1134 Tasting Notes

drank Tulsi Original by Organic India
1134 tasting notes

A vibrant range of tastes imparted by 3 different types of tulsi.

It’s tulsi. What more can I say? Less star anise-clove forward than I recall Trader Joe’s tulsi being, which I think was also a blend of 3 types. This feels lower toned, more grounding, but it doesn’t taste like earth.

Good for a morning where I had to talk myself down from calling out before forcing myself out of bed 20 minutes before work, heh. I said to myself, “derk, you can go home for the day at lunch”, but then now begins the post-Thanksgiving year-end scramble to complete projects. Work was actually a good way to separate mind from body today and I finished out the full day with relative ease. Maybe the tulsi helped.


I really do think it helps take the edge off when I feel really anxious or edgy! Just a bit, but every bit helps!

Mastress Alita

I always prefer the three types of tulsi mixed than any of the three types solo.


Tulsi is the one and only medicinal tisane that has an observable effect on my knotted nerves.

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Tastes like one of those cinnamon and peppermint flavored Starlight candies. Fennel noticeable after the swallow, along with licorice root. Pretty sweet. Cinnamon and peppermint together is a combination I tend to avoid. Not bad. Good peppermint. Don’t taste the chamomile. Why the need for mint and licorice flavors, though?

Flavors: Cinnamon, Fennel Seed, Licorice, Peppermint, Sweet

Evol Ving Ness

As if someone decided to put all the ingredients I don’t like in one blend. Thanks.

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drank Mango Ginger by Yogi
1134 tasting notes

Awful. The taste brings back haunting memories of the 1980s and chewable children’s acetaminophen.

Flavors: Artificial, Fennel Seed, Ginger, Licorice, Medicinal, Rooibos, Sweet, Tangerine


Ack. I recall the grape flavour from my childhood and just the thought makes me nauseous!


Ew, nightmare tea! My parents always had the liquid bubblegum one on hand which I loved as a child for some reason T-T

Mastress Alita

I couldn’t handle liquid medicines as a kid. I’d gag them up from the flavor and never get them down. I remember my parents saying I had to drink it, because I was too small to swallow the (large) pills. I said try me. I had no issues swallowing the horse pills.

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July 2020 harvest

This tea would be a delight for flavor-focused drinkers, new and seasoned alike. It has all the right malty-but-not-heavy, fruity and baking spice notes, along with a strong florality that melds with those notes so well that it may be imperceptible. While the tea itself doesn’t have a lot of flavor beyond tanginess, the aromatics absolutely coat every surface of the mouth and into nose. That’s where the beauty of this tea lies. I swallow and the vibrant, complex aroma just lingers forever, transforming wildly over the minutes.

I’ve drank this tea both western and gongfu and my experience says western doesn’t do this tea justice. It still has all the notes, however a bit muddled and it must be steeped with more leaf than you’d think based on the aroma of the dry leaf alone. Either method doesn’t seem to amplify the body of the tea, though. It is always medium-bodied. This tea can take boiling water. Wait until it cools for a bit like an Assam black tea to be able to fully taste what it has to offer.

The one thing that keeps me from repurchasing this tea is that I am, without fail, grumpy after drinking it; that or I drink it when I’m unaware that I’m in a foul mood and having a cup of tea brings brings it to light. Either way, I don’t think it complements my constitution. It is a fairly cooling tea, and the feel and flavor profile speak to me as an early fall brew when warm days can still surprise.

I’ve had the Camellia formosensis species processed as an oolong that was not much to my tastes. If this Wild ‘Shan Cha’ is of the same species, I’m inclined to say that black tea processing does the species a great favor.

Flavors: Bark, Black Currant, Blackberry, Butter, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Geranium, Ginger, Green Wood, Lemon, Malt, Maple Syrup, Menthol, Mineral, Muscatel, Pine, Plum, Rainforest, Squash, Strawberry, Tangy

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drank Tulsi Hibiscus by Organic India
1134 tasting notes

Another Organic India tulsi blend that just does it for me. It’s a strange mix, honestly. I’d expect another ingredient to tie together the tulsi and hibiscus but it works well as is. The tulsi is much more prominent than the hibiscus, so I could see this working for hibiscus haters. A little tartness and fruit punch taste, nothing crazy.


I don’t think I’ve seen the Tulsi Hibiscus around here. It sounds interesting. Might have to hunt some down if I ever drink through all the Organic India original and sleep tulsi I have stashed everywhere.

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drank Calm Chamomile by Pickwick
1134 tasting notes

The bag I had stated Best Before 04 APR 2021, drank nearly 8 months beyond that. No issue with the taste whatsoever. I actually quite like this one. There’s less of the obvious hay-and-apple floral chamomile taste and more of a soothing herbaceous quality.

Martin Bednář

How uncommon to see Pickwick here…


This is a European brand? The lone bag must have come from a hotel my aunt stayed at, somewhere.

Martin Bednář

I guess so. Most of them are from the Netherlands.
And apparently, based on their history page, indeed they are from this country.

It started in 1753 when Douwe Egberts was founded. Pickwick brand was founded in 1937 when they were searching for more English-like name. Wife of the director came up with this name as she was reading The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens in that time.


Ah, thank you. Makes sense now – I think she was on a Dutch Caribbean island sometime this year.

Martin Bednář

Always happy to help with trivia.

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drank Organic Peppermint by Harney & Sons
1134 tasting notes

Has the cool, crisp freeze of Pacific Northwest peppermint but is unfortunately watery. Perhaps 6 oz of water is needed for a bag instead of my usual 8 to 10.

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drank Lao Cong Shui Xian by Old Ways Tea
1134 tasting notes

The experience of drinking a tree, thriving as a part of its larger environment. From the clean air to crowns and fruits. From mosses and lichens and orchids to bark. From grasses and nuts strewn about to root crowns gathering nutrients for transport. It is not an isolated process. And neither are we. This tea grounds me to what supports my being. It is life’s teacher.

I had the 2019 harvest. Please read Jade’s note for this tea as well.


Lovely note :)

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Highly oxidized for a white tea, this was reminiscent of a sun-dried black or aged white tea. This leaves me wondering if the majority of white teas sold as aged are in fact younger than claimed and processed in a similar manner to this tea. Regardless, this is still an enjoyable tea as a fan of the Ruby 18 cultivar.

Western cups had been my default method solely for the ease of a caffeine kick in the morning. I found the tea rather underwhelming prepared that way. Wanting to see what the tea was hiding, I prepared the remaining few sessions gongfu, which is what allowed this tea to shine.

The dry leaf had a subdued aroma of prunes and hay. Warming the leaf brought the prune forward while exhibiting undertones of custard and autumn leaf along with the hay. Wet leaf aroma definitely smelled like a sun-dried black with a stewed vegetables aroma. Nevermind that, it had no influence on the aroma or taste of the tea.

With the first cup, the aroma exhibited candy-like tangy and fruity notes along with hay. Notable were melon, lemon and black cherry. The main taste was similar to watermelon rind, later with with more of the autumn leaf character coming out along with blood orange. Black cherry and dried fruits highlighted the sharper notes while a cotton candy or honey-like sweetness softened those; eucalyptus and menthol rounded out the back. The finish shifted from cherry and cotton candy in the first few steeps into something generally tangy. The mouthfeel remained light to medium and as smooth as a tangy tea can allow. It was actually somewhat syrupy when brewed western style. The longevity of the leaf displays greater length with gongfu.

Overall, a pleasurable, highly oxidized Ruby 18 white that fares much better prepared gongfu. It is not a flavor-bomb like other Ruby 18 white, black and oolong I have tried. Having had several examples of this cultivar processed as white tea, I can say my preferences lean toward much lower oxidation.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Blood Orange, Candy, Cherry, Cotton Candy, Dried Fruit, Eucalyptus, Hay, Honey, Hot Hay, Melon, Menthol, Prune, Tangy, Watermelon

200 °F / 93 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

A Ruby white you once sent me was the most tea drunk I have ever been. I went to bed floating on a cloud of serenity and peace.


Yup, I remember you posting about that! It elicited a strong response from me, too. If I ever come across another Ruby white with similar feeling, I’ll let you know.

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Dry leaf has a rich, deep green, bittersweet aroma of oshitahsi, fir, green apple and sweet scallops or seafood broth.

This gyokuro has needed some willingness to adapt on my end since I am not acquainted with brewing this style of green tea. A longer initial brew produced a tea that was too intense for my preferences. Being more delicate with timing, I was able to balance the power within these leaves.

The resulting tea has a moderate alkaline quality that when combined with the sweet and mellow umami, very much gives the impression of raw shellfish. The tea hits the tastebuds very rounded. The difficulty in this tea is to describe the way it moves. Maybe I shouldn’t bother describing it and just sit with it.

Haha, that only happens sometimes. It feels like a silky ball of flavor upfront that squishes down low and coats the tongue. Maybe the feel of silken tofu combined with with the feel of carrageenan. Sweet, velvety seafood with a side of oshitashi, a hint of banana. Subsequent infusions bring a more forward wheatgrass taste and bitterness that does not move across the tongue but only appears in the back. The coating quality of the tea is evident in the way the aftertaste slowly develops. It starts mild then becomes very prominently fruity, calling to mind the depth of nectarine jam.

Read personal ramblings below if you care:

Somebody in my Mandarin class has on occasion made a point of asking what I’m drinking. Tuesday, when I last had this tea, he sent me a private message wanting to know what kind of tea was in my tiny cup. He enjoys green tea but knows little about it, so he wants me to teach him. He said he can’t find anywhere locally to buy high quality, unflavored green teas or teapots, and he’s right. I believe there is a market here for such, since most companies sell flavored teas. I would love to open a Chinese-style tea house similar to Imperial Tea Court in San Francisco that would serve the tea-loving residents of Sonoma County who don’t want to make the drive down to the touristy area of the city to relax over a pot. Where do I get the capital for such an endeavor? Tea farming requires less upfront costs as its more of an organic process. Oh, I just realized I should speak with the owner of the Chinese imports store downtown!

Flavors: Banana, Bitter, Dark Bittersweet, Fir, Fish Broth, Green Apple, Jam, Nectarine, Savory, Spinach, Sweet, Sweet, Warm Grass, Thick, Umami

Evol Ving Ness

How fun that you are considering this!

As for ramblings, all my tasting notes are personal ramblings.

Martin Bednář

Getting high quality tea is hard here as well. And I have thought about starting a tea room as well, but I am afraid I wouldn’t have enough customers. But Sonoma county is better place I believe!

Lexie Aleah

That sounds lovely! Sounds like something worth looking into for sure.

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Tea became a hobby and my daily drink of choice some time late in the last decade. My introduction to loose leaf came in the form of dumpster-dived Wuyi oolong packets that somebody left upon moving out of an apartment building. From there, my palate expanded to teas from across China and the world. I used to focus more on taste and still harbor the habit, but after trying sheng pu’er, I tend to focus more on how a tea feels in my body. Does it complement my constitution? Does it change my mood or does it enhance my current mindstate? While I may not mention those effects in tea notes, it is what I value most. Flavored teas are not a favorite but I do drink them intermittently.

In terms of who I am, you could consider me a jill of all trades. Specialty is not my strength, as can be seen in the spread of my tea notes. I might have attention issues. One thing I will always love is riding a bicycle.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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