1190 Tasting Notes


Twelve Days of Tea 2021 – Day Five (better late than never)

This one is lovely! I’m almost not annoyed that there’s no green oolong this year (plus my French advents more than made up for that.. although the offerings were generally less impressive than the ones Anne tends to create). I also kind of regret not picking up more of this in the store because it’s so unique (completely sold out), but Darjeeling teas, of all oxidization levels and styles, are something I prefer in small, sparse amounts.

Tart cranberry notes and buttery chestnut give me the impression of a luxurious, festive variation on a PB&J. The choice of a Darjeeling Oolong as a base is so perfect and well-crafted here – offering complex but complimentary base notes. I can’t think of a better combo.

I’m sad to see this one go and hope it pops up again in future advents or as a featured wintertime reblend.

Steep Count: 3

Flavors: Butter, Chestnut, Cranberry, Fruity, Malt, Muscatel, Nutty, Smooth, Sweet, Tangy, Tart

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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My sister gifted this tea to me as a Christmas present – a bold move since turmeric is divisive and my sister doesn’t know my feelings towards it (luckily, I love turmeric lattes. Maybe she does know that. EDIT: my sister bought this solely under the assumption that I love ginger. That’s solid reasoning).

This is an interesting twist on the traditional ginger turmeric combo. It contains beetroot to give a reddish hue to this golden soup, and carrot which.. have you ever had carrot juice? It’s a little bit like that – surprisingly sweet and root-earthy (quintessential “vitamin A” taste). There’s also pineapple forextra acidic dimensions. It’s a nice treat when under the weather!

I steeped it in steamed milk and added two teaspoons of clover honey. Looking forward to returning to this one when I have some soy or oat milk at hand.

Flavors: Carrot, Citrusy, Earthy, Ginger, Pineapple, Spicy, Sweet, Turmeric, Wood

Boiling 8 min or more 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Twelve Days of Tea 2021 – Day Seven

Without complete use of my nose this tea, is interesting (I can smell just enough of the dry leaf to get berry custard – huge improvements!). The Blackberry is so buttery-sweet and candy-like to start (top tongue), and something else (blackberry flavour and/or green teas) counteracts that with a nice note of green plant bitterness and acidic sour taste for a convincing berry-tart dessert flavour. It’s well-rounded and I’m enjoying it more today than I did “pre-cold” (this isn’t my favourite from 52Teas but it’s still nice).

I can add this one to the short list of teas that are still enjoyable while stuffed up!

Flavors: Bitter, Blackberry, Butter, Candy, Smooth, Sweet, Tart, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank English Teatime by Bigelow
1190 tasting notes

I don’t know why this tea is in the stash; I have no memories of ever acquiring Bigelow; is it one of those items that every household secretly has if you look hard enough? A mystery, but a good one, as it turns out this is the tea bag that goes well with lemon and honey (and dark, caramel-like Kraken Rum). I liked the result so much I made two cups (one without rum and one with). The final result admittedly may taste a little like flat vanilla coke (so strange, not questioning it).

The tea itself smells pleasantly of broken black tea (from what I can tell) and tastes like one would expect – straightforward, astringent, and malty-sweet. This is the perfect base to add the lemon slice (which bubbles as it steeps), honey, and (optional) a little rum (but not too much because the cough meds don’t play well). I may revisit this even when I’m not sick (the hot toddy-like drink finally won me over).

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Malt, Sweet

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 16 OZ / 473 ML
Evol Ving Ness

So pleased that you gave this a whirl! Too bad about the cough medicines interfering with my father’s approach to scaring evil badness germs and their effects away.

For full effect, in future when meds are not in play, use black builder’s tea, a whole lemon, juice and pulp, two big spoons of pure organic honey, buckwheat if available, and two good glugs of dark rum. Drink hot-Ish and go to bed.

Funny, my father, who was an abstainer, would always deliver this rather potent drink to whomever was ailing. It always did the trick.


I need another whole lemon lol.


Buckwheat! Never heard of that.


Yeah, the addition of buckwheat would be interesting (I like buckwheat but don’t have any on me right now)!

Evol Ving Ness

Buckwheat honey or wildflower honey. NOT buckwheat the grain.


Oh.. that makes sense. Buckwheat honey is nice too (buckwheat “tea” powder would’ve added thickness to the concoction).

Evol Ving Ness

Haha, sounds like you are coming back to yourself. Yay! Clearly, the tea worked :)


Sorry … four days on Sudafed has turned my brain into one giant cobweb. Buckwheat honey makes sense! Oy.

Evol Ving Ness

I hope YOUare coming back to yourself too.


Yes, everyone take care! :)

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I found a bunch of neglected tea bags from various companies, and I’m hoping that one or more of them will satisfy my cravings for a strong, robust cup of tea. I decided to start with Numi because I’ve fond memories of this company from happy college cafeteria days (this is the brand UVic carried when I attended there; I always went for the Gunpowder or Mint though).

Even though my nose is super muted, I still can smell a touch of delicious, caffeine-filled black tea (bliss)! To taste, I still manged to get “sweet potato” and “malt” from this bright, bitter, slightly sweet tea – which is more than I hoped for (you can tell Numi includes Chinese black tea in this blend). It’s a lovely tea bag that’s as satisfying as turning rich, fine loam in the garden – but it’s possibly too lovely to add the planned honey and lemon.

Also, despite steeping the bag for 5 minutes in a tiny mug the astringency is more minimal than I was anticipating – something that only asserted itself after I finished my cup. But take that with a grain of salt; my head is currently cotton mush.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Earthy, Malt, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Woody

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

I like this one, too.


Yes, I may need to get more Numi when I finally run out of the unending supply of tea bags I stumbled upon today :)

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I’m finally on the uptick of a nasty sinus infection, and am more or less coherent again if not completely rid of the laryngitis (also got tested for safety, and it’s not covid, so hurrah!). Since yesterday though I’ve been too stuffed up to smell much of anything. But at this point I need. Crave. Caffeine. I apparently lack “builder’s tea,” which is what I truly want right now, so I fell back on old favourites, like Pancake Breakfast.

There’s enough sweet syrup and bitter tea leaf here to make this interesting. Add milk and there’s a bit more “something” (extra protein and sugars? An acid that adds “sour”?). I can still pick up that this is maple syrup despite not being able to smell my cup, so that makes me super happy. Some of the other (favourite) teas I tried were pretty limp and indistinguishable without my nose. I hope I get that back soon; otherwise, I have a decent amount of Pancake Breakfast!

Flavors: Malt, Maple Syrup, Smooth, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 45 OZ / 1330 ML

You can find good old PG Tips in your area, yes? I’m of the opinion that everyone needs a box on hand for medicinal purposes!

Evol Ving Ness

Also, when I need a builder’s tea, recently I have reached for Malachi McCormick or Scottish Morn, both H & S and both good to have on hand.

I love the term builder’s tea. Thank you for that, gmathis.

I interpret builder’s tea as a punchy tea that does not stand down in the face of additions, even eggnog.


…and given adequate time, could stand up on its own minus the cup. There’s a tea chat subgroup on LibraryThing.com and a fella with a UK/South Africa geographic background calls it “cheap bog standard black tea.”

Evol Ving Ness


delightful descriptive phase. I am writing it down, but I hope you will remind us of this phrase two or three times ago that it comes into common usage.


I’ll try to locate some PG Tips proactively for next time (because there is always a next time)! I wish I had a Scottish Breakfast or a CTC too; I stared at an image of Kenyan CTC longingly for 10 whole minutes the other day.

I managed to dig around an old tea bag jar and found: 2 Mighty Leaf English Breakfast, 1 Twinings Irish Breakfast, 1 Numi Breakfast Blend, numerous Bigelow English Teatime. They all look like they’ve been throttled and crushed beyond expectations. Hopefully one of them will do for “cheap bog standard black tea” in a pinch (fingers crossed!).

Evol Ving Ness

Sounds like you are already all set. :)


All of those qualify. I was lucky enough to stumble across some Ty-Phoo Extra Strong at our Tuesday Morning store, which is my ace in the hole for bleary mornings and bad colds. Hope yours has improved!


P.S. So saith Merriam Webster: Definition of bog-standard. British, informal, having no special or interesting qualities, average: a bog-standard speech.

Evol Ving Ness

But we are, for the most part, moderate tea snobs, so even a plain but punchy tea needs to have a bit of oomph. Even when our noses are not working and we have no taste buds to speak of.


My morale is up today, and I’m exchanging painful symptoms for merely annoying ones :)

I love “bog-standard” but shall use it affectionately (especially since I live near a literal bog); the teas may be “average” but I also believe they are “fertile” grounds if applied correctly (and with the right outlook)!

Evol Ving Ness


And yes, completely true.

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2021 spring Harvest

I am not feeling super sharp and wanted something simple, familiar, but fine today. That description is this tea to a “T”. I’ve found this harvest a little more “earthy” than past ones so decided to see if I could draw out the complexities with grandpa style (I’ve somehow never done that before with this tea).

Gongfu Session Steep Count: rinse + 5

Aroma: Milk chocolate with honeycomb; sweet, dark malt.

The velvety earth profile of milk chocolate, rasins, and bready malt are supported by lovely secondary notes of caramel, sweet potato, and molasses. First steep is smooth milk chocolate, second is more in line with unsweetened cocao, third steep smooths out again with spice, etc. I’ll have to do another gongfu session when I’m feeling better and have an attention span; this tea deserves it.

Flavors: Bread, Chocolate, Cocoa, Earthy, Malt, Milk, Molasses, Raisins, Smooth, Sweet Potatoes

195 °F / 90 °C
Evol Ving Ness

How wonderful that you have this one at hand too!

I hope you are beginning to feel better and a bit more like yourself. It sucks to be under the weather.


I’ve yet to take a positive turn so I’m frustrated and trending on whiny (sorry). I have a “kickass” cough now that kept me awake all night, and I’m going for a test on the 1st if it doesn’t let up before then. At least I can still smell and taste things, the rest of my family is ok, and I’m in a position where I can isolate easily!! Silver Linings D:

Evol Ving Ness

Whining is good and helpful for recovery from sucky symptoms of things.

My father used to make me strong black tea with a whole lemon, pulp and juice, two big spoons of good pure honey, and a couple of glugs of dark rum. And then stay in bed under the covers. Strongly recommend this , if available.

Good thing about the test, just in case. Hopefully, you will be on the mend before that.

Yay for silver linings, but get better soon anyway. <3


Haha! That sounds good. I may recreate that this evening :)

Evol Ving Ness

It is very good and very effective. Let me know how it goes.

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I drank a lot of this today. Like two different sessions for 5 cups. The first two cups were creamy vanilla caramel delight. This session has a bit more of an edge – brandy-like as advertised. Both smell like dulce de leche and they fill up the room with it (I can still smell things despite being super congested, hurrah!). I wish I had churros to pair but this tea is also a whole dessert in itself.

Flavors: Brandy, Bread, Caramel, Coconut, Cream, Malt, Smooth, Vanilla

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Evol Ving Ness

Sounds like your tastebuds are functioning: another good sign. YAY!

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This was included as a free sample in my last order. It was also part of the advent but I’m not sad to drink it again. This spice blend is fantastic latte material.

Evol Ving Ness suggested tea and honey, and nothing goes better with honey than spicy turmeric and ginger! I steamed some milk, made some pretty foam, steeped the tea bag in the milk, and added a generous amount of honey. All is good (mostly). My only complaint is I wish the baggy contained more so I could really overdo the heat; I crave intense ginger burn right now. Hopefully sleep will do the rest tonight!

Flavors: Cinnamon, Earthy, Ginger, Spices, Turmeric

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
Evol Ving Ness

Hopefully, that has done the trick.


It was satisfying, which counts for a lot!

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drank Graveyard Mist by 52teas
1190 tasting notes

On paper, I think this tea sounds like it should be as delectable as chewing on toothpaste. In reality I love this creamy spearmint tea; it’s also a 52Teas classic with an apt name. I’m so grateful that it’s part of “D’s Teas”, and that I picked up a little pouch with my last order; my throat is thankful too. It’s always a comfort during trying times.

Going through my past tasting notes, I noticed they’re almost entirely for Frank’s run (minus one from six years ago.. that may be Anne’s reblend). Time to switch that up! I do love going back and seeing how my feelings towards this tea morphed from skepticism to love and “security blanket-like” affection though. 9+ years of this tea in my life.. it’s been with me through dismal rentals and ailing grandmothers and I appreciate it to bits.

Flavors: Creamy, Earthy, Grass, Herbaceous, Marshmallow, Smooth, Spearmint, Vanilla, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Evol Ving Ness

I need to revisit this one.

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I started my Steepster loose leaf adventure back in 2012. I can’t say I’m completely new anymore, but I still view oolong as a magical, extraterrestrial creature that unfurls in water.

My favourites are teas like Milk Oolong, Silver Needle,and Japanese Sencha/Gyokuro, or fruity and floral flavoured ones. However, I generally enjoy ALL the teas, including a good old cup of Earl Grey or Breakfast blend.


Vanilla, Maple, Caramel, Butterscotch, Cream, Toffee, Nougat, Marzipan, Butter

Blackberry, Raspberry, Currants, Blueberry, Elderberry, Banana, Melon, Pineapple, Persimmon, Rhubarb, Passionfruit..

Lime, Grapefruit, Lemon, Bergamot, Yuzu (orange is a hit or miss)

Ginger, Turmeric, Clove-forward chai

Musky, “Fresh,” and/or Woody Incense-like stuff: Sandalwood, Frankincense, Juniper, Eucalyptus, Mints

Lavender, Jasmine, Rose, Lilac, Violet, etc. ALL the flowers!

Spinach, Grass, Hay, Cucumber, Rice, Sweet Potato

Less Preferred Flavours/Ingredients:
Stevia, Apple, Cocoa Nib, Almond, Licorice, Cinnamon-forward blends, Chinese Sencha

Subjective Rating System:
I don’t give a lot of low ratings out, since a) I tend to grab tea I know will appeal to me, and b) I don’t have a lot of strong dislikes.

90-100: Favourites. The Desert Island Teas.
80-89: Loved teas. Possibly staple-worthy.
70-79: Good teas, but I’m less likely to repurchase. Minor quibbles.
60-69: Ok teas. Likely a few preference and/or quality issues.
50-59: Cup of meh. Will do in a pinch.
11-49: Varying levels of undrinkable tea.
1-10: Nightmare tea from the chaos realms. This tea is the embodiment of the primordial swamp, an unholy abomination. It’s very gross and I’m almost positive it doesn’t exist.


BC, Canada

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