300 Tasting Notes

This review is based off of my third time sitting with this shou. Had a gongfu session with a ruyao gaiwan. 30 second rinse (this piece was tough to decompress). I didn’t bother to keep track of steeping times. It kicked the bucket at around number 10 (ten minutes).

Why?? Why does it have to be overcast/rainy on weekends and when I have time off, but sunny when I have work?? I was planning on finishing off my sample this morning. I guess the timing couldn’t have been better. Other than damp earth and loam, the wet leaf aroma has a note of intense cocoa. The burgundy soup has a full and rich body, and a thick, creamy texture. It’s a bit cloudy for about seven infusions but clears becomes clear afterward. Super chocolately – one of the most chocolate-filled shous I"ve had. Later in the session I also taste prunes and raisins, especially prominent in the aftertaste.

Consistently rich, chocolately, and creamy – this is my kind of shou. I’m in a good mood today.


Boiling 8 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Crimson Lotus Tea

It’s sunny here today for some reason. Odd for a Seattle winter. That shou should be a good uplift for the overcast days though. :-)


It sure was!

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Another great sample from Kieblera5. Thank you!

Brewed in a ceramic gaiwan. 10 second rinse. Steeping times: 10, 15, 10, 10, 15, 15, 20, 40, 120.

The dry leaf smells of leather, and in the heated bowl, of chocolate and blackberries. The leather and chocolate notes are strengthened after the rinse. The first couple infusions are sour and lightly colored. Beginning with the third, the liquor suddenly darkens to garnet. This shou is dense with a chocolately sweetness and creamy texture. Fruity notes appear at the end of the session. Like a dark chocolate bar with fruits! (berries, raisins).

Boiling 8 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML
Crimson Lotus Tea

Double Dragon all the way!

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Having this a third time. The taste really depends what I scoop from the sample packet. I don’t think there is any stevia at all in this cup. There’s also none of that bitterness. Smooth. Tastes like what a summer meadow would smell – a variety of grasses and flowers. Much more enjoyable tonight! (I suppose I’m not a fan of stevia even in plant form.)

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Very beautiful dry leaf. Jasmine, stevia, osmanthus, chrysanthemum, and rose: an intriguing line of ingredients in an herbal tea. There is a slight bitterness, and I imagine that the stevia was added to counterbalance it. Personally, it’s a little too much stevia. Not that the amount overwhelms the ingredients, but there could be less sweetness. With that said, the stevia really stands out, but I can also taste the jasmine and chrysanthemum, with the rose lightly lingering in the aftertaste. (I do need to drink osmanthus by itself to tell what it tastes like.)

I feel more relaxed and sleepy, which is saying something since lavender tea is the only other tea to effect me thus so far. I would say try this blend if you’re curious about the combination of flowers.


Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Not a bad chocolate tea. I had four times in the past three days because ’Tis the season . I can taste the hazelnut flavoring, cinnamon, and cardamon (strongest to weakest), but the malty Assam base can easily overshadow these notes. This tasted best with a little less leaf and slightly lower water temperature than suggested, just so I could enjoy the non-tea ingredients.

Tastes alright grandpa-style , but wouldn’t do it again:


205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I had three gongfu sessions with their sample. This review is based off of all three, mostly the last one. Brewed with a ceramic gaiwan. 10 second rinse. Steeping times are from the second and third sessions: 6 seconds, 10, 10, 12, 12, 15, 15, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 45, 60, 90; 2 minutes, 4, 8.

I paid more than usual attention to the aromas for this sheng. I didn’t think it would change so much over the course of two months. After I broke the seal and opened the packet, I left the remainder of what I took out inside. It’s been warm and dry in the house. The aroma of the dry leaf as soon as I opened the packet was buttery and vegetal. After the rinse, the leaf smelled of apricot, and then the wet leaf aroma had green grass and white sugar. One month later, there was vanilla and lemongrass in the dry leaf, blackberry preserves in the rinse aroma, and lastly apricot – followed by vegetal and smoky notes later – in the wet leaf aroma. By the third session, two months later, the dry leaf aroma offered vanilla cake batter and apricots. Smelling the wet leaf directly – apricot preserves. The underside of the gaiwan lid – citrus and vanilla. Of course, I had to move on to the real show as soon as the water came to a boil.

Crimson Lotus gives the name imagining that the “tea trees were close enough to hear the gentle voice of the sun.” The sheng produced from these trees seems to be the one that whispers. The liquor (very pale yellow) has a very light feel in the mouth, akin to Silver Needles. Gentle, pleasant, soft, laid-back – name the synonyms. There was some bitterness in the beginning of the first session, but by the third, there was none. Notes of sweet grass and apricots are consistent. As each session goes on, the sweeter the liquor becomes, and little fruitier, with slight tang. I’m still surprised at how light this sheng is. The texture is smooth. Silky ‘round the middle. As for qi, I didn’t feel much. Caffeinated for sure. Also a little relaxed.

200 °F / 93 °C 8 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Crimson Lotus Tea

Great notes. Thank you for sharing.

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drank Barley Tea by Dong Suh
300 tasting notes

Beorhthraefn included a tea bag of this in the Secret Pumpkin package. Thank you!

I haven’t had bagged barley tea in more than five years, when I studied in Kyoto for a semester and my host mother would brew a large tea bag in a large tea pot a couple times a week. I don’t know how to evaluate barley tea, but I liked drinking this. Roasted, full-bodied, and warming.

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Beorhthraefn included a packet of this in the Secret Pumpkin package. Thank you!

Brewed in an infuser mug. The packet contains loose, fine-grain ginseng, which dissolved while being steeping. This tasted very strange. Sweet, also kind of bitter. It was weird sweetness. I want to say I quickly learned I didn’t like it, but I drank about 3/4 of the cup trying to discern what I was tasting. I tossed the rest away at some point.

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Beorhthraefn included a sample of Lover’s Cup by Sereni-tea in the Secret Pumpkin package. Thank you!

Brewed in an infuser mug. This is a white tea blend with rose petals and rose flavoring. It tastes like pure rose tisane but light, unlike actual rose tea. I can’t taste the Bai Mu Dan base at all. Not unpleasant, just OK to drink. Wouldn’t have it again.

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Beorhthraefn included a sample of Taj Mahal by Sereni-tea in the Secret Pumpkin package. Thank you!

I didn’t examine the leaf, but I remember it being close to a typical masala chai, containing whole but short leaf black tea, cinnamon, clove, cardamon , etc.

Brewed on the stove-top with almond milk. I shouldn’t made this with almond milk. It was my first time having it ever and I wanted to try masala chai with something other than 2% milk. Not only did it not properly boil, but it didn’t taste all that good (even by itself). But underneath that I could still tell that this blend tasted strong, malty, slightly peppery, and cinnamon-y. Average but OK.

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I began drinking tea because its complexity fascinated me. I love learning about its history, its manufacturing processes, and its place in various cultures.

My favorite teas are leafhopper oolongs and shou pu’erh, and my favorite herbal tisanes are spear/peppermint, lavender and chrysanthemum. I’m currently exploring shou and sheng pu’erh, and any Chinese and Taiwanese teas in general. I’m not much into flavored/“un-pure” teas, though I adore masala chai. The only teas I truly dislike are fruity tisanes and the ones that have too much fruit. I do like hisbiscus, especially iced.

I like to write nature essays. I’m a birdwatcher as well as a tea enthusiast. The kiwi is one of my favorite birds. I also like Tolkien, Ancient Egypt, and exercising.

IMPORTANT NOTE, PLEASE READ: After two and a half years of having an account here, I will no longer will provide numerical ratings as an addition to the review because the American school system has skewed my thoughts on numbers out of a hundred and the colors throw me off. Curses! My words are more than sufficient. If I really like what I have, I will “recommend”, and if I don’t, “not recommended”.

Key for past ratings:

96-100 I adore absolutely everything about it. A permanent addition to my stash.

90-95 Superb quality and extremely enjoyable, but not something I’d necessarily like to have in my stash (might have to do with personal tastes, depending on what I say in the tasting note).

80-89 Delicious! Pleased with the overall quality.

70-79 Simply, I like it. There are qualities that I find good, but there also are things that aren’t, hence a lower rating that I would have otherwise like to put.

60-69 Overall “meh”. Not necessarily bad, but not necessarily good.

0-59 No.

If there is no rating: I don’t feel experienced enough to rate the tea, or said tea just goes beyond rating (in a positive way).


Westchester, NY

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