1158 Tasting Notes

Strength in Bergamot.

The combination of bergamot oil with softer lemongrass and a brisk and citrusy-buttery green tea made a great cup to have after a lunch of fish and chips on a 99F afternoon. I’d buy this for work but like Nik, I’m not too keen on individually plastic-wrapped teabags.

2 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML
Martin Bednář

Are they individually wrapped in transparent teabag or there is something on it? You know that I collect them :)

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drank French Earl Grey by T2
1158 tasting notes

Kiki came home for the day and is kicked back in her recliner watching TV. It’s a hot one outside today and thankfully cool inside. She’s about ready to fall asleep and then ZING! a sip of black tea.

“Oh, I like this one. I LIKE this one. Is that jasmine? That’s… omg… new episodes on “Money Heist.” burrp It’s a jasmine burp, it’s a black oolong and uh, am I right?"

No haha!

“No? It’s a… Am I right at all?”

Hold on!

“What did you say? Is anything right? Ok so it’s a white tea!”

Haha, you’re a funny one, Kiki.

“I dunno. It’s good!”

It’s called French Earl Grey. It has fruity flavors and bergamot and rose and flower petals.

“Alright that’s black. Isn’t that black? Alright.”

It has fruity peachy flavor in it…


…and bergamot flavor…


…and rose and flower petals.

“Alright. yawn Very, very nice.”

This has a full mouthfeel that sets it apart from all the flavored black teas and black teabags I’ve had lately. It makes me think of a tobacco-tasting black tea but I wouldn’t say I taste tobacco. Upon another sip, maybe I would say tobacco. Woody tobacco? The full, peachy flavoring and moderate bergamot flavoring play really well with the base tea. This is cohesive. The peach lingers in the aftertaste. Pretty good. I feel like the heft of this tea combined with the fruity and floral tastes would make a good cup on a hard-frost early spring morning.

Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Dark Wood, Floral, Fruity, Peach, Round, Smooth, Tobacco

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML
Mastress Alita

I really like this one! For me, the peach and rose just combine to taste like a lychee Earl Grey, which I have no complaints about!


Sounds marvelous!


Hi, Kiki! Happy September to you.

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Harney has captured the authentic taste of pear! There’s depth to the pear flavor; it’s juicy, tangy and floral verging perfumey. The mellow cinnamon and nutmeg add a spiced touch and the hay-like white tea base complements. I want more from the base though! Was hoping for some of the creaminess of bai mudan that others have noted. It does taste papery in a second steep. Regardless, it’s a great late summer to fall transition tea.

If Kiki likes this, and I get the feeling she’ll love it, I will buy a tin so we can sip this together. Thank you for sharing, Cameron :)

Flavors: Cinnamon, Floral, Fruity, Hay, Nutmeg, Paper, Pear, Perfume, Tangy

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cameron B.

I like this one too! One of the few pear teas I’ve been pleased with.

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Another box of tea I picked up for work. Normal price at Sprouts is $10.99?? I never bought it because of the price but last week I saw the two YAYAYA yaupon teas they carry were on clearance for $1.99. For such a deal, I chose to buy this one, having never tried yaupon before, the only caffeinated North American plant, which is in the holly family.

Something about the mix of that laced-with-smoke, I-dont’-know-what, kind-of-like-yerba-maté character of yaupon mixed with the peppermint, nettle and oatstraw… It confuses my brain. Like an arthritic finger appearing from the shadows, summoning one to “Come hither.” It feels like a forbidden witch’s brew. Sweet and cool, malty and nutritious. I don’t know what. Really difficult to describe but utterly fascinating. And utterly caffeinating. The coworker who shared his First Street black tea with me, as soon as he opened a packet of this, said something about the scent made his caffeine receptors tingle.

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drank Tulsi Turmeric Ginger by Organic India
1158 tasting notes

Bought a box for work and after a week, I’m almost out. Really good and fresh. Turmeric and ginger are the stars but really well balanced by clove and cinnamon woodiness and a black pepper spiciness. The tulsi I think lightens it considerably such that not any of the spices truly dominate. Stevia’s in this blend like in the Tulsi Sweet Rose but I honestly don’t taste it; there’s just enough to give the slightest hint of sweetness once the brew cools.

Recently, between this tea and 2 others, I’ve had 3 of Organic India’s tulsi blends and from each one I’ve tasted colors. With Tulsi Turmeric Ginger, it’s mostly orange with some underlying dark yellow-brown, purplish-red, and green-off-white.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Spicy, Tulsi, Turmeric


One of my coworkers who has access to the tea drawer said this is “Really good!”

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drank English Breakfast Tea by First Street
1158 tasting notes

Wtf is this.

so… SOUR. Is that BERGAMOT in an ENGLISH BREAKFAST?? You know in the Wizard of Oz, when the Wicked Witch of the East’s feet curl up under the house? I feel like I get fake-ass bergamot in this and it tastes like that whole image. This tea made me want to curl up and die.

Flavors: Bergamot, Bitter, Herbs, Sour, Wood

Martin Bednář

It seems that First Street is having indeed bad teas :D

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Sweet caramel-floral top notes underpinned by a supple, gentle umami along the lines of that understated seaweed-like vibe I find in some Taiwanese roasted oolong. Apricot finish and aftertaste which is in later bowls augmented by a minty-fresh throatiness. Well executed roast highlights the cream-turned-caramel notes of a roasted Jin Xuan. Can be a little drying at times (never to detriment), but the saliva-thickening character amplifies the caramel impression. Great bowl tea that handles boiling water with ease and has above average longevity when prepared in this manner. Soothing and just overall pleasant. Leaves are healthy and well cared for <3

Thank you for the freebie Mountain Stream :)

Flavors: Apricot, Caramel, Drying, Floral, Mint, Round, Seaweed, Smooth, Thick

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drank Black Tea by First Street
1158 tasting notes



Smart & Final selling some swill.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Drying, Malt, Metallic, Paper, Tannic


Short and to the point. :) I hope you didn’t get a lot of it.


A coworker shared it with me. He thinks it’s better than Lipton but still sucks.


I’m not sure I’d go so far as to give Lipton a 5 or less, though I haven’t had it for a while and may have forgotten how bad it is. Sounds like you need to share some better tea with your coworker! Maybe that Laos Orange Pekoe?


Lipton black isn’t that far down my WTFisTHIS list. Laos Orange Pekoe has left the cupboard so I’ll pick up a better box of black teabags for him.


I am excited that he requested a floral oolong for his first loose leaf tasting at my tea table.


That’s quite a change of pace from a malty black tea! What did he think of it? Maybe you can convert him into a more discerning tea drinker.


Hasn’t happened yet since we’re on different schedules but I’ll be sure to post when we have our tasting.

Martin Bednář

Ugh. Doesn’t sound good at all. Actually, it sounds truly bad. I try to imagine what kind of tea is it and how it was processed.


I’m pretty excited for that floral oolong tea tasting, though!

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drank Vanilla Bean by Mighty Leaf Tea
1158 tasting notes

Random tea bag I snagged from somebody somewhere. Had very early and in a rush. I don’t remember much.

Sweet, smooth taste with plenty of vanilla, whether from vanilla bean or flavoring, I don’t know. It was like a malty-cocoa-vanilla marshmallow that smoothed over the brighter taste of red fruits. The taste took me by delightful surprise but then I realized how thin the brew actually was. Mellow black tea to ease my way into a sleep-deprived morning.

Flavors: Artificial, Cocoa, Fruity, Malt, Marshmallow, Red Fruits, Round, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla

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Some of you may know that my tea preference skews heavily to unflavored, loose leaf teas. I only buy flavored teas as teabags for the convenience. But I am always open to trying anything that lands in my hands through the generosity of others <3

That said…

This is a dead ringer for apple cinnamon french toast. It’s really amazing how this company has nailed the aroma and flavor. It’s a little strong with the maple syrup flavoring and cinnamon but definitely not cloying. The apple shines bright as a warm skillet apples kind of flavor. There’s the slightly eggy and bready french toast taste. All of it is there and harmonious.

That said…

The base black tea is weak. Like Simpson & Vail’s Almond Sugar Cookie, the flavoring is really kind of mind-blowing but I want so much more from the base, some underlying complexity, some texture. I like nuance and mouthfeel. A lot. And flavored teas typically use cheap bases that produce thin, one-dimensional brews as the experience delivery vehicle.

Very much recommended for accurately capturing the namesake of the tea! Even for somebody like me who is pretty much turned off by maple syrup flavoring. When Kiki comes back from housesitting in several weeks, I’ll get her impression. Like me, she’s not a fan of maple flavor since it’s so cloying but I hope she is pleasantly surprised. Thank you for the sample, Cameron :)

Flavors: Apple, Biting, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cinnamon, Egg, Malt, Maple Syrup


Good observation—in lot of flavored teas, even the superbly flavored ones, the base isn’t much more than a delivery mechanism.

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If you’re an aspiring or current tea grower, let’s talk! I am slowly beginning a tea farm here in Northern California. Currently growing are young plants pulled from the ground and gifted to me after a visit to Fairhope Tea Plantation in Alabama. The parent plants are sinensis variety from a defunct Lipton research project. I’ve also started seeds from Camellia Forest Nursery in North Carolina. The types include Camellia taliensis, an assamica variety, and 3 sinensis varieties including “Small leaf” “Large leaf” and “Black Sea.” To learn how to process tea into different styles, I plan on traveling to China and Taiwan if/when COVID becomes a relative non-issue. I’m taking Mandarin classes to aid in this journey.

Tea became a hobby and my daily drink of choice some time late in the last decade. My introduction to loose leaf came, following a lone tin of some Tie Guan Yin oolong many years prior, in the form of dumpster-dived Wuyi oolong packets that somebody left upon moving out of an apartment building. From there, my palate expanded to teas from across China and the world. I used to focus more on taste and still harbor the habit, but after trying sheng pu’er, I tend to focus more on how a tea feels in my body. Does it complement my constitution? Does it change my mood or does it enhance my current mindstate? While I may not mention those effects in tea notes, it is what I value most. Flavored teas are not a favorite but I do drink them intermittently.

In terms of who I am, you could consider me a jill of all trades. Specialty is not my strength, as can be seen in the spread of my tea notes.

One thing I will always love is riding a bicycle.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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