569 Tasting Notes


Another Black Friday tea!

This was a tea that I bought blind, so to speak – I’d never tried a sample, but instead based my decision to buy on the reviews of others on Steepster and on Teavivre’s website.

When I smelled the leaves, I thought I’d made a good choice. Lovely, buttery, vegetal – just a good, strong, green tea smell.

However, the taste was very unexpected despite my research. If I hadn’t known better, I would have sworn this was a gyokuro tea!

Both this Tian Mu and gyokuro have that same delicate vegetal snap to them, like spinach or kale. I’m surprised by how much I’m liking this, since I’ve thought for a long time that I’m not a gyokuro person. But this is pretty good!

The leaf is very long and fuzzy here, so I made sure to be generous when I was brewing. I steeped it for 2 minutes, which is the max that Teavivre recommends. Even with the generous amount of leaf, the high steeping temperature (~90C), and the longish (to Teavivre) steeping time, the liquor is a jewel-like surprise. The liquor was pale golden upon first sip, and very heavily vegetal.

However, I believe that the full impact of this tea is lost if you drink it during the winter. This tea is so light that it’s perfect for spring mornings. I can’t wait to have this again some time in March or April when you can smell the earth and the sunshine and the dew all together. This will be such a good tea to have in the spring!

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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I’ve had this twice so far: once yesterday and once today.

Normally I don’t double up on teas like that, but yesterday I underleafed despite the instructions on the package. I figured I would follow the instructions today.

Speaking of which, the instructions on this one are super weird – 2 tablespoons of tea for 17 oz? At 80C? That sounds like a lot of tea (about 3x what I would normally use for brewing tea Western-style), and the temperature is much lower than I would expect! That’s why when I brewed it yesterday, I only used abou 1 tablespoon for 24 oz of tea.

It was okay, but kind of underwhelming.

The sad thing is, I did use enough leaf today, and I’m still not having my socks wowed off. Should I try using 100C boiling water? Should I use more leaf or less?

I’m getting a bit of smoke and a bit of malt, but this just isn’t ringing my bell. I even used filtered water, too, to avoid that weird alkaline flavour I noticed with some other black teas a few days ago.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 9 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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After yesterday’s debacle involving Jabberwocky tasting like pretzel dough, I decided to brew this up using filtered water. I do think it’s made a difference, but how much I can’t tell….

The smell when this first brewed up was definitely sweet potato with a bit of malt/honey. The taste was very similar, but I wanted to let it cool down a bit.

Now that it’s cooler, a new variety of flavours are coming out. I can smell honey, but I also think I taste a bit of plum along side the smooth maltiness.

I’m not getting caramel the way others have, but that’s fine. Glad I got to try a bit of this!

This was originally a swap from Ost. I had half, and am saving the remainder to send off to Variatea so this is technically a sipdown.

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I’m beginning to think there’s something wrong with the water in my house, or with the kettle I’m using. I keep on getting this sort of savoury, alkaline taste with my black teas that I’m not too fond of – think of the flavour of the outside of a pretzel.

It showed up when I drank this tea, which was not what I was expecting. The tea smelled lovely upon first steep – I could definitely get the chocolate and menthol notes that people had mentioned. But the flavour was relatively underwhelming. Sad. :(

This was a swap I got from Ost – I’ll be sending the rest along to VariaTEA soon.


Entirely possible that it’s the water or kettle. I use Brita filtered water, and notice a difference when I use unfiltered.


Did it start recently? I’d think the kettle if so, but you never know if your regions water changed.


Oh that’s so weird….I’m sorry it wasn’t good! :(

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Oh my god. You cannot imagine the audible sense of relief I feel now that I have this back in my cupboard. Thank you a whole bunch, Teavivre!

I ordered a package of this in their BF sale, and have split it in half so I can give the remainder to my aunt for Christmas. She has no idea what a privilege this is – if I had less tea in my cupboard, I’d be squirreling away the whole thing for myself!

This is quite possibly my favourite green tea. Low astringency, no smokiness, no sharpness, a little savouriness and butteriness… just perfect. Bumping up the rating, as I think this is one of my “can’t live without” teas.

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Backlog from a few days ago.

The leaves on this are quite fluffy, which means that I underleafed this when I brewed it a few days ago. It was really weak tasting. Considering how well this tasted when I had a sample back in September, I was really sad!

I’ll have to be a bit more generous with the leaf on this one.

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I could have sworn that I’ve posted about this tea previously. Nevertheless, I finished of my sample from Yunomi this morning.

I’ll have to say it – I am not a gyokuro person. Steeping is too fussy, and it’s generally meant for smaller portions whereas I like to make whole teapots of tea. I’m sipping this and just finding myself unable to finish off a single cup of this, never mind the rest of the teapot I’ve brewed.

I think I might pour the rest of this down the sink or into a plant…which makes me sad.

Ah well.

Cameron B.

To each her own. :)


If it’s not for you, it’s not for you, and life is too short to drink tea one doesn’t like.

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Backlog from yesterday.

Yesterday evening I had a really bad time of things. I was feeling all tired after walking around, but I decided to do a hot yoga class in the afternoon, as I figured that maybe my fatigue was because I hadn’t done any yoga in a few weeks.

Oh boy.

I came home from that class feeling all achy, worried that I was coming down with a fever – I wasn’t nearly as hydrated during the class as I should have been. I spent the rest of the evening kind of being an invalid: sitting on the couch, eating rice, with a bunch of ibuprofen in my system. And then there was this tea.

I made two steeps of it yesterday – one before I left for yoga, to get myself hydrated (not enough, it appears!) and one when I was all fucked-up in the evening, because I knew that if I just laid back and didn’t do anything, I’d fall asleep and mess up my sleep schedule.

This tea was pretty okay both times, but I have a feeling that I overleafed it, as it tasted a bit smoky, which I generally dislike in my green teas. I thought the second steep would be sweeter, but it was more vegetal.

In any event, tea is a good thing, and I was in need of good things last night.

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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Backlog from yesterday.

Sunday Sipdown!

Since I ordered some more Kenilworth ceylon from Capital Teas, I’ve been in a rush to finish off this pack, and I got it done yesterday. A nice smooth, “regular” tea flavour, though I think that the packaging could have been better for this product.

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drank Lychee Black by teasenz
569 tasting notes

Backlog from Saturday.


Another tea eliminated from my cupboard. I only ever managed to get one satisfactory steeping out of the sample I was given, as the other times it was too strong or too weak or I didn’t get a good look at the clock.

This last time, I steeped it in a travel mug.

That was a baaaad choice. I only could drink about half of it before throwing the rest away, and what I did drink had a funky taste to it that threw me off and made me feel weird for the rest of the day.

Based on my experience, I really don’t think lychee tea is for me.

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I’m a writer and editor who, after years of bagged-tea purgatory, has finally seen the light and glory of loose-leaf teas. I’m still just starting my journey, as it’s been only in the last 2 years that I’ve started drinking loose-leaf tea, and only in the past few months that I’ve been trying different varieties in earnest.

Likes: Green tea, sobacha, fruit flavours, masala chais, jasmine, mint, citrus, ginger.

Dislikes (or at least generally disinclined towards): Hibiscus, rosehip, chamomile, licorice, lavender.

Things I’m on the fence about: Oolong, vanilla (I prefer it mixed with black teas or rooibos rather than green tea), white teas.

Still need to do my research on: unflavoured black teas, pu’er teas.

For those interested, here’s my scoring system, though I don’t score teas as often as I used to:

100-85: A winner!
84-70: Pretty good. This is a nice, everyday kind of tea.
69-60: Decent, but not up to snuff.
59-50: Not great. Better treated as an experiment.
49-0: I didn’t like this, and I’m going to avoid it in the future. Blech.


Toronto, ON, Canada



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