798 Tasting Notes

Sipdown! And that’s the end of this one. Gong fu-brewed it today and it was lovely: a little smoky, a little fruity, with some honey and cocoa. I would definitely pick up more!

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So, my mom picked this up for both of us and then read reviews and was worried that it might be awful, but it’s actually pretty good! I followed her recommendations, based on what she read: 2 teabags (I used a 12 oz. mug), add milk and sugar. It tasted like a strawberry milkshake. No real chocolate to be found, but hey, that’s still pretty good for a rooibos. Yes, there was some rooibos flavor, but it wasn’t too strong. Oh, and 5 minutes does the trick. Glad to have another caffeine-free option in my cupboard. Thanks to my mom!


Seems pretty pleasant but will have to try the two bag version next time. I used one bag with about 6oz water, milk and sugar.

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Thanks to SLL for the sample! This is a very unique oolong. It tastes grainy, buttery, with a hint of honey, which makes me think of cream of wheat. Unfortunately, both times I tried it, There was an unpleasant chlorine aroma. I thought maybe it was a fluke the first time, but it showed up again, and I don’t detect that aroma when I drink other oolongs. Kind of a bummer, since the other flavor notes are so nice. Oh well, can’t like them all!


Chlorine aroma makes me gag. Sometimes it’s from the water, but it sounds like in this case, perhaps the tea was contaminated somehow? Idk. Gross, either way.


Kittenna – Ya, I thought it might be the water, so that’s why I tried it again, but the same thing happened and I don’t have that problem with other teas. Weird.

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drank Dian Yin Zhen by Nannuoshan
798 tasting notes

Thanks so much to nannuoshan for all the samples! This is my last one and I can honestly say that all of them were of excellent quality and delicious. I will be picking up some tea in the future.

The dry leaf of this tea looks like a silver needle crossed with a golden needle yunnan black. It is sea foam green color and smells fresh, with some potato and mint notes.

I followed the recommended gong fu parameters, but was able to enjoy a couple more infusions than were listed. The liquor is like a creamy yellow/taupe color, but clear and lightly viscous. The first sip tastes sweet with a juicy texture. There are definite potato notes and a delicious grilled taste with maybe some sweet pipe tobacco. This is amazing! It’s like velvet in my mouth.

Wow, this tea is so different than other white teas. Usually, white tea has hay or cucumber notes, but the grilled taste in this one is just fabulous! The uniqueness of this one makes it stand out to me, and it has definitely earned a place on my “buy” list.

Pics of the leaf and liquor:


Sounds interesting for a white tea! And it looks so pretty! Adding it to my list for later.

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drank Yixing Hong Cha by Nannuoshan
798 tasting notes

Thanks for the sample, nannuoshan! This is the third black tea I tried. The dry leaf is dark brown to black in color, thin, and twisty. It smells like malt. I followed the recommended gong fu parameters to brew this tea, but I was able to enjoy a couple more infusions than were listed. The brewed liquor is a nice reddish-brown.

I taste a tiny bit of cocoa, but the flavor seems more potato in nature. I also get a bit of a tang. It is smooth and lightly viscous. Overall, it is clear that each of the three black teas I tried are different enough that one might enjoy all three at different times.

Pics of the leaf and liquor:

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Thanks for the sample, nannuoshan! This is the second of the three black teas I tried. The dry leaf consists of very curly, thin, dark brown leaves with some lighter brown sprinkled in. I used the recommended gong fu parameters to brew this tea and I was able to enjoy more than 3 infusions. The aroma is malty and smoky. The liquor is lightly viscous and reddish-brown in color,

With the first sip, there was an explosion of flavor. It was like a bunch of flavors were bouncing around in my mouth. There’s chocolate, vanilla, caramel, a bit of smoke, and even a bit of fruit, like dried cherry. The flavor is rich, like fudge. Nannuoshan’s website states this is a higher grade keemun (which are known as “Qimen”) and based on the flavors I tasted in this tea, I can tell this is of excellent quality. This is really a fantastic tea!

Pics of the leaf and liquor:

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drank Tanyang Gongfu by Nannuoshan
798 tasting notes

Thanks for the sample, nannuoshan! This is the first of the three black tea samples I tried. Gabriele wrote in his note that it seems like I like black tea because I requested three, and he’s right! I do love black tea!

This one sounded like a good one to try first. The dry leaf consists of about half-inch long, thin, twisty black leaves and smells like malt. Here’s a pic:


I followed the recommended gong fu steeping parameters, which are not that different than how I usually gong fu brew black teas. The steeped leaves smell like malt and cocoa. The liquor is reddish-brown in color and smells like cocoa and honey. It is medium viscosity, not overly thick or thin, and smooth and clear.

The first infusion is smooth and tastes like cocoa, honey, and nuts. Yum! In the second infusion, the liquor is more red in color, like a cherry wood, and the flavors continue with cocoa, honey, and some malt creeping in. I found more even more honey notes in the third infusion, at least in the aroma, with light malt and cocoa.

The recommended 3 infusions are perfect as the flavors start to diminish after that.

Of the three black teas I tried, this one is my favorite. The cocoa and honey flavor lingered in my mind. I’m excited that I still have enough leaf for another session! Maybe I’ll wait to have it in the new gaiwan I ordered!


I loved this one!


@cookies – high fives! :)

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drank Nannuoshan 2013 by Nannuoshan
798 tasting notes

Thanks a bunch to nannuoshan for this sample! The dry leaf is a nice mixture of green and gold. I only had enough sample for one session…about 6g. I rinsed the leaf twice at 5 seconds each and then steeped it for 5 seconds. Because of my gooseneck kettle, I was barely able to finish pouring the water over it at 5 seconds! You have to be quick!

The wet leaf smells like dried fruits! The liquor is a pretty amber color. There were some other reviews about this one hitting strong after 5 seconds, so I went more gradually than usual and had three or so 5-second steeps, and then I started to add time with a 15-second steep and then a 25-second steep and so on.

From the beginning, it tastes like dried fruits and apricot. There’s a hint of sheng bitterness, but the short infusions prevent it from overpowering the flavor. At the 25-second steep, I noticed it was getting sweeter and that it was having a calming effect on me. It just kept going and going, getting sweeter and sweeter. I lost count of how many infusions I enjoyed. I was going to stop a number of times, but the developing sweetness kept calling to me, making me steep it “just one more time”, which actually became several times! The spent leaves are whole leaves and they look so fresh, like they were picked yesterday.

With longer steeps, initially there was more bitterness. I think it would be worth it to let this one age for a couple more years to mellow it out, especially since that dried fruit flavor is so delicious! I may pick some up with that in mind!

Pics of the session:


Sounds great

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drank Cape Jasmine Oolong by Tea Ave
798 tasting notes

Thanks so much to Teaave for this sample! So, jasmine and I have not been the best of friends. I really have to be in the mood. This one didn’t smell too strong based on the dry leaf, so I had a feeling I might enjoy it more, and guess what? I did! This is the best jasmine tea I’ve ever had. It is so creamy and buttery with a fresh flower petal taste, not that I’ve ever eaten flowers, but it’s what you imagine they taste like from the fragrance. Sweet, more than just floral, like it has substance, like thick flower petals. It’s floral, but not perfume-y, if you know what I mean. So good! If I were to have a jasmine tea in my cupboard, this would be the one! By the way, have any of you noticed the additional photos Teaave put up on their Steepster tea pages? Omg, the tins and other packaging are so nice! I can’t wait for their online store to open! That $15 off will not be going to waste!


Ooh! Your description is so tempting I feel like it should be written on the side of their box. :D I do love the packaging, too! The photos look like postmodern art. %)


Thanks, Jackie!

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Thanks to SLL for this sample! Omg, my first full-strength lapsang! Woo! This is a tea that I would not have understood or had the palate for a couple of years ago. It would probably have been dumped down the drain….the horror! I can’t believe it, but I actually really like it!

This tea is a super clean, smooth, and sweet wood smoke black tea. I added milk and sugar, which I normally do when I brew black teas western-style and it was yummy. The smoke lingers in your mouth and I think it would be great paired with complimentary food….it would add a fresh smoke taste to whatever you’re eating. Mmmm! I’m a convert!


Yay . Glad you like it. Next step will be maple syrup only.


I’ll need to buy some real maple syrup then! That does sound delicious!

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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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