123 Tasting Notes


This one comes from TastyBrew! I figured I’d brew some of this up as a little celebration of being done with midterms!

This one smells heavenly! I love cheesecake and I love blueberries, and both of these aspects are present in the smell. The cheesecake aspect is dead on…I have no idea how they managed that, but it’s so good. There is also a buttery scent which is delightful! The blueberry is nice and sweet smelling, and the green base adds to this sweetness while providng a slight vegetal scent. I want to eat this tea!

Taste: The first steep was very sweet and creamy. Nice buttery notes, as well as cream cheese notes. Yum! The blueberry is very light here, but the notes I’m picking up are sweet and fresh! The vegetal aspect of the green tea is also subtle, and adds an interesting aspects to the flavor profile. Overall, I’d say this one is a win – it’s definately cheesecake-y!

The second steep is rather diluted, and definately more green tea based than the previous one. The blueberry seems absent here, but the cream cheese/cheesecake aspect is still present. This one is more savory than sweet.

Thanks again, TastyBrew for sending this nice blend my way! I’m really enjoying it!

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec

You should try it iced. I made pitchers and pitchers of this last summer. Super refreshing.

Emily M

I may just have to do that. I’d imagine this is awesome iced!

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drank Milk Oolong Tea by Mandala Tea
123 tasting notes

Sample sipdown – FAIL!
Had a sample of this that smelled SOOO good. I thought it’d be a good one to drink now, as I’m highly stressed and milk oolongs always seem to comfort me (they’re just so creamy and delicious!).

Unfortunately I oversteeped it. =(
It smelled nice and creamy, with the vegetal notes poking through here or there. Taste-wise, though, I was just getting bitterness with slight hints of vegetal/earthy oolong.

This is on my list of teas to buy. I think this one would’ve been really awesome.

Leave it to me to mess up a sample serving… sigh


doh! i feel your pain!


Don’t beat yourself up!

Emily M

Incendiare – I just really wanted this one…haha. Oh well. Now there’s an excuse for me to buy it!


Emily… i didn’t really want to LIKE this note… i just wanted to acknowledge that I had read it. It’s a great tea. I typically do a first steeping of 20 seconds and hold that at that time for the first 4 or 5 steeps and slowly increase from there. When I’m just sitting with this tea doing gong fu, I usually do between 10 and 15 infusions. It’s great stuff. We need to get you some more!!


Really looking forward to being able to place an order with mandala once i get some more practice in with my gaiwan and get some teas out of my cupboard lol i think i might try this one…even though i dislike oolongs haha

I’ll be waiting for your review once you get some more Emily heh

Emily M

Garret – I just let myself get distracted. Silly of me, really. Thanks for the info. I will most certainly be getting more. I love Milk Oolongs!

Sil – Dislike oolongs!? What!? =P
Well hopefully if you decide to try it you’ll like this one. I’ll write a review as soon as I can get a hold of more – at the moment my tea stash is about ready to bury me!

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I’ll write a review of this one hot and cold later, but for now I’m just logging. Still studying/writing papers for midterms. =(

This one was quite good. I enjoyed the watermelon/blackberry combo, and I even didn’t mind the honeybush! It was sweet, slightly tart, and refreshing. I’m going to try the last of it iced. Be back with more later.
Thanks, Alphakitty for swapping some of this yummy tea!

UPDATE: Here are the notes I was able to scratch down on this one during what I will refer to as “Midterm Hell Week”. This is pretty much a copy and paste.

Smells like- Blackberry and honeybush. Smells very sweet and slightly tart. Also picking up what smells like hubba bubba bubble gum (just as I did in the Cotton Candy Black). I wonder where that smell comes from?

Taste: Similar to the cotton candy (which I liked) in taste, except with definite blackberry aspects and subtle watermelon in the front of the sip. The honeybush is present, but doesn’t overpower the other flavors (I think I prefer honeybush to rooibos). Sweet, slightly tart, and very refreshing. I think this would be the bomb iced.

I have a bit more of this left, so I hope to expand on some of this later. I also want to try it iced, so we’ll see if that changes any of the flavors.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Rooibos and hoenybush are actually slightly different, I can’t stand roobios (the flavor, but I’m also allergic to it) while honeybush is a-ok in my book. Not medicinal like rooibos!

Emily M

I meant honeybush…oops. That’s what happens when I’m rushing. I also find honeybush to be better than rooibos, but sometimes it still tastes funky to me. This one was good, though. Rooibos is almost never something I like…your totally right – it’s medicinal tasting. Too chemically.


Rooibos reminds me of cough syrup, really unpleasant. There are some blends where it’s used correctly but usually it’s just not for me!

Emily M

Agreed. I think I’ve had three rooibos blends in all that I liked enough to want to drink.

Honeybush tends to have a sweetness to it that makes it easier for me to handle (also lacks the cloying chemical taste). At the same time, though, its usually not a favorite of mine. I can’t pinpoint why exactly (maybe it’s the wood-like taste mixed with the sweetness?). But when its used the right way, it usually adds to a blend and doesn’t bother me. This is one of those blends, thankfully. =)

Marcel Duchamp

I never knew the difference between Rooibos and Honeybush. They have to be pretty heavily flavored for me to be interested. I’ve had some gross ‘red tea’ blends. Emily, I agree. It can be wood-like or too earthy.

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Logging this for now. Tasting notes will follow when I have more time. Midterms, midterms, midterms right now. =/

For now I’ll leave you with a first impression: Like a mix of milk oolong, da yu ling, and a white tip formosa. Very nice!

UPDATE: Adding the tasting notes I managed to scribble down… may not be the most in depth tasting, but at least I’ll get the general profile out there.

As mentioned above, there are aspects of formosa oolong, milk oolong and da yu ling. Yum. Smell-wise, it’s both vegetal and creamy. There are spinach notes, butter notes, slight honey/sugar notes. Also getting subtle cinnamon notes…interesting! Very sweet smelling.
As it cools a bit its more honey-ish.

Taste: I’m getting vegetal/spinach, along with a nice milky, smooth taste. Some floral aspects are present, and the whole tea is slightly sweet. Honey notes are very light in this first brew, but come through a bit more as it cools.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to do another steep, so I’ll be expanding on this the next time I brew the tea. Look out for another tasting note on this one soon. I’m leaving the rating blank for now, as I can’t recall what I would’ve given the tea.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Marcel Duchamp

This one sounds so good.

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drank Watermelon Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
123 tasting notes

Got this one as my first matcha. It’s basic grade, with distinct flavoring.
I have been flip flopping/experimenting with this one for a while now, but I think I’ve finally come to a conclusion:
I’m not a big fan. Kind of disappointed.

The watermelon isn’t what I was expecting. Instead of juicy, fruity, and realistic, I’m getting artificial, slightly chemical, and rather bland.
I’ve tried it iced, warm, hot, in a smoothie, in milkshakes, with sugar, using less matcha, using more, etc… I don’t know. I always get the artificial taste. Maybe my taste buds are off?

That being said, it isn’t what I’d call horrid. I’ve kinda gotten used to it. I can drink it (I prefer it with warm water) without feeling sick… but I don’t crave it, and I’m never really excited about it. It’s just more of a, “Hey, I have that matcha to get rid of, and I could use some caffeine…”.
I was hoping for a lot more out of this one… hopefully I like the Blueberry/Strawberry custom mix I have waiting to be opened. Once I finish this one off, I’ll dig into that.


Yech, honestly not surprised. Most watermelon flavoured stuff is super artificial. Sorry you were hoping for more.

Emily M

Yeah. The only watermelon tea so far that hasn’t had the artificial taste was from Butiki. I enjoyed that one…this one, not so much.
Oh well. You win some, you lose some.


Ah, haven’t tried that yet. I found DT’s Luscious Watermelon to be quite good, actually. It has real watermelon chunks in there.

Emily M

Really? I might have to give that a try. Thanks for the heads up.
I love watermelon so much, but have a hard time finding great tasting watermelon teas. Some end up not tasting like watermelon at all!


I love, love, love watermelon and Luscious Watermelon is one of my favs and now Watermelon Xylophone is as well. This matcha I didn’t care for at all. But don’t lose hope on matchas either :) I suggest caramel, cheesecake, or pumpkin pie from Red Leaf to try out for next time.

Emily M

Courtney – Sweet. I’m definately going to try some of the DT’s Luscious Watermelon. And I’m not giving up on matcha, just this one. Thanks for the suggestions! I still have one more to try before I buy anything else. I’d love to try a plain matcha eventually. Or a white flavored matcha.


I have the DT Grand Cru and it’s great. I haven’t quite mastered the traditional matcha but I add it to smoothies when I’ve got too many fruits going on to risk another flavour in there haha.

Emily M

Haha. Yum! Fruit smoothies. Now I want one.

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
123 tasting notes

Alright, so I was going to wait a few days to try this one western style, but then I got really curious to see how it compared to gongfu brewing…so here we are!

Smell: I’m already picking up slight differences in the smell of this one. It smells much richer, and more like freshly baked brownies than it had in any of the gongfu steepings. The caramel, vanilla/cream, and cinnamon notes are really nice here, too. All of them are coming out and melding together. The smell is actually reminding me of these caramel turtle brownies my mom makes from time to time…YUM. The roasted smell I got before is still present, and it’s quite nice with the cocoa notes.

Taste: Wow. This a bit of a different taste then I’d gotten previously. The chocolate notes are very prominant, with those light cream aspects (almost like a whipped cream) creating an almost milky aspect. I’m only picking up very light cinnamon and caramel notes here; the cinnamon is somewhere near the end of the sip and the caramel is mild throughout, but most noticible in the center. I’m still picking up the grain-esque flavor I had before… wheat? I’m not sure how to describe it. The toasty aspect is also present throughout the entire sip. It’s smooth, slightly creamy, and very chocolatey. I’d say the cocoa notes this time around were somewhere between dark and milk chocolate.

Overall, I think I prefer this brewed western style (Thanks again, Bonnie). However, I still don’t know if it’s a cupboard staple. It is good, no doubt about that. It is also complex and unique, which I love. I just don’t know if I love this one as a whole. I may increase the steeping time a bit next time around – also, when I have more time, I’d love to try resteeping. Maybe I’ll add some cream to it as well.

Increasing the rating slightly to reflect this steeping.

Regardless, I’m glad I tried this one.

NOTE: I liked the flavor a little more once it cooled.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Marcel Duchamp

I still really want to try this one. It sounds so unique. If you ever want to swap a small sample, let me know. Thanks for posting your review :-)

Emily M

I’d be willing to send a few teaspoons your way, should you want to try some. I’ll PM you!



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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
123 tasting notes

First Verdant order, first Verdant tea. We’ll see if it’s as good as everyone’s been saying.

Dry Leaf: Smells very much like cocoa, or like dark chocolate. I’m also getting some floral aspects, maybe rose? I’m not too good at pinpointing floral smells, unless it’s lilac. Anyway…back to the tea. I’m also picking up a slight roasted smell, along with a slight creaminess.

Now onto the steeps:

Rinse (3sec): Smells roasty, or slightly smoky, with strong cocoa aspects. The floral aspect is not detected.
Taste – (Took a few sips)Very smooth, with dark chocolate aspects and an underlying toasty/roasty flavor. Fairly light, though, overall.

Steep 1 (3 sec): The scent is very much like the rinse. Roasty, dark chocolaty, this time a slight sweetness emerging. I’m also picking up some very subtle cinnamon aspects, as well as nutty aspects.
Taste- Slightly bitter dark chocolate aspects, with some cinnamon aspects popping through here and there (lingering in the aftertaste as well), and a very subtle caramel aspect. There is also a grain-like taste here that I can’t really describe. Slightly sweet, smooth, still toasty, with just a hint of spice. The aftertaste is not only cinnamon, but a slight honey note. Interesting.

Steep 2 (6sec) – Smells much like the previous steep, only a little sweeter and heavier (if anyone gets that).
Taste – This one is almost creamy. Slightly sweet, I’m getting caramel-like notes in the front of the sip along with chocolate and the roasted aspect. The cinnamon is also more pronounced in the front of the sip, and still lingers at the end as well. The honey note seems to have dissipated, but the grain/wheat taste is still around. Interesting steep.

Steep 3 (9sec) – Smells like dark chocolate, caramel, with an added hint of vanilla. Still picking up the roasty scent.
Taste: Light (in texture, not taste) cream notes (cool whip?), slightly muted dark chocolate aspects, some cinnamon, and significantly toned down roast-y aspect. Interesting. The caramel seems absent in this steep, but the honey taste is back and lingers at the end of the sip.

Steep 4 (12sec): This steep smells the most like a pan of homemade brownie mix. I’m still thinking mostly dark chocolate (or bakers chocolate), but there is a sweetness here. I’m once again detecting the caramel notes. Yay! Very slight cinnamon in this one. The cream/vanilla scent is also still present, possibly even more this time around.
Taste: It tastes just as it smells. Like a pan of brownie mix! The creamy notes are to die for in this steep; I’m really digging them. They are sweet and smooth, and they mesh well with the chocolate flavor and the caramel flavor I’m getting. The cinnamon is also playing a bigger role in this steep, present very much in the beginning of the sip. The roasty flavor is still around, but it’s toned down a bit. It actually reminds me of when you go to eat a freshly made brownie, but it’s wayyy to hot. I don’t know if this has happened to anyone else, but I always get a light smoky flavor from brownies that are too hot. Or when you microwave a brownie so it’s hot, but you leave it in there a little too long, so it burns just a smidge. It’s not a bad flavor, though. It’s just different. (Ok. Hopefully that explanation didn’t lose anyone… I was trying to be clear, but my mind’s kinda frazzled).

Steep 5 (15sec) – I’m now picking up a thick cream scent. YUM! I’m also getting stronger caramel notes. This one smells the sweetest out of them all. The bitter dark chocolate smell has pretty much disappeared in this steep, leaving more of a creamy chocolate smell in its wake. Still roasty, too, which I am actually quite appreciating in this tea.
Taste: Sweet and toasty at the same time! The toasty taste is up front, while the sweetness takes up the back of the sip. In the center they merge in a delightful way. Caramel, cream, chocolate, and subtle honey notes are all present. I’m also still picking up a slight cinnamon aspect. Yum. This was a really good steep.

I have a feeling this tea could keep going for quite a few more sessions, but I think I need a break from this one for now. Plus, I’ve got a bunch of work to get done, and I have to get over to the neighbors to watch the dogs.

Overall, I liked this tea. I didn’t think it was as out-of-this-world as most reviewers here seem to have, but I found it complex and tasty. I also like that it’s holding up very well to multiple steeps. I’m glad I bought an ounce to try.

UPDATE: Bonnie has mentioned that this tea might be best brewed Western style, so I’ll be giving that a go next time around. I will update the rating and such accordingly. Until then, I will reserve my verdict concerning whether this is a permanent cupboard dweller or not. Thanks again, Bonnie!


what i love about this tea is that it IS different and stands up to multiple steeps :)

Emily M

Yeah. I’ve never had a tea like it before, that’s for sure! I like that about it as well.


I think this tea is best brewed western style in a pot for at least 3 minutes (which I don’t say about most tea’s). Please try this method before coming to conclusions.

Emily M

Bonnie – I will definately try that next time and revise where needed. =) Thanks for the tip!

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Just what I needed before bed tonight. Nice juicy watermelon, relaxing subtle floral notes, and smooth white tea. See previous notes for more detail. I love this tea!

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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Backlogging and sample sipdown! Going to keep this one brief…

This one smells a lot like maple, with hints of vanilla/cream and the black tea base.

Taste wise, this one was nice. It wasn’t WOW!, but it was smooth and tastey (which is sometimes all I’m looking for). The maple was probably the strongest flavor, followed by the black tea base, with just a hint of vanilla/cream throughout the sip. There is also a slight floral aspect to the cup. I think this would be a nice fall tea. Sweet, smooth, and warming. I’d try it again, but it’s not a cupboard staple. Maybe some cinnamon would make this a little more interesting?

NOTE: This one gets bitter very easily. The recommended steep time of 4 minutes is a bit high for my tastes.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Cucumber Kiwi Honeybush by 52teas
123 tasting notes

Backlogging as I was over at the neighbors with no internet access. Got this in a swap with Alphakitty. I have enough for another cup, so I will be trying it again. Here are the first impressions.

Dry: Smells strongly of honeybush with kiwi and cucumber aspects. For some reason, though, all of these together are smelling quite…chemical? Kinda like nail polish remover. Huh. I mean, I can smell all the different aspects of the tea, but when I try to take it all in as a whole I’m ending up with this odd scent.

Brewed: Once brewed the kiwi is strongest, followed closely by the honeybush, and the cucumber trailing behind. The chemical-ish smell is still hitting me… I’m thinking it’s the combination of the honeybush and the kiwi that’s giving off this scent. I’m hoping it doesn’t carry over into the taste.

Taste: Strong honeybush taste once brewed, especially in the front of the sip. The kiwi is strongest in the middle, and the cucumber finishes of the sip. I am getting the strange smell in taste form. I guess I just don’t dig the honeybush with these flavors. I’m thinking a white tea, like silver needles or shou mei, would’ve worked better for me. It’s not undrinkable. I do like the individual aspects of the tea…I think the kiwi is nice, and I find the cucumber accent at the back of the sip very crisp and refreshing. It’s just the chemical taste that the honeybush is creating with these flavors that I can’t get 100% past.

Next brew I think is going to be cold. We’ll see how that turns out. For now, I think I’ll leave this one un-rated.

Thanks again, Alphakitty, for passing some of this my way.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Started brewing loose leaf tea about two years ago, so I’m still relatively new to the scene. Excited to share my experiences and learn more from everyone on here!

I’ve found I Prefer:

Oolong Teas
White Teas
Smooth Black Teas
Flavored White Teas
Flavored Black Teas (depending on the base tea)
Flavored Oolong Teas
Certain Herbals/Tisanes

I’ve found I Dislike:

Bitterness/Astringent Teas
Strong Floral Teas
Fruit Tisanes (at least hot)

Green Teas, Matcha, and Rooibos teas tend to be hit or miss with me. I guess it depends on the tea and my mood that day.

That being said, I’ll give anything a shot!

When I’m not brewing/sipping tea, I’m usually reading, listening to music, studying for classes, or in the summer, kayaking/camping/hiking! I also enjoy a good movie now and then. I’ve got quite the collection going. It almost rivals my tea collection! ;)

I’m currently searching for a nice, “non-grassy” tasting green tea that works well cold brewed. If you think you’ve found it, just send me the name/company and I’ll check it out.

Happy steeping!


Albany, NY

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