1696 Tasting Notes

drank Cape Jasmine Oolong by Tea Ave
1696 tasting notes

Alishan…. need I say more? OK, how about the addition of a light scent of Jasmine? So yeah, this is really good. Except, man I can’t go with their steeping directions. 8g for 130ml. That might work for some of you. I went 4g for 90ml.

The first cup was excellent. It was lightly jasmine followed by the wonderful sweet florals of the high mountain oolong. I had flashes of citrus bouncing between orange and lemon.

By the second cup all that leaf had filled my tiny gaiwan and I did not like this cup. Just too much. It was like a cup of geraniums. Maybe this would work with flash steeps but at 1m 15s I was overwhelmed.

I moved the leaf over to my glass teapot and used 10oz of water for cup three. Yeah, this is much more the way I like my tea. Lovely oolong florals. Just a touch of jasmine. This drifted into a good mineral with spice. The aftertaste was sweet, lingering, oolong.

Jasmine and oolong make a great pairing. Not sure why this is the first time I have seen it. Anyway, thanks Tea Ave. and great start to my samples.


Hey KS. How long did you do your first infusion. 1 minute?
I used about the same proportions of leaf to water that you did and found this tea a bit lacking in flavor. It was really light, and this is the usual amount I use for rolled oolongs, and several other of the Tea Ave oolongs tasted great this way. Though I did not use fully boiling water (about 194F) and only infused the first infusion for 45 seconds. I may have to pile on a little extra next time.


I did use boiling water and a 1 minute steep. I tend to like subtle teas but I don’t recall this being a lightweight. In fact I know the second cup was too much for my tastes because I thought it was over leafed. I sort of followed the instructions but my normal procedure would be 2 1/2 – 3 grams and 8 – 10 ounces of water (250 – 300 ml). I also tend to drink after the cup has cooled more than most people like it. I taste pretty much nothing with a really hot cup.

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10" of snow fell on us yesterday and the temperature is hovering in the single digits. I’m not complaining as I’ve seen what Boston is dealing with lately. Trivia – I looked up the Fahrenheit scale. You know what it is based on? Neither does anyone else. There are some guesses but the truth has been lost. 32F being the temp water freezes is the only point of agreement. Just glad I don’t have to go outside where the amount of snow is higher than the temperature.

Needed something to warm me up. This is perfect. Well it was, cause now its gone.

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drank Lapsang Souchong by Simple Loose Leaf
1696 tasting notes

This one has a far more intense dry aroma than it does once steeped. It remains definitely a lapsang souchong, yet lighter and thinner than many I have tried. The taste, to me, is not overly smoked meat or bacon. The sweetness does mingle with the smoke to give it a savory touch. What I get is an initial smoky blast that quickly mellows into a mineral note before a menthol coolness kicks in. This finishes with a solid smoky sweetness. Solidly campfire without overwhelming. What sets it apart for me is the menthol cooling.

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drank green tea powder 250g pack by Tradition
1696 tasting notes

Over the last several days I have prepared hardly any tea except this one. I can’t function in the morning without my tea powder and milk. I’m out of flavored syrups to add to it. So just milk and some sweetener. No it is not Matcha but it is pretty good for as cheap as it is on Amazon.

We have our first real snow of the winter so I hope that means I have time for tea.


Did you ever try the one from Nuvola? Pretty darned good and amazingly cheap back when I bought it. Just be sure to change the currency to US dollars. I almost fainted when I saw the Hong Kong dollars price!


I have not tried it. Looks pretty high class compared to this one. This is like the Great Value version of green tea powder. It’s less than $11 for 250g.

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Most of the time I can’t tell much difference between Darjeeling and Nepalese teas. I’m just not that familiar with them even though I always enjoy them. This one though, maybe it is because it is autumn flush or maybe it is the estate but this is the first time I get why some people are obsessed with Darjeelings.

The dry leaf looks like fall, which is somehow comforting on this miserably cold day. The scent is tobacco, then cocoa. Followed by a range of notes I can’t pull together long enough to grasp but at this point its sort of mint, orange, citrus, and candy.

I steeped for 3 1/2 minutes at 200F. It could have gone longer and hotter but I erred on the side of caution. Kind of light in color. The wet leaf is juicy grape followed by woodsy and a hint of chocolate.

This is mellow with only a light briskness and no bitterness. The flavor is grape, but it isn’t straight up grape. It is fuller like there is a hit of citrus backing it up. This is followed the woodsy leaf taste with just a hint of chocolate. As that fades the grape rises up again and remains in the lingering aftertaste.


Oh wow, this sounds really delicious!

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drank Manmai Fermented Puerh by JalamTeas
1696 tasting notes

I started a session with this one today. So far I am at a loss for words. I am really enjoying this puerh but can’t come up with the words to explain it yet. I used about 7 g in my 90ml gaiwan. I am doing flash steeps – fill, put lid on, and pour. The tea is almost as dark as coffee from the first cup. Very little rough edge, no bitterness. It does not taste at all like the menghai palace I had recently, yet the cedar and leather keeps coming to mind and that is what is throwing me. I can’t explain how it is different but it is. I see other reviewers found it creamy. Maybe I’ll get that later.

Until I figure it out, I’ll just be happy with it. I am also kind of impressed at how well I have handled the gaiwan today. It’s almost like I know what I’m doing. I haven’t even burned a finger yet.


I got to get into this club….


Haha, one of the great mysteries in life is trying to describe the flavors and aromas of a ripened puerh… I often struggle to find any identifiable tasting notes, except simply that the ripe puerh tastes like a ripe puerh, with the variation perhaps coming from astringency, mouthfeel, color, intensity, etc… It’s a nice tea though, drinking some right now!


After determining it is a ripe puerh, I can tell you if I like it or not. After that it gets a lot more fuzzy. I tend to have broad categories. Leather seems to be one of the few flavors that I can usually subdivide into various types. Though I notice I didn’t here. I’m such a newb.


Wow, subdivisions on leather notes? Impressive… I never ‘think’ leather, but now that you suggest it, it’s definitely easier for me to see/taste that.. thanks!

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drank Honey Black Tea by Green Terrace Teas
1696 tasting notes

Finished this one off this morning. A very tasty sweet black that is extremely smooth.

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I prepared six cups and this shows no signs of letting up. In fact, the last four cups were steeped only long enough to fill and pour. The brew is dark burgundy by the second cup and stays that way. The flavor is spicy cedar, earthy loam, and faint old book leather. This has magic properties for opening my lungs, or at least it feels as such. The best part is, I feel more mellow than the tea I’m drinking. I am not really sure what tea drunk means but if this is it, it is pretty far out man. Peace out.


Was this a sample?


Yes. I used the entire sample in the gaiwan. Way more leaf than I normally use but it was not rough or bitter with flash steeps.

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Feeling sick of winter today. This one said spring to me. Good choice. The dry leaf is battleship gray. The tips are white. It smells sweet, kind of fruity, and grassy. Steeped western mug style the liquor is light golden green. The sip is bold for such a delicate looking cup. It is not a pucker bold, or harsh bitter. It is that solid good green bite. When the intensity drops it brings out a sweetness, and corn. The aftertaste is corn mixed with vegetal.

I cannot catch a glimpse of smoke but then I almost never do in green tea. I probably have tasted it many times without knowing. Someday.

I really like all the Vietnam teas I have tried.

What-Cha – I’m curious, what does ‘Five Penny’ mean?


The name originates from an old Vietnamese tradition where tea was sold in the street for many years for five pennies!

It’s great to hear that you are enjoying all of the Vietnamese teas so far.


I like corny green teas. (I also like corny jokes.)

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Let me start by saying I enjoyed this one. You might question that as you read. First off I think the string is too short. The tag was sucked under the instant water hit the cup. I had to fish it out. Second, I had no idea what sticky rice smelled like. Uhmmm, at first it kind of smells like old socks in a gym bag. Yep, I’m a red neck. Third, 9-12 minutes? Seriously? I couldn’t do it. I lasted three minutes and the brew already looked like coffee to me. The house was now filled with the aroma, which is growing on me and has become more food like. That aroma penetrates the brain right up to the point the tea hits the lips. Then it instantly disappears and is replaced by a dusty earthiness that makes me picture roots. Just a touch of mineral. Then after I swallow the sweet sticky rice reemerges and blends with the pu-erh. I love the contrast. A very interesting cup.


LOL 9-12 minutes does seems super long…


Last time I stuck a rice pu-erh under the hubby’s nose, he immediately described it as “eau de stinky socks.” That must be what it smells like, then.


Great minds and all that. lol


ARGH! I wish I had ordered it! I was trying to be good!


See, that’s what makes pu-erh people so much fun. Stinky socks, barnyards, cave water – I need me some of that. LOL

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Having a passion for tea and living in rural America is a tough combination. The nearest tea vendor is 65 miles away. Joining Steepster has completely changed the direction of my tea journey.

My Rating System

90-100 Love it enough to keep around
80-90 Like a lot, would drink often
70-80 Above average
50-70 Average – take it or leave it
0-50 I don’t like it and don’t want to like it


Indiana, USA



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