987 Tasting Notes


Backlog from a few nights ago:


I sent some of this tea off to a fantasy writer in Quebec whom I follow on Twitter, and she’s been live-tweeting about my tea swap for the past few days! When she wrote about having this tea, I decided to have it too, and now it is no more.

Sweet and nutty. Glad I finished this off, though as I bought it over a year ago.

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Backlog from last night.

My hubby and I were at the Eaton Centre yesterday and each got a hot tea to go. I decided to have this because it was the tea of the day and I liked the sample that I sipped. My husband, who generally doesn’t go for tea, was feeling adventurous and got an egg nog latte with Cinnamon Chai Rooibos. (He liked it! He liked it so much, in fact, that today he got an egg nog latte with Birthday Cake rooibos when he was out visiting a friend. Could this be the thing to convert my tea-agnostic hubby into a true believer? One can hope!)


I never thought I would go for a tea with banana in it, because I generally dislike banana-flavoured things if they aren’t made of fresh banana (eg: banana candy). But this was really true to its namesake: I tasted, bananas, nut, a hint of vanilla, and this nice pastry/bread note.

What’s really amazing to me is that although this tea uses almonds, it tasted like hazelnuts. I really like hazelnuts but rarely get a chance to try them in tea.

I wouldn’t mind having some of this to keep in my cupboard. And it turns out that this may be the case, since today we got a David’s Tea box in the mail with my husband’s name on it. I wonder what he could possibly be doing with such a purchase. ;-)


Mmm, eggnog lattes. ;)

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WHOA. I was expecting a hit of ginger with this tea, but this is UBER GINGER INCARNATE.

Not that that’s a bad thing. I’m just glad that I didn’t follow the instructions on the package – they recommended using 1 cup of hot water per packet, but I used 2 cups instead. Even with double the amount of liquid, it is still a giant ginger tsunami.

Whenever I go to Spring Rolls, I almost always get their ginger tea, and have tried for years to figure out what they put in it. This tastes pretty much exactly the same, so that’s one less thing to worry about!

Seriously. This is ginger-iffic.


Ooooh ginger tea! yessssssssss

Christina / BooksandTea

I don’t know if “tea” is the right word for this. It wasn’t a teabag with leaf inside it. Instead it was this crystallized powder that you just add hot water to.

I’m surprised by how much I like this, and it did help my stomach last night, so I’m considering finding some more.


Ah I think I’ve had it somewhere as well. Where did you find it?

Christina / BooksandTea

I picked it up from the Great Canadian Travelling Tea Box. I think Lala was the one who put it in there…


There are lots of brands of these types of drinks. I love them, especially for walks on cold days. :) I don’t think I’ve had a bad one yet.


Sounds uberly hydrating as well :)

Christina / BooksandTea

I don’t know about the hydrating part – it was so sweet that I made a cup of herbal tea afterwards to balance it out.


Wow that’s a lotta honey to be that sweet. Love me some honey :P

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This week I take a look at Teabook, a new monthly subscription service that comes with a free tumbler when you sign up.

They look pretty sleek, but I had some problems with the tumbler. (Don’t treat it like a ketchup bottle and smack the bottom!) However, they sent me a replacement, so I’m happy to report their customer service is good.

Full review and photos here: http://booksandtea.ca/2015/12/teabook-subscription-free-tumbler/

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I had the last of this tea this morning before heading to work. Unfortunately, that meant only 1 steep, when I know that this tea could probably have stood up to multiple infusions.

The jasmine here is really well done, and it’s amazing just how tightly curled up the nuggets of tea here are – they expand so much.

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The cake is a tightly compressed mass of dark green, with strands of silver, beige, khaki and white interspersed throughout. The dry leaf smells smoky and slightly fruity — pretty typical for a younger sheng.

I broke off 5.85 grams of dry leaf and gave the tea a quick rinse in 90°C water in my medium-sized gaiwan (about 130 mL). After the rinse, the smell of the leaf transformed from slightly smoky and fruity to intensely fermented — it was sour and reminded me of yogurt. I don’t mind this smell, but it was a surprise.

The first steep was very clear and had an amber tint to it like beer. The taste was refreshing: clear, smooth, with no sharpness or astringency. I noticed a slight bitter aftertaste.

The second steep was bitter and some smoke started to creep in. It’s possible I oversteeped this one, though, as I was slow to pour the liquid out of the gaiwan. Because of this, I noticed some astringency along with the bitterness. I took care during the third steep and was rewarded with liquid that was lighter in both colour and flavour – the bitterness hadn’t disappeared, but the fruitiness of the leaf came out to play. Despite the presence of fruit, though, the tea was still relatively herbal in flavour, with a bitter aftertaste.

The flavour stayed pretty consistent from here until the seventh steep. One thing I noticed about this tea is that its bitterness has a quality I feel on the middle and sides of my tongue, rather than the back of it. The mouthfeel and the flavour are both thin — this tea washes over my mouth smoothly, coats my tongue, and recedes quickly, leaving no trace. The colour lightened over time as well, becoming a pale gold rather than the amber it was at the beginning.

C’mon guys, read the full review. It’s got cat photos! http://booksandtea.ca/2015/11/white2tea-november-2015-subscription-box-2015-pin-raw-puerh/


You had me at cat photos. What a cutie! :-)


Awesome blog! I love your design. Yeah I have this tea also and am waiting a few months for it to settle before I try it.

Christina / BooksandTea

Obviously, I need to add cat photos to get traffic. You think I would’ve figured that out earlier.


Don’t underestimate people’s appetites for cuteness. Oolong Owl is great, but half the reason I click through is the cute crochet owls in the pictures.

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I last had this tea about a year ago, and it’s amazing how much a year of difference makes when you start to learn more about puerh. I know by now that I definitely prefer the fruitier, grassier, apricottier ones. However, this one still has quite a bit of depth and nuance. Before I noticed tobacco notes. Now, to me, they’re still smoky, but have more of a “forest floor” tinge to them.

Drinking this at work, bastardized gongfu style. Decent. I’m glad to have a chance to finish this one off.

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I bought this tea over a year ago so it was about time to finish it off. I had it tonight in the hopes that it would soothe my unhappy stomach, but alas, it’s not to be. The ginger is not doing its trick.

Now I need to find another green tea with ginger and citrus out there. I’m sure there are plenty. Any recommendations from the crowd?

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Backlog from a few days ago.

I’m almost done this bag, but I’m noticing how that the tea is more fruity/lemony than it used to be, while before it was more subtly floral. I think all the lemon myrtle settled at the bottom of the bag.

Not a bad thing, of course….

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First note for this tea, and it’s a sipdown!

I think I got this as a swap from Ubacat. This is a very nice moonlight tea, with fruity and floral notes, and it resteeps extremely well, even with my bullshit bastard gong-fu style that I use when I’m at work.

I got about 2 big helpings from the sample that Uba sent. The leaves are large and fragrant, with an earthy sweet smell. Glad I got a chance to try this.


Glad you liked it. I tried a few moonlight teas and this one remained my favourite. It’s also one of those teas you just can’t screw up the brewing. It’s always good!

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Updated March 2016:

I’m a writer and editor who’s fallen in love with loose-leaf tea. I’ve also set up a site for tea reviews at http://www.booksandtea.ca – an excellent excuse to keep on buying and trying new blends. There will always be more to discover!

In the meantime, since joining Steepster in January 2014, I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on my likes and dislikes

Likes: Raw/Sheng pu’erh, sobacha, fruit flavours, masala chais, jasmine, mint, citrus, ginger, Ceylons, Chinese blacks, rooibos.

Dislikes (or at least generally disinclined towards): Hibiscus, rosehip, chamomile, licorice, lavender, really vegetal green teas, shu/ripe pu’erh.

Things I generally decide on a case-by-case basis: Oolong, white teas.

Still need to do my research on: matcha

I rarely score teas anymore, but if I do, here’s the system I follow:

100-85: A winner!
84-70: Pretty good. This is a nice, everyday kind of tea.
69-60: Decent, but not up to snuff.
59-50: Not great. Better treated as an experiment.
49-0: I didn’t like this, and I’m going to avoid it in the future. Blech.


Toronto, ON, Canada



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