225 Tasting Notes


Had to add this one the database. This was a sample sent to me by Puerh Shop with my last order. I’m up way later than I should be with anticipation for the first ever Midwest Tea Fest in the morning… which starts in 8 hours and I haven’t slept. Haha. Oh well. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

This tea smells smokey after a rinse, with some forest floor and dried fruit aromas as well. The initial rinse brew tastes a little bit smokey and pretty earthy. I’m going to skip on to the first infusion. Second infusion is also rather smoky tasting with just a hint of dried fruit note. Third infusion is also full of plenty of smokey flavor. There’s a bit of a drying quality on the tongue and a peppery aftertaste. The next infusion is somewhat bitter and vegetal, still very smokey.

I’ll end my review here as I can see that this is going to be a very smokey Puer experience. I am not one to personally go for this type of tea, and the drying feeling on the tongue is a bit of a downer to me too. It’s not a tea I don’t like to drink, but not one I’d seek out.

Flavors: Bitter, Dried Fruit, Earth, Smoke, Vegetal

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Thanks Taiwan Tea Crafts for the sample!

These little beads of oolong are actually rather large compared to most. After the first infusion the leaves have a really fragrant floral scent with notes of spices and a hint of roast. In the flavor, there’s a hazelnut note, the mild relaxing toasted taste you get in most roasted teas, and a lingering floral taste, some notes of spices as well.

In the second infusion, the tea is much more floral tasting, actually quite stronger in that regard than any other Dong Ding I’ve had. There’s a honey note as well and the roasted note has diminished. It’s tasting much “greener”.

Later infusions became more mellow with more of the roasted and nutty flavors coming forward. This is a great comfort tea.

Flavors: Flowers, Hazelnut, Honey, Toast

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 tsp 100 OZ / 2957 ML

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YES! This is the stuff dreams are made of. I mean that in a “the kind of dreams that come out of a tea bag” kind of way. I am so into loose teas these days that I rarely buy bagged ones. This tea is amazing though. I picked it up at a local Asian grocer on a whim. When you open up a pouch, it smells really heavily of sakura, a scent and flavor I’ve become very familiar with lately from drinking pickled sakura tea from Japan, which is made from only the cherry blossoms; they’ve been preserved in salt and plum vinegar, but you rinse the salt off before brewing. I also purchased a kanzan varietal sakura tree that I found at Lowe’s for $25 on some lucky day. I preserved the flowers it had on it and have been drinking them too.

The aroma and flavor of this sweet sakura tea is a lot stronger than actual sakura flowers, because it has an added essence/extract of sakura leaves (which have just as much of a cherry/floral taste and scent as the flowers do). The ingredients list green tea, pickled sakura flowers and leaves, and essence of sakura leaves. If you brew this too strong it has a bit of an alcohol flavor to it from the extract. If that happens, just add some more water.

The green tea flavor is light and savory. It accompanies the sakura flavor well without overpowering it. The taste and aroma of the sakura are really abundant, and if you aren’t familiar with sakura, the taste is a lot more like cherries than you might expect from a tree that doesn’t actually produce cherries, just cherry flowers. It has a hint of creamy floral tones to it that make it lighter than the taste of a cherry fruit, and some similarities with the aroma and taste of plum as well.

I will be buying this stuff for years to come… I can tell. It really fills in the gap on lazy days when I don’t want to bust out a teapot or gongfu set but want to sit down and drink some tasty tea. I would highly recommend pairing this with sushi or Japanese cuisine, or drink it as a dessert. Of course, it’s even better on its own.

Flavors: Cherry, Floral, Green, Sakura, Sweet

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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This will be… I think the third of WYMM Tea’s Menghai Shou Puer I have tried. So far, my favorite is the Third Grade. I tried two other grades in an earlier batch of samples. This First Grade Shou contains the smallest leaves and buds of the different grades of Shou Puer.

After a rinse, the leaves of this Puer smell sweet and musty. I get the scent of sweet dough and a hint of the dusty, musty smell you encounter in a basement or a cave. There is also a bit of petrichor, the smell that arises when it begins to rain, and the scent of mineral. Combine all that with a hint of pipe tobacco, and it creates a rather sweet, rustic, complex smell. The brewed tea itself smells even more like a sweet pastry dough.

The taste is really smooth and earthy, and surprisingly less sweet than I expected from the scent. It’s really difficult to describe this flavor, but I might almost say it tastes like a good Sumatran coffee would if it had none of the bitterness. It’s earthy with cacao notes. After the sip there is a lingering sweetness, and a really wet feeling in the mouth, also a bit of a lingering taste like the aftertaste of dark chocolate. The most outstanding factor while drinking this is just how smooth it is. It is really pleasant feeling in the mouth and throat. Very clean.

The next infusion is sweeter than the first and yet again very smooth. The taste is a bit woody, earthy, and again I’m reminded of petrichor. Really subtle and easy to drink. Later infusions had similar character to them. Throughout many steepings this tea remained very smooth and clean, with a mellow taste. It’s a dark, relaxing cozy tea. It has no bitterness or astringency at all, and in some infusions a mild sweetness is present. If you enjoy dark earthy flavors but more on the subtle side than the bold side, this tea would make a great choice.

Flavors: Cacao, Coffee, Earth, Musty, petrichor, Wood

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I didn’t rinse, because this tea tastes great without it. The initial infusion is really light and has a subtle fruit note, maybe like apricot or peach. There’s a long lingering sweetness in the mouth and the taste is very clean and light. The scent of the tea leaves and brewed tea are lightly floral and a little vegetal.

The second infusion of this one is a blend of spiced, vegetal, and apricot. It tingles on the tongue with an almost fizzy sensation and finishes with a bit of a tartness that lingers in the mouth. It’s a nice sensation, not a bad tartness. The flavor is also a bit reminiscent of orange as the tea cools.

The third infusion is really sweet and fruity with a wood note in the finish and a very light bitterness at the end. Really juicy and full flavored.The fourth infusion is a bit more bitter and reminds me of orange blossoms. The fifth infusion brings more tart fruit flavor. It reminds me of tart bitter fruits like cranberries or grapefruit, but only mildly bitter compared to the fruit. After another infusion, there was no bitterness or tanginess at all and it had a distinct butterscotch note in the mix.

Overall this tea is really smooth and has a nice fruity flavor to it, balanced by the usual green notes of sheng Puer. Like WYMM Tea’s other sheng Puer teas, this one has a really clean taste. I haven’t had one yet that didn’t taste really high quality. Really happy they shared this with me!

Flavors: Apricot, Orange, Orange Blossom, Sweet

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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After a 15 second rinse, the tea leaves smell sweet and floral, a bit like chamomile, and with a bit of a fruit note. I’m already sensing some similarities in aroma with WYMM Tea’s Mangnuo Cane Tea, which is truly a prized tea to me.

I am drinking the initial rinse infusion of this tea, because after testing it, it tastes great. It is light and honey-like with a floral nectar kind of character to it. The liquor is a beautiful golden yellow and smells like honey too. There’s no bitterness present and the flavor is light and refreshing, leaving a slight cooling sensation on the tongue.

The second infusion has a bit stronger floral taste and isn’t quite as sweet. Again, I’m reminded of chamomile somewhat, though of course it’s also got the complexity and variety of “green” flavors that is unique to sheng Puer. Still, it tastes quite like I’m drinking a flower tisane.

By the third infusion I realized how clean this tea tastes and how clean it feels in the mouth. It isn’t really strong in flavor. It has just a bit of lingering bitterness at this point, but it’s a clean and enjoyable bitterness. The flavor overall is mild and sweet at first, then gives way to the bitter finish, which is to be expected from a young Puer. The next infusion is a bit sweeter, and despite the accompanying bitterness, there’s a lingering sweetness. Further infusions maintain a balance between a subtle floral honey-like sweetness and a lingering clean bitterness. A lingering sweetness follows much longer after the bitterness subsides. This Puer seems like one that would be really sweet and light after aging. I like how smooth it is, especially in the first few infusions. This one definitely has my attention. I think it has great aging potential!

Flavors: Floral, Green, Honey

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I’m always happy when I get samples from WYMM Tea. Their teas have a really unique and pure quality to them. I feel an impression of closeness to the source.

The leaves in a warm gaiwan smell like dried fruit with a little hint of fennel. After a 20 second rinse infusion, they smell much more like dark dried fruits, fig or plum, and a hint of perfume. I’m reminded of high quality artisan incense from Japan crafted with rare resins (like those you might find from the 300 year old Shoyeido company).

With raw Puer, I often taste the rinse infusion to see how it is and if it’s good, I’ll drink it. With higher quality ones, I find that the rinse tastes just great. This one is no exception. The rinse infusion tastes like dried fruit, similar to golden raisins. It has a really juicy, wet mouthfeel, no drying astringency or bitterness at all.

By the second infusion, the flavor is more robust and the texture more juicy and mouth-filling. The taste is still of dried fruit. This is a really gentle and easy tea to drink, despite its depth of flavor.

The third infusion seems to exhibit a hint of bitterness, though it’s subtle. The flavor is less intense overall, so I will let it infuse a bit longer on the next.

On the fourth infusion I’ve let it steep a bit longer, and while the flavor is more full, overall it is less sweet and fruity than the first two infusions. It has a hint of bitterness that lingers, but it’s still really subtle.

The fifth infusion is a bit more fruity sweet but still with some lingering bitterness, a bit stronger now. I could see these flavors registering as “apricot” and “smoky” to many Puer drinkers. I see these descriptors used a lot for raw Puer. Sixth infusion is similar. The seventh is even a little more bitter and the taste has a bit of a tropical fruit note to it. From here forward the flavor tends to wane and if you try to push more out of it, it gets somewhat bitter.

Overall, this tea tasted best early on. I enjoyed the first few steepings so much. After that its flavors diminished a bit, but it was still enjoyable.

Flavors: Dried Fruit, Perfume

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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drank San Mateo Yerba Mate by Guayaki
225 tasting notes

So this is my first experience with drinking loose yerba mate in the traditional style with a mate gourd. I ordered one and a bombilla finally and seasoned the gourd with this tea. I figured I’d like this kind more than regular mate because it is unsmoked and has a more green flavor than most mate.

The flavor is really intense with a gourd full of leaves and a narrow canal down the edge filled with water. The flavor is really foresty and green. There are hints of evergreens trees. When this yerba really reaches its pinnacle and is brewed its strongest, it has an incredibly savory umami flavor like a vegetable broth, and it’s also a little salty. It has some natural bitterness too that is not very present if you brew this more like a regular tea with a small amount in a cup rather than in the traditional “gourd full o yerba” method.

The intense savoryness of this tea really reminds me of gyokuro prepared in the traditional method. I imagine gyokuro lovers would enjoy this. I have to admit, I’m not used to that intense savory flavor and I cringe a little when I drink it (same with gyokuro), but I’m also kind of intrigued by it and drawn to it, and continue to drink it… so I have a strange relationship with it… not something I’d really go for often, but something that works in the right mood.

I really want to try roasting some of this in a pan and drink it that way… kind of like home-made houjicha but with yerba mate. That would be fun.

Flavors: Green, Pine, Rainforest, Umami

180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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Okay, it’s time for me to stop being in dragon mode (hoarding it all to myself) and review this. I didn’t want to hype it too much b/c I hadn’t had the funds to order my fill yet, but I just placed an order for the rest that I foresee myself purchasing, so here goes.

Oh boy! This tea has interesting written all over it. I was first drawn to the packaging, as I love the stag artwork on the wrapping. After reading the description from PuerhShop and the other review here on Steepster I knew I should give it a try, so I ordered a sample.

The first sniffs of the dry leaves in a warm gaiwan are wonderful. It has a really soft fragrance with the scent of flowers and fruits. I’m getting hints of magnolia, and maybe some cherry, plum, or nectarine. Definitely a stone fruit scent.

The scent of the wet leaves is more complex and hard to describe. It’s predominantly nutty and vegetal, but with a nice fruity tanginess in the background. It reminds me of really high quality green teas from china. Maybe a Bi Luo Chun. There is also a subtle floral aroma if you inhale deeply. This is lovely.

I gave the rinse a little taste. Even just sipping that there is a lingering floral taste in my mouth. Wow. I’m not going to describe the other flavors of it. I’ll do the first infusion first.
Something about the scent of the brewed tea makes me incredibly nostalgic. It smells very perfumed and flowery. the taste is more vegetal, buttery, and nutty, with green bean notes, but the lingering floral taste and aroma is what sets this Puer apart from others of its kind for me. I can definitely agree with the other reviewer here who said it reminds them of oolong tea. I can tell it is sheng puer from a mile away, but it definitely has a lot in common with oolong in its floral and green notes.

In the second infusion, the tea has become a bit more buttery and nutty. It still has a bright vegetal and floral note, but it is not as powerful as before. It is very prominent on the nose still, however.

The third infusion is a little more sweet and floral. Less of the vegetal, nutty. Still pretty buttery and smooth. I should mention that this tea has zero bitterness and is a really great raw puer. Very warming qi.

If you go with this tea for about 7 to 8 infusions or more, it starts to mellow out substantially, and any hints of young puer bitterness it might have fade away. The predominant flavor is of honey and flowers. The taste and fragrance are something sort of like orange blossom water. It just goes on and on this way for many infusions. It’s so gentle and lovely, I can only imagine how great this tea will be in a couple decades.

I’m buying a handful of cakes of this to age… the first tea I’ve done that with! I have seasoned one of Master Weilong’s one of a kind unglazed interior gongfu teapots with this tea. It smells so nice inside now. This is a tea I’ll be taking with me for the long haul.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Green, Stonefruits, Vegetal

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

That tea sounds amazing! Is it expensive?


Not at all. It’s currently $19 for a 200g cake. I forgot to mention the cake is so floral fragrant you can easily smell it through the box it comes in. It is nice. Since this is the first really nice affordable raw puer cake I liked I am using it as one that I will try periodically over the years to help me learn how aging affects it. I got four cakes .


They also have samples of it for anyone who might want to try it without buying a whole cake.


Thanks. I took a look and their prices are great. Can’t beat $19 for a 200 g cake! Their shipping is high to Canada though. I’ll give it some thought. I’m sure the shipping is worth it when ordering a few things at a time (like Yunnan Sourcing). I tried just adding things to my cart to see if the price would escalate when the order goes up but it didn’t.


They do have a flat rate shipping option. It’s like $9 USD, which is not cheap, but good for a larger order. It did suck paying for shipping when I was ordering samples from them.


The good thing is their samples are like 21g so you get a good amount to play with.


Dragon Mode! Love it – have never heard this phrase before and am definitely stealing it. What would a lion mode be, I wonder?


Lion mode for me is when I’m overly exuberant and excited to have something, so much that I just drink as much tea as I want, as often as I want, with no regard for preserving any for the future. This often happens when I’m just strongly craving a tea for many days at a time, or I’m eager to try many different brewing methods for one tea. It’s kind of like when lions sometimes eat up to 25% of their body weight when they complete a hunt, since at times when food is scarce they may not eat again for a couple weeks. You gotta do it while the bounty is fresh and at its best, so it happens most often for me with green teas. Haha.
I think I default to dragon mode most times though. Lion mode is the enemy of my tea stock. :9


Ha! Lion mode sounds fun. Like you, I think I default to dragon mode, but I am now committed to lioning over some tea soon.

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These buds sure are pretty, golden, curly, fuzzy and soft. They’re in good shape. In a warm gaiwan, they smell heavily of cocoa, and after the first infusion the buds smell like cocoa still but also like honey and flowers.

The first infusion is surprisingly pale for a Chinese red tea. It’s actually a bold, golden yellow color. Granted, that’s only after 15 seconds, but with the same weight in leaves, red teas are usually at least orange or amber after the first infusion Gongfu style. The tea liquor smells great, like subtle hints of chocolate and honey and pastry crust. I’m reminded of greek pastries like baklava or galaktoboureko, maybe with some chocolate thrown in em for good measure. The taste is exceptionally smooth and delightful. It’s sweet and gentle with flavors of honey and cocoa. Sort of has a “cookies and cream” nuance.

In the second infusion, floral flavors emerge to accompany the others. It’s really buttery. The third infusion offers more of the same flavors, but more rich. It continues in this way in later infusions. This tea is pretty mellow and easy to drink. It has a sweet onset and is overall light, then finishes with a lingering taste of cocoa. I think chocolate lovers will love this tea, and those who like their red/black tea on the light and crisp side.

Flavors: Butter, Cocoa, Floral, Honey

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I’m a dedicated practitioner of Gongfu Cha and you can usually find me brewing my tea in a gaiwan. I tend to stick to straight teas and scented teas most often, though I dabble in tisanes and flavored blends sometimes. I use a Tokoname-ware kyusu for Japanese green teas and a chawan for matcha. I also have a small unglazed kyusu that I use for roasty teas like houjicha and genmaicha. I have a yixing pot seasoned with Yunnan red tea.

My favorite teas are Kenyan Silver Needle, Gui Fei, Da Hong Pao, Shan Lin Xi, WYMM Tea’s Mangnuo “Cane Tea”, Obubu Tea’s Sencha of the Autumn Moon, and Shang Tea’s Special Reserve Green.

To me, tea offers a time of peace and reflection in solitude, or sharing and enjoyment with friends. It has become a huge part of my life lately. I hold monthly tea gatherings at my home and run a Facebook page about tea called Lion Style Gongfu Tea: http://tinyurl.com/teawithlion

Aside from tea, I’m a creative person. I love to cook, create music, write fiction, draw, decorate, and do just about anything creative I can get my paws on. I also enjoy creating food and drink recipes.

I am really interested in Asian cultures in all aspects. I really love Japanese animation and video games as well.

I’m a friend to animals of all kinds. I couldn’t live in a world without animals. Conserving and respecting them is very important to me. I’m a lion at heart. :3

But I am mostly here on Steepster to talk tea! Let’s enjoy the world of tea together!

My Tea Ratings:
0 = Unpalatable, Awful
25 = Unenjoyable or harsh
50 = Average, I’m indifferent
75 = Enjoyable
100 = Incredible


Kansas City, USA



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