434 Tasting Notes

drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
434 tasting notes

I drank a Xue Pian ( snowflake) Dancong from a heli tea sampler last night. The first time I had it I was not that impressed it really tasted mainly of mineral notes and not much else. The second time I doubled the leaf I originally used it and brewed it using the chazhou method ( lots of leaf and flash steeping) and it was a different animal. The mineral notes were still there, but the tea had these lovely honey nectar notes that I always imagine finding in mi lan xiang but haven’t found yet. The leaf of this one was only mildly oxidized and were not completely folded into bars. The tea did have a nice resiliency using this method and I would be happy to try more Dancong of this fragrance type. The honey and nectar flavour lingered for a long time.

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I’ve had this tea as both a cold hot brew and have come to the conclusion that it’s more savoury than my preferred greens.

The dry tea smells of mint, fruit and smoke. It is a blue spruce tinged green with silver green buds.

I steeped 1.5tsp in 200ml of 80°C water.

The first flavour notes are savoury with cooked peas and bitter greens. These open up to peach with a crisp green pea note and a chestnut note. The tea has a thick present mouth feel and a faint hint of smoke. As it cools that taste is slightly grainy, with mint coming into the flavour as it cools. The mint and smoke notes become most distinct as it cools.

As a cold brew (steeped 3.5hrs), the tea has a thick creamy texture and a savoury mix of smoke cantelope, hints of plum and the texture of chestnuts.

Interesting but not a favourite. Thanks for the sample Capital Tea Ltd!

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drank Black Pekoe Tea by Gorreana
434 tasting notes

I like this tea but I find that it is easy to overleaf and the tea moves quickly from bright and fruity with breast notes to bitter so I decided to experiment with flash steeping with this tea. I used around twice my usual 1tsp of leaf in 225ml of water and then rinsed the tea quickly before steeping the tea for 10s. The result was that lovely bright fruitiness I found in my last review accompanied by a good white yeast bread note and honeyed sweetness. So far it’s flavour profile is consistent into the third steep. I have added 5 seconds per steep. This tea has a good dose of caffeine and while I don’t feel it coursing through my limbs like I do sometimes, it does create a feeling of lightness and alertness in me. This is a good wake me up tea.

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drank Aged Pu-erh Tea by King's Zen Tea
434 tasting notes

This tea while not overly complex is a pleasant, easy to drink loose ripe puerh blend.
The dry leaf smells slightly spicy and fresh and looks pretty much like the photo. I used 3g in 100ml of water. The tea broth had a deep reddish peach tonein the first steep after the rinse before darkening. The first steep was a little woody and drying. It had tones of tart fruit, camphor, leather, and cacao.

Subsequent steeps softened significantly with the tart fruit diminishing and mixing with the other notes and a floral toned vanilla becoming apparent.

This is maybe not the most resilient maocha. I got 6 short steeps before lengthening to a minute steeping time. However on the 10 the steep which was around 3minutes it still has a pleasant and fruity flavour. The woodiness and tartness returned in the longer steeps. Altogether pleasant and easy to drink and a nice shou for the still slightly hesitant initiate like me.

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drank Celestial Aroma by King's Zen Tea
434 tasting notes

Just a note to myself, that this ages well. The fruit is really distinct right now. Like canned peaches with light floral notes and honey. I might get more of this when I pick up more of my still favourite Dancong.

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Now that this tea has mellowed from the fall the roasted notes have combined fortuitously with the other flavours in the tea to create a flavour note that reminds me at first taste if carob. I could also see it tasting like charred sweet potato skins to others. This is mixed with cream and a dryish cocoa note. Once the carob settles back it reveals a beautiful mixture of caramel, cinnamon, and an amber note with a hint of vanilla orchid and a creamy plum note. It is soft, sweet, and spicy at the same time. The tea feels creamy on the tongue but this dissolves to a bubbling light astringency to reveal a slightly cooling and drying sensation which could be interpreted as woodiness. My leaf is slightly glossy and slightly twisted flat blades. They have the same char and carob smell as the initial flavour. A pleasant and easy to drink tea and quite different from my other wild black tea.

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drank Magnolia Oolong by Tea Ave
434 tasting notes

I just lost this note when my tablet froze and reset itself grrr.

This is a lovely tea!

In celebration of their upcoming launch on March 1st, I decided to spend time with the samples that Tea Ave scent to me. Thank you very much! They were beautifully presented and the teaware will be much loved. I decided to try the Magnolia oolong first as Jasmine is a bed-time tea for me and I have more time to dedicate to the Lishan tomorrow.

This tea is traditionally scented and uses Alishan Jin Xuan grown at 1200m altitude as it’s base tea. I like Jin Xuan but I prefer when they are on the fruitier side versus the milkier side. This one appears to be more fruity so I am happy.

I used less leaf than the 8g recommended because I usually prefer to under leaf green Oolong’s. I find that it tends to minimize the vegetal flavours and maximized the floral notes which I love. I used 4.5g of tea which covered the bottom of my 120ml gaiwan.

the dry leaf’s scent was fruity and fresh with fruit and floral notes, as well as hints of second cut hay ( alfalfa) mixed with clover and a hint of something that reminds me of jube jubes.

The leaves were mostly a darker green that was slightly muddied but not quite olive. They were tightly rolled with some stems visible. The tea also included some strips of dark brown which I assume are bits of Magnolia flowers.

After a sixty second steep at boiling the tea yielded a scent that was soft, floral and warm. It was slightly candy like and reminded me of the sugary smell of cotton candy. There was a crisp green scent above the sugar which was a blend of grape hyacinth and blanched snap peas.

The first sip tasted very smooth and slightly vegetal but the tea quickly became very sweet and candy like. Also present were warm and enveloping floral notes mixed with a cool creamy magnolia note. This was accompanied by the flavour of sun warmed grapes mixed with the tropical warm juices of warm melon and pineapple. As it cooled a green crisp vegetal note appeared. This steep reminded me of German and Alsace white wines.

A 90s second steep yielded a scent that was more intensely fruity in nature and had the addition of cream. There was more melon in the fruit flavour, which was a mix of grape, pineapple and melon. Also present was cream and a spice note that included a mix of spicebush, cinnamon and pineapple chamomile, and a less distinct hyacinth note. The tea remained creamy with a cool crisp undertone. There were crisp greens and sweet floral tones in the aftertaste.

After a two minute steep the tea had a good balance of fruit, floral and vegetal notes in the scent. The vegetal notes moved forward in the flavour and was a little bit bitter, but it opened up quickly to a creamy tropical fruit mixture that then opened up to a warm creamy floral. This floral note really tasted like magnolia in this steep. A chamomile note remained present and a bit of bitter cocoa mixed with the vegetal note.

The last good steep I had was 4 minutes. This one was more floral in scent with hints of lilac mixed with magnolia. It had a sweet vegetal taste with notes of artichoke and corn mixed with lilac, magnolia, hints of tropical fruit, cream and vanilla, but the flavour was fading.

The spent leaf clusters had up to 4 leaves and a bud on them and were a good size, but were not as large as some I have had. There was very little to no colour on the leaf margins.

Altogether I very much enjoyed this tea. Thanks Tea Ave for the sample!





Great detailed note! Really love TeaAve so far :)


Can’t wait until they open! Everything I’ve heard about their tea has been excellent.


Sounds wonderful!

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drank Tanyang Gongfu by Nannuoshan
434 tasting notes

This tea has the dark thin flatter leaves of the traditional gongfu tea with occasional bits of gold. The dry leaf smells grainy and malty with cocoa underneath.

I followed Nannuoshan’s recommended parameters if 3g/150ml which is slightly more leaf than I normally use but it did not make the tea taste bitter.

First steep: 45s the broth is light copper brown, when steeping I smelled a waft of malty chocolate. The steeped tea also had hints of tart fruit, caramel and cinnamon in its scent.

The flavour top notes were a mix of barley, tart fruit and malt, with cocoa, cinnamon and caramel underneath. The taste captured all the notes of the scent.

As it cooled, the caramel notes and malty chocolate notes intensified. A sweet spicy floral note also appeared. Hints of warm plum and a faint hint of mandarin appeared in the taste as well.

2nd steep: 60s : Malt opened up to caramel floral spice and tart sweet fruit, caramel and chocolate in the aftertaste. Strong flavour of floral spice and caramel at the end of the sip.

3rd steep: 60s more grainy with slightly citrus like fruit tones added to the other flavours. Again floral, and slight tropical fruit note in aftertaste.

4th steep 90s heavier malt with deeper darker tones, floral, caramel, spice tones still present.

Altogether this was quite a nice tanyang. The fruit was quite balanced in it( sometimes I find them too bright and need to let the tea age a bit before I enjoy it) and it is maltier than some examples I have had which gives it a nice body.

Thanks Nannuoshan for the opportunity to try this tea!


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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
434 tasting notes

Mystery Shou Tuocha aka as Chinese Apothecary Tuocha

Herb Depot Toronto


Sadly, this is my first and only tea for the day.

However, this tea is easily drinkable, very cheap, and is a pretty good entry into shou and is cheap enough that I don’t feel guilty if I don’t steep it into exhaustion.

The tuocha itself is composed of the broken leaves you expect from cheap tuocha. There are flecks of gold among the dark leaves.

The scent of the tuocha is pretty innocuous, a little bit barn yardy, but no fishy smell. I have always rinsed the tuocha, but I think I could get away without it with this tea.

The first steeps brew very dark and gradually fade to a peachy brown, gold colour.

I usually steep it in a 120ml gaiwan.

The brewed scent includes: camphor leather, smoke, red fruit, cocoa, a bit of a yeast note.

My first steep is usually between 2-5s and I increase in 2 second intervals until it weakens at which, I increase intervals. This tea has lasted me over 16 steeps before, though I have had more resilient Tuocha before.

The first steeps can be dense in texture and coffee like, but the tea yields flavour notes of : cream, red fruit, cocoa, earth, caramel, ash, insence smoke, smoke, camphor, cedar, loam, a slight marine vegetative note and malt and yeast.

Towards later steeps the tea becomes sweeter with cream and fruit and caramel notes having higher prominence. The tea is quite smooth though there is a cooling spice sensation that develops in the aftertaste.

Altogether easy to drink and it makes me less afraid of trying their Sheng.

Next time:-)!


Sounds neat! I love how you get all these notes. It helps me put names to some of the flavours. :)


Lovely picture!



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drank Qi Lan by Nannuoshan
434 tasting notes

This turned out to be my favourite Yancha of this sample package provided by Gabriele and Nannuoshan. It had Avery nice nix of fruit, spice, floral and wheatgrass notes and made me think of spring.

The leaves ranged from olive green to brown with hints of rust. Once I put them into a preheated pot they released a scent that was quite fruity and spicy with hints of cherry, papaya and berries.

I steeped 2g of tea in a 100ml yixing at temperatures between 90-95°C. This tea yielded 10 steeps for me ( 2*60, 2*90, 2*120,150, 210s, 4 and 5min).

In early steeps the scent was fruity with hints of melon, white peach, and cherry mixed with cinnamon, wheatgrass and a bit of vanilla.

Early steeps yielded a wheatgrass flavour opening up to a cantelope cherry blend with cinnamon, cream, clover nectar. The tea had a fruity floral aftertaste with clover nectar and cantelope.

By 90s the tea had a flavour where the notes were well blended and a minetalnote became apparent.

Towards the end the flavour faded towards mineral notes, honey, sweet veg and a bitter sweet cacao note.

This tea was a nice antidote to the wintery weather we’ve been having.


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