390 Tasting Notes


this is my follow up review for this tea.

a golden assam… it’s a novel idea. it certainly looks lovely, all golden and curled, reminding me of verdant’s golden fleece or a nice loose puerh. however, for me an assam is darker, has smokey notes or maybe cocoa which this one does not/is not.

i like my teas to stand out, to be really distinctive; comforting, a wake up in the morning, brilliant flavour… it can be distinctive in it’s subtlety. visually it is elegant, but when judging teas there should be something about the taste that you never forget— and honestly, this tea has none of that for me.

i wasn’t sure how i felt about a golden assam, i am now (or at least how i feel about this one). it’s not memorable for me on any level. hot short steep, cooler longer steep… it just doesn’t do anything for me.

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

This makes me nervous to try my sample. :)

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hmmm, the ever diligent angel contacted me the other day having noticed my low initial review of this tea. she politely offered some suggestions for steeping differently than i had. let me emphasize that in no way was she pushy or inappropriate— she is a woman passionate about tea and teavivre and so customers, reviewers and their opinions are important to her.

i agreed to resteep… it’s hard to refuse when someone asks so politely. honestly, the first go round was so bad that i really wasn’t expecting to like the tea regardless of the advice, but i was wrong.

1.5 tspns for 16 oz tea cup steeped for a hair short of 90 seconds (it was getting rather dark and i wanted to err on the side of caution).

what did i get? a light tasting, non caffeine stick tea reminiscent of a fruit/wood mix. not oak though… more like the light scent of balsa wood crossed with a just-left-the-room sandalwood. truly lovely!

thank you so much angel for your expertise.

i am happy to re-rate… (and yes, ultimately i will buy).

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Terri HarpLady

I really like this one, & have some on the way. :)


i would go so far as to say it may be a classic in the making. and, um, i believe my september budget is spoken for and i am booking for october now, lol!


I just got my order of this a few weeks ago, and I really enjoy it! I do steep a little tiny bit longer than they suggest, but I like it that way.


I think this will be one of the samples I’ll be getting from Angel and I’m looking forward to trying them finally – I’ll have to try brewing this way.


it was when i was doing MY standard steep that it all went so horribly wrong. i think it was 4 or 5 minutes, and 1.5 tablespoons.


Thanks for your lovely review,it’s useful and can let me know different feedback of our teas.

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haven’t had pumpkin creme brulee before, although i have had sweet potato (which was to die for).

i get the spices and the creaminess, i also get the crisped sugar topping, but i’m not getting as much pumpkin as i’d like. might just be that a longer steep time would work better? of course that was a sample so it won’t happen unless i order some! lol.

still, a very skilled blend…. very smooth and quite complicated to create!

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

Not a fan of creme brulee but your comment reminds me of how I still need to make sweet potato pie sometime. I heard it’s really good!

And I agree, didn’t really get any pumpkin but it’s still a good blend.

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dear tao tea leaf,

i know that i reviewed this tea just last week but felt i should review it again as i am sipping my last cup.

the sample (which now sits damp and wilted in my tea basket) was kindly shipped to me by my friend scribbles. i do love this blend of yours. i love it so much that i actually dislike the name because it’s so banal!

i have no idea if scribbles is in your employ, but if she isn’t i really think you should consider it because i placed my first order with you last night as a direct result of her actions. at the very least she should get a kickback… or a friends and family discount…. maybe you could hire her as a blend sampler!

all because she sent me a sample of this tea. it wasn’t even from a swap…. it was just because she’s awesome… and while ordering more of this tea i stumbled over a bunch of other stuff i wanted to try and noticed that shipping was free in canada if i bought 35$ worth (which i did…. because it seemed sensible).

…… so yeah, scribbles really should get a discount. in my opinion. btw, has my order shipped yet?



LOL Great letter James. I’m seriously thinking about another Tao order, but waiting until they get their new website up and running. I think they have more teas than what is currently on their site. Can’t wait to see what else they have. (My order shipped the day after being placed, I got an email from Tao with a tracking number – am sure yours will ship soon).


So sorry haven’t been around. I wish I was in Tao’s employ…free tea?! Alas, I am in same position as you JustJames and Dexter3657…I pay for my tea purchases from them.


Perhaps I should show Tao this note…discount?? Heh, heh. Seriously, am glad you enjoy their teas. I have yet to review this one, but have been drinking and very much enjoying it. Hoping for speedy delivery for your order! :)


Hmmm I know Tao, he is an awesome person. And I’m friends with a girl who works there.
You two should join the Tea Guild of Canada. Our next meeting is in Sept.
You also get a discount at a bunch of Toronto based tea retailers in the area, asides from the seminars :)


Scribbles – I know you have to pay like the rest of us :)) but you get to GO to the store, the whole experience. I would love to be able to visit the store. We don’t have anything near as fun as that here.
Indigobloom If I lived near there I would be there, unless there is a Tea Guild of Canada chapter near here – I don’t think so but will have to look.


Tea Guild of Canada?? Thanks for notice Indigobloom…I’ll look into that.


Oh eeps sorry I didn’t realizeyou were in Manitoba!
Scribbles, I hope to see you there! would be awesome to have another Toronto tea fan to chat with :D


SO UNFAIR!!!! i’m in bc! even further than manitoba.


James can I ask what you ordered?


i got these: Imperial Pu-er Classic(Shou)
Rose Congou
Golden Needle
Lapsang Souchong-New Style
Gunpowder Green Tea

i really wanted to try the 55$ puerh that samples at 11$ per 5 grams, and i almost grabbed the purple puerh sample(again a tad expensive), but i’m happy with these. 3 new ones and 2 i know and love. =0)


Thank you. Looks like a great order. I did get the purple pu’erh but haven’t tried it yet. They have so many interesting teas.


i haven’t gotten an email notice of shipping…. are we there yet? lol.


Hmmm you know what, the way it started out in Toronto was just as a way for the Tea Sommelier certificate graduates (from George Brown) to have a way that they can keep in touch and continue learning etc.
I don’t see why someone wouldn’t be allowed to start up their own in your area. I mean, ours is super casual. Not fancy at all.


I don’t understand why it’s called Tea Guild of CANADA if it’s only in Toronto. It should be called Tea Guild of GTA.


dexter makes a good point… at least if it’s going to be the tea guild of canada everyone should be in black tie, lol.


haha I’ll have to ask them about that one day.

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drank Amandine Rose by Teavana
390 tasting notes

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drank White Peach by Adagio Teas
390 tasting notes

this blend was a repertoire contribution by the lovely ShortSorceress.

not one i ever would have bought for for myself. i just don’t tend towards peach for the most part… but last night i figured instead of drinking a black or puerh immediately before bed, perhaps i should try something lighter in the caffeine department and i’d been putting off steeping this one up.

it was actually quite nice! you know the peach juice they sell at tim hortons and carnivals? it was alot like that, but with a not-fabricated-with-chemical-names-you-can’t-pronounce-along-with-red-dye-#5-and-yellow-dye-#83 taste! lol.

very juicy. pure peach. sincere. still not my thing, but nice to settle off to bed with.

170 °F / 76 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Coco-Lemon Thai by DAVIDsTEA
390 tasting notes

ah coco lemon thai…. you were an original idea that i enjoyed for awhile, but i’ve moved on… and so should you. (sipdown) tamarind pop calls me from my future butiki order. (sorry coco… must fly)


Funny about this one, I feel the same way. I enjoyed it at the beginning but after a while, all that lemongrass was not so enjoyable anymore.


it’s all gone now…. moving on ;-P

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drank Indian Nimbu by Harney & Sons
390 tasting notes

WOW! the dry leaf is astonishing: light, floral and fruity. i smell lemon only lightly and deeper tones of red grape. a very light tobacco hint and i’m not even sure tobacco is the right descriptor, but it’s absolutely not smoke.

definitely a darjeeling… but the scent profile makes me imagine darjeeling fields waiting to be picked, brilliant sunlight glinting over a broad field in india.

this is a brilliant tea. summer in a cup. lovely. sorry i only grabbed a sample of this one!!!

195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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and just as quickly as this tea arrives in my mail box it is gone with our youngest. sigh. truth be told i mostly got it for him anyway… i was snooping to see what 52teas was releasing this week while he was hanging around and he was very enthusiastic.

i did get A cup of it though, lol. nice and smooth. a strong but not overpowering rootbeer taste. awesome with cream and sugar. i HAD planned on trying it iced, then maybe a straight cold steep…. ah well, i’ll pick my son’s brain when he’s back!

195 °F / 90 °C 6 min, 0 sec

Mmmmm. I almost regret not getting this one!


i would offer to send some, but it’s all with my son!

Aimee Popovacki

better than the davids one??


yup, by many orders of magnitude in my opinion.

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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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