439 Tasting Notes


Thanks to Dexter3657, I now have a VAST collection of chai to choose from!!

Hey, I know a good morning in a cup when I see one. This screams «good morning, you can’t ignore me so wake up sleepy head!!»

Although there are no chocolate in this blend, it sure feels like a chocolate chai to me. The base must be spectacular on its own.
I really like the depth that peppercorn adds in this tea, in makes all the other flavours pop and tingle like Pop Rock candies!

Once you swallow, you get a warming heat feeling from the ginger. I like that it is not overly spicy, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, they don’t fight with one another, it’s pure harmony in Yu Lu Yan Wonderland :-)

I could definitely see myself ordering this…but I wont, cause it would mean I have to place an order with Verdant, and if I’d place an order with them, it would also mean increasing my stash significantly which I’m suppose to bring down instead!!

Thanks you Dexter for another hit! Love!!


Glad you liked it. :)) (just for the record – I only sent you 6 chai – that’s hardly a “vast” – when you get through these I can send you more…LOL)


Well, I think I had only two, now I have eight total…from rags to riches, haha!!

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drank Milk Oolong by Mandala Tea
439 tasting notes

Backlog from yesterday…

Ahhh…Gongfu love in the afternoon…yes, being off work allows me to have tea sessions in the middle of the day if I choose to!

Dexter3657 sent me this generous sample. Me and milk oolong have a history. I have tried several, I like both the scented and the non scented version so I always keep a provision of both from two different companies. I thought I had find my favourite non scented milk oolong and have been sticking to it. Then came along Mandala, and all of a sudden we are caught in a love triangle. Yes this tea just blurred my focus, and made me question my current relationship.

First, the smell of the dry nuggets is quite interesting. It’s a mix of sweet and creamy, almost candy like. No sign of the strong dairy smell you get from a scented version.

As soon I took my first sip, I noted cotton candy on my pad. The sweetness I found in the first two steeps just evoked that. I get some nuttiness and creaminess, but not so much buttery notes. The milk oolong I’m used to is more floral than this one. This is fruitier.

At the 3rd steep, I got less sweets and a slight bitterness.

The 4th infusion brought the sweets back, some more present buttery notes and I got a very distinct fresh and clean mouthfeel, light camphor note, reminiscent of Ginseng oolong.

The subsequent steeps all brought their share of deliciousness and happiness. It eventually evolved in a more fruity and floral taste. I cold steeped the used leaves and 12 hours later, I’m having a delicious fruity and refreshing beverage. In conclusion, this tea is more complex than your average milk oolong. It transforms along the way, giving a lot of unexpected notes. Yet, the usual creaminess of such a tea stays present.

Thank you so much Dexter for this wonderful tea…I am grateful…but my budget might not be!

(Now, I have to hurt some other tea’s feeling by dumping it. Sorry, but a more exciting fellow milk oolong just came into my life and can’t be ignored!)


Love this. I know all teas are special in their own way, yadda, yadda, yadda, but if I want to confuse and intrigue a non-tea lover, this is where I start.


Can you love them both? Is there room in your heart, budget. cupboard for both?


I totally agree, Flowery!

Hmmm, Dexter, I could always keep them both, but it wouldn’t work out, I’m a one love kind of gal :-)
( says the girl with 300+ teas in the cupboard…)
Thanks for recommending them, I foresee a long and lasting relashionship with Mandala…Garrett, please to meat meet you, watch it, here I come :-)


Here I am, TeaFairy! A pleasure to make your acquaintance! I dig your review style.




One of the best is Garret! He has some fine teas over there.

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Kamyria’s review yesterday about the forest inspired me to go have a long walk today and write this review.

By now, you probably know that the forest is my backyard. I’ve written many times here on Steepster about my little adventures and how lucky and privileged I feel when I look outside my window or go for a walk, it never gets old.

This lifestyle is Nature’s gift to me, and that gift keeps on giving as long as I care for it in return. It’s pretty simple and yet, I wish more people could fully grasp that concept. The tea I’m reviewing today also keeps on giving…

I tell you, my snow shoes really get a run for their money this winter. I made my own trail and I try to go as often as possible. There’s a spot that we always stop at. It’s on top of a small hill and a huge rock stands there, under the trees. it is shaped as a loveseat, I call it my rocky chair.

I take a break as I watch my dog Dexter chase squirrels, his favourite sport. They like to tease him and sometimes, I think they’re playing with him, knowing full well he’ll never catch one of them!

The day is magnificent, sunshine coming at me from all directions, immaculate snow everywhere you look at, pine trees with heavy arms from all the snow weighing on them…

When I got back inside, I was freezing and seeking warmth, I love that feeling. My head still felt clear and peaceful from all the beauty I had just laid eyes on, and of course, the right tea amplified that feeling and made it linger a while longer.

I was waiting for a special moment to choose this sheng pu’erh, sent to me by the generous and wonderful Dexter3657. She read on a post that I wanted to experience more with shengs, and offered to send me this one. She wrote that this tea is the highest rated on Steepster, so I read nothing about it, not wanting to be influenced by other reviews.

I used 7g, 5oz yixing pot. The piece of cake is tight and compressed. Quick rinse. Already the aroma brings me somewhere, but I don’t want to go there yet, I want to take my time with it.

I pour the very light coloured liquor, close my eyes and smell, have my first sip.

Instant Nirvana!

Sweet sugarcane is what I notice first. Then, a feast for the senses. The smell that comes out of the pot can’t be ignored. I can describe it easily, cause it’s leading me there. If you’ve done camping in your life (most of us did), you have to think about the next morning, when you get out of the tent.

The smokey scent from the firecamp is still in the air, but it’s just a shadow of what is was the day before. It mixes with fresh morning dew, humid grass and moss. Earthy and smokey tones, fresh menthol. Take all these “ingredients”, gather them in a cake, and later, when you hit it with hot water, the memory trap is released and you experience that moment again.

I choose not to describe more. As it happens when I drink something really special, I give in to the tea, not wanting to think anymore but just be in the moment and feel the pure energy. Cha qi. The best thing that can happen. I’ve had these moments before, but not often enough. I plan on having a lot more in the future…

Thank you so much Dexter3657 for wanting me to discover how special your beloved Mandala truly is. You were right :-)

(Cough, Implacinganorderscrewthehiatus, cough, cough)

7 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

Lovely note.


So lovely!


cough waituntilyou’vetriedsomeoftheothersbeforeordering cough


Thanks Morgana and Caile!

Dexter, cough, okbutitwillbereallyhardtowait, cough.


Wow.. that was a beautiful note! I’m honoured to have a mention in it too! :) I have to have this sheng… I hear too many good things about it to ignore it for much longer. I feel it… the order will be happening soon.


Beautiful note!


I’m really happy that you liked it. Mandala teas are special to me, and it makes me happy that you are experiencing some of that.
I’m not saying to wait until you’ve tried ALL the tea I sent you, but IMHO you will like the Milk Oolong. As much as I love this one, I think Noble Mark is better – different but better. :))


Kamyria, thanks, I loved your review of yesterday:-) and yes i hear you about the order happening real soon, lol!

Keychange, thank you:-)

Dexter, yes, I will refrain just a bit longer!! ( gee, I wonder if I can handle better than this one, lol)


That’s so awesome that you have snow shoes! I always wanted to try them out.


that sounds really nice I’ve always been curious about Mandala teas. I’m so jealous of your forest backyard…Y-a-t-il un plus joli jardin ? certainement pas.


Fjellrev, snow boots are awesome, and very useful around here!!

Ysaurella, I’m lucky to have other samples to try, I have a feeling an order will be placed very soon once I got to try a few more… Shipping seems to be very reasonable too. And yes, to me it is “le plus beau des jardins”, you got this right missy:-)


(I meant snow shoes)


I wish we got more snow here. That sounds so awesome! Man, I need to skip out of work early one day this week and go for a trail run. :)


So excited that you enjoyed this tea! I had a lengthy gong fu cha session with it on Sunday afternoon and I was more enamored with it than ever before. Always interesting when I find myself wanting to keep the rest of a stash rather than sell it :)

I loved your review of this. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it.

I have a new pressing of this tea happening right now in China. I got the leaf from the same farmer but it’s autumn 2013 versus spring 2012. I’m looking forward to trying the new one, too. The mao cha itself is darned good and already going through changes since it arrived in the pu’er vault. Yahooooo!!!!!


Listen Garrett, please don’t make it even more tempting than it already is, lol!
Thanks for sharing it, but wait for me, please don,t lock it in the vault all to yourself!! I’m browsing your website and will be placing an order soon, how can I resist???

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Oh my, this is decadent and dripping with luxury. TGY, why do you have to be so tempting and appealing to me?

Why do you have to be such a tease and so cruel by being so delicious and knowing full well that you are a sipdown and that I have no longer access to your splendour?

Oh, I do know what you are, and I can tell you what you are not: modest! No you’re not. You’re such a Diva, wanting to show me all your nuances and complexity at once…

Giving me sweet vanilla bean, enchanting orchid flowers, a rich buttery mouthfeel, wrapping it all in an almost minty fresh breath in the background, you possess all the attributes to exude such confidence, you are absolutely fabulous and luxuriant.

Wish I had a better vocabulary to describe you…

I must admit that despite your obnoxiousness, you are good to me this morning in your last attempt to seduce me, you are giving me many re-steeps by being so potent. I will cherish every moment I have left with you on this quiet Sunday, and tell you this:

Until we meet again! Cause we will TGY, yes we will.

Terri HarpLady

Love this review!


will Stacy restock it ?


Thanks Terri, Glad I could entertain :-)

Ysaurella, what do you mean exactly, it’s available at the moment. I don’t think its one of the tea she plans on departing from…we’ll let her answer that if she sees this. But I will have to get heads up on that cause I definitely need to keep some of it around :-)

i’m just not ready to order now (well I’m always ready to order more tea, but I’m trying not too!)


Sounds fabulous.

Terri HarpLady

I too am always ready to order more, but I’m really really trying to be good, at least for awhile…


I thought it was not available anymore because you were so sad to have finished it :)


Yes, me too Terri, though it seems I can’t be a good girl for very long when it comes to tea:-)

Haha! ysaurella, yes I am sad, but just because i must wait and refrain myself from placing another massive order with butiki!!

Butiki Teas

This tea is definitely not going anywhere anytime soon. :) Someone once described our TGY as mint ice cream, now that is all I can think about when I drink it.


sounds like you had a love affair with this Anxi TGY, LOL. very poetic

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drank Pear Tea by Fauchon
439 tasting notes

First review with the new Steepster format. I love changes, it’s so exciting and it takes you out of your comfort zone…it’s gonna take a little time and practice to adjust, but great fun to discover the new features :-)

Dexter3657 knew I love to try as many French teas as i can, so she sent me a bunch. I picked this one tonight to make it up for another French tea I bought that did not rise for the occasion. But I won’t mention how bad it was cause it’s not the tea’s fault but the vendor’s.

This pear tea on the other hand is pretty tasty. It’s a true pear taste, almost floral as Stephanie was mentioning in her own review. I like that it’s not too sweet as I prefer my tea this way. The base is slightly astringent, which I also like, makes the fruit pop out even more.

You just know you’re having a good quality flavoured tea with this one, I could see myself getting used to it easily. Thank you so much Dexter for sharing this with the world before you even had the chance to try it yourself :-)

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
439 tasting notes

Soon it will be dawn, so might as well drink my morning tea right now, why not? A good middle of the night companion that Laoshan Black, I tell you. May I never run out of this gem of a tea…

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«Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…»

Rebecca, one of my favourite book by Daphne Du Maurier. I hardly ever read the same book twice, as I feel there are so many books to read, so little time…

But some are so well written, I just feel I have to revisit them, it’s like I miss them if I don’t, hard to explain. Anyways, this is one of those…like a good friend to me.

Perfect companion is this tea. I know I’ve reviewed it recently, but I can’t say enough about it. The aroma brings the most exquisite jasmine breeze, and it tastes fantastic. I can’t help thinking about the beautiful flowers, hugging the tea leaves at one point during the harvest process, infusing them with their aromatic scent. Still my favourite jasmine tea!


In those special books, it’s like you want to pop in and see how the characters are doing, like visiting a long lost friend…


Exactly!!! I couldn’t have express it better :-) Glad I’m not the only one doing that!


A friend recently gave me a copy of Rebecca. After enjoying it thoroughly, I passed it along to a friend. Her comment is how rare it is these days to find a book that truly require the reader to lay eyes on every word.


I actually have never read it, though I have seen the movie. Now that you remind me of it…


Your friend is so right Gmatis, makes sense that it was written in 1938…

Nicole, the movie was good, but the book is simply captivating…the complexity of the characters is not projected well in the movie IMHO. I highly recommend you read it :-)

Terri HarpLady

I haven’t read the book (although I probably should), but the tea is lovely :)


I’ve never read it, but I want to. It sounds really good.


Teri and Rosehips, I envy you for not having read it yet, hope you get to it eventually :-)

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I’m drinking this cold brewed with my lunch, (a tomato sandwich with no bacon, sadly), along with a cup of mysterious black tea. I say mysterious, cause it’s a sample from Sil. I remember it’s a golden tip of some kind.

The thing is, after I emptied the content of the tiny pouch, my little wizard of a cat ran off with the pouch! I looked for a good 10 minutes, while the wizard just sat there, staring at me, knowing exactly where it was, but not saying a thing. What a little bugger, if he wasn’t so darn cute, I swear…

So I’m not gonna review it for now, since I don’t know what it is, but it was a delicious cup of black tea nonetheless and I have to thank Sil for it :-)
(Or I’ll have to browse through my cupboard later to se if I can “find” it by process of elimination which should take me at least a couple of days, lol)

Now on to this tea…I used what I had left for a cold brew cause I remembered how refreshing it was. Not that refreshment is needed really on this harsh winter season, but I drink ice tea all year around.

It’s a chinese green, not too vegetal and it mixes so well with the light taste of rose and the cherry. I just wished the cherry was more present. Just like most sakura types, the flower tastes is more present than the cherry. I don’t mind cause I love rose in tea, but I ADORE cherries!

All in all, a good and decent tea from Zen Tea to keep around.


Tomato sandwich….mmmmmm…


Now I want to go cook some bacon. :)


We have a thief cat too. Have you seen my pen (socks, etc)? Ask the cat!


Mmmmm indeed Yvonne!
Haha, OMGsrsly, bacon does make everything tastes bette :-)

Oh, KS, we have to come up with a kitty special task force, thieves live among us

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Im choosing this tea today for the obvious: WINTER!!!

I love winter, always had. I love that it’s crisp and white, I’ve always felt that winter was nature’s auto cleansing system… Like a reset button among the seasons, it erases everything in the waiting of the grand rebirth that spring will bring along…eventually!

But, as much as I like it, I’ll admit that it’s taking its toll on me right now. I’ve been shovelling 3 days in a row just to clean the access to my doors, and guess what? When it’s finally said and done…It snows again!!! Yay, more shovelling for my aching arms today!!

Lovely Sil made sure to include French teas in the box she sent me. I never miss an opportunity to try French teas, they get me closer to a fantasy I was probably born with of having tea in Paris someday…

This is a white tea, which is very “à propos”. It says lemon and cream, and it delivers just that. A sweet and creamy citrus aroma that tastes more like grapefruit than lemon to me. Actually, this tea reminds me a lot of Grapefruit Dragon from Butiki but a lot sweeter. The white base is of excellent quality which is to be expected.

It will make an incredible ice tea, that’s why I’ve cold brewed what I had left.

This is lovely, perfect afternoon tea to warm me up after a good shovelling workout. And it feeds my dream of having tea at Angelina’s one day…

It was also my first Fauchon tea ever, and I’ve got only Sil to thank for that :-)


Congrats on your first Fauchon tea! :) I have yet to try one myself but they sound wonderful!


Sounds like a lovely tea, and I’m having similar feelings about winter right about now. This one has been extra tough!


If it’s a fantasy that you were born with then I think you should find a family member/friend/tea buddy and go and drink tea in Paris….


Yvonne, I feel so lucky I have a few more to try :-)

Stephanie, I totally feel the same!!!

Dexter, thanks, I will definitely find a way to make it happen :-)


Now that my student loan is payed off I’m saving up for a trip to Paris. You know, unless other “life” type stuff gets in the way between now and then :P


Well my only advice to you is: go now!!!! Hurry!!!! Don’t wait so long like I have, if I could turn back time, that’s what i would do…but it’s never too late as they say, right?


TeaFairy… meet you in Paris? :)

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Yesterday was a special day, I received my swap box from the wonderful Dexter3657 . In fact, we received each other’s box on same day! Last night, as i felt physically and emotionally drained, I needed comfort in a cup to bring to bed with me…Chai being an old friend, I thought it was the obvious choice out of the MANY teas I got in my swap box.

I say old friend cause about 4 years ago, I started getting more into loose leaf tea beside the traditional earl grey and jasmine tea I had been drinking all my life.

I discovered Davidstea and chai became a revelation to me, something exotic I had no clue even existed. I went on a chai spree and bought all the chais DT had to offer. That’s all I drank for 6 months!

Then I discovered Steepster, and realized there was other tea retailers in the world, started experimenting with straight tea, and finding my perfect black and oolong tea became my quest. I have pretty much succeeded at that, but haven’t had a decent cup of chai in the last 3 years!

When Dexter and I initiated our swap, I lurked at her chai stash and thought it would be a great opportunity to renew my vows with it!

She very generously sent many to choose from, I picked this one cause the note said it was her favourite out of that bunch. I was so excited to try something of better quality than what I had in the past.

I was very happy with my choice, cause I need to take things slow and this is not an overwhelming chai blend. It’s surprisingly smooth, yet that little kick is there. I could not find the list of ingredients on their website and i’m a little rusted, but I think I could detect mainly clove, cinnamon, cardamom, and I get a little tingle on the tongue so that’s probably ginger. This is an excellent chai to begin with, nothing scary about it.

But what i enjoyed the most, was the comfort it provided that I needed so badly!

I welcome you back into my life Chai, it’s been a long time :-)

Thank you so much Dexter3657 for this special blend, can’t wait to try the others you have sent!


I’m familiar with draining days. I’m glad this could lift your spirits a bit.


Yay for comfort!


Sorry you also have those days keychange, and yay for comfort indeed morgana!!


Aww, I feel the same way about chai. I seemed to gravitate towards them when I first got into loose leaf too.


Yeah Fjellrev, it was like wham bam thank you ma’am , a slap on the face, like wake up, there’s something other than earl grey in this vast tea world of ours!
(BTW, how long will it take for me to think about something other than the Swedish Chef every time I see your new name??? Or maybe I should ask Sil that question…)


Haha perhaps you two will never escape the association. To make it extra agonizing, I should plant some børks here and there in tasting notes.


Hahaha! Yes please do!!!


:)) Glad you liked it. Off to a good start with the box.
My love of tea actually started when “asshole” introduced me to Indian food – with Indian comes chai, and the love of chai made me wander into Davids, Teaopia etc – the rest as they say is history.


I found chai long before loose leaf… Love it! Spicy, sweet and creamy… Yum! I always add sugar and when feeling indulgent.. make it a latte please!


Yes, Suziqzer, I’ll admit that although I’m a “no milk, no sugar” tea drinking, I do soy milk and a little coconut sugar in chai :-)

Abby Noelle

This made me smile! I want to start doing tea boxes as soon as I get more in my collection!


Abby, yes it’s a lot of fun, and you found the perfect crowd for it :-)


Dexter, opening the box was already a good start :-)
(Can’t believe you wrote his name, hahaha!)

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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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