154 Tasting Notes

89

How have I not reviewed this yet? Guess it fell through the cracks. I get these nice, big bags of loose leaf at Home Goods, and the price is right, so I don’t expect much. However, The Tao of Tea teas I’ve purchased are surprisingly good! The Ginger Peach is awesome, and the Black Mango is just as good. I usually make iced tea out of these, and I’ve been brewing Black Mango all summer. It makes an excellent iced tea. Fruity, a little floral, robust black base with lots of juicy notes. Super refreshing. I’ve also had it hot, and it was just as good, but my preference is iced. Good thing I have a lot of it! Amount of tea to water is for iced tea, for hot it’s 1 tsp per 8 oz.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Juicy, Mango

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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57

Always a sucker for a dessert flavored tea, I initially balked at the price, but went for it in the last iteration because this flavor seems to sell out and isn’t always available. The scent of the dry leaf (and even while brewing) is very butter-forward. Like, seriously butter. A little vanilla sweetness is detectible as well. But upon tasing the brew, it’s very underwhelming. Heavy butter scent, super mild butter and vanilla taste. Really subtle. I may try brewing longer next time, because I feel confident that I did not underleaf.

Here’s the weird thing: I decided to have this tea after dinner with a couple of gingersnap cookies leftover from when I made a peach tart earlier in the summer. For whatever reason, taking a small bite of the cookie and then a sip of tea made it really delicious! Odd, since I didn’t think it would go together, but there’s an almost toffee-like aspect to the cookie that not only compliments but greatly enhances the dessert flavor of this tea. Go figure. So, a win, I guess? It was very enjoyable with the cookies, but the milky oolong base of this tea is a no-show.

Flavors: Butter, Vanilla

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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45

This is for the batch picked in Autumn of 2021. Let me preface this by saying that I’m not a big Darjeeling fan in general. Most of the time I find Darjeelings too bland for my taste. When I saw the description of this one, I thought I’d give it a shot. Smooth, full-bodied and sweet? Count me in!

As soon as I opened the package, I had my doubts. I didn’t care for the scent of the dried leaf. I wish I could come up with a good description. Roasty? Not really earthy, also not like a black tea to me. I’m failing to come up with an accurate description. Anyway, I didn’t care for the scent but was hoping it was one of those situations where it brews up quite differently into something I would like. Brewed according to Lupicia’s directions. Sadly, the brewed tea was true to the dry leaf scent. I mean, I can drink it, I’ll eventually get through it, but it won’t be one I would reach for normally. Smooth? Sure. Full-bodied? OK. Sweet? No way. No sweetness in this tea. No bitterness, but nothing I can detect that would fall into any category of sweetness. I will try it iced to see if that improves it. My initial take on Darjeelings stands. Meh.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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87

Originally I purchased this with the plan to use it as a base for chai. Then I picked up a different chai base tea on a Home Goods run, so I decided to open this one up. Plus, a friend was visiting and I knew she would love this tea. Glad I didn’t wait. Dang, it’s good! Nice full body, malty, fantastic with milk. Super satisfying alongside a sweet breakfast. I love you, Lupicia!

Flavors: Malt

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
ashmanra

Good to know! I hadn’t noticed this one!

Cameron B.

Lupicia lovers, unite! :D

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89
drank Almond Tea by House of Tea
154 tasting notes

Gifted to me by a dear friend who definitely knows my tastes! I love a good almond tea and this one does not disappoint. Lovely almond flavor that does not eclipse the tea. Little pieces of almonds visible among the black tea base. I’ve been enjoying it in the mornings with, of course, a little bit of evaporated milk. Delightful.

Flavors: Almond

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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84
drank Cherry Blossom by Tea Forte
154 tasting notes

My husband and I had our hanami at a local park that happens to have a bunch of cherry trees. They’re small, but loaded with blossoms. This tea was the perfect accompaniment to the onigiri, shrimp shumai, strawberry daifuku, taiyaki (custard AND azuki bean filled!), and a mini baumkuchen that I brought. I brewed it up beforehand according to the instructions, and put it in my thermos. Delicately floral, light cherry fruit, soft green tea flavor, nothing was too heavy, nothing overpowered any of the other elements in the tea. We enjoyed it so much. I wasn’t expecting much from this, since my previous experiences with cherry blossom green teas have been mixed. They can get cloying, metallic, overly floral. Not so here. This is a winner.

Flavors: Cherry, Cherry Blossom, Floral

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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94

Had a pot of this loveliness while at afternoon tea in honor of my birthday. It’s become kind of a tradition. I’ll need to do a review of the place we went to – it’s called Brooklyn High Low and it was fantastic! Everyone got to choose their own tea, which came in a very generously sized pot. This was my pick. I loved it so much I ended up purchasing some to take home. Comforting, warm and sweet, this was such a wonderful tea. Not sweet like sugar sweet – I rarely if ever sweeten my tea – but more like the sweet you get when you add vanilla to anything. I had it with milk, of course. The vanilla is rich and deep, not that flat, marshmallow-y vibe you can sometimes get with lesser vanilla flavoring. Cardamom was perfectly balanced with the vanilla and didn’t overwhelm the tea. Loved it!

Flavors: Cardamom, Malt, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
ashmanra

Happy birthday! That sounds like a lovely way to celebrate!

gmathis

Oh, I wish we had somewhere like that locally! Happy Birthday!

Sakura Sushi

Thanks, you guys! It was truly wonderful, especially since we were in the back patio and it was a lovely day. Plus not crowded at all – I felt extremely safe.

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20
drank Joyeux Noël by Lupicia
154 tasting notes

Oh, dear. I was hoping for something along the lines of my beloved Chaud Les Marrons, but this is not it. Hard to believe this is from Lupicia – I’ve never had a bad tea from them…until now. I was worried from the get-go since the dry leaf had a strong tangy smell, acrid, very unpleasant. Once steeped, this odd scent mellowed quite a bit, which was a little bit of relief. First I tried it with nothing added: burnt sugar. Like, not nice, but when you bake something sweet for too long or at too high a heat and it turns bitter. I added milk to even things out and it did help, but I was not getting ANY chestnut flavor. Maybe I overleafed, or it needs less time for the steep. I’ll try again with less leaf and a shorter steep time. But dang! this is not going to be easy to get through. I miss my Chaud Les Marrons.

Flavors: Acidic, Burnt, Burnt Sugar, Pungent

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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65

Picked this one up on a trip to Scandinavia, too many (almost 5) years ago. I know, I know. I am trying my damndest to get through my oldest teas and I think I see the light at the end of this tunnel of shame. This was stored in its original sealed envelope, so when I opened it, it smelled exactly like I remembered. A very vanilla scented milky oolong – so different I needed to try it. That day in Stockholm was a freaky 90 degrees and the tea house had no A/C, so no way was I going to go in to have some hot tea and cake. I decided to just buy a small amount to try once I got home. Fast forward to…this morning! Not the typical milky oolong. Yes, it’s scented, but most milky oolongs are. Very vanilla forward, but with a vegetal note from the oolong. Really pleasant tea, sweeter than other milky oolongs I’ve tried. I will have no problem finishing this now that I’ve opened it.

Flavors: Milk, Vanilla, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec 7 g 7 OZ / 200 ML
ashmanra

“Tunnel of shame” LOLOL We have all been there. (Some of us never left.)

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82

Another excellent tea from Teavivre. I’m down to my last couple of samples from them: a Dragonwell and this. Woke up to a beautiful snowstorm, everything looking like it had a ton of powdered sugar sprinkled over it, and decided that black tea would be fitting. Getting the notes of sweet potato, getting a little earthiness, and orange/citrus on the finish. It brewed exceptionally dark, and I was afraid I’d overleafed, but no, it was perfect. The second infusion was still great, a little lighter, but still flavorful. Damn, Teavivre has such great stuff!

Flavors: Earthy, Orange, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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