Imperial Teas of Lincoln

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Recent Tasting Notes


Its a very nice 2nd flush Darjeeling.

A slight hint of rose does creep into the taste & aroma, which is grape & wood, all the nice 2nd flush characteristics.

Nice clear deep amber/red liquor, decent price, cant complain really!

Flavors: Grapes, Muscatel, Rose, Wood

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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I had this Darjeeling last year, so cant review it as drinking, which is my preferred.

All I remember is that it has been my favourite of the second flush darjeelings I have tried. The Grape aroma is strong and wonderful, the liquor is a lovely deep amber & clean, and the taste is perfectly balanced, deep, with no bitterness and little astringency.

I have tried other darjeelings and none have been as good as this. Tried to find it today and it wasnt on the website. Im hoping that is just due to the time I am writing this (fireworks night!)

Flavors: Grapes, Honey, Muscatel, Wood

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Nectar. Of. The. Gods. Tastes like honey. cant believe this is an Oolong. totally different taste to anything ive ever had before!

tried it gonfu style and had massive burnt sugar aroma, and grapes. Tasted the burnt sugar/caramel thing going on. wonderful

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Grapes, Honey, Nectar, Sugar

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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another great balanced oolong, leaning towards the savoury. Slight caramel astringency, but mixed up with the woody oolong taste makes it a very interesting cup, which changes throughout the taste, ending with a nutty aroma and nice head feel.

Flavors: Almond, Butter, Caramel, Nuts

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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The steeped leaves smell of peaches, the aroma of the cup is 100% cream, amazingly so. My nose is learning slowly to distinguish smells, and something about the smell of the oil from this one is great.

The taste is very forward sweet Oolong, and a very complex taste, hints of wine and trees, and maybe a bit of Da Yu Ling in there, then pear. wow. im in love with this one.

Less balanced than the Xing Ren Almond Phoenix, less savoury, more colourful, and with a creeping astringency that comes in at the side of the tongue.

I like this one

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Peach, Pear, Red Wine

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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It has a very malty taste, and totally unlike any other tea i have tried. unsure if this is a Yunnan thing, or a black gold thing.

i only like it occasionally, but when i do, it hits the spot perfectly

Flavors: Malt

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Such a nice Oolong. I read another review of this type of tea and was described as ‘nutty where it wants to be, sweet where it needs to be, and with a small dose of butter from the fridge on top’ or something to that effect.

That is as good a description as i can give i think. very complex, with a changing aftertaste and feeling that continues after the sips. very well balanced, my first cup steep i just gulped down (I alternate between gong fu style and yo-yo cups).

Has a bit of a kick to it! I’m not sure on caffeine levels but medium to high.

Didn’t think id like it as much as i did.

If you like savoury but not dry, balanced Oolong, you cant go wrong really

Flavors: Almond, Butter, Nutty, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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This is a very good jade oolong, with slight jasmine hints, but not overpowering. in fact its the only jasmine-y tea that i can actually palate.

A bit hard for me to review this one as i am not a fan of jasmine, i will score it on what I think of it, but bear that in mind as i know other people really like it.

Also has very slight butter, and more milk notes. nowhere near as buttery as some of the dark oolongs i have.

Have been drinking this gongfu style, it is a very clear subtle tasting tea. certainly nothing bad about it, just not totally to my tasting :)

edit* i might be turning to liking it a bit more, the aroma is divine – might be a ‘time & place’ drink for me, much like yunnan gold. it certainly is very grown up and mature tasting tea, really floral and vegetal

note I had made a mistake and reviewed ancestor mt gabaling oolong as this tea by mistake. This has now been rectified

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Grass, Jasmine, Milk, Vegetal

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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im finding it hard to describe this tea, as im not that familiar with jade oolongs yet.

but oh my is it delicious. the aftertaste just sits in your mouth for ages and i feel so much nicer after having a cup. later steeps taste better than the first.

hardly anything of the greenish taste from other jades i have tried, which im not much of a fan of.. it really has a taste i just cant describe. nicest green tea ive ever tried i think

Flavors: Plants

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 0 OZ / 12 ML

ive never been more floored after drinking than i am with this one! i feel relaxed, and the aftertaste is really nice on the tongue still.

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Well, this is the tea that pushed all my other scores down 15%.

I am in no way a professional taster, have been drinking ‘proper’ tea for 2 years, and this is the nicest cup of anything hot i have ever had.

Trying to describe the flavour is hard, because its changes, every mouthful is different, and after every mouthful the flavour stays in your mouth and changes.

The main aroma is of a type of cinnamon that I have never experienced before, it is heaven. woody flavours and fresh sweet astringency that is perfect. some kind of sweet floral taste and it lingers on the tongue..

So completely balanced and a joy to drink. makes me a happy bunny

only reason it didnt get 100 is that I had to make a tea fund just to afford it, and once i bought 100g it disappeared from the website. limited.

changed my whole perception of tea.

Flavors: Astringent, Cedar, Cinnamon, Mint, Rose, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 45 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

Have you tried it gongfu style?


im doing 45 second steeps as we speak, but i dont have gonfu set


Another thing I love about this tea is that its assertive with its flavour. I am not searching for a taste I like within the complexity, instead it just gives it to me, mixed with the aroma. ‘Here you go, this sip is xxxxxxx’ and its always nice.


Awesome. You don’t need gongfu set . I mean it’s nice to have Gaiwan but if you take 5g , put it in steeper if you have in a cup and short steeps like 5/7/10sec etc.
5g for 100ml 195F


ok, ill try that next! like I said im new to oolong, and literally saved up in a piggy bank, I thought, well I must at least try a good one to see what all the fuss is about. Now im an addict


trying it 5/7/10 secs as you suggested. it still has the lovely flavour and aroma, and the taste seems to change more in my mouth, different flavours every few seconds. lovely


Yay. Glad you decided to try. It’s not as complicated as it seems. I’m gongfu all Chinese and Taiwanese teas. I have a better control of it by not getting bitter or astringent. And new flavors with each steep ;)

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I made a brew of this about a month ago and was a little disappointed, having previously been entranced by the same garden’s second flush Moonlight Delight. I’ve had another go today, and still found it disappointing. However, I’m not rating it yet as I suspect that, as so often with me and Darjeelings, I’ve yet to properly get to grips with brewing it. Anyway, here’s a write-up of my two sets of notes.


I brewed a mug with a heaped teaspoonful brewed for two minutes, boiling water.

In the mug it was a clear, light-orange brew with a faint, clean smell, somewhere between eau-de-cologne and cut grass.

In the mouth there’s a lingering smoothness, difficult to define, perhaps like a very, very mild butter. I get good basic tea with hints of cut grass and, perhaps, vanilla. Oddly, the vanilla and basic tea seem to fade as the level in the cup lowers and the tea cools.

It’s only the first mug, and I’ve previously found Darjeelings quite variable, but this doesn’t strike me as anything like as good as the second flush, Tumsong’s ‘Moonlight Delight’.

It says you can make one or two infusions, so I tried a second one, made the same way.

To my surprise, I’m tasting this as a fraction stronger. In the nose and mouth I’m not really getting the eau-de-cologne and vanilla elements now, but in both I’m getting a hint of the smell of fresh, sweet hay. Having said I thought it a fraction stronger, this time I don’t seem to be getting the flavour ‘fading’ as the level in the cup is falling.


I brewed a mug with a well-heaped teaspoonful brewed for two and a half mintues, boiling water.

In the mug i’s a clear, pale yellow-orange; but I really can’t make anything much of the smell. I’m not getting it as the description in the last note.

In the mouth it’s quite bland: there are tiny hints of basic tea (perhaps just a fraction stale), nettles, toffee and something like the smell of ripped-up cardboard – but I do mean ‘tiny’, in each case. On that thing of the flavour fading, as it cools and the level falls I seem to have lost the hints of nettles and butter. This is disappointing, even compared to the last note.

I made a second infusion, exactly the same way.

The brew looks just the same as the first, but, this time, I’m getting a fruity smell – possibly a faint smell of packet, dried, mixed fruit.

I’m getting quite fleeting flavours in the mouth. I picked the mug up and took a sip and got the mixed, dried fruit with an immediate aftertaste of toffee; and a second sip gave ‘smell of nettles’ and grass – rather different to the first. Then I put the mug down and thought about it for a few moments, thinking what to write, picked it up for another sip before writing, and got different again; this time the sweetness had gone and I got quite a firm element – like the smell of grass or green vegetation, but without any sweetness to it.

These are all quite faint elements, though. I don’t think the experiment of two and a half minutes instead of the recommended two has made any noticeable improvement – perhaps I should try two teaspoonfuls?

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I made my first mug of this with a moderately-heaped teaspoon and brewed (as per the instructions) for two minutes. It’s an orange brew in the mug but I found it quite bland – a touch of butter, perhaps a hint of vanilla, but not much else.

So I made a second mug with a heavily-heaped teaspoon – right up on the handle – probably a heaped teaspoon and a half-teaspoon; two minutes again. It smells of cut grass and rust. It has a much stronger flavour, with an element verging on the harsh element I described in my notes on Imperial Teas’ Superior Breakfast – liquorice without any hint of sweetness. There is just the tiniest hint of orange peel (not sweet orange, I mean the bitter juice that sprays from the peel itself,) and a hint of cut grass.

I didn’t enjoy this very much but I’m not rating it because I don’t yet think I’ve properly got to grips with brewing it.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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Delicious, one of the best green teas I have ever had. Easily brews three times with no issues and still tastes great. When I get it right, it’s lovely and smooth, with a nice strong flavour.

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The instructions are for ‘2 – 5 mins’ so I split the difference and brewed for three and a half minutes with boiling water. This is one of those awkward-to-spoon, long-stranded teas, but I used a near-as-I-could-judge heaped teaspoon. Actually, as this is quite light in weight, I’m now wondering if I should have used two.

It made a quite dark, slightly orange, brown brew, clear, but intense enough in colour to be almost opaque.

In the nose: there is a very subtle, but rich, fragrance which is difficult to pin down – it seems to differ with different sniffs. I get a good, clean, basic tea, a roast beef or Oxo note, uncooked pastry dough and, sometimes, just a hint of flowers or perfume. As it cools and the level falls, I’m noting a ‘herby’ hint – possibly somewhere between thyme and sage, but just a hint.

In the mouth I get the good, clean basic tea (I should explain that: when I used cheap teabags, as far as I remember I got a single, basic tea note but it had a rather diffuse or ‘muddy’ taste which contrasted with the ‘cleaner’ or more ‘pure’ flavour of the best of the loose tea we used to have when I was a youngster, before teabags were so widespread – I taste the teas I have now as varying between these two extremes). The roast beef or Oxo note of the smell is not so noticeable. I’m getting a good, smooth butteriness rather than the dough thing. There’s a note that is somewhere between cut grass and the thyme-sage thing I noted for the aroma.

I made a second infusion, same way.

In appearance, the colour didn’t look any less intense than the first time, but there were oily spots on the surface.

There was less aroma: I think I could detect a very faint and fleeting butteriness and an equally faint grassy-metallic element.

In the mouth it was definitely less interesting than the first infusion – I didn’t get much apart from a faint, doughy butteriness and a little basic tea flavour.

This is a pretty good brew – the first infusion, at least; but I think that when I make a fresh one I’ll try two heaped teaspoons.

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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This is a go to tea for mellow moods. It’s not sweet in itself but has a chocolatey caramel aroma and smooth finish which makes it delicious at any time of day. I don’t drink it regularly, but that’s only because it’s quite exceptional.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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I made a brew with a heaped teaspoon steeped for three minutes.

The aroma is quite changeable, with different elements showing in different sniffs.

In the mouth there is that ‘smell of shredded hedge clippings’ thing I mentioned in the earlier note, good basic tea (quite a generous note of this) and mixed dried fruit notes; with tiny hints of chocolate and butter. Actually, I started to notice a quite chocolatey aftertaste a significant time after I’d finished the mug (I was thirsty and it went down rather fast) – I’d put the mug down after finishing it, wrote a line or so of the next paragraph, and then became aware of it.

This is an excellent cup of tea and I’m sure it’s a little superior to the brew I made exactly the same way on the 23/04/2012. I’m sure it’s more intensely flavoured. Thinking back, I remember that, perhaps feeling a little flamboyant, I poured in the hot water from significantly higher than normal – from about six inches above rather than carefully with the kettle almost touching the infuser (I was whistling at the time, too – one of those mornings). Could this make a significant difference to the brew? After all, the leaves are going to be given more of a stirring-up. Also, the water’s going to be a little aerated.

Now, this has given me something to think about – especially with those Darjeelings that I’ve been finding so changeable from brew to brew.

I made a second infusion the same way – even down to the height of pouring (forgot to whistle, though).

Again the aroma is quite changeable. On times, I’m noticing a note similar to some chocolate and coconut-flavoured sweet I’ve eaten at some time or other – can’t remember exact details, but may be something from a box of chocolates.

In the mouth, the vegetation thing is less noticeable and there is more chocolate. The dried fruit thing is not so prominent, but is now giving almost a ‘tingle’ to the flavour. There’s still quite a generous element of good basic tea – I don’t have to ‘look for it’, as it were; it’s quite prominent in the flavour and aroma.

I made a third infusion and – wouldn’t you know it – I forgot about pouring the water from a height. I remembered and lifted the kettle at the last moment, hardly enough to put any bubbles into it.

It’s still quite a pleasant brew, though nothing special this time – nowhere near the standard of the first two. I’m getting good basic tea still, plus chocolate, and just the tiniest, fleeting hint of the dried fruit.

On the strength of today’s infusions I’m going to give this quite a high rating.

Also, I’m quite intrigued with this height of pouring business and I’m looking forward to experimenting with other teas. I’m now wondering whether I’ve not had the best out of some quite expensive tea samples about which I’ve given a low opinion. Or is the whole thing just in my imagination?

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

I can imagine the high pour/ low pour might make a difference. Something to do with oxygen content in your water, perhaps. When you’re pouring from a height you get more oxygen back into the water than when pouring low.

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As an experiment, I’m trying this with two-minute infusions, like the Buddha’s Hand: a heaped teaspoon, boiling water.

It’s a quite intense red-brown in the mug. It doesn’t look at all weak; but I can see to the bottom of the mug.

In the nose I’m getting good tea and a smell of green, lush undergrowth.

Tasting it, I’m thinking the two minutes might be a mistake. It’s noticeably blander than previous brews. It’s quite grassy to taste and I suppose the steeping time was enough for that element to come out, but not enough to properly allow the others, so that it’s unbalanced. There’s good basic tea there, though.

It’s right on the border between ‘okay’ and ‘not very nice’

Second infusion: I made it the same way.

The appearance and aroma are the same.

The flavour is pretty much the same as for the first infusion, but the grassy element is a fraction more bitter.

I made a third infusion, same way. This is rather blander, an infusion too many.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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In view of the dealer info above, I possibly brewed my first mug of this too long. The above contains detailed brewing info, as opposed to the ‘Tea Brewing Info’ tab which simply says ‘3 – 6 mins’. I went on the latter, split the difference, and brewed for four and a half minutes. I used a well-heaped teaspoon (this is the correct amount as I actually weighed it at 3g, the instructions give 1g per 100ml, and I’m using a half-pint mug which is 284ml). I used boiling water.

In the mug it’s an intense, dark brown, quite opaque in its intensity.

It smells at least of cut grass and good basic tea and I think there’s something else in there, something darker and firmer, which I can’t quite pin down. I could possibly call it liquorice but it’s not quite that. I should note, as well, that you get whiffs of good, clean basic tea from this without bending down to the cup.

In the mouth it’s quite elusive – I think I’m getting different flavours with different sips and I think the flavour changes as the tea cools. I got basic tea and cut grass, possibly a hint of liquorice, butter, possibly vanilla or something similar – some sweet-smelling flower, perhaps.

Though it’s complex with good basic tea flavour, I wouldn’t describe this as a robust tea but as more delicate and refined – more like an expensive Darjeeling, but different.

Second infusion: as I’ve already probably overdone it with the first one, I’m giving this another four and a half minutes.

It’s not opaque like the first, but still an intense, dark brown and almost opaque in its intensity.

In the nose it was similar but I thought I was having hay rather than cut grass. There may be a yeasty or doughy hint, too.

In the mouth it’s just as complex and elusive. I don’t know what to think of it. There’s a hard edge in there, difficult to describe but perhaps somewhere between grass and metal polish; but then that’s balanced by a toffee- or butter-like softness. But I get little, fleeting ‘glimpses’ of flavour, both when drinking and as after-taste, which are really difficult to pin down.

This is one of three small samples of these expensive, Taiwanese, black teas I had from Imperial Teas and was actually the first I opened (I believe they’re called ‘Oriental Beauty’ teas but I’m ready to be corrected on that – wrong – I’ve just looked up the Oriental Beauty teas and they’re oolongs). The notes for this entry were made some time ago, but I forgot to post here. Since then I’ve opened the second, the ‘Buddha’s Hand’ Fo Shou Hon Cha, and I’ve been having so many adventures with that one (see my notes on it) that I’m not going to rate this until I’ve made at least two more tasting notes to experiment with quantities used.

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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