419 Tasting Notes

drank Maple Bacon by Man Teas
419 tasting notes

Just sipped down the rest of my sample of this from Janelle ‘s mystery box sale a while back. I thought it was a sipdown, but after consulting my spreadsheet it looks like I have some more of this somewhere courtesy of Miss B! I’m glad, because I’d really like to try this with maple syrup as a sweetener. I was distracted when I drank this, but I don’t remember getting much bacon flavour. It was mainly a plain daytime black tea, with a faint bacon aftertaste like I’d eaten a packet of bacon rashers a while ago and they were lingering. Part of me is disappointed that the bacon wasn’t stronger, but part of me is really glad. Maple syrup and bacon is still such a weird combination to me, I’m not sure I’m ready to add tea to the mix!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML

I loved this with a tiny pinch of salt too.


Nattie, are you drinking your breakfast again? ;)


I will have to try it with salt next time!

Cwyn hehe, you caught me :’) I had pancake breakfast tea this morning too!

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Unexpected third sipdown of the day! (29/330)

I was packing up the rest of a swap package for Janelle today, and was only going to have one serving of this left over, so I thought I might as well have it now. I’m upping my rating a bit from 34 as it wasn’t too bad this time around. Hot, I mainly got a nice enough, plain genmaicha. Still no gingerbread. As the cup cools I’m getting that weird cola flavour again, but not as strongly as last time. I’m also getting some citrus through this time, which I’m translating as lime, though judging by the peel in the dry leaf it’s probably orange. I’m still not sure how this fits in with the ‘gingerbread house’ theme. That’s definitely not what I would have called this tea.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML

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drank Coconut Cream Pie by 52teas
419 tasting notes

Sipdown number 28 of 330 on this sample from Janelle.

As a lover of coconut teas, this disappointed me. I seem to be bucking the trend, here. I was setting myself up for disappointment from the beginning, as to me coconut and vanilla flavours aren’t a good enough representation of ‘coconut cream pie’, and personally I would have tried harder to replacate the pie flavour – maybe with some kind of butter or pastry type flavouring. The black base wasn’t strong enough for me, though that’s just personal preference. The coconut note was somewhat creamy, but very faint. For some odd reason, I actually get a stronger – and actually pretty authentic – banana flavour from this. If it was a banana tea, I think I’d be pretty impressed! As it is I’m mainly confused. I don’t even remember drinking this the first time around, so I don’t know whether the sample has been contaminated. That probably means it wasn’t too memorable the first time around, either, though. Still, I’m happy to be able to say I’ve tried it, and happy to have another sipdown.

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML

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Sipdown (27/330)! I wanna reach 33 – 10% – by the end of the week.
This was a sample from VariaTEA. Thank you so much! I am so glad to have gotten the chance to try this tea and company. I only wish I could pick up more. ):

VariaTEA was kind enough to send me a two cup sample of this, even though it was one of her favourites! I’m glad she did, because I messed the first one up. I didn’t look at the instructions she’d written down, and assumed I should use boiling water since it was a black tea. I ended up with a bitter mess, and tried to cancel it out by adding milk. That just made the whole thing too bland, as I underleafed a bit too, and I was basically drinking warm, thin milk with a hint of roses. This cup, I paid attention and it paid off! I now have one very delicious cup of cherry and rose tea – a combination which I wouldn’t have put together, but it totally works. The dry leaf smells strongly of roses, and the cherry comes in after steeping. The scent of the liquid is sweet acerola cherries with a floral rose back note. I get rose notes primarily in the sip, rounded out wonderfully by the sweet juicy cherry which lingers. I added half a teaspoon of sugar as an experiment, and that really made the flavours pop! The cherry, especially, comes out more and is very juicy now. It’s a shame that this isn’t more readily available to me. It would definitely go on my reorder list if I could actually get my hands on some. It might have even become my go-to rose tea (I love rose tea). Sigh. Oh well. I guess I’ll have to think wistfully on what could have been.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Oh yay! I’m glad you got it to work :)


Just do a swap that involves larger amounts – someone orders this for you and sends it to you…while you order something that isn’t readily available outside the uk for them :)


I will definitely keep that in mind if I find someone that wants UK teas!


I’m going to have to try this one again sometime! I’m not really familiar with this company whatsoever though

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Sipdown! (26/330)

This came to me from KittyLovesTea – thanks, Kayleigh!

I’ve had this for quite a while now, but it didn’t excite me enough to write up a tasting note right away. I was craving earl grey this morning, and I need to get back on my sipdowns, so this was a good choice. The base is brisk and slightly astringent when drank plain, but perfect for a breakfast tea when sweetener and a splash of milk is added. I love a strong cup of tea in the morning. The scent of this tea is kinda muddled, and this was reflected in the flavours. The predominant note is bergamot, with indistinct citrus and indistinct floral notes in the background, although interestingly I think the floral notes longer longest, with something which is probably rose being the main aftertaste.

I really enjoyed this as a breakfast tea, despite the recommendation to drink it in the afternoon! Thanks again, Kitty.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML

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drank Treacle Tart by Custom-Adagio Teas
419 tasting notes

Drinking this again as I package up some swaps. This one is going out to Janelle along with the rest of the Harry Potter sampler teas, who will hopefully enjoy the whimsy (:

This time, I can taste a fairly strong raisin note, which is confusing me. I haven’t picked up on it before with this tea, and it can’t be cross contamination either. Hmm. Oh well, it’s pretty tasty and the 50/50 black and Rooibos base means no caffeine overload!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML

I wanna be a Treacle Tart in my next life.

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drank 1994 Aged Bai Hao by Butiki Teas
419 tasting notes

I am so happy Stacy sent me 1/2 an oz of this as a bonus with my last order! The only downside is that I really love it, and now I can’t get more ):

I was born in 1994, which makes this tea extra special – it’s the same age as me! Give or take a few months, probably. I love oolongs, particularly the darker roasty ones, but I think this might be my first foray into the world of aged oolongs. It is definitely a good introduction. The dry leaf smells quite musty and definitely ‘old’, which made me a little wary, but steeping this completely transforms. Then it’s all nutty and cocoa. Sooo yummy! I could inhale it all day. The cocoa notes come through in the sip, and to me are the most prominent, along with the nutty notes I identified in the scent too. There is a noticeable hay note, which I would have expected more from a white tea, but I think Bai Hao means ‘white tips’ so perhaps that’s why I’m getting that note. It actually reminds me of an aged Bai Mu Dan I have, so on the other hand maybe the ageing is where that similarity comes from. I am very happy to have gotten to try this, and will definitely look out for more aged oolongs in the future. If I had one negative about this, it’s that the second steep doesn’t hold up so well when brewed western style. I’m drinking my resteep now and the flavour is mostly unchanged but a little less chocolatey and a whole lot weaker. Fingers crossed it’ll hold up better when I try it gongfu style – that is what Stacy recommends, after all.

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I also noted it did not hold up well to a resteep western-style.


Hmm. Definitely trying it gongfu next time.

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Resteeped my leaves from the cold brew. BAD idea. Yeesh, seriously, what was I thinking? There is zero watermelon flavour in the resteep. Or any flavour at all come to mention it. Other than what can only be described as ‘lightly fishy’. Blech. Stick to the one steep for this one, methinks.

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 15 sec 6 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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A few days back, I was craving a light tea and also something I could gulp as I was super thirsty. My solution was to grab a bottle of ‘tea’ I’d picked up from Marks&Spencer out of curiosity, labelled Watermelon and Coconut White Tea. It was delicious, and I finished it pretty quickly, and was still craving more. It occurred to me that I’d had a pouch of this one lying around for a few months unopened (I bought it just as the weather was turning colder, since it was a limited edition going out of stock, but always just seemed too summery for me to try). I tossed 6tsps of the leaf into my 750ml bottle, filled it with water and left it in the fridge for ~20 hours.

As soon as I poured the water in, the liquid turned a very pale pink, and was quite a dark pink by the time I took it out. Because of this, I was a bit worried that it would be too hibiscusy. I’m not a hibiscus hater like many people on here seem to be, but still, I wanted a sweet drink not a tart one. Happily, though, the hibiscus doesn’t come through in the flavour. Cold-brewed, this is amazing! I plan on re-steeping the leaves tomorrow, as I still haven’t tried it hot.

I might have brewed it a couple hours too long, ‘cause I’m detecting a very mild astringency from the base. Nothing I can’t deal with, though. It’s pretty much exactly what I wanted. The watermelon is sweet, but not too sweet, and I could taste coconut too, which I was pleasantly surprised with – I didn’t read the ingredients list. The tea lends some grassy notes, but stays very much in the background when cold brewed. Part way through the bottle I started to notice a floral note to the background, reminiscent of jasmine though not as strong. I have no idea whether it’s an ingredient or an element of the green or white base teas, but I think it goes quite well. The only downside to this tea is that my cold brewing used up almost all of my sample pouch, and I probably only have enough left for one or two hot cups, and definitely not enough to indulge in another cold brew! Yet another reason to resteep my leaves tomorrow. I hope this is brought out again in the summer (not that there’s much chance of me being post-hiatus by then).

Frank has a friend round (Sam, who we lived with last year) and they’re playing X Box in the living room. I just overheard him say the phrase ‘sexy-ass sticky grenade’. Should I be worried?

Iced 8 min or more 6 tsp 25 OZ / 750 ML

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Hmm, I really thought I’d reviewed this one. As in, I actually remember writing up my note… What did you do to it, Steepster?!

I drank this because there was a ‘splosion in the TTB, and I couldn’t save the rest of the sample. If I could have, it probably would have been a keep, because I remember this being very nice. It smelled delicious and tasted equally yummy. I got both strawberries and cream, and remember the strawberry being quite natural.

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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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