224 Tasting Notes

Tea #1 from Traveling Tea Box C.

I thought I’d give this a shot since I don’t have much experience with green teas other than I don’t like them in general. But maybe this would be one I’d like.
Brewed according to instructions on bag. I think it was like 3 or 4 min @ 180* or something similar.
This…I definitely didn’t like. It tasted like undercooked veggies, or mown grass, or something similar. The notes I took last night about it I didn’t really get into what sort of green it was, other than it was green mostly because I didn’t want to keep drinking it to figure it out. Lol. I didn’t get any sort of cherry out of this at all unfortunately. Even adding Truvia to it didn’t help. It just made it sweetened green water.
Maybe I didn’t brew it correctly. Or add enough leaf to get the cherry flavor or something. But mostly I think I’m just not a green tea person still. One day maybe, but certainly not now.

One thing to note – it completely contaminated my ingenuitea and my porcelain cup and made the next tea (Upton’s Vanilla Black) have that green veggie taste/smell. Mostly smell. I thought I’d scrubbed both my mug and steeper well enough, but apparently not. Lol. It took soaking it with baking soda, then scrubbing it again with soap after to finally get rid of the smell. Just thought I’d point that out incase someone else uses a plastic anything with this.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Short Sorceress

I probably should have put a warning label on this tea, feel free to add a label to the package. Personally, I thought this tea tasted like plastic and only put it in because I thought it might have just been me since I don’t care for sencha.

I used a combination of baking soda and vinegar (making a mini-volcano in the process) to clean my ingenuiTEA. Rinse and repeat a few times and it came clean.


a warning label, haha, i might have to do that!

Shadowfall – please don’t consider this one representative of any sort of green tea. It’s an abomination! If this was the first green tea I ever had I would probably never ever drink a green tea again.

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Got a sample of this from Cavocorax because I wanted to dip my toe (so to speak) into the whole Matcha deal, but I didn’t want to buy a large amount of it from somewhere and then end up not liking it.
The smell is very sweet caramel. It reminds me of really good caramel candies actually. Mmmmm. Caramel Candy…too bad it gets stuck in my teeth.
Anyway, so I mixed a tsp into 8oz of milk and stirred/mixed like crazy until I couldn’t see any little spots through the bottom of the measuring cup. I probly got the ratios all wrong for it, or something, but whatever.
After the foam faded off, it was this, errr, kinda grey/greenish color, that made me slightly dubious about it, but then, I was expecting a brighter green. Which makes me suspect that maybe I didn’t use enough? Or else it’s because I just don’t know what color it should have been in the first place. Lol! I didn’t add any ice or anything to this because I wanted to see what it was like straight.

So tentative sip and….oh. Oh Wow! Caramel milk goodness. Seriously. I was expecting a bitter, green-something taste because that’s been my experience with green tea in the past, and this really awful matcha dry fruit mix I got a sample of once. But nope. Total caramel goodness. I ended up drinking the whole cup so fast I don’t really even remember drinking it.
Next time I’ll probly try 1 1/2 tsp, or possibly 2 tsp, next time I make it, just cause it can’t hurt. But I’d definitely order this in the future. And it really makes me want to try other matchas now. Awesome experience is….well, awesome. Lol!

Try some of it here:


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Tea #2 from Traveling Tea Box C (I can’t find the first tea I tried in the database yet. Lol)
1 tsp/cup

I think the cup of sencha I had before didn’t completely wash out of either my cup or the steeper, because I’m getting strong impressions of that greenness smell, and it’s rather spoiling the whole cup because I tend to inhale the aroma before taking a sip. Lol. Not rating it because of this. If I pinch my nose and take a sip, I do get the vanilla in the tea, but really, it’s not that strong anyway. I would think a straight vanilla tea would have a ‘bam!’ sort of vanilla-ness to it, or at least that’s what I wish for. So while not bad, I’ve had better vanilla teas.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Chocolate Orange by DAVIDsTEA
224 tasting notes

So when I first went to DavidsTea, after the girl brought down a bazillion tins (not really but it felt like it), I got a few teas to bring home. So did my Mom. When I was checking out, I think I mentioned to my Mom that if I was ordering these online I’d be getting some free samples, but this was so much nicer to be able to get smaller amounts. The lady then tossed a bag of this in with my stuff for free just because, which was awesome. It had been one of the ones I was considering getting, but decided on some fruity oolongs instead. Lol.

That was months ago and I finally decided to try this one today. Mostly I was putting it off because I had an awful experience with the last chocolate orange tea I tried (burnt orange, yuck). But I was going through my swap bin and realized I hadn’t yet tried it. So I figured what the heck.

This would also be the first puerh that I’ve ever tried, though I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t use it as a comparison for what a puerh should be. At least I hope not.
Anyway. The tea in the bag was powdery with little chocolate curls and orange pieces. I think it was so powdery because of the chocolate, or something. I can’t imagine it was the tea causing it. I measured out a tsp and a half-ish into my steeper, poured boiling water over it and waited the minimum 4 min.

The wet leaves had that orange-y smell that I was expecting, but it didn’t assault my nose or smell burnt like the other orange chocolate tea I’ve had.
The brew wasn’t bad. The orange wasn’t overpowering, but it was definitely there. It had almost a spiciness to it that I wasn’t expecting, but it wasn’t strong. Just kinda a faint note at the back of the sip. I didn’t really get a strong distinction of chocolate from this, which I’d expect something given how much was in the mix. But I think it added maybe a richness to the cup and helped to tone down the orange. I’m not sure what a puerh is supposed to taste like so I couldn’t exactly pick it out of this, but it certainly didn’t adversely affect the brew.

I went for a second steep since, from what I’ve read here, puerh can take multiple steeps, usually this is encouraged, so I figured what the heck.
I should’ve stopped at the one steep, and certainly not tried to drink the second one. The wet leaves had a fishy smell to them, which I’ve heard sometimes a puerh will have. It also had a minty smell to it. Actually, it reminded me alot of the chiclet gum my Mom chews for her heartburn. (Just to note, I don’t think her gum smells fishy, just that these leaves reminded me of that. Lol) I scraped the leaves out of my steeper immediately before adding baking soda and hot water to it, since the steeper stank of this. Hopefully it’ll go away. Lol.
The brew had the same fishy smell to it, and the taste. UGH! Like fish. And mint. And orange. BLECH!
Maybe the third steep would’ve been better, but I didn’t even want to try it since what’s the point if you can’t get through the second steep?

Overall, for me this is a one steep only. But I’m not really planning on keeping this around. Maybe I’m doing something wrong because it seems like other reviewers for this have gotten multiple steeps out of it. But it’s just not for me I guess.
I won’t let this spoil my interest in trying puerh teas though. I’ll still, eventually, be giving that section of teas a try one of these days.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Ceylon Star by DAVIDsTEA
224 tasting notes

This is….actually not as bad as I was fearing. I picked up a 25g package of this from a 2 for $5 bin my last trip into a DavidsTea, after smelling it and finding it not too bad.
I got home and after trying another tea of their’s with coconut (Fantasy Island) and really disliking it, I nearly threw this in the swap bin before trying it just because it had coconut. But I figured why not.

Opening it, all I saw was the star anise, so I poured the bag into a bowl and all the tea was at the bottom. I measured out as evenly as I could 1 1/4 tsp (though it was probly closer to 1/2), dropped two of the star anise into the steeper and steeped 4 min @ 208*.

The smell of the wet leaves especially reminded me of the sassafras I get at the Renaissance Faire. I don’t always like licorice, but in small amounts it’s alright. I rarely have a taste for it. But the taste in this one wasn’t overpowering like I worried with the two giant star anise in the pot.

Taste wise it was licorice-y, but mellow, and the coconut accented this pretty nicely. It wasn’t all in your face like the Fantasy Island. This one was also just mildly spicy-esque and makes me think it’d be good for a morning tea. I added a bit of brown sugar and smidge of truvia and it was very nice indeed. I can imagine this would take milk well if I were so inclined.
I couldn’t really tell the black tea here, but then, I was so busy with the star anise and coconut I didn’t really give much thought to the black tea base other than ‘there, but not strong’. I didn’t get any astringency that I could tell.

Didn’t try a second steep, though I probly should have. Maybe the anise would’ve been toned down so I could taste the black tea. Ah well. Next time I make it.

I actually like this quite a bit. Enough that I’d consider picking up a bag to keep on hand when it goes on sale. Which was certainly surprising to me. Lol.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Lychee Oolong by Butiki Teas
224 tasting notes

So I actually drank this last night, but Steepster was still being a butt so I decided to just write down my notes and post them later. I picked up a notebook from work with this image on it, http://www.baxleystamps.com/litho/hasegawa/process_wb_c1953_fuji-wave_13-1.jpg, so I can start keeping notes on tea/swaps/companies/etc (mostly of blends I want to make on Adagio. Lol!). But that’s a different tangent.

I can’t remember if I got this my last order or the order before that. But I wanted to give it a shot because I love lychee (when I can find them), so a tea with lychee sounded wonderful.
1st steep – 4min/180* – I was surprised at the color of the brew. A very bright yellow. And floral smelling. Tasting it, it was greener than I was expecting, though I knew this wasn’t a roasted oolong so it would be lighter. But it wasn’t the grassy taste of, say, a green tea or even a ti kuan yin (I think I’m spelling that right). But a nice, well, green taste. Lol. I need to work on my vocabulary I think. There was also a nice floral taste, not overpowering, but light and just overall very nice. I didn’t really get any definite lychee flavor though. The leaves were still mostly curled/unopened, so I tried another steep.

2nd steep – 5 min/180* – Darker yellow brew this time. The taste isn’t really as green as it was the first steep. It’s alot more faint and mellow. The same with the floral flavor. I think I get a vague lychee flavor on the back of each sip, but I’m not sure if I’m imagining it because I want to to be there or not. Lol. By now the leaves are mostly uncurled, though I think I still could get a third steep out of it. I opted not to because I didn’t really feel like drinking this anymore. It just didn’t really do it for me I guess.

While this was a nice tea that I might reach for if I was wanting something light, I’m not sure it’s one I’d ever want to reorder. It might just be because I’ve been drinking alot of blacks and oolongs at the moment trying to learn the palate for those that the nuances of this tea are whizzing over my head. But what I could get from it, it was nice and certainly a better experience than I’ve had with any of the greener oolongs I’ve attempted to try.

180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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Steepster is being a butt tonight. It ate this review twice before posting it. And it keeps giving me the kettle page when I click anything. _

So I grabbed this to make tonight ‘cause I just felt like making it. It smells just like what I’ve been craving the last day or so and I made a big double cup to sit with me while I go play some Diablo 3.
Unfortunately the taste was not what I was hoping or remembering. It tasted very watered down, and the few mouthfuls I had left my mouth feeling funky. I think next time I make this I’ll try two tsp per cup, or 1 + 1/2. I can’t remember what I used last time and I seem to have misplaced the little notebook that I kept all my earlier tea notations. /frowns/ It’s here….somewhere. >>
Totally unsatisfying tonight and completely killed my urge for tea at all. /sigh/

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I suspect there may be something wrong with my tastebud? I had such high hopes for this, especially after reading the description on the website and the reviews here. Chocolatey, a bit of roastiness, caramel, sweet malty black tea goodness. It sounded so good I almost bought the 1oz bag straight off. But I settled on just the sample because I’ve bought an amount of a tea thinking I’d like it and then not caring much for it.
So I’ve been saving this tea for a time when I can enjoy it/treat myself. And a crappy day at work counts in my book (of which I had a really crappy day today and I expect to have another one tomorrow, so more special occasion tea for me). Opening the sample package, I got a whiff of the rice, but also the cocoa nibs with that bittersweet chocolate smell that practically makes my mouth water. I adore bittersweet chocolate, especially in cookies….Mmmmm, cookies……/clears throat/ Anyway, I poured the package out so that I could get as even a measurement as I could since I didn’t want to scoop out all the tea and have no rice.

Into my ingenutea, boiling water, 3 min and I could hardly wait. The brew smells chocolatey, but with that rice/grainy smell from the, well, rice. Not offputting at all like I would expect since, come on, it’s rice in tea. It was nice and comforting, if that makes any sense.
Taking a sip, I expected malty cocoa rice sweetness or something to that effect, but all I got was a kind of strong burn-y roastyness. I took another sip, rolled it around and got the same thing. I went through half the cup trying to find tastes other than that one, kinda got maybe a cocoa taste now and then, before I tried a bit of sugar in it just because. Now it had a sweetened roasty, burn-y taste to it.

Alright, maybe a second steep will bring out a different flavor. Steeped same temp water for 4:30 this time. The burn-y roasty taste had toned down, but I still couldn’t find much of any other flavor.
Not to mention I got a headache about halfway through the second steeping/almost at the end. Which I wonder if it was caused by the tea or something else? I’ve only had one other tea induced/related headache (Butiki’s Hattilli Golden Lion Assam and I’m not really convinced the tea was the cause really), but this headache wan’t like that one, it was kind’ve more of a broader ache this time which has since gone mostly away with a glass of water and my medicine. But has anyone else ever gotten a headache after drinking this tea? I just wonder if it’s maybe something in this specific tea or something completely different. But I’m off on a tangent now. Sorry.

So now I wonder are my tastebuds broken? Am I doomed to forever be shunned from the wonders of the unflavored black/oolong majesty. I had this same sort of ‘Meh’ reaction from the straight Laoshan Black (and actually quite a few other unflavored Verdant/Other company teas). /hangs head/ It’s almost vaguely depressing to me actually. Lol.

I have enough for one more cup, so maybe I’ll try a lower temp. I’m hoping that the burn-y, strong roasty flavor is because I burnt the leaves or something. Though it’s a black tea. I didn’t think you could really do that? Or should I try a gaiwan? I’m open to any and all suggestions/comments about this.

Because I’m not entirely sure this wasn’t operator error, I’ve refrained from putting a rating for now. I’ll edit with a rating after my next brew.

EDIT: Holy cow. I didn’t realize this was so long and I apologize. Lol

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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So after the horrible luck I’ve been having with teas tonight, I decided on a tea that I’m almost positive I’d like. I mean, you can’t (very rarely) go wrong with vanilla. This was one of the teas I got in the Try-me sampler on my last order.
The smell in the bag reminds me of Love in a Cup, which is great because I love that tea too.
The flavor was very nice. Smooth vanilla taste that increased after I added a bit of sugar. I used 1 1/2 tsp of this, but next time I might try 2 tsp to see if I can get more vanilla taste.
This is one I’d definitely consider reordering next time, unless I find a better vanilla tea before that.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

this is a fave of mine. it’s what i drink when i just can’t seem to decide what to drink. :)

Short Sorceress

It must have been something about last night, it was a horrible tea night for me as well.


Shmiracles – Lol. When I can’t decide what to drink, I always end up not drinking anything. Mostly because by the time I just decide to grab something randomly, it’s too late to drink tea.

Sorceress – I blame it on the weather. Lol.

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So I actually picked this up at the Chicago Adagio location after the blender of this tea, Cara McGee, had a tea party there during C2E2. I wasn’t there for the party though. I ended up stopping by about a week later and Adagio still had some blends lurking around, so I grabbed this since it sounded interesting and I had been considering buying it online. I wish it had been in the Sherlock sampler set a friend of mine that was there with me ended up picking up, since I would’ve loved to try this first. Or at least smelled it. If I had, I probly wouldn’ve bought this to be honest.

The dry blend smells of cinnamon, cardamom, a hint of coconut, ginger and very faintly either caramel or vanilla. Not so sure on that since everything else is so much stronger, but it’s faintly there. It’s not unpleasant, but definitely makes you (or at least me) proceed with caution. Lol.
The taste, however, doesn’t come close to having all these great smells present. For me, the Thai Chai completely overpowers everything else in this blend. And specifically the ginger is all I taste. Well, cinnamon versus ginger, with the ginger coming out mostly on top. It’s so strong that it actually made me a little ill and I had to pour out the rest of my cup. If I want a ginger tea, I’d rather drink the Shieldmaiden blend I have instead.

It’s not really a bad blend. If you like stronger, spicy-esque flavors, especially ginger, this is the tea for you. If you were looking for something mildly spicy, or something that you can taste the tiger eye or assam melody teas, you might consider trying another blend. It’s definitely not one of my favorites. Swap bin for this one.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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I wanted to cut soda out of my life, so I started drinking more tea. Now I’m quickly becoming addicted. But that doesn’t seem like so bad of a thing considering all there is out there to try.

I started with blacks, but oolongs are quickly becoming my new favorite. Unfortunately, I haven’t really been able to find a green or white tea that I really enjoy. Eventually maybe.

Always open for swaps. If you see something in my cupboard that you’re interested in, feel free to send me a message about it. I do have alot of sample sizes in my cupboard, so there might be a few that I won’t be able to swap. But it never hurts to ask. ^^

Likes – Fruity teas (Peach, Apricot & Pineapple to be specific, but I’d likely be open to others). I’m always on the lookout for a good caramel tea too…and a vanilla one. Or any sweet, dessert teas.
Oolongs and Blacks over any others.

Indifferent/Undecided – White teas are a bit delicate for me but I’m not opposed to trying something new. I haven’t yet found a green tea I like since I dislike vegetal flavors, but there has to be something out there. Coconut can be too strong, or alright depending on the tea.

Dislikes – Spicy/chai stuff not so much since I can’t seem to get past the spice taste to anything underneath. Anything overly astringent, though I can’t imagine anyone /liking/ astringency (but I’m probly wrong. Lol). Earl Greys, heavy florals, tart/sour teas, rooibos heavy, mint of any sort, vegetal, musky/leathery, citrus, hibiscus, coffee-esque flavors, lemon.

Allergies – Mangos, some nuts especially walnuts, cherries. Rose petals/heavy rose teas make me ill though it’s not an allergy so to speak. Heavy artificial flavors also make me ill.

Brief ‘How I rate things’ scale:
(Subject to change at any time. Lol)
100-80: I’d definitely reorder this/Keeping this in my cupboard.
79-50: Possibly reorder these. Either if there’s a sale or I’d consider swapping for it’s on a list and I don’t see anything else.
49-40: It’s alright. Glad I tried it but I won’t be ordering/reordering this.
39-20: Glad I tried before buying ‘cause I’d be ticked if I bought this. Ick.
20-lower: UGH! Get it away!


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