987 Tasting Notes

When Anne revealed that she was going to use Verdant Tea’s Laoshan Black as the base for this tea, I got super excited. I had Laoshan Black back in October, and its flavours of malt and cocoa nib seemed like the perfect way to complement and blend the marshmallow, mint, and chocolate.

You can see all of the elements in this blend in the dry leaf — the marshmallow root, the cocoa nib, the chocolate chips. When you open it up, it smells like an After Eight chocolate mint. Yum!

I used boiling water and let it sit for about 6 minutes; this is longer than the recommended 4 minutes max listed on the package, but I chanced it because the tea looked a tad light after 4 minutes. It was still fairly light after 6 minutes — beery amber rather than the kind of malty black I was expecting.

However, this didn’t negatively affect the taste. I got mint and chocolate, but the marshmallow was the strongest note to me. The tea was also kind of malty/bready, which made the whole thing taste kind of like a cookie. Nice!

Full review of 52Teas 2015 Holiday Kickstarter set at http://booksandtea.ca/2015/12/christmas-teas-from-the-52teas-holiday-kickstarter/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

The thing that really strikes me about this tea is that it doesn’t skim on the seasonings — you can definitely see coriander, big chunks of cinnamon and huge cardamom pods in the dry leaf.

The dry leaf smelled like a masala chai, with a bit of something fruity/different up top. It was kind of citrusy, actually, which is weird. Maybe it was the coriander? Maybe the honeybush? Anyways, I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for 1.5 cups of water and let it steep for about 4 minutes. After that, as per the instructions on the packet, I let it sit for a bit to develop the flavour — I’ve heard from others that Anne’s 52Teas blends taste best if you let them cool down before drinking.

The tea tastes very true to the smell of the dry leaf; I’m detecting notes of cinnamon, vanilla, and honeybush, and everything is really nicely balanced. I don’t know how much like egg nog this tea tastes, but there is a sort of tart/creamy note that might correspond to it.

Full review of 52Teas 2015 Holiday Kickstarter set at http://booksandtea.ca/2015/12/christmas-teas-from-the-52teas-holiday-kickstarter/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

It’s apparently International Tea Day today. And I swear that this was completely unintentional, but I finally posted my review of Linda Gaylard’s “The Tea Book” today: http://booksandtea.ca/2015/12/the-tea-book-by-linda-gaylard/

Wow! Reviewing a book about tea, on my book-and-tea-oriented blog, on International Tea Day? I am fucking awesome, yo.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Tried this tea both yesterday and today. It’s much better today since it’s had a chance to air out a bit. I also rinsed it a lot more before drinking today than I did yesterday.

Somewhat smooth and earthy. I get what other people are saying here about camphor. Still more of a sheng lady, but this isn’t so bad.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



Working on some truly egregious website copy for a freelance client tonight. What is it with people who say that the professional copywriter just isn’t getting it, but who provide bloated, ponderous, copy that just sounds too promotional? People, I can’t turn shit to gold, no matter how hard I shine it.

I just want to slam my head into the keyboard right now, or spontaneously develop time-travel powers so I can go 3 months back in time to tell Past Me to say no to this job.


Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Backlog from a few days ago.

I took part in the Toronto Tea Festival’s recent promotion to try a bunch of tea samples for free. The tasters were told to rate each tea so that the festival could determine a “best” tea and give the winner an award.

I ended up getting 6 samples to try. There was a lot of variety, but ultimately I found the whole thing to be really disorganized.

So I wrote about it: http://booksandtea.ca/2015/12/toronto-tea-festival-tasting-set/

Guys, if you’re trying to get a random assortment of people to choose a “best” tea, don’t go about it ass-backwards like the Toronto Tea Festival did.


also… i hate the word “best.” This really was one of the most bass-akwards executions of a tea tasting that i’ve seen yet.


I just wanted to post something ack-backnerds.




Loved your blog post. It seemed fair and offered constructive criticism.

Christina / BooksandTea

I’m glad that you thought it was constructive, TeaExplorer! I was worried about coming off too harsh.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


My throat has been rather annoying lately – it feels like it’s about to come down with a cold, but it never actually commits to being sore and sick. I don’t have a lot of mint in my cupboard but I do have this tea, so I thought I’d just baby myself a bit.

I kinda wish I’d get sick, though – my immune system is so wishy-washy.


Me too with the sore throat! Two days in a row now. So odd.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



It was time to let this one go – I sent some out in a swap, then used the remainder for a pot last night. It smelled lovely, and I still enjoyed this tea even though I didn’t add any sugar.

However, I really have to let RiverTea go in my heart. I have 3 more blends left to finish.


What’s up with RiverTea? This tea sounded very nice so I looked them up—they have a website, but the prices are all $0 and there’s no information about them closing? What’s the story, do you know?


Out of business for a while now.


Sheesh, and the website still up? That kind of stinks.


I’ll never let go. Never! ;)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Having this at work – which, of course, is real different from doing it in a gaiwan. It’s less smoky this time, which is good. Hoping this will soothe my stomach over the day; about to have my third steep.

Smoky, earthy, but not too overwhelming.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



This tea met an ignominious end: I brewed it, but something about it tasted off so I poured it down the sink.

I remember when I first had this tea that it seemed like the most miraculous thing ever. I may restock it in the future, but for now I’ll just let it be, since I have other teas out there to try, including some other Bi Luo Chuns.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



Updated March 2016:

I’m a writer and editor who’s fallen in love with loose-leaf tea. I’ve also set up a site for tea reviews at http://www.booksandtea.ca – an excellent excuse to keep on buying and trying new blends. There will always be more to discover!

In the meantime, since joining Steepster in January 2014, I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on my likes and dislikes

Likes: Raw/Sheng pu’erh, sobacha, fruit flavours, masala chais, jasmine, mint, citrus, ginger, Ceylons, Chinese blacks, rooibos.

Dislikes (or at least generally disinclined towards): Hibiscus, rosehip, chamomile, licorice, lavender, really vegetal green teas, shu/ripe pu’erh.

Things I generally decide on a case-by-case basis: Oolong, white teas.

Still need to do my research on: matcha

I rarely score teas anymore, but if I do, here’s the system I follow:

100-85: A winner!
84-70: Pretty good. This is a nice, everyday kind of tea.
69-60: Decent, but not up to snuff.
59-50: Not great. Better treated as an experiment.
49-0: I didn’t like this, and I’m going to avoid it in the future. Blech.


Toronto, ON, Canada



Following These People

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer