201 Tasting Notes

drank Bread Pudding by 52teas
201 tasting notes

It’s been a while since I had bread pudding, but this definitely tastes like it. Strong sweetness to this naturally, with raisin flavor and bread and custard notes. This is like a party in my mouth. The flavors explode, and it isn’t at all subtle. It’s right there OOMPH Bread Pudding!

Very delicious. I wish I could get a pound of this to drink every day. Good stuff.

Flavors: Bread, Custard, Raisins, Sweet

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML

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It’s 12:30, and I just finished breakfast. Yes, breakfast. At Noon-Thirty. Don’t judge me.

Anyway, that means it’s Earl Grey time!

This is another one from that Earl Grey box I ordered from Staples. I’ve already had the regular Bigelow Earl Grey and think it’s lovely, so I was interested to try this “deluxe” version.

Brewed 212F/4min/12oz.

Taste is… meh. It isn’t very strong. Maybe I should have decreased the water amount for the tea, but then that has never been a problem with the usual Bigelow EG. Also, this is a very dark liquor. I don’t see how it could be a case of the tea being brewed too weak. It’s just the flavor is weak. Adding a Splenda to see if that helps.

It helps a smidge. The main difference between pre-sweetener and post-sweetener is it’s a more palatable “Meh”. Yinz know I like that big, in-your-face bergamot, and this ain’t it. This is a mellow, gentle EG, which as I always say, may be great for some people, not so much for me. I like to be able to taste the bergamot oil, not just have it be an aftersip thing. I will say the black tea base on this is decent, but it slightly leans bitter, even with the Splenda added.

Overall? I hate to say it, but I much prefer the original Bigelow EG. This one is smoother and subtler, but when I’m drinking my breakfast cuppa (whenever that may be) I want something strong. This misses strong by a bunch. It’s not bad tea, mind you. It doesn’t taste bad at all. More that it doesn’t taste period. I think I’ll have to save this for days when I want a cup to soothe me, rather than wake me up.

This gets a C.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML

I love bergamot too and the strongest bergamot tea I’ve found so far is from a local shop called Sachai Tea Company. They sell their teas online, but I would be glad to send you a bit if you’d like to try it.



I love Earl Grey Supreme from Harney and Sons! Also Royal Earl Grey from Thé O Dor is good.

Shanie O Maniac

I have the Earl Grey Supreme in bagged version. I don’t think I’ve logged it yet though. Can’t remember.

I will have to look into the Royal Earl Grey. Sounds tasty.

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drank Tazo Chai by Tazo
201 tasting notes

This not only has anise in it, it is HEAVY on the anise.

I’m so glad this was in a sampler pack and not a full box.

EWWWW. I hate licorice anything.

I couldn’t bring myself to do more than take a few sips. I don’t think it’s bad tea, I just despise licorice.


Got dumped.

Flavors: Anise

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Cuppa #3

This is heavy on the spice. I’m only getting a bit of chocolate, but it’s playing off nicely against the spice. There’s big cinnamon and nutmeg, and a surprisingly nice base. Wow, I wasn’t expecting this to even be drinkable. Hell, I half bought this just to see how bad it could be. But it’s actually good? Out of my three mugs so far today, this is the best.

You know what this tastes like? Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate. I’ve never had that before, but the flavor tastes very much like if you blended hot chocolate and pumpkin spice. It’s tasty. I can’t believe I’m recommending a bagged Pu, but this is really good. I mean, as with all these bagged teas, I will never beat out loose leaf, but I really think I could stash a few of these in my purse and enjoy them on the go. Good stuff.

Solid B.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cocoa, Nutmeg, Pumpkin, Spices

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Cuppa #2. And wouldn’t you know, it’s an Earl Grey!

Ok, so fair warning, I have no idea what it means to have an “Aged Earl Grey”, but seeing as how I bought every EG on Staples’ website, it came with the set.

Bit less scientific on this one. K-Water/5min/12oz/1 bag. I know full well that means I am underleafing for my water amount, but I didn’t want to add two bags. My mugs are just too big, I suppose.

Taste is… um, is it supposed to be that… whatever that is. It’s that odd profile again that may or may not be raisin. It’s a flavor that is metallic, but sweet. Someday I’ll figure it out.

EDIT It occurs to me my Keurig may need descaling. That could be why so many black teas have that weird flavor to them. I will start preparing my black teas via kettle and see if there is a difference in flavor.

Anyway, the bergamot I love so much is very lacking here. It’s there, just not as much as I like. I like a bold bergamot, and this? it’s just too subtle for me. Now, for some people, that might be a bonus, but here, it isn’t doing it for me. I am getting a lovely black tea flavor that isn’t at all bitter or astringent, and only a touch tannic. There’s a bit of wet earth there, if you really start trying to pick apart flavors. Honestly, this tastes more like a good black tea than anything Earl Grey. It’s frustrating because I was excited for the prospect of a really good bagged EG, instead, it’s just too dang subtle for me. Maybe adding sugar/splenda to it would bring out the bergamot, but I’m not really feeling sweetener tonight.

All in all: It’s not a bad tea but it’s not a good Earl Grey

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Well, My order from staples arrived today. If you are wondering why I ordered from Staples of all places, it’s because I wanted to place a tea order to try some new Earl Greys, however, my cash wallet was empty for the month. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out how this got paid for.

Anway, box arrived while I was sleeping, and when I woke up, it was waiting for me on my kitchen chair. I love my mom. However, being that I just woke up, and would like to get some stuff done, it was time to try the “Awake English Breakfast” from the Tazo variety pack

Enough about me, ON TO THE TEA.

Now, I should probably begin by saying that I tried to be as scientific about this as possible, regarding the brewing instructions on the package. I wanted to try it their way first. So water was from Keurig (somewhere around 210F), 5min/8oz/one bag.

I want to begin, while it’s cooling, to say that it was very odd that this didn’t seem to want to steep right? I stuck the bag in the tea… and nothing happened. Nothing happened for three minutes; the water remained clear. I then dunked the teabag a bit, and POOF the tea appeared. Not sure if this is a common trait among this type of tea or this brand of tea, but I wanted to include it here.

The flavor is… not bad. Actually, not bad at all. Not good mind you, this will never beat anything loose-leaf, and especially not my tippy Yunnans. But for a CTC black, it’s decent. I’ve had worse. I’m getting strong tannins, and a large hit of astringency. There are also notes of wet leaves, leather, and possibly raisin? It’s that same bitey/sharp note I always have trouble identifying in tea. It is a little bitter, but as an English breakfast, I think that’s to be expected. However, you guys all know my sweet-tooth, and I didn’t require sweetener.

All and all, what do I think? Well, as I said. It ain’t great. But it’s decent. Actually, I’d put this slightly above average, when in comparison to other bagged English Breakfast teas. Not that I’ve had a bunch, but it’s better than the others I’ve tried. Never gonna beat a loose-leaf, but if you need something quick and easy, give it a shot.

C- overall, B for it’s kind.

Flavors: Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Bitter, Leather, Raisins, Tannin

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Welp, this sample has been sitting in my drawer since I last ordered from Mandala, aka a year ago. Not sure how that will affect the taste of the tea, but here goes.

Now, I know, like most oolongs, this is likely meant to be gong-fu. But as you all know, I really don’t do gong-fu, so it’s brewed western style with low steep times. I did give it a rinse though first for 10 seconds.

Brewed: 195F/12oz/5g/30sec (first steep)

Taste is… very complex. I’m getting a strong roasted flavor, along with sweetness, and… onion? Like, is this supposed to taste like onions? It’s odd. I’ll have to look.
Wow, so caramelized onions are listed as a flavor. It’s an odd profile, but not unpleasant. There’s a bit of honey there too, but it’s muted. It really does taste like caramelized onions!
As it cools, the bitey onion flavor mellows out, leaving a lingering sweetness behind. There’s a note of toast? I really hate trying to describe these complex cuppas. My palate isn’t nearly refined enough for this type of tea. Just take my word that it’s complex and hard to pin down all the flavors. It should be noted that I rarely drink oolong, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a roasted oolong before, so this is uncharted territory for me.

Overall, this is pretty good. Definitely different from my usual fare! I’m not going to give a numerical rating as I have no idea how to judge this compared to other oolongs. I may have to branch out and try some different oolongs in my next order.

Flavors: Biting, Honey, Roasted, Toast

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Ok, just a quickie to start tonight off, I’m gonna begin this by letting yinz know this is somewhat outside my comfort zone as far as teas go. It’s got coconut and banana, both of which are not my favorite flavor profiles, but I wanted to, how should I put this, I wanted to try something that I wouldn’t normally drink tonight. So Cheshire Cat it is.

I steeped this Western, Keurig water, 4.5g/12oz/9min. One of these days I will invest in a water thermometer so I can gauge what temp my Keurig brews water at. Today is not that day. Tomorrow has potential, but don’t hold your breath.

Taste without sugar is… Ok, I don’t know what that is. There’s heavy woodiness from the Honeybush, and I can taste the banana and coconut. But I think I would like it better with Splenda.

Flavor with one Splenda? Much better. The sweetness is bringing out the coconut and the banana while calming down the WOOD! a lot. Yes, this is much better. This is something I believe I could enjoy. As I said, it’s out of my safe zone; it’s not like anything I would drink on a regular basis. But maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I’ve been drinking too many “safe” teas. Perhaps I need to put myself out there and experiment. After all: not all new foods can be tried via a dream.

(To explain, I don’t usually try new flavors or foods outside what I know I like. The exception is when I wake up from a dream where I was eating something I don’t normally eat, and then I can’t be satisfied until I try that new food IRL. That’s legitimately how I learned I liked several new foods, including buffalo wings, blue cheese, and salt and vinegar chips. I have weird dreams guys!)

Anyway, back to the tea. This is really good. It’s something different, and while I can’t compare this to other banana teas (this is my first), I think it’s a good starting point. The banana isn’t overwhelming, and it meshes well with the other flavors. Just realize that it has a heavy wood leaning, so if drinking lumber isn’t your thing, I would avoid it.

I said this would be a quickie. I lied. OOPS.

Flavors: Coconut, Wood

Boiling 8 min or more 4 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank Mermaid by 52teas
201 tasting notes

So I still had a whole thing of water left over from the ETS tea (which I had no desire to re-steep), so I figured I’d go for this instead.

Mmm, yes that is much better. There is a gentle sweetness to this tea, along with strong umami flavors and other savory notes. Warm hay and sweetgrass present, and there’s just enough coconut there to give it some complexity. It’s just tropical enough that it is pleasant, but not overpowering. Very tasty. I don’t drink enough of these 52teas Green Teas, as I only have the Breville 1-Touch to use as a kettle, and I get downright paranoid about dropping it on the trek from my bedroom to my kitchen. (Yes, my Breville is in my bedroom. I don’t have enough counter space in my teeny apartment kitchen.) Pretty much anything you see me brew up on here of the Black or Herbal variety, the water comes from my Bunn. (It’s a hybrid device with an attachment for just making hot water.)

Anyways, this is tasty. Another hit from Anne. Great job, as usual.

Flavors: Coconut, Hay, Sweet, Sweet, Warm Grass, Tropical, Umami

165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

I’m glad you enjoy it. I totally understand your paranoia about dropping your one touch – I also have one – I’ve had one for like 9 years now – but it’s not the original ‘one’. The first one I had was 4 years old when the glass jar broke – and unfortunately, they do not (or at least they did not, I haven’t checked in on them for a few years) sell the jar as a replacement, you have to buy an entire unit! Fortunately, they were kind to me and replaced my broken one with a refurbished one on the condition that I return to them my old base, which I happily did. Within two years later, I broke the replacement/refurbished jar (sigh!) and I called customer service again and they were generous enough to offer me a savings on the replacement unit, which I took them up on and now I have my third one touch – and I am so paranoid about it breaking! I mean, it’s the most used appliance in my kitchen second only to the refrigerator which is constantly running, but other than that, it’s utilized the most. I feel your pain!

Shanie O Maniac

Yeah. The paranoia runs hot with that. I sort of want to invest in a variable temperature kettle that I can possibly fit in my kitchen beside the Bunn. The One-Touch is too big with the base, but I think a smaller kettle would fit. Then it would be right in the kitchen, and I wouldn’t have to transport.

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HELLO! My name is Shanie and I love tea!

While I have always loved various types of tea, for a very long time it came exclusively from a grocery store. It’s only been a year or so now that I’ve gotten into loose leaf. As such, there will likely be tasting notes I do for bagged tea as well as good quality (and not so good quality) loose leaf teas. I’m still learning as I go so have patience please!

Right now, I am on a massive Earl Grey kick. So if a ton of my notes are just various varieties of EG, that’s why!

Some of my favorite flavors include: Cocoa, Malt, Bread, Honey, Earthy, Sweet Citrus, Caramel, Apple, Spices, and Cinnamon.

Some flavors I don’t like: Licorice, Coconut, Bitey Citrus (like Citric Acid), Licorice, Sour, Smoke, Overpowering Fake Vanilla, Stevia, and did I mention Licorice?

NOTE: I am Type 2 Diabetic. As such, I can really not have sugar added to tea without suffering problems. This prohibits me from using either plain sugar or honey. Instead, I use Splenda as I found my system can handle it well and I like the flavor. I try to avoid stevia as I’ve found it often ruins the flavor of tea. However, not all teas require sweetener, and some are better without. Because of this, if I add sweetener to a tea, I will mention it in the tasting note and say what kind and how much. Usually, I sweeten flavored and herbal teas but leave true teas unsweetened. There are exceptions, but this is a general rule of thumb to go by.

Almost all of the tea I brew is western style. I occasionally do grandpa, but pretty much never Gong-fu. I do own a Gaiwan, but it never gets used. Considering I don’t have a “sip setting” when it comes to beverages, it’s really hard for me to get into any sized amount less than 8oz at a time. I know that probably makes me a tea-heathen, but so be it. I like my mugs.

I have decided to try and make a scale for my ratings. So here goes.

As of January 2020.

100-91: These are my go-to favorites. I will likely go out of my way to always keep these on hand, including going on third party websites to obtain out of season.
90-81: This is a tea I really did enjoy, and I will likely purchase again. However, I wouldn’t go to the ends of the earth for it, and it isn’t my all-time favorite.
80-71 This is a tea that, while I may have somewhat enjoyed, something is holding me back from making it a mainstay. Maybe the flavor profile isn’t the best. Maybe there is an offputting aftertaste. It varies. But while I did like it and will continue to drink it, I don’t absolutely need it in my life, and while I will likely finish what I have, I may or may not get more.
70-61: This is a tea which I drank, but I didn’t like it. However, I didn’t hate it either. It wasn’t bad enough to dump, and if it is the only thing available to drink, I would likely drink it instead of plain water. But in the end, this is just not my literal cup of tea and I will likely not get this again.
60-51: This is something that I didn’t like much at all, but for one reason or another, refused to dump. If I squint hard enough and use my imagination, I can almost BS myself into thinking they are decent, and I suppose I can choke it down and not waste it. These are teas that I will not be buying again, and may not even finish what I have.
50-41: Yeah, whatever this is, I there’s a good chance I dumped it. At this level, it’s pretty bad stuff with either weak flavor, nasty flavor, or all the wrong flavors, It has few redeeming qualities, and I likely won’t reach for this one again. On the bright side, it isn’t sewage water, so there’s that.
40-31. On it’s best day this tea has no redeeming qualities. This not only got dumped but the package it came in either got thrown away, traded, or shoved to the back of the cupboard to never be touched again. Not the worst thing I’ve ever tasted, but darn sure close.
30-Under: The worst thing I’ve ever tasted. This not only has no redeeming qualities, but it is gag-inducing. “Teas” in this range are so bad I not only will never drink them again, I really don’t feel like offloading them onto anyone else because they are just that bad. Actual sewage water.


Pennsylvania, US

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