183 Tasting Notes

drank Pu-erh Ginger by Rishi Tea
183 tasting notes

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drank Bombay Chai by Steepster
183 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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drank Top Leaf by Mellow Monk
183 tasting notes

I think I received this in a swap from Cameron B. If yes, thanks so much!

Brewed in a shudei kyusu. Japanese green teas are so finicky for me and I was impatient today, so the temperature is rather high (I heat water in a saucepan), but each steep was only a few seconds long. I got good results.

The wet leaf smells delightfully of ripe persimmons. The liquor is dark neon green, thick, and full-bodied. A sweet and buttery feel with notes of squash, pumpkin, and a hint of clementine.

This is a sencha to drink after dinner – no bitterness or vegetables in this one!

190 °F / 87 °C 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

She gave me some too and I loved it as well!


Wow, you make this sound amazing! On the wishlist it goes!


It’s so different from what I’m used to!

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Thank you, Angel, for the samples and including me in the oolong flight!

Brewed with the gongfu method in a gaiwan. Followed the website’s instructions. 5 second rinse. Steeping times: 30, 30, 50, 70, 90, 120, 150, 180.

The session begins with a seaweed-y and sweet dry aroma, followed by a buttery wet aroma with a note of sugar snap peas. Wonderfully flagrant – one of the pleasures this tea offers. And the leaf itself is another. It has such a beautiful shade of green, and the leaves appear so lively as they float in the gaiwan.

The liquor is light greenish gold in color, clear and clean, and full-bodied yet light, like water from a small pristine pond. Though the flavors are not fully developed, the first infusion offers a creamy texture and a buttery sweetness reminiscent of kukicha.

The creaminess disappears in the infusions thereafter, though the smoothness doesn’t. The second infusion is very sweet with a creamed spinach aftertaste. Three, four, and five have a stronger floral note. Five in particular tastes of spring flowers that entice bees excited for fresh nectar after a long winter. Additionally, the texture is thicker, and the buttery note returns. I am reminded of shincha.

The sixth and seventh infusions have fewer flowers and more sweet candies. Ending the session, the eighth is the fruitiest and juiciest, with an aftertaste of strawberries, blueberries, and bananas.

This is only my second Da Yu Ling. A good one to end this oolong flight!

195 °F / 90 °C 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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