35 Tasting Notes

drank Vanilla Chai by Bigelow
35 tasting notes

I had this one yesterday. It was graciously given to me as I was waiting outside of a venue in the freezing cold. Even though I wouldn’t normally go for something like this… well as you can see I was in a desperate situation.

It was alright I suppose. It wasn’t undrinkable, but what seemed to be artificial vanilla was the most noticeable of the flavors and it was cloyingly sweet. The spices were weak. It made me think I was drinking a slightly spiced vanilla drink instead of a chai.

The only good thing about it was how hot it was, but I suppose a cupful of hot water would’ve done the job just as well.

I’m just glad I didn’t have to buy it…

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Irish Breakfast by Twinings
35 tasting notes

The nostalgia… it’s unbearable.

So it began around age fourteen. I had this obsession for tea in a house full of coffee lovers. I was still unable to purchase things online for myself (and even then, I had no knowledge of what tea retailers were sought after), so I fueled my love and desire with grocery store bought Twinings and Tazo.

This became a favorite in its bagged incarnation alongside Twinings Earl Grey and Prince of Wales.

The last time I tried this tea was a good four or five years ago when stopped keeping up with my tea rituals, until it was at a Teavana in Chicago where my passion for tea was reignited.

Oh. Yes, this is about the tea. Right.

I realized I had two bags of this left in the back of my cupboard and I thought, “I’m feeling adventurous. Why not?”

So I steeped this in my glass teapot. I watched it turn a gloriously deep red color… which surprised me (mostly because I’d never seen it directly through glass before).

The smell was just as malty and deep as I remember it.

And… there it is. That hint of astringency and the ever present malty flavor. I just wish it wasn’t as flat as it is. Why doesn’t it taste as deep as it smells?

I’m thinking that perhaps the loose version is a better incarnation of this tea. Sadly I suppose I don’t like it as much as I used to, now that I’m comparing it to other teas.

Bagged Irish Breakfast, we had happy memories.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Gyokuro Imperial by Teavana
35 tasting notes

So I also got this from the Heavenly Sale, because who’s not going to jump on $5 Gyokuro?

Yep. It tastes very much like spinach. It’s really grassy and vegetal tasting. Actually, it’s almost filling in a way. I didn’t understand how some people could describe a tea as “meaty” until today, but it’s true. The tea has substance.

The aftertaste is kind of sweet and I tasted some slight bitterness while it was hot, but as it cooled the bitterness went away.

It smelled and tasted kind of like any Green Tea Ice Cream I’d ever had except not as sweet as that. I suppose adding honey might bring it close, but I kind of like it the way it is without additives.

This one’s a keeper… at least until something better comes along…

165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 0 sec

I know, right? That meaty umami flavor is so strong in some teas. It’s caught me by surprise a few times. Tevana’s Jade Dragon Mao Feng is another one that’s got a lot of umami. I’ll have to try their Gyokuro, especially if it’s on sale!

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After we went to a very lovely French bakery for tarts (oh my, those tarts), my sister picked this one out on her birthday (because I’m slowly getting her into tea).

I just got around to making it, and I was skeptical, but it was ridiculously good. My sister complained of a slight astringency so I might lower the steep time just a tad.

I agree with LiberTEAS, I’m getting a slight “spiciness” off of this tea, but not in a chai sort of way. It’s more like… well if you’ve ever walked into a Spice and Tea Exchange store, the scent of the shop, it kind of tastes like that. It’s a very savory sort of spice, like eating pumpkin soup.

I still very much taste the pumpkin though and I quite enjoy the savoriness of the spice behind it. I think, though, the most incredible part of the blend is the caramel flavor.

I’ve noticed that the caramel comes out more once its cooled a little and the pumpkin/spices are a bit more subdued. It’s crazy though. I’m transported back into a time when I was very young, eating caramel drizzled ice cream at The Macaroni Grill (why does that look way less meaningful than it is in my head…)

Anyways, upon cooling a bit, it tastes just like caramel. Silky smooth texture and all. I’ve never experienced such a thing in a tea until now, so this impressed me the most.

My only regret: Not buying more.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Earl Grey White by Teavana
35 tasting notes

I was worried that I’d hate this. I haven’t had an Earl Grey since my last Twinings bag at a continental breakfast.

Funny thing, I don’t hate it. Which is great.

As soon as I opened the seal on the bag that the tea came in the scent of bergamot almost knocked me over. It was the strongest bergamot I can remember experiencing.

Surprisingly, the tea wasn’t nearly as strong as a brewed cup. This isn’t to say that it’s weak, because it wasn’t by any means, but it was lighter than any other Earl Grey that I remember. Drinking it, the white tea hardly came out because of the bergamot, but made a subtle base so as to not make one feel as if they are drinking hot, diluted bergamot oil.

It was lovely (clean, as some people describe it), and I believe I’ve found my Earl Grey of choice.

Maybe they (whoever invented the blend) should have made the tea blend with white tea in the first place…

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Azteca Fire by Teavana
35 tasting notes

This isn’t bad…

I know chocolate teas are mostly (by nature) a disappointment to me, but I figured I might try it before I couldn’t anymore.

It’s not the most delicious tea I’ve ever tried, but I like having it on hand as a desert tea. It’s not terribly spicy, and the flavor that comes out most in this tea is a sort of tang from the fruit (maybe even from the chilies). There’s a bit of spice that lingers as an aftertaste, and so reminds me of drinking water and pepper flakes at the same time. It’s there but not as strong as it could be.

There is a bit of chocolate, but it’s a rather watery flavor. Naturally, that’s the case because the tea is being steeped in water. I’m sure adding a bit of milk (or even preparing it like a Chai in milk itself) might make the chocolate a bit more believable.

It’s a tasty tea and my family likes it so I suppose it wasn’t a terrible investment. In fact, I’m glad that I snatched up a half pound before Teavana pulled this from their shelves. I’m sure I’ll find other ways to prepare this.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank MateVana by Teavana
35 tasting notes

I bought an entire pound of this at the Heavenly Sale. I just couldn’t help myself.
I need this stuff.

I was never a coffee drinker. The reason I fell in love with this tea is because it tastes like I always imagined coffee ought to taste like, and Teavana claims that it has about as much caffeine as a cup of regular coffee.

I wouldn’t know what kind of energy a cup of coffee gives you because I’ve never liked the taste of coffee enough to drink more than a sip, but I can’t face an early morning without it.

The aroma is not unlike coffee, but not spot on. It smells more like cocoa and less burnt.

The first thing that one tastes is a beautiful, roasted (some say “bran”) flavor and then a strong, undeniable, chocolate flavor. The tea is not astringent or fully as burnt tasting as coffee in the least. It’s not a very complex tea, at least to my taste buds, but it is much more satisfying than the flavor of coffee.

This stuff is amazing.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

Ok, this is getting weird. Guess what I made this morning? LOL


Seriously? XD


Yup. It’s one of my favorites. :)

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Yeah, no…

I don’t know if it is because I’ve been on a white tea binge for the last couple of days or what, but seriously I’m drinking a Christmas candle. Not in a good way (if it can ever be good).

Cinnamon is amped up on this tea, but it’s so jam packed with strong, conflicting flavors it’s almost confusing. I can hardly pick any of them out. It’s complex, but I say that to mean that this tea doesn’t seem to know if it’s an Oolong, Mate, Chai (in increasing order of likeness) or something in between. Chai comes out on top if I concentrate, but it’s not spicy like a traditional Chai (cinnamon, being the perpetrator, I presume), and thus, resembles the artificial scent of a Glade Plugin. I taste no Oolong or even any Mate, save for maybe the fruit in the Samurai Blend.

Also, as other people have already ranted on, the sample comes pre-packed with their rock sugar. Hey, Teavana, what if I prefer honey? What then? The sugar left a really odd aftertaste too… very chemical tasting, it was like Splenda. If I wanted that aftertaste I would drink a diet soda. I’m not. I’m drinking tea.

I feel defiled.

Also, also:
To add insult to injury, I guess Teavana was trying to get rid of these sample packets because I got two of them… I’ll make a nice potpourri with the other, I suppose.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Chamomile by Adagio Teas
35 tasting notes

Chamomile is such a normal thing to me, it hardly occurred to me that I should try to write a tasting note for it.

Also, I will muse here: Since coming to this site I’ve realized Chamomile is not universally loved… go figure :)

Before having Adagio’s Chamomile this was always something I’ve only had in a Bigelow or Twinnings bag. The first time I had Chamomile loose it was an experience. It was almost like watching a movie on a small antenna TV and then seeing it later in an IMAX theater. The flavor was amped up and just more “real” in a way that is difficult to describe.

I’ve found that one tsp. per cup is the way to go on this, at least for my tastes. I’ve added too much (and steeped it too long) and gotten a sharp and unpleasant dirty taste from it.

It also smelled way different than I can remember any bagged Chamomile did. It really did have this sweet and almost apple type scent. When prepared correctly this scent transferred nicely into the taste as well, to an extent.

All in all, I’m not sure if this is the best loose Chamomile out there, but it sure opened my eyes to what Chamomile could taste like.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

Haha, I like your IMAX description.


Thanks, I couldn’t think of any other way to describe it XD


I’ve smelled apple-y smells from bagged Chamomile, a fresh slightly sharp, but pleasant scent. I’ve used it successfully for an upset tummy.


Huh, I dunno, the stuff I’ve smelled off of bagged Chamomile seems muted and not as sharp… maybe they were stale? :/

And yes, upset stomach and it’s also one of the handful of teas I use to help me get to sleep.


Chamomile is one I am trying to get used to. I feel “itchy” when drinking it, and the hay/apple/barnyard scent it hard for me to deal with sometimes. However, I’ve been trying it in some tea blends, and I have to say, it’s really nice. It relaxes me enough to fall asleep, so that’s a good thing. :)


How do you feel itchy, if you don’t mind my asking…like skin itchy, or maybe alittle agitated? The barnyard scent is what’s been bugging me about it lately, and the taste just doesn’t taste right to me anymore.


More of an itchiness in my throat. A little on the skin, if I’ve had too much, but I’m allergic to a lot of things, so I am not surprised by that.


:< That sounds unfortunate… The only time I remotely felt “itchy” while drinking it was when I used too much and steeped it too long. It tasted dirty, but it also felt a little sharp in my throat, like swallowing burrs or something.

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I finally got around to trying this after getting it in the mail on Christmas Eve.

I’m going to start by saying that the description is, unfortunately, incorrect. This is in fact an herbal white tea, not a pure herbal… and what a lovely herbal white tea it is.

I’ve been sampling white teas mostly as of late and this one is actually like the love child of several of my favorite teas, White Symphony and Silver Needle. It has this lingering and faint complexity brought on presumably by the Peony and a sort of light and sweet, vegetal, grassiness that is a trait of Silver Needle.

Over this base is the mint which is sharp and the most noticeable element of this tea.

Now what made me curious to try this blend in the first place was the Chrysanthemum blossoms. I managed to get two (rather large) Chrysanthemum blossoms in this steep, but I’m not sure what to look for because I’ve never tried pure Chrysanthemum. It might be that buttery flavor in the background, but I’m not sure…

All in all, it’s a very nice tea, and I’m glad I got the chance to try it as it has been out of stock in the Asylum Emporium for a very long time. In my hunt for my preferred white tea it’s up there, right next to pure Silver Needle and White Symphony (and as previously mentioned, it’s almost like a mix of both, with mint and the buttery taste of the Chrysanthemum blossoms). I’m going to use it sparingly and for special occasions, because I don’t know when I’ll be able to purchase it again…

Well done, EA.

175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec

I bought baby chrysanthemum blossom tea a few months ago. It tastes almost exactly like steamed artichoke to me (not the vinegar-covered stuff, but fresh).

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I’m coming back to Steepster after a nearly 7 year hiatus.

Going to continue my journey of logging what tastes good to me and what doesn’t and discovering new tea along the way.


In my house, drinking out of a Royal Albert teacup

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