289 Tasting Notes

I’m off my face on this tea right now. It’s actually making typing difficult! Anyway, I was given a sample of this and have used half of it to brew up this afternoon. I’m pleased that I’m going to get a second pot out of the sample, because I’m really enjoying this one. Apart from the strong cha qi that has left me totally tea drunk, it is pleasingly bittersweet with dominant bark and leather notes, and a sugarcane or caramel sweet undertone. It’s sweet at the back of the throat and warming on the tongue in the aftertaste. As the tea cools, a stronger caramel flavour emerges. The only disappointment is that the aftertaste does not last very long. As a result, this tea is very good, but not quite excellent.

Flavors: Bark, Caramel, Dark Bittersweet, Sugarcane

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Backlog: Phew, it’s been a busy couple of weeks and I’m only now getting my feet back on the ground.

Thanks to Teavivre and Angel for this sample. I should have written about it some time back but life got in the way. I’ve not had buckwheat tea before, so had no clue what to expect. It was a pale yellow colour when brewed with strong cereal notes in the aroma, as you would expect. It tastes of toasted grains, kind of like puffed wheat or similar breakfast cereals, with nutty notes and a buttery feel. It’s a bit like breakfast in a mug, and makes a nice change for when you need a caffeine-free drink.

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Free sample from Teavivre

I’ve not had this before so when I opened the packet I was amazed and delighted by the size of the leaves. They’re huge and flat and green; actually longer than the infuser basket I’m using which is as deep as my mug. Crikey! They smell grassy with a hint of peas.

The liquor is pale green and has a soft mouthfeel. The taste is light and vegetal with a hint of pepper. It’s a savoury tea and quite refreshing with a pleasant, slightly peppery aftertaste.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Peas, Vegetal

3 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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Got a sample of this in a recent order from Teabox.

The leaf is a lovely mix of blackish green through olive to silvery green leaves and buds. Dry, it has a hay and citrus aroma. The liquor is golden in colour with a citrusy and floral aroma. It tastes of mango, citrus and something floral. Basically, it’s a tropical mix that is not as sweet as some Darjeelings I have had, but is really light and refreshing despite the heavy flavours. Two thumbs up for this blend.

Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Hay, Mango

190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

Thumbingly good.


Hi you tea drunkard! Hope you have been well, by the seaside…


Doing well, mrmopar, doing well. I should write more about tea, but I seem to be spending my time sipping tea and staring out across the harbour at the ships and wildlife instead! :)

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Drinking this Darjeeling today. It is absolutely right to go with the hot weather outside. Hot in this case is a relative term. You need to understand that I am most comfortable in the zone between -10 and +10 degrees C and it is 21 C outside at the moment.

So, the tea is clear, silky and very refreshing with a delicate floral note. Spot on for today.

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drank Indian Breakfast Tea by Teabox
289 tasting notes

I got a sample of this with my recent order to Teabox. I would not normally buy breakfast blends, or any other blend really, but the weather has put me in the mood for something more autumnal than the Darjeelings that I have been stuffing my face with recently.

My misgivings about breakfast blends aside, this is pretty good for what it is. The dry leaf has an earthy, malty aroma. The aroma of the liquor is plum and Christmas pudding. It tastes malty and fruity with a bit of sweetness, but also a sharp edge on the side of the tongue. The malt character remains in the aftertaste too. Not bad. It does not rank up with my favourite teas, but then it is a fraction of the price, and taking that into consideration, it is pretty good.

Flavors: Earth, Fruity, Malt, Plums

195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 6 OZ / 180 ML

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Too busy enjoying this one to write a proper note right now. Suffice to say that the warm grassy aroma of the dry leaf, the honey and citrus aroma of the liquor and the sweet, slightly nutty taste is just what I wanted on a sunny bank holiday afternoon. Teas like this are the reason why Darjeelings are my favourite black teas. Now, I must get back to working or there will be no new berserkjaknowledge being spread around.

Flavors: Citrus, Hay, Honey, Nutty, Sweet

190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon in Cobh and I have survived a trip into Cork. Ye gods, but the train was packed. It’s not that packed during the week when I commute into work! And the streets here are swarming with tourists come for that authentic Titanic experience. So, I am trapped in my flat for the afternoon now, unless I want to dodge people wandering aimlessly, looking everywhere but where they are going. Ah well, at least I have two consolations: 1. the view from my flat is excellent; 2. I have just made a cup of this tea. Combining the two leaves me feeling very relaxed. Better not get too relaxed though or I’ll get no work done …

So, the tea. It’s the 2016 first flush. The dry leaf has the sweet smell of fresh hay. The leaves are a mix of silver, green and brown. The liquor is a golden, champagne colour and smells sweet and floral with malty notes. It has a really silky, smooth, almost glassy mouthfeel. The floral sweetness extends into the tasting, ending in a sparkling astringency in the aftertaste that lasts for some time. It’s really light and refreshing and there is an element of that relaxing chi that I find in some puerhs. I am really enjoying it, so it is a shame that it does not really resteep at all. Nevertheless, two thumbs up; I do like a good Darjeeling and this is definitely good.

Flavors: Floral, Hay, Malt, Sweet

195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

I gong fu this estate Darjeeling in very small tea pot. I get a good 6 pours usually. Am not a fan of a lot of Darjeeling but Goomtee estate is the bomb. I feel darn good when drinking the FF, takes 10 years off me for a half hour.


I should try gong fu with this one, but brewed it western style according to the destructions on the package. My brewing set-up here in Ireland is not ideal yet though. Still much to organise and too much stuff back home in England.


If you can’t gong fu you could try wrong fu…


Wrong fu sounds a bit like it might be gongfoolery gone bad! :) I need to sort out a smaller teapot here and I’ll be ready to go.

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Surprised not to see this one on here already. Yay, I get to be first, even if it is only a cursory tasting note because I did not sit down and do a full tasting. So, I started the day with Canton’s 2010 Xing Hai, but felt like a change of pace for the evening. I’ll save the rest of the Xing Hai for tomorrow. I’ve now changed to this tea for the evening. It’s a new one on me and I only received it in the post last week. I tried it the day I got it, but was not overly happy with how it brewed. FF Darjeelings are notoriously finicky, and that first trial was a victim of over-enthusiasm and lack of control of the brewing conditions. This second time around is much better.

The first cup came out golden in colour. It was clear, crisp and silky in texture. Light muscatel flavour is there, some sweetness and some dryness. It has many of the characteristics of some light, dry white wines I have had in the past. The second cup I steeped for 3 minutes and that was perhaps a touch too long. The previous flavours were all enhanced but an edge of astringency has introduced itself. I shall steep a third cup for 3 minutes again later and see how it does, but I can definitely state that this tea passes muster for this Darjeeling fan. I’m not completely blown away by it, but I am definitely satisfied.

Flavors: Muscatel

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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I’ve broken out this tea for today’s session. It seems to suit the mood. The atmosphere here is relaxed. The town is filling up with tourists arrived on the ferry from France this morning; I waved to them as they sailed past my window while I was eating breakfast but they did not wave back. Still, even with the tourists, it did not feel too busy as I went for my morning constitutional. What with the sun being out, the pleasure boats in the harbour, and the peace and quiet, it’s definitely a day for a relaxing cup of tea and a great view … well, at least for now. I have editing to do later, so it will not be all relaxing in the sun, but sufficient unto the day, eh?

The 2010 Xing Hai seems to be developing nicely. The dry leaf has that warm hay and horse aroma that I so love in a sheng. The liquor is pale yellow. It continues the warm hay aroma but adds notes of honey and heavy pollen. It tastes warm, and sweet. There’s notes of molasses, a slight astringency, a lovely gentle smokiness, and, to finish off, a peppery, sweet aftertaste that lingers for quite some time. As is usual for me when I encounter a tea with good qi, I am feeling it in my legs first. They are relaxed to the point where I am not sure if I can stand up on them. There is a lovely energy to the tea that leaves me content and happy with my place in the world, and not even worried about the work that awaits me later. This moment is enough.

Flavors: Astringent, Honey, Molasses, Pepper, Smoke, Sweet

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec

So, the smokiness carried on for a long while in this one. I managed to get another eight steeps from it before it turned to sweet water. That’s pretty good going.

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I am a qualified peripatetic berserkerologist peddling berserkjaknowledge at UCC in Cork.

My favourite teas are Darjeelings, sheng puerhs and Anji Bai Cha. I return to these every time, after whatever flirtation with other teas I have been involved with.

I no longer rate the teas I drink because keeping ratings consistent proved to be rather hard work while not really giving me anything in return.


Cobh, Ireland



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