70 Tasting Notes


Whoa, hello mixed reviews! I can’t remember where I got this sample, but it’s been staring at me for weeks through the wire mesh tea-bin and I finally decided to polish it off last night.

When I opened the pouch, the smell of cinnamon was so hot it felt like my nose was burning (or I had to sneeze?). It brewed up a medium brown with sweet cinnamon aroma and an astringent black tea undertone. I would have preferred a more rounded blend; the dry mouthfeel was at odds with the spicy sweetness. I did appreciate that I could taste the tea under all that other stuff, so there’s that. :)

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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Many kind people have sent me sample, but I can’t remember exactly who sent this sachet of Kandy. Whoever you are, thank you! This brewed up nice and strong, with bright floral notes and astringency. It reminds me of the sun tea my mom used to make. I bet it’d kick ass with a little honey and lemon.

Good cup, would drink again—though I would probably not order it for myself.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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I forgot all about this sample. It’s one of the half-dozen Claire sent me six months ago when I was first learning about tea. It hardly seems like six months could have passed since then, but here we are.

The first time I tried this, I was very discouraged by how temperamental I thought it was. Now I’m a little more careful about brewing temperatures, and I never ever ever let a green tea get cold if I can help it. This cup brewed up nice and brothy with an olive-amber color and sweet, slightly vegetal aroma.

First steep:
The sip is dainty and sweet, with mild vegetal flavor and a light grainy note. My sinuses are giving me hell this morning so I don’t completely trust my nose, but sinus issues for me usually mean that unpleasant tastes and smells are enhanced. I get none of that from this tea. A tiny bit of smoke as it cools and a wee bit of bitterness on the last sip.

Second steep: More of the same. Great cup!

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Overleafed the pot (on purpose), then SQUIRREL and steeped it for…one hour? Two? Not really sure. It was a long time, I know that much. I decided to reheat it in the microwave and found it’s still drinkable.

I’ve had this before and it was really light and smooth. It’s pretty close to that now, except for a little acrid afterbite that is punishing me for my indiscretions.

Now can finals week be over, please?

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drank Organic Darjeeling by Wegmans
70 tasting notes

Another sipdown. Sad, but necessary—cupboard real estate is at a premium around here. Did a nice long-ish steep on this sample from the wonderful Jude. It might be mislabeled, as there was no Organic Darjeeling from Wegmans in the database, but I’ll assume it’s the right thing unless I discover otherwise.

Dark amber in color, roasty chocolate aroma with caramelized squash notes and a hint of florals. Has an almost silky mouthfeel, which I didn’t expect from a Darjeeling but is really nice. I’d definitely drink this again. Too bad it doesn’t exist! ;)

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Momijigari by Lupicia
70 tasting notes

Sipdown, so sad. It lasted until March, but barely! Juicy as usual, really refreshing. I love this stuff (though I have to move it down a peg or two since I’ve spent some time refining my score criteria…it’s just so dang subjective).


Hey, your bestie happens to live in a town with a Lupicia…

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Thanks for the sample, Sara!

This one came in a nice sachet and was a decent cup of tea. Slightly astringent, brown in color with mild flavors of the breakfast tray: buttered toast and a tiny bouquet of wildflowers. I wouldn’t buy it, just because there are so many other darjeelings out there I love more (I miss the big floral, big orange-squash flavors), but it hits the spot well enough.

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drank Sweet Potato Pie by Handmade Tea
70 tasting notes

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I love free samples. This has a tangy apple flavor, like a Jolly Rancher candy. The flavor of the tea hides behind it a bit, but I liked it anyway. Kind of an inoffensive comfort-drink to remind you of things you liked when you were a kid.

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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I love tasting things. Slowly, I’m getting better at it.

I am a coffee convert; the 5+ cups of strong coffee I used to drink every day has trickled down to 1-2 cups a week, if a pot’s already brewed and I’m feeling lazy. Otherwise, tea all the way!

It’s been a few months now, which is enough for me to know that everyone likes different things about their cup. Personally I like my teas the way I like my men—strong and naked, with no artificial flavors or preservatives. Also dry, and in a tin. Hah!

Life is interesting and occasionally irritating. Because of this, I am sometimes laser-eyed, but a nice cup of tea usually helps.


Lovely green Oregon

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