Recent Tasting Notes

drank Direwolf Grey by Unknown
1576 tasting notes

Thank you Stephen Hockman for swapping! I’d say I’m a fan of the book, the first one anyway (so many books to read I haven’t read the others yet) and haven’t seen the show. Direwolf reminds me of Jon Snow, who is maybe my third or fourth favorite character in the first book, if only he’d just grow up a little bit. :D

This is a nice enough tea though – I see orange peel, lavender and lemongrass in the dry blend. The taste is a punch of fresh lavender so much so it kind of overpowers the blend. It’s nice lavender though. I’m not sure if there is actually bergamot in this one, can’t really taste it. The black tea is mild. I like it, enough to enjoy the couple of teaspoons I have anyway. For an EG it falls short, but if you forget it’s supposed to be an EG, it’s pretty nice. The second steep was just as good.

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This is a sample I got from Rie last year. I wasn’t expecting much, as in the time since that swap I’ve realized I really don’t care for green oolongs. But I’m pleased to report that this is probably the nicest green oolong I’ve tasted yet. The unlovely flavors I’ve come to know as orchid and honeysuckle are present, but they’re so much more delicate here than in other green oolongs I’ve had. This still isn’t something I’d keep in stock (and it’s a good thing, since I wouldn’t be able to get my hands on any more even if I wanted to), but I’m surprised to find that I’m genuinely enjoying my cup.

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drank Tai Ping Hou kui by Unknown
498 tasting notes

Grandpa style today. It’s been a while.

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drank Tai Ping Hou kui by Unknown
498 tasting notes

Yes, I completely forgot that I said last time I would actually weigh this one before making it.

I just did a bunch of tea, at 180° for 90s.

And I took a picture for Cwyn this time, too. https://www.flickr.com/gp/cheri0627/5696am

So it’s not the most beautiful of the teas that I saw in pictures, when I googled it, but it’s not as bad as some. It’s got whole leaves and buds, but most are broken leaf pieces.

it still tastes good. Light and vegetal, slightly sweet.

I should weigh it next time, and let it steep for longer, but whatever. I liked it this way.


It looks like there are indentations on the leaves.


There are. It has to do with how they’re prepared.



Woooow! Interesting technique. It’s so fascinating how tea producers come up with all these different ways to process green tea.


It is! This one was quite a surprise when I opened it up. (It came in a huge tin.)


Yay thanks for the pic. I’m still seeing quite a few 1 leaf/1bud in the photo. If you have broken off buds it could be just damage from the tin. Hard to know. Sure is pretty tea though, I really liked the taste of the one I tried , the little bit of charcoal roast on it is yummy and can stand up to overheating too.


I have a lot. I could send you some of you’re interested.

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drank Tai Ping Hou kui by Unknown
498 tasting notes

This is a gift from a friend who was making frequent work trips to China. He’s changed companies, so no more trips to China for him, and no more tea direct from China for me. Ah well. It was nice while it lasted.

Mine is not in the packaging pictured here, but it is unknown. I have no clue anything about it. The only bits I can read on the package are TaiPing HouKui and 3-5 twice and 90°C. It is in a really nice tin that unfortunately was dented in transit. It still seals nicely, so at least I can store it in that.

So I guessed 3-5 minutes at 90°C based on the above information.

This is underleafed. It’s really hard to measure these leaves. I tried about 2t-ish but the leaves are not measuring friendly. Whites are easier to measure. I guess I should have pulled out the scale, but my husband is working on a project in the kitchen, and I had no space to work. As I’m basically out of water now (he’s doing a plumbing project) I can’t try again.

I will write up a better review once I try it weighing it. I can tell, though, that I’m going to like this one.

It’s a good thing because I’ve got a pretty good amount of it.

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drank Tie Guan Yin by Unknown
311 tasting notes

Dexter gave me this sample of an unknown Tie Guan Yin . I found a few people have some unknown Tie Guan Yin teas so I’m posting my review here. Thanks Dexter!

This was a roasty oolong but light roast taste. I would almost say it’s between a light and full roasted oolong but it does lean a lot more toward the roasted side. I had this tea yesterday and can’t remember a whole lot on it but I know I did like it even though there were things about it that are similar to black teas. A good change when I’m tired of the light buttery oolongs.

195 °F / 90 °C

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drank Oolong by Unknown
383 tasting notes

This is the free tea we have at work, so of course I drink it on the daily! I wish I knew which company it’s from. I should ask my boss. I do know that it comes from a giant teabag that just steeps in the tea machine all day, waiting to dispense the deliciousness. (I should clarify that I work in a restaurant.)

Anyway, I can taste burnt cocoa notes and baked bread. It’s a very good tea. Keeps me functioning throughout my shifts, and the customers seem to enjoy it, too!

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drank Matcha by Unknown
1015 tasting notes

Hello Steepster! I have been away from you for a few days, with the business of last week’s moving to the new half of the office plus a 2 day conference for work, and yard work on Saturday. But I have returned, and had a wonderful tea experience yesterday!

I found out that the botanical gardens near my city host Japanese tea ceremonies. This year they are only offering them on 4 days, and yesterday was the first 4, and on top of that, the only day that offered ceremonies in the small tea room (Ro ceremony). Only 5 people are allowed to partake in this ceremony due to room size restraints, so me, my boyfriend, and 3 other people partook in this special event. Matcha tea was prepared in the traditional method with a whisk and a unique bowl for each person, and we ate a sweet (wagashi) before drinking the tea to complement the tea. We were also shown the way to drink matcha in a ceremony, with the turning of the bowl so as to not drink from the front of it, and the etiquette of drinking tea before the person to your left. It was a truly beautiful experience, and the room was absolutely lovely and simple, one scroll on the wall with a simple flower arrangement as the only focal points in the room other than the kettle, a large cast iron one that was sunk in the middle of the floor (in the hearth). This room also had authentic Tatami mats, while the larger one for larger ceremonies had synthetic.

Oh, and the matcha was fantastic! Enough for 3.5 gulps, and it went perfectly with the wagashi! I thought about asking where they sourced their matcha, but was enjoying the ceremony too much to want to bother with questions that might infringe on my sense of tranquillity.

Overall, a beautiful, relaxing experience that I highly recommend if you ever get the chance to experience a tea ceremony. I would love to do one again sometime, and feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to partake in such a lovely event! My boyfriend also enjoyed it immensely. I also learned the 4 principles of Japanese tea ceremonies: harmony, respect, purity and tranquillity. I felt all 4 of these principles and it was wonderful! Afterwards we wandered through the botanical gardens, even though it was snowing, and a lovely feeling of peace settled over me. A great way to spend a Sunday morning!


That sounds wonderful.


Oh how I I wish I was there with you…


That sounds lovely!


It really was amazing! If you are ever around the Edmonton area, check out the schedule at the Devonian Botanical Gardens, they are having 3 more days with ceremonies this year :) happy I was able to cross that off the bucket list!

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drank Shuixian by Unknown
234 tasting notes

After trying Verdant’s Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong recently, I wanted to revisit this one and compare. It stands out as almost the polar opposite on the spectrum of smoky teas. The smokiness here is much more mellow and soft, and taking a deep breath of the aroma is highly soothing. The flavor, though, is less smooth than the Xiao Zhong, with a “fuzziness” lent to it by the various roasty elements, and the finish is drier, but it is still quite enjoyable and has a lingering sweetness.

This tea in particular has me thinking about how much presentation affects perception. If I had ordered this through a prestige company, I might be trying to describe all the aromas I can find in it—woodsmoke, tobacco, vanilla cream. If it had been served in little ceramic cups in a dim sum restaurant, as similar teas often are, I might not have paid as much attention to it, or just concluded it was a pretty good crowd-pleaser. So it’s important to appreciate something on its own merits and not how much I might have paid for it…

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drank Shuixian by Unknown
234 tasting notes

This is one of those mystery teas I sometimes end up with from friends and family in China. It has an incredibly rich, woodsmoke sort of aroma and taste, with a little bit of sweetness underneath reminiscent of longan fruit.

When I had more of this, I used to brew up a cup whenever I felt like I needed inspiration. After trying a few more subtle oolongs lately, I think the smokiness in this one is a little too in-your-face for it to be perfect, but it’s still one of my favorites.

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Well, normally I do not rinse my puerhs as thoroughly as some might
generally rinsing very lightly as I am scared I am going to miss something…lol..
mistake with this one…
the first 10second steep tasted somewhat “chemical” tasting…I drank that first cup,
not too enthusiastically…poured the rest out….
I am not ready to give a rating as yet,
I am taking a break with one of my inexpensive,
But yummy pumpkin teas with creamer…
I will brush my teeth, rinse my mouth with salt water
and wait a few minutes before trying again
I will not give a rating until I am sure what I think.
Right now I am wondering if my expectations were too high
after seeing “Hawaiian” in the name.
Maybe that sounds crazy, but I have found coffees and tobaccos
to be more rich when grown in volcanic soil…
sometimes being grown in the mountains or near the ocean…
make a difference in the soil which in turn make a difference in the produce…
My second 10second steep will be devoid of any expectations…
blank slate…hopefully, I shouldnt need another rinse after first steep


Steeps 2&3 10 seconds and steeps 4&5 approx 20 seconds
This is not especially a robust or complex tea and after the 5th steep
holds no value to me whatsoever…
I appreciate this gift from a friend and do not wish to look a gift horse in the mouth…
whilst I am not saying the tea not steep worthy
(Very few teas are not worth steeping at all if on hand)
It is not worth purchasing (just my honest opinion)
I hope this was not expensive
It is earthy without tasting fishy
upon cooling slightly it hints at the sourdough bread,
But I have a greater appreciation for a tea that is bold, in your face,
and speaks to you without hesitation…
there is a little bit of a chemical quality throught that I do not understand.
This is not my favorite puerh,but I did enjoy a fair bit of it.
good day

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drank Tie Guan Yin by Unknown
234 tasting notes

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drank Tie Guan Yin by Unknown
234 tasting notes

This is a Tie Guan Yin that comes in a red package very similar to the one pictured. As I can find no further identifying information on it, it will have to join the ranks of the unknowns.

It’s pretty much average in terms of what one would expect of a TGY, but somewhat easy to oversteep.

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drank Black Pearls China Tea by Unknown
1317 tasting notes

From the queue, written March 19th 2014

This is another from the EU TTB, round 2. This was as close as I could come with the database. If someone can shed some further light on it, let me know and I’ll move the post.

I didn’t have any black tea yesterday. At all. In fact I didn’t actually have any tea whatsoever. It was a day of Female Issues and they were particularly bothersome this month, so much so that I decided not to go to work. This proved to be wise a few hours later when certain… sacrifices… were made. Yes. I spent most of the day feeling exceedingly sorry of myself.

Therefore I declared it a day of non-caffeinated herbals. Except one, which in hindsight I suspect probably had mate in it… Oh well. I chose that one because it was called ‘Citrus’ and I rather fancied something with a fresh-ish taste.

Today, however! Today all those issues are of the past. Luckily it’s always only really the first day, so I’m back to my normal self, and therefore I’m having a black tea. And a Chinese one to boot.

Or at least, I think it’s a black tea. It’s very green-tea-ish coloured after steeping. All yellow and light… The leaf is black, though, and it smells like caramel biscuits, so perhaps this one just has an odd colour. Or it’s severely underleafed. I always find it difficult to work these out. But anyway, as mentioned, it smells like a caramel biscuit. The ones, especially, that I sometimes bake and which I’m planning on making a batch of later today as we have run out of biscuits. Do you know the cinnamon sugar biscuits that LU makes? We call them Bastogne biscuits here. They’re like that but without cinnamon. Anyway, that’s what the tea smells like.

It doesn’t taste like much, though. Oh dear, I have made this quite thin. I can see the potential in it though. I should have used twice as much leaf, probably. It seems to be quite cocoa-y and sweet and also a bit caramel-y. Is it me, obsessed with the thought of the biscuits I want to make, or does it also taste a little bit like those biscuits? It does. I think it does.

I shan’t rate it now, because I’ve only got a shadow of what it could have been here, but it’s still quite satisfying. I will rate it later when I’m more certain of where on the scale it should fall, but I expect it to be relatively high up.

After steeping the leaves are suspiciously green looking. Are we sure this is a black tea? There’s something here that strikes me as oolong-y.


I am the one which added this, I think. I agree they are oolong-y but admittedly they are called black pearls, not necessarily black tea ;)

seller description calls it

“black tea handrolled in Hunan plantation. A careful selection of leaves ensures a smooth tasting tea”

but it is kind of a weird shop. Exquisite taste in selecting some teas, but a bit careless at labelling, very careless about displaying sources and blenders, and stuff like that.

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drank Taiwan Tea by Unknown
48 tasting notes

So I must upload a photo of this canbecause I love this tea. I bought it in the duty free shop in Taipei airport when stuck due to some travel issues. The tea: beautiful brownish green knots with strong floral and lighter smoky aroma. A small spoonful untwists to fill the pot. The first sip is both floral and milky then butters and that hint of smoke over the hills. The tea is drying to the mouth though so you keep brewing and sipping keeping the same floral notes into the 4th brew. The scents are captivating reminding me of a tea route high in the Asian mountains in spring. THe tea is getting older, I’ve been hoarding it but decided to break some out for this quiet “good Friday” afternoon as a special treat.

Flavors: Earth, Flowers, Fruit Tree Flowers, Loam, Mineral, Wood

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

I really like your description of this :-)

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drank Tieguanyin by Unknown
48 tasting notes

Alas I am going through my stash of Infusions of Tea final sale items and opened up the Tieguanyin. When its gone I’ll have to venture farther afield for a replacement. THe first sips are light with a hint of honey and grass. Deeper in the pot a flowery fragrance contrasts with an oaky dry taste. The second steep is more Oak and Honey but the third returns the first impression of grass. I like a light tea with gently unfolding flavor to unwind in the afternoon.

Flavors: Flowers, Grass, Honey, Wood

190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank Egyptian Chamomile by Unknown
335 tasting notes

I had never been a big chamomile tea (tisane, if you insist) drinker. I had stuck to teabags and often it seemed like a kind of dusty taste. But was wondering about trying again a better grade of chamomile and the other day in the bio supermarket I was intrigued by their own brand organic herbs. The dried chamomile flowers were really quite huge (and almost grotesque), and even through the packaging there was this nice cosy (much nicer than teabags) chamomile scent. Costing about 2 euros for a big huge package (50 grams? 100? it looks huge because of the volume), I bought it.

And it is a totally different, so much nicer, tisane than the other kinds I had before. Yep, I finally get chamomile and love it as well.

Just a quibble, or warning – this is about the messiest tea ever for my gravity infuser, even worse than rooibos. I just use a small teapot and strainer, or go lazy and fill a make-your-own teabag.

This, or some kind of it, is going to be a staple for me.

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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drank Pai Mu Tan by Unknown
5 tasting notes

Soft one, good one :-)

Flavors: Flowers

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Jin Jun Mei by Unknown
5 tasting notes

This tea is just great.. It surely isn’t for everyday drinking and it get’s overdrink very easily. It has nice candyfloss taste.

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Good tea for evening drinking before going to bed. Very nice smell. It’s easy to oversteep, about 1 minute for the first steep is just enough.
Thanks to jasmine taste it’s also suitable for people that doesn’t drink normal tea. I had a date with one girl before a few years, I have invited her into a teahouse and chosen very good Darjeeling tea.. unfortunately I have never dated that girl again – next time I would choose Jasmine tea.. :-)

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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drank Panettone by Unknown
1 tasting notes

This tea is wonderful on a cold night. It is creamy and refreshing.

Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Tieguanyin by Unknown
622 tasting notes

An Autumn 2013 Harvest. Absolutely amazing. The aroma reminded me so much of plumeria and melon. The taste was so buttery and floral. A true treat.

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drank Green Tea by Unknown
552 tasting notes

So yesterday I was at a cafe and ordered some rose green tea, thinking that it would be the perfect choice for Valentine’s Day. There were tea leaves scooped into some sort of disposable t-sac-like pouch and dumped into some hot water. It smelled deliciously rosy, but tasted like rose-flavored soap. Oh, well, at least it kept my hands warm for a bit. I have yet to find a convenient cafe to go to that actually cares about their tea a little more than just offering it on the menu as an alternative to coffee.

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