87 Tasting Notes

drank Sweet Ginger by Tea Revv
87 tasting notes

Tea Revv Advent Calendar 2020, Day 20

This is a new blend for their 2020 calendar!

Fruity (apples, bananas, grapes), honey, nuts (almonds), and liquorice aroma – slightly medicinal but not overly sweet.

The flavour is sweeter, but I’m not getting the ginger as much as I should. There’s a hint of sweet ginger biscuits – brown sugar and mild, non-fiery ginger. I’m getting banana and honey more though. Maybe stonefruits like apricots and peaches, plus apple. It’s a bit fruity but not in a berry way. More in the starchy and sticky way. The rooibos adds a subtle nuttiness, but not much body.

The texture is really nice – smooth and slick over my tongue. It doesn’t catch like some fibrous ginger teas do.

I’m pleasantly surprised by this one, as banana is far from my favourite flavour. Even though the name is “Sweet Ginger” I’m glad the ginger is subtle. I quite like the fruity notes as they are.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Brown Sugar, Ginger, Grapes, Honey, Licorice, Medicinal, Nuts, Stonefruit

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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drank Earl Grey by Becky's from Holland
87 tasting notes

This was a random tea I picked up on a whim and reviewed during the year – I’m just using up the final teabags to make some Earl Grey biscuits before Christmas. When baked, there’s a slightly toasty flavour to the biscuits from the tea, but the bergamot has all but vanished. As expected.

As for the tea itself, it’s rich bitter and robust when brewed, but very one dimensional and with only a hint of bergamot. I describe it as “average” in my full review https://www.immortalwordsmith.co.uk/beckys-from-holland-earl-grey-tea-review/

I think the colour of this tea was my favourite aspect – dark red amber with a hint of orange.

Drinking this tea isn’t an amazing experience, but once again, it’s not strictly a bad cup of tea. Just not one I’d buy again.

Slightly off-topic side note:

On the subject of Christmas biscuits and the Christmas-themed teas a lot of Steepsters are drinking, I’d be interested to hear everyone’s thoughts on Christmas vs Happy Holidays. I was working with an American tea company (who shall remain nameless) on a few emails and accidently wrote “Merry Christmas” repeatedly, rather than Happy Holidays. The response I got from the tea company was a bit of shock – as if I’d offended them. I get the feeling that they thought I was a Christian suggesting everyone celebrated Christmas by using this language.

It seems that there’s definitely a difference between Christmas and Holidays in the states, at least. My understanding is that in America, Christmas means a strictly Christian-only celebration of the birth of Jesus, while Holidays is a catch-all for everything festive in this season. Have I got that right?

I’m not a Christian. I’m not religious at all. It’s just that in the UK, “Christmas” is our catch-all for everything festive. We rarely, if ever, say Happy Holidays. And I know it’s not just me – large companies and brands use Christmas too. Look at Whittard of Chelsea’s website. Their festive range is called the “Christmas Emporium” featuring their “Christmas Tea”.

I’d be really interested to hear everyone’s thoughts on this. Do different countries have different sayings? Does “Christmas” mean religion to you? Would you feel offended if you came across a Christmas tea rather than a holiday tea?

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 250 ML
Martin Bednář

Not all teas are “great”.

And as of your off-topic note. We call it “Vánoce” which means just Christmas. We wish each other Happy, or Merry Christmas. I am Christian, but certainly it doesn’t offend me hearing it from not religious people. Maybe it is US thing as it is bigger melting pot of cultures?

I am surprised that it someone takes as a offense. Anyway, I was surprised to see on Sonnentor (I suggest not checking their website :P) tea bag written: “Adventstee” and translated to English as “Santa’s Secret Blend” or something like that. I think it’s quite sad.

Anyway… to your questions: “Veselé Vánoce!”, "Christmas doesn’t mean “only” religion to me — but I am not native speaker and I was studying British English. I wouldn’t be offended, even being Christian. T think it is nice name and if they don’t like it — let them use “Xmas” to avoid “Chirst” in that. I am sorry you had this experience.


You may wish me a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Cheerful Boxing Day, or a Pleasant Wash-Your-Dirty-Socks day. I will understand that your greeting is one of goodwill and friendship. I’m sorry to hear that someone didn’t.


I am Canadian, and it is a bizarre thing here. I am not religious and do not feel offended if people wish me either Merry/Happy Christmas or Happy Holidays. However, when I was a teenager in the 2000’s we were taught to use “Happy Holidays” at work places to ensure nobody felt offended and everyone was included. I now always start with Happy Holidays unless someone says Merry Christmas in return, to be sure I am including every celebration that happens during this time. This seems perfectly normal to me! But I can completely understand if someone from another country/culture does not subscribe to this and I would never go out of my way to ‘scold’ them for wishing some sort of happy celebration!

But, at least in many places I’ve lived/worked, this has morphed into something quite unnecessary (imo) where the older generation (not everyone, but some people, especially in smaller places) took this as an offence and specifically go out of their way to say “Merry Christmas” as a sort of rude way to imply this place/country celebrates Christmas in the formal sense and only that. I used to work in customer service and would get many people reacting poorly to Happy Holidays or even ‘correcting’ me because of myriad reasons that I find to be ridiculous and often fall into the category of racism. A personal aside: I think people often forget that our country is much more beautiful with an abundance of diversity, cultures, and celebrations; and our country had, and still has, a incredible and diverse indigenous population here prior to any semblance of a religious Christmas.


gmathis Exactly! You can wish me a happy anything!

Roswell Strange

Also in Canada – but my experience is one similar to Courtney. In all of my retail/service jobs I have always elected to say “Happy Holidays” as a greeting, unless my customer has said otherwise (Christmas, Hanukkah, etc) & then I mirror their greeting. I did it to be as inclusive/non-presumptuous as possible – though I did live in an area of Canada where the overwhelming majority of people celebrate Christmas. I did, occasionally, have the angry conservative or elderly customer who would be offended I said “Happy Holidays” instead of Christmas but I always brushed them off.

I have never been offended when someone wishes me a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or any other alternative because I know that the well wishes come from a place of good spirit and intent even if it’s not the “thing I celebrate”.

Since working in an office environment instead of a retail one, I’ve had a different experience – albeit my company is quite liberal, but I received emails this holiday season with anything from “Happy Holidays” to “Happy Hanukkah” to “Good Yule Tidings” in the signatures. Definitely no corporate enforced use of only Happy Holidays, nor an assumption that everything was celebrating Christmas.

In my personal life, I say “Merry Christmas” because that’s what I celebrate – though I am not religious and do not personally associate Christmas exclusively with religion. I always hope to not offend anyone, and will happily return a “Happy Hanukkah” or “Happy Holidays” if wished one.

Mastress Alita

American here, I also prefer “holidays” to “Christmas” for it feeling more inclusive, as I am not Christian and do not celebrate Christmas, but a different winter holiday (one pretty much no one else observes — Festivus — so “holidays” works nicely to me to include even someone like me). And I live in an area of the states where everyone celebrates Christmas, and you are expected to celebrate Christmas, I am treated at work and everywhere else like I should (and must) follow all the “normal and expected” Christmas traditions regardless of how it makes me feel even though I’ve told everyone I don’t observe. Honestly, that just makes me more bitter and sour towards those that do observe Christmas and has earned me a “Grinch” title when I don’t want to be that way.

Mastress Alita

(And yes, I’m in an area described like Courtney, where “Happy Holidays” is “offensive” and you will be “corrected” because “Christmas” is the “only true winter holiday” sort of people).


Martin I wish you Veselé Vánoce!

gmathis that’s an awesome attitude to take on this. I wish you a happy, tea-filled Christmas day, spent doing whatever makes you happy :)

Courtney that’s really interesting to hear, but also quite sad that people use “merry Christmas” to shun people who don’t celebrate the traditional way, rather than connect and share with them. I always thought this season was about inclusivity. Saying “merry Christmas” means, to me, “I’m enjoying Christmas joy, and I want to share it with you, even if you don’t celebrate the same way as me.” It’s horrible to think that it’s being twisted to mean the opposite and I wish you hadn’t had those bad experiences in your customer service job. It’s really disheartening to have any message of goodwill met with hostility.

Perhaps that’s why I received the backlash that I did. Although, on a happier note, once I apologised and explained that I meant no offense, I was wished a merry Christmas in return and no harm was done. Different perceptions and a lack of communication is a bad mix – but easily solved if you’re both willing to listen. That’s got to count for something.

Anyway, I wish you a very joyful and festive holiday season :)

Roswell Strange another excellent attitude to take and a brilliant way of summing it all up. It’s good to know that you can just brush them off – I really admire that quality in others. Personally, when I’ve offended someone (unintentionally or not) it makes me feel awful for days until I’ve cleared the air with them. Merry Christmas to you!

Mastress Alita If I didn’t know that, and we met, I’d definitely (and mistakenly) wish you a merry Christmas. But I’d also apologise profusely the moment that you tell me that you don’t celebrate and prefer a different greeting. I think you have every right to be a grinch if your entire community refuses to respect your wishes. To mistakenly offend and then apologise is one thing, to actively discourage, ignore or repress is another entirely. That’s a malicious and horrible thing for them to do and I’m sorry that you’re subjected to it.

I wish you a very sincere happy holidays, and I’d love to hear more about Festivus if you’re willing to share.

I think, from now on, I’m going to amend my merry Christmas. I want my festive greeting to express the inclusivity it’s supposed to represent – and “merry Christmas” doesn’t seem to express that as well as I once thought.

Are there any other alternatives to happy holidays?


Courtney and Roswell Strange, I also live in Canada and believe that “happy holidays” is more inclusive, especially at work. I’m not religious but do celebrate Christmas, which I think has become kind of a secular holiday anyway. In my personal life, I’ll wish a merry Christmas to people I know who celebrate it, but am not offended to be wished happy holidays, happy Hanukkah, season’s greetings, or anything else. I’ve definitely known very religious or conservative people who insist on “merry Christmas,” and it’s sadly become kind of a cultural point of contention.


I would not be offended by anyone greeting me in a friendly manner with whatever they celebrate if they truly mean it nicely!


I like to be inclusive and positive towards ALL THE THINGS, so happy holidays includes everything, including holidays I’m probably too ignorant to know about. (And am I wrong – does “happy holidays” also include New Year? Well, even New Year isn’t January 1st for all.)

Martin Bednář

Well, we have January 1st a bank holiday, so time between Christmas and January 1st is called “between the bank holidays”. If you wonder what we celebrate: it is a “Czechoslovakia split into the two sovereign states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.”

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drank Guria Likhauri by Dobra Cajovna
87 tasting notes

Thank you so much Martin for sending me this tea! I carefully measured out 2 teaspoons, then realised that left only a few leaves in the packet, so I dumped the whole lot into my teapot and brewed Western style over the afternoon. I love a good, malty black tea – and this is exactly that.

1st pot, 98c, 2m 30s – smells malty, rich and smooth. Lovely flavour! Malty and sweet. Notes of apricot jam and a silky smooth texture. No astringency or bitterness.

2nd pot, 98c, 8m 10s – richer aroma, more malty and less smooth. The malty flavour intensifies. It’s almost yeasty, but not unpleasantly – it’s like doughy, under-baked bread. Apricot jam is still present and nicely sweet.

3rd pot, 98c, 14m – malty and smooth but light. Honeyed apricot sweetness develops in the aftertaste. Still super pleasant.

Ah, this was an amazing tea, from the first cup to the twelfth. I’ve had a look for it online but it doesn’t seem to be available right now. Will definitely consider buying it when it’s available again. Thanks so much Martin!

Flavors: Apricot, Jam, Malt, Yeast

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 20 OZ / 600 ML
Martin Bednář

I guess I somehow missed this note from you? Anyway, I am happy it found another tea-drinker that likes this tea. I have chance to buy more, once I am back in my Uni city. Hopefully, if Covid won’t go mad here, I will go there on 4th of January. I can buy more, if they have it. I would share more, if I got more in my pouch. I just sent a lots of all around the world.

It is said, that this one is an extraspecial for that tea room. Maybe it’s not exactly that one, because they don’t have an online shop.

I will try to make a group buy after first days of Christmas, so keep eye on Discussions; I hope you will find something else from this tea room to keep them alive. :)

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drank Chilly Willy Chai by Tea Revv
87 tasting notes

Slurping this one quickly to warm my toes.

The black tea is quite weak and watery, creating a dull base for this surprisingly spicy tea. I added milk, so it’s a little creamy with notes of caramel and cayenne pepper that’s sticking in my throat. Not much else to say about this one.

Pleasant, but not ground-breaking. I will finish the cup but won’t search this one out to buy more.

Also, as a side note, it’s really nice when your tea advent calendar matches the mood of the day. “Chilly Willy” is an excellent tea name when the Prime Minister of your country, who also happens to be cold-hearted dick, cancels Christmas for millions (including my family). Wasn’t it just a few days ago that he claimed it would be “inhumane” to do this?

First world problems, COVID Christmas edition: we should have bought a smaller turkey.

Flavors: Caramel, Cream, Pepper

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML
Martin Bednář

Oh that First World Problems, haha!
Ehm, don’t worry having a bad PM, we aren’t much better here. They banned a drinks take away, then they changed it to only alcoholic drinks, and then all the drinks and now it is possible again, but not in public premises, so actually you shouldn’t drink it on path, so we actually have no idea what is valid and what isn’t.


Martin Bednář yep, it’s like no one really knows what they’re doing… also, your tea envelope arrived! Thank you so much!!!

Martin Bednář

Woohoo! Hopefully you will try the teas soon! And not only them; I had such a nice time writing the message :)

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drank Cinnapple Green by Tea Revv
87 tasting notes

Day 18 in my Tea Revv advent calendar. I distinctly remember someone on Steepster warning me about the Tea Revv advent calendar last year. I can’t remember who, but they definitely forewarned me about the excessive flavouring they add.

I didn’t listen.

This is the only green tea in the 24 days (why?!) and it’s not so bad. I can taste the perfume of the rose with notes of cinnamon something slightly sweet – probably the apple. It’s not a distinct appley flavour. And the green tea isn’t that pleasant. It’s astringent, which doesn’t work with the cinnamon and apple flavours in this blend.

Ah well. It’s nowhere near as bad as the atrocity that was day 2. Choc Mint. That one had such a strong nail polish aroma. It took days of washing to get the chemical taste out of my tea infuser.

Flavors: Astringent, Cinnamon, Perfume, Rose

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

Nail polish aroma? My word. Blech.


Blech indeed. And congrats on completing your ecology exam!


Thanks! :)

Martin Bednář

I think I have got some awful cuppas too. Nail polish is something I have no idea how it smells like; but it can’t be nice.


Nail polish smells like chemicals and pure alcohol. Like paint stripper. It’s really horrible and should never be present in tea!


It’s very intensely chemical-y Martin. I might be terrified to have a food item with that scent haha!

Martin Bednář

Oh noo, how can foodstuffs be like that?!


My husband thinks tea with chocolate flavoring (not real cacao nibs and such) smells like sharp mildew. I can see that also translating to nail polish.

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I really like Clipper tea, especially this blend. The tea is from India (Assam) and Ceylon (nowhere specific) and you can really get that in the flavour, even though it’s not complex or deep in the slightest. It’s still both malty, full-bodied, and fresh-flavoured. I also find it ever so slightly sweet.

Best with milk, but certainly nice without. It’s not the bitter EB type. I wrote up the full review (the long version of this note) and took a few pics for the blog https://www.immortalwordsmith.co.uk/clipper-english-breakfast-tea-review/

Side Note: It’s been over a year since I’ve posted here on Steepster… on one hand, I feel pretty bad for abandoning the site… on the other… what a time to come back! I’ve spent the past few hours catching up with the discussions – Steepster is actually getting maintenance/improvements now. That’s epic and about time. Hope everyone has been coping okay given the state of the world over the past year :)

Also, huge thanks to Martin for reaching out and getting me back on here!

Flavors: Malt, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML
Martin Bednář

Haha! Welcome back! I think we are in fairly active state of Steepster now, so… hopefully it will stay this way. Or even more!


Welcome back! We’ve not met, but I also returned earlier this year (August) — looking forward to reading your notes! :)


Welcome back!


Welcome back! Glad to see some of the old-timers returning.


Thanks guys! Looking forward to catching up on your notes. And nice to meet you, Courtney :)


Hey you! Good seeing you.

Cameron B.

Hi, nice to meet you! :D


Hey right back at you, mrmopar. Great to see you. And nice to meet you, Cameron B. :)

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A sample gift from Martin, thank you!

Exhausted today so no long reviews or precision brewing. Just a good heaped teaspoon of tea and boiled water. It was soothing tea, very pleasant. I didn’t get any of the ginger or tea, just peppermint and a little spice from the peppercorns.

Finished my cup so that’s always a good sign!

Flavors: Peppercorn, Peppermint

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML
Martin Bednář

You are welcome

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drank Autumn Mist Green by Adagio Teas
87 tasting notes

This was a great start to the growing mountain of autumnal teas I have in my cupboard. I’m usually put off by flavourings instead of natural ingredients, but this creme brulee flavouring completely won me over. It just smells so damn good.

Dry, it reminds me of cream, caramel, Bailey’s Irish cream liqueur, sweet stewed apple and a little tartness that reminds me of cranberry (after reading the ingredients I can see this is actually rosehip).

It was agony waiting for my water temperature to drop to 82C. Worth it though. The brewed tea had an aroma of Bailey’s again, cream, and sweet caramel, losing those more down-to-earth apple and tart berry aromas.

The flavour, thankfully, was not as sickly sweet as the wet aroma suggested – for which I am very grateful. I tend to get sick of overly sweet teas very quickly and can rarely finish a whole cup. But this was perfect.

Having consumed a vast amount of marigold tea earlier this year I picked out the familiar mellow note in the tea body almost instantly, along with the distinct gunpowder green tea. I didn’t detect any of the smokiness that other Steepster tasting notes talk about, instead I found a burnt sugar note, just like the crispy top of freshly made creme brulee that my father used to make. He used a blow torch to melt the sugar like that. It’s a miracle we’ve never had a house fire. I digress. The tea is smooth and light overall, with dancing apple and caramel notes playing over my tongue.

It’s VERY easy to drink and the sweet flavours linger for a little while after each sip.

Pictures in the blog review (we’ve recently changed the design of our website, so it’s all shiny and new): https://www.immortalwordsmith.co.uk/adagio-autumn-mist-green-tea-review/

Flavors: Apple, Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Smooth

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 250 ML
Martin Bednář

Tea sounds lovely. I noticed change of website earlier, which is better for me as mobile user, but bit worse when I read it on laptop. As I have quite small one, the menu on the left is quite wide and not much space for reading remains. But that problem on more websites, not just yours. Otherwise the design looks better for me :)


I’ve avoided this one due to the smokiness, but you may have just convinced me to give it a try!

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drank Two Seasons by teakruthi
87 tasting notes

The first sampler from Teakruthi that I’ve tried and reviewed. It’s simple – black tea with dried ginger and peaches.

Dry, it smells of juicy sweet concentrated (but not artificial) peaches and honeyed ginger. The brown sugar and baked bread aromas make the honeyed ginger smell just like sticky dark ginger cake loaf.

Wet, the aroma is much more fiery and spicy from the ginger with a touch of earthiness and cinnamon. The ginger cake has morphed into sticky toffee pudding. I’m drooling just writing this tasting note although it’s been days since I actually drank this.

The flavour isn’t quite as good as the aroma – the ginger is very strong. I can handle it because it tastes closer to fresh ginger than dried ginger. It sticks in your throat. Once acclimatised to the ginger, I found the tea to be quite mellow and light-bodied with sweet and fruity notes.

The texture is thick and syrupy.

If I finish this sample before the end of Autumn I will definitely restock. I’m pulling out some of the dried ginger pieces when I brew it again so there’s a little less fire.


Flavors: Bread, Brown Sugar, Cake, Ginger, Honey, Peach, Smooth, Spicy, Sweet, Toffee

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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drank English Breakfast by Novus Tea
87 tasting notes

Ordered a pot of this in ‘The Stores’ cafe in my nearest village. It was surprisingly good! I drank the first teacup black, it was smooth and rich. Full-flavoured and just really thirst quenching after my trek to the cafe. The second teacup had a little bitterness as it kept brewing in the pot so I added some milk. Again, really good, smooth and full-flavoured.

Possibly one of the best pyramid tea sachet format English Breakfast teas that I’ve tried.

Martin Bednář

I checked their website – because I have one tea bag in my collection, and it seems they do not have tea bags invidually wrapped anymore. But they offer loose leaf too. Interesting change of business.


Yes, it certainly is. A good change, I hope! I have a Novus mint tea bag at home too.

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A British tea lover with the crazy idea that she can review every possible tea. Ever. Check out my blog to see my progress so far…

My all-time favourite tea brands that I go back to for a cup of comfort:
Whittard of Chelsea
English Tea Shop

I rate teas on a spreadsheet, giving marks out of 10 for:
Condition of the tea leaves/ingredients,
Quality of ingredients (e.g. artificial flavours or freshly dried fruit?),
Dry aroma,
Wet aroma,
Sensation (how does it make me feel?),
and Colour.
Then, with a little head scratching, I do the math and work out the score out of 100.

Open to tea swaps – even internationally!


Chelmsford, UK



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