1705 Tasting Notes

drank Earl Grey by Nina's Paris
1705 tasting notes

Today I abused this tea on purpose. Over-leafed, over-heated, and over-steeped. I wanted to see what happens, you know, for science. As Adam Savage says, “Failure is always an option.” Prepared this way, the base behaves like a more typical Ceylon tea – with a hefty bite and bitterness. Normally I use abt 3 g for a normal mug (10 oz), and water at around 190-195 F, with a 3 minute max steep and it is always smooth and refined with a proper hit of Bergamot. Today was more like 5 g, full rolling boil, and at min a 4 minute steep. I drank all but next cup I’m going back to proper brewing.


Sometimes defying the recommended steeping parameters leads to amazing discoveries so good on you!

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Just read through my old reviews of this tea and still agree with every one of them. Smells intense. Not for smoke weenies. Taste is milder, layered, and sweet. I miss you The Persimmon Tree.

Yesterday was the last of the Christmas music for another 11 months. Christmas music is brutal for a guitar and bass. I noticed even our professional level drummer was having a hard time making 12/8 timing fun.

Finished off this week, just me on guitar and one singer. She has an awesome voice. We did El Shaddai. It isn’t a Christmas song really, but fit the moment. I played fingerpick style. Our bass player is a much better guitarist than me, but when I finished, he looked at me and said that was an awesome job. Meant a lot coming from him.

Back to this tea – my wife hates it when I brew it. She can’t stand all that wonderful smoky aroma that fills the house. Mmmmm.


(Lyrics to El Shaddai wandering through my head … absolutely fitting for a Christmas service!)

Jim Marks

Are you a fan of Upton Tea’s “black dragon”?

Also, amazed anyone still remembers El Shaddai.


I have not tried black dragon but reading others reviews it sounds like a lighter tasty version. I pretty much like the whole range of smoky teas as long as it avoids ashtray.

As for the song, you know there are thousands of new ones written every year, but only a few have staying power. While this one isn’t my normal listening style, I did remember it. I also really enjoyed our arrangement of it.


I could hear Amy’s voice as soon as I read that. Black Dragon is an awesome tea that I had intended to restock for Christmas but got distracted and ordered other teas for youngest. It is one of her favorites. Big sis gave her two other Lapsangs, though.

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drank Lotus by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company
1705 tasting notes

Today is another mandatory sip what I really want tea day. I think I may have reached near saturation point on try every tea. So this one has been a favorite for a few years now. Of course the Persimmon Tree is currently on hiatus with no clue if or when they will be back. So I have been holding this one back. Can’t even explain why I love this. I think it is because it is so unusual. It isn’t really a floral tea, even if it is, and the green base has such a strong presence that I find comforting. I have two ounces and then I have to find a new source. I think What-Cha has this or a very similar tea.

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drank Malawi Zomba Pearls White by What-Cha
1705 tasting notes

Taking a break. I have been working on putting together Christmas chord sheets and learning to play carols since before Thanksgiving. Then in my free time I have my, much neglected of late, tea blog, and several forums I frequent, along with my Kerbal Space Adventures game to which I’m addicted. Somewhere in there, needs to be some tea, just for the pure enjoyment, time.

I finally set everything aside and dug into the mountain of tea until I found Zombie Pearls. I love this stuff. With the first steep, the little bug shaped pearls barely open. This always tastes crisp and clean. Today while this was steeping I grabbed a big spoon of peanut butter. As I was enjoying it, I thought I might be ruining the tea I desperately needed. Instead I accidentally stumbled upon the most perfect pairing, at least to my uncultured taste buds. The cucumber and other white tea notes rose above the peanut butter and really shined through.

If you haven’t experienced this tea type I highly recommend it – and peanut butter (in my case Great Value brand with the red lid). Yum!


Great Value brand with the red lid
Don’t sell yourself short … you are indeed a connoisseur :p


It has taken me years to convince the hubster that Great Value stuff, generally speaking, is absolutely acceptable. We’re getting there.


Once in a while I vow never again on a particular item, however much of it is identical or just as good.

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drank Mango Me Crazy by Good Earth
1705 tasting notes

As you may or may not be aware, I battle with respiratory issues. Well, during Thanksgiving my niece had a scented candle burning. It was a light cinnamon something and quite pleasant. Until I got up the next morning. I had a major flare up. Fought it with lots of drugs and anti-biotics. Was feeling pretty good until yesterday. We plugged in a couple air freshener night lights, and a few hours later I could feel it clogging up the lungs. So back on the drugs. I am telling you this so as you gather with family this holiday season that you might think twice before lighting that candle or setting out that potpourri if one of your guests has a weakened system or has asthma.

Anyway, this tea – from a bag. Smells pretty inviting. I have no idea what an actual mango smells like (I’ve led such a sheltered culinary life). This reminds me of peaches but more prickly and with some tartness. If that’s mango, then nailed it. Don’t read the list of ingredients or you’ll just go eeeewwww. OK I’ll tell you – hibiscus, rosehips, and chamomile are in there as well as stevia. (All together now – eeeewwww) The however is that it works here. What I taste is that sweet fruity tartness. It is actually pretty enjoyable. My only complaint is the bitterness in the aftertaste from the stevia. On the other hand, I think it is there to complete the tartness/sweet of the fruit flavor. I would like to try it without the stevia and see for myself if it is necessary.


My daughter has fairly bad eczema and it really flares up around heavily scented products like this as well. People (me included) sometimes don’t realize how sensitive people can be. Thanks for reminding people!
Glad you are feeling better!


Thanks for sharing tigress_al. I learned something. Perfume smells don’t bother me personally. It is the oil or waxiness that gets me.

Maddy Barone

It’s especially hard for me because I can’t smell. I have no idea what it is that causes my asthma to kick in. But there are some sections of crafts stores that I’ve learned to avoid. Hope you’re feeling better soon, KS.


Maddy, I can’t even imagine. I’m not good at avoiding the triggers and I can smell them.


My mom is allergic to strong scents, so I hear you!

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A new to me company even if they have been around for years. Their website (tea-and-coffee.com) has some 700! different blends. This one smells so calming. I could set this out in a dish and just enjoy the aroma… or I could drink it.

The taste is more subtle than the scent suggested. Based on the ingredients, I was a little concerned it would be a big chai like smack to the senses. Nope. Just like the aroma, this is mainly a pleasant orange tasting tea with the spices filling out the flavor rather than trying to steal the stage.

The flavor kind of goes orange, cinnamon and clove, cardamom, then drifts into the slightest heat from the pink peppercorn. So subtle but a nice touch. It has a sweet lingering aftertaste.

I added sweetener and though it wasn’t needed, it took sweetening in stride. This is a pleasantly cozy cup.


700! I may have to investigate!


Wow, just bookmarked their site. So many options. Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

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drank Imperial by Wooree Tea
1705 tasting notes

My experience with this tea is a little different than the other reviews. I used 2 tsp as I was making a 12 oz mug. The recommended was 1/2 to 1 tsp per cup. I did use the recommended 175 F (80 C) water and though shooting for 3 minute steep, it ended up 4 because I couldn’t find my strainer.

The glass teapot was a flooded forest of whole leaves. The aroma was a neat spinach. The cup looked like liquid sunshine.

The taste wasn’t anywhere near what I consider bitter. It does have a touch of bite, though overall this is very smooth. Amanda called it, I think, almost brisk. Yes almost brisk, but so easy to sip. Vegetative but to me not grassy. Nicely sweet. There is a sensation (not a taste) like a citrus tartness, late in the sip. What really sets this apart from a Chinese green was the additional note that I interpret as hazelnut.

Mug two at 1 1/2 minutes was very similar to the first. The nondescript vegetative is more seaweed here and there is a touch of mineral. The hazelnut is present but reduced.

This would go 3 rounds, I pretty sure, but I am already at 24 oz so I’m being a quitter.

If you love Chinese green but want something a little different, this Korean green would make a good choice. Also 10% of sales go to aid Korean orphans.

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drank Banana Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1705 tasting notes

The last of this one for my morning wake up cold milk latte. This natural banana flavored but not quite actual banana in flavor. More candy like. I like it but don’t love it. Maybe I just used too much? It’s another that others rated higher than my opinion.

This leaves only pumpkin pie matcha to finish up my flavored matcha. That may wait. I can’t believe I am going to write this but, you can only have so much pumpkin pie in a one week span and I am already teetering over the line. I must be getting old.

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drank Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1705 tasting notes

Another one bites the dust. This one is rated highly on Steepster. There is certainly nothing wrong with it. That said, not sure why I got this as caramel isn’t a favorite of mine on its own. I enjoyed it but not as much as everyone else it seems.

carol who

Looks like you’ve been drinking a lot of matcha lately :) What a nice way to spend the day.

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drank French Vanilla Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1705 tasting notes

Another I finished off. Possibly my personal favorite of flavored matcha I have tried. Tastes just like French Vanilla should.

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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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