127 Tasting Notes


Sample sipdown, backlogging from last night.

Dry Leaf: Very strong lemon aspects, with a nice balanced ginger component. There is an incredible sweetness, here. And pineapple? Yes, that’s what that is. This smells absolutely delicious! It reminds me of those lemon ginger hard candies…if anyone knows what I’m talking about.

Brewed: Once again, ginger and lemon, with the ginger just a tad more pronounced now. I’m also still picking up the pineapple scent, though it’s subtle. There is also a bit of a floral smell to this now.

Taste: Nice, balanced ginger and lemon notes! Neither is overpowering, which is awesome. When I saw ginger, I was expecting it to be really spicy, as it has the tendency to do. Glad this was not the case. Just as with the smell, there is also a slight floral aspect peeking through. This too is balanced. This is a sweet, slightly spicy, relaxing brew.

Overall, I really liked this one. I think it would make a great “sick” tea, or just a nice “unwinding” agent. In fact, I found it made me so relaxed I said “screw you” to homework and fell asleep!

Boiling 2 min, 45 sec

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Yum! This one was fab this snowy morning. =) Really hit the spot. Super bake-y (making up words again) this time around.
See previous notes for taste profile.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Blueberry Fruit Tea by Teavivre
127 tasting notes

Sample from my first Teavivre order! I do love me some blueberries, so fingers crossed!

Dry: This smells like sweet blueberry, black currant, and maybe because I had grape tea earlier – grapes. I’m also picking up a bit of the roselle. It’s sweet, tart, and bursting with fruitiness!

Brewed: The blueberry scent has pulled back a bit, and I’m smelling mainly black currant. Don’t get me wrong,t he blueberry is still there. It’s just not standing out as much. Hints of grapes and other berries are present. It’s more tart smelling this time around, but maintains the sweet scent as well.

Taste: Very tart in the front, and slightly sweet at the back of the sip. I’m tasting more black currant and roselle than anything else. The blueberry is very faint. The grape is gone. I don’t think I’m diggin’ this one. I don’t know if it was me and my brewing or what, but this one is just too tart, not enough sweet. It’s almost sour. =(

I’m glad I tried a sample instead of buying a bag of it. Maybe I just don’t like fruit tisanes? Not something I’d repurchase, unfortunately. Wish it tasted more like it had smelled. Not undrinkable, but not somehting I want to finish, either.

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

Try brewing at a lower temp. I find that berry herbal blends sometimes taste better when brewed around 180-190F

Emily M

Yeah. I followed the suggested brewing temp against my better judgement. Should’ve stuck with my gut feeling. =(


I find fruity tisanes like this are best iced—I always get kind of weirded out by the “hot fruit punch” effect

Emily M

Alphakitty – Yeah, I don’t know what it was, but it just wasn’t to my liking. Oh well. If I ever get a fruit tisane again, I’ll probably make it iced. I remember doing that with a berry one I had before, and I thought it tasted much better.

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drank Grape Oolong by Butiki Teas
127 tasting notes

Sample from Butiki! I’m trying to drink all my samples/almost finished teas in order to make room for a flood of tea orders I have coming next week. This afternoon seemed like the perfect time to try this one out! I’m going to preface this whole review by saying that I am usually not a fan of grape flavored things (candies, juices, popsicles…), but I wanted to give this a shot. It was too interesting sounding to pass up. A grape tea!? I was there.

The dry leaf of this tea smells more floral than grape-like, but I am definitely smelling grape (almost like grape bubble-gum. Oh no!). Once brewed, the tea, while still floral smelling (orchid? lilac?), takes on a stronger grape-like character (again – grape bubble gum).

Taste: Luckily, the grape bubble-gum smell has not translated into the taste. It’s shinning through quite nicely. It’s not that overpowering, overly sweet, cloying grape that I find so unappealing in most grape flavored things. It’s lighter, possibly balanced out by the floral aspects. It also tastes closer to what a red (purple?) grape would taste like in real life than most grape flavored things. I’m surprised to find the floral flavor and the grape flavor working together so well in this! It’s almost as if they are the same flavor! The floral highlights, and for me enhances, the grape flavor. It should also be noted that the oolong is not obscured or completely covered up. There are notes of light earthiness in here. This tea is very nice. Smooth and subtly sweet.

Conclusion: Grape flavored tea? A must try! So happy that I decided to sample this one. Finally! A grape flavored drink that I enjoy! I’ll have to pick some more up and share it with my younger sister (she loves everything grape).

NOTE: I did not add any sugar, as I liked the way it tasted right off the bat. I think it’s grape-y enough without it.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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Ok. So I think this tea has been discontinued, as I can’t find it or any information about it on the Whistling Kettle’s website. I’ve had this one for about 6 months…

Smell: The dry leaves smell like mandarin oranges and a grassy green tea. Once brewed the mandarin stays present, but the grassy smell fades. Instead, it is replaced by the fruity, unique smell of lychee! Yum! (That’s what prompted me to have this one. I was dog-sitting at my neighbors house tonight, and he and his girlfriend left all kinds of Chinese teas out for me to try. They had a lychee black that I made tonight, and it was amazing. Now I just have to find the company/name of the tea…I’ll have to rummage the cupboards tomorrow and see if they still have the bag. Anyway, side note over. Back to the actual tea I’m reviewing). Anyway, this tea smells sweet, fruity, and citrus-y. =)

Taste: What I’m getting in the taste is about 60% Lychee, 30% mandarin, and 10% green tea base. The lychee and the mandarin work very well together in this tea, and the green tea base adds a nice sweet/grassy note. The green tea base seems to like to hover at the end of the sip, while the other two flavors meld together throughout. There is no bitterness, as well. Big plus! As for the bamboo…I don’t really know what it tastes like, so I wouldn’t be able to tell you if it was present.

Overall, I like this one. If they ever get it back (maybe it was a summer/seasonal blend?) I’d probably consider it again. Not an all time favorite, but not something I wouldn’t buy again either. Somewhere in between.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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Got this as a sample, but there was no description and no instructions on the bag. It just said in handwriting “Fancy Japanese Sencha”, so I went with it. Steeped it about two and a half minutes with 175 degree water.

Dry, this tea smells slightly sweet and mainly grassy.
Once brewed it smells much the same, but the sweetness is a bit more detectable. There is also a vegetal scent on top of the grassy scent.

Taste: Well, it’s a tad bit bitter, so I may have brewed this one a little too long (or it could be an old sample), but I’m definitely picking up other flavors, so it’s not a loss. It’s slightly buttery, with a grassy flavor (not too strong, but it’s the most prominent). There is a sweetness to it as well as a light vegetal character. Overall, not bad. I’d definitely try another sencha sometime, but this one isn’t one I’d keep stocked. Could’ve been worse, could’ve (I think) been better.

NOTE: As the tea cooled more, it got more bitter. Could’ve been my fault, could’ve been the tea (I suspect this is an older sample, as that’s what they tend to send out in their $2 for 6 samples flash sale deals). Not completely sure which. I have a bit of this left, so I’ll give it another go later. For now, I think I’ll withhold the rating.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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After waiting not so patiently for two weeks for this order to come, it’s finally here!
This tea is gorgeous! It blooms an amazing red color, and the green tea leaves expand beautifully. And it smells really good, too! Slightly floral when dry, with a really nice sweet, almost black tea scent (even though it’s a green). Once brewed the floral notes hit the background, and your left with delicious, sweet, almost wine-like honey notes.

Taste: So, taste wise, this tea isn’t as strong as I might have thought, given the strong, rich scent of the dry leaf and brewed tea. That’s ok, though. I’m still picking up some nice flavors. Some vegetal notes are present, with the nice sweet honey notes throughout. At the end of the sip is a light floral aspect. Overall, though light, this is quite yummy!
To be honest, I wasn’t holding out any high hopes for flowering teas…they looked too pretty to actually taste good. This one, however, has defied my expectations.
Also, I give this one a A for beauty. It’s not as out there as some of the other ones I’ve seen, but it’s simple and colorful. Nothing wrong with that. =)
Can’t wait to try the others!

NOTE: Second steep was a little more floral, but still had some nice honey-ish notes, as well as an earthy aspect I hadn’t caught before. Neat.

Boiling 2 min, 45 sec

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drank Maple Pecan Oolong by Butiki Teas
127 tasting notes

Ok, back to this tea! Finally going to do an official tasting note of this one.

Dry – Smells just like a pecan! There are subtle maple notes, but the pecan seems most prominent.
Brewed – The maple comes out a more in the brew, but the pecan is still slightly more prominent. I’d say it’s about 40-60. Smells very good, like a maple pecan baked-good.

Taste: I did add a bit of rock sugar to this one, as I felt it needed some to bring more of the maple out. The initial sip pre-sugar was more pecan-y then I had wanted it to be. After sugar the maple came out to a nice level and the pecan was toned down just a tad. The oolong is also present here, lending a nice oaky, earthy flavor to the whole thing. Thought his is just water and tea (and a tad of sugar), the brew is quite thick feeling. It’s smooth and flavorful. Very interesting tea.

Overall, I think this tea is quite nice. I don’t think I’m too big on pecans, but that’s my fault and not the teas. If you do, however, love pecans, this would be an extremely good one to try. I’ll gladly finish up the rest of my bag. I think this tea succeeds in its mission and stays true to the name.

170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Oooh, this sounds good! Can’t wait for my Butiki order!!

Emily M

=) Enjoy!

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Got this one in my custom try me pack a while back and am just now getting to it.
As soon as I opened the package I wanted to eat the tea! It smells so good! I get pumpkin pie, but more than that I am getting a nice loaf of pumpkin bread, which is one of my favorite things about the Thanksgiving season. Yum! It’s spicy, pumpkin-y, and sweet smelling.
Once brewed the black base came out more. It still smelled like spice and pumpkin (even the pumpkin bread smell remained), but it wasn’t quite as strong.

Taste: I’m getting a lot of pumpkin in here, and a fair amount of cinnamon, though I think it could be enhanced. It tastes like a pumpkin spice tea, though not sure about the pie part (or the delicious pumpkin bread I smelled!). I am picking up a hint of a nutmeg-esque taste, though I think that, too, could be a little stronger. The black tea base is very light, only popping through here and there. I think it’s a tasty tea, but I feel like it’s lacking somewhere; maybe the spicing? I think I’d like a bit more of the cinnamon/nutmeg combo. I also think having a black tea base with a baked-goods aspect to it would benefit this tea (some black teas I’ve had give off this wonderful taste and I think it would be perfect for anything that’s supposed to taste like a baked good). Here, the black tea falls a bit flat. In the past I would have liked this, but lately I’ve come to appreciate pure black tea and all the wonderful flavor profiles they can have. The mouthfeel is smooth, but I wouldn’t say creamy.
There is also a bit of an artificial taste that I don’t care for at points in the sip. Maybe this is from the pumpkin candies? Or maybe the flavoring is artificial… I don’t remember if it’s natural or not. Whatever it is, it’s not totally over the top, but I’m still detecting it.

I have enough left of this sample to have another cup, so I may try adding a little sugar and milk to see what I get.

Overall I think this tea is decent. Is it perfect? No. I think there are a few things that could be improved. Is it awful? No. I think some things are well done. To me, this is a blend that hasn’t found its sweet spot yet. I think a little more balance is needed. I wouldn’t discard or refuse this if it was given to me, but it isn’t what I’d call a permanent cupboard dweller. Now, if it tasted more like it smelled: YUM! Maybe every once in awhile I’d pick up a sample size.

I’ll update once I try this with milk and sugar.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Congou Keemun by Butiki Teas
127 tasting notes

Got this as a sample with my last Butiki order.

Dry, this tea smells very floral to me. I’m also picking up some earthiness.

Once brewed, the floral smell isn’t strong. Yay! I’m getting honey notes, mushroom-y notes, and a nice earthiness. I’m also picking up some pine-like aroma that the description mentions. Cool!

Taste: So, I’m getting a lot of earthiness here, which isn’t a bad thing, but it was surprising based on the smell. Interesting. The mushroom is coming through mid sip, and it’s delicious! There is also a light sweetness, perhaps honey, but it is mostly confined to the end of the sip. The pine needle in the description is also mostly picked up at the end of the sip, and lingers as an aftertaste. Neat. I am getting a bit of a fruity note as the tea cools a little more, but I don’t know if I can quite identify it. Finally, there is very little floral taste coming through for me, but I’m more than ok with that as floral teas are not a favorite of mine. The floral notes are very subtle, and I’m finding them in the beginning of the sip, every once in awhile.

This tea is slightly astringent for me, and I don’t know if that was my bad or if the tea is usually like this. However, that said, I don’t find the astringency overpowering or unpleasant! This is a nice black tea, overall. I don’t think it’s a favorite, but it sure was interesting and I’m very happy I got to try it. It was helpful on my quest to appreciate and distinguish black teas! I’d try it again, if I had the opportunity. Thanks, Stacy!

NOTE: I found I liked this tea more once it had cooled off significantly. The astringency was also even lighter. =)
I’m also finding that the aftertaste, while including a nice pine quality, has a wine like flavor! Very interesting!

Boiling 2 min, 45 sec

Keemuns are often like wine…good call. I always drink this with cream and splenda.

Emily M

Oh, good. I thought I was going crazy! I’m like “What’s wine doing in here?”
I drank it straight, but if I do get this again I might add a little cream to it.

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Started brewing loose leaf tea about seven years ago. Excited to share my experiences and learn more from everyone on here!

I’ve found I Prefer:

Oolong Teas
White Teas
Green Teas
Black Teas
Flavored White Teas
Flavored Black Teas (depending on the base tea)
Flavored Oolong Teas
Certain Herbals/Tisanes

I’ve found I Dislike:

Bitterness/Astringent Teas
Strong Floral Teas
Fruit Tisanes (at least hot)

Matcha and Rooibos teas tend to be hit or miss with me. I guess it depends on the tea and my mood.

That being said, I’ll give anything a shot!

When I’m not brewing/sipping tea, I’m usually reading, listening to music, working, or in the summer, kayaking/camping/hiking! I also enjoy a good movie now and then. I’ve got quite the collection going. It almost rivals my tea collection! ;)

I’ve only just returned after quite some time away – Steepster stopped working for me in 2013 and I FINALLY remembered this password and was able to get back on here in 2017. But I’ve been drinking tea all along the way!

Happy steeping!


Albany, NY

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