2957 Tasting Notes


So I bought some of this a while ago when they were discontinuing it, so it was on sale. And I was pretty sure this was the same blend as Della Terra’s Oatmeal Cookie. I was in the mood for cinnamon teas today and I hadn’t written a note for it yet… because it is like Della Terra’s Oatmeal Cookie that I have already written a note for. I know at least one raisin went into the infuser, though not sure the flavor came through. I think DT actually added actual oatmeal to their blend? I feel like the cinnamon is much stronger here than I remember. There isn’t much ‘oatmeal’ or ‘cookie’ but a ton of cinnamon. The cinnamon is like the cinnamon in Harney’s Hot Cinnamon Sunset. At least I wanted a cinnamon tea today!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 12 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep

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So Arby won a Vahdam contest for free teas, but for some reason they weren’t shipping to Canada so Arby had Vahdam send them my way. Thanks so much for thinking of me, Arby! (And again, sorry they weren’t shipping to Canada.) I will also be adding a large amount of these teas to the teabox, to share the wealth. The teas were random teas that Vahdam chose and they sent this one and for some reason, two packages of Ayurvedic Rose Herbal Green. Luckily I will probably be a fan of both teas. I do like smoky teas and this one had the added interest of being an assam. I’m not sure if I’ve ever knowingly had a smoky assam. But it seems like it would be a good pairing. This is a good one. The leaves are very long and mostly black. Not one of those tiny leaf assams, which hey, I probably like the big leaf and small leaf assams for different reasons. I like ALL THE TEAS. Sometimes a tea company can have an off putting smoke flavor and scare most tea fans away from smoky teas for good. For example, my rating for Twinings Lapsang Souchong was a SIX. It was disgusting. I rarely rate teas so low. This tea has a delicious smoky flavor, it’s a bit sweet and like barbeque sauce. And an interesting addition to the lovely assam flavor. It is a unique flavor combination, which somehow I probably don’t already have in my tea cupboard. Since the leaves are bigger, the flavor is lighter but has definite hints of a usual assam flavor. This is a great base tea for the smoke, and both the smoke and base are elevated by each other. I like it! If you don’t like this smoky tea you might not like them in general. But the more teas you try, the better!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 15 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // couple minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep


Vahdam doesn’t ship to Canada? I got an order from Golden Tips a few years ago, so this surprises me.


It’s probably just the contest that Arby won that wouldn’t ship to Canada?


Maybe. Golden Tips used FedEx, so I can understand not wanting to ship free tea using that method.


Glad to hear you are enjoying it! I’m happy it went to a good home.


It did! This is especially nice in cold, rainy autumn weather. :D Thanks again

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drank Witches' Brew Chai by 52teas
2957 tasting notes

Additional notes: Sipping down ONE of my pouches of this one today. This is Frank’s blend but Anne rated it 100 so I wonder if it was every reblended? I’m one of the few who actually likes this smoky chai. haha. And also enjoying Bird & Blend’s always delicious Pumpkin Pie Chai today. Super chai day! I even got to sit outside and read today before it started raining: Melmoth the Wanderer (seems Halloween enough). Always need chai on those days sitting out enjoying that lovely autumn leaf aroma. Both delicious cups.
Happy Halloweeeeen everyone!


I haven’t reblended this – but I did love it. This had a really good balance of spice and smoke. The main reason I gave this one a 100 was because it as one that I requested of him. I wanted something smoky that also featured star anise, nutmeg and cumin (three of my favorite spices) and I think he did a pretty good job with those. I believe I put this on the list to be voted on for next year’s holiday box because it’s one that I miss.

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Thank you for the samples, Aprtea.com! The leaves interestingly enough are very tightly bound and very dark green in color. As the name of this includes charcoal, I expected one of those deep roasted charcoal oolongs but this is actually a less scary, very mildy charcoal flavor. I’m glad, as charcoal isn’t my favorite flavor of oolong. But the resulting flavor is very light and sweet and extremely delicious. The color of the brew is a pale yellow. The second steep really soaks into the special of this oolong, the texture could almost be syrupy it’s so oddly changing the feel of the oolong. How does the mouthfeel of a tea get so thick? The flavor is more full, buttery, silky, still sweet with just a touch more of that charcoal flavor that is included in the name. But otherwise, it still seems like one of those bright green oolongs and nothing roasted. The third steep is even deeper with these flavors — more buttery, it just blooms in the mouth. The fourth steep was a bit lighter in flavor, but that might be because I didn’t use hotter water. All of the flavor qualities in this oolong are perfect together and it’s fantastic. It’s a great reminder of why I love oolong. I expected much worse seeing it described as ‘charcoal’ — my least favorite tea type.

Steep #1 // 1 heaping teaspoon for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // rinse // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 10 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep#3 // 12 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #4 // 10 minutes after boiling // 2-3 minute steep


Tieguanyin has a lot of flavors
Charcoal baking flower aroma: very mildy charcoal flavor
Charcoal baking caramel aroma: Deep charcoal flavor

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I had to buy a sample of this recently (thanks to Steepsterers mentioning it. haha.) When Harney has free shipping though, it’s easy to justify buying a couple samples. (Uh oh.) It’s interesting this blend was a winning blend in a contest of thousands submitted. I didn’t know about this contest. The ingredients: Black tea, oolong tea, bergamot oil, lavender, vanilla flavor. I didn’t seem to see much oolong with the black tea unless it is of the type that actually looks like black tea. I see the occasional lavender piece. To be honest, I’m not usually a fan of the Earls I’ve tried from Harney, but this one is much tastier than I usually find them. The scent of the leaves reminds me of Fruity Pebbles which I sadly haven’t had in ages. I do detect notes of lavender but none of vanilla which makes me disappointed. The black tea is certainly robust enough (again, where is that oolong if this blend is so strong?) and I love a strong great tasting Earl. I’m glad I only used a teaspoon because this tea is certainly strong enough. Apparently I should have tried this with milk to make ‘London Fog’. I didn’t. So this blend probably wasn’t as exceptional as I wanted it to be, but it definitely isn’t a cup I’d say no to. And with the lack of excellent bergamot teas being sold today, this one is good enough for me.

Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a full mug// 14 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // 8 minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep

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Additional notes: It’s National Pumpkin Day so hearing that, I had a piece of best ever grocery store pumpkin pie for breakfast…. with cool whip. And I’ll be enjoying this tea all day. Probably my oldest Butiki tea and it still tastes fantastic. No other tea company used pumpkin flakes like Butiki did. And this is Ceylon? Butiki even had the best Ceylon tea. What the? Is everyone annoyed yet with how I’m always saying old teas still taste delicious? It’s because I’m always amazed the flavor hasn’t aged more.

Mastress Alita

My coconut goes rancid within 4-6 months. Yes, I’m bitter. :-P


haha. :D I have all the coconut luck

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Additional notes: Thanks so much for sending a few more Bird & Blend teas that I didn’t expect (a while ago), StarFevre! Nobody will believe me but this is ANOTHER coconut tea that hasn’t seemed it has aged and I KNOW this is old, because it is a sample in one of the original Bluebird samples — that is the vellum that is stitched closed by hand. I know that was the first days of Bluebird. Imagine if they hand stitched each tea now? They would need a million people. I’m glad they are doing well and opening more stores! Anyway, this tea is still a high quality chai with a nice deep black tea that tastes a bit like raisins, a decent amount of spicy flavor and only a hint of coconut, but it certainly somehow doesn’t taste like old coconut (and if Bluebird started around 2012 and this tea is six years old… whoa). Teas like this make me think my tea collection isn’t TOO old.

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drank Golden Monkey by Harney & Sons
2957 tasting notes

So I guess I haven’t reviewed the sample of this I bought from Harney last year (bought May 2017). So this isn’t exactly fresh, but I wanted to write a note for it anyway. As usual, this has vastly different flavors than from the other harvests I’ve tried. I think I had three different harvests of this previously and every single one of them has been vastly different. Probably the most different harvests of any tea I’ve previously had. Then again I don’t usually get the chance to try four harvests of a tea. The leaves look different every time too. The harvest that tasted like tomato soup oddly looked amber in color, smaller, and very very fuzzy. The older tiny leaf tasted like chocolate and wine (my favorite black tea flavors, though that may be the tannins.) I’m assuming that the tinier the leaf, the lower the quality is supposed to be? But I seem to like the lower quality teas with deeper flavor once in a while. THIS harvest looks higher quality with bigger longer leaves, hints of gold, and no fuzziness whatsoever. This harvest has much different flavors. It almost tastes like Laoshan Black. It’s got that lighter black tea flavor, slight smokiness, caramel. But not deep in flavor enough for my liking (the same problem I’ve always had with Laoshan.) These lighter black teas aren’t my favorite. All three steeps stayed with the same flavor profile, though I steeped them vastly different. The third cup I steeped for 10+ minutes with only half a mug of water and still had that light flavor. It’s amazing that Harney’s Golden Monkey changes constantly, which is a shame, as I loved the first harvest I tried. (Though it also amazes when a tea can stay consistent between harvests.) Who knows, 2018’s harvest is probably completely different too. But this is not the flavor I want for this steep price (right now $.96 per cup according to harney.com). This harvest would probably get a an 77. Though I don’t like moving ratings when they go lower. I only change them higher.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 15 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
Steep #3 // half mug of water // just boiled // 10+ minute steep

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Hi! I love tea and trying new ones – it adds a bit of variety to my day! Books, music, TV & movies are my thing… and tea, of course.

Some of my favorite tea shops (still operating):
Dammann Freres
Yunnan Sourcing

Favorite tea shops (RIP):

My icon photo is Richard Mayhew from the graphic novel ‘Neverwhere’ by Neil Gaiman, Mike Carey & Glenn Fabry.

Most of the teas listed in my cupboard are actually sample sizes. I don’t really have 2,000 ounces of tea around here! Many of my teas have only one teaspoon left… maybe two. But I like keeping them in my cupboard list for reference to what I could be sipping. Usually, I write tasting notes once for each tea. I’m still drinking them, just not writing tasting notes each time!

My dislikes: hibiscus, ginger (unless in chai), turmeric, bee pollen, charcoal type flavors

My ratings:
95-100 – Super awesome deliciousness favorites – cupboard essential
80-95 – Also pretty delicious
65-80 – Pretty good
50-65 – Okay
1-50 – Probably won’t want to sip it again

I’m planning on being a Steepsterer as long as there IS a Steepster, so if you’re not hearing from me, that means something happened to my health… if you know what I mean. (Or as evidenced by the great computer hiatus of 2019, something happened to my computer.) :D

Happy sipping!



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