127 Tasting Notes

drank Grape Oolong by Butiki Teas
127 tasting notes

Had some of this with the little sis today (11yrs old). She’s slowly being converted to tea fandom, and I think this one was a HUGE win! She loved the grape in this, and even picked up on the subtle floral notes. She’s a keeper, I think. ;)

Overview: Nice, natural purple grape taste, smooth mouthfeel, and subtle floral aspects. Had this one cold today because I left it on the counter and forgot about it. Still as good cold as it is hot! Floral aspects may be a bit more pronounced, though.

See previous note for more in depth taste notes.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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Alright. So I opened the bag of this one is POW! Lots of sweet marshmallowy smells came jumping out at me. I thought this would mean it was going to be super marshmallow tasting (oh no!), but once I scooped out a tsp and put it in the pot, the smell was much more balanced. I guess all together it was just too much!

The smell of this one dry is more marshmallow than anything else. There are the roasty/toasty genmaicha notes that I love so much, but it is mostly marshmallow. The scent DOES remind me a Marshmallow Treats, which is awesome. I used to love those when I was a kid.
Once brewed, the marshmallow calms down further, and the toasty notes of the genmaicha stand out a bit more. Yay! It still reminds me of treats, but now there is a little more depth to the smell. It’s both sweet AND toasty. The toasted rice smells awesome.

Taste-wise, I’m picking up subtle/mild marshmallow notes, and these are especially notable at the back of the sip. I’m picking up the toasty, earthy genmaicha the most – not a bad thing. The marshmallow root does add a sweetness to the genmaicha that is completely different and interesting. The marshmallow treat taste is there, it’s just not as heavy as it was in the smell – again, I don’t think this is a bad thing. Yes, I quite like it. The mouthfeel is very “fluffy”. It’s got a lot working for it. It’s not overly sweet, it allows the genmaicha to shine, and it brings back childhood memories. =)

Overall, I’d say this one is a win.

NOTE: Once it cools down a bit, the marshmallow becomes more detectable. I like it best after it sits for a few minutes.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

yum! jealous! :)


I’m also jealous. It was sold out by the time I woke up in the UK! Sounds really lovely, though. I can almost taste it.

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This wonderful sample came from TastyBrew!

Alright, so I could smell this one right through the ziplock, and boy what a smell! Cinnamon (sweet not spicy), sweet almond, buttery baked good notes…oh man, it’s all here. I’m trying to resist just eating it and all the almond bits in here. Why, Stacy? Why must you tempt me so?

Throwing it in the pot, pouring the boiling water, and now I’m just smelling it as it brews. The scent of this one is making me hungry.
This has much the same scent profile as it did dry, except that maybe the buttery baked notes are peeking in a bit more. The almond is sweet and strong (not too strong, though), and the cinnamon is also sweet and prominant. Drool.

Ok, now to the best (?) part of the tea experience – tasting it!!
Based on the smell, you’d think the almond and cinnamon would make for one cloyingly sweet tea. This is not at all the case. Though it is sweet, it’s a nice balanced sweetness. The nuttiness of the almond has emerged more in the brew, while the sweetness is a little more subtle. The cinnamon notes aren’t as strong as they were in the smell, but they are still around adding a sweet, warming aspect to the cup. The buttery cookie aspects seem to be mostly gone, but I do catch them here in there at the back of the sip. The black tea base has also decided to emerge after brewing, giving a off a mildly earthy/black tea element to the middle of the sip.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. Almonds are probably my FAVORITE nut (almond M&M’s anybody?)and I love me some cinnamon in tea. I wish the buttery notes I had gotten in the smell had translated a bit more readily in the cuppa, but overall I was very pleased. I think for the next cups worth I have, I’m going to add just a smidge of sugar and see what happens. But as this one stands now, I could see myself ordering some.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I heard the mailman…

Thank you, TastyBrew for parting with a bit of this yummy blend!

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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Swap from Alphakitty! This one smells so good!

I’m slowly getting through all the swaps people have sent me. Now that I’m on break, I’d imagine I’ll have more time to really sit and enjoy some teas.

Smell: Dry this one smells heavily like blackberry with hints of pomegranate. It’s also got a bit of a buttery scent to it, which I found in the one unflavored Shou Mei I had. Yum. Nice and sweet/refreshing. Once brewed it smells even better! Slightly tart, deliciously sweet, and FRUITY! I’m getting the blackberry mostly, but that’s totally ok. The pom is very light. The buttery scent of the Shou Mei (also a slight “earthy” flavor) adds a bit of depth to the cup. I can’t wait to drink this one!

Taste: The tartness is a little more evident in the taste, but it’s nicely balanced with the sweet notes. The blackberry is spot on, not candy-like or artificial. The pomegranate notes are also fresh and delicious, even if they are less pronounced. The cup is smooth, and the mellow white tea base is perfect here! Mildly buttery, earthy, and sweet. I’m also getting this wonderful cooling effect at the back of the sip…don’t know where it’s coming from, but it makes for a very refreshing cuppa.

Overall, I’d say this tea is a big win. Love the flavors, the mouthfeel, and the crisp, refreshing nature of the brew!

I know feel like I need to buy this tea! I need MORE. haha

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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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
127 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
127 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
127 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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Started brewing loose leaf tea about seven years ago. Excited to share my experiences and learn more from everyone on here!

I’ve found I Prefer:

Oolong Teas
White Teas
Green Teas
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)

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

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

When I’m not brewing/sipping tea, I’m usually reading, listening to music, working, 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’ve only just returned after quite some time away – Steepster stopped working for me in 2013 and I FINALLY remembered this password and was able to get back on here in 2017. But I’ve been drinking tea all along the way!

Happy steeping!


Albany, NY

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