336 Tasting Notes


Giant, ridiculously complex federal bid we’re preparing at work
+ ridiculously close deadline
+ an extension that really should be happening but has not been announced yet
+ contract officers have not posted answers to the questions we were allowed to submit up until 2 weeks ago
+ our draft proposal is quite rough right now when it should be much more polished
+ homework
+ life
goodbye, sleep. Hello, tea.

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I’ve been reading a book about tea recently, and I just went through a passage about sheng teas. Now I’m conventionally a shu person, but I was hit with a sheng craving that’s been lingering for a few days… luckily, I had a little bit of this left.

I’m doing homework and a little too distracted to do many steepings in the gaiwan, but I gave it a rinse, then did a 3 minute steep. I know shengs are really meant to be made in the gaiwan, and I would probably get so many more flavors if I did, but oh well.

Ahhhhh it hits the spot! So bright and high-pitched and woody. It reminds me of two things at once: 1) snapping a fresh young twig off a tree and chewing it, and 2) someone playing crystal glasses. (Speaking of which! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47TGXJoVhQ8)

It took me a long time to come around to shengs, but I think I almost crave them more than shus. I know shengs are the more “classic” pu erh variation, since shus have only been around since the 70’s, so it makes me excited to try even more varieties than I already have.

It is exactly my bedtime and I reeeeeeally shouldn’t be doing a second steeping of this… but I can’t do just one steeping on these leaves…. aaaaaagh…. tomorrow morning self, I’m sorry.

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drank Jane's Garden by Harney & Sons
335 tasting notes


Made this one in the kyusu tonight. I love that thing.

I remember being excited for the rose flavor in this one, but this tea never made much of an impression on me.

It’s not bad, it’s decent. It’s just never quite been what I’d wanted it to be. The dry leaf looks like grass clippings with some roses thrown in, and that’s exactly what it tastes like too. There’s a reason it took me so long to get through it. I wasn’t ever in the mood for it because just wasn’t remarkable enough to warrant a mood.

At least it woke me up enough to get through the last part of the evening…

Agh, crap. It’s bedtime already. Good night.


I felt the same about this one. I wanted to love it, but I just couldn’t.

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Did NOT have a good afternoon. My old grudge against Tuesday afternoons might be circling back.

Right now, I’m doing a combination of a comfort tea and some loud, crunchy hard rock.

I’ve had this tea so many times and it never gets old. It’s just so light and velvety at the same time. The bag even smells divine. If all things in life were this just-perfect, I would be a spoiled brat. :)

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Backlog from this morning.

I do not watch Downton Abbey at all, but this tea was gifted to me by my grandfather, who very much enjoys gifting me tea. :)

This was one of those Mondays I woke up moody for no reason, so it was a good one to do this tea, which is actually pretty light-hearted and sweet. It reminds me a bit of some of Harney’s blends, like Paris? It’s very vanilla and fruity, but there’s also a cherry note to it that’s a little on the strong side… slightly like cherry cough syrup, but not nearly as obnoxious. I was drinking it on the way out the door this morning, so I didn’t get the most nuanced picture.

All in all, not bad! I have a feeling it’ll grow on me as I drink it some more. I think it would be a good work staple. Lord knows I need to bring some of my tea to work…

Evol Ving Ness

What a lovely way of showing care your grandfather has!

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drank Silver Needle by Teavana
335 tasting notes

Seeing as this is my first time with a silver needle PERIOD, I probably shouldn’t have gone as far over the recommended leaf amount and steep time as I did, but I don’t think it suffered for it at all. I’ve been surprised in the past by how forgiving white teas can be.

The dry leaves are full and downy, almost adorable. I want to pet them. The wet leaves don’t unfurl very much; they stay pretty rolled (at least, mine did.)

Going to hold off on commenting about the aroma because I think there might be some influence from the last tea that was in this cup…

The flavor is light. It’s so. Light. It’s the lightest touch of pastel flower. I read “honeysuckle,” and I think that’s right. Bit of soap, but nothing abrasive. What else is there? There’s an airiness in the flavor. I read “hay” and I can taste that too. I don’t really know how to describe it… it’s not perfumey or artificial at all. It’s just very, very, very subtle, to the point where it’s almost a challenge to truly evaluate the flavor. At least, for me. But I can tell I really like it.

180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML

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I keep forgetting I have this one. Brewed it Western style this morning.

Dark, curled dry leaves. Heady smoke aroma, in the mid-treble “range” of scents, is the most noticeable scent, but there’s some forest pine and something slightly sweet.

The smoke seems a little punchier in the wet leaf aroma. Each time I smell the liquor, I get something slightly different: sometimes it’s a little brash, sometimes it’s sweet and deep, like some dark-colored fruit I can’t place.

The smoke rounds out in the taste, although it’s still at the forefront. Still fairly heady, but it has a depth that settles into the mouth. Getting a bit of pine and wood around the edges. Hint of earthiness. Slightly malty? Just a little little bit spicy, which lingers in the aftertaste.

Quite good, and a little more complex than the other smoky teas I’ve had.

Flavors: Earth, Forest Floor, Fruity, Pine, Smoke, Spicy, Sweet, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML

How is the strength of the liquor? I have a Wuyi Lapsang Souchong here that is fairly mellow with no bitterness even after 5 minutes of brewing. They use older leaves for the smoked blends.


This one’s about the same, or at least it was today that I brewed it for a relatively short time (per Western-style standards.) I don’t know if it’s quite as mellow as your Wuyi Lapsang Souchong – the smoke gets slightly brash at points – but it’s still fairly smooth. Pretty full flavor.

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Found this one in a Japanese market several months back, along with a gorgeous moss-green kyusu (Japanese tea pot with the side handle) and a few other teas.

It took me the longest time, and much trial and error, before I could consistently brew Japanese green teas well, but it’s paid off. They tend to have such crisp, cleansing flavors. I love drinking them in the evening.

This is a hojicha, so it’s a blend of roasted tea and roasted rice. So the flavor is this combination of grassy and, as one of my former bosses once described sake, “burnt rice krispies.” Normally I don’t like roasty flavors – I know a lot of people find them warm and comforting, but for some reason I feel them between my eyes.

This tea’s not my favorite, but I still kinda like it. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s nice and crisp or because I just like trying teas. I’d say it’s good quality.

Flavors: Grass, Rice, Roasted

150 °F / 65 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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The name’s Holly. 27. Work for a small IT company. About to finish a Master’s degree this winter. ISFJ for what it’s worth. I play various instruments (mostly bass guitar right now), attempt to write songs that I’m too scared to play for anyone, and I’m currently taking voice lessons. I also enjoy starting various hobbies, wearing monochromes, writing, cooking, taking walks, and various and sundry other things…

I’ve been a tea drinker since spring of 2013. Tea is a source of happiness, positivity, curiosity, and relaxation (…and caffeine) for me.

I’ve been on and off this site over the years, and I even had a separate tea blog at one point. For now, I’m just working on getting back in the habit of enjoying tea regularly and to its fullest.

Love: Malty Chinese black teas, shu/ripe pu erhs, soft flowery teas (esp. jasmine teas)

Like: Japanese green teas, sheng/ripe pu erhs, white teas

Still trying to get into: Most oolongs, chai teas

Not crazy about: Roasty teas, fruity teas, rooibos, many (not all) herbal teas

90-100: YEAH!
80-89: Nice! This is good stuff.
70-79: Respectable tea.
60-69: Not bad.
50-59: Middling. Not really worth it.
25-49: Eeeeeugh. Not good.
0-24: Did you know you can use tea leaves as odor absorbent?



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