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302 Tasting Notes

drank Exotic Pear by Butiki Teas
302 tasting notes

Sipping down the last sample swapped by @Amy Oh

Wow, my first thoughts after sipping this were “kool-aid!”. I don’t know, something about the flavoured white tea made me think that.
As I kept drinking, more the the light, refreshing, floral aspects came out. I can see why this is named exotic pear, it kinda reminds me of pear flavour. It also seems like a flavour that might do well iced.

Thanks for the weird experience Amy. ;)

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec

you’re welcome!

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Sample swap provided by @Amy Oh

I haven’t had a FF Darjeeling since last year, so this was refreshing to drink.
Unfortunately I do not have a lot of experience with darjeeling black teas, so I can’t comment too much on this one experience as to it’s quality. Overall, it tasted like an enjoyable darjeeling and none of the characteristics were off-putting.

Thanks for the sample Amy!

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

oooo! Too bad I love my darjeelings. :)


I like them, just haven’t invested a lot of time and money into trying enough.

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Here is a short back story on my decision to purchase this tea. Last year when I was trying a bunch of black teas from Camellia Sinensis (my first year purchasing from them too), I was pretty overwhelmed by all of the options. Not knowing which teas would sell first, I didn’t prioritize buying this one. And well, as you can tell by where this story is going, it sold out! Fast forward to this year, I saw Mei Zhan Zhen was back in stock and immediately purchased it. (Now that a month or two has passed, this tea is once again unavailable.)

Onto my tasting notes:

Dry leaves have a strong sweet and floral fragrance. It also makes me think of marzipan or cinnamon rolls.

First steep: As expected, it does taste very floral, but still in an amount I can tolerate. Sipping some more, there is a very enjoyable mix of aromas: spices, floral, pastry, earthy black tea flavour. The tea body isn’t heavy, but I wouldn’t say that it is too light.

Second steep: I like how the flavours continue to build up, but none of the many flavours screams out at you. The more I sip, the more some other type of aroma comes out (reminds me of pine trees or something).

Third steep: Still maintaining a consistent flavour, not weakening yet.

Fourth steep: The liquor has become darker, and the flavour has really exploded too. Both the spices and floral aroma shine in this cup. I like how there is this fuzzy, velvety, and thick texture to the liquor has it goes down.

Fifth steep: Pretty similar to the fourth steep, maybe a touch more harsh and astringent.

Sixth steep: Tea liquor has weakened a bit, but otherwise the aroma is still powerful.

Seventh through ninth steeps: Floral, spices, and pastry flavours are still noticeable. I stopped on the ninth because I was pretty satisfied and full of too much tea. ;) If my husband were around to help with drinking it, we could probably get a few more steeps out.

I think CS does a good job of not only providing a lot of excellent black teas, but ones that different enough from each other. This is a pricey one, but I’m looking forward to at least buying another 25g next year.

Overall I found it to be a charming black tea. It shares a lot of characteristics I’ve come to seek, but also provides new and unique characteristics that make it memorable. As someone who can be turned off of floral black teas, I think this is a good balance between the very earthy black teas and overly floral ones.

100ml purion teapot, 2 tsp, 9 steeps (30s, +15s each resteep)

200 °F / 93 °C

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Tea swap sample provided by @Amy Oh

This turned out to be a very interesting experience. I didn’t really expect such a dark colour and bold aroma from white tea. That being said, I wasn’t confident enough to write tasting notes, because I was so focused on just enjoying the tea.

So I’ll pass on rating it, and maybe purchase some in the future. It seems like the sort of tea you’d have to make a few times to appreciate.
On a scale of I hated or loved it, this is somewhere between this is really cool and I liked it a lot (not loved it).

100ml gaiwan, 5g, 6 steeps
(Sorry for the vague tasting notes!)

195 °F / 90 °C

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drank Black Beauty by Mandala Tea
302 tasting notes

Tea swap sample provided by @Amy Oh

This seemed like a nice, mellow, Qimen-like tea. Unfortunately my husband I drank through our 6 steeps too quickly for me to write enough notes. We’re not big Qimen fans, so I’ll refrain from rating this tea. (Not to say it’s bad, because it’s an enjoyable black tea. But I have a bias)

It also reminds me of Tao Tea Leaf’s Mei Zhan. Which keeps the same mellow Qimen theme going on.

100ml gaiwan, 5g, 6 steeps (rinse, 15s, 30s, 45s, 1m, 1m30, 2m)

195 °F / 90 °C

Interesting, this did not remind me too much of a typical Qimen…


It’s the sort of flavour that really sticks out on my tongue. But this one is so mellow that it doesn’t overwhelm my senses.

I have the same problem with anything rose or lavender scented. Having a bit of it is ok, but if the flavour really builds up it just irritates me.

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Sample provided by @Amy Oh

I was pretty excited to try this when Amy Oh offered to mail away 5g of her sample. I’ve never tried tea from Norbu before, but I have tried 3 other black teas from Guangdong, China. They all tasted pretty different, so I was wondering what sort of category this one falls into.

Sniffing inside the sample pouch, I’m picking up on cherry, earthy, maybe something kinda sour. The scent of sour and cherry is mouthwatering.

First steep reaffirms what the dry tea leaves suggested. Very earthy aroma with sour cherry, mild sweetness and roasted flavour. I can kinda also taste something that reminds me of chocolate, but it’s very faint.

Second steep brought out more of the roasted and sour flavour. The tea body itself is nice, there is a nice depth to it.

Third steep is getting astringent (borderline annoying), but all the other flavours are still going strong. The earthy, sour cherry flavour might not really describe what I’m tasting. But it’s the best rough description I can come up with.

Fourth and fifth steep lost some of the astringency, which made it more palatable. However the tea flavour is starting to weaken.

I decided to end on the sixth steep because the astringency was starting to rub me the wrong way. Sometimes I like that characteristic, but if it’s too prominent, the mouth-drying sensation is nice enjoyable.

Overall I like this tea, it’s pretty much the same as another one I tried from the same province (Feng Huang Hong Cha – Camellia Sinensis). Flavour wise, it’s pretty different from most of the black tea I’ve had the pleasure to drink. However it’s a great flavour that I couldn’t stand to drink all the time, it just ends up annoying me (if that makes any sense).

100ml gaiwan, 5g, 6 steeps (15s, 30s, 45s, 1m, 1m30, 2m)

195 °F / 90 °C

i’m glad you liked it!


I like it, but I don’t think I could drink it more than once a month.

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This came with my last Teavivre order of teas as a sample. I went a little overboard buying greens so I have not touched the samples much. ;)

Sniffing the lid of the gaiwan after the rinse step. I’m picking up on a strong buttery and slightly smoky (or similar) smell.

First steep tasted much like I expected; boldly vegetal and buttery. There is also a biting sort of characteristic. Not quite bitter,but it still pulls on my senses like bitterness. (in a good way)

Second steep was milder but slightly more bitter and astringent. Overall tastes very “green” and flavourful.

Third and fourth steeps were both great, with the latter beginning to lose some flavour.

Overall I like how bold the green, vegetal flavour gets. However it’s not one of my fav green teas. There are aspects of it I like, others not so much, but still an enjoyable experience. I prepared it in a gaiwan, so I can’t comment whether or not it’s any better in a teapot.

100ml gaiwan, 3g of tea, 4 steeps (rinse, 30s, 50s, 1m20s, 1m40s as recommended on their website)

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drank Wu He by Camellia Sinensis
302 tasting notes

This is my first chance to drink a green tea from Taiwan. On top of that, I do not have a lot of experience with green teas. So I won’t know how this stands up against other great green teas.
Anyway ,onto the tasting notes:

First through third steeps had a very consistent flavour. It was a light, smooth and velvety, sweet, buttery, floral, and vegetal.
What caught my attention the most were the sweet and velvety characteristics. And the floral aroma helps bring it all together nicely. It wasn’t just a satisfying cup, it was an interesting experience in each sip.

Overall, not a favorite but it didn’t disappoint me. I still prefer drinking oolong from Taiwan, but I wouldn’t mind trying more green tea from Taiwan in the future.

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This was the first tea I tried from my recent Teavivre order. At first when I brewed it up, I was too cautious. I only used 1 tsp of leaves and did very short steeps (10s). But it didn’t taste strong enough and there was no bitterness. So today I’m trying it with more leaf and a longer steep time.

Obligatory sniff in the bag: Smells really green and creamy with a hint of fruit (lychee)

First steep: Has a much stronger vegetal scent than taste. Very light, sweet, slightly vegetal and fruity. Aftertaste reminds me of sugar snap peas.

Second steep: Very refreshing, maybe slightly bitter but not too noticeable. It’s becoming quite buttery and vegetal, with the sweetness remaining.

Third steep: Still has a very consistent green and buttery flavour from the previous cup.

I purchased this tea on a whim. My apartment gets really hot in the summer and I was craving some green tea to drink. So I ordered 3 green teas from Teavivre, which themselves also came with some green tea samples. ;) Along with my recent Camellia Sinensis order, I went from having no green tea to 7! LOL
A year ago I wouldn’t even think about buying so much green tea. I’d had so many bad experiences with, what I assume was either old green tea or uhh choppy bagged stuff. (And it doesn’t help if they give you bad steep instructions) So I’m very glad that Teavivre helped turn me onto fresh green tea.

Overall I like this green tea. It’s not my favourite type of tea, but I’ve learned to enjoy it more. What I like most is it’s ease of brewing (it doesn’t come out bitter) and the slight sweetness.

100ml gaiwan, 2 generous tsp (hard to scoop so I had to be generous), 3 steeps (1m, 1m, 1m15)

195 °F / 90 °C

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Feel free to add me on Steepster, I’ll probably add you back. :)

I don’t log tea every time I drink it. Tasting notes tend to be about either one style of brewing or a new experience. It is helpful for me to look back on my notes and see what a tea tasted like or which steeping parameter worked best for me.

When I write “tsp”, the measurement I use is a regular western teaspoon. Not a tea scoop

What my tea ratings mean:

99-100: Teas that blow my mind! An unforgettable experience. Savoured to the last drop. I felt privileged to drink this.

90-98: Extraordinary, highly recommended, try it and you won’t be disappointed (and if you are, mail me the tea!)

80-89: Excellent, a treasured experience but not a favourite.

70-79: Good but could be better. Above average.

60-69: Average, unexceptional, not something I would buy again. Slightly disappointed. I’d rather drink water.

50-0: Varying degrees of sadness

No rating: Mixed feelings, can’t decide whether I like it or not, not enough experience with that sort of tea to rate it. A dramatic change of heart.


Ontario, Canada

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