3528 Tasting Notes


Thanks so much for this sample, Tiesta Tea!  I’m always up for trying any Earl Grey Cream I can get my hands on!  Those blue flowers in the blend were really making me nostalgic for my favorite Earls from the past.  It seems like good ones are hard to find these days. This one is middle of the pack of my favorites – not the best I’ve had but not the worst!  The short leaves make a robust base, which is necessary for any Earl I gravitate towards.  The bergamot is fine – not strong enough for me and also not the preferred flavor type.  I wish there was more cream.  It seems any EG that is supposed to be cream is just so very faint with the cream now.  I’m talking about every tea company.  I wonder if companies had to switch to a more natural flavor these days… I don’t prefer it.  I like the obvious thick cream notes of older blends.  To be fair, I have had this tea for almost eight months now and the flavor of the bergamot did seem stronger before… but still no cream either way.  Got to have that cream.  It is odd however, when a tea has bergamot I cannot usually pick out any flavors from the actual base.  I like this, but still on the hunt for a GREAT Earl Cream.  Especially in these sad times.
Steep #1  // 1 1/2 teaspoons for full mug // 15 minutes after boiling  // 2 minute steep
Steep #2  // just boiled //  3 min
2020 Sipdowns: 30 (Bird &Blend – TEA Wells)

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drank Ceylon Estate by Octavia Tea
3528 tasting notes

I still have a handful of Octavia samples to write up.  Thanks, Octavia!  They are having a 25% off over $45 sale for a few days with code ‘WELLNESS’ however their free shipping code doesn’t work along with it.  The leaves don’t really look like the photo – mine are much shorter and no gold…  I’m not one for Ceylon, but his one is robust and full of flavor (what I don’t usually expect from Ceylon).  It’s almost like an Assam in flavor profile.  Strong, brassy, malty.  The second steep is brisk.  I’m glad I only used one teaspoon.  Flavors of bread turn into thick rye bread when cooled, maybe a bit of red wine with a hint of dried hay.  Definitely a Ceylon black I really like! 
Steep #1  // 1 heaping teaspoon for full mug // 15 minutes after boiling  // 2 minute steep
Steep #2  // 3 minutes after boiling //  3 1/2 min

Flavors: Hay, Malt, Red Wine, Rye


Still really want to stock up on their French Breakfast, but I must not..do..it.


Sounds good!

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Additional notes: Ah, my poor golden buds, suffering the most with age. It is a shame shame shame. What was once the most complex deliciousness, now could not be more flatter. It’s definitely a lesson to drink what I have before acquiring more teas. I think I have been drinking teas for… fifteen years now. Only fifteen? And I think I know what I like now, what favorites I should have stocked up, instead of the “try everything” phase. So hopefully the teas will sipped down, whittled down and I will have a curated collection. For example: I only have a handful of hojicha samples, but have not drank any of those in a good long while. So I wouldn’t need much hojicha around.

Edited to add: A previous note for this tea mentioned that I wish I had three pounds of this in my cupboard but that would have been a TERRIBLE idea. Even though I’m sure I knew that six years ago. I’m very glad I didn’t stock up. Little amounts of fresh at a time would be much better!

Edited again: Okay, the second steep at boiling tastes much better, but still. Not as complex. The first steep must have been very cooled before steeping.


A thousand times yes! I have too much tea but less than I used to have. I am trying not to order anything but dearly loved teas until I get this under better control. It is so sad when a great tea tastes meh because I didn’t drink it fast enough. Like…by three years.


Can relate on hojicha: I have quite a few weird Japanese teas that I cannot bring myself to finish. In general, I often try distinct, unusual teas and, while appreciating their uniqueness just cannot bring myself back to them.

That what you get for exploring and trying new teas. On the other hand, sticking to only the same favorite tried-and-true kinds feels so boring.


Sure! I LIKE hojicha, I’m just never gravitating towards it. Which means I don’t need to stock up. Having ie: one half ounce sample would work for me. Exploring teas is always fun, but I think it will be toned down a bit more now. At least until some of my favorite shops start disappearing again and I have to seek out more favorites (eek – but they tend to do that anyway, so I’m expecting it.)

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From Tamarindel a LONG time ago. THANK YOU.  It was so delicious yesterday that I looked to see if I had written a tasting note and nope, I did not.  Of course.  Though green and flavored, it’s still fantastic, more than I remembered from past steeps.  The almond is spot on.  Toasty yet sweet and buttery – an amazing pairing with this green tea and hint of cinnamon.  Two excellent steeps.It is tough for me to focus on reading normally and this virus is not helping with that at ALL.  Doubly not helpful and I’m really missing my mindscape books.
Even if the virus might be slowing, people have to realize it is because most people have only been doing the essential things for an entire month around where I live anyway. So it took a MONTH for things to slightly slow down and I really hope people don’t run out partying just because things are slowly slowing.  Isolated parties, sure.  Have at em.
A BIG musical calmer (every song really) is M. Ward and here is Along the Santa Fe Trail: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnMPxsy8AsU

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I could kick myself.  Really kick myself.  According to an e-mail search, this was a free sample from SIX years ago.  And I never even wrote a tasting note for it.  And it’s matcha.  And it’s still very delicious.  This shop was amazing in the old days – they had SO MANY matcha flavors.  Sadly, I was only able to try a handful.  This is pure loveliness today so at least it was sitting here for six years for a reason.  I heated a mug of 2% milk for 88 seconds in the microwave and whisked some matcha in with a fork.  It doesn’t really look green.  But I think that extra percent in the milk is making it extra cheesecakey.  But now that I’m thinking about it, it’s very clumpy towards the bottom of the mug, so possibly what I’m thinking is cheesecake flavor is just plain milk flavor?  Who knows, but I won’t pour the matcha in the top of the hot milk again.  It doesn’t work that way.  Guess I haven’t had matcha in a while.  I will put the matcha in the bottom of the mug and whisk while pouring the milk next time.

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drank Candied Pear by 52teas
3528 tasting notes

Additional notes: Only an 83 rating from me? Psssh. This deserves a much higher rating. I’m raising it. I could hardly find a more delicious pear tea, and the flavor is really holding up. Next time it will be gone. Maybe I didn’t use two teaspoons last time or something. I probably steeped it wrong somehow. So many actual little pieces of pear! Who actually puts pear in tea? Probably only 52Teas. Your teas are being appreciated in these times, Anne — hope you and yours are doing okay.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons // 29 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // TBA
2020 Sipdowns: 28 (52Teas – Frank’s Ginger Pumpkin Cheesecake Honeybush)


@tea-sipper – thank you. I’m doing my best to do the social distancing thing – we only go out maybe once a week or so to gather necessities. Although last night while preparing dinner, I burnt my hand severely – so – there’s that. It’s not very easy to do – well – anything at all with my hand burned and blistered. But I could be far worse – like so many others are. Thank you very much for the kind words. :) Please take care of yourself – anyone who happens to be reading this! Stay safe and take care!


Ouch – not good for tea blending. I hope your hand heals quickly!


@tea-sipper: it’s actually healing quite nicely. The first 24 hours were terribly painful. It still hurts and I can’t grip things with my right hand – fortunately I am left-handed. While there are still things that I’m not able to do without pain (so therefore I won’t do it) – it’s healing quickly. :)


Oh good. :D

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Additional notes: I’ve been revisiting some B&B teas! For being four years old (how how how?), this one seems to be getting better with age. BUT really wishing for more berries. And cake flavors. A teaspoon and a half works perfectly. It’s mainly a dark tea with cocoa and hibiscus notes, but sometimes that is the sort of craving I have. Somehow cocoa works well with hibiscus! It’s like Simpson & Vail’s Valentine’s blend. Raising the rating from 72 (I don’t think it previously worked with one teaspoon).

Flavors: Cocoa, Hibiscus

Martin Bednář

No sour cherry notes? Then it’s far from Black Forest cake.


Nope, no cherry. The description lists so many types of berries, so it is disappointing to taste none of them.

Martin Bednář

That’s sad. Apparently I have noticed them and I liked it. But it’s gone :/

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Additional notes:  Nothing to do for my crappy mood today but get tea spoiled.  Having some delectable favorites today:  52Teas – Berried Treasure, B&B’s Rice Moolong and this one.  I think I’ll be revisiting some very favorites in the coming weeks while also trying some new-to-me teas. I’m savoring this tea once in a while because not only is it discontinued but the flavor is still amazing.  Sure, it’s not as good as it was when fresh, but that tea magic doesn’t exist yet, of keeping teas fresh through any amount of time.  The hugest dried cherry I’ve ever seen went into the infuser. It was much bigger than a teaspoon.  This is a tea where the parceling of ingredients must be very careful. Otherwise you get all these cherries in the infuser!  CHERRYCHOCOLATE. COFFEE. Perfect blend. Perfect for today.

I also finished organizing my teas that I’ve been doing slowly over time.  That was fun.  What’s next? A calming yet haunting song for today: Ed Harcourt – The World is On Fire https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xlo9aQFUlyo

Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Coffee

Roswell Strange

I think this might be the very first tea I ever had from AQ2T…


Mine too! I didn’t get to try nearly enough of AQ2T teas, sadly.


I can’t believe they are gone! So many tea companies gone since I started drinking tea.


I was never a big fan of this one, but the other two you mentioned – soooo good.

Also still quite sad about AQ2T and Butiki – they both had a fairly high number of incredibly unique, memorable, delicious teas that I don’t think anyone will recreate. I desperately hope AQ2T comes back at some point in the future!

Martin Bednář

It’s always sad to see any, even small (thus worse), companies to close down. Some blends looks really tasty. But new ones will rise! As for example – Bird and Blend. I think they have quite nice chance to be in spotlight too.

Never had anything from AQ2T :/

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Thanks again for the swap, AJRimmer!  I’ve wanted to try this, but again with the mysterious ingredients, ETS.  So it’s hard to parcel out the ingredients here without knowing what they are.  Looking at the ingredients after steeping, it looks like actual lime?  Or some sort of citrus.  As well as rosehips which don’t really do much for the color of the mug/ flavor… I can’t really tell what else is in there. I guess the flavor is slightly lime, but it’s a very earthy lime, and by earthy I mean bordering on dirt flavor.  I’ve never had gelato but I doubt it tastes like this.
Steep #1  // 1 1/2 teaspoons for full mug // 10 minutes after boiling  // 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2  // just boiled //  6-7 min
2020 Sipdowns: 27 (David’s Rhubarb Cream Soda)

Mastress Alita

They hide the ingredients on a downloadable pdf instead of putting them straight on the website for whatever reason? (Probably to try to make it harder to snuff out their wholesaler…?) In any event, they are: Apple + Rosehip + Hibiscus + Peach pieces, Camomile petals


hmm, that is weird they wouldn’t be upfront about it. But thank you for the info! None of those ingredients scream ‘lime gelato’ to me, which might be another reason they hide it.

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drank Mango Fruit Punch by DAVIDsTEA
3528 tasting notes

This is from M Mack a while ago, thank you!  I would say this is hardly “mango”.  So many huge orange pieces, it ends up tasting mostly like orange juice. Or a vitamin C supplement, maybe that’s the stevia getting older.  Of course this is slightly older now.  I would have liked more of the other elements to come through: mango, pineapple, strawberry.  Those SOUND like a great blend… that I’m imagining.  Also had this with half an actual mango… so fresh mango was only going to diminish this tea, sadly.  The photo sure looks tasty though.
Steep #1  // 7 minutes after boiling  // 2-3 minute steep
Steep #2  // 3 minutes after boiling  //  5-6 min
2020 Sipdowns: 26 (52Teas – Frank’s Black Currant Shou Mei – haven’t had a sipdown in 15 days. ruhroh.)

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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!

I’m always in search of: Hattialli, Qu Hao black, Jin Jun Mei, teas using marshmallow root.

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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