23 Tasting Notes

drank Assam "Black Beauty" #8 by Tealyra
23 tasting notes

I was excited to try this tea, partly due to the description (it sounds exactly the kind of tea that I like), and partly due to the fact that I had great success with Tealyra’s Brandy Oolong, which is currently my favourite tea. In fact I had ran out of Brandy Oolong and placed another order especially to get some more, and I added this tea to the order as well. It wasn’t long before it arrived that I was brewing it.

Appearance-wise it looks fantastic, brewing up a wonderful rich amber colour. The smell is slightly sweet and very inviting.

As for the taste… just wow. It delivers as per the description. It shares a creamy, caramelly smoothness with the Brandy Oolong that I love so much. This is like no Assam that I have tried before; if anything I would say that it is closer in taste to Golden Monkey, which I love.

I find that it holds up to multiple steeps relatively well. I went for 2 minutes, then 3m 45, then 8m (basically as long as you want, you’re just extracting any remaining flavour here). Even at the last steep it wasn’t bitter.

A little expensive perhaps, but I imagine that I’ll be treating myself to some more of this before long.

Flavors: Caramel, Cream, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 350 OZ / 10350 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


I started this review by entering all of the scents that I could notice whilst I was waiting for it to cool down. Considering that I entered “chestnut”, “ash”, “roasted”, and “musty” I was intrigued (and a little concerned) about how this would taste. My only other experience with oolong is Brandy 18 from Tealyra, which was so smooth, caramelly, and complex that it quickly became one of my all-time favourite teas… although I’m not sure that it is representative of the style.

Once it has cooled down I’m getting a slight chocolate scent. This is quite pleasing. As far as taste goes, it tastes pretty much like it smells.

This is an interesting tea. I think that I could grow to really enjoy oolongs of this sort; right now, however, I mostly just find it interesting. Not un-enjoyable, and I will be getting a second steep out of it, but it hasn’t blown me away. Perhaps I’m just not ready for oolongs yet.

I think that I’ll be sweetening things up after I’m done with these leaves by brewing something with a golden tip :)

Flavors: Ash, Chestnut, Chocolate, Musty, Roasted

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Brandy Oolong, Ruby 18 by Tealyra
23 tasting notes

Well, now I love Oolong too. Crap. This means that I’m going to have to spend more money!

Up until now I’ve been heavy on the golden-tipped teas and Assams, but this throws something slightly different into the mix. Still smooth and caramelly like golden-tipped teas, but with a slightly more complex undertone to it. I don’t know quite how to describe it, and it’s pretty early, so I’m just going to enjoy my cuppa and revisit it many, many times in the future :) It just has a certain “something” that makes it so incredibly delicious and moreish.

Also, I can’t wait to try this tea out Gong Fu style. I bet that that’s going to be delicious.

Flavors: Caramel, Sweet

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

Yes, this tea is heaven.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Once again Tealyra make a tea sound extra-amazing in the description, and once again they’re right.

On the nose and the palate it delivers exactly what is promised: sweetness, maltiness, and a touch of caramel. There is zero bitterness. This tea is a joy to look at, smell, and drink. Even opening the packet, the aroma is amazing… I could huff that all day.

It’s no secret that Golden Monkey / golden-tipped teas are probably my favourite type, but this is an exceptional (and pricey) example of it.

So far Tealyra have been impressing me. Let’s hope that they keep it up as I go through the rest of my order! :)

Flavors: Caramel, Malt, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Yunnan Golden Special by Tealyra
23 tasting notes

Well this is just delicious!

Tealyra really make it sound amazing in the description on the web site, so my expectations were high (I wondered if they were embellishing a bit?) – but wow, they are pretty much spot on.

Golden Monkey / Golden-tipped tea is easily one of my favourite styles, mostly due to how caramelly and smooth it is, and this tea is no exception.

On the nose you get sweetness, caramel, and the slightest whiff of hay. I don’t like golden-tipped teas that taste too much like hay, but here I’m in luck, because when tasting you get a very high amount of natural sweetness, some caramel, and very little hay.

This is a lovely tea. I would say that it’s very sweet, and I’m not always in the mood for that, but the fact that it’s a natural sweetness is pretty amazing. I’ll be dipping into this one until it runs out.

Flavors: Caramel, Hay, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 14 OZ / 400 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


You get peppermint leaves, pure and simple. And lots of them – 100g of leaves is a lot bulkier than 100g of Assam, for example.

They’re great quality, too. You just get quality leaf, no rubbish. I used to think that Teapigs peppermint (at £4.15 in the supermarket for 15 “tea temples”, I just checked) was the best quality, and whilst they are undeniably good quality and taste great, they’re also very expensive.

If you don’t mind the slight faff of brewing loose leaf then 100g of this stuff tastes pretty much exactly the same and only costs £5.90 for 100g.

I brew for a long time and go for multiple infusions. I tend to just add the infuser back in when I’m getting low and top up with hot water until the peppermint taste is very light.

Then again Teapigs also sell 100g of loose leaf for a comparable price, so who knows :)

Flavors: Peppermint

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 2 tsp 350 OZ / 10350 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


I’ve had a few Keemuns but am still fairly new to them, so I decided to try a Keemun sample in order to get more well-acquainted. “Organic Superfine” and “Fragrant” made this one sound appealing, so I went with it.

The instructions said brew for 1-3 minutes, so for the first infusion I went for 1.5 minutes.

As far as colour goes it’s a lovely clear gold/amber. It’s quite pale, probably because I brewed it for such a short amount of time.

The smell is lovely; it’s really rather sweet with tones of honey. It almost smells like candy.

As far as taste goes, it’s very smooth with a touch of caramel. I feel like I’ve brewed it a little too short though, so I’ll just go pop the infuser back in for another minute…

…okay, that’s really nice. It’s still very smooth. While I’m getting the sweetness on the nose I’m not necessarily getting much of it on the palate, and that’s not a bad thing – I’m a huge fan of smooth, caramelly, but not excessively sweet teas.

2.5 minutes was perhaps a bit long (a very slight bitterness crept in) so next time I’m going for 2 minutes on the first steep, and I imagine that would be perfection.

This is a fantastic tea and definitely a strong contender to be upgraded from a sample to a 100g pouch :)

Flavors: Candy, Caramel, Honey

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 350 OZ / 10350 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


This is my first time drinking both pu-erh, and gong-fu style using a gaiwan. I have to say that I enjoyed both. This is a good thing, because now I have opened up a both a whole new category of tea and a new brewing style. It’s also bad because my wallet is going to suffer deeply.

First, some notes on brewing gong-fu style: I loved it! I currently only have a small set for one person, as I’m the only person in my relationship who loves tea enough to brew this way, but I plan on eventually getting a full set so that I can serve to others. It’s great though… I have a glass teapot that I keep full of hot water on top of a warmer that uses tealights, and that way I can sit down in front of the TV and have small, delicious saucers of tea all night long without getting up. It’s definitely one for when you’re setting in for a quiet evening of tea drinking and relaxation; not for when you’re in a rush.

Anyway, the tea. I didn’t know what to expect from pu-erh but it this one was lovely. It was earthy, slightly bitter but not too much or in an unpleasant way, and not as strong or fermented as I was expecting.

Maybe I was brewing it wrong (it’s my first time and I just used Google) but I don’t really care, because I enjoyed it thoroughly. Perhaps I didn’t brew it strong enough, but for me the taste was spot-on.

I washed the leaves first, then went for multiple 15-20 second steeps. Eventually I increased this to about 30 seconds. All in all I must have had 20 cups.

Now I just have to find some more tea to brew gong fu style. What is annoying is that the day before I tried this method I placed an order on Tea Vivre, so could have added more. Oh well, looks like I’ll be placing a third order soon!

My wallet is telling me to put the proper set on hold for now, though…

Flavors: Earth

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 34 OZ / 1000 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Bailin Gongfu Black Tea by Teavivre
23 tasting notes

This brews up a yellow, golden colour. It’s clear and looks very inviting.

On the nose I’m getting a faint sweetness. As others have said, if you search for it you can find caramel in there.

The first few sips don’t disappoint. You get all of the flavours of the nose, the slight sweetness, and even a faint fruity taste.

Bitterness and astringency? Nope.

This is a gorgeous tea that is very easy to drink and goes down incredibly well. I love it.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m an Assam man – but this will be going into my weekly rotation until I run out. I may even buy some more.

Flavors: Caramel, Fruity, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 350 OZ / 10350 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


I have 4 balls in my mouth and I like it.

Most people tend to go with 4 balls, and I like a large cup of tea anyway, so that’s what I did. It brews up the most beautiful amber colour. The smell is rich and inviting, and you can just tell that it’s going to be a little malty.

The first sips don’t disappoint. You get the richness and the maltiness that your nose contractually informed you that your tongue would be getting, but we’re also getting subtle chocolate notes and a very, very faint smokiness. When I say faint I really do mean that – it’s hardly noticeable (to me, anyway).

This is a fantastic cuppa, basically. I still prefer my Golden Monkeys and my Assams as my “every day” teas, but one or two of these a week will go down just fine, thankyouvery much.

Thanks once again, Angel… once these sample packs run I’m seriously tempted to get a 100g pouch.

UPDATE: I ordered a 100g pouch, and wow, I’m glad that I did. I’m now down to 3 balls for 2 minutes on the first steep and this give satisfying cup of tea. I’m also picking up a little bit of sweetness now. Can’t wait to try this gong-fu style.

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Smoke

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 400 OZ / 11829 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



I like tea.

Also, I make websites for a living. I’m lucky enough to work remotely for a lot of it so I drink massive quantities of loose leaf tea all day long.


United Kingdom



Following These People

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer