509 Tasting Notes


I found some black tea in my numerous unsampled sample pouches from Verdant! I have high hopes for the company that turned me on to black tea!

First, the fuzzy little curls of dried leaf were beautiful and cute at the same time. The smell made me swoon. So chocolatey! I never really believed it when people would say a tea was chocolatey, but now I am a believer!

My first impression of this brew is a chocolatey dark roasted oolong. There are sweet honeyed notes along with the roasty autumnal flavor I usually get from dark oolongs. Then there’s a subtle taste of dark chocolate. The end of the sip is a bit bitter. It’s not ideal but it’s also not bad. In between sips, as you let the lingering flavors play over your tongue, you get a sense of wood chips, like for a campfire. And there’s the slightly hint of astringency. I’m thinking I probably should have used cooler water, though I think the website recommended boiling. Maybe less time.

In any case, this tea is delicious! It’s a cross between a dark roasted oolong and my new love, Loashan Black. Tasty!

As it cools, I’m getting more of an oolong taste than a black tea taste. Love that lingering dark chocolate flavor. :)

Steep 2! Used cooler water and then forgot about it for about 10 minutes. doh! But the resulting tea is magnificent! Lots of dark chocolate notes and something fruity like blueberry jam. No astringency this time. :)

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I finally got around to sampling this from Teavivre. Sorry it took me so ling. :( this tea is just lovely to look at. It’s cute and furry. I almost felt like I was drowning little fuzzy animals in hot water as I brewed my cup. :( fortunately its just dried leaves I’m drowning! Delicious dried leaves!

The tea is light yellow smells softly floral and tender green grass. Like a perfect spring day. It’s good to remind oneself such days exist on miserable rainy cold days like this one. I’m also getting some summer squash. Second steep went a bit too long but there’s no bitterness. This tea is truly lovely. If teas belonged to a season, this would go with spring. Drinking this tea now is like having a perfect summer tomato in the middle of winter. This tea is out of its rightful time. To get the proper feel of fall, I’ll have to drink some darker oolongs later. :)

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As it turns out, night time is not a good time for drinking this tea. I had a craving for something full of umami and and hint of smoke. Shoulda stuck with my Tencha Houjicha from Den’s. That’s a tasty tea that’s low on caffeine!

This tea is tasty too! Clearly I wouldn’t have pumped myself full of caffeine at 9PM if it wasn’t. :) It’s a total mystery to me how this tea can taste like concentrated umami and other teas can taste like fruit or chocolate. Tea is magical! There is something really familiar about the flavor in this one. It’s like a food that I can’t put my finger on. What is it??? It smells like the inside of a Chinese dry foods store. Where they sell dried squids, dried scallops, dried mushrooms, dried herbs and roots and nut and berries. Dried everything you can imagine! It smells like that store. Any body have experience with such stores know what I’m talking about? Next time you pass by a store in China town with open bins of mysterious dried things for sale, walk in and take a good sniff. Then try this tea and tell me if I’m crazy.

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Beware the spicy salad! Holy smokes, dad! Your hot peppers are strong this year! whew! Now I wish I had a cup of iced tea instead of this tasty cup of hot tea. :( Luckily I had a cup of this before eating my dinner. I don’t think I could taste anything other than burning right now. :)

First of all, thank you Allison Tsui, for sharing this wonderful sample with me. It’s a tasty Oriental Beauty. The smell of the dry leaves had me expecting great things. It was roasty and fruity and yummy smelling. The dry leaf looks great too. I love the varied shapes and colors. Dark brown, rust red, fuzzy white. Lovely.

My first sip of this left an impression of wet cardboard with an underlying flavor of plum and honey. This sounds bad, but it’s really not. Upon further sipping, I’m also finding flavors of toasty autumn, like with many dark oolongs. A very tasty tea.

On a side note, I’ve been trying to drink my stash down so I have had no new notes of late. I also find myself constantly wanting a black tea. I need to order some because I seriously have none. Stash depleting time is seriously the worst time to discover a whole new love for a whole new tea. I need more tea parties.

Had a weekend with my friends this past weekend. Made many pots of tea in hopes of conversion. They are still addicted to coffee, and sadly non-reactive to my favorite oolong. They liked 52 Tea’s Neapolitan Honeybush though! I’m all out of that now. ah wells. They’ll never get me to drink coffee and beer so we are even. :)


Im sorry :( Im kinda alone in the tea world here too.


Yes, me too. My oldest daughter will drink peppermint tea on occasion. My youngest on the rarest of occasions will ask for a cup of tea but we’re talking maybe three or four times a year. My hubby tolerates my many incoming tea packages but has no interest in exploring the world of tea with me. I’m the tea weirdo in my family.


Hubby will taste tea now and then but only sits and shares tea with me once in a great while usually when I do a long session with pu-erh IF he likes the pu-erh at that time.
My daughter only will drink a few, – muscat oolong from lupicia and a couple others.
Only my daughter will even try matcha.
This is why we all have each other :)


It’s just nice to share something you love with people you care about, right? Seems like this love is something I’m destined to keep to myself. :)
I find the coffee habit so weird though. I went to college with these people and they never drank coffee then. It wasn’t until they started working full-time that something happened to them, and coffee became a necessity. I, on the other hand, drank tea all through college and drink even more tea today. What did I miss?


Nothing – I am sure they were drinking sub par coffee. I do love a GOOD coffee and I don’t mean starbucks but still you can’t miss what you never had nor do you need in your life.


True enough. :) I guess I’m just wondering what turned my friend from “Ew, coffee” to “Need coffee!!” To be honest, I think I could seriously get into coffee too except that the caffeine content is too high for me. The few times I’ve had GOOD coffee, I felt like I was going to die from convulsions. Even from Arabica beans, the supposedly gently caffeinated variety. :) …and I don’t drink alcohol because I get a pounding headache from half a bottle of beer. I have to explain why I’m not drinking every time I go out with new people. And I can’t drink soda or other carbonated beverages because they seriously hurt my tummy somehow. Also no milk cause lactose intolerant. No juice cause it’s too sweet. I don’t drink anything most other people like to drink! Just tea and water for me! I love being able to come to Steepster and talk to people about tea and be understood!

And to think, I never would have found this community if Teavana hadn’t absorbed SpecialTeas and forced me to look around for a new cheap source for my favorite chai. :) As Ma Ingalls used to say, “there’s no great loss without some small gain,” or something like that.

Wow, that’s a long reply. Spent too much time alone today. :D

Anywho! Any Steepsterite who comes to NYC can look me up and I’ll take you on a tea tour of the city!

Terri HarpLady

I also only drink tea & water. I’m allergic to dairy, can’t handle sugar, coffee bothers my kidneys, alcohol is a BIG no-no. But with tea, we have so many options, so I’m happy!

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
509 tasting notes

I had taken the remainder of my sample to work since it’s where I need tea the most. I was craving it all weekend and couldn’t have any! And we had Monday off! Argh! But today nothing was going to stop me!

Mmmm…. pure chocolate decadence. Made three very satisfying western steeps. The second one went on a tad too long and turned into dark chocolate. So rich and lovely! I’m going to need to order a full 2oz of this, at least!

It’s rare that I give 100s, but this tea converted me to the “dark” side. :) And it’s magical!


You are not alone!


mmmmm i’m with you on this one. I love this tea! Just ordered 4 oz of it…largest quantity for any tea yet heh

The DJBooth

I seriously am going to have to try some of this based on the rave reviews.


Try it! I never believed it when others called this tea chocolatey, but it is! Sooo good!

Terri HarpLady

I’m with you on that. I need to reorder soon, & it will have to be at least 4 oz!

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drank Cinnamon Ginger by Custom
509 tasting notes

I wouldn’t usually put this drink in as a tea log but it’s a hot drink using spices and fruit and useful in the cold season so I thought I’d share.

Today, I found myself sneezing more than usual and constantly trying to soothe a scratchy dry throat. No other symptoms have emerged thus far, but experience tells me that I may soon be facing a cold. In hopes of nipping this in the bud, I made this drink called “sujeonggwa” which is traditionally a Korean drink served cold, but it strikes me as a wonderful drink to have hot when feeling under the weather. It also tastes amazing if you like cinnamon and ginger. Here’s a link to the recipe I like to use:

Now, I realize dried persimmons are not easy to come by, especially not right now. They are easier to find in the middle of winter, but even then, you’ll have to visit an asian supermarket. Rest assured that even without the sweet date/yam flavor of dried persimmon, this drink is still mighty tasty. Maybe trying subbing in some other fruit. I imagine raisins, fresh peaches, or fresh apples would work! It also makes your whole apartment smell like cinnamon. Awesome.

I just had a mugful of this hot with some fruit bits. Sipping it from a spoon makes it feel more comforting somehow. It also makes the drink last a bit longer, allowing the soothing liquid to have more time going down my scratchy throat. Hot and slightly burny from the spice and ginger. I can almost imagine I’m burning some viruses as I sip. :)

If you’re not in need of a hot drink, try this iced, which is how it’s actually meant to to served. Float a few kernels of pine nuts on top and enjoy a lovely digestif after dinner. Ginger is great of settling the tummy after all.

Stay healthy in this coming cold season!

Awkward Soul

how did I miss this recipe? I tried Maangchi’s ginger tea http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/saenggangcha and it was pretty good but the recipe you made looks really good! I’m going to be hunting for dried persimmons now!


Good luck with the hunt! No worries if you don’t find it though. It seriously tastes great even without the elusive dried fruit. :)

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Okay, something crazy has happened to me. Ever since I had that extraordinary cup of Laoshan Black, I’ve been craving a cup of black tea every morning. It’s crazy! I’ve never been a huge fan of black teas! Especially not unflavored and unsweetened black teas. The world has gone insane! Insaaaane!

So because I’ve never had this fondness for black teas, I have no black teas in my collection. None! I wake up this morning with a craving for a black tea knowing that I probably have none. With I sigh, I rummage through my samples to find a puerh or dark oolong or something else that might be like black tea. Then I come upon this sample from Teavivre! I’ve sampled this tea before and couldn’t find anything special about it. At the time, it just tasted like black tea. Whatevs.

But today! Today was different! The leaves smell so sweet and pastry like! Like a biscuit! And the flavor! I definitely am finding that baked sweet potato everyone is talking about! Tasty! Sweet potatoes baked with a touch of honey and and dash of spice! What a lovely fall tea! Now I have a whole category of tea to be obsessed about! And I will need more tea to add to my stash! Halp!

Gotta move this rating up from 70. 70! What was I thinking?!

Edit: Might I just add this this tea is perfect with a holiday morning breakfast of amaretto matcha brownies. Yes, brownies can be for breakfast because I’m an adult now! Sorry Mom!


Haha it happens to me too – I go through stages of what I crave – I think a lot of us do that. Welcome to the “dark” side haha.


Oh my gosh. Amaretto matcha brownies? Guess what I will be ordering next week…


Thanks! I think it’s more than a change change in craving. More a change in tastebuds. Either way, there’s a lot more possibilities for me now that I probably won’t be avoiding black teas anymore! :)


Ashmanra, they are so tasty! I was debating between the amaretto and the hazelnut matcha, but I ultimately went with the amaretto because I had almonds I could sprinkle on top. :) Next time it’s hazelnut for sure!


Haha this exact same thing happened to me a few months ago. I never liked unflavored black tea (at all!), and then suddenly I have a revalation I want it all the time. I think Teavivre’s Bailin Gong Fu was the catalyst for me… you should try that one if you haven’t! And their Black Dragon Pearls!


I totally want to now! Will look into that once my tea acquiring hiatus is over.


Mmmm, ju st got the Fengqing Black Dragon Pearls myself. Tasty!


I’m so finnicky with my black tea. I may have to check this out. Although the gong fu was a little disappointing to me (but I’m hard to impress when it comes to black tea). I do like darjeelings though :)


Verdant’s Laoshan Black will blow your mind. I had another cup today and each sip was like a miracle every time. Wow. So if you want a straight black that impresses.., well that’s the one that turned me. :)

Donna A

Like Dinosara, Teavivre’s Bailin Gong Fu was the turning point for me on black tea. I love this one too, maybe even more than Bailin Gong Fu, as well as their Black Dragon Pearls. Verdant’s Golden Fleece was my all time favorite black, but sold out.

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This is tasty tea. It’s very sophisticated compared to all the flavored things I’ve been drinking. :) I was a bit confused by how this is both an oolong and a black tea, but after my first few sips, I’ve concluded that this is merely what I would call a dark oolong, something more oxidized but still lighter than what I would think of as black tea.

I really like the mouthfeel on this one. Smooth and full. It has a luscious quality to it. The flavor here is pleasantly floral, but only a little. Just enough to make you intrigued. Only lightly roasted. Mellow.

I’m finishing up my third steep made western style. There’s a lovely natural sweetness here. It can probably go once more but I need something different now. :)

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I looooove amaretto! It’s the only alcohol I actually enjoy. Well, that and muscato and the occasional sweet Riesling. But amaretto! It’s the only hard liquor I enjoy! Um…and Bailey’s and Amarula… Okay, but amaretto is my favorite! There! Now I’m right. :) My husband also loves anything almond. Loves. I bought this for him but I plan to enjoy it too. :)

So after dinner, I had to rummage through my collection of jars to find something to put this matcha into. I know I’m not making any preserves in a while because those jars are all filled with matcha. It’s for a good cause. :D So I find a jar that’s way too big but it will have to do. I rip open the bag and the most intoxicating aroma just comes spilling out. Mmmmm heaven! Husband is watching the big debate so he’s totally engrossed. I wave the open under his nose and he literally does a double take. Hilarious! At this point, he’s only disappointed that we have to share just half a cup because we are totally out of milk. I kept having to tell him to wait while I whisked it up. So impatient. heh

Finally, I presented the cup to him and he practically drank the whole thing. I had to wrestle the mug from him to get a taste for myself. This matcha is amazing. There’s a slight grassy vegetal flavor from the matcha, but it’s really mostly amaretto without the alcohol burn and without all the sugar. Absolutely fabulous. If you like amaretto, you’ve got to try this:

For those of you who have tried amaretto and almond, how would you compare the two? I’m wondering if it’s worth investing in both flavors.


Aw, man! I want this one, too! I just ordered two flavors and had a hard time picking, so I guess this one will be next!


It’s so hard to narrow it down! Every time I go in there I have a mile long list of flavors I want. Then I spend the half 15 minutes deciding which ones to axe. :( Last time I got some flavors based on what I think others would like most so it was a bit easier. Still tough though!


I meant “next 15 minutes.” errr


There are so many flavors I had to use a spreadsheet to determine what flavors I want! I assigned them a priority to figure out what to put in my next order. I also usually factor in the Steepster review. Yeah, I’m a nerd.


No, Rachel, that is genius. Must. Try.


I like to try and solve all of my life’s problems with spreadsheets ;)

Rachel Sincere

Rachel, can you come to Wisconsin and fix my life? LOL


I was just about to ask how the amaretto and the almond compare. Curious to see if anyone has tried both.

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I came from a tea drinking family, but I never appreciated the different qualities and varieties of tea until older. All that time wasted! But I guess I needed to be mature enough to appreciate the tea experience. :)

My favorite teas are green oolongs and white tea. I also love greens, especially gyokuro. I have a huge appreciation for rooibos and honeybush as they are often that only thing I can drink in the evening. I am a relatively new convert to black teas. This is unfortunate for my wallet but extremely wonderful for my palate. :)

In any case, I have a love for both flavored and unflavored teas. They are different experiences for sure, but both enjoyable. I find that it often depends on my mood.

I am on a quest to find a tea that will win my husband over. I think I’m making some headway…

My profile pic features my two lovable puppies, Mr. Snuggles and Sr. Caliente.


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