2189 Tasting Notes

drank Earl Grey by Twinings
2189 tasting notes

I am kind of confused by the myriad of Earl Greys that Twining’s seems to offer. I am now in Heathrow Airport (London) on my way to Madagascar and I had a bagged EG that wasn’t the typical yellow-pouch one but instead a black with “The Earl Grey” on it. But when I go to Twinings’ site it seems that perhaps it’s just a packaging redesign? I dunno, but I’m sticking it under here anyway.

So yeah, I haven’t had tea in it seem s like forever. I have been running around like crazy trying to get my apartment packed up and get ready to go into the field. Also, the weather decided to give me a big F-you and be exceedingly hot and humid for the last couple of days, so not hot-tea weather even if I did get a little break. But now finally I have time to relax in my layover in London and I finally got a pot of tea. Twining’s isn’t my favorite, but I actually enjoyed my pot of tea way more than I did last time. Maybe they did a slight reblend, or maybe I just appreciate the base tea more this time around, but it was nice and well rounded, and not bitter or astringent at all. Very pleasant and welcome after the plane ride.


Have fun in Madagascar!!! We’ll miss you while you’re gone!


I know the Twinings that my daughter’s boyfriend sends me from N. Ireland have different packaging than the same ones here. Maybe that is it?


Lovely! Glad your long awaited pot of tea was satisfying


Enjoy your trip!


Thanks guys!

ashmanra – perhaps, but confusingly Twining’s has loose leaf tins on their UK website under “Earl Greys” in both the new black design and the old yellow design, listed separately. Who knows!


Madagascar! That’s amazing! Have fun, good luck there!

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I was looking through my stash and realized I haven’t yet tried this one though I requested a sample of it with my last order. I’ve wanted to try this one for a while because I love the idea of Verdant doing a chocolate Alchemy blend, although to be honest I wasn’t totally sure about all the other odds and ends. I mean, I’m not a huge mint tea person, and I never seek out chamomile, but I was intrigued all the same. I figured this morning the black tea could help me wake up and the chamomile and mint can help calm my nerves and stress of moving.

A quick sniff of the dried leaf yields a minty and herby aroma. I started out intending to steep this with different parameters but once I saw the steeping instructions in the description here I was able to pull up and adjust before actual steeping. The steeped tea has a really interesting smell. First I get mint with perhaps a light, hayish, appley chamomile accompaniment. But then some serious chocolatey aromas come out to play. It’s definitely a little chocolate-minty in the aroma.

The combo of flavors in this tea reminds me a bit of an Andean herbal blend I got in Argentina, if it had a chocolately black tea base instead of being an herbal. That’s a good thing because that tea is also one I liked way more than I thought I would. This tea is slightly sweet, chocolately, minty, and a bit fruity (I always think chamomile tastes appley). It all works really well together. And it is having the added benefit of making me feel alert as well as calming my nerves. A good choice for this morning!

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I love this blend! Soothing! Believe it or not…it makes a nice mellow iced tea. I drink it hot them steep again for iced tea.


I am not even a huge fan of chamomile except for medicine reasons and this tea is AMAZING!

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drank Boston Blend by Harney & Sons
2189 tasting notes

I am running around like crazy lately, so I don’t have time to say much more about this one than: every time I have this I am reminded at how freaking delicious it is, and how much it is like a fruity Coquelicot Gourmand (Dammann Freres). The almond is just amazing in this blend, sweet and creamy and almondy and fantastic. Love love love it.

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Same here! I understand this is one of Michael’s personal blends, and it is a favorite of mine. The almond feels like a long hug from a good friend. The cranberry is the friendship! This is my quiet, reading a book tea.

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I was thinking about stashbusting again this morning but I don’t think I have any black teas with just the right amount of tea in them for one cup. So I thought about teas I have had for a long time, and this one came to mind. I bought my Dammann teas a little over a year ago in Paris so I feel like I should probably drink them up (gives me an excuse to order more!). This tea is the closest to being finished of all of them.

Mm, it’s more delicious than I remembered (I guess that speaks well to the aging properties of these teas). Hazenutty, chocolatey, with a hint of citrus. A hint sweet, and a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Really delightful. Dammann uses such great bases to their flavored teas, and it really makes a difference. Love it!

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Another sample stash busting! I am on a roll today. I’m not sure how I managed to drink this only once before but my sample was mostly empty today. Maybe I drank it without knowing it?

I probably ended up using a bit much leaf in my cup this time around, but it still is a very tasty cup of tea, and a very nice dian hong. Mmm, sweet potatoes and oranges. With this much leaf I’m missing out on some of the honeyed notes unfortunately, but perhaps on the resteep.

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drank Golden Monkey by Harney & Sons
2189 tasting notes

Ah, stashbusting feels good. I got this sample ages ago from JacquelineM and this morning when I was looking for a tea I realized I could kill this sample so I went for it.

I am glad that I held onto this tea for as long as I did because I appreciate it so much more than when I first got it. I liked it ok then, I really like it now. Can’t wait to discover Harney’s other black teas in a whole new way now that I’m a black tea drinker!

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Not sure how long you have had this, but the newer harvest is even richer and more flavorful!


I’ve had this one for forever, so it’s definitely an older harvest. I will definitely have to try the new one!


“Ah, stashbusting feels good.” Totally with you on that one the last few weeks. For then when the newer—and preferably better—stuff comes in, we can enjoy it that much more, no?

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Thanks to Fong Mong tea, who provided this free sample for review. It’s been a while since I’ve had a Dong Ding (or any oolong besides a TGY), so I am looking forward to trying this one. I am following the western steeping instructions that they provide, but I can’t bring myself to steep the tea for 6 minutes. I did bump it to 4 minutes rather than my usual 3 because the Blue Jade I tried from them didn’t seem quite full flavored at 3 minutes.

The steeped tea smells roasty, a bit floral, and a bit vegetal. I have to say that I do think this one is oversteeped, unfortunately. There is a bit of astringency and a hint of bitterness that I don’t think would be there if I had stuck to 3 minutes. Otherwise, the flavor is pretty nice… a tad roasty but not too strong, some nice oolong flavors under there. Unfortunately this bitterness is taking over more as it cools. I ended up dumping out the first steep and steeping the leaves a second time for 3 minutes. This time the flavors are nice and pleasant, no bitterness. Lighly roasty, vegetal, not very floral or buttery, but with a very slight sweetness that lingers in the aftertaste. I like this dong ding pretty well, but like I said earlier I don’t love even lightly roasted oolongs. Most dong dings are lightly roasted, as I’ve found, but every once in a while you happen across an unroasted one. I enjoy this tea (now that it’s not bitter), but it’s not something I would seek out.

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Every time I read about this tea, I read it as Ding Dong Oolong (which rhymes too)! :P

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drank Earl Grey Cream by ESP Emporium
2189 tasting notes

The other day I had a cup of China Rose Black from ESP Emporium that I’ve had in my collection for forever, it seems, and it was definitely underwhelming. Not nearly as good as I had remembered, and I was wondering if it was a result of changing palates or old tea (since it just didn’t seem as rosey as it once did).

So I thought this morning I would have a cup of this, which I haven’t had in forever, just to see how this has held up. I got this at the same time as I got the rose black, and it’s been in the same kind of containers during it’s life (ESP’s non-airtight folded bags for a while, then some small tins toward the end).

This one has held up better it seems, though it does seem a bit… old. The flavors just aren’t as strong, but this cup isn’t overly weak or anything. I guess I am finally getting to the point where some of my older teas are fading, which is sad. I’ve been doing better about working through my stash and not buying new teas, but I still have a huge amount right now. Guess I better get drinking!

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Thanks for the heads up! I’ve been worried about those non-airtight bags that ESP teas come in. I’m going to go home and stick them in something else right away!

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Yet another of my free samples from Teavivre… thanks so much for the opportunity to try all these teas! I really consider Teavivre to have greatly contributed to my tea education with all of their samples.

When I opened the sample pouch and sniffed the tea, I was kind of surprised by how super vegetal the leaves smelled. Like, woah spinach and greens. I sniffed some more and started to get roasty scents, and the faintest hint of butteriness. Definitely not like the super green tieguanyins I’m used to drinking. I steeped it up and smelled a super roasted, toasted grains aroma from the liquor. At first it seems like that is the only note, but after smelling it a while I start to detect the slightest hint of sweet florals hiding out. Intriguing.

I have to say I was pretty prepared not to really be a fan of this tea because I don’t tend to like roasted oolongs. But Teavivre proved me wrong. I’m not head over heels or anything, but this is a tasty cup of tea. The roasting is light and doesn’t take over the flavor. It just kind of nicely hangs out there, adding some nice warm, toasty notes. The other main flavors are the slightly floral sweetness of the tieguanyin, with some light vegetal notes, but nothing like it seemed when I smelled the dry leaf. As I’m drinking it the sweetness is growing in my mouth adding to the tastiness of each successive sip. Definitely a tasty tea, and it surprised me by making even this nonfan of roasted oolongs enjoy it.

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Teavivre’s tastings have definitely been a learning experience for me, too.

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Yesterday I only had two cups of tea, down from my usual four. I am way too busy and stressed! I suppose I should forewarn you all that in about a week and a half I will be gone for two months. Not like normal when I’m traveling and don’t post a lot but occasionally pop up and do a post, but really absent because I will be in Madagascar doing fieldwork! I will certainly miss my tea, and I am still trying to decided what tea bags/sachets to schlepp over there for the mornings (because Malagasy tea is not very good!). Two months is a long time.

I am having this tea this morning because it was calling to me. This tea is stupidly good, and by stupidly I mean that I feel stupid for not buying more when I was in Beijing. So sweet, so honeyed, so caramelly. Almost buttery, which ties into the caramel I guess. Love love love this one.

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Scott B

What an exciting opportunity for you! Hope you can see some good birds-in addition to the myriad other interesting things you will encounter.

Tea-wise-Do they have Tanzanian or Kenyan tea?


I have been looking at one from Dragon Tea House on ebay that looks similar to this…if you go over to ebay, do a search for Supreme Tanyang Gongfu.


Scott – Yes, it’s a great time… I’ve been twice before. The tea actually comes from Madagascar, but I remember from two years ago that it was extremely weak. I am interested to try it again, though, now that I’m so into tea!

Jen – I will definitely have to look into that one!


a) This sounds like a beautiful tea and b) doing fieldwork in Madagascar? That will be a wonderful experience. Just hope you won’t be so busy and stressed!


Watch out for the penguins – they’re clever.


I’m so jealous that you get to travel to such awesome places for your job! Have fun!!


Keep an eye out for lemurs! :D We will miss you while you are away.

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I am tea obsessed, with the stash to match. I tend to really enjoy green oolongs, Chinese blacks, and flavored teas with high quality bases, especially florals, bergamot-based teas, and chocolate teas.

In my free time I am a birder, baker, and music/movie/tv addict.

Here are my rating categories, FYI:
100-90: Mind-blowingly good, just right for my palate, and teas that just take me to a happy place.
89-86: I really really like these teas and will keep most of them in the permanent collection, but they’re not quite as spectacular as the top category
85-80: Pretty tasty teas that I enjoy well enough, but definitely won’t rebuy when I run out.
79-70: Teas that I would probably drink again, but only if there were no preferrable options.
69-50: Teas that I don’t really enjoy all that much and wouldn’t drink another cup of.
49 and below: Mega yuck. This tea is just disgusting to me.
Unrated: Usually I feel unqualified to rate these teas because they are types of teas that I tend to not like in general. Sometimes user error or tea brewed under poor conditions.


Ohio, US

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