184 Tasting Notes


Last session with this sample. Old Warrior feels appropriate for the times.

This is a smooth ripe with a hint of smokiness. I enjoy that. So much so that I pulled out a sandalwood incense to burn while I drank this. Upon further reflection, I am obsessed with pairing things.

But truly, a well done entry into the ripe catalog. Enjoyable and not too intrusive. Something to drink while focusing your mind and meditating on the Old Warrior within.

Flavors: Earth, Mushrooms, Smoke, Smooth

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Oh, wow. I didn’t expect to like this as much as I do.

First off, thanks to Superstarling! for sending me this sample a while back and also to my son for picking this tea out for me this morning. I asked him what kind of tea I should have and he said herbal so I grabbed this one out.

You definitely get a chocolate strawberry smell from the dry cacao nibs. Not knowing the parameters for which to brew this, I decided to go with about 4 minutes and 30 seconds and boiling water.

I think I nailed it. The tea that I poured off brings wafts of strawberry cocoa cream up to my nose. The flavor of the liquor has a slight bitterness that fades a bit as the liquid cools. But mostly, there is a creamy strawberry and a light, almost powdered chocolate taste to it. I let my (5 year old) son try it and he exclaimed, “I love it!”

So yeah, I would totally order more of this. It is pretty delicious. Would make a perfect dessert tea.

Flavors: Cacao, Cream, Strawberry

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 6 g 6 OZ / 177 ML
Super Starling!

Yaaaay, I’m glad you like it! I tried to send you another box this morning, but HA. It’s Martin Luther King day. So you’re going to have to work your way through some other samples in the meantime.


Oh awesome! Perhaps I will have to send you another care package as well. I liked this so much that I went to their website and put in an order of their chocolate/cacao nibs teas.

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For me, if there is a roast to an oolong it is probably going to start off at like a 65 on this rating scale. It’s kind of like my brother in law and I say; Pizza pretty much automatically starts at a 5. Even bad pizza is still pizza.

Having said that, this is a fairly pedestrian medium roasted oolong. I mean, the charcoal roast flavor is there and it is pretty good. A little bit of mineral flavor there. But, as a whole, nothing popped out at me. Which is perfectly acceptable. Not every tea has to be or can be life changing.

I do wish it steeped for a bit longer though. Around the 4th steep, the flavor started to fall off. Still drinkable just kind of weak and the tea wasn’t that strong to start out with. Though, maybe I under-leafed it. I’ll play around with this some more and see what I can coax.

Flavors: Char, Mineral, Roasted

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Super Starling!

I was out yesterday and saw a sign in a store that said “You can’t please everyone. You aren’t pizza.”

I should have purchased it.


Hahaha I agree with that sign.

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Today I blended two of my existing ordered teas for the first time. I’m kind of a purist so I’ve never really wanted to do this before but the circumstances were right.

I didn’t have quite enough of Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company’s Farmer Leas Sun Moon Lake black tea for a full pot. But I also have an over-abundance of BTTC’s Alishan Wuyi black tea which I don’t care for so much. So, I decided to add a little of the Alishan Wuyi on top of the Sun Moon Lake just to see what would happen.

The results were fantastic! The blend was a nice earthy black tea blend with a slight hint of malt. But it helped take away some of that greenish/umami flavor I pick up with the Alishan Wuyi black tea. Or it blended with it perfectly.

My ratio was about 60% Sun Moon Lake and 40% Alishan Wuyi black. Pretty pleased with myself.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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The pearls here are very tightly rolled and give off a wonderful jasmine scent. The scent is a little on the heavier side which I happen to enjoy. Interesting thing though is that on the first steep, the jasmine scent didn’t overwhelm the liquid.

The first sip of the brewed tea actually made me think buttery. It is a very smooth and drinkable first steep and somewhat lighthanded. To be fair, the pearls haven’t opened up yet but this is a nice start.

The second and third steeps yield a bit more jasmine scent as the beautiful leaves start to open up and dance. But the liquor remains fairly balanced. This is a nicely done, somewhat light-handed jasmine pearl.

Flavors: Butter, Jasmine

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I purchased this tea as a part of my second order with Joseph Wesley Teas. In each order, I have tried some of the “special edition” offerings that are around for a limited time. And both times I have been very pleased.

In fact, I think that this changing/rotating specialty teas are really some hidden gems and help make this particular tea supplier stand out. That is not to say the regular teas he offers aren’t good. They are and very solid at that.

This tea stood out for the crisp clearness of the flavors imparted by the leaf. A subtle hay and fruity sweetness. The leaves themselves are vibrant in green and silvery white and carry a mild floral scent but not in a perfumed way. Very natural and earthy. Really nice example of this style of tea.

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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This tea is delicious. Toasty and roasty while being a little bit lighter than a usual black tea, this is a unique tea that feels somewhere between a black and a roasted oolong. I am bummed that I only got a sample of this but will be ordering more the next time I put in an order with the company.

Flavors: Roasted, Toasty

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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While this tea still sits on more of the umami green type of flavors that I find seem to be a common occurrence (at least with the BTTC black teas that I have tried), it is subtler and has more depth, nuance, and complexity to it.

In fact, on the first steep, I didn’t notice the slightly vegetal flavors in this tea. On the second steep though they seemed to come out. I was getting ready to dismiss this tea as another one of “those kind of teas.” I am glad that I didn’t as this proved to be much more. While this companies black teas haven’t been real impressive to me, this has been one of the better of the bunch that I have tried.

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I think this is a masterful job of roasted oolong in that the roast is very slight. Don’t get me wrong, heavily roasted, charcoal-y oolongs are some of my favorites. However, this one was done I think with an eye on balance. It sits right in that in between space where every sip I’m left wondering what I tasted more: the roast or the florals.

Where you DO get a lot of the charcoal is on the scent of the brewed/wet leaves. Smells delightful.

No matter which way this tea leans, it carries with it a creamy nuttiness that I adore. Very smooth and tasty.

Now on the second steep, more of the roasted flavors become a bit more dominant. I’m interested to see if this swings back to more floral after a few more steeps.

After about 6 steeps, I should say that this tea does end up tipping into the more roasted column. Which is A-ok with me. But it isn’t too heavy handed. A really solid tea overall.

Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Nutty, Roasted

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Drinking the last of this tea today while watching Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. RIP Carrie Fisher.

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Michigander, Husband, father of two, lover of tea, books, nature, gardening, and passion. Stay at home dad currently. Previously a preschool teacher.

I have now completed some tea swaps and I am so totally up for swapping! What a cool way to connect with fellow tea lovers and try some new teas.

Black tea has been my go to tea for some time. Oolongs are starting to wiggle in for the number one spot. Mainly roasty oolongs. I’m finding that there are some green and white teas (mostly Moonlight Whites) that impress me lately which they never used to do. I am just getting into and developing a taste for Pu-erh. I have tried raw and my Ulcerative Colitis just can’t handle the roughness of it. So I stick to ripe Puerh. I am least likely to drink herbal tea or Rooibos though I do enjoy some of them, especially STRONG ginger blends. I’m not too picky.

Rating system:
90-100: Some of the best I’ve ever had. I’d be a fool not to keep it stocked as often as possible
80-89: A damn good tea. Not to be missed
70-79: A good tea but lacks the wow factor. More than likely a simple tea that could be an every day option
60-69: Eh. This is okay. Not swill by any means but fairly underwhelming.
50-59: Not really doing it for me. I’ll finish it but please don’t bring me any more.
Below 50: Life is too short to waste on things such as this


Lansing, Michigan

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