20 Tasting Notes

drank Florence by Harney & Sons
20 tasting notes

This smells like molten nutella in a cup. This makes me want to throw a blanket over my head and the cup and huff tea fumes, which is clearly a very normal thing to do. Chocolate teas can be hit or miss, but I’m already thinking ahead to when I can squeeze an extra cup in today.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Haven’t had this in a long time, but I believe your description is apt—and just flat funny! Thanks for the smile.

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Tossed a teaspoon of smoked bourbon sugar into this to cap off my night. I’m going to wind up tricking myself into loving this tea, aren’t I?


Oh, mercy, that sounds like a hundred-dollar upgrade on a dime store tea! On the fall list it goes.


Total upgrade while I wait for my usual apple pie blend to come back into season! I’ve been wondering what to use the sugar on, and I think we’ve got a strong first contender.

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I thought I was personally prepared for this when I got a whiff of smoke straight out of the bag, but let me tell you, I was a fool. Am I even qualified to write about this? Have I been successfully bullied by a tea?

There are a lot of flavors here to sort through that I know it’s going to take me a few more steeps to disentangle anything but the initial palate confusion. But I’ll tell you this: I wish I would’ve had a cup to go with my stack of pancakes yesterday.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Berry Young by Harney & Sons
20 tasting notes

The new kettle arrived today! I’m ready to up my game with temperature control, so we switched off a cheap plastic Bodum to this cutie: https://www.oxo.com/adjustable-temperature-kettle.html

I took Berry Young for a test drive, since it’s a white tea blend, and so far I’m very pleased with the results. Very delicate, naturally sweet-tart without any additions, and extremely refreshing. Lives up to the ‘berry’ part perfectly and tastes like a very juicy strawberry with a little kick of kiwi/goji. If you threw some ice, freeze-dried strawberries, and coconut milk in with it, you’d have a pretty respectable Pink Drink knockoff on your hands. Pure summer in a cup.

Flavors: Goji, Strawberry

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Been a garbage week, so one half of my tea haul arriving in the mail today was a welcome respite. This has translated into oversteeping this cup by about 20 minutes, but fortunately I don’t think it suffered much…

Not gonna lie, this stuff smells dank and not at all like vanilla or orange. When I stick my nose in the gravity pot, it’s all cardamom and some herbaly whiffs in spite of seeing almost nothing but apple pieces and orange peels. What kind of dark sorcery is happening with this tea? It’s like Whole Foods distilled into a perfume.

Fortunately, this tastes smoother than it smells. Somehow, it’s managed to capture a vanilla-y smoothness with no vanilla in the blend. The orange half is is a little dicey, since I’m mostly just seeing apple in the pot, but I think I can’t judge this fairly until I do a more-lucid, not-forgotten second steep later.

Flavors: Apple, Cardamom, Vanilla

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Flavors: Chocolate, Peppermint

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The destashening continues. I’ve been missing my usual apple pie blend from a local shop, and I’ve been hunting the platonic apple pie ideal online to no avail. Who would have thought it’s so difficult to find what should be a relatively simple and straight-forward drink? But alas, that leads me to come crawling back to good ol’ Cinnamon Apple Spice. I knew this day was coming.

This one wasn’t quite as bad as I recall, but it also helps that I was more conservative in my steep this time around. They’re still not f-ing around with the cinnamon, but the hibiscus and apple are, dare I say, juicy?

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drank Masala Chai by Traveling Tea
20 tasting notes

Summer has gone on too long, folks, because here I am drinking (and craving) spicy teas and thinking about red, crunchy leaves. It helps that I’m working on destashing before bringing in a new haul, and forgot that I had this treat waiting in the wings.

I don’t get a lot of vanilla flavor in this, but the cinnamon and ginger are the big hitters with a little astringency from the cardamom riding the back end. Bless the folks at TT for putting ‘NO PEPPER’ on the label for the benefit of weaklings like myself. I like that this is pleasantly spicy without being too biting and lends itself nicely for tea lattes. Wish I would have steeped this one a little longer – I find it’s tough for me to overdo it with chais, but I make them so infrequently that I keep forgetting. I mixed mine with a little toasted coconut-almond milk because it just seemed like the right thing to do at the time, and I’m not sure that it added anything significant, but I ain’t mad at it, either.

Best of luck in the heatwave this week – it’s finally reached St. Louis.

Flavors: Cardamom, Cinnamon, Ginger

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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30-something dead-eyed designer.


90+: Holy grail teas, fight me on it
80-89: Very good, will probably keep on rotation
70-79: Good teas that I won’t go out of my way to restock
60-69: Ehhhh…the kind of tea I only reach for when all the better ones are gone
50-59: Tea purgatory, whereupon I toil simply to finish the box
-50: The reject pile


St. Louis, MO

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