419 Tasting Notes

drank Happiness by Lupicia
419 tasting notes

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I hope 2019 is good to you all.

I started the year of with a cup of Happiness, because well, it’s a cup of happiness. I picked it based on name alone and didn’t even look at the flavours or the recommended steeping parameters (boiling water??) so it’s not the most successful cup of tea I’ve ever had, but at least I’ve got enough leaf to do another cup properly next time. Guessing the flavour before I looked, I only knew it tasted generally fruity, and my mam said she could taste cinnamon (but she has a cold and her tastebuds are off). After finding out it’s peach and grapefruit, I can pick out a grapefruit note at the end of the sip but no peach. This is probably due to the fact that I steeped it at waaaaay too low a temperature – I din’t even know there was rooibos in it – and for too short a time, so I won’t hold it against this tea.

Here’s to a wonderful year!

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Mastress Alita

Lupicia always puts boiling on their instructions, and I never do it. When it’s a green tea, I always use 175F/80C water.


Gotcha. Longer steep next time, still not boiling water. I have a temperature-variable kettle on the way so I’ll be able to properly brew it for once rather than guessing like I normally do!

Mastress Alita

Ooo, variable-temperature kettle! I love mine! Exciting times!


I am ridiculously excited, lol.

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drank Caramel Oolong by Della Terra Teas
419 tasting notes

Sipdown 154/397

I’m not getting any orange or citrus notes from this tea, which I’d say is a good thing since I find orange and caramel a slightly weird flavour combination. I remembered liking this more, but I think I’m confusing it with another tea since I seem to remember chunks of some sort of fudge, but there are none here. The oolong looks roasted from its appearance and the dark colour of the tea, but there’s none of the strong nutty tones I would expect from a good roasted oolong. It’s not a particularly strong tea, even though I overleafed slightly with it being my last cup, with the caramel flavour being stronger than the base though not by much. I had to add a whole teaspoon of sugar to coax out the butteriness of the caramel, which is something I prefer not to do if I can help it. Not a tea I will miss, which I guess is for the best since it’s long since discontinued.

Sample from Janelle ’s Mystery Box.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Nina's Japon by Nina's Paris
419 tasting notes

This is easily my favourite genmaicha I’ve ever tried. I’m not a huge fan of green vegetal teas or more savoury teas in general, vastly preferring black when given the choice, so I’m sure the addition of black tea to this mix has a lot to do with it. The caramel and vanilla flavours meld together really nicely, and create a sweeter genmaicha than any other I’ve found, whilst keeping the flavour more on the natural-tasting side. It’s definitely not an overpowering sweetness. Reminds me of Butiki’s Caramel Vanilla Assam, but with a lighter body and a roasty twist. Yummy! If I ever find a way of ordering from Nina’s – I had a look at their website and they don’t seem to have an online store – this would quite possibly go on the list. It is definitely the only genmaicha I would consider purchasing.

Thanks for sharing, VariaTEA! Sipdown 153/397.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This was the other tea I attempted to make at work on Saturday, and another failure. This time the teabag was left in the hot water for over an hour, and by the time I got around to it was ice cold. I expected extremely bitter tea, and was pleasantly surprised to find that this was not only drinkable but actually not bad. No mango flavour to be found, but the base tea was mild and not at all astringent until the final sip. I gulped it down iced and it was fine.

8 min or more
Mastress Alita

I can’t imagine steeping green tea in hot water more than a few minutes and not having it turn super astringent. If my tea was going to oversteep that badly at work I’d just go cold-steep always at that point: leave the tea in cold water for several hours, remove bad, done, heh.


Cold steeping might be a good idea in the future! I was working in an unheated tent in 2 degree weather with doors open, though, so I really wish I could have had it hot, haha.

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drank Thé au Caramel by Britley
419 tasting notes

I had the idea to take a ziploc bag of individually-wrapped teabags to work with me since I have quite a lot of them and never really reach for them at home. It seemed like a brilliant idea, if it weren’t for the fact that I NEVER get enough time to make a cup of tea at work. This was the first I attempted to make yesterday on my 12-hour super busy matchday shift, and I ended up leaving the teabag in around 20-30 minutes before I had a chance to take it out and add milk. It was only very slightly warm when I drank it and it was the first thing I’d drank all day so I gulped the whole cup without paying much attention to it. I do remember thinking the caramel was weak, though. Unsurprising now I’ve read my old note back and realised I usually use 2 teabags for a cup of this. Plus, it’s embarrassingly 6 (!!!!) years old now, so that could account for a loss in flavour. It’s about time I finished these.

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Sad sipdown (152/397)

Goodbye Golden Orchid, you were great and will be missed. Here’s hoping Brendan will reblend this in the future, it would be a definite purchase for me. I steeped the last leaf at a lower temperature hoping to find some nuances that were missed at boiling, but sadly this just made it lose flavour. Note to self, if this comes back, stick to boiling.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Drank with sugar, I am getting super intense marmalade this time around. Just as tasty as it was 2 years ago, only a little bit lighter. This could definitely be from underleafing, though – I had slightly less than a full spoon of leaf left and I didn’t feel like compromising on a smaller mug. The orange note intensified as the cup cools. I bet this would have been good iced.

Sipdown 151/397

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Welp, I caved and opened another new instant tea. I figure it’s only a small sampler and I’ve had them all entirely too long, so I should try to get through them the same as I am with my other ‘proper’ teas. I’ll save a proper review for later since I have to go to bed now – I’ve got to get up early in the morning for my first driving lesson since I failed my test over a year ago, and I don’t want to be tired for it. It’s fruity, but I’m not sure I’d say cranberry and raspberry specifically, and quite sour too. I think I’ll use less tea crystals next time.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

Good luck!!


Thank you! I’m super nervous. :S


Good luck!


Good luck! :D


Thanks guys!! (:

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drank Turkish Apple Tea by Hazer Baba
419 tasting notes

Sipdown 150 (!!) of 397.

I actually got my tea box out to brew a totally different tea, but got suddenly super thirsty (salty nachos at the cinema just now watching the new Mary Poppins film with my brother and boyfriend) and wanted something that was quick to make and equally quick to drink. This is still a sipdown, so it’s a win/win. It’s super old and I was expecting it to be gross, but it’s still pretty tasty. There’s an acidity to it which strips your teeth and leaves a drying, pulling sensation at the back of your throat, but it’s sweet, tangy and flavourful in the sip which makes it easy to drink. I just gulped the whole thing down, and now I’m tempted to open up a new Whittard’s instant tea (which, unlike this, actually does contain tea). It’s just nice to have something so quick!

195 °F / 90 °C 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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drank Monster Brew by Adagio Teas
419 tasting notes

Sipdown 149/397

I tried slightly different steeping parameters this time, and probably should have stuck to how I brewed it last time, but I was hoping I might stumble upon a way I liked it better. I didn’t. There was more of a smoky note this time around, the cherry still noticeable, but no vanilla sweetness. It’s almost whisky-like this time, definitely not something you would expect aimed at kids!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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I first got into loose leaf teas when a friend of mine showed me Cara’s Sherlock fandom blends on Adagio a good few years back, but they weren’t on sale in the UK so I started trying other kinds instead and have been hooked for almost three years.

Black teas make up the majority of my collection, but I am expanding my horizons and trying to include a variety of other teas, too. Flavoured blacks are my favourites, but I’m growing increasingly fond of unflavoured teas too. I will update my likes and dislikes as I discover more about my palate, but for now:

Tea-likes: I’m generally easily pleased and will enjoy most flavours, but my absolute favourites are maple, caramel, chestnut, pecan, raspberry, coconut, blueberry, lemon, pumpkin, rose, hazelnut and peach

Tea-dislikes: vanilla (on its own), ginger, coriander, cardamom, liquorice, pineapple and chocolate

I am a 22 year old English Literature sort-of-graduate and temporary bartender. Other than drinking, hoarding and reviewing tea, my hobbies include reading, doing quizzes and puzzles, TV watching (self-diagnosed geek and Netflix addict), football/soccer (I am a lifelong supporter of Sunderland AFC) and listening to classic rock.

I should probably also mention my tea-rating system, which seems to be much harsher than others I’ve seen on here. It’s not always concrete, but I’ll try to define it:

• 50 is the base-line which all teas start at. A normal, nothing-special industrial-type black teabag of regular old fannings would be a 50.

• 0 – 49 is bad, and varying degrees of bad. This is probably the least concrete as I hardly ever find something I don’t like.

• I have never given below a 20, and will not unless that tea is SO bad that I have to wash my mouth out after one sip. Any teas rated as such are unquestionably awful.

• This means most teas I don’t enjoy will be in the 30 – 50 range. This might just mean the tea is not to my own personal taste.

• 51+ are teas I enjoy. A good cup of tea will be in the 50 – 70 range.

• If I rate a tea at 70+, it means I really, really like it. Here’s where the system gets a little more concrete, and I can probably define this part, as it’s rarer for a tea to get there.

• 71- 80: I really enjoyed this tea, enough to tell somebody about, and will probably hang onto it for a little longer than I perhaps should because I don’t want to lose it.

• 81 – 90: I will power through this tea before I even know it’s gone, and will re-order the next time the mood takes me.

• 91 – 100: This is one of the best teas I’ve ever tasted, and I will re-order while I still have a good few cups left, so that I never have to run out. This is the crème de la crème, the Ivy League of teas.

I never rate a tea down, and my ratings are always based on my best experience of a tea if I drink it multiple times. I feel that this is fairest as many factors could affect the experience of one particular cup.

I am always happy to trade and share my teas with others, so feel free to look through my cupboard and message me if you’re interested in doing a swap. I keep it up-to-date, although this doesn’t mean I will definitely have enough to swap, as I also include my small samples.

I also tend to ramble on a bit.


South Shields, UK

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