829 Tasting Notes


I know I’ve had this before because the bag is opened, but I did not log it. UGH. I think the main reason I didn’t log it is because Tea Hawaii has TWO Makai black listings on here, and it isn’t clear which this is. The leaves are spindly and black, but not as long as the Assam ones are reported to be, so maybe it is just the Sinesis? I think that’s how I’m going to log it.

(I don’t know and its really messing with my need to have my entire cabinet neatly labelled. This is why I don’t like blends, and unlabelled teas for the most part – I don’t like when things can’t be organized into their own definitive categories.)

Anyway, I’m sending some of this to Sil in a swap so I figured I should fully explore it since I had it out. And each steep is going to have its own tasting note only because otherwise this note would be a BEAST.


NOTE: I used 1.5 g. leaf. Steepster won’t let you record decimal points in the “amount” box.

Scent of the wet leaf:
Cooked sweet potatoes.

Scent of the steeped tea:
Sweet potatoes drenched in syrup. I’ve never eaten this per se but that’s what this smells like.

Kind of light, actually. I treated the steeping directions of “1 cup” as 8 oz. but maybe I should have gone with a cup as being 6 ounces and added leaf accordingly. I think I’ll add in a bit more to make it 2 g. tea for 4 oz. water and see what happens.

Hmm, as I’ve been drinking this I get this interesting taste – like if bread were condensed into a thick syrup. It has a lovely honeyed texture but isn’t overly sweet. Maybe what I’m thinking of is malt syrup, even though again, it’s not something I’ve had to even know what that is?

There is a sweetness in the aftertaste but the tea itself is mostly what a good, hearty bread would taste like. No bitterness or astringence at all. Well, on to the second steep…

Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 OZ / 118 ML

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drank Uji Shincha #4 by Tea Wing
829 tasting notes

I was so impatient for this tea to get here! Ever since I was informed what japanese region produces the mineral/seaweed profile I have been wanting to really try it out for myself. So I ordered this from TeaWing.

The dry leaf is very small and dark green, like pine needles. There were lots of broken bits, too. The scent was really pretty standard japanese sencha/green, so no surprises there. It came in a vaccuum sealed pouch and the recommended steeping was at 170-175 degrees for 45 seconds for the initial infusion, with 1 g. tea for each oz. of water. I steeped it in my gaiwan (so 4 g. leaf was used).

1st steep: 45 seconds. This does give me the ocean breeze taste I remember from Obukucha, though its missing the saltiness. It is actually rather sweet, and brothy. I drank this down really fast, but was kind of disappointed in the lack of saltiness – there was almost a sense of drinking miso broth with the Obukucha that I would have loved to experience again. Maybe I still will?

After steeping, the leaves, which were small and dark green, expanded and turned bright green. There is a definite note of nori/seaweed in the wet leaf, which is leaving me very excited to move on to the next steep…

2nd steep: 1 minute
And I ROYALLY botched it! I couldn’t drink this infusion – it was TOO bitter and astringent to go down. Note to self: 1 minute is way too long! I hate that I had to learn this the hard way, but down the drain it goes.

3rd steep: 45 seconds.
Got a little gunshy after the spectacular failure that was the last steep so I shortened the steep time back to 45 seconds. The infusion is still a bright green, and little bits of leaves keep making their way from my gaiwan to my cup. This steep is still bitter but drinkable, at least. Spinachy seaweed is all I’m tasting, with that underlying bitterness. It’s not bad, and I’m going through it pretty fast just so I can get to the next iteration of this tea…

4th steep: 45 seconds.
Bitterness and watery tea. I have well and truly botched this. :(

Well, on the bright side, I still have a little less than 100g. to play with and I know what NOT to do next time. The first steep of this certainly did have potential and I will withhold the rating for now, seeing as I broke the tea.

I know I’ll be trying it again soon though!

4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Tea of the morning. I had to get up and be somewhere for work (8 AM is for the birds, says this night shifter) and I needed something STRONG. So, 2 tsp leaf and 8 oz of water + creamer was the answer.

Today’s cup was heavy on the vanilla and not as heavy on the bergamot, which was fine by me- it’s my preferred flavor balance, actually. And I have a lot more of this left than I thought so I better start drinking!

Flavors: Bergamot, Vanilla

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

man….8 is laaate lol


When your day starts at 5:00 PM normally you would totally feel it, too, haha. Seriously – I don’t even know how you morning people do it!


That’s funny. I have to get up at 5 am every day to make carpool and work for hubby and myself. I thought that was brutal!

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The Butiki website says there’s still some availability, so I may bite, because this tea, this fabulously unassuming tea, has become quite a staple for me at breakfast time.

I mean, it tastes like soft caramels. How could it not be awesome?

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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I’ve had this so many times, and it’s gotten to the point where it really doesn’t matter how I make it – with or without milk, with or without sugar – it gives me great results each time. As long as it steeps for 4 minutes, you will get a good cup of tea.

Tonight’s was without sweetener with some biscuits and honey before going into work. The milk brought out buttery maple notes and I drank it down pretty fast – but no time to have another cup as work is calling. Ugh. In a perfect world I’d have all the time in the world to drink tea all day….

Flavors: Butter, Maple Syrup

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
829 tasting notes

I brewed this the western way, which tends to work out really well for me. (See parameters below for details on that) No additives. I don’t think I’ve ever put anything in this tea, actually. It seems like it would be sacrilegious to do so, almost.

The first steep is mostly Toasted bread. No cocoa notes. Well, there are some cocoa notes in the wet leaf, but not in the actual liquor. The dry leaf smelled like raisin bread. What a fantastic smell!

The first steep definitely has a bitterness to it- I’ve mentioned it before but its a kind of blackened toast taste almost. It paired really well with my cinnamon toast breakfast – the sweetness of that cut the bitterness of the tea well. And every sip is different – some are heavily loaded with that burny flavor, and others are more fresh baked bread. Faint notes of cocoa sneak into the periphery every once in a while too. I love chameleon tea where each sip is different but amazing in its own way.

It’s the second steep that really shines though so we’ll judge the way this tea has aged by that particular iteration. Second steep time is six minutes. Cinnamon brownie! YESSSS. There is still an underlying baked bread note separate from the cinnamon/chocolate taste, too. Oh Lao Shan black. Still quite lovely even though you’re pushing 18 months to 2 years in age.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Burnt, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Toast

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

courtney introduced me to a tsp of cacao in my LB and every now and then i still do that for extra delicious tes!

Terri HarpLady

I still haven;t tried that yet, but I love this tea as is :)

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UGH. I got the flu vaccine today (I have to, for work) and usually every time I get it a get a little sick, since that’s what a vaccine is. It’s definitely setting in a little – I just feel… off and my sinuses feel like they want to be congested, and I have a headache on top of that. Pffth. I HATE that this happens, and that I effectively have no choice but to subject myself to it every year.

Anyway, so I’m not in a great mood tonight and I knew that called for a special tea that always makes me happy. One of my old faithfuls. This one, with its lemon creamy goodness, was definitely it.

I had it without additives as usual and it was fabulous. This tea really shines as it cools down, which, since I’m a slow drinker, works out well. I’ve been spending most of the day looking up french tea companies on Steepster and trying to sort through the many blends they all offer. WHY isn’t there just one big superstore where I could buy each companies wares at once? That really would be so lovely.

Because seriously, if a hallmark of french teas is delicate, natural flavorings of consistently good quality like this one, then I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to get to this point.

Flavors: Cream, Lemon, Vanilla

2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank French Toast by 52teas
829 tasting notes

Today’s cup has no milk or sugar in it and is surprisingly sweet and decadent on its own. I mostly taste cinnamon and bread and smell syrup, but it puts itself together and really is very accurate taste wise.

The mouthfeel is rich and there is no bitterness whatsoever. I have enough left for one more cup and am pleasantly surprised by how well it has held up to time – this pouch is well over a year old but if anything tastes BETTER than when I got it!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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45 teas in my cupboard with this sipdown, guys!

I haven’t seen a number this low in a while and it is INVIGORATING! My cupboard is so clean! There are even more teas that are close to a sipdown. I don’t even know myself anymore.

This is a solid breakfast tea, even though I’m drinking it at 1 AM. My body doesn’t really notice caffeine so it doesn’t matter when I drink my black teas. Tonight’s cup is without additives and distinctly reminiscent of a Ceylon – bright and surprisingly not as astringent as I’ve alluded to in my past tasting notes. I make iced tea A LOT in the summer and do so by bringing water to a boil, adding the leaves and then cooling it down – and right now – this scent from this cup – is exactly what I’d smell when it was freshly brewed. Vaguely malty and citrusy, almost like bits of sunshine trapped in a liquid.

Ceylons make me so happy.

Based on my experience with this tea right now, I would definitely recommend. I have my favorite breakfast tea from Upton, but if you like Ceylons and you need a good breakfast tea that is strong and bright – this is your blend.

Absolutely hits the spot tonight.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

Amaaaazing! Go you for getting your cupboard in order!

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This was the perfect tea for tonight, being October and all. There are a lot of the heavy spices and then there’s also a good pumpkin flavor as well – though it needs milk and sugar to help out the flavors.

Texture on this one is thinner than I’d like, and its watery even with whole milk added and a slightly higher than recommended amount of leaf. But it’s a decent seasonal choice for a midday cup of tea.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Pumpkin

175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 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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