583 Tasting Notes


1.5 tsp for 300mL water @98C, steeped five minutes.


A heavy artificial cherry flavour, like cough drops or cough syrup. Some acai notes. Coffee and roasted mate. Something sharp in the scent — probably juniper. Hibiscus comes out more with each sip. Damn it, why hibiscus? It ends up dominating everything it touches. (I loathe hibiscus. I knew it was in the blend, but I remain optimistic that it will work this time, somehow … it never does.)

Four sips in and I have to toss it. I want to like this. Can’t stop thinking about cherry Vicks drops.

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @ 95C, steeped four minutes 30 seconds.

Hmm. I see on the package it recommends 4 to 7 minutes — odd, for a black tea. I’ll try the longer steep next time.

I got a sample of this, iced, in a DavidsTea store about an hour ago and loved it. My hot cup here at home is good, too: a better balance of tea and spices than usual from DavidsTea. I like the slight winey-note from the cloves. I adore cloves. And I can taste tea in this blend, too — some Ceylon, maybe. Not an everyday tea for me, as I prefer straight teas, but a winner for a flavoured tea.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Another reviewer mentions a burnt sugar note in the finish — I agree. It’s quite good.

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @ 95C, steeped 5 minutes.

Oranges, earthy mate, and some bitterness in the finish – as from orange peel. Tasty and potent; I’m not done my cup yet and feel a buzz already.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Oh, this is so good.

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @95C., steeped 6 minutes 30 seconds.

Ooops — got distracted again.

But that’s okay, because this tea yielded a deep grape note and a floral note, almost of wild roses, I’d not gotten before. There even seemed to be an echo of bergamot. And some molasses. Wow.

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped 7 minutes, drunk bare.

Yes, 7 minutes — I got distracted by a full washer and dryer.

And this tea was still beautiful. It got thicker, heavier in the body, but not bitter; the taste itself did not change. Happy accident.

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1 bag for 300mL water @100C, steeped four minutes.

A huge box of these teabags came to me from a friend in England. In North America, PG Tips is a pleasant, if dull, supermarket black tea, mostly Ceylon, I think. The English version is quite different.

The liquor is almost red, like a decent Keemun. I wonder of there’s some Keemun in the blend, as there’s a faint – very faint- smokiness and bitterness. Some Assam, I think, giving heft, and something lighter, giving some astringency to the finish. Delicious and full, without coating the mouth as some Assams and Kenyans might. A very pleasant surprise. It reminds me of how Twinings English Breakfast used to taste, many years ago, only much better.


My local source for looseleaf PG Tips dried up and it makes me sad. Haven’t tried the pyramid bags yet; they sound like a completely different composition.

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1,5 tsp plus a punch for 300mL water @10C, steeped four minutes.

This is a second infusion, from leaves I steeped yesterday morning for three minutes. I meant to steep the leaves a a second time yesterday in a travel mug and take it to work, but, as usual, I got distracted. I was a but concerned this morning about re-steeping damp leaves left in a strainer 24 hours in some heat and humidity, but this tea is too good to waste. I added a pinch of fresh leaf and poured the water.

The second infusion was identical to the first. The pu-erh darkness mellowed slightly, but only slightly. A potent and nuanced blend, and a joy to drink.

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped five minutes Western style.

Yeah, don’t do what I just did. I got distracted — damn it, I need a timer in my study for when I make tea — and my precious sample Laoshan Black is bitter. Cocoa-bitter. It’s still a lovely tea, and I can handle some bitterness, but this expensive error reminds me that good tea is often delicate tea and needed careful treatment.

As it cools, some of the sweeter notes are coming out. Still, it’s over-steeped, and it’s my own fault.


It’s heartbreaking when you get all psyched up to drink a very specific tea and have an experience in mind and have the wind taken out of your sails by an overabundance of steepage (generally, I find, brought on by a parallel overabundance of multi-tasking…)

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2 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped five minutes Western style, drunk bare.

I got distracted. I meant to steep this only four minutes.

Dark copper liquor. Lots of sweet potato, similar to Golden Fleece, but not as fuzzy in the mouth-feel, and with lots of deep cocoa notes. Roasty.

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I prefer straight teas but will try almost anything … so long as it’s not tainted with hibiscus. I loathe hibiscus.

Floral oolong and complex black teas are my favourites.


St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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