615 Tasting Notes


I’m cold steeping some Jasmine Pearls for milk tea tomorrow. Fiance was super excited, and wondering if just maybe we could have it tonight. I’ll finish converting him yet!

I know I’m close because I got him one of those refillable Keurig cups last week as they have a Keurig maker thing at his office. The first thing he tested in it was the tea he has at work. I’m so close. :D

But onto the actual tea!

I did four steepings in total, 8 ounces each, using 1.5 tsp of leaf in a standard gravity steeper.

3 min, 3 min 30 sec, 4 min, 5 min

Initially it looks like a pretty standard lightly oxodized Taiwanese oolong. Then it has the familiar flavors of sweet cream and floral, but also has a little apricot-like lift at the end of each sip. The finish is sweet and lingers, which lends itself well to the next sip and it seems to build over the cup. The osmanthus strictly complements the oolong with neither overpowering the other.

By the later steepings (4 specifically), there’s some serious atringency going on here., though.

The osmanthus makes this a really pretty tea. Once the leaves are unfurled, the tiny, delicate white petals on the dark green leaves is really stunning. I could absolutely see myself serving this to company in a glass pot.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Toffee Dream by Zen Tea
615 tasting notes


This was the rest of my sample from Shelley_Lorraine.

I found this to be a really easy cup to relax into after work. Hopefully I find something tomorrow now too. Being a retail drone on holidays/holiday weekends is pretty much as bad as it gets.

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drank Snowflake by English Tea Leaves
615 tasting notes

Honestly? This tea isn’t great. The leaves are really smashy and there’s stems in the mix. When brewed, the base is forgettable and mediocre. And the flavoring is kind of artificial. But what this tea has, and why I keep drinking it, is a huge nostalgia trigger.

My grandparents on my dad’s side were first generation Italian immigrants (Sicilian) and while my nonna broke every stereotype about good Italian cooks, she could bake up a storm. So, every other Christmas, we’d head over there and we’d have a horrible dinner but it was completely worth it for the dessert. And we’d have cannoli with pistachios and stuffed fig cookies and the ones this tea reminds me of, Pasticcini di pasta di mandorle or cookies made from almond paste. She’d do half of them traditionally with maraschino cherries or dried citrus but the other half she’d partially dip in dark chocolate and coconut rasps and ohmygodweretheygood.

Both are passed now and the cookie recipes were stolen by one of my relatives (we know who you are), so we don’t get these awesome cookies anymore. And I haven’t been able to duplicate this particular one. So, yeah. Nostalgia tea.

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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drank Powdered Benifuki by Den's Tea
615 tasting notes

I got this as a sample with my Shincha, and was pleasantly surprised with it! It’s not a super lively green tea (think fireplaces and snowflakes), but it has a fair amount of natural sweetness and a nice hay-like flavor. I’m actually curious about cold water and allergy easing potential here. Probably enough to snag some on my next order.


I got this as a sample too but haven’t tried it yet! I probably should have today as my allergies have been TERRIBLE.


Mine too! I saw the little card and I was like BAM PERFECT!

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Excuse me while I rummage out my personal tea tartness scale. This tea smells like fruity juiciness and hibiscus so I fear I might need it.

9-5 — almost undrinkable, sugar needed stat!
4 — I guess this is okay, but sugar would make it better
3 — Now we’re getting somewhere
2 — Just a little bite
1 — Wait. Tart?

There it is!

This tea before adding anything, falls at about a 4.5. It was drinkable to me without my mouth feeling like it was getting sucked into itself from my expression alone, but it was definitely on the tarter side of drinkable. I also couldn’t get much past the taste of the hibiscus to get anything else. Hibby and I don’t work great as a pair.

A spoonful of sugar helped the medi—-er tea go down much smoother. After that I taste a pineapple forefront with sweet mango accents ending on an almost floral tart note (but only about a 2-3). It has a nice juicy quality overall and the sugar really amps the natural sweetness.

I’d guess this would be fantastic cold-steeped with sugar (or agave) and just might have to try that.

Thanks BrewTEALly Sweet. I may yet grow to like tart blends.

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec
BrewTEAlly Sweet

I use it for iced tea :)

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Oh man, I think these leaves need a proof they smell so much like Brandy. Oof!

That being said, I think I like this one more than the Della Terra version.

The raspberry flavor here is far more natural tasting; less candy, more fruit. The chocolate isn’t so much milk chocolate either as it is a bittersweet flavor note that is reminiscent of dark chocolate. The actually tea flavor is a little muddled, but seems to pair well with the dark chocolate type flavors.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the liquor flavor wasn’t quite as aggressive once the tea was steeped. Instead it was a really nice note that blended well with the raspberry/chocolate and really pushed it to gourmet truffle level for me.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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After following the brewing intructions exactly, I get something really thin tasting. Like cinnamon water with a side of stale carob.

I have enough for another shot at this.

Thanks whatshesaid for the chance to taste this. :)

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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This is a sample sipdown, and I’m kind of sad to see it go!

If this were a Chardonnay, I would probably review it like:

“Fragrant, delicate, hint of spice. Touch of melon and citrus. Pure and fresh and delicate. Creamy and pleasantly warming on the palate. ‘Happy wine’. Very aromatic for Chardonnay. So supple”

but it’s not, so I’ll review it like:

“Fragrant, delicate, hint of spice. Touch of melon and citrus. Pure and fresh and delicate. Creamy and pleasantly warming on the palate. ‘Happy tea’. Very aromatic for a wine inspired tea. So supple”

And thank you so much QueenOfTarts! This is really an outstanding tea.

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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drank Orange Jasmine by Vykasa
615 tasting notes

So, last night I found all these bagged tea in my cupboards.

It’s old. Not like. Expired old. But ‘Huh, where did you come from?’ old. Which means it’s probably creeping up there, because I don’t think I’ve seen it since Fiance and I moved in together two years ago. So, I knew this was gonna be a treat.

I cold steeped this, so if it was terrible, at least it wouldn’t be crazy bitter terrible.

The good news is that the Jasmine aspect of this doesn’t taste like soap, which I was worried about. It does however taste like some nondescript floral I can’t place and am not sure I like. I can just barely taste the orange over it, but what’s there isn’t terribly natural tasting. And the tea is mediocre (expected).

And somehow it’s still better than some looseleaf blends I’ve had.

Iced 8 min or more

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drank Noni by Lucky Shing
615 tasting notes

I bought this at our local Asian market last time I was there for boba. It was kind of a ‘Why not’ purchase at a ‘why not’ price. I actually had no idea what I was purchasing at the time as the box was entirely in Vietnamese and I had never seen a noni fruit.

Well, since then I’ve put off drinking it after reading about it’s pungent taste and smell and wondering what I had done.

Tonight I broke it open. And it didn’t smell good.

But surprisingly I didn’t hate it.

It has a kind of earthy barley flavor that isn’t all offensive. It’s not at all what I was expecting (probably a good thing in this case). I still absolutely don’t like the smell, but I could almost see myself drinking this once in a while.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Name: Lauren
Location: Wisconsin (previously a Chicago girl)
Occupation: Student by day and super hero by night
Super Hero? Yep!
Which One? I can’t tell you that! Secret identities and such. Just know I’m not the hero they want, but the hero they need.
Sidekicks: Fiance and two budgies, Skitter and Gandalf


Reading, writing, cooking, video games, computers, drawing, crafting, papercraft. Oh and tea.

A brief history:

I grew up in a family where the only working coffee maker was in my dad’s office. So the name of the game for my mother and I quickly became (bagged) tea. In 2004/2005, I discovered Adagio Teas. I don’t remember how it happened, or why I decided to pursue a purchase but here we are. I haven’t looked back.

My tea tastes have changed over time and I’ve moved from liking solely flavored teas (mostly black and white) to enjoying Darjeelings primarily, though malty unflavored blacks, fresh tasting greens, and lightly oxidized oolongs come in pretty high on my list, too. Of course, I still enjoy a good cup of flavored tea. I prefer caffeinated teas, as I have a horrible caffeine addiction that I don’t plan on kicking any time soon.

Red rooibos and lapsang souchong (or other strongly smoky teas) are my arch nemeses and I will see them defeated and removed by force from my cupboard. Like all thing, there are exceptions, but I assume they’re guilty until proven innocent.

I really don’t like negatively rating things, because I feel like if you don’t have something nice to say, you probably shouldn’t say it. But in the interest of non-biased tea reviews I’m going to give it a shot. I view every tea as a potential adventure so I’ll try most things at least once.

I love trading and swaps are always welcome! Please note, though, what it in my cupboard includes amounts ranging from a couple cups to 4 ounces or more, so please PM me to find out if what you’re seeking is available in that trade amount.

According to my spreadsheet, I also have about 100 other 1-4 cup samples that are not in my cupboard.. Feel free to message if you’re interested in see the spreadsheet for possible swap options as well.

Tea Ratings:

100-95 Nectar of the teagods that has been bestowed upon my unworthy tongue. I will never let this tin run empty.

86-94 These are the teas I would like to keep regularly stocked, but sometimes life gets in the way. Lovely teas, but not quite god tier. I still get cravings for these.

74-85 Good teas, but not amazing. I enjoy these, but may or may not restock once they run out. I would still recommend these to others.

60-73 Not bad. I’ll gladly keep drinking my cup, and wouldn’t say no if someone offered me this tea. I probably won’t rebuy these as there is likely something else that is comparable and better.

47-59 Certainly drinkable and might even have some characteristics that I enjoy, but I won’t pick it up again

30-46 I’ll probably finish my cup, but this tea isn’t to my taste OR it’s just overwhemingly mediocre. Life’s too short for bad tea.

11-29 This cup is in the sink now and I will never willingly consume this again. If you see a tea rated this way, I probably followed it with mouthwash.

0-10 Please say a prayer for the cup I destroyed in the process of disposing of this tea in the quickest manner possible. I may need tea therapy before I drink a similar tea again.


Wisconsin, US



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