1938 Tasting Notes

Sipdown, 147. So, Yunomi.us has a thing where you can request free samples for review. You can select two teas, and they do warn you that requests are not guaranteed and they may substitute a similar tea in its place. Fair enough. I requested two black teas because I am curious about Japanese black teas, so I chose two that sounded most interesting (based on the limited descriptions) and sent off my request. I didn’t notice at first that I got neither of the teas I requested. One was a different first flush black tea; I am satisfied with that substitution. The other was this tea. I would not consider banana flavored black tea to be similar to unflavored black tea other than the fact that they both contain black tea. Also, of all the flavors they could have sent me, I happen to hate banana flavoring (I barely like bananas themselves), so this may backfire on them. I know they couldn’t have known that, but they could have played it safer and sent a different unflavored black tea. Also, whether due to international shipping in a flat envelope or initial packaging, this sample was mostly dust, which isn’t promising. (Note that I did just get samples from Teavivre in a flat envelope and the Oriental Beauty oolong in that was not crushed to bits).

The dry leaf smells like banana candy, not shockingly. The steeping instructions provided give a time (2.5 minutes) but not a leaf to water ratio or a temp, so I guessed. I was scared of the tea dust, so I gave it a cooler temp. After one minute the liquor was already very dark, so I pulled the brew basket. Now it smells like banana candy with a slightly grounding background of black tea, but I can’t make out enough beyond the banana flavoring to tell much about it.

Yup, it tastes like banana runts. You know the little fruit-shaped candies, each with a different flavor, and there were the little yellow banana guys? I never see runts around anymore. Although someone did have to use them in an episode of Cutthroat Kitchen recently. Anyway, it tastes like banana runts. And a hint of black tea, mostly coming through as a slight punch of bitterness in the back. I do think that if I liked the type of flavoring used here, I might like the tea itself. But I’ll never really know, I guess. Oh well, hopefully the other tea I got will turn out better.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Stephanie

lol, Runts! How interesting that they sent you this one as your sample. I forget what they sent me as mine but it wasn’t flavored.

Stephanie

Oh right they sent me a first flush shincha! It was good too!

Sil

runts are still all over the place here… heh

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

75
drank Dan Cong by thepuriTea
1938 tasting notes

Sipdown, 148. I’ve had this tea before but I’m glad Sil sent me a sample because I haven’t had it in a long time. Plus I can get a reminder of kind of a base-level dancong before trying some of the reserve dancongs that came in the last Verdant reserve club shipment.

At one point I’m pretty sure thepuriTea’s description for this tea said that it was actually scented with osmanthus, or at least a previous incarnation of it was. Anyway, it was either mistaken or the tea has changed, because now it is definitely just a dancong oolong. Ah! I found it using the internet wayback machine! In November of 2010 their description included the line “Our Dan Cong has been naturally infused with natural osmanthus flowers.” But that has been removed.

The tea smells roasty, a bit woody, fruity, and a bit of crisp mineral-ness. Flavor-wise, the fruitiness really comes to the forefront. Very much a note of sweet stone fruits, but combined with a woody/barky background profile. There’s also a bit of bitterness/astringency to this one, and I’m thinking maybe I should have gone with a lower temp. I do think this is less floral than when I originally tried it, although it is hard to say from two years ago. This is one of those teas that is fine, but not really up my alley. That woodiness is just too much and really takes away from my enjoyment of the other flavors. Interested to see how the other dancongs I have will compare, but this one is (still) not for me.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

83

Thanks to Sil for this sample! So over the course of the last couple hours I have gone from a bit sneezy/runny nose (common in fall/winter mornings for me) to very sneezy/runny nose, to inflamed mucosa and painful eyes. Yay. I better not be getting sick, because my doctoral dissertation defense is in one week.

Anyway, thankfully I am not stuffed up and can still taste and smell tea fine. This smells like a lovely, buttery green dragonwell, which is not surprising because that is what it is. I don’t LOVE dragonwell, but I do enjoy it and it’s one of my preferred types of green tea. This is a quite nice one. It doesn’t really stand out as exceptional, but it is buttery and fresh and green. A pleasant cup this morning.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec
keychange

Good luck defending! and I hope you feel better.

Dinosara

Thanks!

Sil

oh no! hope you feel better soon!

Ellyn

Feel better!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

97

Sipdown, 149 (new samples acquired last night). Thanks, Sil, for this sample!

This tea is totally blowing my mind. I’ve had a sample of Sun Moon Lake Black tea before, but this tea completely blows it out of the water. I guess this is also equivalent to Butiki’s PTA, and I can see some of the similarities, but this is definitely unique in my mind.

It didn’t seem that exceptional at first, and I kind of started drinking it without thinking about it too much. Then holy caramel! So sweet and soooooo much like caramel! I get it in the scent too now. Fruity, yes, and I agree with cooked fruit, like a jam. But this time the fruit isn’t accompanied by whatever notes usually are in a fruity black tea that I dislike (I have a hard time describing them, but I know them when I taste them). To me, this is almost like a caramel apple with the fruit and caramel together. Caramel apricot? Whatever, it is delicious. It is so smooth and silky. I know I will definitely be ordering from this company in November!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Sil

YAY!!! another convert!! WIsh i’d had some left of the yuchi mountain black. The nice thing is, you can get sample sizes and if you spend 25$ you can get free shipping with the sample sizes. AND they have great customer service!

Dinosara

Good to know! I’m glad you sent me this one because I thought I didn’t like Sun Moon Lake Black teas, but I was wrong! Can’t wait to try more of their teas.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

77

A mystery tea from Sil! It is at least in the database, but otherwise mysterious as it has no tasting notes, nor can I find anything about the company online. But the leaf is interesting because it looks like pretty nice tea leaves with nice chunks of dried pear.

Steeped, it smells nicely juicy with a hint of slight fakeness. I consider pear to be a difficult fruit to get right, and honestly I have to say my expectations are usually pretty low when it comes to random fruit-flavored greens. Green tea has become a difficult to get right when it comes to flavoring for me. The usual sencha base has become not to my taste, and fruit flavoring can so easily taste fake with it, moreso than with black tea I think.

I have to say that this is pretty ok. Yes, cheap sencha base, but the pear is relatively authentic. There is a hint of generic-fruity-flavored-green-tea to it, the kind of thing that pops up commonly in wholesale blends, but it’s decently tasty. I know, I’m very effusive about this tea. I will definitely be cold brewing the rest of it, because cold brewing is often my favorite way to drink flavored green teas!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

It’s from a store in Ottawa. I added it to the database, have shared a bit but haven’t tried it yet. Mostly just been trying to find a good pear tea someday heh

Dinosara

I figured as much!

Anna

I’m curious how you’d feel about Le Palais des Thés (green) pear tea.

Dinosara

Hmm, I dunno! I had a pear tea from Butiki long ago (they no longer blend it) that I liked, but most other pear teas have fallen short for me.

Anna

Oooh, Butiki. Well, that sounds like a holy grail for sure. One of my competition submissions was a pear tea! I really long for a good one.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

77

This is one I specifically requested from Sil (thanks again!). I have, in general, not had much success with MF teas, but am constantly urged to try again with a different blend. This one has a lot of fans, so I figured I should try it out.

Steeped this at Ysaurella’s parameters since I tend to also be very sensative to bitterness in a tea base. My boyfriend correctly identified the scents of chocolate and caramel from across the room, so I guess it’s true to that in aroma. The combo of the caramel with the assam unsurprisingly reminds me a touch of Butiki’s Caramel Vanilla Assam, with added chocolate. Actually it’s almost like added mocha… I do kind of get a hint of coffee to this one. Fortunately not much, because I’m not a coffee person.

First sips are interesting. I am (unsurpringly, I guess) reminded of MF’s Mousse au Chocolat that I tried not long ago. The bittersweetness of really dark chocolate is the most prominent note to me, followed by a creamy caramel. Looking at some of the tasting notes, I absolutely get the coconut that Angrboda was talking about, surprisingly enough! Anyway, whatever else is in there, the bittersweet chocolate is certainly present. I think I like this smidge more than the Mousse au Chocolat just because the caramel here helps to smooth out the bitterness just a hint. I will no doubt be (happily) drinking the rest of this sample with milk and sugar.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Sil

Mmm I don’t think I’ve tried it yet with milk and sugar haha

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

76

Sipdoooooown! 148. This is a triumphant one because it was old, I had a lot of this tea, and it was one I never thought I’d finish. But it’s gone! I have been cold steeping it since I started getting extra sensative to the bitter notes of its lowish-quality base. Cold steeped it was nice, creamy and floral without too much of any one flavor. Next!

Preparation
Iced
Anna

I definitely experience a sense of achievement when I finish a tea.

Dinosara

Yes, particularly when it is an old tea that you started out with a lot of. Victory!

Anna

It was a nice coincidence, by the way – I rated Vanilla Orchid by DT today, and read your review after doing so – I think it’s this tea you’re referring to. I felt very up-to-date in terms of your tea cupboard, haha.

Dinosara

Close, but not quite! This is actually a black tea blend from a local tea company. Although I did notice the vanilla-orchid theme today :D

Anna

Oh, you and your vanilla orchid abundance! :P

By the way, I have a new Dammann stash – you’re the only one to review a bunch of those, and I added a few new ones; totally excited about trying them – I rarely see you give such high grades, and as you know I tend to trust your judgment.

Dinosara

Awesome! I can’t wait to see your notes. I love the blend Dammann uses for their flavored black teas, so that explains my love for many of their blends. Also I just love the way they combine flavors!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

84

Sipdown, 149. Thanks to Sil for a sample of this tea!

I was interested to try this one because I’ve only had one other Mi Xian, from Butiki. I like that one, although it’s not quite my style of black tea as it is very inherantly fruity.

This one is fruity to the MAX. It’s amazing that a tea can be so fruity naturally. Definitely getting similar notes from this as from the Butiki version, which I described there as “cooked, honey-covered peaches”. I think that description applies to this one as well. There is a bit of a zing to this one; not bitterness/astringency, but a slight tartness or tanginess, like the slightly sour skin of a plum against the sweet flesh. Really, objectively I can see that this is a really fine tea. I just don’t crave this kind of fruity black tea. I am, however, enjoying this cup and I’m glad I tried this one!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

94
drank Rizhao Black by Ali Express
1938 tasting notes

Sipdown, 150! Thanks to Sil for this tea! (There’s a phrase you will be seeing in 90% of my upcoming tasting notes, since she sent me a ton of new teas). I appreciate you sending me a bit of this tea from Tasty Brew, since she made me intrigued about Rizhao teas. Not sure if this is the same as the Yeah Stick Teas version, but the pack said Ali Express so I will post it here.

I can see where the comparisons to Laoshan Black come from , because the smell is totally taking me right there. Roasty-toasty chocolate, yum. When I first sipped it when it was still quite hot, it had a nice balance of flavors but didn’t really bowl me over. Then it cooled down a bit and holy crap, sweet!! It is amazing, like molasses and chocolate. YUM. It has that flavor of toasted grains that really complements the chocolate, and which I love in a tea. I’m also amazed by how complete these tea leaves are… I’m used to only seeing complete, untorn tea leaves in oolongs, but there a bunch in this tea. So pleased with this one, and I’m glad I got to try it!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

94
drank Black Buckwheat Tea by Tiger Line
1938 tasting notes

This one comes to me thanks to Sil! I figured I would get started on this giant pile of tea that she sent me with this buckwheat tea.

I thought this would brew up darker, maybe because it’s called “black”, but the liquor was a pale yellow. It smells sweet and savory, bready and nutty. It tastes fantastic. I never thought I would be into a buckwheat tea, but it’s delicious! Ever so slightly sweet and salty, like natural peanut butter. Natural peanut butter on dense bread. As it brews longer, it gets more and more pretzelly. The sweetness gets more on the aftertaste, but it’s still there. What a fantastic dessert tea! Thanks for sharing, Sil. I’ll be interested if anyone finds a source for something like this in the future!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Sil

I think a couple people have tried to find something similar heh

Dinosara

Hey, how about that! Thanks for finding that listing yyz!

yyz

You’re welcome!

Stephanie

I love iced buckwheat tea :)

Sil

Haha that is exactly it! Totally the bag I bought it in….there are two versions, well there were in the store where I Picked it up. Heh

OMGsrsly

There are lots of recipes for toasting your own buckwheat, too. If you get the green grains you can toast them as you would nuts. :)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Profile

Bio

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.
89-85: 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
84-80: 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.

Location

Ohio, US

Following These People

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer