949 Tasting Notes

86

This is a fine oolong and I wanted to have a proper reflective sitting with it, but life often doesn’t go as planned, eh? I tried drinking it at the office (nasty water and not worth bringing nice teas there), at home, and now here. I’ve stretched this last serving over the course of three days, hoping I’d have time to savour it (nope).

First steep: grassy, orange blossoms, citrus, silky, almost creamy. Honey-fruit notes to finish that become more apparent as tea cools. (I got to here).

I guess I’ll just have to order more. Life’s tough.

Steep Count: 4-5, usually

Flavors: Berry, Citrus, Cream, Grass, Honey, Honeysuckle, Nuts, Orange Blossom, Stonefruits, Sugarcane

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Daylon R Thomas

That one is a personal favorite. I’ve had higher end and graded Li Shan’s before, but the silky orange blossom and honey notes make it a winner for me. And I hate having bad water for tea, which is why I bring my own for work.

Kawaii433

Daylon, that must be what it is… The orange blossom. I just finished a sipdown on this and was said for it to go even though I have other Li Shan’s left. I think on my next what-cha order, I’m adding it again.

hawkband1

Oooh, this sounds good! I need to order this.

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82

This sample was generously provided by Whispering Pines

Everything about this tea tastes like delicious stout. The cereal. The chocolate. The sweet, almost syrupy, rich malt. Stout… I swear it has some carbonated fizz too. Beer vibes all around.

I don’t drink alcohol that often because even small amounts make me feel like crap, but I miss my old staple stout Dark Matter (Hoyne’s Brewery, Victoria, BC). It’s such a local favourite that I’ve see a few food businesses incorporate it into their products- the most noteworthy (to me) being Cold Comfort’s ice cream. I miss Victoria sometimes. (thank you for taking me to that happy place, tea).

Steep Count: 2

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Cocoa, Cream, Malt, Roasted Barley, Spices, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
derk

I would love to visit Victoria! The closest I’ve been are San Juan and Orcas Islands. Stouts are one of my favorite beers but they don’t go too well with central California weather. Maybe I’ll pass on GABA Black Pearl?

CrowKettle

Yeah, It’s a fun tea but I would try to grab a sample first. And while central California weather may not be great for frequent stout drinking, I think it’s perfect for yearly consumption of “summer” Hefeweizens. I could die happy with that. Or a tea that tastes of wheat, banana, and clove. :P

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85

I initially thought two things when I first tried this tea: 1) Holy Bergamot, and 2) Sil would not like this at all.

The Bergamot is strong but not enough to curdle milk. I wouldn’t normally add milk to a Dian Hong but this scented tea takes it well- Like a freshly baked citrus loaf, with sweet potato and butterscotch notes. Someone else mentioned taro root and that is spot on. I also get a marmalade finish, which sours into a red wine aftertaste (and man, is that noticeable after cooking with our old syrah tonight).

Flavors: Baked Bread, Bergamot, Butterscotch, Chocolate, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Honey, Red Wine, Sweet Potatoes, Tangy, Taro Root

Sil

Hahahaha BLEEEERG

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58
drank Coconut Cream Pie by DAVIDsTEA
949 tasting notes

Something about this tea is too aritificial. Not sure if it’s the white chocolate, added sugar, or dairy (would’ve preferred this to be Vegan) but this coconut pie is more sour and cloying than I would like it. While it makes a passable latte, I don’t think it offers up much competition or innovation to the other coconut oolong blends already out there.

Flavors: Artificial, Coconut, Grass, Milk, Sour, Vanilla, White Chocolate

Evol Ving Ness

Yeah, sadly, this one held such promise in the name.

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75
drank Lemon Pound Cake by DAVIDsTEA
949 tasting notes

Omg, I was hoping to finish this off today but the rest of my packet went missing at work. BOOOOO. Because this was actually pretty for a flavoured oolong from David’s Tea; second steep was like a lemon meringue pie.

Wish I had picked up a little more (and taken it home). Why do I learn to like a David’s Tea offering just as they are discontinuing it?

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Cream, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Lemongrass, Tangy

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Evol Ving Ness

Have you learned to like Maple Syrup Oolong yet? Start liking it now!

CrowKettle

I bought some but still have yet to try it. Maybe tomorrow :)

Evol Ving Ness

Excellent news! Looking forward to hearing your impressions.

Roswell Strange

For the record; whenever a tea is announced as discontinued/retired I always try to drink it & log it here on Steepster the same week – and call out it’s discontinued. That way, I hope as many people who are fans of the blend get to see it’s been retired as soon as possible & have time to stock up (if they want to).

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, Ms. Strange. We appreciate you!

Kittenna

Agreed!

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82

Sample Generously Provided by Whispering Pines Tea Company

I’ve had this one before but this time around it’s hitting a sweet spot. Maybe this harvest is more to my taste than the one in the past. Maybe I haven’t had a Chinese black tea in my cupboard for a long time and now I’m latching on to the first one I try. Who knows.

One of my cups had delicious spicy-fruity aroma that reminds me of Verdant’s old Vanilla Citrus Spice blend (the batches that didn’t taste like dirt; orange, ginger, and cinnamon notes apparent). The taste throughout the various sessions were often starchy-sweet (banana, sweet potato), meaty-starch nut (chestnut), syrupy or jam-sweet (plum, marmalade, molasses.. possibly caramel? I didn’t get that much caramel except maybe to finish). Aftertaste is partially salty, partially sweet musky tobacco.

All in all, this is a pretty filling cup, with a lot happening! I’m glad I had the opportunity to give this tea a second chance.

Steep Count: 2

(2018 Spring Harvest)

Flavors: Anise, banana, Chestnut, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Ginger, Licorice, Malt, Molasses, Nuts, Orange, Plums, Spices, Sweet Potatoes, Toasty, Tobacco, Yams

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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80

Sample generously provided by Mandala Tea

(I think this is the Golden Daylily although my sample was only marked as “Jin Xuan”, so apologies if it’s another variant).

I was baad about mindfully drinking this sample; I meant to savour and make note of it properly but it turns out this Jin Xuan is an easy drinker (aka- totally chugged it. Sorry).

I do recall that it was juicy, silky and somewhat buttery, although not to the extent of the scented Milk Oolong, which knows no equals in its richness and creaminess. There was one particularly noteworthy cup where this Jin Xuan transformed into an extremely happy mango pudding; that was one fine cup.

Steep Count: 6

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Mango, Smooth

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Kittenna

Mango pudding tea sounds divine. Too bad it was only one cup, haha.

Evol Ving Ness

Happy mango pudding! Omgwow!

CrowKettle

I’ve encountered the mango note in Jin Xuan before (What-Cha’s China Fujian Anxi Jin Xuan had it), but this one outlier cup here was tastier. I would now like to see a mango flavoured milk oolong. XD

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84
drank Colored Species by Mandala Tea
949 tasting notes

Sample generously provided by Mandala Tea

This vibrantly green oolong is like drinking a silky bouquet of spring flowers. During various sessions I picked up notes of honeysuckle, clover honey, lilac, citrus blossoms, and… licorice to finish once? (the latter is probably the result of a White Wolf anise contamination but it was still lovely).

The enthusiastic garden display reminded me a tad of this ridiculously floral Gewürztraminer I once had. Like aforementioned wine, this turned out to be a happy pairing with Palak Paneer, Dahl Makhani and some garlic naan. Maybe I should try more floral-sweet tea with spicy food pairings in the future.

Steep Count: 5

There was always a long break between the first steep and second steep because I could never get into the first cup, even with a rinse. Consecutive cups were almost always better and more complex

(2018 harvest)

Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Honey, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Smooth

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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98
drank Milk Oolong by Mandala Tea
949 tasting notes

Hello again, spiritually fulfilling tea. I’m going to drink this one all day, and at some point I’m going to compare it to the sample of Jin Xuan that Mandala Tea so generously provided.

Steep Count: 5 (Aprox. 20s each at 195F)

The first steep went to my Mom’s travel mug on her journey downtown to see a play with my older sister. I am left with the second steep, and I’m noticing a lot more sweet grass notes this time around. I just ate a bunch of Squish gummies (spicy vanilla cola skulls) which I think are accentuating different flavours in this tea (like vanilla custard).

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Sweet, warm grass, Vanilla

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Kawaii433

I love their milk oolong too. It’s always on my shelf.

CrowKettle

Yeah, it’s a keeper and possibly the entire reason I broke the tea buying hiatus. Problem is everyone else in my life now likes it too now, and I don’t always feel like being generous. XD

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88
drank With Open Eyes by Butiki Teas
949 tasting notes

Here’s the tea I’ve been using other Dragonwell batches to revitalize. Seeing the original picture on here makes me so sad; my 2oz is no longer the beautiful display it once was, and only the strawberry pieces have retained any of their original colour (let this be cautionary tale demonstrating why there is no point in hoarding tea).

I’ve had a few people request this in swaps over the years but I don’t really like to send it out because it just looks so bad. The profile’s original chemistry is also much diminished; if you’ve never had a Butiki tea but wished you had, I’d say it’s better to imagine what this one in particular would’ve been like as opposed to drinking it’s pale shadow. The original leaf has greatly wilted wilst the ginger and strawberry pieces have fermented into a drunken dictatorship.

I dearly miss Butiki. Stacy wasn’t afraid to take “nicer” teas and build off of their already amazing natural profiles to create some truly unique and exquisite flavoured teas. However, it’s time to say goodbye and move on. I’ll try to drink this one up over the next week or two. (Also, at 18 teas in my cupboard I caved and ordered new teas so…).

Flavors: Fig, Floral, Ginger, Grass, Nuts, Strawberry

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec
tea-sipper

ooo.. where did you order from?

CrowKettle

Mandala, Bellocq (White Wolf only), and an assortment from What-Cha. I was trying to wait until the 2019 Spring harvest before ordering from What-Cha but Golden Snail came back in stock which destroyed my willpower. I didn’t pick up any White Rhino though, which was silly because that was a more recent harvest (doh!). Impulse buying is bad (but also so good). :/

CrowKettle

Also, Whispering Pines has Golden Orchid so that obviously had to happened too. Happy extremely early birthday to me…

This is what happens when you surpress your cravings and pretend your fine drinking the five year old ceylon and bancha in the back of the cupboard.

Sil

Haha. Yay for orders lol

tea-sipper

Some good ones. :D

Evol Ving Ness

Hurray! Yay you! And happy extremely early birthday to you!

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Profile

Bio

I started my Steepster loose leaf adventure back in 2012. I can’t say I’m completely new anymore, but I still view oolong as a magical, extraterrestrial creature that unfurls in water.

Ingredients/flavours I tend to dislike or stay away from: apple, cocoa nibs, marine, peach, stevia, dairy products

Subjective Rating System 2.0:

90-100: My absolute favourite tea. Will impulsively buy and hoard like a dragon.

85-89: A favourite tea. May have quality flaws that I choose to ignore.

76-84: A lovely tea, maybe of high quality or masterful blending, but not one I’m likely to order again.

70-75: Enjoyable, but I may have few minor problems with quality, consistency, ingredient chemistry and/or personal preferences.

50-69: Quality, consistency, blending, or personal preference problems are apparent, but I wouldn’t pass up a cup.

11-49: Varying levels of undrinkable tea. I don’t give a lot of these ratings out, since I tend to grab teas I know will appeal to me.

1-10: Nightmare tea from the chaos realms. This is last year’s low-grade bancha mixed with rancid coconut, stale cocoa nibs, over-enthusiastic hibiscus, and stevia sweetener. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist.

Location

BC, Lower Mainland

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