785 Tasting Notes

drank Whiskey & Fig by Gnat and Bee
785 tasting notes

Gnat and Bee is such a wonderful small business. Not only does Natalie create some amazing teas, she also does seasonal extracts, soaps, and bath products. Her autumn Chroning tea is one of my all-time favorite smoky teas. This Whiskey & Fig tea was recently released as part of her autumnal shop update, and my brother placed an order the day it came out. We love supporting Natalie because you can tell that she truly puts the love into everything she does.

This tea blend is strikingly beautiful, with pink peppercorns and what I’m guessing is bright red cherry bark. There is a smoky aroma, no sweetness at all, and the taste is just the same. I have to say, I’m a little disappointed that I’m not tasting the juicy fig, but maybe she was going more for a Fig Newton. I actually get more of that flavor. There’s almost a breadiness reminiscent of that dense, unsweetened cookie so if you like Fig Newtons this tea may be for you. I’m not a fan of them at all. I don’t get any sort of whiskey flavor but I’m not a big whiskey drinker so I’m likely just not picking up on it. It’s very drying too.

I just wish I liked this one more. Unfortunately, it’s a miss for me. Perhaps a shorter steep next time will help with some of the bitterness.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Bitter, Drying, Smoke

195 °F / 90 °C 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I’ve been craving peppermint today, or rather peppermint candy, and this is possibly the only tea I have that really fits. The peppermint is the high note here, but I do wish the base was bolder. Not necessarily strong, but more flavorful. This tea is admittedly a few years old so that could be it, but I remember feeling this way when I first tried it. It’s weak somehow.

This is a good tea, but it’s undoubtedly missing something that I can’t quite place. A depth of flavor, a well-rounded cup. Maybe it’s the hot chocolate I’m missing. Something. I’m happy with it though, for tonight, when I’m wanting something cozy and festive. I think honestly that might be what I’m really after – the warmth and coziness of the holiday season.

What’s your favorite holiday tea? I’d love some suggestions!

Flavors: Peppermint

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Vanilla Bean by Mighty Leaf Tea
785 tasting notes

I brought a variety of loose leaf teas with me to work today but this one ended up being my tea of choice this morning. Oversteeped it a bit, but it’s generally pretty forgiving.

190 °F / 87 °C 7 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Malloween by Brutaliteas
785 tasting notes

My morning cuppa. This had a nice solid flavor, not too strong or too bold. I didn’t taste much in the way of marshmallow, but there was a flavor there I couldn’t place so maybe that’s something. Planning to drink more of this in the coming days because it’s just a really tasty black tea. Thanks for letting me try this one, amandastory516!

200 °F / 93 °C 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Cotton Candy by DAVIDsTEA
785 tasting notes

A gift from amandastory516. My brother and I had a cup of this together and he swears it tastes just like cotton candy. I didn’t get the cotton candy flavor much at first, but as it cooled I feel like it came through more for me. There is definitely a sweetness here that’s more than just sweet, like the flavor of the sugar itself. I haven’t had many cotton candy teas (though I do love cotton candy!), but this one is definitely the closest I’ve had to the real deal.

Flavors: Sugar, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Breakfast Blend by Ringtons
785 tasting notes

I’m not too sure why I wanted to try another cup of this since I obviously disliked it the first time around, but I had it stashed in my work bag and felt it calling to me. Unfortunately, it was a siren’s song. This cup is even more bitter than the last. I’m sure I must be steeping it wrong. The one other review of this tea sings its praises. I have one bag of this left so I will try a shorter steep next time. Unless someone here wants it??

Flavors: Bitter

190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 45 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Backlog from September 2nd:

I know we’ve barely made it into the month of September, but I’m feeling the pull of fall pretty strongly this week. The air has been breezy and cool and all things pumpkin have started speaking to me across the interwebs. All I want to do is throw open the windows to hear the crackle of golden leaves and smell the smoky fragrance of a nearby campfire. Unfortunately, I live in Alabama where the weather likes to play with your heart and tease you like some cruel lover. A cool and breezy day here might be followed by a humid and sweltering day the next. So, while I may not yet be able to enjoy that sweet autumn chill, I can play make-believe and have a little bit of pumpkin spice indoors – air conditioning turned way down. This is exactly what I’m doing now – sitting all bundled up in my kitchen sipping a pumpkin latte and looking out my window at the bright summer sunshine.

I’m such a fan of almost anything from A Quarter to Tea. Their blends are always strong in both flavor and aroma. With this being a white tea, I was worried about the flavors coming through; however, I knew since it came from A Quarter to Tea that it had a better chance than most of making my day. While steeping, I snuck a marshmallow from the dry blend and tossed it on my tongue. Strong cinnamon – powerful – a good sign. I love a spicy tea. Since I was having a latte, I added three teaspoons of dry leaf to half a cup of water (at around 180F) and left it to steep for around 5 minutes while I warmed and frothed some homemade almond milk. I’ve been loving the nut and seed milks lately and since this one came out extra creamy I knew it would be great in this latte.

It’s amazing – at first sip this really does bring to mind thoughts of hot cocoa. It’s certainly not as chocolaty as a dark chocolate cocoa, but I don’t think it’s meant to be. The white chocolate is present and the tea as a whole really works well and stays true to its name. While I’m not tasting any pumpkin, the spices are there and playing so nicely with the white chocolate. It’s so believable and the closer I get to the bottom of the cup the more I like it. I’m not sure how this would be without the milk and probably won’t ever try it that way. I think it’s made for lattes. I couldn’t imagine drinking it any other way.

To quote my husband after tasting this tea, “I feel like I’m at a pumpkin festival.” I’m feeling much the same way.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cocoa, Spices, White Chocolate

180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Backlog from September 4th:

For the last several days, I have been on the hunt for something (anything!) with roses. Even better if this something had some black tea thrown in. I love the combination very much, especially when combined with stone fruits, but I couldn’t seem to find anything in my tea cabinet to match my craving. Until this.

No stone fruits in The Picture of Earl Grey but definitely the rose I had been seeking. There is also jasmine, which was unexpected at first. I hadn’t realized it, but NovelTeas lists the ingredients as black tea, jasmine green tea, and rose so now the jasmine makes sense. I didn’t take this into account while steeping so I proceeded just as I would have with any other black tea, steeping 2 teaspoons for 5 minutes at roughly 195F. I don’t think it’s any worse for it. In fact, I think it’s quite flavorful this way. The more I drink, the more I taste the jasmine over the rose. It may not have been exactly what I was looking for, but it’s definitely a nice floral cup to enjoy with breakfast. A sweet surprise for sure.

Flavors: Floral, Jasmine, Rose

195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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drank Serenity Now by DAVIDsTEA
785 tasting notes

Backlog from November 7th:

A generous gift from amandastory516! My husband loves herbal teas but I usually only drink them when I’m sick or as a caffeine-free option at night before bed. Amanda sent some amazing teas though and several, including this one, I wanted to try immediately.

This reminds me very much of DAVIDsTEA’s Magic Dragon but with a whisper of mint. Mint teas are generally not a favorite (aside from a few peppermint blends) but this was a gentle note that I really enjoyed. There was a fruitiness that I couldn’t places, but after looking at the ingredients I think it may have been the apple. This was a very relaxing tea right before bed and one I think I’ll plan to purchase in the future for nights like this.

Flavors: Fruity, Mint

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Breakfast Blend by Ringtons
785 tasting notes

The caffeine is strong with this one! I’m enjoying the flavor but not as much as I thought I might. I’m not sure if the taste is worth the caffeine jitters I’m experiencing right now. Overall, a good strong breakfast tea for those cold and sleepy mornings. It seems reliable and steady enough, but it’s not likely to be a favorite for me.

Flavors: Malt, Tannic

195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Lifetime student. Lover of books and paper and ink. Kitchen dweller. Aspiring herbalist and certified tea fanatic.

I love flavored black teas most of all, always with cream and honey. I prefer to sweeten my tea as it seems to bring out the flavor, much the way salt enhances certain foods. I enjoy floral and fruity teas, as well as flavored or scented ones. I’m not overly fond of green or white teas, but I’ve found a few that I enjoy.

Any and all black teas, smoky teas, raspberry, strawberry, chocolate, bergamot, chai spices, cinnamon, cream, floral teas, caramel/toffee, jasmine, rose, vanilla, stone fruits, coconut, valerian root

Not a fan
Lime, white teas (someone tell me what I’m doing wrong with these!), most green teas, artificial sweeteners, sarsaparilla, licorice

I’m open to tea swaps! Just reach out if you see something I have that you want to try.

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.

Currently reading:
The Fiery Cross
by Diana Gabaldon

Updated November 2019.


Birmingham, Alabama



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