1304 Tasting Notes


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I find myself comparing this to yesterday’s Bailin Gonfu which is unfair since they are obviously different teas, but I do think I prefer the Bailin Gonfu over this one. Looking at Teavivre’s website and comparing the two, they do share some similarities (origin, season, dry leaf, tea bush). It looks like they come from different tea gardens/farmers though. I’m not sure what I like more about the other or less about this one really. I have more of each from Michelle so I can do some more comparisons in the future. I did enjoy this one; maybe it just wasn’t what I was wanting in the moment.

Flavors: Malt

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Beach Bellini by Teavana
1304 tasting notes

This doesn’t have much flavor, even with less water, so I’m leaving the tea bag in. I think I’m picking up some pineapple flavor? I don’t really like this so I’m putting it in the fridge to see if it’s better cold. Will follow up later.

Later . . .

This is gross. Being cold doesn’t help it at all. It’s a drain dump for me.

Note: This was a sachet from Publix, not an old Teavana loose leaf blend, so I don’t think this was due to age.

Flavors: Pineapple

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Bailin Gongfu Black Tea by Teavivre
1304 tasting notes

I’m still making my way through some of the teas Michelle sent for me to try. I drank my first cup of this pretty fast and didn’t stop to take notes, but I do remember that it was rich and caramelly.

Second Steep
6 ounces water + 212 degrees + over 20 minutes

I would say this second cup is just as good as the first. I drank them both so fast and again didn’t take notes, but I very much enjoyed this one. Thanks, Michelle!

Flavors: Caramel

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
1304 tasting notes

Assam Sage & Lemongrass

This is a blend that Michelle put together and sent in her tea box/package. It has a lot of lemongrass in the mix, but I don’t see any sage so it must be very small or similar in color to the Assam. Lemongrass usually overpowers the other flavors in blends (in my opinion), so I was a little worried about that here. Lemongrass often tastes to me like artificial lemon candy or even lemon cleaner.

As I poured the water over, I immediately smelled the sage coming from the cup. I love sage (fresh sage, not so much the rubbed sage) and was surprised by the savory aroma. Pleasantly surprised. The flavor with each sip is unmistakably sage. It works so well with the dark black Assam base. I LOVE this one.

Second Steep
6 ounces water + 212 degrees + 20 minutes

This second steep is maybe a little less flavorful, but only slightly so, and now the lemongrass is coming through in place of the sage. And I like it when I really thought I wouldn’t. It does have that Pez candy sort of flavor, but it’s light and also works really well with the base.

I really like that this blend almost seems like two separate teas with each steep, both flavors equally delicious and curiously different. I’m not sure if you keep your blends secret, Michelle, but I’d love to know how you make this one if you ever feel inclined to share. ;-)

Flavors: Candy, Lemongrass, Sage, Savory

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Black Beauty by Mandala Tea
1304 tasting notes

Started with a quick rinse per Mandala’s website, though probably not the full 10 seconds. The tea is light, even with the full 2 teaspoons but a chocolaty flavor does come through. I see a lot of other flavors listed on Steepster but my palate’s not so refined as all that. So chocolate it is!

Second Steep
8 ounces water + 208 degrees + 20 minutes

The second steep isn’t as flavorful as I had hoped. It does have more flavor as it cools, but it’s a little drying. I’m also picking up this mineral note that I didn’t notice in the first steep. I have enough for one more cup, so I’m going to hold my rating until I try it again. Maybe no rinse next time and a little less water. Thanks for sending this one my way, Michelle!

Flavors: Chocolate, Drying, Mineral

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Lemon and Lime Twist by Ahmad Tea
1304 tasting notes

For National Lemonade Day.

This steeped into a very dark cup, perfect for some added cream despite the citrus. It must be flavoring only and no actual lemon or lime. I was reading a past note and I mentioned that it reminded me of Pine-Sol. Thankfully I don’t get that flavor or aroma this time around. It’s just a solid dark tea with citrus notes. Not bitter and not too citrusy. Just enough to complement the base nicely.

Flavors: Citrus

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML
Martin Bednář

It’s decent for bagged tea, but far from good loose leaf teas :) Glad it wasn’t like Pine-Sol this time :D


Agreed. And yes, SO glad it wasn’t like Pine-Sol this time!

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drank Tantric Clouds by Herbing Legends
1304 tasting notes

Oh goodness, I steeped this one way too long. It’s SO bitter. Better luck next time. I think I’ll try a 5-minutes steep instead.

Flavors: Bitter, Mint

Boiling 8 min or more 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Zingiber Ginger Coconut by Teavana
1304 tasting notes

Z is for… Zingiber Ginger Coconut.

Despite its age and the astounding amount of coconut still remaining, this rooibos blend is holding up very well. No rancid coconut, no soap flavor or aroma. It actually tastes very much like a gingersnap cookie. But with coconut added.

Flavors: Coconut, Cookie, Ginger

Boiling 8 min or more 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Yunnan by San Francisco Herb Co.
1304 tasting notes

Y is for… Yunnan.

From Michelle. A really delightful chocolaty cup.

Second Steep
8 ounces water + 212 degrees + a really long steep

This second mug is almost as flavorful as the first, with a little nuttiness thrown in.

I’ve enjoyed this one!

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Nutty

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Lifetime student. Lover of books and paper and ink. Kitchen dweller. Aspiring herbalist, excessively proud cat lady, and tea fanatic. Thirty-something elder millennial. She/her.

I love flavored black teas most of all, always with cream and honey. I prefer to sweeten my tea as it seems to bring out the flavor. I enjoy floral and fruity teas, as well as flavored or scented ones. I’m not overly fond of green or white teas, but I’ve found a few that I enjoy.

I’m open to tea swaps and/or just sharing what’s in my tea cabinet! Please reach out if you see something I have that you’d like to try. I do my best to update my cupboard regularly.

It will take me longer than usual to get to the post office while we’re in the midst of this pandemic, but I would still love to send you something next time I’m out and about!

Any and all black teas, smoky teas, raspberry, strawberry, red fruits, bergamot, chai spices, floral teas, caramel/toffee, jasmine, rose, vanilla, peaches, plums, valerian root, cinnamon, cardamom

Not a huge fan
Lime, white teas, green teas, artificial sweeteners, sarsaparilla, licorice, lemongrass, lavender, hot hibiscus, hibiscus in black tea blends

Rating Scale

1-20: By far, one of the worst teas I’ve tasted. I most certainly will not finish my cup and will likely “gift” the rest to my sweet husband, James, who almost always enjoys the teas I dislike (and vice versa).

21-49: This tea is not good but if I mix it with another tea or find another steeping method I might be able to finish it.

50-70: This one is just okay. I might drink it again if someone were to give it to me, but I probably won’t be buying more for myself.

71-79: This is a consistently good tea. It’s reliable but not necessarily special.

80-90: This one is a notch above the rest and I would gladly enjoy a cup of it any day of the week. I’ll likely be keeping this in my cupboard, but it isn’t one of my all-time favorites.

91-95: One small change and this tea would be perfect. I’ll definitely have a stash of this in my kitchen if you come over for tea.

96-100: No words can describe this tea. It’s an experience, an aha moment. Closed eyes, wide smile, encompassing warmth. Absolutely incredible. Perfect.

Currently reading:

A Breath of Snow and Ashes
by Diana Gabaldon

Updated October 2020.


Alabaster, Alabama



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