824 Tasting Notes

Kind of a roasted fruit jam flavour, and very close to tasting like the morning burnt toast. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be but I still don’t Love this type of tea. At least it isn’t burnt flower offerings this time!

Flavors: Blackberry, Butter, Char, Floral, Jam, Raisins, Toast, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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The name makes me think there should be Star Anise present, when it’s actually a blueberry eucalyptus tea.

This is very much a “spa tea”- suitable for when you want that “clean” feeling inside and out. Right now I’m a little resistant ball of stress and the eucalyptus isn’t taking at all. I’m supposed to get Christmas and final bathroom reno touches (towel rack, toilet paper, garbage can) done with the family but everyone is booked up until the 23rd. Argh… The only thing we agreed to do together was see Star Wars, so now you can see what my family prioritizes! It’s probably much needed after what has ended up as almost a year of big renos though (we started in January).

Flavors: Bergamot, Blueberry, Cream, Eucalyptus, Vanilla

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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drank Earl Grey by Tea Forte
824 tasting notes

Earl Grey is Earl Grey. The citrus-wood notes are a little on the perfumey side, and my tea leaves were not as depicted in the picture here (they’re CTC, but that’s alright). I shouldn’t have a problem drinking up the pot though! It’s turning out to be a good “start the day and cut through the cardamom rice” tea.

Thanks for the sample, Arby! It’s been a while since I had an Earl Grey that wasn’t a Cream.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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Yes, this is good too! Another magic black tea strikes again! I looked more into my previous black tea apathy, and it struck me that I actually have more black teas in my cupboards than any other tea type (including oolong). Seems I’m generally not picking up the right black tea for me. Maybe I need to go for more of this and less of the flavoured stuff.

Thank you for sending me some of this beautiful tea, Arby!

Steep Count: 2

(2017 harvest)

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Malt, Melon, Plums, Sweet Potatoes

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

black tea…yes to unflavoured ones that make your heart sing!


Awesome that you are finding some blacks you love.


I also have a preponderance of black teas in my cupboard, partly because my oolongs go so fast and partly because I don’t seem to pick black teas well. They’re either too malty or just weird. Here’s to finding black teas we enjoy!

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drank Jiri Horse by teabento
824 tasting notes

Notes of cocoa, roasted nuts, grain malt and marshmallow waft from my cup. Does it taste as good as it smells?


I’m never forsaking black tea again.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Grain, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Roasted nuts

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Evol Ving Ness

This is exceptional news.

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This one brews up a moderate and mellow cup, with nothing too attention-grabbing. It’s a quite fruity, with a seasoning of herbal grasses and spices (basil, thyme, parsley, etc.).

If Darjeeling tea is like wine, this is the one you have because someone, who probably mainly drinks beer, picked it up last minute for that light house party. It’s your low budget, “promotion without endorsement from any of the staff” wine, and it’s alright- just not amazing! It may pair well with a crockpot chicken though (cooking currently in progress).

This sample was generously provided by Camelia Sinensis and, if anything, it’s a reminder that I need to get back to exploring Darjeelings. I had some really intriguing samples a few years back, but this kind of tea is an acquired taste.

Flavors: Blueberry, Dandelion, Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Hay, Herbs, Parsley, Thyme

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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Bai mu dan is an interesting choice to blend with ceylon but it works to create a nice blueberry-citrus base, which enhances the ginger and pear flavours. The hot spices remind me a little of a night cap or a spiced wine. I think it could be slightly more “cakey” with a baked goods vibe, but maybe that’s what sugar and milk are for. There’s already a bit of jam and cream seeping through the fruit notes, so 120% dessert effect can’t be far away!

Looking forward to playing with this one during the holiday season! For now, it makes a nice sipping companion while I finish off another Vorokosigan book (I’m on A Civil Campaign, and the butter bugs have won me over).

(2017 blend)

Flavors: Berries, Cinnamon, Citrus, Clove, Cream, Ginger, Jam, Pear, Spices

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Lexie Aleah

I may need to crack open my bag of this tomorrow and try it.

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The blackberry flavouring in this is delicious- like some fresh creamy pastry bought and eaten right at the berry farm. A possible downside of this is it makes me wish it was one of 52teas’ full blown “Danish” blends instead of “just” a berry green tea. It tastes so close.

The Zomba works really well here by not intruding into the berry deliciousness with any strong veggie notes. This base does seem to pair deliciously with fruit flavours; I’m down for liking 2/2 of 52teas’ Zomba blends I’ve tried so far (more on the way)!

Thank you, Arby, for sending me this! I’m definitely enjoying it.

Flavors: Blackberry, Butter, Citrus, Cream, Tart

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Black Beauty by Mandala Tea
824 tasting notes

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a Keemun, Laoshan Black, or any other non- What-cha Golden Snail black tea (so good). I’ve forgotten how comforting they are in their cocoa-malt predictability, and subtle but rich profiles. I thought I was over Chinese black teas; it’s probably the time of year? Oolong is out, black tea and white tea are in- I need to draw a better year plan for my tea drinking habits so I’m not struggling at the height of tea-drinking season.

Anyways, this one is really red. Red is good. Red is warm. Red is Christmas. I’m drinking this in a festive red cup too. Lots of red happening.

I’ll write a more thoughtful note later.

(2017 harvest)

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Fruity, Malt, Muscatel, Red Wine, Stonefruits

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec





everyone is tempting me garret! I miss my mandala teas!


Well, don’t let me tempt you! I wouldn’t want to do that. :) I’m working on a few new sources for 2018 in India and Japan, just looking at adding some new teas to broaden the ol’ tea horizon. I hope you’re really well, my friend!


I only purchased Mandala teas a few months ago and ever since it’s been a constant battle to put off making another purchase. The free “new tea” samples I received were a complete bull’s eye for striking up even more temptation. Also, the dwindling levels of Milk Oolong on my end are unacceptable.

There is no winning this, but I wish you luck, Sil! :P

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drank Zi Mu Dan by Verdant Tea
824 tasting notes

I am designating this Sipdown Priority No. 4. It’s going to take a few days but it’s time overdue.

Drinking floral cream candle tea after honey cough drop tea is probably ill advised; I think the aftertaste of the honey cough drop is winning! Argh, my life choices!

(2016 harvest)

Flavors: Cream, Custard, Eucalyptus, Jasmine, Mineral

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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I started my Steepster loose leaf adventure back in 2012. I can’t say I’m completely new anymore, but I still view oolong as a magical, extraterrestrial creature that unfurls in water.

White teas, roasted/fired green teas, and the not so roasted green oolong varieties are my favourites. I enjoy the odd shu puerh too.

Currently looking for the most buttery and sweet green oolong I can find.

Ingredients/flavours I enjoy (in moderation): anise, butter, caramel, cedar, cream, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, lemon, lilac, lime, maple, marshmallow leaves, melon, mint, orchid, pine, rice, rose, vanilla.

Ingredients/flavours I tend to dislike: apple, cocoa nibs, licorice, marine, peach, stevia

Subjective Rating System 2.0:

91-100: My absolute favourite tea. Will impulsively buy and hoard like a dragon.

86-90: A favourite tea. May have quality flaws that I choose to ignore.

76-85: A lovely tea, maybe of high quality or masterful blending, but not one I’m likely to order again.

70-75: Enjoyable, but I may have few minor problems with quality, consistency, ingredient chemistry and/or personal preferences.

50-69: Quality, consistency, blending, or personal preference problems are apparent, but I wouldn’t pass up a cup.

11-49: Varying levels of undrinkable tea. I don’t give a lot of these ratings out, since I tend to grab teas I know will appeal to me.

1-10: Nightmare tea from the chaos realms. This is last year’s low-grade bancha mixed with rancid coconut, stale cocoa nibs, over-enthusiastic hibiscus, and stevia sweetener. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist.


BC, Lower Mainland

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