620 Tasting Notes


I finally finished my online training so I’m baaaack! I’ve missed you guys. Drinking this today because it’s instant and we have people coming to view the house later today so I didn’t want to make a mess with loose leaf. I still don’t get why this is called ‘dreamtime’ when it’s full of sugar and caffeine. Still, it’s pretty tasty once you get past the name.

195 °F / 90 °C

Congratulations on your training! It’s good to see you. :)


I didn’t know Whittard’s sold an instant tea!

Martin Bednář

Welcome back :)

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drank Earl Grey by Taylors of Harrogate
620 tasting notes

One of the teas Jack sent up with my birthday present. I’m surprised by how quickly I’ve gone through them! This is my second to last teabag of the Earl Grey, and I’m finding myself wishing I had more. It’s nothing mind blowing or super unique, but it’s a really nice EG with a good balance between the tea and the bergamot and it goes down well. It’s one of those teas that is just really easy to drink, you know? It’s not bergamot-mad like the Clipper EG I like so much, but it’s also not as weak as most bagged teas. If I were in the market for a quick and easy Earl Grey, I think this would be a top contender. Especially if I get more freebies!


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drank Praline Horizon by Butiki Teas
620 tasting notes

I haven’t been around for a few days, so I’m just leaving a quick note here so I don’t get out of the habit of it. This last week has been really busy with my studying, and we also had to move my brother back home from uni for a few days when his lease ran out on his old place, and then move him all the way back when his new lease kicked in today. I’ve still been drinking tea, mostly this one – which is still delicious, resteeps fantastically and is actually less astringent now than it used to be – and some Taylor’s of Harrogate samples that my cousin (who works for them) sent up with my birthday present. I’ve just been too busy to read or write any notes. I am missing Steepster like crazy! Hopefully I’ll get on top of my work load enough in the next couple of days to start writing up more notes again. I hope everyone is doing well!

Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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drank Oriental Beauty by Bollands
620 tasting notes

Cold brew, though it’s not the best weather for it. I left it steeping for much longer than I originally intended, so it’s not quite as sweet and delicate as I’d hoped. It is still very tasty though, and quite different to the profile I get from this one when it’s hot. It’s thick with fruity notes, mostly stonefruits, with flowery florals which complement the fruitiness well. Peach, plum, papaya, lychee, white grape, rose, honeysuckle and gardenia all meld together with a rocky mineral backbone which I suspect is more noticeable because of the almost 24 hour steep I gave this. With a pinch of soft brown sugar, this is delicious. Bumping my rating up a couple of points from 75, because I appreciate when a nice tea makes a good cold brew as well as hot. We love a dual purpose!

Iced 4 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

Your note reminded me I’ve had an herbal tea cold-brewing for 3 days. Whoops.


This flavors in this one sound like such a lovely mix!


Lmao derk, I had a cold brew today which had been in there for 4 days. It’s been a busy week!

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drank Santa's Secret by DAVIDsTEA
620 tasting notes

Morning latte, inspired by the pictures and descriptions of the lattes VariaTEA is always making, and a recent conversation on here about this tea vs. Read My Lips, which led to a full blown conversation where basically everyone enabled me to buy chocolate. When comparing the two teas, I prefer this one because it doesn’t have that artificial waxy chocolate flavour which I dislike so much in RML and most other chocolate teas. I’d rather have creamy vanilla mint than chocolate mint in tea form any day! That conversation got me thinking about this tea, and how much I like it and hadn’t had it for ages. It got me thinking about how I hadn’t tried it as a latte yet, how incredibly decadent that sounded, and then I couldn’t stop thinking about it until I made one. So here we are. I’ve just finished off a huge mug of sweet, creamy, minty, satisfying Santa’s Secret Latte and it was heavenly. I was pleasantly surprised with how strongly the tea itself came through, making it more ‘tea-like’ and less like a babyccino or a warm milkshake. I was also surprised to notice some background spices, something which I knew was in here because of the description, but never really believed or noticed before, kind of like some mythical old wives’ tale. I’m surprised by how well it all works together. This is a tea I will definitely be sad to part with. I’ll probably try to strategically plan my Canada trip (if it ever happens) in the winter so I can pick up more of this.

Boiling 6 min, 30 sec 2 tsp

Ah, I really love this note.

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drank Creme Caramel Rooibos by DAVIDsTEA
620 tasting notes

Sipped down last night when I was too tired to write a note. I kind of fell behind on the online courses through the week with birthday shenanigans, so yesterday I really pushed myself to catch back up. I drank coffee while I was working and by the time I finished for the day at 10pm I was mentally exhausted, starving, and had somehow given myself a blister on my thumb from writing so much (I keep notes in a notebook as I’m studying). My original plan was to finish around 8/9ish, make myself a strawberry daiquiri and relax with an episode of The Sinner on Netflix. Instead I finished after 10pm, heated up my long-neglected dinner, and made a crème caramel rooibos latte to enjoy alongside a short YouTube video before heading straight to bed. Sadly this was kind of underwhelming as a latte and it used up the last of my leaf. The caramel flavour didn’t really hold up, so it was more of a woodsy, sour rooibos latte with a hint of caramel. I ended up adding syrup to sweeten it, which I’m trying not to do too often. It was fine, but I was too tired to fully enjoy it anyway – I only made it half way through the video I was watching before giving up and going to bed. Not the saddest sipdown ever, but I wish I’d been able to enjoy it more.


2 tsp

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Well, I made this as a hot brew without reading my previous note on it, which meant I didn’t see my reminder to myself that it was astringent and I should steep it at a lower temperature. As predicted, this was very bitter at my usual 80 degrees Celsius. It’s such a shame because it smells like it’s going to be a really sweet, delicate and delicious jasmine, but the bitterness of the poor quality base tea just overpowers it. Here’s hoping I actually remember to lower the steeping temperature for my third and final cup!

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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I was really excited to try this one because I love pink grapefruit, and the scent of it in this was absolutely mouth-watering. I again left it for a few hours as I would with any cold brew, and was disappointed when I came back to it to find that the water actually just tasted like orange juice. I tried an overnight resteep as I did with the other one, but this didn’t turn out nearly as well. Mostly it’s like drinking water, with a very slight hint of pink grapefruit and orange if you squint. Hopefully the pink grapefruit comes out more with a shorter steep, like is actually intended for this.

Iced 14 OZ / 400 ML
Martin Bednář

Again I get caught with an image thinking it is tea in a can :D


Lol, I’ve actually had tea in a can before! (:

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I didn’t get around to drinking this yesterday on my actual birthday, so I finished it off tonight instead as a latte while we did the virtual pub quiz over Zoom. Usually this isn’t something I get excited about because it’s vanilla, and my dislike of vanilla is well-documented. As a latte though, it really shone! I mean it’s still just vanilla and not very exciting, but it was sweet and creamy and indulgent, which is all you can really ask for of vanilla. I had a break from actual birthday cake today since I had so much of it yesterday, and this was a good substitute so that now I’m ready to overindulge again tomorrow! My cake has fresh cream, so I’m going to have to finish it all in one go. Wish me luck! (There’s not actually that much left).

Sipdown 242/402

Boiling 5 min, 45 sec 2 tsp

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I’m still not a huge fan of root beer, but for some reason I enjoy this tea a lot more than 52teas Butterbeer one. They’re pretty similar, but this has marshmallow root instead of chicory (and no butter flavour, but I couldn’t taste that anyway), so that must make all the difference. Especially with a pinch of sugar added to give it more of a pop/soda feel, this is pretty tasty! I expect fans of root beer would like it a lot more than I do, too. Thank you for sharing, MissB!

Sipdown 241/402

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I first got into loose leaf teas when a friend of mine showed me Cara McGee’s Sherlock fandom blends on Adagio a good few years back, but they weren’t on sale in the UK so I started trying other kinds instead and have been hooked for almost three years (and have purchased several fandom tea sets including the Sherlock one I lusted over for so long).

Flavoured teas make up the majority of my collection, but I’m growing increasingly fond of unflavoured teas too. I usually reach for a black, oolong or white tea base over a pu’erh or green tea, though I do have my exceptions. I will update my likes and dislikes as I discover more about my palate, but for now:

Tea-likes: I’m generally easily pleased and will enjoy most flavours, but my absolute favourites are maple, caramel, chestnut, pecan, raspberry, coconut, blueberry, lemon, pumpkin, rose, hazelnut and peach

Tea-dislikes: vanilla (on its own), ginger, coriander/cilantro, cardamom, liquorice, pineapple and chocolate

I am a 25 year old bartender, English Literature sort-of-graduate and current student working towards finishing my degree. I am hoping to one day complete a masters degree in Mental Health Social Work and get a job working in care. Other than drinking, hoarding and reviewing tea, my hobbies include reading, doing quizzes and puzzles, TV watching, football/soccer (Sunderland AFC supporter and employee of my local football club), music, artsy weird makeup, and learning new things (currently British Sign Language).

I should probably also mention my tea-rating system, which seems to be much harsher than others I’ve seen on here. It’s not always concrete, but I’ll try to define it:

• 50 is the base-line which all teas start at. A normal, nothing-special industrial-type black teabag of regular old fannings would be a 50.

• 0 – 49 is bad, and varying degrees of bad. This is probably the least concrete as I hardly ever find something I don’t like.

• I have never given below a 20, and will not unless that tea is SO bad that I have to wash my mouth out after one sip. Any teas rated as such are unquestionably awful.

• This means most teas I don’t enjoy will be in the 30 – 50 range. This might just mean the tea is not to my own personal taste.

• 51+ are teas I enjoy. A good cup of tea will be in the 50 – 70 range.

• If I rate a tea at 70+, it means I really, really like it. Here’s where the system gets a little more concrete, and I can probably define this part, as it’s rarer for a tea to get there.

• 71- 80: I really enjoyed this tea, enough to tell somebody about, and will probably hang onto it for a little longer than I perhaps should because I don’t want to lose it.

• 81 – 90: I will power through this tea before I even know it’s gone, and will re-order the next time the mood takes me.

• 91 – 100: This is one of the best teas I’ve ever tasted, and I will re-order while I still have a good few cups left, so that I never have to run out. This is the crème de la crème, the Ivy League of teas.

I never rate a tea down, and my ratings are always based on my best experience of a tea if I drink it multiple times. I feel that this is fairest as many factors could affect the experience of one particular cup.

I am always happy to trade and share my teas with others, so feel free to look through my cupboard and message me if you’re interested in doing a swap. I keep it up-to-date, although this doesn’t mean I will definitely have enough to swap, as I also include my small samples.
Currently unable to swap as I’ve returned after a long hiatus to a cupboard of mostly-stale teas I’m trying to work through before I let myself purchase anything fresh

I also tend to ramble on a bit.


South Shields, UK

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