863 Tasting Notes


Well this is a box I haven’t typed in in a while. :)

You know you have been away from Steepster for a while when you come back with all of your teas and find that half of them aren’t available. Though it might be a temporary thing in this tea’s case since Whispering Pines is on vacation at the moment.

Anyway, I haven’t had a lot of hot tea in months since a.) summer, and b.) my tea was kind of haphazardly packed away in a moving box that I kept with me but didn’t want to take the time or effort to rummage through (more on that, below).

But when I pulled this out of the box yesterday night I knew it would be the first thing I had this morning. This is the definition of a black tea to me. It is so complex and mercurial. It seems to change flavor profiles on a whim, but as all of it’s parts are delicious each cup is an adventure. So I was greeted this morning with malted sweetness, fresh baked honey wheat bread, and some slight raisin undertones as it cools down.

It’s taken a while, and it’s been a long road to get here, but this was the most perfect cup to finally make me feel like I’ve come home.

The last time I updated here I was 3 time zones and 2,500 miles away. I moved from Georgia to Oregon because I felt like I was becoming too complacent and spent the first few months in furnished housing because the rental market is TIGHT out here. But as of a few days ago we settled in a place we can finally call ours, with all of our own furniture and clothes and everything.

Last night was the first time I felt like I could spread out all of my teas in a cabinet because I was finally settled. Since May they’d all been in one box that was quite large and deep and very precariously packed, so I didn’t want to unpack it only to have everything not fit again. But I’m here now, and OMG if we move again we are getting movers because I am so tired of moving mattresses and TVs!

In short, Oregon is lovely, fall is here and I will hopefully be back posting tasting notes with regularity. Fingers crossed!

Flavors: Grain, Honey, Malt, Raisins

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This is a sipdown and a first try (from Sil) all at once.

I’m not super upset about the fact that I have no more about this, but given that my stomach has been acting less than optimally lately I thought this would be the perfect time to try it. It was only as I was like 4 minutes in the steeping process that I saw the “DON’T STEEP FOR MORE THAN TWO MINUTES” warning. Whoops. I yanked it out and hoped for the best.

Okay. So, because this was in a drawer with all other samples I didn’t really get to SMELL the spiciness of it. But I sure as heck tasted it. What happens is you think “Ah, this isn’t bad, what’s everyone else talking abou — huh. My mouth is now exploding inward.”

So that happened. It was too strong for me, too savory, couldn’t finish the cup but don’t feel right rating this as I didn’t truly try it when the spice-level was something more on par with my tastes.

It was definitely a wake up call, though. This is a tea that could probably wake the dead. If you like spicy then this is DEFINITELY your bag.

Flavors: Spicy

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

hahahahahahahaha omg sorry… lol jones never believes me when i say that i can’ do this one for more than 2 mins..and even then i add honey…and then it’s delicious

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Consistently good. Had a big mug of this with some banana bread while making a home on the couch with books all around me.

The beginnings of a stellar weekend, I think.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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drank Dublin Cream by Compass Teas
863 tasting notes

Big mug of this with a late breakfast.

I like this with milk and sugar; it has a bit of the Bailey’s flavor then and feels rather a sinful thing to be drinking before noon. It’s quite coffee-like, if you like that sort of thing. A two minute steep is definitely all it needs if you want additives in it; I had a sip plain and while good it was quite astringent, so I’d go less if I wanted it by itself.

Glad I sifted through my cabinet and settled on this today!

Flavors: Coffee, Vanilla

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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drank Uji Shincha #4 by Kettl
863 tasting notes

Backlog from yesterday.

You win, Uji Shincha. From the previous two tasting notes I learned how much you HATE resteeping so I didn’t even try this time. I went straight for a western style brew and you were MUCH happier this way. Still the notes of pine and ocean breeze/salt air, with a bit of astringence that was creeping along the edges of the sip. It was ALMOST, but not quite bitter, and skirted that line well, though next time I might even stop steeping a little earlier.

I will drink you happily because I do love this flavor, but I know there’s got to be a better value for my money out there somewhere…

170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 45 sec 8 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Backlog from a few days ago.

This one’s losing a bit of its strength for me, but it still was pretty good once the cup cooled down. I love that it’s got the raisiny notes of an assam but still has such a bright taste – like a ceylon, almost. It takes the best qualities of both, for me.

Gah, so sad that I’ll never come by any more of this… :(

Flavors: Cocoa, Raisins

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Shamrock Tea by 52teas
863 tasting notes

I haven’t had this in a while, but it was just what I wanted tonight.

Still quite creamy from the vanilla, less minty (and thus more balanced) and the sweet green tea just worked well together. I had a headache and a slightly off stomach and this helped with both.

I don’t seem to be in the mood for it much, but when I am, this is quite the good flavored green option!

Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Mint, Vanilla

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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This was a Christmas present from the boyfriend’s mother. I love lemon things, and I love tea, but for whatever reason am just getting around to trying it.

It smells fresh and herby, but in a good way – and the taste is very fresh and mild. I’m feeling in a rut weather-wise, where I’m getting kind of sick of heavy comfort foods and just want some bright, fresh produce in my life again. This helped with that. I only steeped it for 5 minutes and it tasted fine but I think you could definitely treat it as most herbals do and go for at least 8.

Not bad, and I’m sure that there are other blends of similar ingredients out there that I can move on to whenever I finish this one.

(For future steeping notes to myself: I used 2 tsp. to 10 oz. water.)

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Sipdown (and a sample from the lovely Sil!) late last night while reading. My book list seems to be expanding faster than I can keep up, but it’s cold outside, and there’s plenty of tea inside so I’m thinking I’ll manage somehow. :)

Luckily I read the tasting notes before making this or I would have been CONVINCED that this was the wrong tea. I wasn’t expecting caramel at all, in the scent or in the flavor, especially with hibiscus as an ingredient! Usually everything kind of fades to the background with all the tart flavor. I didn’t do much to help the situation, either, by steeping this sucker for EIGHT MINUTES.

In retrospect, whoops.

But the caramel really did a good job holding its own here – not in the middle of the sip, because HIBISCUS, but a nice sweetness took over at the end to make up for some of the metallic, sour tartness. It had a lovely juicy texture – reminded me of cranberry juice a bit, actually- and overall was pretty well balanced. I think the only thing I want to say negative about it is that my tastebuds seemed to get fatigued with it – they seemed less sensitive to the nuances over time and towards the last 4 oz. all I got was tangy hisbiscus and no more caramel.

It was a nifty tea and something to experience for sure! Thanks again Sil for sending some my way!

Flavors: Caramel, Metallic, Tangy, Tart

Boiling 8 min or more 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

hahaha i can just imaging that :)

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I had some of my fresh baked bread toasted with honey for breakfast this morning. The last time I had this tea, those were the flavors I picked out the most strongly so of course I had to pair this tea with the meal to see how it stacked up.

Well, with the addition of cocoa powder to a honey wheat loaf, yes, this is the same tea I had before, but I also know it’s not QUITE the same, as it is a chameleon tea and mercurial by its very nature. Fabulously rich, sweet, and complex. This is a definite restock, as it’s probably my favorite higher end black tea.


Flavors: Bread, Cocoa, Grain, Honey

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

Yes so good! I just drank it also :-)


Such a good tea!!

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My tea habits:

*I am an unashamed Lipton iced-tea drinker (mass quantities, year round).
*I like hot teas but only in cold weather (and occasionally late summer nights or mornings).
*I love Japanese greens (the more seaweed-y the better) and good strong malty black teas.
*I do NOT love smoke in any form.
*Vanilla, cinnamon, or lemon anything will usually pique my interest.
*I’m working on pu-erh but it’s definitely going to take some time to grow on me.

(updated September 2015)


Medford, OR

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