639 Tasting Notes


I’ve been busy, so this tea has sat largely neglected in my cupboard. I decided it’s finally time to start drinking down my stash or I’ll end up having to throw tea out because it’s so old. Blasphemy at the mere thought!

I went a little heavy on the leaf and steep time since this is two years old, which is probably around the end of its shelf life. Sadly, the leaves only had one good infusion in them. But I was not disappointed! The second I tasted this naturally sweet tea, I sighed with contentment. “Oh my god, yeah.” This is my kind of green tea.

The tea liquor is very pale, nearly clear. The taste is mainly fruity and floral with a vegetal finish. I get notes of apricot followed by honeysuckle and finally asparagus. It almost tastes like a cross between silver needle and tie guan yin. It’s more vegetal than white tea but lighter than oolong. This is my perfect green tea! I’m so glad I made time to enjoy it.

Flavors: Apricot, Asparagus, Floral, Fruity, Honeysuckle, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 6 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I picked up a bottle of this premade tea at work. It’s only 90 calories and has 20g of organic cane sugar. It tastes heavily of ginger, more than I would have expected. Next is the cinnamon. But it mostly tastes like a non-sparkling, black tea ginger ale. Overall, it’s not what I look for in a chai. I don’t love it but I don’t hate it.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Ginger

14 OZ / 414 ML

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drank Calico & Black Cat Tea by 52teas
639 tasting notes

I found four 52teas marked December 2015 that hadn’t even been opened or logged in my cupboard. :( This is what I get for not drinking tea for a long time.

This tea is made of Verdant Teas and chocolate, caramel, and coconut flavorings. Unfortunately, coconut is one of those flavorings that does not last and has a tendency to go rancid. The dry leaf smelled okay but the brewed tea smells bad. It’s definitely from the coconut. I’m going to let it cool and then try it and hope for the best.

The taste is actually okay. Mostly, I get coconut and cocoa nibs. The weird aroma doesn’t make its way into the flavor. This isn’t bad, especially if you take into consideration that it’s over three years old!

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Evol Ving Ness

Three years? Has Anne been presiding over 52teas for three years now?


Almost. June is our 3 year anniversary.

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This tea is very old. I’ve been a bit busy of late. I have two kids now, a 3 year-old girl and an 11-month-old boy. I work full-time too. So between that and daily life, chores, cleaning, laundry, etc., there’s not any time left for tea or blogging. The date on this tea was June 2016 and it’s March 2018. A rating really wouldn’t be fair since it has barely any flavor left. It’s safe to say that this tea is past its prime. But with my kids giggling together in the next room, I feel the trade was worth it.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Sparkling Sangria by DAVIDsTEA
639 tasting notes

I’ve been away for a while, but I have a great excuse…

I am now the proud mama of two! I gave birth to my son on April 8th. We are so blessed to have two healthy, happy children!

I haven’t been doing my regular things because I’ve been so busy with a bunch of irregular things. First of all, being pregnant this second time around was no fun. Second, we bought a house! We also put a lot of work into it: all new floors throughout, new paint everywhere (and I mean everywhere, even the ceilings!), all new faux wood blinds, fixed the deck, and took down a knee wall in the living room. We still have more we want to do, but at least the house is livable and in much better condition now than when we moved in. We also had to take two trips down to my mother’s storage units in another state to sort through everything. We brought most of the furniture, dishes, and memorabilia back to our house. The rest was donated or thrown out.

My husband and I also both have new jobs. He still works for the same company but in a different area. I work for a new agency and have a team working for me. Life is very different and I’m really happy. It’s been stressful but overall, life has really improved over the last year.

My mom is still battling stage 4 breast cancer. She’s doing as well as could be expected, I think. At least she’s no longer on chemotherapy. They changed her treatment plan to oral drugs called targeted and hormone therapy. She’s responded well and it gives her a better quality of life.

Anyway, this is a tea review, not my personal journal. ON TO THE TEA!

I made this with 4 tablespoons in 8 cups of boiling water. I would recommend a higher concentration of tea. Next time, I think I’ll go for 5 tablespoons in 7 cups. The instructions say to brew for 4-7 minutes, but since this is an herbal, I steeped it for 10 minutes. I don’t usually add sugar to my teas, but again, this is an herbal! It doesn’t have any tea in it. The dry “leaf” is a lovely bouquet of fruits and flowers. So I tried a sip and decided it would be much improved with some sweetener. I added ¾ tablespoon of Truvia and then stuck the whole pitcher in the fridge to cool.

This one absolutely needs to be enjoyed iced! It is delicious! Fruity and sweet and everything you’d want from a juice or punch without the calories. This is pretty darn fantastic. It reminds me of 52teas’ Southern Boy Teas spin-off brand that closed a while back. I really miss Frank’s mastery of iced teas. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to stock up before he closed shop. I will really miss a lot of his blends. But this tea helps ease the pain of that loss.

I feel like I can taste everything in the blend: apple, mango, pineapple, papaya, hibiscus (but just the right amount), with a hint of rose and blue cornflowers. Yum yum! I even get a little passion fruit. It’s soooo good! I love this just the way it is. The marketing says you can add wine to make it a real sangria. But my favorite part of this is sans alcohol. I tried a sample of Rosé All Day in the store and thought it was pretty tasty too. It’s strongly rose, which I love, but the hint of artificial wine flavoring was what made me get Sparkling Sangria instead. I think I’m going to need more of this because 3 oz will not go far. And I usually take years to finish off 2 oz of tea.

I have to add that the dry leaf really is beautiful. It smells heavenly and is probably the most visually appealing tea I’ve ever seen. Well, now I’m off to take care of the baby!

Boiling 8 min or more 12 tsp 64 OZ / 1892 ML

It’s nice to see you back on Steepster! I’ll be wishing your mom well but it’s nice to hear all the good things too.


Welcome back and congratulations x 4!

Roswell Strange

Welcome back, and congrats on all the new exciting life things!


Thanks, everybody! I miss tea, but I really miss this community. Y’all are so great. :)


Ah, so great to see a life update from you, even if you’re not posting regularly!! :D Congrats on the babies and the house and everything – I’m so happy to hear it!

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drank Loose Aged White Tea by Shang Tea
639 tasting notes

This is an old sample I found in my cupboard. I’m not 100% sure who I got it from…*tea-sipper*, I think. Anyway since it’s of unknown but definitely old age, I opted for a longer brew time than I would normally do for a first steep with a white tea.

The aroma of the brewed tea is nice. Typical for a white tea, hay mainly. I haven’t had tea in so long. We moved recently and most of my stash is still in boxes. So when I say I found this in my cupboard, what I really mean is, I found this in a box. :) All my tea is probably going to go bad before I can enjoy it. It’s my fault for buying so much at once.

The flavor is nice too. It’s much sweeter than expected. Sweet hay. This is very enjoyable, especially because it’s been too long since I last had a nice cuppa. Thanks to whoever passed it my way!

Flavors: Hay

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Pumpkin Spice by Harney & Sons
639 tasting notes

Long time no tea! Short update: We’ve bought our first house and I’m pregnant with our second child! Now ON TO THE TEA!

The aroma is cinnamon and red rooibos. I’m not a fan of rooibos, but this was a free sample so…

The flavor is fairly inoffensive. It’s naturally sweet and slightly spicy. Not a winner for my palate but probably is very enjoyable to others. It’s not very strong. No pumpkin to speak of. I’ll drink this cup but I wouldn’t try it again.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Rooibos

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML

Congrats on both the house and the pregnancy! Seems like lots of good things are happening, except for this tea I suppose :)


Congratulations, CHAroma!




Wow and yay!


WOOOHOOO!!! Congrats!!

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drank Paris by Harney & Sons
639 tasting notes

Oh, how I love the beautiful floral bergamot flavor of this one! I caved and bought a tin of sachets to enjoy at work. Now you all know I’m normally a strong proponent of loose leaf tea. But we also know that teabags are just so much more convenient for work. Harney & Sons does a good job making a triangular-shaped mesh bag that allows the leaves to expand. The leaves aren’t finely ground like grocery store quality teabags either. This is a teabag done right.

The cup is beautiful and understated. I added a splash of skim milk and a tiny bit of Truvia. Although my previous notes say I enjoyed it best sans additions, this is really hitting the spot this morning. It brings back memories of my mini-moon at a beautiful, quaint bed and breakfast in Newport, RI, sitting by the fire with my husband and enjoying a wonderful cuppa. I love how tea can transport you back in time to an exact place with one whiff of the aroma or one sip.

I FINALLY figured out why this reminds me of 52teas’ Cotton Candy White Tea. It’s the cornflowers! I don’t see any cornflowers in the leaves, but I’m sure it must be one of the floral flavorings they’ve added here. Bergamot, vanilla, berry, and cornflowers. That must be it! It only took 4 years but mystery solved. :P Upping the rating from 87 to 89.

Flavors: Bergamot, Berry, Floral, Vanilla

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 g 7 OZ / 207 ML

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I bought this tea in February 2016. I hope this is the right place on Steepster to record this note. My package says “Shi Feng Longjing Green Tea 1st Picking.” I usually brew dragonwell gongfu style with my gaiwan. But I decided to try the open pitcher method that Verdant made a video about. This is the first time I’m using my new glass pitcher and this lovely flower cup (see pictures below).

The pitcher brew method makes for a much stronger cup of tea. I’m not really sure how long I steeped it since the leaves were always in the water. I found this method was very difficult to keep the leaves out of the cup when I poured from the pitcher. I tried using a strainer but it was hard to pick the leaves out of it afterwards. Then I tried pouring really slowly but that only kind of worked. Finally, I used a wooden spatula to strain the tea as I poured. This seemed to work best but the leaves would stick to the sides of the pitcher and then I’d have to poke them back down. All in all, I think I probably prefer using a gaiwan.

The tea itself is good. I’m sure it would have been better back in February, as it’s now May. It’s Mother’s Day, in fact! I’ve been absent from Steepster for a long time because I am now myself a mother since January 2015. Babies are a handful. I don’t have much time to myself these days and certainly no time whatsoever to enjoy tea. I don’t have a whole lot to say about this tea in particular. It’s buttery and a tad bitter. My mind is on other things.

On April 26th, my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. It was a total shock. She had no symptoms for years. She ended up in the hospital with kidney failure. She had two different surgeries and her kidney function is slowly improving. I have no idea how many Mother’s Days I’ll have left with her. It’s a nightmare. You’re never prepared for this kind of news. I suppose no matter what the circumstances, we would have been caught off guard.
It’s such a hard thing…there are no words.

I hope and pray that she has many years left. There’s really no way to know.

The tea:

Me and my baby:

Me, my mom, and my daughter (This was taken exactly one year – to the day – before she was diagnosed.):

175 °F / 79 °C 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

I am so sorry about your mom. :(

And on a happier note, look at how much your daughter has grown!

Evol Ving Ness

I am sorry about your mom. I can’t even imagine. :(


I’m sorry! Hope both you and your mom had a lovely Mother’s Day. I just read Roswell Strange’s tasting note above this one for 52Teas Stone Fruit and remembered you had sent me some years ago. I have an uncanny memory for which Steepsterers sent me which teas. :D


I’m so sorry about your mom. The pictures of your family are lovely!


So sorry to hear about your mom…hoping she pulls through!

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drank Jin Jun Mei (2015) by Verdant Tea
639 tasting notes

I’ve had this tea since July 2015, but I’m just trying it now in February 2016. Whoops. According to Verdant’s website, you only use 4g of leaves whether you’re brewing Gongfu or Western. Gongfu brewing is recommended for 6 seconds and Western only 18 seconds. I decided to do Gongfu and am glad I followed the recommendations. I probably went about 10 seconds on the first infusion and the second cup I poured was noticeably darker than the first, in color and flavor, even though they were only a couple seconds apart. This tea steeps quickly!

The flavor is like the aroma: spicy and dark, warm and comforting. I’m not tasting any smoke as others did. But it does have a tendency to go bitter quickly, which is probably why even when brewing Western style, Verdant doesn’t recommend 1-2 minutes to start. While early infusions should be short, I recommend later infusions be long to get the most out of the leaves. I have to say, 4g of leaves doesn’t look like much. But it is plenty to create a very flavorful cup!

I’m making a mess today. I spilled water all over the counter and keep accidentally letting the tea brew a few seconds more than I intend. The tea is very savory and a bit floral, just as the website promises. This is a really lovely tea. It has a slightly honeyesque flavor as well, akin to lychee. It’s quite tasty. The leaves are very small and thin, which makes keeping them in the gaiwan when you pour difficult. But each cup is better than the last!

This is a tea that really develops over time. The lychee gives way to pear, which later transforms into pineapple. I can’t name all the nuances of flavor from each infusion to the next, but I highly recommend getting some and seeing for yourself. I feel that I’m drinking something truly special. 25g of this goes a long way! I think I’ll be enjoying this for months to come. While I can’t say for sure because I didn’t try it as soon as it arrived, age hasn’t seemed to affect it one bit. I may even like this more than Golden Fleece! Gasp! How is that possible??!

Although Verdant describes Golden Fleece as fruity and not Jin Jun Mei, I really feel like I taste much more fruitiness in the Jin Jun Mei. A funny thing happened around infusion six, the leaves started chirping! I think there were bubbles stuck underneath the saucer or something, but I swear it sounded like the tea was chirping! Once I shifted the saucer, it stopped. I’m glad I chose this tea to have today. I almost reached for my good ol’ Golden Fleece, but this tea caught my eye…and my heart. :) A new favorite! Take advantage of Verdant’s pre-order sale and get this tea at 10% off for a limited time!

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Lychee, Pear, Pineapple, Spicy

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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Entering the sweet blissful world of tea aromas!

Having discovered this website at the end of July 2011, I’m so excited to share my tea adventures with all of you! I grew up with my grandmother serving Twining’s English Breakfast with cream and sugar.

But on a trip to Seattle in 2010, I stumbled into a Chinese teashop and tried my first oolong tea. I was forever changed! I embarked on a startling new love for green and white teas.

With a world of teas to discover, I was inspired to keep a tea journal to record my thoughts and new favorites. Let’s get brewing!

My ratings are completely subjective and 100% my opinion. All ratings are given in relation to each other (ie. teas are rated in the order of my enjoyment of them). Therefore, my ratings will constantly change as I try more teas.

I love swapping!!! If you see something in my cupboard you’d like to try, just send me a message. If you’d like to trade, anything on my shopping list will do or feel free to send something else entirely. I’m willing to try almost anything (although I’m not really a fan of honeybush, red rooibos, pu’erh, Lapsang Souchong, & banana-flavored teas).


Maryland, USA

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