1523 Tasting Notes

drank Long Jing (Dragonwell) by Tazo
1523 tasting notes

Every time I make this tea, I am pleased by the sound of the dried leaves rustling against one another. It sounds like a unique percussion instrument half-way between a snare drum and maracas.

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I am getting ready to expand the HRH Emperor Oliver Custom Blends Collection at Adagio (shoppers: take note! http://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/my_blends_2.html ), so I thought that I’d raise a glass of this yummy white tea blend in His honor on this very humid early evening two weeks before the first anniversary of his departure from the terrestrial realm.

This tea is good. I’m glad that I have a supply of it on hand, as it is currently “unavailable” chez Adagio. Has anyone else noticed that many custom blend ingredients seem to be nearly continuously out of stock?

Flavors: Cucumber

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This is my very first Phoenix Dan Cong experience, also thanks to the great oolong sample pack from Teavivre. I believe that I paid for this set, but I am grateful nonetheless for the opportunity to try such a wide array of fine teas! I’m pretty sure that I’ll end up eventually trying each and every one of their excellent offerings…

I have been focusing on the greenish, low-oxidation oolongs as I make my journey through the vast universe of Chinese tea. This oolong, however, is far more oxidized and produces a peachy-amber color similar to a light darjeeling (since darjeeling is on my mind!). Of course the taste is completely different. I’m not really sure, actually, how to describe this flavor. It tastes about midway between a rich bready black and a smooth and silken creamy green oolong—logically enough!

I love the range of flavors and textures of oolong teas. I’m sure that I’ll be ordering some more of this one after my sample is depleted.

I see that this tea is apparently salubrious as well as tasty (see Teavivre’s note about this). It’s always nice to know that we get extra benefits from drinking teas which are worth drinking for the experience alone!

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML

Any white flower or lilacs?


Definitely not white flowers—at least not my concept of them. No lilacs either. Of course, I have strong perfume-related concepts of those scents, so I may just not be able to tease them out from the tea itself. I’ll be drinking this more though, so hopefully I’ll start to grasp some of the complexities…

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drank Earl Grey by Tazo
1523 tasting notes

Our ambient weather conditions in Boston today are empirically indistinguishable from a steam bath, so I figured this would be a good time for my very first iced Earl Grey experience.

I brewed up three filterbags in about 16 ounces of water and observed the liquor becoming progressively darker reddish-brown (read: Assam) over the course of a few minutes. I removed the bags and let the tea “cool” down a bit before pouring some over a glass of ice.

Well, it’s not very good. It’s quite bitter, a problem which I would address in a hot brew with a slosh of cream. Somehow the idea of cream in iced tea does not sound very appealing. It’s not quite a contradiction in terms, and I certainly have imbibed my share of cream-laden iced drinks (Frappuccinos, etc.), but I am debating adding some True Lemon instead, to turn this into a full-on lemon-tinged black iced tea…

update: I added a hefty spoonful of True Lemon and then the brew reminded me of instant iced lemon tea from my childhood in the burbs of a land-locked state. At first I tried to drink it, because I needed caffeine. But then I asked myself: Why am I doing this? I mean, it’s not as though I have some sort of tea shortage chez moi! ;-) I tossed the rest and brewed a new batch of a different tea.

Iced 5 min, 0 sec 6 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

This review made me laugh. “Why an I doing this?” I do the exact same thing. I have all this tea to drink, and yet I try to make a tea I don’t like into something I will like. I’m getting better at saying, “Nope, this tea is not for Cheri!” and tossing it.


It’s funny, Cheri, isn’t it? I guess that I am naturally frugal and don’t like to waste food in general, but bad food (and tea)? Just say “no”! ;-)

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I brewed up another glass of this Namring Estate 2nd Flush Darjeeling from Upton by way of Steepster Select. I’ve been exploring the second flush darjeelings from Golden Tips and was wondering how this would measure up in comparison. I think that it’s not as good, but it’s true that I used only half of my envelope, so 2.2 grams (it contained 4.5 grams) for about 8 ounces of water. I kept the temperature cooler (82C rather than the Steepster Select recommendation of 100C—which is a big mistake, imnsho), and I brewed for about 3 minutes.

The resultant liquor was amber colored and pretty good but not great. I do not believe that darjeelings can be successfully re-steeped, but I tried last time (Steepster Select says on the envelope that it’s good for 3 re-steeps!). It tasted like dishwater, so I’m not bothering this time.

Does anyone in the universe, aside from Steepster Select, recommend that darjeeling be re-steeped? I’ve never read it anywhere. It seems like a ploy to make the program seem to cost less than it does. You do not, my tea-infused friends, get four 12 ounces cups of tea from this envelope. No, you do not.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

The first steep of a Spring Darjeelings is infinitely better, but at work I often resteep for a second mug of tea.
Water Temperature 100C
Steep for 20 to 25 minutes
It lacks the full flavor of the first steep but still retains the characteristic tastes of a Darjeeling tea. Since I have not tasted dishwater, I cannot compare.

Happy Steeping!


100C for a darjeeling??? Never! :O


Trying to get flavor out of a second steep requires severe parameters. 100C for a first steep? Never. 85-95C? Yes. 20-25 minute steep? Absolutely not! 3 or 4 minutes? Yes, for a first steep.

Try re-steeping at 85C for 3 minutes. Does it taste like dishwater? Probably.


Thanks, Excelsior, for this interesting testimony! Do you then zap your cup to make it hot again? It must be cold by the time you’ve finished steeping!


btw: no I have not imbibed dishwater, but I have smelled it, so let’s just say that the second infusion tasted how I gather dishwater tastes…


Actually, my porcelain teapot retains the heat rather well and the tea is still hot even after 25 minutes. I gathered you were not in the habit of tasting dishwater.

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drank Long Jing by Le Palais des Thes
1523 tasting notes

I finished my test tube of loose-leaf Long Jing from Palais des Thés. It really seems more like a blend to me. Will not buy a full supply.

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 17 OZ / 502 ML

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drank Milk Oolong by The Republic of Tea
1523 tasting notes

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drank JavaVana Mate by Teavana
1523 tasting notes

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drank Yellow and Blue by Harney & Sons
1523 tasting notes

cerulean sea
frothy waves move up and down
crash upon the shore

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shimmering sunset
gold dust tossed into the wind
settles on the sand


I missed your haikus :-)


Thanks, Teafairy—more to come :-)

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Effective February 1, 2015, I’ll be writing about tea at my new blog, sherapop’s tea leaves. Please stop by and contribute your ideas—all viewpoints are welcome!

A long-time tea and perfume lover, I have recently begun to explore the intersections between the two at my blog: http://salondeparfum-sherapop.blogspot.com//

The scent of tea can be just as appealing as—sometimes more than—its taste! Tea also offers boundless visual beauty in its various forms and states of preparation.

A few words about my ratings. In assessing both teas and perfumes, my evaluation is “all things considered.” Teas do not differ very much in price (relative to perfumes or any luxury items), so I do not usually consider the price when rating a tea.

What I do consider is how the particular tea compares to teas of its own type. So I might give a high rating to a fine herbal infusion even though I would never say that it is my favorite TEA. But if it’s good for what it is, then it deserves a high rating. There is no point in wishing that a chamomile blend was an Assam or a sencha tea!

Any rating below 50 means that I find the liquid less desirable to drink than plain water. I may or may not finish the cup, depending upon how thirsty I am and whether there is another hot beverage or (in summertime) a source of fresh water available.

From 50 to 60 indicates that, while potable, the tea is not one which I would buy or repurchase, if I already made the mistake (I have learned) of purchasing it.

From 60 to 70 means that the tea is drinkable but I have criticisms of some sort, and I probably would not purchase or repurchase the tea as I can think of obvious alternatives which would be better.

From 70 to 80 is a solid brew which I would purchase again.

From 80 to 90 is good stuff, and I probably need to have some ready at hand in my humble abode.

From 90 to 100 is a tea (or infusion) which I have come to depend on and look forward to imbibing again and again—if possible!

If you are interested in perfume, you might like my 2400+ perfume reviews, most of which have been archived at sherapop’s sillage (essentially my perfumelog):


Finally, please note that after a great deal of debate with myself, I have decided to use the cupboard here at Steepster as a “museum” of sorts—to commemorate all of the various teas which I have purchased and truly enjoyed since December 2013.

I do not currently possess all of the teas listed in this cupboard, but am using the function as a way of recording how many times I drank every tea which I did own at some point and wish not to forget. Teas found both in my “cupboard” and on my “wishlist” are those which I did own and intend to restock. Teas best forgotten have been removed from the cupboard once depleted (in some cases tossed…).

I have also decided (beginning in 2015) to use the tasting note function to maintain a chronological record of the teas I’ve consumed since December 15, 2013. Most new reviews will now be posted directly at my blog, sherapop’s tea leaves.


Somerville, Massachusetts, USA



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