95 Tasting Notes

drank Hearthfire by Friday Afternoon
95 tasting notes

Liked it well enough to finish the packet and not feel sad that I’d bought it, but it’s not one I need to buy again. The pepper and the smoke are the strongest flavors, to the point that I couldn’t detect the turmeric and cinnamon.

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drank Underworld by Friday Afternoon
95 tasting notes

I forgot I’d already tried this one! Hah. We got sent a sample of it, and I thought, “Oh, chocolate and pomegranate, that sounds interesting…” and tried it and went, “Wow, grenadine, no, that’s nice enough but I don’t need to own it, I should go log it.”

Nice to see that past me was in agreement with present me. Not changing the rating.

Flavors: Chocolate, Grenadine

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Perfectly good green tea with ginger. I couldn’t really taste the black peppercorns?

It did not scratch whatever itch I had for green tea today, however, so this one is going on my, “Good for somebody who’s not me!” list. :-)

Flavors: Ginger, Green

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The smoke almost completely overwhelms the other flavors of chai. They’re still there, which is good, but this is a bit like drinking chai while the campfire blows smoke in your face – you lose something in the process.

I’m finishing the mug, so it’s not bad, but I’m not ordering it again, so it’s not my cuppa. No rating, because it’s not one I’m going to be drinking again.

Flavors: Cardamom, Smoke

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In the bag, this smells like so much coconut goodness.

Once actually brewed, the tea tastes and smells…like oolong. There is a trailing aftertaste of coconut there, so it’s not completely gone, but it is not the coconutty-goodness that I am still searching for. Oh well.

The quest continues…

Flavors: Coconut, Tea

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I got a proper full sample of this tea – enough to brew an entire pot. So I brewed it!

Yup, that is indeed a Juniper Ceylon all right. The juniper flavor is nice and strong without being overpowering, the ceylon is perfectly acceptable, and now I have a tea for when I’m missing the juniper syrup that Starbucks made for exactly one holiday season and then discontinued (stinkers) and also don’t want to get punched in the face with sugar. Quite pleasant.

I’ll keep a small tin around; not going to be an every-day tea, I think, but definitely one I’ll keep fro when I want to taste the smell of the woods in my mouth.

Flavors: Forest Floor

Cameron B.

Bellocq’s National Parks Dept. is my favorite woodsy tea!


I will have to try that one!

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Hm. I love vanilla. I love black tea. This one…doesn’t do it for me.

I can smell the vanilla. I can taste the tea. But they are just sort of “there” and not doing anything in particular together. It probably doesn’t help that the tea tastes like garden-variety blended tea – I suspect it’s made of a bunch of different teas all melded together, and I’ve developed a sufficiently discerning palate regarding “tea” that it now just tastes like nothing in particular. It’s generic.

It was not helped by the fact that I had to brew twice as many leaves to get my usual strength.

This is why I like to buy samples. It means I’m not too sorry when I find one I don’t go for.

Final verdict: meh. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing to strongly recommend it either.

Flavors: Tea, Vanilla

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Ah, spring, when a woman’s fancy turns to “it’s been almost three months since I finished my advent calendar of teas and I want to try new ones” again.

Since Steepologie figured out how to make sample packets again (they had some problems where their sample packeting machine broke, and so they delisted all their samples for a couple of months) I figured I’d better jump on the wagon and try all their teas before the machine got broken again by all the orders coming in. I trawled through their site, looking at all the blacks, oolongs, and greens I could find – because that’s what I drink. Rooibus? Not a chance.


I love Mexican Hot Chocolate. A lot. It’s a fondness I developed when I was a tweenager, and it’s never gone away. And when I was in their store the first time, I was very sad I couldn’t get a sample of their tea, because it’s a rooibus and I was NOT going to get a full tin of a tea I was sure I was going to be disappointed by.

And the sample-generating machine was fixed.

And I had a coupon code from my advent calendar.

So I got it. And what do you know, it actually does taste like Mexican Hot Chocolate, and it does NOT taste like rooibus-trying-to-pretend-it’s-actually-camellia sinensis! WOW. It’s actually good! Apparently, given the fact that I also liked Fire Nation (and once upon a time, I liked RoT’s Rooibus Masala Chai, before I got tired of teabags) the answer to my problem with rooibus is “cover it over with so many spices that you can’t taste it anymore. Ideally, chili peppers.”

This tea definitely has a kick to it. (I like chili pepper. I don’t get it nearly as often as I used to because my kids have undertraumatized taste buds.) It also has a strong chocolate nose. I’m sure that the chicory is helping there, but that’s probably the fact that they added chocolate extract to the whole shebang. What it does not have – and I’m pleased by this – is actual chocolate; cleaning actual melted chocolate skum out of the inside of my teapot is one of my least favorite things, no matter how tasty the tea.

This is one I may have to get more of. I have too few naturally decaf teas in my inventory, and since I try very hard not to drink any caffeine after six (messed up sleep is not my friend) having another one in my arsenal is definitely welcome. I don’t even feel the need to mix this one with a decaf black – it’s fine as it is. Score!

Flavors: Chili, Chocolate

180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec

What a nice surprise! Will the caffeine in the cocoa or chocolate keep you up? Or did they use chocolate flavoring to bypass that problem?


Chocolate has never hit me the way tea or coffee do, so I think I’m ok! The chocolate flavoring + cocoa nibs didn’t make me feel awake when I dreamed it, just pleasantly mellow. (I think I drink enough caffeinated black in the mornings that I’m somewhat acclimated.)

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This was an unexpected tasting packet that came with an order I made ages ago, and it sat on my shelf, unnoticed for a while. I grabbed it for a quick trip since it was sealed and could be trusted not to spew leaves inside my backpack, and brewed it up when I figured I had time to brew a different pot if I didn’t like it.

Pleasant surprise – I liked it quite a bit! I don’t usually go for smoky teas, so it was lovely to find one where the smoke was there as a pleasant accent instead of being the entire point. It also had a nose of slightly caramel scent to me.

Like most of my teas, I did not brew at 212F/100C – much too easy to stew at that temperature – but instead at 185F or so. Dash of milk, and I’m good to go.

Our tea cabinet is too full right now, but hopefully sometime soon we’ll get space and I can pick up more of this one.

Flavors: Caramel, Smoke, Tea

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95-100: I will keep this on my shelf at all times if possible.
85-94: This tea is probably in active rotation in my house and getting drunk a lot (or it’s about to be).
75-84: I liked it. I will probably keep a small tin of it around.
65-74: I liked it. I might keep a small tin of it around, but I will not mourn its loss if it disappears from sale.
50-64: Meh.
0-49: No.

I like real tea (camellia sinensis). Black with milk and no sugar, unless it’s a really froofy chai latte. Green with no milk.

I’ve discovered through trial and error that I really don’t like Rooibus, even when it’s mixed with black tea. (Sadly.)

Herbal tisanes are not out of the running, but I have to be in the right mood and they have to be sufficiently strongly powered that I don’t miss the tea leaves.

By preference, I drink loose-leaf, but I will drink bagged tea if it’s good enough.

My icon is a piece of fantastic art by Ursula Vernon called Cattail Tea.

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