59 Tasting Notes


Today I finally received my “little” black and oolong adventures from Tea-Adventure. The “little adventures” are sampling packages with samples of all the teas of the specific category (so a little black adventure contains samples of all the black teas Tea-Adventure sells). I’m sooo happy. The only downside is that now I have such a great many samples that it’s neigh to impossible to choose :-)

With a previous order I had a sample of this tea and I really really liked it. So therefore this tea is the first on my to-try-list of today.

The taste is sweet, toasty and with a very definite mineral impression. I can’t say I recognize anything fruity floral. According to the description of Verdant Tea (I reckon it’s the same tea based on the name) there should be notes of caramel, hazelnut, elderberry, custard, honeydew and/or orchid. I can’t say I can discern those either. Sometimes I wonder if you can and should compare certain teas with the flavors of known foods. This tea definitely is something totally different from anything else I know and I love it!

It’s going on my to order list.

In the second steep the sweetness increases and becomes nearly caramelized like. I believe a detect a very slight hint of maltiness as well. Overall the mineral impression remains the most dominant feature. All in all, the second steep is just as worthwhile as the first, and I don’t say that often…

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Wanderlust by Yumchaa
59 tasting notes

This is an interesting tea.

I’ve only tasted one other Yumchaa tea – and like this one – it was kindly provided by Cteresa, thank you!.

Both that one – Notting Hill – and this one are similar in the way I can’t exactly put my finger on. It is as if they share some of the same ingredients, which evidently isn’t the case (according to the descriptions). Actually the one is a black tea and the other (this one) a green tea. So the similarity is rather surprising! Perhaps it’s a sameness in the way the flavors blend, because they do blend very well…

If apple crumble is a kind of apple pie or tart (I’m not sure), this doesn’t really remind me of that. Or rather, this tea has too much character to compare to something as mundane as apple crumble. The comparison to hot apple cider however does ring several bells.

If – like me – you don’t really like apple cider, you should still consider this to try this tea. Although this tea definitely reminds me of hot apple cider, it does not taste exactly the same. It’s sweeter and more mellow. Also it’s not as “heavy” to the stomach.

In the winter there are always a number of Christmas markets here in the region. Usually they have these little stalls serving hot wine, hot apple cider and the like. People sit outside in the cold (with no more than some heat lamps) savoring those hot alcoholic beverages. This tea would be great for such an occasion.

On the one hand I can already see myself happily sipping this tea after a cold winter walk through the woods, on the other hand I’m fervently awaiting spring and this doesn’t make me a believer it’ll be coming anytime soon … so that makes rating it honestly at this particular moment somewhat difficult. I’ll hold on to my thoughts on that subject for the moment and have a few more cups… :-)

180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

it sounds nice
are you retaining your ratings for it or just decided no more giving ratings to teas ?


Retaining. I really like this tea but am not sure which position I should allot it rating wise. Recently I’ve had to change ratings sometimes b/c I’d rated a tea higher than another tea I liked better or lower than another tea I liked less. So with a view to a comprehensive system of ratings I’ve decided to withhold ratings until after I’ve drank the tea a number of times.


I have my opinions of teas change a lot as I drink them – this is an example, but also a few more. Usually I get to appreciate them more, but sometimes it´s the stupid steepster slide which I still find so hard to judge! A tip if you want to give more precise numerical values go to your steepster ratings, sort by whichever (recent, highest) and from there click on the numerical value to change it.


Yes Cteresa, that’s how I do it. The steepster slide is way too inaccurate.

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drank Earl Black by 52teas
59 tasting notes

I got a sample of this from Dustin. Thanks Dustin!!

I really loved the smell of this tea, esp. when still dry. Unfortunately I had a similar ‘grape-medicine-like’ tasting experience as one of the other reviewers. The tea was very soapy to my taste. Perhaps overly floral? I really couldn’t finish it… :-(. Due to the very good ratings of the others I’m somewhat hesitant to give it a 1… After all I could just be me… I’ll skip on rating this one.

Nevertheless I’m very happy that I had the opportunity to try this one…

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drank Lao Tieguanyin by tea-adventure
59 tasting notes

I ordered this tea shortly after my last post regarding the sample I received earlier. Last week my order finally arrived. Since then I’ve been rather committed to this tea. I’ve been drinking it at least a few times a day.

On second, third and forth taste I have to say that this tea is much sweeter and less woody than I originally though. Other than that I’m still not able to describe it accurately, unfortunately…

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I thought to revisite this one a second time. I figured that my palette might have changed or that I might be able to brew this one better the second time around.

On second try I liked the tea even less!! I’ve crashed my rating to the yellow “mweh” smiley and tossed the remaining bag of this tea with the trash.

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59 tasting notes

I’m bumping the rating on this one up with 3 points. Lately this has been my breakfast/morning tea of choice. Really love this one. It’s becoming a staple…

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Took the sample I recently got from Dustin, with me to work. Half my office (my room, not the entire building) smells like this tea when it’s brewing on my desk. Certainly one of ten ways to improve working conditions :-)

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drank Lime Chiffon by Della Terra Teas
59 tasting notes

Although I ordinarily am not overly fond of rooibos, I figured that might also be due to the fact that previously I’ve only had rather ordinary rooibos blends. So when Dustin and I set up a swap, I took a chance and asked for som rooibos. One of the blends she sent me was this one and it truely tastes great! Thanks Dustin!

The official discription is rather spot on. It really has a “homemade lemon cake”-feel to it. Sweet, fruity and with a tart note, this is a great dessert or normally-I-would-be-having-a-hot-chocolate-tea-moment tea.

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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Dustin was so kind to send me a sample of this tea; thanks Dustin!

Years ago I had a cheap and simple chocolate tea. It was not a good experience. It tasted as tea with a bit of cacao powder. Since then I’ve always avoided chocolate teas, untill I recently decided to try Theodor’s The du Loup, which I really liked very much and put chocolate teas back on the my to-try-list.

Like TheTeaFairy, I picked up a hint of sourness in the smell of the dry leaves, so I was a little apprehensive about this one. Based on the smell I definately wouldn’t have bought this. And that is of course the beauty of tea swaps, because once brewed this is een tea that lives up to it’s name. Altough I can’t really discern the cherry flavour, I do get the total griottes experience: the sweet dark chocolate taste with a sense of tart fruitiness. The flavours blend beautifully.

I do wonder if artificial flavouring has been used for this tea. Not that I would mind, but it seems neigh to impossible to achieve this taste with solely natural ingredients. Unfortunately the website doesn’t give any information.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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drank Queen Catherine by Harney & Sons
59 tasting notes

Cteresa was so kind to send me a sample of this tea. It wouldn’t have been my choice as I generally only drink (or rather drank) black flavoured teas, but as she suggested it and I wanted to step a bit out of my box, I agreed.

I’m not sure that was an altogether happy choice :-)

This really is a far lovelier tea than I would have expected based on it’s discription. It is smooth, sweet and malty and has hints of chocolate and a very slight smokiness. I think this was my first (conscious) taste of a chinese black tea (blend) and it tasted like more.

So why aren’t I happy? Well I just have one tsp of sample left and after that I’ll have to do without. I’ve only seen two places where I can order this tea, that’s at the US based Harney website or the Dutch importer. From the US website I can order a single tin, but shipping costs are some $ 34,- (about 5x the tea itself). The Dutch importer is prepared to send the tea free of shipping charge, but it can only deliver the tea in 1 kg packages… That’s a bit much considering that I like to drink a variety of different teas.

So now I know this really affordable black blend staple and I’ll have to do without…. On the upside, it has put me on the path to explore more straight black chinese teas :-). Presently I’m happily awaiting the arrival or my ‘little black tea adventure’ from tea-adventure.com (which I just ordered yesterday, so won’t be arriving for another fortnight).

BTW: how do you guys make bold typing?.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

Type an asterisk immediately before and after the letters you want to have in bold type!



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What to say about myself and my tea drinking habits? I’ve been staring at the screen, reading other’s bio’s and still can’t come up with something worthwile. I’ll just stick to the basics.

I generally prefer white, green and oolong teas to black teas. As I read a scientific report that stated that black teas lower the level of stress hormones in the blood, I try to add a few cups of black tea every day.

Overall I prefer black teas to be flavoured. The white, green and oolongs may be flavoured or straight.

I brew my teas per cup, mostly in my – much loved – Kati mug with Cha Cult strainer. I’m rather a stickler for brewing time and temperature, so I use a tea timer and watercooker with temperature indication.

I also love a good cup of coffee and especially cappuchino. As far as I’m concerned, a good cappuchino requires a real milk/foam topping, not something made with skimmed milk, powder or the like. Unfortunately a lot of cafes still haven’t caught on to that one and serve low quality coffee and tea (type vending machine and bagged fannings). I hate it when, on a cold winter day, the choice is restricted to bad coffee, bagged fannings or a cold softdrink… :-(

As for rating teas, I more or less make the following distinction:

Nothing is perfect. Probably won’t be using it ever.

98 – 99:
Nearly too good to be true.

90 – 97:

80 – 89:

70 – 79:
Good. May rebuy depending on price and availability.

60 – 69:
Ok I’ll finish the cup and maybe even have a second, but probably won’t finish the entire package as I have other – (far) better teas in my cupboard.

< 60:
I feel cheated. I won’t ever be buying this again.

< 50:
This really is no good.

< 30:
I hate this. I want my money back.

Beyond horrible!

PS: Recalibrated my ratings according to this index on 23 feb 2013.


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