253 Tasting Notes

drank Black Dragon Pearls by Teavana
253 tasting notes

These mini gum ball-size pearls smell like cherry-chocolate.
Now being from Teavana, I’m not sure if that’s a storage issue or how the tea actually smells bc they have lots of flavored teas with strong essences there. I got this as a gift from Starbucks club so I didn’t care.
Used three pearls in my 4 ounce gaiwan and 200F water.
Did a good rinse on them to loosen them up a bit.
I have some pearls that look just like this from another tea company but they smell nothing like this so I think that these have been sitting next to a cherry-chocolate flavored something at Teavana. Still, I want it to taste like cherry-chocolate now.
Liquor is a light orange color and smells like the cherry-chocolate. The flavor is smoky, chocolatey with a hint of cherry.
With my second steeping, the pearls have really loosened up and revealed large twisty leaves. Liquor is a deeper auburn orange color now and smells more smoky with still that hint of chocolate-cherry but doesn’t quite taste like it. It’s more of just a scent. It tastes more on the smoky tobacco end. Tastes ok.
Did one more steeping and I think that three is all I would do on these in the gaiwan, because the flavor started being very one note in tobacco taste and just flat so I stopped there.

Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Tobacco

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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I’m drinking the 2004. It is very good, it’s like cognac and honey. Very naturally sweet and rich.
The tea is very tightly compressed and you don’t need too much tea because it really puffs and opens up to be tons of tea leaves. There are ya bao pieces in the mix along with all sorts of colors and types of wild leaves.
The liquor is cloudy pretty much throughout the whole session in my gaiwan. I rinsed the tea a couple of times but it remained cloudy even after many steepings. You definitely need to use your strainer with this tea.
After many steepings, the leaves could have kept going and going but the tea started to taste twiggy to me so I ended the session.

Flavors: Honey

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

I should revisit this one, I have it somewhere!

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drank Tropical White by Heavenly Tea Leaves
253 tasting notes

I got a set of teas from Heavenly Tea Leaves for a gift and I’m glad I did because flavored teas are not something I have been buying for myself ,,,but this tea really changed my mind.
I did lower the temperature down to 195F to brew and I think that in the past when I first started drinking tea, I just unknowingly poured boiling water onto all teas (( and they were usually flavored teas too that you started out with.))
Well this mix had lovely flavor. It was subtle strawberry and cream with notes of coconut and you could still taste the white tea.
It was also very pretty with rose petals in pink and light green colors to the white tea leaves. The fruit pieces had a light peachy orange color so the mix looked so pretty as it steeped.
I got a gift set and all of the teas I received were in tea tins that you could see thru the top and labels on each tea.
I really enjoyed this fruit tea and it makes me want to explore more flavored teas in the future.

Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Strawberry

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Garden of Eden by Silk Road Teas
253 tasting notes

When you first open the package, it is very peppermint and literally gets into your sinuses if you take a big whiff. It really does smell like toothpaste and other products with peppermint.
The dry leaf is very pretty with light pastel green and little pieces of the pinkie mauvy clover flower. Bits of light brown in there as well.
Definitely trying this after I have had lunch and another after-lunch tea because I’m afraid the peppermint is going to be strong and be all over my palate after that.
Liquor is golden clear color and smells very herbal with peppermint. I don’t want to drink it but I will taste it lol.
This is not my thing but it is good herbal. It has a natural sweetness to it and the peppermint sort of gets into your chest if you breathe in. So I could see drinking this when you don’t feel good and are congested.
It really tastes like fresh mint the more I drink it so it’s very good mint tea.
At first I didn’t want to finish but now I seem to be drinking more so it’s pretty good.
I feel a little warm drinking this. The peppermint is warming my body. I am Pitta dosha and I don’t think peppermint is good for Pitta lol. It is definitely removing toxins through heat so that’s cool.

From the Steepster Select Box; September, 2014

Flavors: Herbs, Peppermint, Sweet

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank Australian Shincha by Ito En
253 tasting notes

This is the first Shincha that I’ve tried that actually smelled like grass. That term gets used a lot in describing tea but this really does smell and of course, look like dried cut grass. As I smell deeper, there are a few notes of cream.
I am a little shocked by the 212F temp too but I’m following directions lol.
After I see the wet leaf, it is more understandable the 212F temp. The wet leaves are very strong and I would describe them as semi-waxy. They are very pretty and hearty.
The liquor is a light spring yellow green color and it smells like grass as well.
The flavor is also a touch of grass but there is a cream note in there as well. There is a touch of bitter but it’s an enjoyable bitter not offensive.
I’m glad I’m having this after lunch because I have a feeling there is high caffeine to this and also I want food in my stomach.
Overall, very interesting tea and it’s cool that it comes from Victoria, Australia.

Cool to find a new tea company to check out too because I was not aware of Ito En.

From the Steepster Select Box; September, 2014

Flavors: Bitter, Cream, Grass

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Cameron B.

I’ll definitely have to try this with the recommended parameters and see how different it is. :P


Yes, you should try a Japanese shincha as well so you can see the difference in the leaves because these are far out. I tried to find which varietal leaf this is on the Ito En site but it doesn’t say. Australia is hot so it is a hearty one for sure.

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Origin: Zhejiang, China
Leaf Appearance: Small little twisted pieces that are light to dried grass green. Smells nutty and a little bit like a sweet vegetable , potato, a sweet walnut.
Method: 4 ounce gaiwan, 1 tsp tea, 185F, short quick infusions
Liquor: Light tint of color, light pearl spring green with scents of sweet veggies
Flavor: Nice nutty, sweet, just a hint of leek and potato.
Wet Leaf: Leaves unfurl to be tiny little pretty spring green color and very young young leaves. Very delicate. This is a very nice green tea and has some leaves that look like Anji Bai Cha they are that light green with the veining. Some very tiny and delicate young little tiny tiny buds too. Pretty tea.

From the Steepster Select Box; September, 2014

Flavors: Leeks, Potato, Walnut

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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drank Iron Goddess Dark Roast by Steepster
253 tasting notes

Origin: Fujian, China
Leaf Appearance: Tie Guan Yin pellets but they have brown edges and accents all over the usual green rolled balls. Scent is very creamy vanilla cookie and citrus.
Method: I am doing a side-by-side comparison,,,Western steeping 8oz water with 1 tsp for the 2.5 minutes as Steepster suggests; and my gaiwan with shorter infusions—both with 200F water.
Liquor: Golden creamy – light light pineapple juice color but very pearl light. Smells very vanilla.
Flavor: Roasted nuts/almonds, vanilla, citrus being squeezed into my palate in surprising ways,,,in the back of my throat then on the tip first part of my tongue. Very exciting. There is a tiny tiny bit of astringency as my mouth is dry and clean feeling but not overly dried or annoying and no bitterness. No stomach upset either which TGYs usually give me but I just drank my homemade fruit smoothie before so thats probably helping.
Wet Leaf: Very dark forest green color . They are crinkled all around the stem and you can see that they were really wanting a good roast on them. They did a good job because it is toasted nuts roast, not smoke and burnt food flavor roast.

I actually enjoyed the gaiwan version of my tea best, they were both similar in flavors but I enjoy watching the leaves and controlling the color and intensity of the brew.
Very good tea, one I would come back to visit rolled TGY oolongs for.

From the Steepster Select Box, September 2014

Flavors: Citrus, Cookie, Nutty, Pineapple, Vanilla

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Black Cloud by Silk Road Teas
253 tasting notes

Origin: Zhejiang, China
Leaf Appearance: Small twisted leaf pieces with smoky and subtle chocolate scent. Color is chocolate brown
Method: Gaiwan-Temp 190F-immediate rinse then short quick infusions
Liquor: Chocolatey scent with smoke, golden orange color
Flavor: Smoke with a tiny hint of chocolate. The mineral as described on the package is definitely there as an undertone. It has a lot of bitter notes to it.

  • I really have gotten to where I use the gaiwan as my preferred brewing method so this tea might definitely be a Western brew. It says on the package to brew at 212F in 12oz for 3 minutes so I will try the recommended method in a bit. So take this first review with a grain of salt.

OK,,later this afternoon, I brewed this Western style with the recommended 212F and 12oz water at 3 minutes. It still had a bitter note but it was a balancing bitter note to the chocolate note and mineral & smoky edges. More balanced as a Western brew. The bitter note tastes good and the tea has a depth and interesting flair with all its components in harmony.

Found on the Silk Road Teas sight that this varietal is Mei Zhan. The Mei Zhan varietal is made with a slow growing leaf, grown at high elevations. Prized for its strong, nuanced taste.

Mei Zhan (梅占) is a famous oolong from Anxi in Fujian province, China. It’s a classic oolong varietal with big leaves. This is why it’s sometimes also referred as Da Ye Mei Zhan (big leave Mei Zhan). The tea’s liquor is bright orange with a smooth and flowery aroma. (from Teapedia)

From the Steepster Select Box, September 2014

Flavors: Bitter, Dark Chocolate, Mineral, Smoke

190 °F / 87 °C 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

Nice to see you been a while.


Hi mrmopar!!!!! Nice to see u as well!!! I have been out of new teas to review lol. It is almost time to order more tea!!! Yay!!!

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Dry leaf smells surprisingly creamy and lemony. It is very pretty with little pieces of dried orange turmeric, green tiny lemongrass pieces, and dried ginger.

OK,,, I make a homemade tisane with fresh turmeric, lemon, and honey so I was wondering how this would taste using dried turmeric. I do like it, the turmeric is not as prominent- tasting when it is dried.
This tisane is really naturally sweet,,,I had to look at the ingredients to see if there was a drop of stevia added but it is just a very good blend (good bc I don’t like stevia lol).
This has sweet flavors of lemon, almost a creamy edge (this must be the oils on my palate), and just a touch of a ginger taste. The turmeric really just lends its color to the liquor.
I do like the taste of fresh turmeric but it is a stronger and acquired taste,,,so this herbal would be a great introduction for someone wanting to try the health benefits of turmeric. Plus I like having a back up bc sometimes my store is out of fresh turmeric and fresh turmeric can mold if you don’t use it quickly.

From the Steepster Select Box, August 2014

Flavors: Cream, Ginger, Lemon

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

I had to google the image of turmeric. If I’d see it in grocery store I’d think its ginger. Can you store it in a freezer?


It is a relative of ginger but it is bright bright orange even showing through its skin, it is so orange,,,and smaller than ginger so you would know it was turmeric rather than ginger.
I wouldn’t freeze it,, but I think you can freeze ginger so you probably could freeze it. I like to just have those things fresh to get the most antioxidants possible.


I peel mine and keep it in fridge, it rarely dries out as I use it in smoothies. There have been the odd few that turn to bone but then I grate them into curries. Be careful, the orange color is steadfast and a bit hard to get off cutting boards and counter tops.

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drank Ayame Kabuse by Kettl
253 tasting notes

Origin: Yame, Japan
Leaf: Scents of salt, very delicious smelling dry leaf.
Method: 1 tsp tea, 6oz H20 , 170F 45"
Liquor: Super pretty light after dinner mint green color. Love
Flavor: Wow, so good. This is salty and buttery. Intense flavor, like clarified butter. Yet it is also clean, crisp, and smooth. No bitter, no grass, very VERY good green tea. YUMMMMM

Just re steeped this,,,you can with these type teas if you do about 10 seconds or less because now the leaves are filled with water. As soon as you see that pretty green,,,it’s ready. Same delish flavors,,,,,love this.

From the Steepster Select Box,, August 2014

Flavors: Butter, Salt

170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

That sounds amazing.


Tea Wing has awesome green tea! I thought I loved gyokuro the best until I tried their other teas!! Each one I try is better than the last!!

Cameron B.

I loved the Kabusecha I got from Yunomi, this sounds lovely too! :D


Cool! I like looking at their website but have never tried them :)

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