96 Tasting Notes

I’m trying my little sample packet of this in a bit of a rush to see if I want to add an ounce of it to my Verdant order. I didn’t use nearly as much leaf or water as Verdant’s directions state and winged it with the steep time, so my brew probably isn’t ideal. I don’t really care for it by itself, but it’s pretty good sweetened with agave.

There’s only one ounce left! Should I buy it? I don’t know! Help! Aaaaahhh!

ETA: I bought the very last one. It was either this or the Yu Lu Yan Chai, which I haven’t tried yet & don’t think would appeal to me as much. I would’ve gotten them both, but ugh, customs. My cup tastes nice now cooled to room temperature, which leads me to believe it would be good iced, so I’m happy.

Boiling 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Got my latest Butiki order today! I’m really glad I jumped on the limited-release flavors from the Amoda box, because they smell uh-MAY-zing. In a move that was out-of-character for me (though in keeping with my current project Drink Your Greens), I decided to try this one right away.

The scents were unexpected – the aroma in the bag was rather fruity with hints of lime, and while brewing it smelled like vegetal chicken broth. The taste of the liquor is similar to its aroma and quite savory, but halfway through the cup I’m experiencing the thing where the flavors kind of fade. Is that what palate fatigue is? I’ll try more leaf and/or bottled mineral water in the future.

I don’t think I’ve had any African green teas before, but this one seems like a very interesting and unusual specimen!

Flavors: Chicken Soup

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Tea Sipper

I should probably have a DYG project too!

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I made tostones (chunks of deep-fried unripe plantain squashed & then fried again) tonight for the first time. They came out well, but the part that I should have seen coming was the stomach upset that followed about an hour after I stopped eating. Oily starch has a tendency to hit my tummy like a ton of bricks.

After only a few sips of this my stomach felt noticeably calmer. Granted it could have been the placebo effect at work, but I think it warrants a bumping-up of my rating anyway.
Flavor-wise, it’s not something I’d reach for regularly, but it does taste nicer than I remembered, and the stevia really does mesh beautifully with the other herbs.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Oh, I do like this one. Cleanly spinachy and buttery, and very moreish. There’s a subtle note of mild seaweed that makes it taste somewhat oceanic. My first sips brought back some kind of smell/taste memory of sitting in a Japanese restaurant eating udon and vegetable maki. Which is kind of what it tastes like – delicately cooked greens in dashi broth.

I can’t believe how good this tastes almost 10 months after I bought it. Now I’m curious what it’s like when it’s really fresh.

Thanks to the guy at the Bleecker St NYC location for giving me such a generous sample!

Flavors: Butter, Ocean Breeze

165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML

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While it’s usually kind of fun to try to pick out all the various flavor notes in straight teas, sometimes it’s nice to just have the name of the product tell you what to expect. It tastes like – that’s right – potatoes with apple & cinnamon, and makes for a surprisingly refreshing beverage. I found the liquor a bit thin, but I suspect that can be remedied by using more leaf and/or less water. A solid offering that I look forward to playing with more!

175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This is probably the most expensive tea I’ve purchased from Stacy, hence my usual putting-off of the good stuff that I’ve recently learned you’re not supposed to do with greens. I bought this nearly a year ago and I’m only trying it for the first time today. Sigh.

I used 1.5 tsp dry leaf (I wish the “amount” box would recognize decimals or fractions) and probably a little less water at a little lower temperature and for maybe 4 seconds longer than the recommended parameters. The resulting liquor was pretty intense – I almost never add more hot water after steeping, but I did twice for this one. Even then it was somewhat bitter and astringent, but there were some buttery and spinach-y elements I liked. (Why do I always think green teas taste like buttered spinach?) I’ll try it with only a teaspoon of leaf next time.

ETA: Went for a second steep, 1m15s. It’s much gentler than the first steep, but still has a bitter bite along the sides of my tongue & plenty of umami (at least that’s what I think it is). The buttery & vegetal qualities are much less present, but I think I can make out some nuttiness, and perhaps a wisp of fruit.

155 °F / 68 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Giving this another go tonight, hoping it’ll help clear my head after my inaugural gongfu session (I don’t think I’ve consumed that much green tea in one sitting in a long time).

It’s still kind of weak at 3m15s, and I’m not very fond of it unsweetened. It seems to taste better as it cools, so I may save the remainder to make iced tea when the weather gets warmer.

This is just okay to me. The only flavor I can definitely pick out is the ginger, and everything else is an earthy, slightly bitter muddle before I add agave. I’m kind of disappointed that the berries & lemon zest aren’t coming through more clearly. And there’s a fine grit of unknown origin at the bottom of my cup.

On the plus side, it is quite good brewed rather strongly & sweetened, and it does seem to be a nice remedy for what ails me. It soothed my tummy from last night’s bout of indigestion, and tonight my head feels better than it did before I started drinking it.

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Despite having purchased a gaiwan months ago, I only used it for the very first time today. I didn’t want to use a tea that was too pricey or short-stocked for my maiden voyage, so I went with this one, which I still have a good 25 grams of after a year in my cupboard.

Using the gaiwan was pretty easy – pretty much the same premise as opening the lid of a pot just enough to drain the cooking water off boiled pasta. I only got a big piece of leaf in my cup once (which is better than my track record with draining pasta). Whittard only has western-style instructions on their site, so I used Teavivre’s gongfu instructions for their Huang Shan Mao Feng as a guide (80 C, 5s rinse, 30/60/90). I started at around 85 C for the rinse.

Rinse (I don’t know if you’re meant to taste this, but I did): butter! Somewhat salty. Mild flavor of some type of cooked greens.

1: Similar to rinse, but more cooked greens & less buttery. Getting some bitterness.

2: I poured this one off after 30s, but it seemed a bit weak, so I poured it back into the gaiwan for another 30s. This made it kind of unpleasantly bitter, like overcooked greens. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go any further after this cup, but…

3: I poured this after 65-70s. Still bitter. Don’t think I’ll go for a fourth.

Obviously my gongfu skills need refining, and this tea is hella old, and I very likely overleafed, but I’m inclined to think my original 91 rating was more of a reflection of my beginner’s enthusiasm than the tea’s quality. It’s probably not a good sign when the rinse is my favorite steep.
And now my head hurts. Dropping the rating like it’s hot.

Flavors: Butter, Kale

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

That’s too bad. My favourite initial steep time for greens is 45s. I usually increase steep times between 5-20s depending on the tea type and how the flavour is developing and changing between steeps). If you enjoyed it before it might be that 60s was way too much or perhaps you can experiment with less leaf? I often use less leaf than is recommended for gongfu. It takes some time to experiment to find what works for you.

adagio breeze

Oh, I’m definitely not going to write off gongfu-ing greens! Teavivre’s leaf recommendation was 4g for a 3oz vessel, and I think my gaiwan is 6oz (I’ll have to check), and 7g seems to be Verdant’s standard for gongfu brewing, so I figured that amount sounded about right. Teavivre’s steep time progression did seem a bit (ugh I hate myself for this but I can’t think of a better word) steep.

adagio breeze

Also, I feel kind of boastful saying “I brewed this gongfu style” when my skill is not that great, haha.


Yay! There are some teas that I pretty much only brew that way(straight oolong, white and green teas). Blacks I find are interesting some ( especially the really tippy ones I can get away with reall


Eek. I meant that I can get away with really short steep times for some blacks 5s poured off slowly, especially jinjunmeis, others need about 50s and others are really best western styles IMHO. Have fun experimenting!

adagio breeze

Thanks for the tips!

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Tonight I’m cracking into my Verdant herbal blends to see if I want to add any to my next order. The dry leaf for this one is so pretty! Little flakes of green sprinkled with pink rose petals, and pieces of ginger & lemon zest poking through here and there.

4 minutes is probably too long for the size of the cup I used, though it did seem a little weak at 3 minutes. The ginger is pretty mild but strong enough to make my tongue tingle. Unsweetened, there were some bitter & earthy flavors I couldn’t put my finger on (can’t say I have any idea what burdock or rhodiola are supposed to taste like), though after adding some agave nectar it tasted quite a bit like ginger ale. I’ll let you guess which way I liked it better.

Hmm. I think I like this one, but I’ll have to try it again to be sure.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Korean Sejak by DAVIDsTEA
96 tasting notes

I’ve resolved to make greens & lightly oxidized oolongs my priority, after reading a Verdant blog post saying they only stay fresh for about 4 months. Let’s just say I have my work cut out for me.

Dry leaf smells a bit like being on the coast – herbaceous, but with a whiff of ocean air. After being rehydrated, the leaves appear very delicate, almost the texture of seaweed. The flavor is light and similar to the aroma; very clean, with a satisfying thickness to the liquor. It’s very similar in taste to a Japanese green, and quite different from the only other Korean green I’ve tried, which was biscuity and fruity-sweet.

I was expecting a lot worse, considering the overall rating! Yes, its flavor is barely-there at times, but so is the tea I’ve had at most of the Japanese restaurants I’ve been to. I’ll have to seek out some other Korean teas.

165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I grew up in New Jersey drinking Celestial Seasonings, and now I live in England, where I developed a taste for a good builder’s brew. Sometime in 2012 I bought my first loose teas, and my collection has since spiraled out of control. Still quite a novice, due to not drinking enough tea to keep pace with the amount I keep buying.

Some things I’m pretty sure I do like:
- most florals (jasmine, orange blossom, osmanthus, etc)
- buttery, vegetal greens
- malty blacks (usually with milk & sugar)
- oolongs that aren’t too heavily roasted

Not really feeling the flavored teas lately, for whatever reason.

All tasting notes use unfiltered hard tap water, unless otherwise specified.

No real method to my numerical ratings yet, but we’ll see what develops. So far I’ve only given ratings of 90 or higher if I actually get excited while drinking the tea.


Bristol, UK

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