1118 Tasting Notes

drank Winter Solstice by Premium Steap
1118 tasting notes

This is a classic orange spice tea, and it’s well executed. The orange flavor is bright and tangy rather than tasting artificial and candy-like. The spices are listed as cinnamon and ginger, but if I hadn’t read the ingredients list I would’ve guessed there was black pepper in the mix. Not a lot, but enough that it makes its presence known. I enjoy the heat mixed with the sweetness of the fruit. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m guessing it would take milk and sugar very well.

I picked up a couple of ounces of this, and I can see myself drinking all of it over the next few months. That’s a good thing though. This isn’t a tea I see myself craving once the warm weather returns.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Orange, Spices

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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My order from Premium Steap arrived a week ago, but this has been my first chance to sit down and enjoy one. I was excited to get this because I don’t have anything like it in my cupboard at the moment. I was craving variety as well as sweet, so into my cart this went. It turned out to be good timing on my part since they stopped offering their fall teas right before the new year.

The dry leaf smells nothing like pumpkin or marshmallow. It smells like cinnamon toast and cardamom. It’s pleasant, but I’m really wanting that pumpkin goodness. Once steeped I can sort of smell the pumpkin, but it might just be wishful thinking. Definitely earthy with bread and spun sugar notes. There’s also cinnamon, which I can get on board with as long as it doesn’t overwhelm the blend.

The first sip is… lackluster. I don’t taste pumpkin. Honestly, it tastes exactly like the dry leaf smells – cinnamon, toast, and cardamom. The more I drink it the more I like it, but it’s not what I was expecting. Adding monk fruit sweetener and cream brings the spices to the forefront even more, and as the tea cools I get a soft vanilla flavor. Nothing that shouts marshmallow, but it’s a very nice addition to the other flavors.

I can see myself really liking this one, but as a first impression I have to say I’m disappointed. If I could detect any pumpkin flavor at all this one would be a complete winner. As is, it’s just ok. I’ll keep playing with it though. Maybe I can eek out some pumpkin and marshmallow flavors with a few tweaks.

Flavors: Cardamom, Cinnamon, Toast, Vanilla

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

aw, what a disappointing result for the intriguing name.


Right??? I’m going to give it a few more try’s, but I’m already thinking about turning this into a base for a homemade chai.


Yep, disappointing black teas become bubble tea base for me! It’s handy to have a few around!

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drank Moroccan Mint by Harney & Sons
1118 tasting notes

I’m a fan of Moroccan Mint teas, so when I placed my recent H&S order I threw a tin of it into my cart. This is my first time trying this blend from this company, but it’s a pretty standard MM. The peppermint is strong but not overpowering. I can still taste the smokiness of the gunpowder green tea as well as a slight vegetal note. I can see this getting bitter if it’s over brewed, but following the directions (175 degrees for 3 minutes) produces a nice cuppa.

I had this hot today, and while it didn’t blow my socks off I did enjoy it. I can also see it being great as an iced or cold brewed tea. Maybe I’ll try that later today.

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Eggnogg'n by Bigelow
1118 tasting notes

So today’s been horrible. Had this tea and a chocolate chip cookie for dinner. Now I’m going to bed a praying that tomorrow is better. Please let it be better.

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This is really nice and took me a bit by surprise. It’s a light but flavorful dessert tea that I’m finding ideal in this colder weather. The immediate flavors I taste are orange, vanilla, and caramel. The ginger isn’t so much tasted as felt – a touch of heat on the back of the throat. The floral notes, mostly rose, are present as the tea cools, but it’s very light. The caramel flavor fades a bit, so it becomes more of an orange, vanilla, rose tea. Really nice.

Flavors: Caramel, Orange, Rose, Vanilla

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

This one sounds tasty. I really need to look at doing a new H&S order!

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I’m not sure what I think about this one. The coconut and caramel flavors are there, but I’m not getting the toasted rice or sesame seed notes. Adding sweetener heightens the caramel taste, but that’s about it. Given that this tea is inspired by Nian Gao, a sweet rice cake, the missing flavors make this tea disappointing. I’ll keep playing with it to see if I can coax more from the tea.

Now that I’ve said all of that, if someone gave me a cup of this and said it was a coconut and caramel dessert tea I’d enjoy it! The base tea is slightly malty, and the coconut doesn’t have an artificial taste. The caramel is the main note, but the tea and fruit are there and quite tasty.

So like I said, I’m not sure about this one. It’s good, but it’s not all that it should be.

Flavors: Caramel, Coconut, Malt

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Golden Monkey by Harney & Sons
1118 tasting notes

Another older tea in my cupboard that continues to be a favorite. It’s a consistent cup of sweet honeyed goodness that manages to feel both light and substantial at the same time. I love how there are caramel notes that slip in and out between sips. Delicious.


This is the best Golden Monkey I have ever tasted. Teavivre’s is good and much more economical, but it just isn’t quite as good as this one.


I know! I have one from Upton on my list of teas to try, but this one’s going to be tough to top.

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drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
1118 tasting notes

Drinking this as part of the “Out with the Old” sipdown challenge. Thank you Mastress Alita for setting it up!

I have loved this tea for years. It’s held up well even though it’s old. It still has the delicious bread, chocolate and honey notes. Thankfully this will also resteep well, and it’s sweeter on the second steep. I will miss this one when it’s gone, but I’m going to enjoy it throughly until then.

I have two more servings of this one, so while it’s not a sipdown yet it will be soon.


I still love this one.

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Work tea #2

This is from yesterday. I picked up a sample when I placed a small Upton order a few months ago. On a whim I took it to work with me, and I regretted my decision. This is so good. I wanted to sit and enjoy it, but we had a full day of patients waiting to be seen. What I can say about this tea is that it has a silky mouth feel. There are muscatal and apricot notes followed by a mineral finish. It reminded me of why I love so many teas from Nepal.

I think I’ll go to work tomorrow and get the rest of the sample so that I can enjoy it over the holiday weekend. Or maybe I’ll sleep in and stay in my pj’s all day. Who knows?

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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This tea is 7+ years old, and it’s still one of the best Assams I’ve ever had. It’s a wonderful breakfast tea, bold and full bodied. I’ll miss being able to make a big pot of this on a cold morning.

As for today’s cup, there were notes of plum and honey instead of the rich raisin I usually taste. Still enjoyable if a bit different. The notes of bread and malt are present throughout the sip. And no bitterness. None. The smoothness of this tea has been one of my favorite things about it.

Saying that Andrew and Dunham is still an active company (it looks like they are?), I might pick up more of this at some point. I’d like to try a few more Assam teas from other companies, but this will be the one I compare them to.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

I’m also drinking a 7+ year A&D tea today. haha.

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Tea obsessed since 2010.

My Rating System:

100-95 = Teas I actively seek out and keep in my pantry. If you are a guest in my home chances are I will offer you one or all of these teas. Also, if/when these teas are discontinued I openly mourn their loss.

94-85 = Teas I truly like, often have in my pantry, and sometimes restock. These are my variety-is-the-spice-of-life teas.

84-75 = They’re good teas and I enjoy drinking them on occasion.

74-65 = These teas are ok, but not really my thing.

64-55 = meh.

54-45 = I will if I have no other option.

44 and below = Coffee, please.


New Jersey, USA



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