558 Tasting Notes

2tsp for a 300mL pot at 85C. Steeped 3 minutes 30 seconds.

Don’t oversteep this beautiful tea — it will get bitter. I can taste a faint bitterness in the finish. Shorter steep next time.

Dry leave is very pretty: long pai mu tan leaves with blossoms. Strong but not cloying scent of peaches and papaya.

Liquor is dark for a white tea, verging towards bronze.

Juicy pai mu tan with peaches and papaya dominating, with some mango notes. Delicious.


For me, I like my greens (on average) steeped about 2min at 175 degrees F. Of course, every tea and person is different though :)

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @95C, steeped 5 minutes.

The longer steep brings out a bitterness and a faint hint of copper but no astringency. Notes of malt, grains, an honey remain and intensify with the longer steep. I’ll go back to a 4-minute steep for this lovely tea. Soft mouthfeel.

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @95C, steeped 5 minutes.

An old favourite.

My belly is angry today. and mint tisanes can be very helpful with that. This blend of wintergreen, a vanilla tone from the sarsaparilla, a kiss of citrus, and loads of sparkling spearmint and peppermint, is soothing and a little different.

Dry leaf: wintergreen, spearmint, peppermint, some vanilla (sarsaparilla).

Wet leaf: the same.

Liquor is golden and clear. A gorgeous blend.


Hope you feel better!

Michelle Butler Hallett

Thank you. I am feeling better now. Iron supplements are doing a number on my gut — AND interfering with when I drink tea, Hmph.

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1.5 tdp for 300mL water @95C, steeped 4 minutes.

Dry leaf is very pretty with long twisty leaves and lots of gold tips. I’m not seeing any twigs.

Wet leaf smells of malt and honey and that faint tang of copper that many Ceylons have. I’m not catching any of the astringency in the scent. A slight scent of toasted grains (like Grape-Nuts cereal).

Liquor is steeping to an attractive dark copper.

Mmmm, this is lovely. No astringency or pucker. No strong coppery tang. Lots of dark honey and toasted grains. I expect this would get pucker if steeped much longer, so if you like that, go for a longer steep. Me, I’ll just sip this now and smile.

Michelle Butler Hallett

The liquor didn’t look downy at all, but it does offer a very soft mouthfeel, soft even for a Ceylon black tea.

Lots of nuance in the flavours as the tea cools and you get further down the cup, too.


This sounds like a tasty Ceylon. I’ve only had a few and they tended to have that copper tang. I’ll have to give this one a try. Thanks!

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1.5 tso for 300mL water @80C, steeped 2 minutes 30 seconds.

The packet suggests a 3-4 minute steep, which seems a bit long for a green to me, so I’m trying it my way first.

Dry leaf: sweet and grassy and a tiny bit floral.

Wet leaf: vegetal and a bit briny — that scallops note I dislike so much in some green teas — to my surprise.

Liquor is gold with some subtle down and gives a strong door of scallops and butter. I don’t like seafood in my tea, so I’m a bit disappointed. Nowhere on the write-up does it say ‘vegetal’,’ a word which usually signals that scallops thing and warns me away.

Tastes of scallops and brine with butter and a slightly sweet finish. I am detecting no muscat at all.

Not for me.

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1.5 tsp for 300nL water @100C, Western style, steeped five minutes.

This lovely tea seems happier at 95C than 100C. I found it got a slightly bitter, and I lost many of the more interesting notes.

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @95C, Western style, steeped four minutes, drunk bare.

Happy sigh.

Dry leaves are tiny, curled, and very smooth, alms silly, to the touch. I know about the smoothness because I had way too much on my spoon and pinched some tea back into the bag.

Dry leaves give a strong cocoa scent, with some sweet malt.

Wet leaves are long, and some are still twisted, mostly brown with some dark green. Wet leaves smell of cocoa, malt, and, i the distance, vanilla. (This is not, of course, a flavoured dessert tea.)

Liquor is dark copper. Liquor smells of — you guessed it — cocoa and malt, also soybeans and deciduous trees.

Taste: cocoa and malt, of course, and a bit of soybean, with sweetness and some vanilla notes in the finish. I haven’t tried this year’s batch labelled just ‘Laoshan Black,’ so I can’t comment on any differences between that and this, the Spring Harvest Laoshan Black. I can say this tea gives everything I remember falling for in Laoshan Black.

The finish is very soft.


This makes me excited….

Michelle Butler Hallett

It’s delightful.


I miss my original lb. here’s hoping this is closer to that, than last year.

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1.25 tsp for 300mL water @95C, Western style. steeped three minute son first infusion, three minutes thirty seconds on seconds infusion.


I adore smoky teas. This is not a heavily smoked tea at all, not even close to what gets called Caravan certainly not to most lapsang souchongs I’ve tried. (And I love a good caravan and lapsang souchong.) This is classified as a black tea — I think it just barely qualifies, tasting and behaving to my tasting more as a clear dark mineral oolong.

The first infusion has more gentle smoke — more resin than smoke, really — while the second infusion is very mineral and surprisingly sweet with some pine resin and chocolate notes.

Love. Love love love love love.

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1tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped two minutes.

I find some of the same scallop-y notes as I found in the Spring Harvest Laoshan Green, but with more butter and green vegetable notes. I’m getting some floral oolong notes cutting through the butter, veggies, and scallops. A lot going on here. Not sure yet if I like it.

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1 tsp for 250mL water @80C, 1 minute 30 seconds.


This is a briny, oceanic green tea, and all I can smell or taste is scallops. I love scallops — just not in tea.

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Writer and tea fiend. Author of DELUDED YOUR SAILORS, SKY WAVES, DOUBLE-BLIND, and THE SHADOW SIDE OF GRACE. New novel next spring called THIS MARLOWE.

I prefer straight teas but will try almost anything … so long as it’s not tainted with hibiscus. I loathe hibiscus.

Floral oolong and complex black teas are my favourites.


St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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