23 Tasting Notes


It’s been beastly hot these last few days.
I had some concentrated hibiscus already brewed and decided to put it with some sparkling club soda, vanilla bean ice cream and a splash of lavender Torani for sweetner.
A float.
Can’t wait to do it again.

Flavors: Creamy, Hibiscus, Vanilla

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drank Golden Honey Dew by Lupicia
23 tasting notes

This flavored Rooibos is everything I would hope for. From the tasting sips at Lupicia to having it at home in my own cup, the aroma and the taste is a very pleasant experience.

Rooibos takes to flavoring very well. But, for me, it must deliver if the expectations are high from a pleasing and strong scent. This one definitely follows through. You know it is Honey Dew. And the flavor melds perfectly with the nuttiness that is rooibos.

Flavors: Honey Dew

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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It’s my birthday today. In a tradition of exploration and fun, a birthday trip has allowed me to spend a few hours in San Francisco yesterday doing only tea related expeditions. Usually our visits to the city don’t allow enough time for this kind of scavenger hunt. Everything is spread out and just finding parking at each stop in enough of a challenge to deter. But add determined and you will get there.
We started at Lupicia and the lovely girls there made every sample requested. So sweet. I came away with some of the golden honey dew rooibos. It was exactly what I hoped for. Really delicious.
Next stop was Tevana, just for comparison purposes, and just really to confirm what I already knew about them. Yup. no one there had any ‘real’ knowledge. Its a koolaid shop. But I bought some Earl Grey cream, just to, again, compare. Sure enough, the sales girl did the ‘over measure’ to see if I would be fine with more than I asked for.

After a non tea related visit to Anthropologie, just across the street, we headed to the Crown and Crumpet in Japan Town. A cute Tea salon/café. All the little tea sandwiches were good, but late in the day, the selection was limited. The Tea we had with the meal was a white and black combination with rose.

Finally, the treat I have wanted to try for so long was the last stop. Chantal Guillon for Mariage Frere Tea. and Marco Polo.

I could have bought this tea on line long ago. But it just didn’t seem right. With a name like Marco Polo and not being easy to get, why not have it be an adventure to obtain, as it is just as elusive to pin down as well as to decipher the flavors within the cup.

The flavor does live up to the wonderful aroma. It is a treat just breathing in the scent. It is the kind of tea to give you a different experience each time you brew a new cup. It truly relates to the quote I have on my site, “Steam rises from a cup of tea and we are wrapped in history, inhaling ancient times and lands, comfort of ages in our hands.”

that’s Marco Polo.


Sipping and nibbling a salted caramel macaron, I am writing this from a Bed and Breakfast in Napa. La Belle Epoch. One of the nicest B&B stays ever!!!

What a perfect Tea for a birthday adventure.

Flavors: Fruity, Smooth, Strawberry

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Sounds like a great trip! Happy Birthday!


Thank you. A visit to the Japanese Tea Garden was a treat as well (on a different day). Such a nostalgic place. I hadn’t been there in years and it offers much more in the area of food (tea sandwiches) than I remember from past visits.


Sounds like you had a great birthday!! :)


Thanks Caile. It sure was. actually All about the Tea.
Started with buying tea cups at an antiques faire and ended with Tea by the ocean;) And all things tea in between.

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This is a lovely rich oolong. If you would like to try something a bit darker than a typical Ti Quan Yin, this one does not have the lighter, vegetal taste. Very smooth, nice aroma and a nutty barley flavor. Perhaps adding some honey it reminds me of a puffed cereal but can’t recall the name of it. There is a dry slightly tannic mouthfeel after.

The leaves look to have a couple more infusions in them. As a good oolong should.

Flavors: Dark Wood, Grain, Hay, Nutty, Roasted Barley, Smooth

190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Earlier this year I attended the Fancy Food show in San Francisco. Turmeric seems to be the ingredient/component of the year. It is everywhere. The awareness of the touted healthful properties are definitely being advantaged in many aspects of the food industry.

As a result of the visit we created a Turmeric Lime dressing for one of our Teahouse salad offerings. I also purchased some of Rishi’s Turmeric Ginger and a new released Turmeric Chai which I’ll review in a future note.

I have always been a fan of Rishi. They use high quality components all organic. You can trust that you are getting a worthy product.

The Turmeric Ginger is definitely an invigorating brew. The ginger is nice and strong and you can feel the burn in the back of your mouth and even down your throat. Truly a ‘blend’, the flavors are otherwise well rounded with nothing else standing to the forefront. Turmeric has a dusty flavor and thankfully, licorice, which I don’t favor, does not even make itself much known.

Enjoy this tisane and feel healthier for it.

Flavors: Ginger

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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I tend to Tea Binges. Instead of a new flavor every day (because I have SO many to choose from) I will find a tea I like and stick with it for a while. I’ve been enjoying Irish Breakfast Cream for several days now. In the shop, flavored teas consistently outsell the basics, however my own tastes tend to the traditional. This one is a good option for a traditionalist, with the twist of the caramel tones that meld the 3 black teas chosen for this blend into a luscious smoothness.

A mixture of CTC and whole leaf gives this tea a robustness that keeps its character without letting the caramelness take over.

It seems every tea company has several offerings with ‘Cream’ notes. I do pay particular attention to them as popularity indicated by sales is definitely trending.
Having had so much success in the shop with the ever popular Cream Earl Grey, I decided to order the Irish Breakfast Cream. I am now a fan of this tea and I do believe my guests will enjoy this lovely smooth Irish Breakfast as well. It is a keeper.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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This is a very enjoyable flavored black tea. Customers to Columbia Kate’s had been asking about this flavor often enough that I finally added it to the inventory. Apparently it was a local favorite in years past. I’m glad I did as it has become one of the more popular teas even among guests having it for the first time.

The primary tones are the hazelnut, tho not too strong. The nuttyness is mellowed by the natural sweetness of the fruits and slight spicyness of the orange. I’m not a big hazelnut fan, as it is reminiscent of flavored coffee but I would put this tea above any hazelnut flavor I have had in the past.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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I mentioned in one of my earliest tasting notes that Apricot was the first flavored tea I encountered. Also one of the first ‘loose leaf’ teas. It seems appropriate since my very first employment was on a fruit farm cutting apricots for drying.

Naturally this tea holds within it’s aromas and taste the essences of memories and pleasant experiences. The fruity, natural sweetness only enhances the teaness of the tea. The Metropolitan Apricot is a smooth cup with some of the coppery brightness of a good Ceylon tea. It is quite satisfying to return to a favored flavored tea.

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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Ah, Tea and Toast, cinnamon toast. This is a perfect tea blend, for me. I love to start the day with a rich, balanced brew. I find myself coming back to this one again and again. Windsor Castle examples why blends exist, why they work. The strength and maltyness of Assam, on its own, is smoothed by the flowerness of the Kenya and livens up with the Darjeeling. It is flavory straight up. Not too strong. But, this one is also excellent with a touch of sugar and milk… and with the taste of crispy cinnamon toast accompanying.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Mandarin Silk by Art of Tea
23 tasting notes

Lemon Myrtle has become a favorite component of mine lately. It adds an aroma that follows through with a wonderful lemony richness without the tartness of lemon. Vanilla creme is a now a very popular flavor addition, so I think Art of Tea has been right on with their blending creations.

I enjoyed this blend very much.

190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec

I enjoyed this blend by Art of Tea very much too, I am trying it out on customers, so far a great reception!

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Columbia Kate’s Teahouse

Set in an 1880’s period barn in historic Columbia, A State Park, CA, our focus is in providing both an education in the Art of Afternoon Tea while offering a pleasant atmosphere and great food.
Opened Feb 1, 2007
Open 7 days/week 11am to 4pm

Free shipping on tea

My Tea on Steepster

To Trade Tea Tastings, followers may contact me at manager@columbiakates.com

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22727 Columbia ST, Columbia, CA 95310



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