635 Tasting Notes


I made this cup and then didn’t get to drink it because the baby had a meltdown. Now that she’s in bed for the night, I can reheat it and enjoy it. The dry leaf aroma is roses. The brewed tea aroma is the familiar chocolate malt of Chinese black teas. The taste? A perfect combination of the two aromas: roses and chocolate malt. Yum! Now this is my kind of Chinese black tea!

I really like the rose flavoring here. It’s mostly in the front of the aftertaste, which transforms and leaves a lingering cocoa taste. The rose is also very natural and not too potent. Mmm, I really like this tea. As it cools, it gets a little bitter. I definitely should have done a shorter steep. It reheats well though. I think I microwaved this cup two or three times because I kept getting distracted with things and couldn’t finish it all in one sitting. Thanks to Teavivre for the free sample! I will definitely enjoy the rest of this.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Malt, Rose

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I grabbed this one cause I felt like a Chinese black tea. However, this was not the kind of Chinese black that I like. It tasted like smoke and tobacco. Yuck. Not my cup of tea. Sadly, I poured the cup down the drain. It was way too strong and just not to my liking at all. I’m sure it’s perfectly enjoyable to other palates. Maybe I shouldn’t have started with such a long infusion. One or two minutes would have been plenty. Thanks to Teavivre for providing this free sample. I’ll re-home the rest of it to someone who will enjoy it.

Flavors: Smoke, Tobacco

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

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drank Birthday Cake by Butiki Teas
635 tasting notes

I’ve been meaning to try this tea for a long time. Today is the day! The brewed tea aroma is herbal. I can definitely smell the marshmallow root, which I believe is the base for this tea. First sip is a little lackluster. It just tastes like sweet marshmallow root. I’m going to add a bit of Truvia to see if I can coax out more cake flavor, although I suppose that risks making it too sweet.

It is very sweet now. I can imagine this tastes like white cake, but let’s be honest. I don’t think tea can taste like cake. A lot of what makes cake, well, cake is the airy fluffy buttery texture. Tea simply can’t replicate that. This is probably as close as it gets. The more I sip it, the more I notice resemblances to cake. This is good but not remarkably good. I have to say after all the rave reviews, I’m a little underwhelmed. I think my expectations were too high.

If I moderate my expectations, this is an enjoyable tea. I love that it’s caffeine free. It will satisfy my sweet tooth cravings on those days when all I want to do is stuff my face with cake. In that respect, this is a great alternative to the real deal. Now I’m off to celebrate because today is a big day! It’s my baby’s 4 month birthday!


Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

happy mini 4 monthday to your little girl :) she is very cute



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drank Raspberry Birthday Cake by 52teas
635 tasting notes

The dry leaf aroma is strongly raspberries. The brewed tea aroma is the same and the taste is fairly one dimensional. I added a bit of Truvia and now it’s sweeter like cake. Mostly though, this one is a lightly flavored raspberry tea. The base here is nice and complementary. It lends a certain cake-y-ness to the flavor. I can imagine I’m drinking a white cake with raspberry icing. It’s not an in-your-face cake taste. It’s more of a pensive allusion to cake instead. I like that I can enjoy this tea without milk, but it definitely needs the sweetener. Overall, a pretty good tea.

Flavors: Cake, Raspberry

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I was curious about this one.


It’s good. The raspberry flavor is very nice. Just not in-your-face cake flavor. It’s more subtle and nuanced so you have to use a bit of imagination.

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drank Sugar Plum Shou Mei by 52teas
635 tasting notes

52teas 12 Days of Christmas Sampler 2013 – Day 12

Yes, it is 2015. Yes, I have waited to try this sampler for a year and a half. I bought it before I was even pregnant and now I have a 4-month-old daughter. That should tell you how old this is.

Why didn’t I drink it earlier you ask? I don’t know. I think it got lost in my cupboard and I’ve only just now found it. Of course, with a new baby, I hardly have time to make a cup of tea, let alone drink it, LET ALONE blog about it! In fact, I’ve had to start and stop this note multiple times so I could take care of her. I love her more than anything in this world but man, she is a needy baby!

I’m also sick right now. I have an ear infection and it’s caused my nose to run like mad crazy. I’m super congested, so probably not the best time to start drinking a new tea. I thought the dry leaf aroma was still pretty potent though. I think I’ll work my way through this sampler backwards. I’m starting with #12! I have another minute or two before her fussing becomes crying so I’m going to make the most of it! Ooh, hubby just agreed to give her a bottle for me. :D Now I have at least 5-10 minutes. :)

This tea has held up pretty well given its age. I probably should have steeped it longer. It has a white tea taste with a slight sugary sweetness. I added a little Truvia and now it has an even sweeter flavor. I have no idea what a sugar plum is supposed to taste like (or if it even exists) so I can’t say for sure if this tastes like sugar plum or not. It does taste good! Kind of like grape but different. Not so grapey. LOL! Can you tell it’s been a while since I blogged about tea? I think my writing skills have run off with my slim physique.

Anyway, this is a good tea. I have always loved white teas, especially Frank’s blends. I’m sad that he’s closing shop but interested to see what LiberTEAS does with the company. I tell you, I leave the tea community to start a family and all my favorite tea vendors close! If I had a more inflated ego, I’d think it was because I stopped buying their tea and it’s my fault they’re going out of business. But of course, that’s ridiculous…right? :P I jest. But in all seriousness, I am sad about 52teas and Butiki Teas closing. At least with 52teas it will live on in some form or another. I was able to make a large purchase of Butiki Teas before they closed and I did the same with 52teas. I got a much better deal with 52teas though because of the 50% off sale AND I had a couple hundred rewards points. So I got about $44 worth of tea for $14! :D

But I digress. Again.

This tea is yummy. I’m enjoying the cup. Sadly, subsequent infusions will have to wait because my time is up! Back to mommy duty!

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I’m working from home today, the baby’s at daycare, and I finally have a moment to myself to brew a cup of tea. I swore to myself I wasn’t going to order a bunch of Butiki teas and then let them sit around for months untried. But then I had a baby and all Hell broke loose! The only tea I’ve had in the past 3+ months is Mother’s Milk teabags. I hardly remember what it’s like to have time to enjoy my old ritual of brewing tea: heating water on the stove in my kettle, using a thermometer to get just the right temperature before adding the leaves, waiting for it to steep and then enjoying multiple infusions while musing about what to write in a tea note. Those days of abundant time are gone! I’m lucky if I find time to shower once every couple days. Don’t get me wrong; being a mother is the most rewarding thing I’ve done with my life to date. But I do miss some aspects of life before motherhood, and brewing tea is definitely one of them.

So today I am making some tea and taking the time to enjoy it! I’m so sad Butiki Teas has closed. I managed to place a large order of my favorites (sans Almond Indulgence because it was already sold out) as well as some new-to-me ones before Stacy closed for good. The brewed tea aroma of this one smells amazing! I’m definitely getting cinnamon and a hint of vanilla. The flavor is WOW! So nuanced and delicious. The flavor seems to evolve throughout the sip, first being cinnamon and vanilla and ending in a lovely, hay-like Bai Mu Dan. Yum! White tea is the perfect base for these flavors. This is good!

I added a tiny bit of Truvia to see how sweetener affects the flavors. Hmm, it really seems to have brought the squash to the forefront. I was missing that before. I’d say the most downplayed element in this tea is the cinnamon. It’s there, but only a quiet whisper complementing the other flavors. This is a really lovely tea. I’d say that I recommend it, but sadly you can no longer buy it. :( But if you’ve been hoarding it like me and have yet to try it, you definitely should!

For those of you who are interested, I’ll write more about the birth of my daughter in another note. For now, here’s some pictures of my Olivia. :)


180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

she’s adorable! congratulations :)


aaah so cute!!!


Ahhhh, I’ve been wondering about how you’ve been doing! She’s so beautiful!


Adorable! :)

Roswell Strange

Eiii! Too adorable for words.


Ohhhh that is just the sweetest! Congrats!!!


She’s beautiful!! Congratulations!


Thanks everyone! :D

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drank Dragon Feelers by Butiki Teas
635 tasting notes

Sipdown #13

I’m 40 weeks pregnant today! Come on, baby! Mama wants to meet you!

I woke up to weird pelvic pain at 6:29am. Contractions feel like waves, right? This was not wavelike…luckily it went away once I got up and walked around. You usually only have a 3-4% chance of delivering on your actual due date, but since I haven’t had the baby yet…my chances of delivering today are around 15%. Still not great. :/ But I have a 61% chance that the baby will come within a week! :)

I polished this tea off last night during a game of Go with my 4 kyu husband. The score was 104.5 to 72…I got massacred. LOL! But it was a lot of fun since it was a teaching game. I’m really going to miss this tea (and Butiki Teas in general). Although I did notice that apparently Red Leaf Tea sells something called Golden Dragon Feelers that looks exactly like this. I’ll have to try that one out sometime.

Well, now that the pain has subsided, I think I’ll try and go back to sleep. I’m gonna’ need energy if I do go into labor today. Wish me luck, everyone! I’m hoping to have a medication/intervention free birth, which also means the baby needs to decide to come on his/her own so I don’t have to face an induction. An induction can start a cascade of unnecessary interventions. Since I’m GBS negative, I don’t even want an IV. Inductions mean pitocin, which means an IV. :/ But I still have 2 weeks before they’ll start talking induction. OMG, I pray I don’t have 2 more weeks of being pregnant! I don’t know if my body (or mind) can take it!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 11 OZ / 325 ML

I was induced for both my boys as they were both late and on the large side. Congratulations on making it this far, and I hope your delivery comes swiftly and without complicaations!


Good luck!!!


I hope you were able to get some rest! I’m crossing my fingers that the baby will come soon. :)


Good luck! :)


Good luck!! :)


Thanks all! I delivered a perfect, beautiful, healthy baby girl on January 23! We named her Olivia. More updates to come!

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drank Campfire Blend by Verdant Tea
635 tasting notes

This was a free sample with my latest order, which I think was back in October. The brewed tea aroma is heavenly! It smells like warm monkey bread fresh from the oven. Mmmm! The flavor is very similar to the aroma. I taste cinnamon and bread, vanilla and cream, and some other wonderful mixture of complementing flavors. This is so delicious!

Even though cinnamon bread is the predominant flavor I keep coming back to, this doesn’t strike me as a heavily cinnamon spiced tea. It truly blends with the other ingredients to make a whole new taste. The slower you drink it, the easier it is to identify the other flavors. I also detect a hint of something citrus-y in the aftertaste. Mmm, but I’m enjoying this so much it’s kind of hard to drink it slowly. I keep gulping it down, haha!

I don’t know why, but I was kind of put off by the name. I expected smoke and strong, harsh flavors. This is delicately balanced and very nuanced. It’s soft and potent at the same time. I really really love this! I think I may have to place an order…I know, I know! I’m really not supposed to! But this is too good to be true. I am so in love. It loses just one point for the name; I’d rename this blend “Monkey Bread.” It tastes exactly like the monkey bread my mother-in-law makes except in tea form. Yum!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Citrusy, Cream, Vanilla

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I felt the same about the name of this tea, but was also happy to find it wasn’t like a campfire at all. :)
I haven’t heard of monkey bread before – it sounds delicious!


Oh, it’s soooo good! It’s basically just bread with lots of cinnamon sugar and butter. Really bad for you but tastes amazing. So this tea is a much healthier alternative.

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I’m 1.5 weeks from my due date! I’m sooooo ready to meet this baby and also to get my body back. I had the easiest pregnancy up until the last couple months. I’ve gained more weight than I should have and I’m not all that tall. I think my body wasn’t built to handle this much weight, so I’m pretty much in constant pain. Sleeping is the worst. Any time I’m laying down, I hurt everywhere: hips, thighs, abdomen, back. It’s obnoxious! I get about an hour of sleep and then I wake up in so much pain that the only way to get rid of it is to stand up and walk around, which obviously means I’m exhausted and fatigued. This is much harder than I had anticipated. I walk at the speed of a 95-year-old lady. I constantly feel like I have to pee even when there’s no pee in me. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night because I vomit in my sleep. Yuck. I feel helpless. It’s rather pitiful. I can’t wait to be normal again. And of course, it’s all worth it. But that doesn’t make the pain any less at this moment. At least I’m not afraid of labor anymore! The number one word to describe how I feel about labor is excited! Bring it on! Well, that was a huge digression but at least an on topic one. :)


I tend to steep this once for 5 minutes and then again for 15. That way I get two cups out of one teabag. Today I kind of forgot about it and steeped it for 20 minutes out of the gate. Whoops! Anyway, this tea is a surprise. I guess I always assumed red raspberry leaf would be red and taste like raspberries. But it’s the color of your average herbal (a dark amber) and tastes like mint. Watered down mint; it’s not super strong.

Overall, it’s an enjoyable tea. It’s obviously not something I would drink if I wasn’t pregnant, but I can recommend it to other women in their third trimester. Now I have no idea if this will bring on labor any faster, but it’s supposed to be good for me. So I plan on drinking two cups a day until I run out of tea or the baby arrives, whichever comes first. Let’s hope it’s the latter. :) Come on, baby! We want to meet you!

Boiling 8 min or more

hahaha oh man. way to sell being preggers :)


Bless your heart! I remember those days. You are right though, it’s all going to be worth it when you’re holding that sweet baby. Good luck. Remember you’re stronger than you think! <3


The last few weeks were definitely worse than the delivery for me. Knowing that the end is in sight really makes a difference. Arnica lotion really helped with my aches and pains. I know you can buy it, or you can make it yourself: http://healthimpactnews.com/2012/pain-relieving-coconut-oil-arnica-salve-recipe/ . It’s really good for tension headaches, bruises, and soreness from exercising as well.


I love raspberry leaf tea!


Thanks all! The end is in sight. :) And thanks for the link, rosebudmelissa! I’ve never heard of arnica before, but I’ll be sure to check it out. :)

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Uh oh. Looks like Steepster is having problems again. Before posting this note, the tea page said there are 5 tasting notes for it, yet only 3 are visible. :/ Look out, Jason! It’s the case of the disappearing notes again!

The dry leaf aroma of this is stirring something in my childhood memory bank, but I can’t pinpoint what it is. For a moment, I thought it was Hubba Bubba Bubble Tape. Anyone else remember this stuff? http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lgo6dfDbRe1qdnc7ho1_500.jpg But this tea is definitely berry flavored and that gum wasn’t from what I can recall.

Unfortunately, this tea’s flavor isn’t nearly as strong or delicious as the aroma. I’m surprised. Usually hibiscus is quite strong, and I steeped this for 5 minutes. Hibiscus is the dominant flavor at the beginning and end of the sip, with the yumberry sneaking in in the middle. The end of the sip is also really tart, which I am confident can be attributed to the hibiscus as well. Yumberry Hibiscus would be a more appropriate name.

Overall, this is only mildly disappointing. I feel like it could be amazing if the yumberry was punched up to be more prominent than the hibiscus. I got this as a free sample at work, so I have no idea how old it is. Maybe a fresher batch would have more oomph. Regardless, I really like the yumberry flavor. I just wish I could remember what it reminds me of…

Flavors: Hibiscus

Boiling 5 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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