326 Tasting Notes


Tea provided by Teavivre for review

Sniffing inside the tea pouch, I’m picking up on charcoal, some sweet scent and raisins.

First through fourth steeps were pretty good. The flavours suggested by the dry leaf scent were accurate. There was also a hint of chocolate in those steeps.

Continuing on for another two, the fifth and sixth steeps were pretty light but enjoyable.

Overall I liked it, but the liquor seemed to be lacking enough depth. Maybe I’m just being picky. Like I said though, it’s still a very enjoyable tea to drink. I’ll prepare this western style the next time I use more of this sample.

100ml gaiwan, 1 sample pouch (5g?), rinse and 6 steeps (as directed on their website: 25s, 40s,60s, 80s, 1m40s, 2m20s)

205 °F / 96 °C

Yes, 5g for a sample pouch!

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I need to be a bit more careful when I brew this tea. Usually when I short steep a black tea, I try and estimate 2 tsp of leaves into a gaiwan or small teapot. But this black tea is very compact, and 1 tsp of leaves totally fills up my purion teapot.

Moving onto the tasting notes;
Nothing really stood out too much flavourwise. It’s very malty, earthy, Yunnan-y(?). The tea liquor comes out pretty dark for a short steep, but it’s not too dark or heavy for me to enjoy in the summer.
Initially it seems pretty standard, but I don’t mind that at all.

100ml purion teapot, 1 tsp, 6 short steeps

(Going to hold off rating this until I try it a few more times)

195 °F / 90 °C

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This one really exceeded my expectations. Based solely on the description and picture alone, I was thinking it would be nice but kinda average (for its type). But it has a refreshing liquor, slightly fruity flavour, and the nice malty and earthy notes I expect.

And another thing, I don’t think the picture does this tea justice. Looking inside the bag, these leaves are big, beautiful and colourful. I know the appearance of leaves isn’t related to flavour, but it was a delight just to look at the dry leaves.

Overall I can’t say this is one of my (all time) favourite black teas, but it certainly has a wonderful charm. I’m looking forward to getting to the bottom of my 100g purchase. From the teas I’ve tried so far (and yet to review) from YS, they do a good job of providing a lot of black teas with different characteristics.

100ml purion teapot, 3 tsp (it’s hard to scoop the leaves out, so 3 is probably right for me), 6 short steeps

190 °F / 87 °C

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Recently I purchased six black teas from Yunnan Sourcing. The shipping rate is reasonable but not cheap, so for me it’s worth it to buy a lot of teas (550g total is a lot to me) in one order. On the plus side, my husband mostly drinks black tea at work and this will keep us both well supplied for a while.

Overall I had a nice and mellow six steeps. Nothing really unique caught my attention, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s a pleasant cup of Yunnan black tea to drink, and also fun to pry apart. Not disappointed.

100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp(?), 6 short steeps

205 °F / 96 °C

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drank Exotic Pear by Butiki Teas
326 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
326 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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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. I try to mostly short steep tea unless it only tastes better with a long steep. I’d rather experience what a tea tastes like over 3 or 12 steeps than just 1 to 3 long steeps.

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

How I rate tea:

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!)

85-89: Wonderful, couldn’t expect more but not a favourite.

80-84: 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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