333 Tasting Notes

This is the “everything else” category, right?

It was 100F again today, so iced tea was looking like a good idea. I cold brewed one sachet each of Lupcia Ume Vert and Tsugaru Green together, and it’s pretty much the greatest thing ever on a hot day. It has what I liked most in both blends without either one dominating. Too bad I’m almost out of the Ume Vert now!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Tower of London by Harney & Sons
333 tasting notes

I gave this one a second try this morning. With an appropriate steep time, the berry flavors come out more, very subtle and just a little sweet, and as the official description says, reminiscent of fruit preserves. The honey is not as apparent as it had been when I oversteeped it. The black tea base is very clear and robust, with a small degree of astringency which isn’t too bad.

I do like this blend, even though it isn’t as memorable as Paris had been. Harney and Sons seem to know what they’re doing with their black tea blends.

190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 45 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Muscat by Lupicia
333 tasting notes

A sample I received for an in-store purchase. I’m a stone’s throw away from an actual, physical Lupicia store, which might explain their overrepresentation in my cupboard!

This one was unfortunately not that great. The aroma is pretty nice—sweet muscat grape, nothing else, not too strong or preserved-smelling. But the taste is decidedly acidic, and everything else, be it tea or grape flavor, gets lost or was weak to begin with. At least the finish is fairly good.

I had a higher rating for this before from a previous experience, but I think that must have been for muscat oolong, from back when I wasn’t keeping careful track.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Tie Guan Yin by Heng Xin
333 tasting notes

Revisiting this old friend for an afternoon cup. I’ve finally realized what the fragrance of this tea reminds me of—Aglaia odorata, or the Chinese perfume plant. It’s one of the scents I remember strongly from my childhood, very delicate and reminiscent of summer.

On closer inspection, the leaves in this batch are of rather inconsistent color and quality for a TGY, and fairly broken up. It’s probably not the best they have produced, since it came in small packages marketed for gifting. If it’s already this good, I imagine a better batch of this tea can easily be a personal 95, if not 100.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Tower of London by Harney & Sons
333 tasting notes

This is a flavored black tea done right. The aroma is a light, pleasant mix of fruits, and the taste is malty, cheerful, and sweet, while still being quite robust as a tea. I’m most impressed with the hint of honey in there—it’s the first time I’ve tried a tea that comes with honey in the blend that didn’t smell or taste absolutely appalling.

No rating yet because I had a busy morning at work and let this one steep a little too long.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Adding anything to Tie Guan Yin sounds like sacrilege to me, but this one turned out better than expected.

The aroma is of sweet, dried fruit, but surprisingly the fragrance of the tea is also very much intact. The flavors in this one lean more toward berries or currant, but not really pomegranate. Which may be a good thing—anything stronger or more tart would have been more suited to a black tea instead, but this level of fruit is just right. The overall effect is a delicate brew that has the lingering fragrance expected from a TGY. But I can’t give a higher score because something is a little off—maybe the preparation, the leaves, or the blending process, but the tea tastes as if it’s been overly cooked (panned/fired) even with a short steep. The first few sips even have a hint of oiliness to them, and made me think genmaicha, which is definitely not what you want here.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Another cold brew for a warm day. This one comes out to a clear golden-green, with a distinct and slightly sweet apple flavor. While it’s not entirely tea-like, it’s nicely refreshing if you’re outside on a spring day.

The one shortcoming of this is the aroma—it tends toward apples that are just a little too ripe and have possibly gone soft on the ground. Not something you really want to encounter in your cup. This quality is, fortunately, absent from the flavor.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Paris by Harney & Sons
333 tasting notes

One of several Harney and Sons samples I got recently. This turned out to be a great tea to have with a weekend brunch.

The dry tea smells distinctly of caramel, but once brewed, the aroma is of a sweet black tea with lemon—not too cloying, and very inviting. There are definitely a lot of flavors in this tea, but none of them dominate except for the citrus, which brightens the tea as it would in a good Earl Grey. The fruit and caramel flavors blend into the background to make the tea just a little sweet, and gentler than the average black tea. The tea leaf itself is also of good, enjoyable quality. I’m finding that the tea base is still the most important component even in a “noisy” blend with many ingredients like this; if the tea is poor then none of the other flavors will taste good. Overall, this is a definite repurchase, and will be great in the cooler months.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


This is the last of the package I have, I’m very sad to see it go.

With teas like these sometimes it’s hard to give a descriptive review. I’m not really one for trying to find flavors sommelier-style in a pure, unblended tea, unless it’s something very obvious. The best kind of tea can only recommend itself by its own quality, but that is precisely what is hard to pin down.

What I do want to add about this one is that in addition to the smokiness it has a harmonious, almost sweet quality, but not sweet in the sugar sense, more like spring water. 甘 instead of 甜, if that makes any sense. Anyway, highly recommended for whenever it’s back in stock.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


I received this tea as a sample from a recent order from Verdant Tea. It’s very unlike any other tea I’ve tried. The aroma is buttery, with a touch of sweet potato, but quite subtle while rich at the same time. It’s hard to describe this quality, which also extends to the taste of the tea—it’s rich and flavorful enough to remind me of food, while still being a delicate tea that isn’t over-the-top at all. The sweet potato flavor is more like a shanyao (Dioscorea opposita), with many other notes that are difficult to identify. As the other reviews indicate, everyone gets something different out of it. Very enjoyable and soothing.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



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

Following These People

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer