427 Tasting Notes

This is one of the green teas I received yesterday! It will probably take me a little while to figure out my preferred parameters but so far I prefer less leaf, higher temperatures and shorter steeps.

This tea has dark green, curled thick, twisted cabled leaves. The leaf smells intensely sweet and fruity.

Using 1 TSP/200ml/85°C/40s the result in tea is a pale green yellow.

The tea smells of blanched fresh peas, cantelope, chestnut and a hint of savoury greens.

The taste is intensely sweet with notes of melon, fresh peas, caramel, rock sugar, a hint of chestnut, and a hint of lilac. The higher temperature produced a thinner brew.
I kept my resteeps to intervals of 5-10s. These steeps had notes of melon, chestnut, peas, caramel, a touch of cocoa, and a touch of lilac spice. They were creamier and had a more balanced flavour sweet with just a hint of bitterness.

Using more leaf (1 TSP / 150ml) produced stronger spinach notes and bitter greens. Lower temperatures resulted in a creamier but more savoury brew.

The seller http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Sunfall-2014-green-tea-premium-organic-tea-bulk/1052197_1837152561.html kindly shipped the tea in two packets whiich will make it easier to keep fresh. It is also available here.: http://h5.m.taobao.com/awp/core/detail.htm?id=38236971307&spm=

This is a nice very sweet green tea and probably my second favourite of the Rizhao greens I have.

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This tea provided a pleasant accompaniment to my afternoon.

The dry leaf smelled of a powdery chocolate smell with a hint of sugar and raisin as well as a hint of sweet aging straw. The tea never developed the sweetness apparent in the smell.

I brewed this tea 12 times after the rinse and used half a sample packet. ( 10, 20, 25, 30,35,40,45,50,60,80,120,180s). The broth was a brownish red tinged gold.

The first third of the steeps were dominated by a coffee like bitterness created by tones of leather, dried bitter greens, dry fall leaves, dark cocoa and charred dried aged wood. This was tempered by unsweetened cream, plum, warm lemon, and a hint of vanilla orchid.

In middle steeps the leather and bitter greens slowly dissipated and the wood developed a charred aged cedar tone. Honey became apparent underneath the fruit. Tones of sultana and licorice appeared briefly among the cocoa, charred wood, fruit and cream.

The later steeps were dominated by plum charred cedar, cocoa, honey and hints of vanilla orchid.
The tea produced a bright tingling at the front of the mouth and a warmth in the throat.

Thanks Angel I enjoyed this tea very much and appreciate the opportunity to really begin my education in puerh teas!

Once again thanks to the ever generous TeaVivre for their generous samples.


The flavors and aromas you get from this tea is astounding. Do you have a background as a tea sommilier, or did you get some other kind of training to be able to identify the flavors so distinctly?


Thanks. I actually don’t have any formal training. Informally I grew up in a very multicultural environment and have had exposure to a wide variety of environments. I started cooking by taste when quite young and my mom and I used to go on wine tours from when I was a young teenager. Some of the vintners used to lay out samples from their entire production and I guess my education in discerning tastes and tones began there. I’ve generally had a pretty good sense of taste though! I have travelled a lot as well and it is sometimes interesting how different culinary traditions combine the same ingredients and obtain very different results. Or in some cases use small amounts of a simple ingredient to create a bold transformation in flavour.


Thank you for posting here about your tasting history.

I don’t feel I have a very good sense of taste myself, but it may be in part due to my racing mind, and my hope is that in slowing down I will be better at discerning flavors. I’ve already slightly better at it; I hope my ability to taste continues to improve as I continue to slow my life down.

I also appreciate that last sentence you posted, as it reminds me how the right changes in the right place at the right time, no matter how small, can transform lives.

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drank Keemun Classic by Capital Tea Ltd.
427 tasting notes

This dry tea smells of rye bread that has been allowed to develop a dark crust and is slightly smokey and chocolate and has broken but still fairly large thin leaves ranging in colour from black to milk chocolate brown.

After 3 min at 95°C this tea brews up to a nice reddish copper.

The scent is soothing and warming of light to medium spicy smoke chocolate, a hint of vanilla orchid and a grainy slightly malty note and a hint of fruit.

The tea feels dense in the mouth, with moderate astringency. A sharp fruit tone like dark slightly sour berries and malt are up front, followed by a mild dark chocolate, insence like spice like burning fall leaves, and vanilla orchid to soften and balance the tea. This tea is nice and robust due to the tannins and the astringency. As it cools the chocolate, spicy tone from the smoke ( which is at a level I can appreciate and which enhances the flavour of the tea) and a robust grain tone become dominant and the sharper fruit are minimised. There is a tone that reminds me a little of iron and the flavour reminds me a little of a bitter sweet lava cake I once had.

After a resteep of 4 min the body is a touch thinner and it smells more of chocolate. When hot the sharp berry note is a biy more like a young wine with the sharp berrybalanced by bitter notes from the malt, cocoa, and smoke. There is a nice smokey, grainy element to this steep. This tea could probably take another resteep.

This tea is very nice, with a higher level of caffeine and with enough body to take milk if you prefer your tea that way, and a nice robustness in flavour. It reminds me of being at the field camp in Chapleau watching the mists rise off the lake in early morning and waking to the day in companionable silence. Overall very happy to have this in my cupboard.


Awesome review! You have quite a refined palette! Perhaps your Steepster moniker should be Mass_Spectrometer!


How does this Keemun compare to others you’ve tasted?


I haven’t had that many yet. This one definitely has more chocolate tones and is slightly smokier than the ones I’ve had so far. It has a denser mouth feel and more astringency at this temperature. It is a bit more bitter, but this appeals to me as I love espresso. Of the ones I had the Teavivre superfine, reminded me. Of a jinjunmei I had. The whispering pines one had a menthol pine tone that I liked and made the tea very refreshing. The Marie Antoinette one was Avery broken op which was smooth but did not have the resteepability of these other ones. I had an older Zen tea one I liked as well. I’d like to try this one at a lower temp and try it using shorter steeps. It is not as elegant as some of the Keemun’s I’ve had, but I like the robustness, the chocolate notes in it and I appreciate the tones the smoke contributes.


Agreed with looseTman, your descriptions are so colourful! I think you have a lot more taste buds than the average human ;-)


Thanks for the detailed reply! We look forward to your lower-temperature results …


i envy your tastebuds and description abilities;)


Or how about, Super-Human_Buds


Do you have a culinary background?


Not professionally. I do like to cook by taste though, and enjoy experimenting with food from different cultures ( one of the joys of living in such a multicultural area). My mom also used to take me on wine tours when I was quite young 13-14. A friend of my mom’s knew the honour of one winery outside of St.Catherine’s and she used to lay out everything she produced that year and we’d sample it all.


You might consider adding this background info to your Steepster profile.

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drank Caramel Cream by PureAromaTea
427 tasting notes

I brewed this tea at closer to the recommended temperature of boiling and steeped it for at minutes and at least by the smell it works better for this tea. It smells more like caramel at the base tea smells more floral spicy rather than grassy as I remember it.

Taste wise the base tea is a little marine over a spicy sweet taste that mixes with a dried apricot type flavour. The caramel is present as a sweet buttery foot note but it might be more apparent as the tea cools.

Sipping on this a spinach note is present in the base as well.the flavouring is more apparent as it cools and I am getting that slightly sour tone you get from heated butter mixed with a browned sugar note. I like it best once it has cooled a little bit. Nice enough but I have been spoiled by some of my straight greens and I don’t find myself reaching for flavoured greens very often.

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This tea had a lovely balance between the sweet and the savoury. I didn’t get the strong peach notes until later steeps, but I did get a lot of fruity tones from it including, longan, prune, fig tones, mulberry and lemon. This was bonded to the savoury notes by butter caramel, which evolved into honey, cocoa, malt and cereal notes and a touch of salt. The savoury herbaceous notes I found were, lemon thyme, the flavour you breathe in when you crumble dried oregano, cilantro, cinnamon, and towards the end ginger and artichoke. I got nine steeps out of this tea . (1tsp, 170ml,95°C: rinse, 10, 15,20,25,35,45,60,120,180s), and it has been a pleasant companion today.

Thanks TastyBrew for the opportunity to expand my experience with Taiwanese blacks!


Dating myself here…but you know how random creatively phrased adjectives in a review just send you off into goofy land? Fig Tones. Anybody besides me remember the dancing, singing guy in the really bad fig costume in the Fig Newtons commercial circa (cough, cough, choke)…?


I might of… But then I’ve been told I was born out of my time and that I am ageless:). I was ‘21’ from a time before I was a teenager and than became ‘16’ again when I was 24, when I went back to University they all thought I was 13 years younger than I am. So I don’t think your dating yourself.

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This tea is one of the teas I picked up when I went to the Zen Garden restaurant in Mississauga http://www.zen-garden.ca/ourbranch.html. I need to go back there as I am especially fond of their Gold Monkey and their Osmanthus Dancong. As for this tea it is really nice and is much fresher and brighter tasting than the Lychee teas I have had in the past.

The dry tea has a bright and sharp fruity scent that is different than some of the lychee teas I have had in the past that have softened sweet, or floral fragrances. The scent rich and deep bright lychee fruit with a wine like raisin scent underneath from the base. They balance each other well and are a little spicy.

After 1 minute the broth is a reddish gold tone. It tastes of lychee fruit, a tone that slightly reminds me of dried figs, a rich malt in the base and a flavour that reminds me of a fruity rosé with the fruit, and wine tones mixing with the barest hint of rose. I could see how this could make a nice ice tea.

It resteeps well with consistent lychee flavour and a deepening wine, dark honey and cocoa notes in the base and with the lychee tasting more honey like and rounded with sweet sharp notes tempered with a touch of rose. So far I have steeped this tea three times (1,1.2,2 min) with the tea becoming sweeter and the fruit mellowing a little. Really enjoyable and now added to my Kin’s Zen Tea shopping list.

If you live close to one of their restaurants it is worth dropping in. The prices of their tea is cheaper than online and you can get samples, 25g and 50 g sizes, and you can get some teas in bulk that they only sell in tins online ( ie gold monkey). If not they sell online at http://zentea.ca/category.php?category=0.

Awesome, a restaurant that sells tea :-)
Thanks for the links, I go to Quebec city occasionally, will keep that in mind next time I go.


:). The one in Mississauga even does tea ceremonies sometimes. Usually, it’s done on Fridays over a business type lunch, which suits its location.

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drank Black Beauty by Mandala Tea
427 tasting notes

JustJames gifted me a bit of this tea during our swap around Christmas and I am finally getting to it now. It is a lovely tea thanks James !

The dry leaves are long and loosely twisted cables that smell like a lighter grade dark chocolate with hints of Logan and a touch of cinnamon, scents that translate well into the flavour.

I steeped this tea as recommended for short steeps and used 1 TSP/200ml/95°C and steeping time starting at 1 min increasing by 1 min per steep.

The colour of the liquor is a bright reddish tinged golden brown.

Like Terry mentioned today the flavour remains fairly consistent through the steeps . The top note is of longan followed by cinnamon, chocolate, a hint of malt and honey.
The taste is a good balance between cocoa and fruit, there is a slightly buttery creamy tone that blend them together. A faint hint of cinnamon and malt binds everything underneath. As it cools the cocoa scent and taste intensifies. The tea is slightly sweetened by a honey like tone and a faint peppery note mixes with cocoa and honey in the aftertaste. It has a buttery, smooth texture. In resteeps the fruity tone is more apparent, but is softened from the sharper tones of longan.

This was a pretty enjoyable tea with chocolate tones that were easy to obtain, especially as the tea cools. Thanks again James!

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drank Tiger Monk by Temple Road
427 tasting notes

I have to admit that I have difficulty western brewing Oolong’s ( I only have one that I brew that way on any regular basis). There is something about the complexity of tastes, the spice and the warmth it produces in my body that compels me to play with the tea and deconstruct its flavours. I’ve had this sample for a while but have only recently had the time and the health to fully appreciate it.

This is a lovely tea it has a wonderful mix of dark honey, fruit, a variety of floral tones, cured pine, roasted charcoal note, corn, and a variety of savoury vegetable notes. I absolutely enjoyed it and could easily see myself purchasing some in the future. Thank you very much to Temple Road for sharing this tea with me.

I must be impressed with the quality of the packaging of temple road tea as even this sample was packed with a dessication packet to control the moisture levels of the tea.

The dry tea is composed of tightly wound nuggets that are dark spruce and olive green heading towards a dark charcoal colour. The leaves smell of a mix of sweet fruit, charcoal roasted notes and a faint woodiness but are overall very fruity.

I steeped the tea 11 times after a rinse (45,30,35, 40,50,55,60,70,80,90, and 120s)

45s. Liquor pretty buttercup gold colour
Scent complex fruit smell, papaya,melon,warm peach, honey, carnation like spice tones, hint of roast and woodiness, cream.
Taste. Delicious, warm papaya and peaches, honey, vanilla orchid with carnation, cream. Spicy,warm fruit with a slight spicy floral tone.

30s stronger honey tones,fruit still get aparrent, sweet spicy floral, roster woody tone.
Taste spicy floral, fruity tones at the for front as well as something more deeper, tart and berry like, strong honey tones, hint of roasted, charred,bitter greens. Creamy buttery, mouth feel,a bit of woodiness.

35s. Brew is a deeper saffron like colour. Scent buttery, spicy soft floral, with fruit not as intense as before, honey, hint of sweet buttery lettuce like greens.
Taste hint of spinach,spice a faint echo of cloves on top of floral spice vanilla cream, touch of honey, sweet cooked greens, aftertaste of warm peaches. A balance between, savoury, sweet, and spicy, a little perfumy.

40s. cream over stewed peaches and papaya, vanilla, and floral spice.
Floral spice better balanced with other flavours so it is nit so perfumy, sweet buttery green tones slightly more apparent, a touch of spinach. Spicy feel at the front of the mouth.

50s. Scent corn, fruit, vanilla, butter, fainter spice,tones, dried , cured,pine.
Taste savoury vegetable cooked with cloves van butter cooked peaches in vanilla cream, hint of corn. spice in the aftertaste.

55s .scent Orchid and lily, buttetred creams, vanilla sugar, cooked peaches, a touch of citrus, spice.
Taste cooked peaches, vanilla sugar, spicy floral mixed with 5 spice powder, cream, savoury spinach and sweet greens.

60s. Citrus and peaches, vanilla, cream, faint vegetal note.

Corn,warm peaches and cream, vanilla orchid and nutmeg, faint cured pine note.

70s citrus, cream warm peach, sweet cooked greens

Warm peach and spice with citrus accents, a touch of cream, cured pine, sweet cooked greens.

80s. Sweet tone with hint of dark honey, cream,peach, corn.
Hint of woody tone and echo of spice.

90s corn, cooked greens, cream,hint of fruit.
Same as above

120s dark honey and spice with a hint of greens


This sounds wonderful!


damn, good review. sounds delicious


Great review :-)

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The dried leaf of this tea is beautiful with the blade being a little wider than some assams I’ve had and there being quite a few quite downy golden buds. Its quite beautiful to look at.

The first time I made this tea I made the mistake of both overleafing and oversteeping this tea, thinking that I would need to compensate for its age, and it turned out to be dominated by oatmeal and bitter cocoa and malt notes and its rich sweet notes were hidden.

To compensate this time, I stuck to 1 tsp/ 8 oz / @95°C, and after an @ 3 min steep the tea brews up to this beautiful red ochre tinged orange, and smelled of a blend of spice, red fruits and honey underlain by malt, cocoa, and a hint of oatmeal.

The flavour was sweet with malt and oatmeal first, followed by honeyed fruit ( red fruit with a touch of raisin), with spice and finishing with bitter cocoa. The dominant flavour is honey, spice and bitter cocoa. It has a good dose of caffeine.

Very nice and it makes me want to try Capital Tea Ltd more recent offering from this estate.

Thanks very much again to Joel for comping me this tea!


can’t wait to start digging in to the teas out sent me. Hoping for friday if i can manage it while moving…otherwise i’m splurging after the move on 10 mins to just sit and drink at least ONE of your teas lol


Enjoy them when you have a chance to enjoy them. I hope your move goes smoothly and that you have lots of help!

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While I was picking up quince tea for JustJames, I picked up this and more of the lemon one for ice tea this summer. Of the brands commonly available at the European Deli I prefer the big active and bastek bases the best.

This tea smells like insence spice, a hint of smoke, warm bake red grapefruit and citrus rind.

While the lemon one is a little grassy and floral tasting, this one does have a tang from the grapefruit rind. The taste of grapefruit is mild but what is there is round and juicy, like ruby red grapefruit juice. It would probably pop with sugar. The base is smooth and dense, with a touch of smoke, a hint of spinach, clover, and a naturally fruity flavour heading toward melon. The aftertaste is tingling fruit rind. It the overall effect is pleasant. I think I prefer the lemon but this is still quite a nice affordable Polish Tea.


For those of us in South Mississauga, there is a new Looseleaf tea store opening up in the plaza next to Starbucks.


I did see that one and was wondering when it would open.


It looks like very soon. I realise from what I wrote that it isn’t clear that it’s in Port Credit:).

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