308 Tasting Notes

drank English Teatime by Bigelow
308 tasting notes

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I saved this for a weekend, as work has been kind of hectic lately (= super short notes) and I wanted to sit down and take more time with this one. Well, that was a few hours ago and I’m afraid most of the lovely descriptors that came to mind when I tried this tea have fled from memory. At least that’s reason enough to enjoy another cup soon!

This tea arrived still stored inside a desiccated bitter melon, and I brewed with a piece of the melon added to the leaf. I’ve often eaten bitter melon while growing up; it’s part of traditional Chinese cuisine, although it is one of those vegetables infamous for being unpopular with kids. I was kind of a weird one for enjoying it! There isn’t any recognizable flavor from the melon in the tea, which is a very enjoyable dark oolong, with a smooth roastiness that is very well-rounded. It used to be that oolongs were my favorite teas, but I’d become disenchanted with overly green tie guan yins and even da hong paos I tried over the last few months. (Most of these were unknown/unknown from family friends, so they are not logged here.) With teas of this type, the roastiness can be quite harsh and the effect is not very harmonious when the base is still noticeably green—plus the effect from drinking it can be like a kick to the head, whether you want to call it cha qi or caffeine. This tea, I am happy to say, is the answer to those problems, and everything a dark roasty oolong should be. A great example of something well prepared and well aged. So even if I can’t taste the bitter melon, I’m sure it contributed its part to the process.

And well, that’s about as much as I remember. No specifics this time, but I did enjoy this one greatly!

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Sweet, malty aroma. Very smooth and light-bodied black tea, with a faint citrus-floral note that might be best described as orange blossom. Petrichor note after longer steeping. The malt/baked-good quality is much more unassuming than I imagined from the aroma. Not strong as far as black teas go…I’d call it “pleasantly dainty”!

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Definitely one of the most interesting-looking and -sounding teas I’ve tried! The dry stems have a sweet, honey-like aroma. I let the stems steep freely in a cup, and many of them stood up straight like a little forest of tea. The flavor of the tea is initially mild and subtle, with a some honey sweetness and a touch of earthiness. After some steeping, an intense floral-sweet aroma starts getting released. Just leaning in close to take a sip is like taking a deep breath of a summer garden full of flowers after a rain. The flavor feels more complex at this point as well. Very different from other white teas out there, and a highly sensory experience.

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This was a sample that Alistair kindly included with my What-Cha order. The tea consists of small, irregular-shaped pearls. There isn’t much of a scent from the dry leaves, but after brewing, it turns into one of the most honey-sweet teas I have ever tried. The sweetness is unmistakable but not overpowering, and the overall feel of the tea is smooth and light-bodied. There’s a crisp quality that reminds me of a Ceylon as well. I am always eager to try teas from new regions, and this one was a nice surprise!

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I have been curious about the teas at What-Cha for a long time, and finally placed an order. This is the first one I’m trying from them!

The dry scent of these pearls is very appealing—deeply fragrant, almost like a good black tea. The pearls are of an interesting oblong shape and slowly unwind during steeping. I used 4 pearls as recommended and water below boiling (unfortunately my tea thermometer seems not to have survived the latest move…)

The flavor of the tea has a definite roasty edge to it, but is otherwise a light, juicy white tea, with a hint of hay and fruit. The contrast between these flavors is quite refreshing. I haven’t gotten the cucumber notes that others have described, but maybe with a little more experimentation it might come out. This would be great as a lighter tea to have any time of day, and I’m glad to try these teas that I might otherwise have never heard of!


Great review, Mikumofu. This is a favorite of mine, too.


Thank you! I am very happy to have discovered it :)

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drank Sencha Shot by Ito En
308 tasting notes

Picked this up at a local grocery recently. I wasn’t expecting too much of a canned tea, though it did turn out better than expected. It’s a decently smooth and energizing sencha with an umami undertone, and no excessive grassiness or off-ness that comes with overbrewing. There is, however, a noticeable bitterness. It’s convenient as a cold and unadulterated drink of tea when you’re not able to brew your own, but doesn’t otherwise stand out.

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For my 300th tasting note, I tried this lovely sample from a friend. The dry tea has a bright, fresh bergamot scent that is quite strong. The leaves are light in color for a black tea (which all made sense later, when I read that it was a Darjeeling). After brewing, the tea liquor comes out to a pale golden color, and the aroma is quite inviting.

As far as Earl Grey goes, this is a subtle one, both in terms of the tea base and bergamot flavor. And in this case, that’s a good thing. Compared to the dry scent, the bergamot flavor is light, with a touch of creaminess. The tea base is delicate, slightly floral, and not as finicky toward brewing conditions as some Darjeelings can be. The overall effect is almost weightless, and unlike any Earl Grey I’ve tried before. Would be perfect as an afternoon tea or for fancier occasions.


Happy happy 300! Sounds like a great one to celebrate with.


Thanks! I can’t believe I’ve be on here this long!


That’s a bunch!


It just kind of sneaks up on me!

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drank Earl Grey by Tazo
308 tasting notes

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Science writer and a cat that learned to type.

I grew up in a tea-loving family, and tea has always been a part of daily life. I’m still astounded by the amount of tea and teaware back home every time I visit! While I’m most familiar with straight Chinese teas, I’m growing to explore and appreciate other types of tea, including blended and flavored ones. A good blend can reflect the thought and creativity that was put into making it, instead of being too sweet or busy in a way that gives the “genre” a bad rap.

-most black teas (even lapsang)
-most oolongs, especially Fujian teas, baozhong and dancong
-straight white teas

Variable (some are great, some not so):
-most green teas
-tie guan yin
-flavored white teas

90-100: definite repurchase if possible, recommended
80-90: enjoyed, possible repurchase
70-80: fair to good
60-70: fair with some shortcomings
50-60: there’s still a chance I’d take this if it were free
under 50: absolutely not


Southern California

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