111 Tasting Notes

drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
111 tasting notes

Thanks so much to carol who for her generous sample of this tea! I was really looking forward to tasting this one (I’ve been curious about Harney & Sons teas in general). Unfortunately, the first time I tried it, I must have overstepped my cup, because it was pretty dry—and I couldn’t seem to taste the vanilla. This time, I steeped it for three minutes instead of four, and WOW. This is absolutely heavenly! To me, it smells exactly like a toasted marshmallow, all creamy and sugary and delicious.

And it tastes delicious too! No dryness this time, just nice smooth black tea (with a subtle fruit note, maybe berry?) and cozy vanilla sweetness. Now I know why everyone raves about this one! I’m definitely going to have to order more. And it’s decaf, which just makes it that much better. Thanks again to carol who for giving me the chance to sample it!

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This was the free sample in my Upton order! I steeped this morning’s cup for a little over three minutes. It definitely has that strong scent of hay that I’ve noticed with some Yunnan black teas. The flavor is more complex; I can taste a strong hay note, similar to the aroma, but there’s also a sweet note of honey here, and a little bit of cocoa and spice. The mouthfeel is thicker than I expected, maybe even a little powdery, but very smooth. There’s a little dryness to it, but it’s smooth as well— I wish I knew how to describe it, but it’s not as sharp and bitter as the astringency in an Assam.

I’m still learning about black teas, so it’s hard for me to say much about the quality, or how this tea compares to other Yunnans. But I enjoyed my cup. I could see myself drinking it often, as a more everyday sort of tea.

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This is a very smooth chai. The prominent spices here seem to be cardamom and cinnamon, followed by the licorice (although I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best at figuring out which spices are which!). The vanilla is subtle, but it makes the tea sweeter—as does the cacao, which is a little easier to taste. I think overall I prefer a spicier, heavier chai (with more ginger!). But I can definitely appreciate this one, and it’s well-balanced.

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Thanks to carol who for my sample of this one! I have to say, this tea surprised me. When I first smelled the dry leaf, I thought, “Hmm, not much raspberry here, but I bet it’s a nice black tea.” Then I steeped it, and the raspberry scent became much more prominent. (Usually it’s the other way around!) The aroma was deep and rich; I found myself savoring it while the tea cooled. But I assumed the flavor would be mostly aromatic… And I was wrong about that, too! There’s a strong note of raspberry in this tea, very juicy and fresh, and it leaves a wonderful berry aftertaste. It also blends well with the base tea, which has a subtle cocoa note to it.

I have to say, I’m impressed! This is a fairly simple flavored tea, but it delivers on its promise.

carol who

Yay! Glad you like it!

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drank Pommier by Lupicia
111 tasting notes

I enjoyed this one! Lately, I’ve been steeping rooibos and honeybush teas for shorter times (about three minutes or so), and it seems to help make them less medicinal. There’s still some wood-y taste here from the rooibos, but it’s pretty mild. I can smell a sugary note of maple in the aroma, and the apple comes through when I sip. It seems like Lupicia does well with their rooibos/honeybush blends, compared to some others I’ve tried… I still enjoy their flavored green and black teas more, but I’d say the rooibos and honeybush ones are worth trying, for caffeine-free options. (They probably won’t convert anyone who doesn’t like rooibos, though! I still have to be in the right mood to drink them.)

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I’ve been searching for a chocolate-flavored Earl Grey for a while. It seems like it would be an interesting flavor combo. I finally purchased a sample of this one, and I’m liking the mix of flavors. The chocolate in this tea is pretty subtle; it mostly adds a nice creamy sweetness. But the bergamot is great, not too strong or too sharp. I like to have this tea with sugar, to help bring out the chocolate note even more. Overall, this is a decent Earl Grey. I’m not sure I’ll repurchase it, since I’d like to try one with a stronger chocolate note in the future. (But I bet this one would taste great blended with a chocolate tea, like Lupicia’s The Au Chocolat or Adagio’s Chocolate Chip!)

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The first time I tried this tea, I couldn’t smell or taste the Bourbon vanilla at all. (Though I could smell some vanilla in the dry leaf!) So I steeped today’s cup for three minutes, instead of the recommended four, and added a little sugar. That seemed to help; I could smell vanilla this time, and taste a bit of its creamy sweetness mid-sip. That said, the vanilla here gets pretty overpowered by the tea base. This is a classic Assam black tea, the strong, dark kind with a lot of natural dryness. I think it would probably work best with milk and sugar, because of the astringency… I’ll have to try it that way in the future.

Overall, this is a high-quality tea, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy the rest of my sample. But if I’m in the mood for a vanilla tea, I’ll probably reach for one with a smoother black base and more vanilla flavor. (Of course, I’m horribly spoiled from teas like Golden Orchid!)

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Thanks to carol who for my sample of this tea! This is the first 52teas blend I’ve tried, so I was interested to see what it’d be like. The dry leaf smells really good. Come to think of it, orange and pineapple both have a certain sweet/sharp citrus flavor to them, so they blend together well. I steeped my cup for 5-6 minutes. As for the flavor, the orange note was the most noticeable, with a faint hint of pineapple. I could taste the peppery sweetness of the honeybush, but it wasn’t overwhelming or unpleasant, and went well with the fruit flavors. Overall, I like this one! I’m not sure I’d purchase it myself, just because I have other tropical flavored teas I like more, but it’s definitely drinkable. Glad I got the chance to try it.

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drank Lanikai by Lupicia
111 tasting notes

Also sampled this one at a friend’s house! This tea is another one of Lupicia’s exclusive Hawaiian blends. It’s very sweet, and smells mostly of coconut, with some vanilla. (There’s also pineapple, though I don’t notice it as much, possibly because it blends in with the coconut?) The tea tastes sweet as well; there seem to be sugar crystals mixed in with the dry leaf, which highlight the tropical flavors in the blend. The black base is on the lighter side, with minimal bitterness, which is always good. For some reason, I don’t like this one quite as much as Lupicia’s other Hawaiian blends, though… Something about the flavor combo tastes a little soapy and artificial. It might actually be the coconut; I enjoy coconut in some blends, but it can taste a little flat to me. This is still a good tea, though, and really evokes some classic Hawaiian flavors! It’s just not my favorite Lupicia blend that I’ve tried.

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Received this as a sample from my last WP order! Wow, this tea… It’s delicious, and complex. A blend of two black teas, it’s more restrained than a typical breakfast blend, which I love. It has notes of bread and fruit and chocolate, along with a subtle floral finish. I find that I have to sip all my teas from Whispering Pines slowly, and really focus on what I’m drinking, or I miss out on all the subtleties. (I didn’t pay nearly enough attention when I tried my first cup of this, and couldn’t remember a thing about it afterward. Bad tea drinker, bad!)

Now I really want to order more, so I can drink this all the time. Agh, but I have far too many teas in my cupboard right now, and on my wish list! Whispering Pines, you’ll be the death of me. (Or just my wallet, I guess?)

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I’m a writer who drinks tea to survive the creative process. A few years ago, I discovered the joys of loose leaf, and I’ve been hoarding all kinds of tea ever since!

My favorite teas change by the day. I usually drink them unsweetened, without milk. I like white and green teas, but I tend to prefer black and oolong these days. Rooibos can be hit-or-miss, same with herbals. (I mostly avoid blends with hibiscus, as I find it too tart, and I’m not a huge mint fan.) But I love when I find a good herbal that I can enjoy when I don’t want caffeine. I’m actively searching for tasty blends with chamomile in them.

I enjoy both flavored and straight teas. Some of my favorite flavors are vanilla, spice, apple, orange, chocolate, and peach. I’m obsessed with ginger. Seriously. I’ve been known to add extra ginger to teas that already have absurd amounts of spice in them. You’ve been warned. ;)





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