Featured & New Tasting Notes

As a birdwatcher, I love waterfowl watching the most. Ducks rock. Dabbling, diving – they’re all made of perfection. Pictured on the wrapper is a drake Ruddy Duck (he’s missing the white on his chin, but that’s alright since it’s for the sake of keeping the print coloring simple). I’ve seen Ruddy Ducks a few times so far, but only a drake in breeding plumage once. That blue beak is something to see firsthand. Winter is approaching. The ducks are on the move.

I obtained a sample from the Pu’erh Plus TTB. Brewed in a ceramic gaiwan. Gave the leaf a 5-second rinse and a 2-minute rest. Steeping times: 5 seconds xfive, 10, 12,15, 20, 30, 45; 1 minute, 1’30", 3, 6, 12, 20.

The dry leaf smells sweet and pepper, and, after sitting in the pre-heated gaiwan, of apricot and mint. The wet leaf is very aromatic, filling the corner of the room with a fragrance of white sugar and apricot.

The soup is clear, and has a full-body yet a gentle, bright mouth-feel. The color begins as pale yellow and ends as pale gold. Thick-ish texture sometimes. I used 200 degree temperature water for the first five infusions and then switched to 190. 200 produces a tartness that overwhelms the grassy and apricot notes. The huigan is weak.

190 is much better for the leaf. The heart of the session – infusions 6-11 – are lightly sweet and bitter. Qualities balanced, one not overwhelming the other. Slowly developing is a slight cooling aftertaste, which I mostly feel in the mouth. The sweet apricot aftertaste – the throat – is at its strongest at this point. For infusions 12 and 13, the menthol note has fully developed and even rivals the huigan, cooling the throat. The soup itself tastes sweet, bitter, and menthol-like all at once. 14 tastes mostly of menthol. The longer steeps for 15-17 produce a bitterness that outdoes the menthol. No more sweetness. Once again, the huigan is weak. But more than twenty minutes later, as I write this review, I still feeling the cooling in my throat.

5 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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Another Tai Ping Hou Kui, thank you to Angel & Teavivre.
I had initially planned to compare this one to the Premium version, but that didn’t happen. I’ve been so busy lately, really too busy to think about writing tea reviews. For a few weeks I was digging up sweet potatoes (7 different varieties, all curing in various locations, mostly my sunroom), and planting garlics, shallots, and multiplier onions, and other fall stuff.
Now my primary activity is practicing several hours a day, in preparation for several concerts I have coming up, pretty much a different concert every week with a different local orchestra. Last sunday it was Resphigi’s ancient Airs & dances II. This coming sunday it’s The Planets by Holst and the Star Wars Movie soundtrack! Next weekend it’s Pictures at an Exhibition (which I’m playing again with a different group in Dec). Then I have 5 pieces for a concert with the St. Louis Wind Orchestra, followed a week later by 3 performances of the Nutcracker complete with ballet! Then another orchestra concert in Dec, with The Blue Danube Waltz! Then a bunch of xmas gigs!

So I deserve a break with this beautiful green tea! I can’t really give a comparison to the other one… visually, the leaves of this version are more delicate, but they both share the beautiful long leaved presentation that makes this tea have such a wonderful visual appeal.

Tastewise, if it is possible, this one is even sweeter, smoother, and more creamy/buttery. There is a thick sensation, and tastes of pumpkin seed, honeydew melon, kelp, & mineral.


That is a lot of concerts! Is there any harp in the Star Wars soundtrack? Neat!

Terri HarpLady

There is tons of harp in the star wars soundtrack! And I only just got the music yesterday, so it will be another crazy late night practicing :)


How cool. I’ll try and listen for the harp the next time I listen to that music (I’m bad at picking out instruments, I just sorta get swept away….)


Your music is beautiful ( I have your Christmas album). I’m not surprised you are in such demand at this time of year. HOpe you find plenty of time to relax and take tea breaks.

Terri HarpLady

Thanks Uba!!
I think somebody (who knows who?) said, “I’ll rest when I die”, LOL or something like that! Actually, I’ll be consistently working my @$$ off until the day after Xmas, and then I’ll take a much needed couple of weeks break! After that it usually slows down for a month or so (but not always). I do usually take Mondays off from practicing, and actually I didn’t practice yesterday at all. But I did spend a large part of the day, in between students, listening to youtube versions of the Star Wars stuff, making notations on the music, and basically practicing in my head, if that makes sense! :)

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Brew of my morning!
This is one very flavorful tea. It keeps surprising me with new dashes of flavor that I hadn’t noticed before. Sometimes its a bit sweet, then theres a touch of something savory, even spicy!
This is all very lovely, especially for a flavored tea drinker, such as myself. Its good to know that dept and complexity lurk in black teas as well has their flavored counterparts. It inspires me to try more!

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drank French Vanilla by Tea Cozy
1679 tasting notes

I am always questing for a basic (and yet fantastic) vanilla black. I’ve come across some really good blends, but nothing that has yet fully earned the title of “cupboard staple”. So I pick them up almost aggressively, when I spot one that seems a likely contender.
This is a blend from a local tea shop, which is a cute little place. They have some English tea imported, and lots of teaware, and some of their own unique blends, which I picked up a good helping of the last time I was there. This is one of them.
And its ok. My first cup of this was perfectly decent, but nothing to sing about. I’ll drink it down without problems, and probably some pleasure, but its not The One True Vanilla Black.
Do you guys have a good vanilla black recommendation?


sadly my vanilla recommendations are fancy french teas heh not easily attainable.


Alas! I feel like I need to take a “teas of the world” tour, and just stuff several suitcases full of teas.


I’ve had success adding vanilla bean to black tea. I just took about half a vanilla bean – split lengthwise and cut into a few half inch or so pieces – add it to about 1 cup of your favorite black tea, seal in a tin for a couple of weeks.


I love vanilla flavored tea! Vanilla Flavored Tea by Mark T. Wendell is by far the best I’ve had. Wonderful Ceylon base with bits of real vanilla bean. It’s like drinking a Nabisco Vanilla Wafer! Pure vanilla ecstasy!


Those are both really good suggestions! I’ve added the Vanilla Flavored tea to my wishlist, and I might get some vanilla beans the next time I’m at the store. Thank you, Dexter and Teatotaler!

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This is a slightly bitter fruity tea created & given to me by the wonderful mtchyg.

It steeps up the COOLEST BLOOD COLOR:

The primary flavor is hibiscus (like cranberry, slightly tart). Hibiscus is my new favorite thing, so I might be biased here in liking it, and this tea. There also a few apple and citrus notes, and a deeper note that’s probably the pu erh or cocoa nibs.

There’s a lot going on, but it’s very rich, dark, and complicated, just like vampires would be.

You live a long time, you get skeletons in those closets. If you’re eating people, some of those skeletons are probably literal.

Can you imagine living forever? Every single embarrassing or shameful thing I’ve ever done keeps me up at night NOW, and I’m only 32. Imagine being, like, 500 years old. You’d have hundreds of instances of betrayals and slights and backhanded compliments and mistakes and getting your period in your khakis. HUNDREDS.

That time I walked into a telephone pole waving at a cute boy? If I were 500, I’d probably have done that at LEAST 4 more times.

Flavors: Citrus, Cranberry, Hibiscus, Sweet, Tart


I’m like that in over thinking. But, I think if you were a vampire, after the first century or two you would just kinda be like, “Screw it. Either they’ll be dead soon or I’ll drink their blood.” Ya know? Like, a bit hardened to caring what other people think.


Do we think vampires still get their periods? I would hope, if I achieve immortality, that I won’t have to deal with that for the rest of eternity….

Super Starling!

Mitch — I like to think that being a vampire would harden me up a little. I’d stop being a teddy bear with baggies of my teardrops as my padding. But oh god, I am SO SENSITIVE. I don’t even think it’s been 24 hours since the last time I cried. I cry because I’m sad. I cry because I’m angry. I cry because I’m happy. I cry because I’m watching something nostalgic. The other day I almost wept because I MISSED RAISINS. You cannot fathom how preposterous I am. Times hundreds of years? Would that make it better, or worse? Also, if I lived forever, would I be like one of those old people who talks about the good old days? Would I get stuck? Would I be 715 years old and saying crap like “The best band of all time was TLC back before Lisa Lefteye Lopez died”?
Rosehips — I guess that depends on what Becoming A Vampire does to the human body. In most (if not all?) versions of vampirism I’ve ever seen, a vampire can’t get pregnant. You’d think whatever shut down pregnancy probably also would shut down the whole system. I hope so. Right now I’m savagely looking forward to menopause’s sweet, sweet relief. It’s, like, 20 years away.


Haha points taken.


You would have the best puerh collection though


This is true. Especially if you were the type of vampire that could enchant people through a stare. “I vant to drink your puerh.”

Super Starling!

I would live so long I could ferment my own puerh. Oooh.

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I liked this last year, so I was excited to try again.

The leaves are long and lightly compressed. I take a deep inhale and identify sweet and woody tones with a back draft of smoke and very faint blackberry. The leaves carry dark and heavy scents. I warmed my teapot up and placed a fair amount inside. The warmed leaf gives off fragrant aromas of wet wood, nectar, crystallized honey, dough, and some bitters. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The brew begins sweet and very tasty. I can instantly pick up strong floral characters, for I can even smell flowers in the liquor. The brew is potent and thick with a brief huigan and some slight sour tones. This tea is quite good. The qi is instantaneous with calming and an alert feeling. I call this type of “talk tea”, for I suddenly had the urge to converse, haha, My friend and I had a political debate while I was drinking this which fueled the qi even more. The brew warmed and settled my stomach and refreshed me. I was quite happy while drinking this brew. The later steeping yields almond tones with some honey. The qi beautifully developed further and further and caused caught a zooming sensation. I liked this.

Note: My second session was not nearly the same. The tastes were off and muddled. The qi was more aggressive. The aromas were faint. I don’t know what the problem was. It may have been storage conditions, for it became much colder than my first session.


Flavors: Almond, Blackberry, Dark Wood, Floral, Flowers, Honey, Nectar, Smoke, Sweet

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Unlike this morning’s Gurana Chai, this one really is minty. A lot minty. I’ve never had a mint-chai blend before, so I’m not entirely sure what to expect. It’s a black base – assam and darjeeling – but with less spices than you’d normally expect – just ginger, lemongrass, and cardamon. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water.

The result is…interesting. Straight off, I’m not sure I’m a fan. I did the scrunchy nose thing, which generally tells me everything I need to know before I even take a second sip. The black base and the mint work. That’s a thing. It’d work even better with some vanilla, and if the darjeeling was removed from the equation. But even with the darjeeling, it would work. Black tea, mint, and chai spices…doesn’t work. It clashes. In all kinds of odd ways. It sounds like it should work well enough. If I think of ingredient pairings in my head, I’m not immediately disgusted. I wouldn’t even question most of them. Mint and ginger, okay. Black tea and caradmon, fine. Ginger and black tea, ginger and lemongrass…it’s all fine. In practice, though…just no. I want this to be either a mint and vanilla black, or a chai. As it stands, it’s a weird halfway and I’m not enjoying it. I wanted to like it…but I don’t. Sorry Bluebird!

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
Super Starling!

Oh, no, it doesn’t even sound good in my HEAD. But I like your openness to new experiences. Thank you for taking the fall for us. Insert us holding up the Katniss Everdeen 3-finger salute of the rebellion in your honor.


I love the pudina chai I’ve tried from another company. The one I had was only mint and darjeeling. The chai spices don’t even sound appealing. :(

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EDIT: I served this at our book club last night and most everyone agreed. Andrew nailed this tea in regards to capturing the feel of the book. Bravo, Andrew.

Andrew (LiquidProust) had offered to make a custom blend for my tea book club to coincide with the book House of Leaves. I basically told him that I need/want something that is dark, full of depth, and a bit confusing. After some messaging back and forth, he came up with this concoction: a Lui An tea from the 1990s, a ripe puerh from 2006, a 2016 Dianhong black tea, a 2015 Bang Dong, Black tea, a 2014 Shui Xian Wuyi roasted oolong, and Mugwort.

Whew! The blend itself looks fascinating. Despite there being a lot of dark leaves mixed together, it certainly looks like there is a lot going on if you know what you are looking at/for.

I decided to give this two quick 3 second rinses. The smell off of the wet leaves had me a bit worried. It smelled… old and bitter. The old part was okay as I enjoy the sort of old pages of a book smell. It was the bitter that concerned me. Not like an astringent bitter… more like a medicinal green bitter. Maybe that is the Mugwort? Either way, I was concerned.

After the two rinses, I steeped for 15 seconds. The liquor itself doesn’t have much, if any, of the bitter smell. It brewed up a golden amber color not unlike a thick, locally produced honey. The flavor here is very smooth. It does have a tinge of that green, raw plant flavor on the back end put it is not overpowering. I, again, suspect that to be the Mugwort. Maybe Andrew can weigh in here and give his thoughts. The rest of the flavors, as I said, are very smooth. I would say it is a perfect combination of a puerh and black tea flavor. Kind of like drinking an antique book.

After this first steep, I am impressed. This is a tea that, on the surface, could be intimidating if just judging by the ingredients. But the flavor on this first steep lends itself to being very drinkable and approachable even if it is a bit complex and layered (which is what I had requested!)

Second steep (20 seconds) and holy shit. That bitter type of smell that I couldn’t place? I’ve found it. It smells like that earthiness that you associate with a fresh plucked and cut beet. Like a light bulb going off, it hit me. That is exactly the smell of the wet leaves. And that taste still translates into the after taste a bit. The color of the liquor is slightly darker, a cinnamon brown color. Yeah… this is still good. It has such a smoothness to it. I would say that, if you can get over the slight earthy beetness on the aftertaste, this is much more approachable for newbies than just a regular ripe puerh. It isn’t as muddy or heavy. It is a bit lighter, cleaner, and smooth.

Andrew… you could totally blend this and market it as something like “Dream Leaves” or “House of Dreams” or “Leaves of Dreams.” I don’t know… spit balling here. But, really, this is good. And, dare I say it, I’m feeling a bit of a tingly head buzz just two steeps in?? Maybe I’m inhaling too much of the incense I have burning but I am getting something going on.

3rd steep, 25 seconds. Beet-ness is still with us in the wet leaves. Let me just say here that somehow, for some reason, the song “House of the Rising Sun” is a damn near perfect song to go along with this tea. It came on Pandora and it just fits. The color remains the same here. The flavor is mostly similar but a little more beet flavor on the end. But not bad at all. And seriously, I feel ridiculously giggly. I don’t remember a tea doing this to me. I almost feel high… not that I know what that feels like or anything… But this tea is definitely having an affect on me.

4th steep, 30 seconds. Color holds. Cinnamon brown. Interestingly enough, that beet like flavor is slowly becoming the more dominating flavor. This makes me question if it is the mugwort at all. Having never had Liu An tea, perhaps the flavor is coming from that tea instead of the mugwort. I’m starting to assume this simply because I would expect the flavors the the fermented teas to outlast that of the mugwort. Perhaps I am wrong. Again, someone with more knowledge on these two leaves can lend some clarity.

5th steep, 45 seconds. During this steep, I smelled the water and leaves and I finally got a hint of a whiff of a classic ripe puerh smell. Also, because researching things tends to be a love of mine, I went on a search to see if I could find a taste description of Liu An tea. My search returned a lot of descriptions using words like medicinal and earthy. That would seem to fit in with my earthy beet description. So, maybe that solves it! The earthy beetness could very well be the Liu An. Yeah… still digging this tea and the impact it is having.

6th steep, 1 min. So, I decided to switch up my music selection from random to a more relaxing nature/spa sounds. Annnnddd now I just want to lie down and pass out. My brain and my body are trying to tell me, “It’s fine. Just lie down and close your eyes for a second.” Which, I would, but I have to pick my son up from school in about 45 minutes so… that won’t work. In the meantime, I’m in a consistent sweet spot with this tea. Color and flavors have hit a constant at this point. I am happy.

7th steep, 1 min 30 seconds. Andrew, dude, what have you done to me!? Haha this is some light headed, get lost in the clouds, stuff here. I’d give you a hug right now if I could. Seriously, I have never had a tea make me feel like this stuff here. I wish I could say that I am over exaggerating but… my head is tingly and soft, my body is super relaxed. I had a banana and oatmeal square for breakfast so I don’t think I can blame it on that haha. Oh, right. The tea is still good as well. It is getting slightly thinner on the after taste but it is still drinkable.

I would love to keep this up but the time has come to go and get my son. But yeah… Home. Run. Thanks Andrew.

Session picture: https://www.instagram.com/p/BLv3kr2BixY/

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML


Hoping this becomes available


I would buy gobs of this. I’m not sure how much a gob is but I’d buy that amount of it.

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This is the most mint cooling Ruby 18 I’ve had so far. The cooling sensation starts early on, going with a mellow, fruity, woodsy and sweet flavor. This tea has an excellent thick body too.

A ruby 18 for someone who wants all the texture and feels!

Full Review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/pacific-northwest-taiwanese-black-tea-comparison/

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 1 g 0 OZ / 12 ML
Daylon R Thomas

All of them sound excellent, it would honestly depend on how particular I was for a black tea. I usually prefer sweet and thick chocolate notes in my black tea, but I need plenty of sweetness with the dryness. But I do love fruitiness and being able to taste a balanced variety of the notes that a tea can offer. Decisions. I still need to review their Earl Grey…

Evol Ving Ness

Speaking of Earl Grey. Have you had a chance to try the ones I sent?

Daylon R Thomas

I tried the David’s but not all of the others yet. It was a bit strong. I thought I wrote a note, but I could be mistaken.

Evol Ving Ness

I am looking forward to hearing what you think about the rest.

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drank Genmaicha by DAVIDsTEA
3981 tasting notes

This is a queued tasting note.

So, a lot has been going on for me this week and much of that has actually directly correlated to DAVIDsTEA. I’ll be finishing up my Sommelier classes in less than a month now so I’ve been thinking about what I want to do afterwards. A fairly good friend of mine works at DAVIDsTEA and she recommended applying to work there as one of the seasonal tea guides just to get some tea related work experience on my resume and I thought that was an awesome idea. If nothing else, I think it’s a work environment I’d genuinely enjoy and it’ll be nice having that extra cash flow for the Christmas season.

So I actually got my cup of this during my group interview! One of the things they told us to expect for the interview was a free cup of tea and then my friend tipped me off that sometimes in smaller interviews one of the questions is to “sell” the tea you picked to the interviewer. So picking this one was definitely more strategic for me because it’s a tea I have LOTS of familiarity with and I knew there would be tons of different ways I could spin it. I could have talked about the “myth” based origins of the blend that relate to how it got its name because I know I’m always more interested in a tea when there’s a story or its nickname “The People’s Tea” and how that originated. I also know a ton of ways to cook with Genmaicha or pair it with different cheeses and chocolates so I thought that could be a unique approach as well. It’s also a great evening tea because of the lower caffeine amount and the fact the roasty notes are very soothing. Finally, I think it’s a perfect tea to bride the gap between traditional and “pure” teas and more fun, flavored ones. Also, I just really fucking like Genmaicha.

Turns out – that wasn’t even one of the interview questions. Probably because my group interview was gargantuan: roughly twenty people! Everyone wants to work for DAVIDsTEA…

Questions they did ask, for anyone curious, were availability (that was a huge focus) and what ‘defines’ good customer service as well as examples of how you could provide it at their store as well as how its been provided or not provided for you at other stores. Our interviewer (the store manager) also wanted to know our general preexisting knowledge of tea fucking nailed that part and then to finish and to get a sense of our personalities we were asked to either describe the person who has been our biggest influence in life/motivation in life OR an object that we feel close to that directly ties into our identity. I chose to talk about my tattoos – specifically the three I feel hold the most meaning, which would be my memorial tattoo, my Shel Silverstein piece, and my Camellia Sinensis tattoo.

Apart from the sheer size of the group, I’d say it was a pretty straight forward interview that, even if I hadn’t prepped before hand, would have been really easy to navigate. I’m a big fan of group interviews in general and I think finding a balance between having personality and standing out without ‘screaming for attention’ or talking over other applicants is something I’ve always done well with.

Oh, and I got the job! I should start somewhere between a week from now and two weeks. Once I start I think I’m going to continue to rate DAVIDsTEA blends, just without assigning any numerical score to them unless the Steepster community seems to have objections to that approach. I think that’s a good balance between continuing to write about them while still remaining impartial and not skewing the average rating here on the site. In the mean time, I’m going to continue to to review as normal. Also, any numerical ratings I currently have up for existing blends I think I will just leave untouched as they were before I was hired.



Youve got a tea tat? Born for this :) & yeah just keep up with it, seems a fair balance to not score

Roswell Strange

I do! It’s pretty simple though; literally just the words “Camellia Sinensis”. It seemed the best approach for me because I like to stay away from coloured tattoos so getting the tea flower was out (because without colour it’s hard to distinguish from other flowers) and I wasn’t a fan of getting any teaware done because there’s no one style of teaware I feel particularly drawn to or use more than any other. And definitely no “tea bag” tattoos ;)


Congrats on the job!
And I think that would be a good system, to review but not rate, at least for the time being. It seems very fair.


Congratulations! Drink ALL THE TEA. I agree that you can keep reviewing and just not rate. Some tea company owners review their own blends on here and it is fine as long as they don’t rate.


Congrats! And good idea about not rating the teas. Sometimes (rarely anymore) I buy from Steeped Tea and looking here on steepster the other day it makes me mad when reps create profiles and rate every tea 100

carol who

Awesome!! Now we can get all the inside scoop on the newest teas. I hope you enjoy the new job.

Evol Ving Ness

Congratulations! I hope this with be rewarding and fun and useful to you.

A question—or two. How does a group interview work? How many people interviewed you? etc. etc.

Roswell Strange

So, in a group interview it’s typically one (maybe two) interviewer but a large group of people being interviewed. They’re typically less questions and generally those questions are more personality or team based. They want to get a sense of your personality and how you’ll communicate and interact with coworkers and customers. They also run much longer – about an hour in this case.

Also, thanks for all the congrats!


Way to go!


I think you are pretty unbiased so I know even if you work for the company, your reviews will be honest. So no qualms here…though you probably already knew that. Also, I was thinking about you getting hired and all I could think is “I would drink so many eggnog lattes if I had that job :P”…I would basically try the wall as an eggnog latte so when someone asked which tea was best that way, I could give an educated and informed answer




Congrats on the job!

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks, Ms. Strange. When the interviewers ask a question, do they address it to a particular person? or to the group up for grabs? or same question one by one continuing whatever the person before you said?

Evol Ving Ness

I also would be eggnog latteing myself to death.

Roswell Strange


This interview was a combination of “up for grabs” questions (basically, answer if you can contribute) and questions that everyone was expected to answer. Personally, I’ve yet to do a group interview where they directed questions to specific individuals.

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks. I’ve never attended a group interview though I have been interviewed by a group of people from various departments as the single interviewee.

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drank Licorice Spice by Travelling Tea
7861 tasting notes

terri sent this one my way and while i don’t love excessive amounts of licorice , i’m ok with is when done well. i actually REALLY like this..except for the licorice haha. There’s just a little too much making it too sweet for me. But the cinnamon/orange/clove aspect to this is delicious. if we could dial back the licorice in this, i’d probably be all over this.

Evol Ving Ness

Except for the liquorice. Ha.

Evol Ving Ness

Cinnamon, orange, and clove sounds very Constant Comment. Was it like that one other than the liquorice?


I haven’t had constant comment in fooooorrreeeeeever….so zero recollection heh

Evol Ving Ness

I have fond memories of it. No idea whether it is truly good or nostalgia speaking.

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It’s…sheng. I’m sorry. Not bad for sheng. It’s got a nice floral and green sort of flavor to it, but there’s still a slight amount of that underlying formaldehyde bitterness.


Interesting that you get formaldehyde from sheng…what temp do you brew it at? Not saying you’re wrong of course – you taste what you taste, just curious :)


Usually 175-195, since I let the kettle cool a bit before reheating it. It got up to 205 at the end when there wasn’t a lot of water left. Obviously I’ve never had formaldehyde, but the taste reminds me of the smell of dissection day in class.


Fair enough – just wondered as some have a better time with the bitterness at lower temps. Maybe not in your case :) I only did one dissection in school and the teacher told us the froggie wasn’t preserved in formaldehyde but something else…still smelled bad though lol

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Additional notes: Sipdown on this rainy autumn day! I love autumn except for the dreading of winter that it brings. It’s chai weather! This one is nice, but I mostly get a fennel/licorice flavor… but this blend is older now.

I’d love to hear what anyone thinks is the pumpkiniest tea? And I don’t mean the spices. I mean the actual pumpkin flavor. The tea with the most pumpkin flavor? To me, it’s Bluebird’s Pumpkin chai, even if it technically uses carrots instead of pumpkin pieces. But that’s sad! There should be more pumpkin teas!


You need to stop raving about Bluebird’s brilliant concoctions because I’m trying NOT to make an order haha.


Haha. :D But they are worth it! I definite love suggesting them whenever I can.


Spiced pumpkin from DAVIDs TEA. It actually has pumpkin in it


Oooo.. I didn’t know about Spiced Pumpkin yet.


Oh yeah, Spiced Pumpkin IS a good one.

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Lovely aged white leaves. Gave it a rinse, had a whiff. Porridge! yummy oats & milk fly up my nose from the gaiwan. Then a sharp apricot aroma hit… lovely smell. After a ten minute wait the sharpness has a freshness/menthol alongside it. its cool apricots. YUM.

I dont usually gaiwan my whites but i’m following the guide for this one.

First taste, subtle. nice aroma up into my head, this apricot turning into medicinal. Lightly floral as well.

Second & the aroma is more deeper & sweet, cotton candy thing. The taste is deeper, pretty lush, sweet & hay-like but not the same as a fresh white. Evolved & heavier. Its lovely. Ever-so-slightly spicy like a Dongfang Meiren but just in the background. Dates is a good description.

Third is another deep sweet taste. Nice feel in the mouth, silky & slight tingle, with a sweet-sharp edging. I could glug a cup of this tea western style so easily, as it feels so nice in the mouth, but gongfu has been an interesting way to experience the flavours. Bit more of a date flavour, along with the evolved white peony florals & hay, actually this hay is more like the inside of a hay bale on a hot day. And ‘hot hay’ is listed here, so there you go!

Later steeps fall back to something more akin to normal white peony tea, but with a sour note coming from the leaf being steeped out. Still enjoyable, still nicely interesting, still smooth, still deep.

I do love the more complex, deeper whites. This one didnt disappoint at all.

Flavors: Cotton Candy, Dates, Floral, Hot hay, Oats, Raisins, Sugar

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Daylon R Thomas

Uh oh, a highly rated white.


haha yes, its really nice drinking it gongfu. If you get some you must try the mengsung secret garden sheng as well. Huigan so vibrant i’m still thinking about it two days later

Daylon R Thomas

That’s lovely :) I’ve been saving the shengs and shou you sent me for the right moment.

I’ve been on an empty stomach too often the past few weeks.


how do you normally brew white tea, if not a gaiwan? just curious :)


btw I have a sample of mengsung secret garden sheng I haven’t gotten to yet, I’ll put it to the top of the rotation.


@Daylon, ah, i didnt send you the mengsung, I sent you some: https://shop.chadao.de/product_info.php?info=p1633_16113-2-li-gong-jin-shi-bing-2013.html its a nice yiwu

@Andresito – yes! the mengsung is really really good. Follow the brewing guidelines on the bana website, I only had the one 8g sample, used all of it in a 100ml gaiwan as guided & it was gorgeous.
& I usually do whites western but i’m going to have to go back through all of them gongfu now

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So I’m really late to this party. I bought this one on the strength of some Twinings first flush darjeeling that I really liked, but apparently I let 2 years pass and didn’t get around to trying it. Shame on me. Today, though, is finally the day!

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. The liquor is a medium orange-brown, the scent lightly malty with hints of stone fruit. To taste, it’s pretty much as I expected. I hadn’t tried a Rohini before, which is one of the reasons I picked this one out, and I was intrigued by the fact that it has a flavour profile more akin to a second flush. Muscatel notes, yay! Fortunately, they’re here in spades, so I’m not disappointed. It’s a really lovely grapey flavour, deep and rich, slightly on the dry side. Underneath is the sweet, juiciness of apricots, followed by light maltiness. It’s slightly brisk, but not what I’d call astringent. All in all, everything I want from a first flush darjeeling!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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This curious little parcel inhabits the uncanny valley of the tea spectrum. It’s a huangpian, but it does not have the relaxing nature of 24K, being a punchier example of the style. However, it doesn’t quite have the full spectrum of nuances that a normal leaf tea would (hopefully) entail.

The result is a very fine drink that I have no idea when I would choose to reach for. 24K could be splwndid when wanting tea in a late session, as at least to me it’s very soothing and unlikely to keep me up. A tea as robust as Alter Ego would be better during the day – but it just doesn’t have the flair I want from my limited availability of full-on gongfu sessions.

I may try this Western (gasp!) as a work tea… but being a brick, it’ll require prep ahead of time, which doesn’t generally fit the nature of my work day tea sessions.

A fine brew… but a square peg to my proverbial round hole.

I promise never to refer to my round hole henceforth. My apologies.


This could be a tea that’s worth boiling or dropping in a thermos in your case. It takes a little tinkering to find the right leaf ratio, but holds up well through endured heat.


I was gonna suggest accompaniment to porn, but maybe you should send the rest to me.


Lol Cwyn. I didnt get the joke at first

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drank Pumpkin Cheesecake by DAVIDsTEA
1521 tasting notes

Oh yeah I sipped this disaster down yesterday evening with some milk. No more tears.


Haha, I hated it – therefore no need to get any this year


Ugh, this one was awful

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I was lucky enough to have a sample of this tea, and it is a fantastic Darjeeling. Or it is a fantastic first flush in my opinion because it exhibits some characteristics that I’m not used to.

As much as I enjoy Darjeelings, I find myself liking summer, autumn, or second flushes the most, especially if they have some spiciness, muscatel qualities, and the allusive cocoa-chocolate notes. First flushes for me are usually very grassy, almost like a herbal spice such as basil which is why I hesitate with them. Though they exhibit floral qualities like an oolong, they are usually more drying which is why I wait for highly recommended ones to come along before I purchase them.

I took the $39 budget as an opportunity to try this one, and unlike other first flushes, this tea has more of a bready, chocolate quality along with the more herby and spicy tones. Smelling the leaves gives me the impression of basil and butter smothered bread, with a few pieces of chocolate covered raisins waiting in the background to cleanse my palette. The taste produces a similar effect, but with a buttery smooth body of a mildly sweet dark chocolate with a heavy herby and spicy aftertaste for a tea sans astringency. That profile persists, and the tea is even better when you eat a chunk of 70% dark chocolate for company. The first time I tried this I did exactly that, and then finished off my decadent experience with a Tawny Port Wine. Yes, I’m a snob and enjoy the hell out of that fact.

I’m not sure that everyone would find the chocolate qualities, but drinking this tea straight would definitely find a sweet and savory profile dried up by the herb spiced aftertaste. It’s a black tea with a black teas sweet body but a first flushes green profile. I would highly recommend a try of this tea, though I think that people newer to tea might not get the same impressions that I do, and I am not sure how a Darjeeling connoisseur would think of it.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Chocolate, Cocoa, Drying, Floral, Herbs, Smooth, Spicy


As a Darjeeling fanatic I couldn’t agree with you more! In fact, I am sipping a cup of No.78 Jungpana Second Flush SFTGFOP1 from Bellocq Tea Atelier at this very moment. I’m adding India Darjeeling 1st Flush Jungpana to my must have list. Great review!


Not sure if you have tried some of the Nepalese teas from What-cha, but their closeness to Darjeeling (& methods?) give them similar characteristics which I enjoyed, also being a DJ fan.


Oh yes! I recently acquired some No.70 Himalayan Rani Bhan Nepalese from Bellocq. It was indeed very similar to a wonderfully rich second flush Darjeeling. Loved it! It’s one of the best teas I’ve ever tasted! I definitely plan on further exploring teas from Nepal. I must check out What-cha’s Nepalese teas next. Thanks, Rasseru!

Daylon R Thomas

One thing I usually notice that the Nepalese teas are like tangerine leaning Darjeelings. I need to try some more from What-Cha, but there was one Nepal black I had that was like a great combo between a Yunnan and a Darjeeling.


Yeah, I just tried that one. Everything I have had from nepal has leaned towards FF darjeeling territory, or also white tea (the processing is pretty similar, just reading a little on the subject)

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A friend told me that a sample of a $800 to $2500.00 cake was coming my way… at first I thought it was a typo so I inquired about that because there’s nothing I have to trade that would be anywhere near that, but it turns out that’s the price that was meant and the tea community is just awesome because these experiences are something I cannot afford which makes me so thankful and continue funneling more into the amazing community I’m part of.
Anyways, tea! Sadly the link to the tea does not exist as this tea is the first pressing from Chen Yuanhao in 2003: 2003 Yesheng. Their 2014 Yesheng is $300’ish for 357 as seen here: https://teapals.com/collections/2014-chen-yuanhao-yesheng/products/2014-chen-yuanhao-yesheng-gushu-chawang-zhai-2014?variant=1199497621
This tea intimidates me. It’s one that is expensive and rare; hopefully high in quality. So how do I know when to drink it? Well, I had a reservation with a friend to go to Kihachi which is an authentic Japanese restaurant in Columbus only open from 6pm to 10pm. It’s a very high end place, but my friend convinced me that I afford the meal; after all, I haven’t been dating in a while so I’ve had money to myself :p. So the decision was easy, drink this tea and get smashed before going to eat.
I cleaned everything up to insure that I would get the best results out of this tea. With plans to go at 5 grams within 100ml of water at 95c, I am sure I’ll brew it correctly… so here we go!
Dry leaf: White and golden hairs throughout the multi colored leaf that shows aged on it.
See here: http://imgur.com/w6HZjBO
The above portion was written prior to going outside to have this session, therefore the below portion is after the session.
Going into steep one, I was waiting for my friend and my patience disappeared so I tried it alone. Light and very interesting of an aroma that reminded me of a perfume. For what’s its worth, this is a rare tasting not to have on something that has aged but looking at the liquid it is quite apparent that this is some of the cleanest storage of any tea yet. A hue of golden yellow which makes you think it is not as old as it in fact is, but the taste has depth in a way that… hard to put words to, more of an aroma that lingers within the mouth that is picked up throughout your senses.
My friend arrived for the second steep which really isn’t late. The brewing began and we sipped away at 50ml each at a time trying to figure this tea out. It’s not like any sheng because there is no high note that hits you with a wow factor. The liquid has some viscosity like a nectar would have and a floral note that is developed like a perfume. While it is unique, we both kept trying to figure out what would separate this from other teas and I think it comes down to its delicate aspects that is much like refined sake. Discussing sake went on for a bit as he knew Buddhist monks who drank on that one night they can do whatever, I completely forgot what it’s called… but it’s quite an interesting thing they have going on. So this tea is very light with hard to notice aspects making it something to drink alone as we did. The color and taste stay strong for ten steeps and then the floral notes die out and more of a dried aged sheng note pops out around the fourteenth steep.

This tea goes on and on, but there isn’t anything that I can say makes it just pop out as unique enough for me to go after. Maybe some humid storage could change that or maybe double the leaf, but at the cost… would anyone really want to 10g/100ml this? An enjoyable session worth pairing for the nights meal, however it is still hard to describe in the sense to convince someone about why it is what it is in the tea world; is it name brand, is it the first pressing, is it the subtle notes… what is it that makes this so special, though it is possible that with time it will appear as such with experience in drinking or eating other things.
The food: http://imgur.com/gallery/6tgKt


Sounds cool – and that restaurant looks great!

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This was pretty cheap so I got a sample. Unfortunately, I tried a few weeks after the Kunlu wild which makes these not enjoyable at all. Kunlu wild is just… the best wild out there and have such a strong taste and brews for days. This is cheap and all, but it falls flat after six steeps with just semi tasting liquid that can pass as ‘cheap’ puerh like Royal Tea Bay type of stuff.

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Another from nicole that i’ve had a couple cups of but apparently forgot to write a note on haha. I don’t drink a lot of green teas because i generally reach for blacks and puerhs first so they’re not as fresh by the time i get to them. Samples are better for me with greens. This is a green tea…savoury more than hitting you in the face with leafy, vegetalness. Overall a nice treat to try :) thanks Nicole!

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Bought this because a couple other Twinnings teas I bought were fairly good. This one I am unsure about. I ruined my taste buds with lunch right before this and I think I am still tasting the cashew butter and jelly sandwich I made. So I will have to reevaluate this at a later time.

I brewed 3 tsp leaf in 200 degree water in a 16ozTeavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper for 3 minutes.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

I haven’t had this in the loose leaf version, but I enjoyed the bags…a little light, but decent flavor. Keep us posted on what you think about it next time!


I will try it again one day soon and post another review.


Awesome, thanks! Hope you enjoy it!


Suffering from Twinings envy :) Prince of Wales isn’t one that’s easy to find locally. Another one to add to my out-of-town search list.

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drank Assam Breakfast by Zhi Tea
76 tasting notes

Oh my! This is a delightful Assam tea. I’m getting lots of sweet stone fruit flavors of bright cherry and deep, ripe plum. It’s pleasantly malty and smooth – Very smooth. There are no bitter notes or rough edges, only a pleasant astringency typical of Assams. Overall the tea was creamy and sweet. I detected a smidge of cocoa.
For those who are Assamaphobic, this Assam would be a safe choice – Sturdy, but oh so gentle and completely delicious!
Thanks for the sample, Josh! I loved every sip!

Flavors: Cherry, Cocoa, Creamy, Plums, Smooth, Stonefruits, Sweet

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

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This tea right here is the one the made me realize each season has so many different elements that can change its production versus the next few years or the past few. The 2015 was so deep in flavor for a young tea and the 2005 was so loud in its taste that this one seems to be some kind of punk who thinks he is ll that but isn’t.

$90+ for a cake… surely it says something if the 2015 cost more than its older cousin who has some hairs on its chest, or so you would think.

The mouth dryness is still quite strong and the lasting flavor in the mouth is nice, but its nowhere near as good as the other You Le productions that were featured and I hate saying it… but dang this one just isn’t worth it ; maybe that means yet as it could change.

Glad to have had the three to compare though because it really opened up my understanding that pu’erh is just like oolong in the sense that each year may have someone new processing it, or maybe the temperatures were different, possibly the climate was off, just so many things that can differ before storage, aged, water….tea has a lot to configure in what makes it what it is.

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