1315 Tasting Notes


Decided to leave this intact from earlier today:

I walked out the door this morning and was greeted by the most beautiful orange world. The rising sun was bouncing its beams off the big fluffy clouds in the west. The result was breathtaking. I drove to work with the windows down and could smell fresh cut grass, wild onion, and garlic. There was also the scent of wet dirt. I have not noticed this for months. The Arizona like dryness we have had all summer has been replaced by Louisiana humidity. Ugh. But with it came the remnants of Isaac. It may have brought devastation on many but it brought refreshment and new life to our area. I have missed the smell of morning.

This tea came as a free sample from Nuvola Tea. There is a link on their website for a free sample. When you follow the link the sample has a 5HK price tag. Well this confused many of us who were in a messaging conversation with Nuvola. The fee is for the shipping and works out to about $0.60. Nuvola offered this one to me without the shipping fee for pointing out what was confusing to us. They mentioned the currency converts during checkout. Nuvola’s website is being worked on and hopefully it will allow buyers to see the cost in their own currency without adding to the cart for a conversion. I also hope they explain the mailing cost on the sample. It is not a big deal unless you are confused by it. I thought 5HK meant $5 and that sounded high for a sample.

The sample packet is of sturdy construction and the company logo is high class, professional looking, and very attractive. The postal service however was not so professional. The sample was largely powder when it arrived. Sorry Nuvola. It looks beautiful in the picture :) So making the best of the situation I used the entire 5g sample in my press. Normally I would have used only half. The scent seemed malty to me, though it disappears once brewed.

I checked online for Nuvola’s recommended temperature and time parameters. And brewed accordingly. The liquor was light yellow. The scent brewed is floral oolong, a bit roasted, and a bit vegetal.

The sip on the first cup is very buttery like dragon well. There is a hint of spice, it reminds me of cinnamon. I am also noticing a light bitter note, like dandelion, in the background, late in the sip. This is followed by the long lingering floral oolong aftertaste.

I just noticed someone broke the skirt on my Marvin The Martian bobble head that has been sitting on my work desk for six years. Good grief (or maybe I should say, “You’re making me very angry!”). Despite the attempts to ruin my day – I refuse it. This life is too short, and the next too long, to allow that to happen. This is a good tea and I am going to enjoy it. Take that!

Second cup – I rinsed out the press before starting this morning but I am thinking I did not wash away all the remnants of the Silk Dragon from yesterday. I am tasting some vanilla. I like it of course, but it may be left over. Or maybe not. As the cup cools, the vanilla disappears, and I am getting more of the dandelion mixed with the floral oolong.

The third steep continues where the second left off. There is still plenty of power in this but it is about to storm so this will be the last cup for this tea. Oh, almost forgot, it leaves a heavy cooling affect on the breath.

Thank you Nuvola for the sample I very much enjoyed it. To all who made it to the bottom of this – umm, sorry about the ramble.


No apology necessary! Thank you for letting us into your day. My sample was partly smashed but I did have some larger pieces. It still tasted good, though!


We did a little dancing in the rain ourselves when Isaac came through.


G, we fished in the rain Saturday until it came down hard enough they wouldn’t bite. Then went to a friends house and he fired up the grill. It began to downpour. He held an umbrella over the grill. Had an awesome tasting tenderloin that fed 4 and grilled corn. The rain was welcome and did not deter a good time. It has rained some everyday since. The weatherman says we are still 15" below normal. Isn’t the smell of rain awesome!

Nuvola Tea - Taiwan Tea Specialties

Hi K S, thank you for your appreciation. We will ask our colleague to pay more attention on shipping our tea sample. Generally, we ship our tea products in a box giving an additional protection.

Nuvola Tea - Taiwan Tea Specialties

Hi KS, to save our tea reputation, we will ship you additional tea sample of Alishan Oolong Tea. So you can see the whole tea leaves. This time, the tea sample will be well-packed. Trust me!!!


I look forward to seeing the whole leaves! Now that’s customer service. Thank you.

Nuvola Tea - Taiwan Tea Specialties

Mt. Alishan

Since the surrounding area of Mt. Alishan has been protected as natural reserve by Taiwan Government, all tea gardens are located below 1400m (4593ft). I think the government has done a very good job on conservation work in this region Lots of fauna and flora species have been protected in this national park. According to scientific research papers, there are around 23 firefly species have been recorded by ecologists and zoologists in Alishan. Ecologically, the number of firefly species is one of good indicators to show the condition of the forest.

Human being can live sustainable lifestyles with respect for nature and each other.

Checkout this google aerial photo, you will find these nice and wonderful tea garden patterns below Alishan.

More information on Mt. Alishan at below (English Version)

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This is a bagged herbal. I know there is mint and orange and some other things in here but what caught my attention is the sweet cinnamon. It is like H&S Hot Cinnamon Spice Lite. It is no where near as intense but its the same idea. Of course this has no black tea. My son said it would make a great mixer. I agree. Not too bad.


I love this tea. It is sweet and enjoyable. However, I could not read the ingredients on the box and I am concerned hoping that there is no type of sugar or sweetner added. Does anyone know?

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drank Silk Dragon by The Tea Merchant
1315 tasting notes

My final sample from The Tea Merchant.

Wow! Thanks for this one. The sip on the first cup is vanilla. No surprise there. The aftertaste is a lingering green oolong. There is just a hint of citrus that I catch high up, to where I can’t determine if it is a taste or a smell. This has a creamy feel to it. This is a really nice cup. The more it cools the more the mix of flavors is making sense. Each sip is a blast of vanilla that slowly fades through citrus into floral oolong that lingers until you take the next sip You can gulp this, but don’t. Slow down and enjoy journey.

The second cup is very different. This starts out plant like. My brain immediately thought geranium, but since there is marigold in this, maybe that is what I am sensing. This changes quickly into green oolong. Just as quickly it changes to vanilla briefly and then back into the long lingering floral oolong aftertaste. I would swear this is a different tea, had I not prepared it myself. What a roller coaster ride. Totally different than the first but also a really nice cup.

The third cup starts with the plant/flower notes mixing with the floral oolong. The vanilla is light and mixes with the creaminess. The whole thing ends with the lingering aftertaste. The sweetness of the cup, mixed with the floral oolong flavor, reminds me a bit of watermelon.

This is an interesting cup. If at anytime you don’t quite like what you are tasting (though I don’t know how that is possible) just wait until the temperature changes of for the next cup and it will be something else. This is definitely worth trying.


This IS a good one!


Pretty phenenomental stuff, isn’t it?


I really want to try this one now heh

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drank Earl White by Empire Tea Services
1315 tasting notes

After my long day sitting at Starbucks and a long frustrating time installing software at home I needed a cup of mellow. This fit the bill.

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drank Tea & Herb by Empire Tea Services
1315 tasting notes

Last night’s midnight cup. I learned I really don’t like this without sweetener. Unsweetened it tastes a lot like Tazo Rest (I think that was the name of it). It is too rose and powdery tasting for me. Add sweetener and all these other flavors pop out. It has a decaf black tea base. It takes on a berry like taste when sweet. My wife likes the icky unsweet taste.

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If I had to pick a sound track for today it would be “Doctor, my eyes” I spent 4 1/2 hours observing the coffee culture at Starbucks ;) I had two of these ridiculously sweet things and some ham (they called it bacon), egg, and cheese thingy. I was using their high speed bandwidth to download a 2gb program I need to learn. Too big to download on my home account. Anyway observing the goings on for all that time was amusing. Mostly the young and in love, can’t keep their hands off each other, couples. Plus students studying and surfing the web. I wish their were tea hangouts like this around here. If you have one you are very fortunate.


KS: In Portland, we have Townshend’s Tea and Tea Chai Te … both of these are very much like starbucks, only tea! And they know how to store tea and brew tea there, and they know that tea is available and tastes better loose leaf too! :)


This is me GREEN with envy :)

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drank Earl White by Empire Tea Services
1315 tasting notes

Been a while since I have had this one. ETS bergamot is just different from every other I have tasted. Maybe it is the addition of the orange peel. Anyway, I like it. I also like white tea. I find the delicate nature of them appealing. In my mind turning a white into an Earl Grey just seems wrong, but it works. The bergamot drives the flavor profile but the white tea does not get lost under it. I still prefer green EG but this is a pretty good EG even if a little off the beaten path.

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This is my third sample provided by The Tea Merchant. I need to look this up on their website as I don’t know what they mean by ‘biodynamic’, anyway my experience with Darjeeling is a bit limited. I have a bagged Darjeeling from Mother Parker with Saturday breakfast, and I used to drink loose Ahmad Darjeeling. I view the opportunity to taste this tea today as continuing education.

Removing a scoop of leaf from the bag reveals this is CTC, but as has been discussed before, that is not an indication of quality. It is actually a very typical production method for black tea. The scent reminds me of unscented pipe tobacco leaf.

Steeped for 3 minutes with almost boiling water resulted in a golden amber color brew that appears more orange as I pour. The sip is a bit different than I expected. It actually does have an apple like character. When hot it feels brightly tart (astringent?) on the sides of the tongue. This disappears as the cup cools. The apple flavor becomes more apple wood as it cools. Then the traditional muscatel flavors I was expecting begin to show through. At one point I thought I caught cinnamon hints. This seems a bit drying. A really nice cup with no bitterness. It has me craving breakfast.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
The Tea Merchant

So to give yah an idea what we mean by biodynamic, heres an exert from wikipedia.
“Biodynamic agriculture is a method of organic farming that emphasizes the holistic development and interrelationships of the soil, plants and animals as a self-sustaining system. One of the first modern ecological farming systems, it emphasizes a sustainable approach to agriculture.”

Hope that helps!


Oh, I see. It helps set the tone for your approach to business along with organic and fair trade.


I need to get a review done on this one today.

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drank French Earl Grey by The Tea Merchant
1315 tasting notes

Oh man. The smell coming out of the bag reminds me of orange slice candy. Brewed the aroma gives off this root beer – grape soda vibe. This is an Earl Grey Crème using French vanilla.

If you love French vanilla this is going to please you. The description on the sample says, this is ‘estate black tea hand blended with fragrant oil of bergamot and a hint of French vanilla.’ Now I think their idea of hint and mine are a bit different. When the cup is hot this tastes highly of French vanilla. It isn’t until the cup cools that the bergamot and black tea can be more easily separated out in the sip. After you figure out the differences you become aware that you were tasting them all along. The aftertaste has a bit of a licorice twang to it that I liked.

The second cup is a little different. The aroma off the cup is black tea. The taste is a much more balanced blend of all the flavors. The aftertaste leaves a lot more black tea on your breath. This is an excellent cup.

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drank Silver Jade by The Tea Merchant
1315 tasting notes

I have been anxiously awaiting my turn to review this companies tea. Today, they finally worked their way to the front of the line. I love the way this is packaged. Others have mentioned it as well but it is a nice touch, making the experience seem more special.

Silver Jade is a white and green tea blend. When you open the bag that is obvious as there is white downy buds mixed with darker green leaf. It smells and looks fresh. Mostly I am picking up on the scent of white tea with just the lightest hint of citrus from oil of bergamot.

I steeped a large scoop for about 3 minutes in steaming water. The result is a golden green cup. The taste is mostly what I think is white peony. The green I can’t really separate out but it does add heft to the cup. It reminds me slightly of White Monkey. Late in the sip and far in the distant background is the faint touch of citrus. The more the cup cools the more the citrus is sensed, but it never reaches a point where you would think ‘bergamot’. As another review noted, it seems more a part of the tea than an addition.

It is slightly milky and sweet with notes of honey. They call this cup a smooth, mellow, fresh taste. I would agree. A nice refreshing take on white tea.

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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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