1288 Tasting Notes


SIPDOWN 1 in 2022

Yees, my first sipdown. I had 7,5 grams remaining and decided to gongfu them. It was a bit too much…

Steeps were around at first, 20 seconds each, later I prolonged them with finishing around one minute long.

It was bold. Heavy. But somehow different than western steeping, which I feel is better steeping method. I think I just overelafed it.

Sadly, all the mellow notes were weak and instead strong malt, honey and a bit of astringency is here. Muscatel remains here, combined with opposite — earthy flavours, lightly nutty ones. Some steeps were a bit bitter.

I see now as well eastkyteaguy note of roasted almonds and I think that is that nutty flavour I have pointed out, however it is not nut in a botanical way. But who cares? Maybe Courtney would? Haha.

Okay. I know this note isn’t saying much about the tea I guess. I am actually as well happy that it is finished and I don’t have another almost empty pouch in my cupboard. Again, a cup of tea that has got quite high rating (90 for western brews), but now I feel I should go lower. I wouldn’t.

I would like get it as a gift again. I would even buy it. But not now.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

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Here I am! I was for a week on the trip with my best friend in Poland. We were in Torun, Gdansk (Danzig for German speakers) and in the end Poznan.

I will be honest… hotel teas are bad. Worse than I have been expecting.
Here is the list I had this week(tea bags mostly). I won’t make a separate post for each tea tried.

I have started wih Dilmah Earl Grey — I have been expecting better. Quite bitter base tea, bergamot is rather lemon, or I have thought.
Very same day I tried Ceylon Gold by Basilur (I had two cups of tea for breakfast each day in Torun). Even worse flavour. Even more bitter. No other flavours.

Next day… another Dilmah tea; this time flavoured with lemon; and the second wih passion fruit, pomergranate and honeysuckle. First one was probably the worst from my Dilmah experience? The aroma was foul. Very dish soap like, very artificial and it went to flavour very much as well. Ugh, I am trying to recall worse lemon tea! Second one was fruity. Yes, it was black tea with fruity flavours. But can’t find out any of the flavours that should be in. Aroma was so strong, that it made me cough.

I thought it can be better. My expectation in the hotel in Gdansk weren’t met. Actually, it was rapid downhill. Due to Covid-19 we had to order breakfast beforehand, and there was “Tee” in English translation. Breakfast was fine, but “Tee” we got was round tea bag, without any information on it or on the label, because it has got no label! I was trying to find out and they (the staff) only told me it’s black tea. Thank you, I have recognized, based on the brew. It was very earthy, dusty, bitter… probably Tetley or some Polish, worse, tea.

Luckily, during our stay in Gdansk, we have visited local restaurant and there I have ordered a tea. Green tea. Of course, they brought boiling water. The tea was Classic Green from Ronnefeldt company. I know that they are pretty much okay. It’s not top-notch. Probably best bagged tea I had this vacation. It was mild and a bit grassy.
We actually went to the restaurants twice this day. Or it was day before? I don’t know. But once, we have received even a loose-leaf tea. It was some easydrinking Ceylon black tea, but it was so big change of pace. I loved it (in terms of “teas” I have got earlier)

After arriving in Poznan, we needed to eat something. So I have ordered again a tea… but this time it was with ginger, raisins orange, dried morello cherries and honey. I thought it will be some loose tea steeped in and then whole finished drink will be delivered to me.
I was wrong. I have received hot water with all the ingredients and on the top, there was floating a tea bag. An unknown brand (teArtis). It was very fine for me that day.

And at last, Poznan. We were about to get some breakfast at hotel, but because it was New Year, they did not serve any. But we had tea bags in our room so I have tried one. It was Green Tea Peach from Teekanne. Well known company for me, and I was so disappointed. I know I have oversteeped it, but it must be wrong even before. Turned out bitter and hay-like. Maybe it was there for long? Who knows.

So I have decided that we will go to the tea room. I really wanted a good tea. Really good tea. And why not the very last day of the vacation?

I have ordered probably the most expensive tea there? It was Oolong Kaoribi Shibamoto. Yes it is Japanese oolong… I never had any before. It was so good that I have bought 100 grams of it to take home. With it I have took some blend they had there. It is called “Z Perskiego targu” which means “From Persian market”. I haven’t opened it yet, so I have no idea what it is.
The oolong? I just have to say it was awesome. I will write more about it later. If you have any information of this tea, let me know. I have only Polish text that was written there.

And one more pouch I took home. Torun is famous for Gingerbread. And I have seen one little pouch of it in gift shop, so I have decided to take it home. And it is very potent, but it seems to be nice.

Note: I was able to read and like your tasting notes. I was happy that you have been enjoying this week as I was. Sometimes I was even able to write a little comment (during the train ride), but I was never able to write a proper tasting note for each tea. It is so hard to write on my mobile. Sorry if I have missed some.


This is a great travelogue! Thanks for taking us along for the ride!


Sounds like you had a nice vacation in spite of the awful hotel teabags. Whenever I travel, I always look forward to coming home to some decent tea again. It’ll be interesting to read about your Japanese oolong.


I never realized Gdansk was Danzig. Feeling pretty silly about that right now!

I am glad you had a good trip and I hope it was refreshing and that you both have lots of good memories!

Evol Ving Ness

I loved everything about this note, even the bad tea. Sorry you had to drink that though.

Sounds like you had a lovely time away. Welcome back. We missed you.


How fun, a holiday travel trip! Its much better to impulsively buy tea than sit around months later wishing you had bought the tea. Then you can drink the tea and remember the fun things about your trip.

Martin Bednář

gmathis: Thank you! I am glad that you have enjoyed my rant :D
Leafhopper: Indeed very nice vacation, very refreshing after 3 months of work where I am still learning a lot. So, change of pace was very welcomed. I am curious to try it as well, at home.
ashmanra: ^^ :) Indeed we have lots of memories, some are good, some are worse. As always.
Evol Ving Ness: I am glad that you liked my rant/note. I am probably used to drink better teas. Especially I was saddened by Dilmah teas, they used to be good.
Michelle: Indeed it was an impulse buy. Because I just thought why should not I? The tea mastress was surprised that I want that much, especially with given price (82 PLN/100g), but I hope it will bring back memories as you wrote. I was actually ready to buy some tea, but probably not that much :D


What a fun read! I am really missing international travel, so I enjoyed reading your notes. I’m sorry the tea was almost universally awful, but it sure made for a memorable trip. :)

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I won’t lie, I have expected some kind of holiday tea. Some distinctly German. Punch-like maybe? Glühwein?

But anyway! It is wonderful apricot white tea. Today even the base tea complements so well with the fruit. Honeyish → sweet taste of it.

Apricot is fruity and fresh, juicy as wel. Very genuine and sweet as well. One of the winners for me from this Advent.

I think that this Advent calendar shown me some blends I am considering to order one day, as well there were a few dismals. But that’s completely normal. One young man can’t love everything.

I also wish you happy holidays, a better next year and I wish you all being healthy, because that matters the most nowadays.


Happy holidays to you as well, and may 2022 be better for all of us!


Happy holidays, Martin!


Happy Holidays, Martin!


Happy holidays! :)


Happy holidays!

Evol Ving Ness

Happy Christmas to you and yours, Martin, and happy holidays! Good health too especially for all those you care about. Including all of us tea people, of course.


Happy holidays! :)


Happy Holidays!! Here’s to drinking more tea in the coming year!

Martin Bednář

Thank you all!


Happy holidays :)

Martin Bednář

Thank you and same derk!

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Another repetition. But today I actually don’t mind it, because it is a cup I highly enjoyed. And it is somehow relaxing.

My impressions of this tea won’t change much since day 7. It is very cozy floral cup, honey-ish of linden, not medicinal in any way. It is naturally sweet.

Don’t be sceptical and get it :D It’s pleasant. Very.

Flavors: Elderflower, Honey, Linden, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 300 ML

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ADVENT DAY 22, drank 23.

Finally, and luckily, only one day without hot beverages. It seems that everything is pretty much okay, but… sadly I forgot I have steeping tea and I have it overbrewed a bit.

Yes… more than 5 minutes instead suggested 3. Dang. Because this tea deserves more love.

Luckily, it doesn’t turn bitter. Just too strong and tannic. Malt somehow hidden beneath. Sadly, I could not notice baked bread notes as Roswell Strange notices… because my wrong steeping. Dang… I am sure I would love them.

But it was (very) bold tea with lovely flavours, even they were muted. Great breakfast tea for sure. I guess I will order it next time. However not sure if the tea bags — no fuzz and lovely too, moreso great for exchange, or I should go loose-leaf?

I won’t rate as prepared very wrong. But even though it was very good.

205 °F / 96 °C 10 OZ / 300 ML
Evol Ving Ness

Loose leaf is always the better choice (unless it is a gift for someone who can’t manage loose leaf).

Martin Bednář

I know it is. But I am also tea bag (outer wrapper) collector. And those tea bags would be great for exchange with others.

Evol Ving Ness

Ah, yes. Now I understand more clearly.

Martin Bednář

Sorry for not being clear. Troubles of not native speakers!

Evol Ving Ness

No, no, your English is (mostly) fine. I just didn’t understand your reasoning for the tea bag preference.

Martin Bednář

If you see anything weird, don’t be afraid to write it down. Or in PM.

Evol Ving Ness

Ok, will do.

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ADVENT DAY 22 (kind of diary entry only)

If I could, I will drink this tea. But I can’t. Hopefully tomorrow.

No caffeine, no hot drinks… because I had so strong nosebleed yesterday and today morning, I have decided to visit ENT specialist. She decided to “fix it” with some kind of device and yes, since then no nosebleeds. But boy that was hurting so much! And it was bleeding afterwards. I have a swab in nose all day… soon I will took it out. And then I have here a salve which should help with veins recovery and overall calming it down.

I hope it won’t be necessary anytime soon. Because it was nasty!


That sounds like a not-so-great experience. I hope you feel better soon!


That sounds terrible! Hope your nosebleeds don’t return.


I hope you’re on the mend now and soon able to enjoy all the teas!

Evol Ving Ness

Aww, sorry that you are suffering, Martin.


Hope things are better quickly!


That sounds terribly uncomfortable! Hope you are feeling better now!

Martin Bednář

Thank you everyone. Yesterday, all day my nose was hurting and having swab in all day wasn’t pleasant. Since then one little nosebleed from second hole, but I was able to stop it quickly. Since then no nosebleeds and… I can enjoy hot drinks again.

The salve is indeed helping and although it is not very pleasant as it is wax base and I have to let it melt; it helps and that matters.

Evol Ving Ness

Hurray! And the best part, of course, is that you are on the mend and are able to go back to drinking tea!

Martin Bednář

I am on the mend? Nope, pre-holidays cleaning up all day. Setting up the tree. Preparation for tomorrow fancy dinner. So not being on the mend. But yes, I am trying to relax a bit more than usual.


Hope you are feeling better soon!

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Although Roswell Strange had it twice in her Advent, it is my first time.

It is a green, so a colder water should be used. I was waiting for my stovetop kettle to have proper temperature, but I took it a rather earlier than usual about 80°C and then I just saw it should be brewed with 70°C. I think I got the temperature just right by lucky accident.

I did two steeps as suggested.
The leaf quality is exceptional for a sachet and so does taste. It is highly enjoyable green bean taste, lightly nutty and long mouthfeel. Extremely comforting. No astringency. Floral and awesome aroma.

I want more.

First steep 2 minutes, second steep 3 minutes. Unknown temperature, just I heard first bubbles in the kettle.

Flavors: Floral, Green Beans, Nutty

2 min, 30 sec 10 OZ / 300 ML

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A sleepy tea? Well, I had to postpone drinking it for the evening. Because I wanted anything, but sleeping when I came home.

So, it is almost 8 pm, I already drank this tea (prepared at 7 pm) and soon, it’s time to bed. Don’t think I am like a little kid, but waking up at 5 am isn’t that much fun…

So, yeah… apple tree flowers are in the aroma and then somehow basic herbal. Maybe the mix is so wide, that it doesn’t smell anyhow particular.

In taste, it’s mostly chamomile and linden flowers. The latter causes also honey-ish taste, very pleasant. Short rough aftertaste of hops.

Overall, enjoyable and I already feel a bit drowsy, though I am not sure if it is tea effect :)

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 10 OZ / 300 ML
Evol Ving Ness

Hahaha, I am often ready for bed at 7, especially when my neighbours, bless their hearts, wake me up at 3 or 5. So I get it.


The times in my life where I had 5am shifts/schedules I was lucky to make it to 7pm, let alone 8pm. I still want to whine at the memory (also not a little kid lol).


I remember the day of getting up at 1:30 in the morning to get ready for work. I don’t miss those days.

Martin Bednář

I don’t mind waking that early actually (I work from 7 am, but getting to train station, getting ready at home) and I usually arrive to my office around 6.40 am. It’s time for breakfast and then the work. I leave the office around 2.40 pm and in a hour I am sitting with hot cup of tea. It is good work-life balance for me.

mrmopar — that is awful time. But sometimes, we can do nothing but trying to survive it. I used to do night shift I thought I will never do and now I think it wasn’t that bad. Just another experience.

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Oh well. Feeling slightly better than during the weekend, but it is still not top-notch. And moreover today job tasks were hard, stressful and tiring.

So, decided for a proper and hopefully enjoyable cup of tea. In my Paper & Tea Advent Calendar I have Sweet Lullaby which I am keeping for the evening.

So, this, Alabama grown tea. I used 4 grams and steeped for more than 5 minutes, because 4 seemed too short for me.

I got a cup of nice and smooth tea, surprinsingly malty for me, with sweet wood flavours and as gmathis noticed, sweet note on the tip of the tongue.

Somehow, and I guess it is rather the “easyness” to brew, it reminds me Guria Likhauri. It’s simple, but highly enjoyable tea. Great daily drinker in my opinion. Thank you a lot derk.

Flavors: Malt, Smooth, Sweet, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

Glad it hit the spot today.

Evol Ving Ness

Am I the only one who is surprised tea grows in Alabama? Or is this common knowledge?


This summer, I flew home with seedlings pulled from the Alabama ground. With any luck and a good conversation with Mother Earth and the seeds I’ve started, there will be a tea farm in California within the next ten years ;) Though my efforts may be futile if the weather patterns grow any more dire.

Evol Ving Ness

Wow, keep us posted. That would be happy news if they were to take and thrive.


Fairhope Tea Plantation was a treat to visit! When I visited, Donnie, the owner said he only sold mail order when COVID was in full swing. Otherwise, I think he pretty much (minus maybe some bigger companies using his tea in blends) sells from his front door. Not exactly easily accessible, so the farm is not well publicized.

Martin Bednář

Better not well publicized and great tea and helpful, than big market share tea companies with not so good teas.

Lexie Aleah

I haven’t gotten a chance to properly review it yet but Derk kindly sent me some of this one to try as well and I really liked it! It was delicious and I would agree with it being a good daily drinker.

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My sickness has not left me yet. Blargh. But I feel a little better than yesterday evening, although I wasn’t sure about it at 5 am I woke up. Let’s see tomorrow if I will call doctor or will go to work. I hope for the latter.

So close to the end of Advent season again?
But luckily, not a tea I had in advent calendar yet. I wonder how long I have steeped it today, but I am pretty much sure it has been more than 3 minutes as I did last time. It was nice strawberry tea, but no rose today… maybe because my stuffed nose (again!). Again no basil for me, or just so little. I noticed strawberries and light hibiscus. And pretty okay green tea base. Get me more basil in this and I will raise the rating.

Flavors: Hibiscus, Strawberry

180 °F / 82 °C 10 OZ / 300 ML

I hope you’re feeling better, Martin!

Evol Ving Ness

Martin, so sorry to hear that you are/were feeling poorly. I hope whatever it is/was has passed and that you are ok. Please keep us posted.

Martin Bednář

Thank you both. It seems it is in the end just a common cold (again!) and I feel slightly better today.

Martin Bednář

Two days later… or actually three since I wrote this tasting note and lots of changed for me. First of all, nosebleeds has started. That is common symptom with cold for me. But, it was yesterday and today so bad I went to the specialist. She looked inside, “fixed” it and said no hot drinks, no caffeine and no alcohol today. And I got sick leave for those two days. Friday is already a bank holiday here.

Evol Ving Ness

Oh dear. But hurray for sick leave! But no hot tea? Whatever will you do with yourself? Maybe cold steeping all those hibiscus blends?

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I am drinking almost everything. Tea bag collector who moved to wonderful world of loose leaf.

Trying to rate differently tea bags and loose leaf as tea bags have usually worse quality.

Photographer now and then. Postcrossing and geocaching member. Very curious person. Logistics student (should finish in June 2021).

Buried in tea right now. Is in my cupboard (trying to be updated) which sparkled your interest? Write me, I would gladly share with you. But I don’t want anything in return now :)


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