659 Tasting Notes

drank Troika by Kusmi Tea
659 tasting notes

I wanted to make this for some guests today. I didn’t have enough leaf for a whole pot, so I mixed up what I had with Nina’s Versailles Rose. It went over big. I think. It’s hard to tell with some guests whether they genuinely like something or are just being polite. But I think they liked it.

For me, it kind of just tasted like black tea. Very dry with a citrusy aftertaste. The Versailles Rose improved on the citrus aspect, but the Troika toned down the best notes of the Versailles Rose.

I actually picked up both of these teas at the Taste of France festival back in the fall. The Troika came from Fuzzy_Peachkin (I think) and the Versailles Rose from Laurent. Thank you both!

sipdown of the Troika

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drank Duchess' First Love by Tay Tea
659 tasting notes

I’ve never seen a black tea/rooibos blend before. I’m intrigued! The dry leaf smells like caramel and citrus. I would almost say orange, but I know it’s not. The color of the brew is definitely orange, though. The rooibos is very assertive. Woody. It’s tempered by a hint of caramel and citrus. The citrus peeks out at the end of the sip. It’s a generic sort of citrus flavor. I wouldn’t know what it was if I didn’t read the label. The creaminess comes out in the aftertaste and lingers pleasantly long after the sip is over. Caramel builds up in the aftertaste as I near the bottom of the mug.

This tea is ok, but nothing special. I’ll probably get my dad to drink the rest.

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I saw something very similar to this at Trader Joe’s. I considered buying some to compare with this mix, but then I read the nutrition label and totally changed my mind. It had 10+ ingredients, loads of chemicals, and a whole lot of fat. So yeah, that didn’t happen. But of course I ended up thinking about this mix all the way home.

I decided to try it with cold rice milk this time. It turned out ok, but too sweet. This is much better hot. For dessert or a leisurely weekend breakfast. Somehow I can’t see this or any matcha as a regular breakfast drink. It’s just too thick and sweet for that.

ohfancythat (whatshesaid)

It’s definitely sweet. I had it for breakfast last week and regretted it


Yeah, it reminds me of a milkshake.

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drank Cacao Tea by Herbal Infusions
659 tasting notes

Holy hot cocoa batman! This tastes exactly like hot cocoa. Amazing. I bet this would taste incredible iced. This tea is way too good to wait until it cools, though. I got two solid steeps out of it. Also, it takes beautifully to a shot of Bailey’s. This is so going on the ideal cupboard list. Thank you MissLena!

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Thank you for sending this to me, MissLena!

I was really worried that this got contaminated at first. What’s up with the spiciness? I was expecting creamy orange! Instead, the dry leaf smells overwhelmingly of cinnamon and, weirdly, clove. There’s a touch of vanilla at the end of the sniff. The brewed tea has a more balanced smell – equal parts cinnamon, vanilla, and orange.

The taste is sharp cinnamon and woody rooibos with a tart aftertaste. It actually reminds more of a chai than any kind of creamsicle. There is a nice sweetness that comes out at the bottom of the cup. If the whole brew tasted like this, I’d probably be a bigger fan.



Haha I just saw this note now! I don’t think it was contaminated, the whole bag was more cinnamon and rooibos than anything else to me, and spicy too. I too wish there was a creamsicle flavor, but none to be found, I could barely get any orange out of any cup

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Sipdown. I received a teabag of this with my sample set… wow, a year ago. It’s still wonderful. I had forgotten how much I adore sencha. The dry bag smells grassy and light and sweet, almost like cantaloupe. The tag is notched so you can stick it on the mug. It’s a small detail but I really like it. I really hate when the tag falls into the mug and I have to find a way to fish it out.

The tea brews up a gentle, light green. It smells grassy and sweet. The flavor is grass and a touch of roasted rice. I’ve had better Den’s Teas, but then again this one probably tasted better a year ago when it was fresh.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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This was one of the relatively few teas I could drink during Passover. Alas, it contributed to my chometz-deprived crankiness.

The dry leaf has a very chemical strawberry smell. The brew smells the same, perhaps slightly less chemical-ish. It is, unsurprisingly, red. That’s because this tea would be more aptly called “Creamy Hibiscus”. I don’t automatically hate hibiscus, but I don’t like how hibiscus often overwhelms any other flavors in the blend. Thankfully, this can be made more palatable by brewing it along with a bag of Wissotzky Cinnamon Magic. The cinnamon in that tea can actually stand up to the hibiscus in this one and add a little complexity to the cup.

I had to look up what Panna Cotta is. Apparently it is a gelatinous dessert. As a vegetarian, I have never and am unlikely to ever taste it. So I can’t speak to the presence/quality of the panna cotta taste. All I can tell you is that there’s some creamy aspect in here that I imagine is supposed to be the panna cotta.


I had no idea you couldn’t drink tea during Passover. I just looked it up because I was curious why and now I’m completely fascinated. I don’t think I really ever considered what goes into flavoring and decaffeinating teas and coffee.


Haha yeah it can get complicated. I was still able to drink most straight teas, but I was just too tired and cranky from eating poorly to really appreciate the intricacies of a good straight tea. Plus, reviewing a straight tea always feels like more work because I really have to focus on teasing out the flavors.

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drank Maple Pecan Oolong by Butiki Teas
659 tasting notes

Pouring rain and wind so strong it broke my sturdiest umbrella this morning. Definitely a day for comfort teas in my travel mug. This very much did the trick. Well, it didn’t keep me dry. But it did make me feel better. This is a must-have tea for cold/rainy/snowy days. It just is. I might not restock over the summer, but if this isn’t available come fall I may very well literally cry. And you don’t want to make me cry, right Stacy?

Butiki Teas

No, we definitely wouldn’t want that. We stock this year round, so no worries. :)

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drank Forever Nuts by DAVIDsTEA
659 tasting notes

I really wasn’t expecting to like this. My experiences with DavidsTea have been pretty hit-or-miss and this one just didn’t sound very promising.

And yet. This is actually quite pleasant. The smell is nutty and evocative of marzipan. The color is discouragingly red, but the hibiscus isn’t actually as overwhelming as I feared. The taste is primarily almond, with a sweet hibiscus undertone and a tangy aftertaste. This is so close to marzipan! I wouldn’t rush to have this again, but I wouldn’t turn it down either.


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I was quite skeptical of swaps when I first started out on Steepster (over a year ago – wow!). It just didn’t seem safe to give a bunch of strangers my address. And let’s face it, doing so is still not the brightest idea. Yet somehow it has always worked out wonderfully. I’ve swapped with 15+ people and have yet to have a bad experience. Steepster seems to be the one remaining corner of the internet where genuinely nice people gather. Yay for all of you, and a special yay to the creators of this site. Your hard work does not go unnoticed!

This is the third time someone has surprised me with this tea in a swap package. Lucky me! I still really enjoy it. The spicy pumpkin smell of the dry leaf is intoxicating. The brewed tea has a heftier scent. The spice and pumpkin mellow out a bit and an almost bready smell shows up. There’s a slight smokiness in the flavor today. The spice is barely detectable. Instead, there’s almost a pumpkin bread flavor. The aftertaste is nummy nummy pumpkinness. As the brew cools, some sweetness appears at the beginning of the sip. Actually, this is surprisingly good cold! The flavors don’t really change but they stay nicely blended and quite pleasant.

By the way, sipdown!

EDIT: I’m such a goofball! I went on and on about how great my swapping experiences have been and forgot to thank the person who actually sent me the swap. D’oh! Thank you, MissLena, for your thoughtful inclusion of this tea in our swap.

Christina / BooksandTea

That’s one thing I’ve been pleasantly surprised by myself – the success of the swaps. Of course, because I’m a horrible pessimist, the swaps are so good that I almost don’t want Steepster to become popular along the mainstream, because I’m sure that would just invite all sorts of horror stories of the “razorblade in the Halloween apple” kind.

ohfancythat (whatshesaid)

Steepster is a special place :)

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