513 Tasting Notes

drank Scottish Morn by Harney & Sons
513 tasting notes

Round two with this tea this morning. And, although I’m not nearly as desperate to pawn it off on other unsuspecting souls, I dare say that I’m just not all that fascinated with it myself. It is strong, yes, with a slightly pervasive raisiny note that’s slightly reminiscent of the scent in Butiki’s Wild mountain black, although that’s exactly where the similarity between these teas ends. I doctored it up with a healthy dose of sugar and cream this morning, but it still didn’t do much to make the tea taste “better”—it just tasted like a slightly less intense version of itself, which wasn’t exactly what I was going for. Anyway, like I said, not a bad cup by any means, and I imagine with a bit of sharing I’ll make it through this tin, but it won’t be a reorder.

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There actually isn’t much of a point in my giving this tea another tasting note, because i’ve waxed poetic about how great I think it is for the fall and winter. But that’s just it: fall and winter. And despite the weather people predicting that winter is going to last another 53379848959 years, I refuse to believe it’s true, mostly because if it is true I’m going to end up living in an institution. So I’m frantically trying to drink down my fall and winter teas. and, you know, thereby justifying a massive spring and summer tea shopping spree. Every time spring is about to roll in, I vow to myself that I’m going to spend more time outdoors. But then I forget how much of a hermit I am by nature like any time of the day/month/year, and old habits die hard and all that sort of thing. Guzzled this in my timolino six or so hours after preparing it. Participated in a disclosure meeting today that destroyed my faith in humanity, and although I’m still reeling from it a bit, it’s nothing compared with what I imagine the affected people are dealing with. Anyway, sorry that was coded and cryptic. Basically tea is great, I’m a hermit, and spring needs to arrive yesterday.


I agree! This weather is getting the best of me too.. So ready for Spring! Maybe if we all sip down our fall and winter teas, Spring will finally come.


Do you like it more than David’s Pumpkin Chai, if you’ve had that one?


Hahaha I’ll be right there with you in the institution. It’s supposed to go back down to -25 this weekend here. FML.


Isn’t a balcony or a terrace the perfect compromise? Still very hermity, but definitely outdoors.


Suziqzer, let the sip offs begin!
Fjellrev, I’ve had David’s pumpkin spice chai as well, and do prefer this one. I find that it’s more creamy and flavourful, and found the david’s version to be comparatively lackluster. Also keep in mind that I take my tea with milk and sugar though, so my understanding of the differences may be differing from that of purists.
Courtney, fml also. Let’s find a really fancy institution that’s basically a retreat for bored wealthy people. Because eff this sh&?$t.
Anna, a balcony is absolutely a wonderful idea. But bugs and critters and blind people and ugh!

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drank Scottish Morn by Harney & Sons
513 tasting notes

I’m in one of those post-lunch slumps, where I feel as though I could keel over and have a nap right here on my office floor, so forgive me in advance if this tasting note sucks.

This tea felt really strange and granular in the tin. I know that a lot of CTC black tea can feel this way, but I was still nonetheless a bit surprised at how grainy this felt. It made getting a heaping teaspoon a bit tricky, but i was determined. steeped it up for about four minutes, with cream and sugar.

And believe me, you don’t want to be trying this tea without cream and sugar. Even with cream and sugar, this tea was rough around the edges. h and S says this is the strongest tea blend they have, and I dare say it’s true, although aside from finding it “strong” in the tannic sense, I didn’t find the tea to be particularly interesting or complex or multi-faceted. it’s just a really strong black tea. i feel as though it’s a good tea to drink when you’re angry, because it’s intense and will make you feel as though you can take on the world in all the ways you feel justified to do so.


So you might call this a RAGE TEA? :) I was totally having an afternoon like that. So I cancelled on my friends, left work early like I had already planned, and I’m now a lump on the couch at home.

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I don’t know. I think that I’m starting to feel increasingly “meh” about all of these blends. For one thing, I feel as though they all taste the same, which could mean that they all taste the same, or maybe my mouth is broken. Either way, I feel as though if I were to have this tea, butterscotch banana, and pancake breakfast side by side, I would legitimately struggle to tell them apart. What I do remember tasting markedly different, however, was the banana pudding, which I loved.

In the bag, this smelled pretty spot on for hot buttered banana bread. You can smell the walnuts both in the dry leaf and as its steeping, and although they don’t feature too prominently in the sip, I imagine that it’s the walnuts that give the sip a bit of a dry finish. And aside from that, I honestly don’t know what more to say. It does taste buttery, I guess.

I finished the cup, and certainly didn’t dislike it passionately, but I do have like nearly two oz of it left now that I’m not sure what to do with. Some went off to VarieTea, but yeah, swap pile, mostly.

carol who

The title sounded so good. How unfortunate that it doesn’t taste that good. :( Did you add any sweetener?


I sure did, although not too much because I find Frank’s blends to be fairly sweet already. It really was a bit disappointment. I’ve already posted it in the swap thread!


Oh no. I am sorry that this wasn’t all that amazing since I know how you love Frank’s banana blends. Plus this sounded very good but the reviews of the lastest batch have not really been all that positive.


Oh god. I meant “latest” not “lastest”. I swear I know English.


I don’t think your mouth is broken. I’ve noticed similarities in 52teas stuff that is wildly divergent in flavor, which I attribute to the black tea base. I can imagine that if you add buttery/banana-y to the base you would get even more similarity.

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And because i’m a genius with an unsettled stomach, I was like “hey, good call on skipping lunch-a bowl of chili might have been a bit heavy for you. I know! why don’t you binge on gummies instead?”
Needless to say, my stomach is furious. I just want to eat, like, plain bland crackers or something.

I thought that my irritated stomach wouldn’t like this tea, but it tasted so completely perfect this morning, which is actually ideal because despite a thorough cleaning, my timolino had retained the cinnamon smell from a previous time i’d had this tea. Because I find this cinnamon tea to be perfect, I honestly don’t feel any need to try any others, and I’m ok with that. But yes, the silicone parts of the timolino will absolutely retain smells, and I know you can take a denture tablet to it (and it actually works) but i’m naturally lazy and convenience is everything to me.


I hadn’t thought about using a denture tablet in my JoeMo. It has the ghost of Hot Cinnamon Spice in it as well. Must add them to grocery list.

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Although this tea presented a bit thinner than usual this morning, it was still a delightful cup. Got more caramel and a bit less butteriness, which was interesting. I’m trying to actually drink down a lot of my “winter” teas in order to make room for my very own “spring and summer collection”, although I imagine this may be a staple year-round. I was also feeling a bit off this morning, as in I didn’t really feel like eating or drinking anything, and I find that that changes your tea-drinking experience so much.


That’s exactly what I’m doing too: enjoying and drinking up my winter teas and getting ready for the spring assortments. :-) Sorry you weren’t feeling quite up to par this morning…hopefully you’ll be feeling normal again soon so you can more fully enjoy your tea!


Yes! Me too! Time to drink my eggnog teas and really heavy smoky ones that I never crave in the summer!

I also ordered some Laoshan Green because even though I don’t want it today, I will in a month or so! (And I don’t plan to order from Verdant any time in the next 6 months after this)


Alright, guys. Let’s start chugging away the winter!!


Me too! Its time to start thinking of the spring flavors. Sipdowns ahoy.


yes! away with the gingerbread, warm cinnamon types, pumpkin stuff, winter minty christmasy everything…all gone!


I’m working on finishing up my Lapsang Souchong and Orange Spice black teas—definite “winter” faves. Looking ahead to spring (I couldn’t help myself!) I went ahead and bought some Cherry Blossom Sencha, Mao Feng green tea, and Green Snail Spring—all perfect for welcoming in spring, whenever it decides to get here, haha. Mmm Cavocorax that Laoshan Green sounds good! And yeah, I don’t think I’d be craving eggnog in summer, either, lol.

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drank Jardin Bleu by Dammann Freres
513 tasting notes

I’m trying to work my way through some of the samples JustJames sent me, as I’ve had them for a few months now, and they all smell delicious.

I enjoyed this tea, although my initial sips called to mind both Pour Maman by NP, as well as hints of FDA by Harney and sons. It smelled very much like the strawberry sauce that you’ll find on a sundae, and I know how popular those are, but I can’t say I like strawberry sauce all that much. I didn’t really get any rhubarb in either the smell or the taste, but because I’m terrified of anything that’s described as “tart”, the bit of sugar I added may have obliterated any tartness that may have been present. I also found the tea to be a bit thin, in the way I find many French teas to be, and sometimes it works beautifully and somehow makes the tea feel effortlessly elegant, but it can also render the composition a bit flat and one-dimensional, which was sadly my conclusion for this cup. Especially because I compare it to pour maman which I adore and must acquire more of.

Thanks again, JustJames! You are so not “just” anything—you’re wonderful and thoughtful and intense and amazing!


I also find that for so many French teas. What is that?! Also, I cannot with strawberry sauce.


I bet you’d feel the same about this tea then! LOL

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I know, I know. tell us something we haven’t heard, right? There’s nothing new to add about this tea, and i’m not feeling particularly inspired to be verbose this morning, as I had one of those terribly fitful nights when you wake up at like 3 AM and you’re wide awake as all hell and you know that your day is going to be (somewhat) shot because you’re guaranteed to be working on not enough sleep.

Long live the queen!


Hah! J’s alarm went off at 1:15am randomly, so I was also up in the night.

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drank Melon Oolong by Lupicia
513 tasting notes

This came to me thanks to the ever so lovely and amazing Anna, who was not only incredibly generous (also pulling like nine thousand teas from my shopping list to throw into a swap package), but she also packaged each tea with lots of love and expertise. She sent me enough for two samples of these, and each sample was in its own little bag, and then those bags were put (lovingly) into a slightly larger ziplock. it was like ziplock university, and she graduated with distinction.

Ok, so I chose this tea last night to try today, and consequently slept fitfully because I was so excited to try it. I opened the package to smell it last night, and my first thought was: I don’t even care how this tastes, I’m buying it. Like, it could have tasted like a garbage truck was sweating profusely in my mouth, and the scent alone would have made me buy this tea.

Thankfully, both the scent and the taste of the tea are entirely unblemished. The dry leaf smells very true to ‘melon’, although I can’t say I’m up on my melon discerning abilities. It smelled as though someone had sliced open the fresh fruit while standing in a sun-drenched garden. it also smelled slightly candied, although not even remotely ‘artificial’ if that makes sense. even if it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t have to, right? It smells like spring and summer are right here under your nose!

I read the tasting notes for this tea before brewing it. A lot of people brewed for two minutes or fewer, but I’ve always brewed my oolongs a bit longer. So I brewed for three and a half minutes.

And guys, this is awesome. It’s juicy—so juicy, in fact, that i’m definitely going to try icing it come summer time. I also think I’m starting to understand what a floral oolong tastes like, because although I couldn’t describe the taste to you, I picked up immediately on a similarity between this and my beloved rose violet calendula oolong. Are all of Lupicia’s flavoured oolongs this delicious?

So i know you guys are probably wondering how this is compared with cantaloupe and cream. There’s absolutely room for both in my cupboard—I’ll just get that out of the way. Here’s what I think:
1. Obviously one’s a white and one’s an oolong. Both are delicately flavoured, although I’d say lupicia’s comes out slightly on top in amount of flavouring, while I find the CaC a bit more delicate (this could also be because of the different base teas, obviously)
2. Oolong=juicy, CaC=gentle, and very, very spot on re cantaloupe. If I could use colours to describe the differences, I’d say the CaC is a lighter, more fairy pink, while this would be, like, a deeper, almost reddish shade of pink. Does that help at all? LOL.

Anyway, shopping list. Omg yes, shopping list.

Thank you, Anna!!!


I love the colour comparison!

Roswell Strange

If C&C was a colour, I’d call it a mellow, sunset orange :)


Aww, this is so great. First I laughed really really hard at, “it was like ziplock university, and she graduated with distinction.” And then I was all heartswole that you liked it so much. So many feels. Sniff.

I was really curious how you’d feel this would compare to Stacy’s tea, and your review definitely didn’t disappoint – thanks for being so thorough! I also feel there’s room for both in my cupboard, seeing as they’re so different.


Oh, and I forgot – yes, all the Lupicia oolongs I’ve tried are that gorgeous, in my opinion. I think I sent you the lychee oolong and the pineapple oolong, too, right? My faves are the Momo and the Ripe mango, but I didn’t have those with me in Sweden when I put your samples together. Next time!

Another thing I love about Lupicia is that their (green) teas are generally incredibly forgiving when it comes to steeping; they all handle boiling water without getting bitter, and as a rule 1.5 minutes is enough for a very flavourful cup.


Oh yeah, I had a lot of feelings while all of this was taking place as well! it was seriously such an emotional experience for me! and I’m glad you feel there’s room for both in your cupboard. And roswell, isn’t it funny how we associate specific colours with specific teas? and just in case anyone was wondering, I can see some colours, so it isn’t nearly as dramatic and ridiculous a story that I imagine what my tea would look like (my ability to interpret what my eyes see is diminishing though, so I can’t enjoy colours in exactly the same way, but whateves-mini ziplocks!!)


(You’ve both heard of synesthesia, right?)


Sure have! I’m pretty sure that’s not what I experience, though. When I imagine teas to be coloured, I think I draw upon the association that the flavor of whatever is in the tea (fruits to be pink/red/green/fruit coloured, a rose tea to be red or pink, etc.). And then I get a bit carried away and there you have it. haha.


“I don’t even care how this tastes, I’m buying it.” I am CACKLING over here. Can’t stop laughing at that part. :D Thank you.


LOL I’m glad! I was taken immediately by the scent alone, it would seem. And anna, I can’t wait to try the rest of lupicia’s offerings, and you have me curious about the greens as well. Yes, you did very kindly send along the lychee and pineapple, and i’ll be all over those in the near future.

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Despite two glasses of wine last night, i was somehow incredibly wired and had a really hard time falling asleep. I read my book, watched a few Judge Judy episodes, listened to like seven podcasts, and was still tossing and turning. So much for waking up for this morning’s game!

I hadn’t had this one in a while, and it seemed like a fairly unobtrusive tea that would be noticeable, but wouldn’t command my attention in a way that would compete with my most delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs doused with garlic pepper (seriously, you should try it). And because I’ve described this tea in detail before, I’m just going to list some words that this tea brings to mind:
-London Fog
-vanilla cream
-fall and winter, especially winter
-mild bergamot


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Well, it’s been slightly over six months since I’ve joined steepster, and I can’t say enough wonderful things about this community. Like many of you, I began my foray into the world of loose-leaf tea by discovering David’s Tea, and although I’ve ventured out and have discovered many other companies that I’m extremely fond of, there are still many of David’s teas that I hold close to my heart and I will always appreciate it as a starting point for my journey.

As for my preferences, I tend to prefer bold black tea, flavoured and unflavoured alike, and I almost always take my blacks with cream and sugar. This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy a good, flavoured white though, and I’m slowly making my way through the incredibly confusing world of oolongs and greens. I am also not a fan of rooibos, although I am starting to suspect green rooibos may be ok, but you know how it is: when you’ve decided you detest a certain ingredient, you’ll notice it everywhere—perhaps even where it doesn’t exist!

Things other than tea: I’m engaged to be married to my best friend, and feel like the richest woman on the planet because of it. I am also a veracious reader, and I also happen to have an obsession with fragrances, and have amassed quite a collection, although it pales in comparison to some collections out there! As a result of this obsession, I also follow several fragrance blogs, and am always up for a chat about scent. I’m also almost completely blind, and this does indeed mean that I come complete with a guide dog, who unlike me, hales from the sunny California campus of Guide dogs for the Blind. I think I’ve rambled on long enough, but if there’s anything you’d like to know or if you just feel like chatting to someone, please don’t hesitate to send me a message.


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