659 Tasting Notes


Sipdown! I actually like this better now than I did the last time I had it. There really is a golden quality to the roastiness. It reminds me a bit of buckwheat. Not buckwheat tea but actual, cooked buckwheat. It’s really quite yum. I’m hoping to restock.

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drank Gingerbread Houjicha by 52teas
659 tasting notes

Sipdown! I’ll miss this one. The gingerbread flavor doesn’t drown out the roastiness of base houjicha. Instead, the two conspire to make a brew both wintry and refreshing. It’s actually even better cold.

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Happy Lunar New Year! I’m celebrating by drinking only Chinese teas today. This sample from Teavivre is first on deck.
The dry leaf is seaweed green, long and wiry. One thing I give Teavivre credit for is that the pictures on their website are consistently a fair and accurate representation of how the leaf actually looks. The dry leaf smells of fresh cut grass and honey.
Steep 1: 185f, 30 seconds. The wet leaf looks like steamed spinach and smells like… kale? asparagus? The brew is a green-tinted gold and smells like fresh peas. The mouthfeel is medium-thick and slightly dry. The flavor is light, sweet, and vegetal. It’s basically springtime in a cup, which seems apropos for the Spring Festival!
Steep 2: 185f, 40 seconds. This steep smells more cooked, like steamed spinach (although that might be the visual influence of how the leaves look). It’s still a green-tinted gold, darker this time. The flavor is vegetal with a bitter note. Kale maybe?
Steep 3: 190f, 40 seconds. Basically the same as steep 2.
Steep 4: 185f, 65 seconds. There’s a faint hint of roastiness in the flavor this time. Like roasted greens or maybe grilled asparagus.
Steep 5: 185f, 2 minutes. I think this is the end of what this leaf has to give. The bitter note is stronger, making the brew taste like kale. Incidentally, I don’t like kale. Teavivre says this leaf gong fus for three steeps. I maybe did not need to get more ambitious than that. :-)

Flavors: Asparagus, Kale, Peas

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drank Pumpkin Cheesecake by DAVIDsTEA
659 tasting notes


The last of this blend tastes like pumpkin spice with a hint of smokiness. A dose of rice milk smooths out that random smoky note and brings out the creamy cheesecake flavor. This blend has lots of junk in it, but dang if it’s not tasty.

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It’s cold and windy and rainy and TBH I’m semi-irrationally scared that the wind will blow my air conditioner out of the window. Mostly I am perturbed by the eerie noises that the wind is making and the fact that some of it is getting through the a/c. So, like any good Steepsterite, I reached for a comforting cuppa. Phi first exposed me to this tea when she sent me a sample (thanks, friend!). Then there was an ounce of this in our gift bags at the Philly Coffee & Tea Fest. I am trying to enjoy rather than hoard it but it’s SO GOOD and I don’t want to run out. It basically tastes like a cinnamon oatmeal cookie. This tea is just wintry comfort in a cup. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put in some earplugs, curl up under a blanket, and try to sleep through (hopefully) the worst of this storm.

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I had planned to attend my local march today. The conspicuously-timed stabbing migraine I’ve been fighting since yesterday morning had other plans. So I am stuck at home, trying to rest and not dwell on the frustration of having my body betray me or the guilt of not being in the streets with my friends and colleagues. What does one even drink on a day like today? Why, Butiki of course, for this is a day for dwelling on what we have lost and remembering what we still have. I’m pairing it with Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.

This blend has held up quite well. I may have added too much sugar to the first steep, resulting in an imbalance between the almond and maple flavors. I didn’t really get any waffle flavor, though there was a nice thick mouthfeel and no driness. I’m on steep 2 now and the flavor of the base tea has come out to play, sort of bready and just a touch bitter. This is a wonderfully soothing, dessert-like blend that I’m happy to still have a little of.


Sorry to hear your body was resistant to resistance! I went out to the Austin march, it was hot and sweaty, but it was nice to be around others who feel the same as I do.
I love NPH! I’ll have to check out that show!

Maddy Barone

I’m sorry you had to miss the march. The one in Fargo was very good. WE were very, very well behaved. And as for the migraine, you ave my utmost sympathy. I really hate those.


Thanks Dustin and Maddy! I’m glad you showed up!

@Dustin – NPH is great and so is the show. Highly recommend.

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Honestly, I’m not getting a lot of pudding flavor or texture here. Instead, this tastes like a thin Mexican hot chocolate. It’s probably a mild-to-moderate kick of spice but I have an Eastern European palate so it tastes super spicy to me. A splash of rice milk helped smooth out the spice. I think whole milk would probably be great here to add some thickness and mellow out the chili flavor. Alas, I have none.

Flavors: Chocolate, Spicy

Evol Ving Ness

Eastern European palate. Ah, therefore, salt, pepper, and possibly caraway, poppy, and sesame seeds. Sadly, probably not great tea enhancers.

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Sipdown! I could have sworn that I wrote a taste comparison between this and 52teas’ Coconut French Toast with Cardamom Maple Syrup, but now I can’t find it anywhere and I finished off the 52teas about a month ago so… either I planned to write it and never did, wrote it somewhere unusual and lost track of it, or accidentally deleted it, but the end result is that no such tasting note exists. Alas.

I drank most of this tea grandpa-style, with two balls in a 12-oz mug. I must have gone off script at some point, because I ended up with just one ball left. I decided to gong fu it. I’m five steeps in and still going. The first steep has a strong maple flavor. Subsequent steeps transition to primarily malt and cocoa notes. It’s good on a cold winter’s night.


I can’t find this for purchase online—where did you buy yours?



It seems to be out of stock at the moment. Try emailing him to find out if/when there will be more.


thank you!

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Sipdown! I think this was better when it was fresh two years ago. It’s still quite decent though. The floral jasmine scent carries over into the flavor, present but not overwhelming, floral but not perfume-y. I have a vague memory of cold brewing this over the summer and finding it quite enjoyable.

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I actually finished this off at least a year ago, but apparently never posted a note for it. I just found the beginnings of one in my drafts and decided to put it up for completeness. Initial notes: “The dry leaf smells like nutella and butterscotch candies. It brews up slightly darker than a Werther’s candy.” From what I recall, this blend tasted like nutella and butterscotch too. I remember it feeling warm and wintry and comforting. It wasn’t my absolute favorite but it was damn good.

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