690 Tasting Notes

I lost my sense of taste/smell for a while when I had covid, but I’m very grateful to have it back. With the weather finally warming up, I’ve been making iced tea the past few days. This one I made by cold brewing it overnight, which the leaf responded to really well. It’s got a nice medium mouthfeel, honey sweetness, some floral notes, and a generally pleasing smoothness that’s perfect for a warm day.

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Huge fan of the robust roast of this tea. Plus, I can have it in the evenings because it’s low caffeine. I usually get at least two and up to five steeps out of it, depending on amount of leaf and length of steep. I bought a bunch of it a few years ago and then neglected it for a while, which is a sin with tea this good. I’ve been on a delightful mission to drink it down over the past few months. This has led to some experimentation that the tea is probably too high quality for, but I do occasionally enjoy it with oat milk, vanilla agave, and pumpkin spice honey (so basically a hojicha pumpkin spice latte).

Mastress Alita

Maple also goes great in a houjicha latte!


Pumpkin spice honey sounds amazing!


Yes maple! I love maple syrup in hojicha and also coffee.

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Two sipdowns today from Mastress Alita’s March sipdown challenge:
- A discontinued/otherwise unavailable-for-purchase tea
- A tea from a woman-owned company
Years ago, a friend traveled to Spain and brought me back a floral berry herbal tea. I’ve been stretching it out but finally finished it off today. It’s a sad sipdown, both because it can’t be replaced and because it was a really good blend – juicy and sweet without any tartness.
I also finished off the last of my Te Company Ruby Brew, easily one of my favorite teas of theirs. This is another one that I had been holding on to and stretching out but I finally decided that it was time to give it a proper goodbye and make space for other teas (though I’ll probably replace it eventually). It doesn’t actually taste like Oriental Beauty but it reminds me of Oriental Beauty… I think because of its sweetness, gentle roast, and satisfying mouthfeel.

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drank Venetian Tiramisu by Harney & Sons
690 tasting notes

Work has been absolute exhausting chaos for the past few weeks, but I’m trying to get back into the groove of tea writing. I took a breather today and felt like something chocolatey, which I don’t have many caffeinated options for. This fits the bill though! About a teaspoon of brown sugar really brings out the chocolate and brandy notes, perfect for a cold winter day. I’ll be sad when this one is gone.

Flavors: Brandy, Chocolate, Vanilla

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drank Indigo Punch by Harney & Sons
690 tasting notes

So sad to see others haven’t enjoyed this! I got the pitcher pouches and really liked them. I prep this by steeping a pouch (in a pitcher) in about two cups of boiling water. After 15 minutes, I top with cold water and stir. I leave the bag in – it doesn’t oversteep. I love the purple color and juicy flavor that results, so I’m a bit bummed that once I’m done with this pitcher it’ll be a sipdown. The most prominent notes are apple and berry, which works well in an iced tea. Hibiscus is the first ingredient but this isn’t tart the way a lot of hibiscus blends are. If I didn’t have a million things in my cupboard I could see restocking this come summer.


My eldest daughter bought this one and liked, but she does love hibiscus tea, as well. I may have to give it a try sometime.


Yeah, in fairness I don’t mind hibiscus generally and actively enjoy it when it’s done well, so I’m not sure how this would go for someone who doesn’t like hibiscus!

Lexie Aleah

I have both the pitcher pouches and the loose-leaf and for whatever reason much prefer the pitcher pouches. It’s good mixed with a bit of grape juice during the summer.


Ooh maybe I’ll get some more pouches for the summer and try them that way, thanks!

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drank Red Choc Mint by T2
690 tasting notes

Made this tonight after sleeping through half the day – rest which I apparently really needed. I made it as an oat milk latte with vanilla agave (I’m obsessed with vanilla agave lately!). Prepared this way, it’s quite serviceable as a hot cocoa alternative! I didn’t really make out much of the mint, but when I gave my partner some to try he immediately sensed something sharp about it that he found off-putting. He’s not a great metric though, since he isn’t particularly fond of tea as a genre.

Flavors: Chocolate

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drank Ginger Lemongrass by Tea Forte
690 tasting notes

Why is this sweet?! I was hoping for a nice, straightforward tea that lives up to its name. Instead I’m tasting sweetness at the front of the sip, so much like stevia that I had to check the ingredients list. Stevia isn’t on there, so I’m guessing that the sweetness is coming from the licorice root. Unfortunately I can’t shake that stevia vibe and I really really dislike stevia. Thankfully this is a sipdown and I’m counting it towards Mastress Alita’s January 2022 sipdown challenge as paired with a favorite hobby because I drank it (or tried to) while decorating my planner for the week.

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drank Snickerdoodle by Anna Marie's Teas
690 tasting notes

Second sipdown of the year and of Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge for January 2022! I divided this sample into two small cups so I could try it both straight and as a latte with oat milk & brown sugar. It’s definitely better as a latte. Both ways, the flavoring tastes like sugar cookies but I’m missing the snickerdoodle spice. Straight, the black tea is very present but pretty generic tasting – frankly I’d rather have the snickerdoodle flavoring be stronger at that point if I’m already having a dessert tea and there’s nothing interesting about the base. As a latte, the oat milk and sugar drown out the base tea and highlight the sugar cookie flavor, which definitely makes for a tastier and more enjoyable cup for my palate – think brown sugar black milk tea from the boba shop.

Flavors: Cookie, Sugar

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drank Carrot Cupcake by DAVIDsTEA
690 tasting notes

Pretty sure this is my first sipdown of 2022, finally! This bag is so so very old but I’ve been liking it more lately than I did when I first got it. Probably because the flavors have mellowed and melded better over time. Nowadays it actually is more carrot cake-y, especially with oat milk. For my last mug, I added some vanilla agave for an extra boost to the pastry vibe. Good choice for (literally) weathering a storm tonight. Stay safe folks!

edit This serendipitously counts towards Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge for January 2022! It’s a cream-flavored tea – there’s literally whipped cream flavoring in this. I think when I first bought this I wouldn’t have said so, because the carrot, licorice, and apple flavors were so sharp, but now that they’re more mellow I can enjoy the other flavors too.

Evol Ving Ness

You are inspiring me to hunt up older DTs blends that now might be a bit more promising.

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drank Graceful Hill by Te Company
690 tasting notes

With 2022 really living down to expectations, I’ve been finding more solace in being intentional about my tea lately. This week was particularly rough personally. I was hoping that Shabbat would be a good reset, but then I came back online only to learn of the Colleyville synagogue hostage situation. At least I was already drinking a good tea – this smooth, naturally creamy milk oolong. I drank four steeps western style before leaving the fifth overnight. Usually I gong fu any oolong from Te but today I really wanted just a big comforting mug of something that I knew wouldn’t disappointment me.

Evol Ving Ness

I just heard about this on social media a couple of hours ago. Terrible. As if life weren’t challenging enough.

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Geek and nerd (shoutout to GeekSteep). Still trying to get a handle on this whole work/life balance while ALSO succeeding at work thing. I have some chronic illnesses that make that harder. Tea is my respite.

Favorite tea types, in order:

Don’t drink:

A sampling of tea shops I like:
Te Company
Tea Thoughts
Harney & Sons

RIP Butiki



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