435 Tasting Notes


When I saw Dexter ‘s pic of Mandala’s milk oolong on Instagram, I felt compelled to have a Mandala oolong tonight also.

Colored Species is another favorite of mine…such a bright and delicate tea.

Vegetal and grassy, but I can detect hints nutmeg and cinnamon notes. Sweet and floral with a minty fresh finish, it’s everything I love about this type of oolong.

You won’t see it on the pics I took during this session cause I was in a zen mood and needed some candle light tonight, but this tea is really green, beautiful leaves to look at.

I steeped many times in the glass gaiwan, and it gave me such a peaceful session.

Now I have to remember to drink it more often!

Pics of the session:




It is Amanda :-)

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

I really need to dip into Mandala’s other teas, I was really impressed with their Puerhs from the samplers.

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When I first opened this cake two months ago, it was literally sweating oils, the wrapper was full of specks:


It just looked so luscious, I was really hoping to love it. I did.

It’s my favorite sheng of the moment.

It offers such a bright taste, with a minimum of astringency.

Fruity, (white grapes mostly) and a bit spicy, oaky with just a hint of smoke in the early steeps…that smoke disappears completely in the later steeps.

Very strong qi, it provides that warming feeling I like so much, without making my heart race. It’s just so soothing…

Now I’m just hoping there’s still some cakes left…cause I need a few cakes as backup.

I need more…and I’m very surprised there’s only one review here, it deserves more attention…

Pics of the session:



Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Oh man, this tea looks so good! Of course your pictures add to its appeal ;)


Those pics are gorgeous!


Thank you Amanda & Kaylee :-)


I love that teapot.

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First to review this, really? Well let’s try to do a good job at it then, it’s worth it!

I was quite intrigued with this tea as soon as I saw how unusual it looked like and read its description….I knew I had to buy some. Anything that has maple in its description gets my attention. (My grandpa had a sugar shack, I grew up literally “in” maple!)

Interesting fact, this tea was compressed and aged in bamboo baskets.

Its dry appearance is light and flaky. It looks like giant flakes of roasted maté, and pretty similar in terms of color.

Its smells a little like damp moss and seaweeds.

I rinsed once as recommended.

The first steep was a beautiful golden yellow.

It feels round in the mouth, almost oily, very nice.

The taste is super sweet, with a light earthiness to it. Maple water, yes please…the description did not lie.

I get a nice fresh camphor finish just like some puerh do.

It’s so tasty, some sweet spiciness emerges in the background, reminds me of anise.

Bonus: it provides a very relaxing and warming qi. I feel giddy :-)

This is a superb tea and I’m now adding Liu Bao to the list of favorite tea! It will be interesting to also try their 1996.

I take this opportunity to give some love to the wonderful teahouse that Camellia Sinensis is. When I used to live in the beautiful city of Montréal, I was a frequent customer of theirs. Superior product and impeccable service.

Americans, take advantage of our low Canadian dollar and encourage them! They even offer free shipping to the USA for all orders over $50. (Did I mention they have exquisite teaware? Cause they do!!)



Pics of this amazing tea:




This tea sounds AMAZING!


I’m right there with boychik… amazing! (and, I checked out their teaware, and it’s gorgeous! Thanks for the link, and the beautiful pictures!)


Boychik, it’s very different and unusual :-)

DeliriumFrogs thank you and you’re welcome! Hope you get to experience them someday :-)


Their Sencha Ashikubo gives me delusions of being 25 again.


Cwyn, I’ll take some “feeling 25 again” please, dilusional or not ;-)

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We already know he’s a tea prodigy and does things like no one else does.

He decided that dried mushrooms should be incorporated to tea…and that’s exactly what he did, as if it should have been done all along. Cause this is what you’ll think of when you taste this little marvel for the first time: where have you been all my life oh mushroom tea!!

Don’t think this resemble Mirkwood, his other mushie tea, cause it doesn’t…not even one bit.

Mirkwood is more brothy and savory. This is desserty!

Candy Cap Mushrooms, who knew??? They smell like maple candies! My whole kitchen smelled like candy after I opened the pouch, to the point that it got me worried, I sure don’t want my tea to taste that sweet.

But just like all the blends he creates, this tea offers the perfect balance. Dried fruits plus woodsy and cocoa notes. The star here though: natural maple goodness. And no worries, this ain’t Aunt Jamaima type of fake sweetness. This is gloriously tasty, with only two ingredients: Premium Chinese black tea and mushies.

Having said that, I don’t taste mushroom so please mushroom haters, don’t deprive yourself from this little gem. This variety brings sweetness, woodsy notes and layers of complexity. No damp or earthy funk.

Brenden sure is Michigan’s National “Teasure” , he likes to think outside the box and it pays off. Bravo!!






if you want a mushroom tea try this one: http://steepster.com/teas/hung-phat/43331-lotus-reishi-senshi

also i have some tasting notes there


awesome tasting note though :)


Thank you Kirkoneill, I do know reishi tea, very healthy, no camellia sinensis tho. Willow is actually real black tea with the addition of mushrooms, that’s what makes it unique in my humble opinion :-)


well i don’t see any point of adding an ingredient if one cannot taste it. (unless…. its to make the main taste unique) :)


Lol kirk it DOES bring something unique: MAPLE!! That’s why this variety of mushroom is called Candy Cap. It’s also a bit woodsy, and like I mentioned, it brings layers and complexity to the mix :-)


Candy cap mushrooms are delicious probably Lactarius fragilis or L. camphoratus. Really good addition to food. Also, adding Clitocybe odora to tea would be very interesting as well.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Clitocybe odora would be neat for sure! :)


Are you two tea makers bonding over mushrooms? That’s adorable. :)

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Hahahaha, mushrooms are just…sigh…so beautiful.


Wow, Tea Fairy, great pictures. I love how you captured the detail in the dry leaf. Of course, I love all your tea ware too! So glad I took a chance and ordered this tea. Just got an email a few days ago that it is on it’s way!

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This came as a sample in my last Yunnan Sourcing order. As usual, YS does not disappoint with the quality and the size of their samples.

Though Jin Jun Mei are usually not my favorite black teas, this one I must say hits the mark.

It’s good.

The scent is beautiful, and so is the color of the brew, stunning.

It has a nice body, feels thick in the mouth.

Sweet and somewhat savory, slightly salty, the main note I can detect is definitely yam or sweet potato.

It has a bit of smoke, but very subtle.

If I had one Jin Jun Mei to keep in stock, this would be the one for sure. I might purchase this.

I needed peace and focus tonight, and this tea gave me just that.

Relaxing session by the candlelight…






Beautiful pictures and a beautiful-sounding tea!


Yes, the tea sounds great and I love the photos.


awesome! i may try that someday :D have you tried this one from YS? i have some on the way from 2014. this one is 2013 but has an accurate picture. http://steepster.com/teas/yunnan-sourcing/45328-pure-bud-bi-luo-chun-yunnan-black-tea-autumn-2013


Mikumofu & Roughage, thank you :-)

Kirk, I sure have and here’s what I thought of it at the time…keep in mind that new harvest might be different though.


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This tea is still my favorite jasmine tea. I know that Jasmine Dragon Pearls are more popular, but this one wins by a small margin for me.

It’s so sweet, with just the right amount of jasmine. It has none of the soapy perfume taste often found in this type of floral tea.

The green tea never turns bitter and is good for multiple steeps.

After looking at some of Boychik’s pics on Instagram, I’ve decided to start using my fancy antique bone china more often. What is it good for if you don’t use it right?

Well, it actually made my tea taste even better :-)

Pics of this afternoon’s session:





Such a pretty cup!


Thanks Kaylee :-)


Oh, those pics!! SO MUCH GORGEOUS!! :D


Aww, thank you so much DeliriumFrogs, tea is my inspiration :-)

Maddy Barone

Yes, I love using my grandmother’s tea set that she received as a wedding present in 1919. I save it for special occasions though,and use a vintage tea cup I bought on Ebay for more casual times.


I really need to start using all of my tea ware. What’s the point of having it, if it just sits in a box or the back of the cupboard and I never enjoy it.


It looks so beautiful in that cup. How did you brew it?


Maddy, that must be such a special set!! :-)

Anlina, same here, that’s excactly why I started using mine!

KiwiDelight Thank you! I just brewed it in a simple Gaiwan :-)

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This cute little pu square was sent to me by Sarsonator, thank you sweetie.

Quick rinse and first steep is like a pale version of what it should be…i didn’t let it steep long enough, its super compact.

Second steep and…whoa! This doesn’t taste like shou…it tastes like roasted coffee beans!

Very dark and rich, slightly bitter just like a strong black coffee.

Now, I don’t drink a lot of coffee but I enjoy a cup once in a while. And I drink mine black, so this is very reminiscent.

I would say it resemble Special Dark a tad. Certainly as rich and full bodied.

Third steep and it’s still not completely loose, this will render many steeps.

And it provides a pretty intense qi, made my heart beat a little faster and gave me tons of good energy. Really, i see this as a potential regular morning cuppa. I think it would do as good brewed western style cause it doesn’t have a very complex flavor profile. The steeps tasted almost all the same.

I agree with Sarsonator’, a must try to all the coffee lovers out there!

Here’s a look:




I always let these mini’s sit for about 30 minutes after the first rinse. This lets them slowly open up for good brewing.


That’s such a good idea, will sure keep that in mind :-)


Yeah those little ones are so tightly compressed it is hard to get them to open any other way.


Great idea, mrmopar! Dope slapping myself for not thinking of it.


Ashmanra big hands little tuos and small tea picks don’t mix.

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These little nuggets are so creamy and sweet.

I so wish I had hoarded them. But they are sold out now sadly :-(

Simple tea, but so comforting and soothing.

The taste is rich and deep, vanilla and raisins mostly.

Sweet caramel undertones, but I also get a nice fresh mouthfeel at the end of the sip.

For those who like me are very sad to see it gone, here’s what I think could replace it, though I haven’t tried it yet, but it seems to be the 2013 version.


Also, pics of tonight’s session :-)




Maybe if we buy the 2013 and hang on to them for 7 years? Heh

TheTeaFairy Good idea Stephanie :-) i sure am buying some!

mine disappearing quickly cause i always get 10g at least for 100cc. they are opening slowly and i cant wait. and i like it thick and rich. maybe another session left. i just tried 2014 year Supreme MengHai LangHe 7599 and i MADLY in love. my next order ;)


Boychik, i like it strong too!! Is tgat 2014 you are refering to from YS also?


Yeah, write a tasting note on it for us, boychik! :D


Beautiful teapot. Beautiful setup and pictures.


@TheTeaFairy. it is from ebay or Ali. i will send you a link


Thank you so much Ubacat :-)

Thanks Boychik,, sounds amazing, just send me the ebay link please, I’m not a fan of Ali


check your PM ;)


@ Stephanie. i had it few days ago. i remember it very clean and chocolatey, not bittersweet, more like between milk chocolate and 50% lol if it makes sense. but very clean, clear, no funk even though its 2014. it was discussed recently in this thread sheng or shou of the day. and i have a pic on IG


Thank you sweet boychik, much appreciated. And no hijacking, just sweet information :-)


YS’s “Cha Tou Sheng Yun” Bricks are the same stuff as this, material from the same exact factory from different years (the 2009 brick is actually made from these exact 2007 nuggets), I have the 2012 brick ( http://yunnansourcing.com/en/2012-yunnan-sourcing-teas/2081-2012-yunnan-sourcing-cha-tou-sheng-yun-ripe-pu-erh-tea-brick.html ) and it’s pretty much exactly the same just a little less aged though good to drink now, same sleep-inducing narcotic qi as these too. The 2013 yongde brick is from a different factory and is blended with loose shu too, I haven’t had it myself yet but supposedly it tastes pretty different.


@ sansnipple, thanks for letting us know. i bought 2007 White Dragon last spring based no your recommendation ;)


oh goodie! Thanks sansnipple!!!


Thanks a lot @sansnipple , will sure add a brick on my next YS order :-)


the 2009 brick with these exact nuggets is still available on the US site too, but sadly it’s price is twice as much as the younger ones.

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Ok, ok, I know, I know…I just reviewed this tea a few days ago…but fuck! It’s so good!!!! (Oops, can we say fuck on Steepster? Cause well…um…I just did…sorry :-/ )

Yes…that’s all I have to say. See previous review. Get this. It’s yum.

And yo! I’m having it with the Teaplets this morning, weehee!!!


Tea party, heeeeeey!


As long as you’re not trying to sell services in Jakarta or offer illegal movie streaming, I think you’re okay.

I still need to try this one.

Roswell Strange

You better be ok, because I swear in my tasting notes all the fucking time ;)


Yeah! Fucking swearing! Wooooo!


hahahah one of the funniest reviews yet xD


@haveteawilltravel: always happy to entertain ;-)

Thomas Edward(Toad)

I finally got me some of this, it is fucking awesome!


@Thomas lol, it seems that I’ve started an official curse thread with this review, bless my heart!! I’m so glad you like it, isn’t it amazing?

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(Backlog from last night…could not post…steepster was acting out… again…sigh)

This is tea of the night…

I took advantage of Tao Tea Leaf’s 50% off x-mas sale.

I had already tried some of their rock oolongs (their Da Hong Pao is excellent) but had passed on this one.

Boychik reminded me to buy some this time around, so based on her exquisite tastes, I have ordered 100g.

First tasting tonight…

Whoa! This is shockingly good.

Sweet, creamy, nutty, deliciously roasted but not sharp or bitter at all.

It renders a nice mineral mouthfeel as all Wuyi do.

It’s a bit floral, and a little fruity, stone fruits. But mostly, I get big notes of roasted almonds.

Now, I can’t silence the fact that the dry leaves smell like…um….cannabis. You were right about that dear Boychik. Not that I have ever smoked any of course (wink, wink)

Toa Tea Leaf doesn’t disappoint…high quality stuff. This bag will not last very long.

I brewed gongfu and I got several delicious steeps.

Instagram pic:



I love your ship… want to sail away…


Thank you, Its my little thingie copper sail boat :-) We could sail away to a sunny Pacific deserted island for the rest of the winter??


You already got yours? I’m a little jealous mine was just shipped yesterday!

Marcus reed

Interesting! Thanks for sharing

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Time to update this profile of mine…it’s 2015!!

I am French Canadian, so please forgive me if my English is not always perfect :-/

My relationship with tea in a nutshell:

I’m married to straight Black. I have torrid love affairs with Oolong and Puerh. I party with Green and White occasionally. Flavored are not my BFF, I usually stay away from them.

Love Steepster, a place for tea lovers, where you learn and share with others.

About me:

I am a free spirit, I let people be who they are and expect the same in return.

Books! I love classic literature, but also modern and pretty much anything that captures my attention.

Music is also something I can’t live without… From Bach to Nirvana, my ears know no boundaries…

Animal and nature lover, amateur photographer.

I’ve been drinking tea for as long as I can remember.

Drinking tea is a sensorial experience. The name in itself “Camellia Sinensis” lingers the promess of an adventure for the senses…

Not a big «swapper», but will occasionally. Not because I don’t want to share but because I’m trying not to hoard so much.

Also, I have narrowed down the teas I really like over the years, and I don’t feel the need to try and buy everything the way I used to. (Maybe I have become a tea snob? Sigh…)

My ratings: because I pretty much drink only teas that I judge exceptional, my ratings are usually high. Don’t be shocked to see lots of 90’s and a few 100’s. That’s because I’ve had my share of crapy teas and I’m done with that ;-)

You can find me on Instagram here, I post about my tea sessions mostly, but also about the beautiful nature that surrounds me, and my fury companions :-)



The Laurentians, Canada

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