430 Tasting Notes

This tea is kind of interesting in the brewed leaf I smell the apple, and grape with a touch of strawberry, while I taste apple, grape, hibiscus, elderberry and strawberry, with the liquorice underneath making it slightly spicy and sweet. I was craving something tart, and while this is it isn’t overly so, it does deliver. It has three of the vilians of the tea justice league, hibiscus, rosehip, and liquorice, but here they are well used especially since I steeped it more than three minutes. I love how the ingredients work together to create a purple grape colour as well!


The blend sounds interesting. See, I could totally handle hibiscus if it didn’t overpower everything else. But every time I have it, it takes everything away…The sweetness of licorice must help tone down the tartness of hibiscus and rosehip, good idea to put them together.


It is, the liquorice and the apple really help to temper the tart ingredients and they’ve managed to keep the liquorice to a point where it doesn’t overpower as well. It’s pretty well done.

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drank Thé de Vendome by Nina's Paris
430 tasting notes

The dry tea scent reminds me of sweet tarts, tart and sugary with that tone that separates them from rockets. Brewed on the other hand this smells like my grapefruit puerh that I got from big-active ( a polish company). It has dry tangy scent from dried orange rind, something that’s a little bit earthy and gamey and a spicy sharp citrus tone underneath. The base tea smells fruity, with malt and biscuit. The fact that I can usually discern the base tea underneath the flavouring is one thing I’ve always appreciated about Nina’s teas.

After a three minute brew, there is a nice balance between the base and the flavouring and the tea is a deep orangey red.

I taste dried grapefruit rind over top a warmer sweeter fruitier tone that ranges towards the red grapefruit flavour mixed with a plum note from the base. A biscuit note from the base binds the fruit note to the malt lying underneath. Despite the citrus tones the tea remains smooth and mellow when steeped around 92°C, with only a mild astringent note. Altogether a pleasant tea that was warmer and richer than I was expecting. Thanks ’Laurent and Nina’s for the sample!

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drank Yi Mei Ren by Yunnan Sourcing
430 tasting notes

This tea was a pleasant confection of fruit beginning with longan dominating over a plum note and than switching dominance during the later steeps, consistent cocoa notes, butter caramel, that morphed to honey in the middle steeps, and ended in cane sugar, a roasted grain note, cashew butter, and malt that really only became strongly apparent in the later steeps and blended well with the plum cocoa notes. The early steeps were really buttery in texture and the flavours blended well together creating the impression of a sweet nutty, caramel cocoa confection with a bit of tartness. The broth does become thinner and slightly astringent in later steeps. Although this is a light tea it really does have a nice intensity flavours with my favourite steeps being perhaps the second and third one.

I steeped one heaping TSP of this tea at 92*C in 225 ml of water. The leaves are long, dark roughly wound, wiry strips that smell of cocoa and longan. My steeping times were 60,60,80,120,180,240s and 5 min. Onced brewed I had a golden broth touched by brown which became redder in later steeps. The tea smelled of longan, butter caramel and cocoa. Altogether a nice light tea. I especially like the nutty tones and the way the tea blends the cocoa, longan and caramel tones so that neither becomes dominant over each other. Thanks boychik for sending me the fall 2013 harvest for me to try. I am happy I have some of the spring tea heading my way!


glad you like it. Do you have a preference of Spring vs Fall Yunnan Blacks?


Everything that I have bought knowing the season has been spring so far, so I don’t know. I’m glad I have your samples to help me make a comparison.

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drank Fleurilège by Dammann Freres
430 tasting notes

I found myself scoping cadeau-deco-vendome ( A Dammann reseller) so I figured that this is as good a time as any to dig into the samples that Sil sent me.

This tea smells like butter, roasted hazelnuts and vanilla and has a light maple wood coloured broth after steeping at 1tsp/225ml/4min/95°C.

There is a lovely roasted hazelnut note with a touch of a wood in the flavouring, as well as a touch of butter caramel and a warm vanilla tone. The flavouring blends well with the base tea which is slightly fruity with a cocoa note and is relatively innocuous except for providing a light astringency and a medium body. The flavouring is light and subtle as is the tea itself.

Thanks for the treat Sil


My experience with cadeau-vendome was so awful…brings back bad memories. Guess I was just unlucky though cause everyone on Steepster seems so happy with them.


Sorry about that was it the service or the tea?


Both!!! The whole thing was surreal, really, maybe all their regular staff was on vacation or something and an unexperienced employee took care of my order. I know it’s overseas, but the box that it arrived in was so damaged, it was made of very thin cardboard and nearly got destroyed in transport. The tea was poorly packaged, not sealed, and not even labeled as Dammann Frères, so it could have been anything really. The worst was the smell: believe it or not, the tea was wrapped directly in smelly newspaper, the smell was so strong it took over the entire box! The tea not being sealed, it got compromised. They all tasted like cigarette ashes! I wrote them twice, they never answered back… I decided to let it go cause the whole thing made me too angry, didn’t want to think about it anymore, lol.


That’s awful. My experience was awful, but I have noticed that some of the less popular teas can taste a little weak. My experiences with them were good, but I did notice that in the shipping notice they say to refuse acceptance of the package if it appears damaged. Any ways my next French tea purchase is used to be Betjeman and Barton from fouvrac in Montreal, but I always get sidetracked by other things.


B&B teas in Montreal? Do they sell online?


At the moment no. But they claim to carry the whole line and as a bonus I think you can order 50g. So, if your interested build an order from http://www.betjemanandbarton.com/fr/ and then you order over the phone at http://www.betjemanandbarton.com/en/content/9-world

If you have any questions first you can contact fouvrac through Facebook first https://m.facebook.com/lefouvrac?_rdr. They sell the teas at both locations.


Thank you so much :-)


Your welcome!


I’m guessing people at Fouvrac would speak some English? Because my spoken French is not good enough to place a tea order. I could email them in French, but…


They do. I wrote them on Facebook and they responded in English. As well, a member of Steepster, I think they were in California ordered this way with no problems a number of months ago.


OMGsrsly, I’m pretty sure they do, I don’t know many merchants who don’t in Montreal, businesses are 99% at least bilingual. Sometimes, it’s even the other way around, they don’t speak French, lol.


Excellent. :) I’ll add them to my list. Did you get any info on shipping costs?


I haven’t placed my order yet. It cost $10.00 to ship 200g of tea for the US order. I was just told that shipping was reasonable when I mad my original enquiry.


Perfect! Thanks so much for enabling, yyz. :)

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The pretty mahogany coloured broth of this tea yields a tea that has a good dose of malt and biscuit, joined with plum, a light floral spice and a tone that is slightly nutty in scent.

The tea has a distinctly fruity top note full of a prune and raisin note, with a biscuit and nutty tone dividing it from the bitter tones of malt underneath. There is a floral tone apparent if you allow the tea to aerate in your mouth. To strengthen the fruity tones, keep steeping times shorter such as under 2:45. Brewed at under 95°C the tea is mildly astringent. In general, a nice robust classical tea but not as smooth or as sweet as some of the ceylons I have had.

This tea is from one of the local companies I know of that specialise in Ceylons. They produce this tea from a single tea source ( which I take to mean as an estate or region). They also produce green teas, flavoured blacks, and some interesting new cultivars of white tea ( in their exotic tea range). http://rhinoteas.com/shop/.

The tea comes in a great double lidded canister. The tea can be found at several independent grocery stores in Mississauga and they also have a retail outlet near Bloor and Dixie.

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Opening up the bag, i was greeted by the rich scent of cocoa and molasses, which eminated from the pile of golden, downy, corkscrews of the biluochun black tea contained within.

They looked like this: http://instagram.com/p/pCIOe-mKxW/

or for better pictures go to the product description:

I used 1 TSP of leaf/170ml Taiwan/@ 92*C and brewed it 8 times (60,45,45,60,90,120s, 180s, 5 min)

After an initial steep of 1 minute I had a just deeper than sepia brown broth with a gold a greenish brown ring at edges of the cup, with some bubbles on top while brewing. Future steeps had a warmer honey brown coloured brew with the surrounding ring.

This tea had a scent of cocoa, molasses/ dark honey tone, sweet potato, light spice cinnamon touched with nutmeg, a hint of citrus, a hint of clover.

This tea consistently maintained cocoa, dark honey, and malt tones. It also had roasted sweet potato, clover flowers, cream, citrus, plum, amber and spice notes. Generally the cocoa, honey, malt and sweet potato notes generally competed for dominance. The first steep tasted very much like scalded milk hot chocolate and was very creamy. Overall I am very happy with this tea!

1 min. Cocoa, floral clover note, dark honey, hint of spice from a smoke/ roasted note, almost an amber tone, which as it cools develops into a tone that when mixed with cocoa reminds me of hot chocolate made with scalded milk. hint of citrus and the brighter tones of malt, slight hint of cooked plum it feels creamy on the tongue.

45s Roasted sweet potato, cocoa, honey, citrus tones of malt, plum, cinnamon, cream. There are stronger chocolate and malt notes, with hints of clover and dark honey/molasses. It feels tingling from spice tones in the front of the mouth. Sweet potato note mixed with cocoa, citrus and plum tones and opens up to a cream tone that blends with the other flavours. this steep is much more tannic than the first one.

45s. Cocoa, roasted sweet potato, honey, citrus floral note, spice, and plum, before opening up to the deeper tones of malt.

60s. Roasted sweet potato, honey, malt and citrus tones, cocoa and spice.

90s. Malt, cocoa and honey, sweet potato, citrus tones, less spice.

120s, honey, sweet potato,slight floral , malt, very faint touch of cocoa.

180s. And 5 min. Malt, honey, cocoa.


This sounds so yummy that I’m getting hungry. Its great when you buy a tea and you like it. i get dissappointed like a baby starting blaming myself. Enjoy :-)


Wow, I’ve never heard of a black bi luo chun before. You make it sound amazing.


Thanks. I’ve had a few. There seems to be something about the processing that seem to intensify the cocoa, but and honey tones. This one is definitely the creamiest and most chocolate rich one that I have had. The others have been less tippy and more malty.


But = but. I don’t really understand why autocorrect changed that;)

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The tea smells fabulous with sweet potato,cocoa, the brighter tones of malt and the spicy tones of gardenia, sharper tasting sweet berries and a touch of honey.

The dry leaf is mostly chocolate brown broken leaves with scattered golden tips

Once brewed it yields a red toned broth

There is a light flavour at first that is slightly vegetal with the bitter tones of malt, but this quickly dissapears and you get the heavier tones of malt, cocoa, and gardenia, that then sweeten into fruit, honey and cocoa notes. As it cools sweet potato is present in the first notes as well as a citrus note, and a hint of floral. Allowed to cool further the fruit notes come to the forefront with the sweet potato and the berry notes are more distinct.

The tea resteeps quite well, with sweet potato, citrus and malt notes more apparent.

I brewed this tea at around 92°C for three minutes and there is a mild astringency and a cooling feeling at the top of the mouth. There seems to be more caffeine in this one than Tiger Assam as I feel it buzzing in my upper arms. I am quite enjoying this mix of floral spice, fruit, cocoa and bitter tones. I might actually prefer it to Tiger Assam.

Thanks Sil this was a perfect first cup for today!


i wasnt impressed at first time i tried a sample. im so glad i picked a tin on NYC Fest. The more i drink it, the more i fall in love with this tea.


I think it might be a tea that might be easy to over steep, it does have those bitter tones. Others have found it to be astringent thats why I used a cooler temperature. The very first sip when hot was kind of vegetal and thin but as it cools it transforms to something really pleasant.


Yyz, you always make me want to drink whatever you’re having, but it’s rarely in my cupboard :-(
This time, it is!! I recently received a huge sample from a generous tea friend, I think I will try it tomorrow morning…


You are right. 200-205F and no more than 3 min for me.


yay! glad you’re enjoying it. it’s nice to be able to try these before committing to a whole 4.4oz tin!


and yes… keep it a little lower on the temp side with this one

Sami Kelsh

Ooh, this sounds so nice! Man, I really need to invest in these tea people, for reals.


sami just poke me sometime…happy to send you samples to try before you place an order since shipping will be a nightmare

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drank Black Gold by Mandala Tea
430 tasting notes

This tea is a lovely mix of sweet notes and cocoa, with light floral notes, a hint of orange and a bright nature hidden under the warm sweet tones.

The dry leaf is a roughly wound blade with silver tinged golden buds and grey black to brown dusty leaves.

The tea brews to a young oak colour with scents of cocoa,molasses, malt, honey, spice, and a hint of yam. I brewed the tea 4 times, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks Dexter for this lovely tea!


Sweet at first with honeyed tones, followed by a bit of oatmeal mixed with bittersweet chocolate. Malt lies very lightly underneath. There is a hint of plum and a very light floral ( almost rose) mixed together. A hint of something crisp and bright like the upper tones of malt is present. The tea is mostly cocoa, mixed with honey and a light grain note underneath as it cools . It is warming at the front of the mouth, with a nice medium density and a moderate dose of caffeine.

2 min. Bright malt, with a floral tone out front, followed by molasses, dark malt, cocoa and oatmeal and a touch of sweet potato. Cocoa, dark, malt and a citrus grain note, with honey become dominant as the tea cools.

3 min, sweet potato,cocoa, a hint of molasses, a touch of orange,grain notes, malt. Brighter flavour than previous steeps, sweet cocoa tone is not as rich. Malt tastes heavier and deeper as it cools.

4 min fading bright vitamin c notes and a vegetal, plum note on top, hint of sweetness. Hints of honey malt and a reference to cocoa as it cools.

Maybe not as resilient as some Yunnan’s I have had as the flavour seemed to really fade after the third steep, but the flavour is really rich and comforting.

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This is another tea I’ve had to a while.

The dry leaf has brown, black and grey leaves , with scattered golden tips.

I used one heaping TSP/225ml.

After 3 min the tea brews up to deep mahogany brew.

The tea smells comfortingly of biscuit, light sweet red fruits, tempered by plum, honey, spice with a slight presence of vanilla and honey, with the deeper tones of malt underneath.

First impressions are of a smooth, sweet and light Assam. Light fruit and honey are in the first sip, with biscuit notes deepening into a malty slightly deeper fruit tone base. Spice and vanilla are underneath. There is a slight light floral tone in the lighter top notes. Pleasant and probably a nice Assam for those who have difficulty with heavy tannins and astringency as this tea is lighter in both of these for an Assam but has enough texture to have a nice density in the mouth. Despite honey being quite present in the initial sips, this tea does not have as sweet an aftertaste as some of my Assam’s. A citrousy malt note becomes more present as the tea cools and a sharper tone develops in the tea. I think when I first had this I used less leaf as I remembered feeling that this tea was too light in flavour, but with a heaping spoonful this is quite a pleasant tea.

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