127 Tasting Notes

drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
127 tasting notes

First Verdant order, first Verdant tea. We’ll see if it’s as good as everyone’s been saying.

Dry Leaf: Smells very much like cocoa, or like dark chocolate. I’m also getting some floral aspects, maybe rose? I’m not too good at pinpointing floral smells, unless it’s lilac. Anyway…back to the tea. I’m also picking up a slight roasted smell, along with a slight creaminess.

Now onto the steeps:

Rinse (3sec): Smells roasty, or slightly smoky, with strong cocoa aspects. The floral aspect is not detected.
Taste – (Took a few sips)Very smooth, with dark chocolate aspects and an underlying toasty/roasty flavor. Fairly light, though, overall.

Steep 1 (3 sec): The scent is very much like the rinse. Roasty, dark chocolaty, this time a slight sweetness emerging. I’m also picking up some very subtle cinnamon aspects, as well as nutty aspects.
Taste- Slightly bitter dark chocolate aspects, with some cinnamon aspects popping through here and there (lingering in the aftertaste as well), and a very subtle caramel aspect. There is also a grain-like taste here that I can’t really describe. Slightly sweet, smooth, still toasty, with just a hint of spice. The aftertaste is not only cinnamon, but a slight honey note. Interesting.

Steep 2 (6sec) – Smells much like the previous steep, only a little sweeter and heavier (if anyone gets that).
Taste – This one is almost creamy. Slightly sweet, I’m getting caramel-like notes in the front of the sip along with chocolate and the roasted aspect. The cinnamon is also more pronounced in the front of the sip, and still lingers at the end as well. The honey note seems to have dissipated, but the grain/wheat taste is still around. Interesting steep.

Steep 3 (9sec) – Smells like dark chocolate, caramel, with an added hint of vanilla. Still picking up the roasty scent.
Taste: Light (in texture, not taste) cream notes (cool whip?), slightly muted dark chocolate aspects, some cinnamon, and significantly toned down roast-y aspect. Interesting. The caramel seems absent in this steep, but the honey taste is back and lingers at the end of the sip.

Steep 4 (12sec): This steep smells the most like a pan of homemade brownie mix. I’m still thinking mostly dark chocolate (or bakers chocolate), but there is a sweetness here. I’m once again detecting the caramel notes. Yay! Very slight cinnamon in this one. The cream/vanilla scent is also still present, possibly even more this time around.
Taste: It tastes just as it smells. Like a pan of brownie mix! The creamy notes are to die for in this steep; I’m really digging them. They are sweet and smooth, and they mesh well with the chocolate flavor and the caramel flavor I’m getting. The cinnamon is also playing a bigger role in this steep, present very much in the beginning of the sip. The roasty flavor is still around, but it’s toned down a bit. It actually reminds me of when you go to eat a freshly made brownie, but it’s wayyy to hot. I don’t know if this has happened to anyone else, but I always get a light smoky flavor from brownies that are too hot. Or when you microwave a brownie so it’s hot, but you leave it in there a little too long, so it burns just a smidge. It’s not a bad flavor, though. It’s just different. (Ok. Hopefully that explanation didn’t lose anyone… I was trying to be clear, but my mind’s kinda frazzled).

Steep 5 (15sec) – I’m now picking up a thick cream scent. YUM! I’m also getting stronger caramel notes. This one smells the sweetest out of them all. The bitter dark chocolate smell has pretty much disappeared in this steep, leaving more of a creamy chocolate smell in its wake. Still roasty, too, which I am actually quite appreciating in this tea.
Taste: Sweet and toasty at the same time! The toasty taste is up front, while the sweetness takes up the back of the sip. In the center they merge in a delightful way. Caramel, cream, chocolate, and subtle honey notes are all present. I’m also still picking up a slight cinnamon aspect. Yum. This was a really good steep.

I have a feeling this tea could keep going for quite a few more sessions, but I think I need a break from this one for now. Plus, I’ve got a bunch of work to get done, and I have to get over to the neighbors to watch the dogs.

Overall, I liked this tea. I didn’t think it was as out-of-this-world as most reviewers here seem to have, but I found it complex and tasty. I also like that it’s holding up very well to multiple steeps. I’m glad I bought an ounce to try.

UPDATE: Bonnie has mentioned that this tea might be best brewed Western style, so I’ll be giving that a go next time around. I will update the rating and such accordingly. Until then, I will reserve my verdict concerning whether this is a permanent cupboard dweller or not. Thanks again, Bonnie!


what i love about this tea is that it IS different and stands up to multiple steeps :)

Emily M

Yeah. I’ve never had a tea like it before, that’s for sure! I like that about it as well.


I think this tea is best brewed western style in a pot for at least 3 minutes (which I don’t say about most tea’s). Please try this method before coming to conclusions.

Emily M

Bonnie – I will definately try that next time and revise where needed. =) Thanks for the tip!

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Just what I needed before bed tonight. Nice juicy watermelon, relaxing subtle floral notes, and smooth white tea. See previous notes for more detail. I love this tea!

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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Backlogging and sample sipdown! Going to keep this one brief…

This one smells a lot like maple, with hints of vanilla/cream and the black tea base.

Taste wise, this one was nice. It wasn’t WOW!, but it was smooth and tastey (which is sometimes all I’m looking for). The maple was probably the strongest flavor, followed by the black tea base, with just a hint of vanilla/cream throughout the sip. There is also a slight floral aspect to the cup. I think this would be a nice fall tea. Sweet, smooth, and warming. I’d try it again, but it’s not a cupboard staple. Maybe some cinnamon would make this a little more interesting?

NOTE: This one gets bitter very easily. The recommended steep time of 4 minutes is a bit high for my tastes.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Cucumber Kiwi Honeybush by 52teas
127 tasting notes

Backlogging as I was over at the neighbors with no internet access. Got this in a swap with Alphakitty. I have enough for another cup, so I will be trying it again. Here are the first impressions.

Dry: Smells strongly of honeybush with kiwi and cucumber aspects. For some reason, though, all of these together are smelling quite…chemical? Kinda like nail polish remover. Huh. I mean, I can smell all the different aspects of the tea, but when I try to take it all in as a whole I’m ending up with this odd scent.

Brewed: Once brewed the kiwi is strongest, followed closely by the honeybush, and the cucumber trailing behind. The chemical-ish smell is still hitting me… I’m thinking it’s the combination of the honeybush and the kiwi that’s giving off this scent. I’m hoping it doesn’t carry over into the taste.

Taste: Strong honeybush taste once brewed, especially in the front of the sip. The kiwi is strongest in the middle, and the cucumber finishes of the sip. I am getting the strange smell in taste form. I guess I just don’t dig the honeybush with these flavors. I’m thinking a white tea, like silver needles or shou mei, would’ve worked better for me. It’s not undrinkable. I do like the individual aspects of the tea…I think the kiwi is nice, and I find the cucumber accent at the back of the sip very crisp and refreshing. It’s just the chemical taste that the honeybush is creating with these flavors that I can’t get 100% past.

Next brew I think is going to be cold. We’ll see how that turns out. For now, I think I’ll leave this one un-rated.

Thanks again, Alphakitty, for passing some of this my way.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Raspberry Cream by 52teas
127 tasting notes

Another sample from Alphakitty!
Going to brew the rest of this one soon and write up proper notes. As of now I’d just be going off of memory (I was busy and didn’t write down any notes). For now, I will just say that I really enjoyed this one. May be my favorite 52teas so far. Sweet (just a tad of that raspberry tartness), creamy, and nicely balanced. The raspberry really stood out (and in a non artificial way, too!), which I was hoping for!

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I am surprised this one isn’t more popular—it’s still in stock weeks later, but it is just so tasty!


He must have reblended then cause it was all out the other day when I went to pick up more.

Emily M

Alphakitty – I know! It’s really tastey!
Sil – I thought it was out of stock, too, but last night there were four left.

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drank Maple Pecan Oolong by Butiki Teas
127 tasting notes

Sipdown on this one!
A little sad to see this go, but I have an order on the way from Butiki with a ton of new teas to try so I’m not too crushed! =)
Nice pecan-y flavors. Subtle, but delicious maple notes. See previous tasting notes for more in depth coverage of this tea.


mmm this is a nice winter/fall tea for me. I have some left but when it’s gone i won’t restock until later in the fall again.

Emily M

Agreed. Very good for cold weather. Most maple teas are like that for me. Once it starts getting warmer, I don’t crave them.


Love this one. I hope she’ll be keeping it around for next fall.


i’m sure she will, it’s a good one!

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drank Cinnamon Roll Honeybush by 52teas
127 tasting notes

This sample came from a swap with teapot1. Sipdown!!

Dry: I was surprised at how much this smells like a cinnamon bun! I’m only picking up a little of the honeybush scent (totally fine with me, as I’m not a huge fan). The cinnamon is the most prominant, followed by the sweet icing smell! Yum! I’m so excited for this one!

Brewed: Seriously. I am getting liquid cinnamon bun. This smells so good! The cinnamon and icing smells are so right on target here. A little of the honeybush scent is present, but thankfully it isn’t overpowering or strong. It fades into the background, and I actually think the sweet smell of it works nicely with the cinnamon.

Taste: Not 100% as good as the smell, but it’s pretty close. The cinnamon is definately front and center, with the icing being more subtle than in the smell. I’m also getting a slight smokey flavor (?) that I’m a little confused about, but it isn’t awful: just unexpected. The honeybush is present in the beginning of the sip, but as I said, it kinda works well with the cinnamon and the sweet icing so I don’t mind it much.

Overall, this is probably one of the better honeybush blends I’ve had. I love the smell, and wish the brew tasted just like it, but the taste isn’t too far off. I love the cinnamon and icing notes, and am impressed at how close to a cinnamon roll they are. Yum! The smokey flavor – puzzling, but it fits in alright with the rest of the flavors. It just isn’t what I’d expect in a cinnamon roll tea. UNLESS the cinnamon rolls were baked over a campfire flame. Spot on cinnamon roll? No. Tastey cinnamon roll-esque brew? Yes.

Thank you, teapot1 for sending this to me. I enjoyed it, and was very happy to have gotten the chance to try it.

UPDATE: The smokey taste lessens a bit as it cools off.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

WOOT! Yay for sipdowns!

Emily M

I’m moving right along!

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drank Cotton Candy Black Tea by 52teas
127 tasting notes

Sample I recieved in a swap. Backlogging this tasting from yesterday, and making the rest of this tea right now. Addition comments not a part of yesterdays tasting will be at the end under “Update”. This one came from Alphakitty. Sipdown!!

Dry: This shoots me right back to when I was a kid. We went to a couple of fairs every year and I was always getting cotton candy and fried dough (Oooh. Now I’m thinking fried dough tea!). This smells like pink cotton candy (and also a little like Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum…hmmm); sweet and fun (yes, you can smell fun).

Brewed: A little of the black tea base has seeped into the scent, but it’s still incredibly sweet and cotton candy smelling!

Taste: Hmmm. I don’t know if this is traslating for me in the taste. I’m getting a rooibos flavor, which is totally strange! Maybe the tea sample picked up on another sample in the package? I am getting a slight sweetness, and it does taste faintly of cotton candy. The aftertaste is definately cotton candy (yay). I am picking up the black tea base, too, and it’s slightly astringent. I think I’m going to wait for this one to cool down a bit, and take it from there.
-Once cooled down, this tea definately gets better. The astringency is gone, and the cotton candy, sweet flavor picks up. The aftertaste is still the most cotton candy-esque, but I’m digging this one cold. Next brew I’m going to add sugar and see if that helps it hot.

UPDATE: Sugar is definately a friend of this one. It brings the cotton candy flavor out to a good level, so long as you don’t add too much. I’m still slightly getting that strange rooibos-like taste (maybe my taste-buds are just translating something in this tea into rooibos) but it isn’t as powerful. The black tea base is nice and subtle (no astringency). I’m liking this one a lot more today.

Overall, not bad. I don’t think it’s a favorite, but it was pretty good. Thank you, Alphakitty, for sending this one my way. I’m glad I got to taste it! =)

UPDATE #2: I put what I had left from this past steeping in the fridge for a bit – the cotton candy/sweet flavor really popped after that. Changing this from a 74 rating to a 78 to reflect this nice change.

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I think this is definitely better cool—I don’t care for it much hot but iced it’s one of my faves!

Emily M

I threw what I had left in the fridge for a bit, and the flavors really popped after that. Rivising the rating a little to reflect the change. Thanks again for sharing this!

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Sample sipdown! This one came from Lariel as well. =)

Dry leaf: Smells like raspberry, with notes of bergamot and the earthy black tea base. Slightly sweet smelling.

Brewed: The raspberry and the blueberry come out a bit more, with the bergamot trailing not far behind. I’m also picking up citrus notes (most likely from the orange peel), and hints of vanilla/cream. It’s sweet and earthy smelling.

Taste: The berries aren’t as strong as I’d thought they’d be, given the smell, which is fine as it allows the other flavors to come through. I’m getting the raspberry more than blueberry, but that’s ok. I like raspberry! The cream/vanilla flavor is also quite present. It makes this a smooth, creamy cuppa, but vanilla for me is hit or miss in a tea. This one isn’t what I’d call a miss, but it does taste just a tad artificial for my tastes. I often feel this way about vanilla, though, so it could just be me. The bergamot and the black tea base gives it that “earl grey” taste that I love so. The citrus notes linger at the back of the sip, providing a refreshing aspect. This cuppa is mildly sweet and relaxing.

Overall, this is a pretty good custom blend. The vanilla aspect is something I’m not really feeling (this is just personal preference, I think), though I do like the mouthfeel it gives the cuppa. I also wish the blueberry was slightly more represented in the brew. I do really like the earl grey flavors, here, as well as that nice citrus finish!

Thank you, Lariel, for letting me sample this! Glad to have tried it. =)

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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This one came from a swap with Lariel!

This one smells so good. Dry, the blueberry scent sticks out a little more. Once brewed, the black base, bergamot, and cornflowers are more detectable. Luckily, the blueberry is still there, and not overshadowed by the earl grey notes.

Taste: Yum! I love me some earl grey and I love me some blueberries, and this tea delivers on both. All the basic aspects of an earl grey are present; the earthy black tea, the bergamot, the citrus notes. And the blueberry shines through very nicely. Not overpowering, but almost naturally blending with the other aspects. It isn’t artificial in the least. I love this! Too bad Ovation is no more. =(

Thanks, Lariel, for letting me try some of this before it was gone forever. Happy to have tried it.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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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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