107 Tasting Notes

drank Strawberry Fields by Teaopia
107 tasting notes

Daniel Scott drank NeoCitran

…Yeah, okay, it’s not tea. But as it turns out, I don’t have a lot of cold-busting teas in my cupboard. A few with lemongrass and/or ginger. And I’m getting sick of them.

But I used this one to make my Cream of Wheat today. Previously I’ve used Oh Canada from DAVIDsTEA, which also makes a good bowl of Cream of Wheat (if not a good tea), and Chocolate Orange/Oh Christmas Treat (also from DAVIDsTEA), which had a great chocolate-orange taste on top and a nauseating pu-erh taste underneath. (Note to self: pu-erh does not make great Cream of Wheat.)

This one makes an excellent bowl of mush! Tea taste is nice and light enough to not make the food taste odd. Strawberries come through decently; I wish they were just a little stronger…I’ll need to experiment. But with brown sugar added, this tastes a lot like when I was a kid and my parents would give me and my sister fresh strawberries to dip in brown sugar for dessert.

Steep time/temperature is how I prepared the tea before pouring it into the Cream of Wheat, obviously.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

I looooove cream of wheat!! In my family, we have it every Monday :)
only we call it Grysik.

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drank Yerba Mate by Teaopia
107 tasting notes

My first time drinking a mate on its own – I knew I’d be at school late tonight note-taking, so I decided to get a cup of this to pour into my Timolino and then ordered a London Fog. I polished off the Fog before I even got to school, so I broke this out in the lab.

And guys, I don’t know what to say. I’ve never had an un-flavoured mate before, and I didn’t know what to expect or how to compare it. This tea has no reviews, either! I should note that I poured a fair amount of honey into this, because that is my fall-back when I’m nervous about the taste of a tea. (Ha, the manager nearly tried to pull the bottle out of my hand before I was done, which should probably tell you how much I used.)

It’s…hmm. I’ve heard mate compared to coffee before, and I kinda see that. It’s a wee bit bitter and a wee bit astringent, but it really has nothing on coffee in those departments (thankfully). It’s also been compared to green tea, which is odd, like…how can something taste like green tea and coffee? But I also sort of see that too, there’s an earthiness to it.

It’s very drinkable, anyway, and Teaopia’s cheapest wall tea (according to the staff member who recommended I try it, and the site says 50g/$4), so if you’re looking for a cheaper pick-me-up to fall back on, this seems like a good way to go.


This is probably green mate. Unroasted mate has a lot more of the coffee flavor that you’ve heard of. I personally like green (also called fresh or simply unroasted) mate more, but it all depends on your taste.

Daniel Scott

Thank you, note taken. I will ask about that next time I’m in the store.


Oops, up I my comment I meant ROASTED mate has a more coffee like flavor, not unroasted. My bad!


I really like to add straight green mate into other teas because the flavour of mate isn’t going to overpower the favour of a strong herbal/fruit infusion. Sometimes caffiene free tea makes me feel a bit shafted regardless of how tasty it is, so it’s nice to be able to add a bit of energy in where I can.

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drank Orchid Tea by Teaopia
107 tasting notes

There are other greens that I need to review (oh god, so ridiculously behind), just making a note here that after trying a few other greens I am raising the rating of this one to 90. It’s just that much better.

This is a limited time one, and they should be able to sample it in-store for you if you want to try it before it’s gone.

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drank Pumpkin Spice by Teaopia
107 tasting notes

I cannot comment on how this one tastes as a tea. I’ve actually been warned off this one before. It is a decent latte-to-go, although you should be warned that they put pumpkin-flavoured syrup in it to improve the taste when you get it in-store. (No, seriously. Straight from the mouth of an employee I’m friends with.) Also, the manager I was chatting with today added a few shakes of chai spicing on top (which I agreed with, just for the hell of it). It’s a really tasty, sweet pumpkin-chai thing now, but it bears relatively little resemblance to tea.

Also making a tasting note just to note that my home computer will not boot at the moment. At all. It lights up briefly, makes a whirring noise, and dies. Ugh. So it may be a while before I am around much again, since I can only update at school. And I like to have the tea in my mouth when I rate it. Which is hard when you’re at school. Ah, well.


oh no, I hope your computer feels better soon!! :(

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It would be utterly unfair of me to rate this. I just want to note that what you should apparently never do with this one…is let it sit after the first steep and kinda-sorta forget about it for hours so that the warm, damp leaves slowly unroll on their own and turn bitter, producing nothing but an undrinkable liquor when you stupidly try to steep them again. What a waste of expensive Taiwanese leaves, eh?

So I tried to prepare Teaopia’s Coconut Cream instead, because what moron would screw that up, right? Well, I oversteeped it. If Indigobloom had a bad tea day earlier, it’s apparently now my turn. My drain probably hates me. I usually feed it cold bits of good tea!

Hach, blech!


awww boo! sorry to hear you had a nasty tea day. I hope the coconut cream was tasty! :)

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So I placed an order with 52teas last week, and it should (in theory, and if nothing goes wrong) arrive here at the end of this week or the start of the next. I should, therefore, be spending Suicide Reading Week drinking up some teas in my cupboard to make room for the new ones, right? Right? I should, in no way, be buying more teas or teaware. Ahem.

Well, I guess I actually won’t be picking up any more for a while, as my bank account can’t handle it. I took an extra shift at work to cover this purchase, but then that’s it until I get paid…twice.

Anyway. One of the most interesting things about this tea…“journey,” obsession, whatever, is that I am learning things about my own tastes that I never expected.

For example. If you were to ask me if I like floral teas, my first impulse would be to say no. I hate floral scents in perfume after all, plus I grew up that kid with the hideous sweet tooth who had to be strapped down to be fed vegetables. Flowers are PLANTS, and not fruits, and therefore sort of fall into the category of “vegetables” in some utterly irrational part of my brain. I’m sure I would never have had tea as a child if someone had told me it’s plant leaves.

Yet, I liked that orchid-infused green I got from Teaopia a lot, so hmm. I went to DAVIDsTEA yesterday with intentions to buy Nepal Black, a sample of White Tiger and a sample of one of their straight whites…I was thinking probably the Bai Hao Yin Zhen. Until I smelled it, and it was so utterly unexciting, and I ended up leaving with everything but the Bai Hao Yin Zhen.

I had originally not planned to get this at all because it is a jasmine white (ew, flowers!), so I was completely taken by surprise when I smelled it, and it was absolutely divine. I can’t put this scent into words, other than to say I want to huff in the bag, it’s soft and sweet and so enchanting. We have a Tetley jasmine green that smells a bit like this, but that’s like saying that that a digital sport Timex and a TAG Heuer are the same thing because they both tell you what time it is.

I steeped it in little batches in my gaiwan, about 45-60 seconds to a steep. (No less than that because I fumble too much.) Then I poured it into my new hailstone cast iron teacup that I got from DT at the same time as this tea. I cringed at myself buying a $25 tea cup (that’s almost as much as my Timolino!), but I have no regrets now. What an amazing little cup! Its capacity matches my gaiwan perfectly, our strainer fits it exactly, and it keeps my tea so warm once I pour it from my gaiwan (the reason I got it, since gaiwans lose heat quickly and I drink slowly). Whee!

First infusion: Very subtle and gently sweet. Left a veritable lei in my mouth. So far, this is actually the best infusion, and I couldn’t stop sipping it. Good lord, I’m glad I got out of the way of thinking that I should automatically discard the first steep when brewing in a gaiwan. Why would you not drink this, seriously.

Second infusion: Whoa, more strongly floral than before, in a way I wasn’t entirely sure was pleasant. It bordered on an outright “plant” taste, not as sweet as before. So I added a single drop of honey to it. Mistake! You cannot add a sweetener to this. The end result was utterly baffling to me and hard to describe. Essentially what happened was that the tastes did not remotely mix. The honey in no way flavoured the tea; I could still taste every note of the tea perfectly, just as I had before, and I could also taste the honey separately. How can that be?!

Third infusion: Think I’m getting more “tea” taste now as I write this. It’s light and crisp, reminds me of…I don’t know, white wine? I’m not certain, though. Grr, why didn’t I start with the plain white so I’d have a point of comparison? Think I’ll only do one more infusion of this, I’m getting bored.

Fourth infusion: Two minutes, not one. Don’t think that’s even the full potential of this one, but I truly got bored. I’m too fickle for the same tea over and over, no matter how much I like it. This is fuller in the middle, like a balloon of tea with flowers for the rubber boundaries. It gets almost a bit fruity, and is very satisfying at the back of your throat in a way that I just realized I associate exclusively with tea. After the first infusion, this one is my favourite. Maybe it gets better after this, but the instructions only suggest brewing it for 5 minutes, and this is five minutes total.

So: lovely! Although don’t let it get cold, it’s gross.

And apparently…I do like floral teas.

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

I find most of the DT and Teaopia whites, the plain ones anyhow… textbook boring. Bleh! I think my fave is White Butterfly (or something like that) at Teaopia.

Daniel Scott

I do suspect this one might be boring, but the jasmine completely saves it for me. I think I’m now never going to bother with the Bai Hao Yin Zhen, because it smells like it would taste like white paper.

I do really like Strawberry Fields from Teaopia, but I haven’t tried any of their straight whites…

For white teas that you like, what vendors do you like?


oh jeeze. It’s hard to find good white tea!! Tea Emporium was pretty good, mostly their white peony. I haven’t tried many places for fear of disappointment. That plastic taste in cheap whites is so annoying!


It is reviews like this that make me really want to get a little gaiwan and some bundles of white, green, oolong, and black (yunnan! yum!) tea. What sort of gaiwan do you have?

Daniel Scott

@Meg – It’s basically the one in my avatar. It doesn’t look like the ones which are little round cups on a saucer…it’s got lips on the side for your fingers, a spout, and you can see the lid is different; it’s actually got filter holes that line up with the spout. It’s like half-way between a gaiwan and a little teapot.

I’ve been told it’s technically not a gaiwan, actually, although it sold under the name “gaiwan” at the Teaopia I got it at (the price sticker on it even said “gaiwan”), so I’ve kept calling it that since. A bit of poking around tells me that it might also be called a gaibei or a cebei. Although when I google “gaibei” I also get gaiwans, and when I google “cebei” I get things I would have called teapots, so I’m not sure. And since I don’t know how to pronounce those yet, I’m going with gaiwan.

If you’re by a Teaopia at all, they might have one!

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drank YUNNAN FOP by Teaopia
107 tasting notes

Backlogging slightly: I had my very last cup of this one last night. I have had 100g of it since I first discovered it – in fact, it was my standard breakfast tea for a while – but a pretty little Ceylon has since caught my eye…so it’s time to move on, and I don’t think I will be re-cupboarding this one.

I have been trying to formulate a tasting note for this one for weeks, and yet couldn’t seem to. Despite near-daily cups of the stuff, I just couldn’t generate something to say about it. It’s dependable. It’s…black. Yep, black! Suuuuure is a black tea…

It’s not “too” anything, but that also means there’s nothing particularly spectacular about it, and it was ideal for bleary mornings when I didn’t want to waste anything I’d really want to taste. I guess the only thing of real note here is that I could never stomach it with less than a packet of turbinado. Angrboda had a tasting note a few weeks back in which she said she finds Yunnans to often be like a mouthful of hay…and I have not been able to get that statement out of my head since when I drink this one. It’s not drinkable to me clear – it does, indeed, taste like hay, and sugar is required to cut that taste and bring out whatever-it-is that I like about black tea, the “tea” taste which I guess really only tastes like itself.

So. Goodbye, Yunnan FOP! I had a good time with you while it lasted.

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

I’m glad it’s not just me with the hay note. It’s such a popular type, Yunnan blacks, sometimes I wonder if it’s just me who’s a bit odd. :)

Daniel Scott

Heh. It was kind of a, “Now that you mention it…” thing, but then I felt like neighing.

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Okay, so I had a chance to try this again. And it’s bad.

I didn’t make the same mistake as last time…I steeped it awhile, though I’m not entirely certain how long. While I ate a couple of tacos, to give you an indication. And it smells absolutely wonderful – very cider-y – but the taste is just hopeless. I keep bringing it to my mouth expecting something very close to cider, but it just tastes muffled, like cider is being mugged of flavour, and the perp is holding his hand over cider’s mouth to smother the screams.

Okay, I guess I was expecting too much. It’s not actually apple cider, it’s a bagged tea meant to sort of taste like cider. Maybe it’s not that bad, for what it is.

But just in general, as a tea, it sucks. After a day off “chain-drinking” decent tea, this is just annoying me more than it should.

175 °F / 79 °C 8 min or more

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drank Pina Colada by Teaopia
107 tasting notes

So this is not my own tasting note, per se… But prior to Christmas, my workplace gave a pregnant coworker a big basket of anticipating-your-baby gifts. (There was a name for it…I forgot it.) When I was told about it and asked to contribute, I somewhat misunderstood the intentions of the collective gift (i.e. to give her a bunch of baby-stuff to get her started) and understood it to be a, “we’re giving you some nice things to relax with when you can after the extreme stress of popping out your first kid.” Whoops.

Anyway, naturally I thought of tea! I made her a little tea set, with an infuser and a bunch of samples I put together from my own stash. It seemed to actually go over well, despite being incongruous with all the tiny pink footsies and baby toys.

Well, a few days ago she updated her Facebook mentioning drinking this one. And her newest update is about her being excited to have bought some bags of fruit teas for $5.

Converrrrt! Maybe I’ll make my own cup of this to celebrate when I get home.


what a thoughtful gift!! I’m thrilled to hear about a convert :P

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drank Orchid Tea by Teaopia
107 tasting notes

Okay. Okay. Okay. The second infusion, CLEAR. Here goes.

The smell is so much better the second time! It’s soft and sweet, and I want to bury my nose in the cup. Mmm.


…Hmm. The first few sips, I think it was too hot and my overall impression was, once again, of drinking green vegetables. Also, it was ever-so-slightly bitter, but that may be the combined result of the steeping time.

(Edit: Just wanted to note something I didn’t initially realize: the bitterness faded entirely as it cooled, although it does get bitter again when it’s too cold. Finicky tea!)

After it cooled slightly, though…hmm, not bad. If this review is far less enthusiastic than the last, I want to point out that I am actually drinking it clear, something I have yet to achieve with any other tea. So even having a positive reaction to it clear at all is saying a whole lot.

It’s still smooth and round! Not quite as sweet as I might have expected, but there are now floral notes that the honey was definitely strangling to death before. It reminds me of…

Actually, it reminds me of when my father took me to Ovo for my birthday. I’ll admit that out of the two Cirque shows I’ve seen so far, Kooza has my heart, but the food in the Tapis Rouge tent at Ovo was much better. Well, they had a tray of “edible orchids,” which turned out to be…you know, orchids. With some sort of cream-cheesy thing stuffed into the center. I was the only one of our party who was brave or dumb enough to eat one. My father asked me what it tasted like when I swallowed the first petal, and all I could tell him was, “It just tastes like a flower. I’m eating a damn flower.” Well, there’s a bit of this taste in it. …Hey! It does taste like orchids after all!

That’s not unpleasant, though. I get the mental image of little flowers blooming on my tongue, like those flowers you roll up in Katamari games. Yeah…I’m kind of into this “clear” thing at the moment. I’m just busy rolling the tea around in my mouth, and it’s soft green tea, and then at the last moment before I swallow, FLOWERS!

Pretty cool. Definitely have to do this with more teas now.

Also, if I have the only rating for this tea on Steepster, why on earth is the average rating for it listed as 77?

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

Oh, I should have kept reading before mentioning the honey in last tealog. Hmmm, sounds like the honey was why you loved it tho (which is ok, lol, it has health benefits too).

Daniel Scott

Haha, honey helped, for sure. But that doesn’t mean I don’t LOVE this tea. Like I said, the fact that I could even manage to drink it clear at all is a huge thing for me – I have been struggling a lot to try to drink tea clear, and have found tea without sugar so far to be an un-enjoyable experience. So I always have to go add sugar, because I can’t not enjoy tea! But I actually got a lot of enjoyment out of this, even clear.

I have such a bad sweet tooth that everything pretty much has to be syrup. I think I just need to push past the junk-food lover expectation I have that everything “good” is ridiculously sweet. This is totally still on my top 10 so far.

Oh, and I just found out that Mariage Freres sells sugar to put in their tea! So I guess I don’t feel so bad if I continue to put at least a little bit of sugar in most of them. If it’s good enough for Mariage Freres, I guess it’s good enough for me!


Yea, we have the honey thing in common (and hey, it’s good for you…better than regular sugar, but that has it’s place too, like in chocolate flavored teas). I have been known to say things are “too sweet” though, and people give me strange looks.


Because Steepster uses a weighted average of ratings, not a straight one. It comes up every now and again. There’s a blog post about why they chose this here http://blog.steepster.com/post/247562587/brewing-a-better-rating-system-the-2nd-steep

Daniel Scott

@ Cheryl – Yes, I agree on the “too sweet,” to me it tends to apply to things like chocolate. I love candy, but chocolate I can take in moderation. I prefer carrot cake for my birthdays. Which makes my choco-holic family think I’m totally nutso.

@ Angrboda – Thanks, that makes perfect sense! Although it looks really, really strange with one rating. I do think they should make it clearer that it’s a weighted average. Heck, if they even CALLED it “weighted average user rating,” it would look more like it made sense. But I agree it sounds like a more reasonable system than a straight average.

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I’ve always been a tea drinker – I grew up drinking Tetley’s Orange Pekoe and their Chai, and considered myself to really like tea.

I’ve been working various retail jobs to put myself through higher education. One day at my store, a customer left a newly purchased bag of loose-leaf behind. We waited for three days for said customer to return, but they (likely not realizing where they had left their bag) did not return to claim the would-be brew. Too bad for them; lucky for me! I claimed the bag, took it home, and awkwardly made my first cup of loose-leaf tea with the only strainer we owned which was small enough.

I haven’t bothered with Tetley since. For the most part (and due to convenience), my patronage is limited to David’s Tea and Teavana. I also order from 52teas and Verdant Tea.

My rating system – hah, I don’t have a rating system. I rate teas a lot like Ebert rates movies. Everything’s relative.

I may often forget to mention it, but you can safely assume everything I drink is sweetened in one way or another – most rock sugar, or honey for green and white teas. I have not yet achieved drinking most tea clear. The few teas I drink unsweetened include milk oolong and genmaicha so far.

The guy in my avatar can be bought at Teaopia or here: http://www.jas-etea.com/products/Jingdezhen-%22Easy%22-Gaiwan-%22Blue-on-White-Phoenix%22-100ml.html

I currently work for Teavana. But I just work there, and my opinions about any of their teas are entirely my own and not meant to be reflective of the views of the company.

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