1403 Tasting Notes


My focus pile is onerous. That being the case, I have singled out two, three, or four from the focus pile for immediate attention, immediate meaning that at least one of these is on daily rotation. That’s fair, right?

This is one delicious tea. I’ve taken to adding half a spoon of cacao nibs to the leaf to freshen up the chocolate flavour. This approach pleases me. Today, I had my tea with me in a travel mug and added a glug of cream to good effect.

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drank Cinnamon Star by Tea Desire
1403 tasting notes

I’ve mentioned more than once that I am not a big cinnamon person. I am discovering though that it depends on the kind of cinnamon. Here, the cinnamon is gentle, warm, and woody. As others have mentioned, this blend is luscious cinnamon bun coated in vanilla icing. Delicious. I can see this becoming part of my regular rotation, if only I find a way of regular access to it.

Thank you, Steepsters, for bringing this stellar blend to my attention.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Pastries, Vanilla

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drank Chocolate Éclair by 52teas
1403 tasting notes

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drank Coconut Cumin Chai by 52teas
1403 tasting notes

You know, the danger of poking about in my stash is that I tend to come across surprise teas, ie. ones which I thought had been sipped down a long time ago. Love this one. But gah! how dare I forget about a coconut-containing tea?! Still good though. I added a half spoon of cacao nibs to deepen the flavours. Not a bad match with the earthiness of the rest of the ingredients. Yes, and onto the focus pile it goes.

And generally speaking, I think I prefer thick coconut shreds to the teeny tiny bits of coconut here. They seem to retain flavour better.


My focus box only seems to grow larger, never smaller.


Yeah, I had originally found a supplier that had ‘medium’ sized shred, and then that supplier stopped selling coconut shred, so I resorted to another supplier with tiny shred until I found my current source with the nice, large shred. I like the larger shred too, if for no other reason than aesthetic – the large shred photographs better. Also, the large shred seems to stay incorporated into the blend better. :)

Evol Ving Ness

Arby, yes. Funny how that happens.

Thank you for unravelling the rationale for us. The inner workings of tea magic are kind of fascinating for those of us only on the drinking side.

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Well, ever since I came across a pouch of this in my stash the other day, I have not stopped drinking this deliciousness: coconut, roasty toasty, and green. Even a bit of marshmallow vanilla flavour shines through, though I don’t know whether those flavours are among the ingredients. Regardless, a stellar blend.


OMG Coconut Flan Genmaicha? I’m so sad I missed out on this!


That sounds really good!

Evol Ving Ness

It has been a real hit with me!

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A bit late but delicious. Let me add here that 52Teas totally has the flavoured genmaicha thing going on. The coconut is the ideal counterpoint to the roasty toastiness of the genmaicha, lending a bit of toasted coconut caramel flavour. Another success.

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drank Eggnog Chai by 52teas
1403 tasting notes

There’s not much else that I can say about this blend as I continue to chip away at it. The honeybush and black tea work well as carriers for the spice blend and slight cream. Good one. Of course, I would like more cream even though there already is an aspect of it here.

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My new thing is adding cacao nibs to flavour-appropriate aging teas to amp them up. Here the cacao nibs catapult the caramel and chocolate to a whole new level. Yum!

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Afternoon tea. The base is sturdy enough to carry the chocolate and the caramel in equal measure. A bit of vanilla comes through as well.

Flavors: Caramel, Dark Chocolate



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drank Strawberry Cream by Zen Tea
1403 tasting notes

Found this poor neglected tea. I was so happy to come across it and it still delights me. And yes, it is a bit ancient and a bit of the flavour is fading, but the strawberry and cream are both there, supported by a solid base. I am putting this on my focus pile so that each cup of this is a happy cup.

In other news, it was lovely to have a brief visit with a tea fren today. More loveliness in the world.

Happy Women’s Day, tea people!

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A monk sips morning tea

A monk sips morning tea,
it’s quiet,
the chrysanthemum’s flowering.

- Basho


Note to self—-you do not actually need any more tea.

My real tea obsession began in February 2015.

Not, sadly, when I had been living and working in China, though I very much enjoyed sampling a variety of teas during my travels there as well. No, no, that would have been far too sensible.

I am a reformed coffee drinker. I still enjoy a long double espresso with a good quantity or milk or cream from time to time, but for now, tea is my thing. All day.

*note—this is way out of date, so if we are doing a swap and you are checking to see what I like and dislike, mostly never mind what you find below. One of these days, I will update this. In the meantime, check what I’ve been drinking and use your own judgement. I like all the teas. Well, I am open to trying all the teas.

I tend to drink black, green, or oolong tea in the morning to early afternoon. Rooibos or
Honeybush or herbal in the evening. And perhaps some sort of sleepy-type tea in the wee hours.

This year, I’ve been discovering flavoured teas, so it may look like that is all I drink although that would provide a false impression.

Not a big fan of chocolate or mint in teas, but I will try them and, from time to time, have been pleasantly surprised. Also, usually I dislike a prominent cinnamon flavour, if untempered with other things, in teas. Again, I say usually, because there are exceptions.

Also, please note that haven’t quite gotten into the habit of updating my tea cupboard on Steepster, and it is unlikely that I will do this on any kind of regular basis.

I drink my tea black and unsweetened. If there comes a rare moment that I add something to it, I will mention it.

Finally, while I thank large and successful tea companies for tantalizing and beckoning me to the world of tea, I prefer to support independent ventures with real people, real enthusiasm and commitment, and real dreams.

Currently, I am researching monthly tea subscriptions. Perhaps it will keep me out of tea shops.

And here is Shae’s rating scale— which I am using with permission, of course— which more or less describes the way I have been rating teas. I am going to make more of an effort to stay very close to these parameters now.

Rating Scale

1-20: By far, one of the worst teas I’ve tasted. I most certainly will not finish my cup and will likely “gift” the rest to my sweet husband who almost always enjoys the teas I dislike (and vice versa).

21-40: This tea is not good but if I mix it with another tea or find another steeping method I might be able to finish it.

41-60: This one is just okay. I might drink it again if someone were to give it to me, but I probably won’t be buying more for myself.

61-75: This is a consistently good tea. It’s reliable but not necessarily special.

76-90: This one is a notch above the rest and I would gladly enjoy a cup of it any day of the week. I’ll likely be keeping this in my cupboard, but it isn’t one of my all-time favorites.

91-95: One small change and this tea would be perfect. I’ll definitely have a stash of this in my kitchen if you come over for tea.

96-100: No words can describe this tea. It’s an experience, an aha moment. Closed eyes, wide smile, encompassing warmth. Absolutely incredible. Perfect.


Mostly, but not always, Toronto, Canada.

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