825 Tasting Notes

Apologies in advance: this note contains references to decay and cremation (TW). If you’re not into that or are currently enjoying delicious food, please skip on over.

Nope. Roasted oolong is not for me. Something about burning the florals and char reminds me of one of more bittersweet aromas of Varanasi (not really into thinking of pyres while drinking oolong).

This is actually a nice tea when I can get past my own personal hold-ups. It’s a lot less potent in the burnt department than one would think, and there is a pleasant sour tang of grapefruit for an aftertaste. Lingering notes of sea-salt create a compelling portrait.

Unfortunately, my mind is going back to Varanasi again, and that cow floating down the river. It was very green (but not really), just like this oolong! There’s a part of me that finds it poetic and moving that this tea is like a burnt offering; it’s a shame that aromas, colours, and memories are so strongly linked.

Flavors: Char, Floral, Grapefruit, Marine, Nuts, Salt, Smoke, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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This is not bad. For a Rooibos.

Very rich and dark; there’s a light vanilla note that reminds me a tad of Vanille Coco perfume from Comptoir Sud Pacifique (Sephora). The brown sugar/caramel borders on boozy. Apple and blackberry leaves are detectable and bring out fall fruity notes. The pumpkin is baked, and is a thing I notice on my tongue more-so after I’ve finished my cup.

When I first smelled the blend I thought there were sunflower seeds. After drinking it, I still swear there are sunflower seeds.

Flavors: Apple, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Molasses, Pumpkin, Vanilla

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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Priority No. 3 of my great sipdown purge had to be one of my oolong pouches from Verdant. I don’t know why Verdant teas always winds up neglected in the back of my cupboard, but there it is.

I’m not going to write a proper note on this tonight. I steeped it in a cup that was previously holding the Sticky Rice Jin Xuan, and I fear some of the flavouring may have creeped over; either that or this Tieguanyin is incredibly sweet and creamy (but probably not subtlety highlighted with rice notes). The sweetness actually oozes in the finish and aftertaste, which is distinctively not from Sticky Rice.

(2016 harvest)

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Honeysuckle, Sweet

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Drinking this before I take a power nap in preparation for essay writing later tonight!

At first I was a little disappointed to receive this as a free sample; it’s what I got last time too! Then I saw that it was this year’s harvest- so it is technically a different tea. Queue more enthusiasm!

I’m finding this new batch to be a brisker, darker, albeit less sweet, cup than my first round with good old 2016. It goes places that wouldn’t surprise me in black or bug-bitten tea. There’s malt, raisin/prunes, dark wildflower honey, and marmalade or blackberry-like tang. There’s a slight floral-vegetal note that I associate with some Darjeelings too.

Also, thank you, Alistair and What-Cha, for the lovely sample! You carry some pretty special teas, and you’ve put Choke Chamreon Tea Estate on my radar (need to check out more Thai teas).

Steep count: 2

(2017 spring harvest)

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Blackberry, Brandy, Dark Chocolate, Floral, Honey, Malt, Plums, Raisins, Stonefruits

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Lexie Aleah

Essay writing is the worst!

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Oh, FML. Writing a bogus Formal Recommendation Report for a situation and person that aren’t real. Please send me back to the department of History, where papers make orderly sense (Ok, Legal Admin is alright and practical, but this req Professional Communications academia class is dreadful).

I’m not sure if I should sleep and feel rested for my early morning exam and the brunt of the paper writing tomorrow, or if I should pull an all-nighter in the hopes that I can finish it in the next 9hrs.. I’m too old for this.

Either way, this tea shall be my friend. Hello, tea (this is what sleep deprivation looks like and it is not positively correlated with work productivity).

Steep count: 2

(2017 spring harvest)

Flavors: Butter, Rice

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec

I had a college Business Communications (same content, antique name) class that I despised. Prof went strictly by the answer key—if your recommendation, business plan, etc. varied, no matter how well constructed, forget it. May your words be wise!


The thought of that just makes me shudder. I hope your exam went well today!


My prof isn’t in that league of bad, but unfortunately it didn’t make it much less painful to write. Oh, well. Soon it will be a distant memory!

Thanks, Fjellrev! :)

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This is simply a bouquet of buttery lilacs. It feels like such a luxury to have rich flowers like this on the verge of winter. I particularly enjoy the sweet, rich scent that the leaves and broth give off.

It’s too bad I put off drinking this one for so long. For whatever reason, I thought it was roasted. Good job for reading comprehension, Crowkettle!

I’ll add more insight to this note if anything interesting pops up in later steeps.

Steep Count: 2

Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Grass, Honeysuckle

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Lexie Aleah

Yum I keep adding more wishlist items after reading your notes but I never seem to get to buying them.


You’ll get there! I 100% recommend trying out Teavivre if you’re just getting into straight Chinese/Taiwanese teas; They have lots of incentives like a cheap free shipping threshold ($30), and sampler options (2 free ones when you reach free shipping)!

Evol Ving Ness

_ It feels like such a luxury to have rich flowers like this on the verge of winter._

Your writing intoxicates me.

I am so looking forward to comparing my perceptions of teas to your insights though I seem to be waffling a bit on oolongs these days and more drawn to my beloved blacks. Or maybe it is that slap across the face from the caffeine that I long for in the mornings.


I’ll see that “reading comprehension” comment and raise you one: at first glance, I thought the tea name was Anxiety Monkey.

Evol Ving Ness

hahhaha, and oddly, some of us know exactly what you mean.


gmathis, you brightened my day with that comment and the ensuing imagery! Now I’m going to always pictures stressed out monkeys when I drink “Iron Bodhisattva of Mercy” tea. XD

Evol, honestly, I can’t blame you for not being into oolongs right now. In my mind I know too that it’s really black tea season; I’m just stuck with a cupboard backlog of all my spring an summer oolongs!

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I’ve dealt with Priority No. 1 sipdown, so now I can move onto Priority No. 2! There are two-and-a-half pots left, which means I can probably finish it off by tomorrow..

The coconut has held up well over the course of the last few months. The pineapple is subtle, and combines with the coconut and base to create a creamy tropical beverage, à la piña colada (cringe, linguists, cringe). I definitely prefer this without milk and at a warmer temperature though.

Anyways, while this isn’t a priority repurchase, I can see myself ordering more in the future- maybe when the world is warmer and/or I need more of this company’s delicious Cream of Earl Grey (it’s my favourite one right now).

Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Cream, Malt, Pineapple, Tropical

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Evol Ving Ness

I most liked this one when I combine it with another tropical fruit black with a frisky base. I find the base of this one a bit spineless.

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks for the tip about their Cream of Earl Grey. I have yet to try it.


I Particularly like their Cream of Earl Grey because it’s cheaper than DT!

And I won’t lie- I like how spineless the black to is here; I can forget it exists even when I oversteep it! Next time I grab some though I’ll try mixing it for a bit of dynamism. I need to get back into black teas somehow.

Evol Ving Ness

Hmm, perhaps I can help that process along somewhat :)

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drank Milk Oolong Tea by Mandala Tea
825 tasting notes

I should make more notes to reflect how much I drink this tea. I practically always have a cup on hand now, and my pouch is sadly beginning to run low. I do what I can to make it last, and sometimes stretch the leaves out over the course of a few days- with no ill effects so far! This oolong can go on for +6 steeps without losing any “oomph”, so it seems a waste to cut it short when the day ends.

At this point I definitely know this is the Scented Milk Oolong I want to stock all the time. If I just had this and What-Cha’s Sticky Rice Oolong in my cupboard I’d be content (but I’d also need a few puerhs, a good Chinese black, Silver Needle, Kenyan White Rhino, Matcha, Cream of Earl Grey, a Japanese Sencha…)

Steep count: 5

Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Mango, Milk

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Yes! Even I love this one.


I’ve decided that my truly favorite teas aren’t the ones I write about the most often or most descriptively—they’re the ones that cause me to say, “Good grief! My tin is nearly empty. How did that happen?”


That is good stuff! The only flavored tea that I’ve ever really liked, and I like it a lot.


I love how this one manages to appeal across the great straight/flavoured and black/green tea divides! ;)


And I think you’re on to something, gmathis! It’s surely true when it comes to teas I like to re-steep a lot; I tend to write tea notes after I’m done with a session and I don’t like to halt re-steeping my favourite teas, which means less tea notes of favourites!

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While I was steeping (and sniffing) this baby, I thought I was going to have to go over how Roasted Oolongs don’t seem to work for me again. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when that overdone roasted aroma turned into a creamy cup of nuts and barley, with fruity and floral accents.

At first, I feared that the cream and nut notes were residue flavours from the cup’s previous resident (Coconut Carrot Cashew- It’s Operation Sipdown and I’m running this ship like a dirty fastfood joint). It appears these flavours are this tea’s own, however!

I still vastly prefer green oolongs, but this makes me less hesitant to try the roasted fellows. Teavivre Dong Ding Oolongs appear to be a win for me too!

Steep Count: 2

Flavors: Apple, Cream, Floral, Hay, Honeydew, Melon, Roasted Barley, Roasted nuts

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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I’m implementing Operation Sipdown because, omg, Black Friday sales. Everyone around me is currently being offered cups and cups of different teas; you’d think they’d be more ecstatic.

Since it’s already by the kettle and is almost gone, this is priority No. 1. It always seems the teas easiest to finish off are the ones I don’t actually want to finish off (hoarding!). The ever-present fear of coconut rotting propels me, but still!

Flavors: Carrot, Coconut, Malt, Nuts

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

I am in the same boat. Operation Sipdown is go!


Now I’m hoping the shipping takes longer so I can get to 30 teas (from 60) before all the parcels arrive. What was I thinking!?

Good luck on your Operation too! :)

Evol Ving Ness

hahahha, yeah, I’ve had that what was I thinking feeling more than once. I’ve started calculating how many cups it is humanly possible to drink in a week, a month, a year compared to how many are gathering dust here. It’s not looking good. It’s nice to have choices but wow.

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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.

White teas, roasted/fired green teas, and the not so roasted green oolong varieties are my favourites. I enjoy the odd shu puerh too.

Currently looking for the most buttery and sweet green oolong I can find.

Ingredients/flavours I enjoy (in moderation): anise, butter, caramel, cedar, cream, grapefruit, jasmine, lavender, lemon, lilac, lime, maple, marshmallow leaves, melon, mint, orchid, pine, rice, rose, vanilla.

Ingredients/flavours I tend to dislike: apple, cocoa nibs, licorice, marine, peach, stevia

Subjective Rating System 2.0:

91-100: My absolute favourite tea. Will impulsively buy and hoard like a dragon.

86-90: A favourite tea. May have quality flaws that I choose to ignore.

76-85: 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.


BC, Lower Mainland

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