315 Tasting Notes


When I ordered samples of this tea, I thought I’d be trying for the first time. I completely forgot I tried it last spring! (hence the rating – from the first note) I didn’t log it in my journal for some reason. I was scrolling through Teavivre’s reviews and found one that looked familiar…. My palate has changed a lot in ten months.

This is tasting note 2 out of 4 in the Teavivre Dian Hong series. Had a gongfu session with my ceramic gaiwan. No rinse. Steeping times: 5 seconds, 5, 5, 5, 8, 8, 10, 12, 18, 30, 45, 90; 2 minutes, 5, 9, 15.


Besides the visual appeal, I appreciate the complex aroma this leaf offers. The dry leaf smells like what I expected from a Chinese red tea: sweet potatoes. (Boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew). I then let the leaf rest in the heated gaiwan. From that, I smell brownies and cinnamon with a hint of freshly baked buns. The wet leaf aroma initially has notes of oregano and rosemary, but later in the session brownies return.

The liquor color is bright orange (stolen from Teavivre’s mouth, but there is no other accurate way to put it – unless it’s HALLOWEEEEEEEN!!!! https://www.instagram.com/p/BC5dBP2QNuh/). Full-bodied, clear, clean tasting. Texture is lacking, but the second infusion felt soft.

The taste isn’t as complex as the aroma, but it was still enjoyable. (I don’t have as much to say about as the aroma – usually, it’s the opposite.) Beginning with a malty first cup, the flavors quickly evolve to a rounder taste of sweet potato and then to rich brownies. Both of these are combined late in the session. Odd, makes sense, still delicious.

The quality is a couple ladder steps up from Teavivre’s regular Dian Hong – 50 cents higher for the sample. It’s not “cheap” cheap for 100g, but it makes a better daily drinker for those who want better quality for a reasonable price. Additionally , this Dian Hong gives off good energy.

175 °F / 79 °C 7 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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This review is based on the 2015 harvest. Had a gongfu session with a glass pot. Gave the leaf a quick rinse. Steeping times: 30 seconds, 60, 90; 2 minutes, 5.

The fuzzy dry leaf has various hues of green, which become more vibrant after steeping. I particularly liked the rinse coloration:


Most of the leaves are whole. They consist mostly of individual leaves, and a few a leaf and a bud and two leaf.

The dry leaf aroma has notes of gentle seaweed and corn. Once hit washed with water, the aroma becomes stronger, smelling of buttery zucchini and a general sweet, fresh green vegetable hodge-podge.

The liquor is tinted with a very pale green. The body is full. Heavy with flavor, but not heavy itself – light in the mouth. Smooth and creamy texture. The first infusion tastes vegetal and a little sweet with sugar snap peas. Thereafter, the flavor becomes so sweet that it is reminiscent of a Taiwanese rolled high mountain oolong. Very candy-like. It also has a slight cooling effect in the back of the throat. This combination reminds me of the Japanese milk-mint candy. The liquor, though, retains its vegetal essence.

Nothing was short of enjoyable, even though it’s been a year since the leaf was harvested.

5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Part 1 of 4 in my Teavivre Dian Hong series.

Gongfu session with a ceramic gaiwan. Went by Teavivre’s steeping times. 3 second rinse. 10 seconds, 10, 10, 10, 15, 15, 24, 45, 60, 75, 90; 2 minutes, 4, 8.

Evolving aroma. The dry leaf smells malty and chocolately. After letting it rest in the heated gaiwan bowl, I get more chocolate and a slightly plant-like note, too. Rinse and following, the wet leaf aroma progresses from malt to earth to chocolate. (Moreover, it might be my slightly stuffed nose (I really tried un-stuffing it), I smell a hint of Windex underneath everything. This also might have to do with packaging (I bought this sample in November 2015 and it’s now March 2015, nearly a year later after this tea was processed). Not deterring, but puzzling. It disappeared in the middle of the session.)

Beautiful deep golden liquor. Clear and clean. Brisk in taste and even the lingering aftertaste. Full-bodied. A bitter malt dominates the first couple infusions and disappears after the third infusion. The profile is now much sweeter. I taste – in order of strength – orange zest, freshly cut wood, and plums and dates. Not much to say texture. The third infusion is creamy, but it simply feels clear most of the time.

This a lower grade Dian Hong. The leaves are mostly broken; the few whole leaves are short. Not exciting, but the quality is good.


185 °F / 85 °C 7 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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I drink this both Western and grandpa-style.

This chrysanthemum is lovely all-around. The flowers come to life when steeped. Vibrant creamy yellow. The infusion has a gentle feel in the mouth and is very mild in floral strength. Clean and bright. I drink this in the evening.


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

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Thanks to Stephanie for sending me a mini tuocha in her swap!

Had a gongfu session with my ceramic gaiwan. I pried the tuocha apart. About half went in the bowl. Gave it a ten-second rinse. Let it sit for ten minutes. Steeping times: 10 seconds, 10, 15, 20, 30, 60; 6 minutes.

After sitting in the heated bowl, the dry leaf smells of earth, then leather, then chocolate. The rinse aroma is delicious: chocolate-covered coffee beans! I mostly smell leather thereafter.

The soup is dark, clear and full-bodied. Flavor fills the mouth. The texture is creamy most of the time (smooth in the middle of the session). It begins with sweet earth and a hint of chocolate. From the second infusion to the last, I taste black coffee and a bit of old leather. The bitterness from the coffee is not off-putting – it reminds me of higher quality coffee. In the back of the throat, during the aftertaste, there are notes of dark fruit (raisins, acai berry) and dark chocolate.

I thought this was alright. I enjoyed the creamy texture and the intense flavor, but I learned I’m not keen on black coffee in my shou. Glad I got an opportunity to sample this!


4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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I am dedicating my 300th note to this lovely young sheng.

I had two gongfu sessions with a ceramic gaiwan, but this review is based on the third session with my Jian Shui pot. Did a 10 second rinse. Steeping times: 5 seconds, 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, 18, 25, 35, 50, 70, 90, 90, 120, 150, 180; 5 minutes, 7, 10.

The dry leaf has a powerful aroma – very buttery and sweetly vegetal. The wet leaf aroma evolves the more I steep the leaf, beginning with the same buttery note, slowly becoming sweeter and sweeter, ending with pure apricot.

The soup is light yellow, incredibly clear right off the bat, and medium-bodied. I confess that I didn’t eat much the day of this session, but this would prove that Midas Touch was not harsh on the stomach. It’s easy-going. (ymmv, actually)

The first infusion is light with a slightly bitter grassy note and a silky texture. Between the second and tenth infusions – the bitterness now completely gone (so fast, wow!) -, the grassy, vegetal notes gradually wane as peaches and apricots ever so slightly become stronger, first making their appearances in the aftertaste. At this point, I lowered the water temperature to 190. Huge difference. Pure fruit begins with the eleventh infusion. While no longer silky, the texture is wonderfully smooth.

Of the several 2015 shengs I’ve tried from CLT, this is the most flavorful. It is packed with energetic mouthfeel. I drank nine infusions in only THIRTY MINUTES. I simply kept going without even realizing and had to force myself to take a long break. I drank all 19 infusions between 1 and 5 o’clock. You would think I’d be well over-caffeinated, but as I wrote before, Midas Touch is easy-going for a young sheng so intense in flavor.

I would highly recommend it, but it’s all sold out. This is what I get for only purchasing a sample and then waiting several months before having a fantastic session………



Boiling 6 g 3 OZ / 88 ML
Crimson Lotus Tea

Here’s to another 300 reviews; Cheers!


Thank you! :D

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I took this off of *TheLastDodo*’s hands.She was kind to sent the entire packet.

The dry leaf has an appealingly sweet, orange aroma. The infusion has a soft texture and is full with flavor. I can mostly taste the orange and the rooibos, which are strong. The aftertaste starts of with orange juice, but seconds later reveals light notes of hibiscus, rosehips, and then vanilla.

I was pleased to find an orange-flavored tea, since there aren’t many. For those wary of hibiscus, I don’t think you’d have to worry about it overpowering this herbal blend. I enjoyed this one.

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

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drank Peppermint by Zen Tea Life
315 tasting notes

Flyawabirdie included in her Christmas gift a whopping 50g rather than a sample. Wow! Thanks so much for introducing this to me.

By smelling the dry leaf beforehand I knew this would be a good one. This is one of the freshest – if not the freshest – peppermint teas I’ve ever had. It’s so strong, it’s as if I had been chewing a Dentyne Ice gum (which is my go-to gum for mint power). I even feel the cooling effect in the throat. I’m keeping this is mind for a re-stock when I run out.

205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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TheLastDodo included some of this in her swap. Thank you!

Brewing method: gongfu session with a ruyao easy gaiwan and cup set. Steeping times: 20, 15, 15, 20, 30, 45, 60, 3 min, 6 min.

I have only drunk yabao once, almost three years ago, when I was a very new to Chinese tea drinking. I wasn’t impressed. There was a spicy note I didn’t take to. I chose this yabao as the first to try from Dodo’s selection because of my faith in Whispering Pines.

This yabao reminds of evergreen trees. It has notes of needles and sap, and lengthy aftertaste of juniper berries, followed by cherries. I would say it is excellent to drink all year round, as evergreens keep their needles. It evokes the green seasons and provides a sense of green in the middle of winter. I am enamored with the beauty of pines, spruces, cedars, firs, yews, and so on. When I am bird-watching and come across a cluster of evergreens in a deciduous woods, something pulls me away from the birds and I must stop. (Well, also, there is always a chance of a Red-breasted Nuthatch or an owl in them during wintertime.) It is a different kind of atmosphere. The wind sounds different blowing between needles.

0 OZ / 0 ML

Lovely description!


Thank you!

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From the Herbal TTB.

The base tea is quite malty and bitter for my taste. With a splash of milk, this becomes creamy vanilla goodness. Worth the popularity.

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

Japanese greens were my first love and gateway into the world.

My favorite teas are leafhopper oolongs, pu’erh (shou and sheng), and masala chai. My favorite herbal tisanes are spear/peppermint, lavender and chrysanthemum.

I’m currently exploring pu’erh, and any Chinese and Taiwanese teas in general. I’m not much into flavored teas, unlike when I first started. 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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