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137 Tasting Notes

I’m drinking the winter harvest version. You know how your life seems to progress from a love of simple, bold flavors (Hi-C?) to, say, fine Burgundies (yeah, I’m old) that you never would have remotely liked as a kid? I think I’m somehow enjoying this relatively more delicate but creamy, sweet, thick Jin Shuan at least as much as I ever enjoyed the bolder, crazier versions I’ve tried. I think it’s satisfying, thick body makes up for the relatively delicate (but delicious) flavor.

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Tasting this makes me think the first oolong I ever had many years ago must have been a tieguanyin. I brings back everything I love about it with its floral, mineral, mushroom notes. Finally a candidate worthy of filling the spot opened up by the out-of-stock Verdant Handpicked Autumn Tieguanyin. If they were both available, I think I’d have to flip a coin. This version has less-pronounced (but still present) hyacinth flavors in favor of a warmer profile.

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This is my new go-to green Earl Grey. There is nothing subtle here, just a strong, brisk, clean bergamot. I’m in the camp that sees no point in delicate bergamot and really wants to be knocked out by it, so this is a winner. But it’s not only strong, but a nice rounded, balanced flavor.

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When tea drinkers live dangerously. That’s actually kind of true here. Apparently you’re really not supposed to drink this stuff if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, and it has a ‘slightly stupefying’ relaxing effect. So it’s basically beer. In flavor it reminds me of….gin? Definitely a bit medicinal but not bad. It’s just a little piney. I’m definitely relaxed, but then, I’m spending an evening drinking tea, reading a cookbook, and playing with my dog. Really hard to pin down the culprit here. Still, I really think I need to keep this around.

Amanda Wilson

Neat! I did not know that any of the Rhododendron’s species were non-toxic (but I am so not a plant expert) I will have to give it a try.


Well, maybe ‘mildly toxic’ is the right description, at least if I’m interpreting WebMD’s summary correctly. I can live with that.


sounds like I might need to try it :)

Amanda Wilson

Yeah, I can live with mildly toxic ;)



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This has to be the most beautiful tea I’ve ever seen. You could throw it at weddings. Don’t try to brew it with a little spoon infuser though – even in my basket infuser, I barely stuffed 3.5 grams in there. Next time I might just use a strainer after brewing completely loose. I chose this one because it promises to help with seasonal allergies that seem to be popping up tonight. The flavor is sort of a cousin of chamomile, very comforting, a little less floral perhaps. I think I like it a bit better than chamomile. I’m halfway through the cup, and my allergies have subsided quite a bit, which I of course have to attribute to just being inside for long enough to make tea. Still, maybe it didn’t hurt? UPDATE: Oh it definitely worked. 30 minutes later, after being back outside, I was completely cleared up. My claritin doesn’t work that well. That’s crazy.

Amanda Wilson

A tea to help seasonal allergies, sign me up! Especially if it doesn’t have the spacey-icky side effects of allergy meds!


Wow, that’s great!

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Surprise after surprise after surprise. I plucked this tea more or less at random from a giant delivery of nearly all of Camellia Sinensis’ herbals. The first surprise: it looks just like that photo! All of their herbals look just like their ridiculous photos. They look like someone may have cut the stems out of a lovely dried bouquet. Next, the tea brewed up to a deep purple I’ve never seen in a tea. Then the flavor – floral herby basil. Emphasis on the herby basil. I think this will be the perfect pre-bedtime tea.

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This and the huang zhi xiang in Verdant’s latest club shipment have opened my eyes to dan congs, and I want to try lots and lots of them now. I think I once tried one I didn’t love and decided ‘dan cong bad.’ Duh. This one has a delightful woodsy sweetness, and I think the only reason it doesn’t go back on my wish list is that the huang zhi xiang knocked it off the list with its non-woodsy marmalade toast sweetness. Still, this is a really charming tea and still working on convincing me to keep it. Which I might.


I love Dancongs :)

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drank Silver Needle King by Shang Tea
137 tasting notes

I guess I’m reviewing me more than the tea. But after tasting this tea (and many others), I think I can finally make the sweeping statement that I like my white teas scented, blended, or cold brewed (which, at least the way I do it, seems to make them taste like black teas anyway). I certainly don’t hate this tea, but I wouldn’t pick it out of the collection voluntarily either. It turns out I don’t love that hay flavor. If you do like white tea though – you should really check out the other tasting notes on this. It gets raves.

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For whatever reason, this wants to take over the spot in my green tea collection reserved for Bi Luo. I just don’t need both, and I think I like this better than any Bi Luo I’ve had. It’s sweet and precious and delicate and borders on very light oolonginess (the highest praise, in my book). This is love.

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drank Loose Aged White Tea by Shang Tea
137 tasting notes

How charming this tea is. Start with a warm and toasty (not roasty) bi luo flavor, subtract any greenness, add a very slight sheng pu-erness, a touch of smooth Chinese black astringency, and a thick mouthfeel.

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I love cooking, gardening, photography, studying languages, alleys, riding bikes everywhere, snowboarding, travel, dogs, and oddly, housekeeping (as much as one can with another career). Also working on the lifelong dream of starting a business.

If I could only drink four teas ever again, they would be Black Beauty (Mandala), Huang Zhi Xiang Phoenix Mountain Dancong (Verdant), Silver Buds Yabao (Verdant), and Shan Lin Xi Concubine (Eco-Cha, at least the fall 2013). These teas are ridiculous.

Current tea shops under exploration:
Camellia Sinensis

Wish list:
Mountain Tea
Den’s Tea
Taiwan Tea Crafts
Tea Drunk
Suggestions welcome!


Orlando, Florida

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