and sweet. Hibiscus and raspberry are the predominant flavors. There’s definitely some other things going on in here too: apple, blackberry, and maybe a tiny bit of orange. But it’s primarily hibiscus and raspberry, which I guess makes this tea a success for what it set out to be! As far as a success at becoming one of my preferred teas, I’m not so sure. It’s okay. I can definitely drink it. But it is quite sour. I wouldn’t seek it out again. I suppose I’m not mad now that my husband stole the other teabag.

Well, I’m one more tea closer to my goal! I decided I’m going to finish out this sipdown extravaganza even though the goal won’t be quite as meaningful anymore. I’m not a quitter, and I feel like starting over with a new series of numbers is giving up. So, I will persevere! I’m almost finished anyhow. :)

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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I’m in a lot of trouble guys. My cupboard is back over 200 different teas. O_O I’m definitely going to have to start a new sipdown extravaganza. I think I only made it to #24 on the last one before insanity took over. *Sigh.

ANYHOO…I have been neglecting my tea stash a lot lately. Oh, it’s been growing. But I haven’t been drinking it. LOL! So even though I got home super late tonight, I’m exhausted, and all I want to do is wash my face and crawl into bed, I am going to drink some tea damn it!

The dry leaf aroma is a little wonky. It’s strongly chemical smelling. I’ve had this happen before with 52teas’ blends, and I find that the chemical aroma dissipates if left alone for a week or two. So, I’m not overly concerned at the moment. I think it’ll calm down soon.

In my opinion, 52teas has been kind of chintzy on the toasted rice in their genmaicha blends in the past. Well, that is NOT the case with this one! It is chock full of toasted rice and popped kernels, along with plenty of marshmallow root bits and a few freeze-dried strawberry pieces. The brewed tea aroma is very buttery and toasty. It smells like the perfect genmaicha!

I steeped this one at a lower temp than usual. I think I generally steep greens at 185°. This one probably could have benefited from the extra 10 degrees. It is very light on flavor while the tea is in my mouth. But then, BAM! Flavor socks me in the mouth in the aftertaste! It’s toasty and sweet and definitely strongly strawberry. I’m getting a lovely roasted flavor from the base, as well as a recognizable marshmallow treat yum factor. It’s seriously like biting into a warm, gooey Rice Krispies treat! Then the strawberry kicks in and pulls the whole flavor profile together.

This is delicious! Mouthwateringly good. I am thoroughly enjoying this one and very glad that I picked up a pouch. Suuuuper de-lish!

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Sipdown extravaganza!

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DISCLAIMER: Cussing ahead.

My husband just got Dark Souls II. So you know what that means…It’s oolong time!! I first discovered green oolongs when my husband was playing Dark Souls. I’d drink tea and blog about it while watching him play. Those were good times. To this day, whenever I smell or taste oolong, it reminds me of my husband and Dark Souls. So in commemoration of those beloved times, I shall drink oolong again as he embarks on his new journey in Drangleic.

Upon hearing an all-too-familiar sound, I glance up to see “YOU DIED” flash across the screen and my husband say, “F***ing thing! I was so careful too.” LOL! The fun has begun! After dying the second time, a mere 30 seconds later, he says, “Wow. That was bullshit. Very well game. Very well.” Cliffs are my husband’s bane. “Well, this is slightly embarrassing,” he laughs upon falling to his doom. “I haven’t even fought anyone yet.”

Finally, he reaches the Emerald Herald and has the chance to level up. At the level up screen, he pauses the cursor over VGR and END and says, “Viagra. Endurance. Gonna’ need both of these.” Then he glances sideways at me and pauses for a reaction. LOL! He’s so crazy. I swear, he could be on his own reality TV show because he’s so entertaining. In any event, the tea is cool enough to drink now!

This is a lighter, more buttery, less floral oolong than the oolongs I usually drink. It’s good! My mouth waters in between sips, prompting me to drink more. I’m already at the bottom of the cup, so I’m off to make a second infusion for 2.5 minutes. The leaves are fully open, large, green, unbroken leaves, some even still attached to 2-inch long stems. I don’t know how they rolled such a giant, sturdy stem into those tiny little balls that came out of the package. Surprisingly, this cup isn’t more flavorful than the first, as is usually the case with oolongs. I definitely liked that first cup better. I’m going to steep the third cup for a full 5 minutes because it’s getting late and it will likely be my last this evening.

By the way, for anyone who’s interested, video game javelinas are strong as shit. The blood stains on the ground confirm it. Death is a common occurrence in the Dark Souls games. To put this into perspective, there have been 1,905,148 deaths worldwide since this game was released less than 24 hours ago.

Back to the tea. This third cup tastes a little metallic, like licking a penny. Is this what people call mineral notes? It’s not bad, but I don’t think I’m a fan of minerals. I prefer buttery, vegetal, and floral notes. Overall, this is a delicious tea. It’s definitely not like the other oolongs I’ve had, so that’s exciting. I enjoy trying new things. Big thanks to Teavivre for providing this free sample! Y’all are always so generous. There were a surprisingly large number of samples in that deceivingly small box. ;)

I’ll leave you with my husband’s last comment as he waltzed up to the first boss in the game. It was a tree giant with a hole where its face should have been. My husband said, “It’s an asshole monster. He’s gonna’ shit all over me.” Then he proceeded to rape it. Victory achieved on his first try.

Boiling 1 min, 30 sec


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drank Cider Guayusa by Butiki Teas
635 tasting notes

I believe I have two guayusa teas in my cupboard right now: this one and The Killer’s Vanilla (also by Butiki). Recently, my husband asked for something really caffeinated. I thought guayusa would do the trick, so I gave him both aforementioned blends to smell the dry aroma. He assertively chose this one. He’s so right. This tea is just so much better than The Killer’s Vanilla (IMO obviously). This tea is apple-y and yummy and not too earthy from the base. Don’t be afraid to overleaf it as it ages. I used 1.5 tsp but it could have benefited from a little extra since it’s now over a year old.

On a completely different and random note…have any of you seen a chiropractor for wellness care?

I had two adjustments in February and my third appointment is later today. I don’t know how I feel about it. There appears to be very little scientific evidence to prove its benefits in wellness care. And by very little, I mean virtually none. I asked her to send me some, and all her links were about benefits for people with back or neck pain. The one article she sent me that wasn’t for back pain made completely unfounded statements based on case studies involving one patient that ultimately amount to anecdotal “potential impacts.” I feel like the entire idea of keeping your spine perfectly aligned when you’re only being adjusted once a month is absurd. I feel and hear my back pop all the time. How much of a benefit am I really getting if my spine is perfectly aligned for only an hour? I don’t know. I haven’t made up my mind yet, but I think I’m leaning towards not continuing it. It’s hard to justify the cost when I don’t see an apparent value in it. I also strongly, wholeheartedly disagree with some of the stuff my chiropractor told me (in regards to lifestyle, exercise, and nutrition choices). I’m really a very healthy person. Much healthier than the average American. I’m not saying I don’t have anywhere to improve, but some of her suggestions were just plain wrong from my research and experience.

Oh great, and now I just Googled one of the supplements she advised that I take and it turns out it can decrease the effect of antibiotics, which might explain why I’m STILL recovering from Strep throat after being on them for 6 days. Sigh. That’s not her fault, but it does kind of feel like the last nail in the coffin. Does anyone have any chiropractor stories to tell me?

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

Yeah, I don’t know. I haven’t gone to a chiropractor before because I’m skeptical. I’ve heard mixed opinions about it by those who have gone to one. I think it depends on the chiropractor. My grandma apparently found a good one who does really subtle adjustments, but then again, I’ve heard stories from others who claim it’s made their problems worse.


Whoa, when’d you change your name? I only recognize your icon. (Thanks for the story BTW).


It’s true there is very little scientific evidence, and as with all those things I say, ‘Do it if it helps.’ Generally, though, most people I’ve known to praise the effects have felt said effects right from the start. My friend had an experience similar to yours very recently and decided to call it quits after the third appointment.

Butiki Teas

I used to go to a chiropractor a few times a week. Had to quit going after insurance changed. I think it wildly depends on the chiropractor that you get. I was lucky enough to have an amazing chiropractor who was very well known and worked for a major football team (I don’t remember which team since I know nothing about football). He had a few legit medical degrees and was currently working on a neurology degree. He was absolutely amazing. I’ve been in an insane amount of car accidents and my back and neck are just wrecked as well as my spine alignment. After a month, my spine was straightened in a resting position, I no longer needed to crack my back, and I just felt so much better. I really think you need to go a lot at first to really see the full effects. I definitely felt amazingly better when leaving the office at first but would start to feel pain again the next day. The doctor said that is because the muscles aren’t there to support the alignment but after following the exercises he gave me and going regularly, I noticed that my spine was much more aligned and the pain stopped. I don’t know if going to the chiropractor really has any benefit if you already feel good.


I had the equivalent of a chiropratic treatment when I was a baby because for some reason I would only crawl backwards when I learned to crawl. According to my mom it was because I had not gone through all of the natural adjustments you go through when going through the birth canal as I was a C-section baby. Afterwards I did crawl forwards, so I guess it worked:)

I have seen chiropractors for other issues,but lately I start with massage and accupunture/acupressure first as I have the most success with it when I have back issues.


I would rather do massage but $90 out of pocket vs $15 out of pocket… I’m going to see a chiro. I have a really good one I see who recommends exercises and stretches and does some acupressure/assisted stretching. I have a pretty good one I see when the really good one isn’t available who does muscle release stuff.

If they suggest stretches/exercises, do them gently. I’ve been doing stretches and strengthening for my lower back for a couple years regularly, and am finally mostly pain free. I spent 10+ years in pain because I didn’t bother… Boy do I regret that!

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Thanks to Sil for this one! I think I may have diluted it a little too much. It’s been so long since I made matcha, I forgot how to do it! :P I guess two scoops in one cup of water isn’t the right ratio.

I’m mostly getting a watery matcha flavor. I can’t say there’s any distinctive crème brulée flavoring going on in this cup (although “distinctive” is the flavoring level). It’s maybe a little sweeter than unflavored matcha. No cream. No custard. No real vanilla or caramelized sugar to speak of either.

Okay, so I just made another batch with more rounded scoops and a little less water. This one is definitely thicker and stouter. However, I’m still getting grassy matcha as the primary flavor. Perhaps custard cream and burnt sugar is a little too hard to pull off in tea form. This is good, but not what I was expecting. As a crème brulée matcha, it leaves something to be desired.

175 °F / 79 °C

yeah i didn’t really get creme brulee out of this one either.


It’s a shame. So much potential. Oh well. It’s still good, high quality matcha! I can enjoy it on that level at least.

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Entering the sweet blissful world of tea aromas!

Having discovered this website at the end of July 2011, I’m so excited to share my tea adventures with all of you! I grew up with my grandmother serving Twining’s English Breakfast with cream and sugar.

But on a trip to Seattle in 2010, I stumbled into a Chinese teashop and tried my first oolong tea. I was forever changed! I embarked on a startling new love for green and white teas.

With a world of teas to discover, I was inspired to keep a tea journal to record my thoughts and new favorites. Let’s get brewing!

My ratings are completely subjective and 100% my opinion. All ratings are given in relation to each other (ie. teas are rated in the order of my enjoyment of them). Therefore, my ratings will constantly change as I try more teas.

I love swapping!!! If you see something in my cupboard you’d like to try, just send me a message. If you’d like to trade, anything on my shopping list will do or feel free to send something else entirely. I’m willing to try almost anything (although I’m not really a fan of honeybush, red rooibos, pu’erh, Lapsang Souchong, & banana-flavored teas).


Maryland, USA

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