847 Tasting Notes


Well. A sipdown is a good way to start off the morning, even if its a blend you really liked.

I have been doing a massive spring cleaning of my cupboard and am in the process of getting some very old blends out. Down to 64 today! Hmm. I guess I should start placing some orders soon… :)

Today’s final cup was made extra strong and with a splash of creamer. It is tasty as ever, sweet vanilla custard being the dominant flavor, as usual. I love vanilla blacks. I suppose its time to face the music and start searching for another one, as this was a limited edition blend.

Schoolwork first, then time to peruse some tea websites I think..

Flavors: Caramel, Cream, Vanilla

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

Oooh. Tea website perusing is one of life’s little luxuries.


I really miss this one.

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My last to try from the Steepster select box. Green oolongs are usually not something I prefer due to their florality, so I’m not really expecting to be bowled over by this. But, after reading the story of the tea itself and the farm it comes from I am curious to give it a try.

Steeped gong fu method per the Eco-Cha website instructions.

First steep, 1:10.
Smells of butter, tastes strongly floral. Reminds me strongly of a Ti Kwan Yin (though without that thick, oily mouthfeel), down to the tightly rolled balls that constitute the appearance of the dry leaf. Perhaps I am imagining it but as the tea cools I do think there’s an indistinct fruitiness that is trying to assert itself. Those flowers are pretty tough to contend with, though. A pretty yellow liquor and zero bitterness.

Seconds steep, 1:30.
Now that some of the leaves have unfurled I am seeing a lot of branches still attached. Interesting. I wonder how they were concealed? Did those tight little leaf balls really contain that? Mm.. the dry leaf now holds a very sweet pear note. I hope the liquor does as well. It has, sort of. The floral note is still the strongest but fruit (apples or pear) has become more obvious too. Much more juicy and sweet to taste. Definitely like this steeping better.

Third steep, 1:50.
In the smell of the dry leaf – flowers again, a darker, spiced fruit. Cinnamon, strangely enough. This steeping has considerably less floral and is becoming a bit astringent. A mix of astringence and fruit, but the flavor is waning in general.

Fourth steep, 2:20.
This will be my last steeping, as it’s really really light on flavor now…almost tasteless. Flowers are back, fruit is gone. It’s come full circle, if you will.

I will say this was an enjoyable experience. It solidified what I already knew about my tastes and greener oolongs. Still, it was the first time I’d ever gotten to do a gaiwan steeping of a green oolong and there is a lot to being able to smell and examine the leaf between steepings. It was quite relaxing and a great exercise in mindfulness, and that’s never a bad thing.


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drank Obukucha by Steepster
847 tasting notes

Obukucha, you are so tasty. I could almost have you for lunch instead of miso, you remind me that much of a brothy salty seaweedy soup.

I am so sad that this is only sold around the new year. I placed an order with Obubu tea to try and get another sencha and a sample of their sakura so that I can sort of have some kind of salty beverage in my future, but I am still going to miss this cup.

It is my ideal green. From the flavor profiles it almost seems like I should be looking more for a gyokuro if I want something similar, so I suppose my next step will be to research that. In the meantime, does anyone have any idea who supplied this tea for the Select Box? I love them so much for it. If you have any recommendations for similar tasting teas I’ll take that too.

So so SO good, and now it’s all gone. I hope my sencha gets here fast..

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 16 OZ / 473 ML

Hey Joonsusanna, I sourced this tea for Steepster Select, and while its all gone for the year, I would recommend you try to purchase a sencha and gyokuro from the Uji region. The salt/brine flavor you are describing is a hallmark of teas from Uji. Good luck finding a replacement!


AH! I am just now seeing your note for whatever reason, so a VERY belated THANK YOU! I have not been able to recreate the lovely briney flavors in any sencha I’ve tried since this tea, so I really appreciate the help…I also went ahead and ordered the Uji shincha that was for sale at Tea Wing because of this, once I saw that that was your store. :)

I’m really excited to try the Uji shincha, but if you think there is another tea with a flavor profile even closer to the Obukucha I’m all ears – and I trust you implicitly! Thank you again for responding!

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drank Ruby Pie by Butiki Teas
847 tasting notes

I don’t think rhubarb likes me very much. :(

It makes my throat scratchy. I know there’s hibiscus in this as well so I’m not about to blame the sharp metallic taste on it, but…the scratchy throat thing is off putting. It’s a shame, because the dry leaf scent of strawberry is so fresh and tantalizing, and the bunny graham crackers are cute and do give a good pastry note to the steeped tea. Rhubarb and hibiscus just are not playing nice today.

I will try it cold brewed to see if that will take the edge off it (though hibiscus may not do well with an extended steep) but otherwise I will likely send this along to someone who wants it.

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Oh that is a shame. It is such a great tea! Sorry it didn’t agree with you :(

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Cold brewed this since I had such bad luck with it hot. 1 pkg. in 14 oz. water in a mason jar, chilled overnight (24 hours total, because I forgot about it – oops).

There is more of a honeyed, woody note when cold, and its sweeter. Cold brewing took care of the astringence, which I figured it would. But now there’s kind of a smokiness??? Where did that come from and WHY IS IT HERE? Ugh, I hate smoke.

Nope. This one is a miss for me. I can’t overlook bitterness and I really really can’t overlook smoke. Oh well – at least it’s a sipdown!

Iced 8 min or more

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I am so so SO glad it’s March. Despite February being so short it was absolutely brutal weather-wise. Today the sun is shining and its supposed to get up into the 70s and there is real, actual SUNLIGHT outside my window.

Also I grew up in Savannah, and the city turns green for the entire month, seemingly, in preparation for St. Patrick’s day. For all of these reasons I was thinking of Ireland and decided this would be the perfect cup for a perfect Sunday morning.

This is a springy tea to me, not least because of the little green flecks present in the leaf when steeping. So bright and happy.

Served with a splash of creamer as it started to get a tad astringent when cooling. But by itself there is a really nice creamy note (before bitterness starts to creep in- next time I’ll try and be a little lighter handed on the steeping). In general this is a cup that gets sweeter as it settles – creamier and tangier as it cools.

This is a fabulous mix of breakfast and dessert tea… really, just a fabulous tea, period. One of my favorite Butiki blends.

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Lucky! We are having an ice storm! Also this one is one of my faves too :)

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Sheesh, my IRL tea cupboard was a hot mess! I think I’ve got a handle on it now but I found teas I didn’t know I had.

This was one of the teas I’ve had for a really long time at the bottom of my sample drawer. It is pretty old, but as I looked over my old tasting note it reminded me so much of that yummy Obukucha that I was willing to try it and see how it measured up.

It smells kind of fruity, which has me worried because even though it was sealed that is definitely scent contamination. I know that sometimes dry leaf smell contamination doesn’t necessarily affect flavor so I’ll press on.

Once the hot water hits the leaves a starchy sweet vegetal scent emerges. The leaves, initially a dull green, turn the light bright green of Lima beans. This reminds me strongly of dragonwell more than the brothy spinachy sencha. Tasting bears this out. This is dragonwell’s cousin for sure. Savory but not overtly salty, hints of earth rather than ocean. I had in the past tasted fruity undertones but they are not present now.

Still, for its age this was really good and flavorful. A great example of what I like in a Chinese green.

Flavors: Green Beans, Lima Beans

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

That’s why I’ve avoided using the cupboard feature here…it reminds me too much of real work! ;)

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This does smell sweet and sugared- when raw. More of a cotton candy lightness than, say, a sweet bread pudding. However, once steeped (gaiwan style, but following the package directions for time and temperature) a roasted grain note that screams hojicha takes over the smell. This is sad – I would have preferred the candied sugar scent to remain.

Sigh. The first steep is ALL toasted bread. Incidentally, I am eating freshly baked bread with it and the two mirror each other well. It is also REALLY strong, because I’ve never quite figured out how many cups each envelope in the Select box is meant to serve. I’m going with each envelope being for 2 servings, since whenever I use just one on one cup its come out too strong. So that could be why I’m being walloped over here with the toasted grain notes. At the same time, though, its not like there’s any bitterness or astringence, so…I don’t know! I like a lot about the steepster box but that’s a huge frustration for me.

The second steep – done for 2 minutes in boiling water, is surprisingly much lighter than the initial one. That punch of roasted wheat has gone away so now I smell and taste a much milder, more honeyed tea. I much prefer this, actually, so I’ll give it another go to see where the tea evolves from here.

Third steep, 3 minutes – the spent leaves smell like toast again, but the liquor smells very spun sugar sweet. Unfortunately the taste doesn’t measure up – there is definite astringence now and not much else flavorwise.

So I wasn’t really impressed with this one. It could have been user error, but I know I’ve had Da Hong Pao before and the fact that I’ve not had it since could be that it just isn’t the tea varietal for me. Eh. Put me in the camp of people that consider this ‘just ok’.

Boiling 4 g

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Tea of yesterday morning. My memory was really not as on point with it, though, because as soon as I loaded up the previous tasting note I realized I’d done all the things I’d told myself NOT to do this time.

Add the extra leaf? Yep, did that. Not add milk? Well, I put in creamer from the beginning.

Despite this the cup turned out fine. A good black breakfast tea. I just have so many others that this one doesn’t manage to set itself apart. Good but not great.

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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After the success of the Obukucha (SO bummed that that is only sold around the new year) I decided to order Japanese for lunch and make the other green tea in the Steepster box as a companion to it.

Dragonwells are easily my favorite Chinese green, if only because I find them very similar to senchas, albeit a touch more…nutty? Earthy? Something like that. There’s less of a salty ocean tang here – just vegetal green. Not necessarily grass, more of a spinach undertone. The liquor is a pretty light green, almost colorless, despite my longish steep time. Still, it does hint at broth – just not the seaweed senchas tend to evoke.

This one was good but there’s just less going on than there was in the Obukucha. A solid green tea that I could see as being well suited for an every day cup, though.

Flavors: Grass

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I have come to the point (as of October 2014) where quality in tea is more important than quantity. Especially because I’m a seasonal tea drinker where hot tea is concerned, and a SLOW one to boot. I generally don’t resteep only because I’d be here all day if I did, though I do break out a gaiwan from time to time.

I adore French teas in practically every iteration, Japanese Sencha (specifically from the Uji region, as they offer the most seaweed flavor), and Dan Cong oolongs. I am trying to focus on plain teas and so companies like Verdant, Upton, and Butiki are on my favorites list.

When it comes to tea, I feel like the 10th Doctor says it best:

“Tea! That’s all I needed! Good cup of tea! Super-heated infusion of free-radicals and tannin, just the thing for healing the synapses. "


Atlanta, GA

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