430 Tasting Notes

drank Nova Scotia Blue by The Tea Brewery
430 tasting notes

In mid summer, while I worked in the Chapleau Crown Game Preserve tracking Black Bears, we would reach a point where half the bears would dissapear from their home ranges as they left in search of food. That population is basically dependant on the success of the blueberry crop for survival. Once they started to leave their home ranges we would spend part of the day tracking/searching for our wandering bears, and part of the day sampling blueberry plots among other duties. After which we had tons of berries to freeze, eat and turn into many baked goods. At the study site we had two species of blueberries; Vaccinium angustafolium, which had smaller tarter berries and smooth leaved shorter plants, and V. Myrtilloides which had furry leaved taller plants and big sweet berries that tasted a little like blueberry bubble gum. This tea reminds me of the latter, with a rich sweet syrupy scent and flavour that reminds me a little of a blueberry pancake breakfast drank with a hearty rich tea.

This tea does a really nice job of balancing the flavours between the base tea and the flavouring. The scent and the taste are of those large bubble gun tinged blueberries I picked in the field up near Chapleau, with a nice sweet slightly syrupy notes, all over a malty and slightly biscuit noted base that has a slightly tart fruit reference. The sweetness of the flavouring is tempered by both the tannins in the tea and the blackberry leaf. The base tea is only slightly astringent, but has enough texture and tannins to give it a nice density in the mouth. Despite the flavouring and scent being quite distinct they do not overpower the base and the tea does not require sweetners for the flavouring to pop. Well done Tea Brewery At the moment this is my favourite blueberry tea in my cupboard.


You have a cool job. Bears are awesome!


So was that job as awesome as it sounds? ’Cause it sounds pretty great (as does the tea!).


Such a cute story, I can understand why this tea triggered such memories :-)


It was a very cool job! We lived at a field camp on the lake with a population between 4 and 20. The study’s focus was population survivorship and fecundity. In the spring we spent the morning checking our lines of live traps for bears, whom we would weigh measure, take fat pinches and blood samples if they were a recapture. New bears would be tagged and more in depth measurements and samples were taken. Females were always coloured, males not so often, as they tended to through the collars. We had early GPS collars that were huge as well as normal radio collars. We tracked the bears in the afternoon and sometimes well into the evening until there was a change of government that changed my bosses good will for ‘extras’. We also did botanical monitoring and staging. In our free time we went rock climbing of fire tower climbing, hiking, biking and canoeing and occasionally wolf howling. It was a fascinating job bears are fascinating to observe behaviorally,have an interesting social organisation and a really interesting physiology. It is definitely among my favourite job experiences. Ironically I think I experienced greater culture shock coming back from that job than from some of my overseas experiences.


Just wow…


What TheTeaFairy said!

Christina / BooksandTea

That sounds like the coolest job ever.



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drank Assam #8 by Tealux
430 tasting notes

Not really a detailed note, but more a reminder to myself. Short steeps really bring out the fruity notes of this tea, I think I prefer it this way.

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At one point last year I had a tea moment with this sample from an aliexpress dealer. The tea tasted like a chocolate caramel oolong and was incredibly smooth. Since then I’ve been on a search for that tea or a tea like it. It can be difficult because tea packaging is sometimes used regionally and may not be specific to a brand. Anyways after my last attempt boychik offered to send me some of this tea as part of my quest to find that tea, and you know, it comes quite close. This one is more malty, not quite as smooth and has much stronger caramel notes, but it is really good. It makes a nice dessert tea.

I steeped 1 TSP in 200ml and used a water temperature of around 92°C and did 4 steeps of this tea (60,90,120,210s).

This teas warm honey broth had a scent of light longan cocoa, butter caramel, and something slightly nutty.

The first sip was quite sweet with caramel coming to the forefront, with ccocoa, yam, and nutty tones with a hint of molasses. As it cools the longan becomes apparent between the butter caramel and other tones. The tea is buttery but slightly more astringent than my fantasy lapsang but really good and very close to the one I am looking for. This one has more caramel and longan and less cocoa, but it is a really nice flavour. As it cools the malt becomes apparent under the other flavours and the tea taste slightly less sweet. The aftertaste of hot chocolate with a little bit of longan.

In future steeps a malt tone became apparent and the caramel became more of a butter note with a mild sweetness. Longan was more apparent in the second steep and then faded. Whereas cocoa remain relatively constant.

Altogether a very good tea which I would consider buying once I get through some of my existing Lapsang Souchong collection. Thanks boychik It really is close!


yay, happy you like it;)


this one is quite delicious!

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This teas was part of a sample set of Dancongs I got on aliexpress after really enjoying my first one (an Osmanthus Dancong). I was hoping it might help me get an idea of what Dancings I prefer. So far I have the Osmanthus I love and a honey orchid which is OK but that I prefer to brew western style.

The name of this one is a little off putting , but there is an explanation of it here https://www.peonyts.com/what-is-phoenix-dancong-xing-ren-xiang/ and no, it does not smell or taste like its name. For English speaking markets it is often called Black Leaf Dancong. I’m glad I got this sample because the first few steeps are quite good and interesting and afterwords it tastes very similar to a Tieguanyin with slightly different spice notes.

I followed a sellers recommended temperature and brewing times of >95°C for 20s and probably used about 3-3.5 g of leaves so that they loosely covered the bottom of my 150ml Gaiwan.

The dry leaves of this tea are large bars of forest green to dark almost black green. The scent is a very clean, green floral with a hint f orange. It is very fresh, clean scent.

The broth is a hay toned yellow,

The scent is of a soft fruit and floral like some rolled green Oolong’s. There is magnolia, a hint of cinnamon, peach and a touch of orange juice. A soft floral is the dominant sent.
20s after rinse.
Magnolia, light mineral tone, orange juice, hint of cream, fairly dense mouthfeel, sweet underneath like it has a tinge of cane sugar.. Aftertaste of magnolia and oranges. becomes sweeter as it cools the orange also gets this orangina like tang that seems tinged with ginger.
15s. Magnolia with spice, hint of honey cream and orange.
Slightly sweeter than last steep, honeyed orange with a tint of peach meld into magnolia flavour which is less distinct. Very creamy. hint of woodiness, mixed with cooked spinach. The sweet orangey, floral scent is dominant and finishes in fresh ginger.
Gradually develops a warming feeling at the top and back of the mouth.

20s. Cream magnolia spice,orange
Creamy texture and taste orange tone to the forefront, with ginger, fading magnolia, honey, with spinach woody tone underneath very faintly. Flavour still quite rich at short steep.

30 s cream , strong orange, mineral notes, spinach, finishing with ginger.

40s very much like tgy soft gardenia/magnolia, cream spicy tones from fading orange ginger, light spinach, mineral notes and a touch of form. Still ginger in the aftertaste

60s cream honey magnolia, ginger spice and faint tinge of fresh orange rind. The tea still has a nice body.

90s more gardenia than magnolia, floral spice with a bit of nutmeg, cream, hint o sweetness, mineral tones and spinach.

140s. Similar

240 fading remnants of spice and floral, and vegetal notes.

I really liked the first few steeps of this tea, enough that I would like to try more of it and would even consider purchasing this one. I’m glad I picked up the sampler or I would have never tried it.


Incredible! And about the name, that story is hilarious, never would have guessed! When I first read “feces” I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me!!


duck feces? is that real?


That’s the translation, the original developer of the cultivar apparently gave it that name to deter tyheives and imitators. Made me hesitant at first, but it has nothing to do with the flavour or scent of the tea. The more I read about tea in China, the more of these types of stories I here. I like Rizhao green teas and apparently there is a big problem with counter fitters because the teas in Rizhao tend to have a higher level of plant polythenols and cathecins and can demand a higher price. Crazy name though. No wonder they are trying to market it as Black Leaf Dancong here.

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drank Bungalow by Steven Smith Teamaker
430 tasting notes

I had this tea yesterday and it seemed a little bit uninspiring , so I decided to try it again brewed at a higher temperature. Darjeeling’s often seem to have different characters depending how you brew them. This one was no exception, although it did not go through as extreme a transformation as some I have had. I prefer this one brewed at boiling.

After 3 min @92 °C, I had a tea smelling of bright muscatel notes, cocoa, grainy malt and honey with a maple coloured broth.

The first note was a muscatel note that was quickly overtaken by grainy malt with a hint of honeyed cocoa and an underlying bitterness. It seemed a little more rrobust, substantial and warming than some Darjeeling’s I’ve had. Brewed this way this is not really a morning or afternoon tea for me I can picture having it when I want something soothing on a crisp night.

Brewed with boiling water for 3 minutes, the sharp fruity notes of muscatel were much stronger, the tea tasted lighter and a little bit sweeter with a touch of sharpness and a milder but slightly more bitter maltiness underneath. There is a bit of a slightly spicy and bitter floral note underneath the muscatel. At this temperature there is a more interesting blend of fruity muscatel, grainy and slightly buttery grain notes, honey and malt. It’s more of an afternoon tea now, and certainly more refreshing.

This tea doesn’t resteep exceptionally well.

Thanks Sil for the chance to try this one!


np just tried to find a few things you hadn’t tried :)

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
430 tasting notes

When I was trying to find out more about the Lopchu white tea I bought, I happened upon this article while searching Lopchu Chai http://www.indianfoodfreak.com/2013/04/making-perfect-cup-tea/
Non of the chai recipes are the spicy mandala chais we think of here, but rather they are simply the participants favourite tea or tea blend recipe, preparation and additives. Someone suggested a blend of Lopchu Darjeeling and a CTC black and seeing as I have a ton of both. I thought I’d try it. I did a half and half combination and you know what it’s pretty nice.

The CTC I have has chocolate malt biscuit and dark cherry notes and Lopchu is quite sweet with brown sugar and cocoa notes among others and when steeped around 95°C you get the sugary sweetness of Lopchu black very a maltier thicker base. The flavours all compliment each other and it seems some what fruitier. Not that I need an additive for Lopchu, but at least I have away to use up some of my aging CTC.





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This is quite a visually appealing tea appearing assilvery corkscrews of downy white tea that has occasional sneak previews of the spruce green blades thee leaves would of been if they had been allowed to fully open. The tea is beautiful to look at while brewing especially during the first few steeps while the tea is unwinding and the leaves appear to be dancing in the liquid while shimmering as though reflecting light.

The dry leaf smells of light roasted/ smoke insence note from processing, cucumber, something sweet and honey like, perhaps a white peach tone, and clover.

1 used about 1.5 TSP in a 150ml Taiwan and steeped the tea 8 times ( 50×2, 70, 100,140,180,240 &360s)

The first steep yielded a pale green tinged broth that had a strong floral scent of gardenia mixed with rose, and a light green scent llike sweet pea sprouts, a soft fruity plum like sweetness lay underneath.

It tasted of a green floral, over sweet plum with hint of roasted notes and a reference to sprouted sweet greens.aftertaste is a lingering sweet honey note. The flavour is light but pleasant. As it cools the green cool floral note mixes with a bit of cucumber with the more rounded sweetness remaining muted underneath.

The next two steeps were brighter and more intense with the plum tone more intense and the floral scent heading to freesia, the green sprout note and honey were still present.

The flavour was of freesia, clover, light pea sprout, cucumber, light plum, and had a more delicate sweetness. They were very floral, and slightly spicy on the tongue. There was a slightly thicker broth that developed more creaminess. Once again sweetness intensified in the aftertaste.

At 100s. the broth took on more of a yellow tone. The scent reminded me a little of a sunscreen I’ve had with freesia and a cooler green orchid, over plum, and a cream note. It was soft and floral with a touch of sweetness.

The flavour was of green sprouts, cucumber a faint hint of freesia and sweet plum.

The following steeps consisted of a blend of fading cool floral notes, cucumber and plum, with the introduction and then rapid loss of an artichoke note. By the last steep the flavour was quite faint and was more of an impression.

The finished leaves are thickened straightened buds.

This is a tea that may be appreciated by lovers of green floral Oolong’s, as it has a similar bite in the mouth and a lasting lingering floral taste.

Thanks boychik this tea is certainly beautiful to look at and I quite enjoyed it.


Beautiful review!
Lol, you and I make quite a pair… this tea reminds you of freesia sunscreen lotion, the oolong I had yesterday reminded me of Japanese Cherry Blossom hand lotion ;-)


;). Maybe they should add lotion and sunscreen to the flavour notes list!


Haha! I can just imagine the Admin, trying to process that!


Great review. I should try your parameters;)

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drank Bulgare by Dammann Freres
430 tasting notes

To be quite honest I didn’t find myself reaching for this very much as a hot tea, I think it was because of how the orange interacted with the base in such as way that it took away from the raspberry and made the tea a little bitter in such away that it demanded sugar to contract it.

As a cold brew it is a different story. I brewed this tea for just short of 7 hours. The brewed tea actually smells the same as the hiot tea with a sweet raspberry tone above a biting dried orange rind tone, but the taste is much different. The raspberry is the main event, it being sweet and tangy and very ripe tasting with the rose and orange blending together underneath it to give the tea a bit of a bite and a bit more of a complex nature. I quite like this cold and it does not need sugar! This will probably be the way I will finish up this tea.

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drank Assam TGFOP by CJay Tea
430 tasting notes

When I first got this tea In was a little dissappointed as I quite like their English Breakfast and I love their Chai, but this tea when I brewed it my normal Assam way at about 92/3 min was relatively weak and dissapointing. Before I gave it away, I decided to give it another chance and brewed it at a slightly higher temperature for around 5 minute, like Ahmad’s Halmari Assam and it redeemed itself.

This one is a fruity, spicy, malty Assam. And has a deep almost rosewood red liqueur.
The scent is of cherries, sour plum, and citrus notes, malt , biscuit and spice.

The taste is relatively smooth with all of the above flavours, a touch of molasses for sweetness a very faint hint of floral, and only a very faint bitterness from the malt. This one is mostly red fruit, spice, biscuit and malt. It’s not an amazing Assam but it is a decent budget option. I’m glad I gave it a second chance!.

Otherwise they sell some of their teas at Whole Foods, Starskey’s, and Highland Farms that I know of.


Stop.bragging.about.awesome.tea.places.I.can’t.visit. ;-)


You can order from this one… The site just is a little disorganized. I actually almost never get yo the end of the GTA either.

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I wanted so much to like this tea because the dry tea smells awesome like fresh juicy pineapple stored next to a sharp dried fruit, but in the end it is ruined by its base tea. I’ve tried this tea hot brewed at low temperatures and short steeps and cold brewed for just over 4 hours and the result is the same; the tea is ruined by its bitter base.

Ignoring that the cold brew scent is of a nice and juicy and a little bit floral pineapple. The better way to enjoy this tea is cold brewed, in this way the bitter notes of the base are tempered a bit by the sweetness and green notes drawn out of the tea, but even at 4 hours, the bitterness is there.otherwise the pineapple taste is actually quite authentic and nice. Oh well this is telling me that I should stick to the big active , bastek and perhaps Lloyd greens at the Polish store though I haven’t tried biofx’s greens.

I’ll stick to cold brewing this tea for the time being.

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