2238 Tasting Notes



This one smells delicious from the moment you open the bag, but it’s banana I smell. Candy banana, specifically. Not cream, and surely not rum. It’s an interesting beginning!

To taste, I almost get rum. It’s frustratingly close, but just not quite there. I wonder if it’s because the flavouring here is almost certainly artificial, and has had to be created from other flavours? It’s nothing even remotely approaching tea that’s actually been aged in rum barrels, for example. Mostly, I can taste banana. I don’t mind that at all, because I’m quite partial to a banana tea. Call me perverse, but I actually quite like that foam banana sweet flavour, and that’s what I’m getting here. There’s a good hit of creaminess, mostly towards the end of the sip, and that’s pleasant too. There’s even a bit of coconut kicking around in the background. If they’d called this one banana coconut cream, I would have been happy.

While I like what I’m drinking, it’s not exactly living up to its billing. That leaves me conflicted in terms of rating. If you buy this one expecting Irish Rum, you’re going to be disappointed. And really, what else would you be expecting, given that’s what it’s called? This is the tea equivalent of buying a dog and receiving a cat instead. Puzzling, but by no means unpleasant.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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This is an odd one, at least in terms of ingredients. According to Adagio’s website, it’s a blend of Yerba Mate, Rooibos, and Oolong. I can safely say I’ve never tried all three of those at the same time, although judging by appearance it’s mostly rooibos. The flavouring is a whole lot simpler; orange, grapefruit, and lemon. I’ve a lot more confidence in that combination!

Possibly my cold is getting worse, but I don’t actually find that this one tastes of a whole lot. The creator’s description says he was going for colour over flavour, and admittedly it has come out a fairly impressive orange-yellow. Not quite liquid gold, maybe, but close enough for government work.

I can tell there’s Yerba in here, because it has the slight earthy-sour background tang. Other than that, it’s mostly rooibos; I can’t find the oolong at all. The rooibos isn’t bad, as they go. It’s a little woody, but the flavour I taste most is caramel. I actually think caramel would be a pretty good flavour for felix felicis, since it’s kind of gold in colour, and liquid luck should probably taste nice…I don’t really taste citrus fruit, except perhaps the tiniest bit of lemon towards the end of the sip. It brightens an otherwise dull cup, but it’s not particularly prominet or lively.

I’m a little surprised and disappointed by this one. I expected more from it, and at the moment it’s just not delivering. I’ll try it again once I’m cold free in case that’s part of the problem, but I’m not that sick yet, and I can taste other things just fine, so I don’t think my own tastebuds are solely responsible for this one.

To be continued…

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp

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drank Apple Crumble by T2
2238 tasting notes


This one smells so much like pastry it’s hard not to be impressed. I only hope it tastes as good. Fortunately, there doesn’t appear to be much/any hibiscus in the one, so perhaps the apple will be allowed to shine…

I’m used to being let down by this kind of tea, but I have to admit that I’m rather impressed by this one. The initial sip is super buttery and a little biscuitty; really reminiscent of crumble topping. The apple comes through in the mid-sip, and has a soft, baked flavour that’s still genuinely apple-y, rather than floury or floral. Pretty much exactly how I like my apple flavouring to be in tea! The two aspects of the flavour – buttery/biscuit and baked apple – work really well together, and do combine to create a convincing “apple crumble” flavour. It perhaps doesn’t taste quite as amazing as it smells, but it’s a close thing. I’m happy with that!

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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drank Sweet Spice by T2
2238 tasting notes


I chose this one today largely because of the name – sweet spice sounds like something that might be good for a cold. Turns out it has an unusual selection of ingredients, though – they’re not things I would have thought to put together. It’s an interesting one in terms of appearance, too – and, for a fruit blend, pretty impressive. It has literally huge whole rose buds, dried quarters of sliced orange, whole raisins, cloves, hibiscus petals, and mini meringues! Very pretty to look at.

It’s a slightly odd flavour, but perhaps that’s not entirely unexpected. It’s sweet, from the meringues, tart and a little sour from the hibiscus, with a background floral from the rose. There’s a splash of orange, which tastes more like fizzy vitamin C tablets than actual orange, and then a fairly significant kick of spice. The earthiness of clove is there, but I’m sure there’s also some chilli, and possibly cayenne. I can smell it.

It kind of works, but it’s a bit crazy. In some ways, it tastes like a Christmas tea, and I’m pretty sure the clove is responsible for that. The spice works well with the sweet-ish background, largely because the hibiscus helps to mediate between the two extremes of flavour. That tart sourness in the mid-sip really seems to help bring the two together, and it’s a rare day I say anything complementary about hibi. Mostly, though, I feel like this suffers from an excess of ingredients. There are things I can’t see the point of, and that just distract from what on the whole is a pleasant, if unusual, flavour. Raisins, for example. I also have my doubts about the rose.

I’d probably not buy this one again, just because I can’t see myself drinking it regularly. It’s a little confused for my liking, but it’s certainly been an experience! I think I can see what T2 were trying to achieve with this one, but I just don’t think they quite made it.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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I have another cold. In all honesty, it doesn’t feel like five minutes since I last had one. Fortunately, I can still taste things – at least today. Small mercies.

This tea is one of my historic favourites, but one that hasn’t been in my cupboard in what feels like forever. It’s the best. Liquid awesome absolute deliciousness. The scent of the dry leaf is chocolate and malt, and it has me from that point on. The flavour holds up remarkably well – I get chocolate initially (sweet, milk chocolate), followed by a bready, grainy, slightly savoury mid-sip with the tiniest hint of smoke. The sweetness returns towards the end of the sip, when the full hit of malt makes itself known. It’s an excellent combination.

I’m pleased I still like this one, given that I’m returning to it after such a long time. I probably appreciate it more, if anything, since I’ve more breadth of experience to compare it to. I have a few sample pouches of this in my cupboard, but I’ll have to make more of an effort not to leave it so long in future. This is one I could keep around full-time, now that my cupboard is a little more under control, and I might well do that, once my 365 days of tea challenge is complete.

Premium Golden Monkey is love. Tea love.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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drank Lamington by T2
2238 tasting notes


I picked up a sample pouch of this with my first T2 order – it came in a box with 4 other sample sizes, one of which was Creme Brulee. The others I can’t remember off the top of my head. It’s nice to be able to try a few sample sizes, because T2’s usual offering (at least in the UK…) is the 100g cube, and that’s a wasted investment if it turns out to be a blend I’m not super keen on.

This one, fortunately, doesn’t fall into the latter category. It’s chocolate coconut awesomeness, a bit like liquid bounty. The base is a little on the astringent side, but a splash of milk would probably help to smooth things out. A relatively conservative steep time is probably the key when drinking this one black.

On the whole, I’m impressed. It does capture the flavour of a lamington, although now I’ve tried this one I’d really like to see a raspberry lamington blend…

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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It appears to be winter again, so it actually makes sense to drink this one today. I love it when a plan comes together! I’m finding this one a little on the light side in terms of flavour, but still delicious – the pumpkin seed is very distinctive, and tastes exactly as you’d expect. There’s also a fairly prominent nuttiness – hazelnut, primarily. Underlying that is a smooth caramel flavour that really does remind me of nut brittle. As the cup cools, I’m finding a spiciness that’s not present initially – in flavour terms it’s mostly cinnamon, but there’s a background heat that’s making me think ginger also.

The oolong base is perfect here – rich, a touch roasty, but also smooth with a hint of honey. I like that the flavouring hasn’t drowned out the base tea – of all the flavoured teas I’ve tried recently, this one strikes the best balance between elements. It’s also the most true to its description, which is always a bonus.

I’m really enjoying this one. It would be perfect on a crisp autumn day, but I doubt the remainder of my pouch will last that long! Hopefully it’ll make a return at some point in the future.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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I’ve been wanting to try a rice-ripened pu’erh for a long time now, since I’m really rather fond of sticky rice. That starchy creaminess is one of my favourite flavours! The rice flavour here is a lot stronger than I expected it to be, although I imagine it will fade in successive steeps. In flavour terms, it’s exactly like a liquid version of overcooked rice, when it’s gone thick and starchy. The pu’erh itself isn’t much more than a background flavour at the moment – a light earthiness, but really barely there.

Second steep is very similar, although the rice flavour blends slightly more coherently with the base pu’erh. It’s still strong, but not quite so much as the first steep. It’s a better balance between creamy/starchy and the earthiness of the pu’erh. A good combination, and an unexpectedly delicious one!

Third steep is again similar. The rice flavour is still very prominent, and the pu’erh is still very much second fiddle. I think you’d have to really enjoy the flavour of overcooked rice to get along with this one – it’s not a background flavour by any means!

I’ll probably stick with this one until the end of the day now, and take it through a few more steeps. Given what I’ve experienced so far, there’s likey a lot of life left in it yet! I don’t usually buy pu’erh in tea bags, but I am finding it convenient – no cake to break, no weighing or measuring, and easy clean-up to boot! I’d definitely take some of these along with me if I were travelling – the quality of the tea seems unimpaired, and I didn’t find the slightly higher price off-putting when considering the number of steeps I’ll ultimately get from each one.

Another Teavivre win!

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Another from my first White2Tea order. I’ve been really impressed with these; they’ve definitely changed how I think of sheng, particularly. I’m brewing this one western style at work, but keeping my steeps short since experience has told me that’s what works best.

The initial sip is very creamy, with a definite dairy/milk mouthfeel and flavour. There’s a slight brassy/sour sheng flavour, but it’s not significant – and nowhere near as prominent as it was with 2015 Poundcake. The only thing missing at the moment is the alcohol!

Second steep has a little more sourness, but I may have steeped it a few seconds too long. The creaminess seems a lot more muted, at least in terms of flavour, but the mouthfeel still has that delicious dairy-like weight and texture.

Third steep is less sour again (25 seconds is as long as I want to brew this one to find my own happy place with it; the second steep was more like 30-35). There’s a muted creaminess, but it looks like I’m not going to be able to recreate the utter yumminess of the first steep again. While the texture is mostly smooth, there are the beginnings of a low-level astringency that’s leaving me with a slightly dry mouth.

Fourth steep was very similar to the third, with the astringency just a touch more pronounced. That’s with a reduced steep time again (15 seconds this time), so I think I’m going to call a halt here for today. There’s no question that I could keep going, but I figure when you stop enjoying something it’s probably time to quit.

I’d purchase this one – or its future iterations – again. The first steep was the best, and at the very least I’d like to experience that another time!


The name got me. Sounds delish!

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I’m drinking this one a little out of season, although it’s back to winter temperatures today so more appropriate than it would have been last week! I really like this one – it manages to capture creme brulee more accurately than I thought possible, and the peppermint isn’t too overpowering. It strikes a nice balance! Sweet vanilla custard is the first flavour I get, and it’s deliciously creamy with just a hint of brown sugar. The mint comes out primarily in the mid sip, but it’s sweeter than I expected, and fairly candy-like; more candy cane than straight peppermint tea. I did notice a slightly artificial sweetness in the aftertaste as my cup cooled, which reminded me of stevia. I wondered if maybe it came from the sprinkles, since I can’t see anything else in the ingredients that would potentially cause it. It’s easy to overlook because it’s not too distracting, and it didn’t detract significantly from an otherwise wonderful cup. There’s no way this one should be a seasonal limited edition!

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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Hi :) I’m Sarah, and I live in Norfolk in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s my latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.


Norfolk, UK

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