1112 Tasting Notes

I am reviewing a travel mug similar to this — it’s the Thermos Nissan 16 Ounce Stainless Steel Backpack Bottle: http://www.amazon.com/Thermos-Nissan-16-Ounce-Stainless-Steel-Backpack/dp/B000K604P0 so close I hated to create another entry in the database.

It is AMAZING! I made tea for class tonight, and it was piping hot – I mean burn my lip hot! – even after a few hours and walking through the cold to the train. I actually had to leave the lid off so it could cool enough to drink.

I also love the stainless steel bottle – the tea tastes like tea and not plastic-y or thermos-y — you know what I mean :) It did not leak one bit despite getting bounced around in my tote bag on my walk.

My only regret is that I didn’t get one of these years ago. I’ve purchased quite a few travel mugs and disliked them all. Finally – I’m in love with one. Having a glorious 16 ounces (more like 14 — don’t fill it all of the way up — you won’t be able to close the lid properly) of hot Harney and Sons Vanilla Black tea to sip during a three hour class made me so happy!


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drank Red Dragon Pearl by thepuriTea
1112 tasting notes

I have a funny story about these!

My husband told me the other day that he didn’t have any Red Dragon Pearls left in his work stash, and that he could use some. So, yesterday I put a little container of them in his lunch bag, marked “Red Dragon Pearl Tea” clearly on a label on the lid of the container.

He said that he opened the container in the middle of eating his lunch whilst working and not really paying attention, and thought they were chocolates (!) and popped five in his mouth!


Let’s just say he quickly realized they were not actually chocolate.

He spit them out — I asked if he then brewed them but he threw them away! What a waste of Red Dragon Pearls :(

This continues to be one of my faves — not a week goes by where I don’t have it at least once. Chocolate notes, yeah, but NOT CHOCOLATE!


Best chuckle all day! Thanks! (And thank your poor hubby for making us smile.)


I totally would have brewed them! :D Thanks for the laugh.


A waste of a good tea but a hilarious story anyway! :D Black pearls ARE like chocolate…


Hahaha… poor guy :)


That is tragic! And hilarious.

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Many thanks to Teavivre for this tea!

Roasty AND eye closingly and sighingly sweet? Yes! It would seem that these two things would not go together, but I’m here to tell you that they go together wonderfully in this tea. Moderately, pleasantly green and floral, too. I enjoyed steeping this one the entire day yesterday. I sometimes notice dramatically different flavors depending on what steep I’m on, but for me, this one retained the sweet, roasty characteristics on each steep. I should mention I brewed it Western style. So, so enjoyable.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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I was completely out of a classic Earl Grey, and we know we cannot have that! My husband was doing an Amazon order and asked me if I wanted to throw something in the cart. After a little hasty searching I chose this. I was a little nervous, despite liking another tea from this company, because I didn’t do my usual hemming, hawing, and fretting over what tea to get!

I shouldn’t have worried — this is lovely! A good, medium bergamot and I really like the tea base! It’s slightly smoky — very very very light — I would say verging on smoky. Really nice compliment to the bergamot, especially for winter.

I’m drinking a second steep right now, and it’s delicious — less bergamot-y but still a bit smoky and of a very enjoyable strength!

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That’s one of the best husbandly perks, the ‘do you want to add anything to this order’ manoeuvre.


Yes :) That’s why I don’t want to take too much time — I don’t want him to stop asking because I take too long :) :) :)


Would you stop asking him if he took his time figuring out what to add to your basket? =)


A little serendipity! We all need that once in a while.


Anna – I plan my orders to the teeth and tell David a day in advance so he can do his research. Spontaneous? What’s that?? : )


Haha, same situation here, I fully support your methods!

Nisha Bhatt

Great Post!!!

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I just drank the last of the leaves I had of this tea. Sad.

Delicious! So caramel-y sweet and rich despite it not being a bold tea. One of those teas which is pleasant to drink all day — it resteeps so beautifully. Here it is 4:30pm and I’m still resteeping from 9am! It’s that good!

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Coco Chai Rooibos by DAVIDsTEA
1112 tasting notes

All gone.

This one really grew on me once I accepted that the coco referred to coconut and not chocolate! Very creamy and spicy and satisfying. I paired it with the last of the little Santa chocolates filled with chocolate mousse that a coworker gave to my husband, so I did get my chocolate with this tea after all. I feel a sense of closure :)

Even though I really enjoyed this, not a repurchase now that I’ve been blending my own chai. I will consider putting a little toasted coconut in my brew basket with my chai blend sometimes! Spicy and coconut = yum in my book.

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drank Afternoon Tea by Lupicia
1112 tasting notes

A lovely late afternoon tea when restoration is needed after errands! Paired with cookies, even better (http://bakerstreet.tv/2012/09/hazelnut-and-white-chocolate-chip-cookies/ — they’re divine!).

I really like the slightly fruity and “different” note the Darjeeling brings to this blend. The Assam is fortifying, but the Darjeeling adds the sparkle! Whilst light, completely compatible with a little milk and sugar. Classic with a twist.

Never in my tea journey did I think I’d become such a Darjeeling fan! I’m actively searching out more blends that contain Darjeeling for when my cupboard is truly under control (I’m at 63 teas! I’m getting there :) I think I will be at a good place in 2014 if I continue to add very few teas like I did in 2013).

Many thanks to Tea Sipper’s Traveling Tea Box for this gem!

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Another tisane that I rely on when sick. I make a two cup pot which I pour into a giant mug with honey, drink, repeat. It keeps me hydrated and warm, plus tames my cough. The flavor comes across as sweet and good even though my taste buds are off.

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I’m not feeling well today and my husband offered to make some tea. After zealously opening a loose tea container and spilling the contents all over the counter, he decided a bagged offering might be safest. He showed me the bowl of teabags, and this is the one I picked.

I know I’m a weirdo who likes lots of teas nobody else likes… so I am not surprised that I really like this one! It’s chai spicy then savory herb-y then sweet herb-y. Even somehow minty. Very flavorful and unique. Some may say strange, but I like strange! I’m finding it really soothing on my sore throat, too.

In fact, I like it enough to throw some in my next RoT order. Thanks TeaSipper’s Traveling Tea Box! Another completely enjoyable tea from the Steepsterites!


i will take strange over normal any day….. i’m a weirdo who can’t taste caramel and who’s allergic to coffee and turkey. feel better.


I can’t remember if I was even brave enough to try the sample bag that came with my RoT catalogue—it sounded like an odd-duck combo. But then again, the spicy stuff tastes best when you’re under the weather, yes? Feel better!


feel better soon Jacqueline.

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So. I finally blended my own chai. I included pink peppercorns, crystallized ginger, whole cloves, whole cardamom (which I crack open with a mortar and pestle right before brewing), broken up cinnamon sticks, and rooibos (this is our nighttime treat). I scoop in a perfect teaspoon and a half per 8 oz of water, and serve it with vanilla infused honey and a splash of milk.

Wow! Maybe because the spices are glorious ones from Penzeys, or maybe because I used just enough to make things flavorful but not ultra spicy or bitey, but — I’m in love! My husband is in love, too! He requests it every night, and I have to cajole him to try another tisane at least one night a week!

I want to try it with black tea and I also have 2 packets of flavored rooibos and one of honeybush I want to give the chai treatment to. I hope that will allow us to have chai throughout the winter without purchasing more tea!

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This sounds wonderful. I am in complete agreement about the spices at Penzeys being glorious, too! Stay warm!


Another two resources are Savory Spice (online and in some cities) and happyluckys.com (they carry ‘true’ cinnamon chips not chassis and other herbs and spices in bulk for a good price…). I’ve said before that I keep a box of blending ingredients. Helps that I have 2 spice shops and happyluckys within 3miles of me though. Another thing people can add to tea is freeze dried fruit to get the natural flavors they’re looking for. Pineapple, blueberries etc.


Penzeys is awesome! We buy spices from them regularly. Can you recommend any favorites?


All of the ones I mentioned above are fantastic. Their powdered cinnamon “Penzeys Cinnamon” is so good too — perfect blend of I think 3 or 4 different cinnamons. I also love their powdered mustard and mustard seeds! I’ve been making my own mustard and it’s so easy and delicious. I also love the seeds in chutneys. The other thing I love is their mixes of spices to make your own salad dressings. I haven’t bought a bottle in ages. The French Vinaigrette is my favorite, and my husband loves when I make mayo and use the ranch spices to make a salad dressing.

But honestly — I haven’t had a single spice from them that I didn’t love. I also love their catalog. The stories in it are so heartwarming. I can’t believe I sit there and cry reading a spice catalog! I’m such a dork.


I agree that Penzeys never disappoints. My family loves: Vietnamese Extra Fancy Cinnamon, berbere, Southwest Seasoning and Sweet Curry Powder.


Never heard of Penzeys until y’all started dropping all these tantalizing hints. Merits some research, sounds like!


I went to Penzeys a month or so ago Andre quested help choosing some chai spices from a nice young man working there who is obsessed with chai! We came up with a very nice blend very similar to yours! I used an Assam as my base.


the look on my face right now… :o this sounds righteously delicious!!

The Leather City

Can You please Tell me How can I make zafrani Tea?

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I love to cook, bake, read, paint, knit, do needlework, and garden. I need my coffee, but I LOVE my tea. I work at an Art School, and attend a large public university doing post-bac work (my BA is in English). I’m interested in the liminal spaces between art and craft, the academic and the practical, the individual and community, and the old and the new. I’m currently exploring these ideas through the disciplines of education, literature, history, and psychology.

I enjoy writing tasting notes, but have decided not to numerically rate teas as of 9/14/10. For an explanation, see my looooong tasting note about Mountain Malt from the Simple Leaf.

My favorites:
Chinese black teas
A good “milk and sugar” English style black
Earl Grey (classic, and in all variations!)
Vanilla teas (classic, and in all variations!)
Jasmine, Rose, Violet and other froofy, flowery teas!
An Occasional Oolong
Flavored Rooibos
Herbal Tisanes


Collingswood, NJ



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