419 Tasting Notes


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
419 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
419 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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drank Kathryne Kenyan Earl Grey by Justea
419 tasting notes

This tea has the type of bergamot I like in it, bright and complex, fruity citrus with notes from lemon to tangerine with spicy notes that remind me of lavender and ginger. The flavouring is bold and strong which blends well with a strong heavy bodied tea.

Using 1.5 tsp this tea brewed up to a nice red after around 3 minutes. The first flavour note was of sweet potato, followed quickly by citrus spice with lavender and light ginger notes, underlain by deep malt and cocoa. This is quite nice, bright and light tasting on top, with depth underneath and a lovely citrus spice aftertaste.

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drank Kenyan Black by Justea
419 tasting notes

I have had this tea twice so far, once using 1 tsp/225ml and the second time using 1.5 tsp. I enjoyed the tea both times but I think I prefer the later.

Using 1 tsp the tea liquor was a rich copper red and
smelled sweet and spicy, with hint of berries, citrus, roasted sweet potato, cinnamon, malt.

It produced a comforting rich cup with a nice body with malt, cocoa, grain ( almost barley) and a hint of potato notes at first opening up to sweeter berries with citrus fruit, and cinnamon and a hint of chocolate with a light floral notes. The aftertaste was tangy with citrus malt and chocolate cinnamon note. The tea was smooth with little to no astringency.

With 1.5 tsp of tea the liquor smelled of roasted sweet potato, malt berry, spice and a deeper cocoa note

The malt, cocoa, grain with a little sweet potato, notes opened to citrus, with at times faintly peppery berry notes, and a hint of cinnamon that had deeper cocoa notes underneath. There were tangy citrus and deep cocoa bitter notes in the aftertaste.

It re-steeps well with the tea tasting brighter and fruitier with spice elements more prominent, and a new rosemary like element coming out.

This method had a little bit more astringency than the 1 tsp method but had a much richer flavour.

Thanks once again to JusTea for this sample. Definitely one of the nicest Kenyan teas I have tried to this date. Check them out at

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drank Bailin Kungfu by Trust to Trade Ltd.
419 tasting notes

This is a nice contrast to the roasted sweet potato flavoured Panyong, I’ve been drinking all day. As this one is all spice and chocolate and cherries, when I get it right.

This tea is a little rugged in appearance and texture unlike some of the beautiful tippy version I have seen of this type. I don’t know if this is the style of preparation or has to do with the youth of the plants, this tea is from 1-2 years old( whether this is age, or years in production I’m not sure). However when you get it right the flavour of this tea is wonderful. Unlike most of my blacks I find that this tea is best made with boiling or near boiling water and allowed to steep for 4-5 minutes. Sometimes this tea has some grainy notes but today it released this wonderful flavour which reminds me of kirsch and dark chocolate sprinkled with cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg, with a bit of caramel underneath. The tea has a thick, rugged body and a touch of astringency but it’s worth it for that flavour. This tea doesn’t re-steep forever like some of the teas I’ve had lately, but I should get one or two more cups out of it.

I bought this from aliexpress as an affordable introduction to this type of tea. The store owner seems to have expanded into taps but he has tried to source all of his teas directly from the producers. His shop can be found here:


neat! sounds interesting!


It is, its quite different from a lot of the teas I’ve been drinking lately but when I get it right it is really nice.

It’s been fun exploring teas on aliexpress. It’s been a neat way to discover/ explore new to me regions of china. Many of the dealers are really knowledgeable and very passionate ( even the ones who’s main business is cloths, hardware or electronics), sometimes their family has produced tea for generations, and in some cases it’s a learning experience on both sides, but most of my experiences have been good ( though I sometimes wish they sold tea in smaller quantities), the times that I have had trouble are the time I should have known better ( ie. they never responded to questions etc), but most of the time if there is a problem one side cancels the order and you get your money back (most of the time this happens it is stocking issue and usually it has been with a dealer who’s main business is with larger wholesale sales)


yeah tastybrew has bought a few through them for us…i’ll have to spend more time checking it out in november..no orders until then!


I know, I keep on telling myself that too… but then I feel obligated to support one store or other( and really $15.00 for 250gms of the autumn harvest of a pretty amazing tea is not a lot compared to NA prices) or I see an amazing deal on ebay ( 0.99 auction on a 50g of tea I’d like to try and they’re including bags of other tea without asking and I’m hooked.


Yay! This tea is back in stock again.


Haha go you!

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I wanted something a little bit fruity so I decided to try this sample today. The dry leaf smells like grape juice and prunes. I think I was expecting this to be a brighter scent, but what it smells like is baking, a little bit like a cross between date squares and apple crisp.

The flavouring has scents of fruit, more of baked apple or peach to me than lychee, and cinnamon. The base has a mix of pastry and leather\licorice notes.

The first sip has a floral, lily like note opening upto a peppery lychee note, the base adds a deeper malty note, a slight biscuit note and a hint of fruit. The tea has an aftertaste of floral accented lychee. Without sugar the taste seems disconnected from the scent. Sugar brings out more of the baked good notes and actually minimizes the lychee note and makes it taste slightly more floral. Altogether pleasant for an occasional sip.

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I was craving a darker oolong yesterday so I decided to sample the second of four Da Hong Pao’s from the sample pack I purchased from the Fu Tea Store. As a testament to it’s quality I drank it all last evening and have been drinking it throughout today, so far I have taken it through out 16 steepings (8, 10, 12, 18, 21, 26, 35, 55, 75, 90, 105, 120, 135, 180, and 240s). Chen Cha refers to an aged tea and the advantage of this is it allows the charcoal like tones of some heavier roast oolongs to dissipates and allows some flavours to deepen and develop within a well stored tea.

At 8s this tea smelled of dark bread crust, raisin and currants , tobacco, and biscuit. It tasted of sweet fruit like the aftertaste of banana and dried apricot, combined with biscuit and oatmeal and cream
notes. Raisin and cream flavours lingered in the aftertaste.

Over time this tea released flavour notes of raisin scones, faint dark crust, sweet banana aftertaste, vanilla and unsweetened cream, mineral notes, sugar cane, floral vanilla orchid, licorice root, and aged resinous wood. It released a lot of flavour even with these short steeps.

Overall I’ve been impressed with this Da Hong Pao’s from the Fu Tea store.
I look forward to trying the Jin Xuan and Shui Xian flavours I have remaining.

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This is a really elegant well balanced assam. It is not in your face with strong bitter malt notes, but rather a well made tea that presents a smooth mix of the fruit, cocoa, malt, spice, biscuit and floral notes that assams often have.

The dry leaf has a cocoa, molasses, floral scent, with rich brown leaves scattered with gold. After 3 minutes at around 94* C. The tea is a deep copper red colour with a scent of spice, red fruit, malt, cocoa, baked goods, and spicy floral.

The tea tastes smooth and elegant with a medium body, with a sweet flavour with notes of light biscuit, blackberry and cherry, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, light floral note, and malt.

It re-steeps really well with cocoa and malt notes strengthening over the sweet fruit spice and biscuit notes.

A really good example of a well made assam.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Yum! This sounds awesome!


It is really good and even better it is an assam that I can handle on an empty stomach.


Oooh, I like the sound of this one.


It’s really nice;) Capital teas ltd offers 20g sample sizes for most of their teas ( more expensive and/ or teas that take more volume have 10g samples available). It’s a nice way to compare different teas from the same region.

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
419 tasting notes

I really need to try more unsmoked or lightly smoked zheng shan Xiao zhongs because I love the one I’m sipping on right now. The dealer I bought this one from is in the process of re-setting up his e-store or I’d direct you there because I’ve loved all the wuyi blacks I’ve had from him so far.

This particular one smells like dark chocolate with some grain notes when dry and has thin shiny dark leaves with a few red brown leaves. It is best brewed between 80-90*c. I prefer brewing it at around 80 because then it is buttery like an oolong and the chocolate and caramel notes it has dominate.
It has notes of cocoa, caramel, and honey note’s over sweet potato, cinnamon and some grain notes it has some fruity citrus lychee notes and dark crust toast notes as well as a hint of vanilla.

When brewed at a higher temperature the lychee/citrus and sweet potato notes become stronger.

This tea holds up to 5+ brews when brewing 1tsp/200ml.

Really nice tea, so I hope I can get it again. If not I’m going to have to experiment with more sweet and un-smoked teas of this type.

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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