New Tasting Notes

I really like the coffee inspired teas. I was glad that this one is a decaf option I can have in the evening. Strong coffee flavor even though it does does not have coffee beans in it. Try the chicory root, roasted carob and date give it a rich flavor. I am glad that the monk fruit does not make it sweet. I like these coffee inspired teas because I can’t drink much regular coffee because of the acid. This tea is delicious with a little sweetener and almond milk. I would buy this tea again.

Flavors: Chicory, Coffee

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drank Summer Wild Black Tea by Ketlee
1458 tasting notes

2021 harvest

Not quite sure I’d call today’s work steepings overleafed. It was a guestimate, sure, a modest cupped palmful – I don’t think that’s enough – plus an extra finger pluck from the bag.

Very strong tea but really no bitterness or astringency, nor was the flavor too dense.

old wood cabin in a rainforest
vague forbidden fruit in dark shadows
humid – cavernous – cool
exotic woods – resin – incense
almost like old puerh
but never too overwhelming in any one of those facets
never musty, never charred, never outright woody
creeping energy, earthen, dark, knowing
i feel possessed
i’ve felt this before

And when I came home from work, I made a grilled cheese with sourdough, some Greek cheese called Kasseri and kimchi. Drizzled the top of the sandwich with linden honey. Stoner food essentially. I don’t cook like that. That’s what this tea did to me. Wild.

Flavors: Butter, Cedar, Decayed Wood, Dragonfruit, Incense, Malt, Petrichor, Rainforest, Resin, Wet Rocks

3 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 300 ML

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Yum, this is quite tasty. I love grapefruit things, and for some reason grapefruit teas in particular are often disappointing. This has a strong, zesty, and slightly bitter grapefruit flavor that almost tastes like the real thing. There’s just a little bit of a Pixy Stix sort of tart candy vibe going on as well, but mostly it’s fresh grapefruit. I honestly don’t detect much elderflower, perhaps a hint in the finish. But I’m not complaining, because I’d rather the grapefruit be the star!

Would consider ordering a bag of this one…

Flavors: Acidic, Candy, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Fruity, Grapefruit, Lemon, Sweet, Tart

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Sipdown! (39 | 354)

This was a pleasant enough blend. Somehow not as cocoa-y as I expected it to be, given the abundance of cocoa powder making for a seriously murky cuppa. It’s mostly hojicha with subtle touches of cocoa and toasted rice. And there’s not really anything “salted” about it, I guess maybe the rice was meant to fill that role? Not sure why there isn’t just a little bit of sea salt or something to that effect.

Anyway, it’s nice but not a reorder for me. Might have to try my own concoction with cacao shells though, those seem to give the best cocoa flavor in my experience…

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Charcoal, Cocoa, Mineral, Roasted, Savory, Smooth, Sweet, Toasted, Toasted Rice, Woody

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Super warm and bready cup. Perfect balance between a strong and medium-strength black tea. Great aroma.

Flavors: Bread, Nuts

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 1 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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A gift from a friend visiting from PDX.

Filtered/boiled water allowed to cool. Infused for ~3.5 minutes at 179F. Followed up with a couple more infusions closer to 200F for 20 – 40 seconds.
Verona green/citrine/honeydew gradient.

Sachet was perfume-like with bergamot and rose up front. Nutty pan-fried Mao Feng, faint toasted rice, and mellow grassy sencha appear when the tea is brewed.

On the palate, the green tea takes center stage – mild, sweet, nutty/toasty flavors give way to the floral/herbal/citrus notes. Very faint umami at the edges in the finish, but the grassiness of the sencha and the vanilla/floral/citrus notes from the bergamot are present long into the aftertaste. Vague hints of aspirin and elderflower perhaps.

Light bodied, low tannins.

Flavors are alternately competitive and complimentary – a delicate but creative blend.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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It was my excitement over my S&V order that led my friend to order the holiday assortment that she brought over a few days ago and shared samples with me. Naturally I sent samples home with her from my order!

Ashman and I had this last night, and wow, is it fragrant! It smells like rich vanilla cake. I didn’t tell Ashman what it was and his reaction was funny. He said tobacco at first, then said it was specifically his father’s pipe tobacco, unlit, or walking into The Tinder Box at the mall. (Anybody on here old enough to remember that shop?)

I told him his dad must have smoked vanilla tobacco and he said that was probably the case. I was always partial to the smell of cherry pipe tobacco!

This resteeped like a champ and we combined the two for a really big pot of tea. I am pretty sure this is definite re-order for both my house and for my friend, because she texted me that this blend was AWESOME and she was going to try Lavender Lace before bed. When I texted this morning, she said she kept resteeping Birthday Blend and never got around to Lavender Lace.

I also sent a sampler to a friend several weeks ago for her birthday, and this was the tea she specifically mentioned and described in her thank you note.

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drank Coconut Eggnog by 52teas
1625 tasting notes

The TTB has arrived! So big, so many teas… no chance to try them all!
Tea #19

I will start with food pairing — a eggnog flavored yogurt.

Well, this was okay mostly. Coconut flavoured black tea. Rich and creamy coconut. Some spices there too. However again, not much of eggnog in my opinion. My yogurt was more flavourful in this way.

I wonder if it is because not being that fresh as others had it, or I had some teaspoons without all necessary ingredients, or what went “not that good”?

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

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The TTB has arrived! So big, so many teas… no chance to try them all!
Tea #18

Got a caramel, got a chai, got no butter nor cream.

Fine chai, very mild and sweet (I am not used to teas with added sugar in the blends) and just right amount of star anise in my cup (there was whole, but I took two or three “shines” from it only).

Pretty fine, but for me a bit too sweet. Again, I don’t remember steeping paramters.

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The TTB has arrived! So big, so many teas… no chance to try them all!
Tea #17

Okay, I think I finally found a tea from TTB that I will probably keep. Combination of black currant and earl grey (read bergamot) is unique, but actually working one!

The berries are just spot on, a little tart, a little chalky, but they give nice fruity vibes. The bergamot is opposite in the spectrum, refreshing and a little sour, but I actually liked this one. Only one thing is missing and was listed — creamy and vanilla notes. It was just smooth, which I assume is more because the Assam and Chinese black tea base used, instead of rough Ceylon one.

Sadly, I don’t remember the steeping parameters.

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drank Peppermint by Irresistibles
1001 tasting notes

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drank Bali Bliss by Magic Hour
14833 tasting notes


This was such an interesting blend, and I’m actually nearly out of it already which is kind of saddening to me. I tried it iced because, looking at the ingredient list, I thought it might make me think of ginger beer or other ginger beer based cocktails – and honestly I was sort of right! It has that exact type of zesty ginger heat, but balanced by the natural sweetness and acidity of the lime addition – like a Moscow Mule, sort of.

The fun twist is the honeydew and coconut combination. The creaminess from the coconut is very subtle, but it adds so much depth to the overall profile and immediately gives this profile a tropical kind of flair. I could picture myself drinking this iced tea out of a coconut! The honeydew was interesting too. I never would have thought to try honeydew with ginger, but it was so cooling and refreshing and something about the overall composition of flavours brought out the greener and more “vegetal” notes of the melon rind without actually sacrificing on the mellow sweetness of the melon flesh itself. It also, a little bit, felt like there was fresh muddled cucumber in the drink.

This was kind of instantly the perfect nuanced, fresh feeling summer iced tea profile and it felt so damn fancy and high brow. Like, I could see a cocktail with the same ingredient inspirations and flavour balance easily costing like $25 as part of a Summer drink menu at a cool and trendy bar. Really unique!

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This tea kind of tasted like Fruit Loops and I sort of hate that it feels like I can sum it up so simply, because it was a really nice blend and it was so enjoyable in the moment. However, the particular lemon and bergamot oils used along with the fig in the blend and the floral undertones of the oolong itself sort of all clicked together in a way that really, really harmoniously tasted like a more sophisticated/elevated version of, well, Fruit Loops.

It’s still recommend this tea though because it was so fresh and summery, and the citrus notes when I paused and tried to isolate them on my palate were really nice. There’s almost a limoncello sort of quality to the tea, and it does feel really beautiful and in line with the Italian imagery used and overall inspiration. It’s one of my favourite teas from the Wanderlust series so far!

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drank Queen of Kyoto by Magic Hour
14833 tasting notes

Cold Brew!

I did not like the dry leaf smell of this one, so I was nervous. However, the cold brew ended up more enjoyable than I expected it to be. I do appreciate that this isn’t just a generic cherry blossom flavoured sencha and that there are other layers to it, because I’ve seen that type of blend very over done for these sort of romanticized “Japanese Spring Time” type of teas.

Firstly, it was floral but definitely didn’t taste of actual sakura/cherry blossoms. More jasmine than anything else, in a fresh yet still a bit heavy and heady kind of way. Those florals were nicely balanced by subtle notes of actual cherries and just a hint of apricot. I think I expected something sweeter overall, but it was almost like these two stone fruits combined gave off more of the taste of a fruit leather/preserved fruit instead of something lush or juicy/tart. It worked with the grassier, umami of the green tea and the more mellow vibe of the tea – but it was just kind of unexpected.

I wonder if those flavours would pop a little more as a hot tea. Excited to find out.

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This tea is deceptively simple, but I’m into it.

I think I might be on an unintentional guava kick just in general, but I really liked the combo of tropical, dense guava with the jammier red fruit/pomegranate notes on this brisk, majority black tea base. It was like a playful, summery twist on a classic Monk’s Blend profile in a good sorta way. Also a little like Magic Hour’s Bohemian Breakfast blend but I think I like this one a little more.

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I’ve always hated “Birthday Cake” or “Cake Batter” as flavours because literally any type of cake has batter or could be a birthday cake – you just need to pop candles on it. Like, I have Carrot Cake for my birthday every year, but if someone released a carrot cake flavoured tea called Birthday Cake people would probably be upset. It’s dumb.

Anyway, this is clearly supposed to be the sort of generic vanilla cake flavour most birthday cake products are, and I actually do appreciate that Magic Hour has created that but without the cheap sprinkle addition. However, I agree with Cameron B that it sort of reads as eggnog instead. That’s because they’re using some type of cream flavouring with a more naturally custard note, and the cinnamon and nutmeg from the pumpkin spice are the most prominent spice notes and also happen to be the spice notes associated with eggnog…

It’s a little bit unfortunate but not too unfortunate because it is actually a pretty delicious tea. I like the balance of flavours, and the briskness of the tea base a lot.

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Sipdown! (38 | 353)

Yay, my last S&V pouch to finish from my order last year! I still have several tins, but those are all long term cupboard teas that I’m not looking to sip down.

This one is a really nice cake tea – the flavoring is cakey and buttery with a buttercream sweetness, just like a frosted vanilla cake. It’s also nice that it’s on a green rooibos base, so the flavors can really shine (plus no caffeine for a nighttime treat).

I don’t think I would order a tin of it, just because I don’t tend to reach for desserty teas. But would recommend it for cake lovers! Definitely one of the better birthday cake blends I’ve had.

Flavors: Butter, Cake, Frosting, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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All I have left to write tasting notes for tonight are these Magic Hour blends from my last order, and I feel like all of them deserve longer and more detailed tasting notes than I have the energy to write tonight – but I’m gonna try my best.

I actually enjoyed this one a lot! It was pretty sweet, but I definitely expect about this level of sweetness when I hear marzipan in the name of a tea. Rich and almond-y but with a creaminess to it as well that, at times, made me think of something like a vanilla almond milkshake. Or, at least, what I imagine that would taste like.

All in all I thought the “pumpkin spice” component in the blend was tastefully balanced. I got clove and nutmeg more than anything else, but in a gentle way the felt appropriate for a white tea blend. Plus, I loved that the delicate creamier and floral elements of the silver needle base were totally buried in flavours.

I see blends like this with the bai hao yin zhen base and it makes me think of teas from my past like Watermelon Xylophone from Butiki or Gold Rush from DAVIDsTEA. They’re just so intensely visually impactful. However, now that I understand the behind the curtains perspective it also makes me wonder why a blender would ever chose to use a base like this (past the visual impact). I mean this tea is stupid expensive and that’s not arbitrary – the tea base they’ve used is really costly to work with. You could probably achieve an equivalent taste/body/mouthfeel contribution from using a different grade of white tea and save both yourself and your customers a lot of expense.

So, striking as it is, I just don’t know if the added visual value is really worth it…

Cameron B.

Curious to hear (read?) what you think of these! This is definitely my favorite of the bunch so far.

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drank Mûres et Hibiscus by Mana
14833 tasting notes

I wanted to like this one a lot more than I actually did.

I will say that it’s actually very yerba mate forward and not just another sparkling juice type drink under the guise of being tea, but as much as I appreciate how mate forward it is I found it off-puttingly sharp and hibiscus forward with a kind of coppery metallic/mineral undertone. I would have liked a little more blackberry and also just a little more natural sweetness.

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As I just said in another tasting note, this past week we had a coworker visit who usually works remote out of the country – in Portugal, specifically. He brought with him some white tea from a farm in the Azores that he got to visit this past year and we enjoyed a pot of it split between us on a Friday meeting.

It was honestly such good white tea. All the flavour notes that I specifically love in big, leafy/fluffy white teas were there – it was fresh and creamy with a lot of crisper and more cooling cucumber pulp type notes, along with just a bit of a fruity undertone. Like a soft plum type note. He left the rest of the bag with me, so I’m super excited to finish it off. It was so delicious and strikingly fresh tasting!

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Still working on tasting note catch up…

I wrote a really nice, long note for this the first time I had this tea and I kind of just want to say to go back and read that description for anyone seeing this note. But I do want to make sure to acknowledge how much I really enjoyed this mug. I had it Friday morning at the office. I don’t typically work in office on Fridays but a coworker and friend who works remote outside of the country was visiting this week so we came in to maximize his visit.

I was so fucking tired Friday morning (insomnia the night before) and this was the first tea I steeped up for myself. I’m not really an EG in the morning kinda gal, but that extra zingy yuzu top note to this blend just seemed to cut through the haze of the morning in the perfect way. I felt myself a little more energized and ready for the day!

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drank S.TEA.U.P.I.D by Hella Tea
14833 tasting notes

In my head I remembered the lemon and mint notes of this tea being stronger while this cup was very yerba mate forward with a lot of those grassier, slightly smoky and mineral notes. However, the lemon and mint still delivered with a present brightness and a clean, cooling finish.

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