127 Tasting Notes


My first whole pu’er cake! Woot woot!

This cake is gorgeous! Dark reddish brown in color, nice and tightly pressed. There is a nice, not overly powerful dirt/woodsy smell coming from the cake. Yum.
Carefully broke off a bit of the leaves with my pick; this one flakes apart pretty easily and is nice and dry. The sound the pick makes as it goes into the cake is so relaxing (maybe that’s an odd thing to say, but I couldn’t help thinking it). Love that sound.

Once I brewed this one up, it produced a dark red-brown liqour. It smells sweet, cedar-y, and woodsy with hints of a rich soil. I think I’m really going to love this one (good thing, too, since I have a whole cake!).

Yum. This one is sweet (not fruit sweet, but the kind of sweet you get from chewing on a popsicle stick – if that makes sense to anyone), with wood notes (again, I want to say cedar) and a nice mellow “dirt” taste. This has a thicker mouthfeel than some other pu’er I’ve had recently – it’s nice and smooth. There’s a bit of a zing at the end of the sip, slightly spicy on the back of the tongue. Don’t know how to describe it, but it’s a nice effect.

Glad I took the plunge and bought a cake of this one. I’m really enjoying it! Can’t wait to share with my twin sister when she comes home. She’s really into pu’er…it seems to be the only tea I can get her excited for! She’ll totally love this one. Thanks for providing this cake Mandala Teas!

I want to try this one in the gaiwan next time around.

Off to resteep. I’ll update in a few.

UPDATE: Second steep at about 6 min. A little thinner (not by much, though) than the first steep. Still has a wonderfully woody/sweet flavor with the added bonus of a slightly leathery flavor! The zing at the end of the sip is dialed down a bit, but still present. I’m loving this pu’er!

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Mmmm, chewing on a popsicle stick! Memories of early elementary school trips to the local zoo!

Emily M

Ah…childhood memories. =)
Glad somebody else knew what I was on about.

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drank Cucumber Kiwi Honeybush by 52teas
127 tasting notes

Made the last of this iced.

It was a little less chemically, but I was still picking up the strange flavor. The cucumber came through a bit more iced, which was actually nice. Overall, I think I liked this one better iced, but it still isn’t one I’d buy.

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Drank this one with my Dad this morning. He liked it, so YAY!

So yum! I’m savoring every bit I have left. More honey notes this time around, but still deliciously bakey!

See previous notes for more detail.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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SIPDOWN! This here sample is from Marcel Duchamp! Thanks, again!

This one smells so delicious! It’s bakey/buttery, almondy, sweet, and has just a tad of the black base present, especially when brewed. My nose is in heaven right now.

Taste: First thing I’m noticing right off the bat is how thick this one is on the tongue…it’s almost like I added cream. Very cool mouthfeel. I’m getting the black base in the front, with slight honey/butter notes mixed in (the cookie portion, I’m assuming) followed by a nice nutty almond taste. It isn’t as sweet as I was expecting, but it is yummy. I don’t know if I’d shout “Almond Cookie!” had this been a mystery tea, but I would say that it’s an almond flavored black with a slight bake-y aspect. The more this one cools down, the closer it seems to get to representing it’s name, but it doesn’t quite make it all the way.

Overall, I like this one quite a bit. Does it live up to it’s name? Not 100%, but it’s pretty darn close. I might buy it sometime.

NOTE TO FUTURE SELF: I’m enjoying this one a lot more at a “warm” temp than at a “hot” temp. It’s a lot more “cookie”-ish and the almond shines through a bit more.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Rob Rauschenberg

That is a good observation. This is better warm, rather than hot. I’ve noticed that with a few of the flavored black teas. I used cream and sugar in mine and it was very yummy :-D

Emily M

I’ve noticed that with flavored blacks too. When hot, the black base seems to overpower the other flavors… I usually prefer flavored blacks once they’ve cooled a bit. This one was no exception.
That being said, I like this one! Thanks for sharing! =)
If I buy some I’ll have to add some cream and sugar and make a dessert out of it! haha

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drank Forever Nuts by DAVIDsTEA
127 tasting notes

This one comes from a swap with Marcel Duchamp! =)

Upon opening this one I was drooling. It smells so nutty (almonds and cashews?), sweet, and cinnamon-y! I wanted to eat all of the nuts, but then I wouldn’t have any tea, now would I?

Brewed it is much the same. It’s an amazing smell! I am getting a little bit of a tart apple smell, which I’m not too big on, but I’m hoping it isn’t a huge part of the taste.

Taste: Ok, so it all comes down to this: Is it as good as it smells? Ultimately…no. It’s not as good. That isn’t to say it isn’t good at all. I am picking up a nuttiness (although less pronounced than it was in the smell) combined with an almost buttery aspect. I am also getting really subtle spice notes. What I’m picking up that I am not a huge fan of is the apple. It’s tart and just not doing anything for me in this cuppa. I feel as though it throws off the nutty-buttery-spicy brew…although, I may be biased as I’m not a fan of apple teas. I really wish there was a bit more spice; this tea seems to be lacking that extra something. The buttery/nutty notes could also be a little stronger.

Overall, I am very happy to have tried this. I just wish it tasted more like it smelled. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t an absolute favorite. Would I take it if offered? Yes. Might I swap for it again in the future? Sure. Would I buy some for myself? Probably not.

Thanks again, Marcel! =)

Boiling 6 min, 15 sec

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So, I made this one iced today (dumb idea, because it’s now snowing super hard outside and I want something warm…). I was right – it is really good iced!

The watermelon is still a bit in the background and seems more like a general “melon” taste rather than true watermelon, but it’s still good. The blackberry is nice and sweet (not so tart like it was when made hot), and the honeybush adds a sweet aspect as well as a ceder-y aspect.

I really like this iced! Good for a honeybush blend!

Now I need to go and make something warm!

Thanks, again Alphakitty!

8 min or more

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Alysha was kind enough to send me some of this tea.

Dry, it smelled mostly of black tea, with hints of a mapley nature. Once brewed the maple notes stand out more, as does a buttery aspect.

Taste-wise, I pick up a stronger black tea aspect than the smell would point to, which is interesting. Luckily it isn’t bitter! That combined with the subtle buttery flavors as well as the light maple notes makes for a pretty good breakfast tea. I don’t think I’m getting a big pancake vibe, as the aspects are a little too subtle to combine that way, but it is tasty. It’s slightly sweet and surprisingly smooth.

Overall, I’m glad I got to try this one. I’m also glad I still have enough for two more cups! Might have some for “breakfast” tomorrow.

NOTE: I like this one better cooled off a bit – the buttery aspects come through a bit stronger that way. When it’s too hot, all I get is black tea.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

I had a similar experience. I didn’t find it that pancake-y either, so I figured I would try it again with more leaf. I wish they listed their steeping/measurement parameters!

Emily M

Me too! It can be tough trying to figure it out on your own.
I wouldn’t say this one was bad, just wasn’t what I was expecting. Gonna play with the time/amount a bit on the next cup.


52 tea blacks tend to be best in the 2-2.5 mark with water just under boiling (or boiled then cooled a little) or at least so far that i’ve found..

Emily M

Yeah, I think the 2 min mark has worked best for MOST black blends I’ve tried. Otherwise I risk bitterness.

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drank Cinnamon Roll Honeybush by 52teas
127 tasting notes

Sample sipdown! Thanks again, teapot1!

This one was calling my name this afternoon, so I had to have some. The smokey taste is still present, but it isn’t as powerful as I remember it being before. Added a little cream to this, and it made the icing notes come out a bit more in the taste, which was nice. The cinnamon and honeybush taste were also a little more balanced, and were both the most pronounced in the cuppa. A good after-lunch dessert tea!

Now for a quick run to the post office!

See previous tasting notes for a bit more detail.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

I’ve got some of this one on the way…can’t wait to try it! :D

Emily M

Hope you enjoy it!

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drank Strawberry Zabaglione by 52teas
127 tasting notes

Swap from Lariel!

I think I steeped this one a little too long, not that it’s bad, but I am tasting mostly the slightly bitter black tea base. There is a slight tart/sweet aspect and the mouthfeel is slightly thick (creamy). Going to retry this one a little later. It smelled so good when it was dry, so I know it was my bad.
No rating for now.


2-2.5 min is the sweet spot for this one typically :)

Emily M

Yeah. I think I let it go for a bit longer. Thanks for the suggestion – I think that’s what I’ll aim for next time.

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drank Weeping Angel Tea by 52teas
127 tasting notes

Swap from Alphakitty!

This one, once brewed, smells kinda like a hazelnut coffee…totally not what I expected. But it smells absolutely delicious!

What I’m getting in the tea is different, though. I’m getting the black tea base, some buttery popcorn taste, and a light caramel/toffee (toffee is a bit more pronounced) mixture. It kinda does remind me of coffee, actually…just not as potent. It’s a subtly sweet tea, with a nice toffee corn aspect. Reminds me of those Christmas-time popcorn ball things…only with black tea. Pretty good.

I’ll have to have the rest of this one while watching “Blink” with my sister when she comes home on Friday, just for reasons…

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

My favorite episode!

Emily M

=) It is pretty awesome!


!! I drank this one while watching Blink for the first time (w/my boyfriend) a week or two ago. Enjoy!

Emily M

Thanks! I will. =)

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Started brewing loose leaf tea about seven years ago. Excited to share my experiences and learn more from everyone on here!

I’ve found I Prefer:

Oolong Teas
White Teas
Green Teas
Black Teas
Flavored White Teas
Flavored Black Teas (depending on the base tea)
Flavored Oolong Teas
Certain Herbals/Tisanes

I’ve found I Dislike:

Bitterness/Astringent Teas
Strong Floral Teas
Fruit Tisanes (at least hot)

Matcha and Rooibos teas tend to be hit or miss with me. I guess it depends on the tea and my mood.

That being said, I’ll give anything a shot!

When I’m not brewing/sipping tea, I’m usually reading, listening to music, working, or in the summer, kayaking/camping/hiking! I also enjoy a good movie now and then. I’ve got quite the collection going. It almost rivals my tea collection! ;)

I’ve only just returned after quite some time away – Steepster stopped working for me in 2013 and I FINALLY remembered this password and was able to get back on here in 2017. But I’ve been drinking tea all along the way!

Happy steeping!


Albany, NY

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