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403 Tasting Notes


Getting lots of lime citrus and floral notes with this today. I need to use cooler water (or maybe less leaf) if I’m brewing jingshan style though – by the time this was cool enough for me to drink it was quite thick and verging on oversteeped!

I’ve been drinking a lot of Laoshan and Dragonwell green lately, and this has a much fruitier, brighter taste in comparison. I will probably buy more once it’s available again in the spring!

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I’ve been racing through tea today, because the power could go out anytime and it makes me greedy for hot things :P This one has been easy, sweet, and calming to just keep refilling through the day.

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I got a sample of this with my last Verdant order, and had trouble describing it. Very different from an un-aged Tieguanyin! If I were tasting this blind, I probably would have thought it was a roasted oolong, but a very rocky/mineral tasting one. It did give me a little bit of the happy energy that pu’erh often does though. A very interesting experience, certainly :)

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Drinking Laoshan-style at the office (green leaves in the bottom of a glass mug draw some attention!) to make way for the new order coming soon :) Drinking the Laoshan Apothecary Green helped me learn to recognize the spicy-sweet notes in the this, as well as the leafy green ones

175 °F / 79 °C 8 min or more

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I just pre-ordered the Autumn Dragonwell Style Laoshan Green that should be coming out in the next week, so it seemed fitting to drink some of my actual Dragonwell today, to prepare :) I was much more relaxed about making it this time (last time I definitely fretted about doing it “right”). A heaping tsp of leaves was enough to cover the bottom of my glass mug, pour sub-boiling water along the sides, then straight down the middle to stir up the leaves – drink as soon as it’s cool. The leaves all sink to the bottom after a few minutes, which makes for easy drinking.

The flavors are sweet, grassy, mineral, rather juicy… none of the dryness, so far, that I was getting last time. My palate isn’t up to cashews or cherries :P but this is very enjoyable.

170 °F / 76 °C 8 min or more

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Got a sample of this in my last order – it has a lovely true jasmine scent, and big fluffy silver needles. The taste is surprisingly smoky, and there’s a hearty – almost brothy – texture. I just dumped the whole sample in my mug, started drinking once it was cool enough, and plan to re-steep by adding water through the day. I think my steeping practices peaked in diligence… awhile ago, and are shamefully casual now. I jest – it’s more that I’ve learned enough of tea culture to articulate my own philosophy, which hinges on appreciating and sharing tea rather than fretting about it _ If it tastes good and makes me smile, then I’m doing it right.

165 °F / 73 °C 8 min or more

This was pleasingly long-lasting, by the way – I drank the same infinite cup of jasmine tea all day! The flavor got less smokey/hearty and more sweet as the day went on.

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
403 tasting notes

Lime + cheesecake matcha! Not exactly was I was hoping for (key lime pie) but still quite good – more like that opaque green jello you get sometimes, in the jello salad or the layered jello desserts :P

Prepared hot, with milk and a dash of honey. Matcha seemed finicky to me at first, with all the whisking, but now that I’m used to the prep I love how quickly I can get my caffeine fix in the morning, compared to waiting for tea to steep :D

0 min, 15 sec

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Some notes on ratings:

I’d have separate rating scales for tea types if that were possible (probably Black, Flavored Black, Darjeeling/Dark Oolong, White/Green/Light Oolong, and Herbal) because the flavors and quality markers are just too different. A flavored black rated 100 isn’t better than every oolong I’ve ever drunk, just delicious for a flavored black.

Ratings are a combination of my enjoyment and the perceived quality – I do often demote teas a few points for artificial flavorings, small quantity of steeps supported, or weakness of flavor (requiring extra leaf).

I pay less attention to the number than the order of my ratings; I don’t necessarily keep a stock of everything rated 80+, but if two breakfast blends are rated 82 and 84 I consistently enjoy the 84 more.

And in case it’s not obvious? I am not an expert. I don’t even know what I like until I taste it sometimes, but I’m ok with that :) I like learning to like new teas, as well as enjoying the comfort of familiar ones.


Boston, MA



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