82 Tasting Notes


A shop down the street was unloading its stock of Harney and Sons tea, so I bought up the rest, which was mostly their Dragon Pearl Jasmine. There were a couple tins of this, though, and the owner threw them in.

I wasn’t a fan when I first tried this. However, the smell is actually not medicinal and awful from the tin like it was out of the little plastic sampler pack, so I’m thinking maybe that was a bad combination rather than the tea itself (I have noticed that plastic-wrapped teas tend to smell/taste off to me). It’s actually become one of the few teas I open the tin just to take a whiff of now and then.

And I was right in my first assessment; this is absolutely DELICIOUS iced. It is so juicy that it is a good choice when you’re craving that 300-calorie bottle of Snapple. Still not a huge fan of it hot, though.

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I got this back in the fall, and then went to drinking nothing but teas with ginger or cinnamon in them for the last six months, so the tin has been sitting untouched in my cupboard. Oops.

I haven’t really tried any new tea during that time, either, so I figured I should start remedying that. This rosy blend was at the top of the list. Opening the tin, it smelled a bit like potpourri, overwhelmingly rosy. Any more and it would have been overpowering, but somehow the scent manages to stay on just this side of the stomach-turning line, and it’s actually pretty pleasant after a few seconds.

The aroma is fantastic once the hot water is added, mellowing beautifully but not coming even close to disappearing. The flavor of the tea is a little lacking, but the rosiness makes up for it nicely. It’s not anything exciting, but it’s definitely a pleasant cup and I’ll have no problem finishing up the tin. Not sure it’s one that will become a permanent fixture in my cupboard, though.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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So, I should start this note off with the confession that I’ve never had pu-erh tea before. It’s not that I didn’t want to try it, it’s just that it seemed a little intimidating. But I got this as a sample, and took to YouTube to learn how to prepare it (yes, I am a nerd) and gave it a shot.

The smell is interesting and almost like wet earth. I’m picking up a bit of fish, too, but the good smell of fresh fish, not awful like a fish market. For some reason, I’m reminded of Monterey; kind of the woodsy, oceany atmosphere together, I guess? I’m not sure. I was really surprised by how dark the tea got, almost black.

I do think this was a great first pu-erh, because I am really enjoying it! I wasn’t sure what to expect. It starts out like a standard black tea (or at least, how I think good black tea should taste!), but gets very complex after that. I can see why people describe pu-erh as earthy, because it’s definitely that, but there are some spicy, subtle, almost chocolatey hints. It’s pretty nice. I don’t know how it would stack up to other pu-erh teas, but I like it.

(Sample provided free by TeaVivre for review.)

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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Got a bit of this from my BFF. I opened it up, and squinted a little because it was not a good citrusy scent. It smells a little like … lime rinds? That unpleasantly, acidic citrus, not even like an orange or lemon peel. Which is weird, because there’s no lime in it.

Anyway, steeped it as the package instructed. It’s not bad. The smell mellows out once the water hits the leaves, so it just has a faint citrusy aroma. It’s not bad. The flavor is also not bad, and very light, but it’s not memorable, either. I doubt I would go out of my way to buy this tea, though I wouldn’t turn it down if it was offered. Too bad, it sounded like it would be amazing.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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Yum, yum, yum!

I have been waiting to get a miss from TeaVivre, but I really don’t think it’s going to happen. I opened up the package on this one to be met with an alfalfa-like scent. Every time this happens with a green, I’m sorely disappointed, so I was expecting not to care for this tea much.

I was very surprised when it turned out to be absolutely delicious! It’s got a very, very tiny hint of grass to it, but not the awful mowed-grass flavor I was expecting. No, this one is crisp and fresh tasting, with some butter to it. It’s wonderful! And it’s so nice and light, and such a pretty color. I’m off to make some more!

(Sample provided by TeaVivre for review.)

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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Between taking up my range during an ill-planned cooking extravaganza and just general busy-ness, I have been sticking to tried and true teas and chugging apple cider. But I have a new mug from my favorite hockey team (go Stockton Thunder!) and I just received a new bunch of samples from TeaVivre, so I figured it was time to get adventurous again.

I’m not really sure how to describe the smell of this one. It sort of reminds me of roasted nuts, but without any hint of nut, if that makes any sense. Roasted tea? I don’t know, but it’s nice.

I went with the water a little hotter than recommended because I am impatient. The aroma turned very slightly sweet or maybe a little malty once the water hit the leaves. Again, having trouble placing the scent, but it’s still very nice.

The tea is fantastic. I think I’ve said that about everything I’ve tried from TeaVivre, but I have been really impressed with all of their teas and this is no exception. It’s not malty at all, but it does come through with a smooth, strong black tea flavor that turns very slightly sweet and nutty as it hits the back of your tongue. I’m getting maybe some chocolatey hints, too.

Overall, this is one of those teas I could drink all day (and one of these days, I’m going to pick up those empty sachets and start bringing good tea to work with me so I can do just that).

(Sample provided gratis by TeaVivre for review.)

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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I haven’t mentioned it yet, but I really do enjoy the packaging on TeaVivre’s teas. I enjoy knowing where each tea is from, all the manufacturer and storage and use details, right there on the label. It’s a nice touch!

This one smells a tiny bit like sweet clover to me. Very nice, but not purfume-y like a lot of floral teas. Just a nice touch of sweetness.

This one’s a little bit sharp if you drink it too hot, but once it cools enough you won’t burn your tongue, it gets nice and sweet and smooth. It keeps getting sweeter and even a little juicy as it cools, too.

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This has somehow managed to become my go-to work tea. I picked it up on a whim at Target, and it sat untouched on my desk until about two weeks ago. In that time I’ve managed to nearly finish off the box (two sachets left!).

It’s not the best tea. The jasmine is great at first, but if it cools too long, it loses some flavor and becomes a little too citrusy and acidic. But hot, it’s really sweet and delicious. The vanilla smoothes the cup a little without being too present, it’s nice and floral, and it doesn’t taste artificial.

One thing that does bug me is that little tiny thread bits of silk free themselves from the bag when you add water. It may be my obsessive tendencies coming out, but I have to brush the bags off before using them because that weirds me out.

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This is, in my mind, a very “fall-friendly” tea, which is surprising for something without a bit of cinnamon in it. But for some reason, this has a very warm flavor (not just temperature!) that reminds me of fall leaves, making it absolutely perfect on this slightly chilly morning.

Like some of the other tasting notes I see here, I do detect some tasty sweet potato in this, both in the scent and the cup itself. It works really well. I’m also getting a very, very light maltiness, and just the slightest fruity touch (peach? apricot? I’m not really sure). It all combines beautifully, though, to make what is probably one of the best cups of tea I’ve had.

While I mostly prefer my tea unflavored anyway, this is one I wouldn’t even think of adding honey or sugar to; it’s absolutely perfect as it is, and any additions would just ruin it.

(Sample provided gratis by TeaVivre for review.)

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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I was surprised, when I opened this up, to be greeted by a nice, smoky aroma. Smokiness is not really something I associate with Keemun, but I’m not complaining. I love smoky teas.

The flavor is more what I was expecting: Lovely and silky smooth. The hint of smoke that came with it just served to bring out the other flavors.

With very few exceptions, I think of black teas as morning teas, delicious but too strong to drink later in the day. This is one of the exceptions; it was nice to wake up to, but I think I preferred the second pot I’ve been sipping all afternoon. It’s too nice and mellow to be relegated to the morning.

(Sample provided gratis by TeaVivre for review.)

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

I can’t say that I’ve ever had a Keemun before. But this one sounds really great!


It’s pretty good!

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I love tea! I still don’t know very much about it, though; I know what I like and what I don’t, and that’s about it.

Aside from tea (and food), I enjoy crafty stuff, writing, reading and playing with my cats.

About my ratings: I need to go through and redo them, because really I just sort of use that slider as a ranking system and the numbers for a lot of the teas I’ve done notes for don’t accurately reflect how I actually feel about them. :/



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