122 Tasting Notes

drank Wedding Tea by Harney & Sons
122 tasting notes

I was pretty excited about this tea when I opened my Harney & Sons sample package last night. It smells gorgeous, just like a wedding! It smelled like a florist’s shop had a baby with a cake icing factory. Delicious fresh floral scent with a vanilla buttercream icing on top.
Which is why it’s kind of disappointing now that it’s hot. It’s still primarily vanilla, but the majority of the floral is gone. It’s almost like it’s been replaced with a chamomile-like impostor! I had to add a cube of sugar to make the vanilla dominate the sip.
Honestly, though I often like the IDEA of creamy teas, something about tea being brewed in WATER makes me upset that it tastes like cream.
In the brewed tea, I get more of a vanilla, maybe slightly lemony, custard vibe which just doesn’t jive well with the fact that I’m drinking flavored water. >.<
Totally still drinkable, I’m just so disappointed because of what it could have been.
And y’all should know how much I detest chamomile….

Flavors: Custard, Floral, Frosting, Lemon, Vanilla

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank Bali by Dammann Frères
122 tasting notes

Oh, man. I knew I would love this tea. Dinosara has become my source for the best samples! The flavor is clear, sweet fruit with a soft rose component that melds perfectly. I may even like this better that the Rose and Litchi of Fauchon, since, though I totally roasted both samples, this green took to my noob mistakes better, and the flavor character was strong enough to shine through. Since I roasted it (really need to get a variable temperature kettle), there was some bitterness on the swallow, but a touch of sugar remedied the situation and brought out the fruit a little more. I need this in my cupboard!

Flavors: Lychee, Nectar, Rose, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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I don’t really know what I expected from this rooibos. Another sample from the gracious Dinosara, may she ever hate rooibos so that I may try all of her samples! The sachet smelled a little like a sweet, chewable vitamin c tab. The brewed tea, while not bad, smelled so strongly like the fly spray I’ve used on horses that it made it particularly unpleasant for me. The citrus flavor was definitely medicinal. Not the best think I have drunk.

Flavors: Citrus Zest, Medicinal, Wood

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drank L'Oriental by Dammann Frères
122 tasting notes

Smelled way better than it tasted. Unoffensive green tea with light generic fruity flavor that gets a little sweeter as it cools. I added a bit of sugar after the first few sips. I liked it, if I had a large amount of it it could be an every day afternoon tea but I wouldn’t seek it out just now.

Flavors: Fruity, Grass

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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This is a very perfumey tea- smells like potpourri, but does not taste as much like it as you would expect. I enjoy the florals I can taste (and smell!), but the base seemed to contribute very little to the tea, besides maybe a slight astringency on the second steep. There is something cloyingly sweet, which reminds me of crushed tobacco flowers and too-sweet generic airport handsoap that I am just not enjoying in this cup. Strange to hear me say that… an unsweetened tea that I do not like the sweetness of! It’s a brand of sweetness that is not really off putting, but not engendering either. Maybe it’s the lotus? The whole affair feels a little grandmother-y… I know! It tastes how I imagine those floral print couches would, if they were a tea! Haha!
Thanks to Dinosara for the sample!

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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I have never tried a Puerh, and got this sample with my first and last order from Butiki teas in late summer.
I tried to look up how to brew it, since my brewing skills are so rudimentary, and got some information that it is forgiving, and can be brewed many times or even left in the pot, so I opted for the second version and decided to taste it at intervals while the leaves sat in my cup.
I did not get up the gumption to taste in the first two minutes, because it smelled like an asian grocery store with a large fish department. Not pleasant. My first sip was of that smell, plus cardboard, but with a decent mouthfeel.
After a few minutes, the tea got a little deeper golden in color, and the flavor started to be pleasantly minerally, with a silky mouthfeel and a sweetness like good well water. Not very tea like, for sure!
As the steeping progressed (like, maybe ten minutes, it was just barely warm), I started getting a smokiness on top of the minerals, followed by the minerals getting strong enough to almost taste like a fresh green bean.
Now, probably 15 minutes in, it taste like someone dipped a sweaty saddle into my previously nice and fresh oolong. It’s getting smokier and smokier, with a stronger green tea-like vegetal flavor, and a bit of drying in the back of my throat too.
This was a very interesting and complex experience, and I understand why connoisseurs really get into it, but the coin-i-ness is no longer leaving my tongue, and now that the tea has cooled completely, the fishy smell is back. My rating reflects the flavors from about 3-12 minutes of steeping, when it was like a very nice green tea. I still am not a huge fan, and I would not purchase this regularly

Flavors: Green Beans, Leather, Mineral

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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drank Peach & Thyme by Fauchon
122 tasting notes

Forgot that Rose Congu at home, needed another black tea hit this morning! I got this one a while ago at TJMax on a Fauchon-dive with Dinosara, specifically because it sounded absolutely bizarre. Dinosara claims that the tea is ‘very thymey’, but at the time I was using fresh thyme constantly in my cooking, and didn’t realize that the thymey flavor was that of grassy store-bought dried thyme, not the lemony goodness I had accustomed myself to.
The peach is light, over an unoffensive, lighter black base. The thyme is really the kicker here, and though it can be good at times, in the ‘new and exciting’ kind of way, I wouldn’t call it everyday good. It is frankly very weird, and brings to mind those shortbread cookies made with savory spices at fancy coffee shops and bakeries. Every once in a while it really hits the spot, when your not really looking for tea flavor in your tea, but do not want something overly sweet either. A bit of sugar brings the peach out a little more, but it is still overpowered by the thyme.

Flavors: Compost, Dry Grass, Musty, Peach, Thyme


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Had this for the first time last night before bed (silly me! I wanted some tea and this was all I had at home that was looseleaf!), and cooled the rest of the pot for lunch today. It is probably one of the nicest black teas I have drank. I didn’t find it that floral (maybe I’m expecting perfume flavors, like a jasmine tea?) but the rose was present. Overall it was like a less strong English Breakfast with very little sweetness, the sweetness it did have coming from the rose. I know it was ‘mixed’ specifically for me on 10/17 because the package says so, so maybe the the floral factor with go up as the tea ages. And age it will, the package is gigantic!
I’m actually concerned, given that I just bought this tea and thought I would be in love with it, that I just may be having a falling out with black teas. I’m just so obsessed with the silkiness of oolongs lately, black seems so thick and cloying. I still think I will drink this one up for the caffeine boost in the mornings, since it is way better than the standard supermarket black or cheapie-cheap ceylon I usually turn to for a caffeine hit.
Cooled, it has bittered significantly. Definitely needs sugar now, but the rose has come more to the forefront. I think I would make it stronger, and try cold brewing it next time for iced tea. The current cooled state is a result of me realizing how late it was to be drinking a whole pot of black tea!

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Floral, Rose

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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I started drinking something other than Sleepytime in my first year of grad school, 2011. Enabled by a few decent local tea shops in a big city, I amassed a small cupboard of teas that I now find harsh and bad (haha, I’m getting in too deep!). With my move back to the US and subsequent geographic isolation from tea shops, I recently discovered the world of online tea vendors.
My cupboard is slowly growing but still small. Regardless I am interested in swaps, if you find something in my collection that you would like to try, ask away! I just can’t guarantee yet that I have a lot of it!
I’m very into Jade oolongs and anything that has a floral character (especially jasmine, rose, violet, and lychee scented things!). Most green teas, excepting the extremely bitter, are good in my book, and again I seek sweeter, fresher, greener types, though nutty/savory teas have their place (as long as they don’t tip over into salty!). I then to shy away from smokey or overly roasted teas and for this reason and the fact that I am not a fan of chocolate, everyone’s favorite blacks and wuyi oolongs tend to fall flat for me. White teas are alright but I don’t tend to reach for them unless they are floral scented. I rarely drink herbals, chamomile and I do not get along, but a basic vanilla rooibos, or some flavored green rooibos’ can be interesting.
In general, it could be said that I tend toward floral and sweet oolong, sheng (as well as moonlight whites and yabaos), matcha, and green teas.

As of now my rating system follows the school grading scale in terms of how well the tea performs and how well I like it (100-90 A, 89-80 B, etc.). Anything above 90 will eventually end up in my cupboard, though it’s fine to keep a B student around for daily drinkers!


Athens, Ohio

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