1705 Tasting Notes

reviewed Teavana Loose-Leaf Tea Infuser by Starbucks
1705 tasting notes

My wife brought this Teavana infuser home from Starbucks. She said it was so I would quit stealing her Finum baskets, that I bought ;)

What I like, is this is all stainless steel – no plastic. The rim is big enough to fit my 12 ounce mug with room to spare, while holding the bottom of the infuser above the bottom of the mug. The screen mesh is very fine. I haven’t tried it with rooibos yet but feel confident it can handle it with ease. The water seems to flow through it well. Of course loose in the pot is better but not always practical. This is a good compromise.

What I don’t like is more of a what is missing thing. It does not have a lid to hold in the heat, or a base to sit the infuser on between cups.

About $10 at Starbucks

I am enjoying this sample from Crimson Lotus Tea immensely. The dry aroma is hay and barnyard. That used to make me nervous. Now I rather expect it. I did two rinses. The first cup was at 10 seconds. It is root beer colored with a pink tint. The first thing I notice when tasting was the thick creamy feel running along side the initial bite. Kind of opposing sensations but they work together. After the bite settles, I get mild horse tack that drifts into a sweet smooth finish. Cup two was much darker, pouring ruby red. Similar in taste to the first. The difference is this introduced a cedar note at the beginning and moved the bite to later in the sip. I also caught a light smokiness when exhaling. I only noticed the smoke after ‘testing’ a hot out of the oven chocolate chip cookie made with sugar free chips. Did the cookie bring the smoke out or add it? Who knows. Both the cookie and the tea were very enjoyable. Highly recommend both.

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drank Lotus by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company
1705 tasting notes

I have had way too many things going on lately. The one most related to tea is our plumbing issues. We have hard water. If there is a death metal version of hard water, ours is possibly worse. Every few years we have a new water heater brought in. That’s common in hard water around here. Worse our cold water lines are even slowing down because of lime build up. We have replaced the toilet flush thingy 3 times this year because it gets limed up. So, against our desires we had a water softener added to the whole house when the water heater was replaced on Friday. I have been holding off on tea until I get adjusted to the new normal. I was afraid the water would taste salty, or metallic. It doesn’t. I could tell an immediate difference in the feel. So today was a trial run with a tea I like to see how it affects the taste. I ran the water through a charcoal filter first. It feels lighter and slightly brighter but nothing seems out of place. Hopefully the softener takes care of the problems. Glad to see it didn’t ruin tea, and hoping less chunky water brings out new taste notes.

This is one of my favorites because it is so different from everything else.

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Dry, this smells like malt and baked cocoa. The dry leaf is as dark as charcoal, with cinnamon buds. The cup color is bright sunshiny orange. The taste is much like the dry scent. There is zero bitterness. It has a slight bite up front, yet I find the astringent dryness to be pretty minimal. There is a touch of malt, baked cocoa, and honey present. A woodsy essence is present throughout, and a nice floral touch in the aftertaste. Reminds me of Fujian black but from memory this seems smoother. You don’t have to look to find the flavor here, but it is not an assertive tea like a breakfast tea. Good afternoon choice.

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drank Earl Grey by Nina's Paris
1705 tasting notes

This mornings cup was prepared with too much leaf and water heated in a coffee pot. The result was a bit brutal even for my barbarian tastes. The base kind of grabbed me by the throat. The bergamot jumped on and punched me more than a few times. I stood my ground and finally whipped this tea into submission. Way to go Nina’s! I’ve always seen you as the quiet polite one in my EG collection. Today you released the savage beastie within. Next time I will pay a little more attention when measuring out the leaf. Unless of course I don’t :)


Ack! Add water! Add water!

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The final of my samples from Wymm Tea. Thanks!

Kind of glad this one took so long to make it to the top of the list. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I am used to sheng being very bright, metallic, and biting. This was very different.

First, the dry leaf looks so fresh and alive. The brew is honey colored. The first thing I noticed when tasting was a light note of smoke. No else seems to have mentioned it – so maybe its just me, but I liked it. This was followed by the flavor blooming into fresh floral notes. Not overpowering. The feel is thick. It leans toward sweet. In later steeps I got peppery notes and more than hints of apricot. There was some astringency but nothing unmanageable or even closely approaching what I normally find in sheng.

All in all, an easy to like old tree sheng.

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I’ve read the other reviews. They seemed positive. For me this is just OK. Today I upped the leaf and used hotter water (205 F), I also lengthened the steep time to 4 minutes. It made the cup less subtle but not leaps and bounds more. This starts out with a peppery bite that isn’t overly intense. Then it fades into a woodsy autumn leaf flavor. There is a hint of fruitiness. I ended up adding sweetener. It didn’t bring out anything new but it did enhance what was already there. I just wish it had more depth or more intensity.

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drank Orange Pekoe by Mother Parkers
1705 tasting notes

I know many of you will not drink any cup prepared with a tea bag. That’s fine. I have a few I still enjoy but mainly I have them in iced tea at my parents, or at a restaurant. This one I drink hot. It has far more depth than expected from a cheapster. Today this had a light smokiness that melted into very floral and fruity notes. I checked the wrapper to make sure it wasn’t an oolong. Honestly this CTC in a paper bag impresses me more than the high dollar loose leaf Darjeeling I had yesterday.


I have a few favorites that are in tea bags. Good tea is good tea even if it come in bag form! :)


You’ve waxed so poetically over this one, I feel the need to hunt it down. It’s a food service brand, correct?


This is what they serve when you order hot tea at our local Steak N Shake. I’ll see if I can’t get my hands on a bag to send your way.


I’ll have to check the Steak N Shake menu more closely next visit; never noticed hot tea as an option! (We go mostly for the shakes, but now that we’ve got a Baskin Robbins, loyalties are divided.)

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Hmmm. I’m not sure what I think of this yet. I spent close to an hour putting my tea area in shape to do a blog post with pictures. I think I’ll wait now until I prepare this one again. Maybe I under leafed or under steeped. I used 195 F with a 3 minute steep. What I noticed was the leaf in the bag fluffed up after removing some. So really guessing I need more leaf. The flavors are all really light. Nothing else from Golden Tips has been this light. It’s tea, with some muscatel and woodsy notes. Just not enough to call this one, especially since the other reviewers seemed to like it.

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Immediately likable. No rough edges. No off notes (well the wet leaf might be a bit… ahem… aromatic). Mostly this is earthy forest woods. There is a mild sweetness. Nicely creamy. Second western mug I noticed a touch of spiciness and a smidgen of fruit – possibly cherry. Anyway, this is a nice one.

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Having a passion for tea and living in rural America is a tough combination. The nearest tea vendor is 65 miles away. Joining Steepster has completely changed the direction of my tea journey.

My Rating System

90-100 Love it enough to keep around
80-90 Like a lot, would drink often
70-80 Above average
50-70 Average – take it or leave it
0-50 I don’t like it and don’t want to like it


Indiana, USA



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