398 Tasting Notes

This tea is quite different than the Chinese blacks I’ve been drinking lately. For one thing the spent leaves are huge, with the one I measured being 5.5cm long or around 2.25 inches. Secondly it’s flavour profile reminds me a little bit of a cross between a Indian and a Taiwanese( I haven’t had many of these though) assam. It has the thick rich texture of an Indian assam, replete with malt and biscuit, combined with the bright fruit and spice notes, of mint, nutmeg and cinnamon I’ve had more in the Taiwanese versions. Really interesting and nice flavour notes which were not exactly what I was expecting as the dry leaf smells mostly of chocolate and cinnamon.

The leaves themselves look exactly like the picture, dark, thick, glossy and twisted. I used around 1.5 tsp for 225ml and brewed at around 95*C.

50s brewed to a rich reddish brown
scent: red fruit, malt, cinnamon, nutmeg note, hint of biscuit, honey,

flavour: fruit ( a cherry, currant like note), honey, malt, slight floral note, hint of chocolate, cinnamon and nutmeg.

faintly astringent, rich makes a nice breakfast tea,

45s above notes with a slightly minty fruit note (reminds me of creeping snowberry (northern peat bog plant with white berries tasting of blueberry and mint)). It’s smoother with more cocoa and a stronger nutmeg note. Feels cooling.

60s spice, nutmeg, cinnamon fruit, cocoa, malt fruit and honey.

90s faint fruit malt, biscuit, hint of cocoa.

Next time I’d like to try a longer western style brew to see what notes come out.

This was a really interesting tea that I think would make a nice breakfast tea. Thanks again to Capital Tea for their generous opportunity to sample this tea. http://www.capitaltea.com/shop/product.php?productid=224&cat=6&page=1


Hrm… I’ve never gotten much of anything when I steep anything for only 50 seconds. I’ve tried. I mostly get watery crap.


For me it really depends on the Assams, Ceylons, and Darjeelings I tend to brew for about 2.5-3.5 min, and generally get the level of flavour I want. I especially keep to this for most flavoured teas unless directed elsewise because I like the balance between the base flavour and the flavouring. For Chinese teas I find it varies. I have some teas that do need a longer steep to preform their best Ie my Xinyang Hong Cha, and others that I can steep for much less time. Generally I am steeping either Gonfu style or a teacup at a time so I may be using more leaf than if I were brewing a mug. I took the advice I read in the comments of someone’s tasting notes to try very short steepings for some very tippy blacks and that is now the only way I brew one of my Jinjunmei’s. I only brew it for 5s in a gonfu pot and then pour it off into a cup and it is perfectly caramel and desert like. I was really surprised. I then increase steeps by 5s each steep. I fond that longer steeps produced a flavour that was overwhelming and a little unpleasant for me. Things to take into consideration I am used to drinking a weaker tea and I rarely add anything to it. If you prefer milk or cream in your tea you probably would need a longer steep. As well I have bought some tea lately that retain flavour over multiple steeps. I’ve usually been able to resteep my assams 3-4times, but some of my Fujian blacks last for 7+ steeps. I’ve had some oolongs that are also overwhelming or even bitter if I steep the first steep over 30s and one of the one’s I have recommended a 10s first steep.


yyz I’ve seen you mentioning Capital Tea Ltd a couple of times today, and this tea was the one that was screaming my name on their web site. ugggg…… I ordered 100g of it and samples of 8 other teas. I think you get the blame/credit of this order ;))


I hope you enjoy them!


Dexter, you’re hopeless. :)


If it makes you feel better, I am in dire need of banning myself from Aliexpress. I probably have enough tea for over a year at this point.


nxtdoor But it makes me happy… :))

yyz – I’ve taken just a couple of quick looks at Aliexpress and quickly determined that if I don’t want my cupboard to hit 400 teas, it’s a place I should just avoid. The other one I have a self imposed ban on is Yunnan Sourcing.


my ONLY issue with capital tea ltd is that you can 100g or 10. I would really like 50g option.


Sil for most teas there smallest size is 20g but I agree 50g would be nice.


i just want to go tea shopping…so close to my goal lol


I know…. At this point I think that unless it’s some amazing deal or perhaps flavoured teas I shouldn’t even be online on black Friday weekend. Especially, with the amount of tea I am currently waiting on. Think of it this way that any tea you buy now just takes away from the pool available to buy on black Friday. On the other hand I find myself building orders and shutting them down before processing them.


Sticking my nose in – I just broke open, my order box. It’s beautiful – I’m really happy with the 20g samples – I think they are more than enough to try the teas – actually bigger than I would have expected for 20g. LOVE the red tissue against the black packages. This is really nice and professional, and it was quick. Ordered on the weekend, shipped Monday, I got a card in the mail yesterday.
Thanks yyz so far I’m really impressed – will see how the tea is.
Sil I’m going to send you a bunch of these for you to try.


and I got a 20g free sample – I didn’t notice it at first, it is in exactly the same pacaging as the ones I ordered.


Nice, I usually get my packages within 2 days ( I live in Mississauga). The first time I ordered from them they actually comped me a piece of my order as a free sample. I didn’t really notice until I was reviewing my bill. Their samples are really generous. What did they send you as a sample?


LOL it’s not something I would have ordered, but I guess that’s good to get me to try other things. It’s this Darjeeling.


Funny, I have that one to try too!. I still have this one and a Ceylon to open. At least with 20g you can try it all sorts of ways to see if there’s away you can enjoy it. If it’s too astringent the first time, lower the temp.. I have one that is lemony and bright when brewed at boiling and tastes of almonds at lower temps. I hope you enjoy their teas!


I surprised at how much tea there is in the 20g sample. I agree that it’s enough to play with but not crazy amount if you don’t like it. Enough to share. Like I said – really happy. I’m sure I won’t love them all, but am hoping to love one or two. It’s also easy to order a bunch with most of the being 3-4.00.





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drank Organic Spring Bud by King's Zen Tea
398 tasting notes

This is a tea that I picked up a sample of at the Zen Garden Restaurant, It’s not currently available on the King’s Zen website.

This tea consists of dark green, grey curls with silver tips. The tea smells sweet and slightly spicy.

I found this tea to be very robust and flavourful. It is also quite resilient, so far it’s lasted seven steeps. I originally steeped it for 45s and I suspect that next time I could reduce the steeping time or the amount of leaf as the flavour was quite intense and the broth was a deep gold. The flavour is quite nice, with roasted chestnut, plum , honey, spicy sweet floral ( like dames rocket) and spinach notes. Plum honey and roasted nut notes remain in the aftertaste. Once the spinach notes calm down the tea becomes quite smooth and silky. Quite a nice tea with quite a bit of natural sweetness.

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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I have to preface this by saying this is the first Dancong I’ve ever had, but this tea is now on my adore list. I’m not sure if this is just me discovering I love Dancongs or if this tea is really spectacular in it’s genre, regardless I really like it.

It reminds me strongly of a scotch based liquor that my cousin brought back from Scotland. It has these lovely floral notes which I described to myself as lily of the valley touched with gardenia but that may be Magnolia in afterthought balanced by a beautiful apricot cream flavour and whiskey grain alcohol notes including that warm tingling notes that neat scotch always gives me.

Secondary flavours include sandalwood, toasted nut, cotton flower and incense smoke so far. This tea is still going strong after 11 steeps ( though it is more apricot cream right now.

The original leaves were quite dark and smelled slightly of peach, but now they are an olive green with a more floral scent. The first steep at 1 min smelled like cooked peach, woody tones(sandalwood, a hint of stewed rhubarb, honey, cereal, and cream notes. The tea was a pale sepia type tone. The flavour was quite intense at 1 minute. I’ll use a shorter steeping time next time.

Looking to further steeps of this tea tonight and can easily see myself restocking this one. Does anyone have any recommendations for other Dancongs?

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I love Dancongs! I’ll be stocking Mi Lan Xiang (honey orchid fragrance) soon :) Message me for more info on that – I have some at the moment I would set you up with a special order of!


This sounds like an amazing tea. Is it true that the Osmanthus frangrance is a natural occurrence in the Dancong tea? It’s not due to a close proximity to an Osmanthus shrub, is it?


Some of the osmanthus dancongs out there are scented ( ie cured with osmanthus flowers etc), but there are varietals in which the fragrance is produced naturally by the tea itself and can be coaxed and highlighted in the finished tea by proper handling and harvesting. The information provided for this tea is that it is a natural occurrence within the leaf. I’m not sure if it was grown near osmanthus, but dancongs are famous for being able to mimic certain flavours.

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This was my introduction to Laoshan black teas and I am afraid I was rather spoiled! Not only did it introduce me to buying on aliexpress but it also introduced me to this wonderful seller, who is very enthusiastic about his product, willing to share his knowledge, willing to negotiate to help you buy what you want, and is a caring seller. He tracked my purchase and contacted me when he was worried it was taking too long ( stuck in customs).

The dry tea smells of chocolate and rye bread whereas the wet leaves reminds me of chocolate and raisins.

Brewed western style, the tea brews to a bright copper colour and smells of honey, malt, chocolate, and raisin.
The flavour is of malt, cocoa almost ovaltine and brownies. There is a hint of floral in early sips that disappears, and a hint of honey. It tastes smooth with just a mild hint of astringency. The tea leaves a clean taste in the mouth with the aftertaste of honey and brownies. The second steep is honey, caramel and cocoa with hints of malt. I can get many steeps out of this tea often over six when brewed western style.

When brewed gonfu style the tea is more a pretty amber shade, that is kind of a brown touched gold colour.

With shorter steeps I find that the tea smells of chocolate, brownies, grain, ovaltine, and honey.

The tea feels kind of silky in the mouth with tastes of rich, dark cocoa, ovaltine with honey, and richer notes hinting at molasses and brownies, malted milk. Later steeps bring out tones of caramel, and a touch of vanilla. Honey and cocoa linger in the aftertaste.

This tea is lovely! Rich and deep with notes of malt, cocoa, caramel and honey that work together to remind me of the taste of brownies.

The one I purchased under the black tea category came packed in individual packages that usually allow me three to four different sessions of tea. Which is great as it is easy to travel with and helps to keep the tea fresh. http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/qingdao-laoshan-Black-Tea-flavored-black-tea-organizer/619772_789569691.html.


Ooh, I’ll have to pay extra attention for the raisin note next time.

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drank African Chai by Justea
398 tasting notes

This tea reminds me of a slightly floral molasses gingerbread, which is odd as ginger is not listed in the ingredients in the description but nevertheless this is what the brewed tea and dried leaf smells like to me.

The first flavour on my tongue reminds me of Chinese five spice powder over a slightly earthy, malty flavour with a hint of citrus. The aftertaste has warm sweet note on roof of mouth and a warm buzzing on the tongue. The tea is quite sweet with fennel like sweet notes that become most apparent after the initial sip. The base is rich and deep and malty. This is a cloves dominant chai, but the coriander, fennel and licorice notes, work well to balance it. The rose and safflower notes are present as secondary notes in the flavour after the five spice note. The safflower adds a slightly fruity freshening note and the rose adds more depth to the flavour. I’m actually surprised at how much I like this as I usually dislike cloves dominated tea, A great tea for fall and the winter holidays.

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This really makes a wonderful all day tea as I regularly get somewhere between 7-11 infusions out this tea. Unlike some of my other blacks that re-steep well this one manages to keep a very consistent flavour for the first 4 or 5 infusions a well.

This one has very tightly rolled curly shiny dark brown to black leaves with some golden tips. The dry leaf smells of chocolate, sweet potato and a touch of hay.

Brewing up to a beautiful clear copper orange color the tea feels silky in the mouth like a oolong.

The tea has tastes and aromas of cocoa, blackened roasted sweet potato, plum and longan, cinnamon and at times a savoury note that ranges from rosemary to pepper, and honey and bit of malt. A sweet, cocoa, honeyed sweet potato taste lingers for quite a while. After the first steep the sweet cocoa and longan intensify, before the tea goes through a period where malt and longan dominate with a bit of cocoa and eventually the tea becomes a honey flavoured water. Really nice mellow all day tea.

This tea is sold by several aliexpress dealers. I got it at this one

The farmer has a Taobao shop fom which you can buy direct. I think he has sold out of this specific harvest but this is the most recent one.
These are his other teas
He has a 10-20 Acre farm from which he produces and sells his teas directly.

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

nice sounding tea!


Hmmm… I think it’s time you and I talk swap :-)


I agree! For some reason I had it in my head that I had to wait to send everything I wanted to share with you at once, but I seemed to forget that it is possible to scale it to an oversized envelope!


The aliexpress dealer listed above has lots of teas, however this is not their main business Enter ‘tea’ in the search bar and make sure in this store is selected to see what’s available. The prices tend to be a good value in comparison to other dealers for the same teas.

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drank Coconut Baozhong by Queen Mary
398 tasting notes

I was craving an oolong this evening but was not in the mood for a full fledged gongfu session, so I decided to try this. This is from Nicole’s super generous giveaway. The flavouring is quite nice. It’s a nice nutty slightly roasted coconut, that still tastes fresh and sweet. I can see what Nicole means when she said some might find it a little artificial as suspect that the buttery feeling of this pouching has less to do with the actual tea and more to do with the flavouring as it lacks much of the accompanying tingle I usually get from oolongs and the tea tastes thinner than the other pouchong I have at the moment. Despite all that, the tea is quite nice. It has a nutty sweet flavour that blend with a slightly nutty fruity base tea with a little touch of a floral accent quite nicely. So far I am on steep two and I suspect I’ll get one or two others out of this tea.

Thanks Nicole! I’ll enjoy the rest of this packet.

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I have a new box of this, but I still have some of last years left, so this note is on last years tea, I was lucky to get a new box because most of the local shops sold out quickly and i haven’t even seen the pink box this year. This is still a great tea, it reminds me of late fall, and early spring forests with that crisp, sour, spicy smell of fallen leaves, mixed with a biscuit tone, bright fruit and malt, with a slight spicy floral note and hints thyme. A really great tea that is more forgiving than most Darjeelings and is perfect on a sunny fall day.

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drank Jade Oolong by Little Red Cup Tea Co.
398 tasting notes

I’ve quite enjoyed this oolong so far. I usually drink oolong in the evening but this is one that I think would make a great afternoon tea or even a morning tea if you don’t need a huge caffeine boost. This tea might make a good introduction to green oolongs for those who enjoy green tea as I found it to be less floral than other oolongs I’ve had and it has these great snap pea like accents to it’s flavour. I also think that it might make a great ice tea, as it has this bright citrus like note to it.

I brewed this tea in a 150ml gaiwan using around 2 tsp of tea.
The dry leaf was tightly rolled and mostly dark spruce green with a little bit of light olive and smelled of citrus oils, green beans, and a sharp floral note.

The first time I brewed it I brewed it for 25s at around 85*C The result was a pretty intensely flavoured bright yellow with a tint of green broth and although I enjoyed this steep very much I could easily have brewed it for about 10s less. I did a 15s steep the second time and found the resulting tea tasted more floral with stronger notes of gardenia while the longer steep was dominated by snap pea and lemon. Altogether I got about 11 steeps from this tea increasing time at about 5 s intervals until the later steeps where I increased the length of steeping.

Early steeps had this bright scent that seemed to be a mix of citrus, buttercups, white orchid and snap peas and gardenia. Later steeps became sweeter and both more floral while being softened by grainy, honey,amber notes.

The flavours I detected at various times through out the session were, lemon notes, snap peas, gardenia, white orchid, honey, vanilla, oatmeal, honeysuckle, aged pine wood, amber, sandalwood, clover, and bittersweet greens.

The tea had a buttery consistency with a little bite of astringency in the earlier steeps and left a tingling on the lips and the roof of the mouth.

Altogether, this tea left me feeling refreshed and alert. Thanks again Little Red Tea Company for providing me with this very generous sample!

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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I’m currently sipping steep number six of this tea and thinking about how different it is from my other Golden Monkey. While my other one is cocoa, jelly and violets. This one is more like a full meal with savoury notes of roasted sweet potato, butter, pepper, malt, and chestnut (in early steeps) blending with cocoa, honey, plum, cinnamon and longan ( which to me is kind of like a sharper tasting citrus lychee cross). When allowed to steep for longer steeps a slightly floral honeysuckle note comes out as well. In early steeps the sweet potato and cocoa notes are stronger and the tea is sweeter, but as you continue to steep the longan notes become stronger. This tea has tightly rolled leaves with about 30% golden tips which smell of sweet potato, and sweet cocoa, bubbles appear on top of the liquor when you brew it and the liquor is a orangish brown with tints of green. As the wet leaves unroll the long furry hairs are quite apparent on the leaves. I’ve steeped this tea using both longer steeps and shorter steeps and am enjoying the blend of flavours the shorter steeps bring out. Altogether a nice comforting tea for winter with great warming notes and a variety of flavours. Thanks again to Capital tea Ltd. for providing me with such a generous sample!

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