162 Tasting Notes


Another fine sample from the folks at Teavivre :)

The dry leaves are small and tippy with lots of golden buds.

The initial infusions come out very dark, the little leaves are very potent. Despite the dark brew, the tea is extremely smooth with an almost marshmallowy texture. It has flavors of oak and milk chocolate, with a very slight smokiness.

Around the fourth steep the brew gets a bit lighter, with more sweetness and a mellow flavor like yellow squash on the rich, woody background. Flavors begin to fade at the sixth steep. This is less than I usually get, maybe because of the tippy-er leaves giving off most of their flavor early on?

This is a mild and mellow pu’erh with a sweet, friendly taste, but to me it didn’t seem to have a whole lot of depth.

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is it sheng or shou (sounds like a shou) and I wonder if it was kept in the best aging conditions…might have gotten flat?


Its a shou. Hmm maybe? What kind of conditions lead to pu’erh going flat? I hadn’t heard of that before, thanks


pu erh should be ideally kept at stable temp conditions that have even and gentle air flow, cool dry environment, and stored in unglazed ceramic wear that is porous like yixing pottery….they should be kept way from scented teas, herbals, and anything flavored or strong with natural essential oils….and any environment with heat and cooling fluctuations (like a kitchen, cupboard above a sink, sunny windowsill, spice cabinet, or area near a door or a air/heating vent…could lead to an imbalance in the conditions that allow for the natural bacteria in the pu erh to perish


Ahh, I knew about it picking up smells, but I hadn’t thought about the bacteria dying out. :)

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Really good, ridiculously clean shu. Thanks Autumn Hearth!

So… Apparently there was bit of scandal going around a while back about this being a cheap, low quality shu. I can’t answer for the first accusation, but as for quality all I have to say is that it was delicious.

Putting that behind us…

Early steeps: The tea brews extremely clear with a nice red color. Thick, chewy bread flavors and notes of portobello, vanilla, and something berry-like.

Middle steeps: Lightly oakey, reminds me of the camping on a cold night. Tastes of dark, rich soil. It becomes lighter with mineral, almost sparkling qualities. Clean like sheng.

Later steeps: Dry fall leaves, cedar, and pine. The mouthfeel is sort of meaty, and though its not fishy at all, I’m picturing a nice plank-cooked salmon. (I’m not crazy!) :P The flavors start to get weak around the 8th infusion.

I left the leaves on a gaiwan saucer by the window to dry, and what I found where some nice, big healthy leaves. And these things:


Not really sure what they are, young tea flower buds?

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Terri HarpLady

Hmmm…never seen anything like it. Maybe ask David?


Are they tea seed pods? Looks like that may be the case.


I enjoyed this as well. There are a few shu/shou pu erhs that really remind you that its not all earthy thunder and old horse barns…that there is a range of subtle that is akin almost to white tea (conceptually) that hides in its powerful claws. I still find them lovely, but prefer the Sheng for their exotic and complicated flavors


Mr. Mopar I think that’s exactly what they are! I cut the biggest one open, and there was three shriveled lumps inside it that probably used to be seeds. I didn’t know tea plants had pods like that.

Kayshap totally! This is the first shu I’ve had that tasted so clean and mild, the white tea comparison definitely fits. I’m just starting to get into sheng and really enjoying them too

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drank White Night by Mandala Tea
162 tasting notes

I had been looking forward to trying a White Night/Moonlight for a while, since it sounded very interesting and has the characteristics of some of my favorite teas. It didn’t disappoint!

Dry leaves: Cream colored tips and chocolaty brown leaves. The dry aroma is similar to dian hong, but slightly more muted with a mildly lavender scent and a slight sheng pu’erh mustiness.

Early steeps: Mild and sweet with flavors of lavender, yam, and white grape with slight marine qualities. The taste reminds me of a very soft golden needle, but has a mouthfeel more like a sheng pu.

Later steeps: A sweet greenness appears that reminds me of guapan or Taiwanese oolongs. Slight mushroom flavor, and VERY creamy.

This tea had a WHOLE LOT of qi for me. Very warm, sleepy, and medatative, and strong feelings along my eyebrows, forehead, and spine. I haven’t been this tea-drunk in quite a while :P

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I REALLY enjoyed this tea. Very refreshing yet mildly vegetal flavor.

Dry leaves: The dry leaves are a deep green with lots of budsets. They’re rolled into loosely needle-like fashion.

Brewing: Strong vegetable aroma with a slight minty coolness. The tea liquer is extremely clear and green-gold in color. The brewed leaves look healthy and plump, and are largely unbroken.

Tasting: The early infusions are mild and sweet with flavors of cantaloupe and pomelo. The mouthfeel is extremely clean with a slight sparkling quality. As the tea cools it shows a more vegetal side with flavors of green bean and chestnut. Around the third steep, the tea gains a creamier quality with flavors of olive oil, hazelnut, and fig. After the fifth, the tea becomes very light and sweet with crisp flavors of edame and barley.

Thanks Teavivre for this sample!

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec

Sounds cleansing and fresh.


It definitely was! :)

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Mmm, I tend to favor more subtle black teas, and this one fits the bill nicely.

Dry leaves: The leaves are small, black, and wirey with lots of gold/orange fur. They have a sweet citrus and sweet potato aroma.

Brewing: This tea definitely brews best (IMO) at a lower temperature than most blacks. The wet leaves have a rich aroma of chocolate and fall leaves. In early infusions lots of golden hairs piled up on my filter, almost clogging it.

Tasting: The flavor of the tea has a nice balance of sweet and salty characteristics. The early infusions are mild but brisk with notes of chocolate, sweet potato, peach, and charcoal. Surprisingly cool feeling for a black tea. Later infusions mellow out with fresh flavors of lemon juice, edame, clover leaf, and jaggery. The taste is sweet and slightly nutty throughout.

Thanks Teavivre for a great sample!

180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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drank Sawa Organic White Tea by MAJANI
162 tasting notes

Dry leaves: The needles are slender and slightly green with very fine hairs. They have a very nice apricot-like aroma

Tasting: This tea is very crisp, mellow, and sweet! The taste is mildly fruity with flavors of apricot, honey, and a slight marine sea breeze salinity. While its definitely silver needle, its noticeably different from its Chinese counterparts.

Thanks Kasumi!

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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drank Pu'erh Leaf by Zenjala Tea Company
162 tasting notes

So its been a few months since I bought this, my first pu’erh purchase, done on a whim with no research. When I bought it, it smelled, and tasted like, a moldy sack of mulch with just a tiny bit of mellow sweetness. I resisted the urge to throw it out, and let it air out for a while to see if there’s any improvement.

The bag still has a bit of mold smell, but now it also has a nice pu’erh sweetness. I decided to brew it in my gaiwan, because honestly I don’t trust it enough to let it near my yixing.

I did two quick rinses, brewed it up, and hey, not half bad! Not especially good, but much better than it was a few months ago (its actually drinkable) It brews a nice red color with flavors of raisin and cedar, but still has a bit of young shu flavor, as well as a touch of penicillin, but its enjoyable, and it was cheap at half price. It made seven steeps, which I guess isn’t too bad.

Honestly, its not a very good value when you can get an awesome Menghai Red Rhyme or Yunnan Sourcing mini-cake for a similar price. If you do buy this, prepare to let it air out in your closet for a few months.

It IS an acceptable, drinkable tea now, which is much better than it was when I first tried it :P I would give it a better rating if it had come tasting like this, but a much lower one had I reviewed it when I bought it, so I feel like 60 is a reasonable midpoint.

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Tiguanyinathon Pt. III

Early steeps: The first steep is very creamy has a nice balance of sweet and savory qualities with notes of cinnamon, collard, and Brazil nut.

Middle steeps: Savory, salty flavors are dominant here. There is a strong but pleasant parsley flavor and a very slight floral note.

Later steeps: Around the sixth steep, this tea starts to shine. It has a nice, creamy texture with a more prominent floral flavor that reminds me of thick leaved, bulb growing flowers. The saltiness is still there, but it is smooth and sweet with a soothing almond milk flavor.

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Loved the lovely description…love love..bulb growing flowers and collards.


Haha, thanks Bonnie :)

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Tiguanyinathon Pt. II

I actually wrote this earlier today, but the weather outside was too gorgeous to pass up! A cold front came through the other day and it really feels great. I Spent a few hours skating and few just sitting on a bench reading a book. :)

Early steeps: The early steepings have a tropical notes of pineapple and coconut, and a floral wisteria flavor that is very light for a Tiguanyin. Blindfolded I would have a hard time guessing if this is a tiguanyin, a Taiwanese oolong, or some combination of the two. It has a velvety smoothness that I’ve only ever tasted in sliver needle.

Later steeps: The changes in this oolong were less defined than some. A clean grassiness, and hints of honey and paprika appeared. The silver needle mouthfeel was replaced by a more milk-like creaminess. While I LOVED the early steeps on this tea, the later ones were good, but not particularly special.

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Tieguanyinathon Pt.I
Sort of in the spirit of the “Saturday Sipdown” I’m going to be tasting the Verdant spring, summer, and autumn Ti Guan Yins sent to me by Autumn Hearth and maybe even some other TGY’s I have sitting around. :)

Early steeps: The early steeps are sweet and smooth with a nice, milky texture. The flavor is slightly floral and reminiscent of honeysuckle, and I also get notes of pumpkin and hazelnut. The leaves opened up really fast! By the 3rd steep they were almost completely unfolded.

Middle steeps: In the middle steeps, the floral sweetness was largely repaced by savory chestnut flavors, and something that reminded me slightly of turmeric (though that might have just been my cooking) :)

Later steeps: Around the sixth steep, the floral notes return to balance out the savory. These later steepings are well balanced, and have the flavors of the earlier steeps, but I also begin to notice new flavors like parsley and vanilla, a slight cooling effect like mint, and a cake-like fluffiness.

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My name is Thomas,

I’ve loved tea and coffee since I was little, but only started getting into the world of high quality teas about four years ago.

My favorites are pu’erhs, Yunnan blacks, and oolongs. I’m not much into flavored teas or jasmine/florals, but I love a good cup of chai or adding a spice or two to my teas sometimes.

Currently working on a degree in environmental sciences.

Other than tea I’m a nature lover, guitar picker, and amateur in ceramics.

My Rating Scale:
95-100 Wowza!
90-94 Pretty darn good
80-89 Nice
70-79 Decent
50-69 Potable
0-50: Blech.


Clearwater, FL

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