458 Tasting Notes

drank Old Man's Reserve by O5 Tea
458 tasting notes

I’ll always spring for trying my black teas gongfu, but I always enjoy them better in a mug. Waste of leaf or not.

I got a dry cocoa immediately, subsequent sips sweetening it to a dark chocolate. There are subsequent notes that remind me of Sri Lankan blacks. Right off the tasting notes, oak is there. Sweet woodsy. Fruit… Not quite. Maybe within the cocoa. A sweet nuttyness that reminds me of Keemuns, but without the smoke. A baked sweet potato taste, more than fruit. With the slightest floral aroma when I breath out?

Flavors: Cocoa, Oak, Sweet Potatoes

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Lavender by Tea Lani
458 tasting notes

I definitely want to get more small, local companies onto Steepster. Tea Lani… I thought I added, but they don’t have a central website/a source of photos (these are from her Facebook and Instagram) so I guess I hadn’t.

I first encountered her in university. One of our buildings allows vendors to set up along the main hallway to sell stuff. Often people selling homemade jewellery, knitted projects, small stuff like that (some resellers). That’s the first time I bought this tea (at the time called Lavender Earl Grey). It was an instant favourite, because it was a Lavender Cream Earl Grey. Plus a tea seller right on campus!

I was a little sad because I didn’t see her again after that, and I finished my jar.

Fastforward half a decade to the Vancouver Tea Festival: the past two-ish years she’s been there, and I’ve bought a new jar every time.

The smell is a creamy earl grey with light lavender, body about the same. The tea base has a bit of body, Ceylon likely, but carries the flavours well. Lavender as a top note, body largely vanilla London Fog. Bright, citrusy, a bit harsh. The lavender is faintly herbaceous (there is a lot of it), which trails into the aftertaste.

I don’t drink it with milk, but it’s got enough strength that it would probably do fine with it. This is a tea I pick up fairly often. I’m halfway through the jar I bought from the last Tea Festival already.

Flavors: Bergamot, Lavender, Vanilla

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank 2019 Hot Brandy by white2tea
458 tasting notes

…Could have sworn I added this to my cupboard and wrote a review on it, but it wasn’t even in Steepster’s database, so. Clearly I mindlapsed. Natural Redhead, too.

Wasn’t too careful with weighing since I just wanted to sip and space out with my writing, but have been hitting about 10-20 second steeps. To me, this does muuuch better western than gongfu, so I really packed the gaiwan today. Thinking about bringing some to work in my tea libre. …Which I would need to dig up.

Got this a few sales back. I find it a bit weird. Pungent, but not strong—it doesn’t last. But soupy. The black tea is the dominant flavour, and it’s more like the white tea… Doesn’t so much add anything, as dial back the long-lastingness of the black tea? Maybe add a sweetness? Though it could make it interesting to age.

It’s very tart. A bit of sweetness, but not much. Like fruit juice… Astringent on the tongue, very fragrant on the nose—it SCREAMS that juicy Assam berry note. Strawberry-like, similar to Redhead. But taste is more like fruitjuice, hibiscus, not too grainy. Some honey notes. Some grape notes, wine—or maybe more cider.


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Welp, lost my tasting note. Classic mistake. Let’s see if I can’t retype this from memory.

I don’t see mint black teas very often, so I snapped this sample up when I saw it at the till. Smell-wise, it’s peppermint heavy, no tea aroma, and you have to squint for the chocolate. Maybe a faint creamyness. That carries into the taste. The peppermint is dominant, but not overbearing. Chocolate comes through if you squint for in, mostly on the breath out after each sip.

This would have benefited maybe from a bit of vanilla to add a creamy note… I wonder also if chocolate mint would have worked.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Black Forest by Naked Teas Galore
458 tasting notes

What’s this? Two days in a row? Don’t expect a sudden Commitment. I still have a blog post to write. When I checked out they had some even tinier sample pouches (2g) for free at the till, so I grabbed this and Chocolate Mint Black.

Smell is that same ovaltine chocolate, with a faint overtone of cherry and rose. Taste is definitely more rose. It’s pretty mild, but it was also a little sample pouch and sometimes those end up being a bit more stale.

Very mild, floral rose with a smooth milk chocolate taste. As I sip it I basically lose any semblance of cherry I thought I’d tasted before.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Probably a shame to review this when it’s sold out. But I’ve still got a little left in my personal cupboard.

This was such an interesting tea to drink, and to look at. Most fine-pluck tippy teas have a smattering of gold tips amongst black tips. But with this one, each individual leaf has some gold and some black on it. Very careful sorting, almost all of them delicate whole buds.

Brewed this in a gaiwan, rough steeps of 15-20 seconds as I like a strong black. The cup is a deep red (the photo doesn’t do it justice, that’s much too light unless you’re intentionally trying to brew it light), and if you catch it in the light, you can see the fuzz from the leaves floating. The smell and taste is remarkably unique to me—burnt sugar and/or buckwheat honey is the best I can describe it. Very rich and sweet, with a kind of syrupy mouthfeel that lingers. Lighter steeps almost bring out a muscatel, winey note, alike but very different to any Darjeeling I’ve ever had. There are little notes of… I want to say grain or malt that verge into the ‘burnt sugar’ description.

I find this doesn’t get bitter, but it can get STRONG, due to the small size of the leaf material. Second steep really filled my mouth and nose with aroma. Wine. Fruit? Something of that sort, thick honey—it was given the name ‘honeysuckle’ at the importer-level due to that unmistakable syrupy honey flavour; I specifically wrote down ‘buckwheat honey’ in my own notes, because if anyone has ever tried THAT. It’s downright molassesy, and definitely still applies here.

The muscatel/wine notes in particular come through at the end of the sip, sort of lingering on the tongue.


Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Honey, Muscatel

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
Roswell Strange

Natural honey notes are one of my favourite things to find in tea, but buckwheat honey in particular is something that I ADORE (fan of all things molasses-y it seems). This would probably be right up my alley, were it not sold out.

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drank Chocolate Caramel by Naked Teas Galore
458 tasting notes

I had to head down this way to run some errands for work (unfortunately a COVID19 complication means I’ll have to run down there AGAIN tomorrow). Thought I’d hit this place up again. I wasn’t in love the first time, but they offer everything in sample sizes as well and I DO like samples. Unfortunately! Their sample board was straight up bare today. Still, grabbed what interested me and picked up a 25g of this one.

Dry: The smell is definitely ovaltine-malt-chocolate and that kind of caramel/syrup I associate with fancy alcoholic chocolates, specifically.

Taste wise, I get more chocolate and a sort of ‘salted’ note that makes me think of salted caramels. The cocoa nibs definitely add a taste, more than the flavouring I think. The cinnamon doesn’t come through at all in the flavour, which is what I was hoping for. Never was a fan of abundant cinnamon in teas.

Been sipping this with pistachio cookies on the side. As it cools, there’s an astringent malt kind of note. Maybe from the tea (I did oversteep it a bit), maybe from the cocoa nibs.

It’s nice enough. I’ve got an ounce to play with too. Surprisingly pleasant cold, though I don’t think I’ll try an iced tea out of it.

The leaves I noticed are also a whole OP rather than a BOP, not something I see often in flavoured teas. I can’t remember if that was the case for the original batch of samples I bought from them. Huh.

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Malt

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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I’ve started posting little snippets of tea to instagram… Don’t know if I’ll do tasting notes or anything, but. I’ve finally got a phone that takes semi-decent photos.


Didn’t measure my leaf, but filled my gaiwan about halfway with dry leaf. Flash-rinsed at boiling, which I drank. Smooth, floral, sort of fruity in the way of apricot.

Second steep at 95°c, about ten-ish seconds. Aroma is light, sticky drop-fruit. Taste is definitely more floral, not hearty. Not bitter. Tip of your tongue sort of jasmine/lily. Continuing off this steep, as it cools there’s a juicyness to it that I can’t really pinpoint down to any specific fruit. A faint drying quality on the tongue as well.

Third steep, done the same. Bit more fruity, again in that creamy sticky drop-fruit area. Treasure Green suggests ‘lychee’ which fits, especially as I find it pretty perfumy/powdery and floral.

Fourth does switch into more astringency and drying on the tongue, but a not-quite apricot, ‘creamy’ fruit flavour under it. The roast is starting to come through a bit more as well, but not enough to affect the flavour. Just this dry honeyed note.

Flavors: Apricot, Flowers, Honey, Jasmine, Lychee

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Disclaimer: I work for Murchie’s Tea and Coffee as a taster and blender. I will avoid putting any ratings on teas from them from here on out.

A tea-drinking transgendered Canadian, university graduate, majored in geology (yes, “rocks and things”). I take most of my tea made straight into a mug, although occasionally if I’m not in a hurry (this isn’t often), I’ll have time to sit down with a pot or gaiwan. It’s the highlight of a good day.

My notes are pretty disjointed because I’m absent-minded, and I also keep a teatra.de blog for reviewing and rambling about tea books/publications, and an instagram for photos. Except nerding about tea production and history on both.

I’m a Doctor Who fanatic (Jon Pertwee, if you were wondering).

“But you should never turn down tea, when it’s offered. It’s impolite, and impoliteness is how wars start.” ~Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann






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