813 Tasting Notes

drank Yi Mei Ren by Yunnan Sourcing
813 tasting notes

Stephanie threw this one into our swap as a bonus tea. Thank you! I’ve been eyeing the teas on Yunnan Sourcing’s website recently. Everything looks delicious, but I really better wait on buying more tea. ;)

This is a nice black tea. It was malty, sweet potato-y, and after looking at the description, I think I’m convinced I tasted molasses as well. Sometimes I wonder if I actually taste a note listed, or if I’m just easily persuaded! Ha! Overall, though, a very enjoyable tea.

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Puerh and I have not yet become friends, so I jumped at the chance to try a number of good quality puerhs in Mandala’s new sampler. I thought the sampler might help me get a better understanding of ripe puerhs, and see if there are any I might truly enjoy. Thanks, Garret, for offering this sampler!

I wasn’t sure which one to try first. It might be helpful if the note that comes with the sampler also indicated which puerhs were good for beginners to start with. I decided to start with this one, since it was listed first. Logical, eh?

I don’t have a gaiwan yet, so I used a small teacup and covered it with a saucer for steepings, a Pyrex measuring cup for a pitcher, and one of my cute cherry blossom teacups for sipping. Verdict? I think I need a gaiwan. ;)

I followed the recommended brewing procedure and here’s what I got:

Overall aroma – sweet, milk chocolate, vanilla. Yay!
30-second steep: leather, earthy, smooth, maybe some cocoa in aftertaste, maybe some cedar.
45 seconds: silkier, similar in notes to previous steeping, more cocoa coming out at end of sip. Yay!
1 minute: I think the note I used to think as leather is really a cedar note. More cedar than cocoa this round.
1min15sec: less cedar, more balanced.
1min30sec: generically sweet, honey.
1min45sec: same as previous.
2min30sec: sweet, weak. I think I’m done now. ;)

Favorite steep: second one, because more cocoa!

Side effect: serious caffeine effect…very jittery. Guess I should watch that.

Overall, I wouldn’t mind if this passed my way again, but I probably wouldn’t seek it out. I’m definitely looking forward to the other samples!

Question: Do you reheat your kettle for all steepings? Mine cooled significantly between steepings.

In other news, I made my first kale smoothie today, with mango and banana, and it turned out pretty good! This has been a “try new things” day!


I used to reheat my kettle, then I started keeping the water in a thermos so I don’t have to keep going to the kitchen.


That’s a great idea, Marzipan! Will try that next time.


Is the hold temp. function of the Bonavita helpful for this purpose?


Ya, I thought of that, but didn’t do it…I lacked follow-through! Haha!


Marzipan that is brilliant


My tea kettle has a hold temp function but I’m too zen (lazy) when doing gong fu to run back and forth to the kitchen. My mom had this Gevalia carafe thing she got with their membership that she gave me and it works great.

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drank Peaches & Cream by DAVIDsTEA
813 tasting notes

I guess I never wrote a note about this tea, or even put it in my steepster cupboard. Weird. I think this was from the spring collection. Anyway, I didn’t like it much when I tried it hot….it was okay, but not great. Fortunately, I only bought a small amount. Today, I decided to ice the rest of the leaf, and be done with it. Once again, it’s not bad, but kinda artificial. Not the peach flavor I was looking for. I guess I should stick with Lupicia momo black or momo oolong when I want peach. Anyhoo, SIPDOWN!

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Stephanie sent this as a bonus sample in our swap. Thanks, Stephanie! Not one, but two A&D teas to try!

This tea is what you would expect from a blend of Indian teas…malty, bright, with some citrus notes. It’s a great tea to pair with breakfast. Recently, though, I think my tastes have moved away from Indian black teas and more towards Chinese black teas, but it was nice to try it!


Oh, that was my 500th tasting note! Woo!


woohoo! grats!


Congrats on 500!


Yay! 500!

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drank Keemun by Unknown
813 tasting notes

Wow, there’s already a tea page for Keemun by unknown. Nice! I was going to use random steepings, but this works.

Went to a local cafe to relax and read today, and they have quite the list of teas. Probably 50 different ones to choose from! I chose the Keemun, due to my recent love of that tea. They scooped it out of a large canister. Who knows where they source their teas. I did see a few small Kusmi tins on a shelf, but they probably buy bulk teas from somewhere and stash them in the humongous black canisters. Anyhoo, I got a cup of hot water and some loose leaf in a strainer. :)

This Keemun was more prominently smokey, and less chocolate-y than the other ones I’ve had. It was nice to sip on while reading though. I’m in the middle of The Brothers Sisters…pretty entertaining so far.


What’s your favorite Keemun?


Hmmm, out of the few I’ve had, probably TeaVivre’s organic superfine fragrant Keemun. I’ve also tried Keemuns from A&D, Stash, and this one, but I also have another Keemun from Teavivre as a sample…the Mao feng, so the verdict is still out!

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drank Caramel by TeaGschwendner
813 tasting notes

So, I was salivating over the notes for this tea, and Stephanie, awesome as she is, sent it as a bonus sample in our swap! Thanks, Stephanie!

I love caramel, and I love black tea, and I haven’t really found a caramel black tea that I love. I thought this one would be it, but unfortunately I don’t think I’m fond of the black base. I only steeped it for 3 minutes, and it’s a bit bitter. There is a touch of caramel coming through, but it’s overpowered by the base. Maybe I should have steeped it for a shorter time, but really, if it’s gonna be that finicky, I don’t want it. Alas, this one’s not for me, but I’m very grateful that I was able to try it first before buying a bunch (which I almost did!) That could have been a major bummer, from which my tea friend saved me! Yay for tea friends!


The TG original package calls for a 2 minute steep.


Poo! Guess I messed it up then. Oh well.


I can send you more if you want to try it. All of the blacks I bought from them say 2 minutes. It surprised me but works well.


Thanks for the offer, Marzipan…how about hold that thought for a future swap, if you’re game. ;)


What I sent you was the rest of my sample from Marzipan :) She has the Caramel hookups!


I just had a sample of the last night (did they change the name to Cream Caramel?). The sample contained enough for two cups. I overstepped and used milk in the first. Not good. Second steep was 2.5 minutes without milk and I really enjoyed it. Considering purchasing a small amount.

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This was my morning cup, thanks to Stephanie! :) I’ve been curious about this company for awhile now, but wasn’t willing to go all out and buy multiple ounces without trying them first. Swaps are awesome for that! So, the verdict? I think I’m in love with Keemun! Every one I’ve tried, I’ve enjoyed. This one was similar to TeaVivre’s organic superfine fragrant Keemun, which I recently discovered. It tastes like dark chocolate, apricots, and a little smoke. I think I’ve seen dark chocolate covered dried apricots before….that might be what this tea tastes like, except the smoke rounds out the sweetness. Absolutely the perfect morning cup! So, first tea tried from A&D is a winner. And, as far as price, it’s actually 17 cents cheaper than the TeaVivre one I mentioned; however, TeaVivre’s is organic, so makes sense. Anyway, I’m looking forward to trying more Keemuns in the future and would not mind it if this one landed in my cupboard!


I like this tea a lot. I’m not sure but I think they sold out this tea


Oh did they? I better hoard the rest of what I’ve got ;)

Glad you liked it Tealizzy! Boychik introduced me to it.


It’s still on their website under limited editions. :)


excellent. i think i need a tin. i have maybe tbsp left,maybe even less.


its the New Year Horse tea is sold out.

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drank Carrot Cake by Della Terra Teas
813 tasting notes

Yes, I still have some of this. Who knows how long it’s been since I last ordered from Della Terra…it’s been awhile! I’m pining for Fall today, so I broke this one out of my nicely organized cupboard. It’s sweet and cake-like. I ate it with a cookie! ;) I got my TeaTime mag in the mail, but the front cover got all crushed and torn. What the heck?! Makes me sad, because it’s an issue all about Fall! :( I love Fall. It’s still hot here, but I’m counting down the days until I can drink some new Fall teas and go buy apple goodies at Apple Hill! It’ll be here soon!!!

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So, this tea is very pleasant to drink, but I’m not sure I really “get” it. The notes elude me. Maybe because they blend so well I can’t distinguish them? Overall, it’s nice a creamy, smooth, and has a nice thickness to it. I think I detect some caramel, malt, grain, and a little peach. It also seems to have sweet potato, but not as much as yunnan dian hong golden tips. It’s a nice smooth drink, but I think I prefer the more robust flavors in TeaVivre’s other black teas. Who knows though…maybe by the end of the bag I’ll “get” it. ;)

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Amazing as always. Like eating a really high quality dark chocolate. I think I hooked my tea buddy at work on this one too. ;) So glad there is lots of it in my cupboard!

Cameron B.

I feel like such a dunce because I hardly ever taste chocolate in teas that are supposed to have it. XD


Maybe it just takes time? I didn’t really taste specific notes for a long time. People seem to get different notes anyway…all are accepted! :)


I wouldn’t worry about it Cameron. Like Tealizzy it may be something you taste in time or maybe you identify that tone as something else. I’ve noticed on aliexpress they rarely list cocoa or chocolate in flavour descriptions in styles of tea where Western shops always list it.

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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! :)


San Francisco Bay Area

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