161 Tasting Notes

drank Tea's Tea Golden Oolong by Ito En
161 tasting notes

This bottle went delightfully with my left over Easter ham sandwich. My absolute favorite bottled/pre-made tea. Mmmm!


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I selected a bag of this tea out of the Traveling Tea Box. I needed some tea on the fly this morning, so I went for the quick teabag approach. This tea isn’t awful by any means, but it isn’t going to knock anyone’s socks off either. It has a very light but pleasant peach aroma and taste. I’m not finding any depth to this tea, and the oolong that Stash used is about 5 kinds of bland. But it’s not awful…there’s just much better tea out there. As my cup cooled down, the taste was much sweeter and juicier. It would probably make a lovely iced tea if you made a fierce concentration of it first. This was a refreshing cup…I’ll give it that. Not too shabby for a bagged tea.

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This tea is a prime example of a “green-tasting” oolong (in my opinion). While it is not my preferred flavor profile, it’s still a tasty cup. I’m getting nutty, lightly fruity, asparagus-like notes from it. The first cup seemed quite vegetal to me, but the second steep has calmed down remarkably. Both cups are smooth as can be. A big “thank you” goes to Jillian for sending me a sample of this. She mentioned Wuyi Yancha’s “re-steeping power” in one of her posts. I’m looking forward to getting a few more cups out of this!

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Roasty and toasty, indeed. I really like the flavor of this tea. It’s a traditional tasting oolong in every way except the final kick of roasted/toasted, nutty notes. The color of the liquor is so light…I’m surprised it packs this much of a punch. It reminds me of Soba-Cha, but much more complex. Medium to Dark roasted oolongs are my preference, and this one is one of the best ones I’ve ever had. It’s nice to have an oolong that tastes just like an oolong…none of the green/vegetal notes are present at all. I might have found the right tea for my brand new Yixing pot. Maybe…I’ve had it since Christmas and still have not decided on a tea. It’s a big decision for me. :)

Major props to TeaEqualsBliss for including this one in our swap. I have found a new gem! Yay!

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The taste progression of this tea is super fast but highly noticeable. It goes something like this (but in a blur): slightly sweet, floral, grape skin bitterness, sweet, and ends with lingering bitterness. The astringency level is moderate…just enough to be unpleasant. It really does taste like a dry white wine…and it’s a wee bit odd to drink it hot. Wombatgirl gave me this sample when she was in Nashville. Thanks chick!

Time to drink some water to re-hydrate my mouth. :)

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A big thank you goes to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me this sample. Sorry, I’m just now getting around to tasting it.

This is a very intriguing oolong. The liquor is a very light yellow and has a sweet, vegetal smell. The flavor is initially vegetal, then very floral…mostly of orchids. Nice! On an odd note, I swear I’m tasting a light cabbage flavor…and not in an awful way. I like cabbage. The aftertaste is sweet and lingering. Not too shabby overall. I am, however, encountering that familiar musty smell and taste that I tend to do with rolled teas of any sort. This is the main downer for me.
All in all, this tea is quite pleasant…but I think I prefer darker, less green tasting oolongs. This was really nice to sample!


I can totally understand the cabbage thing! :P

Pamela Dean

Lena, to get rid of the musty notes, rinse the rolled-up dry tea before steeping. Pour just enough hot water to cover the leaves, count to ten, pour off and discard the rinse water, or use it to warm your cup. You may opt to let the rinsed leaf sit a minute at this point, to give the leaf a chance to begin it’s journey of unfolding. Then proceed as usual. The rinse has given me improved results with some oolongs.

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Sorry for the lack of posts recently. My life has been absolutely crazy since the 1st of this month. I interviewed for a position within my company that would involve relocating to Florida. I still haven’t heard too much, other than that I have made it to the “narrowed down” list. (Whatever that means.) My patience is truly being tested. I’m trying to remain positive…but not to the point of devastation if I don’t get it.

Anyway, on to the tea. Unfortunately, it sucks. There ya go…great review, huh? For starters, the tea leaves are very broken…not coffee grounds, but quite broken. The smell of the dry leaves was not very impressive either. It wasn’t quite cherry or vanilla, but something sour smelling. Meh. After steeping, only the faintest wisp of cherry/vanilla was present in the smell and taste…and that only happened after the cup cooled to lukewarm. Bland, bland, bland…and super astringent. I feel like this marks the last of my flavored tea purchases. (Other than chocolate…Numi’s Chocolate Pu-erh comes to mind.) I picked this up at Whole Foods on a whim. I’m much more into blends at the moment and picking out the notes of unflavored teas. Another phase of my tea drinking, I suppose.

Well, back to waiting and positive thinking.


with ROT I usually need to use 2 bags, slightly cooler water, and longer end of the steep time – it sounds so good…sadness


Boo on ROT but good luck with the work thing!


I was curious about this blend but had a feeling it’d be just as you described it! Republic of Tea seems to be very hit-or-miss in my experience.

Good luck with the new position—I hope you’ll hear soon!


I’m channeling happy thoughts and images of hot sunny beaches your way! Hope it works out for you!


Lots of luck!!!!


Hey, any chance it’s in Tampa? If so, that’s where one of our offices is – so I might be able to come see you again after all!

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drank Tea's Tea Golden Oolong by Ito En
161 tasting notes

I picked a few of these up at Whole Foods the other day. I was a smidge leary, but I had a hunch I would like it. Man, am I impressed! This tastes so nice and clean…so oolong-y and nom! It’s great with food or by itself. I wish they weren’t $1.99 a pop, because I could casually drink a lot of this. I drank the majority of the bottle ice cold with lunch. Yum! Now, I’m finishing up the bottle and it’s kind of luke-warm. STILL really good! I love that this was totally unsweetened and natural.

I guess $1.99 isn’t too bad if I only pick up 3 or 4 every now and then. It’s totally worth it!


I like these too. And they ARE sort of expensive, unfortunately, but pretty tasty every now and then.

Meghann M

Really wishing I had a whole foods near me so I could try this.


Ito-en also has their Oi-Ocha line that (from what I’m told) is brewed with higher-quality leaves and caters to “a more experienced palette.”

@meghann, I’ve seen both Tea’s Tea and Oi-Ocha in Asian grocery stores. They also sell 12-packs on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ito-En-Japanese-16-9-Ounce-Bottles/dp/B0017T2MWW


I really like this one too :) I wish the price wasn’t that way either.


Oooh, one of my favorite actors is the “face” of Oi-Ocha in Japan…I was wondering what it tastes like! I think I’m going to buy a pack off of Amazon at a later date…gah, tea puts me way over my budget :(


I’m always looking for unsweetened bottled teas! Sounds great!


Thank you for the review. I’ve seen it on the shelves and flirted with buying it. Now I know that I can safely get one of these for summer emergencies.

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drank Pu-erh Vanilla Mint by Rishi Tea
161 tasting notes

This tea looks so pretty but tastes kind of…blah. Don’t let the pu-erh scare you away if that’s a factor for you not trying it. You can smell the pu-erh, but it’s not over the top taste-wise. It’s earthy and minty…and smells very cinnamon-y, but I do not taste too much of it. This does leave my mouth clean and minty as any good mint tea should, but this one is lacking in the taste department. It’s thin and weak despite having a very dark liquor. It should be called Pu-erh Mint because I taste absolutely NO vanilla. Rishi’s description (all of it) is WAYYY off on this one.

This tea might indeed benefit by being brewed like a chai, but I recommend saving your money for Samovar’s Moorish Mint instead. Mmmm….Now that tea can do no wrong.


I was also a little let down by the description on this one. I really expected to like it, but, eh… I got Rishi’s Maghreb Mint at the same time which I ended up liking a lot more than expected. It is described similarly to Samovar’s Moorish Mint, so you might want to give it a try if you haven’t yet. I think I need to try the Moorish Mint.


YEAH MOORISH MINT! I’m going to make some now. The light of inspiration has struck me, and its name is Lena.


STOP! I need more moorish mint now!

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drank Kashmiri Chai by Golden Moon Tea
161 tasting notes

After receiving this sample from TeaEqualsBliss, I was super excited about trying this one. I mean really…look at those ratings! Nice! Now the down side. Last night I received bad news about a friend of the family’s sudden failing health and I needed something comforting this morning. I’m out of Almond Cookie. Boo. :( Anyway, on to the tea.

I honestly wasn’t too impressed with my 1st cup. The dry leaves and spice mix looked very appealing to begin with so I was kind of confused. Of course I added milk and sugar as I tend to do with most of my chais. After the 1st steep, the leaves were fully expanded and that’s mostly what I tasted…black tea. The spices were fairly bland and very much in the background. As much as I like spicy foods, I don’t particularly care for super spicy chais. I mean “spicy” as in “heat”…NOT the cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns, etc. This one did not have a “spicy” feel to it, but it was still kind of lacking. Regardless, I finished my cup and decided to steep again.

Take two. Now this is better! The liquor is much MUCH lighter, so I skipped the milk and sugar. NOW I taste the spices. Mostly cardamom…but that’s cool. At least this tastes more like chai! I’m not sure if my traditional chai preparation method would improve this blend or not. In my opinion, chais need that rolling boil to crack open all of those pods and make the spices come to life. I think the black tea was either too strong for the spices or that the company used too much leaf in relation to the ratio of spices. Or maybe I just like my chais WAY to freakin’ strong. Oh well, it’s not bad by any means. Just mild.

Sorry about the rambling post. My mind is kind of scattered at the moment.


Sorry to hear about your bad news…and that the chai might not have been up to snuff with being the snuggly blanket you needed it to be. Hang in there.


Thanks for the kind words. I’ll have to make especially good chai when I get home. :) Chai, a warm blanket and a cat or 2 in my lap sounds really good right now.


Sorry to hear about your friend…I will add them/you to my prayer list

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lover of tea, travel, good food, nerdy stuff, tattoos, great danes, sushi, beer, netflix, UFC, reading…and of course, my kick-ass husband.



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