132 Tasting Notes

Thanks to bitterleaf for this sample

The first steep or two have very noticeable notes of vegetable broth, wheat, thick in the throat, grass, bamboo, medicinal, || after that it’s not super flavourful, it’s thick and brothy but ….. my tongue feels tickly.. it’s oatmealy, and there’s a pretty noticeable qi, it’s hard to find notes honestly, I mean.. pu’er is usually hard for me but this is like expert difficulty, I mean it goes down easy and has really nice mouthfeels, but the flavours are really muddied and too medicinal and light for me, I’d only drink this for the qi and that’s not really the main thing I’m looking for in my tea when it comes down to it.

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I found this teapot on bitterleaf I’m planning to buy and I have all these sheng samples from them, so I figure I should grab a cake of something if any of them are really good enough, then I can get the free shipping and I have a coupon code thing that ends at the end of the month so I gotta go through them quickly-ish

It’s pretty tasty, nothing overly special, dryness starting from steep 4, very nice textures for the first half of the session, goes down easy with a moderate to strong qi, tasting notes:

Hay, seaweed, sweet and thick, milk, slight apricot/nectarine || creamy, earths/woods || astringency, earth, rocks, sweet, honey, cream || dry, hay, spices, medicinal

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This cake looks weird. it’s a very loose compression, and the leaves are black with hints of gold, it looks like a black tea cake

This is really weird stuff I gotta say it took me aback a bit, granted this is the only purple varietal sheng I’ve had, but for the first few steeps it was somewhere between a rock oolong and a sheng puer. I got citrus/apricot notes, and seafoody plumminess and sweet grass, and a lot of minerality. Smokiness entered and this charcoal roastiness came forward, with a lot of sweetness and astringency throughout, it sort of fell into this pattern of smoky, sweet, sour, dry sheng, which was still quite enjoyable, the smoke eventually fades to bring sour florals and vegetables

I didn’t know what to expect from this so I brewed in my gaiwan, I’m sure my qinzhou (young sheng) teapot would’ve helped with the astringency, but I don’t think I’d be comfortable brewing this in it, the charcoal roastiness in the middle was really potent, I wrote here in my notes that if in the future I have a rock oolong teapot, I would actually be comfortable brewing it in that.

I really like this though. I always seem to love purple teas. Anyone have any purple puerh recommendations?

*Ok so this qi just hit me like a half hour after I started drinking this wtf kinda drunk now

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dry leaf aroma of charcoal/brown bread,
in the warm gaiwan it’s more like burnt toast, brown bread, seaweed, almond butter

After the rinse, the leaves have a very nutty aroma, somewhere between overly roastd peanuts and almonds

Brewing at 100C with 8g of leaf in 140-150ml

1: Very buttery and smooth, with a thickness that coats the throat, really nice floral notes, very nice lingering sweetness, and a cooling sensation during the swallow, woodsy notes, and some astringency, I get a lingering aftertaste that’s very candied, reminds me a bit of lychee, lots of minerality in this one

2: Stonefruits, such a nice mouthfeel, honey, butter, woods, minerals, pear, very roasty aroma

3: peanuts, peach, butter, honey, minerals, roasty aroma, lingering peachy orangey after taste.

This is really complex tea but these notes I’m getting are mostly fragments in like a very subtle flavour profile, that’s coated in minerality, it tastes like I’m using mineral water, my tongue is still tingling several minutes after finishing that steep

4: minerals, spices, orange, cooked apple, citrus

5: I seem to have brewed this steep weakly it just tastes like mineral water

6: actually it might just be losing the complexity.. I’ll try to brew the next one really strong

7: yeah well it’s stronger, sort of roasty tasting, mostly minerals, I’ll probably brew a few more but I doubt it’ll do anything new now

This was just under $1/g the lack of durability is a little unsettling but the first 4 were really good

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My black tea yixing is starting to smell like black tea inside when its dry :)))) I’m so proud of my little Sandy.

The leaves of this are smaller than one might expect for a phoenix varietal, on the website it says the varietal is “feng huang dancong” so uh yeah well anyways

Brewing at 95C, with my ~150ml yixing about half full of wet leaf

the dry leaf aroma is like a chocolate chip muffin

In the warm pot it smells so good, it’s sort of like raspberry cake or a trifle or something, mmm

1: Smooth orange flavour, cream flavours and feels, sugars, berries, there’s definitely a creamy cakey kind of thing too, some hints of earth and wood and sort of like munching on some leaves.

2: very creamy, lots of berry notes, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, malty, munchy leafs and earth. Tingly feeling on the tongue, there’s definitely florals as well

3: earthier and stemmy, still creamy berries and flowers

4: Less creamy, mango notes enter, more floral and sweet

past the 4th the tea becomes a more floral black tea with mango, strawberry, some astringency and a tingly mouthfeel, leading to just flower taste

This actually tastes how verdant described it, how often does that happen?
This is an amazing black tea, a must try for sure.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 OZ / 150 ML

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drank High Mountain Black by O5 Tea
132 tasting notes

I smelled this one in the shop in Vancouver and was like yes. It smelled a lot like a laoshan black in store, but since I am still in vancouver visiting family I don’t have my teawares here, I’m brewing in my mom’s .. one of those all in one gongfu pitchery things, with unfiltered vancouver water at who knows what temperature, off-boil.

O5 is a bit weird, they have their tea bar as the main focus, where you sit and pay for a session that they make for you, and then also sell the teas in tins. The problem is that the tins are prepackaged in 40 and 80g tins, this is the second one I’ve gotten now, and this one was really broken leaf compared to what I saw in the stuff they would’ve used at the bar.
It was a little upsetting, however my package smelled just like those truffle chocolates, and so I wasn’t as upset.
thick, decadent taste, cinnamon or nutmeg, plus this sugary sweetness, maple and earth
It’s weird, the second steep is quite a bit mustier, still sweet, earth? I don’t know. all of that. A little dry and bitter too. Lingering aftertaste of something similar to .. I don’t know, like dragonfruit or something. It’s familiar and I can remember eating it but it was when my dad brought home some weird fruit for us to try when I was young…
I lose a lot of body in the third, very thin and light and musty and dry. Some chocolate.
4: sort of a minty chocolate covered in dirt
5: It’s almost flavourless? I don’t know man. kind of generic root vegetables, and darker sweet fruits
6: sorta stewish, more muddy, chocolatey, thick with this cooling sensation
7: bad. thin, beany, medicinal weird.. stale feeling
8: pretty much the same

It’s a familiar flavour profile, some good moments, I appreciate the dynamic flavours, overall it was decent.
Happy new year guys :) Here’s to some good harvests this year!

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.. I have no idea how to describe the dry leaf aroma. It’s fine,
Warm pot: smells just like lychee, lovely.

First steep: gummy berries, cream, bread, thickness in the throat, peach, it’s soo nice it tastes like candy :)
Second steep is more creamy/buttery/bready, malty with notes of lychee and peach still, a bit tangy.
Moves to more citrus, toast, peach, with some dryness in the 4th steep, then more mango/citrus in the 5th with like an assam-like feeling and now that I think about it, there’s some of that indian floral there. No more cream/butter

Definitely starting to taste like a darjeeling, which isn’t my favourite flavour profile. But it’s like a bit thicker and more decadent, and I’m still enjoying it. Mostly.

If that fruitiness and creaminess had stayed longer this could’ve been one of my favourites.

Rasseru

what was your temp/leaf ratio with this one?

Rasseru

Anything fruity & my sonar goes mental

Mackie

I was doing 98C and idk I was going for 5g I really need a scale.. my teapot was just under half full of wet leaf

Mackie

Also just wait for my review of the feng Huang wuyi black;) that one was amazingly fruity & durable

Mackie

Oh but I sid start to dial back the temp a bit when it got a bit drier which didn’t seem to do too much

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drank Bai Ji Guan by Verdant Tea
132 tasting notes

Sooo excited to try my first bai ji guan! ever since I saw that Meileaf video about it I haven’t stopped wanting it so yay!!!!! :D

The dry leaf looks just like in the pic, and smells pretty much like a roasty green tea

in my warm gaiwan it smells .. sorta like iced tea powder, grass, honey,

Oh my god I could just sit here sniffing this wet leaf for hours, orange/peanuts, with some greens, I’m so happy.

First steep: bit of a thin body, uh some gummy taste, super smooth, a nice tingle in the mouth, grass, it’s so fruity, I love this.
the second steep brings out more orange, and a sort of vague nuttiness in the aftertaste
Third steep was a little bland if im honest
the fourth actually tastes like the later part of a session of some kind of green tea, the familiar dryness on the tongue. If you fed me that blind I would’ve thought it was green tea.
It’s very dry, very green tea-ey. I’m pretty sure the typical verdant recommended 98C/208F is too high. I’m trying 95 for the next.. now it just feel too thin, lowered it further, even worse, and I just.. I don’t know what to do anymore. I shoulda just kept smelling the wet leaf after the rinse. The first steep was good. The rest was kinda eh. :(

eastkyteaguy

Just out of curiosity how much leaf were you using and how long were you steeping? I had misgivings about the temperature myself, but opted to go with it and see what happened. I got eight really good steeps out of it using the method I settled on. The other steeps were okay, but kind of typical for late session steeps.

Mackie

I had a 5g sample in my new Gaiwan that’s apparently 5-6 oz, which is obviously too much water to leaf so I wasn’t filling it all the way, maybe halfway. And I’m not 100% sure about my steep length but I never did anything atypical. I mean I’d be willing to retry in a much smaller brewing vessel, (especially after reading your review) but I used my whole sample :/

eastkyteaguy

I was just asking because I had a similar issue using a slightly larger vessel and brewing at 208 F. I tried the same temperature in a smaller vessel and got much different results. I still think one could safely reduce the water temperature a bit though. I almost feel like if one insists on using the recommended water temperature, then flash steeps may be the way to go. As a side note, I hope this tea continues to be regularly offered. I want to play around with my brewing methods a bit more and I don’t have much left myself.

eastkyteaguy

Oh, and I forgot to mention that everything I have been reading on Bai Ji Guan suggests that it tolerates a wide ranging of water temperatures and steep times. If that’s true, it may just come down to the amount of leaf used. I’ve also read that it can be kind of a temperamental tea in the sense that the cultivar is very fussy and sensitive, does not produce tremendous or consistent yields, and the traditional production process has to be very precise in order to keep it from being undrinkable. That’s apparently why it’s so rare and so inconsistent from year to year.

Mackie

Damn. I wish I knew that going in, I have a ~60ml Gaiwan on its way right now that I could’ve waited for. I may have to get another sample in my next verdant order

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I had a really good experience with one of YS’s purple varietal black teas, and we all know I’m a fan of Li Xiangxi’s work, so I’m very hopeful for this one.

Dry leaf: berries and hay

In the warm pot: Marshmallows, crackers, chocolate.. mmmmmmmmmmmmm

Brewing at 98C with 5 or 6 grams in my 150ml yixing teapot.

Mmm, yum! nice, whipped cream-y decadence, and kinda like cheesecake, wood, grass/hay. Bready, a nice thick feeling in the throat, chesnut/peanut, it’s quite soft, higher grape notes as well, and very tingly on the tongue. It has the same weird fruit as the 2013 aged wuyi black I drank last night, more citrus in this one though.

Oh yay! this one has that lumpy thickness in the throat that the other purple black tea I mentioned had. I like that
I also feel a little drunk, everything’s a bit heavy and slow

In the later session, it became more of a fuzzy peach, with a tingle.

I approve.

Preparation
5 OZ / 147 ML

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Bio

Hey :) welcome to my steeps!
I really only ever drink straight teas, every once and a while I might have something flavoured, but odds are I won’t ever write about any of those. All of my reviews are done using my 120ml gaiwan unless otherwise specified.

I’m mostly into Sheng, Red tea and Oolongs right now, but I also can enjoy greens and whites sometimes.

My cupboard is NOT up to date. I tried for a while, but it’s too much effort, and so many of the teas I have just aren’t on here and eh.

ig: @mackie_tealife —>
https://www.instagram.com/mackie_tealife/?hl=en

Rating System:

95-100:
|| One of the best teas I’ve ever
|| had; I’m definitely planning to
|| restock
90-94:
|| Very very good tea, I’ll restock if
|| I’m planning to make a purchase
|| from this company anyways, if
|| not I’m alright living without it
80-89:
|| Very good tea, I’d be more than
|| happy to sip again, though it’s
|| not likely I’ll be repurchasing
70-79:
|| Good tea, I drank it happily,
|| though I might not be reaching
|| for it again in my cupboard
|| for a long while
60-69:
|| Okay tea, it was drinkable and
|| it’s probably going to be
|| gathering dust in my cupboard
|| for a while
50-59:
|| I struggled through the tea,
|| but managed to finish the
|| session, will probably be giving
|| it away to a friend.
25-49:
|| I cut the session short, but
|| I think it’s possible for one to
|| have enjoyed it, it’s just really
|| low quality
0-24:
|| No one should enjoy drinking
|| this, and I would have no
|| problem throwing it out.

*This system is used on my first 100 reviews, I’ve decided not to rate teas anymore because I’m definitely not qualified to be objective about quality yet and it’s just pointlessly subjective numbers and that’s not really helping anyone

Tea hall of fame:
Best Black:
- Wild Bush – O5 tea
Best Green Oolong:
- IDEStea – Dayulin
Best Green:
- Verdant Tea – Laoshan Pine Needle Green

I’d have more categories but there’s nothing else I feel deserves to be in my hall of fame yet.

Location

Victoria, Canada

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