1297 Tasting Notes

This looked like a green tea in pictures and was listed as such but I’m inclined to think it’s actually a herb. There are two types of Kuding tea traditionally, llex kaushue and Ligustrum robustum. This is the Ligustrum robustum trype, which is basically a shrub or small tree that grows all around Asia and is included in the top 100 invasive plant species across the world. Frankly that is misleading from the green tea description I saw when purchasing this so called tea.

As much as I don’t like being duped, I also don’t mind the chance to try something new. And just look at these Chinese medicinal claims: “disperse wind-heat, clear the head and the eyes, and resolve toxin, thus being used for common cold, rhinitis, itching eyes, red eyes, and headache. It is also said to calm fidgets and alleviate thirst, especially when one is suffering from a disease that causes fever or severe diarrhoea. It transforms phlegm and alleviates coughing, thus used in treating bronchitis. Finally, it is said to invigorate digestion and improve mental focus and memory.” – As taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuding
Also another read.

So this is a Chinese herb used in traditional medicine to aid with a number of ailments. As I am not ill I suppose the best it could do for me (should it be true information) is to help with my digestion and concentration.

The leaves are small and curly, bright green too which made me think it was a green tea (well that and the fact it was named a green tea). Once steeped the leaves open and they are very small but mostly fill leaf, and very cute! Also super duper bright green.

The steeped water smells slightly sweet but pretty unscented, though the colour is darkish cloudy yellow.

Flavour is sweet yet bitter and rather strong at times, though it reduces quickly. They don’t call Kuding Cha “bitter nail tea” for nothing! It’s not as bitter as you might think though, it’s manageable. It tastes like a very mild green tea that you’ve steeped a little too long and it’s bitter, but still with some sweetness and remaining fairly mild. Strange and unusual but not horrible or without it’s charm. Not something I can drink often but if it truly does have health benefits then I may drink it purely for that. Similar to how I started with matcha.

So this was not a tea, but a herb, and I’m still getting used to that. Though for all the mistakes in the labelling of this on AliExpress I am still happy I picked some up. I say some…it’s roughly 250g!


That’s a long list of health claims! It sounds interesting though. And Aliexpress always seems to have HUGE bags of tea, don’t they?


Yeah I know what you mean, the health list is too good to be true! Then again it’s the same for most things. It’s natural and well…frankly it made my stomach say “gruff” after I drank half a mug. Without being disgusting or graphic lets just say it cleaned my insides, gently though, which is good as I have IBS. So it does seem to do something! And yes AliExpress do huge bags of tea, though I can’t help but be dubious about them most of the time. Some of those prices and teas are also too good to be true at times.


Sometimes! But I’ve gotten some really good tea off Aliexpress from the Han Xiang Ecological Tea. I’ll have to check out this tea sometime when I’m doing my next order but in a smaller quantity.

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drank Dozy Girl by Bluebird Tea Co.
1297 tasting notes

A sample from the EU TTB box round 3 return.
Not a huge fan of lavender in tea but I will give it a go, on the upside I love lemon verbena so it may work out well.

Ooopph, perhaps not! The raw scent is lavender, with a side of lavender and more lavender. Strong yet sweet and pure but lavender all in all. Some herbs behind but not strong enough to work them out.

Steeped scent is sweet but still uber lavender. Also the tea is a pinkish tone. At times I think I can smell rose but it’s too difficult to tell.

Flavour is light-ish (at least) and while being lavender dominate is also highly floral and herbal too, giving it more elements. Quality wise it’s fresh with only minimal dryness in the after taste. Also some sweetness in this, though not as strong with the lemon verbena as I was hoping. Drinkable though for a non lavender fan, to the point where I may consider getting more as a bed time tea. It’s rare that I can stand lavender in tea but it truly does make me tired.

So not a great tea but it does the job, and in reality it’s quite nice.

Flavors: Herbs, Lavender, Rose

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drank OYGFIB?* by 52teas
1297 tasting notes

Another tea from the EU TTB round 3 return.

Orange and banana in a rooibos…interesting! I often love Franks banana blends so I’m looking forward to trying this one.

The raw blend smells oh so orangey but then sweets into oh so banana! Strange but oddly nice, though the rooibos is a little thick. The orange is waxy and bitter while the banana is ripe and sweet, top that with a wooden yet floral Rooibos scent and you have the scent foundations for this blend.

As soon as my husband poured the tea (I asked him nicely while I searched for some empty zip lock foil bags for tea) he asked “What’s that smell of?”. I forgot to mention we would be having a fruity tea. I declared orange and banana flavour Rooibos, he said he would never have guessed that.

I can taste the banana :D Sweet, very ripe, almost creamy, then the orange with it’s touch of waxy bitterness, then the Rooibos kicks in with it’s ahem..unusual..natural flavour. The banana wins the show for the most part, and the Rooibos I can put up with. No where near the awesomeness of my beloved Breakfast Smoothie blend but this has it’s charms.

Flavors: banana, Orange Zest, Rooibos

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drank Lychee Black Tea by Ten Ren
1297 tasting notes

Time to finish the EU TTB teas so I can start a new. The sign up is open by the way for round 4!

The raw leaf is wonderfully sweet and pure lychee like with a slight malt and smoke finish. Very pleasant!

Sampled with a drop of milk.
Flavour is malty yet sweet with lingering lychee notes and a touch of smoke. Seems to remain consistent throughout the sips as well, even as it cools. Though there is some dryness now in the after taste.

I admit that I’m not a lover of lychee, it tastes like artificial sweetener in my opinion. Overly sweet yet something almost chemical like about it. Love the smell but just not a fan of it’s taste. This is in general and not aimed at this specific blend. Still it’s pleasant enough!

Nothing I would miss or desire more of but a nice tea all the same.

Flavors: Drying, Lychee, Malt, Smoke


Ooh, a smoky lychee tea? I’ve never had something like that before. This is going on the wishlist!

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Having this tea as a re-visit since I didn’t rate it. Mostly because I couldn’t taste ANY plum flavour at all. So today I will try again and see if my husband notices anything too.

A few sips in and I still can’t taste plum. My husband replied that it may be for people that drink tea, I started at him (sometimes he thinks I love tea more than I love him) and he said “It’s a tea with plum and not a plum tea, it’s for people that want something ‘different’ but also the same”. I never thought about it that way before. Bragging rights and experimentation without actually putting yourself out there.

Still, it’s a nice black tea but nothing special….and I really REALLY wanted to taste the plum. So I will rate this tea, as it is a strong and drinkable black, but it will get down rated slightly for the complete lack of plum flavour.

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drank Vanilla Matcha by DAVIDsTEA
1297 tasting notes

Thank you David Webb for this tea.

I haven’t tried any form of matcha from Davidstea before…at least not to my recollection. So I thought this was be interesting to try.

The raw matcha smells a little like coffee….toasted and bitter but definitely coffee like. My husband said it smelled like dark chocolate. Either way we both agreed it was not vanilla like!

Steeping this traditional method – warm water with bamboo whisk
Ideally thought this would be good for latte’s but just want to sample it for today.

My husband took a sip and declared “Yummm, lovely!”. He’s not wrong! It’s light, sweet, creamy, grassy and slightly bitter but with a strong vanilla after taste. Nothing overtly chemical or fake tasting, but neither is it strong or nearly as vanilla like as I was hoping it would be. Still it’s nice enough and makes a change from my usual unflavoured matcha.

Still, I keep thinking at times I’m tasting something mocha like!


I wouldn’t be surprised if you did taste mocha in this one! I haven’t tried this one, and only their mocha matcha, but I swear both smelled nearly identical in the store.

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drank Gold Rush by DAVIDsTEA
1297 tasting notes

Thank you David Webb for this tea. The result of our recent Davids Tea/Whittard Tea exchange.

This is the first tea I am trying from those I received purely because the ingredients sound particularly delicious. Mulberries, coconut and white silver needle sounds inspired.

Steeping this in my new ceramic Chinese steeping mug, if you haven’t seen the pics on Instagram it’s the type that you remove the ceramic filter from the middle. Since this was large leaf/fruit blend it was suitable for use.

The raw blend smells super sweet and juicy with elements of fruit custard and jelly. Very strong but delicious, enough to tempt me to eat a mulberry from the mix :D Infact even when it’s finished the steeping time I found myself picking at the mulberries, my husband ate a few too!

Flavour is custard and cream like but the fruit has toned down from it’s raw form, though it is still noticeable (particularly in the after taste). Still rather jelly/jam like on the fruit front, probably because it’s so sweet. After a few sips the coconut comes through towards the after taste. The custard and cream really dominant, is it vanilla? Something similar if not. It lingers in the mouth nicely.

I love this one, didn’t expect to but it has everything I look for in a fruit tea. It’s sweet, fruity, creamy and it lingers in my mouth…plus additional bonus for ingredients of such good quality that you can eat them! Looks like another DavidsTea that has made it to my “Seriously need more” pile.

Flavors: Berry, Coconut, Creamy, Custard, Fruity, Jam, Vanilla

195 °F / 90 °C 7 min, 0 sec 5 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

oooh! this sounds delightful! :D (and I adore your new mug!)

David Webb

I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It’s such an unconventional tea. I find it a wonderful surprise every time.

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The leaves are dark brown/red with a few golden tips present. Also the leaves look small yet mostly full or at least half the leaf intact. It has a damp, earth scent with notes of wood, must and soil.

First Steep – 30 seconds

Colour is dark red with a musty and damp wood scent. Flavour is gentle with soft wood, smoke and damp earth notes. No astringency to speak of.

Second Steep – 40 seconds

The colours is now dark, similar to soy sauce. Flavour is smooth with a musty soil after taste that is gentle. A little damp tasting too.

Third Steep – 45 seconds

Flavour is still soft with damp soil, smoke, wood, musk and brown sugar notes. As it lightens towards the after taste it sweetens.

Fourth Steep – 55 seconds

Down to burnt orange in colour. This steep is more wooden and damp than musty, though the soft sweetness persists.

Fifth Steep – 1 minute

More soil in this steep though still soft and with no bitterness. Very clean and natural tasting. Slight dryness in the after taste.

Sixth Steep – 1 minute 20 seconds

Very light, all I can really taste is damp soil with a soft, sweet finish.

Seventh Steep – 2 minutes

Still consistent damp soil though no longer sweet.

Eighth Steep – 3 minutes

Softer than ever though still a faint soil flavour.

The thing that strikes me the most about this Shou is how subtle it is in flavour. The ageing has smoothed it to a nice place but personally for me this is too subtle. It has some characteristics that while still pleasant is nothing above basic.

For pics and more information on all of this months Yunnan Sourcing Premium Plan Club teas please view my blog.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Mud, Musty, Wet Earth, Wet Wood


I love your blog! Thanks for the link. :)

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The leaves are light and crisp to the touch which consist of dark brown and red colours with hints of green. They smell toasty and subtly creamy with floral and sweet wood tones.

Steeping Method: Gaiwan 100ml
Water: 100C
Tea: 7g
Rinse for 5 seconds.

First Steep
30 seconds
The liquid is yellow with a subtle toasted scent. Flavour is more complex than the scent, it’s buttery with a soft toasted base and a sweet floral after taste that lingers. Slightly bitter though it quickly smooths out.

Second Steep
40 seconds
Softer and highly buttery with an increase of floral flavours, such as lily, orchid and sweetpea. Also toasted hay elements. Some dryness in the after taste.

Third Steep
1 minutes
A wonderful balance, the flowers are now in front of a soft butter and toasted after taste which leaves my mouth perfumed.

Fourth Steep
1 minute 30 seconds
Lower levels of butter and a touch of bitterness but the flowers still blossom in this steep.

Fifth Steep
2 minutes
Very light, all that remains are subtle flowers and a dry after taste.

This was a delightful Oolong, filled with buttery floral notes and lightly toasted. The flowers eventually became perfumed and dry but remained acceptable.

Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Toasted

Boiling 7 g

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The leaves are a gorgeous blend of gold and brown which reminds me of a lions mane. They are thinly rolled and long, with some being curly. It has a sweet malt scent with gentle smoke and wood notes.

Gaiwan 100ml

First Steep
45 seconds
The liquid is amber in colour with a sweet yet smoky malt scent.
Flavour is light with dark smoke, malt, wood and prune fruit tones.

Second Steep
1 minute 20 seconds
Richer and stronger, this steep with more smoke tones that lighten into a cream and malt finish that lingers. Fruit comes through in the after taste, specifically prune and fig.

Third Steep
2 minutes
Lighter but still with flavour. Malt and wood with soft leather and some dryness. The fruit is very subtle now.

Fourth Steep
3 minutes

Similar to the first steep, this is light and sweet with malt and smoke tones albeit subtle from what it once was.

This was a nice tea that offered a blend of gold tip and full leaf flavours. It was darker than I thought it would be given the high level of golden tips but still very pleasing. Not the best I’ve tried but still very nice.

Flavors: Fig, Malt, Smoke, Sweet, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C

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I’m 27 years old from Leicester, England named Kayleigh. I have a wonderful husband called Richard whom I am very lucky to have in my life.

I started off many years ago drinking herbal and fruit teas which over time peaked my interest in trying new types. Eventually I began to import and sample many different teas and cultures which I still do today. My life goal is to try as many teas and ways of having tea as possible.

Tea wise my cravings change constantly from pu erh one month to jasmine green to the next and so on.

I adore cats and have four of my own called Honey, Cassie, Mr Soots and Ivory.

I also have two fish tanks which thankfully my cats have no interest in. They house an array of tropical fish and shrimp.

I am a proud vegetarian and have been for the majority of my life. When I say vegetarian I mean just that as well, no fish or seafood, no chicken now and again, no animal products such as gelatine and cochineal.

I also enjoy watching Japanese Anime and horror films.

I am always up for tea swaps so if you see anything in my virtual cupboard then please contact me.

A short list to help swapping with me easier though honestly I am not fussy and am willing to try anything. Plus the notes below are usually, sometimes I love a tea that has an ingredient I tend to dislike and other times I hate a tea that I thought I would love.

Likes: Any fruit but especially melon and orange, vanilla, all tea types (black, green, white etc), nuts (any), flowers, ginger, chai.

Dislikes: Licorice, aniseed, clove, eucalyptus, lavender.

My rating system
I have my own way of rating teas that makes each one personal. I have different categories, I rate each tea depending on what it is made of. For example: I rate green teas in a different way to black teas or herbal teas. So black, white, green, Pu Erh, Rooibos, Oolong, blends and tisanes all have their own rating system. That way I can compare them with other teas of the same or similar type before for an adequate rating. And when I do give top marks which is very rare I am actually saying that I would love to drink that tea all day, every day if possible. It’s a tea that I would never turn down or not be in the mood for. So while I agree that no tea is 100% perfect (as nothing is) I am saying that it’s as close as it comes to it. After all, in my book the perfect teas (or close to perfect anyway) are ones that I could drink all the time. That is why you will find a high quality black or Oolong will not have as high a score as a cheap flavoured blend, they are simply not being compared in the same category.


Also a proud SororiTea Sister


Leicester, England, United Kingdom



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