1495 Tasting Notes


Thanks so much Steep City for sending me some samples! Very appreciated! I love the packaging and logo of the samples. This one sounded amazing. With it being the first day of spring and still snowing, I think I’ll try this tea and hopefully be transported to somewhere tropical (spring weather-wise was so early last year!) There was a HUGE mango chunk that fell into my infuser, so they aren’t lying! After a three minute steep, the color is orange hued, almost like the mango itself. The black tea doesn’t overpower the flavors, and there is just enough hibiscus to make this taste perfect. I can always tolerate hibiscus if it is the perfect amount! It definitely tastes like mango, but how couldn’t it with that huge piece? The cup even maintains a bit of starchiness that a mango has. I really like this one! It’s nice if you want a bit of caffeine with a fruity flavor. The second steep is just as good. Very genuine and authentic mango. It’s juicy, refreshing, thirst quenching, and everything I was hoping this tea to be!

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drank Superior Pouchong by Drink T
1495 tasting notes

Thanks so much Dinosara for sending an awesome package of teas my way! It is definitely appreciated! This one is lovely!

Steep one // 4 min // The steep color is a medium yellow. I can tell just by smelling the cup before I taste it that will have mostly a floral flavor and it does — it’s like a flower shop.. or maybe orchids. There is also a sweetness to it that could rival the milk oolong I had the other day… even though this isn’t a milk oolong. It is so smooth and silky! Definitely one of the better oolongs I’ve tried.

Steep two // 3 min // I think the first cup was better than this one. It is rare that the first cup is the better one! This didn’t have as much of the sweet & floral flavor. It was a bit drying.

Steep three // 4 min // This one oddly tasted more like the first cup, just not as pronounced. I wonder what happened! The longer steep time?

This one is a great oolong!

4 min, 0 sec

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drank Assam by Nina's Paris
1495 tasting notes

thanks so much Nina’s Paris for these samples! I really wanted to try a sample of the Nina’s Japon as soon as I saw someone else’s tasting note for it, then later that day I saw an offer for samples! I thought I’d try the straight assam first, so I can try the base of the others by itself. There was maybe a teaspoon and a half in my sample, so I just used every last leaf for this steep. Four minutes later, I get a reddish brown color and quite the kick! I might have used too much tea or steeped too long, but this is brisk and a bit astringent, yet still a bit above medium bodied. I’m reminded of a dark rye bread.. so this would have been perfect for a couple days ago on St. Patrick’s Day! It’s a bit malty, but less than I would expect from an assam. It’s very delicious! The second steep at just boiled for four minutes tames the briskness down a bit. Now there is more of that assam sweet, and a bit of a unique fragrance. Now it kind of seems like it would be a chocolate rye bread. I really love this one… can’t wait to try the others from Nina’s!

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I thought I would like this one more! I’ve heard such nice things about it… but this one tastes just like the cough drop flavor that I didn’t like in the Raspberry White Melange. I didn’t get much of a blueberry flavor either. It’s odd that there were flowers in the blend, but no flowers listed in the ingredients on my bag. I really wish this one didn’t have that cough drop flavor, as I know I would have liked it. Oh well, just not my thing I guess!


Yeah, I did get similar flavours with this one and Raspberry White Melange, but definitely preferred Double Berry Burst, and it didn’t come off cough drop-y to me (thankfully). I have noticed that Della Terra fails to accurately list ingredients quite frequently. I have no food allergies, so I don’t really care, but it’s worrisome for those who do…

Tea Sipper

Yeah, I don’t have allergies to anything either, but I was thinking of others who might have allergies.


Made it taste like soap!

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drank Fujian Baroque by Adagio Teas
1495 tasting notes

thanks starfevre for sending some of this in our trade! The only other Fujian tea I’ve had that I remember is an oolong that I really didn’t like because it was so charcoaly. It was too much for me! Luckily, this one is much better. The dry leaves are mixed — some are longer, twisty and black while some are yellow. The flavor is a lighter black. It does have a bit of a charcoal flavor, but just a hint, and also something like tobacco. This one is very good for a light black tea (and much better than the Adagio Irish Breakfast that I tried recently), but I like my black teas super dark and strong! It’s almost like I’m either craving a strong black tea or something like an oolong, but I’m sure sometimes I will want a lighter black tea and I will have this one! It’s kind of simple while also unique. If that makes sense.

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drank Milk Oolong | Jin Xuan by Tealux
1495 tasting notes

I opened my sample bag and I have never smelled a tea so sweet…like candy!! I was surprised to read on the bag that they do not do anything to flavor this, but grow it in a specific way to make this so sweet.

First steep // 4 min // I set the leaves free in my new infuser! The leaves are pretty big and a nice jade green color. The first sip, I was surprised at a pineapple flavor! Not as much of a milky taste as I would have expected from such scented leaves, but still sweet and buttery. The color is a pale yellow

Second steep // 3 min // This was still juicy sweet pineapple and not so much milk. But it is so good!

Third steep // 3 min // This one is more of a floral and a bit of pineapple. It’s nice to see these leaves actually are LEAVES. Sadly, I think when I took the leaves out of the dipper infuser before, they were still mostly little bundles. These almost filled the entire infuser.

Overall, a very nice oolong, especially for the pineapple flavor. I wouldn’t mind getting two ounces of this one.

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Thanks so much Azzrian for sending a bit of this along! I was in the mood for a pu-erh and this is the first tea I was able to try in my new Bodum YoYo infuser and mug! I have no idea why it is called “yoyo”. (It matches my vintage Bodum electric kettle!) The mug is clear so I have a nice view of the steep color. This one has the color of a draft of beer! So I’m not sure how much caffeine pu-erh has if the color is so light. (I’m assuming the darker the steep color, the more caffeine it has? I don’t know.) I like this mug though.. it’s either because the bottom of the mug is slanted or because the mug is clear, that when I’m sipping it, it looks like the mug has less tea in it than it actually does. I get a bit sad, but when I set it down, I can see that there IS a ton of tea left in the cup!

All of these steeps were for two minutes after two 10 second rinses (not sure if I’m doing that right!) Autumn is what the tea reminds me of. The leaves look like autumn leaves. The fragrance is smokey, like there is a burning pile of leaves in the yard. I wouldn’t guess that this is a pu-erh, because it doesn’t have that typical pu-erh flavor profile. It kind of seems like the flavor of tree bark, in the most appetizing way… so I guess you could still call it earthy! The flavor is smokey.. it most reminds me of a russian caravan. The flavor is smooth, silky, woodsy, light, and a tiny bit spicy… The second steep gets even smoother. It’s interesting that pu-erhs have such a wide range of flavor. I pity the fool who doesn’t steep their leaves multiple times. All three steeps were very consistent! I’m sure I could have steeped many more times. But I’M the fool who only used those dipper infusers until now (those I still will, especially for teas like rooibos that don’t need expanding). I knew for a while that the leaves were being strangled… so it was nice to see these leaves breathe. I like this tea! To sum up: it’s an autumn pile of smokey burning leaves and branches. It made me really miss autumn, even though it’s March (well, I miss autumn the first day it snows anyway.) Very unique… but I’m sure all of Verdant’s teas are unique.

Also, I read some of the tasting notes after typing mine up, and it seems I’ve said a lot of the same descriptions that others have. It seems my palate has improved too! Nice!

2 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

I think the long rinses saved you, Sipper!
Most shengs can be pretty harsh if steeped for any length of time, at least that has been my experience. If you still have some of the sample left, I recommend 3-4 oz in a smaller cup, 1 quick rinse, then steep 4 – 6 seconds, adding a few seconds to each steep. I’m not trying to be a know it all, but it would be a fun experiment & another way to enjoy the tea. I love Mt. Banzang’s, wish I could buy a whole cake of it!
Enjoy the day!


I’m sorry but this comment is a little odd. She liked the tea, so clearly this method “worked” for her. This is a more western-style steeping but it’s not a wrong way to steep.

Terri HarpLady

Definitely not wrong! It’s all an experiment anyway, so I was just suggesting an alternative experiment. I hope what I said wasn’t taken as criticism, as that wasn’t my intention. :)


Sorry Terri, my comment wasn’t meant toward you. I agree it’s fun and interesting to try different ways to steep. It’s just odd because she wasn’t complaining about the tea at all! If she had rated it poorly based on her steeping parameters it would have made more sense to me to immediately suggest different ones.


She did actually follow Verdant’s western-style steeping instructions for a sheng. They recommend two rinses followed by a 2 minute steep.


Erased comments to avoid pissing off anyone. I have a difference of opinion about steeping this puer.


Sorry Bonnie, if I made you feel like your opinion was unwelcome. It wasn’t my intention, I just wanted to make sure that Tea Sipper, as a new puerh drinker, didn’t feel like she was being told she did it wrong after she enjoyed the tea.

Tea Sipper

I appreciate any suggestions! Just because I liked the way I brewed it this way, doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way. Maybe it would have been better, but I only have the set up for western style brewing right now (hey, I just advanced past the dipper infusers. haha.) However, that was the last of this tea I have. I do worry that I’m ruining really great teas (especially Verdant’s) if I’m steeping them wrong, but that was the way that Verdant suggested brewing one of their Shengs. thanks everyone (And I wouldn’t have minded seeing your comment, Bonnie — I know you are a puer drinker!)

Tea Sipper

I just checked again for the Mt. Banzhang Sheng and it says two rinses for 10 seconds and then steep for two minutes. (I realize the Sheng I had could have had different steeping instructions, but I couldn’t find them.) So I poured water so it was covering the leaves, left it in for 10 seconds, dumped the water, did that again, and then steeped for two minutes. All other steeps were for two minutes too. (And no rinses in between steeps.) I know that Verdant’s oolongs have very short steep times, even with western, but I didn’t think to do that with this one since the site was telling me two minutes.) ah well! It wasn’t terrible!

Tea Sipper

Maybe if Steepsters have the original packaging for some of these Verdant teas, they could edit the info on Steepster if the info isn’t on Verdant? Unless all sheng steeping instructions aren’t that different… I have no idea.


Great review, T S! I have very little experience with shengs compared to shu. I love me sme good, strong shu! Well, as long as it isn’t fishy! I usually give it a nice long western steep and then resteep. One thing Bonnie does with shu that I just love is…I steep one pot of shu western style, then put the leaves in the refrigerator to cold steep. And I can leave them in there for days and it still tastes good. It is such a refreshing drink, what I imagine a big glass of cool water would taste like to someone who just crawled across the Sahara! Like primal, pure water before pollution existed, with all the tastes of creation (earth and leaf) mixed in! Can you tell I like it? LOL!


oh ashmanra! blowin my mind! love it

Tea Sipper

Yeah, that made it sound pretty good, ashmanra!


Thanks guys, I didn’t want to sound like a big know it all. I do want to say that the color of the tea has nothing to do with the caffeine content. Green and white tea most often have more than something like puer. It’s the quality of the leaf, the handling…age…processing and such that effects the amount of caffeine. (I heard that coffee is similar on the news yesterday on the Today Show)

Tea Sipper

thanks for the info, Bonnie! I had no idea that green & white have more caffeine than puer, but like you said, it depends. Very interesting!


Age of the leaf matters, too. I believe I read that caffeine is often higher in the little buds of leaves because it discourages insects from eating the baby leaves. Sugars are higher, too, to fuel the growth. Tea. Is. Wonderful. Miraculous and complex.

Terri HarpLady

What Ashmanra said!!

Tea Sipper

Also, I don’t know if anyone could tell but that one bit about resteeping was like channeling Mr.T and not really me calling anyone a fool. :D

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drank Champagne Rosé by Lupicia
1495 tasting notes

Additional notes: Sipdown! I didn’t even have enough for one teaspoon, but the flavor was still amazing. Such a nice sweet strawberry on a black tea that supports the flavors. I will definitely have to order from Lupicia one day!

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drank Browncoat Genmaicha by 52teas
1495 tasting notes

thanks so much, Starfevre, for sharing this one with me! I love these fandom blends. It really should be time for me to revisit Firefly… maybe in the summer when there isn’t as many decent new shows on TV. (Also, I think now with the success of The Avengers, isn’t it time that Mr. Joss Whedon has his own TV channel to air everything he creates or likes? With no fear of cancelation? I think so!)

I really loved the idea of a chocolate genmaicha! There is a ton of toasted rice here that pairs perfectly with chocolate. I didn’t see too many cocoa nibs, but maybe they are hiding with the rice. Since this is a 52Teas blend, I went with a short steep time at 45 seconds, but decided it needed more flavor so I kept the infuser in for a minute and 40 seconds. This is good! It tastes like a great roasty genmaicha with a tiny bit of bittersweet chocolate milk added to it, though it does leave the mouth a bit dry. As it cools, it tastes like chocolate ice cream. I can see Captain Mal sipping “the people’s tea” while protecting them. I think it would have been a nice touch to add a bit of strawberry, since they are so precious in the ’verse.

1 min, 45 sec

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It’s sad I’m the first one to write a tasting note for this one. (I think Alphakitty might have a note on the way since I bought some from her— thanks! But I hope we aren’t the only two to try this lovely tea from Ovation.) This one is amazing, as I knew it would be. It has such a smooth, complex, deep flavor. One sip reminded me of a plum with some of the sugar taken out. It reminds me a lot of the assam I also got from Ovation.. I’ll have to try them both again. The perfect black tea!


This really is fantastic! I’m a bit Yunnan-obsessed at the moment so I am waiting to log this one until I do a side-by-side comparison with a few others to see which is my favorite.

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Hi! I love tea and trying new ones – it adds a bit of variety to my day! Books, music, TV & movies are my thing… and tea, of course.

Some of my favorite teas:
52 Teas – zoomdweebies.com

Most of the teas listed in my cupboard are actually sample sizes. I don’t really have 2,000 ounces of tea around here! I was bored one day and found out that most of them have only one teaspoon left… maybe two. But I like keeping them in my cupboard list for reference to what I could be sipping. Usually, I write tasting notes once for each tea. I’m still drinking them, just not writing tasting notes each time!

My dislikes: hibiscus, ginger (unless in chai), charcoal type flavors

My ratings:
95-100 – Super awesome deliciousness favorites
80-95 – Also pretty delicious
65-80 – Pretty good
40-65 – Okay
1-40 – Probably won’t want to sip it again

I’m planning on being a Steepsterer as long as there IS a Steepster, so if you’re not hearing from me, that means something happened to my health… if you know what I mean. :D

Happy sipping!



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