426 Tasting Notes

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
426 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
426 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.
426 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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drank Gold Monkey by King's Zen Tea
426 tasting notes

I’ve had two Golden Monkeys over the last two days one was definitely a Fujian and then this one which I believe is from Yunnan though it’s origin wasn’t marked either at the store or online. I enjoyed both. They both had cocoa and fruity notes but with different characteristics. This one had deep cocoa notes and a sweet fruit note that reminded me of grape jelly and a floral note of violet. Really interesting and quite nice. Later steeps had notes of malt and light leather notes.

On the website this is only sold in their Classic series. I think they might be low on stock of this harvest as the leaves in my loose package were slightly broken but no matter the tea was quite nice.

About 75% of the tea was pale gold tips and buds. The tea had a deep rich scent of cocoa. I chose to do short steeps with this tea and finished at 9 steeps.

20s brew a lightly perfumed red brown broth with cocoa, plum, raisin and an almost violet like floral note that tastes of cocoa, with sweet fruit almost like grape jelly, honey, floral violet, with malt, smells and tastes more like some Yunnan’s I’ve had than a Fujian tea. Brisk, a little astringent.

25s deeper cocoa, honey jam in background violet strong in scent but less present in taste, more malty.

35s grape jelly, violet and cocoa, malt
45s cocoa, violet, jelly and a hint of leather.
55s cocoa, floral note, leather , hint of jelly. less sweet.
85s cocoa, floral, leather note
110 cocoa toned tea, with some sweetness.
3min cocoa
5min cocoa and vitamin c notes.

If you’re curious about this tea you can find King’s Zen Tea here


very cool!!!


Jelly! Cocoa! Magic words.


This tea sounds so interesting and you analysis of the tea, makes me so curious that I have you check it out!


sounds like quite the journey!

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

The celestial aroma oolong also known as Golden Osmanthus, or yellow gold oolong is made from the Huang Dan Cultivar of tea grown in Anxi, Fujian. Harvested earlier than Tie guan yin , It is known to naturally emit an osmanthus like aroma. This is not a scented tea. This particular example tended to reference the peach like end of the osmanthus spectrum rather than the apricot. This tea is kind of interesting as an oolong it has the bite of a green TGY, It is definitely floral, but it’s fruit notes are kind of unique to the ones I have tried, It doesn’t have the sweet tropical fruit notes I’ve had in some milk oolongs and doesn’t have the spicy cinnamon like notes I get in mid roast TGY. It’s kind of a peach orange mix that softens later into apricot.

The dry leaves were a tightly rolled pale olive green to spruce green with a distinctive aroma of orange and peach and 1st cut hay ( more clover less alfalfa).

After a brief rinse I got twelve steeps out of this tea ( I could of made more but the flavour was losing complexity). The steeping times were 30,20,25,30,35,40,50,70,80,90,120 and 180s, brewed at around 80-85*C.

This tea gets some of it’s names from the loveley yellow gold of it’s liquor which stayed pretty consistant through each steeping.

This tea released flavours of orange, peach and later on apricot, over floral notes including at various points gardenia, honeysuckly and vanilla orchid ( one steep smelled a little like creamsicles) , occassional notes, of artichoke, spinach/green beans, and notes of pachouli and sweetgrass like spice).

The tea produced a cooling feeling on the lips and at the front of the mouth and a warming sensation at the back of the mouth and some of the middle steepings were buttery.

The spent leaves were fairly large, green, and some leaves had faint red edges.

Overall a nice selection when I want a green oolong that is not the sweet creamy fruit of a milk oolong, or as strongly floral as some Dong Dings and TGY.

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