920 Tasting Notes


The last few days at work have been busy. My own fault, really – I procrastinated on a project and so the final stages trying to get this thing ready got all jammed up.

Wednesday and onwards have felt like I’m a spring under compression. Now that it’s Friday evening (and a long weekend to boot!), I can feel things relaxing and loosening.

Part of that is because of this tea. I didn’t do the whole “boil it in boiling water for 10 minutes or so” that the instructions say. I just steeped it in freshly boiled water instead and let it sit.

The result was a less pungent version of this tea. But it’s cold out, and it’s been a busy week, and I just want to give my brain room to expand, so less pungent is fine with me.

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The taste is somewhat mild, but the smell of this is SUPER jammy. I bet this would taste amazing with some agave nectar added.

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I had some this morning and it was SO GOOD. Malty, bready, biscuity, but not overpowering. I love how the dry leaf has a hint of dark chocolate to it.

This is some seriously good stuff. Once I have my cupboard under control (and hopefully, by then, currency conversion won’t suck so bad), I’d love to get more Laoshan Black in general.


i’ve started converting funds and dropping them in to my USD account anytime the dollar is higher than 70 cents when i have “extra” cash.

Christina / BooksandTea

Hmmm… I don’t think I have a separate US funds account. Are they hard to set up?


heh same as a canadian dollar account, at least at BMO. Suspect other FI’s are largely the same since it’s not a account in the US, it’s merely a US dollar account. I just don’t know what sort of fees there are with the accounts because i don’t pay service fees.


I have a USD savings account through RBC – it was no problem to set up – just went in and did it. I think you can even open accounts through online banking ?


@dexter – yeah i think with most FI’s you can just open the account through your current online banking when you’re signed in.

Evol Ving Ness

With Scotia, no charges if you keep at least 200USD in the account.

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Shou and I are not exactly on the best of terms. It’s too earthy. It’s too fishy. I hear people say they like it, that it’s so rich, but when I make it, the results just leave me….flat.

I gotta admit, when I took the tea out of the bag to measure it and start steeping, it looked… dubious. The nuggets were small, matte, dark brown, and just in general highly suggestive of some other type of substance.

I took 5.25 grams of these nuggets and made sure to give them a good, thorough rinsing before drinking: two rinses of 30 seconds each with just-boiled water.

After that, I did a first steep of 20 seconds. The resulting liquid was a deep reddish-brown, like beef broth. The flavour was light, but overall it was earthy, slightly fishy, somewhat salty and savoury. Kinda like soup broth.

The second, third and fourth steeps were all for 30 seconds, and they were pretty similar in taste to the first, if only a bit more intense in colour and flavour. The smell was savoury, brothy, and earthy, with notes of spices like cinnamon, star anise and clove. The mouthfeel here was also pretty thick, like soup broth.

Over time, I also noticed grainy notes that reminded me of popcorn. However, I’m not getting the chocolate or caramel notes the description above promised. Where is my chocolate, White2Tea??

On the fourth steep, I started to notice a cool sensation creeping across my mouth and throat, like menthol or camphor. My lips also started tingling.

The fifth, sixth, and seventh steeps were 40-50 seconds long. The flavour still hadn’t developed those chocolate notes I was told to expect but when I smelled the lid of the gaiwan after the sixth steep, I noticed scents of tobacco and a sweetness that reminded me of red bean past. The second steep was a bit lighter in colour, but by that point I had pretty much used up the water in the teapot so I wasn’t interested in drinking anymore.

At least I didn’t get any caffeine rush this time.

What’s amazing is that even after seven or so steeps, these nuggets still hadn’t unfurled. They were still compact, dark, and tightly packed.

Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2016/02/lao-cha-tou-ripe-puerh-white2tea/


I feel that way about shou too. At one time I liked it a little bit. Then I had sheng and I never looked at shou the same way anymore. Maybe that will change with time.


ive been enjoying aged shou a lot more than young shou. The ones that are about 10+ years seem to be nicer to my palette. Fresh just isnt for me – but then I should be aging those, right? A whole new world lol


With Lao Cha Tou I’ll start prepping it the night before. Usually use three 30 second rinses with water at a rolling boil as much as an hour apart. Then I let it sit overnight before steeping it. That usually helps open the compacted nuggets and allows me to taste the tea. I developed this general approach based upon notes by mrmopar some time ago.


I use more almost double the usual weight. It is chocolate and spicy and yum to me. I can steep it the whole day


Good point boychik, up-dosing the “leaf” definitely helps with this type of tea.

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I’m not a huge Earl Grey fan, but this is decent. The bergamot is strong, but not overly metallic or cloying, and the base is also sturdy and decent.

Thanks for sending me a sample of this to try, Lala!

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This was a sample that Sil gave me when we met at the Toronto Tea Festival. I know that August Uncommon has some unusual blends, but I’ve never really cottoned on to the idea of mixing green tea and vanilla, or green tea with chai spices. This has green tea, vanilla, and cardamom.

It smells lovely, I will give it that — vanilla and spice and cake. But the taste is pretty much what I was expecting: vegetal and vanilla. It was smoother than I expected, but it didn’t quite win me over.

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This was more floral than I expected, but still pleasant – it mingled in really nicely with the orange.

If I could find a lotion or a scented candle in this scent, I’d be a happy lady. Thanks, Sil for sending me a bag of this to try!


I’m not sure if this is leftover from my trip to Europe, or Sil’s… But I’m pretty sure Fortnum & Mason has this scent in a candle, at least at their London, UK store.

Christina / BooksandTea

Interesting…. if I had a beard, I’d be stroking it pensively right now.


MissB – think it was a bit of both. Christina missed out on all the excitement but i found a few that i still had around to share with her :)

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I finished this off last night after coming home from watching Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior in the theatre. The theatre near us is doing this “digital film festival” thing and bringing a bunch of old classics to the screen. So yesterday my hubby and I watched both The Road Warrior and Ghostbusters in the theatre. In a few hours we’ll be watching Labyrinth, so I can bask in the wonder of David Bowie’s Magic Pants Dance.

I don’t know, but The Road Warrior really bummed me out last night. It was a fun movie, and it definitely had a spark of something interesting in it, an authenticity and uniqueness. But it also acted as a trigger for a source of anxiety I don’t talk about very much: climate change. Thinking about stories set in a post-scarcity world always freaks me out because I can’t help thinking we’re close to the cliff’s edge, about to catapult into such a world, and I think that if only I had turned my lights off more or used less plastic, we’d be a bit farther away from that cliff.

Anyways. What I mean is that I really wasn’t in the best frame of mind when finishing this tea off last night. Thinking about the fate of the world and the possibility of living in a scarred, ravaged landscape doesn’t really go well with herbal tea.


Actually, it’s the people who worry about turning off lights and using less plastic who are the solution, not the problem. :-)

Christina / BooksandTea

Well yeah, but those are the easy things. Do I invest in green energy companies? No. Do I write to my local representative to advocate for certain pieces of legislation? No. Do I donate my time or money to environmental initiatives? Not really. Small changes surrounding personal consumption aren’t really enough to turn things around.

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Sample sipdown – this was a swap from Sil at the Tea Festival yesterday (holy alliteration, batman!)

This smelled like grapefruit dry, and it still smells pretty citrusy brewed. I’m surprised by how true to taste and tart the tea is, and how well the hibiscus is blending in. This tastes kind of like really sour orange juice, and the flavour of the orange peel is bang on. I also get a hint of chamomile here, even though it’s not included in the ingredient list.


the tea bags are totally from MissB and her adventures in all fairness. You just weren’t around when we were knee deep in her teas. I found a few i had stashed away so figured you should get some of the fun too!

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Sipdown backlog from a few days ago.

I generally dislike teas that are heavy on peppermint (I prefer spearmint), and I really dislike white chocolate, so I wasn’t really looking forward to trying this. But I summoned the courage when I got it in a gift box set.

It’s not bad, but not that great. Minty, chocolatey, meh.

Sami Kelsh

That’s funny because I like peppermint but not spearmint! Wacky. :)

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Updated February 2014:

I’m a writer and editor who’s fallen for loose-leaf tea hard. Within a year of joining Steepster, I’ve spent at least $500 on tea, and gotten a whole bunch in swaps! At this point I’ve got a better handle on what I like and dislike, but I’m sure that there will always be more to discover.

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

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: pu’er teas.

I rarely score teas anymore, but if I do, here’s the system I follow:

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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