439 Tasting Notes


This tea is surprisingly good. I was expecting something heavy and sweet like Davidstea’s version, but was curious to try and compare. Nothing fake, so natural tasting.

I don’t know why but to me it smells and tastes like fresh summer rain. I know what fresh summer rain tastes like cause just like when I was a kid, I still dance in the rain with my mouth open during hot rain showers. Yes, I look silly but I don’t have close neighbours and I just love rain, what can I say?

This is slightly fruity, slightly floral, but nothing heavy like a desert tea. Feels more scented than flavoured actually. It has a faint tartness like fresh raspberries have and I notice some subtle peachy notes as well. The white base is lovely, I’m guessing Bai Mu Dan from the looks of it.

I would order this again in a heartbeat. Sadly, I ordered only a sample in my order. Samples are my karma. They always end up being the ones I should have ordered a bunch from!!


Ooh! That sounds delicious. I also love the idea of dancing in the rain. It’s been way too long. The closest I’ve come is running in the rain, and while it’s fun, it’s just not the same.


Cheri, glad you don’t think it’s totally silly! My dog loves it too :-)


Let’s be honest: we all wish we had the freedom to dance in the rain.


Haha! I guess you’re right. I always say living in the woods has its perks :-)


I wish we had some rain to dance in…

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Oh they know they are special, don’t they…I now understand why they don’t offer samples, why they only sell 4oz tins. Who’d want just a tiny little supply of this god damn fine tea?

I promise, you have a sip of this, and you want to curse like a lumberjack in action. %$&?!? this is good!!!

Full bodied, malty, just a little smoky, very assertive yet smooth, a Mr. Personality!

It’s not fancy, there are no poetic inspiration that comes to mind when I drink it…

It just pleases me in every possible way.

It’s as if I had spoken to my tea this morning and said something like this «TEA, I command you to taste like a slap in the face and satisfy my every desires like no other tea has ever done in the morning!» and this is what I would have gotten.

Thanks Dexter3657 for paying attention by adding this one for me, I understand why it’s her favourite blend. I was dying to try, but not willing to commit. Now it will be hard to stop me from placing an order.


Really? I wasn’t so sure that you would like this one….
Happy that you do – buy we need to talk about “stop me from placing an order”


Lol, I said «it will be hard» this means I’m HOPING someone WILL stop me cause the last thing I need is more tea!!! But this is sooo goood!!!


Sorry lady, its very very good. I love all A@D teas;)


I have about 3/4 of a can if you want more – can send you some to tide you over until you get your cupboard under control….


Boychik, you are not helping at all ;-)

Awww! Dexter you are sweet… But considering how expensive they are, it would be very selfish on my part to accept such an offer. I just have to control myself!!!


But the tin I have was gifted to me by an incredibly generous Steepster friend – it’s a tea in my cupboard that I feel I should share… I won’t force it on you , but if you ever want more, just let me know. :))


Haha! Then…yes please!! :-):-):-)
And I can always return the favour when I order… eventually

Terri HarpLady

And while we’re on this topic, have you tried all of A & D’s other teas yet? If not, I’ll be glad to send you samples of them :)


LOL ok I’ll toss some into your next box. :))


Terri, it is my understanding that they have only a few blends, right? I have tried only Tiger Assam (which I equally loved) and this one… I would NEVER ask you to send me something without giving in return :-) :-) :-)

Michelle Butler Hallett

So far, Double Knit is a regular item with Damn Fine, versus a limited edition. Double Knit is one of my favourite blends, EVER.


Michelle, I see that many people have fallen in love with this tea and I now understand why :-)

Terri HarpLady

Let’s see…Here’s what I have:
double knit
tiger assam
Caravan – smokey black
Redtailed Hawk – black blend leaning more in the ceylon direction, a little bright, but still very drinkable
Chinese New Year aka Golden tips – A Dian Hong type
Spring – their latest, a Keemun type

I have a bunch of tea from you already, that were sent to me by Sil, so in a way, we’re already deep into a trade! :)


Terri, please see PM :-)

Michelle Butler Hallett

A&D have a special on: choose your own three-pack (from the regular stock) for $48, versus $20 per tin.


Thank you michelle, will sure keep that in mind when comes time to order :-)

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What a beautiful tea this is tonight…gives me the clarity I need on certain decision making. Tea does that for me.

They say “sleep on it” when uncertainty hits you. Well, I’m not much of a sleeper, I’d rather have tea and reach for a nice cha qi moment, that warming feeling that makes everything seem brighter and gifts you with its silent lucidity.

I’m loving this tea. It’s robust, not for the faint of heart. It’s the solid type you can rely on, it welcomes you and embraces you when you feel weak, a hugger. A deep black sea once brewed, I just stare at it with gratitude.

I know I’m weird, but often, tea has a “gender” for me. Leathery, and earthy, very manly, this on is the “Stetson and Chaps” kind of guy. Masculine and yet, it works its magic on the girly girl that I am…

Thanks Sil for this last sample, simply wonderful…and thanks Mandala for providing such a tea.


YAY! i’m so glad you enjoyed it my dearest teafairy


I liked most of the teas you sent me my dear Sil :-)


oh man.. that’s a hard act to follow lol


Lol, no pressure…I had a few misses with the flavoured ones, but really, I pretty much liked all the straight teas :-) we’ll have to do this again, but I must bring that humongous stash of mine down first!!!!


I’ve thought many things of my teas, but never gender. I find that concept fascinating and will have to reflect on that. Thanks :)


Haha! TeaExplorer, maybe this just works for my crazy mind, but yes try it, you might be surprised :-)


i totally agree with this whole note! it is a very masculine tea. makes me think of a classic old man type library with leather upholstered furniture and musty old books and a window opening out to a wet forest. this was the first pu erh that ever blew me away and i think it’s still my favorite (granted, i’m still a pu erh newb though so take my excitement with a grain of salt maybe, ha).


TeaExplorer, when i had this one the first time it made me want to do a tea party where “gender” was a theme…floral things like victoria-type earls, the french perfumed blends, but also these leathery pu erhs and smoky chinese teas.


How is it possible that I haven’t tried this one?
So happy that you enjoyed it!!!
When Grace first introduced me to Mandala (THANK YOU GRACE!!) she referred to Noble Mark as a gentlemanly pu’erh – interesting that ifjuly thinks this one is an old man type. Love you guys and your interesting comments. :))


This is what makes patty cake if I remember right. I’ll put some in your box dexter


Loved this review so much that I am brewing this one up in the shop today for sampling, gosh darnit! Grinning from ear to ear with your postings!

Sil… yes, the Phatty Cake is made with this exact same material. Phatty Cake II is this same material with the addition of some slightly larger leaves to switch is up a bit. They were steamed and pressed 2.5 yrs apart or so.

Wishing everyone a very joyful day!


Ifjuly: love your description!! I’ve been reviewing with “gender” in mind for a long time, glad to know there’s other people in my “tea gender club”! And a tea “gender” party sounds awesome, what a great idea :-)

Thank you Dexter, we love you too!!!!

Garrett, thank you and a joyful day to you also :-)


it has a minty quality to it, subtle but cooling and clean, as a heads up Dex. at least i think so. i love it—it’s what sets it apart and to me takes it over the top—but i know you have an uneasy relationship with mint, so i thought i’d mention it. i don’t know yet if phatty cake retains it (i mean i suppose it should, but it’s funny how things work sometimes), haven’t broken into mine yet…

tea gender club! hee. it is nice to know i’m not weird. or, if i am, i’m not the only one. ;)


Yes, I had only a sample of Phatty (from Dexter actually), and I checked my note, it does seem to retain it as I wrote «a minty fresh finish». Lots of good quality pu’erh have that finish I find, but it’s more a fresh feeling in the mouth than an actual mint taste most of the time for me, so maybe Dex could tolerate it? So thoughtful of you to mention it…

I think we should all fully embrace our weirdness together :-) :-)


That’s what I wrote about Phatty cake… I didn’t think mint at the time.
I think WE are perfectly normal – it’s the rest of the world that whacked…. :))


Lol, Yes Dex, it’s us against the world…and I bet we are having more fun than they do!!!

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My morning is usually devoted to black tea, oolong is an afternoon friend, and pu’erh is more serious an usually gets the evening, (flavoured are “in between” teas). Habits, I’m full of them! That’s my tea MO, but having said that, I will happily interchange the order from time to time, but this morning, I stick to the usual…

I chose this Golden Monkey, sent to me by the generous Dexter3657.

This is a high quality tea, you know just from looking at its little golden claws.

Golden Monkeys are not my favourite black teas as I prefer a fuller bodied cup. This one is light to medium body. I over-leafed as usual, cause that’s my preference.

It feels very different from other GM I’ve had. They usually have what I call a Mexican cocoa feel to them, like chocolate with a hint of smoke. The smoke is there, but I find no notes of cocoa. It’s definitely more on the savoury side, roasted veggies, almost peppery with a hint of sweetness.

All in all, a very satisfying cup, but not something I would stock up on. I prefer Teavivre GM, which is a lot sweeter, chocolaty with big notes of sweet potatoes.

But this was a new experience, I’ve never tasted a tea quite like this one, very unique
and I am so grateful I got to sample it.

Thanks you Dexter3657.


“I prefer Teavivre GM, which is a lot sweeter, chocolaty with big notes of sweet potatoes.”
TheTeaFairy, I’m with you, TeaVivre Golden Monkey is sooo satisfying!


Interesting, I think I like this one better than Teavivre – but to each their own. That’s why we have to keep tying new ones – right? :))

Terri HarpLady

I’m with you on devoting the mornings to black tea!
I haven’t had Capital’s version of Golden Monkey, but I sure do love Teavivre’s!

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This is a tea that came from a swap with Dexter3657.

A small portion of our swap was devoted to “odd choices”, stuff we thought was weird or different, whether we felt they were good or bad.

I already knew this buckwheat tea was a favourite of hers. I love buckwheat as a flour, makes awesome pancakes. But to think of it as a tea, not really. But I will try anything, so of course I’m happy she sent it since it’s not something I would ever go out of my way to buy.

It’s odd looking, like tiny little caramel crunch. You know I have to do it. You would to the same. I just took a pinch and threw it in my mouth. Crispy yummy. I think we’re on to something pretty tasty.

I followed Dexter’s instruction and brewed 5 min in boiling water.

Oh! This is definitely buckwheat pancakes in a cup, but with a big nutty toasted twist! Oh, and it reminds me of Genmaicha, without the tea, just a full cup of delicious roasted grain. I will have fun with what’s left, I will create my own Buckwheat Genmaicha with some delicious Sencha. I think it would be fantastic with some Yunnan Black as well.

I can’t thank you enough for this Dexter, this is being added to the shopping list!

(Yes, another favourite!)


love this one!


You are a genius!!! but I’m voting for Laoshan Black – or something equally as chocolaty…. maybe even special dark…. It’s nutty, roasty, grainy goodness – what’s not to love. (I like it with a little milk and sweet – it’s like kids cereal in a mug…)
So happy that you like it!!!!


Lol, I just drank Laoshan Black Genmaicha for the first time last night and didn’t even think of that one, of course it’s gonna work…will try both tonight I think, Teavivre’s Yunnnan and after Laoshan Black to compare. Lol, I will need a tin cause I also want to try Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black from Butiki. Sky is the limit!
Do you ever second steep it?

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Sorry Steepster, I’ve been in such a blah mood lately, I kind of deserted everything around me, even my dear Steepster friends, so sorry :-(

Today was a YAY day as I received my Verdant order. I was impatiently waiting for the new Laoshan Black. For sure, it was going to be the first one I try. But I had to open the box first.

I don’t know what type of “tea box un-wrapper” you are:

Type A) you carefully open the box with a sharp knife, and take out the pouches one by one, checking and matching everything with the packing slip, then, happy with yourself, put everything away in a very tidy manner. You WILL NOT open the pouches until you decide to drink your new tea, which might be in a couple of weeks or even months from now.

Type B) you literally rip the box open, I mean with your bare hands. You fetch everything out in a very frantic manner. You don’t care if it matches the packing slip or not, it’s new tea and it’s all you care about. You gather all the pouches in one big pile and you circle them with your arms, eyeballs out of their sockets, you whisper to them “all mine, all mine, my precious!!”
You will not wait any longer to open all the pouches, no method whatsoever to your madness, you just go from one to the other, trying to figure out which one smells best and which one should land in your cup as of RIGHT NOW! By the end of the evening, you’ll be tea drunk and will have tried them all.

Well, maybe you guessed already…I’m type B. This is how I roll and I won’t apologize for it.

Now back to the order and my tea choice. After a spectacular type B grand opening, I throw myself on Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha cause the smell, oh my, the smell…freakin unreal!!!

It’s so chocolate, so Laoshan Black, so nutty and crispy toasted rice, it’s the bomb people!
It,s like having Laoshan Black with Rice Krispies squares, just in a more fancy and sophisticated way, so yummy!

Enough said, just try it for yourself :-)

P.S. Thanks again Verdant for such a pleasant shopping experience as always, you guys are wonderful!


Ok, to answer your survey I’m type b;)


Lol, Go team B :-)


Type B – especially with Mandala and Verdant boxes


I’m type C. I do a little of A and a little of B. :-)


I loved this note and am glad you’re back!


MzPriss, Agreed!

Haha, Morgana, didn’t think of a type C, you are so balanced :-)

Thank you my dear Keychange, missed ya ;-)


I’m going to have to get a fresh batch, clearly!


I haven’t tried this yet – but since I’m almost sobbing over the fact that regular Laoshan Black is currently out of stock, maybe I should try some of this because yeah I NEED another tea to obsess over


Yep include me in the B section also.


MzPriss you should definitely give it a shot, new tea obsession is always a good thing!!

Hope you have more luck with a new batch whatshesaid :-)

Mrmopar, though I do enjoy being a type B, I so admire type A for their restraint and self control!!


Hmmmmmm – am I the only A around here?


(I love this tea – Laoshan black with Rice Krispy squares is a really good comparison)


Hi! I’m also B. :)


Haha, I’m like Morgana – a bit of both, type C


B, B!! :D I do go back and match teas up to my packing slip/order, but only after I roll around in them.


Dexter, don’t feel bad, you’re in a league of your own and we all want to be like you when we finally grow up :-)

Haha! Omgsrsly, I forgot about the “roll around in them” part!


I’ll have to say I’m a bit of both as well… so call me type C. :)

What a fun conversation this turned into!


I have enough to build a small house around me!


Suziqzer, yes it quite funny :-)

Mrmopar, more realistically, I’d go for a decent size cottage…but that’s just me.


Yep Type B over here! haha
Now I also want to try this tea! I haven’t ordered from this company before so I should give them a try.

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I got a big “Phatty” sample of this pu’erh from Dexter3657. Used the whole thing in a little gongfu glass pot so I could watch the particles break apart.

This is pu-pu-nom-nom goodness. It’s everything I love from a shou pu’erh! A little earthy, a little sweet, with a minty fresh finish.

The truth is, mini gungfu shots are just not doing it for me tonight, cause I want mooore of it right now!!!

Sorry for the “pu-rists”, but I dumped everything into a large infuser and steeped in a 16oz mug. Let me tell you, I am now unapologetically gulping it down as if there was no tomorrow. A satisfied fairy, that’s what a I am…sorry Mandala for such an incomplete review but sometimes, you need to keep things simple and just let the tea shine for you :-)

Thank you so much Dexter for sharing this with me!


Yay, glad you liked it. This isn’t my favorite Mandala pu’erh, but even just ok Mandala pu’erh is just amazing compared to most others I’ve tried.


Well, i’m still sipping on it, really enjoying it.


Have you tried it cold steeped?


No, I have not, cause I just used the whole sample at once tonight, but I plan on cold steeping the used leaves. I’m guessing you have?

Terri HarpLady

I like my Shu’s made western sometimes too. So rich, so robust, so YUM!


I do shus western a lot


I’m not sure I’ve cold steeped this one, but in general I cold steep used pu’erh leaves – love cold steeped pu’erh. You said you cold steep your oolongs – just wondering if you do the pu’erhs too.


Tea-riffic! I frequently brew up shu loud and proud before a workout or a run. In HUGE pots for lots of hydration :) Can’t walk around with 1 ounce cups without spilling, after all. Sometimes you just need a big-ass mug of shu pu’er. Your review is perfect!


Aww! Just saw your comment Garrett, thank you ;-)

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I have only a few more samples left from the wonderful bunch Sil sent me back in Decenber…it seems that I saved the best for last.

This has an amazing aroma…it really came as a burst as soon as I removed the lid of the gaiwan. And guess what? It tastes even better!

It’s floral but not in a bouquet kind of way, just a delicate linger…also fruity, fig like.

Some caramel as well and a subtle nuttiness that wraps and ties everything together.

It feels round in the mouth, thick and voluptuous. I think it’s one of the finest Wuyi I have had for sure.

I stopped reading just to make sure I would fully focus all my attention to it. It’s that good. I had 4 delious steeps and will now cold brew the leaves for tomorrow…

Thanks Sil, this was lovely :-)

Dog and tea story…(skip if not interested)

My dog Dexter is a snob. I always say he’s an “AristoDog”, basically he acts like he’s Royalty. He doesn’t like to get messy, spring time, he tries to avoid stepping in mud, and if he does (which inevitably is bound to happen), he licks himself till he’s got no more saliva.
And Dexter likes his comfort. Yes, he’s allowed on the couch. He has special cushions that he grabs and carefuly places at stategic spots so he can morph into a sophisticated potato couch. This is a typical illustration of his concept for comfort:


There’s one thing missing though: his “doux-doux” (French prononced “doo-doo” in English). “Doux” means soft. In my family, we’ve been calling our favourite special throws/blankets a “doux-doux” ever since we were little children. I still love special blankets, have several all over the house and ready to be used when sitting in front of a fire, or just to lounge on the couch, a book in one hand, a cup of tea in the other. Dexter has his own doux-doux, the same one since he was just a puppy. He carries it with him pretty much everywhere. When I wash it, he looks for it everywhere.

Today was a lounge doux-doux day for the both of us… I grabbed mine, he grabbed his, and we had a cup of this wonderful tea. I say “we” cause while I was sipping, he kept trying to get into my cup, literally…totally unlike him!

But there’s something about this intoxicating aroma that tantalized his canine nostrils it seems…well I don’t blame him, this stuff is irresistible!


What a cute story!


OMG I love his eyes, sad eyes. he really looks like blue blood. its doberman right?


When you cold steep the leftover leaves, how long do you have to leave them steeping?


So adorable! And he does look pretty comfortable with all his pillows!


Thanks Keychange!

Boychik, that’s his sad puppy face, he probably does it on purpose just to get the attention, he seems to love the camera, lol! Here’s his happy face, and yes, he’s an “un-cropped” Doberman :-)

Marzipan, I cold brew used leaves in mason jars for about 24h, but I suggest you just taste along the way and decide when it’s enough for you. New leaves, I will normally do 12 hours, depending on the tea. Don’t hesitate if you have other questions :-)


So glad you enjoyed this. I was hoping you would :)


Caile, yes, he’s quite a lucky puppy I’d say…but I’m a lucky owner as well, he’s such a great companion :-)

Sil yep, totally my style, thanks :-)


I love the floppy ears!!!


Puppy! :) So cute!


Dexter is so so so cute and I love that you didn’t crop his ears. My dogs like to get in bed with me in the morning while i drink tea and sniff my tea mug.


I learned a new vocabulary word! Doux-doux. Love it. We use woobie and huggy interchangeably for the same sort of item.


He’s beautiful – awesome when you get to have lazy lounging days with your pets!!!


Thanks guys :-)
Stephanie & MzPriss: floppy ears are not common for Dobermans, the breeder was pressuring me to have his ears cropped when I got him at 3 months old, but just didn’t have the heart to do that to him. I’m glad I didn’t!
Haha! I see your dogs can appreciate a good cuppa also :-)

Gmathis, I love woobie, I’ll try to remember that!

Dexter, those are my favourite days…I know you enjoy them also :-)

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This is surprisingly tasty. I say surprisingly, cause I did not expect it to be so tasty. “Ombrelle de papier” evokes something fragile, shy, and innocent.

This tea is bold and fruity, despite its white base. I brewed all at once the big sample Dexter3657 sent me. She wrote that it had a hint of rhubarb so it fitted my likings. Well she was right, it does (I love rhubarb!!) But pineapple and rhubarb, who would have thought? I started having it hot, but as it was cooling down, I got the impression this would be better cold. So I put my mason jar mug in the fridge and got busy…

We’ve had a tremendous amount of snow here in the last two days. Winter is not ending, it’s still very cold on top of things.

I’ve had a lot to deal with for many months now, health and emotional issues. Still not over. All those circumstances have made me tired and lazy. I haven’t worked out in a long time, putting it off until I feel better or waiting for more clement weather. Excuses, really. I know I’m tougher than that. Weather issues? Really Fairy??? How bout having access to a full gym…downstair in the basement! What’s your excuse now? Pain, fatigue? Some people train with serious injuries, some have serious handicaps and still train… So there. No more excuses.

I used to find relief and pleasure in exercise not so long ago. In a few weeks, I know I’ll
be back on my bike, ready to ride, but I have to get back in shape first. So today was the day. Treadmill, spin session, and Pilates recliner.

Lol, all with moderation of course, I do have to be able to walk tomorrow! It feels so good right now, I got the fix of endorphins I’ve been craving so much, and mostly, I feel proud of myself, something I haven’t felt in way too long. Yay for me :-)

Time try this iced tea! So good, juicy and quenching, my training tea of the day!

Thank you Dexter :-)


Glad you liked it.

Look at you go!!! WOW, that’s great that you are feeling better and getting those endorphins working for you. Yes all in moderation, but be proud of every little step forward. :))


Thanks, Nike has this one right, feels good to Just do it ;-)


bravo Mme la fée du thé :) take care

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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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