432 Tasting Notes


Oh Well, I just died and went to Tea Heaven on a sunday night all by myself it seems, no one else has logged this tea yet.

This is expensive and worth every penny.

As a high mountain oolong should be, it exudes exquisite floral notes that are invading every corners of my mouth.

It’s a heavy mouthfeel charged with a sweet and buttery aftertaste, coating my throat.

Makes this beautiful elixir very decadent. And the taste lingers, and lingers…

A new gem that I will cherish in my tea treasure chest…
ETA: the leaves are still giving this morning, but as I often notice when I abuse my oolongs the next day, a more mineral taste dominates the cup…I guess something happens when you let wet leaves rest for too long? Still yummy though, but I’m curious and would like to know if someone else has noticed that…


Tea Heaven sounds like a fantastic place.
I hope there is a lot of HM oolong there. Haha!
I’m sorry you had to go all by yourself, we’ll catch up eventually, hopefully. `v`*


Yes Rie, please be my Tea Heaven friend and join me :-)
It is the perfect place for a HMO…can’t get more celestial than that!


I wish I could, haha! I haven’t quite found the Stairway to Heaven HMO quite yet, to join you. ; -;…

I will at least be here to catch you when you drop down eventually, as your time on Tea Earth is not over yet. (*^ -^)/


Sounds tealightful! I hope you’re still floating!


Awww! Thanks for looking after me, sweet Rie :-)

@TassieTG: I think I should stop floating, land in my bed and try to sleep instead, it’s passed 3AM around here!


Yes you should! I’ve jut gotten home for dinner, so you should definitely float on in to bed. Heavenly dreams!


Dinner while it’s almost 4AM here?? Oh, yes! I forgot you’re an AUSSIEteaGIRL :-)
I did lend in my bed, but not for long I’m afaid…totaly sleep depraved, lol!
Anyways, sleep is just a symptom of caffeine deprivation…at least I clearly don’t suffer from that, haha!! So where is my morning cup?


Yes, I’m from Tasmania, the small triangle island south of the Australian mainland. It was around 6pm when I saw that! Oh dear, a jacked up caffieney tea marathon! At least it tasted good!

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Hello Steepster friends, it’s been a while…

I had plans to go hiking with Doberman Dexter this morning. We woke up at dawn, just the way I like it (yes, I’m a night AND a morning person, not much sleeping going on here, lol) And I realized it was going to be a rainy day. Well, I wasn’t going to let that ruin my plans, so we went anyways.

I go hike to this regional nature forest park we have, it has a big mountain to climb plus you can walk a trail that sinuously contours a beautiful river with lots of rapids. I like going there by myself with the dog, it’s pretty much the only nature park around that allows dogs.

My bright yellow rain coat with a large hood kept me protected from the rain all morning. Turned out to be a lovely day. It wasn’t really pouring. More of a slow dripping, allowing our ears to listen to a beautiful symphony of little noises orchestrated by the sound of each drop of water gently lending on the luxuriant vegetation…ploc, ploc, ploc…

I sat on a big rock, closed my eyes, and inhaled this pure oxygen that you find only in the forest. I couldn’t help thinking about this tea I was going to have later.

When I got back, I wrote a long note to a dearest Steepster friend that I’ve missed a lot (if you read this, you know who you are!!) and made this tea. I felt it deserved a proper evaluation, that’s why I took my time with it.

I was introduced to Oriental Beauty about a year ago, by a friend who brought me as a gift 1/2 pound directly from Taiwan. I didn’t know the brand nor the estate it came from, my friend bought it at a local merchant and was told it was Taiwan’s finest Wenshan tea. I don’t think he lied. I fell in love with it and quickly went through the 500g bag. I had a few samples after that from different vendors but just couldn’t find one that equaled it.

When Stacy gave me the heads up about an upcoming Butiki OB, my heart stopped. Then she said it was going to take a little longer cause she was «being picky». Well, her being picky was great news, it meant I could expect something fabulous!

And fabulous this tea was…

The dry leaf of OB is very peculiar, it is small considering it is oolong. It is referred to as the tea with 5 colours. If you look very closely, you see that some of the silver tentacles are covered with a white duvet. That’s why this tea is also named Bai Hao Oolong, meaning white hair/fur. I notice I don’t see as many white buds in Butiki’s as I did in my Taiwanese Wenshan OB.

I used about 4g for my glazed gaiwan as it is my favourite vessel for Oolongs in general.

First steep renders a bright and transparent golden orange colour. It is very fragrant of red fruits, muscatel and honey. For those «who like to watch», here’s a pic:


Its fruitiness reminds me of Darjeeling, but it’s fuller and rounder with no astringency. The fact that it has such a high level of fermentation and oxidation brings it closer to black tea, that’s one of the reason I like it so much.

I love the automnal rainbow of colours the leaves of this tea presents…rich auburns, browns, greys, and greens, it is stunning to look at. Here’s another pic after 2nd and 3rd steep:



The 3rd steep is a real charmer, a burst of sweet honey notes, created by those little insect bites. There’s a faint spicy note in the background that I can’t really identify, the taste is more concentrated, I get dried fruits, maybe fig or apricot. There’s also a cooling feel in the mouth at the end that lingers for a while. It’s very addictive.

Again, here’s some pics showing a leaf that must have been a feast at some point, judging by the clear chunks missing:


This is a beautiful tea inside out. Oolongs are so exciting, they are the Rockstars of teas.

I almost missed on this one, having placed a Butiki order seconds before It became available for sale. But with her usual courtesy, Stacy fixed everything and I got my precious supply. I’m afraid it won’t last very long…


Love your walk in the rain with doggie…and I’ll write you back tomorrow my friend!


This tea sounds and looks amazing! Same goes for the hike. There’s nothing like fresh forest air to cleanse your body, mind and spirit :)


I just love and need alone time, (the doggie doesn’t count, he just goes wherever I go and he’s very quiet company!) And you don’t have to write tomorrow, take your time :-)


Alysha, yes the tea is great! And right you are about the hike, I came back rejuvenated!

Terri HarpLady

I love this review!
When I drink oriental beauty that spicy taste you refer to always manifests as ‘coriander’, or similar to it, for me. :)


Thanks Terri! Coriander makes sense! It could also explain that cooling freshness I get, will keep that in mind for my next tasting…which should be…how about right now?? Looks like I’m not going to bed tonight!

Butiki Teas

Wow, your morning sounds absolutely wonderful. I love to go trail running and my absolute favorite time to go is in the morning when its raining. No one is around and there is something very special about the woods while its raining and the greens seem even greener.

Fantastic pictures! I love the one with the lone leaf propped up. The leaf hoppers must have loved that leaf. This tea does use young tea shoots compared to other oolongs that typically use more mature leaves. Younger leaves tend to have more antioxidants.


Walking through rainy woods is a great prep for liking puerh. I think this influenced me because I lived in the Sierra Nevada’s in the 1990’s. Wet mulch leaves, dirt and mud. Sweet wood.


@Butiki: Exactly! The trail was deserted. On a saturday, I met only one guy and his german shepherd. Makes it easier with dogs as they tend to want to sniff each other all the time! Never understood why people in general hate rain so much… So true the greens do seem greener.
My favourite pic is the leaf in the dark, it’s like blinking at us, did you notice?
Good that this tea is loaded with antioxidants, I’ve been drinking it non stop :-)

@Bonnie: I think my review of Butiki’s mini tuocha was actually inspired by the excact same thing!!

Butiki Teas

I did not notice that but you are so right, it does look like its winking at us. Hahaha.


Argh! I always say «blink» instead of «wink», thanks for understanding what I meant Stacy!

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drank Moroccan Mint by Zen Tea
432 tasting notes

I realize that most of my reviews (maybe all of them?) are related to food and /or what I did the day I wrote them. Today won’t be any different, sorry!

In the beautiful region of The Laurentians, where I feel so privileged to be living in, there’s a little shop called Le Moulin aux Épices (it means The Spice Mill). I don’t go very often cause it’s a long drive.

Nathalie, the owner, welcomes you in the small cottage style boutique adjacent to her own house. Entering her shop is like walking the ground of the old world Silk Road. It just transports you to exotic lands. Name any spice, she has it.

Along with tea addiction, I suffer from olfactory obsession. The place is not helping me!

I always pick up something that she recommends. This time I came back with some Indonesian long pepper. Shaped as a mini pinecone, this peppercorn exudes perfumes of liquorice and aniseed. I used it tonight in a moroccan Tajine dish. Mmmmm!

What better tea than moroccan mint to end the meal. This is really good, if your a mint lover of course.

I love that Zen Tea is using spearmint instead of peppermint. My all time favourite mint tea consists of adding hot water to a load of freshly cut spearmint. So simple, you just drink and let the vibrant green leaves swirl around. Beautiful to look at and equally tasty.

In this tea, the spearmint provides a natural sweet finish to this fresh combination. I choose to brew it at only 175F. Over that, I find the gunpowder renders a dusty aftertaste that I dislike very much, a taste of dirt almost. I know it doesn’t sound appealing, but trust that it completely goes away when brewed at a very low temperature.

Now this is nowhere near traditional moroccan tea, which is almost unbearably sweet to me since always loaded with sugar. I much prefer these moroccan mint blends, but I wish I had a bottle of orange blossom water handy to make it closer to tradition. That, I really like and I think I might just try it next time!


Absolutely. I always have mint tea if I’ve made a Moroccan-inspired dish. It’s sacrilege not to :)


Oh, I’m glad we agree, Chef :-)

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Almost 1am, just came back from a nice evening with friends, drank the most exquisite Pinot Noir from New Zealand, ended the evening with a decadent Porto. I’m not a heavy drinker, but I can’t resist red wine and good company!

Waited to be at home to get me some decent tea. Muscat grape is screaming at me!

I equally love first and second flush Darjeeling for their obvious distinctions. While I appreciate the more floral, citrusy and earthy taste of the FF, I just die for the rich fruity muscatel that is much more prominent in SF.

This tea just feels like my favourite pair of jeans, it hugs me in all the right places!

The bouquet adds a touch of femininity to the bite I usually look for in a black tea, you just can’t find that in a straight bold Assam. No wonder they refer to Darjeeling as being «Le Champagne des Thés»! This one is so well balanced, I find very little astringency in comparison to some other Darjeeling I own. Just lovely!

The night person that I am will continue sipping on this for a couple more hours, listening to great groovy jazzy music…

My Love is Red, by David Poe (fairly unkown artist that I just adore)


Miss Starfish

Do you know which winery the pinot was from?


Miss Starfish, here’s a link to the wine we had. If you like pinot noir, I have to mention that this one was bolder and spicier than most pinot noir I’ve had. It was absolutely fantastic!


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We had no electricity last night. It was cold, rainy and windy, hard to believe it’s the end of may…

Sleepy Mr Right was kind enough to start the BBQ burner at midnight for my pure enjoyment. Had to find a way to boil water for tea!

He gave me the speech about how that was his way of showing me love and it should buy him some points.

«What points?» I ask.

« Well, points to go out with the guys for example.»

« Honey, when did you ever need points for that?»

«Well… true» he admits. (I’m more of a freedom kind of gal.)

«I could keep them in the bank then, you never know, you might change as you’re getting older » he says.

«Well, as you’re getting older just costed you 500 points. Deducted from the 100 points I was about to give you, you now owe me 400 my darling.» See, I can play if I want to.

He gave me his best smile and said he always admired my negotiating skills. Love the guy.

Time for a no-fuss tea, one that will accept any temperature variation, greens don’t stand a chance under those conditions.

Poeple, this is the epitome of good straight black tea. You can brew it western style with confidence, it won’t let you down. It’s as sweet as can be, fruity, honey, bakery like, it has it all. Those leafhoppers sure know how to work their miracles. Don’t want to be judgemental, but if you choose to add sugar in this, something is wrong with you, have your blood sugar level checked out, haha!

It’s full bodied, and the mouthfeel is creme caramel like, that’s the best way I can describe how it feels in my mouth as it cools down to lukewarm.

Butiki’s brewing parameters are also perfect for it. I may have let it steep for a little longer than 4min this time, but no harm done.

I have this old kettle, it took many beatings over the years, it now looks like it was made out of hammered metal! We used to bring it on camping trips, it was put many times directly on the flames of fire camps, I can still smell the smoke on it! That’s the one we used last night. We hadn’t seen this old friend of ours in a long time, and that started some conversations.

We ended up staying outside, freezing to death in the gazebo, looking at old pictures from our early years together. Now, I could lie and tell you we snuggled by the candlelight and that would be so romantic right? But my man insisted on using the mega-power flashlight he just bought from home depot instead. That made him happy. For those of you who don’t already know, I live close to the woods. It did provide acres of light to our backyard’s wildlife. Boys will be boys.

And good tea will add to our book of memories once again. Thank you Butiki.

Doug F

Great review!


Very cute review!! And that’s a funny way to describe tea preferences, but it works well to convey them!


Thanks guys, It was such a fun night, I had to write about it here!


this is an awesome review! i slept in a funky position and my neck is killing me, but you really made me laugh, thank you!


Hahaha! careful james!


Love this tealog – made me feel like I was right there sipping along with you under the glow of the mega-power flashlight.


congrats on the note, very funny and refreshing


canadianadia: You are invited if you bring good tea…and sunglasses for your protection!


This sounds like a wonderful tea, and I love your point system there!


Ysaurella: thank you!

Incendiare: the tea is fabulous! The point system, well it was his idea and I think he forgot about my mathematician skills when it comes to keeping scores, haha!


Haha it’s like Whose Line is it Anyway, where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter.

Terri HarpLady

Cute review, love the negotiating skills too!


@Incendiare: don’t you miss that show?
@Terri:Thank you Ms Harplady!

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Thank you so much Ysaurella for this surprise sample!

Once upon a time, there was a Fairy who had given up on Apple tea… She thought she could never find an apple tea that could meet her requirements and expectations.

What she had always longed for, was a tea that could reproduce the juicy and delicious taste of apples, without the company of the harmful Wicked Army of Additives! The WAA had terrorized the world of tea for centuries and was the main cause of discord between tea and flavour.

What she wanted seemed so simple: an apple tea that would simply taste like… APPLES!

Just as the Fairy had finally resigned on the idea, Princess Ysaurella from the heights of her French Kingdom, decided it would be otherwise. The injustice had to stop!

Apple tea should take its place in the wonderful world of Fairies and no longer be a forbidden tea!

From the other side of the ocean, she did everything possible to arrange safe transportation for Pomme d’Amour, and it quickly reached destination to the Fairy.

When the Fairy examined the offering, she remained skeptical: how could a spell that was there for so long could be lifted so easily? How could the WAA be defeated so easily?

As she had nothing to lose, she focused her attention on the infused elixir’s aroma…Oh, the scent of fresh apples! Was it possible? She cautiously moved to the next step and tasted.

Awww … divine potion that finally valued the Apple as the Queen of fruit she really was, allowing her to shine in her beautiful black China-Ceylon robe, without any unnecessary garments such as cinnamon, cake or pie flavours! Just the right amount of sweet and juicy apple taste!

It goes to say that without Princess Ysaurella reconciliation could not have taken place! The WAA was put to rest, and all the Fairies lived happily ever after, sipping their Apple tea.

The End. Thank you Princess :-)


I’m glad you liked this one !
I really like it too, it is just the taste des pommes au four :)
I didn’t know you were experiencing disagreement with apple teas but that’s true this one is just so natural.


I actually stopped buying any apple teas! I just have the ones I get as samples in various tea orders., which I never care much for. Now too bad this one was just a teaser since I can’t buy it here!! Let me know if from one of your North American swaps you ever get an apple tea that is worthy of the name :-)


only had 2 :mom’s apple pie (DT) and another from Della Terra and they were just inferior to this one.
As you’re near Montréal, you may buy some Betjeman & Barton : Il était une fois Noël, it has apple but it’s a xmas blend so not a mono apple blend.


Yeah, it’s not that those two are really bad, it’s just that I don’t care much for them, they leave me indifferent, which is never a good sentiment to carry around tea!

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ETA: I had what was left of this sample yesterday and I find myself wanting more tonight, even if I have like a zillion more unexplored teas in the cupboard!! It seems the heart always wants what it cannot have :-(

I had a crappy Monday and thought nothing would make the day better. That was before I got the mail. Yay, a swap from Ysaurella ! Thank you so much for this generous sample!

After tasting this little marvel, I understand better why it is named this way. This tea is so romantic, it’s a flirt in a cup!

This is the epitome of refinement in terms of essence and aroma. I am not easily seduced by flavoured teas, I’m pretty hard to please!

Ysaurella got me dreaming about this tea when I first read her lovely review. Thanks for introducing me to this little treasure from the old world!

This blend does something not many are able to achieve: it provides a perfect balance between flowery, spicy and fruity notes. Love the pink berries, such a nice peppery addition!

I don’t have a detailed list of ingredients, but something in there reminds me of Turkish Delights! I also appreciate the delicate citrus breeze that circulates around all the other flavours. It’s nothing like bergamot, more of a shy lemon :-)

Rêverie d’un soir sur la Néva is simply dreamy… This is the tea I would choose to have at a Café in Saint-Pétersbourg, waiting and longing for my lover…


isn’t it wonderful how odds and sods mixed with tea can turn your day around completely? i’m working my way through a tea shipment that arrived today… very exciting.

glad the tea did the trick…. now i want to your new sample, lol.


I’m glad you liked this one so much. I am in love with this tea, sometimes I just open the bag to sniff it !
The brand is really a very good quality brand, I need to explore it more.


This sounds quite lovely!


@JustJames: How right you are! Hope you’re enjoying the new shipment. As for this sample, I’m afraid it’s all gone :-(

@Ysaurella: please don’t nag about it, I for one CAN’T open and sniff it whenever I want, IT’S ALL GONE! But I’m keeping the zip lock, that will do the trick for a while (now I sound like a real tea nerd, hiding and sniffing tea bags, lol!)

@Sil: it is sooo lovely :-)

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drank Black Pearl Sumatra by Tealux
432 tasting notes

This is sold as an oolong at Tealux, but I’m unsure if it should be listed as a black tea instead. It’s rolled and looks like it’s oolong, but the taste tells a different story. I’ve had dark oolongs that were closer to black teas, but this one has crossed the border it seems! Feel free to enlighten me if you know more please :-)

So first sip got me so confused, I googled it to find out more. I hardly found any information, but it seems I’m not the only one who can’t make up her mind about it! Some shops have it listed as black tea, some as oolong. Nevertheless, it is the same tea, grown in volcanic Indonesian soils. And quite frankly, (though it got me curious enough to look it up) in the end, I don’t care if it’s completely oxidized or not, it just tastes happy to me!

The liquor is a deep amber sunset, very orange pekoe like. First impression (meaning this is what I think of while I close my eyes, inhale the aroma and drink it): cinnamon, brandy, raisins, big fruity notes and so sweet! It’s just superb and it produces a rich flavorful cup. Now, did I find the described Washington Red Apple in there? No I didn’t, that’s a little too far fetch for my taste buds! But it reminds me a lot of Taiwanese Assam, maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to it. It has no roasty or nutty characteristics, and not a tiny little bit of astringency, even in that forgotten 10 min. 2nd steep! If anything, the burst of flavor described above increased tenfold, very forgiving!

A new treasure tea that will be added to the permanent collection!

Wish I had bought a pound instead of just a sample, I would sprinkle all of you Steepster friends with these little nuggets so you could have a chance to taste it!

Talking about black, I am on cloud nine right now, just found out The Black Keys are playing outdoors in my area in July. Guess who’s going? Oh yeah, this Fairy is a happy one, doing «sauts de joie»!!

Good tea… summer…picturesque outdoors venue… epic music…all the right ingredients for a good life recipe :-)

Cheers everyone!


Oh wow that should be an amazing concert!! Crossing my fingers that they come out this way!


Ill have to put this on my shopping list.


Alysha, I checked their schedule, don’t see any tour dates for BC, but the schedule stops in july, so there’s still hope they’re heading west in August :-) I adore them!


Sil, I’m pretty confident you will like this one since it’s the most «un-oolong» oolong I’ve ever had, LOL!


Thanks for checking that. I’ll keep an eye out. They are one of my favourite bands too :)

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Made tuna tataki and soba noodles for supper tonight. I usually have Genmaicha or Sencha with this type of meal but wanted to try something different. This tea is perfect!

What a beautiful green! It’s sweet at first, midly grassy/vegetal, then It releases just a touch of smokiness with a nice astringent finish. I know most poeple don’t appreciate astringency, but strange enough, I love it, especially with food. This type of tea is a real mouth wash! Yet, it’s delicate enough to have on its own.

I will surprise my guests tonight with something new, perfect!

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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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