2183 Tasting Notes


Thanks to Fong Mong tea, who provided this free sample for review. It’s been a while since I’ve had a Dong Ding (or any oolong besides a TGY), so I am looking forward to trying this one. I am following the western steeping instructions that they provide, but I can’t bring myself to steep the tea for 6 minutes. I did bump it to 4 minutes rather than my usual 3 because the Blue Jade I tried from them didn’t seem quite full flavored at 3 minutes.

The steeped tea smells roasty, a bit floral, and a bit vegetal. I have to say that I do think this one is oversteeped, unfortunately. There is a bit of astringency and a hint of bitterness that I don’t think would be there if I had stuck to 3 minutes. Otherwise, the flavor is pretty nice… a tad roasty but not too strong, some nice oolong flavors under there. Unfortunately this bitterness is taking over more as it cools. I ended up dumping out the first steep and steeping the leaves a second time for 3 minutes. This time the flavors are nice and pleasant, no bitterness. Lighly roasty, vegetal, not very floral or buttery, but with a very slight sweetness that lingers in the aftertaste. I like this dong ding pretty well, but like I said earlier I don’t love even lightly roasted oolongs. Most dong dings are lightly roasted, as I’ve found, but every once in a while you happen across an unroasted one. I enjoy this tea (now that it’s not bitter), but it’s not something I would seek out.

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Every time I read about this tea, I read it as Ding Dong Oolong (which rhymes too)! :P

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drank Earl Grey Cream by ESP Emporium
2183 tasting notes

The other day I had a cup of China Rose Black from ESP Emporium that I’ve had in my collection for forever, it seems, and it was definitely underwhelming. Not nearly as good as I had remembered, and I was wondering if it was a result of changing palates or old tea (since it just didn’t seem as rosey as it once did).

So I thought this morning I would have a cup of this, which I haven’t had in forever, just to see how this has held up. I got this at the same time as I got the rose black, and it’s been in the same kind of containers during it’s life (ESP’s non-airtight folded bags for a while, then some small tins toward the end).

This one has held up better it seems, though it does seem a bit… old. The flavors just aren’t as strong, but this cup isn’t overly weak or anything. I guess I am finally getting to the point where some of my older teas are fading, which is sad. I’ve been doing better about working through my stash and not buying new teas, but I still have a huge amount right now. Guess I better get drinking!

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Thanks for the heads up! I’ve been worried about those non-airtight bags that ESP teas come in. I’m going to go home and stick them in something else right away!

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Yet another of my free samples from Teavivre… thanks so much for the opportunity to try all these teas! I really consider Teavivre to have greatly contributed to my tea education with all of their samples.

When I opened the sample pouch and sniffed the tea, I was kind of surprised by how super vegetal the leaves smelled. Like, woah spinach and greens. I sniffed some more and started to get roasty scents, and the faintest hint of butteriness. Definitely not like the super green tieguanyins I’m used to drinking. I steeped it up and smelled a super roasted, toasted grains aroma from the liquor. At first it seems like that is the only note, but after smelling it a while I start to detect the slightest hint of sweet florals hiding out. Intriguing.

I have to say I was pretty prepared not to really be a fan of this tea because I don’t tend to like roasted oolongs. But Teavivre proved me wrong. I’m not head over heels or anything, but this is a tasty cup of tea. The roasting is light and doesn’t take over the flavor. It just kind of nicely hangs out there, adding some nice warm, toasty notes. The other main flavors are the slightly floral sweetness of the tieguanyin, with some light vegetal notes, but nothing like it seemed when I smelled the dry leaf. As I’m drinking it the sweetness is growing in my mouth adding to the tastiness of each successive sip. Definitely a tasty tea, and it surprised me by making even this nonfan of roasted oolongs enjoy it.

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Teavivre’s tastings have definitely been a learning experience for me, too.

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Yesterday I only had two cups of tea, down from my usual four. I am way too busy and stressed! I suppose I should forewarn you all that in about a week and a half I will be gone for two months. Not like normal when I’m traveling and don’t post a lot but occasionally pop up and do a post, but really absent because I will be in Madagascar doing fieldwork! I will certainly miss my tea, and I am still trying to decided what tea bags/sachets to schlepp over there for the mornings (because Malagasy tea is not very good!). Two months is a long time.

I am having this tea this morning because it was calling to me. This tea is stupidly good, and by stupidly I mean that I feel stupid for not buying more when I was in Beijing. So sweet, so honeyed, so caramelly. Almost buttery, which ties into the caramel I guess. Love love love this one.

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Scott B

What an exciting opportunity for you! Hope you can see some good birds-in addition to the myriad other interesting things you will encounter.

Tea-wise-Do they have Tanzanian or Kenyan tea?


I have been looking at one from Dragon Tea House on ebay that looks similar to this…if you go over to ebay, do a search for Supreme Tanyang Gongfu.


Scott – Yes, it’s a great time… I’ve been twice before. The tea actually comes from Madagascar, but I remember from two years ago that it was extremely weak. I am interested to try it again, though, now that I’m so into tea!

Jen – I will definitely have to look into that one!


a) This sounds like a beautiful tea and b) doing fieldwork in Madagascar? That will be a wonderful experience. Just hope you won’t be so busy and stressed!


Watch out for the penguins – they’re clever.


I’m so jealous that you get to travel to such awesome places for your job! Have fun!!


Keep an eye out for lemurs! :D We will miss you while you are away.

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Jasmine tea just doesn’t seem like a morning tea to me, but that’s because it’s usually a green or white base. I haven’t had many jasmine black teas (perhaps just one?) but the idea definitely intrigues me. Luckily I got this sample from SimplyJenW to try!

The dry leaf has lots of jasmine blossoms in it, and smells pleasantly first of a slightly grainy black tea and then of a lovely sweet jasmine. Steeped, that weird blend of jasmine and black tea comes out… yeah, jasmine and black together are just so weird in my mind! They don’t seem to work properly together, I don’t know why. One thing is I feel like the black tea gives the jasmine a more herbaceous rather than a sweet quality.

However the flavor of this one comes off better than the scent to me. There is a surprising sweetness here, which I think is coming from the black tea base, actually… it has that character. There is a honeyed note to the base, a bit malty. But honestly I think I’d rather have this tea without the jasmine! The jasmine is light and pleasant, but it again has that weird herbaceous quality. It’s the same kind of thing I get from jasmine-vanilla blends that I’m not a fan of. I guess in those blends it might also be the jasmine interacting with the black tea (since those are often black/green blends). Then again, I’ve had other jasmine black/green blends that work out for me, so who knows. I do actually enjoy this one, though (because the odd qualities aren’t too odd for me in this tea). Thanks for the opportunity to try it! After a couple of shots I do feel like jasmine and black tea is not something I really need to seek out in the future.

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Today is a lot cooler than it was forecasted to be, and a bit rainy, so I am hanging out at home, catching up on all the tasting notes I missed during the time period where I couldn’t “see more” notes. I rarely drink tea on the weekends for some reason, and certianly it is rare in the warm weather because I don’t have air conditioning.

But today I got home from birding this morning and I just really felt like having a pot of tea. I have two tins of this so I keep one at home and one with the rest of my stash. I really haven’t been drinking a lot of flavored tea lately. I had a disappointing cup of rose black tea yesterday that I didn’t even log because I’m not quite sure why it was so disappointing… possibly it was just old, possibly some of my tastes are changing and I just wasn’t as impressed with the base tea anymore.

I am glad to say that this one is still a favorite. I think the base tea on this is very well done, with perfect complimentary chocolate, caramel and almond flavors. Delicious and comforting.

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Have you read the book, “The Verb, To Bird”? Hysterical.


I haven’t, but I’m going to look it up now!


Maybe you can answer a question for me! I am used to seeing bald eagles and snow geese here but pelicans in Colorado?! Whats with that?!


The American White Pelican actually migrates through there to their breeding grounds in Canada, and there are even some breeding grounds in Colorado itself!

Scott B

What interesting birds did you see?


Not a big chocolate fan with tea but the almond and caramel flavors do sound tempting.


Scott B – yesterday I saw some nice warblers and orioles, but my favorite of the day was a Northern Bobwhite, which I hadn’t seen before!

Scott B

That’s great-always nice to see a new bird!

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This sample comes thanks to Angel Chen and Teavivre. I haven’t drank a lot of jasmine white teas before. and I wanted to have this one soon after the Jasmine White Yunnan from Verdant yesterday. Of course, this is a Fujian white and that was a Yunnan white, so I’m interested to see the differences.

One thing that’s immediately different is the aroma of the dried leaf. This one is jasminey, but also with almost a savory note to it. Steeped, all the scents kind of mellow a bit, but I still get an almost herbaceous jasmine quality. The flavor on this is bright, crisp. The jasmine is sweet and leaves a slight honeysuckle aftertaste. I get a slight hay-ish note from the white tea, but overall it’s mostly really bright, leaving an almost tingly sensation in my mouth. It’s a light tea, but it doesn’t seem like it’s understeeped as much as just light in character. This is a very tasty tea, but I do think that the white yunnan was more my style. Glad I got the opporunity to try this one, though!

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This post did not show up in “Tasting Notes” in my dashboard but I can see it under “Recent Activity”, I posted a message about it on the Discussion boards.

Invader Zim

Interesting comparison. I just got some Fujian jasmine white tea from Shang. I’m curious now to try and see the difference between this and Verdants Yunnan white jasmine myself.

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Got a sample of this one in a package from SimplyJenW… yay for continuing my black tea education! I’ve had one other Golden Monkey before, and that was Harney’s. That one I first tried way back when I really wasn’t into unflavored black teas at all, but I liked it pretty well (but not enough to seek out others).

The dry tea for this smells malty and hay-ish. When I smelled this and the Harney version back to back, this one smelled brighter and the Harney one smelled more caramelly. When steeped, this tea has a nice depth to the aroma. It smells honeyed and yes, a bit like dried apples. Also some toasty grains, a bit. Other people have said “tart apples” in tasting notes for this one, and I think I get that… it’s definitely kind of fruity as well as a bit alfalfa-y. There are some light chocolatey notes there, but they’re definitely not the main event. All in all I really enjoy the flavor of this one… except the fact that there is a layer of bitterness over everything. I’m very sensative to bitterness in black teas and this one is oversteeped to my tastes. I definitely need to drop my water temp a smidge next time and see how it goes.

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When I made my order for the Golden Fleece I threw in an ounce of this as well since it was labeled as “low stock” and I always wanted to try it. Western brewing as instructed on the Verdant site. Unfortunately I don’t have time to wax poetic about this tea today but safe to say I would if I could! It is a really delicious tea.

The dry leaf smells jasminey in a sweet, fresh, honeysuckle-y way, and the steeped tea smells a little more pungently jasmine. The flavor on this one is so sweet and fresh. It’s almost juicy, which is mind blowing from a jasmine tea. That’s really the most prominent thing I take away from this tea, that lovely juiciness. There is definitely a good amount of natural sweetness to this, which really brings out those honeysuckle notes. It is super smooth and silky in the mouth, and altogether a real pleasure to drink. Yum.

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Looks and sounds awesome! :))

Autumn Hearth

I think you hint this one right on the nose and so concisely too!

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I wanted to come back to this tea since it really was pretty much the tea that sparked my interest in unflavored black teas. I’ve tried a lot lately and this one has always been in the back of my mind when trying them, but the memory of it was starting to get muddled.

I love the honeyed, caramelly notes in this tea. It’s a bit grainy, and a tiny bit chocolatey, and a tiny bit sweet, but not nearly as chocolatey and sweet as the Fengqing Black Dragon Pearls I had yesterday. Still, I need to boost this way up in my ratings because it remains one of my favorites after I’ve tried quite a few varieties. This one really exhibits the honey notes that I like in Fujian black teas.

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I am tea obsessed, with the stash to match. I tend to really enjoy green oolongs, Chinese blacks, and flavored teas with high quality bases, especially florals, bergamot-based teas, and chocolate teas.

In my free time I am a birder, baker, and music/movie/tv addict.

Here are my rating categories, FYI:
100-90: Mind-blowingly good, just right for my palate, and teas that just take me to a happy place.
89-86: I really really like these teas and will keep most of them in the permanent collection, but they’re not quite as spectacular as the top category
85-80: Pretty tasty teas that I enjoy well enough, but definitely won’t rebuy when I run out.
79-70: Teas that I would probably drink again, but only if there were no preferrable options.
69-50: Teas that I don’t really enjoy all that much and wouldn’t drink another cup of.
49 and below: Mega yuck. This tea is just disgusting to me.
Unrated: Usually I feel unqualified to rate these teas because they are types of teas that I tend to not like in general. Sometimes user error or tea brewed under poor conditions.


Ohio, US

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