33 Tasting Notes

drank Gu Shu Yinzhen by Hojo Tea
33 tasting notes

4.5g, 220mL porcelain teapot, 2x rinse, 1-2 minute steeps. Tall collins glass. Don’t recommend gongfu brewing this tea, it needs to steep and get some strength to it. This was not a sample but a 50g sachet.

Leaves were intact. no jerky or smokiness for me.

Full bodied, thick liquor, a dark yellowish color, buttery aftertaste, smooth, really nice. Its not a relaxing tea for me, its a tea with some energy that could easily get me going in the morning. I feel like I want to go workout now…without caffeine jitters.

There is a slight astringency on the long finish after 1-2 glasses. And some cooling huigans. The loooong finish is where the sweetness returns. I mean like 5 minutes later you start getting a honey-like green/grassy sweetness. It hits on the lighter/ higher register of flavors, but they’re not distinguishable of anything in particular.

I enjoy it. Its on the ‘delicate’ side of flavor, but on the full side of body and mouthfeel. If you’re familiar with the profile of a majority of Hojo’s tea, they are about aftertaste and body. This hits both qualities really well. If you want a fruity tea, pass on this. If you want something that feels good to drink, with a pleasant flavor, this is a good tea.

I chose to drink this tonight because I needed something that didn’t have a ton of flavor, I’m sort of suffering from sensory fatigue overload tonight and needed something fulfilling yet simple and easy to sip on. The (lack of) flavor was perfect for this occasion.

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drank Lao Ban Zhang by Tao Tea Leaf
33 tasting notes

4.5g in 100mL jian shui teapot. the vendor basically says dry storage in Toronto, but I think its more like dehydrated storage. When I opened the bag to smell the dry leaves, there’s that distinct dehydrated storage aroma…lifeless is the only way to describe it if you’re not sure what I’m talking about. perhaps the storage is where this tea went wrong? maybe with better storage it may have been a better experience?

Haveteawilltravel’s review of this tea is very close to my experience, so I’ll just say what wasn’t already said. Very loosely packed, large whole leaves but also lots of pieces, thick center vein.

Vegetables, smokey, slight huigans after 3rd/4th cups but that went away.

The only redeeming quality of this tea was the oily full mouthfeel, but that may have been a increased or caused by my well seasoned jian shui teapot. I am not motivated to brew with a gaiwan just to figure that out. I’m not motivated to even finish the sample. If someone wants it, message me and I’ll pass it along if you want to try it.

Chi was mostly lower back, kidneys, and uncomfortable. I could feel a little movement in the head but it wasn’t very strong. I was underwhelmed…

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seems like the baby-brother of the Limited Edition 2008 sheng.
weak flavor
slightly belly warming chaqi
oily mouthfeel
velvety aftertaste that lingered
had it following the 2008 Limited Edition so this review is skewed, but this tea seemed a bit underwhelming comparatively (and 6 years difference)

I think this was a free sample, don’t remember.

One thing’s for sure, Bana has nailed the mouth feel texture of puerh, everything I’ve had from Bana has wonderful mouthfeel, thick, oily, mouth coating goodness.


You got the sampler with the mengsung?


Yea, the raw puerh sampler. I also got the ripe puerh sampler, Green Mandarin Ripe Pu-erh, Yiwu Golden Unicorn 2005 spring harvest, Anxi Tieguanyin Oolong 2016, and Bulang Ripe 100g Mini Cake.

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irked by the packaging, those cute little baggies nearly crushed the tea, and most of my samples are nearly powdered and crushed. There was a one chunk and a few partial leaves I saved, using mostly the crushed fannings, so I brewed this quickly to avoid bitterness. Fortunately, this tea was forgiving and not bitter even when brewed strong.

slight cooling huigan
oily mouthfeel
semi-sweet, grassy, hay
smooth, inviting, chuggable, highly drinkable and approachable
lasted about 10 steeps
flavor seemed weak, so I’ll use more leaves next session

will purchase a cake to explore this tea further

Flavors: Grass, Hay, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes

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brewed with Nosaka oxidation hohin, dried aroma and steamed aroma is a very rich enticing matcha green tea aroma, makes you want to eat it.

liquor is light green, lighter than I’m accustomed with sencha. mineral notes, floral after taste, grassy/herbal undertones, pine freshness. Everything in moderation, a touch on the light side of flavor. Aftertaste was moderate, didn’t notice much of it linger. I also couldn’t oversteep this, I tried.

Sedated me, I had to lay down for about 45 minutes….twice. I really wasn’t expecting that! I guess that’s testimony to the age of the tea trees, supposedly 200-300 years old. I think it would be easier to validate the age of Japanese tea trees vs puerh teas, since a lot of Japanese tea gardens are many centuries old passed down generation to generation.

In puerh world we’d call this a “stoner” tea. Also some stomach warming (lower dan tien area) cha qi. Also body warming, later in the evening finishing the session I started sweating and face grew warm/flush.

Solid afternoon tea if you want to take a nap and snooze for a bit.

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drank Uji Sencha Jubuzan by Hojo Tea
33 tasting notes

Brewed in a Nosaka red clay hohin with oxidation firing from Hojo.

Very impressed with this tea. I drank it after a session of Hojo’s Tsukigase Zairai
Sencha, and I prefer this better. If I can make an analogy, Uji Sencha Jubuzan is to Tsukigase Zairai Sencha as Jinxuan oolong (milk cultivar) is to Qingxin oolong, if that makes sense.

The dried leaves have a savory rich aroma similar to matcha. I used various teacups including a silver cup. I find teas out of a silver teacup are a touch thinner, but this tea remained thick and full bodied no matter what teacup I used.

After the first sip I got a wave of drunkeness and head-spin, and was glad I was sitting down. I guess I wasn’t prepared for that. I centered myself and continued.

The aftertaste continued to build. It was on the lower register. A rich, creamy, thick, savory, semi-sweet aftertaste just sat there on the center rear of my tongue. It gradually coated my tongue in an creamy manner, but not cloying. A touch of dryness prompts me to take another sip. This is decadent. I need to drink this next to Hojo’s Hon Yama Hebizuka. I wasn’t expecting this to be so good. I really enjoyed this tea, its on the dessert side of teas, decadent, semi-sweet, thick, rich, and filling.

The aftertaste seemed to fade away after a short time, but the creamy mouth coating and sensation on my tongue remained and increased as the session continued. At some point there is a blended confusion of mouthfeel and flavor/aftertaste, and its hard to tell where either one starts or ends. When I take a new sip, the flavor peaks, but then fades back and blends with the oily mouth feel, reminding you of what you just drank. Much different than the sheng puerh aftertaste I am accustomed to. Perhaps that’s why I mixed things up with sencha tonight :)

This tea is relaxing and makes me want to lay down, head qi, warming qi, drunken qi, never experienced this from sencha before. Not getting caffeine jitters either. This is good tea.

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I really don’t know where to start with this review, and this tea has me perplexed. It was my favorite of the 2016 offerings but nonetheless, I cannot describe it very well. I just enjoyed it a lot.

Aroma of leaves was green, fresh hay, a tinge of lime zest, and the freshness you experience from fresh cut pine or cedar or even mint. There has to be some phenol or natural alcohol in this tea giving that effect.

Gongfu brewing, gaiwan, flavor matched the name “whisper”, there was an ethereal quality about this tea, a softness, like a whisper. Imagine the feeling sitting in a quiet room, in the late afternoon, gazing out the window, as the heaviness of the sunlight fills the room and warms the air. You start to see the little particles of dust floating around in the sun beams. Its that complete stillness hugging you as you simply sit and just “be”. Literally, not waxing poetic, the name is totally befitting for this tea.

Again, why I like this tea I cannot articulate. Not much in the way of flavors, but there is a full body, velvety, thickness to it that is all pleasantness. It was relaxing, not sedating, and it made me comfortably dose off and fall into a gentle sleep at my desk, but I was not tired or feeling sedated.

This is a GREAT evening tea, its not intense, flavors are muted, its nice. The flavor is akin to smoke, not ash, but a gentle puff of smoke.

After about 10 steepings I started to push it and got more greeness and flavor, started becoming a bit drying in the mouth, but still pleasant. There is a gentle cleanness in this tea.

I didn’t even realize how much I enjoyed it until the next day and I wanted to drink it again. I approached this tea searching for specific qualities but this tea caught me by surprise. It didn’t have anything I was looking for, but I enjoyed everything it offered me and ordered a cake.

Not often I repeat the same tea two days in a row. Each other tea over the next few days just didn’t compare, there was something ethereal missing in those other teas that Whispering Sunshine has. I don’t know what it is though. It just kept calling me.


Great review. Its so nice when you connect with a tea like that, when it transcends just being a mere ‘hot drink with caffeine’


I know right! you have a bunch of samples in front of you and don’t really pay attention to them, approaching them with objective skepticism, and then this wonderful surprise happens. I ordered a cake the next day :)

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Free sample with my last order, thank you CLT. I used it to test the effects of one of my jian shu teapots compared with a gaiwan, and honestly, prefered it out of a gaiwan.

The teapot stole some of the sharper higher notes, and in this case the higher notes made this tea better. This tea is very clean, no off-flavors and no fermentation. I don’t remember any smokiness or bitterness as others have reported. Perhaps those notes are already transformed and this tea has moved on?

Classic sweet date flavor, mildly complex, and the aftertaste wasn’t too long, but there was a little. I preferred this much more than the 2008 Bulang shu which I bought a brick of, don’t get me wrong the 2008 is good but I like this 2014 vintage better. The brick still has more fermentation whereas this 2014 version has none.

This tea agreed with me and was easy on the stomach.

I don’t remember any chi from the first day I drank this. But the following day I mixed the tea from both gaiwan and teapot and grandpa brewed it and experienced a strong wave of energy and goosebumps, power, and strength. It was invigorating.

Decent longevity, it outlasted me and carried over to a second day. If there’s any left, I’ll be adding a brick to my next order.

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I approached this as an herbal tea, not puerh.

The shu puerh is in there, but it takes a back seat. It provides mostly body and structure, mouthfeel, and a deep smoothness to this tea.

Earthy flavors of shu are not noticeable, but when I really look I can find a hint of them, and they balance the otherwise sharp peppermint.

Vanilla is hard to find but think its just rounding out the overall experience, adding complexity.

I enjoyed this quite a bit. A ‘touch’ of sweetener may enhance this, maybe next time I brew this I’ll add a dab of honey.

Steeping time needs to be pushed, I think this is best brewed western style with multi-minute steepings. Gongfu brewing didn’t give me much flavor except mint. You really need the extra steeping time to draw out the puerh and vanilla.

I think this is peppermint but its very well balanced.

This tea leaves a fresh feeling in my mouth (guessing from the mint).

A fun treat, this would be nice to cozy up with as the cold weather approaches.

Flavors: Earth, Peppermint, Vanilla, Wood

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I like all teas but mostly drink sheng, shu, and Taiwan oolong.

My tea notes are just thoughts that come to mind as I drink, so I jot them down. There’s no format to them, just what I want to remember from the experience.

Oh, and why isn’t there a “bacon” flavor option on steepster?


Fairfax, VA

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