635 Tasting Notes


Sipdown…oh, sweet friend. It pains me to see you go. I will miss your maple creamy loveliness always.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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This sample was much better than the Maple Pecan. I used even less water and dumped all the tea from the T-sac into my strainer. This revealed there was indeed very little tea in the sample. And some tea dust as well, which resulted in a gritty last sip.

Both the dry leaves and the brewed tea smelled like blueberry. The taste was blueberry, an essence of creaminess, and still a little watery (but much less so than the first sample). I enjoyed this, but again I probably won’t be buying a full bag. Honestly, I’m just really disappointed in how small these samples were. I mean, they only cost $1 for both. But does that mean I should get only about 1-2 grams of tea?

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This is my first of two samples from Design a Tea. Ever since my fiancé bought this delicious maple pecan granola, I’ve had my mind fixed on the idea that it would make a fantastic flavored tea! I submitted the idea to 52teas and then came across Design a Tea’s custom blends. The closest I could get was subtracting the granola.

The dry tea definitely smelled like maple. The sample is only enough for one infusion and came in a T-sac. I hate T-sacs. They don’t let the tea leaves float around enough to let the flavor release. Of course, I didn’t come to this realization until it was too late.

The brewed tea still smelled like maple, but the taste was pretty lackluster. It was watery. I anticipated this when I saw how little leaf was in the sample, so I used about half as much water as I normally would. But I guess it was still too much.

As for the pecan, there might have been traces of it in there. But not enough that made me 100% sure I could actually taste it and that I wasn’t just imagining it. Needless to say, I won’t be buying a full bag of this. But at least I know maple and pecan is a good combo, so I’ll hold out hope that 52teas will blend it. Now, on to the next!

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Dylan Oxford

Depending on what you’re looking for, you should check out Ovation Teas custom blending. It is definitely a different approach than Design A Tea, but it’s got a lot more options. Unfortunately, Maple doesn’t appear to be one of their flavorings… but it might be worth emailing them to ask.


Cool, thanks for the tip! I’ll definitely check it out. :)

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drank Decaf Muscat by Lupicia
635 tasting notes

This was a free sample with my latest purchase. I also received a sample of regular Muscat, which I just drank. So, now I’m going to compare the caffeinated version to the decaffeinated version.

The dry leaf aromas are identical: sweet, sugary, grape fruit snacks. The brewed tea, however, is noticeably different. The muscat flavor is much more downplayed and less sweet in the decaf version. It’s still delicious, but not nearly as flavorful or robust.

I might actually enjoy the caffeinated version more even though I’m not a huge grape fan. There’s just something about this subtler flavoring that isn’t quite to my liking. It reminds me that this is a flavored tea, whereas the other one was more natural. If you really enjoy grape, then you’re probably going to want to go with the caffeinated version. But honestly, both are great.

They’re both well-balanced, expertly blended, and very smooth. It’s basically a toss-up, but I’m going to rate the decaf one point lower. Also I agree with what Bonnie said here; the reviews on this tea are lower than they should be. So, don’t be misled. This is a great tea!

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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drank Muscat by Lupicia
635 tasting notes

Sipdown…I’m surprised how good this tea is. The dry leaves smell exactly like sugary grape fruit snacks. But the brewed tea is a wonderful balance of smooth black tea and natural grape flavoring. It doesn’t taste artificial or like grape gummy snacks.

Second infusion is much weaker than the first, but I also didn’t increase the steeping time by much. It’s still enjoyable though. I drank this straight with just a little bit of sweetener, no milk. There’s no astringency or bitterness. It’s a lovely smooth cuppa, so I’m raising the rating from 48 to 64.

Overall, it’s really quite good, if I liked grape. Grape to me is okay. So, I won’t be replenshing this now that it’s gone. But if you love grape and want a well-balanced, authentic grape tea, try this one out! You may be surprised by how good it is too.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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drank Earl Grey by Tazo
635 tasting notes

The steep time is more or less correct. I didn’t actually time it as I was at work, but I think 5 minutes is a safe bet. Also, this is the bagged version.

I thought I had tried this before, but I can’t seem to locate a tasting note on it. The dry leaf aroma was very strong and heavily laced with bergamot. It definitley conjured up an image of Paris, which I always reminisce about when drinking Earl Greys.

The taste is okay. As others have mentioned, it’s definitely not the best Earl Grey I’ve ever had. But it’s probably not the worst either. Or come to think of it, maybe it is the worst simply because I haven’t had much to complain about in prior Earl Grey experiences. (EDIT: I take that back. Samovar’s Earl Grey was disgusting and definitely the worst by far!)

Nonetheless, this is still very drinkable. I added a little bit of sweetener to try and cut the bitterness. It helped a bit, but the bitterness is still there. It’s an interesting bitterness because it’s clearly not coming from the tea, but from the bergamot itself. How strange.

Anyway, I probably wouldn’t be inclined to stock up on this stuff. The bergamot flavoring is a little flaky and bitter, but overall it’s not a bad tea. I’d rather have this than no tea at all. :)

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

Every time I read a review of this tea I can’t figure it out. I have tried this 3 or 4 times at starbucks and have never been able to detect the bergamot. I don’t know maybe they sell so little of it here that it is always stale.


I haven’t tried this at Starbucks. Maybe it’s the way the brew it that makes the flavor not quite right. I bought my teabag from the coffee cart lady at my work, so I was able to control the infusion.

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The dry leaves smell AMAZING!!! Fruity and delicious! The first scent I can discern is pineapple, quickly followed by mango and then strawberry. Even Mr. Frodo (my kitty) jumped up next to me to stick his nose near the bag and sniff.

The steeping instructions recommended 4-5 minutes, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. So, I brewed the first cup at 182 degrees for 2 minutes. The aroma of the brewed tea is much more subdued than the dry leaves. It smells like green tea first followed by subtle hints of mango. I’m really excited to try this!

Ah, the first sip is light and sweet. I think it probably could have been steeped for 4 minutes and still not turn bitter. The fruit flavor is a subtle, sweet essence of what it could be. I’ll definitely steep the second cup longer. Still, this fruit combination blends together nicely. Pineapple is definitely the most prominent flavor. The green tea is not very green, nor is it grassy. Indeed, it doesn’t have much flavor of its own at all. Once the cup cools completely, I can detect the flavor of the marigold petals. Not sure about globe amaranth but, then again, I don’t know what globe amaranth tastes like.

I steeped the second cup for a full 6 minutes at 185 degrees. Unfortunately, it’s more or less the same as the first cup. The dry leaves smell way too amazing to yield such a lackluster brew. I’ll hold off rating it for now and plan to double the leaf amount next time.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Mr. Frodo!!! Adorable! My family has a bulldog called Samwise, and used to have three doggos called Legolas, Gandalf and Galadriel. : ) My Sencha is the odd one!

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drank Milk & Cookies by 52teas
635 tasting notes

I’m finishing up this sample from the 12 Teas of Christmas 2011 box.

I took my first small sip of this and paused to let the flavors melt on my tongue. Yum, this has a very different black tea base than the Cherry Joy Black Tea from Ovation I just had. And then POW!!! The aftertaste was like someone shoved a warm doughy chocolate chip cookie hot from the oven directly into my mouth!! WOW!! This is insane!!

Oh man, this is to die for amazing. I don’t know why I didn’t have this experience the first go around in December. Maybe it’s because I had tried it first without additions. This time I added milk and a pinch of Truvia right away. But this is exquisite now. Truly, it tastes exactly like chocolate chip cookies!!! AHHH!! And now there’s no more!! *Begins wailing in despair.

At least I get to experience this one last time. Make some more chocolate chip cookie tea, Frank!! Or how about chocolate chip pancake tea? Or chocolate chip scone tea? Or chocolate chip anything tea!! Oh, how will I survive without this?! Upping the rating from 80 to 97. This tea is perfection. Minus three points for being extinct. :P

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How funny that LiberTEAS and I both ordered this tea at the same time, hahaha! This wasn’t planned, I swear. I guess there was just something alluring about it we couldn’t resist. :)

The dry leaves smell exactly like the description. I can discern all three ingredients individually: cherries, coconut, and almond. The steeping instructions recommend 5 to 6 minutes, which is a little longer than I usually steep my black teas (with the exception of Chai). But I figured since this is my first experience with this tea, I’ll follow the instructions and then play around with it later.

Boy, am I glad I did too! At first, the brewed tea didn’t smell anything like the dry blend. All I could get out of the aroma was black tea…how strange. But then as I let the tea cool to a drinkable temperature, the aroma shifted back and all three flavorings made themselves known. This smells scrumptious!

First sip, it is largely coconut, as LiberTEAS mentioned. But I am getting almond next. It’s a subtle, slightly sweet almond flavor. It actually reminds me of Almond Joys!! Maybe that’s where the name came from? Cherry Joy, hmmm, that didn’t occur to me before I bought it. Anyway, the cherry is the lightest flavor of the three. You have to let the flavors sift in your mouth and then wend your way through them to get to the cherry. I do wish the cherry were a bit stronger, but this tea is still remarkably delicious! Much more dessert-like than I was anticipating.

The tail end of the sip has an inclination to go slightly bitter. Mind you, I’m very sensitive to bitterness, so this probably wouldn’t be noticeable to other people. I overcorrected by adding too much milk, and now it’s kind of squashed the other flavors. But with a pinch of Truvia, the flavors came back out. Definitely don’t be heavy handed with the cream in this tea! It really overwhelms the flavorings. By the second infusion, the coconut is worn out and the cherry becomes the most prominent flavor. The coconut is still there, but it’s more in the background and allows the cherry its turn to shine in the spotlight.

Overall, I’m really quite pleased with this tea. The more I drink it, the more I love it! It’s also going to be a great treat when I’m craving candy or sweets. Who knew this was a dessert tea? I’ll probably keep drinking it as a breakfast tea in the morning anyway. ;)

I wasn’t expecting to fall head over heels for this tea, but I am in love with this flavor combination!! Next time I’m going to go for the 4 ounces instead of 2. I might even have to keep this around all the time.

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drank Grapefruit Green by Lupicia
635 tasting notes

Sipdown…Wow, with a name like Grapefruit Green, you’d think I’d be ready for the citric punch in the mouth. But this tea took me by surprise, and I’ve even had it before!

This tastes like pure grapefruit was squeezed into a nice green tea base. It is strongly citric and strongly acidic! These aren’t bad things. But it was a little much for me first thing in the morning. Still, if you love eating grapefruits, this tea would be heaven for you!

I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I’ll re-stock it. I’m in an exploring-new-teas kind of mood. Lucky for me, I finally received my first ever Ovation Teas order today!! So, I’ve got plenty of new teas to explore in the coming days. Yay for adventure! :D

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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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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