198 Tasting Notes

So, had a cup of this tonight. However, due to my horribly burning my mouth on a chimichanga last night, I can’t do a detailed review. My mouth is all messed up.

What I will say is that this is very creamy custard tasting. It isn’t overly woody like many Rooibos that I’ve had and I can definitely taste the butterscotch, even without sweetener. In fact, this was so tasty that I didn’t add my usual splenda! I guess you could say they aimed for butterscotch custard and got butterscotch custard! Great job.

I hope I can have more of this when my mouth heals.

EDIT: I wanted to note that, by the time this was at a temperature my injured mouth could handle, it was only lukewarm. I really screwed up my mouth. So yeah, the temperature probably affected the flavor.

Flavors: Butterscotch, Cream

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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94

Ok, so I’ve reviewed this one before, but I just want to say that I’ve had this particular pack for over a year now and it’s still just as good as day one. Rich, buttery and creamy, it’s like drinking a buttered biscuit that has a hint of green in it. Just the slightest touch of seaweed, in the best way possible. I loved this then and I love it now. Awesome stuff.

Which brings me to a question…

How the heck do you resteep this stuff without reboiling the water??

Look, I have a confession to make. Before I went on hiatus, I resteep stuff all the dang time. But that’s because I was using ice to cool down the tea as I made it. Just a small cube per cup, but it allowed me to actually drink it without waiting for 20 minutes to cool the mug. (My mouth is very sensitive to heat.)

Now I’m trying to get away from that but every time I make tea, I can never resteep anything because by the time my mug cools, so has the water in my kettle and I know better than to re-boil water. I don’t have a filtered tap anymore so I can’t just keep making fresh water (my supply of filtered water is limited to about one jug at a time). How do you do this?

Anyone that can help me out please let me know. I don’t know if it’s just that I need to suck it up and get that new kettle I’ve been putting off or not. TIA to anyone who helps.

Oh, and again, get this tea. It’s so delish.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Seaweed

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Martin Bednář

Have you trying a thermos? It cools down too, but in much slower speed. I am using quite cheap and not much insulating one, but enough to keep it hot enough.

Mastress Alita

Huh, I never boil a full kettle, I only boil the amount of water I need for the cup I’ll be drinking. If I’m just having a 12oz mug, I measure out 350ml of water and only boil that. If I finish that cup and want a second, then I measure out another 350ml and do a new boil.

ashmanra

For what it is worth, I saw a “science” article that said once the water comes to a boil it has lost all the oxygen it is going to lose so it shouldn’t matter if you reboil the same water. My kettle has a hold temp feature but I usually just put as much water as I need so it will heat faster.

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68

This is a repeat review, but I wanted to do something here while I’m waiting for my new W2T order to show up. If I get in the habit of doing this, then maybe I’ll do it more often when the new stuff comes.

I got this as a free sample from Plum Deluxe awhile back and I reviewed it then. It’s about a year old by now, so we’ll see how it held out.

Strong floral scent for the leaf, although there’s still that odd dirt note to it that I mentioned last time. Actually, it isn’t dirt. It doesn’t smell like filth. It smells a bit like potting soil, actually. Still odd though.

Taste is… surprisingly mild. I didn’t re-read my full note from last time so I don’t remember if I liked it or not but from the tiny sip I just had, it’s pretty good. It doesn’t taste as floral as it smells, so that’s probably a plus. Although the floral is there, you can definitely taste the Bergamot. That’s a good thing for me, I love bergamot. Probably why I love Earl Grey so much. I almost don’t want to put sweetener in this. It’s not a complex cuppa – you get black tea, you get bergamot, there’s some tannic flavor and just a hint of sweetness – but it’s really good. Although, I’ve been away from tea for so long my palate could be off.

Ooh, it’s starting to cool off and it’s getting better! I’m getting citrus now, so that’s awesome. There’s something else there too… ugh, I’ve been gone for too long. Need to recalibrate my taste buds.

Anyway, just take it that this is a reasonably tasty tea. It’s never going to win any awards, and it’s not a spiritual experience or anything, but for a good morning cuppa, this is pretty good. I can see drinking this over a plate of eggs and bacon with a side of buttered toast.

Not bad.
Not bad at all.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Floral, Tannic

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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So… uh… hi

Not gonna try and apologize for my absence other than to say the pandemic has just about killed me. Not in a COVID-way mind you, but my mental health has been so dang bad that it takes all my energy to make a K-Cup let alone have actual tea.

BUT! Today I decided to say “To heck with it” and gong fu. First time since 2019. And the tea I picked was from that lovely care package that’s been sitting in my drawer for a year now. I wanted to have something “Real” and when I dug through it, I found THIS!

First impression – Good golly this is drying. No really, it’s licking sawdust levels of dry, especially early in the session. As the session continues, the dryness eases up, but those first 6 or so pours, JEEBUS.

Second, with this called “Lumber Slut” I honestly expected it to be like eating a toothpick. However, I am happy to share it’s nothing like that. Oh, it’s woody, for certain. But the flavor is very complex. The first thing I thought was it tastes like copal incense smells, if that makes sense. It’s got a rich sweetness to it without being sugary. Then, as I explored, I noticed notes of leather and maple syrup (that got stronger as I progressed) with a strong tone of earthy and damp wood. Yes, there is wood here, not going to lie. There’s a LOT of wood in this. But like I said, it’s not “Chewing a toothpick” type of wood. The wood is tempered with a broad palate of other flavors that makes this absolutely delicious.

I will warn you, the hotter this is, the better. If you let it start to cool down it does taste like toothpicks. So I recommend having a relatively quick session. At least that’s what I found. I don’t have a proper kettle (just a glass Tea-Maker) and the water cools off fast. Also, from what I experienced, this isn’t the longest lasting tea you’ll find. About 16 or so pours and it was getting pretty weak, even with extended time.

But, for what I got from it, this was so dang good. For anyone out there who still has this particular version, I am extremely envious. I wish I could get more of this it was just so wonderful. So complex and rich.

Great stuff.

Flavors: Leather, Maple Syrup, Oak, Sweet, Wet Wood, Wood

Preparation
Boiling
Martin Bednář

Welcome back!

Michelle

Interesting tea name and ‘chewing on a toothpick’ made me lol. Good for sticking with it, I’d probably give up after 6 steeps of dry mouth. The good thing about steepster is you can catch up if you want, or just pick up like you never left.

Mastress Alita

I rarely can continue with a gongfu session past six steeps regardless! I usually just get tired of drinking that same tea and am ready to move on by that point, and that is usually about the amount I get through on one boiled kettle’s worth without having to boil more water (lazy).

Martin Bednář

Hah, same here Mastress Alita: I do one thermos of tea and rarely brew another kettle of water. Lazy as well…

derk

Shanie O – So glad you were able to enjoy it despite the tea being drying. I do have more if you’re interested.

Shanie O Maniac

Martin – Thanks for the WB. Hope to stick around this time. It looks like the offputting issues with the site are fixed now, so I should be good.

Derk – Oh, geez, I should be good for the moment. I just made a W2T order for some of the 2020. I’ll give an update when it gets here. Hope it’s at least comperable.

Mastress – I feel you. I’m never one for long gongfu sessions but after a rough day I needed to force myself to sit down and breathe, so having a nice long session was perfect for the occasion. And for the record, I had only boiled a third of a pot because my kettle is, again, glass and it cools really fast. If I’m going to be having a session, I only make part of a pot and then make more so that I’m not wasting water. And guess what? I did make more!

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90

tap tap
1-2… is this on?

Ok, so it looks like Steepster is working again. I left (again) because I was so dang frustrated that it wasn’t working. But it seems to be functioning again, so I’m here for the moment.

Now, I already reviewed this tea once (Thanks Shae) but I’m doing do again because I learned a valuable lesson for this tea.

Don’t add sweetener.

I was thinking that “oh, I love this tea, but what about a touch of sweetness?” Nope, doesn’t work. All it does is kill all the nuance and subtlety of the flavor and make it taste like a store bought earl grey. And if I wanted store bought earl grey I wouldn’t have reached for Bergamot White Peony. I mean, it isn’t gross, mind you, but it isn’t good either. Sweetener doesn’t make everything better, although I will admit that, as I get down further into the cup, the flavor is improving.

I’m gonna go have a resteep and hope it’s better.

Song of the Moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfv7_iRHXv8

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Cameron B.

Steepster is a bit on-again off-again at the moment. It’s fairly common to not be able to load tea pages for a few hours at a time unfortunately…

I’ve stopped trying to add sweetener to teas, because every time I think “oh maybe just a little bit of sugar would make this pop”, it makes it taste worse, haha! It was something I rarely did anyway, but not it’s not even an option for me.

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Ok, here’s hoping this works. I’ve taken to putting my tea reviews in word docs until I can post them. I’m hoping for the best with this steepster migration, but we’ll see.

Anyway, this is another one of the teas I got in Shae’s lovely care package. I will admit, I wasn’t sure if this was herbal or black when I made it, but they both require boiling water and I averaged the time at 4 minutes.

This tea is scrumptious. I’m gonna be honest, I can’t describe the flavor compared to any other real world food. But you very clearly get the spice, the citrus, and the berry here. And, surprise surprise, I’m not using sweetener in this! I usually add at least one splenda to any 52teas blend, but here, I took a sip without and it’s too delicious to add anything. The berry flavor gives just enough sweetness on it’s own to be yummy, while the warmth of the spice (which is offering a little bit of that mouth tingle I love so much) and the citrus on top just make for a wonderfully layered cuppa. Like I said, I can’t think of any actual foods that this resembles, flavor wise, but as it is, it’s delish and I can’t wait to have more.

Martin Bednář

Blackberry with citrus sounds wonderful. Into wishlist it goes

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91

Well, I got more of this and I’m sitting here having another mug of this. It’s as good as I remember.

The richness of the cream flavor with the floral of the bergamot, all blended together with just the right amount of black tea. This is still the best bagged Earl Grey I’ve found. Just so so good and with a touch of splenda it’s the perfect nighttime quick cuppa.

Flavors: Cream, Floral

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Another one from the box from Shae! Thanks so much!

Anyway, I just woke up. It’s 5:45 AM here and I fell asleep last night around 7 pm. I’m pretty groggy so I figured I’d have a cup of tea. I reached into the box, this is what my hand fell on. So this is what got made! (Such a scientific process lol!)

I did my best to measure out 3 grams, but I’m using 12 oz of water which is why this is likely a bit weak. I did try it before adding my usual Splenda and it’s pretty bitter without sweetener. So I’m reviewing this with these factors in mind.

This is a smooth tea. There are no harsh edges present (again, with the Splenda) and it goes down easy. The bergamot is present, but not overpowering and is well balanced with the black tea. I’m sitting here trying to pull additional flavors or notes from this and can’t. It’s just what it says on the tin. Earl Grey Cream. It’s creamy, it’s black tea, it’s bergamot. It does exactly what it says it will and nothing more nothing less.

That said, for an EGC, this is pretty good. Hella smooth and well rounded and as promised. And sometimes, that’s what you’re looking for. Not every tea session needs to be a globe-trotting adventure. Sometimes you just want to sit down with a nice, simple cuppa and not have to worry about overloading your taste buds with an entire bouquet of flavors.

This tea is for those days.
Recommended.

Flavors: Bergamot, Cream

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Martin Bednář

I feel you in that, there are teas for simple drinking sessions. Of course there are adventure teas, but not always you have even a mood for that.

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72

So steepster still isn’t working. I’m about to form a prayer circle on tumblr for our little site’s well being.)

Well, here’s another of these, and probably my last. (Unless I do the Half and Half but that stuff was so nasty the first time I may not drink the two I have left)

Anyway, this is a really juicy peach flavor. I mean it. Super juicy peach. I love the peach in this. It’s sweet and ripe and slightly musky (but not overly so) and just mm mmm mmm. However, like the others, it’s not tea. It reminds me more of the flavor of a real peach smoothie (but just plain thin liquid). This supposedly also has lemon in it, but I don’t taste it over the peach.

Overall, this is one I would buy again. Not as tea, I don’t know how many times and ways I can say this isn’t tea, but as a refreshing peach cocktail that’s just the right mix of stonefruit musk and sweet juicy and is so dang tasty.

Flavors: Peach, Stonefruit, Sweet

Shae

This one sounds good, even if it doesn’t taste like tea. :)

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90

Bergamot White Peony

I woke up this evening to a wonderful surprise – TEA MAIL!
A wonderful box of tea from the awesome Shae

This is the first one I’m trying and the liquor of this is beautiful. It’s a bright gold color, as if tinted with dandelions.

The smell is like honey with bergamot. I know there is no actual honey in this but there is bergamot, so I can’t wait to try it.

Taste is… Oh my word that is heavenly. The bergamot is just perfect in this, being neither too strong nor too weak. It’s just right. The white tea flavor is delicious in this, being rich and complementing the floral notes of the bergamot. There’s a tiny bit of astringency here, but nothing overpowering.

I must say, I am very out of practice. It’s been too long since I had quality tea, so I am having trouble picking this apart. I will say it’s got a wonderful flavor and I am glad I have a whole pouch of this thanks to Shae, and I look forward to many more sessions of this going forward.

(BTW, I’m typing this into a word doc because Steepster isn’t working. Hope this gets fixed soon!)

Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Floral

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 354 ML
Shae

I’m glad to pass this along to someone who can appreciate it. White teas taste like room temp water to me – I think I’ve only come across a handful that I’ve actually liked. I knew this was supposed to be a good one, so I’m glad in the right hands it turned out to be delicious.

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Profile

Bio

HELLO! My name is Shanie and I love tea!

While I have always loved various types of tea, for a very long time it came exclusively from a grocery store. It’s only been a year or so now that I’ve gotten into loose leaf. As such, there will likely be tasting notes I do for bagged tea as well as good quality (and not so good quality) loose leaf teas. I’m still learning as I go so have patience please!

Right now, I am on a massive Earl Grey kick. So if a ton of my notes are just various varieties of EG, that’s why!

Some of my favorite flavors include: Cocoa, Malt, Bread, Honey, Earthy, Sweet Citrus, Caramel, Apple, Spices, and Cinnamon.

Some flavors I don’t like: Licorice, Coconut, Bitey Citrus (like Citric Acid), Licorice, Sour, Smoke, Overpowering Fake Vanilla, Stevia, and did I mention Licorice?

NOTE: I am Type 2 Diabetic. As such, I can really not have sugar added to tea without suffering problems. This prohibits me from using either plain sugar or honey. Instead, I use Splenda as I found my system can handle it well and I like the flavor. I try to avoid stevia as I’ve found it often ruins the flavor of tea. However, not all teas require sweetener, and some are better without. Because of this, if I add sweetener to a tea, I will mention it in the tasting note and say what kind and how much. Usually, I sweeten flavored and herbal teas but leave true teas unsweetened. There are exceptions, but this is a general rule of thumb to go by.

Almost all of the tea I brew is western style. I occasionally do grandpa, but pretty much never Gong-fu. I do own a Gaiwan, but it never gets used. Considering I don’t have a “sip setting” when it comes to beverages, it’s really hard for me to get into any sized amount less than 8oz at a time. I know that probably makes me a tea-heathen, but so be it. I like my mugs.

I have decided to try and make a scale for my ratings. So here goes.

As of January 2020.

100-91: These are my go-to favorites. I will likely go out of my way to always keep these on hand, including going on third party websites to obtain out of season.
90-81: This is a tea I really did enjoy, and I will likely purchase again. However, I wouldn’t go to the ends of the earth for it, and it isn’t my all-time favorite.
80-71 This is a tea that, while I may have somewhat enjoyed, something is holding me back from making it a mainstay. Maybe the flavor profile isn’t the best. Maybe there is an offputting aftertaste. It varies. But while I did like it and will continue to drink it, I don’t absolutely need it in my life, and while I will likely finish what I have, I may or may not get more.
70-61: This is a tea which I drank, but I didn’t like it. However, I didn’t hate it either. It wasn’t bad enough to dump, and if it is the only thing available to drink, I would likely drink it instead of plain water. But in the end, this is just not my literal cup of tea and I will likely not get this again.
60-51: This is something that I didn’t like much at all, but for one reason or another, refused to dump. If I squint hard enough and use my imagination, I can almost BS myself into thinking they are decent, and I suppose I can choke it down and not waste it. These are teas that I will not be buying again, and may not even finish what I have.
50-41: Yeah, whatever this is, I there’s a good chance I dumped it. At this level, it’s pretty bad stuff with either weak flavor, nasty flavor, or all the wrong flavors, It has few redeeming qualities, and I likely won’t reach for this one again. On the bright side, it isn’t sewage water, so there’s that.
40-31. On it’s best day this tea has no redeeming qualities. This not only got dumped but the package it came in either got thrown away, traded, or shoved to the back of the cupboard to never be touched again. Not the worst thing I’ve ever tasted, but darn sure close.
30-Under: The worst thing I’ve ever tasted. This not only has no redeeming qualities, but it is gag-inducing. “Teas” in this range are so bad I not only will never drink them again, I really don’t feel like offloading them onto anyone else because they are just that bad. Actual sewage water.

Location

Pennsylvania, US

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