552 Tasting Notes

drank Special Dark by Mandala Tea
552 tasting notes

Had a nice session with this tea again. My Prrrrrecious!!! My gong fu sessions seem to last 2-3 hours. Lots of tea!! Anyone have other ways to enjoy this one? I saw some people steep it long and add milk and sugar?

I also discovered I can watch episodes of the new show Selfie on the abc app. Yay! Cute show too!


Here’s a very special concoction… Read MzPriss review, she’s the creator :-)



Ooh, thanks TTF!!

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Enjoyed this to-go on my way to a doctor’s appointment today. I’m having some foot issues…the result, I need new shoes. Good excuse to go shopping!! Although, I’d rather be Shou shopping, if you know what I mean!! Haha!

This tea is still delightful. Nice roasty oolong, but smooth and caramel sweet. :)

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drank Zhen Qu by Butiki Teas
552 tasting notes

This was my first thing in the morning tea today, and that’s all I got to, for the rest of the work day was so crazy! This is straight-up hot cocoa tea. LOVE it!!!

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drank Autumn Song by Mandala Tea
552 tasting notes

My last sample from the raw sampler. This one tested my patience. That artichoke vegetal bitterness I usually get in sheng started on steep two and lasted for a bunch of steepings, rather than the usual 2-3. Once it faded, there were some nice citrus and green bell pepper notes, as promised by the description, but pretty mild in flavor overall. The texture was nice and smooth. I’m glad I got to try it, but again, I think Heart of the Old Tree wins out.

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drank Pumpkin Chai by DAVIDsTEA
552 tasting notes

Was feeling very peevish this morning regarding work, but I made a cup of this over the stovetop and I feel better now. Nice and creamy and comforting. I think I can make it through Monday now!


thru explorer;)

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My first puerh cake! I’m so excited! I don’t have a pick yet, so I picked through (haha!) my cupboard and came up with some tool that I can’t remember the use for. Cheese pick? It’s got two little spikes at the end. It worked really well on this cake, but I’m worried it cut the tea leaves, rather than prying them apart. I did end up with a few still-together chunks, so that should be good.


Holy crap this is dark! The cake is dark, and it brews up dark right away! Once the leaves are wet, they’re so black! The brew is pretty dark too, kind of a burgundy color.

15sec rinse
15sec steep: I was afraid to start with 30 seconds, seeing how dark it is. It’s incredibly smooth. There’s a hint of that cedar note I find in most ripe puerh.
30sec: super dark!! Cedar.
45sec: cedar is fading…a little sweeter, maybe bread-like?
1min: a little sweeter, still very dark, a little mineral-tasting and aha! I get that copper twinge at the end.
1min15sec: wow, this just stays dark! Sweet…cinnamon?
1min30sec: I don’t know why, but I think I’m getting cinnamon sugar, and that’s okay with me!
1min45sec: the color is finally starting to lighten up. Still getting cinnamon sugar notes. Woot!
2min/2min30/3min30/5min: creamy, cinnamon sugar water!

Overall, I’m extremely pleased with my first cake from the JalamTeas subscription. Thanks to Pureleaf for mentioning it in the discussion thread! Can’t wait for October’s tea and I’m certainly going to enjoy the rest of this cake!


Thanks for the pictures! Sounds like a really nice pu erh… I will check out Jalam Teas :)


Congrats on first cake!! This was fun to read :-)


Thanks, TTF!!


There is a lot of joy to be had stabbing away at a Pu Erh cake :) The cheese pick tool sounds perfect for the job.


Sounds delicious, i should check them out!


KittyLovesTea – it IS fun!!

Parsifal and boychik – I don’t see too many folks posting about their teas on steepster yet and I love seeing how different people find different flavors in the same tea, so I hope you do check them out. :)


I probably don’t need another subscription, but I’ve thought about this one….


Cheri- this is my first subscription…I figured it would be easier if someone else picked puerh for me. It’s kind of overwhelming, otherwise!


Do you have a fine screwdriver? That would work. I also know that some have used a letter opener. I share your concern for the pronged tool breaking far too many leaves – one of the pleasures of fine puerh cakes is looking to see if you have whole leaves as you “pick” the cake and in the tea vessel after they have unfurled (or maybe I’m just weird that way – simple pleasures).


DigniTea: ya, I have a screwdriver, but was thinking it might not be clean enough for food prep! I’ll probably get something specifically suited to puerh at some point. :)


Nice review! I started with a “scratch awl” to break cakes with. Even with a proper “pick” I still have a hard time breaking them properly. These big old hands don’t do so well with the good breaking technique.

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That moment when you reach for what you think will be the last couple of sips in your cup, only to be greeted by one drop…

That’s what always happens with this tea. Gone too soon! I reach for this one so often! It sneaks into being your favorite…you don’t even realize it is until you find yourself reaching for it over and over again!! Gotta have that sweet potato goodness! :)


Ha! That moment always seems to happen with really good teas, or any yummy beverage in general. :)

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Made this to-go in my travel mug to enjoy on the drive up to Apple Hill yesterday. That’s right! It was time for our annual trip up to Apple Goodie Land!!! This tea was still amazingly delicious in my travel mug…again, chocolate-y with a hint of smoke. The drive up there is about an hour and a half and so worth it! I was worried it was going to rain, but it stayed dry the whole time! We met friends there, and they just got a new puppy, a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, who we got to meet. Super cute!!

As I always do when we go up to Apple Hill, I inhaled an apple dumpling with cider sauce and vanilla ice cream first thing. We also bought two trays of apple strudel, apples, apple chipotle grilling sauce, apple pumpkin butter, honey, a pumpkin,…oh, and my favorite soap vendor is up there too! So fun!!! I wish we could do this more than once a year. Maybe I can sneak in one more visit!

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Another tea from the raw sampler. This one was much more enjoyable up front, but too mild for me in the later steepings. I did a 10-second rinse and then steeped 10/10/15/15/25/25/35/45sec/1:30/2:30/5min. In the early steeps, I enjoyed mild camphor, fruity, and even a bit buttery notes. There was a bite to a couple of these steeps. After the bite receded, I was left with a mild sweetness, but nothing too exciting. I think I like Heart of the Old Tree better. Not bad, and certainly, the first steeps were good, but not memorable to me.


I want to try it w/ boil water. What was your temp ?


I used 195 degrees. Good luck!

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I’m back in the Land of Good Tea (i.e. home)!!! Yay!!! Had to have a good black tea this morning to wash away all the crappy cups of tea I had this week. This one doesn’t disappoint. Pretty smokey today, actually, but solid. I’m looking forward to a puerh session in a few. I took today off, so I can have all the tea I want ! And my hubby made me breakfast! Woot! Maybe my JalamTeas subscription will come today…crossing my fingers!!

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Another profile facelift! My tastes have changed a lot from when I first discovered loose leaf tea.

I can trace my tea journey back to October 2012, when I discovered DavidsTea. Before that, I had the occasional cup and enjoyed high tea at An Afternoon to Remember, which has since closed.

I went through a period of wanting to try all the teas, and was really into flavored teas, especially dessert blacks, but my tastes have substantially changed over time.

I still enjoy the occasional flavored black or rooibos, but I’m more into unflavored black teas right now and recently, puerh. Chinese black teas are amazing…with their notes of chocolate or sweet potato, who needs a flavored tea? I had a much steeper learning curve when it came to puerh. I used to dump out cups of puerh for tasting like leather. Now, I am really enjoying them. I think it took finding good quality puerh and steeping them gong fu style to really enjoy them.

I also, on occasion, enjoy a good oolong, white, or green tea.

Favorite tea companies right now include: Mandala, Teavivre, Butiki, Golden Moon, Lupicia, and DavidsTea (for teaware mostly).

Just a note: I don’t rate my teas numerically because my iPad doesn’t like the scroll bar. Maybe someday that will change…hint hint, steepster! ;)

P.S. My profile picture is of one of my 2 cats, Holly, who is a little princess but very photogenic, and she loves boxes, including those that bring me tea! :)


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