1696 Tasting Notes


A sipdown! (M: 15, Y: 77) 15 sipdowns in one month? I think it is record for me!

Anyway, I have used last 5 grams I had. Dry leaves aroma was that strong, sheng astringent note, very drying. I did 15 seconds long rinse, which I have tossed; I found out that the leaves are easy to pry from each other, so I had a whole bottom of gaiwan filled with leaves. A good start. Wet leaves had that astringent note too, which was something I wasn’t really pleased about.

I did following steeps — 7/15/20/30/45/60/a few longer ones.

My apprehensions were wrong. It was (and I dunno how, maybe I have a good storage) very mellow, grassy, mellow tea without any astringency (that appeared only in the long steeps); with hints of stonefruits… apricots and plums (a bit raw ones) the most, florals (meadow flowers) and also some refreshing note was there. I was always happy and looking forward to next steep and all of them were just so great.

As I wrote, it has highly surprised me. Because previous attempts were just rather harsh, bitter and astringent. Last session was like completely different tea and actually, I feel I will miss this tea a bit. I am considering trying more teas from Bingdao (or Bing Dao) village, to find out if all are so astringent at first and after 9 years they will mellow.

5 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

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A sipdown! (M: 14, Y: 76)
Just logging a sipdown. Nice and mellow black tea with cocoa and orange zest notes.

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This is a 2020 harvest and another tea from Leafhopper, thank you again! Also today 2 teas are finished, though I don’t count those as a sipdowns as both had only one session. But it still counts in total quantity of tea. And in my stock system, the quantity is zero too.

Anyway, I preheated the gaiwan, filled the thermos, added the leaves to the preheated gaiwan and I got somehow nice, tobacco aroma.

Gongfu / 5 grams / 125 ml / 90°C
First steep, 10 seconds
The wet leaves aroma changed towards sweet notes, maybe yams or other sweet potatoes, liquid is sweet, but without much to write about. Was it too short?

Second steep, 15 seconds
Definitely sweeter, but I have been expecting more complexity. There are hints of stonefruits with powder sugar aftertaste. Wet leaves lean towards floral, orchid notes.

Third steep, 20 seconds
Definitely I got the florals more than fruits, very much orchids in aroma and flavor, slighlty woody, sweet and stonefruits in taste.

4th steep, 30 seconds
This one brought into the starlight the fruity notes, stonefruits to be more exact, definitely cherries and plums in flavours, along with honey and slight woody note. Definitely most flavourful and most interesting steep so far. Nice mouthfeel here as well.

5th steep, 40 seconds
Wet leaves smell like crate of fruits, you know, that fruity sweet whiff, with woody notes. The brew stays sweet and stonefruity, smooth and mouthfeel is still nice.

6th steep, 50 seconds (or so) got little distracted
Fruity notes are weaker, woody notes started to be stronger. One… two steeps remaining for this tea. But nevertheless, it’s still okay.

7th steep, 60 seconds
Well, that’s all from this tea apparently.

There was weak start, great body and flavours in the middle steeps, but also fades quite quickly. The flavour profile is interesting, very fruity in the end, but on the other hand I think that longevity of this tea could be better. But honestly, I don’t think this is my favorite flavour profile, I think I prefer a bit other black teas, for instance Indian/Nepalese and definitely Georgian teas are my all time favourites. But you have to try teas which you aren’t that familiar with to broaden your horizons.

195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

Glad you enjoyed this tea! I liked the stonefruit and also remember it being quite floral.

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Doke Green Diamond 2022 by Lochan Tea; received from Leafhopper — thanks!

I generally dislike Indian green teas. They tend to be quite astringent, rough and generally just not so enjoyable as their Chinese or Japanese counterparts.

Sadly, this seems to be no exception; though steeped short (2 minutes) and not so hot (77°C). I know, using all 5 grams was a bit excessive, but I didn’t wanted to split that amount up.

It was… pretty much as expected — rough and astringent, hay and drying flavour, only positive thing is that mouthfeel is quite long.
It is actually pretty much similar to my experience from Doke black tea, which was also quite flat tasting and bitter, but imagine similar notes, but because of green. Nothing great.

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I have a week-long sick leave and antibiotics, but my taste and smell doesn’t seems to be affected; so I can drink tea, gongfu it and such… Definitely something I will enjoy and hopefully I will get my tea cupboard a little smaller too. This is not yet a sipdown, but I have less than half from the pouch, so definitely a focus tea.

6 grams / 125 ml gaiwan / 90 °C water / no rinse

Dry leaves smell partially citrusy, dark malts and a little chocolately, but in preheated gaiwan the dark malts and dark honey has appeared with slight citrus note. Visually this tea looks similar to Annapurna Black Beauty by the same vendor, but leaves here are definitely less thick and they are smaller.

1st steep, 15 seconds
There is a “clash” between cocoa notes and dark honey notes in aroma of wet leaves, but it makes a wonderful complex aroma, with some spices in the background.
Flavour is very round, mouth and throat coating, quite sweet and creamy, with hints of cocoa and dark honey as the aroma; with sweet spices background. Those spices are a bit hard to describe, but it definitely reminds me a bit of the sweet cinnamon, but not really sure about that.

2nd steep 10 seconds
Flavours mentioned in the first steep note are here, but stronger, definitely more flavourful, even more creamy. The spicy note is an interesting twist, again I think it is the cinnamon. NO astringency. Wet leaves smell after wild and dark honey.

3rd steep 15 seconds
This time cocoa note dominates, with hitns of its bitterness. But there is still creamy mouthfeel that mutes that bitter note.

4th steep 30 seconds
Definitely cocoa and jammy fruits, but also round and cremy flavour with spicy aftertaste. Not only cinnamon this time, but can’t point out the other spices here, with little “juicy” astringency.

5th steep 45 seconds
Very similar to previous one, but with less round and less creamy notes. Also, a little note showing me that this tea is past its prime time – that “finished black tea” flavour; I don’t know how to describe it better. Astringency rises a bit, definitely it’s more drying and I think I will do one, last, 1 minute long, steep.

6th steep 60 seconds
Leaves aroma says definitely that this tea is finished, maybe you can get more from this tea if you are using colder water. But 5 flavourful steeps is a good work from tea that it is probably more suitable for western steeping and moreover it was very tasty and nice complex steeps.

Sadly, all teas have their last steep and this tea in 6th steep doesn’t bring anything but slight astringent liquor with creamy notes; but all cocoa, honey and spicy notes are gone.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

Hope you feel better quickly!


Wishing you a full and speedy recovery!

Martin Bednář

Thank you both! I am today like a badly greased machine. Everything hurts and somehow all stiffen.


I hate to tell you this, friend, but once you hit middle age, that’s how you feel every morning! ;) But for now, rest, sleep, and keep drinking those hot liquids!


Feel better soon!

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Two sipdowns today (subject to change):
A sipdown! (M: 12, Y: 74) Sencha Green tea by Alnatura (an office tea)
A sipdown! (M: 13, Y: 75) Orange Cocktail by Curtis (tea at home)

Both were fine, but nothing to write home about.

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A sipdown! (M: 11, Y: 73)

Probably the rest was too big, as it was actually quite bitter and I assume that lily flowers made quite strong peppery note like rose do sometimes. It couldn’t be cardamom, as there wasn’t any in my steeper today.

I had maybe a bit higher expectations… but for the cheap flavoured black tea with cheap shipping, it is a deal. Also hardly any bergamot today…

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This tea has to be drank fresh. Otherwise it will lose it’s fruity and bit seed-y raspberry flavour.

As I have fresher batch than last time, I have to admit it is nicely fruity and as I wrote before, like biting seeds of raspberries. Hibiscus adds that general red fruits flavour to, but also some tartness, which is a bit too strong for my liking.

Raising the rating a bit. 70 → 74

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 300 ML

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This was a freebie in my Sonnentor order earlier this year. Summer was starting, so getting “Shoo, Flu!” tea was a bit funny, but now I find it very useful. :) But I was surprised to see it in my black tea box. Probably just tossed the tea bag there and I forgot about it.

I do have a red nose from all the blowing the nose. I wish I could be like the girl on the new design of the box (bright, not red one); but at least I don’t have to do much at home at all. Let’s hope it will help me at least a little bit.

I don’t remember it at all, but it was 4 years ago. It sounds like an incredlible long time ago. This time it is deifinitely minty (apple mint here!) and chamomile with rough edge of thyme. Very warming up and actually quite tasty, considering a herbal blend.

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more

I hope you are feeling much better!

Martin Bednář

It’s still not okay. My voice is affected but generally I feel fine. Weird stuff this illness.

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drank Royal Kenya by Richard
1696 tasting notes

As I am not feeling well, stuck nose makes trying teas even harder, I tend to drink simple cups as I can’t focus on all nuances of the teas. Definitely, my sniffer isn’t working properly and taste is slightly affected as well — definitely at least I have no mood to try teas I haven’t tried as it can be a bit off.

I said last time it is strong in malts and bread notes; today it felt a bit more like a leathery taste and aroma… but take it with pinch of salt.

I have 8 bags remaining, so hopefully I will have a better chance to re-try it soon.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 300 ML

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I am drinking almost everything. Tea bag collector who moved to wonderful world of loose leaf.

Trying to rate differently tea bags and loose leaf as tea bags have usually worse quality.

Photographer now and then. Postcrossing and geocaching member. Very curious person. Logistics student (should finish in June 2021).

Buried in tea right now. Is in my cupboard (trying to be updated) which sparkled your interest? Write me, I would gladly share with you. But I don’t want anything in return now :)


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