333 Tasting Notes

drank Earl Grey by Crabtree & Evelyn
333 tasting notes

I was offered a cup of this tea while browsing around in a Crabtree & Evelyn store. They’ve really expanded on their tea and food offerings recently, and there was a whole display with various kinds of tea, biscuits, and fruit preserves. While tea is still not the first thing people would think of when this company is mentioned, my parents have a tin of their Afternoon Tea, and my previous experiences with it were pretty good.

The base of this tea is similar to the Afternoon Tea, with sweet florals on a loamy/earthy backdrop. There is a slight touch of acidity. The bergamot presence is subtle but lingering on the finish. The overall effect is a soft and gentle tea. My impression may have been skewed toward the positive by the nice surprise of being given a free sample, but it was quite enjoyable!


I can see them making linen spray out of that!


Tea scented linen spray…I’d go for that!

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I picked up a little can of this while grocery shopping at the local Korean supermarket. The can design is cute, but I poured it out before drinking to get a better look at the color. (I’ve been finding that visuals are an important part of the experience of enjoying tea—using a dark mug or thermos just isn’t the same!)

Well, the color of this one is a very murky yellowish-green that reminds me of vegetable smoothies. It has a seaweed aroma commonly found with Japanese green teas (and as I later discovered, this one actually contains seaweed too). The taste is quite nice—it has that smoothness that I associate with Ito En’s bottled green teas. The matcha adds some body and umami flavor. It’s not something that I would often reach for, but it is a nice chilled drink and probably a decent energy boost.

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Thanks beelicious for this lovely sample. I’ve been holding off on trying it for a while—it seems too strong to drink late in the day, but too fruity for a breakfast tea (and besides, I’m usually not awake enough to fully appreciate my first cup of the day). Today I was finally able to try it in the early afternoon, so hooray!

The blend has a rich, dark-berries aroma that does immediately remind me of a full-bodied, fruity red wine. The part about Merlot getting a bad rap in the official description makes me laugh—having lived in wine country for many years, this is true to some extent, but it doesn’t stop us from enjoying it!

The taste of this tea is similarly richly fruity, not quite wine-like but definitely wine-inspired. The flavors are “tannic” as suggested by the description, making me think of blackcurrants and grape skins. There’s also an interesting sweetness that is candy-like, but refreshing instead of cloying. I finally identified it as liquorice, and while it’s not a common ingredient in tea blends, it has a nice effect here, making the tea seem less heavy as a reuslt. Overall, it’s a one-of-a-kind and enjoyable blend!

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I’ve been itching to try my hand at mixing tea soda lately. Not too long ago I had sort of tried to make a sparkling cider from apple cider-flavored tea, but it was still on the dilute side. Thanks to Roswell Strange for a good tea syrup recipe that I used this time! (1 serving of tea leaf steeped in 2 oz water, then add and dissolve 5 tsp sugar, before adding to 1 can of club soda—I used less sugar in this particular experiment but it was still very good)

Anyway, I picked this tea because it was the perfect combination of sweet, fruity, and creamy that seemed like it would work well in a soda. And the verdict is in: it’s delicious! The creaminess of this blend, along with the added sugar, created something that was just like the old-timey cream sodas that I used to enjoy in college. We had a student cafe that was only open at night for studying and socializing, and this kind of soda was always popular—it definitely brings back memories! It’s also a nice warm golden color that’s quite beautiful to look at with the bubbles drifting through it. Overall, first experiment was a great success. There are numerous other teas I’d like to try this way, and I might test how little sugar I can get away with adding since I don’t want to overindulge.

Roswell Strange

OH I’m so glad this worked for you!


It worked great, thanks for the recipe!

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First review for this one! This is a blend with dark green tea leaves and dried raspberry pieces, though I didn’t identify the orange peel pieces from the description. There is a raspberry scent that reminds me of the pastille type of fruit hard candy, and also leans toward floral and perfume-like. These qualities become stronger after steeping, which produces a yellow-green color. This is a very solid dark green tea, vegetal but not vegetable-like or grassy. The raspberry flavor is potent and refreshing. Aside from the scent being a little too perfumed, it’s quite enjoyable.

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drank Lime Gelato by DAVIDsTEA
333 tasting notes

Today was unseasonably warm, so this one sounded just right. The blend smells just like key lime flavored pie or yogurt, as well as having a sweet preserved-fruit aroma coming from the pineapple pieces. The blend is pretty heavy on the fruit pieces and other non-tea ingredients, so I expected it to be fairly light. It brews up to a pale yellow-green color, and indeed the flavor and presence of the tea base are very unassuming. The lime flavor is definitely there, light and refreshing and not overly sweet. I keep telling myself that natural lime flavor probably doesn’t taste like that, but I can’t help but genuinely enjoy it. The very light creaminess helps round this one out nicely as well, it’s one of those rare dessert teas that manage to be both creamy and delicate. Thanks beelicious for the nice surprise!

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drank Candy Corn Black Tea by 52teas
333 tasting notes

This is a festive-looking blend with candy corn mixed in. It’s probably more appropriate to drink it around Halloween, but there are no rules about when to try a tea! The aroma of both the dry blend and brewed tea has that caramel-like sweetness that does remind me of candy corn. The tea base is quite good, and comes through as clean and a little malty. Actually, thinking back on it, I tasted the tea base first, and then the other flavors as it cooled more. These include a strong mellow sweetness that is distinctly honey-like, as well as marshmallow root, which I think I’ve finally tasted enough times to be able to identify. I’m not a big fan of honey-flavored teas in general, but that’s just me. I can see that it’s quite the authentic candy corn experience! Thanks to beelicious for the sample :)

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drank Hua Ki by Lupicia
333 tasting notes

It seems like there’s no end to the Lupicia teas that I haven’t tried or heard of—but I’m not complaining!

This one is a black tea with flower petals and numerous dried fruit pieces mixed in. The smell is a cheery mixture of tropical fruits, and pretty much what I think of when I hear “tropical iced tea”. I made this one hot, however. The tea base is light and crisp; no complaints here. The fruit flavors are abundant and vibrant, with pineapple, mango, and probably quite a few others. There is a sort of candy-like sweetness to it. It doesn’t stand out too much from the other mixed-fruits black teas from Lupicia that I’ve tried, but it’s a fun and enjoyable one on its own.

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drank Earl of Anxi by Verdant Tea
333 tasting notes

Doesn’t matter if it’s too late in the evening for tea—it’s been a long day and I just feel like trying something different!

This is a sample I ordered from Verdant a long time ago. It’s one of the most unique-sounding blends I had seen in their selection. Visually, it’s very striking as well, with vivid green tieguanyin (the word “verdant” would do well here!), plenty of jasmine blossoms, and goji berries. The scent is a very bright and floral mixture of jasmine and the tea itself. There’s also a little twist of citrus aroma adding to the fresh effect. The overall aroma reminds me of springtime after a rain.

The tea brews up a delicate light yellow-green color. The taste is smooth and gently floral, with a hint of jasmine and sweetness from the goji berries. There’s also an unidentifiable note that reminds me of gingko fruit or some other kind of pulpy, mushy plant matter. I’m not sure if it’s the goji berries (which I’ve had quite often; this seems to only resemble them a little bit, and I can taste their fruitiness separate from this note anyway?), frankincense, or something else in the mix. It’s a little distracting, but not unpleasant. In terms of caffeination, cha qi, or what have you, this blend not as intense as a pure tieguanyin, which at this time of day I do appreciate. Overall, this is definitely a one-of-a-kind blend, fresh and bright but subtle at the same time.

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drank Genmaicha by DAVIDsTEA
333 tasting notes

This is a very rice-heavy genmaicha, and I had trouble scooping out a spoonful that had enough leaves in it for me to justify calling it tea!

But you know, it’s good. There might not be much new and exciting about it, but it’s comforting. The sencha has that nori-seaweed quality to it, so the overall effect is like one of those seaweed-covered rice snacks. A nice relaxing afternoon cup. Thanks again to beelicious!

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Science writer and a cat that learned to type.

I grew up in a tea-loving family, and tea has always been a part of daily life. I’m still astounded by the amount of tea and teaware back home every time I visit! While I’m most familiar with straight Chinese teas, I’m growing to explore and appreciate other types of tea, including blended and flavored ones. A good blend can reflect the thought and creativity that was put into making it, instead of being too sweet or busy in a way that gives the “genre” a bad rap.

-most black teas (even lapsang)
-most oolongs, especially Fujian teas, baozhong and dancong
-straight white teas

Variable (some are great, some not so):
-most green teas
-tie guan yin
-flavored white teas

90-100: definite repurchase if possible, recommended
80-90: enjoyed, possible repurchase
70-80: fair to good
60-70: fair with some shortcomings
50-60: there’s still a chance I’d take this if it were free
under 50: absolutely not


Southern California

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