3238 Tasting Notes

drank Irish Whiskey by TeaMaze
3238 tasting notes

A surprise sample of this arrived from gmathis and I was especially excited to try it now that we are having an actual cool evening!

The aroma is very rich, nice and boozy with chocolate. The chocolate does not have the weird aroma that Ashman hates but I am making a just-for-me cup tonight and will have a other tomorrow morning. The base of this lends itself very well to breakfast as it has that slight briskness that makes it a little stimulating.

I find it similar to O’Connor’s Cream, which is slightly less brisk to me and a little creamier, whereas this one has a little more flavor from the base tea I think.

Thank you for the very welcome sample, gmathis!


I thought they were similar, too.

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drank Winter Spice by Twinings
3238 tasting notes

Experiment 1: Heated apple juice and then added one bag of Winter Spice per mug. Steeped for five minutes then left bag in during sipping. Beginning of cup was mostly strong warm apple juice flavor with light spice, but as I neared the bottom of the cup I began to taste the chamomile and cardamom quite a bit more.

Funny thing – I forgot to tell Ashman what we were drinking and just handed him the cup. He sipped and said, “Wow, this is really apple-y!”

“Oh, um….yes, this is apple juice with a tea bag in….”

“Ah, well…it’s really good!”

Thought – caramel drizzle? Whipped cream on top? Whipped cream with caramel drizzle on top? More experiments to follow, including glug of orange juice.

Evol Ving Ness

Wow, that was fast! Well done!

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drank Winter Spice by Twinings
3238 tasting notes

I ordered this tea because I got two reviews mixed up, both of which I had commented on and they had similar names.

First, this doesn’t hold a candle to Spiced Fall Evenings.

Now that we have that out of the way…this smells good. When I took the plastic outer wrap off of the box a nice, warm spice smell greeted me. The tea while steeping also smelled nice.

The first sip immediately made me think that I would probably clutch a cup of this sometime when I wasn’t feeling well and really like it. I can imagine it being comforting when you don’t have the energy to pay attention to really good tea.

I think it might be better with a little real apple juice or something added to pump up the flavor, and either honey (especially when sick) or a little sweetener might also take it a long way toward tasting like what the aroma made you hope for.

The chamomile dominates but the apple is nice enough, though very mild. And that’s the bottom line. It was so promising in aroma but fell a little short. It isn’t terrible, and is drinkable for what it is and if it helps me relax or sleep then hallelujah. But I will definitely be looking for an easy trick to make it taste a little stronger. Maybe two bags? Brown sugar?

I may even try heating some apple juice and use this as a sort of mulling spice in it.

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you for reminding me to poke around for some suitable sick teas for when the moment should arise. Also, the apple juice idea is brilliant. How about warmed apple juice with a glug of OJ?


mmmmm…mulling spices! Good call!


Evol: I plan to try it different ways and will report on my findings! Will add the glug!


Is a glug bigger or smaller than a dollop? ;)


I believe a glug is of similar size but has a thinner consistency.

Evol Ving Ness

Agreed. A glug is a bit more lusty than a splash. I look forward to your findings.

Evol Ving Ness

The juice of one whole orange should do it.

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drank Yume by Lupicia
3238 tasting notes

I love the smell of this tea, and I had thought a replacement for Carol (which is seasonal) was found. Fraisier does nicely as a replacement but then this one came along and confused me. So which should I restock?

The aroma is very fruity and the first sip has lots of strawberry and vanilla…or is that cream? I noticed as I kept sipping through breakfast that the black tea base comes through a little more in this tea to me, and becomes more noticeable as it cools. That’s not a bad thing, I thought it was a plus since it was breakfast.

Then I served some last weekend to Ashman thinking he would love it, but he said he preferred Carol and Fraisier. He felt a little let down by the amount of fruit flavor in comparison to the aroma, and said perhaps if the aroma hadn’t gotten his hopes so high he would have enjoyed it more. The amount of black tea he was tasting was off-putting for him.

So this one will be my own breakfast tea for solitary breakfasts, and we will stick to his favorites for weekends. I must say, I really do enjoy this one! I like the base just fine, the fruitiness satisfies me, and it stands up to my breakfast.

Which means I need to order both Frasier AND Yume. Oh, well!

Cameron B.

I don’t enjoy this one quite as much just because of the addition of rose.


Cameron B. – And Ashman doesn’t care for rose too much. I love it and find it almost unnoticeable in this but he probably detected it. Ha ha!

Cameron B.

I need to order some Carol this year, it’s been a few since I’ve tried it I think…

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We haven’t had a gong fu session in quite a while. I began to have trouble sleeping so we stopped having caffeine in the evening and we just haven’t made time during the day on weekends, plus it has been in the 90’s and humid so not the first idea that springs to mind on a Saturday after mowing.

Derk gave this tea a glowing report and I was intrigued because Ashman and I love the Dong Ding from Tin Roof Teas, and when I buy it we tend to speed through the 100 gram bag because we make big pots of it for breakfast.

This was the perfect tea to renew our gong fu sessions. It was everything I love about Dong Ding plus so much more.

The wet leaf after the very quick rinse had little aroma. It was saving it for later.

Ashman jokes about his inability to make notes on tea, saying, “This is hot and tea-ish.” For this one, he sniffed and said it reminded him of the smell of wood. I agree, and all Dong Ding smells of wood and toast to me. He agreed it was toast and not smoke.

The first sip was a mind bender. Creamy? Was that creamy? Not milky, mind you, but creamy. Yes, yes, it was. Then fresh wood aroma and fruit, and a flitting of sweetness through the cup. The sweetness lay on the tongue a moment and I was startled to be reminded of fruity gum. I think it was what others more accurately called roasted sugarcane. I need to try some real sugarcane.

Steep two was magnificent. All the flavors increased. I can not say that the woodiness took a back seat and the fruit stepped forward, rather EVERYTHING stepped forward. In fact, I felt there was more fruit and Ashman said he thought there was more wood. The flavor overall increased, and it stayed that way for all five steeps.

Magnificent. Worth the price and worth the wait. I can hardly wait to try the others, including the exciting free sample that was sent. I ordered enough to get free shipping and the package came quickly, registered mail. A good experience start to finish.



Evol Ving Ness

Delightful. It makes me happy to hear about your tea joy!

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drank Palm Court by Harney & Sons
3238 tasting notes

A sipdown of a tea that I go back and forth on. Sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t. When cool, I don’t. While it is really hot, both Ashman and I like it well enough but we have too many other black teas we like better. I probably won’t restock this one ever, but it IS a decent cup of tea.

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This is a backlog from a couple of weeks ago, and I can not remember if this sample came from derk or White Antlers. I need to start writing these things down so I can thank people properly! Many thanks to whomever sent it!

This sample is labeled Summer, July 2020.

I liked this tea more than most other tasters here did, but perhaps that is because it has been a long time since I have had a good quality unflavored black tea other than the same (good) ones that I drink frequently with Ashman. Because caffeine has been keeping me awake, we stopped having evening gong fu, and there are few plain black teas that he enjoys, so I end up drinking Bailin Gong Fu…..a lot.

And this was just different! It isn’t a bust your chops wake up tea. It has the gentler nature often found in many Fujian and Taiwanese black teas. It is more floral and fruity than savory or roasty. The quintessential “tea” flavor that makes me think of a truly fine Ceylon orange pekoe is tucked in with honey and fruit.

It made a really nice morning mental vacation on a day when I could really use it. (Those are frequent for everyone now!)

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I finally finished this tea. I hoarded for so long that I was afraid it was a goner, especially with the big strips of coconut in it.

GMathis mentioned scones a few days ago and I could not get them out of my mind, so Monday morning I made a batch of cranberry/white chocolate chip/pecan scones to serve as breakfast for the week. This was what I chose to pair with it.

The smell of the dry leaf is so sweet but the tea itself is not. I think it is the combination of black and green tea that gives this tea a little smoky edge that keeps the macaron part from being cloying. It was just hefty enough for breakfast but I love it as an afternoon tea, also. It is one of my favorites from Whittards of Chelsea. The coconut was not in the least rancid, thank goodness.

So this was a sipdown, but I don’t get any extra room on the actual shelf because the tin is too pretty to throw away. Eventually I will probably part with it but not today.


I can’t bare to throw away pretty tins. Instead, I leave them on the free table at work and hover in my doorway watching them find new homes!


I feel the same! I teach a lot of teen girls who instagram and they often take my pretties for photo props! The sturdy tins often end up in Ashman’s woodworking shop to hold bits and bobs. When feasible, I relabel them and store loose leaf that came in an envelope or bag.

I can just see you peering out to see them leaving, clutching your hankie, and dabbing away a happy tear as you give a surreptitious wave goodbye!


Throw nothing away is hard-wired into my DNA. Depression-era parents.


Gmathis: Same! Spent tonight re-hemming an ancient blanket by hand because the edge binding wore out. One end done, one to go, and boy, is my neck stiff!

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drank Fraisier by Lupicia
3238 tasting notes

This seems utterly impossible. I just finished my pouch of Fraisier and there are no tasting notes from me? I swear I remember making comparisons to Carol! So here we go…

You know this was popular because I have teas that have been hanging around for six years and I got this for Mother’s Day and it is gone, mostly because Ashman likes it a lot and we have it for breakfast on weekends with our bagels.

Carol is limited edition and sells out fast. It is black tea with strawberry, vanilla, and coconut. Fraisier is black tea with strawberry and vanilla, and they also sell a plain strawberry black tea.

Carol is our favorite and goes FAST. I realize that it might not be wise to stock up too much of it with the way coconut can go rancid, so I guess I won’t try to buy a year supply when it comes back before Christmas.

Strawberry black is good, but there is a very weird aroma in the dry leaves that comes through a little when steeped, but everyone has liked it well enough.

Fraisier is excellent. It resteeps pretty well so I can use 3 teaspoons in my stump pot, steep, make another steep, and pour into the big pot. I don’t know what that weird aroma is in Strawberry Black, or if the vanilla here covers it up, or if this is just a different strawberry flavoring.

Speaking of big pot, anyone have a favorite they recommend? I don’t want to take anything too delicate outside to the stone patio and have been looking at the big Curve pot. I have a large tetsubin we use now, but it is pretty heavy, which I guess isn’t a big deal but each time we use it, I think how we really should look for maybe a ceramic pot, which will be heavy enough in that size. I am thinking around 36 to 40 ounces.

Also, joyful squealing here as the cherry vanilla bagels are back at Panera! Brekkie on the patio this morning on our first day with lows in the 50’s! Never mind that we still have 90’s in the forecast. I need to find everything that makes me happy and note it because I dislike the short, dark days and have to battle seasonal depression. Like the cooler weather, hate the shorter days.


I’ll see that cherry vanilla bagel and raise you a cranberry orange scone (Target, not Panera).


Oooooo, I may have to look for that! Panera used to have cranberry walnut bagels that were pretty good but discontinued them. I should make some scones….Youngest used to make lovely cranberry white chocolate chop ones for me.


I did, however, strike out on Harney & Sons tea @ Target (was looking for that bourbon one). Nothing at ours more exotic than Vanilla Comoro and Pumpkin Spice.


A sample of O’Connor’s is on its way to you!

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I have made this as iced tea twice and finished it off by making by the carafe. It is nice, fruity, and made me think of Pomegranate Oolong from Harney and Sons somewhat. I don’t know that I would like it hot but it was quite serviceable cold. We go through a lot of iced tea in summer.

Enjoyed it, but not a re-order for me. There are so many good options that cost a lot less. Piper and Leaf just seems a bit expensive for the amount of leaf.

Although I haven’t posted notes for them all, I have finished off a number of samples lately and my cupboard is getting almost manageable! I do not add samples to cupboard, so there are probably at least fifty additional teas over what is listed for my online cupboard here. Working on it! (So I can order more tea…)

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I am a music teacher, tutor, and former homeschool mom (25 years!) who started drinking loose leaf tea about fourteen years ago! My daughters and I have tea every day, and we are frequently joined by my students or friends for “tea time.” Now my hubby joins us, too. His tastes have evolved from Tetley with milk and sugar to mostly unadorned greens and oolongs.

We have learned so much history, geography, and culture in this journey.

My avatar is a mole in a teacup! Long story…


North Carolina

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