165 Tasting Notes


Very small and tightly curled leaves. Fluffy and chocolate brown in color with a nice mix of golden buds. Lightly smoky mesquite aroma.

Nice coppery liquer. Savory butter and smoke flavors balanced out by fruit and honey notes. Slightly floral wild flower finish. A fairly delicate black tea.
Later infusions give more lychee/longan fruitiness, a touch of cocoa and honey, clean leather, and lesser smoke with a floral background. The mouthfeel is clean and round.

The spent leaves are tiny and tender with a light brown color with twinges of green, many under 1cm. Considerable time and effort must be put into picking so many young leaves
Overall a nice tea with a lovely appearance. Like the Ban Tian Yao it was nicely balanced with a mild flavor.

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Leather, Lychee, Smoke

195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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drank Ban Tian Yao by Nannuoshan
165 tasting notes

First tea of my Nannuoshan tasting extravaganza!

The dry leaves are long and twisted and range of color from dark brown to military green. They give off a dry, musky roasted aroma with pine and fruit notes

First infusion gives a light orange liquer. Strong mineral note with lightly floral and citrus accents. Very smooth with just a touch of rock sugar sweetness. A sweet, warm spice/floral aroma is left in the bottom of the cha hai.

The following infusions begin to give a more pronounced sweetness with nectarine, vanilla, and allspice notes and a slight green tartness.

By the sixth steeping I begin to feel a subtle chaqi that imparts feelings of warmth, strength, and calm which I can feel along the top of my head and radiating through my body. Very nice, the strongest I’ve experienced in an oolong.

As the tea begins to fade I increase the infusion time and experience mild and creamy notes of linnen, sticky rice, peach, and baked goods. Ten good steepings overall.

The spent leaves are lovely and full, deep red-brown to olive green. Average around two inches with minimal stem. Overall a very nice tea with good complexity. Smooth and mild, only really lacking in intensity of flavor/aroma. A truly excellent first impression

Flavors: Green Wood, Mineral, Rice, Stonefruits, Vanilla

195 °F / 90 °C 5 OZ / 150 ML

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I returnith! I’ve been (mostly) inactive for a while now due to turmoil and a general lack of motivation to post tasting notes. I’ve been trying to figure out my life, and have moved back in with my parents for the time being. Anyways, now that I’m settled in I’m looking to get a new start on things, including being more active here on steepster

I’d been curious about golden flower/fu brick tea, and when Yunnan Sourcing started offering this small sample pack I had to try it. The dry leaves are course and dark green-brown with lots of stems, dotted in golden specks of bacterium. The aroma is strong and very sweet, slightly earthy raisin and ginseng notes.

After three rinses (I admit I was more than a bit intimidated by the motley looking leaves) I gave it a sip and was greeted with a very smooth, mild honey-brown brew. Very sweet and mild with raisin, ginseng, and nut notes to match the dry aroma.
Later brews remained similar, but with a bit of bitterness and a touch of green kale-like flavor. Overall a nice, mellow tea that was far less intimidating than it looked.

This is certainly different than pu’erh, but bears some similarity. I expected it to be more shou-like, but the flavor reminded me more of a mild and slightly aged sheng

Flavors: Dates, Earth, Kale, Pecan, Raisins

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 tsp 5 OZ / 150 ML

welcome back!




Bout time padawan..


I’ve tried fu tea from hebe’s teahouse


I’ve always been intrigued by the other heichas. They can be unexpectedly complex.

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Not stellar, but good quality overall. Smooth sweet flavor with mild honey, fruit, and floral notes. Personally I’ve been unable to really get into white tea: “decent”, “good”, and “great” ones all taste about the same to me. I’m not sure which one of those this one would be categorized as, but I can’t imagine anyone thinking it was less than decent.

Flavors: Fruity, Honey, Honeysuckle

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

i assume you got this one off the .us one? cant find it on the .com one


I got it on the .com site, but it was over a year ago now. Just finished it off so I thought I should give it a review :)

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reviewed Smart Soak by Mandala Tea
165 tasting notes
For the past couple of months my stainless steel mesh tea strainer had hardly been letting any tea through (it would take about a minute to let 150ml through, on a good day). I’d tried boiling it in water, boiling it in vinegar, and scrubbing it to death with baking soda and NOTHING would help. I had already given up on it and ordered a new one. After soaking for about 20 minutes in the tea soak and then swishing it around it was like brand new! This stuff really is magical.

“This stuff really is magical.” – Yep – not sure how I lived without it…


is it sold in stores?


I think only from Mandala, but the main active ingredient is sodium percarbonate which can probably be bought elsewhere

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-Dry leaves: Deep dark purple/black leaves accented by a few reds and greens. Thick, musky aroma. Peppery, tropical fruit, touch of smoke.

-1st steep: Dusky yellow infusion common of purple sheng. Notes of caraway seed, camphor, honey, papaya, carrot, and fresh greenness. Mild for a purple tea, but not as mild as Mandala’s other offerings. Incredibly clean, fresh taste.

-5th steep: Calming, steadying qi sets in. Pomelo and pine flavors with a long lasting fruity/perfume-y aftertaste.

-Spent leaves vary in size, and colors range from dark green to reddish purple. Strong leaves with a slightly rubbery appearance common of purple tea.

Overall an excellent tea. Very flavorful, infusible, and not lacking in strength.

In addition to this tea, I also need to praise Garret’s almighty tea soak! For the past couple of months my stainless steel mesh tea strainer had hardly been letting any tea through (it would take about a minute to let 150ml through, on a good day). I’d tried boiling it in water, boiling it in vinegar, and scrubbing it to death with baking soda and NOTHING would help. I had already given up on it and ordered a new one. After soaking for about 20 minutes in the tea soak and then swishing it around it was like brand new! This stuff really is magical.

Flavors: Camphor, Carrot, Citrus, Honey, Pine, Tropical

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

awesome! :D

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-Dry leaves: Medium sized leaves, warm brown with a spicy-sweet aroma. They’re covered in little silver hairs that give them an almost holographic look

-1st steep: Soft yellow infusion with a sweet and savory tastes that lingers in the mouth long after drinking. Unique taste that reminds me of green pepper, accompanied by mineral, molasses, and wet moss notes. Slight bitterness, but still pretty mild.

-2nd and 3rd steeps reveal more sweetness. Notes of muscadine grapes, rich soil, and something reminiscent of white cake.

-Around the sixth steep a menthol/cooling effect becomes noticeable, and a slight mushroomy flavor. Unfortunately the leaves are beginning to loose some of their strength already. I squeezed out ten infusions, but the last few were pretty weak.

-Spent leaves are slender and olive green. Plump stems with less defined veins. A good number of the leaves have browning/damaged edges

-Overall a nice sheng with a good amount of flavor and power, but burns through it’s stamina quickly. Like the other sheng that I’ve tried from Mandala it is fairly mild and has nice a nice cha qi.

Flavors: Green Pepper, Honey, Mineral, Peat Moss

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Got my sampler today! I greatly enjoyed the 2012 Wild Monk maocha that I tried a while back (the leaves in my profile pic came from it) and I’m excited to try the new batch as well as the other offerings.

Dry leaves: Medium-small leaves have a peppery aroma, light brown-green color.

The first steep is very pale and clear. Mild taste with a nice round mouthfeel. Bready rye flavor balanced out by tastes of olive oil, fresh camphor, and a slight nectarine sweetness. Little astringency, bitterness is nearly non-existent.

Second and third steeps reveal more sweetness and tastes of glutinous rice, honeysuckle, and minerals. Cha qi becomes evident in later steeps, and I would consider this tea pretty strong in it. The tea provided me with eleven infusions, and I might have been able to squeeze out one more.

The spent leaves are very attractive. Medium-small size with a few budsets, but mostly single leaves. The leaves are delicate but have nice thick veins and a rounded tip.

Overall this is a nice clean tea with good stamina, but a bit too mild for my tastes. Very similar to Yunnan Sourcings Ailao shengs.

Flavors: Camphor, Honeysuckle, Olive Oil, Rice, Rye, Stonefruits

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

What does honeysuckle taste like?


Sort of like honey but lighter and more floral. Hummingbirds love it lol


interesting :)

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Today I felt like having something a little different, so I mixed together three different Yunnan blacks.

-2013 Hong Yun Yiwu Mountain Wild Arbor black tea cake from Yunnan Sourcing: A very fruity, floral, almost sheng-like hong cha
-Some cheap dian hong from an AliExpress seller: A very earthy, malty black with a honey sweetness
-And bit of Adagios Yunnan Gold, which is a very silky and smooth tippy Yunnan

Three different extremes of Yunnan black tea that balance each other quite well :)

Brewed in my black tea yixing, which has started to take on a really gorgeous patina

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 160 ML
Terri HarpLady

sounds good to me!


It really was! The results were better than I expected. I think I liked it more than any of the three by themselves


what exactly is random steepings and various artists? is it where you post custom blends?


Basically the misc of steepster.

Terri HarpLady

Kirkoneill, I started the random steepings category a year or so ago, as a place to post whatever: teas that are no longer available (so why bother creating an entry for them), home made blends, or whatever you feel like using it for, LOL.


oh! i get it now :D

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I dropped (and broke) my gaiwan in the sink the other night while cleaning it out, so I’m brewing this in a glass measuring cup with a gaiwan saucer over it. Sad to lose my gaiwan, but it served me well over the past two years.

I’m really enjoying this tea tonight. It’s very tasty, but has a different flavor profile than most. No “peach and tobacco”, but softer flavors like olive oil, grain, bamboo, and white wine. It’s not super sweet, but the sweetness lingers in the throat for a long time. It makes a good many brews, a bit more than average, and has one of the strongest cha qi’s of pu’erh I’ve tasted.

Soo, since I’m in desperate need of a new gaiwan I’ll be pushing up the Yunnan Sourcing order I had been planing (they also have some celadon cups I’ve been eying). I’ll probably just stick to the tea wares, some black tea ,and some pu’erh samples since I need to keep this fairly cheap. Any favorites you think I should try?

Flavors: Bamboo, Grain, Olive Oil, White Wine

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

2011 hui run ripe
2005 ye sheng Dehong( sorry if misspelled, I’m on iPhone and my cupboard is impossible to sort)


is this one the same but different year and packaging? the other one with similar if not the same wrapper is 50$ and has no samples



Boychik, I’ll definitely be trying that 2005 ye sheng, sounds great. I had a sample of the 2013 hui run and it was very nice, I imagine the 2011 may be even better. Hehe, spellcheck seems to love to change all our tea words

Kirk, yes that’s the same but a different year. The one I have is here


Wild Tree Purple Varietal Black Tea of Dehong * Spring 2014 i liked more than other purple teas fr YS


i will defiantly try it someday :D many thanks :)


oops i cannot seem to spell the word that means i “guaranteed i will try it”. i cant spell that word right today :(


No I haven’t, looks pretty nice though


well i added it to my ys wishlist :D

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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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