Featured & New Tasting Notes

First of all, the middle of this damn thing is absolutely stupid. It’s like the equivalent of an iron cake but much thicker. Whoever has broke one of these up has experienced what it is like to train in the gravity chamber… just saiyan.

Anyways: This is an easy tea to brew that provides a solid orange liquid showing that there is some age to it for sure. Depth is at the mid range, but easily appreciated. For the price it’s great, but dang… the middle of this thing turns me off of it. It’s the same reason that I don’t like iron cakes though; just losing the ability to get a nice piece off and having an easy brew session is gone once you get those chunks off that look like those pieces of blocktop that are 3×3 inches at a playground (anyone else remember those?).

Matu

Puerh picks in a gravity chamber sound like a poor idea.

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so, i generally think of myself as not liking oolongs. somehow they lack the complexity i crave, they aren’t enough like sheng, i don’t know. and yes, i realize there is a huge spectrum described by ‘oolong’.

i keep trying though. this and the BLT duck sh… kinda changing my mind. (also w2t’s hot & heavy.)

can’t really give brewing params; took a yixing or “yixing” 120ml pot i acquired years ago, warmed it up, stuffed it with leaf, rinsed, and carried on, starting with flash steeps.

strong flavours and quite good sticking power. the flavours in the aftertaste seem to evolve over time.

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53

Of all the Wuyi oolong cultivars, it seems the one that I can never manage to muster much of a reaction to is Rou Gui. I think part of that is the fact that it is so common. At the moment, Rou Gui is an extremely popular cultivar both in China and abroad. Every vendor seems to offer at least one Rou Gui variant each year. The cultivar, itself, has become so popular that I have seen it referred to as “the fifth bush;” its popularity with tea drinkers apparently rivals that of Da Hong Pao, Shui Jin Gui, Tie Luohan, and Bai Ji Guan.

This particular Rou Gui is a product of Li Xiangxi, a tea farmer whose portfolio of offerings through Verdant Tea I really admire. Part of why I appreciate her work is that she tends to avoid the increasingly popular heavy roasts in order to let the natural aromas and flavors of the cultivars with which she works shine and to allow drinkers to appreciate the unique terroir from which her teas come. This particular tea seems to go against her processing philosophy. Though it is labeled as a medium roast tea, I found the roast to be quite heavy and overbearing. It obscured the natural spiciness of the Rou Gui cultivar.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 4 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, I noted that the dry tea leaves produced heavy aromas of char, smoke, and dark wood. There was also a hint of elderberry. After the rinse, an orchid-like floral aroma emerged, as did aromas of huckleberry and spice. The first infusion produced a similar aroma, though I was able to detect an earthiness and tobacco as well. In the mouth, heavy flavors of elderberry, dark wood, char, and smoke mingled with more subtle notes of ginger, cinnamon, orchid, and huckleberry. Subsequent infusions began to draw out mineral notes, as well as aromas and flavors of caramel, raisin, black pepper, and clove. The later infusions displayed the expected Wuyi minerality both on the nose and in the mouth, though I could still detect fleeting impressions of caramel, char, smoke, raisin, tobacco, and wood with a hint of mild ginger, black pepper, and cinnamon spiciness.

This tea managed to be resilient, deep, and complex, though the overall aroma and flavor profiles were not much to my liking. I felt like the roast was too heavy, obscuring the spice, flower, and fruit notes of which I would have liked to see more. So, while there may have been a lot going on with this tea, it all seemed to be somewhat out of balance. Though I tend to admire Li Xiangxi’s work, I cannot help feeling that she lost the thread with this one. My search continues for a Rou Gui that really speaks to me. I think fans of heavier roasts may get some satisfaction out of this one, but it was not for me.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Caramel, Char, Cinnamon, Clove, Dark Wood, Fruity, Ginger, Huckleberry, Mineral, Orchid, Raisins, Smoke, Tobacco

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Rasseru

I’ve only tried a few rou gui now but none of them have really wowed me. I even tried an expensive one from a trusted source & it didnt have much strength or staying power, and came across confused as to what it was trying to put across.. so for me as well, the quest continues

eastkyteaguy

Rasseru, sometimes I get the impression that aromas and flavors that go over in other parts of the world do not always translate well to Western noses and palates. It could be an individual thing too, so who knows? Everything I have read about Rou Gui suggests that it has become one of the most popular oolongs in China, but I’ve tried several, and so far none of them have done it for me. As a matter of fact, none of them have even come close. I have the light roast version of this tea in my cabinet. I think I’ll bump it up in the rotation and work on it next week. Since my biggest issue with this particular tea was the heaviness of the roast, I am hoping that I will like the other version more.

Rasseru

‘not even close’ – yeah thats how i feel. Maybe you are right, and I am expecting cinnamon powder, but I should be expecting actual cassia bark/trees and that smells different…?

The couple i have, will have to try again, they had a medium roast but as I recall, limited staying power.

eastkyteaguy

Just out of curiosity, which other Rou Gui have you tried? All of the ones I have tried in the past year or so have been from Verdant. I started to order a spring 2016 Rou Gui from Yunnan Sourcing, but ended up nabbing a Dan Cong, a Shui Jin Gui, and a Da Hong Pao instead. I figured it made more sense for me to buy things I am likely to enjoy.

Rasseru

actually I just checked and the expensive one wasnt a Rou Gui, my mistake. My others have been from either YS or somewhere else I cant remember – i got given a free sample as well, i’ll have to have a think.

I have actually been drinking the YS spring 2016 for the last few hours to remind myself of it -

it has a roast/sweet/fruit/cinnamon/wood(rooibos?)/(hints of chocolate?) taste.

The roast isnt too strong, nothing like a strong DHP or Shui Xian. You might like it, i dont know – but i’m one of those people that doesnt like chocolate & fruit, so i think thats why I dont go for it?

It is a nice tea, just i dont think to my taste

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47

It took me a minute to place this, but it smells and tastes exactly like canned cherry pie filling. Normally I wouldn’t think this would be a bad thing because I love cherry pie, but this does not feel right to me. It’s actually a little hard to drink. Not to mention that this is a very cloudy tea which always turns me off.

Some “kind” soul left a box of this in the break room today with a note that said “please take one” so this one is not a loss for me. At least I don’t have a box of my own to drink. Thank goodness. This will not be making it onto my wishlist today.

Flavors: Cherry

Preparation
8 OZ / 236 ML

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80

Morning tea! Love seeing the snow outside, just wish it wasn’t turning to rain…fuck ontario weather sometimes. I’m still not used to RAIN in winter. I often miss Alberta in winter…it was friggin cold..but there was no rain/ice to deal with 90% of the time. This is pretty tasty today – smooth and malty and just what the dr ordered.

MissLena

I’ll trade you the AB weather today haha…lots of snow, extremely icy roads, -22 surface temp this morning plus windchill of around -30…tradesies? :D haha I don’t even want to go out to get lunch.

Evol Ving Ness

Oh boy. Gentle snow here. Can’t be too cold. People don’t seem to be walking all that quickly.

Sil

MissLena – i’d rather that to be honest. I grew up with that, used to it. I can’t stand DAMP winters with rain and ice and not really snow..

MissLena

@Sil – yeah the humidity would be quite an adjustment, and that damp cold almost feels colder than a dry cold most of the time. Haha I’d trade for a day still though :D since it’s already icy here, and now 40km/hr wind gusts…

Evol Ving Ness

Ouf, love Edmonton summers though. Zero humidity when we here were dying. So refreshing after humid hell here.

MissLena

@Evol Ving Ness – the last few summers have been more humid actually! The summer before last was sooo hot and humid for like a week, I could not stand that for the whole summer I would also not do well haha. This past summer was all about the storms :D my favorite!

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drank Nepal Black by DAVIDsTEA
743 tasting notes

Evol sample, thank you!

I wondered if this was right since the tips were more gold making me wonder if it was a union, but the dry cocoa powder and peach seed smell of the leaves make me feel otherwise. Like I said before, Nepal needs more love. This is a good case as to why and was a good pick for me.

I brewed gong fu and the qualities were closer to a Yunnan black in a mega powdery cocoa mouth feel and taste with a dried and roasted fruit finish. It reminds me of a Darjeeling in the dryness, but since I’ve had Nepalese teas before, it’s really a Nepal dryness that I associate with the terroir. Picking up a bit of a honey aftertaste as well. Malty overall, and a bit dry, but very pleasant.

Evol Ving Ness

Excellent. I’m feeling very self-congratulatory now following my own instincts on this. If we ever do another swap, I’ll just ignore your specific preferences, beyond general guidelines, of course, altogether and send you things that I think you should try, just because.

Evol Ving Ness

I’m glad you liked this one.

Daylon R Thomas

You know I like to try new things. :) I could not drink all these blacks all the time though. Oolongs are easier for me to power than blacks though I can handle around two hong cha sessions in a given day. I think that might decrease with time. Some greens can be way harder though.

Evol Ving Ness

One oolong can be an all day long thing for me. Blacks are less of a commitment: two steeps and I’m done, most of the time. I can be a bit fickle too, going through my phases of mostly this or mostly that.

Evol Ving Ness

You know I am teasing you.

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88

This is the orb from the Sheng Olympiad.

I thought this was damn good. I was pretty impressed. The ball is not too tightly rolled and gives off a Sichuan pepper, peppercorn, and some sweetish savory notes. I seem to always smell Sichuan peppers on tea balls, not sure why. I warmed up my pot and threw it in. The aroma does a backflip and becomes very sweet with a thick green background. I can pick up an underlining bite that sifts through the brown sugar and maple fog. This is a very nice and inviting scent. I washed the ball twice and prepped for brewing. The taste begins light and grassy with some jasmine. The next steep is similar with dandelion floral qualities. Afterwards, the floral qualities truly bloomed and spread out on top of a nice bitter green base (bok choy/kale?). A punchy background of fruits follows throughout the session. The taste is really nice. The later steeping caused the floral and green qualities to reverse, so it was a base of floral and a hint of bitter greens. Personally, I thought this to be a floral bomb; it was packed with dandelion, jasmine, and iris. The tea gives off a crisp cooling sensation that sits at the tongue. The tea softens out and soothes with the fruit tones. The qi was noticeable but relaxing. This was a major kickback tea for me. I just put on some tunes and leaned back from my tea table. It was a good vibe-y tea. While drinking, I was trying to pull from memory how last years was, and I believe this one is softer and thicker; a more pronounced tone to it. I will have to look back through my notes.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BOnGqBVgUB_/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Bok Choy, Brown Sugar, Dandelion, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Jasmine, Kale, Maple Syrup, Pepper, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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73

I’ve been spending the morning catching up on my Steepster ratings, which means you’re going to be seeing a LOT of posts below this one from my work with the Sororitea sisters. I tried to grab a snippet from each post which indicates the general feeling each tea evoked. (Or a snippet that I think is funny. I like to believe I’m funny.)

This post, however, is a full post. A STEEPSTER EXCLUSIVE, JUST FOR ALL THE FANS OUT THERE, Y’ALL. REPPIN’ THE ORIGINAL STEEPSTER.

I bought a bunch of teas from August Uncommon on a whim. I had a lot of overtime money from work, and hey, gotta blow it on tea. Better than, like, um, hard drugs or more shoes. Or whatever it is other people spend their money on. (I don’t know how “hard drugs” or “more shoes” were the first options that came to mind. Am I okay?)

There’s a part of me that felt despair about ordering from August Uncommon. Am I cool enough to be ordering anti-establishment, edgy teas? What if it turns out I really am just a tool of the system? The Celestial Seasonings of human beings? (Reppin’ some fine grocery store blends!)

My first pick from my samples was “The Metropolitan,” which according to August Uncommon’s site, “feels like sparkling conversation on a city terrace.” It also (among other things) tastes like “neroli flower.”

I’ve never had “sparkling conversations” on city terraces (REPPIN’ THOSEBURBS), or tasted a neroli flower. But I enjoyed this VERY STRONG brew. If you want an end-of-day wind-down, this isn’t for you.

It’s mostly a very tart fruit/berry flavor with with citrus notes and spices. It doesn’t back down.

If I were going to liken this tea to a movie franchise, it’d be The Fast And The Furious.

Vroom vroom. Caffeine + a low tolerance for sweetness.

PS — How many things did I “rep” this post? At least three things.

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Sipdown! I am now at 101 teas! How exciting. I hope to be at 80 or less by spring.

So this tea is a chai tea. I am not fond of chai teas and ingredients like ginger and sage make me cringe. However, this tea is quite pleasant. The white tea base is very sweet. The spicy mixture is more cardamon to me with just a bit of ginger and sage. If I was a chai tea fan, I would probably love this tea. Since I am not, I will enjoy this tea today and say goodbye to it.

Flavors: Cardamon, Ginger, Sage, Sweet

Sil

you can dooo eeet!!

Ubacat

Thanks Sil! I just have to avoid temptation. I’ve wanted to place orders already but I know I have enough teas to keep me drinking for awhile.

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85

What have I got to celebrate? Absolutely nothing. I’m back at work, I’ve got a cold, and I lost the flat I spent three months thinking I was buying because “estate agent” is apparently a synonym for “liar”. But I’m still going to treat myself to some champagne matcha, all the same.

This one came to me as a sample from Roswell Strange, and I actually should have started it ages ago. A combination of factors put paid to that, but better late than never. I think I held off on this one for so long because I only drink my matcha in milk, and champagne and milk seemed like an odd combination. I’m surprised to say that it works, though. It tastes like champagne. Which is obviously not the most helpful or descriptive tasting note, but it is a fact. It’s not bubbly, and there’s no hint of effervescence (I wasn’t excepting there to be, because…how?) but it’s definitely champagne and it even stands up to the milk. We’re not talking super-strong, but you can tell that that’s what it is.

I’m hoping a matcha latte will perk me up a bit, because something honestly needs to. I think I might buy some tea this evening. That’ll do it, for sure.

Preparation
Boiling
Evol Ving Ness

I’m sorry to hear that you’ve lost the flat you thought you were buying because of a less than honest agent. It’s a terrible feeling. May this pass smoothly and easily and may the right flat be just around the corner.

Scheherazade

I hope so! It’s been an epic waste of time and money. I was pretty angry at first, but now I’m just sad. It would have been a good fit for me.

Super Starling!

But is there a violent champagne headache? That’s my main question. Ugh. Champagne. So tasty but so vicious on the brain.

I one rented an apartment from a company and then, when they blasted out the “renew your apartment!” mass-mailing to everyone, asked to renew. Turns out they’d rented out our apartment to someone else without asking us to renew first. But the apartment NEXT DOOR was available. So my friend and I had to just spend a day with both doors open hauling everything across the hall.

Turns out the new apartment was MUCH BETTER, though. Sunnier and a better cross-breeze.

I suppose this is to say “those people are shady monsters, but it might turn out for the best.”

Scheherazade

No headache, thankfully :) You’re right, though – the real stuff is vicious!

It seems like you don’t have to look far to find a housing horror story. I’m just hoping it all comes right in the end (and hopefully this year, because I’m not much enjoying being back with my parents at my age.)

Super Starling!

I’m not sure I enjoyed living with my parents at any age. My parents, mind you, are excellent people, but I have a strong resistance against being told what to do. And against making the bed (WHY?). I basically came out of the womb a full-fledged, impetuous adult.

Roswell Strange

Glad you enjoyed the matcha, and sorry to hear about the awful housing situation. I can only imagine how frustrating it’s been. It’s a good thing we’re all hooked on the most relaxing beverage there is, apart from alcohol. Though you can always top off your tea with something stronger, and no one has to know ;)

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75

I made this. Then I made 2 other teas. Then I made dumplings. Then I ate the dumplings. Then I drank this tea. Well, somehow that brought out the mango.

Evol Ving Ness

:)

Bon appétit! What kind of dumplings did you make?

Nattie

Mmm dumplings…

VariaTEA

They were pork, mushroom and cabbage dumplings :)

Nattie

Gah I need dumplings now. I’m sold.

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100

Last night I sent my neighbours a note asked them to tone it down with exercising—running, jumping, doing weights, and so on— on wooden floors. It took me a year and a half of it driving me crazy to mention it to them because I didn’t want to be the crazy lady next door. So I sucked it up. 7 am, 10 am, 3 pm, 4 pm, 5pm. And this week, I lost my ^%&t.

My note was polite. I have no problem with their newborn—sometimes it feels like I have a newborn alongside—and their six-year-old. Or their extended family and large friend network. But for the love of God, with the running and the kettlebells and motivation soundtrack against our adjoining wall and repeated thuds and thuds and thuds and boom and boom and boom and who knows what all else that makes the floors jump and the walls vibrate and me want to crawl out of my skin. And why do all this when you have perfectly good concrete floors too that will muffle the sound and not make your neighbours want to kill themselves? So I hated having to send the note, but nope, couldn’t take it any. more. I so much hope that they will understand instead of thinking that I am a lunatic.

ok ok, I may be a lunatic, but in a good way.

I have often thought about this tea. When it is good, it is really really good. I misplaced it. It wasn’t in the place where I usually store it because I had included it in a swap with a tea friend and it got buried among other teas I had put aside to create swap samples. So, now, yay! Such bitter coffee and burnt caramel deliciousness. It is super lovely with milk, but I am drinking it straight up. And deliriously happy. Until I begin thinking about my neighbours.

Indigobloom

Was this from the amoda box? sounds amazing!
Ugh noisy neighbours are the WORST. Our former neighbours had six kids. When they played outside? each invited a friend over, and there was chaos. I swear they were opera divas in training. Working from home or studying was literally not possible. I feel your pain. Here’s hoping they respond with a compromise that works!!

Evol Ving Ness

Initially it was and then I ordered it.

Ah, so you know the pain. I have a set of truly despicable neighbours on the other side who have six kids with the same situation. Years and years of them outside. all. the. time with friends, of course, with no supervision. So yeah, I was not able to do any of my studying or work at home. Thankfully, most of that set are teenagers now.

I am certainly not prepared to go through that situation again. Nope. But I also want to be fair and understanding, which I think I am being with these new neighbours.

Indigobloom

Unsupervised, yup!! they had an inground pool, which means summer was absolute torture. So glad they moved away. I’m glad you’re neighbours kiddos are grown now!
It sounds totally reasonable to me. I’d bet it hasn’t even occurred to them and they will be horrified. Kudos to them for being healthy though. Do they know about tea? it might be a nice olive branch :P

Evol Ving Ness

No pool, but I raise you two pit bulls and an antique car, truck, and Harley collection in addition to the other vehicles. And only three are teenagers. And they are all still here. However, after I began researching and reporting various bylaws they were breaking on a daily basis, they learned how to play nice. For now.

I don’t know. Nice idea though. Let’s see how things go. I think this is a period of reflection, hopefully. My mistake is that they don’t hear me, but in my note, I illustrated the reasons why that is.

Thank you for being supportive. It helps.

Sil

thankfully our neighbours toned it down before i had to write a note explaining that if you’re going to be uh…enthusiastic…for over an hour…ONE of you is probably faking it..so could that be done before midnight instead of at 2am. heh

Sil

also i’m with IB – this sounds good

Evol Ving Ness

hhahahaaha! It’s always something.

The tea or the note, Sil?

Indigobloom

@Sil Oh dear! hah.

@Evol You win on that one. Not sure if that is good…
We have other neighbours with a pool. Two kids with autism and a teenager who loves having friends over. And a hottub. They try to keep it down unless it is a special occasion, but sometimes the kids have tantrums. Oh and the adults go into their hottub topless sometimes. Not sure about the bottom bits, I try not to stare.

Indigobloom

We’ve bumped heads with those neighbours before, but I can’t complain much now. They are much nicer now. Long story :P

Evol Ving Ness

Anything that keeps people outside and making noise of any kind is potentially troublesome, if the people are neanderthals to begin with. Topless and bottomless bits don’t faze me. Lack of respect for others makes me go ballistic, however.

Indigobloom

I don’t care if they do go topless but my neighbour on the other side squawks and causes more drama haha. Desperate housewives, I know.

Sil

I don’t care what ppl do as long as it’s quiet. heh

Evol Ving Ness

Me too. However, I’d object to a meth lab next door though. So, quiet and something that doesn’t infringe on any of my senses, health, and sanity. Otherwise, absolutely cool.

Indigobloom

Totally agreed on that front! and I don’t want my property damaged either (neighbours emptied their pool and it went through part of our yard. eroded the soil)

Evol Ving Ness

People sometimes, ugh.

Indigobloom

grumbles People.
I hope they’ve come back with an apology. Or something.

Evol Ving Ness

Apology, yes! And a whole lot of ideas on how we can compromise in this situation.

Indigobloom

oh wow yay!! faith in humanity revived*

Evol Ving Ness

Well, not so fast. I’ve been woken up by the exercise and their infant four times in the last five days.

Evol Ving Ness

So clearly we are not there yet.

Indigobloom

Oh dear. Can you record it for them? Or maybe the decibels, so you can show them comparable noises? http://www.wikihow.com/Measure-Decibels

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you for this, Indigobloom. I will take a look when I have some brain cells to work with.

Indigobloom

I hope it works. Good luck!

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92

Okay, as those of you who read my previous review for this tea may be aware, I was not completely satisfied with my brewing method, so I decided to change it up a little bit. I still went with a more or less Chinese gongfu approach, but used less leaf and started with a longer rinse and a longer first steep. My steep times for this session were as follows: 30 seconds, 35 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes, and 5 minutes. I still got all of the aromas and flavors I got before and in the same order to boot. Maybe my first attempt, though not ideal, was not so bad after all. I still really adore this tea.

Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Butter, Cinnamon, Cream, Cucumber, Floral, Honeysuckle, Lettuce, Osmanthus, Pear

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Evol Ving Ness

Absolutely on my shopping list. When I allow myself. smdh

Daylon R Thomas

Are the shipping rates better for Canada on Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co.?

Evol Ving Ness

The shipping for Canada is free over $50, so yay! (Or $10 otherwise.) I would always do the free shipping limit because one never knows when duty will be slapped onto it too. Usually there is no duty for tea. However, HOWEVER, I got slapped with a serious duty fee on an order out of the States this year.

Evol Ving Ness

And the currency exchange sucks. A lot.

These are all factors.

eastkyteaguy

Evol, the sample of this I had was from an earlier harvest in 2016, but the winter 2016 harvest is in stock now. At this point, I would add three things about this tea. First, if you have had or are used to some of the contemporary Dong Dings that are more heavily roasted, don’t expect this one to be all that much like them. The roast is much lighter than you will expect. Honestly, it is very subtle and tasteful. Second, don’t expect really strong, pronounced flavors, especially if you flash steep. This is the kind of tea that revels in restraint, but manages to keep you intrigued with subtle changes for an extended period of time. Third, invest in more than a sample size. It’s expensive, but go with at least a 2 ounce pouch. With this tea you are paying for both high quality and a unique experience. I would have loved to have had more of this particular harvest so I could have gauged how it changes over an extended period of time.

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you for the addendum, eastkyguy. Much appreciated. I’ve saved it with my shopping list for the moment that my self-restraint fades, not that I have much to begin with. Thank you for taking the time and effort.

eastkyteaguy

No problem. I spent way too much on tea this past year, and especially in the last 2-3 months. I’m fighting off the urge to place a large order from Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co. as we speak, but with my birthday coming up soon, I doubt I’ll be able to manage.

Daylon R Thomas

Same. The Yu Shan looked great and that Dong Ding was one of my favorites. I was able to get some good floral and nut notes the last time I had it, even considering that it was western. I liked alternating on that one though. I decided to get some Li Shan costing under $13 for 50 grams from What-Cha that I really liked. And this way, I got more Rohini Golden Bud Darjeeling and a wild Lapsang that looked promising.

eastkyteaguy

Daylon, I’m trying to decide whether to go with What-Cha for my next order or B.T.T.C. I noticed that B.T.T.C. recently brought in some interesting new black teas, including a rolled Alishan black tea they have never offered before. It definitely looks interesting. What-Cha, however, has a bunch of their small-holder Assams on sale. Right now, I am considering a What-Cha order consisting of the following:

1.) Assam Heritage STGFOP1
2.) Assam Joypur Small-Holder Hand-Made Black
3.) Assam Kanoka Hand-Made Black
4.) Assam Lakua Small-Holder
5.) Bihar Doke Black Fusion Hand-Made Black
6.) Darjeeling Gopaldhara First Flush China Special
7.) Darjeeling Gopaldhara Second Flush China Muscatel
8.) Darjeeling Gopaldhara Second Flush Wonder Muscatel Gold
9.) Darjeeling Second Flush Pasabong Small-Holder
10.) Darjeeling Second Flush Rohini Golden Buds
11.) Korea Dong Cheon Daejak Semi-Wild Green
12.) Taiwan Shui Xian Oolong
13.) China Fujian Jin Xuan Oolong

I don’t know if I’m going to go through with it though.

Daylon R Thomas

How many of them have you had and what are your specific preferences for oolongs and blacks?

eastkyteaguy

Of the teas listed, I haven’t had any of them yet. I tend to like blacks and oolongs almost equally. With oolongs, I either lean toward earthy and roasted or light,creamy, and floral. There isn’t much in between. With blacks, I’m pretty much an open book. I have had some of the more standard Darjeelings from Gopaldhara and Rohini, though I haven’t reviewed them, and I tend to like what those two estates do. I am entirely unfamiliar with all of the Assams listed above. Korean teas are a new frontier for me. I haven’t had any before.

Daylon R Thomas

I can remember one right now which was the Dancha, though I might have had others. I’d think they generally taste similar to Japanese blacks.

Evol Ving Ness

Don’t even get me started. I kept a tea purchase log this year month by month. After the first six months, I stopped calculating the monthly subtotals because it was too painful.

And Happy Birthday to you! This most definitely deserves a blowout or several. :)

Yeah, I’m an enabler.

eastkyteaguy

Evol, thank you. Just so you know, I went ahead and pulled the trigger on a fairly sizable What-Cha order.

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83
drank Swampwater by DAVIDsTEA
3121 tasting notes

This is starting to show its age as the strawberry flavor is more subtle than it was in the past but it is still a lovely tea. Should probably start drinking it up now.

Fjellrev

How old is your batch? I just bought some online around Halloween but haven’t opened it yet so I guess I should hop to it either way.

VariaTEA

Mine is from Halloween 2015…I think.

Fjellrev

Ah, guess it’s not a good one to hoard.

VariaTEA

It’s still good. Just losing flavor

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82

This is my first Shui Xian Pillow and the first Shui Xian I’ve had which wasn’t pretty heavily roasted. I gave it two rinses at the start to get it opening up, thinking it would be like the puerh balls that take a lot of effort to open up in the gaiwan. Next time I drink one of these, I think I could just drink the second rinse, as it broke apart almost completely by the first “official” steep. The dry pillow had a floral aroma to it. After a rinse, it smelled even more floral with some honey. At this point, it smelled like a lot of green tgy which I’ve had, which I am not a fan of.

Thankfully, once I got into drinking the tea, I found it to be something quite enjoyable. There wasn’t a whole lot of flavor variety or difference between steeps. For most of the session, it was a floral, nectar sweet brew, with decently creamy thickness in the mouth. It had pretty impressive longevity – I got nearly 20 steeps out of it! Part of that was probably because I used the whole 7.3g pillow in a 100mL gaiwan, but still nice. At times, the finish changed from just floral sweetness and became something a little bit different. In steeps 4 and 5, there was an extra sweetness to the finish – it was fruity, but really it reminded me of jelly beans. Around steeps 9 and 10, the finish had a bit of a caramel sweetness to it as well.

This tea was tasty! I was a bit dubious, as I have been gravitating towards roasted oolong more lately, but this was nice.

Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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100
drank Buttered Rum by DAVIDsTEA
269 tasting notes

Tried this as a cold steep two or three days in a row. Really really good. If you get the right amount of leaf in. Only if you get the right amount of leaf in. Too much and you are in store for an imitation flavour bonanza. Just enough and a buttered rum lifesaver explodes in your mouth in every sip. Underleafing is the way to go with this one.

Daylon R Thomas

I need to double check what’s left of the samples you sent me, though I swore I finished this one off and wrote a note about it. Anyway, underleafing worked better for me on that one too.

Evol Ving Ness

There was a nice assortment of black teas that I haven’t heard you effervesce about, if I recall. :)

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91

This black tea is one of a number of unique African teas What-Cha sources from the Satemwa Tea & Coffee Estate in the Shire Highlands of Malawi. This particular tea is produced exclusively from leaves Satemwa buys from Yamba, one of the local tea farmers. I found it to be a smooth, malty black tea ideal for early morning or afternoon consumption.

I brewed this tea Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose tea leaves in approximately 8 ounces of 203 F water for 4 minutes. I did not attempt additional infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves emitted a leafy, malty aroma. After infusion, I easily detected aromas of malt, toast, cream, caramel, sorghum molasses, and orange. In the mouth, I picked up distinct notes of orange, toast, caramel, cream, malt, and sorghum molasses balanced by traces of leather, black cherry, and wood. What-Cha advertised this tea as possessing a distinct impression of honey, but I failed to get that out of it.

Many of the African black teas I have tried have been very hit or miss for me, but this one I greatly enjoyed. I found it to be a smooth, rich, malty tea with considerably more depth and complexity than expected. I think fans of maltier black teas like Assam would find quite a bit to like about this one.

Flavors: Caramel, Cherry, Cream, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Orange, Toast, Wood

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Evol Ving Ness

This one is very very tempting. (But the last few months have been killers on my tea budget. Killers.)

Teatotaler

Oh yes! I’m about to place a What-Cha order and I ’m very tempted to add this one as well.

eastkyteaguy

Teatotaler, I think one’s enjoyment of this tea will depend largely on how one feels about black teas on the maltier end of the spectrum. I think that if you enjoy orthodox Assams or African black teas, then you will likely enjoy this one.

Teatotaler

I adore malty orthodox Assams and African black teas. Thank you, eastkyteaguy. I always enjoy your reviews!

eastkyteaguy

Thank you, Teatotaler. I appreciate the kind words. If you end up trying this one, please let me know what you think.

Teatotaler

I will most gladly do that, eastkyteaguy.

Evol Ving Ness

I adore malty orthodox Assams and African black teas. Thank you, eastkyteaguy. I always enjoy your reviews!

Yes, exactly that. On all counts. I like to settle into your reviews with a nice cup of tea, not the one you are writing about though, to luxuriate in the tea you are on about.

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61

Good morning, Steepster! I’m starting my day with a cup of this from a swap I did with KittyLovesTea.

…So I wrote that a couple of hours ago, and then apparently got so distracted watching Doctor Who that I never finished the note. Oops. Other notes for this tea will probably follow pretty soon, since I’ve moved it to my focus box because it’s pretty old, so for now I’ll just write as much as my memory allows. The flavour of this was quite mild, but not to the point of the Decaf Raspberry Chocolate Waffle. I remember worrying the whole time I was drinking it that my sense of taste was failing me again. I’ve since eaten and had more tea so I don’t think that was the case, but I do think it’s probably due to the tea’s age. It wasn’t bad mild, just milder than I’d hope for my first cup of tea of the day. Cinnamon and spices dominate, but – particularly after adding sugar – there is also a vanilla cream cheese frosting aspect which is definitely discernible. I swear I could taste the carrot, too, in the aftertaste, and the malty, slightly bready base tea really helps to convey the overall ‘carrot cake’ flavour. I’d really like to try a cold brew of this one, but I don’t think I have enough leaf left to try it out.

Thanks for sharing, Kayleigh!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Evol Ving Ness

A focus box! Brilliant. On it.

Nattie

Haha it’s very helpful sometimes!

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86
drank Melon Oolong by Lupicia
1550 tasting notes

I finally sipped this down a few days ago, cold brew style. Lovely melon flavour but I prefer Golden Honeydew for that wonderful green rooibos base which allows for that melon flavour to come through more strongly, whereas this green rooibos base tends to get a little vegetal. Oh man, that Golden Honeydew is truly all that, folks. Not overrated at all, in my opinion. This was also the very last of my Lupicia teas, and while I’d love to make an order sometime, I didn’t really find any others that I found repurchase-worthy so justifying another order is tricky.

Maddy Barone

I have a nearly full tin of the Golden Honeydew. send me your addy and I’ll send it your way.

Fjellrev

Aww thanks for the offer, but it’s ok!

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87
drank Raspberry & Rosehip by Basilur
1607 tasting notes

This has lost a ton of flavour. One of those teas I’ve started to suffer through because I must finish what I started darnit.
Today though? Babying my headcold, I opted to indulge with a wallop of honey and a few drops of milk. Oversteeped so any remaining berry flavour would peek through the additives. And it worked. I was quite pleased with the bready, pastry like result. I’ve never seen real baked bread notes in this tea. It must be my sinuses.
Now that cuppa is done, I’m sipping on a cup of boiled/redcuced ginger with more honey. It seems to be helping.
Didn’t pair very well with the cashews and pecans I had. But with my limited appetite and the fact they were right there, I thought it best to get as much protein as possible. Anyhow. I’m off to watch some Bull. An interesting premise for a show. and something I don’t need much brain power to follow haha

Evol Ving Ness

Hope you feel better soon. Hurray for good tea though.

Fjellrev

Oh no, I hope you feel better, Indigo!

Indigobloom

Thank you for the wellwishes xo

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Damn, that smoke is powerful. I see why you double packaged it hakwband1.

Holy sh#t it’s going to be hard not to use flowery language for this tea. I got so many things from this cup. Smoke, yes. Earth, yes. Sweet for a black tea, yes. It was like I was finding a fire among snow covered pine trees. Brewing it up with hot water, the smell reminded of burning sandalwood or dragons blood. Sometimes, it made me think of maple glazed bacon. Tasting it after a minute of brewing, it is smokey and again sweeter than other black teas I’ve had. It makes me think of resin and pine.

Steep two, damn, same thing.

I’ve had Lapsang once before, but that was a long time ago. I am surprised with how much I am digging the crap out of this. I’m not sure I would drink it everyday, but you bet your hind end I will drink it on a cold day and I will save some of it for the next season of Sherlock.

BigDaddy

Most excellent review. “It is not really difficult to construct a series of inferences, each dependent upon its predecessor and each simple in itself. After doing so, one may produce a startling effect.”

hawkband1

Glad you like it! I like that it’s balanced and not all smoke. Great review!

Daylon R Thomas

It really is balanced. I might need to get myself some more eventually.:)

Daylon R Thomas

And BigDaddy, Adventure of the Dancing Men, nice. I thought it was maybe from Hound of the Baskervilles because it was similar to another quote about inductive reasoning, but I admit I had to double check. :)

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90

haha those are some ropey looking leaf, looks like free internet huang pian, not 1080p blu-ray huang pian.

Shoved it all into my gaiwan & it was a few steeps in when I thought ‘must go on steepster!’, so i stopped what i was doing, jumped up & started writing this review.

I havent tasted this taste before & i like it. Its the kind I can mash about with my gaiwan lid & leave for a while & the sour taste hangs around in my mouth.. i just dont know how to describe it but the complexity is something I really go for, maybe not all the time but its nice to have this taste around for when you want something Yiwu-but-sour.

- i like the taste in the mouth but the huigan is odd (drymouth) – but there & interesting.

Its a weird one, defo not to everyones tastes but that price is great.

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90

Today started off poorly and usually that doesn’t augur well. I needed an afternoon pick-me-up and this tea was it. I needed an understanding hug, in fact, and this tea was the closest thing that was available.

It may not have been initially, when I first had it, everything I had hoped for—perhaps I had had unrealistic expectations of a luscious chocolate nut fantasy in a cup, but it is a solid blend that delivers delicious chocolate nut comfort. I could trust in that and that’s exactly what I got in this particular cup.

It is even better with milk or cream and a wee bit of honey, but currently, given my nutrition plan, I am drinking everything black and unsweetened.

Flavors: Chocolate, Nuts

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Arby

Sorry to hear about your bad day. Tea is such a wonderful comfort sometimes.

Wow, this sounds absolutely fantastic! I’ll have to keep it in mind if I ever order from them again.

mrmopar

Evol I hope it takes a good turn for you.

Maddy Barone

Sorry for the bad day. I feel your pain. Tea isn’t a cure, but it helps.

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you all. There have also been some good bits, so I’ll try to hold onto that. And yes, tea does help. Even though some days need a hell of a lot of tea to take the edge off.

Indigobloom

Hope it got better for you! bad days suck :(

Evol Ving Ness

Today is thankfully looking much better. Thank you everyone for your kindness.

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97

There are two options to pick from to review, but this choice had more tasting notes.

The leaf is dark and nicely threaded together. A nice note of smooth sweet wood and light musk lift from the leaf. I’ve heard good things about this tea, so I am excited to try. I warmed my lil pot up and prepared for brewing. The leaves, once warmed up, give off a fruity spice aroma. I pick up plum mixed with an extremely pleasant tobacco scent. I washed the old timers once before steeping. The taste is incredibly smooth with a bit of tannic. The huigan is thick, full, and filled with dates. This tea is motor oil thick and silky smooth. The later steeping yields a pleasantly sour tobacco note, but the drink still ends with a candy like sweetness. A light floral orchid lifts from the tongue by the third steeping. This is a stellar tea. I’d also like to note the leaves give off an inquisitive herbaceous note that fills the tea room. The qi begins head clouding and clears to warming uplifting of the body. This is a nice “cruising” tea; I can just drift along with the brew, enjoying the ride. The brew leaves me calm and collected with a nice easy goin vibe. I really like it, almost a bit too much.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BOKkHdZge2O/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Candy, Dates, Orchid, Pleasantly Sour, Plums, Smooth, Sweet, Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 2 OZ / 70 ML

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