123 Tasting Notes

drank Vanilla by Lupicia
123 tasting notes

Yum! I steeped this the proper amount of time (for once; if you look over my tealogs you can see I’m a chronic over-steeper) and this tea is HEAVENLY. It tastes like french vanilla ice cream, but light and with enough black tea to prevent a descent into cloying madness. I’m drinking it straight out of the pot, but I’m sure that with milk this would be divine!

This is a sensitive tea, though. When I’ve made it in the past and steeped it 10+ minutes (because like I said, I am CARELESS) it was bitter and horrible, and my tongue was unhappy.

I bet this would make a great blending tea.

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Original Blend by Red Rose
123 tasting notes

I have a mixed relationship with Red Rose’s Black Tea. On the one hand, this is the stuff my father drank when I was growing up, and sampling his cups of tea were a major part of what convinced me that tea was gross and for grownups – something I didn’t conquer until after a trip to England! On the other hand, I LOVED the little figurines that came in each box, and I wish I still had them because I think they’re cute and fun.

So tea = meh, ugh, yuck. (But I haven’t had it in ten+ years; I’m sure if I drank it now I’d be able to appreciate the flavor more.)
Packaging/promotional goods = AWESOME.


I had like 10 of those little things! But I’ve never had this tea, so I don’t know how they came into my possession.


This was the tea my grandmother always drank and that my mother and I would have whenever we visited her. She always put a ton of cream and sugar in mine, which is probably why it never turned me off. :D

It’s funny, but it’s only recently that I realized that the tiny ceramic figurines of animals that my brother and I played with as kids actually came from those boxes of Red Rose. :)


Figurines in tea? What? This is completely new to me. That’s kind of awesome.

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drank Maté Tiramisu by SBS Teas
123 tasting notes

I probably oversteeped this tea; if it is not oversteeped it may also have been overheated, since the brewing instructions suggest using water in the 150-160 degree range and the water that comes out of our automatic heater is definitely warmer.

My attempt at brewing this Maté Tiramisu tastes like coffee, basically. There’s a bitter note to the brew that I assume comes from leaving the leaves too long, but it’s similar to the bitterness of dark chocolate so maybe it’s supposed to be there. There’s a nuttiness to the flavor as well. I like it well enough, and I think I’ll have to experiment further with this blend and see if I can bring out more of the tiramisu flavor with proper steep times and temperature. But for all that I screwed up, this still tastes OK. It would complement tiramisu or other sweet desserts quite well.

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drank Red Bloom by Adagio Teas
123 tasting notes

I like blooming teas, and Adagio’s were my first introduction to them. So I do have a special sort of nostalgia for them, even though I don’t like the packaging. (It seems like such a waste of material to have each bloom individually bagged and in a box. It’d be much more environmentally friendly to chuck them all in a tin or single bag, yes?)

That said, I’m not terribly enthusiastic about the Red Bloom. It’s a very generic sort of black tea (or maybe I just don’t have enough experience with unflavored black teas to differentiate between the many varieties) and although the amber liquid looked very pretty in my glass teapot (usually busted out only for pearls and blooming teas) and the unfurling of the flower is always fun to watch, it was unspectacular in flavor.

I usually can get two-three pots (I think my glass pot holds between 23-28 oz) from each flower before the flavor’s too weak to go on. It’s a great tea for showing off to tea newbies, but for the experienced connoisseur who prefers flavor over pretty tricks, skip the show and give ’em something yummier.

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drank Green Jasmine by Teas' Tea
123 tasting notes

Bought at a Japanese market. I’m always on a quest for a good bottled tea, and at $1.69 this is pricey, but not excessively so. I grabbed it out of the refrigerated section so it’s nice and cold.

Green Jasmine is very refreshing. It’s literally just jasmine tea – no extra sugar or honey or random “flavors” added – with the floral notes of jasmine dominating. It doesn’t have a strong aroma, but what you can smell is (of course!) flowery. The green tea provides a nice complement to the flowers, making a very balanced flavor, but they are so well blended that it’s difficult to distinguish flavor components.

The only other bottled jasmine tea I’ve had has been Adagio’s Jasmine Anteadote (which I’ve logged if you want to read about it) which had a much stronger floral flavor. Green Jasmine leaves a slightly bitter note in the aftertaste, but it’s very satisfying overall.


The super markets around me have these! So good, totally worth it. I think it was a bit cheaper when I bought it though.


The Japanese market is always totally overpriced. It’s in a wealthier neighborhood, and nostalgic immigrants are happy to pay the marked-up prices. But to get to a cheaper market, I have to drive all the way across town. It’s a tossup!

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drank Lychee (Lichee) Oolong by Lupicia
123 tasting notes

I’ve been experimenting with Lupicia’s Lychee Oolong this week, trying to make it into something I like. I’ve drank it hot and iced; I’ve steeped it three minutes, five minutes, seven minutes, ten minutes. I’ve re-steeped and messed around with the amount of tea in my teapot, but I just can’t seem to find a happy combination.

The oolong is sort’ve a generic oolong, slightly smoky/dusty in flavor. The lychee is present in the aroma – I can smell it on the dry leaves and in the tea’s steam – but not really there in the flavor. There’s a slightly fruity aftertaste, but it’s nothing like the lychee-flavored milk tea I buy from boba shops.

Dang it! I was in the mood for something fruity. If anyone has a good lychee tea to recommend, please do!


I’ve found that the less you steep the more fruity it is. That being said this is not a very sweet or fruity tea. I usually always get more oolong than lychee.

At boba shops, they always add a lychee syrup or some other kind of lychee flavoring to get that sweetness, so it might be hard to replicate that same taste at home. If you love lychee, you might want to try the Calpico lychee drink (you can usually find them in Japanese markets.) Personally my favorite at boba shops is the lychee icee/slushie drink with lychee jelly instead of pearls!


I notice you live (part-time anyway) in San Jose :D Would you happen to know if Mitsuwa over in Saratoga carry Calpico? I work a few minutes from there. Personally I like to get rainbow jelly at boba shops, but lychee jelly is fab too!


I’m pretty sure they do! On a non-beverage related note, if you’re going to Mitsuwa you should stop by Clover Bakery. It’s a Japanese bakery in the same plaza. And their curry beards are my absolute favorite. Their melon breads are pretty good too, I especially like the green tea melon one.


Clover is awsome! I must hit them up for lunch at least once a week :-p I really like the UFO bread and the croquette sandwich :D When I go for the melon breads I usually go for chocolate chip, but the green tea is really good too. Have you tried any of the deep fried items? I always mean to get one of those, but forget until I’ve driven halfway home :-p


I’ve tried the curry one. It’s pretty good but I prefer the non-fried one better.

Oh also if you haven’t tried lychee ice cream you should! You can get it at Mitsuwa. The company that makes it is Maeda-en. They also make mango ice cream, red bean ice cream, and green tea ice cream.

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drank Banane Chocolat by Lupicia
123 tasting notes

When I was a little girl, we’d go to the Renaissance Fair every summer, and at some point during the day my mother would buy me a monkey’s tail. These treats were bananas dipped in chocolate and frozen – perfect in the scorching California sun. Now you can buy these frozen bananas in most grocery stores, but at the time this was the only place we knew to get them – so it was a special moment.

This happy childhood memory is what I wanted Banane Chocolat to invoke. It’s a nice, solid black tea. Lovely with milk. The banana is strong enough. Reminds me a bit of banana chips. The cocoa is more elusive. It’s there, I think…I can taste a little bit of its bitterness. But it’s either very light or overwhelmed by the banana.

I might try adding a little more tea next time for a stronger flavor, but I used 1.5 scoops when 1 is usually plenty. This may just be a very lightly flavored tea. Not a perfect imitation of a monkey tail, but there’s enough of the treat there that my nostalgia is satisfied.

6 min, 0 sec

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drank Crimson Nectar by Tea Forte
123 tasting notes

So ‘Crimson Nectar’ was the third tea from Tea Forte that I tried, and the first that had a real noticable flavor. That’s the good news.
Now the bad.

Ugh. Hibiscus. It makes tea such a bloody bright red (actually, it’s more of a cough syrup red, not so much the red of blood, which turns rather brown as it is exposed to the air…but I digress, in a rather gross direction) and it tastes gross. Sharp. Thin. It stabs my tongue.

As you may have guessed, I don’t care for hibiscus one bit, and it is the dominant note in ‘Crimson Nectar.’ There’s also a taste of orange’s acidity, and a strange sweetness to the aftertaste. It’s like cake frosting, that aftertaste, a buttery vanilla that I don’t think occurs naturally anywhere on God’s green earth. It’s a heavy synthetic finale.

The teabag actually smells rather nice. I would totally buy a candle with this scent to burn. But ugh. What a shrill, shrieking cup this tea makes.

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drank Sweet Orange Spice by Tea Forte
123 tasting notes

I have to admit that I am quite fond of the format of Tea Forte’s teabags. The cute little pyramid with the leaf poking out of the top…it just looks so cute!

After steeping for five minutes, I pulled the teabag out and set it aside. The tea is not as dark as I expected – a rich amber color – and smells heavily of cinnamon. My mouth is quite wimpy so I immediately set out to get a couple of ice cubes to add to the brew before my tasting.

It’s very light…I mean, I can barely taste anything but the cinnamon and the slight astringency of the black tea. Maybe the faintest hint of a citrus. I popped the tea bag back in and will let it steep a little longer; hopefully that’ll force some more flavor out.
As I’m waiting, I’m considering the source of this tea. My brother gave me a box of assorted Tea Forte flavors, but I wonder if it’s an old box? I’ve only tried two of the teas so far, this one and White Ambrosia, but the flavor’s been miserably weak on both blends. Maybe the teabags are just ancient and that’s the problem…

After steeping for another five minutes, the orange flavor comes out a little stronger but this is still dominated by cinnamon. I can smell cinnamon; I taste it when I drink…so I guess if you want a cinnamon tea, this is the way to go. It’s a little sweet and it makes the back of my throat tickle a little.

This is spicy and warming, but it just isn’t as…exciting as I hoped it might be.
Man, that teabag is cool looking, though.

8 min or more

I’ve had this issue with Tea Forte’s tea as well. I chalked it up to having bought them someplace where they were probably stale. Love the tea bags, but as for the tea, eh!


Are you sure they don’t have a ridiculously small serving size or anything? Maybe they only have enough leaf in there for 4oz of water or something like that.

Actually that’s not so much ridiculous…I just drink large quantities of tea.


Hyrulehippie – that might be it, now that you mention it. There’s no size mentioned on the packaging, but I was using a rather tall glass (not a pot) and maybe it was just too much water for it.

Madison Bartholemew

I always find their tea in the tea bags they make to be too weak no matter what. I’m beginning to think they are catering to women who want to throw cute and fashionable tea parties above everything else.
But you can get better flavor out of their loose teas. I think.

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drank Peach Tranquility by Teavana
123 tasting notes

Last night I went over to imabandgeek4eva’s house for brownies and tea, and after perusing her tea collection I picked out Peach Tranquility for us to drink. I’d never had it before, but peach is always good, right? Plus, black tea + late at night = no sleep = bad for work the next day (like my math?) so an herbal blend with chamomile seemed like a promising nightcap.

P. T., it turns out, is an AWESOME blend. It has a lovely delicacy and a smooth, even texture. Of course there’s the peach, which is like the light sweetness of a fresh white peach rather than the heavy, cloying flavor of canned peaches. Chamomile and rosehips add to the mild, subtle flavor. I want to emphasize that it is a light tea, not a weak tea.
Great for sleepy time. It’s not an instant knock-out, so while we were socializing I was fine, but instead of tossing and turning for half an hour before finally going to sleep I was out like a light after my head hit the pillow. Sweet.

Imabandgeek4eva blended it with Silver Needle White tea, and the combination worked really well.


White peach really does make all the difference, doesn’t it?


It sure does! I love eating ‘em too, especially those little flat ones that are I’ve seen labeled ‘donut peaches’ or ‘UFO peaches.’ They’re so yummy!

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I love books on tea, but not tea on books.





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