185 Tasting Notes

drank Jin Pin Black Tea by Yezi Tea
185 tasting notes

Ost included a sample of this in her Christmas Card. Thank you, Ost!!

Brewed in a test tube steeper. Steeping times: 20, 40, 60, 120.

The dry leaf smells uncannily like caramel-filled chocolate candies, while a rich smoky and somewhat chocolately aroma arises from the wet leaf. The liquor is a beautiful golden orange color, and has silky smooth texture. Very clear, except for the fuzzies from the leaves – makes for a nice sight when you hold the steeper in the light. Flavorful and full-bodied. Offers fudge and caramel with a bold smokey note.

I’ve come to learn that smoke in teas doesn’t appeal to me unless it’s lapsang souchong, but this is a delightful and well-made black tea nonetheless.

195 °F / 90 °C 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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drank Pu-erh Ginger by Rishi Tea
185 tasting notes

Thank you, Veronica, for including a sample of this in the Christmas card! I did not follow the directions and only dumped half into the teapot (directions call for 1 tbs – yipes).

I never would have thought to try this on my own. Not much of a ginger fan unless it’s in tea with plenty of other ingredients, and I’m hesitant about shou in blends.

Here, the shou is earthy and smooth – not much else going on. The ginger adds a good kick. It’s an odd combo but works. A very nice winter tea! Especially when it’s overcast booooooooooo.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I’ll use a full tablespoon when I have a cold. The combination of the shou and ginger is comforting and seems to help get rid of the yuck. Otherwise I use less leaf, too. :)


I used the last half today. I think it’s growing on me…

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This is from The Cookie Lady’s Christmas card. Thank you!!

I wish the website would specify where the leaves came from, but this tastes very Kenyan/Tanzanian. Of course, I drank this plain. The liquor has a lovely burnt orange color – sunrise! Full-bodied, smooth, bold, malty, a hint of honey. It was also somewhat bitter for my taste, but that’s most likely from steeping a bit too long (3 minutes would have sufficed). Absolutely perfect for the morning, as your first cuppa of the day.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cameron B.

Yeah, I really hate it that most websites don’t tell you what kind of tea it is… :(


Maybe a lot of people aren’t quite at the level as we are as tea enthusiasts.

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drank Bombay Chai by Steepster
185 tasting notes

This one is from Thain of Buckland’s Christmas card. Thank you for thinking of sending me chai! Brewed both servings (two tsp in two filter bags) on the stove-top. Brought to a boil, simmered for five minutes, added 2% milk and white sugar, brought to a boil again.

The dry leaf smells delicious – I’m able to discern cinnamon, ginger, and orange rind. Reminds me Constant Comment. The aroma is a pleasure to savor as the leaf is simmering.

This is an alright recipe. Good spices, good ratio. It’s definitely spicy, though not biting, more on the tamer side. On the down side, I wasn’t able to find notes from the Assam, and I didn’t particularly find the citrus/orange zests appealing.

However, my dad, lover of masala chai, approves. Check plus for him! (The rating is mine.)

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From *Nicole*’s Christmas card! Thank you! Brewed Western-style.

I’m wary of non-“pure” oolongs, but the lavender and oolong surprisingly complement each other. The aroma is clearly in favor of the lavender – very fragrant, a good thing I’m a lavender/aroma lover. However, in the liquor, the notes of this lightly oxidized oolong are able to appear without effort. Floral, creamy, and slightly mineral-y. The floral flavor is what allows the lavender – which isn’t overpowering at all – to be able to steep so well with the oolong.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Brewed on the stove-top. Brought to a boil, simmered for seven minutes, added 2% milk and white sugar, brought to a boil again.

This is one of my all-time favorite teas, one of my most favorite blends, and my all-time favorite masala chai blend. It is atypical. Its base tea is a Chinese black tea – very long and twisty. There are the typical ingredients, such as cinnamon ginger, and peppercorns, And then there ingredients I’ve never seen used before: as tulsi, goji berries, galangal, elderberry, etc. The dry leaf is gorgeously colorful.

The complete preparation gives you a bear hug. Such an inviting aroma as the tea simmers. Such a cozy and roasty feel as I drink. The tulsi, ginger, peppercorns, and goji berries especially stand out. Excellent (amount of) fresh spices – because unlike in some other masala chai blends, they truly offer a bite even when milk and sugar are added (supplementary ingredients that, I think, enhance the overall taste and experience).

My dad – a non-tea drinker – generally loves masala chai and also considers this one his favorite. It’s a treat every Friday – “chai Friday”!! :)

3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

That’s a really good one!!

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Brewed Western-style. Steeping times: 45, 60, 120, 240.

One of Verdant’s more intriguing blends. It struck me when I first drank it months ago. The dry leaf looks absolutely lovely – the tan coriander and fennel seeds provide contrast against the little dark green curled leaves – and offers a minty, tulsi-filled aroma. Mmmmm.

The first infusion is very minty. Having run out of steam, the mint fades drastically in the later infusions. This results in the other ingredients and the base tea are able to come out from hiding, thus creating a good balance between a spicy, herbal tang and a nutty, buttery flavor.

I’m wary of green tea blends, but I can say with confidence that this one is my favorite.

175 °F / 79 °C 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Brewed Western-style.

Seems like a love-hate kind of thing.

Well, I really like it! Smells mostly of tulsi (which I don’t mind). What strikes me most about this tea is its intriguing ingredients – they create a mix of sweet, spicy, and herbal flavors curled up in one cup. Tastes medicinal in a good way. Most certainly a cozy tea for winter. Goal achieved for Verdant!

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Second to last I tasted in the sheng sampler. Brewed with the gongfu method in a gaiwan. 10 second rinse. Steeping times: 10, 10, 15, 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 120, 150, 180.

The dry aroma has notes of dried grasses, tree bark, and a hint of spices. The wet leaf aroma smells sweet and fruity – sugarcane, grapes, plums, brown sugar, cranberries, all in the following order as the leaves cooled. A pleasure to stick my nose the gaiwan throughout the session. Nearly addictive.

The liquor is pale gold, medium-bodied, clear, and smooth. Consistently mild with a lively and bright personality. Due to my palate not being suited for sheng, I mostly discern sweet dried grass, though it is a kind of grass that is not off-putting, and the taste becomes more sweet than grassy as the session goes on. A juicy aftertaste stays with me minutes after I finish each cup. And each next cup I look forward to having. At the eighth infusion, grape and wine emerge notes. I am enlivened and comforted during this gray, cold late autumn afternoon.

I enjoyed this sheng greatly. Definitely my favorite in the sampler.

7 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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From the sheng sampler. Brewed gongfu-style with a gaiwan. 10 second rinse. Steeping times: 10, 10, 15, 15, 30, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 120, 180.

The dry leaf aroma offers a delicate fragrance of fresh honey, while the wet leaf smells of green peppers, and then of bamboo and a thick conifer forest.

The liquor is golden, clear, thin-textured, and full-bodied. The session begins with a light grassy and prickly cup, and a peach aftertaste. Thereafter, a bitter green pepper note dominates. The fourth infusion, additionally, has walnut and pecans, and the beginning with the fifth infusion, is a sweetness underneath. I also taste a forest floor, the sort of forest that big and crowded with trees, the sort of floor that has layered beds of moss and dried and freshly fallen pine needles. The feel is light yet powerful.

Despite my words, this isn’t for me (well, it is sheng, but I felt the need to broaden my tastes with the sampler anyway). I can’t be appreciative of it unfortunately.

7 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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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 Japanese greens, and my favorite herbal tisanes are peppermint, lavender and chrysanthemum. So far I like exploring dark oolongs, Chinese blacks, and, most recently, shou pu’erh. African teas are my babies. The only teas I truly dislike are fruity tisanes and the ones that have too much fruit. (Hibiscus – I actually like alone.) Not much of a fan of sheng pu’erh either.

I’m an MFA graduate who studied nonfiction writing and am now an editorial assistant. I mostly write nature essays. I’m birder as well as a tea enthusiast. I also like exercising, Tolkien, and Ancient Egypt.

How I rate:

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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