432 Tasting Notes

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
432 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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drank Masala Chai by CJay Tea
432 tasting notes

I normally don’t buy Chai as I prefer to make my own. However, when I smelled this tea it’s scent brought me back to memories of waiting out Curfew at a chai stand in front of the train station in Jaipur.

Jaipur is semi-arid and can get quite cold at night, especially when it is just coming out of it’s winter season. So, there was a large group of us huddled together around a fire drinking Chai and eating those flaky, unsweetened pastry like biscuits all the Chai Wallahs seem to sell. I remember being asked for my passport by a police officer who seemed to think I was Kashmiri (this was during another period of tension between India and Pakistan over Kashmir) and even after kept trying to trip me up by speaking to me in Urdu. My ancestors are mostly of Irish, Scotch and British descent, but for some reason people have trouble placing me. I have been told at times that I look like a vey tall and pale person from Portugal, Italy or Ireland at times but also have been asked whether I was Afghani, Turkish, or Kashmiri as well, In a way this makes sense and I could truthfully answer yes, because the Celts originated somewhere north of Turkey before migrating west.

Anyways, back to the tea. It smelled pretty authentic in the box, I was nostalgic so I bought it.

The dry tea is a mix of grades of tea ranging from CTC to OP and smelled heavily of cardamom with the other spice enriching it in the background.

Once brewed, the tea smelled of cardamom with a hint of cloves with cinnamon and ginger in the background/ The base tea smelled deep and biscuity and fruity.

The tea is smooth with little astringency. Cardamom is the strongest flavour. While, cloves provides a cooling top note. Ginger and cinnamon follow these flavours. The base is still present and is fruity, and malty with biscuit notes underneath. It is quite a naturally sweet tea with the base and spices blending nicely. It is not peppery and hot like some Chai’s can be. Although Ginger Chai, is still my favourite, I can definitely appreciate this one. The Cardamom is lovely in it and the other spices nicely support it.



Wow nice!

Never heard of the company but this sounds lovely.


They’re actually in the GTA, but you can pick up some of their teas at Whole Foods. They’re often better stocked at the one in Mississauga, but they do carry them at Yorkville as well. Whole foods mostly carries the basics, Earl grey, Darjeeling, English Breakfast etc. but, the company carries many flavoured teas and some Japanese and Chinese teas. They’re in Markham and you can pick up an order there in order to avoid shipping. There shipping was around $10.00. However, their teas are really affordable. Their sample size is 25g.



Chai that is heavy on the cardamom? Yes please!!!


thanks YYZ! I’m close to yorkville when at work, but i’ll actually try checking the company out i think :)

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This tea is quite lovely well made Assam that is lighter and more fruity than the Borsapori Assam I have from Capital Tea.

This one smells like dark chocolate mixed with molasses ginger cookies, with allspice. The dry leaves are twisted shorter fat dark brown leaves with lots of shiny furry rich golden tips, which produce a beautiful dark golden red copper coloured clear tea.

It smells of a fruity plum and berry mix, honey, chocolate, and spice(almost like it had a pinch of Chinese five spice powder with nutmeg) with a light spicy floral note.

It tastes smooth with a bright sweet top note of honey, fruit and a little bit of the top note of malt, then a brief floral note, followed by slightly bitter note of malt, molasses and chocolate. It has a mild astringency. The fruit has a jammy/compote note of stewed fruit mixed with spice.

It re-steeps really well (I’m on the fifth steep) with honey an bright fruit notes ( lychee and citrus) mixing with spice and malt, with a light floral. The aftertaste is of milk chocolate mixed with floral spice and a bit of citrus.

I quite enjoyed this tea it make a nice afternoon tea. It is a little lighter in body than some of my Assams. I brewed the first steep at 3.5 minutes at around 90*C. I think I might try it a lower temperature to minimize astringency. The fruity spicy notes in this tea are quite nice and memorable. Once again thanks very much to Capital tea for providing me with this very generous sample.


195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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drank Strawberry Tea by Alokozay
432 tasting notes

This has a pretty nice strawberry flavour, tart, bright and fairly natural. Tastes convincingly like fresh strawberry. The flavouring is pretty strong over a light Ceylon base. The tea was more bop size rather than the dust you usually find in bags, faintly astringent and enough body to give the tea depth, but it`s flavouring is pretty lost to the flavouring. I taste just a bit of bitterness underneath. The tea has enough depth that it could take milk. Not bad for a tea I only bought so that I could meet the minimum for debit!

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drank Winter Tea by Basilur
432 tasting notes

The dry tea bag smells like cherry bubble gum, while the brewed tea
smells like a cross between cherry and the body shop cranberry smell (I worked there during University so this smell is way to familiar).

Pleasantly fruity taste that is not too sweet, despite the smell of the dry bag ( I like this because than you can choose to sweeten it as you like). The base has a deep fruity taste ( referencing black berries) with a bit of bitterness from malt that goes nicely with the flavouring. The tea is not very tart which you might expect with a cranberry flavouring, but there is a little bit of this that becomes more apparent as you drink down the cup. The flavouring and the tea blend well with each other neither overpowering the other. Not bad for a bagged tea ( though they do sell loose leaf as well). Basilur Canada’s webstore is online. http://www.basilurtea.ca/. Their “Autumn” tea is a maple tea I might just have to try it out.

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drank Xinyang Hong by The Old Tea's
432 tasting notes

This tea reminds me a little of chocolate malt balls eaten in a tack room of well dressed leather, as these aspects are present in both the scent and the flavour. Present in the taste as well, are honey, spice, and a vitamin c type aspect that remains hidden when brewed at low temperatures but comes out if you brew at higher ones. The listing of this tea lists it as a green black tea, which is probably meant to bring attention to this tea as the most famous teas sold from this region are green teas, but is also fitting because this tea has aspects of black, white and green teas.

The dry leaf smells of chocolate malt with a hint of rye and is quite pretty with lots of furry golden tips.

I like this tea best when brewed western style at the lower end of the green tea temperature scale around 170 or less for about three minutes. What you end up with is a green tinged copper coloured tea that has a slightly powdery texture in the mouth. It has the chocolate malt ball honey taste discussed above with a faint leather spice note and a deeper cocoa bitter note underneath it. It is a fairly light bodied tea with mild caffeine levels. I can usually get away with drinking this one at night. If brewed at to high a temperature it gets the vitamin c note that white teas get when they are close to exhaustion in gonfu brewing. This tea really needs to be brewed at lower temperatures to bring out the chocolate and deeper flavour notes. I can usually get 3-4 steeps out of this tea when brewed this way. This is a nice mild and sweet black tea with interesting flavour notes.

This tea is available from a few aliexpress retailors and came packaged in a metal coated bag inside a red printed box. The only thing in English on it was the address and village authorization listed in the description above. I bought it from this retailor:


They have several brands of black and green teas from Henan, China

This is the one I bought as they have several grades.


170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

“chocolate malt balls eaten in a tack room of well dressed leather”

Tea people are so odd. We are probably the only people (other than horse people) to whom this description would appeal. :)


so true!


Couldn’t have said it better, Nicole!


Yum! This sounds like something I need to try :-)

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Cloud an mist teas tend are grown at mid to higher altitudes in areas with high humidity and less sunshine as a result of high cloud cover through out the years. This video is a nice introduction to the manufacturing of this style of tea:


I really enjoyed this tea. It seems like a nice green to take into winter as it had a nice body and a good depth and variety in its flavour with a good mix of floral and fruity sweetness, nuttiness, and sweet and bitter vegetal notes combined with a really nice sparkling brightness.

The dry leaves smell bright and sweet with a green pea scent and a hint of tartness. The leaves are tightly twisted forest to earthy green leaves with silvery straw coloured furry buds.

After 45s brewed in an open gaiwan at about 175*F I had a pale golden yellow green tinted broth, with a sweet scent with hints of fresh hulled peas, chestnut, and sweet honeysuckle floral. The tea had a clean taste. The broth was silky to buttery with a first note that was nutty to bitter green that opened up to sweet pea, with light floral and herbal notes (faint basil), with a hint of brightness that was slightly fruity hinting at orange. A light astringency created a fresh and sparkling sensation in the mouth. There was a sweet green, floral aftertaste that lingers. A lower temperature and a little less leaf might reduce the astringency and increase the focus on the teas sweetness. The Wet leaf smelled of chestnuts.

The tea has enough body and depth to the flavour that it is a nice green to take into winter. It had a nice level of caffeine that left me feeling pleasantly alert.

After a 60s brew the tea smelt of sweet floral spice with chestnut underneath. It tasted very sweet at first and was creamy and silky opening up to bright freshness, with a sweet fresh green note (like eating green pea pods) with fruit notes merging into a floral orange blossom note. Chestnut was lightly present underneath. The floral fruity green aftertaste lingers. The tea scent had floral, herbal, green notes as it cooled.

Later steeps (70, 80, 90, 110s) had a sweet floral scent and tasted of plum, orange, light bitter green, floral and chestnut notes.

This particular tea is from Hunan, China and was provided as a very generous and much appreciated sample by Capital Tea Ltd http://www.capitaltea.com/shop/product.php?productid=225&cat=5&page=1 . I look forward to future experimentation with this tea and am definitely interested in purchasing some more once I work through at least one of the greens I currently have in my cupboard.

170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Doug F

Thanks for very informative review.


I may need to give this one a shot – see if it’s a green i can get behind :)

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drank Taurus by Nina's Paris
432 tasting notes

I’ve bee sitting on this sample for a little while because I wanted to be able to do it justice and finally my sense of taste is returning to normal after a summer of weird allergies and minor illnesses. ..

Nina’s Gemini remains one of the best Rooibos Teas I have tasted. One, strawberry often complements and blends well with some of the characteristic flavours of rooibos and two, it’s combination of sweet and tart, with vanilla cream is executed wonderfully. So I was excited to try another strawberry rooibos from Nina’s, thanks again for the sample!

This nice reddish orange tea smells of bright strawberry ( a bit like cooked strawberry mixed with fresh ripe berries ), cream, and a touch of heaviness from the rooibos. However it does not smell woody or medicinal like rooibos sometimes can. It tastes of cream with strawberries mixed with compote and a hint of fresh banana which I think is a result of the rooibos. It’s Very good. The second steep tastes of vanilla scented cream with strawberries with a slight rooibos tang. The aftertaste is of fresh strawberries. I still prefer Gemini over this one, but this is very good.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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