390 Tasting Notes

drank Butterbeer by 52teas
390 tasting notes

i taste a hint of ginger, a vague sense of effervescence and an odd vinegar twang that i really dislike =0(

i wish i had had the experiences that vaulted this blend into the stratosphere! i followed the instructions, measured twice before pouring once…. and still i got this strange brew.

perversely i have the mother of all rotten weekends…. maybe it’s variations on a theme. however, thank you to the generous CHAroma for the opportunity to try it.

no numerical rating because i only had enough for one steep and i cannot try again.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 30 sec

Vinegar! Odd.


agreed, exceptionally. my only explanation is that the sample had oxidized? and the flavour deviated? but that’s just a guess.


Oh no! I have 2 oz of the reblend, but I’m nervous about opening it. What if it’s not as magical as it was when I first bought it.


oh dear, i didn’t mean to cause upset… i honestly think it’s just bad tea karma this weekend. if you look at the reviews i appear to be the only one.

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drank With Open Eyes by Butiki Teas
390 tasting notes

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wow, WOW! this was an excellent bad idea. you know when you’re decently sure you’re executing a bad idea, but it makes you happy so just too-damn-bad? yup. that’s this.

it is 2:22 am, i haven’t had much sleep the last week…. we have new tenants moving in, i start school next tuesday and regular old life stress. it was a gonzo day, this is the first time i’ve had any time to myself and i wanted to try this awesome smelling iced tea!

the sensible part warred with the rebelious side of me:

-but it’s so late at night that it’s morning, james.
-your point?
-sleep is a good thing… this tea is a black base.
-iced cream in liquid form is a good thing, quit lecturing!
-i’m the one that listens to the griping when you make bad decisions like this….
-then stop up your ears!

it was the very best bad decision i’ve made this week. all three flavours are clear without being muddy. a simple syrup… 1/2 a cup of a 50/50 mix added to the 8 cups of tea. i’m convinced.

my compliments to frank and crew! and now to sleep…. ;0P

Iced 8 min or more

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drank Anji Baicha by Harney & Sons
390 tasting notes

first off, i won’t rate this one numerically… i don’t feel i’ve had sufficient experience with straight green teas to give a number.

i really like other languages— i’m fluent in french and learned latin for long enough that spanish and italian… and german…. and old and middle english are understandable and moderately speakable. however, one of my frustrations with other other languages comes into play with teas. i love puerh, but the word itself means nothing to me— there is no sexiness. if i were not the curious type i never would have tried a puerh! variations on a theme here: anji? baicha? okay, asian in origin… cantonese? mandarin? japanese? cambodian? well, maybe not cambodian because to my ears that language had distant ties to french. as always i digress….

anji baicha means nothing to me. there is no suggestion of alice in wonderland with it with a high squeaky subliminal ‘drink me!!!’. when my harney and son’s order arrived and idiscovered there were some things i had expected to like that i didn’t and vice versa and as a result left this one for last: my score at that point with my 8 samples was about 60/40 and (as i previously mentioned) the name wasn’t terribly inspiring.

i like sleep. i haven’t had an abundance of it lately. i love tea. i need both, how can they coexist. hmm. i concluded that black tea was a no no. same for puerh. absolutely no oolong and i’m out of white…. that left me with an anji baicha which i could only hope was none of the tea types i’d ruled out.

indeed it is a green tea (for anyone not speaking anji baicha). and while i don’t have much experience with green teas i will say it is one of the best!

the dry leaf reminds me very much of pine tree snippets… the sad leavings of christmas tree. light green. after hot water the needles unfurl and become basil like! the smell is light and sweet, i swear i smell a bit of lemon basil in there very mildly. there is a fruit LIKE essence that is undefinable— muscat grape would be the closest, but again it’s fleeting.

at this point i would like to strut just a little bit (we’re all allowed from time to time. i am drinking this without sugar. or honey, or sweetener of any kind (yay cold turkey!)… and again i don’t miss the sugar with this tea!

the last point in this teas favour is that there is no pungency. i don’t know if that that’s a common thing with greens, or whether it’s been bad luck on my part, but aside from this one and a verdant’s spring green every green i’ve tried has had an stale genmaicha like flavour while not being a genmaicha.

this is a lovely tea. i would highly recommend it. and i may buy it again, or at least try more greens in future. i’m narrowing down what i like with green tea!

oh, and i oversteeped to boot! lol.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 30 sec

I also have that same problem with tea names sometimes… I like to know the meaning, but a lot of the tea names are just a jumble of syllables. I admit I am attracted to buying tea with catchy or understandable names. Part of the reason I like Verdant is that they make their tea understandable by giving it a region or attaching it to a person’s name Laoshan black or Mrs Lin’s dragonwell gives the tea some context. I’ve been trying to take more risks with trying teas with names that seem foreign and incomprehensible


you can start to slowly, painfully eke out meaning syllable by syllable in the way one starts to grasp any language with enough context. i mean, nothing comprehensive obviously, but it’s only been a few months since i started trying chinese teas really and it didn’t take too long to at least catch on about stuff like shan referring to mountains/high altitude, -cha referring to tea, i don’t even remember some of the others now…but yeah. i do totally understand this frustration though. one cool thing about chinese is the way it is in fact like building blocks-i never became even fully reading fluent but for a while i was studying chinese classics and it’s amazing how fast you can pick up on some things because of the building block nature of the grammar. but i digress, sorry.

and i don’t know, in terms of magic and evocation, i would say china is pretty awesome at that (but only once you hear the stories which as a westerner isn’t as obvious, granted). i mean, stories of fire goddesses and gifts of tea bushes and robes and the oldest tea shrub in the world and the woman who stored tea between her breasts and it emitted a unique startling fragrance as she walked home, stuff like that. and the pretty descriptions—twisted snails, gunpowder pellets, blah blah blah…sorry, i may be off my rocker. (:


oops formatting. i would delete that and edit it but i’ve been having a bear of a time trying to even post and delete settings aren’t showing on the dashboard, which is the only place that works for comments on steepster for me. sorry.


ifjuly… that is so cool! i was in chinese school in china town here on the island when i was 7… and although i enjoyed the language i didn’t absorb it the way i otherwise may have because i was being harassed pretty fiercely about being there (ie: hardcore bullied).

i loved learning the calligraphy but retained only a handful of words.i did not know it was that predictable in terms of reading. i actually (arguably) know more about the nuance of the spoken language.

i would be more okay if the tea names were in latin or ancient epyptian. the history, the stories, the myths… when i was a kid and people asked me what i wanted to be when i grew up my answer was very specific: an egyptologist! … …. and then i went to school for english and liguistics and now i’m going back for occupational psychology, but i can tell you bunches about egypt and be amazed by your knowledge of china!

Fuzzy_Peachkin: i am especially succeptible these days to teas with the suggestion of baked goods, lol. cinnamon swirl bread, brioche, the presence of almonds…. which is why i am even more amazed by this tea! there is really no suggestion of donuts or western confections! lol.


Oh, I hate to hear that about the bullying, yuck. Sorry you went through that.

Ooooh Egypt. My mom used to teach students about Egypt; I’d love to pick your brain about it. Now I’m imagining swapping stories about ancient cultures over tea. It’s a pretty great picture, thanks for it!


oh, no worries…. long ago, far away, and i was the outsider. it doesn’t justify it, but it offers some insight. one of those defining experiences though, you know? realizing something that i would never do to another human being.

an egypt an asia tea party. happy day! you could do the kanji and i could do the hieroglyphs!


Can I get in on this? LOL LOVE Ancient Egypt. My whole back is tattooed with Egyptian symbols………

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lovely dark, rich, hints of cocoa, a light smell of fruit though i don’t get it on the palate. very, very smooth.

as it cools very subtle fruit elements become more detectable and the liquor becomes creamier. no acidity, no stick from caffeine, no bitterness.

i brewed this strongly: 1.5 tablespoons for my 16 oz. for 2.5 minutes. no sugar (i’m trying very hard to go cold turkey), though a spot cream.

know what? i don’t miss the sugar. thank you ducklers. i appreciate you.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

LOL There you go, you did beat me to one. Glad you like it. Will have to add it to my ever growing list of blacks to try.


no way… i got a review in before you? lol. look at us— turning tea reviews into a competitive sport =0D

Lily Duckler

Thank you, JustJames! I’ve been drinking this one all week long. Love hearing your perspective on it (now I’ll have to try a bit of cream- never done it myself!)


you are most graciously welcome, lily! thank you for all your expertise and hard work (as well that of the he family).

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drank Passion Fruit by Harney & Sons
390 tasting notes

hum. is this a passion fruit taste? i can’t make up my mind…

the dry leaf gives me different values than does the steep: ripe apricot, raspberry and blueberry, each of them very distinctly. the steep is definitely fruity, but not along the same evolutionary tangent as the dry leaf.

the apricot remains… but differently than before.

my question is this: IS this an accurate passionfruit taste that i am not recognizing because of my lack of fresh familiarity?

i have had fresh passionfruit only a handful of times, but have always loved the flavour in juices and smoothies.

either way i think i’d like the flavour to be more robust. i will hold off on a numerical rating until i’ve tinkered…

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Indian Nimbu by Harney & Sons
390 tasting notes

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Student. Recovering extreme volunteer social worker from Tent City Victoria BC. (<—12 months).

There are instances where life affects us profoundly and leaves us wondering: 1) how did I change so much so quickly? (or more likely) 2) was I ever who I thought I was?

-Student of mediation.
-Apprentice feather gatherer for First Nations.
-Silver linings, photography, music, tea and the rhythms of the environment.

Allergies: coffee, rooiboos, stevia.

Current favourite quote (given the last year): ‘Just because we check the guns at the door, doesn’t mean our brains will change from hand grenades.’~ 21 pilots





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