150 Tasting Notes

This was a sample included in a Teavivre order.

In general I prefer darker oolongs to the less oxidized ones, but this is quite alright. It reminds me very much of a green tea. I rinsed the leaves for 10sec before brewing. The first steep was 55sec and was very vegetal. It made me think of buttered peas and spinach. A strong umami flavor was present. The end of each sip was floral and buttery, with a silky smooth finish. A second steep (1min 40) yielded a more flowery, buttery cup of pale yellow tea. It was a bit sweeter with that characteristic TGY flavor. A sweet, vanilla cupcake taste clung to my mouth after each swallow. Lovely flavor, and quite strong with such short steeps. (I couldn’t imagine steeping for 3 minutes!) I think if you have a preference for green oolongs or TGY you would really enjoy this tea. As for me, not so much. I could have kept steeping the leaves for several more infusions but two cups were enough for me!

Flavors: Butter, Cake, Floral, Peas, Spinach, Vanilla, Vegetal


Thank you very much for the lovely review, kimquat :) Can I share your review to our website www.teavivre.com please?


Absolutely. (:

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(From the UTTB.)

Just got around to trying this one. It’s definitely better the more it cools…I’m getting hay-like notes, sweet cream, honeysuckle, and rice pudding. It’s naturally sweet with a slightly nutty flavor. If I had to describe it as a color, it’s the inside of almonds. A very light tan. The color of foam on top of a latte, maybe. Verdant recommends starting with a 30sec infusion and increasing in increments of 10-15sec. I did a first infusion of 55 seconds and a second infusion of 1min 15. In my experience, longer steeps work better for white teas because they bring out stronger flavors (as long as the water isn’t too hot). Water temp was somewhere between 170F and 190F, if I had to guess.

When the tea is hot it’s mostly hay with a touch of buttery green. I wait about 10-15 minutes after brewing to drink. It settles into that creamy, nutty, flowery loveliness that white teas can have! Very nice.

Thanks for putting this in the box MzPriss!

Flavors: Cream, Hay, Honeysuckle, Nuts, Rice, Sweet, Vanilla


I’m glad you enjoyed it – I can’t seem to get into whites. I’m pretty sure I’m doing something wrong – but they never taste like much to me. I suppose subtlety is lost on me.

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Sipping right now. I used the same parameters that I did for Bu Lang Gong Ting two days ago. Boiling water, 2tsp/10oz, 15sec rinse. Steep times were 35sec, 40sec, and 1min 25.

This tea is very earthy but also very light. I’m getting mild notes of cream, bread, nuts, and chocolate. They all seem to be hovering in the background, coming forward and receding as soon as I notice them. The mushroom, earthy flavors and nuttiness are the things I notice most. I swear I noticed something spicy or peppery in the second steep. As soon as I placed a name to it it disappeared. Agh, did I imagine it?! There’s a sweetness and warm bread-like flavor that sticks around after sipping. Third steep was more woodsy with a drying finish.

I think this tea will age very well. I need to find a different way to store it…I’ve just kept it in the ziplock-seal package it came in. I’ll try a five-minute steep tomorrow and see how I like it!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Cream, Earth, Mushrooms, Nuts, Wet Earth, Wood


I’m so happy you are grooving on this. It’s been my first tea of the day for over 2 years now. Not kidding. I bought all the loose leaf and blended it, shipped enough to the pressing factory to have 400 (250g) cakes pressed and shipped many crates of it back here to myself.

The cakes of this are really opening up now – 1 yr 8 months since their pressing.

I love your review of this tea. Thank you for taking the time to get down on the keyboard. Let me know if you recall the lost name :) I’d love to know!


I get pepper notes in shou sometimes as well.

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drank Mi Xian Black by Butiki Teas
150 tasting notes

I have probably only tried this tea once since I first ordered it. It’s been so long I can’t even remember. Here lately I’ve been revisiting old teas with a fresh perspective, hoping to find something I couldn’t see before…

For this tea I used 3tsp of leaf to 10oz of water, just under boiling. A 10-second rinse brought out heady scents of peach, honey, and lychee! I used my nose to decide when to end the first steep. It was right at two minutes, which fits my normal brewing parameters for black teas.

The initial flavor was peach accompanied by a tart, full juiciness. The sip then turned to cream…sweetness…dark honey. An intoxicating brew. Malt and caramel followed soon after. I noticed that as it cooled, it became more vegetal and grapey like a Darjeeling. It was still honey-sweet but it seemed to sit more lightly on the tongue.

The second steep was 3min 30. I got peaches and cream with a hint of floral background. The finish was slightly drying. Rich caramel-chocolate flavors stayed long after each sip. Despite the dark, heavy flavors at the end the tea was actually very mellow. It’s something I would save for an after-dinner cup.

Hmm…It’s interesting how much my tastes have changed just over the past year. I wasn’t picking up on all of the subtleties before. I’m glad I came back to this tea! And I still have a decent amount left to enjoy, too. (:

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Honey, Lychee, Malt, Peach, Smooth


Oh hey, just wanted to say, I sent you a message. But the server crashed once so I’m not sure if you got it. xD
Hope you did! Let me know if you didn’t though!


I got one of them! Check your inbox. (:


This sounds so lovely! I am on tea buying probation, but I am adding this to my wish list anyway!

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This tea is the embodiment of springtime to me. The tea liquor is pale yellow-gold. So pale as to be almost clear. It starts with a vibrant green, floral flavor, then gains the sweetness and softness of honeysuckle flowers. The finish is buttery, smooth, and marshmallow sweet. It leaves a very soft pillowy feeling behind. Absolutely lovely. It has been a while since I’ve had this tea, and it’s much sweeter and softer than I remembered.

2tsp / 10oz water
15 second rinse
1st steep – 40sec
2nd steep – 1min 10

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Honeysuckle, Marshmallow, Orchid

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Needed a shu to get me going this morning! I haven’t been drinking much puerh since the winter/early spring. It’s something I typically reserve for cooler weather, when I need something to warm my bones…And it usually does the trick. (: Interesting to revisit an old favorite after so long. I used 2tsp of leaf to about 10oz of boiling water, rinsing for 15 seconds first. Steep times were 35sec, 40sec, and 1min 15. Every steep was creamy, nutty, and mushroom-earthy. Each flavor had varying intensities but for the most part each steep was very similar. Notes of baked bread gained strength with every infusion.

Overall I would say Bu Lang Gong Ting makes a bold cup with light sweetness, pastry/bread notes, some fruit/berry undertones, and a strong earthiness about it. Lowering the rating a tad because it’s not very complex—it’s comfortably consistent and reliable. Not very fussy either. Nonetheless, it’s still one of my favorite shu’s.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Berry, Creamy, Mushrooms, Nutty, Pastries, Wet Earth


Great job with your notes! And you are right about complexity of this tea. It has wonderful characteristics by itself and brews up a wonderful western style brew. But for gong fu style brewing, I like to blend in some larger leaf material to keep it more interesting in later steeps.

The flavors you bring up in your notes are spot on for me, too.

As far as the ripe pu’er in cooler weather, that definitely rings true for many. In Chinese medicine all foods, drink, etc are seen as having a thermal nature – they can be cooling, neutral or warming. The lighter, less processed teas are seen as cooling, oolongs (for the most part) as neutral, and darker teas as warming. We really see it reflected in our sales as the lighter tea sales increase as weather warms and the inverse when weather cools. Seriously an inverse relationship.

I hope you are having a super spectacular day, my friend! Thanks for the notes!


I’ve never tried gong fu brewing with this one. Maybe I need to do that next. I tried a 5 minute steep this morning and it was delicious! Like a breakfast pastry, somehow the long steep brought out more hidden sweetness and a buttery flavor. Seriously good.

I have heard that before. Oolongs typically have a cooling effect on my body temperature—especially high mountain oolongs. In winter I would drink puerh before trekking across university campus for class. If I drank it right before leaving, I would hardly notice the wind chill on my face and hands. If I drank other kinds of tea—oolong, green tea—it wouldn’t have the same effect. I can always feel my body temp rise after drinking puerh. Other teas served at the same temperature won’t necessarily do that. I always thought it was fascinating…I didn’t read anything about it until months later.

I hope you’re having a lovely day as well! Thank you for the wonderful tea!

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Got this as a sample in my last Teavivre order. A fifteen second rinse made the leaves open up and release a heady, dark chocolatey fragrance. I used 4 pearls with about 10 oz of water just under boiling for 2 minutes. “Slight” flavor of chocolate…ha! The predominant flavor to me is chocolate/cocoa. It’s rich, malty and juicy, with a thick lingering sweetness. It’s not a heavy tea by any means. It’s very light on the tongue, but the flavors that stay after sipping are full and rich. Delicious…not overly complex, but very satisfying to me. I could use it as a comfort tea. I’m sad that I only have a sample of this left. (: I’d like to spend more time with this, maybe gong fu brew it over a day.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Honey, Malt


There is some in the UTTB


I should have gotten a sample while it was here, but I knew I had an unopened sample at home with me. Regrets…

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drank Silver Buds Yabao by Verdant Tea
150 tasting notes

Received in a swap with BrewTEAlly Sweet forever ago!

Oh my goodness, this tea was unexpectedly delicious. I’ve never had a yabao and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I used pre-boil water and steeped for just under 2 1/2 minutes. The tea liquor is very, very pale—almost clear. The aroma is like spice and wood. A sharp smell, but very woodsy. I’m sipping right now…it’s cedar and wood on the front end with a spicy undertone. It’s fresh and clean, like air in the forest, or on a mountainside. There’s a hint of fruitiness that’s like peach or honeydew. At the end of each sip it develops a very sweet, marshmallow flavor. It coats your mouth with syrupy sweetness and it’s SO refreshing. It really packs a wallop for such a pale, modest-looking tea. It looks like it will be going strong for a while, too…if what everyone says is correct! I’m excited. I’ll definitely be sipping on this one for the rest of the day. It’s great. (:

Flavors: Cedar, Honeydew, Marshmallow, Peach, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Wood

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drank GABA Black by Mandala Tea
150 tasting notes

Received as a sample in a Mandala order several months ago. It’s definitely…unique. I’m having trouble coming up with the right words. There’s a honey-like taste to it and a syrupy sweetness. A grape or muscatel flavor, as well. It tastes more like a roasted, well-oxidized oolong to me than a black tea. There are fruit notes that are difficult for me to describe…they’re similar to peach or apricot, but not quite the same. It calls to mind crunchy, sweet green fruits and vegetables. Pear? Is that it? I can’t tell. Celery? No, not quite. It’s slightly vegetal and floral. There’s an aftertaste like honey-drizzled, buttery bread. Light and spongey and sweet. It’s smooth and roasty too. I like it more than I expected to. I wish I could better explain its indescribable taste!

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Muscatel, Roasted, Sweet, Vegetal


Fascinating tea note :)


I probably need this


Interesting note for an interesting tea. I’ll send you the rest of my sample MzPriss!


There is some in the Butiki teabox so I was reading about this one today. Supposedly the Gaba reduces anxiety.


@kimquat – woo! thanks. I’ll message you


@kimquat – I was just doing (another) Mandala order and I went ahead and got a little of this so go ahead and enjoy the rest of it. Thank you so much for the offer :)


It’s no problem at all! Hope you enjoy it.

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(From the UTTB.)

Backlog from a few days ago! Jotted down notes but never posted them. I need to stop doing that. I’ve been on Steepster for almost a year and I’ve only written 50 tasting notes, what’s up with that? I want to get to at least 100 before end of summer! I’m getting there, slowly and surely…but I digress. (:

First sip of this tea was fruity, then it morphed into something thick and malty and chocolatey sweet! Exactly like the way it smelled. It was like chocolate graham crackers. And it was very distinctly NUTTY and RICEY for me. I’ve seen very few other people comment on those flavors, so maybe I’m crazy?! It reminded me of Verdant’s LBCG so MUCH. It tasted like it had puffed rice in it. All of the sudden it had me thinking of Cocoa Pebbles and Cocoa Krispies cereal, transporting me right back into my childhood.

The second steep was smoother with less astringency, not that there was really any to begin with. A caramel-vanilla sweetness peeked in. Less fruitiness and a thinner texture. It doesn’t coat the mouth as much. The predominant flavors for me were rich chocolate and toasted rice. It was an absolutely decadent cup. Like dessert, but not. BETTER! I was going to add this one to my next WP order and trying it beforehand only affirmed it for me.

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cocoa, Fruity, Graham Cracker, Malt, Nutty, Toasted Rice, Vanilla


AH, I want to try this someday!


@TeasBrat – check your mail next week


Sorry I typo’d your name :(

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I am still relatively new to loose leaf, as I have only been drinking it since 2013. I’m amazed at how much my tastes have changed just over the past year. I have met such lovely, kind individuals on Steepster and am so glad to have become a part of this community.

Pure black teas are my favorite. I drink black tea daily and I try to keep a variety on hand. I also enjoy white tea, puerh, and the occasional oolong. Matcha is something that I love though I haven’t tried a large variety. The very good matcha that I’ve had is quite expensive. In general I try to stay away from flavored teas—especially those with artificial flavorings—but I will make rare exceptions, and I do enjoy a well crafted blend of straight teas. Things I (usually) don’t like: green oolongs, rooibos, straight green teas.

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.

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

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