184 Tasting Notes

drank Caribe by Harney & Sons
184 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
184 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 received this one in a swap from TeaEqualsBliss. MMMM, strong, delicious strongness. Just what I need to get me up and going. I normally try not to have anything new so as not to spoil my tasting with food contamination (oh, who am I kidding. I have no taste!). Anyway, I was in the mood for something completely different, so I descended on my sample stash and picked this one out. I was kind of skeptical, looking at all those little tiny pellets of tea, but I am convinced! There is a bit of astringency, which isn’t too bad, and something vaguely bready about the scent. I’m drinking it sans additions, so it is good I only steeped it for two and a half minutes instead of the three plus that they recommend. Even at the lower than recommended steep, it is still plenty strong. I think the assam dominates the cup, with its astringency and maltiness.

Also, I have to say, I had this with grapefruit this morning, and the grapefruit completely knocked out the astringency and robustness of the tea. Taking a sip right after a bite of grapefruit was a completely different experience than taking a sip a few minutes after I had finished the grapefruit. It was mellow and smooth, considerably less in your face right after the grapefruit. Interesting, what tea and food pairings do for each other.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

Thanks for that extra bit about the grapefruit. Yes, interesting. That makes me want to start thinking more about tea/food pairings!

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Sample provided by Teavivre.

By now I’ve used the entire sample I got from Teavivre. The dry leaf is light and fluffy, and pretty—it isn’t my first golden tip yunnan, but it is definitely the nicest looking, with those large golden leaves. It also smells yummy, vaguely sweet.

The brewed liquor is a dark mahogany brown, though I did steep it for a minute longer than recommended because this last pot was a little light on the leaf. The tea is not bitter at all, has a nice body and mouthfeel, nor is it astringent at all. The flavor is smooth and bakey, and some unidentified sweet delicious flavor that upon reading other reviews is like sweet potatoes. That’s the flavor! I also did pick up hints of caramel (not surprising, with the taste of sweet potatoes).

So far I’ve tried three of the teas that Teavivre sent me (I’ll have a review of their Bai Mu Dan in another day or two), and I love them all. I can see their teas taking up permanent residence in my collection.

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Please, disregard the terribly unsophisticated slurping and glugging sounds coming from my direction. This tea is so damn good, I can’t help but drink it as fast as the temperature allows.

Oh. My. Goodness. I’m in love. This sample was courteously provided to me by Angel Chen. It is my first time drinking this tea, and it won’t be my last. Oh, no, it will not be. To start with, I’m really impressed with the packaging. Details on the label! Harvest date! How long it is good for! Source! It makes the tiny little part of me that is detail oriented swoon (granted, it is a small part, but swoon it does). Also the double bagging is definitely nice, though it does conflict with my more eco-friendly side, as others have noted.

The flavor of this keemun is wonderful. Granted, it is only my second keemun, but I like it more than the Teavana one I had previously. This one is robust but mild—does that make sense? It strikes me as a gentle flavor, but very much there. I don’t get an overly smoky flavor from it (I’m still adjusting to smoky teas), and I imagine that I get hints of chocolate and wine. I think I might find it woody if I could only shake my association of “woody” with “piney”. Earthy. A bit, not like a pu-erh (maybe what I think of as earthy is actually woody. I don’t know).

Anyway, the upshot? I’m going to be ordering more. Once I drink down some of my stash. I can’t wait till that day. Also, I can’t wait to try the next Teavivre sample. Thanks Angel!

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

I am discovering Teavivre teas right now, and I am so impressed so far. Thanks for this review, this tea will be in my next order!


I definitely recommend this one. I also noticed that as it cools, the chocolately/cocoa-y note became more apparent. Delicious.

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This smells absolutely amazing on opening—rather like apple crumble; very intensely apple. I had high hopes for this tea, perhaps too high.

The tea itself is like a very light apple cider drink. I get light apple, and cinnamon, with a bit of almond in there as well. It isn’t as weak as some people had experienced, but not as intense as I was expecting. I probably should have used more—I only used 2 teaspoons for a 12 ounce mug.

Steeped for 7 minutes (oops!) at 95C with 2 teaspoons of tea for 12 ounces of water.

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drank Apres Ski by DAVIDsTEA
184 tasting notes

I was steeling myself for a less than pleasant taste experience after reading some of the reviews on Steepster of this tea. I was pleasantly surprised—I really liked it. The dry tea does have a somewhat offputting smell, but not so like garbage or rotten fruit like some other people have described. It was more of a heavy, earthy-fruity smell that I wasn’t expecting.

The tea itself was delicious—a nice black tea base that played well with the fig and cinnamon and orange. I definitely got figs and cinnamon, and every once in a while got a bit of orange. None of the flavors were inappropriately overwhelming—everyone got along. I’d definitely buy it, I only had one small sample from an earlier DavidsTea order. Maybe next holiday season I will.

Steeped small packet in 12 oz water for five minutes at 205 degrees.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Copper Knot Hongcha by Teavana
184 tasting notes

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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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