218 Tasting Notes


Now this is one divisive tea – based on prior reviews. I always thought that puehrs stuffed in citruses are just a marketing gimmick. Finally, I ordered this puehr-in-a-tangerine to try it and check off the box.

Well, I was wrong. This rather simple earthy, autumnal-decay type of puehr blends with the citrus peel in a very natural way – like bergamot, ginger or chrysanthemum do. I always add part of the peel to the brew. The result is a simple, calming, autumnal drink. Dirt, mushrooms, a smell of the lake in the woods full of peat and fallen leaves.

There is not much of complexity, and definitely not the best choice for precise gong-fu sessions – but it is perfect for leisurely drinking the grandpa style.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cinnamon, Citrus Zest, Clay, Dirt, Malt, Mushrooms


I don’t think I’ve reviewed any of them on Steepster yet, but I’ve been a big fan of the Golden Horse pu-erh offerings for several years. They take some time to get used to, but are great brewed Western or grandpa style. I like to keep several of them around for when I’m sick. Oh, and they can make a pretty solid gongfu session too, but it takes some experimentation.


Huh, I did not realize that there were other Golden Horse pu-erhs. I will try the other ones then. What is appealing to me that the one that I tried tastes pretty unique and original to me, with a distinct and strong emotional profile. To me this is not a tea for every day, but when a certain mood strikes it is a great option. And it’s not like with greens when you have a nagging urge to finish them before they deteriorate.


Yeah, there are several blends. The only ones I’m familiar with are the 8685, 8681, and 8682. You can find the 8685 blend at a number of places. It seems to be the most popular and readily available. The 8682 is referred to as “Rosin Fragrance.” I recall seeing it at Chawangshop. The 8681 I usually buy from Puerh Shop. I’m pretty sure there are others too. I recall seeing a Golden Horse sampler online several years ago, but I don’t recall which vendor offered it. I’ve also seen lemons, pomelos, king oranges, limes, and grapefruits stuffed with ripe pu-erh.


Okay, scratch that bit about not knowing which vendor sold the sampler. I just found it. The Golden Horse sampler was offered by Dragon Tea House, and they still offer it. It includes one each of the 8681, 8682, 8683, 8685, 8691, and 8890 blends.


Oh, thank you. I will definitely try a sampler. Dragon Tea House has been on my radar for quite a while and Golden Horse may finally nudge me to place an order and explore what it has to offer.


No problem. Once I’m in a spot where I can buy more tea, I will probably buy one of their samplers myself.

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drank Bread Pudding by 52teas
218 tasting notes

Oolong is a smooth, understated tea and this blend was designed to be smooth and restrained as well. It requires concentration and full attention to appreciate. The bread component is the most prominent on the nose, while on the tongue it mostly spices (nutmeg and allspice) on the backdrop of mild oolong and baked bread.

The taste profile is not especially complex and the spices take a bit more prominence that I would have liked. Also, there is no interesting lingering aftertaste. Overall, it is a solid blend but it’s not something I will look forward to drinking again.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Nutmeg, Smooth, Spicy

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drank Mermaid by 52teas
218 tasting notes

This is a tea that matches its name well. It does smell of seaweed and water and some undetermined spicy aromas of faraway tropical lands. The taste is savory and umami: seaweed, cooked spinach, succulent grass and some exotic spicy notes.

All strands blend well and create a unique and memorable taste that I had no desire to dissect. Very mermaidy indeed. Usually green tea-based desert blends leave me underwhelmed but not this one really impressed me.

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It is a very clean, bright and cheerful puerh. Wood, molasses, camphor, limestone, a hint of dried apple. Some decay on the nose but none on the tongue.

It is a sunny-morning tea, full of optimism and promise. Kinda amazing how many dramatically different puehrs are there in the world. This is one of the better ones, but then again everything that I have tried from Whispering Pines was firmly above-average.

Flavors: Camphor, Dried Fruit, Limestone, Molasses, Wood

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This is the most unusual tea. The dry leaf aroma is overwhelmingly strong – and it smells nothing like tea at all. It smells as I would imagine smelled that little bastion near La Rochelle in where the daring musketeers feasted and leisurely shot at advancing troops. Gunpowder, decaying branches, grass, saddle leather, savory dishes and a whiff of sweet deserts.

The actual taste of the tea is less exotic but nevertheless deeply pleasing. Fresh ripe plums dominate, but there is enough of a good red tea and the calendula weirdness. It is strong, charming and lasting.

I am glad that I tried this one.

Martin Bednář

Really interesting aroma notes.

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I have never been a big fan of genmaicha: to me it tastes to ricey, strong and untamed. Not exactly what I expect from tea. This mix, however, skillfully balanced the unique genmaicha flavor and made it way more palatable for people like me.

The dominant flavor of this tea is still a toasted rice with all of its grainy pungency. However, there is a notable smoother strain of cinnamon at the tail which makes it less one-dimensional. The same is true of the taste: the green tea provides the tanginess, while cinnamon and vanilla add some much-needed sweetness. Overall, it is still a potent and strong drink but way more complex and balanced, suitable for a wider variety of moods. Well done.

Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Grain, Pleasantly Sour, Rice, Vanilla

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I had this tea in my cupboard for a couple of month and it has changed quite a bit – despite being in a well-sealed Ziploc bag. It lost the fierce smokiness in both taste and aroma that precluded me from drinking it more often as it called for a very specific mood to enjoy it.

Now it comes off as very full-bodied, expansive and incredibly sweet. A lot of complexity and a good strong finish. This tea reminds me of fall, bountiful harvests, Thanksgiving, big dinners and camaraderie. I like it even more than before and will certainly reorder (bumps the original score up a notch).

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drank Fig Cheesecake by 52teas
218 tasting notes

A pleasant smooth black tea with lingering sweet fig finish. Not much of complexity and I did not taste a prominent cheesecake component. This is the tea that comforts but does not distract you from what you are doing : a good choice for a late-night cup while browsing the Internet or reading.

Personally, I prefer more complex and luxurious desert teas, though.

Flavors: Fig, Malt, Sweet

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It is an interesting concept and seeing little chunks of carrots in a tea pouch is quite charming. The tea smelled and tasted rather muted and it was reminiscent not so much of a carrot cake but of a lemon cake. It has a nice balance of sweetness and lemony sourness with just a tiny hint of carrot. A clean, fresh taste that lasts.

This tea did not do much for me but I generally prefer a more robust base for desert teas than the white tea. Still, it was a nice change of pace.

Flavors: Cake, Carrot, Lemon Zest, Sweet


Sounds interesting! Rabbit chasing here (pun intended), but this weekend, we had carrot cake at a local barbecue watering hole that had pineapple and coconut in it as well—that was a new combination for me, but oh, my ears and whiskers, it was tasty! Around here (Midwest), carrot cake might have raisins along with the walnuts, but that’s all.

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It’a probably the best out of 52 Teas that I have tried so far. All of the flavors blend seamlessly together. The rose sweetness predominates but without being over the top. Sweet, malty, a bit sour and spicy. The flavors are evolving as you drink.

The taste is very thick and long lasting: this tea is almost like a meal. Very filling. This is what I ea desert tea should be.

Flavors: Malt, Pleasantly Sour, Rose, Spicy, Sweet, Vanilla


Darn, I wish I liked rose. It sounds good.


I’m surprised that I do like rose. Floral teas aren’t generally my favorites, but when it’s well done, rose adds a little sweetness without tasting like the perfume my grandma used to stick in the bottom of her undies drawer and never use. (Same dresser where she hid the candy box :)

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I like to drink teas to recreate a specific mood, or just to take a break at work. The world of tea is so endless, patiently waiting for exploration and rewarding you in many ways big and small.

I am looking forward to years of playing with tea leaves, gaiwans, cups, and YouTube videos.

My ratings:

90 or more – a very good/excellent tea, I can see myself ordering it again.

80-89 – it is a good tea, I enjoyed it but not enough to reorder.

70-79 – an OK, drinkable tea but there are certainly much better options even in the same class/type.

60-69 – this tea has such major flaws that you have to force yourself to finish what you ordered.

<60 – truly horrible teas that must be avoided at all costs.



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