3141 Tasting Notes

95
drank Eggnog Yunan by 52teas
3141 tasting notes

I received the absolute most amazing tea package from TreeGal today. I teared up a bit at the generosity. She said she would send me a few teas and then BAM TEAS. There are so many kind people on Steepster. Steepster is one of the nice areas of the internet. :D I appreciate it so much so a HUGE THANK YOU to TreeGal. I can’t thank you enough!

I’m the hugest fan of Frank’s blend of Eggnog Yunnan. It’s probably one of my top 10 from 52Teas and there is some competition there. I was pleased as punch to see the reblend in the 2018 advent (among so many other awesome blends). Even though Anne is usually great at recreating Frank’s blends (or making them better), this one just isn’t the same for me. But the original would be very tough to beat. The main difference is the base tea. Of course, it would be different. It’s not going to be the same source and definitely not the same harvest. But Anne’s golden monkey is almost entirely black with a much bigger leaf. The biggest a tea leaf could get. Frank’s base was much tinier leafed and at least half golden in color which I thought was the perfect base for an eggnog tea. Anne’s base mostly reminds me of a dark roasted oolong tea, which sadly is probably my least favorite flavor profile. It doesn’t have a flavor that I even can tell is anything like a Golden Monkey. I’m not really a fan of the flavor profile that this base tea brings to an eggnog tea. The base tea tastes like cedar or something woody. But that is just my tastes. Maybe others prefer this Golden Monkey. I loved the amount of cinnamon and nutmeg that Frank used in his blend. It was hella nutmegy people. I realized Anne used freshly shaved nutmeg but I think the nutmeg Frank used really immersed into the cup. I can only taste hints of nutmeg or cinnamon here. I suppose the aftertaste that lingers definitely tastes like I was sipping eggnog. On the second steep, I’m really only tasting that roasty base. So Anne can’t win them all, and I had Frank’s blend on a very high pedestal to begin with. Luckily I still have some of Frank’s blend around. I don’t lower ratings on teas, but this blend would get a 72 from me. That darn base!
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a full mug // 18 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
tldr: Anne’s base reminds me of a roasted oolong, which sadly will never be my favorite flavor. Sadly this means I loved Frank’s blend more.

52Teas

When/if I reblend this one in the future, I’ll be using a different base as well – I had the issue of time not being on my side – I wanted to get a yunnan from my direct from China source but I knew that at the time I would have placed the order, there was a distinct possibility that the tea would not arrive in time for the holiday box so I had to improvise a bit. I found a Yunnan gold that I liked but I knew that it would not be as good as the one that I would have gotten direct from China.

52Teas

PS: my direct from China source – well, it’s kind of like getting tea shipped on a slow boat from China.

tea-sipper

No need to explain. I’m usually a fan of your creations but it’s good to know a different base would be used in the future. Of course I’d want to try it again in the future if it’s a different base!

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95
drank Sakura & Berry by Lupicia
3141 tasting notes

Another one from Cameron B! Thanks so much! This one is intriguing as the base is nilgiri and darjeeling and it’s sakura which is cherry blossom. It’s tough for me to tell these bases are here from the flavor. But the base is delicious though. I know it doesn’t taste like a usual black tea that Lupicia would usually use. It’s interesting since the description says they use salted cherry leaves which is a new one. I think cherry is the most distinct note and it’s a floral sort of cherry flavor rather than a cough drop flavor. There should also be raspberry and strawberry here but I don’t notice those at all. The flavor is fantastic, especially as it cools – it’s fruity, sharp, thirst quenching, yet a little drying like a wine might be. But I like when teas are both drying and thirst quenching. The second steep was amazing, even though I accidentally steeped it way too long. I’d suggest trying it that way.. I’d definitely brew it either minutes on the second steep again. I’m very shocked but very happy the oversteep didn’t ruin this tea!
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoons for not quite full mug // 18 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // couple minutes after boiling // 8 minute steep

Cameron B.

Sakura is a really interesting flavor, it’s unlike any other floral note I’ve had. I should’ve sent you my favorite sakura sencha to compare.

tea-sipper

Sakura is definitely a first for me, somehow… after all these years of teas. I guess I never thought about a cherry blossom tea. :D

Kawaii433

I had this in my cart today and removed it… Bah. lol

tea-sipper

Oh I’m sorry you didn’t get it… I didn’t even know it was still on the site.

tea-sipper

holy crap, looking at the site again, I was just looking at the loose leaf. :X

Kawaii433

hehehe It’s ok, I had to let go some or I’d be in the poorhouse. #HoardCity

Mastress Alita

I don’t think the sakura teas would be available right now. Normally they only come out during March.

LuckyMe

My favorite Sakura is Sencha with Sugared Sakura leaves from Yunomi. Its a very subtle tea, but has the most natural cherry flavoring of all the ones I’ve tried. Luckily its available all year round.

Mastress Alita

That is the same one that is me and Cameron’s favorite, @LuckyMe. That sakura tea is so freaking good.

Cameron B.

@LuckyMe & Alita – Clearly it’s the best, since we all agree! ;)

tea-sipper

I couldn’t tell which Yunomi Sakura tea you guys are talking about, so I just added them all to the wishlist to make a note of them for later. :D

tea-sipper

That one was not under Yunomi so I missed it. Thanks for posting it, Cameron

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73

I never find Teavivre’s teas that are labeled ‘smoky’ that actually have the flavor of smoke, but this one DEFINITELY does, right from the pouch. I do like a good smoky tea but I feel the base tea also has to be extremely dark at the same time. The black tea here is fairly light, even though the leaves are quite small. The brew is honey colored but that smoky flavor sure is strong, yet sweet. This is the smokiest tea I’ve tried from Teavivre by far. I don’t mind a smoky tea once in a while, but I think Teavivre’s other teas are much more delicious.
Steep #1 // 1 1/4 teaspoons for a full mug // 20 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 minute steep
Harvest 2018

LuckyMe

Teavivre’s unsmoked version of this tea is outstanding

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83
drank Cassis & Blueberry by Lupicia
3141 tasting notes

Thanks again Cameron B for the Lupicia samples! They have all been delicious so far. I used one teaspoon for this and a blueberry went into the infuser. The brew doesn’t result too light or dark — a nice medium strength black tea. I think there is a nice balance of blueberry and cassis flavors (I guess cassis is black currant?) and I’m surprised the flavors aren’t used more together with other tea shops. I’ve had plenty of gross black currant flavors in the past and this isn’t gross. There is also an earthy flavor. The flavor just bursts out of the mug even more when the cup is cold. So this one should be even better iced. It’s very tasty! I like it. The second steep is lighter on the flavor, but that is to be expected on a second steep. It reminds me of David’s Tea’s Blueberry Jam but I like that this doesn’t have splenda.
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a not quite full mug // 16 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 minute steep

Cameron B.

Yes, cassis is the French for blackcurrant, and it’s also a blackcurrant liqueur (also French).

Cameron B.

And you’re welcome for the samples! Always happy to spread some Lupicia love. ;)

tea-sipper

Some of these Lupicia teas can now live in my memory, if not my cupboard. :D

Cameron B.

I’m hoping we’ll be able to order the majority of the teas on the website from the Hawaiian store. The photos on their website certainly make it look like they have a wide selection!

https://usa.lupicia.com/hawaii/

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88

Thanks again Cameron B! I LOVE Lupicia’s matcha genmaicha blends. This one is no different, except for the black soybeans. I did see a soy bean in the infuser. However, I could not tell a difference in taste. It tasted like matcha genmaicha which is perfectly acceptable on its own. I love the combination: toasty yet fresh and definitely very sweet and so GREEN. Quite tasty. I love all that matcha that wafts from the infuser into the mug of bright green. I’d love to have tasted the black bean though, as this is such a unique idea I haven’t seen anywhere else. I give the matcha kirara rice tea from Lupicia a rating of 93 (which is VERY high for me for a green tea) and this tea is basically the same as that one, but since the soybeans aren’t adding much to the flavor for me here, I’m knocking down the rating a bit.
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a full mug// 30 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 30 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep

Mastress Alita

Huh, I get a very beany flavor from this one.

Kawaii433

I really love their matcha kirara, this is on my wish list. Waiting for the USPS to get their act together or maybe I’ll wing it and hope for the best lol.

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72
drank Fruits d'Alsace by Harney & Sons
3141 tasting notes

Additional notes: So because I was asking about the differences between Paris and Tower of London these days (different tasting note), Harney sent me a sample of this one, as I was looking for a Harney tea that tasted like stone fruits. Turns out, I DID try this years ago, but I’m always happy to revisit a fresh tea, to possibly change my opinions. Now that I’m drinking this, I’m remembering it exactly the same. Even as the lightest of China black teas, which I guess will be a favor to the flavors? So I guess it’s good that this one hasn’t changed in five years for those who like it? Somehow this base tea is MUCH lighter than the one used in, for example, Tower of London. In my original tasting note, I said it’s a mix of fruit flavors that combine to create something that simply tastes like fruit to me. But now, I suppose (with five more years of tea experience and a fresh tea?) that I can see that I’m tasting cherry and hints of plum. I’m not entirely a fan of cherry flavored things… and when I think stone fruits I’m thinking more like peaches, apricots, plums anyway… which I guess this tea is supposed to be… but I think the cherry takes over too much. And I miss the older Tower of London, which I feel was more like what I wanted. So I’ll raise the rating on this from a 63. I don’t think it deserved to be that low, but this tea isn’t a Harney favorite for me.
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a full mug // 16 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 minute steep

Flavors: Cherry

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96
drank Tower of London by Harney & Sons
3141 tasting notes

Additional notes on new ‘harvest’: I bought a tin of this during the holiday sale. It’s cheaper to get the tin than the sample somehow… and I thought I’d sell some extra anyway. I remember this tea very differently. I remember stone fruits. Sadly, after tasting this, and having it taste pretty similar to Paris, I had to ask Harney and they say the teas are pretty similar now. They switched to natural flavors three years ago so now the only difference: Paris =carame Tower of London = honey. Both have black currant. Tower of London was very solidly in my mind a stone fruit flavored tea and had nothing to do with black currants. I can only imagine the disappointment of someone who buys a tin of both at the same time, expecting different teas. I think the only difference in descriptions now is that Paris also has some oolong in the blend? But maybe that is the old description too. A teaspoon and a half doesn’t get too astringent, per say, but I don’t think using that much does any justice to the flavor than using one or 1 1/4. The brew gets fairly dark even after two minutes. The second steep has much less flavor, so I wish both steeps would be better balanced. The flavor specifically now just tastes like Paris, though that was always a tough flavor for me to describe anyway. It was just ‘PARIS’ and it was distinct and delicious. Also, I KNOW the Paris I tried a few years ago is not the same flavor as these two teas. From memory, the Paris from a few years ago was like bergamot, berry, pastry, maybe vanilla? It is tough for me to judge the new Tower of London against the new Paris, since I only have one teabag of it I’d like to save for cravings. (but if this blend is the same now, why not?) To be fair, one or the other is a flavor that I feel needs to be a cupboard essential, stocked at all times. But I liked when they were different flavors. I LOVED both Paris and Tower of London when I first tried them. I know it’s impossible for teas not to change over years, but it’s no fun when it’s a tea that is a favorite and the flavors are solidly in your memory. The rating would be lower now.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for mug // 18 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4-5 min
tl:dr – Tower of London is now pretty much the same as Paris, according to an e-mail from Harney.

Flavors: Black Currant

Cameron B.

Weird, I thought this one was stonefruit too…

tea-sipper

well.. it was SUPPOSED to be, back in the day. I guess the switch to natural flavors meant no more stone fruit.

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76
drank Rum Raisin by Lupicia
3141 tasting notes

Thanks again for the Lupicia samples, Cameron B! This is another one that looks like it is partially CTC and a raisin was able to finagle its way into the infuser. I haven’t drank much rum, so I’m not sure how accurate the flavor is. It isn’t plain black tea though. There is a boozy type of flavor and lingers. However, the flavor quality it most seems like is a Ceylon type of flavor that I’m not a huge fan of. If this was a blind taste test I might just call it a ‘more flavorful Ceylon’. I’m not sure what the base is, as the website doesn’t say. I feel like anything that is flavored with alcohol I can never taste, bourbon especially. So this might just taste mostly like Ceylon to me, but the best cup of Ceylon. The second cup lost a bit of that flavor though.
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for not quite full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3-4 minute steep

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68
drank Snore & Peace by Clipper
3141 tasting notes

So I have been putting off entirely updating my Steepster cupboard, because honestly, I know it’s insane and people will think I’m being buried under tea. I promise, the tea is organized. I will slowly add them all over the next few days. SO don’t be alarmed, even if I know there is ONE serving left, it’s a variety of tea that is going on the Steepster cupboard until it’s a sipdown. Updating the cupboard is so when I’m even remotely thinking of acquiring more tea, I will just take a look at the number and slap myself upside the head. I’m not trying to win the Steepster crazy cupboard award. Of course I appreciate all these teas, but too much is too much. And I need to enjoy the awesome teas that I already have. I guess it’s also a problem when I feel like tea companies will go out of business without purchases. And there are only so many tea drinkers and SO many tea shops. So I feel like I should buy from them and support them once in a while… especially the small companies.

This is a random teabag from an ancient teabox. I love the name. (Oh, I’m NOT putting individual teabags in the Steepster cupboard at least.) This one might be too old to judge, but it wasn’t bad. I’m sure it’s much better fresh. Hints of lemon, lavender and mint and very savory.

tea-sipper

After I buy the teas I’ve been meaning to buy for a while from Cameron B, I should say. :D

Mastress Alita

I don’t even use the Steepster Cupboard for inventory, so if I log a tea with a tasting note, I keep it “in the cupboard” even if I have sipped it down and don’t own it anymore, because I find it impossible to find my past tasting notes from the Tasting Notes tab which has pretty much no sorting options on it, but the Cupboard tab at least has several different sorting options (alphabetical, company, date, rating, etc.) so that I can find my review again easier). That’s why I keep my inventory on a spreadsheet instead, heh. I hope people don’t look at my cupboard number continue to grow with each tasting note I make and automatically assume that is the number of teas I have when my actual count is on the spreadsheet I have linked on my profile…

Cameron B.

Oh please, no one here would ever dare judge you for the size of your tea cupboard! ;)

tea-sipper

Cameron – Well a cupboard THIS big is ridiculous.
Mastress Alita – I also have a e-mail saved draft that I list all my teas in by type and also list if I have more than one. But a spreadsheet sounds like a much better idea. It’s too late now! haha

Cameron B.

I’m thinking I should start a spreadsheet as well. If nothing else, it would be nice to keep tracking of purchase dates.

Mastress Alita

@Cameron B. – That is one of the fields I keep track of on my spreadsheet!

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92
Thanks so much for your wonderful Lupicia sample package, Cameron B! Another one I’m very happy to try, as it looks like this one is already gone from the site. The oolong doesn’t look like the bundled type, it’s the big leafed type, possibly a Pouchong which I’m a fan of! I knew Lupicia’s grape flavor wouldn’t be the really gross kind of grape flavor that I’ve had the unfun of experiencing on some teas before. This grape is delicious – it’s a candy grape but not the overly weird kind. The flavor is so full and smooth, even with only steeping the first cup for a minute and a half (with only a teaspoon and a half because the leaves are not evenly dispersed in the teaspoon.) The second steep is also plenty grape. With the third steep, the grape is more faded so I get to enjoy more of the great oolong base. The oolong flavors and grape flavors coexist so nicely here.

Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug // 18 minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 10 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2-3 min

Cameron B.

You’re welcome! Hopefully you’ll be able to order this one from the Honolulu store.

tea-sipper

Even if I can’t order it, I’m very thankful I was able to try this. I’ve been meaning to order from Lupicia for years, but there are just so many tea shops. haha

Cameron B.

If there’s one thing Lupicia does really well, it’s their fruity oolongs. ;)

Kawaii433

@tea-sipper Oh my, this review just made me add that to a current Lupicia order o.O lol. That’s one thing about Lupicia too… If you contact them before they ship they are really accommodating.

tea-sipper

I hope you love it, when you try it!

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Profile

Bio

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):
birdandblendtea.com
teavivre.com
52teas.com
svtea.com
teakruthi.com
harney.com
angrytearoom.com
Dammann Freres
Yunnan Sourcing
fusionteas.com
AprTea.com
Javateaco.com
Lupicia
Plumdeluxe.com
Octaviatea.com
Davidstea
eco-cha.com
what-cha.com
justea.com
singleoriginteas.com
teasenz.com
tealyra.com
whisperingpinestea.com
Mandala
verdanttea.com
thenecessiteas.com

Favorite tea shops (RIP):
butikiteas.com
steapshoppe.com
steepcityteas.com
aquartertotea.com
dellaterrateas.com
zentealife.com
theteamerchant.net
joysteaspoon.com
tealiciousllc.com
Rivertea
Specialteas

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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USA

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