104 Tasting Notes


Since Art of Tea no longer sells their Ancient Forest tea (one of my old favorites), I went looking for something similar. While doing a search on “Ancient Forest Tea”, I came across this one, offered for sale by Juniper Trading, so I thought I’d try it.

I am glad to say that it is, in fact, very similar to the tea previously sold by Art of Tea. Based on the description on the website, it seems that this is a black tea from Yunnan. Since that is the same province where pu-erh teas come from, I am guessing that it is a blend of both straight black and pu-erh teas, since this tea has a slight pu-erh-like flavor to it but it isn’t overpowering. The earthy and wet wood flavors just add enough flavor to make it appealing.

All in all, I am glad I found this and have added it to my cupboard as a staple for times when I am in the mood for an earthy tea, but don’t want to be beaten down with the full-throttle earthiness of a straight pu-erh tea. I’ll happily enjoy this tea regularly.

Flavors: Earth, Wet Earth, Wet Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec 6 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Enjoying this tea again today. It sits on my shelf and I normally bypass it for other black teas because I don’t want to use it up, but was really in the mood for it this morning. I seem to overlook how much I enjoy the lightness and flavors of second flush Darjeelings. I’ll be sad when I brew this for the last time. The muscatel and apricot are amazing here!

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Muscatel

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 6 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

That sounds lovely. When the weather finally warms up, I start pulling out my lighter-weight black teas. This would fit the bill nicely.


gmathis: You’re absolutely right: this is a lighter-weight black tea! This is definitely a great late-spring/early-summer tea!

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drank Youthberry by Teavana
104 tasting notes

Another gift from a friend.

Drinking this cold today. I had it warm over the weekend and thought it would be a good candidate when chilled; it is better cold, in my opinion.

The description on the container states that orange is the key flavor in this, but I don’t taste that at all. I taste mango, pineapple, strawberry, and some sort of artificial candy flavor that reminds me a bit of Hawaiian Punch. It is fine if I am in the mood for something like that. It isn’t something I’d grab if I was in the mood for tea, though, since you can’t taste the white tea in it at all.

Overall, I’ll save it for when I am in the mood for something fruity to drink—it’s definitely a healthier option than Hawaiian Punch! :)

Flavors: Candy, Mango, Pineapple, Strawberry

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drank Yerba Mate by Harney & Sons
104 tasting notes

I love plain yerba mate tisanes, and this brand is no different.

The leaves are all broken into tiny pieces, like the picture shows. They are very thin and brittle.

I’ve never learned how to make yerba mate the traditional way, so I just make this like I would any other herbal tisane. I steep the leaves western style in near-boiling water for six minutes.

The liquor comes out strong and somewhat spicy. The flavors remind me of hay or dried grass mixed with spices. It is hard to describe but it tastes wonderful, in my opinion.

Flavors: Grass, Hot Hay, Spicy

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 6 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Brewed western style for five minutes. This is a wonderful Lapsang Souchong tea. The smoke flavor was neither overpowering nor did it fade too quickly in the cup. It wasn’t as heavy as I expected it to be, given how full Lapsang Souchong teas tend to be. The only drawback is that it doesn’t stand up to re-steeping—this is a “one-and-done” tea.

I’ve had this tea for over a year now but rarely drink it since I really have to be in the mood for Lapsang Souchong. This morning was perfect for it—cool and overcast outside.

Flavors: Smoke

5 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Another gift from a friend who knows I like black teas. This has moved its way into my regular rotation, mostly because I like the flavor and because I can re-steep the leaves (western style) three times before they lose their flavor too much.

The initial flavors I have noticed are woody and creamy. The creaminess reminds me of a good-quality Keemun tea. There is also some astringency to it, but that could be because I prefer steeping for a bit longer than normal. I don’t notice any of the menthol flavors that sometimes can be found in a Ceylon tea. Overall, this is a great tea for day-to-day enjoyment!

Flavors: Astringent, Creamy, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 6 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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drank Jade Citrus Mint by Teavana
104 tasting notes

Something I received as a gift. I was pleasantly surprised by this tea! As someone who generally drinks heavy, black teas, the description didn’t appeal to me very much initially but I have grown to appreciate it for what it is: a light tea—perfect for evenings. The lemongrass is the strongest flavor, with spearmint undertones. Sadly, I don’t taste the green tea at all. I appreciate having this for times when I am in the mood for something completely different than my usual.

Flavors: Lemongrass, Spearmint

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Got this as a sample with my last shipment from Harney. The sample was one large bag with instructions to pour two cups boiling water on it, then steep for 15 minutes, then add six more cups of cold water and enjoy.

I followed the instructions and it turned out okay. Flavored teas are not my thing, though, so I can’t really speak to it. There’s definitely the flavor of coconut in it — far more overwhelming than I had hoped. I couldn’t taste any other flavors with it.

I won’t have this again, but my wife and my kids all enjoyed it and finished off the pitcher of the tea. I might actually order this for my mother, though, who loves anything/everything coconut. I can see her drinking this every day.

Flavors: Coconut

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drank Guayusa by Harney & Sons
104 tasting notes

This has become one of my regular morning drinks lately. I first tried it about six months ago when I was looking for something with high caffeine for the mornings which broke out of my usual black teas, and fell in love with the taste. The caffeine buzz was also really nice.

The taste is unique — vegetal of some kind — mostly similar to grass, in my mind. I tried it with stevia once and really disliked that combo — I’m now sticking to the straight tisane with nothing added. The dried leaves are cut/torn into small pieces and are very lightweight, so I am hesitant to use the normal weight in grams for this teapot that I do with black teas — I have found 7-8 grams of these leaves seems to work well with 20 oz of boiling water for 6-7 minutes.

Flavors: Grass, Vegetal

Boiling 6 min, 45 sec 8 g 20 OZ / 591 ML
White Antlers

A company called ‘Runa’ used to sell bagged guayusa and I’d keep those in my work cupboard. It was convenient; no measuring so you always knew how much you’d be brewing. I don’t know that they are still in business.


I’ll check them out — thank you! I usually will measure out my teas each morning before going to work, then take them with me in a small cloth bag to brew when I am ready. My co-workers laugh at me for being so … peculiar about it. :)

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Another tea I forgot I had, but found once again while re-arranging my tea cupboard this week.

Definitely taste the muscatel and apricot in this — apricot is particularly strong as an aftertaste. Initial flavor is slightly floral. Also slightly astringent overall, but in a good way — not bitter.

As far as Darjeeling teas go, I prefer second flushes to first flushes. This tea is a perfect example of why — much more flavor and body. I’m glad I have enough of this one to last for the rest of summer!

Date of picking on label: 12 June 2017

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Floral, Muscatel

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec 6 g 18 OZ / 532 ML

I also prefer second flush Darjeelings, which is appreciated by my wallet.

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Husband and father. Librarian. Soccer fan.

My tea habits generally depend on my mood and the season but, in general, my preferred teas are black teas, especially those grown in Sri Lanka and India. I will occasionally drink other types, though.

Unless noted in my review, I brew my tea western style and do not use additives (milk/cream, sugar, etc.).

I am definitely not an expert when it comes to tea, so I apologize if my reviews differ from the experiences you’ve had with any of the teas I have logged.

Please feel free to contact me and let me know if you have a favorite that I have to try! :)

My grading for tea:

100: Perfect.

90, 95: Excellent.

80, 85: Very good.

70, 75: Good.

60, 65: Okay.

50, 55: Meh.

40, 45: Not so good.

0-35: Awful.


Northwest Indiana, USA

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