535 Tasting Notes


This was a rather odd tea. It had a slight fenugreek like smell that reminded me of a green oolong starting to go stale. The smell persisted from the dry to the wet leaf and down to the flavor of the steeped tea. It didn’t have any of the usual grassiness or umami, just a strong underlying note of cruciferous vegetables.

Looking at the other reviews on here, I suspect there was something off as others seem to have had a completely different impression of this tea.

Flavors: Vegetal

165 °F / 73 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 8 OZ / 240 ML

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Another session at work. I was juggling a bunch of things so wasn’t able to contemplate while sipping. The leaves were more broken than the other Obubu teas I’ve sampled and looked more like a standard sencha. Slightly cloudy, yellow-tinged liquor with a smooth flavor and a vegetal undertone of raw broccoli. No astringency as expected with this style. I still prefer Ureshino tamaryokucha though as it has a tad brighter, fresher flavor.

Thanks for sharing Cameron!

Flavors: Marine, Vegetal

165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 0 sec 4 g 14 OZ / 400 ML

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Another unique Japanese green from Cameron’s stash.

Brewed this one at work today. I’m pretty sure this is a kabusecha, which is a partially shade grown tea that has a flavor profile halfway between gyokuro and sencha. It’s not my favorite kind of Japanese green but this one had a complex and evolving flavor that made for an interesting session.

The flavor of this tea is savory and saline, like ocean air. Beautiful long strands that turn bright green when infused. I ended up steeping the entire 5g packet, which is double my normal leaf quantity and yet it had no trace of bitterness. The first steep was brothy and kelp like with a pronounced saltiness. Reminds me of a sea breeze or pickled umeboshi. The saltiness fades a little in the second cup which has savory notes of wakame seaweed, radicchio, and an echo of umami in the aftertaste. Third infusion shifted to a vegetal taste of cruciferous vegetables and earthy notes of grass.

Flavors: Broccoli, Broth, Lettuce, Marine, Ocean Air, Salty, Seaweed, Umami

160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 165 ML
Cameron B.

You’re correct, this is a kabuse sencha. And I love umeboshi! :P

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drank Ginger Geranium by Rishi Tea
535 tasting notes

Received a sample of this herbal medicinal tea with my Rishi Tea order a long time ago. I had been saving it for a sick day and finally dug it out the other day for my wife who was feeling under the weather.

This tisane has a wonderful, mesmerizing aroma. It smells just like its name. An explosion of sweet candied ginger, tangerine, ginseng, and heady geranium all danced in my nose. It smelled so good I felt like using the mixture as potpourri to perfume the house. Like most Rishi blends though, the taste of the brewed tea wasn’t as exuberant as its smell. An earthy, turmeric-like chalky flavor is the first thing to hit the tongue followed by spicy black pepper and a tingle of ginger. I was really hoping to taste more of the citrus and geranium notes so prominent in the aroma but alas they had tamed down and were barely detectable anymore. There are some other exotic herbs and flavorings in there I’ve never encountered before like ashwagandha root and vana tulsi which added an herbaceous undertone to the tea.

On its own, this is a tad earthy for me but it would be soothing to have when you’re nursing a cold or sore throat. Would reach for this over DAVIDsTea Cold 911 any day.

Flavors: Citrusy, Floral, Ginger, Herbaceous, Medicinal, Pepper, Spicy

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 5 g 11 OZ / 325 ML

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Another sample courtesy of Cameron. Made a yummy iced matcha latte with this today. I started by whisking a heaping teaspoon of the matcha powder with a little room temperature water in a mason jar. The slightly yellow tinged powder dissolved easily and turned into a thick, green sludge. Sweetened with a little simple syrup, added ice cubes, and topped off with oat milk before giving everything a good shake.

The result was a rich and creamy matcha, more vegetal than grassy and a touch floral. There’s a nuttiness that I thought was from the oat milk, but upon tasting the matcha on its own, it does indeed have an almondy edge to it. Felt energized, not wired, all morning after I drank this. Really nice and tasted like a better version of my powdered kamairicha.

Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Nutty, Vegetal

Iced 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Cameron B.

I tasted floral and nutty too! It’s always nice to have someone else validate that you’re not just making stuff up. ;)


No lie, I end up second guessing myself whenever my tasting note is off the mark. I enjoy that extra feeling of validation when a Steepster review matches mine. :-D

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I love the poetic name of this tea. And the beautiful, thin dark needle shaped leaves are just as enchanting as its name. Perfectly intact and pristine leaves that when steeped, unfurl into these glorious large leaves resembling a Taiwanese oolong.

Like the other Obubu teas I’ve tried, this one is mellower than your typical Sencha. Based on both looks and flavor, it also can easily fool you into thinking you’re having a Chinese green tea. There’s virtually no grassiness or umami here. Instead, it’s got a soft vegetal and faintly floral flavor along with some unusual eucalyptus like balmy notes and a touch of incense spice. Pale yellow color instead of the nuclear green liquor that most Japanese greens have.

Thanks for the sample Cameron!

Flavors: Eucalyptus, Floral, Peas, Spices, Vegetal

165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

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Spring 2020 harvest. It took a long time to coax any flavor out of this tea. The first few steeps tasted like a generic Chinese restaurant tea. Woodsy with toasted notes of mineral and spice. Pretty one-dimensional and boring. Eventually through, the mustiness cleared to make way for a brighter, cleaner fruity taste with a greener edge and slight sweetness.

Compared to the Taiwanese oolongs I usually drink, this one doesn’t quite measure up. It doesn’t evolve too much over steeps and lacks complexity in flavor.

Flavors: Fruity, Green, Musty, Roasted, Wood

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 135 ML

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Spring 2020 harvest.

This kamairicha was the last of my spring 2020 shinchas. So I’ve had this one before and I really liked it then. But this time I didn’t find it nearly as enjoyable as last time. Incidentally, this was also the case for many of the Japanese greens I bought last year. Past favorites turned out to be rather “meh.” More reasons why 2020 was such a lousy year.

Anyway, this picking was nuttier and a little less fruity. Heavy body with an oat-like starchiness. Notes of soymilk, aloe, celery, and corn silk. There’s a slight chalkiness that’s left behind in the aftertaste and overall, the flavors feel a bit muddled.

Flavors: Celery, Corn Husk, Fruity, Grain, Milk, Nutty, Oats, Soybean, Straw

180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 30 sec 3 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Another winner from Lupicia!

This tea was so good I had it three times the day I opened the pouch. I was delicious no matter how I steeped it – hot, cold, or ambient. The smell of this tea is heavenly, like a fresh picked autumn apple from the orchard. The flavoring is spot on. It has a very natural apple taste with real depth and nuance, balanced perfectly by a clean green base, and with the sweetness of honeycrisp. When steeped hot, it’s reminiscent of warm, pure apple cider.

Flavors: Apple, Fruity

Iced 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cameron B.

I love this one, too! The crisp apple goes so well with the sencha.

White Antlers

I avoid flavored teas as a rule, but Lupicia has elevated the way they do theirs to an art.

Mastress Alita

I love this one as well!


@White Antlers same here. Lupicia is the only flavored tea that’s crave-worthy to me.

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Spring 2020 harvest.

I was on a relaxing, zen-like theanine high all Sunday long thanks to this tea. Most of the time I solo brew small amounts of Taiwanese oolong in my 50ml mini shibo. However, the family wanted to join the post-breakfast gongfu session so I broke out my much loved but neglected TTC purple clay pear shaped teapot and doubled my usual leaf quantity. After a few sips though, they wandered off leaving me to drink the rest and I went to town with it.

This was a delicious Ali Shan. Buttery and sumptuously floral with a thick mouthfeel that thoroughly coats the mouth leaving behind a lingering nectar sweetness. I was a little hesitant about brewing with boiling water as Mountain Stream Teas suggested but this brought out a more rounded body and taste without any bitterness – a testament to its quality. And of course it gives a very nice L-theanine buzz! The only knock on this tea is the longevity. It lasted a mere 5 steeps before fading.

I steeped this in my purple clay pot which holds the ghosts of oolongs past. I wonder how much that helped enhance the tea. Will have to brew this in porcelain next time to see how it tastes on its own.

Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Fruity, Round

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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My Rating Criteria:

95 to 100: Top shelf stuff. Loved this tea and highly recommend it

90 to 94: Excellent. Enjoyed this tea and would likely repurchase

80 to 89: Good but not great. I liked it though it may be lacking in some aspects. I’ll finish it but probably won’t buy again

70 to 79: Average at best. Not terrible but wouldn’t willingly drink again

60 to 69: Sub-par. Low quality tea, barely palatable

59 and below: Bleh

Fell into tea years ago, and for a long time my experience was limited to Japanese greens and a few flavored teas. My tea epiphany came a few years ago when I discovered jade oolongs. That was the gateway drug to the world of fine tea and teaware.

With the exception of a handful of lightly scented teas, I drink mostly straight tea. I love fresh green and floral flavors and as such, green tea and Taiwanese oolongs will always have a place in my cupboard. After avoiding black tea forever, Chinese blacks are beginning to grow on me. I’ve dipped my toe into a few puerhs now but it’s still relatively new territory for me. I also enjoy white tea and tisanes but reach for them less frequently.

Other non-tea interests include: cooking, reading, nature, MMA, traveling when I can, and of course putzing around on the interwebs.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/melucky



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