972 Tasting Notes


Ahhh… So nice to relax with a cup of tea after a long day of being in the kitchen. I generally crave green teas more in the evening, and I remember seeing Oolong Owl’s review of this and thinking it sounds amazing. The leaves are light and fluffy and they vary quite a bit in size; their color is a muted grey/green. Dry scent is hay and an almost vinegary tartness.

Hmm… This is fairly tasty, but I was hoping for those lovely nectarine notes that Owl described. The beginning of the sip is mostly straw/hay and a touch of grass. The apricot (and dryness) starts to come out near the end, and the aftertaste does taste like fresh apricots. Overall, it’s tasty enough, but I was expecting more fruitiness.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Grass, Hay, Straw, Sweet, Tart

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Interesting. I have the Pekoe ( not the OP) from this estate. When I brew it right and don’t overleaf it it has these lovely peach tones. I might have to try the green when I see it again. I usually see it bagged here but it might still be worth a try. You could try a shorter steep time. I usually brewall my greens no matter what style I brew them for around 45s.

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Whew, spent a lot of time in kitchen today (and there’s more to come), so it’s nice to sit down and relax with a hot mug of tea. I chose this one to try because it was the first black tea I saw in my What-Cha sample pile. And I’m happy that it was, because now that I think about it, a smooth Chinese black sounds particularly good. The leaves are fairly large and quite twisty, and a dark, warm chocolate brown in color. Dry scent is amazingly sweet with hay and molasses tones.

The steeped tea also smells quite sweet with molasses, honey, and raisin aromas. Mm, wow. This tea has such rich and deep flavor with a dark and comforting sweetness. There’s a bit of malt, but the main flavors I can taste are sweet and rich molasses, a touch of tobacco, and some syrupy, sweet dried fruits such as fig and date. Also some raisin perhaps. Dark and delicious! I would recommend this one to any fruity black tea lover.

Flavors: Dates, Fig, Hay, Honey, Malt, Molasses, Raisins, Smooth, Sweet, Tobacco

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Next! This is one of the few teas from my Upton order that isn’t Assam or Ceylon. I’m generally a big fan of Taiwanese black teas, though I think this will be my first Keemun from there. The leaves are somewhat broken and pitch black in color, and they have a fragile, feathery look about them. Dry scent is slightly earthy with sweet hay notes.

This is a simple but fairly tasty tea. The flavor is somewhat strong with malt, earth, and wood flavors. It doesn’t have the harshness that earthy teas sometimes have. It’s smooth and has no hint of bitterness or astringency (gotta love that about Chinese/Taiwanese blacks). I can’t say that this would be a repurchase for me, but I’ll definitely have no trouble finishing my sample packet. This is an excellent tea for mindlessly sipping while distracted by other things. :)

Flavors: Earth, Malt, Smooth, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Time to try one from my Upton order! I admit, I chose a pouch at random… All of the pouches are identical with a small white label that tells you the tea name. However, this makes no difference to me as I just ordered mostly a bunch of different Assams and Ceylons, and I don’t remember the differences between them. So, random it is! This is a Ceylon from Tea Bank Estate. I was expecting a much smaller leaf size since this is a Broken Orange Pekoe, but the leaves are actually on par with other Ceylon teas I’ve tried. Dry scent is rich and strong on the molasses.

Mm, the steeped tea smells sweet, malty, and rich with raisin and molasses notes. Yum! The flavor is also deep and rich with a very strong molasses presence. The mouthfeel is thick and smooth, and I’m not noticing much astringency here. I can also taste syrupy dried fruits such as fig, date, and raisin. Yum, overall this is rich and intense with lovely sweet notes. There’s a little bit of astringency, but no bitterness.

Flavors: Dates, Fig, Malt, Molasses, Raisins, Smooth, Sweet, Thick

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Good morning Steepster! Gah, I don’t even know what to do with myself with all of these new teas to try. I have so many black teas to choose from in particular. Oh well, gotta start somewhere! I thought this would be a good first tea of the day because it mentions briskness on the package. The leaves vary a lot in size, and there are pieces of stem as well. In the package, the tea smells somewhat spicy and malty. If I dump some tea into my hand to smell, it smells more mellow and sweet. Odd!

This is one of those teas that just doesn’t have much aroma. And that’s no fault of it’s own, it’s just the way it is. Whoa, this is an interesting one. At first taste, it seems very musty and hay-like. But it becomes creamier and maltier as the sip progresses. The flavor is actually really light and not brisk at all. There’s also a somewhat vegetal flavor, I think? It’s odd, the flavor disappears before I have much time to think about it, leaving just a light malty aftertaste.

Flavors: Creamy, Hay, Malt, Musty, Smooth, Vegetal

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Good evening! Trying another one from my What-Cha order tonight. I’m glad that I ordered such a variety of tea types, since that means I can keep trying new teas even when it’s too late to drink high-caffeine varieties. I’ve really enjoyed the lightly and moderately roasted rolled oolongs I’ve tried so far, and this one is reasonably priced so I added it to my order. The pellets are somewhere between green and brown in color, with a warmish hue. The dry scent reminds me of autumn leaves and nuts with a sweet edge. I followed the package instructions and steeped this at 185 degrees even though I usually go up to 200 for roasted oolongs.

Yum, this is a tasty one! Definitely one of the best roasted oolongs I’ve had thus far. The roasted nut notes are strong, and I would describe it as pecan. There’s also a nice caramel flavor mixed with sweet and slightly floral honey. Just a little bit of autumn leaf flavor that can sometimes dominate this type of tea. I can also taste a bit of that “ripe fruits” from the description, and I would describe it as plum or fresh grapes. Overall, it’s very tasty! Love those honey notes.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Caramel, Grapes, Honey, Pecan, Plums, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Sweet

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

So tempted to order from What-Cha after seeing all these reviews recently…

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Woo, I got my What-Cha order! I forgot how many samples I ordered, and taking them out of the box made me feel a bit like Mary Poppins because they just kept coming. There was a little village of pouches on my coffee table by the time I was done unpacking. Thanks to Alistair for including two bonus samples and a lovely handwritten note! I admit, I ordered two Vietnamese teas mostly because the names were so epic! Seriously though, Wild Boar and Red Buffalo? Too awesome. The leaves of this tea are large and twisty, and there are a few golden tips included. Dry scent is malty and sweet but also savory in a way that I can’t describe.

The steeped cup smells rich and malty. Hmm, this is a simple but yummy tea. Definitely quite malty, and the texture is very thick and rich. I can definitely see a comparison to unsweetened dark baking chocolate or very dark cocoa powder. I have a hard time tasting chocolate when there’s no sweetness, but since I already read the description and know it’s supposed to be there, I can taste it. There’s perhaps a tiny bit of dried fruit flavor? Overall, it’s a strong tea with Assam-like intensity but without bitterness. Perhaps the tiniest touch of astringency?

Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Dried Fruit, Earth, Malt, Smooth, Thick

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

That tea sounds really good…. and I agree on the name thing. So epic!

Cameron B.

The name is definitely appropriate one this one! Nice and strong, a wake-up tea. :P


I love that Alistair sells 10g samples. Every time I order I have to restrain myself from getting a sample of everything, because individually they’re so reasonable, but there’s so many teas, and it adds up fast.

Cameron B.

Anlina, hah! Yeah I just got enough samples to bring me up to the $40 free shipping mark. ;)

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Time for more Yunnan Sourcing! This same is from my swap with Tealizzy, she sent me three different giant fuzzbud teas. You just have to admire the beauty of these pure bud teas from YS – the leaves are so outrageously puffy and fuzzy and golden. These ones are just a little bit twisty in a way that looks natural, as if they were allowed to twist however they wanted to. Dry scent is sweet honey and a touch of malt.

The steeped cup smells sweet potato-y and somewhat savory. Yum, this is a delicious light and smooth cup! It has that lovely sweet potato flavor that Yunnan teas are known for, but it’s so light that it almost reminds me of pastry. There’s also a light sweetness that reminds me of honey and golden raisin. This tea actually has a strong floral presence, especially for a black tea. It’s a light and sweet floral, perhaps lilac? Overall, it’s thick and silky smooth with a light but somewhat decadent flavor. Yum!

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Pastries, Raisins, Smooth, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Thick

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Glad you like it! :)


They have a sale on yunnan black and Fujian Black code black13

Cameron B.

So delish! Thanks for the samples, dear. :D

Cameron B.

boychik, I saw that! Unfortunately I still have a ton of samples to try, so I’ll wait for the next sale. :P

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Good morning, Steepster! My first tea for today came from miss cookies, who has been sweet enough to let me try a bunch of teas from The Tao of Tea, a company that I was curious about. I’m excited for this one, partially because I find the name adorable and partially because I’ve tasted some Ceylons that I really enjoyed lately. This one has teeny thin and dark leaves (no silver stripes, hmm…). I’m getting a strong citrus aroma from the leaves, as well as hay and honey.

The steeped tea smells rich and sweet with a raisin-y aroma. This tea has a rather simple flavor, but still a tasty one! It’s strong on the malt and has an Assam-like intensity that borders on bitterness. However, the molasses and raisin notes really improve this for me, as those are a couple of my favorite flavors to find in black teas. There’s a teeny bit of drying sensation at the end. Pretty tasty!

Flavors: Astringent, Malt, Molasses, Raisins, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This is my second free press sample for this month from Yunomi. I have very little experience with gyokuro, and I thought this one sounded interesting. The “konacha” part of it means that it’s made from the broken leaf pieces that are left over after processing gyokuro. Therefore it steeps very quickly, and is much more economical than regular gyokuro. So cool, I love how the Japanese in particular are so into using every part of the tea plant. The leaf, as you might expect, is very tiny and broken, and it has both green and yellow colors. Dry scent is sweet grass and spinach. I was unsure how to steep this, so I just went with 160 degrees (happens to be my kettle’s lowest setting) for 30 seconds, when I would normally do 45.

The steeped tea is a lovely, slightly murky green/yellow color. It smells thick with spinach and sweet aromas. Whoa, I was not prepared for the flavor explosion! This tea has such an intense and rich umami flavor, it’s so good! It tastes like a puree of rich steamed greens with squash, mushrooms, and a bit of a rich nutty flavor. So rich and intense, but without even a hint of bitterness! There’s just a little touch of sweetness rounding this out, a very mild and natural sweetness like I find in roasted squash. So delicious!

I am a Yunomi affiliate! Please consider using my referral link if you decide to make a purchase: https://yunomi.us/?ref=12

Flavors: Butter, Butternut Squash, Creamy, Mushrooms, Nuts, Pumpkin, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Thick, Umami

160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Hello, my name is Cameron. I’m 25 years old and currently living in New York state with my lovely boyfriend (a software architect). I am currently not employed, which leaves plenty of time for cooking and tea-drinking! I am a staunch lover of pugs and other squishy-face dogs, although sadly I do not currently have one. :(

I originally got into tea a couple of years ago. My sister introduced me to Teavana (there was a store in the nearby mall) and I was hooked. I have just started to drink tea again and I am very grateful to have found this community where there are so many with experience and wisdom to share!

I am a shameless Western steeper!

I love swaps! If you see something in my cupboard that you’d like to try, shoot me a private message and we’ll work something out!

My general tea info:

Taiwanese Blacks
Yunnans (esp. Pure Bud)
Lightly Roasted Oolongs
Japanese Greens
Most “Dessert” Flavors (caramel, toffee, butterscotch, cake, cookie, etc.)

Favorite Companies:
Capital Tea Limited
Yunnan Sourcing

Not A Fan
High Mountain Oolong
Overly Floral (esp. Rose)
Strong Licorice Root
Rose Hip
Strong Bergamot

Rating Scale:

90-100: Spectacular, a staple
80-89: Delicious, might buy again
70-79: Pretty good, won’t repurchase
60-69: Just “okay”
00-59: Undrinkable!


Saratoga Springs, New York

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