689 Tasting Notes

drank Big Easy by August Uncommon Tea
689 tasting notes

I have strong thoughts about AU’s marketing, but this is a sipdown and I want to get the tasting note down now. I’ll get into the marketing another time.

This blend tastes like sweet pineapple and lemon to me. I’m not picking up on caramel, pastry, barley, or the base tea. I’m a little disappointed that the sencha base is so thoroughly drowned out by the pineapple and lemon flavors. On the other hand, those fruit flavors are distinct, gently tart and not cloyingly sweet. I actually think this would have been delicious as a cold steep but I didn’t have enough leaf or patience left for it. It’s nice as a hot brew too, just nothing special.

Flavors: Lemon, Pineapple


I am interested in hearing about your thoughts on their marketing!


I am in complete agreement with everything you have said, and have only been able to justify purchasing blends when they go on sale.


Aww, it’s nice to know I’m not alone! I was a little nervous about posting it because we’re usually so positive but this really bothered me.


I think people should be able to voice their opinions without being dog-piled, so I’m glad you did. But I know how you feel. I tend to keep my mouth shut a lot haha.


Notably, I didn’t get dog piled on this one. That’s encouraging to me, and I hope it will it encourage you not to keep your mouth shut either. Opinionated tea drinkers unite!

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drank Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
689 tasting notes

I’m pretty sure that this was a company sample from years ago. I’ve been keeping it well-sealed in the freezer so it still has flavor but I’m sure it was better when it was fresh. Yesterday, I made a rice milk latte of this in my brand new Elwood the rainbow unicorn mug: https://www.instagram.com/p/BTcC8Q7lu5x/?taken-by=try.all.the.tea The ratio I used was two teaspoons matcha mixed into half a cup of rice milk, then added half a cup of 180f water and blended the whole thing with a milk frother. The result was creamy caramel goodness. It was slightly vegetal and sweet but not too sweet. I got a good froth going too!

Maddy Barone

“like” especially for Elwood the unicorn mug!


Thanks! He cost almost $50 with tax and shipping, which seems so indulgent, but he’s my tax refund treat and is beautiful and makes me happy. I eyed him for months before finally placing the order.

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I had this whole plan today. I was going to get out my big fancy rosewood tea tray and do a comparison tasting of three yellow teas, which is a style of tea I’ve never tried before. I even had the teaware picked out.

And then I woke up with a migraine.

So no fancy tea tastings for me today. BUT. All is not lost. I am making it up to myself by enjoying the last of this wonderful blend (yes, sadly, this is a sipdown). I even added one of my fancy Kusmi matryoshka sugars. The flavor of this blend has admittedly faded with age so I’m glad to be finishing it off while it’s still tasty. At this point, the most prominent flavor is maple syrup. There’s a hint of almond under there and the waffle is just gone. Especially with the sugar amplifying the maple flavor, I can’t taste the base tea at all except in the slightly dry mouthfeel after the sip. I am quite all right with that at the moment though.

EDIT: I was reading through the tasting notes on this tea and realized that the last note I wrote for it was also when a migraine put a crimp in my plans and I was using Butiki for consolation. There may be a pattern here, folks. :-)


Aww I hope you are feeling better.


I am, thanks! Sleep, meds, caffeine, and time did the trick.

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drank Rose Chai by Wissotzky Tea
689 tasting notes

This is one of my few kosher-for-Passover flavored teas and one of my favorite bagged teas, period. I enjoy it best with a splash of rice milk and a bit of plain honey or brown sugar (although this past week it’s just been sweetener, no rice milk). The rose scent of the dry tea is so strong that I have to keep it separate from my other teas. I love it though. It’s fresh and floral and gorgeous. The rose comes through in the flavor as a strong, natural taste. The chai-ness mostly seems to be cinnamon. Although the ingredients list claims coconut flavor, I’m not picking up on any of it. The base tea holds its own against the rose and cinnamon but seems to be a fairly unremarkable bagged Assam. Thankfully it doesn’t hurt my stomach so long as I eat first. Yay for cheap grocery store teas that don’t suck!

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drank Cacao by Tisano
689 tasting notes

Thanks so much to Phi for hooking me up with some of this! I like that I can throw a few shells in with just about any vanilla, rooibos, or dessert tea and it comes out yummy. I also enjoy brewing this straight and drinking it with a splash of rice milk – the experience is creamy chocolate goodness. Alas, no rice milk for me right now due to Passover, but this is still good without it! The flavor is akin to a piece of 60% dark chocolate. The mouthfeel is medium for tea but thin for hot cocoa/chocolate milk. Overall, this is a tisane I’d like to keep in stock.

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drank Thin Mints by Bigelow
689 tasting notes

Sipdown! Om nom nom. This is a solid bagged chocolate mint tea, best enjoyed hot with a splash of rice milk.

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drank Tie Kwan Yin Oolong by Tea Ave
689 tasting notes

Tea Ave sent a sample of this with my last order. Thanks! The sample consisted of full leaf tea in a pyramid teabag. I steeped it twice in the teabag, then opened up the bag and steeped up the loose leaves two more times in a finum filter.

I woke up craving a solid oolong and this hit the spot. The dry leaf smells honeyed and roasted. The flavor, fairly consistent over multiple steeps, is sweet and gently roasted with a dominant honey flavor. I’m not picking up on the fruity notes that other people report but I’m ok with that.

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I got this as a sample with purchase at the NYC Coffee and Tea Festival. I had never heard of Newby Teas before but apparently they’ve been around since 2000. They had a beautiful display (shameless plug for my instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BR1nIKxjbCK/?taken-by=try.all.the.tea). I ended up buying the jasmine green but picked up a sample of this.

This blend comes in a pyramid sachet. Dry and steeped, it smells like orange hard candy. The flavor of the brew isn’t far off from the scent, but the woodsiness of the rooibos balances out the sweetness of the candy-like orange. As it cools, the rooibos flavor fades and the orange flavor becomes almost like an icee. With a splash of milk, I bet this would taste like a creamsicle. Alas, I drank it all up before I could experiment.

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Thanks to Christina for the sample! Happy pi day to all and a happy snow day to everyone in the northeast. I’m wishing you lots of snowball fights and no shoveling.

Honestly, I’m not a big fan of this particular tea. The first steep has a weird, stevia-like sweetness. The second steep tastes more like a generic oriental beauty, but it leaves behind an unpleasant, sickly-sweet film after the sip. I don’t want to go in for steep three. I still have a bit of leaf left so I’ll try cold brewing the rest.

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drank Sunny Afternoon by Simpson & Vail
689 tasting notes

Is anyone else having trouble coming to terms with the fact that it’s been 20 years since the premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? The show was an iconic part of my adolescence. Suddenly it’s 20 years later. When did I become an adult?

In honor of the day we first met the residents of Sunnydale, I’m doing a greatest hits marathon this weekend and drinking some of this Sunny Afternoon herbal tea. This blend came to me courtesy of Phi just last weekend (impeccable timing)! The vanilla flavor is extremely similar to that of DavidsTea’s Vanilla Swirl – sugary, creamy, slightly artificial, almost like vanilla cotton candy. Unlike that blend, this one also has notes of lemon and mango. It’s very sweet and dessert-like and I would not dream of adding anything to it. Quite enjoyable exactly as is.

Evol Ving Ness

Yeah, it happens quickly.

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Geek and nerd (shoutout to GeekSteep). Still trying to get a handle on this whole work/life balance while ALSO succeeding at work thing. I have some chronic illnesses that make that harder. Tea is my respite.

Favorite tea types, in order:

Don’t drink:

A sampling of tea shops I like:
Te Company
Tea Thoughts
Harney & Sons

RIP Butiki



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