Camellia Sinensis

Recent Tasting Notes

drank Si Ji Chun by Camellia Sinensis
145 tasting notes

First time trying this tea! I’m brewing it in the gaiwan.

1st steep – Jasmine aroma with a background resembling a milk oolong. Beautiful light, sweet floral taste. There seems to be the beginnings of a richer taste floating around in the background. A smooth and silky feel. I was having kind of a bad day but this just makes me happy with everything. :)
2 – Pretty jasmine-y up front, with an interesting sweet background. Maybe caramel-y? I’m still pretty bad at identifying flavours __ There’s some nutmeg taste going on too.
3 – Still floral but slightly greener. As it cools I get a distinct vanilla aftertaste. Mmmmm
4 – Quite nutty, the floral taste is still there though. Slightly caramel-y too. This steep was a little light so I’ll give it a few more seconds for the next one.
5 – Very sweet! Kind of toasty now.
6 – Light and very slightly grassy. This steep makes me think of a big meadow on a clear sunny day.
7 – Sweet and caramel-y. Sooo goood. One of the best steeps yet.
8 – A rich green taste with a natural sweetness.
9 – Intense sugary sweet taste up front, with the leafy green in the background. Yum.
10 – I did the thing where you flip the gaiwan over so the leaves are balanced on the lid, then put them back in with the bottom ones on top. Actually they ended up going back in kind of sideways… I’m still not very good at this whole gaiwan thing. I’m not sure if it made much difference, this steep tastes similar to 9 but less sweet.
11 – Ah, there’s the sweetness again. Light and sweet like nectar.

Overall I really enjoyed this oolong. It made my day a lot better!

Bonnie

Good job. This sounds so complex and interesting!

Uniquity

I have never done the flip thing you described in 10 – did it help? Very cool!

Erin

I think it did help to refresh it a little bit, but it would have been better to do it earlier on.

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87

I’ve had this tea for a while now, but I never took the time to write about it until now. It’s one of those teas that you can easily lose yourself in.

First steep: Smells sweet, tastes sweet too! The liquor is a touch floral, and sweet; almost like the sweetness of caramel. It has a mouth watering juiciness and flavour that reminds me of fruit.

Second steep: I’m noticing more of the texture the liquor leaves in the back of my mouth. The description mentions marzipan which I think is dead on. I can definitely taste that in the smooth texture and flavour.

Third steep: All of the flavours are coming together nicely. It’s usually at about this point where I lose myself in the flavours and look down to see that my cup is empty. ;)

Fourth steep: This cup really struck me as juicy and sweet, but not too sweet. I really dislike teas that are WAY too sweet, but this one is just right. (If you’re curious, I find Bai Lin black tea and Oriental Beauty oolong too sweet sometimes)

Fifth steep: Liquor is getting a bit less floral and the spices are coming out more.

Sixth steep: Both the tea and I are feeling pretty mellow at this point. I could keep resteeping but I’m pretty satisfied ending here.

One thing I really love about Taiwanese oolong, is that your attention to detail pays off. Relaxing and taking time to enjoy each sip brings out such beautiful flavours. Sometimes when I just want my tea fix, I’ll brew up some cheap black tea western style. But when I have the time for it, I like to reward my senses with tea like this.

Not my favourite oolong from this vendor, but it still exceeded my expectations.

100ml purion teapot, 1 1/2 tsp, 6 steeps (rinse, 45s, 45s, 1m, 1m30s, 2m, 2m30s)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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91

This is a wonderful Oolong. I’m on my fifth and sixth infusions now. It started out quite creamy, almost like coconut, with some vanilla in there too. Hints of orchid in the beginning, but now with these final infusions, I notice the orchid much more and the fruit and creamy tones a little less.

Really nice, quite unexpected, I don’t think I’ve come across an Oolong that tasted naturally of coconut before. I’ve had coconut flavored Oolongs, but nothing quite like this!

Azzrian

Sounds very nice!

smartkitty

I got this one as a sample with my last order from CS. Sooooo good! Did you get the cherry notes, too?

LiberTEAS

I got some fruity notes, but, they didn’t come across as cherry, specifically, to me. More of like a mild fruit tone.

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79

Milder than most real Pu erh. Well balanced. Mellow. Faint hint of vanilla.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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79

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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92

This is the second time I’ve had this tea and wow, I have noticed so many changes just in the aroma! The smell is like a raisin or maybe a prune, pungent but still sweet and moist.

The liquor is like a mead color almost. a little more on the orange side but still quite light (and this tea is 25 years old!) The wet leaves amplify the dried fruit aroma and add more honey and nectar notes

The first infusion only has a slight hint of its age. dry but not sticky, still enough moisture to carry the flavors through the palate.

The second Infusion comes alive with strong notes of fruit and sweetness. the leaves expand quite nicely in my aged Yixing pot, this shows the sign of good roasting!

The third infusion brought a more dry, sweetness than previous infusions. I also needed to brew this one a little bit longer so I’m sure that’s why I tasted these notes.

Infusions 4-9 were more or less the same in terms of aroma, flavor and liquor. The age of the tea, that underlying depth and history started to overtake some of the sweeter flavors during these infusions. The color remained an amber/crimson/peach nectar sort of hue.

After another infusion or two, the tea was taking 4plus minutes to really get any flavor out, and while the color remained, the temperature of the tea was luke warm at best by the time it reached its desired flavor.

When I pulled the leaves out of the pot, they were sturdy but pliable. I saved one full leaf for my tea journal.

Delicious.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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96

Backlog from last night.

I loved this tea. Like, a lot. But, reading the description here, and reading other’s reviews, I realize that my cuppa tasted waaaaaay different from the others. I guess this tea was supposed to have chocolate and hazelnut tones, but I didn’t really get that. What I got was really fruity. Like, I swear to god this tasted exactly like blueberries to me, and I asked my mom and she said the same. I don’t know what’s up with that, but I do know that I really liked the blueberry taste. It’s been sealed this whole time (thanks to LiberTEAS for sending this to me) and I’ve kept it away from all flavored teas, so I don’t know why it tasted like blueberries. I guess I kind of got another note, kind of woodsy in a way with a nice depth, but the main taste was fruity.

Weird. I’ll have to try again, maybe my tastebuds were just off!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 6 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

tea tastes different to every individual palate. That’s really my only explanation for it.

ashmanra

I have had only a couple of darjeelings and they had a strong, characteristic muscatel grape flavor. Maybe that comes out as blueberry for you.

Ian

@LiberTEAS: That is true because this wouldn’t be the first time that a tea has tasted the exact opposite for me as it has for others.

@ashmanra: I’ve only had a few also, but out of the ones I’ve had the muscatel flavor (or what I’m assuming was muscatel) tasted way different from this…. Maybe what I was tasting actually wasn’t muscatel?

Angrboda

What LiberTEAS said. When tasting tea, or anything really, there is no right or wrong way or right or wrong notes. If anybody ever tells you that you can’t possibly have found this or that in any given tea, ask them how they manage to taste with your tongue and to kindly stop it because it’s kind of creepy. :)

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10
gmathis

Sometimes short reviews say it all.

PRECIOUS WILLIAMS

This has grown on me actually!

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80

Forget the sweetness, which I do not detect, but I thoroughly enjoy the roasted and chocolate taste, specially in the second and third steeping. After that, it is mostly charcoal in the mouth even if my nose still detects tea and chocolate.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 45 sec

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80

Still my favourite “cheap” ($5/50g) LS.

Had a good experience short steeping this today, got up to 9 steeps. I was a bit surprised because the tea is comprised of broken leaves and I don’t always get performance out of those. It tasted very smooth, smoky, woody, and buttery throughout all the steeps.

On a final note I’d just like to mention that I usually love LS, so I’m not sure I would recommend this to those that dislike smoky teas. It is definitely not nasty and tarry, but I’ve also tried better (and more expensive) “authentic” LS.

100ml purion teapot, 2 tsp, 9 steeps (3s, +3s resteeps)
edit: if anyone’s curious, the smoky flavour didn’t stay in the purion after a quick rinse for my next tea

Preparation
Boiling
The DJBooth

That sounds awesome I think I’ll have to add this one to my shopping list.

Dorothy

It’s a pretty standard LS if you like that sort of thing.

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84
drank Da Hong Pao by Camellia Sinensis
311 tasting notes

I bought this just to see what’s so special about Da Hong Pao. There are a lot of sources for this type of tea, but I chose Camellia Sinensis because they never disappoint me and I like supporting Canadian businesses (plus the tea arrives quickly). Now onto the tasting note:

First steep: Roasted, floral, very smooth, kinda sweet.

Second steep: Sweeter, roasted flavour is nice and not too strong, has a soft floral aroma.

Third steep: More balanced, the liquor leaves a pleasant sweet and roasted flavour at the back of my throat.

Taking a break to sniff the gaiwan, the wet leaves have a very charming scent. I like how the roasted characteristics never become too overpowering.

Fourth steep: Much of the same characteristics are present, still quite smooth/creamy with a soft floral/fruity aroma.

Fifth steep: Seems a bit lighter and zesty. This cup made me think of mango and honey dew melon.

Sixth steep: More sweetness and fruit than roasted flavour.

Next time I’ll try with a longer initial steep and more leaves.

Sometimes I see that other teas are compared to Da Hong Pao, and I can kinda see why now, but I don’t find those comparisons very helpful. I’d rather people mentioned specific characteristics or flavour, like “sweet and roasted”. Overall a wonderful tea, but some of the hype around it tainted my experience. I’ll have to try some more Da Hong Pao teas in the future.

100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 6 steeps (10s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 1min, 1m20s)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C

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89
drank Cui Yu by Camellia Sinensis
108 tasting notes

A Wonderful post-sushi tea, sweet in flavor and not too light in body. the bite from the spring leaves makes the 8th and 9th infusion a little sharp but the lingering sweetness smooths it out.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 15 sec

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89
drank Xue Ya by Camellia Sinensis
658 tasting notes

I forgot about this tea until I noticed tonight that my cat had somehow chewed on the bag, presumably in one of his fits of hunger. He will go for anything even somewhat resembling the bag his food comes in.

It is so nice! Really mild, sweet, and a little smokey. I love it, and am glad to rediscover it. The package suggests a surprising 4-7 minutes, so I went for 4 and am surprised at how much I like it that way.

Indigobloom

awww hungry kitty!

Indigobloom

On a diet I presume :)

Jessie

Ha! He is on, ahem, a controlled feeding schedule. He’s a big boy in general but has lost a few pounds since moving in with me last year thanks to going on two meals of canned food per day with dry food only as snacks. He was free-range up till then so still isn’t too pleased about our dictating when he eats!

Indigobloom

poor guy, he has no idea how good he really has it! too bad they don’t have kitty cardio machines

Jessie

Except that would be WAY TOO CUTE.

Indigobloom

hehe it would! there are enough cat lovers out there… someone should get on this!!

De

I want to invent a kitty treadmill now.

Indigobloom

De, dooooo it!! omg that would be priceless :P

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83

I was really thrilled when I got this tea as a gift! The idea of drinking a 1991 aged tea thrilled me, I think it’s a pretty special thing to do. To think this tea was picked when I was 5 years of age seems crazy when I take the time to think about it! So I wanted to treat this tea with as much respect as I possibly could, make sure to take the time to appreciate the different layers every sip offers. Sadly, as much as I appreciate the fact it is very special and different, I’m not sure about the flavour of the charcoal… it’s not too bad. If I concentrate, I can picture the coffee… maybe a bit of dark chocolate. I sadly didn’t get the sweet and fruity aftertaste they mention at all though. I was actually very much looking forward to the charcoal taste combined with that of the actual tea, but sadly, I don’t get much oolong at all, to me this is mostly charcoal. It does get better as I re-steep and the leaves uncurl more (they never uncurl much though, even after 5 steeps, they seem pretty stuck from all the charcoal coating), but never enough to make me go “yum!”.

I still thought trying this tea was a great experience, the taste is interesting, and every sip is a sort of link to the past… I think that’s pretty cool! But I won’t go buying more of it, especially given the crazy price.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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91

This is my firt aged Sheng Pu-Erh. I have been accustomed to drinking and liking pu-erh first by buying cheap teas tuochas and beeng chas from the Golden Sail company. Most of these don’t have production dates on them and, from what I understand, are ripened or Shou pu-erhs.

When visiting Camelia Sinensis, I asked the employee serving me where should I go next, mostly wanting a Sheng tea. When he opened the metal canister to let me smell the leaves of this tea, I knew I was up for something nice. Right away, images of old grey wood in a barn on a hot and dry day began swirling before my eyes. So, after the surprise of the origin (I’m fairly new in the world of pu-erh and thought Yunnan was the only producer), I asked for my 25g, paid and got back home.

Arriving home, I rinced the leaves in my gaiwan, steeped 10 seconds (approximately, I count 3 breaths) and watched the burnt orange liquor fill my cup. I had a quick smell of the humid leaves, noting something along the way of toffee or caramelised sugar. The leaves are very nice, quite large and complete. A fair quantity of twigs, more that I normally see in a tuocha but then, as I said, normality is quite recent, for me…

Upon tasting, I was fullfilled: The Notes of old wood and toffee were still there but also followed some hints of camphor, and dried wildflowers. The brew was tasty yet on the less bitter side. Taste lingered for some time, maybe not as much as I expected but I left it for subsequent steeps to verify.

Further steeping had the camphor notes come a bit more upfront, with the color turning slightly darker but with a clean orange hue. The aftertaste was also upgraded, lingering and vanishing slowly leaving a nice feeling of dry heat while, as the cups were emptied, feeling a nice cooling of the body.

Overall, a very nice experience. I was surprised at the number of steeps I got from the same gaiwan without getting that “finished” taste I usually get with golden sail pu-erhs. It mostly went away slowly, keeping most of its taste-images there, only having some leading at first and letting others peek through as steeps went.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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83

I was looking for a tea to drink this morning that would counter a bit of the down mood I find myself in today thanks to having to deal with a cold which was handed off to me during the week. :(

I knew I wanted something aged to relax and warm, so I turned to this 1970 Liu Bao from Camellia Sinensis. While the dry leaf was reluctant to give up any aroma in the cha he, it gave off a clean spiced woodiness when placed into the warmed gaiwan.

The liquor from the first steeping exhibited a beautiful reddish mahogany color. The broth possessed a pleasing viscosity with a slight oiliness. It was certainly not as substantial as some aged pu’er, but it filled the mouth nicely.

The flavor was a continuation of the delicate aromas the warmed leaf gave off, gentle, clean. There were notes of wood accented by the faintest taste and aroma of aged leather and camphor which paid some particular to the sinus cavity -thankfully. I detected some light anise sweetness sneaking through around the 4th and 5th steepings.

The qi of this tea was pleasant and calming. It was certainly nowhere near to the strength of the 1993 Menghai 7542 I had recently, but considering my state I feel this was a good thing. This tea definitely lifted the day with its calming spirit.

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88

Could have sworn I made a second tasting note for this tea, but I guess I didn’t. Oh well, here is tonight’s experience;

First steep was lovely, with the flavours of spices, honey and light bodied black tea. The aftertaste had a sensation of sugar syrup on my throat.

Second cup tasted much earthier and had a hint of cocoa. Mmmmm…

Third cup shifted, bringing out more cinnamon and grains.

Fourth cup was very light, and together with the previous flavours it made me think of white tea or Oriental Beauty.

Fifth through six were pretty light, but not bad. I stopped because it satisfied me enough.

Not my favourite resteeper, but a very flavourful tea. Next time I make this I’ll add more time to the resteeps.

100ml purion teapot, 2 tsp, 6 steeps (30s, +15s resteeps)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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91

I received this in the mail today and promptly brewed up some in a teapot to share with my husband. I didn’t order much, but Da Yu Lin is something I’ve been meaning to try, so I couldn’t resist just purchasing a little.

The very first cup of tea left a good impression on us. Its flavours hint at vegetal, butter, fruit/spice but never get to the point where it is obnoxious, just peaceful and satisfying. I especially enjoyed the tea body, it is deep and mellow. It stayed fairly consistent throughout the 9 total steeps I did today.

This is our first Da Yu Lin so I can’t comment on how good it is compared to other Da Yu Lin teas. That being said, we loved it and are looking forward to trying more in the future.

My teapot wasn’t too crowded, so I think I’ll add more leaves next time.

125ml yixing teapot, 1 tsp, 9 steeps (rinse, 30s, +15s resteeps for 2nd-6th, +30s for 7th-9th)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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96

I forgot to log this yesterday! Delight :)

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89

Steeped this 12 times, all while chilling out and listening to Drone Zone from somafm.com

A very enjoyable tea and quite a unique experience that I’ve savoured over the months.
Next time I brew this it will probably be a “sipdown”.
See previous tasting notes for more of my thoughts on this tea

100ml purion teapot, 2 tsp, 12 steeps (30s, +15s resteeps)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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99
drank Jin Die by Camellia Sinensis
311 tasting notes

To celebrate our 5th anniversary married together, I prepared one of my husband’s (and mine) favourite teas: Jin Die.

Drinking from the first steep, I’m greeted with the familiar flavours of Jin Die: deep rich, earthy tea body, cinnamon, spices, tomato (not like SML), the liquor ends on a smooth-velvety feeling. An odd characteristic also makes it’s appearance here, the flavour of ripe puerh. It’s not something I expect from black tea, but I quite like it!

The second steep is much the same with some chocolate and pepper showing up.

As I keep drinking through the steeps, the flavour just keeps intensifying. Fifth steep brought out some caramel flavour, and was our favourite steep.

In each resteep the flavour started to weaken very gradually. I could taste the puerh flavour up until about the 9th, and much of the spice notes stayed up until the 15th.

I ended on the 16th steep because I really couldn’t drink anymore tea. It didn’t even have the taste of my water, just really weak, earthy, fuzzy, slightly sweet tea. The liquor had a yellow-amber colour, which is still pretty dark for so many resteeps I think.

Overall, I have always found Jin Die to be an amazing black tea, but this short steeping experience has heightened my enjoyment of it. As of writing this review, it’s my best black tea resteeper (Ying De Hong Cha from Jing Tea Shop had 14, Yunnan Dian Hong golden tips from Teavivre had 12). My husband isn’t obsessed with tea like I am, and he doesn’t always remember the flavour or names of our teas (especially if they are foreign), but Jin Die has left a powerful impression on him and it quickly became one of our favourites.

See previous tasting notes for more of my thoughts on this tea

100ml gaiwan, 2tsp, 16 steeps (30s, +15s resteeps)
Up’d rating slightly

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec
TeaBrat

Happy Anniversary!

Indigobloom

Congrats on 5 years!!! :)

Ninavampi

Yay! 5 year Anniversary! Congrats! : )

Dorothy

Thanks everyone! :)

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99

Tonight I’m brewing SML in a gaiwan, because I’ve yet to short steep it until now. Anyway,

First steep starts off tasting very mild and friendly, then after a few seconds a rush of flavour comes out. I’m getting a hint of the unique SML flavours here, malt, zesty tomato, vanilla, grains, cinnamon

Second steep it obviously much stronger, with the typical powerful SML flavours showing up.

Sniffing gaiwan lid, the scents made me think of soy sauce and tomato.

Moving onto the third steep, it keeps getting more and more intense. Now there is a minty/menthol flavour coming out. It mixes really well with the existing flavours into something that makes me think of licorice.

At the fourth steep the tea leaves have completely unfurled. Tasting the liquor, the mint is more powerful, along with the existing flavours. I think this fourth cup really tests your tolerance for STRONG flavours.

The fifth steep tasted like the tea flavour was weakening, but it’s otherwise pretty strong.

Sixth to twelfth steeps continued to get progressively weaker, but otherwise I enjoyed the typical SML flavours.

I go into more depth with my earlier tasting note, but in summary: I love SML because it is such a unique tea.

This short steeping experiment worked out nicely, I think I prefer it to the traditional one steep western style. For one thing, I think the menthol/mint comes out better here. As a bonus, the long, twisted dark leaves are a delight to watch in a gaiwan, and the large open mouth of this tea vessel makes it great to sniff the wet leaves.

100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 12 steeps (30s, +15s resteeps)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec
enjoy_the_pure

what is a gaiwan if i may ask?

Dorothy

Sure, it’s a small tea vessel that has the appearance of a lidded bowl. Using a gaiwan is ideal for short steeping tea because you fully decant the liquid and reserve tea leaves in it.
There are some great pictures on on wikipedia plus more information for you to look at if you are still curious: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaiwan

Feel free to ask anyone on Steepster for more information, most of us are happy to share what we know. :)

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87
drank Xiao Zhong by Camellia Sinensis
311 tasting notes

So lately I have been looking through my tasting notes and finding which teas do not have short steeping notes. I don’t write about every cup of tea I brew, but I like to make one note for long steeps and one note for short steeps. Anyway,

I brewed this tea today and the flavours were pretty consistent up until the third or fourth cup. It doesn’t keep the main flavour of one long steep, but it’s similar enough. And then came the expected downward spiral of weakening tea flavour, but what really shocked me was the CIGAR aroma in my fifth cup.

Whoa whoa whoa, what?!?!

I’m not disgusted or anything but it’s a strange thing to suddenly appear in my tea. I’ve tried some young raw puerh before and that’s given me a similar cigar aroma.

Okay so with these turn of events I had to keep resteeping. The sixth cup had an even stronger cigar aroma. I mean there is a hint of the original tea flavours but this was completely unexpected. By the time I got to the seventh cup the cigar aroma was almost completely gone. I kept resteeping it but the eighth and ninth cups were so weak and full of my original water flavour.

What a weird experience… I almost want to believe my senses just felt like trolling me this morning. ;) I’ll have to try and redo this again sometime to see if I can duplicate the experience. (edit: Tried this short steeped at a later date and it still had the cigar aroma with 5-6)

100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 9 steeps (30s + 15s resteeps)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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