191 Tasting Notes

drank Pumpkin Chai by DAVIDsTEA
191 tasting notes

This sample came way back when from Bigelow (Aisling of Tea) way back when. I think it had gone past its prime—I didn’t taste much in the way of pumpkin, more deliciously sweet and milky chai goodness.

I followed the preparation directions from a post on the forums. I think next time I make this I’ll use less water (maybe 1/4 cup). I have some on the way in the DT order I recently made, so I will have lots of opportunities to perfect this. Also, I really want this to be super pumpkin-y, so that way I can actually taste the pumpkin. It isn’t too much to ask, right?

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This is my third tea of the day from the 12 Teas of Christmas (I keep wanting to type “Days”. Every single post I’ve typed “Days”). Pancake Breakfast was the tea that began my slightly deluded, brief love of 52 Teas. The smell, my god, the smell of the dry leaf was incredible. It still gets me, with that delicious, maple syrup and buttery smell. I want desperately to like it. Also, I want desperately to taste better. I can only imagine what the flavors must taste like.

But I can’t, which is sad. Also, which is sad, is the fact that I’m still not a fan of the black tea base. I think a bit of time has mellowed the tea, or else I’ve matured and am not as bitterly disappointed as I was when I first realized I didn’t like the flavor of the black tea base, and therefore not quite as hard on it. It wasn’t as harsh as I remember them being. That may also have to do with remembering not to brew the black tea base at boiling (which, lets face it, is probably the most accurate reason I don’t find it quite as disappointing as before). I can see how adding milk might change the taste of the tea for the better, but I’m just not a milk-adder. Chai is one thing, but it just seems wrong to add milk to my cup of tea. Your cup of tea, on the other hand? Add away. I don’t really care what other people do.

I feel almost like writing reviews is rather pointless, as they mostly fit a standard “It smells lovely, tastes okay, no nuances” format. But I enjoy the writing, and it is something I don’t get to do very often in real life. So I write away.

Brewed with 500 ml of water in my Breville for three minutes.

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drank Rainbow Sherbet by 52teas
191 tasting notes

Rainbow Sherbet is my second tea of the day, also from the 12 Teas of Christmas. The dry leaf was mildly aromatic, definitely a fruity black, but kind of generically fruity black. I didn’t get the smack-you-in-the-face aromatic hit that other Steepsterites have from this tea. I never would have guessed without the insert that this was supposed to be Rainbow Sherbet (my nose, it seems, is almost as bad as my palate).

After brewing, it was a whole different story. The smell was so strong, and so spot on to what I remembered sherbet to smell like, it was almost like there was a container of sherbet in front of me. You know when it is just a little bit melty, and the scent intensifies? Like that. In case anyone wonders why I keep drinking flavored teas, even though I don’t really taste the nuances (or even necessarily the top notes), this would be why. I can still smell it, and so I get at least some sensory satisfaction from the tea drinking experience.

I tasted mostly black tea, with that generic fruitiness. The black tea base for 52 Teas isn’t exactly my favorite. It always seems a bit harsh and flat, especially now that I’ve gotten into some other black teas from the likes of Harney and Sons and Teavivre. The difference in taste is tangible, even to me.

Brewed with 500 ml of water at 95C in my Breville for three minutes.

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drank Rainbow Sherbet by 52teas
191 tasting notes

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This was today’s tea of the morning. I am, I’m embarrassed to say, still in possession of almost all of tea from last years 12 Teas of Christmas. I’m working my way through the box, having rediscovered it (I have a David’s Tea order on the way, and for some odd reason, it felt really important to drink these teas before the DT order arrives).

Dry, this smells like sweet, sweet lemon. I get a bit of berry, but mostly sweet lemon. I think the Bai Mu Dan naturally has a bit of a sweet smell (I haven’t had a lot of Bai Mu Dan teas, so I could be wrong). The smell definitely made me think of summer, and I bet this would have been wonderful iced.

Brewed, the liquor was a lovely golden yellow and smelled more like strawberry lemonade. The tea was smooth, I could pick up hints of lemon along with the Bai Mu Dan. I do find it rather sad, the Bai Mu Dan from Teavivre was delicious, and it just seems wrong to doctor that with flavoring. So I suppose it is a good thing I’m not much of a taster.

Prepared with 500 ml of water at the white tea temp setting on my Breville, for three minutes.

3 min, 0 sec

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Today is probably not the best day to write about tea, but given that I find comfort in both writing and tea, here goes. I got this Milk Oolong on a recent order from Teavivre. I’d like to just reiterate how much I love Teavivre. Fast, relatively low shipping threshold, and I’m not sure if they sell a bad tea (everything I’ve tried has been delicious). My only other experience with a milk oolong was from David’s Tea. I loved every single thing about that tea. The milk flavor was strong enough that even I could taste the creamy, delicious goodness. So I had a high bar set that I was hoping Teavivre could surpass.
My first pot of tea I made according to Teavivre’s directions—2 t per 8 oz of water steeped at boiling for two minutes. What I got was overwhelmingly oolong and short on milk. Green oolongs aren’t my favorite in the first place, so that was a bit of a disappointment. I valiantly brewed a couple more resteeped pots. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what I was hoping for—a milk miracle, I suppose. It was a miracle that never occurred.

I decided to give it another try this morning, in the hopes that different brew parameters would help. Also, I ordered a lot of this tea. So I have quite a bit to work my way through. I brewed 1 t per 8 oz at 90 C, and low and behold. Milk! I was so happy! The smaller amount of leaves and lower temperature seems to have allowed the milk flavor to come through. I’m definitely a happier camper (tea-wise) this morning.

And if you don’t want to read about my crappy news, please stop reading now. I totally get it, since it isn’t exactly about tea. But it is weighing heavily on my mind. I found out from my vet yesterday that my dog has a very aggressive pancreatic cancer. Animals with this condition seem to only live a couple of weeks after diagnosis. She is my baby, gotten from a rescue. She was terrified of everything when we got her, and she’s come so far. She’s only seven—young for cancer. She is my tail. She follows me everywhere, and prefers me to all other company. The thought of losing my Bella is tearing me up.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

big hugs I am so sorry about your Bella. Atleast there is tea to comfort you. Don’t worry about sharing your woes here, we are one big family in my eyes


I am so sorry to hear about your pup. Bella sounds like a joy, and it is obvious that you love her. (((hugs)))


Sorry to hear about your dog, they are precious creatures


Oh I am so sorry… I completely understand how hard what you are going through must be. I wish you the strength to go through this and to your baby I wish and pray that she doesn’t suffer. She has a great owner that will be by her the whole way!


OMG I’m so sorry!! I lost my dog to cancer several years ago and just the thought of her still makes me tear up. At least you know you gave her a good life. That’s all a dog can wish for from an owner. *hugs

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drank Yumberry Wulong Oolong by Teavana
191 tasting notes

Oh dear. I wanted to like this tea. Fruity and a bit tart, but not too overwhelmingly fruity or tart. It sounded lovely. I prepared it with 1 t per 8 oz, after checking the Teavana website. I was skeptical, since my last brush with oolong tea (Teavivre, thankyouverymuch) called for two to three times as much. But press on I did, and what did I get as a result?

Troubled water. Yes, what resulted at that preparation and a two minute steep could only nicely be called troubled water. Not worth drinking. A vague bit of oolong flavor (unfortunately, greener oolongs are not my favorite), but not enough to be called a tea. I gave it one more shot, hoping for at least a stronger oolong flavor with a second steep at four minutes. The tea was stronger, but no fruit to be found (not surprising on a second steep).

I got this tea on sale at Teavana’s end of the year sale, and I’m glad I didn’t pay full price for it. I’ll give it another shot iced, maybe that will improve it.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Caribe by Harney & Sons
191 tasting notes

I can’t believe I’ve consumed nearly a whole tin of this without writing a tasting note! Well, after today’s cup, I will have finished it off, quite glad it accidentally (ahem, not really) came into my life after a tea buying moratorium (I’m rarely successful at a buying moratorium, it turns out).

Dry, Caribe smells wonderful. Intensely fruity, tropical, its like someone distilled the essence of a thousand fruity cocktails into a four ounce tin of tea. The brewed tea smells less intensely fruity, with the scent of the black tea coming out more. The taste, the taste is what always gets me, and Caribe is no exception. It tastes like black tea—a hint of fruit, not a strong wallop, like the aroma of the dry brew promises. I think the charms of flavored teas are lost on me—while the nose works well, the taster? Not so much. While it sort of sounds like a bust of a tea, reading back, it really wasn’t. The aroma of the dry mix alone was worth the cost. Damn, it smelled wonderful.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Emerald Mao Feng by Teavana
191 tasting notes

It feels odd to sit down and write about tea. It has been a few months, and my tea-writing skills feel a bit rusty.

I picked up this Emerald Mao Feng at the end of the year Teavana sale when I uh, had a bit of fun (okay, a lot of fun). This was my first time breaking into this tea.

This tea is a light tasting, not overly vegetal green tea. I don’t detect the sweetness that others have mentioned. It has a clear, smooth taste, not harsh or unpleasant. A nice green tea, but not one that is making me swoon. I think I still prefer Teavana’s Emperor’s Clouds and Mist to this tea. I may try it at a shorter steep next time, to see how a one minute steep compares to a one minute steep of EC&M.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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I want more than fine. In tea and in life.

A mess of good intentions.

Dogs. So many dogs. Also, cats.

The opposite of a super-taster.

Not a natural redhead.


Gainesville, FL

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