361 Tasting Notes

drank Special Dark by Mandala Tea
361 tasting notes

It snowed about 5 inches here yesterday, which is a lot for Portland. I woke up this morning wanting something warm and cozy. Special dark is like a nice warm blanket that always makes you feel better, whether it be to warm you up, you’re sad, you’re sick, or cough a tad hungover. I’ve had several cups this morning while watching the kids, who are so excited by the snow, play, and the birds go crazy at our bird feeders. My favorite is the little hummingbird who has realized that i keep thawing the nectar so he pretty much just sits on the feeder and eats all day until it’s frozen. Then I bring it in and take out the thawed one. He chirps at me when I bring it out and then takes his perch again. So funny. They are such amazing little creatures.


Yes! a nice warm blanket – exactly. And a good session with this tea will mos def warm me up on a chilly day. A great pre-sauna sesh with this tea makes the sweat happen much sooner :)

Thank you for the write up!

with gratitude,


Awww hummingbird! Glad he’s figured out where to get a good meal! :)


The hummingbird sounds so cute!


There are two hummingbirds now and they keep having mini in-air battles. Been taking some slow motion videos with my phone. So cool to see their wings in slow-mo.

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I don’t know why I ordered this. Seriously, one of my least favorite flavors in life is banana ‘flavor’. Don’t get me wrong, I love bananas, but banana ‘flavor’ is the worst, wait, no watermelon ‘flavor’ is the worst, but banana is close. And I haven’t had much luck with Frank’s teas. They always sound amazeballs, but rarely deliver for me.

But Frank’s email caught me at a low point during my diet and his description of buttered banana bread sounded so damn good and I was so damn hungry. I figured I could waste $9 in the tiny hope that this tea would deliver.

And maybe my diet has altered my tastebuds or made me desperate, but this is REALLY good. Not banana ‘flavor’ at all, just tastes like bananas and bread, ever so light cinnamon, and a light salty butter flavor. Seriously not sure i would change anything in this blend, well, maybe I’d figure out a way to add more butter, cause my god do I want butter :-)

I steeped it using my general 52teas method, which is overleafing and understeaping.

I’m right there with you on banana flavor! Gag me! I have completely avoided anything banana in tea for fear that it would be artificial which Hubby and I both can’t stand. Watermelon I can handle, but banana, blech!

It was great to see your review on this as I never would have ventured into banana tea territory without having seen this note :) I might have to try this one.

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When I opened the pack I was a little disappointed to smell more of a butterscotch smell vs. creme brûlée as I am not a butterscotch fan at all. Once brewed, it still tastes like a butterscotch chai, but I was very surprised to find that I really enjoyed it! I’ve tried several herbal infusions teas and haven’t been totally blown away by any, but if I do decide to order something, I’d throw this onto the order.

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Had this one last night and it’s my least favorite of the oolongs I’ve tried lately. I definitely like the heavier roasted ones, but this is nice and light. Kind of like springtime in a cup. But I’m in the dead of winter, so I need something a little more robust. I’ll save my other pack for when I can sit on my back porch and watch the kids chase each other around the yard.

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First tea of the morning. I still don’t love it, but it’s good with the maple-y flavor of the yacon syrup.

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Dear Sil-

I regret to inform you that it appears as though I’m starting to enjoy pretty much every roasted oolong thrown my way. I don’t know if it’s because of their roasty deliciousness or because I can drink them at night without worrying about the caffeine. Or if it’s simply because they are new to me and unlike greens or whites, still have a strong flavor. I don’t know what’s happening, but I do promise to always love my straight black teas best.


p.s. you can blame your tea sister for this. She included this delicious tea a while back and my previous ambivalence towards oolongs kept me from trying it until now.

p.p.s Thanks Terri Harplady!


Roasting does things to the caffeine level?


Wondering the same thing.


sigh another one bites the dust…


Woot woot oolongs!


Yay for oolongs!! So what happens to the caffeine in roasted oolongs?


oh, I have no idea if roasting does anything, but I have noticed that i can drink roasted oolongs right before bed and still go right to sleep. might just be me!


what I’ve read is that caffeine levels are reduced due to the baking/roasting…

Terri HarpLady

Glad you like it!
Sil, at least she’s not in love with the Earl! ;)


by that rationale aged teas that have received multiple roasts would be the best nighttime choice…


Earl’s would/will NEVER happen. I can’t even stand a light earl grey, even if I’m desperate. Just the thought makes my face cringe a bit.

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drank Organic Long Jing by Steepster
361 tasting notes

My green tea taste buds are not very sophisticated, my black buds tend to run the show around here. So all I can really say is this a decent green tea. Nothing mind blowing, but good with my dinner :-)

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I’m with the crowd on this one. #18 isn’t a tea I love in general, but I’ve had a few that are really good. This one is not the best in my opinion. Still happy to have tried it though, as I tend to enjoy most black teas from Taiwan

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Ooh. I like this one. This is a delicious breakfast tea. Pretty sure the best Irish Breakfast ever. And Black Lotus is the best English Breakfast. Butiki has cornered the market on my breakfast teas!

Donna A

I really like this one and Black Lotus too!

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My cold has turned into a sinus infection so my taste buds are literally worthless at this point. I’m hitting the doctor in a few minutes so I can finally get rid of this crud! For the last few days I’ve been living on various sources of Laoshan Black. Mostly this one though, since I have a bunch of it and I’d like to make a dent. Even though I can’t full taste or enjoy this, there is a enough richness in it to trigger my memories of its flavor to carry me through, ha ha.

Seriously, I’m soooooooooooooooooo tired of my face feeling like it’s going to explode. I can’t wait to get my buds back and try all the new teas I’ve gotten in the past 1 1/2 weeks. It’s been raining tea from my mailman and I haven’t tried any, cue tiny violin… or if Terri could play me something on the harp, ha ha.

Off to the doc for some drugs. Maybe next time herbal remedies, you failed me this time.


Feel better!


Hope you feel better soon!


Feel better!! :)


Yay for drugs that actually work! feel better!


Yikes! Feel better soon.


I’m so sorry you feel terrible! :/

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I love tea. And I love beer. I spent my twenties thoroughly enjoying all that beer has to offer but now that I’m into my thirties and a stay at home mom of 2 little kids and 1 big kid, I spend more time enjoying tea.

I joined steepster in Feb 2013 and it’s crazy how much my tastes have changed since joining. Before, I liked cream and honey in all teas and loved mostly dessert blacks. Now I almost rarely drink them, but enjoy them from time to time. What I love more than anything are straight rich black teas, Fujian, Laoshan, Rizhao, etc… I also love pretty much any black tea that the little leaf hoppers have gotten their teeth on.

I’m still not too into the green/white/oolong varieties. I keep trying to but my tastes are evolving pretty slowly on that front.

Overall, I just enjoy tea. Something about it that just settles me.


Portland, OR

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