296 Tasting Notes


Another tea from my November 2014 Steepster Select box!
(The Des Amants means "The Lover’s Tea. Maybe the February Select box would have been more appropriate?)
I was worried about this tea from the get-go. I have a strong aversion to red hots. When I stuck my nose in the package that was all I could smell. When I brewed the tea, it looked like liquid red hots. Sniffing the brew smelled like nothing but fucking red hots. Oh no.. I took a sip and….
No Red Hots.
It had an assortment of other flavors besides cinnamon, although that was the major player. I got a sweeter flavor, like maple syrup and marzipan. There was also a bread like quality from the black tea base. Hmmm. I noticed that there were little pieces of something in the packet as well. Curious, I popped a piece in my mouth. I have been watching too much Korean Dramas to not want to investigate and find out the truth before making assumptions. Almonds! They were blanched, so you couldn’t tell what they were without the skins on.
This is a nice Christmas tea, if cinnamon makes you think of Christmas. Maybe a European Christmas perhaps?

Flavors: Almond, Brown Toast, Cinnamon, Maple Syrup, Marzipan

205 °F / 96 °C

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Call it Red Jade, or Ruby Red, this Taiwanese black tea is heaven to my five senses. The long twisted red-black leaves are delicate and produce a blood orange-colored liquor. It smells and tastes slightly malty for not being an Assam. Grown just above Sun Moon Lake In Taiwan, which happens to be the largest lake in Taiwan. I did not detect any astringency at all during all of my steepings. I got a scent of wet wicker, and dry autumn leaves. It was slightly sweet with notes of stone fruits like apricot and plum. This tea glided down my throat like dark caramel soft candy. Smelling the wet leaves was like smelling hot, wet, tart raisins. This tea imparted peacefulness in me and filled the air with the comforting smell of excellent red tea. Another one of my new staple black teas.

Flavors: Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Caramel, Malt

200 °F / 93 °C 3 g

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There are times when I just need a break from floral and fruity oolongs. Sometimes I just need something savory, and genmaicha will always be my go to. This may be the best genmaicha I have tried so far. Granted, the only other kinds I have tried were from teabags. Today I had it with a dusting of some of my matcha I got as a sample from Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company. I brewed it western style in my French press. For some reason though, after I infused the hot tea for my thermos, The gyokuro wanted me to do more. I decided to pour 12 oz of ice cold filtered water over it to let it steep while I was at work. The leaves were calling to me I guess. They sure weren’t finished with me yet. I am quite glad that I did too. The iced green tea I came home to was clear and bright, perhaps better than the hot version I drank earlier that day. But something was still nagging at me. I knew the leaves still had one last trick up its sleeve. I had some rice in my Zojirushi keeping warm that begged to be eaten. I tossed the leaves on top and ate it along with a fried egg. Delicious!
I suppose where I was going with the story is because Teavanna uses a really nice base for this tea, it made it possible for me to have a sort of a giving tree experience with it. Gyokuro is a kind, high quality force to be reckoned with. I liked spending the day with this tea, in its many forms. A fun change from all the Taiwanese oolongs I’ve been obsessed with as of late!

Flavors: Creamy, Sweet, Warm Grass, Toasted Rice, Umami

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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This is my second oolong form BTTC. It definitely had the biggest oolong pearls of all the oolongs that I own. The bright blue green wads of wavy mossy leaves felt nice and silky in my hands. The leaves themselves smelled very fresh, with vegetal and buttery notes. I also detected hyacinth floral hints. Funny enough, I did not know that this was a milk oolong when I drank it. I enjoyed the melted butter and heavy whipping cream quality I held in my mouth. It stayed consistently floral and sweet, playing around with candied orange peel and lilies throughout all my steepings in my gaiwan. Although not as fragrant or refined as their BaoZhong or a Lishan, I had a lot of fun watching the leaves explode in my cup.

Flavors: Artichoke, Butter, Cream, Orange Zest

190 °F / 87 °C 4 g

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This is the first time i have ever tried coffee cherries. I like how i can taste a hit of dark roast coffee in this blend. the chai part in this is quite mild, not much stands out except the cardamom. Cascara is the skin of the coffee cherry. Normally in the production of coffee the skin is considered waste and goes into compost. However, if the cherry is dried and separated it can be steeped and used to make an herbal brew with some caffeine. This is an interesting find, but I do not think that I will re-purchase.

Flavors: Cardamom, Cinnamon, Coffee, Dried Fruit

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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A sweet, spiced, floral mate. The rose is a bit more muted than the cardamom, but they play nice and keep the tannic mate from choking the blend.

Flavors: Cardamom, Cinnamon, Hay, Rose

5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Teanzo’s Advent Calendar, Day 13:
This is the second unveiling of a new ‘spa blend’ herbal tea by Teanzo. So far, they are two for two. While dream spa blend was floral and spicy, like a classic perfume, this is the younger sister of that tea. When I stuck my nose into the coppery foil packet, I instantly smelled orange creamsicle. The citrus peels and hunks of lemongrass were large, and the gingery spice is harmonizing with the herbaceous tulsi.
The brew of this tea was very successful. The orange creamsicle element is still there, but with a more herbaceous note. The liquor is more lemony and ginger than the dry nose.
Once again I am sold on another one of their spa blends!

Flavors: Ginger, Lemon, Orange

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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Teanzo 1856 Advent Calendar Day 12 – Aaack! So much freaking bergamot in this tea! When I saw what the tea was for today, I immediately thought, “well, doesn’t an earl grey have to have bergamot in it be considered an earl grey?” Then, taking my first sips, I got my answer. This is so overwhelmingly bergamot. Don’t get me wrong, one of the first earl grey teas I have ever had and really liked was Stash’s double-bergamot earl grey. I know I am comparing apples to oranges, but wow. I am not one to waste tea, so I ended up adding cream and sugar to this to mellow it out. Phew. I think I will pass on the resteep, thanks

Flavors: Bergamot

200 °F / 93 °C 12 OZ / 354 ML

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I dream in tea.

My name is Maddi. I like to take boiling hot showers and meditate in my closet. I think and talk about tea so much that it has become a punchline of sorts with my family and coworkers. Besides my unhealthy obsession with the drink that gives me life, I do yoga frequently, I make green smoothies out of any vegetables and fruit in the nearest vicinity, I am obsessed with Korean Dramas, I run as a form of moving meditation, and play video games with my easygoing and forgiving boyfriend. I used to cook for a living, and I almost always eat at least one waffle a day.

Favorite types of teas:
Aged Oolongs hold my heart. Sneaking their way in are Korean Greens. Roasted oolongs and I are not on speaking terms as of late. Black teas of all types, but especially Fujian and some Yunnan are nice indulgences more often than not. I know and love Japanese greens more than any kind, while Chinese greens bore me. Certain White teas thrill me, but most have me changing the channel. I love using my Yerba Mate gourd, we have become steadfast amigos. Puerh and I are still getting to know each other, and while sheng is playing hard to get, shou is there to hold my hand when no one is looking. I sometimes make my own functional herbal blends, and if there is a hell, it is filled with Rooibos. Above all else, direct – trade tea is my favorite.

LEAST Favorite Flavors/Flavorings
Herbs, if they are out of place (I’m talking to you, thyme)
Strong Bergamot
Chocolate (added flavorings)
Cloves/strong cinnamon

MOST Adored Flavor Profiles
Majority of chai
Stone fruit/melon

“Tea is naught but this:
First you heat the water.
Then you make the tea.
Then you drink it properly.
That is all you need to know.”
- Sen No Riyku


Denver sometimes, Las Vegas some other times



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