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Recent Tasting Notes


While this doesn’t brew up bitter, all the assamness (awesomeness) is smoothed away from this tea. No malt, no coppery tang, no astringency. Kinda boring. I’ll mix it with something to sip it down it’s at least good for some caffiene.


Awesomeness! Love it.

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Another off of the local Buy Nothing Site because the gifter did not enjoy it. I notice that the packaging appears to be different than their current packaging, so I’m unsure of the age of the tea. It was unopened and didn’t appear to be off so I went forward with a cup this morning. As per usual, I took my tea without adding sugars or milk for my tasting.

I found the tea to be malty with a slight bitterness at the end. I’m not a huge fan of malt in general, so that definitely plays into this review. It reminded me of the tea that I get at our local Chinese food restaurant. That’s not a bad thing! Now it’s been a few years since I’ve gone to that restaurant, so I could be mistaken.

I think this is a good serviceable tea and plan to keep it in my cabinet until I finish off the package. I probably will use it for some end of summer iced teas. I noted that their website’s reviews often speak of making Hong Kong style milk tea with it. I may try my hand that that.

Flavors: Bitter, Malt

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Stovetop Latte Sipdown (276)

This went awry. First I poured milk on the counter when attempting to start making this. Then I poured the chai on the counter when I attempted to strain this. The moral of the story is I should clearly be using a pot with a spout on it…

This is smooth and sweet. If I didn’t know better, I would think it had rose, except its not overly floral. Cardamom is also very present which provides a nice foil to the sweeter notes. Stovetop is definitely the best way to go about these Vahdam chais.

Silent Kettle

I love stovetop chai ! :) I need to try Vahdam chais soon!


They are alright. My favorite for stovetop chai is definitely the chaiwala masala chai

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Geek Steep S1E16 – Dune (1984)

So this was my first time watching Dune and, really, exploring anything about it just in general. The movie is based on a very beloved and renowned novel series, however even the most impassioned Dune “the novel series” fans can agree that the movie is a train wreck. I was totally not expecting this level of dumspter fire chaos – but once I was able to let go of trying to view it as a serious work of film then I had a crazy good time watching this movie! After all, I have a special love for bad movies.

Because I didn’t know anything about the movie I had no clue what tea to choose and so Marika very kindly told me that spice was a BIG DEAL in the movie so I should pick something spiced. I decided, seconds after she said this, that I didn’t want to do that. I don’t drink much spiced tea – and I’ve already had several on the podcast.

I sat on the idea for a while though, and eventually I decided to message the one friend whom I knew for sure had seen the movie and ask him for a one sentence summary. In my head, if he didn’t mention spices then surely they couldn’t mean that much. His sentence was: “Way too many people give far too many fucks about space spice”.

So that settled it, I would have to pick a spiced tea. I decided to try something I’d not had before, and I knew this was in my stash. More than that, saffron is the most expensive spice (currently) on earth so I figured that if spices were a big deal I would pick a tea that had some fancy ass spices in it…

I’ll do another tasting note about the flavour of this at a future point, but suffice to say that it tasted okay. I mean, it’s a nice enough tea – just not my thing. Did it pair well? I mean, it didn’t pair badly but I probably would have had a more fun time if I’d picked a tea I wanted to drink.

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Cameron B.

Dune is one of those movies than I like in theory, but every time I watch it I’m like “Really? Why did I think I liked this…?” XD

Mastress Alita

The book (at least the original, I never read the multitude of sequels) is one of my favorite books and a mainstain on my shelf.


Yeah, I love the book and am hoping the new movie is better!

Mastress Alita

Ya, the original movie is… something. Just something. I only have vague memories now cause I remember renting it for 99 cents when I was in high school, not long after I read the novel (which I loved) and being like, “Wat?”

I love that one sentence summary, heh.


I’ve never read/watched Dune and don’t have much interest in doing so, but this episode was hilarious and made me laugh out loud several times. :D


I like the Dune movie! There are worse. But I haven’t read the books yet.

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Adventaggedon Day 9 – Tea 6/6

I’m having a moment where it’s like my brain is just stalling out…

The dry leaf of this tea was perplexing to me because it looks like a nice, straight Assam with lots of gold tips throughout but the aroma definitely has a mild spice to it. I think that’s just scent contamination from the box/tin that aren’t airtight – because the tea didn’t really taste spiced steeped. What did it taste like!?

Uhh… It was good. I was at maximum memory retention for the day though, so I definitely do not remember specifics. Thankfully, I have a mostly full mini tin to explore at a future date to help answer that question when I feel like I have more bandwidth!

Advent Photos:


Oooooo, I love the reflection of the twigs on your mug!

Mastress Alita

Some days I wish the “buffering” logo would display visibly above my head…

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Sipdown! (12 | 142)

Milk tea sipdown! I added a bit of a Vahdam first-flush Darjeeling as well, because I didn’t quite have enough of this left.

I was surprised by how much I could taste the Darjeeling, to be honest! Given that I only added a little bit. There were clear floral/muscat sort of notes going on, and I honestly liked the all-Assam milk tea from a few days ago better.

I’ll have to try out the second-flush Darjeeling from my advent leftovers and see how I feel about it…

I also had some fun this evening making some simple syrups out of raw sugar, brown sugar, and honey! So those will be fun to experiment with. Maybe I’ll pick up some dark brown sugar this weekend and try that out as well…

Iced 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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I love Japanese milk tea, and I was craving one tonight, so I thought I would try to recreate it at home. I wasn’t sure what type of black tea to use, but ended up deciding on Assam because it has a more assertive flavor and is commonly drunk with milk anyway!

I used about a tablespoon of tea and steeped it in 4 ounces of hot water for 3 minutes. Then I strained it over a little bit of ice and added 8 ounces of whole milk. I finished it off with a tablespoon of vanilla syrup for sweetness.

It actually came out really good! It’s creamy and sweet but I can still taste the Assam underneath. I think next time I’ll experiment with using more tea, or perhaps adding more water and less milk.

But for a first attempt, I’m really happy with it! :)

Flavors: Malt, Wood

Iced 3 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Mastress Alita

Mmm, milk tea! It’s funny, because I do love it, yet when I make black tea for myself, I tend to always make it straight up. Maybe I should try making some milk tea sometime too…

Cameron B.

I love to buy the bottled ones at the Japanese market!

Mastress Alita

Sadly, I live in a podunk area with no foreign foods available. :-(

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Vahdam Advent Calendar – Day 9

Yay, it’s nice to have a straight tea to break up all of the various spiced blends! Although the name of this is weird, it’s just a second flush Assam so I’m not sure what “exotic” is supposed to mean…? Anyway, the dry leaf has a few lovely golden tips.

This is super mellow for an Assam! Not sure if the second flush has anything to do with that, I confess I don’t know if any of the other Assams I’ve had were first or second flush. Anyway, this is very smooth and malty with thick bready notes. I taste a touch of raisin, which is generally something I taste more strongly in this type of tea. There is a little hint of briskness and tannic intensity around the edges I think. I get whispers of something akin to creamy vanilla at the end of the sip? And overall this has a much woodier profile than expected as well. Little hit of astringency in the aftertaste.

It’s very easy-drinking and perfect for a work tea that doesn’t require too much attention. I do wish it had a little bit of a fuller body to it, as that would help the bread notes have a bit more chewiness to them. Am I even making any sense at this point…? XD

(today’s advent teas:

Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Malt, Milk, Raisins, Smooth, Tannic, Vanilla, Wood

2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Advent tea. This is technically the one to drink on Christmas day but I saw the tippy leaf before I saw the number and it was in my cup before I could do anything else. This one has a really unique aroma with smoky, woodsy, musty, with comprehensive compost. The flavor is just like a golden tippy of an Assam should be. No astringency, great earthy tones like wet woods, slight smoke, and twigs. I was a bit surprised to see this wasn’t on their main website any longer.

Cameron B.

Advent cheater! Ha ha…


Rules are fluid, just like a cup of tea! I wish this was still available, as I’d like another bag.

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So this one is a bit of an oddity… I don’t think I’ve ever had a green tea from India before, or a green Earl Grey before (though I have had bergamot in green tea blends with other things… not exactly teas I would call “Earl Greys” though). This sample came from Meowster’s cupboard destash a few summers ago, thank you!

I think I overleafed this, since I used the recommended amount from Vahdam instead of my own preference when it comes to amount of leaf for greens, and it tastes a bit bitey as a result. I should just trust my gut even when it looks like a pittance of leaf… live and learn. But mostly what is throwing me off… is the bergamot tastes soapy to me, which I don’t think I’ve ever encountered before. I have no idea if that’s because of the base leaf being very old by this point, that I’m not a fan of bergamot on this base (I tend to not like it on rooibos, either), or if it’s simply the bergamot oil being used isn’t agreeing with me (there was a time when I didn’t like the stuff at all).

So the result is an overly bitter cup, with a really drying/soapy citrus flavor, with only a hint of some nuttiness underneath the blech in the leaf.

I have 3g of leaf left, so I’ll either try my preferred leaf-to-water ratio on that cup, or perhaps a cold brew with the remainder, and see if that doesn’t improve things. But this pot is not happy tea.

Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Biting, Bitter, Citrus, Drying, Nutty, Orange Zest, Soap, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of green EG either. Bergamot is a powerful flavor— I wouldn’t think it would play nicely with the more delicate nature of green tea. I tried a green chai once, and it wasn’t very successful. It tasted like cinnamon and that was it.

Mastress Alita

I am tempted to agree. I haven’t been a fan of it on the rooibos I’ve tried either, and as far as greens go, there has only been one green blend (Steven Smith Teamaker’s “Rose City Genmaicha”) that I’ve tried where I liked the bergamot used it in (but that blend had lots of other complimenting flavors, not just bergamot). I think the black just handles that strong of citrus better, at least to my palate…

I used up the last of this as a cold brew, and it is a bit better; no longer bitter/astringent, but the bergamot still has that weird “soapy”/“lemon cleaner” taste to it to me. Still uncertain if age did it dirty or this was just never going to be a berg or a combination that I would like. So while the cold brew wasn’t quite as sad… still not happy tea.

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So I thought I had done a good job of sipping down my teas before I moved to Wyoming, but I found an unopened 100g bag of this today. Like finding an Easter egg! I have never thought I needed a tea inventory spread sheet, but now I’m reconsidering. But maybe that takes the fun out of finding and old/new tea in your cupboard (or bin).
It tastes like velvety cocoa with honey undertones, I think I will like drinking the rest of this tea. There is a bit of a coppery metallic aftertaste, but it’s not unpleasant. It’s certainly smooth enough for keeping for special occasions, and to me seems a cup to savor or try gong fu.
I don’t see it available on the Vahdam web site, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will never sell it again :)

Flavors: Cocoa, Honey, Malt, Metallic

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This is the last one of my Vahdam tea samples, I’ll look into other teas at some point which I’m looking forward to

It’s strong and bitter, maybe a bit too bitter but still enjoyable.

Flavors: Bitter, Malt

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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Minty is one of my favourite flavours in tea/food, so this one sounded interesting to me. It tastes delicious with neither the green tea or the mint overpowering the other. I decided to steep the leaves a couple more times – the second cup had a darker appearance than the first whilst the minty flavour was stronger. The third steep was similar to the second.

Flavors: Mint

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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The tea is very strong and has malty and sweet characteristics. The sweet tones are somewhat overpowered by the bitterness of the tea. The bitterness for me is not very pleasant because it lingers for too long in your mouth.

Not one of Vahdam’s best Assam teas, but you can’t win them all ;-)

Flavors: Bitter, Malt, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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The tea has the normal dark oak colour of an Assam tea. The smell is however less pronounced than with most other Assam teas. Same goes for the flavour. You can taste the hints of malt and honey-like sweetness in the back, but for an Assam tea this one is extremely mild.

I have to say that i quite like this one. The less pronounced flavour leave more room for the small amount of bitterness and astringecy to kick in, making this a nicely balanced tea. Perhaps a bit too bland if you’re looking for a kick, but a very nice every-day tea to be sure.

Flavors: Chocolate, Honey, Malt

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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This makes a great iced tea! More caramel earthy notes than most assam’s I have had but with the same sweet malt taste I love. VERY smooth and refreshing. I never got the chance to try it hot, I ended up using the whole bag in a week to make it over ice.

Flavors: Caramel, Malt, Sugar

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The best iced tea I have ever made! Very smooth and malty with a sugarcane finish, if this wasn’t so much more expensive than their regular assam I would make iced tea out of this every day.

Flavors: Malt, Sugarcane, Sweet

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drank Assam Second Flush by Vahdam
16 tasting notes
I usually opt for Chinese tea for my long hot tea sessions, but often crave a good Indian assam for breakfast. This tea is the best quality assam I have had for the price, I would choose the exotic assam or Halmari over this, but they are three times as expensive. I make iced tea out of this everyday and i have to say it’s awesome! Sweet, malty, with very little astringency or tannins. A very high grade tea for the price.

Flavors: Malt, Sweet

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This is a brilliant tea for people who like a strong cuppa. I have this with or without milk, depending on my mood. Love it!

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Well, Vahdam… you dropped the ball big time
I don’t know what to say… I ordered and got this:

I can promise you that this tea is not smoked, it has no malty notes, and it 100% does not look like that.

Guess I have no idea what I’m drinking, but the package says Antu Valley Golden Tippy Souchong Nepal Summer Black Tea.


Daylon R Thomas

Yeah, that’s a totally different tea. Whatever you got still looks decent.

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Okay well after trying a number of my Indian samples (of which I have.. like 25), I kind of gave up all hope to review them, save for an Avaata white, but I pulled this one out on a whim because I’ve actually got very little tea at the moment and I can’t wait for my new shipments to arrive ugh, anyways, I opened this to a pretty unique aroma, a very soft sort of soapy, a very indian floral aroma, anyways then I started to pour them out into my presentation.. bamboo scoopy thing, and I was just startled I mean look at these leaves!

so many huge, long thin needles, it’s obviously very carefully processed, and this is something I’ve always felt is missing from typical tea pretty much from anywhere in the world outside of China. Now there is decent amount of breakage in this one, so I’m just going to pick out all of the whole leaves and brew just those, because I can.

oh my god, okay in the gaiwan it smells pretty much exactly like a laoshan green and oh okay this gonna be wonderful, I’m not gonna rinse this one.

oh my goddddd after the first steep, the leaves smell again even more strongly of a laoshan green, but there’s this fruitiness and this like meatiness thickness too, and then something that reminds me of a sangria tea I had from teavana (I’ve never had sangria so I don’t know if this smells like that..) but okay I’m so excited to drink this.

I’m brewing at 82C, 5ish grams in a 120ml gaiwan

okay well on the face of it, there’s a very familiar soybeany, spinachy taste, a grapey fruitiness and a very indian florality in the finish akin to darjeeling black teas, there’s a certain unpleasantness to it though, I’m not sure what it is, but the body is also thin, I’m going to attribute that to the first steep though, so okay well anyways

Okay nevermind the second is also thin, but lots of new flavours, still very green, but a bit more grassy, very sweet as well this time, some very pleasant bitterness, there’s a very odd fruitiness, it’s like.. I wanna say it’s a combination of orange and blackberry? and there’s a more mellow floralness, less perfumey

Okay okay okay it’s thicker in this one, it’s so hard to describe the tastes.. it’s very bitter and satisfying and sorta green beany and sort of a pear-like taste, lots of spinachiness and like.. I don’t know, it’s vaguely citrus-like and smokey!! I didn’t notice the smokiness

I don’t know, for some reason it reminds me of chow mein. And now I’m craving chow mein..

oo I got a nice strawberry aroma like a minute after finishing the sip, also the sweetness is very sheng-like. This is some weird tea
Oh ew, it’s like lemongrassy and sour and blech I think this one’s finished..
jk the next 2 have still been good, it’s developed this lovely creaminess and really it’s starting to taste a lot like a weird young sheng

I got 10 steeps out of it though, that’s pretty impressive for green tea

180 °F / 82 °C

I’m majorly impressed that you even had the stamina/will/attention span to go through ten steeps! I think the most I’ve ever done was four and by then was ready to move on to something else.


Do you drink gongfu??


Do you drink gongfu??

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Omg okay so today I got 3 packages, one from Vahdam, one from Teasenz and another from Jake’s stash sale, I’m drowning in tea right now and its fantastic.

Anyways okay this is not going to be as proper of a review as mine usually are, I’ve been studying all night for my midterm tomorrow and caved and decided to start gongfuing this one while doing work so this is from memory. This is actually the only sample (of like 21) that I’ve opened just to give it a smell, and I was amazed by the dry leaf aroma, I don’t know how to describe it, it smells so pure and sweet, very fruity (orange/peach/grape) and not at all floral, more to the point I was really impressed with the look of the leaf, they’re completely whole and beautiful, just like in the picture. And with my complete disinterest in white tea recently and my past experiences with indian tea being pretty negative, this amazing aroma was a huge shock if I’m being honest. I had very low expectations for a Nilgiri white tea, but I’ve been very happily surprised.

It brewed up very strong and thick and almost malty in a way, hints of bitterness every now and then but for the most part it had a very nice body, I got notes of berries and lovely florals, as well as some of the fruits from the aroma, and at one point I’m pretty sure I tasted chocolate. Honestly, while I wouldn’t have had a hard time telling you that it was a white tea, it was quite.. Burly, I want to say. I feel like it has the body of a black tea, with the flavours of a fruity white.

Also, looking at the name, there is something that feels frosty about this tea. I don’t know why, but it’s very fitting that this is a winter harvest (Feb 2016).

This was a very good first impression for Vadham

Flavors: Flowers, Grapes, Orange, Peach

185 °F / 85 °C

Hope your midterm went well!


it did :D thanks

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drank Bokel Assam Second Flush by Vahdam
790 tasting notes

Need to do a side by side with some of their other Assams but this one so far is not a standout. The leaves smell of a strong sweet malt but the flavor is somewhat lackluster. From this first cup, I get a moderate, average black tea. Need to try again. No rating.

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Yum. The dry leaf smells like molasses and hay. The flavor is indeed plummy as their description says. A good heft of malt. A very classic taste. I can’t remember any more what the full leaf Nahorhabi from Harney tasted like but being from the same estate, I can’t imagine it was too different and I loved that one as well. Might have been a different flush, though, no idea and Harney only offers broken leaf now, which I don’t care for as much.


Ian says there’s a package waiting for me for when I get home next week! Thank you thank you!


Yay!! :)


need to let me know if there are things i can send your way that you want to try. I haven’t bought as much tea this year, but there are some new things in my cupboard :)

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