558 Tasting Notes


1.5 tsp for 300mL water @98C, rinsed leaves, steeped 4 minutes.


I don’t get along with pu-erhs, but I keep trying them. This is dark, musty and so bitter that I feel like I’ve lost a layer off my tongue.

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1 bag for 250mL water @100C, steeped 4 minutes, drunk bare.

Very balanced, even a bit mild: smooth. A good tea base that, you know, tastes like TEA (way too many flavoured teas out there taste only of the flavours, or they taste of poor-quality tea and then flavours). Some copper notes: I expect it’s mostly a Ceylon base. The cardamon gives a lovely sharp aroma but does not assault the tongue. I am enjoying this in the late afternoons and early evenings. For a bagged tea, it’s excellent.

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1 tsp for 250mL water @100C, steeped 4 minutes, drink bare.

Well, it smells like a nice Yunnan tea. Getting some pepper notes as it cools, but that’s about all. Flat and dull. A real disappointment.


You should try more leaf and very short steeps. There is a wide spectrum of flavor there.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Thanks for that. I’ll try it.


Welcome! :)

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1 tsp for 250mL water @100C, steeped four minutes.

Dark and strong. I can barely see to the bottom of the cup. Now, I like a strong black tea, but this is intense. Bitter, too. I’m surprised. Strong and bitter cocoa notes, hard mineral finish. No pepper, no honey.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Man, this one will be hard to finish. It’s almost tarry. I hope it at least packs some caffeine. Maybe I’d like this early in the morning, when I’m more desperate for a caffeine hit than for a nuanced tea. Maybe.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Yeah, I can’t finish this. HARSH.

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1.25 tsp for 250 mL water @100C, steeped 4 minures, drunk bare.

I ordered the Silk Road sampler when my teen daughter asked me to order a custom-blend that comes in a tin with a picture of her favourite anime character on it. And it just so happens I’ve been craaaaaving Keemun today, and this EB is heavy on the Keemun.

Toasty/bready, smooth, a bit smoky, robust finish … ohhhhhh, yeah.

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @85C, leaves rinsed, then steeped 3 minutes Western style.

A lovely tang crisps up the orchid, cream, and sun-dried grass notes. An exquisite tieguanyin. My favourite tieguanyin.

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1 bag for 250mL water @100C, steeped four minutes drunk bare.

I just got a big box of this as a gift.

A mostly Ceylon base, I think, and very smooth, with some copper notes. The cardamon smells divine, something like bergamot, only not so oily. Less spicy on the tongue than it smells, but very refreshing. A very effective hot-tea-on-a-hot-day-cooldown drink.


I would like this too!

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @80C, steeped two minutes 30 seconds.

I got a packet of this as a gift from thoughtful friends.

Opening the package, I did not see much tea. Loads of fruit. It’s very pretty. It’s got a tart scent I can’t quite place …

Packet says 79C for water temp. Huh? For a white? Ohhhkayyyyy ….

WHOA! Tartness overload, and a stain leaking from the infuser that looks like blood in the water … oh no. Hibiscus. Oh GAWD NO, please, not hibiscus …


And I notice in the ingredients list there’s acai powder and maltodextrin. GOOD LORD. If I wanted sugar or any of its cousins in my tea, I’d put it there!

I really want to like this, especially seeing it was a gift that the givers went out of their way to obtain, but it’s a pink, mostly flavourless brew that smells overwhelmingly of hibiscus. I would never guess there was any actual tea leaf in here.

If you like a fruity tisane-type of drink, you might like this one. I uh … I can’t taste anything except hibiscus.

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped four minutes, drunk bare.

An excellent black tea blend. Quite robust today, after several days of drunking Yunnan blacks and tiguanyins. Reassuring. Not bitter. Solid and dependable.

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @85.

I rinsed the leaves with 85C water, then steeped 3 minutes 30 seconds.

Orchids, sweet grass, peaches, minerals, sunshine. Some distant vanilla and cream notes. Exquisite. I’m having trouble finding words for this one.

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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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