In Pursuit of Tea

Recent Tasting Notes



My second tea from the December Steepster Select box. A fantastic Yunnan. Rich with notes of tobacco, earth and leather. I love the complexity of this tea. I taste layers of honey and malt. There is also a low note of caramel and a hint of cacao that weaves its way through the sip.

A really yummy Yunnan. Here’s my full-length review:

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Flavors: Flowers

3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Somehow I was lucky enough to score a free Steepster box! I’m very grateful, as I can’t afford this kind of thing right now. Thank you Steepster! I think I said a couple times “this is the best tea ever” so it was well worth it for me!

Steep #1 // a few minutes after boiling // 3 min
The dry leaves smell like mint for some reason! I used the generous two teaspoons for one steep. I can’t imagine I could steep this one any better. Just the scent coming from the cup is probably the best smelling cup ever. The taste is everything I want in a black tea! It’s a Yunnan first of all, but it almost seems like it’s mixed with a Fujian like Laoshan black… all the qualities I actually like from Laoshan. Some have complained about the tobacco, but if I noticed it, I think it made it a better cup for me. It adds a dusky darkness, to go along with the dark chocolate and honey notes. Good stuff.

Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 3-4 min
Another amazing cup but maybe not as amazing as the first. This time the mug has an entirely different fragrance.. it’s like a floral perfume. The flavor is still honey chocolate deliciousness. A bit less of whatever people are calling the tobacco flavor which I kind of miss. It’s not really smoky to me though.


Nice!!! Congrats on the free box :)

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drank Golden Yunnan by In Pursuit of Tea
31 tasting notes

Disappointed by the lack of depth in this tea. I was expecting more forward flavors, but really all I got was a trace of tannin and a thought of smokiness in the aftertaste. Tasted a bit mass-market to me, don’t know if I would seek out again. 3.5/10, may drink again because I have another sample, but would not recommend.

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This came in my Steepster select box. This is a green oolong, and therefore lighter than I normally like my oolongs. However, it’s very pleasant and has that soothing quality I associate with oolongs. It starts off light, but then finishes darker. Delicious.

3 min, 0 sec

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Just got back from my lab practicum and my group and I got a 93! Not too bad :)
Decided to drink something out of my Steepster Select package and I don’t think I’ve had this kind of tea before. Golden Yunnan? I’ve seen photos and ahh this tea is actually quite gorgeous dry! Nice golden curls :) smells just like black tea with a *hint of smokiness. As it steeps, it still takes on the same aroma as it is dry.
It has a nice dark amber colour to it that’s definitely going to stain the towel haha.
But wow this tea is reeeally good! I’ve read the reviews and apparently it’s supposed to have a strong tobacco taste? I actually have no idea how tobacco is supposed to taste like so this just tastes like a really good black tea :)

Almost every single review I read said that it had a strong tobacco scent dry, and it has a strong tobacco flavour when drinking. I just.. don’t really taste the tobacco? I DON’T KNOW HOW TOBACCO TASTES LIKE SO I HAVE NO IDEA. IT’S JUST A REALLY NICE CUPPA SMOOTH BLACK TEA OKAY.

Dude. My roommates are getting so mad at me because I really want to place an order for more tea but they were all NO KYRA STOP because I just placed an Adagio order yesterday and yeah tea is great :)

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 0 OZ / 0 ML

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Had this one last night and it’s my least favorite of the oolongs I’ve tried lately. I definitely like the heavier roasted ones, but this is nice and light. Kind of like springtime in a cup. But I’m in the dead of winter, so I need something a little more robust. I’ll save my other pack for when I can sit on my back porch and watch the kids chase each other around the yard.

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Really very yummy. Mild, but interesting. Comforting on a winter day.

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Steep Information:
Amount: 4 tsp / both sample packets
Water: 1000ml at 212°F
Tool: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL
Steep Time: 2 minutes 30 seconds
Served: Hot

Tasting Notes:
Dry Leaf Smell: sweet, floral, slightly minty
Steeped Tea Smell: sweet, lightly bakey
Flavor: sweet, woody, hints of floral. Silky mouthfeel
Body: Medium
Aftertaste: mint, bakey
Liquor: translucent dark orange brown

Really lovely, smooth, flavorful. it’s a bit light so I’d avoid additives.

1000ml at 212°F for 3 minutes
slightly more roast

Rating: 3/4 leaves


Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 4 tsp 1000 OZ / 29573 ML

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This is a very classic Golden Yunnan. I enjoyed it. It has lovely honey notes that really appealed to me :)

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As always with yunnans, I think the dry leaf of this tea is absolutely beautiful. I love the mix of dark and golden slightly curly leaves. After steeping this up, I would agree with others that there is a definite tobacco smell. Luckily, I’ve had tobacco-y teas before and enjoyed them so it didn’t scare me off. I tried it without additions and it was rich with a slightly creamy texture. The flavor was good, but I tend to like my morning teas with a teensy bit of sugar and a splash of milk. The flavors are still shining through after the additions which proves to me that this is a great quality, richly flavored tea. I’m looking forward to at least one more infusion of this one today.

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This is the fourth tea I’ve decided to try from my December Steepster Select Box (whoo)! I’ve been decently happy with all of them so far, but thought that this tea deserved my first review from the box.

My favorite way to drink higher-grade tea is gaiwan style, just pouring the leaves straight into my cup with water and using my mouth as a filter. I used this technique for my first go-around with this tea, and it produced a relatively light flavor, not overwhelmingly floral or dry like other greener oolongs I’ve tried. All in all, a very pleasant taste.

Today, I decided to give it a shot with a proper gong fu short-steeping series of infusions. I haven’t been able to do such a thing with my teas lately, as my zisha was out of commission for a short time before I reseasoned it. (Just…don’t make chai or mint teas in a clay pot, please, learn from my mistakes! Just buy a cheap second pot. Or, if you insist on doing so, at least don’t let the steeped leaves marinate in the pot overnight.) I gave the pot and leaves a good rinse, and was instantly greeted with a deep, oily scent that reminds me of some well-made Chinese cuisine.

First steeping (15 seconds): I’m in love with how light this tea is. When prepared with short steepings, it’s almost as delicate in flavor as bai mu dan. Mouth feel is only very slightly dry, mostly creamy, with a certain sweetness about the flavor that blends nicely with the overall nutty taste. Floral notes come through at the very end, but only briefly.

Second steeping (30 seconds): Taste is slightly stronger (may be due to water being slightly hotter this time around), but overall hasn’t changed or become more nuanced as I expected. Mouthfeel is slightly drier and less creamy. No complaints here; still enjoying the tea on the 2nd round, even without surprises!

Third steeping (55 seconds): This accidentally went a little longer than I planned, but turned out great regardless! Flavor wasn’t any weaker than the second steeping, but the flavors themselves were a little different; more woodsy and less floral, but it’s still there. Mouthfeel is thinner.

Overall, this is one of the best and most complex oolongs I’ve had, but nothing I would go out of my way to purchase again without a discount (it seems In Pursuit of Tea only sells in 4oz quantities, ugh).

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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I’d drink this again but it wasn’t my favorite oolong. It has a floral note, but overall I found it a little mild with almost a soapy feeling on the finish.

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Tea from the December Steepster Select box…

I like green oolongs but I haven’t been buying too many because I can’t seem to drink them quickly enough. Le sigh

This has an intense floral aroma with nutty and buttery flavors, so nice for a gray and dreary day like we are having today, it’s like sunshine in a cup. :)

I might try to gong fu the remainder of this sample at home but it’s quite tasty. I may like the aroma a bit better than the flavor though… I doubt I would order this but I’ve really enjoyed trying it.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Steepster select!

I’m undecided on this oolong. I love how the floral in it is different than the usual floral flavors – this one has lilac in it giving a relaxing vibe similar to lavender. The floral gets stronger as the tea cools, with that, I could see this being a tasty cold steeped tea (which I’d try once the weather is better).

At the same time, the floral gives me a “bath product” feel to it, which is more of a personal thing.

Full review of the Steepster Select Dec 2013 box on my blog, The Oolong Owl

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Steepster select reviews!

A nice, loaded with flavor yunnan black! Mostly tasting like rich tobacco, with a little fluff, burnt caramel and cocoa. A little astringency at the end. I let my cup cool and found the creamy perked up more.
Overall, not bad, I’m not a huge fan of the tobacco flavor and I prefer a more creamy tea.

Full review of the Steepster Select Dec 2013 box on my blog, The Oolong Owl

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Rich and bold without being over powering. The musty tobacco notes are at the forefront but it also has a strong sweetness that I’m not sure I really like simply because it finishes much sweeter than I would like. I wouldn’t buy this tea.

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I was hesitant to try this one because “tobacco” and “honey” aren’t usually taste descriptions that appeal to me. The dry leaf smelled like damp earth, which is probably the tobacco part of it. The tea also tastes like damp earth that is mellowed out by the sweetness from the honey. It seems like a nice tea, but it doesn’t fit my tastes.

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Thanks, Jason, for this sample!

Backlog from yesterday morning. Leathery smooth with a coppery brightness. It really hits me in the roof of the mouth and middle of the tongue. A silky metallic aftertaste hits me in the nose afterward.

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I occasionally regret my decision to become a sophisticated loose-leaf tea-drinker, especially when all I want is a nice, bitter cup of tea to stave off weariness. I love a full bodied tea, where the flavors hit your tongue fast and heavy, like one often finds with CTC bagged teas. I’m not always up to the intellectual task of sorting out what tastes like water and what tastes like tea, as I frequently find myself doing with the best of loose-leafs (read: Verdant).

This tea is the best of both worlds – a full, bitter black tea that hits your palate like a battering ram, but with a complicated, almost sweet, tobaccoey finish. Beautiful.

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Terri HarpLady

I hear you! Occasionally I grow nostalgic for the simplicity of bagged tea, then I have a cup (usually at a restaurant, or maybe a friend’s house), & I’m like, “What the hell is this swill?”
I’m afraid my simple bag of tea days are ruined forever.


That is absolutely true. I’m sure its a nostalgia issue; whenever I actually drink bagged tea these days I always taste strange chemicals at the end. So I guess that means i’ll just have to buy a lot of this Golden Yunnan for those nostalgic moments!

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This is a pretty nice oolong! Very creamy and green. I’m only on steep #1 so I’m not sure if the lilac flavors are going to show up or not, but overall I’m quite happy with this offering from Steepster Select! I brewed this packet western style but perhaps I’ll save the other one for a time I can do it gongfu.

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Ooh, this I like! I’m not usually too big on green oolongs and I don’t think I’ve had a Four Season oolong before – but this is so good! Light, but flavorful – slightly floral and very creamy. The texture almost reminds me of a milk oolong I’ve had before. Looking forward to several steeps and having this possibly show up on my shopping list.

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I was excited to try this tea since I am a big Tung Ting fan. Compared to others I’ve had, this one isn’t as flavorful to me. I still enjoyed the cup, but even after a second steeping it was a little too subdued for my taste. I would say it’s probably a good first Tung Ting since it’s not overpowering and doesn’t hit you in the face with florals or butteryness but if you’re looking for a stronger flavor I’d try something else.

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Not quite a tasting note here but I wanted to report on my tea eggs—a complete success! I’d never had them before but I wanted to give it a try. I used this tea, a splash of soy sauce, a handful each of peppercorns, cinnamon bark, and cardamom, and a dash of garlic powder for five eggs. They’re nice and lightly aromatic but the egg taste isn’t overshadowed. The tea is definitely present too, and just how I remembered: floral, light, a little honeyed. I may give in and buy this one eventually.

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