685 Tasting Notes

65
drank Grand Keemun by Tea Source
685 tasting notes

I’ve been slowly working my way through TeaSource’s rather extensive catalog of Chinese black teas and have enjoyed almost all of them, but this one was a rare miss for me. The flavor is very dark and earthy…it almost reminds me of puerh, actually…and too drying to drink straight. With the addition of milk, the flavor does smooth out a bit and I start to get some of those cocoa notes that were promised in the description. I definitely prefer it with milk, but it’s still not a favorite for me.

Flavors: Cocoa, Drying, Earth

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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80
drank Mint Medley by Golden Moon Tea
685 tasting notes

This came in a sampler box I received as a gift. It didn’t sound like something I’d enjoy (lavender can be pretty hit and miss for me), but I decided to give it a shot. What a pleasant surprise! I don’t actually get lavender from this at all…just very fresh, natural-tasting spearmint with a hint of lemon. Very smooth and refreshing…I’m guessing it would be delicious iced!

Flavors: Lemon, Spearmint

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
gmathis

Whatever I’ve tried from Golden Moon has always been very high quality.

Inkling

I agree! Even the ones that weren’t my favorite flavor-wise have definitely been good quality ingredients.

Mastress Alita

Aah, one of my favorite discontinued iced teas was strongly spearmint and lavender. I haven’t found a replacement and have even tossed around the idea of trying to self blend it… I may have to try this one out (and maybe add a little additional lavender if it seems weak to my liking)

Inkling

The spearmint flavor on this one is really nice, so I’d definitely recommend giving it a try!

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65

I received a free sample of this tea with my last purchase at Fava. They do fruit-flavored black teas really well, so I was excited to give it a try. The aroma was AMAZING…lots of tropical fruit!…but the flavor turned out to be just so-so. I think it’s the blackberry that brought it down for me. Somehow, it tasted more like blackberry leaves than actual blackberries and even though there were brighter notes from the other fruits popping through, it wasn’t the smooth, summery beverage I was looking for.

Flavors: Blackberry, Fruity, Mango, Pineapple, Tropical

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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75

I got one sachet of this as a sample with my Bird & Blend holiday set and never got around to trying it until now. Although I love earl grey, the ones with vanilla added don’t tend to be my favorite, as the vanilla and bergamot flavors combined often comes across as soapy to me. This one was a pleasant surprise, though! The flavor is smooth and light (it actually worked for me without milk, which is rare for earl grey) and the vanilla and bergamot are well-balanced, with neither overwhelming the other and nothing that’s reminding me of body products (thankfully!). While it will never replace my beloved Letterbox Picadilly as my favorite earl grey ever, this may be the best earl grey cream tea I’ve tried!

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Creamy, Smooth, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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75

Many of the pomegranate teas I’ve tried have been way too heavy on the hibiscus (makes sense…it is the right color) so I’m happy that TeaSource steered clear of that addition completely! I’m not sure the flavor is exactly reading pomegranate for me, but it’s definitely a pleasant fruity/berry flavor with a bit of tartness but no bitterness. It’s okay hot, but makes a lovely, refreshing iced tea. Not sure I would repurchase this one, but I’m glad they sent me this sample!

Flavors: Berry, Fruity, Tart

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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70
drank Masala Chai by Fava Tea Co.
685 tasting notes

The story of my life seems to be having favorite teas discontinued and spending years searching for replacements. Does anyone else relate? Years ago, TeaSource in Minneapolis had a chai blend they called “Reena’s Chai” that was probably one of the top 10 teas I’ve ever had. From what I recall, it was heavier on the nutmeg than most chai blends I’ve tried and just seemed to hit the perfect balance between sweet and spicy. Since then, I’ve tried dozens of chai blends from all my favorite tea companies trying to find a suitable replacement. Fava has an herbal chai that I LOVE (their Roasted Almond Chai, if you’re curious) so I decided to give this more traditional blend a shot. It was…fine. Pretty much the basic spice blend I would expect from a Masala Chai on a CTC base. Absolutely nothing wrong with it, but also nothing to make it special or memorable in any way. The search continues!

Flavors: Anise, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Spices

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Mastress Alita

I remember Reena’s Chai! I only ever had a sampler of it, though. I think other than Golden Mao Feng (and I still plan to try to get Tao of Tea’s version some day) I really miss TeaSource’s Toasted Maple Green, a maple-flavored houjicha that they only had for a very short time. Flavored houjicha is so rare, and that one was so good!

Inkling

Aww, Golden Mao Feng is another one I miss SO MUCH! I really enjoyed the Toasted Maple Green as well. I think The London Tea Room’s Maple Walnut Sencha has a similar flavor profile, but if the houjicha base was your favorite aspect of that one, the sencha may not suit you.

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90
drank Mr. Wang's Hu Hong by TeaSource
685 tasting notes

I’m always a sucker for a good Chinese black tea, so when this one was deeply discounted at TeaSource, I had to give it a try. No regrets, because this tea is delicious! The dry leaf is so pretty: tiny, delicately twisted golden leaves with a rich molasses aroma. The flavor is smooth and full-bodied with notes of malt and sweet potato. No bitterness or astringency at all and it re-steeps beautifully. Kinda wishing I’d grabbed more than 2oz in the sale!

Flavors: Malt, Smooth, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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75
drank Sweet Ginger Green by TeaSource
685 tasting notes

I accidentally ordered 4oz of this tea, so it’s a good thing I ended up liking it! The green tea base is smooth and not too grassy and the ginger is strong without being overly spicy. I do wish the lemon flavor were a bit more prominent, so I may experiment with adding some lemon juice one of these days. It’s okay hot, but really shines as an iced tea on these hot summer days!

Flavors: Citrus, Ginger, Smooth

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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45
drank Green Ginger by Tazo
685 tasting notes

Wish Tazo hadn’t led me on with that “touch of pear” nonsense in the description. Trader Joe’s had an AMAZING bagged tea that was white ginger pear and I’ve been searching for a replacement since they discontinued it. This is not that. It honestly tastes more like a straight-up ginger tea; I’m not really getting much of the green tea base and I definitely don’t taste any kind of pear flavor here. Disappointing.

Flavors: Ginger, Spicy

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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50
drank Masala Chai by Golden Moon Tea
685 tasting notes

This was in the Golden Moon sampler pack I received as a hostess gift this summer. Although other teas in that assortment were really enjoyable, this one fell flat for me. The flavor is surprisingly mild (more like a lightly spiced black tea than a true chai) and not very well-balanced. Oddly, though big cardamom pods are quite prominent in the leaf, the flavor is mostly ginger and cinnamon along with the assertive and slightly bitter base tea (probably a CTC Ceylon, by the look and taste of it). Milk smooths things out, but diminishes the spices even further. It’s drinkable, but there are definitely much better chais out there!

Flavors: Bitter, Cinnamon, Ginger

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Profile

Bio

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ~ C.S. Lewis

I was introduced to loose leaf tea by a roommate in 2012, but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon Steepster in 2014 that I discovered a world of tea that went beyond Teavana and the grocery store.

My tastes continue to evolve, but black tea is currently my favorite. I am especially drawn to strong, malty breakfast blends to wake me up in the morning and flavored dessert teas to sip throughout the day.

Just about everything in my cupboard is available to swap, so feel free to ask!

Location

Milwaukee, WI

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