863 Tasting Notes


My first cup of this ever as a loose leaf, and WOOOOOW is it strong. And this is coming from someone who LIKES strong teas.

I bought this (again – this one’s a restock for me) hoping to recreate the vanilla cinnamon blend I had at a tea house last week – the cinnamon part of that tea strongly reminded me of this, but since my favorite vanilla teas are no longer sold (RIP Butiki’s Caramel Vanilla Assam..) I thought maybe I’d try my luck with a vanilla bean or and the paste blended in. So I took 3 of my 4 oz, added 2 vanilla beans and we’ll see in about 3-4 weeks I guess.

I figure I can’t really lose – the beans were getting on in age and I’ll like this tea even if I can’t pick up the vanilla.

Meanwhile I took my remaining ounce and couldn’t pass up a cup for old times sake. A nice cozy winter tea, for sure.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Added vanilla sugar to this, since I’m on that kick. Not that I would KNOW if it had an effect, though, since THIS TEA ALREADY HAS VANILLA. My brain, clearly it was not on this morning.

So yes, this was buttery vanilla with an bergamot as an afterthought. Not a bad earl grey for me, as I can be sensitive to bergamot in huge quantities. A good option for anyone out there who is vanilla obsessed.

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Had for breakfast yesterday morning.

I’m on a huge vanilla kick so I tried my hand at making vanilla sugar and used some of that as my sweetener. It had a small effect, and I liked it – it really tasted very similar to the Sunday version of this that Upton sells.

There’s very little I could actually do to this one to make it unpalatable, I think.

2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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I’ve said it before and I’ll reiterate it – you can tell this has an oolong base.

It doesn’t matter how long you steep it for, or how much leaf you use – the oolong hinders the chai-ness so that there’s a definite ceiling to the flavor. And it definitely won’t stand up to milk/sugar, because I’ve tried it before and been disappointed.

There is a warming hint of ginger on the tongue, and I’m really tasting the oolong base today – its got the plum fruitiness of a dan cong that I do like. It’s a weird combo with the ginger though.

It’s an older blend, so I do have to cut it some slack, but even at it’s prime I noted how light the base was. Good if you want a spicy chai with no additives, but, to me, it kind of defeats the purpose of a good chai in the first place.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Had a big mug of this earlier today. No additives, which is my usual. It felt a little light on flavor, though I didn’t steep for as long as I usually do.

This is just the best. Lemon and vanilla. I am going to need to order more soon, but I’m hoping to order some of their toffee or vanilla black varietals just because I imagine it’s done well. I’ll always be glad I got the Dammann Advent calendar because I found this treasure in it.

Flavors: Cream, Lemon

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Had in my huge mug for breakfast yesterday.

I went to afternoon tea with some friends last week and we had this fabulous Cinnamon Vanilla black. It tasted like Harney’s Hot Cinnamon spice but with an added creaminess in the background from the vanilla. I loved it, because it didn’t need anything added to make it perfect. The whole group loved it, actually.

As my friends fawned over it and tried to pick up some of that blend (which ended up being sold out, or this story might have ended here) I realized aghast that I didn’t have any Hot Cinnamon Spice at home to try my own hand at creating some for myself. And, perhaps even more disturbing, I really didn’t have any VANILLA tea to blend it with, as Butiki’s Caramel Vanilla Assam would have been my blending agent of choice and its ghost haunts my cupboard. :(

I did, however have a vanilla tea to drink at this moment, and this isn’t a bad vanilla tea a that. It’s strong and breakfasty, and is great with milk and sugar. I just can’t help thinking about how lovely it would be with Hot cinnamon spice in the background..

Sigh. Well, I’m ordering Hot Cinnamon spice at least, but I’m still sadly on the lookout for a good vanilla black replacement, as this is a sample that I will be out of soon. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know…

Flavors: Vanilla

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Continuing on my theme of HUGE mugs of dessert teas for breakfast…

I have enough left for one more cup after this. WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?? :(

Melodrama aside, this is a really good cup this morning. I let it steep a minute too long (argh – way to treat your precious commodities) but luckily that didn’t seem to harm it. It smelled of sweet buttery vanilla and although plain it was a little too strong (my own fault, see: oversteeped) with milk and sugar it has mellowed into Bailey’s nirvana. It’s reminding me SO STRONGLY of Caramel Vanilla Assam which is both happy (nostalgia!) and sad (RIP).

I’ve made a deal with myself that the last cup of this will be St. Patricks Day. Not before. Now just to hold myself to it…

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Vanilla

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Backlog from yesterday.

This tea is perfect for those mornings when you want a mug of dessert.

I always have it with milk and sugar and always on lazy days, too, just because its one of those little luxuries to savor. I’ve not had 52teas very much at all lately – in fact I think I have less than 5 of those blends left in my cupboard, even – but this is one of the very, very best.

Flavors: Blueberry, Cream

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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I know I’ve not done a tasting note on this tea before, but I do distinctly remember having it around the time I got my Whispering Pines order. This isn’t the type of tea you can really do a backlog on, though, so I waited until now so my tasting note would be more accurate.

This is a great example of a yunnan, I feel like. The dry leaf was so fuzzy and tightly curled, and the smell emanating from the back was all starch and sweet potatoes. I followed the steeping parameters recommended by Brenden and it yielded a gorgeous honey brown liquor.

The taste mostly honeyed wheat with a starchy mouthfeel. Mostly it reminded me of the crust of a loaf of freshly baked honey wheat bread. Sweet, but also savory. This is a very filling, warming cup.

After the leaves are steeped they unfurl and begin to smell almost fruity- specifically like the raisin notes of an assam. That could be because I smelled the Harmutty Assam tea earlier this morning so that scent is fresh on my mind, but I really do get that note from it. And I really like it.

This is quite, quite good. I don’t like it as much as I enjoyed the Jabberwocky, but having a straight Yunnan does allow me to see the characteristics it lends to that blend. Still, I did find it really warming, and as the cold weather will be around for a while yet I’m sure I will be drinking this again soon.

Flavors: Grain, Honey, Pepper, Sweet Potatoes

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Biscuits and tea, my favorite weekend breakfast.

Assams make such a good breakfast tea. I try to keep it so black teas are the only teas I have with milk and sugar, and given that I’ve had this before and it became really astringent when it cooled, I added both right off.

The dry leaf gave off the signature aroma of raisin and the taste right now is mostly hot water, so I guess I need to just wait for a minute and see what happens. I hope some of the raisin notes make it into the tea this morning…that smell was the main reason I picked it to drink…

Ah, yes, and now that its cool I have cocoa powder and raisins galore. A good start to a lazy Saturday.

Flavors: Cocoa, Raisins

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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My tea habits:

*I am an unashamed Lipton iced-tea drinker (mass quantities, year round).
*I like hot teas but only in cold weather (and occasionally late summer nights or mornings).
*I love Japanese greens (the more seaweed-y the better) and good strong malty black teas.
*I do NOT love smoke in any form.
*Vanilla, cinnamon, or lemon anything will usually pique my interest.
*I’m working on pu-erh but it’s definitely going to take some time to grow on me.

(updated September 2015)


Medford, OR

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