84 Tasting Notes


Another sample from Just Organic

This one also had the odd medicinal herbal smell that permeated my sample envelope. Luckily this time it didn’t seem to effect the taste.

First few sips. Yum! But where oh where is the stone fruit? I taste lovely lemon against a smooth black base. I swallow. Oh there it comes, juicy peaches and apricots. Yum.

I do feel like the name is a bit misleading because the lemon is so strong it verges on dominating the blend. Overall it’s a great tea that I’d definitely drink again.

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Oh dear.

I wanted to love this tea. I just got my pack of samples from Just Organic. When I opened it there was a strong smell of something that reminded me of slippery elm bark which I detest. I don’t know if all the samples were contaminated by this flavor what ever it is but this tea seems to suffer.

First the good. I love the base. Not to astringent, nice and smooth but not meek.

The vanilla flavor is mild and pleasant. Not a huge fan of carob so that might be tripping me up a bit too.

I’m drinking as I write this and have realized it’s more the smell than the taste that bothers me. I wish I had more than one cups worth of leaf so I could mess around with it but I’m getting some more from the kickstarter campaign so I’ll try to come back and update once I’ve messed with the parameters. I very rarely sweeten tea but this might benefit from a pinch of sugar.

Verdict—Undecided, postponed until further tasting.

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Stephanie you are a genius! I’ve never had a guayusa before and this was a great introduction. I wanted something refreshing and comforting and this fits the bill. I’ve been coveting this since I saw it on Stacy’s site and read your review.

It’s well balanced and the lime complements the blackberry without being to tart but it’s still there. I’m not sure what guayusa by itself tastes like but it serves as a nice base for this blend. I’m sure as I sample more blends guayusa I’ll be able to understand how the separate flavors fit together better but I’m very pleased with this tea.

One question to anyone who reads this. Can guayusa be resteeped?

Flavors: Berries

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

It resteeps very well, pretty much like maté, don’t be afraid to let it steep a long time :-)

Butiki’s guayusa blends are unmatched, IMO! This one sounds delicious.


Thats great to hear. How much to you usually increase second(third) steepings by?

Definitely try this one. It’s truly amazing.


Unless I do short infusions with straight teas, I rarely resteep, but guayusa takes it well. I do 6 min. first, and second a good 10 minutes. But I’m a heavy steeper, lol. Don’t remember what Stacy recommends for Guayusa.


I’m so glad people are liking this :D

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reviewed Smart Soak by Mandala Tea
84 tasting notes

This stuff is amazing! Garret sent me a sample with my last order and I am in love. I just used it to clean my Breville One touch, Timolino Thermos, a plastic ice tea pitcher and a frequently used white tea cup. All from the one sample.

It was super easy. I just followed the instructions and was shocked. No scrubbing needed and they’re all sparkling clean.

I’m definitely buying more when I get a chance. I haven’t seen my Breville this clean since the day I bought it. to clean


Agreed – I love this stuff. I have white counter tops, it takes all kinds of stains off that too.


What’s the best way to use it on counter tops? I have a rather tea stained portion of mine by the kettle and I need to get it in better shape.


Honestly – when I’m cleaning teaware I just let it “overflow” the top of the cup or whatever I’m cleaning. The bubbles usually explode up the sides of the vessel, I just let than spill over the top (I’m pretty careful to just let some overspill and not LOTS). I just let that sit for a couple of minutes on the counter top then wipe it up. Normally that takes most of the stains off the counter.
I used to have a really annoying beet stain that I couldn’t get off – for that one I just put a little of the powder on the counter and dripped a bit of hot water onto it to make a loose paste let that sit for about 10 minutes – wiped it off and stain GONE… It’s awesome stuff…


i may have to spring for this—i can’t seem to get my breville like-new clean while still being super gentle with the inner chamber. hmmm.


(my usual tricks aren’t working, i mean)


Yes!! Our first review on the Smart Soak! I consider this stuff a bit of a miracle. It has taken some seriously messed up tea gear and made them new again – in shop, at home and for many many customers.

I use it to keep my granite tea table at our sampling bar all shiny and tea stain free once a week in store. What a wonder.

Thanks for being the first to review this stuff. I hope others will appreciate the Smart Soak as much as you, me and Dex :)

Keep in mind that if you have hard water stains/calcium/lime deposits that this will not do it. You’d need to use our Water Heater cleaner for that. That’s how we keep all our Zojirushi water heaters and gongfu kettles free of calcium and hard water stains.


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drank Mayan Chocolate Chai by 52teas
84 tasting notes

So so happy Frank decided to reblend this. I’ve been sorely missing it and kicking myself for not getting it when he had a stable stock of ManTeas.

Almost exactly like I remembered it. Only the almond is stronger than I remember it. The chocolate still hides behind the heat but it’s there. I still love love the heat and find it hugely comforting. It makes me wish cooler weather would come fast!

If you like a kick to your tea this is the one for you.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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My first ever flavored matcha and I am in love.

I got—

Size: Small (30g )

Matcha: Classic

Flavoring: Distinctive

My first task was getting the powder into the tin, no easy task and I’m very glad I put a sheet of newspaper down first. Once that was accomplished I put some water on to heat to 175 and about 6oz of coconut milk(my preferred latte base) in the microwave. I used my electric frother to mix the matcha into 2oz of hot water then mixed that into the coconut milk.
I took a tentative sniff and wrinkled my nose. It tasted, well simply it tasted like burnt caramel. I was getting nervous but I bravely went on bringing the cup to my mouth.
Then came the moment of truth…
WOW this is good! The flavor is round and true with the sweetness of the carmel. Not a hint of the burnt flavor I was smelling all sweet corn and butter and sweetness. This would make an awesome iced drink I think. Yesterday I went to a cafe that had coffee ice cubes so your iced coffee didn’t get watered down as they melted and I think that would translate well to iced matcha. Of course before i go making any iced drinks I suppose I better get some ice trays.
But I digress. This is delicious. I was a bit nervous trying a flavored matcha so I went with what I felt like was the safe rout of making it into a late but I think this would stand up by itself as a good wake up drink.

Find it at http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/caramel-popcorn-matcha.html

175 °F / 79 °C

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drank Grand Amour by Nina's Paris
84 tasting notes

Mmmm. The house was freezing this morning. It was actually in the 50s. Now that might not seem cold to those of you from chillier parts of the country but here in SoCal it’s mighty cold. So it was with much effort I dragged myself from bed and into the kitchen. The thought of new tea to try was a huge motivator.

I decided I wanted a black tea to start the morning and went with Nina’s because they had been so gracious to send me a sample. On first sniff it was all cream and raspberry to me. After it’s been brewed the current peaks out a bit more and balances the raspberry.

The one thing that strikes me about this tea is the level of creaminess and underlaying sweet tones. It would be easy for a tea like this to become bitter but it tastes like a dessert tea even without an additives. I do taste a faint note of caramel that could be increasing the sweetness and giving it depth but I’m really not sure if that’s exactly what it is.

Next time I don’t know if I’d have this as a breakfast tea. It seriously feels like I’m eating dessert first. I was looking into ordering more of this but while the price is pretty reasonable the shipping from amazon is pretty steep to get just 50 grams of this which is what I would want.

Overall a wonderful tea. Thank you Laurent!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

Out of the 3 samples I got from Nina’s this was my favorite!!

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I love lime. Like I really really love lime. Some of my favorite teas have been Franks lemon lime cheesecake honeybush and Numi’s super tart Desert Lime tisane.

So while I don’t eat jello(gelatin and all) I was happy to see this tea. That and the fact that Frank does amazing things with marshmallow and I’m now convinced that he needs to offer a marshmallow sampler along with a cheesecake sampler.

So back to this tea. It smelled delicious and I was able to identify lime by my blind sniff of it before I checked the label. It’s really not tart at all but still very limey. I didn’t read the description before I drank it and wasn’t able to identify the pineapple but I can definitely see it there in retrospect. There is a general fruitiness about it. But oh the marshmallow. So very good!

Probably going to be a pouch for me. Frank you’re killing me this month. I’m already dipping into next’s months tea budget and will probably have to go beyond that and spend some christmas money. I’ve been trying to have less coffee outside of the house in an attempt to convince my husband that all the money I’m saving by carrying a tumbler of tea everywhere should go back into being spent on tea.

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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I’m a long time tea addict since my british grandma started me on english breakfast tea as a toddler.

Since then I’ve branched out substantially. Right now I’m a big oolong fan. I love high mountain oolongs most but any high quality oolong is a treat.

Flavor wise I love vanilla and chocolate as well as stone fruits, whether they occur naturally or as flavorings. My tea stash is pretty much split 50/50 flavored and unflavored.

Oh and coconut! I’m constantly in search of the perfect coconut tea. If you have one or know one shoot me a message cause I’d love to know.

I love reading and knitting. They are my two other addictions besides tea. I think one can never really have too much tea, yarn, or books.


Bay Area.

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