371 Tasting Notes

drank Black Tea by Shan Valley
371 tasting notes

A fairly standard CTC black tea. It’s very malty and reminds me of African black teas. Bold and full-bodied, it’s a great breakfast tea. So far I have drunk this tea without milk and sugar (if I steep it short enough it tastes fine by itself), but I imagine it would taste not unlike a bagged blended black tea such as Yorkshire Gold.

Flavors: Malt

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Thanks to Misty Peak Teas for a sample, from a pu’erh novice!

Review is based on infusions 1-7. Prepared with a gaiwan. Rinsed after 10 seconds. First infusion lasted 10 seconds; the second, 15; subsequent infusion times increased by three seconds.

I would have liked to experience the aroma of the dry leaf; it unfortunately faded while the tea traveled in the mail, but through inhaling deeply I was able to smell earth and minerals. The wet leaf’s aroma strengthened as the leaves (whose color ranged from dark green to brown) continued to unfold with each infusion. A combination of musk and meat had emerged.

The liquor was consistently a clear pastel yellow.

The flavor was medium-bodied, flavorful, soft and smooth. Infusions 1-3 were sour and astringent. After swallowing, I felt a prickly sensation on my tongue, and the aftertaste was slightly spicy. The spiciness began disappearing after the fourth infusion and completely faded away during the sixth. By the seventh infusion, the flavor was totally musky and forest-like with a hint of apricot (and still a bit prickly and astringent).

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drank Glitter & Gold by DAVIDsTEA
371 tasting notes

Thanks again to jessiwrites for a sample.

Glitter and Gold has the aroma of fresh, hot sugary bread, and tastes mostly of cinnamon and vanilla. The orange stands out when it cools. Also, what a pretty tea: when the golden sugar balls and silver crystals melt they create gold sparkles suspended in the liquor.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Constant Comment by Bigelow
371 tasting notes

It’s nice spiced tea, one of the few bagged teas I still drink. I especially enjoy the aroma. The orange and spices make a good combination. Drinking it as it is isn’t for me (I don’t like drinking any teas with spices straight), so I add sugar and milk. Good for a winter’s day or frigid night.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

This was a childhood fave

Bigelow Tea

KiwiDelight…. so happy to hear you enjoy a nice cup of Constant Comment, just the way you like it.

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Thanks to jessiwrites for a sample!

The dry leaf is quite colorful – pineapple chunks, amaranth bits, green tea leaves – and appealing to look at.

My brain confused itself when I experienced the aroma. It just couldn’t get over the fact that pineapple and cilantro were paired. It’s an odd combination, but it’s strangely good! While the dry leaf’s aroma smells strongly of cilantro, the aroma of the wet leaf and the infusion is slightly more balanced. If I inhale slowly, I can smell the pineapple.

The liquor is clear and pale: it is yellowish off-white, and the flavor is light-bodied, but strong. I could only taste the cilantro, and even when I let the tea cool and settle in my mouth for a few seconds, I still had no sense of the pineapple.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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My thanks to Stephanie for a surprise sample!

I’m going to start by saying that as soon as I smelled the dry leaf, I knew this tea wouldn’t be for me. The base is black tea – a rather bold one at that. I recently discovered I don’t like bold black teas in blends. Overall, I thought this tea was alright; it’s not that I thought it didn’t taste good. The combination of the freeze-dried raspberries and chocolate chips is strong enough to provide balance against the bitter base. I love the taste of the raspberries and chocolate, but I didn’t think it meshed well with this black tea.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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I received a tea bag as a sample when I went to the Coffee and Tea Festival. I was disappointed that I didn’t get another kind because I don’t like beets. Well, I’ve never actually eaten any, they just look icky. I gave it a try anyway. Why not?

A quick note on the color of the liquor: what a red! The “bright crimson” is such a gorgeous color. While I waited for the tea to cool, I took the time to admire it.

The tea bag smells heavily of the spices. The aroma of the infusion is less intense, with the beets standing out more. Smells like soup. It also tastes like soup, albeit watery soup (obviously). The flavor is full-bodied and strong, but not overtly so, and the beets and spices are well-balanced. Also, good combination of spices. What I like most about the flavor is that it leaves a long-lasting aftertaste.

This tea is appropriately “savory.” I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. Makes me want to try the others. Yay coupons!

Boiling 8 min or more

Beets are tasty! You should try them :) I prefer them roasted and then chilled and put in a salad…


One day I’ll have the courage to try them. These days I find myself liking foods that I hated as a kid.


Haha, I can’t help but wrinkle my nose at the sound of this.


The idea of a beet tea goes against the grain, doesn’t it?


I loved the other savory tea that I tried (broccoli cilantro) I have the combo box and can’t wait to try the other ones!


I await your review for this one :D

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When I saw Ajiri’s booth at the Coffee and Tea Festival, I had to stop by, being curious about African teas. I talked to the older daughter of the family who owns the small farm and company. It was a relaxed, lovely and informative conversation: we talked about the company itself, about how they bought the farm and started their business, and about the tea they produce and African tea in general. Ajiri, Swahili for employment, hires Kenyan middle-aged/older woman, who hand-craft beautiful pictures of indigenous Kenyan scenery on the boxes and fashion strings with two colorful beads that tie the bags containing the tea.

I gladly bought a box of their loose leaf tea – a CTC black – which I sampled twice. The flavor was too unique to pass up, as was one of their boxes. The tea is distinctively African, and to my surprise, it’s not as bitter as other African black teas I’ve tried. It’s light-bodied, and the bitterness disappears after swallowing! The best part: I can appreciate a cup of this without milk and/or sugar! When I brewed some at home, I did so with an infuser in an 8 oz mug, rather than the Kenyan method given on the box. The color of the liquor is beautiful, a scarlet. Then, when there were only a few more sips left, golden sun.

If you’re looking to introduce yourself to African teas, this one might be good try!


I drink a lot of this, buy it at my teashop for 3.95 an ounce and it only takes a half teaspoon per cup. Nice and strong tea! Because it’s not malty you can add things to it like ginger or cinnamon or whatever you like blending (but I like it straight mostly).


I love it straight. It sounds yummy with cinnamon :)

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I found a surprise sample in my package! Thanks to Della Terra Teas for sending it even though I placed my order a couple days before the promotion. So I had ordered a mate tea, and somehow some of the mate got stuck to the back and the bottom of the packet. (shrug)

The dry leaf is colorful – a combination of pinks, orange, blue and yellow because of the hibiscus, jelly beans (!), and apple and strawberry bits. I can smell the jelly beans, which busted its way out of the packet as soon as I opened it. The liquor has the usual stunning color of hibiscus, which initially dominates the flavor and then subsides so that the strawberry and jelly bean take over. It’s tart, but not as much as pure hibiscus tea (mostly likely because the kind I have is in tea bag form and this one is full leaf). Overall, this tea is sweet and slightly sugary. If you like hibiscus, or at least tolerate it, it’s pretty good.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Since this tea is pretty much Shamrocks and Shenanigans, but with candy cane pieces, I’m keeping this review short. This is one of my favorite dessert teas. It tastes so good! The addition of the candy cane creates a nice aftertaste, and adds color to the dry leaf as well.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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I began drinking tea because its complexity fascinated me. I love learning about its history, its manufacturing processes, and its place in various cultures.

Japanese greens were my first love and gateway into the world.

My favorite teas are leafhopper oolongs, pu’erh (shou and sheng), and masala chai. My favorite herbal tisanes are spear/peppermint, lavender and chrysanthemum.

I’m currently exploring pu’erh, and any Chinese and Taiwanese teas in general. I’m not much into flavored teas, unlike when I first started. The only teas I truly dislike are fruity tisanes and the ones that have too much fruit. I do like hisbiscus, especially iced.

I like to write nature essays. I’m a birdwatcher as well as a tea enthusiast. The kiwi is one of my favorite birds. I also like Tolkien, Ancient Egypt, and exercising.

IMPORTANT NOTE, PLEASE READ: After two and a half years of having an account here, I will no longer will provide numerical ratings as an addition to the review because the American school system has skewed my thoughts on numbers out of a hundred and the colors throw me off. Curses! My words are more than sufficient. If I really like what I have, I will “recommend”, and if I don’t, “not recommended”.

Key for past ratings:

96-100 I adore absolutely everything about it. A permanent addition to my stash.

90-95 Superb quality and extremely enjoyable, but not something I’d necessarily like to have in my stash (might have to do with personal tastes, depending on what I say in the tasting note).

80-89 Delicious! Pleased with the overall quality.

70-79 Simply, I like it. There are qualities that I find good, but there also are things that aren’t, hence a lower rating that I would have otherwise like to put.

60-69 Overall “meh”. Not necessarily bad, but not necessarily good.

0-59 No.

If there is no rating: I don’t feel experienced enough to rate the tea, or said tea just goes beyond rating (in a positive way).


Westchester, NY

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