330 Tasting Notes

drank Black Pearl by Mandala Tea
330 tasting notes

Polished this envelope off tonight. Definitely had this more than once, but only managed to review it one other time. I liked it, but I don’t know if I liked it more than Adagio’s black pearls – I don’t think it was as cocoa-y. Still good tea though.

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drank English Breakfast by Steepster
330 tasting notes

I am back from England! Trying to get my body back on Central Timezone instead of Greenwich, so after powering through to at least 8:30 pm before sleeping when I woke up a little after 5 am I decided to go ahead and get up, as that’s only a bit earlier than my normal waking time here.

My Steepster select box came while I was gone, and I thought that trying an English Breakfast was a good way to ease back into being home. Now, I don’t generally like English Breakfast teas that I have been able to get in the states – and I only had a couple in the UK, which where fairly nondescript – but this one is REALLY GOOD. No bitterness that I normally associate with E.B. obtained in the US. It’s malty, which is the Assam, and I taste the carmelized fruit that’s on the description. It’s somewhat dry, but not astringent, which I like. I used sweetener and half&half, and this is a nice gentle morning cuppa to wake before the sun.

That’s part of the weirdness of being back after a fairly long trip – I think I mentioned before that the sky starts getting light before 4 am in Windsor? Here’s it’s almost 6 and it’s only just starting to lighten. That’s a readjustment that’s going to take some getting used to.

Now I am on the second steeping, which was steeping while I drank the first, with the same water from the kettle, which was below boiling. It’s a little bit brisker, not as sweet and caramel-y, but certainly not bad. Still a bit fruity.

Third: Hmm… caramel is back, but there’s a soapy quality. I would recommend sticking with two steeps. The attempt at a 4th was barely colored water.

Overall: Thumbs way up. I really enjoyed the first steeping, and the second was good as well. I would be willing to make a place for this in my cupboard.

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drank Chai by Teapigs
330 tasting notes

I don’t know if it’s just that tea after a long walk in the chilly rain is good, but right now this is the BEST tea I have had so far in the UK! We needed a couple of things for the flat, so I decided to walk to the big Tesco. It took longer than I thought it would, and the day is grey, chilly, and rainy. I got two of the items I needed, forgot one (d’oh!), and added this and a couple of other items to my basket as well. Trudged home like a local with my bags on my arm – very tempted to get one of those wheeled shopping carts I have seen the older ladies with.

Anyway… Got home and brewed up a cup, immediately followed by another. I am now warm and dry and still enjoying it immensely. Very smooth, not overwhelmingly spicy.

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Another tea from the stash in the flat. Not too bad. Drinkable, but not fantastic. I might still buy some if I see one in a store that comes in one of the elephant tins. Alas, the box in the flat is mere cardboard.

Going to take it easy today. After walking a total of 24 miles over the last three days, I have a blister that covers the bottom of one of my toes. Slow going today.

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drank Lady Grey by Twinings
330 tasting notes

Yeah, yeah, I can get this in the States, but we were grocery shopping in Tesco and I wanted to make sure I had an acceptable tea in the morning. That was before the electric circuit for the power sockets went out in the flat. We had to wait for the landlord to pop in and fix it the next day! So I had to get a cup of tea in a place in Windsor called Caffe Nero.

But I was able to use the toaster this morning and had breakfast at the flat. I have not had Lady Grey often in the States but this is better than I remember. I think the Brits keep the better tea for themselves and send us the lesser stuff :D it’s pretty good for bagged tea.

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I’m leaving on a jet plane today! Eeeeee! So in an effort to reduce the last minute dirty dishes to wash, I’m dipping into my rarely used stash of individual teabags.

The orange is definitely prominent. On my first sip though I definitely tasted something artificial-y, and took another peek at the wrapper. Orange peel is in there but so it “orange flavor” and “clove flavor.” It went away after the first sip.

The base tea is unidentifiable to me – just generic “black tea” – I would love to try a good malty Keemun or Assam with orange, cinnamon, and clove. That would be good.

This isn’t bad, or offensive, but not great. So I wouldn’t refuse a cup of this if it was offered, but I am not going to seek it out.

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Sippin’ tea and trying to remain calm. I leave to London in two days!

I swear, Keemun is better than any hot chocolate in the world. I love its malty cocoa-yness. This one is a little lighter than I want today, but still a really good flavor though. No astringency or bitterness at all, even after steeping for awhile. The second cup is as good as the first.

My 4th annual Buy Nothing Summer starts the day after I return, so my only new teas for the next 3 months (June, July, August) will be what I pick up as souvenirs on the trip. I am internally debating whether to unsubscribe from the Steepster Select box for those 3 months or keep it as it is a consumable experience. I have an art supply subscription (Artsnacks) to ponder keeping or cancelling as well.

Aside: If anyone wants to join in Buy Nothing Summer, I post about it on my blog (www.evilwidgets.com). It’s kind of like a long, non-religious Lent. You can apply it to as much or as little of your life as you want – my first year, I just stopped buying art supplies.

Teawise, besides souvenir teas, prepare for a 3 month sipdown from me :D Since I have unopened packets in my cupboard, so it won’t be monotonously boring!

Flavors: Cocoa

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

Enjoy your trip! :)


Thank you!

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Chocolate Energy Tea
Tea Man

Black tea, yerba mate, chocolate extract

Initially I was a little meh on this tea, but I discovered today that I needed to use less tea, not more for its flavor to really shine. I was just trying to use it up as a work tea, but now I’m actually really enjoying it. The chocolate comes through a lot more with a smaller scoop.

The tea was a gift, and I wish I knew more about what kind of black tea the base is.

Will I reorder once I’m out? I am not sure – I’ll have to experience a few more brews of it with a smaller scoop to decide. I have not ordered from an Etsy tea blender before, so I might look into it if I decide I do want more.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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I got a sample from Verdant labeled Tea Trail 2004 Shu Pu’er. I am not sure this is the same tea, so I’m not rating it in case it’s not.

I brewed this in a gaiwan, very short times. It brews very quickly – it’s quite interesting. I get the deep forest earthiness that is referenced in the other reviews, but not much else. It’s enjoyable to me in that it’s very intense without being bitter. Not something I would want to drink everyday.

I think I have one more Verdant pu’er in my stash to try, will definitely be giving that a whirl. I am much less hesitant about them now. I don’t think pu’er will ever be my favorite type of tea, but it definitely interests me now.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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drank Mint Rose by Zhena's Gypsy Tea
330 tasting notes

I really like this iced, it’s very refreshing. I don’t enjoy it hot though. It’s one of the few herbals I don’t get a “wet washrag” taste with – probably because I rarely get loose herbals and I suspect that taste comes from the paper from teabags.

Brewed hot, added some splenda, then iced it. Doesn’t need much sweetening. It’s a pretty amber beer color.

I will definitely drink this a lot this summer.

The scoop it comes with is annoyingly small – they say to use 5 scoops of tea with it.

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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When I was a very young child, I swallowed an ice cube whole. It got stuck in my throat, and my mother had me drink hot tea to melt it away. That started a love affair with tea that has never abated.

I dabbled with Celestial Seasonings and other grocery store teabags for awhile, in my young and foolish days. But a few years ago, I received a tea of the month subscription from Adagio, and I found that there was a whole other world of tea out there that I had never experienced.

I love drinking tea, and I love the personal ceremony of making a glass or pot of tea for myself. It’s like a meditation.


DFW, Texas

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