412 Tasting Notes

drank Sencha Fuka-midori by Den's Tea
412 tasting notes

Mmm. I still don’t drink green tea every day, but this Den’s Tea sampler has me drinking it a lot more often. I’ve steeped twice so far, and it’s just this light, sweet green taste that’s been growing on me. Peculiarly satisfying. I may end up buying more of this, though I have another sencha from Den’s yet to try.

2g leaf, 4oz water

180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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I’ve been having this pretty regularly in the evening, often stacked with the used leaves from whatever black tea I had earlier in the day. Today, that’s 52Teas Strawberry Zabaglione, and the hint of strawberry makes a lovely addition to the very creamy earl grey.

Boiling 5 min, 15 sec

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drank Decaffeinated Chai by Twinings
412 tasting notes

Ugh, I am so spoiled by loose leaf. I picked up a box of this because I like having chai at night, and it was on sale, so it was worth a try.

I steeped it for 20 minutes and it still tastes weak and watery. If you like ginger, though, you might like it just fine. The spice blend completely overwhelms any black tea flavor, and is dominated by ginger. Some cinnamon and clove are detectable, but I couldn’t find the cardamom. I’ll probably finish the box; it’s not bad just unremarkable and kind of artificially sweet from the ginger flavoring.

Boiling 8 min or more

Holy cow! That’s vastly different than my experience… sad… :(

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Mmm, the dry leaves smell like coffee, and chocolate, and fall (that is, dry leaves :P). They’re big and pretty too, just like the picture. The flavor is more like an oolong than I expected – might try it with a shorter steep time, maybe even cooler water, because I’m getting a little tannic kick on the back end. It’s still quite smooth overall, though, roasty and warm; it almost tastes like a Darjeeling, actually, with that sharp roasted fruit flavor.

I used about a quarter of my 6g free sample (thanks Ginko!), so I’ll enjoy playing with this some more.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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drank Organic Breakfast Chai by Custom
412 tasting notes

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I have a job! (happy dance) Or at least, I will, as soon as the background checks are finished. Since this is news worth celebrating, I decided to make the last bit of my Honu Chai on the stovetop.

It tastes like victory.

Boiling 8 min or more

So very happy for you! ::joins in happy dance::


Congrats! I am very happy for you!


Thanks! The best part? It means I get to buy more tea soon!


Congrats!! That’s awesome!!


Congratulations! :D That’s no small feat in these times.




Yay! Congrats on your new job! That’s a great feeling!

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The second of my three samples from Life In Teacup. Oooh, the leaf here is VERY similar to Samovar’s Four Seasons – like, identical in scent and appearance. I’m using 2.5g, about 1/3 of the sample, in my little 4oz glass pot, which I think makes this a gongfu-light style steeping :P

The liqueur is quite pale, rather like a white tea. The scent is lighter than Four Seasons, but has similar notes: butter, gardenias (at least, I gather that’s the particular floral scent, from what others have said – I have trouble getting past “flowers”). The taste follows – buttery, floral, fresh. Like eating buttered bread in a garden.

This is lovely, rich, and not at all harsh. I’m pleased, though I’d like the flavor to be a little stronger, so I’ll make the next steeps longer.

One last thing: at $2.70/oz this is an absolute STEAL, assuming it lasts through several steeps. Compare to Four Seasons at $10/oz.

ETA: This is definitely better with hotter water – deeper color, richer and fuller flavor

Steep 1, 1 minute, 205˚F
Steep 2, 1 minute, 195˚F
Steep 3, 1:45, boiling
Steep 4, 1:45, boiling
Steep 5, 2:15, boiling
Steep 6, 2:15, boiling

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

Have you ordered from Life in Teacup before? I ask because from what I read the minimum shipping amount is $22 because it is direct from China? I really like the Yunnan I tasted but I don’t think I want to order $100 worth of tea right now in order to gain the most out of $22 shipping…if I am indeed reading it right.


I haven’t, other than these samples, but I’m planning to. The way I read the shipping policy, here http://www.lifeinteacup.com/shipping is that it’s $5 flat in the US. I think the “Buying Directly from China” section is more for wholesalers.


Oooooh OK! I was thinking that it couldn’t be right! I’m so glad I asked!


Wow, I really like Four Seasons from Samovar and this is anything like that…YUM


Laura, I’d definitely recommend trying this then! They’re very similar, in my opinion (I think I’ll be ordering this instead when my Four Seasons runs out), and Life In Teacup offers free samples with $3 shipping. http://www.lifeinteacup.com/tea-samples

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Oh wow, this is making me nostalgic. I swear, this is the taste that introduced me to chai. It’s overly sweet, creamy, spicy but with no real kick, and there’s virtually no black tea flavor… but I LOVE it. If coffee shop chai lattes were your introduction to chai, you will probably love it too.

Thanks, Jaime!

Note: despite the company name, there is no actual chocolate involved here. Also, this gets rather gritty at the bottom since the black tea dust doesn’t actually dissolve.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

So glad you like it!!

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This is almost drinkable plain, which I consider a coup for a bagged Earl Grey. That said, I get a tiny bit of raspberry on the nose, and hardly any from the taste. It’s this barely-there sense of fruit in the back of my mouth as I swallow. With milk and a pinch of sugar, this is actually quite mellow; the bergamot is strong, but I’ve had stronger. I can’t taste anything identifiable about the black tea base except that it’s there. Overall, this is fine and I’ll enjoy drinking it, but there are definitely better and more interesting EG’s out there.

Thanks to Jaime for the chance to try!

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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Some notes on ratings:

I’d have separate rating scales for tea types if that were possible (probably Black, Flavored Black, Darjeeling/Dark Oolong, White/Green/Light Oolong, and Herbal) because the flavors and quality markers are just too different. A flavored black rated 100 isn’t better than every oolong I’ve ever drunk, just delicious for a flavored black.

Ratings are a combination of my enjoyment and the perceived quality – I do often demote teas a few points for artificial flavorings, small quantity of steeps supported, or weakness of flavor (requiring extra leaf).

I pay less attention to the number than the order of my ratings; I don’t necessarily keep a stock of everything rated 80+, but if two breakfast blends are rated 82 and 84 I consistently enjoy the 84 more.

And in case it’s not obvious? I am not an expert. I don’t even know what I like until I taste it sometimes, but I’m ok with that :) I like learning to like new teas, as well as enjoying the comfort of familiar ones.


Boston, MA



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