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Recent Tasting Notes

78

This tea is not super smokey, but it is calming. Probably will not be a re-order. It is not that strong, as many Russian mild smokey teas don’t seem to be, but it’s relatively pleasant. I do wish my cup did not cool so quickly, though – as this doesn’t work on the tastebuds lukewarm!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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74
drank genmaicha by The Tea Spot
3 tasting notes

Ooh. Y’all. I’m probably going to come back to this in a year and think I was an uncultured swine, but this smells like something… isn’t right. It tastes okay, I can taste the rice flavors but I think it’s the rice that makes the smell. Now that I’m drinking it I actually kind of like the taste? It’s sort of nutty and a really beautiful light green color. I’m going to set a reminder to come back and try this one again in like 3-4 weeks.

Flavors: Nutty, Smooth, Toasted Rice

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec

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57
drank Twilight Rose by The Tea Spot
3788 tasting notes

This was from TreeGal a while ago!  Thanks so much!  It’s actually in a package that looks like it contains a teabag but it’s actually a surprising amount of loose leaf!  This could have been enough for a teapot… but into a teabag it went, and into a big mug it went.  This seemed like it would be my thing. The ingredients are lovely and the name sounded like I would fragrantly be drifted off to sleep on this blustery night.  Sadly, there is a flavor note here that seems odd — like licorice —  and I can’t tell where it’s coming from.   But it kind of takes away from what should be a lovely blend of flavors.  I can’t even smell these bright rose petals.  Maybe it’s just an unusual flavored chamomile, when usually I wouldn’t have a problem with chamomile. I really wish this tasted like a great mix of these four ingredients: chamomile, rose, fennel and lemon verbena. And I also can have no idea how old this tea is… Oh well, it was worth trying one serving anyway!
Steep #1 // 20 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3-4 min

Evol Ving Ness

Fennel can taste like licorice.

tea-sipper

Well, that was probably it then. :/

Leafhopper

I tend to avoid fennel and anise because they both taste like licorice to me.

Evol Ving Ness

And star anise.

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80

Not bad at all. Nothing stands out to me uniquely enough to order more – - this was a sample satchet sent with another order - but it’s a pleasant, strong tea.

Preparation
4 min, 15 sec

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80

I brewed it longer than 5 minutes, and it’s still not bitter. I had a sample tea bag. It’s smooth and the chocolate touch is nice and subtle, not artificial. It’s not a BAD tea, and it has flavor - but there is something of substance missing, some strength or oomph in the sip. While not bad, it’s forgetable, especially for a breakfast tea steeped 5 minutes minimum.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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80

I’m not a regular sipper of Darjeeling, I’ve had some I didn’t enjoy as much. To me this one seems fuller and silky, a small undertaste that’s pleasant but I can’t pinpoint exactly. It’s not rich or potent, but it’s pleasant. I don’t think it’s something I would purchase another container of, but it’s a nice cup of tea for this Sunday afternoon and I can’t find complaints about it. Earthy and comforting.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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74

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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95

Finally! I sample for affordable lapsang souchongs often. This is the closest I’ve found for a replacement for the strong and enjoyable Zen’s tea life from Canada. Drank two cups of this tonight, absolutely delicious. very smokey. I can finally stop my hunt again.

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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80

Better than I thought. since I’m sick, the pepper and nettles helped open throat and stimulates. I wasn’t sure on the turmeric taste but it was blended and nicely yellow. Drank hot and it didn’t need any sugar or additives.

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec

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Samurai TTB #19

Not going to rate this, as I got distracted and MASSIVELY over-brewed it this morning. A splash of milk saved it from being undrinkable, but I definitely didn’t get to try it at its best. Totally my own fault!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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75
drank Lights Out by The Tea Spot
184 tasting notes

Bumping up my rating a bit. This one is much better if you add sugar because apparently sugar gets rid of the hibiscus extreme sourness when it’s the main ingredient. Found that tip from Google. Still a potent tasting tea. Did help me sleep a bit.

Preparation
1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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75
drank Lights Out by The Tea Spot
184 tasting notes

Brewed the recommended seven minutes. Beautiful tea with a pleasant smell…but the taste took me by surprise. Sour notes and almost citrusy. Has strong lemon type flavor, although it has no lemon. Definitely a pucker inducing face expression. I drank hot, don’t think it’d be better cold. The color brewed is a deep purple, it’s a shame I didn’t like the tea taste.

Flavors: Sour

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 7 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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67
drank Mango Tango by The Tea Spot
58 tasting notes

This tea is really fruity, sweet and tart in a way that I enjoy. The fruity/tart/sweet-ness doesn’t come out so much in taste though, more aroma. The black tea is very mild and tastes slightly earthy and like unsweet honey to me. It’s nice overall but seems too mild. The website says it should be dark red in color, but all I’m getting is a dull orange. I wonder if maybe I need to use more tea and steep longer than they suggest? I don’t know, will try again!

Flavors: Earth, Fruity, Honey, Mango, Sweet, Tart

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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77
drank Morning Mojo by The Tea Spot
58 tasting notes

Really good black/pu-erh blend! Just wanted to make a note to myself to remember I like it. I’m a big fan of the orange-vanilla combination :)
Watching Joe Biden start to speak now – hoping it goes well!

Flavors: Orange, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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78

This is one of my favorite black teas from a sampler my girlfriend got me for my anniversary. After steeping for 3 minutes, it’s like an orange tourmaline in color. Very pretty. Not what I would think of for my usual black teas, though. I like this one a lot because it’s not really bitter at all, just a little astringent. The flavor reminds me of honey (without all the sweetness) but that might just be an association! I’m not sure what makes an orange pekoe different from any other black tea, but I’m a fan of this one regardless!

Oh, and Happy Halloween! :D

Flavors: Astringent, Honey, Tea

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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50

Smells like and tastes like cocoa powder. That’s pretty much the only smell/taste I get though. Compared to the Emperor’s Pu-erh this one has has hardly any flavor. Drinkable, though. I just find the chocolatey-ness annoying. Might be better with creamer/sugar.

Flavors: Cocoa

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I don’t enjoy hibiscus in my tea blends and herbal blends that I intend to drink unsweetened. I do enjoy it as a sweet drink. White Antlers recommended this one, so I bought it for myself and also bought some for my eldest daughter, Superanna, who loves it even plain. She had quite a bit of it in Mexico and really enjoyed “jamaica” as it is called there, and I wanted her to be aboe to make the real deal here. She drank cranberry and cranapple juices even when she was really little, whereas I just tolerated the tartness of those.

As a sweet beverage, made as I make my iced tea, I really enjoy it. The first time I made it I kept the first steep and second steep separate. I preferred the second steep. It was a little less tart but is a beautiful, juicy red color and very satisfying level of flavor. The first steep was good but it was tart, as expected.

Today I am making a gallon by steeping four teaspoons of dried petals three times and adding to sugar and water. I will update on how it turns out!

White Antlers

So glad you were brave and got this one, ashmanra. Let me thank you for reviewing Dragon Eye Oolong. Based on your review, I ordered a box and it’s extremely enjoyable. Fortunately we are having cooler weather (60 degree mornings and mid 80s days) but I made this as a cold brew and found it delicious and refreshing. Cheers!

ashmanra

White Antlers: We are having a little cool down, too! I am glad you enjoyed Dragon Eye Oolong. I am waiting eagerly to hear how my daughter likes her hibiscus, but she did drink a little of the sweetened resteep here yesterday and seemed to like it!

Mastress Alita

Oh, I loved cranberry juice when I was little too, I wonder if that’s why I like tart/tangy flavors now? (I too love unsweetened, plain hibiscus, and I never find that it makes tea blends “sour”, I tend to find any tartness “pleasant”, heh! On the flip side, I’m the biggest Spice Wuss in Spicy Town…)

ashmanra

Mastress Alita: Superanna loves unsweetened jamaica AND really hot spicy food! Restaurants have literally called the cook from the kitchen to see her because she is a tiny blonde who looks at least ten years younger than she is, and they are stunned with the things she orders. I have seen grown men cry while eating with her. I would dilute mild salsa if I could…

tea-sipper

Was WE ARE CLOSED originally a response from White Antlers? What happened?

ashmanra

Teasipper: yes, it was! But I don’t know why it changed.

Martin Bednář

That’s weird. WE ARE CLOSED was White Antlers indeed. But she lost who she was following. Weird. Weird…

tea-sipper

Yeah, my first thought is that it seems like White Antlers account was hacked into or something?

Martin Bednář

exactly tea-sipper; looks strange. I will write her an email later today :)

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85

Whiteantlers!!!!! So glad to see you on here again!!!!!

Anyway, I’m still way behind on my backlog, especially for Wang Tea (GREAT FOR OOLONG LOVERS), Whispering Pines, Fraser Tea, and a new one also from Colorado, Trident Cafe. I have loads to write about that a few teas, but for the most part, my notes will be limited and more concise. I am going to put up the ones that really demand my attention or memory, though there are some new developments from these companies that are all worth looking into.

Beginning again on this note, I was on a sachet hunt before the beginning of lockdown for work teas. Since I could not reasonably afford the kind of tea I want, I figured I could get something to boost my productivity and my own zen in my classroom.

I’ve seen Dan Cong sachets before, and have always hesitated since the leaf quality will likely not be as pronounced and probably have more broken leaves and woodsier tones. i’ve seen an osmanthus dancong sachet blend on Amazon, but I don’t exactly trust them because of their third party problems. Since there was a 20% sale, I got these last year and was pleasantly surprised.

The company doesn’t exaggerate the notes at all, and it was medium to okay quality like I expected, but, I still got a full dancong flavor and the nutty and iris notes I associate with a 8 immortals, or a Bai Xian. Dry leaf is earthy, and floral like a bamboo forest, and it’s surprisingly more medium green and floral, a little bit closer in roast to a medium light roast Dong Ding. Macadamia, almond, and more iris radiate from the cup after about 2 min western, and then I leave it another minute, bringing out more gong fu, and the palette matches the scent. The texture is actually kinda viscous, and there are some nice roasted undertones amidst a predominantly woodsy and floral tea. Again, the woodiness is a little bit more like bamboo and maybe even roasted coconut, but it’s not over the top.

Astringency is not super present in this one, but it can get slightly bitter and almost too woodsy or earthy. If you do it right, it has a nice camphor thing going on. If you do it wrong, it’s bordering on cardboard, but there’s enough umph from the florals to do it otherwise. I still lean towards iris or chocolate orchids for the florals, but there some creamier ones too like hyacinth and honeysuckle, though I’d be interested to see if someone disagrees and describes the florals better.

This one can give you two to three rounds out of the bag depending on how you brew it, and it personally ranks as an 85 for me. I expected it to be more of a 75, but I was pleased that a sachet oolong had enough complexity to get me guessing on the florals. There was no doubt that this was a Bai Xian or a Dan Cong either, which might disappoint some people because I know several find this region’s teas finicky and temperamental. This one is a lot more easy going that other’s I’ve had and definitely more on the Green end like a Yu Lan, even a Wu Yi Qi Lan, but if you’re not into woodsy or floral, than you can skip out on this one.

If I were to describe this tea in a shorter statement, I would describe it as the ultimate medium mellow tea. It’s got enough complexity for oolong nerds to appreciate some complexity actually being preserved in a tea bag, but it’s a decent enough presentation of a Dan Cong that can give novices a better idea of the varietals commonly floral and woodsy character.

Flavors: Almond, Bamboo, Camphor, Floral, Honeysuckle, Nutty, Orchids, Wet Earth, Wood

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
White Antlers

Hey you! I am still enjoying your reviews. Hope you’re staying well in this odd time.

Daylon R Thomas

I am, and I hope you are too. The issue of re-opening schools has been tense, and it’s been a little difficult to plan for next year. A part of me does want schools to reopen, especially considering what some of my students have to go through and the sheer joy of seeing them. I had some really cool ideas using color changing LED lights that I got for my classroom to really establish an atmosphere and some new learning norms, along with a “Vocab. Portal” Wall. Yet at the same time, the numbers are still surging and my community has been inconsistent with its approach. Two of my students have lost parents to COVID complications, and our school district has yet to allow teachers the option of teaching all online. I’ve managed well otherwise, and am slowly building a home gym, so life is still good overall.

White Antlers

I’m touched at the ideas you have for your students and your joy at seeing them again. It’s obvious you really care about what you do. My estranged sister is a professor. She hates academia and the infighting but loves teaching.

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drank Bolder Breakfast by The Tea Spot
295 tasting notes

I have tried to like this tea as I got a whole bag of it when I ordered my Tuffy tea steeper. Alas, while I do taste the black tea and maybe a bit of creamy puerh, I get a weird chocolate aftertaste. I don’t mind the cocoa addition to this breakfast blend, just don’t appreciate the artificial taste it leaves in my mouth. In my mind I compare it to the Vanilla SF herb tea that is so very simple vanilla flavor that it doesn’t try to be something else. Bolder breakfast is a chemical aftertaste in a puerh disguise.

Flavors: Artificial, Creamy, Dark Chocolate, Metallic

White Antlers

The name of this tea sounded familiar. I keep my own personal short hand note book in the kitchen and if I try a tea that is particularly, howlingly bad, I note it. Bolder Breakfast was on the list for that horrible, oily metallic after taste of robot tears.

Michelle

What are some other teas so bad you wouldn’t ask your worst enemy to drink?

White Antlers

There was an orange spice tea popular in the 80s and 90s, often found at health food restaurants. It had way too much cinnamon oil/flavoring in it. The name is blocked in my memory. It burned nasal hairs. It wasn’t Constant Comment. Any tea with moringa or valerian. There are others but if I mention the brand, I will be here for days, trading insults with the people who are fans. I would not ask my worst enemy to drink any of the aforementioned. I would, however, be sure these teas were in their cupboard or pot.

White Antlers

Ah! I finally remembered the brand of that gawd awful orange-spice tea-Good Earth. What really confounds me is that this stuff is still on the market. Ugh.

Michelle

I am hatching a plan to put some lipton in my enemy’s cupboard, and a video camera to watch her drink it. On second thought, I’d have to buy it first and I don’t want to encourage the company to make any more…

White Antlers

LOL! Sometimes thinking about these evil doings is infinitely more satisfying than the deeds themselves. : )

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72

I got a sample size of this tea when ordering the Tuffy travel steeper (which is quite nice I think, though I haven’t actually used it for travel yet. It does tend to leak tiny leaves in to the remaining brew, but is compact and easily washed so I won’t be too fussy bout floaties in my cup)
As a morning breakfast tea, its just ok. I guess I brew my normal Assams and Yunnans pretty strong, so this doesn’t stand up to my brisk morning cuppa. As an afternoon pick me up, its still just ok. I’m not sure how to describe it as generic black tea with a metalic aftertaste? I guess with a name like Shagadelic I’m expecting a bit more nutty or malty or astringent taste, and its just a bit of a muddled blend.

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50

I wanted to like this. I really did. I love pumpkin spice, and it smells wonderful. It remind me of pumpkin bread, all toasty and warm and full of spices.

Sadly, the pleasant smell is as far as it goes. The base is way too strong and astringent, overpowering all of the spices. You get all the nice pumpkin spice flavor, but pushing it’s way front and center is the bitter, astringent base, so it’s hard to enjoy it. Steeping it for three minutes or less tones down the astringency, but at the expense of the spices as well.

And pumpkin? Forget it, it’s not even there.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter

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94

The jasmine shows through more than anything, but this is a delicate and wonderfully floral tea. One of my current favorites. This is certainly a tea that you can sit back and relax with.

Flavors: Flowers, Jasmine, Rose

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 4 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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