Life In Teacup

Recent Tasting Notes


Experience buying from Life in Teacup

I just got finished brewing up four good pots of this. I added some peach schnapps to the forth, and the peach flavor mixed surprisingly well with the floral notes and gave the tea an unusual body provided by the schnapps syrupy consistency. I liked this tea (both with and without the schnapps).

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec

Sounds like a good evening ahead!


Yeah, well after dinner while listening to some Peter Gabriel I was singing just a tad louder than a normally do. : )

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A nicely done LS without being too smoky! It’s also a little bake-E and Cakey! Make no mistake-E…this is a goodie!

(Sorry…it’s been a week…I need to be a little goofy or might just cry!)


LOL that was cute.


We all need to be goofy once in a while. It is no fun (and stressful) to be serious all of the time.


Hope everything’s ok :)


Thanks everyone! It was a rough week! A family member has been having health problems

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This looks unusual. Roast green. However, leaves look darker – very dark green. But the smell is grassy. Like dry grass. Roast green – yeah smells exactly like that :)

I’m leaving the water to chill for few minutes. And I’ll go with a short first steep.

Smells like yummy green yunnan. Yellow color.

Mmmm that nutty scent that my favorite silver needle has. I love that in tea. It’s like quality green tea mixed with white silver needle to me :) Which is awesome. If it had a bit more round, maybe slightly sweeter taste it would be perfect. But I still like it a lot! Fresh, smooth, very drinkable and with a nutty note :)

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Mmmmm I love it how the leaves smell. Really fresh. It’s like being on a mountain that smells of green tea and fruit :D
Hope it will taste like this too.
One minute steep, the color is very light yellow-greenish. Smells like oolong, grassy.
The taste is very full and smooth. I’m surprised with such a short steep. This is a yummy one. I love the grassy scent that it leaves behind. And it has a slightly sourish note somewhere in my mouth. But barely.

Refreshing and yummy. I’d drink this one again.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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First Steep: Color is a bit like a glass of white wine. This is smooth and very bright. The primary flavor is floral, but it’s paired very nicely with a clean and fresh note. There is a very faint sweetness towards the end of the sip. Yummy!

Second Steep: Darker yellow with more of a buttery scent. It’s not overwhelmingly buttery, but it’s definitely present. Floral notes are heavier as well.

Third Steep: Buttery scent has disappeared and now it’s all about those floral smells! Smooth, but more astringent. I imagine a big, fluffy flower that unfolds with each sip.

Fourth Steep: I’m not getting a large difference from my last cup. It feels a little bit heavier on the tongue, but otherwise I am just tasting mellow floral notes.

This is a nice oolong tea to have when you aren’t craving something more specific. It’s enjoyable… I wouldn’t go out of my way for this tea, however. There are other oolongs that I like more, but this hit the spot this afternoon.

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Experience buying from Life in Teacup I just did a substantial update of the company review

Date of Purchase/Date of Steeping/Amount of Leaf/Frequency Drank: received late April, 2012, brewed up not long thereafter; four grams; this is my first time I have had this particular type of tea.

Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: It looked like any other quality DaFo Long Jing (that I have seen pictures of, at least) in that it had the characteristic sword-like bud sets with uneven colored light-and-dark green hues counterpointed with tiny light brown splotches at the ends of the bud-sets; it had a fresh and strongly nutty aroma.

Brewing guidelines: Glass sixteen-oz tumbler (so I could see the leaves as they steep) with ceramic teacup saucer as lid, two cups H2O; stevia added; I then decanted the tea into a larger container using a strainer by pouring from the tumbler to our teacups.
…….….1st: 182F; 1’……..good, fresh flavor; leaves all on top
……….2nd: 180F; 1.5’….a little milder tasting, still good
……….3rd: 187F; 2’…….heavier feel in mouth, but still good
……….4th: 188F; 2.5’….milder, yet smooth; all leaves still on top
……….5th: 186F; 3’…… very mild flavor

Color of tea liquor: a very light yellow-green color which got darker on the later steepings.

Flavor of tea liquor: Delicate, pleasant, fresh, with a very small amount of astringency, (which was actually pleasant); more detail in Overall.

Appearance of wet leaf: very high quality leaf: all whole bud-sets (with what I understand to be the characteristic tiny end-buds); interesting thing is, the leaves did not open up as they normally do in buds sets after begins steeped; I have never seen this before.

Value: After inquiring about this tea, Gingko offered to give me a small sample of it; Thank you Gingko! Although it’s pricier than Tea Trekker’s (you have to buy more from them than from Life in Teacup), it’s cheaper than Seven Cup’s organic version, and the price of this one seems to be roughly what the going rate for this tea is at ~$15/OZ. UPDATE: I just checked both the Camellia Sinensis and Jing Tea Shop websites, and although they have no Dafo Long Jings, the three Long Jings each carries are about the same price (or more) than this Dafo from Life in Teacup.

Overall: For various reasons I am writing this over a month after actually tasting this tea (although most of this was already written a week after trying it), so this review is based partially on written notes and partially on memory.

I think I am getting a better handle on how fresh spring green teas compare with, for example, year-old green tea; after having had this 2012 fresh spring Dafo Long Jing from Life in Teacup and comparing it side-by-side to the taste of a 2011 harvested year-old Long Jing (one from Jing Tea shop of what I believe to be a considerably lower grade), I was able to make some distinctions. On the surface, taste-wise, I liked both of them, but for different reasons: the year-old Long Jing was heavier in my mouth (I think that’s called ‘body’?) and was flavorful, while the fresh Long Jing was much lighter, and although it was hard to describe the flavors (being somewhat unusual), they were interesting.

Describing experiences by using people/animals/objects that tend to intrigue me (for example things in nature, like birds) seems to be something that comes naturally to me, and as I am still learning what all of the technical words for describing taste are, the following is my way of describing the difference between a fresh and a year-old spring green tea (in this case, two different Long Jings). While drinking the fresh spring Long Jing: within the space where I held the Tea, I imagined a few small colorful birds, ones that differed ever-so-slightly in shape and color, flying effortlessly up, up, up, trilling out their pleasure of the day; while drinking the year-old Long Jing: I imagined a flock of larger birds, all similar in size, shape, and color, moving around with considerable effort at low altitudes within the space where I held the Tea, making familiar noises. It’s easy to take note of the larger birds (mallards perhaps?), and yet more difficult to get a glimpse of the swifter, more delicate ones (goldfinches and/or ruby-throated hummingbirds perhaps?)—but what a joy to watch them fly!

I hope to write more about the price of fresh Long Jings (and a few other things) when I write up the review about the Life in Teacup 2011 year-old version of this DaFo type of Long Jing (a sample of which I didn’t realize I had until after I brewed up and compared this tea with the year-old Jing Tea Shop Long Jing. Doooah!).

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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I have been studying and researching different aged puerhs to see the effect storage type has on the tea and through my experience any aged puerh tea that has white specks of puerh mold which is called aspergillus like this Tuo Cha does means that it is almost impossible for it to be dry stored. You see, a good quality wet stored puerh tea might have a very small amount of these white specks because of the humidity in the air during wet storage and they should not take up a large surface area of the cake or tuo cha for if they do it usually represents that it was stored not only wet but too wet. So basically since this Xia Guan Tuo Cha is almost completely covered with white aspergillus specks I would have to say that the claim of it being dry stored would have to be a fallacy as it is more likely EXTREMELY WET STORED. This is not just my opinion either as I had a sample of this tea with me when I went to visit one of the most well known Chinese tea authorities in the U.S. and when I brought it out to show it to him and the rest of the tea enthusiasts they refused to even put their nose up to the tuo cha to smell it for fear of breathing in the vast amount of mold on it. I am not saying this is the vendor’s fault as they were probably told this was dry stored but i just wanted to state what I have found through research and experience now that I understand puerh much better than I did when I first bought it.


205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Gingko (manager of Life in Teacup)

I respectfully disagree. I believe it’s not about who to disagree with, but what opinion to disagree with.

I can only guess the “white stuff” you are talking about is the crystallization on the surface of the tea. The formation of crystallization on the surface of old tea is significantly different from white mold. Even the crystallization is tiny and modest in my eyes, and probably one has to be very sensitive to feel the cake is “entirely covered” by it. This tea doesn’t have a taste of wet storage. In fact, that’s what some wet-stored-puerh lovers complain about this tea – they think the storage of this tea is too dry for their taste preference. To be honest, I thought it’s pretty easy to distinguish a purely dry-stored tea (like this one) and an “extremely wet stored” tea. And I had thought the major complaint received by this tea would be its “too dry” taste.

Mold is the number 1 thing we try to avoid for any of our puerh. Without being against wet-stored puerh, we choose to deal with dry storage puerh only. Although there are some wet-stored-puerh lovers, we choose to cater to dry-stored-puerh lovers.


Have you tried using a magnifier to look at the white specks? If it’s mold, you should see the little mushroom shape of the mold.


If the photos on the website are at all accurate, this is not extremely wet stored, at all. In fact, I wouldn’t say, based on those pictures again, that this is at all wet stored. Wet stored tea looks very different. Who is this nameless “tea authority” you speak of?


Let’s just say the last time I was in New Yor visiting my absolute favorite tea ROOM the proprietor and a fellow tea blogger both grabbed the chunk of Tuo Cha I had of this tea and refused to even put their nose close to it because it is covered in white specks and they said they wouldn’t even try it and told me not to as well because it’s almost certainly mold but then I told them it was sold as dry stored and they told me that there is no way. Perhaps i got one that didn’t match what was displayed on the website but I trust these two authorities quite readily about almost all subjects tea related and I think you should know who I am talking about by my language!


By the way this is ImmortaliTEA from teachat nice speaking with you again MarshalN. I have been reading your blog for some time now and have learned so much from you! I will post the two names of the authorities that I met with in NY in person when they inspected my Tuo Cha sample if you feel it’s appropriate!


I think I know who they are. I just talked to one of them about this, in fact, and it seems like there may be a little bit of confusion here – could it be that you got the wrong thing in the mail? That person’s description is that it smelled bad, and since they had other things to drink, it’s not something they were too desperate to try. The pictures, however, don’t seem to suggest that it’s wet stored, at all, nor suggest that it would smell nast in any way (and the few other reviews floating out there suggest the same). So perhaps gingko can send you another sample and maybe it’ll all clear up (hope you’re still reading this thread, gingko). Sometimes mistakes do happen!


It’s certainly possible that I got the wrong thing in the mail, however I still have the bag with part of the sample in it and it is labeled correctly as the 96’ Xiaguan Butterfly Tuo Cha. Since this website doesn’t appear to have many more Tuo Cha’s besides the one in question I highly doubt it’s a mistake but it definitely possible. I took some pictures of my sample that I would like you to see so whats the best way I can show them to you?

Here is a picture of the exact sample that they saw in New York and said what they said about!


Hmm, doesn’t look wet stored just from the pic. The white spots look more consistent with damage from using a pick to break the tuo apart than mold. Hard to say for sure, of course, without seeing it in person. Did you ever try drinking it? I noticed your initial comments didn’t include any notes from tasting it.


Yes I tasted it and it seems to have some serious mustiness to it especially compared to other dry stored teas I have tried around this age. It does have some astringency still so perhaps the appearance just threw people off or I got a different piece than what is represented on the vendor’s website. I was not trying to discredit this seller in any way but just wanted to let other tea drinker’s know what was said about it!


The only reason I decided to go with what was said is because I know those who gave their opinion have much more experience with everything tea related than I do. I apologize if it was out of line and I will make sure to take better tasting notes and get more opinions before posting another negative review such as this!


A few others have chimed in, here and there, about having tried the tea, and it seems like everyone thinks it’s very dry. So, it could be you got a bad piece, it could be you got the wrong thing…. either way, your piece seems an outlier of some sort or another


Dear All, after purchasing a sample of this tea last year, I bought a whole Tuo. My Tuo is filled with mold, white spots everywhere. My sample was quite different. My whole Tuo is very mellow, like a wet-stored tea. the sample I first ordered had a lot more astringency. I am pretty sure that my Tuo was wet stored. I recently broke it up, and there is white mold, and some yellow too, all throughout the dense Tuo. I guess I am saying that Nick ain’t nuts, far from it…..Ben


Thanks Ben1 I was beginning to feel like I got the wrong tea in the mail or that I was the only one who got an example with white aspergillus spots. Ok so perhaps what’s going on here is that the purveyor has different Butterfly Tuo’s that have varying storage types or perhaps some other explanation that could possibly explain why some feel it’s too dry and more than one have an example that is covered in white spots!


A most interesting case, since now we have two people getting moldy tea, not just one, which seriously diminishes the possibility that the moldy tea is a fluke. Hmmm


Hmmmmm I was looking at Life in a Teacup’s page and found this. I just find it funny that the only person agreeing with ‘the mold’ is practically non existent in steepster and just agreed in this comment out of nowhere…


Considering the fact that I have never heard from Ben1 prior to posting this review, I am going to have to agree with MarshalN in that since now it’s confirmed by two distinct separate intstances, the likelihood of moldy tea is much greater. I am in no way trying to “pull the wool over” anyone’s eyes, just trying to document my experience with this tea in particular. I have had nothing but great experiences with this vendor on all other products besides this tea and a mediocre Shui Xian, so I thought it interesting that the dry stored claim seems to be conflicted by the white specks. So I guess an appropriate question here would be, is it possible for completely dry stored tea to have white specks of aspergillus all too common in wet stored tea? Or how often has someone seen a completely dry stored tea with white specks? Thanks for your comments!

Gingko (manager of Life in Teacup)

Many thanks for those who are interested in this tea and those who have keenly followed this discussion.

Before giving further comments, I would like to say that I don’t believe Ben and Nick are connected in any way. I could tell from his writing here and on teachat that Ben’s comments are all out of good intention. I do believe Ben is confused about what’s mold and what’s not. He seemed to express that this tea is full of yellow and white mold and he thoroughly enjoy it this way – this is just impossible. A tea full of mold is toxic and by no means enjoyable. But I do believe Ben is a good tea drinker and simply wanted to express what he thought.

I don’t mind people giving truthful critics on our tea. In fact, I would love to hear them all whether or not I agree with each of them. Some of the negative comments we’ve got from tea friends were made out of the best intention and were the most helpful to us.

My previous comment here was made before I realized who Nick is and where he is from. If I had known, I would have refused to discuss with him about tea before he fulfills his obligation of simply paying for his GREEN TEA purchase OF $214.60 on June 3, 2012. Below are my updated comments on Nick (aka Nick305, also ImmortaliTEA on teachat, as mentioned by Nick himself in above comments):

[We will not release any of our clients’ personal information. None of the text below contains Nick’s personal identifiable information. All online activities mentioned below are either from public online records viewable by anybody or released by Nick himself on public websites. ]

• June 3, 2012, Nick placed a $214.60 order of green tea with Life in Teacup, paid by echeck and suggested that he would like the package to be shipped as soon as possible.
• June 6, 2012, Nick’s echeck on paypal was declined by Nick’s bank, and we emailed Nick about this.
• June 6, 2012, Nick replied and explained that it was a small mistake and was already fixed. He made another echeck payment of $214.60 and convinced us it would go through this time.
• June 8, 2012, we shipped Nick’s order despite that his echeck was not cleared yet. At this point, if you call me stupid, I wouldn’t object it. But we usually trust enthusiastic tea drinkers without a second thought, and almost everybody else deserved our trust.
• June 14, 2012, Nick’s second echeck payment was delined by Nick’s bank again and we emailed Nick again about this, fully believing Nick would soon respond and make a good payment. We didn’t get any response from Nick.
• June 18, 2012, we sent Nick an invoice to remind him of his payment. We didn’t get any response from Nick.
• In the following months, Life in Teacup was temporarily closed due to my personal reasons. Sometime between 2012 and 2013, we figured out that Nick who owed us money is the Nick305, aka ImmortaliTEA who has been active in online tea community. We are upset about this, but chose not to embarrass Nick by bringing this issue to the public. Instead, we sent Nick a couple of more invoices. We didn’t get any responses.
• June 16, 2012, another invoice was sent to Nick. We didn’t get any response. At that point, I figured it’s so hard to get hold of an online ID while the person behind it is completely irresponsive. So I decided to put this issue aside.
• November 14, 2013, after seeing Nick’s November 10th post on Tea Swap board of Teachat, I sent him the invoice of his order again through a private message on Teachat. We are not waiting for the $214.60 to pay our food and rent. At this point, the money Nick owed us is no longer our primary focus. But we believe one shouldn’t BOTH commit fraudulent payment AND still present himself as a trustworthy tea enthusiast in the tea community.
• November 18, 2013 and November 22, 2013, online records reflected that Nick visited Teachat for multiple times and got the private message I sent to him. But as always, he made no responses.

Now when I come back to review what Nick said here and on teachat about THIS tea, I’m no longer interested in what he said about the tea but rather interested in what he said about PEOPLE. Oddly, with them mentioned repetitively by Nick on teachat and on a relevant post of Tea Closet blog, the “4 teachatters” and “4 of the most knowledgeable members (of teachat)” that he said he met in New York City (who commented on this tea to him) have never seemed to show up in the relevant teachat discussion on this tea (it was a huge discussion!). Why wouldn’t 4 devoted teachat members and 4 of the most knowledgeable teachat members never speak up in a big teachat discussion where they were mentioned? I have full faith of our online tea community and especially communities like, steepster and teachat. My question is, do these “4 teachatters” even know they are listed as witnesses by Nick?
Similarly, the “one of the most well known Chinese tea authorities in the U.S.” mentioned by Nick in the above comments never got his/her name mentioned while conveniently cited by Nick as his witness. Does that person even know s/he was listed as witness by Nick? No wonder MarshalN asked in his earlier comment “Who is this nameless “tea authority” you speak of?”
I wouldn’t mind it if there are really the most well known authority and the most knowledgeable tea drinkers who agree with Nick on this tea. But what I see here is Nick is keen on pulling a whole crowd behind himself and presenting himself as a popular member in tea community who has close friendship with the most well known authority and most knowledgeable teachatters. Well, if an honest person just feels like to present him in that way, there is no problem. But it’s absolutely not OK to BOTH commit fraud AND keep presenting oneself as an innocent tea enthusiast.

This is not business. This is personal. We believe we deserve to get paid for the tea we sold. But our business doesn’t rely on this $214.60 to survive. Discussion on this tea triggered by Nick didn’t bring us negative influence on our business. It only kindled more interest in this tea and our other teas. Even during the close up period of our business from summer of 2012 to spring of 2013, we kept receiving inquiries and sample orders of this tea and our other teas. For this, I’m thoroughly grateful to all the friends and tea drinkers who have been so kind to us.

I said this is personal, because I don’t believe Nick should keep presenting himself as an innocent tea enthusiast without fulfilling his obligation of paying for his tea and fixing his wrong deeds. I’m fully aware that if Nick remains irresponsive, my comments on Nick’s online IDs wouldn’t be able to force him to pay the debt. But I would do all I could to prevent him from playing an innocent tea drinker under these IDs. On the other hand, it’s not of my interest to make Nick look like a bad person. As long as Nick makes things right and pays for his tea order made in June 2012, I would delete all my negative comments on him.

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It has been a while since I have had my scent up and running for tea reviewing. For this reason, I have been sticking to teas that I have previously drank and have plenty of (mainly lapsang souchong and various oolongs).

It is now time for an official cuppa this. Not in my traditional style though, as I started the tea experience last night with these leaves, and I am now on to my third steep.
Dry: Like sweet earthy wheat. Chestnuts pop into mind as well. Yummmm. Small little balls the color of 60%-70% cocoa chocolate. Aka.. not really milky chocolate color, but a bit.
Liquor: initial 2 steeps (30s): From what I remember (I will obviously do a better review next time), there is a nicely roasted/toasty flavour with a pleasingly sweet aftertaste. I would like to say it would match the sweetness of almost ripe bananas. Not overly sweet – but you still get a little drying effect. It does not taste like bananas, just the mechanism of sweetness is similar. Right down to the slight drying.
3rd steep (1 min): Still nicely toasted. Reminds me of sweet bread that has been browned. Maybe some brown sugar sprinkled on the top and a light spread of butter. I get sweet flashes at the back of my throat and tongue. It is not buttery as I would associate with a milk oolong, but it has a creamy aftertaste that reminds me of it. The tea is definitely drying..But not so much that I am grabbing for water. Maybe I will play with the steeping parameters more. None the less, great cup of tea to come back to =)

205 °F / 96 °C

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This is a showdown between the superior grade LS and this grade 2 from Life in Teacup. Let’s get started ‘cause my delicious smelling tea is getting colder by the word.
Dry: Smells of light sweet smokey fire. Nicely twisted dark chocolate leaves.
Liquor (1.5min): Smells and tastes like a camp fire. But sweet bacon and a little malty at the same time. Yum..
ok I just noticed the steep times of the other tasters and mine is wayyy lower. Next round I am trying a 4 minute steep. I’m nervous. Ohhh but it will be good. Here’s the thing – I touched the wet leaves and now my hands smell like salty bacon. Now I want salty smokey sweet bacon. I don’t ever crave meat products so this is weird.
5min: I got side-tracked looking at Life in Teacup Dan Cong. Looks like I will have to order some more tea soon. sips Whoa! New tea almost. Full bodied and with a gentle sparkle feeling around my tongue. Slight drying in the throat, but nothing too bothersome. When I try and think about the sweetness (which is mid-taste for me), visions of black currants pop up in my brain for some reason. Mmmm it’s like black currant syrup on non-crispy maple smoked bacon. I’m in love.
Thank you again Gingko… Life in Teacup has wonderful customer service and I really appreciate that!


For the LS, I think shorter steeps would work for me.

If you’ve never tried a Dan Cong, I recommend more leaf than called for, water temp below boiling (175-185 to start), and shorter steeps (45,35-45), and a glass teapot with an infuser. Any teapot will do, as long as it’s large enough, and has a large enough infuser too. Dan Congs are oolongs with long, twisted leaves that need room to expand. Keep steep times shorter for the first 3 infusions, then gradually increase steep time & temp. for future steeps. Dan congs can easily become bitter if oversteeped.

Hope this helps. :)) It has always worked well for me.


Sorry for my late reply! I missed this when Steepster was so slow.

I did enjoy my initial steep with 1.5 min, though I found when I had the 5min steep.. it was so rich and full bodied! I think I tend to do shorter steeping times for most teas, but I think a longer steep time is more delicious for this LS in my opinion =) It’s amazing how different peoples tea methods are.

Thank you very much for your recommendation for the Dan Cong steeping times and methods. It seems that tea is a little high maintenance, though I am really wanting to master them and see what types of flavour I can get. So intriguing.


Yes…….short steeps are important for Dan Congs. You can always increase times if you want to. :))

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I was so excited when my Life In Teacup order arrived a little while ago. So far I have tried their TGYs and jeez are they good! I waited to try the Superior Grade Vs. their grade 2 Lapsang Souchong. After a mixup, the grade 2 had been delayed. But thanks to their fantastic customer service – I quickly received the grade 2 for comparison (along with a few generous and lovely samples – thank you so much Gingko!)
Dry: Sweet and malty leaf. It has a very very subtle smoke hint, but not in your face by any means at all.
Liquor 1.5 min: Very malty and almost dark chocolate like. There is a clean and refreshing feeling at the end of the sip at the back of the throat/tongue. It’s nice and something new to me. Nice subtle roast to it, but not stand out smokey. Very different and mild LS.
5min: Smelling the cup – I detect no smokey notes. Just malty caramel sweetness. Interesting for an LS. Smooth caramel taste with a warm blanket feeling that is amazing. This is a good tea – but comparing to their grade 2 LS.. I honestly prefer the grade 2. I appreciate the refined taste of this tea with the subtle roast flavour and caramel sweetness, but I want some smoke. I want some intensity. This tea reminds me of a sophisticated afternoon high tea with one lady being a rebel and choosing the LS instead of an unaltered straight black (even though this tea tastes almost like a straight black..).
It is good but I am glad I only got a sample as I like more intense LS flavours I guess.


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First Steep: I am really loving the overwhelming sweetness. It’s floral, but does have a marshmallow-like quality. There is something fluffy, plush and soft about the flavor. I think this is the sweetest oolong I’ve tasted so far. Really delicious!

Second Steep: More floral and less of that marshmallow sweetness. Yes, it’s still tasty and sweet, but the flavor is dancing much more around flowers than anything else.

I would continue, but it’s time for food! I will update later with my thoughts on future infusions of this tea. For now, I am very happy with this tea and would honestly drink cup after cup of that first steep.

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Today is a two-tea kind of morning. I got this sample a while ago from TeaEqualsBliss, but I had put off trying it. For one, I thought it was a kukicha (it was the “twig” in the name), but it turns out it is not. I have enough for a cup, so I’m hoping I get this steeping right. I looked up directions for green tea on Life in Teacup’s site and have a decent idea I think. I am steeping it in my 12oz glass mug filled halfway (so about 6oz), just leaves in the cup, no strainer, leaving them in. The directions say that when the leaves fall to the bottom the tea is ready to drink, but then again I also read that this tea sinks to the bottom right away, so I don’t know exactly when to try it. I suppose when it’s cool enough for me!

The liquor is slightly darkening and the leaves are opening. It smells nutty and vegetal, with some lovely sweet notes, and the flavors are similar. Except now some bitterness is creeping in as it sits here still steeping in the mug. I have just a little liquid left, so I’m going to resteep as suggested. This steep is less vegetables, more grassy, with some other note I can’t place. With a name that includes “Orchid” I would normally expect some florals, but there are none to speak of here.

This is a fairly nice green tea, but I do feel like I’m not getting everything I could out of it. Maybe another time I will encounter this varietal again.

195 °F / 90 °C

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A lovely Oolong. I have tried the Fo Shou Superior Grade Oolong, which I also enjoyed. the charcoal notes were not particularly strong in the first couple of infusions, but, revealed themselves in later infusions. Nutty and sweet. Smoke note in the distance. The bergamot-like flavor was very faint in the first two infusions, but in the third and fourth infusions, it seemed to really brighten the cup. Not really a strong flavor, but just a hint of citrus-like flavor.

Quite nice.

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I am very excited to try this tea. And I must say – Life In Teacup has wonderful customer service!
Dry: Leaves are full and big – not little broken up chunks. (Yay!) The smell is sweet and lightly smokey. Yum.
Liquor: YUM. Toasty and creamy. Light amberish honey liquor. This is magnificent. Staple for sure. I have the perfect activity for this tea – a dark comfy bed with a movie and popcorn. I think I will go engage in such an activity. Maybe not a movie, but It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia instead. Oh jeez I’m in love with this tea. Very comforting and roasty.
Sorry for the short note. I will make a longer one later when I catch up on sleep.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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Thanks to LiberTEAS for this sample, which I randomly picked from my box tonight.

Oh man, is this ever sweet and smooth! I’m reminded of autumn leaves and jumping in a leaf pile – some other tea I had recently reminded me of this as well. Oooh, so smooth! Aftertaste is just barely of oolong, but as I’m less familiar with darker oolongs, perhaps that’s what one gets when they move away from tieguanyins. The sweetness is delicious. Almost makes me think of raisin water, i.e. the water left after plumping up raisins for baking. It’s also kind of toasty; makes me think of genmaicha for some reason.

Ok. That was a massive jumble of random thoughts. Too lazy to organize (and still teas to try!)

This one’s pretty impressive! I definitely need to try more dark oolongs. I’m excited to see what the next infusions bring!

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Keemun Mao Feng by Life In Teacup
4323 tasting notes

Thank you to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me some of this! I love it!

Then again, I’m not surprised… I’ve not been disappointed by anything I’ve tried from Life In Teacup… at least, not to my recollection. Gingko has a knack for getting the very best! And this is definitely one of the best Keemun teas I’ve tried… smoky, but not too smoky. Sweet, but not too sweet. I love the fruity notes in the background, which are accessible because the tea overall is not too heavy or overwhelming with its robust flavors. It is a strong, hearty tea but it also allows the nuances to shine through nicely.

Excellent Keemun!

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Love! I absolutely adore Oolong teas, and Life In Teacup has become one of my favorite purveyors of Oolong teas (as well as other teas!) because their teas are always of utmost quality.

This is an amazing Oolong – Sweet, lightly floral, hints of toasty flavors in the distance. I definitely taste that marshmallow likeness to this, sweet and soft and yummy. A dryness toward the end of the sip, ending with a crispness that is almost mint-like. The floral notes remind me of orchid and osmanthus. Sweet and absolutely delicious. I love LOVE love this!


I want Life in Teacup to be my next order! Very impressed with my samples! Adding this to the list!

Dylan Oxford

That sounds like an amazing cup of tea.


This sounds delicious!

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I just received this tea from Life In Teacup a few days ago, but cannot find it on their website.

When I read the label, I found the idea of a Red Tie Guan Yin to be somewhat surprising, as I’m so used to associating “Tie Guan Yin” with Oolong. But one glance at the leaves and I knew it was not a mistake, this IS a black tea. And what an amazingly good black tea it is.

SO SO SO SO SO GOOD! I love this. It reminds me quite a bit of Dawn (The Simple Leaf), it has that same deep chocolate-y note with a freshly baked cake kind of quality to it. Rich and incredibly satisfying. Caramel undertones. Sweet and smooth and delicious.

I’m off to write my rough draft review of this tea for the SororiTea Sisters!

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3 cups today!

BTW…I have some upcoming giveaways over at one of my Blogs if any of you want to follow it/bookmark it!!!

It’s not tea but you will be able to ADD IT to your Tea if you wish :)

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I quite liked this offering. It was sweet, but complex. For the price it’s an incredible bargain. – Brad – Sarah didn’t like.

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This is an excellent tea. Not at all vegetal, but not dark or toasty either. Pretty much exactly what I like in an oolong. – brad.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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Mine is a spring 2011 tea but it is SO wonderful. It is amazing the difference between a quality cup of tea and, well, others lol. My husband loved this and sat drinking with me and that is a rare occasion – for someone who rarely drinks tea and knows nothing about it he is a total tea snob! At least he knows a good cup though!
Buttery, slightly floral but not so much as I don’t usually care for floral teas, and vegetal but not overly so this is one I really adore!
Thanks Life in Teacup for the sample!

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I fell in love with this oolong in Paris and have been pursuing it ever since. Very light floral notes yield to a body that fills the mouth with a very creamy bloom. This is the first Li Shan I have tasted that had notes of jasmine on the 2nd-4th steeps. What a treat! Now comes the wonderful news, this tea is usually found at $12-15/oz. Life in Teacup brings it to you for half the price. Plus, the second and third steep only improve.

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Preliminary review

I have been looking forward to brewing up and tasting the first new spring green of the year for some time now. And who better to provide it than Life in Teacup! I only had two spring green teas during April of 2011 (I also had a few during early June), so I still consider myself relatively new as to what to expect of them. I have been talking about my excitement with my wife (she saw me open the package from Life in Teacup earlier in the week), but I didn’t tell her that I would be brewing up the very first pot of this tea this morning. I sometimes don’t tell her what I’m brewing up so I get an unbiased opinion from her about the taste. For awhile there, after having a couple ‘smokier’ green teas (which she despises) her initial reaction to any green tea—especially one that has a reputation for being smokey, like Hunag Shan Mao Feng or any tea from the Yunnan province—that had a taste she was uncertain about,was, ‘I think it tastes smoky’. Needless to say, I would then give her the evil eye. : )

I like to experience the Tea with every sense possible: visually and aromatically—the appearance and aroma of the dry leaf, watching the leaves dance and co-mingle in their new watery home while I take in the aroma, smelling the wet leaves after the first steeping, then using the auditory senses—listening to the leaves jostling for position as I use a spoon to gently take them from their temporary home in the bag, or tin, or jar, and drop them into the clear glass pot with a tinkle, almost like a wind-chime, and listening to the water begin to stir in the kettle, signaling it’s time to pour the water, and then finally through taste—as the liquor rolls around in my mouth making my taste buds shiver with delight as the various flavors finally reveal themselves. The first time I steep a tea I pay a little more attention to all of these things. I guess it’s kind of a ritual. I invite my wife to participate as well, and fortunately she’s usually happy to join me.

This morning her one-word litany when encountering this spring green Tea with each of her senses was: interesting (said in that positive way as one draws out the initial ‘i’ sound when pronouncing it: in-tres-ting ); although my reactions were unspoken, all the while I was thinking the same thing (keeping my fingers crossed that she was going to find the same wonder that, so far, I have found in fresh spring greens). Our senses were telling us there was something about this tea that was different than all the other green teas we had been brewing up all winter.

When the time finally came to drink of the sweet nectar that was only moments ago locked within the curly leaves, we were rewarded with flavor that was clearly fresh and inviting. It was not flavor I would describe as strong, but rather a flavor profile that brought back memories of the spring teas I had tasted a year ago; it’s hard to describe—and I will hopefully improve as I continue to drink infusions of these wondrous Teas—but the sensation in the mouth is light and uplifting, full of zest, and I imagine it having a kind of sparkle to it. It’s like nothing I have ever had before. Still, quite honestly, I think it is somewhat of an acquired taste (my wife agrees). Not that the flavor is weird or bad in any way, it’s just delicate and subtle and can be easily unappreciated by one who doesn’t know what to look for or take the time to sit with it enough to really take it in (I am guessing this is also the case with fine wines).

And as far as staying power? This tea delivered three wonderfully flavorful steepings and still had discernible flavor on the forth and right up through the fifth. That is very impressive for a green tea at this price range ($18 / 5OZ = $3.60 / OZ). The wet leaf is about as good as it gets: all full leaf, few stems, and lots of bud sets and buds—all of an army green color. I plan to give more details later, but I wanted to sit down and write up what came up for me now rather than put notes on a note-card that would inevitably sit for weeks (or months) before I posted it. I highly recommend this tea for those that want to experience a fresh spring green tea at a very reasonable cost.

165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 0 sec

this sounds delicous! sparkle tea :P
I wonder if it’d be a good candidate for Shinoba brewing


It is delicious (if you like green teas, that is). I’ve had it twice, now (three times if I count blending it with one of LIT’s HSMF that I have) and it tasted even better the second time (it was great when blended, too), although I’m not sure why; it may be because I payed more attention the second time, allowing me to go deeper, in a sense, into it’s flavor profile.

I do plan to try this sometime in a smaller vessel (I bet it would taste better that way).


I love that you use all the senses. And the wind chimes.So right. If you fail to completely commit to the experience you miss so much. The review contained what I was wishing for.


Thanks, Bonnie.

I tend to be more analytical (left-brain) than creative (right-brain), and I often don’t have the time (or the inclination) to write this in-depth of a review; but, admittedly, when I do have the time to take in the experience of the Tea with all of my senses, my creative side seems to really kick in, and sometimes very interesting stuff starts to come up. It can be a wonderful experience, and one of the reasons why I chase after quality Tea.

But to then take that experience and use it to write a good review there is the task (which takes a great deal of skill, I judge) of putting that almost-otherworldly experience into words that others can understand and relate to; that can be very daunting task in and of itself, for me at least.

With the other spring greens I have (and some I will be getting soon), I hope to be able to do as I have with this review. And you have spurred me on to do as such!


The more tea I drink the more I am drawn to that right brain expression. (Being left handed to begin with helps too) I encourage you to continue in this vein. I’ll be listening.

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