214 Tasting Notes


Woohoo! This is the first time I added tea to the database.

Unfortunately, it won’t be a too positive review :(

I received 5 different teas from Single Origin Teas for review and I loved three so far (Amba Ceylon, Mokalbari Assam and Four Seasons Oolong) but I had a problem with this dragonwell.

As you guys know, or maybe not know, I adore dragonwells. It is easily my favorite green. I have a feeling that this sample was probably not from the recent harvest, which is fine. All the other dragonwells I had before weren’t pristine either. Their website info says that this was harvested in April but it doesn’t tell you the year.

Anyway, I made it in my gaiwan first. Since I am still new to the whole gong fu steeping, I didn’t get the hang out of the loose leaf ratio yet and I think I overleafed this one terribly as the first 15 second steep came out bitter as all hell. I got rid of some leaves after that, but it still wouldn’t steep right. It had this terrible astringency that makes your mouth dry. So I gave up after like 4th steep. I thought “Well, I am sure this dragonwell is fine, I just suck at making it in a gaiwan”.

So the next day or so later I tried it western style. Hmm… the first steep was okay, there were these buttery and sweet notes that I love about long jing the most but they were kind of… generic. Not very sophisticated. And then there was this astringency again. Not as bad as with the gaiwan session, but pretty disturbing nevertheless. The second steep was not very favorable either and I don’t think I even cared to finish the cup.

OH WELL, all them teas can’t be yums. Deal with it, girl.

Thank you, Single Origin Teas, for letting me try it, though! I really appreciate the chance :)

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Congrats on your first added tea :-)


It’s a pretty easy and painless process :D

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I got it as a sample with my Whispering Pines order and now I want more of this. SO MUCH MORE. Well, at least an ounce.

I made it one morning when my husband and I were at the cabin. We went out on the porch with our mugs, we were getting ready to make some beer. We took our sips…

ME: Wow, that’s a good tea!
HUB: It is a good tea. I was just going to say that! I don’t know that much about tea but this is good. I guess your tea snobbery is rubbing off on me.

Well, like his beer snobbery doesn’t rub off on me!

Anyway, this tea is the embodiment of all the gorgeousness, gorgeousity, gorgeouting of Chinese black teas. Bold with sweet notes, no bitterness, just happiness. And peace. And love.

(Yes, this is a valid tea review.)

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Lol, beer snobbery!
I’ll make sure to add this one to my next order…yum.


Yeah, I just ordered 2 ounces… ;)


Beer snobbery has a way of rubbing off. I caught that, too. It’s always a great sign when the husband also says it’s a good tea.


Sounds so delicious!


In our house it’s whisky, primarily, rubbing off. Beer to a smaller degree. (I really don’t like the word ‘snobbery’ as a way to describe interest) I don’t like either of those things, but I’ve taken to having a sniff when Husband has a dram. I can definitely tell a difference in how they smell. Some are sweet and others are more alcohol-y.


I’m a whisky “snob” too. And yes, I love to suit and just take in the aroma before I drink. I love a good single malt scotch, or bourbon, or Irish….yeah, I love whisky.

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drank Gyokuro by Harney & Sons
214 tasting notes

Okay! It’s time to work on some backlogs of teas from the last weekend since the next weekend is… pretty much here already!

So, a week ago I was watching the TeaDB guys doing a video review of a gyokuro (http://youtu.be/vjmcHHB25Z4) and I realized that I have the sample of gyokuro SOMEWHERE and that it is probably rather old ;D Considering how sensitive this tea is, I probably had it way past its prime.

I am not huge on Japanese greens, but this one was considerably milder in funky notes than I know a sencha, for example, to be. Pretty buttery, a little salty, but nevertheless with a hint of sweetness. I was surprised at how savory the first steeping was because the color of the brew, lightly green-tinted water, did not promise that. The second steep was pretty flavorless though but I blame that on the age of the sample.

I would love to try it again, and FRESH. Although the time when I will be able to afford 50g of fresh gyokuro is not to arrive yet for like… 10 years probably ;D But perhaps I could try another sample from somewhere. This could teach me some lovin’ for Japanese teas!

150 °F / 65 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I do love these Chinese black teas. I knew I would love this one as well although it took me three tries to be able to focus on tasting it properly (with the first one I got distracted with something, and with the other – the water was vile, not sure why, such a waste though).

Smells like piles of honey and caramel! The brew if of a beautiful mahogany color. Every sip is smooth, creamy and with no bitterness at all. I think there are some chocolate notes, although faint (yet they do not feel like a weak and funky chocolate notes that are often found in artificially flavored choco teas). Also some nuttiness that is more on the sweet side. It is just amazing how sweet this tea is. I think there’s a slight hint of fruitiness in the aftertaste like… a ripe pear?

I think there’s going to be different flavors in this tea every time I make it. Which is just great. This definitely belongs to my all time favorite black teas now. Whispering Pines are out of it at the moment, so I guess I am going to hoard the rest of what I have :D Hopefully they will re-stock it one day :)

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Earl Grey Cream by Zen Tea
214 tasting notes

Happily sipping on my fav EG variation and listening to the new Tori Amos album that is not half bad!

The weekend is here and I will be away for a few days (from the computer, from the Internet = from Steepster), but I am going to try a lot of new teas and then I will be backlogging them the entire next week… and then the weekend comes again… and so on. You see a pattern there :D

Wishing a great weekend to all the Steepsterites! :)


A great week end to you also :-)

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I am finally, FINALLY trying it!

You should have seen me preparing it, squealing and swooning over the smell of dry leaf and then over the smell of the steep. Insanity! The taste doesn’t disappoint either, lemony notes are attacking me and I happily succumb to them. I love how it’s the lemon-pound-cake lemon rather than lemon-juice lemon that I taste. The macaron notes are fairly faint but detectable, and they must mainly result from the gorgeous almond pieces.

I think it also makes for a great summer drink, hot or iced, although I personally would feel that cold brewing this would be a waste (because of the amount of leaf one has to use for cold brewing AND because I usually have my iced teas when I don’t pay attention to what I’m drinking). It’s super-delicious and I want to have it in my cupboard forever.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

It just smells soooo good. I have to admit, I’ve opened the bag and sniffed it more than once.


Haha, I know. It’s wicked. It makes me want to have some lemon cake. I should just make one.


The excitement in this post is just adorable! . So glad to see people get so giddy about tea! And the tea sounds absolutely delicious to boot!


It IS absolutely delicious! I love how tea can make me feel better on a bad day. Although this day, fortunately, is not one of those (I hope I didn’t jinx it).


I was having a cruddy day the other day. This was the tea I picked as a pick me up. It helped.

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drank Energizing Chai by Zen Tea
214 tasting notes

I put “energizing chair” in the search when trying to look this tea up. LOL.

I had this tea last weekend as well. One of my new Zen tea additions, just a sample size though. The description didn’t sound too exciting to me, but I thought it would be worth trying anyway.

I was pleasantly surprised by deep chocolate notes I was getting from it. Slightly spicy dark chocolate drink. The mate in the mix is not too obtrusive, although it does pop out its head more as the cup cools down. I don’t know if it was energizing though, I am always energized enough because, thank god, most of the time I work in accordance with my very own circadian rhythm where I go to sleep very late at night and get up very late morning :D

But yeah, I am looking forward to trying this tea again, although I can see that it’s probably not going to be my very favorite.

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

There are days I could use an energizing chair….although I guess that depends on how the chair energizes. =D


LOL. That’s what I was wondering!

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drank White Peony King by Shang Tea
214 tasting notes


Shang Tea don’t have any mediocre tea to offer, not to mention a bad one. It’s pretty apparent. I still haven’t tried the entire sampler that I got from them but I don’t think there was yet a tea from them I’ve had that I was at least remotely disappointed with.

I don’t have straight white teas very often. Not sure why because I definitely enjoy them. I know that to some white teas don’t taste like much of anything, but I have always enjoyed their delicate and sweet notes. Anyway, the cup of this tasted unmistakably of honey, smelled gorgeous and I loved it. I am not sure if I would get more of it as I would probably go with their honeysuckle white instead, but I definitely recommend it to all the white tea aficionados!

185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I just picked up more of the honeysuckle white yesterday!


You are so lucky to be able to visit their store :)

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Poppies are in bloom, awwww!

Anyway, here’s another backlog from the weekend. I cooked up most of the sample of this that ATR sent me as an extra. It wasn’t exquisite but pretty agreeable. It reminded me some of Zen Tea’s Earl Grey Creme (which is yum x 10!) but it wasn’t quite as fancy.

It made for a nice cup that accompanies one while they are focusing on something else. I wouldn’t get more of it and, besides, when it comes to ATR’s greys I am enjoying their Earl Grey Shanghai much more – which is what I am having right now.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Agreed about Zen Tea Earl Grey Cream!


It’s so delicious! Could be my favorite earl grey themed tea.

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drank Karigane Houjicha by Den's Tea
214 tasting notes

I had a sample of this and I decided to make this iced. I don’t know why. I usually avoid trying teas for the first time iced.

This awesome-“leafed” tea has an unmistakable roasty flavor that reminds me of roasted rice in genmaicha and I think it would work great hot but as an iced tea it seems that its most characteristic features were a little jarring. Especially at first. When I have iced tea, it means I’m either driving to work, am at work, or driving back from work, so I don’t pay that much attention to the flavors but with this one I kind of… had to. So roasty!

I still have about 1 serving of this left and I am definitely going to try it hot!

Iced 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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I started drinking tea when I was a teenager, my dad used to make tea a million times a day as it was (and still is!) good for his health. So he would make it for the entire family. Usually it was Lipton with a teaspoon of sugar per cup and a slice of lemon. I was fond of it made this way then a lot.

Then I would have occasional loose leaf teas, I slowly got into green tea… I would mostly stick to bagged tea though. It was just convenient.

Only recently, in the middle of 2013, did I start getting seriously into all kinds of loose leaf tea.

- Chinese black teas
- green oolongs
- super-fruity rooibos/honeybush “teas”
- interesting dessert teas

- green teas
- white teas
- dark oolongs
- non-Chinese black teas
- earl greys
- pu-erhs
- anything else that is missing from other categories

- chai teas
- herbal teas
- fruit teas

- mint in blends (it’s ok as straight mint)

Apart from tea, I love reading, board-gaming with my husband, learning foreign languages (currently Spanish and Portuguese) and listening to lots and lots of music!

And if we just stick to food-related stuff I am also a great aficionado of good craft beer and dark chocolate :)

Whispering Pines Tea Co.
Shang Tea
Yezi Tea
Golden Moon Tea
Harney & Sons

You can also find me here:
On Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/dairy_queen
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