104 Tasting Notes

Method:
2TB/10oz
Rinse: 20sec
First steep: 45sec
Second steep: 50sec
Third steep: 55sec
Fourth steep: 55sec
Fifth steep: 1min 05sec

I wish I could tell you what temperature the water was. I use an Adagio UtiliTEA to heat water and I don’t have a thermometer. I did the touch test for temp: I dipped my finger in and pulled it away quickly. It registered as “hot” for a moment, but not enough to burn. It’s the temp I use for green teas.

1. Herbaceous aroma and taste at the tip of the tongue. There is a slightly tangy flavor that I can’t place as a fruit. Not quite bitter, but tangy. There are woodsy notes too. Like fresh wood and forest. Each sip finishes creamy, sweet, and floral…similar to a tieguanyin. There is a buttery mouthfeel that’s more texture than flavor. It actually reminds me of a very light cheesecake, or whipped topping.

2. Now THIS infusion says “tangy lime” to me! It is slightly tart, with just a touch of bitterness that makes me think of lime zest. There is a spice quality that I can’t put my finger on. Oh, that frustrates me. It’s an herbaceous, plant-like spice that I’ve noticed in other shengs. Particularly Mandala’s Wild Monk. The creamy, floral finish coupled with the tangy lime flavor makes me think of key lime pie! I’m just missing the graham cracker crust.

3. Very similar to the second. Begins with tanginess and bitter lemon/lime zest. A very leafy, plant-like flavor too. I seem to be catching notes of aloe/eucalyptus. It’s a green freshness. Not as potent as the notes I was catching in the Jabber though. I hope I’m not reading it wrong, because eucalyptus is still a flavor that’s new to my palate. Finish is long: floral, cream, dairy.

4. Compared to previous steeps the fourth is soooo smoothed out. There is absolutely no bitterness. The tangy lime/citrus flavor has dissipated as well. It’s sweet, with notes of honey and melon. Unripe melon. Honeydew! There’s a hint of pine. It could be cedar, I admit, but it’s most certainly an evergreen. It feels juicy in a way that makes my mouth water. Again, cream in the finish.

5. This one is floral and fresh, sweet like honeysuckle. The melon flavor is still present—ripe, not unripe. Long finish with butter and cream. Buttery both in taste and texture this time! This steep has notes of hay like a white tea. Not quite grain, but hay, yes. Creaminess that coats your mouth.

Overall an interesting experience. I would like to see how this tea ages with time. I imagine the first few steeps wouldn’t be so rough. I drank this yesterday and threw the leaves into a jar of water to cold-steep overnight. Today it’s very leafy and fresh with faint notes of honeysuckle and cream. I didn’t catch all of the flavors that were described, but then, I don’t know what “camphor” or “oakmoss” taste like. It was definitely very green, as shengs tend to be. There were indefinable undertones of evergreen spice. Flavors that I have a hard time putting into words!

I’m excited to see what other people think of this one. (:

Flavors: Butter, Citrus Zest, Cream, Creamy, Eucalyptus, Floral, Forest Floor, Green, Hay, Herbaceous, Honey, Honeydew, Honeysuckle, Lime, Melon, Pine, Tangy, Wood

Cheri

I should have done this one today, but I was in the mood for something different.

boychik

Shorter steeps to tame bitterness like 10-15 sec, sometimes shorter

Whispering Pines Tea Company

The evergreen spice you’re getting is oakmoss. :) The variety of oakmoss I’ve drank in the past grew on pine and had a light cooling spice to them as well as sweet pine resin.

Saradiann

I’m so glad you posted… I’ve been so anxious to hear other experiences with steeping this tea!

TheTeaFairy

That was an awesome review kimquat!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

95

Oh yes.

My tiny, tiny WPT order came in today. This is just what I needed!

I couldn’t tell you what camphor or eucalyptus tastes like, but I can tell you that it’s similar to aloe. Or at least, the way aloe smells. It smells like a pale green plant. Not minty, but it awakens similar taste buds. It’s like a breath of fresh air. A cool mountain breeze, carrying the scent of evergreen trees. I still don’t know what eucalyptus tastes like but I bet it’s delicious. ;) This was the first note I found in this tea. Following closely behind is the deep, rich flavor of dark chocolate. It’s SOOO dark and so robust! Just the way I like it! It intensifies as I keep sipping, and covers my mouth with a dark malty sweetness. Mmmm, cocoa. There is the suggestion of stone fruits in the background. (I recognize this from Ailaoshan Black.) Red fruits. Plums, raisins, maybe cherries. Each sip finishes with honey and thick caramel. It has a pudding-like texture. It coats your whole mouth and leaves you wanting moooore! After, when I exhale, I taste aloe/eucalyptus/freshness. It’s a very “clean” sensation (which is why I likened it to mint).

The second steep is more smooth and mellow. The flavors have melded together a little more and the aloe/eucalyptus has receded. It still has a freshness to it, but it’s not as pervasive. There’s a woodsiness/earthiness to this steep as well. Notes of cocoa still present, and strong. They contribute to the dark forest flavors very well. If I try very hard I can discern a grainy, bready flavor behind everything. It’s not like fresh buttered bread. It’s dry. Fresh, but dry. Maybe toasted wheat bread or bread crust. And omg, pudding mouth. There’s a very creamy, caramelly, custard-like finish! Ahhhh, this is great. I’m so glad I got this before it sold out.

Dang it Brenden. Adding yet another to my cupboard staples.

sigh

Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Cream, Custard, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Eucalyptus, Honey, Malt, Plums, Stonefruits, Wood

TheTeaFairy

Soooo yummy!!!! And Oh! We both used “pudding mouth” in our reviews!! Great minds think alike :-)

kimquat

Ohhh yeah! Only because it’s true! Honey mouth, pudding mouth. These should be widely accepted tea terms.

And I got a sample of Arbor Mist in my box today! swoons Does anyone else have this? I think it’ll be my morning tea tomorrow! I’m SO EXCITED

TheTeaFairy

Please do review!!! My order of Arbor Mist is on the way…would love to know what you think :-)

kimquat

I will. (: I’m probably not going to follow instructions with this tea. I don’t have a lot of experience with shengs; I’m more of a shu girl. With shengs I overleaf, use low temp, and do short steeps. Sort of a western gong fu. We’ll see how this goes. I hope I don’t mess it up because I just have a sample. D:

TheTeaFairy

Yes I agree, I would do short steeps with this one also :-)
(I have a few mao cha that I adore and I always do them gongfu style cause they tend to get bitter otherwise)

MzPriss

I love the Jabberwocky soooo much

TheTeaFairy

My order had shipped MzPriss!!! Jabber will be here soon!!! Twas brillig!!!

MzPriss

BRILLIG!!!!! You NEED a supply of the Jabber. Oh maybe I’ll have that next…

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

I’m trying to make room in my cupboard, so I’m going back and drinking down teas that are close to finished! I’d like to make this a Saturday sipdown; I’ve only got one TB of this left. Yeesh, my other note on this is so vague!

Method:
Nearly 2TB/10oz
Pre-boiling
Rinse: 15sec
First steep: 55 seconds
Second steep: 1min 15
Third steep: 1min 40
Fourth steep: 2min 10

(Aroma from the rinse: apple, cinnamon, damp earth, mineral, raisin.)

1. At the front of each sip I’m getting strong mineral notes and a wet, dark earthiness. It’s clean and tastes like spring water. River stones. Rocks. Midway through sipping it takes on a roasted flavor, then notes of cinnamon and cream appear. The finish is smooth and buttery. Silky! It’s not heavy at all. It’s very light on the tongue. Maybe medium-bodied, since I used SO much leaf. As the liquid cools the mineral and earth notes step back. It tastes like lightly buttered, slightly charred cinnamon raisin bread. Very darkly toasted but not quite burnt.

2. There is much less mineral in this cup. It’s slightly earthy with a taste like autumn leaves. The dominant flavors are cream, butter, cinnamon and honey. The roastiness is still present, but it’s toned down a bit as well. The buttery cream taste coats my mouth as I continue sipping. At the bottom of the cup, the lukewarm liquid brings back the mineral/spring water flavors I was getting earlier. Now my tongue is coated with honey sweetness and a touch of malt.

3. Earthiness and mineral notes have all but dissipated. This steep is very soft, creamy, and slightly floral. There is a fruity undertone: it’s like raisins or maybe plums. A little tart. (Just a little.) Finish is long: notes of butter, cream, honey, and flowers. Lingering cream/floral flavor. Cinnamon spice is barely present in the background. Impressions: Dairy. Lightly sweetened whipped cream. Fleece. Light peach/coral color. Greek yogurt. (From the thickness of the dairy flavor.)

4. Stronger honey taste. It’s at the beginning of each sip. Rocky, mineral notes are back but rather than being dark, they’re light and sparkling. Like gray stones splashed with spring water, glistening in the sun. There is honeysuckle and cream at the end of each sip. Honey persists throughout. I think I taste a golden delicious apple somewhere in there…but I can’t tell if I’m imagining it or not. Long finish, again. A lot of dairy. And honeysuckle flowers.

There is a lot more complexity to this tea than I remembered. Holy crap. I’m glad I came back to it. This could be a sign of me getting back into oolongs! GREAT for gong fu, or bastardized western versions of gong fu. (Which is usually what I do.)

Leaves are still going strong…but after drinking this all afternoon, I’m in the mood for something different. I’ll probably throw this into a mason jar in the fridge overnight. We’ll see what happens. (:

Flavors: Apple, Autumn Leaf Pile, Butter, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Floral, Honey, Honeysuckle, Milk, Mineral, Raisins, Roasted, Toast, Wet Earth, Wet Rocks

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

92

Sipdown! Shared the last of this with a friend of mine. Very delicious, good for at least three steeps. I forgot how BUTTERY and SMOOTH and wonderful this was! The tieguanyin adds the buttery, floral dimension while the yabao lends to the evergreen freshness of the pine and cedar. It’s creamy, spicy, and minty. There are flavors both cool and warm; everything balances quite beautifully. I get a lot of qi from this tea. It makes me feel warm, relaxed, and alert. Very centering. Good for meditation, I’m sure! I upped the rating because it’s quite simply a beautiful tea. I’m very, very sad that this is no longer in my cupboard. As soon as I collect the funds for another HUGE Whispering Pines order I’m going to ask for it to be re-blended! I need more of this in my life.

Flavors: Butter, Cedar, Cinnamon, Creamy, Floral, Mint, Peppercorn, Pine, Roasted, Smooth, Spices, Vanilla

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

92

One of the samples sent to me by Green Terrace Teas!

Method:
2tsp/10oz
Pre-boiling
Steep 1: 2min
Steep 2: 2min 15
Steep 3: 2min 45

Predominantly I’m getting thick, syrupy honey notes. They’re lovely and sweet without being cloying. There is a mild floral flavor in the background, along with some juicy, fruity tones in the foreground. Some people say peach, but to me, it’s apricot. I’m not quite sure how I make the distinction. There is an elusive winey/muscatel note that peeks out every now and then, but refuses to stick around. As soon as I notice it’s gone again! This tea is smooth, smooth, smooth. Like velvet. And creamy, too! Each sip finishes with notes of buttery, lightly toasted bread. Oats. Grain. Mostly fresh bread. Delicious…SO delicious. Butter, bread, and honey are the notes that linger behind after sipping.

The second steep is very similar to the first. Honey and pastry are at the fore, though a slightly floral element remains in the background. The fruit notes have smoothed out some—it seems that they’ve melded with the honey flavor. They’re not immediately evident. I have to look for them, and they’re a bit less tart. No muscatel here either. There is a distinctly caramel-like flavor that appears at the end of each sip. It’s coupled with a thick, creamy, ice-cream like taste. Vanilla custard! That’s it, or similar enough. Mmmm. It’s a little malty and it coats the tongue with sweetness. This cup was strong—much stronger than expected, given that the tea is so light. Well, let me clarify: the flavors found in the tea are light, but the texture and weight of the tea are not. It has me stymied but I LIKE it! I’m not usually a fan of “light” black teas, and the texture makes up for the “lightness” of flavor. These are flavors I find frequently in less oxidized teas.

In the third steep, the flavors mellowed and evened out a bit more. I still have intense honeymouth. It’s good, but not as layered or complex as previous infusions. (That or I’m just too tired to tell.) The leaves could probably be used at least once more. I wish I could continue, but it’s past my bedtime. (:

Marvelous, marvelous tea. I’m so glad I could try it!
I’m ordering this as soon as I get the chance.

Also: 100th TASTING NOTE!

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Butter, Caramel, Creamy, Custard, Floral, Grain, Honey, Malt, Oats, Peach, Vanilla

Sil

Woohoooo Grats on 100 notes!

TheTeaFairy

Congrats, and lovely review as always :-)

boychik

Sounds yummy! Congrats on 100!

KiwiDelight

Congrats on your 100th review!!

Ost

Congrats!! Also you made that tea seem so much more in my book :O I’ll have to try it.

kimquat

Thanks so much! :D

@Ost, you must. If I order mine before yours I’ll send you a sample!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

80

Sample from hapatite! Thanks hun!

This is the second time I’ve tried this tea. The first time I was too busy to write any notes and I wanted to give it a proper review. So! I brewed some of this up tonight. I was craving a bready, malty Yunnan. When I set my mug aside to cool, an ant somehow found its way into my cup. I deliberated for a moment…and then just picked him out. I’m gross. ): But I didn’t want to sacrifice the entire cup when I only had a few teaspoons of leaf left.

Usual method for blacks without instruction: 1.5tsp/10oz, pre-boil, 2 min. Subsequent steep times vary, but this time it was 3min.

It’s a little brisk at the beginning of each sip—especially when it’s hot. Notes of citrus, cocoa, bread, and a maltiness that coats the tongue. It has a smooth texture and it’s surprisingly light-bodied. Maybe medium. Towards the end of each sip you get stone fruits. Red fruits. It has me thinking of plums, then it has me thinking of raisins. There are notes of sweet potato: rich and thick, with a lingering sweetness. There is a bit of honey there as well. The sweet potato, grain, and fruit notes are more prominent as the liquid cools.

Well, this is a decent tea. It doesn’t wow my pants off like I hoped it would. It’s not overly complex. It stays consistent through steeps and it could probably hold up to milk and sugar. No muss, no fuss. For those reasons I would make it an everyday tea…maybe an everyday morning tea. The cost makes it less desirable, though. There are other teas with similar flavor profiles that are of higher quality and more affordable. Plus I think they just sold their last tin!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Citrus, Cocoa, Fruity, Grain, Honey, Stonefruits, Sweet Potatoes

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

This was sent to me by Green Terrace Teas for review. Thank you very much!

1.5tsp/10oz
pre-boiling

First steep: 2min
This tea is wonderfully smooth! It’s light but it has a velvety texture and a nice weight on the tongue. There are light, flowery notes that mingle with a dominant fruitiness. Stone fruits, certainly. Peach specifically. I’m getting very strong notes of honey as well! As it cools grain-y, bread-like flavors begin to emerge. I love finding those in a black tea.

Second steep: 2min 30
I’m getting many of the same notes as before, but it seems that there’s an element of cinnamon/spice that came out in the second steep. That was unexpected! Honey is still going strong. There’s just a wee touch of woodsy flavor. Mouthfeel is smooth and almost creamy. Naturally sweet, with honeysuckle and peach in the aftertaste. Lightly toasted bread, drizzled with honey. Mhmm. I MUCH prefer this steep to the first one.

This is mouth-watering delicious. I suspect it would do very well as an iced tea. Maybe cold-brewed overnight? I don’t know if I’ll keep it in my cupboard because I prefer black teas with “heavier” flavors: nuts, chocolate, malt, etcetera. I know that I’ll enjoy the rest of my sample and, who knows. Maybe I’ll keep some around for a blue moon.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Flowers, Honey, Honeysuckle, Peach, Stonefruits, Wood

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

100

This evening I broke into the 2013 spring harvest. I needed something soothing and dependable to cure the doldrums. Though each harvest yields a slightly different flavor profile, somehow they all retain enough common elements to strike the same chord in my heart. To me, this tea is always beautiful. It’s gentle, forgiving, uplifting, and kind. It knows exactly what I need and it brings to me a state of calm and quiet joyfulness.

Tea soulmate.

Right now, I don’t need anything else in the world…

Flavors: Cedar, Chocolate, Citrus, Cocoa, Cream, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Muscatel, Nuts

TheTeaFairy

“Tea Soulmate”… That makes me smile :-)

MzPriss

I adore this tea and I love this note

MzPriss

And it inspired me to make it my first cup of the morning. Dang! I love this tea. I need to look, but I’m pretty sure I rate it at 100 too.

Stephanie

Happy tea times <3

kimquat

Times like this remind me why I love tea! It can completely turn my mood around and make me feel centered. I love Zhu Rong. She’s always there for me… (:

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

72

I’ve wanted to try this tea ever since I first learned of it! Thanks to hapatite for the sample.

It smelled very maple-y and slightly alcoholic in the bag. SO. MUCH. MAPLE! That weird alcohol smell had me worried about brewing, but I went for it anyway. It tastes much milder than I expected it to. The TGY base is floral, buttery, and very “green” like fresh young plants. The maple is the next dominant flavor and it’s accurate. Probably my favorite part of this tea. I don’t taste any cheesecake, though. There’s a slight tangy flavor that I can’t identify. It’s like cream cheese, but it’s certainly not cheesecake. This tea isn’t vanilla enough or creamy enough to remind me of cheesecake, or even dessert. Darn. It does make a lovely maple TGY though!

Sadly I don’t drink oolong very often, and definitely not greener, lighter oolongs like this TGY. Into the swap box it goes.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Green, Maple, Tangy

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

83

Note that this is not the pre-mixed blend currently offered by Verdant. I ordered Laoshan Black and their Chai Spice separately. For this cup, I used 2tsp of chai spice to 1.5tsp of LB. 10oz of water, boiling, steeped for 4min 30.

I had a cup of this before work yesterday and I’m having another today!

Now this is pretty good. It has an aroma of cocoa, berry, tulsi, and cardamom. The current chai spice blend includes two different kinds of tulsi. I’m a little saddened by that, honestly, because I associate tulsi with cooking spices and I don’t necessarily like it in my tea. Also I’m very sensitive to the aroma and taste. It’s not unpleasant—it adds an element of green freshness that I enjoy—but it is VERY strong. The other spices are well-balanced; not biting or overwhelming in any way. The LB is smooth and chocolatey without any bitterness or astringency.

Second steep was 5min. The tulsi has backed off some—thankfully! LB is able to shine through much more. Cocoa, wood, and a soft creamy mouthfeel. The cinnamon and fennel are more dominant as well. There’s a tiny hint of berry sweetness and honey at the end of each sip. Yes, it is good…but I’m not overly impressed. I loved Laoshan Village Chai when I had it a year ago. I blame the tulsi this time around.

Flavors: Berry, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Honey, Spices, Tulsi, Wood

Sil

does it also have the goji berries in it?

kimquat

Yes it does. I forgot to include the ingredients.

Here is what is listed on their site:

Ginger, Cinnamon, Clove, Fennel, Cardamom Seeds, Elderberry, Cardamom Pods, Peppercorn, Burdock, Saffron, Vanilla bean, Rama Tulsi, Krishna Tulsi, Goji Berry, Galangal

Sil

UGH…. soooo tired of the goji berries… and i think the tulsi was getting to me last time. i want my original LB chai back :(

Terri HarpLady

I just realized a way I can get around the crappy water in FL!
I’ll bring my chai, pick up some almond milk, & make a daily batch of chai awesomeness each day, no water included! Thanks for the inspiration, kumquat!

Sil

ooh there you go terri!

Terri HarpLady

Sorry I’ve been such a complainer lately… :p

mrmopar

Works of a mad scientist……. :p

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Profile

Bio

I have been drinking tea all of my life, but I have only been drinking loose leaf since 2013. It has been a journey! I’m amazed at how much my tastes have changed just over the past year. I have met such lovely, sweet individuals on Steepster and am so glad to have become a part of this community.

My cupboard is reflective of the teas I have on-hand. (Though, of course, not quantities.) I’m always up for swaps so if you want to trade teas just send me a message!

I love, love love pure black teas. Definitely my favorite. I also quite enjoy white teas, puerh, and darker/roasted oolongs. Matcha is a secret love that I neglect too often. I try to stay away from flavored teas, but I do enjoy a well crafted blend. I drink dessert teas on occasion—usually when I’m craving something sweet. It’s a mood-driven decision. Things I (usually) don’t like: green oolongs, rooibos, artificially flavored teas, straight greens.

Rating System
90+ The very best! Teas that I always need in my cupboard!
85-89 Teas that I enjoy immensely and will try to keep around.
80-84 Makes a very pleasing cup. I will enjoy drinking them, but won’t necessarily try to keep around. (There are exceptions.)
70-79 Decent, but could be better.
60-69 Mediocre.
40-59 Gross. I might still try to finish the cup.
39 & under Undrinkable. I probably dumped this cup. Depending on the specific rating, I probably threw the rest of the tea out as well. It’s basically me saying “I hate it” with varying intensity and inflection.

Some of my favorite tea companies are:
-Whispering Pines Tea Co.
-Verdant Tea
-Mandala Tea
-Butiki Teas

Following These People

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer