1955 Tasting Notes

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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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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

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94
drank Rizhao Black by Ali Express
1955 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

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94
drank Black Buckwheat Tea by Tiger Line
1955 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. :)

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84

Sipdown, 122. It’s been a loooong time since I’ve had an oriental beauty, so I am interested in seeing how this one plays on my newly dark-oolong-sympathetic palate.

The scent has a kind of fruity floral that I sometimes find in black teas, perhaps darjeelings, surprisingly enough. It’s not a fruity floral that I’m super fond of, but we’ll see how it plays out here. Fortunately for me, the scent doesn’t quite translate into the taste. This has a super smooth and creamy texture that is really awesome. It’s not really roasty or toasted, and it’s not particularly vegetal either. Honey for sure, and a breadiness like a yeasty, crusty loaf straight out of the oven. A hint of fruit as well, although it’s subtle for sure. Definitely enjoying this one, and glad to try it out again!

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

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89

Sipdown, 123. This is an oolong that I haven’t yet tried from Teavivre, yay!

Wow, this one smells amazing! I guess I didn’t know quite what to expect, but yum. It smells like floral candy. Not just sugary, but like actual boiling sugar, with the slight hint of caramelization and everything. My mouth is watering!

It is less candied and more leafy in flavor, although there is certainly a lovely sweetness that lingers in the aftertaste. I do get a hint of a bite, although it is different from typical bitterness/astringency. It is a sharpess, almost spicy like arugala. I brewed it fairly strong, so the bite may be a factor of that as well. The beginning of the sip is buttery and slightly floral. I really like this one and find it more interesting than most Taiwanese high mountain oolongs that I have tried before. I may have to pick up more of this to play around with eventually. What can I say, I’m a sucker for sweet green oolongs with interesting layers of flavor.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
K S

I’m with you. One of the reviews said this was nothing special and Teavivre calls it a beginner Taiwan oolong. I’m thinking did we have the same tea? Then I thought my palette just wasn’t sophisticated enough, and that may be partly true as I do enjoy several everyday teas. It is good to see someone else have the same reaction to this one.

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83

Sipdown, 124. I actually meant to grab a different sample pouch this morning, but my brain is somewhat addled from poor sleep last night, so this one it is. Another of my winnings from Teavivre’s latest fall oolong giveaway.

Apparently the last time I had this tea (probably a different harvest) I found it to be not very toasted in flavor, but this one seems more roasty in the aroma at least. It is sweet and toasty, reminding me a bit of floral honey on toast (because there is also an awesome honeyed sweeteness in this one). Didn’t get that last time… I wonder if it was my leaf to water ratio? I am packing the leaf a bit more these days, which I think is making a difference when it comes to these oolongs. I am for sure enjoying these toasty oolongs more… maybe it’s my palate changing, maybe it’s that I figured out my optimal brewing for them, maybe it’s the fall weather that’s back! Nice and cool, perfect for curling up with a cup of tea.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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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

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