794 Tasting Notes

drank Jin Guanyin by Verdant Tea
794 tasting notes

Sipdown! Gamblin’ gongfu style (aka, “I pour when I’m feeling lucky”). I felt lazy today so this note is in headings with fragmented notes.

Aroma: vibrant lilac custard (1). Rich lilac butter, and roasted nut, with an edge of citrus (2)(3)(4)(5). Mild grassy, citrus, creamy, mineral (6). Light citrus-mango meringue (7)(8).

Taste: gentle lilac butter with mild sweet finish to start. Morphs into tangy-sweet fruit syrup with bland fleshy nut finish as cup cools. Fruity aftertaste (raspberry, plum, red apple?) (1). Mix of tangy citrus, lilac cream, and roasted nut, with less sweetness than first steep (2)(3)(4). Smooth violet, nuts, and emerging plantain note. Starchy and creamy, with a hint of sweetness. Finish and lingering aftertaste of citrus meringue and minerals (5). Mellow cup with mineral, citrus, plantain, cream, and grass notes (6). Some plantain, grass, and mineral notes, with mango to finish (7)(8).

Steep Count: 9

I think I burnt the second steep so I changed the temperature from 95C to 90C after third steep.

Repurchase priority: $31 USD for 100g is almost tempting, but not quite…

(2016 fall harvest)

Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Mango, Meringue, Mineral, Nuts, Violet

195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

It’s hot here today. Lilac custard sounds delicious!


I discovered to late that there are actual recipes for lilac custard; all our lilac flowers are now long gone. Next spring, maybe!

Good luck with beating the heat! Your May-June temperatures are our summer highs so we’re still pre-iced tea weather here :)

Evol Ving Ness

Oooh! Just in time for lavender custard or lavender sorbet!


If only the lavender plant hadn’t been a part of the winter kill (it is deeply missed).

There is a chance for rose and cardamom custard.. The rose blooms are fruitful this year… and maybe they won’t be missed? (they’ll grow more).

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drank Anxi Rou Gui by Verdant Tea
794 tasting notes

Here’s another Verdant oolong success that I only have a sample of; I ordered the wrong ones in bulk!

I used the gongfu method (10s, 15s, 20s) yesterday and drank it all throughout the day… and I may be drinking it still today because I only had enough for one session, you know?

It has a similar profile to my Si Ji Chun from Camellia Sinensis (heavy cream, spice, floral), but this doesn’t have that half-baked, unsweetened dough element that I wasn’t keen on. Jasmine, cinnamon, and cream combine with something sweet, almost fruity or honey-like, to create a satisfying, round profile.

I’m not rating it because of the lack of time with it, but it’s going on the list for fall 2017 purchases. And to think I thought I wouldn’t like it because I’ve only ever seen “Rou Gui” as a roasted stripped Wuyi oolong.

Steep Count: +8

(2016 fall harvest)

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cream, Fruity, Honey, Jasmine, Sweet, Vanilla

205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Daylon R Thomas

Okay, I’m mega curious: How does this one compare to the Jin Guanyin, and how do those compare to Taiwaneese oolongs? I’ve only had roasted Rou Gui’s though I may have had one from Mandala, and I’d guess the Jin Guanyin would be a slightly fruity Tie Guan Yin. I’m also debating on what green oolong to try next.


Whoops, I missed this. I’m going to give you a detailed reply filled with my inexpertise knowledge.


I only had one serving of this, so I can’t give you any certain comparison, but imo it’s not that similar at all to the Jin Guanyin. Jin has a definite fruity profile with specific fruits (lime) you can pick out. Rou Gui is just kind of sweet, especially the first steep, in a honey or syrup infused way. Verdant claims it has monk fruit notes, but I’ve never had that so can’t vouch for the accuracy; looking up monk fruit now it says it’s often used as a sweetener, like stevia.

Jin was also more floral (strong lilac & violet vs extremely subtle jasmine) and had more dynamic steeps. This Rou Gui had a satisfying profile but it didn’t seem to change much, even with my sloppy gongfu times and temp.

I’m going to be contradictory and say the cinnamon note in this oolong wasn’t THAT definitive; especially when I compare it to the unmistakable, almost overpowering, note of nutmeg in the Si Ji Chun I own.

Besides that Si Ji Chun, the few other Taiwanese oolongs I’ve tried this year have had grassy and vegetal notes! Anxi Rou Gui didn’t have that at all.


PS- Just to emphasize my lack of oolong cred: I can’t actually compare this to a true roasted Rou Gui either. If I’ve ever tried one I wasn’t paying attention, which is unfortunately usually the case with me and roasted Wuyi oolong types.

Daylon R Thomas

That’s still helpful.

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Now this is gold. I’m not quite sure where the florals fall, except for honeysuckle and maybe a bit of violet, but I know that they’re vibrant and full. Butter, cream, and melon fruit notes interplay across my messy gongfu session to create a very sweet, rich, and delicate profile.

I’ll have to keep a look out for future Reserve Tieguanyins from Verdant in the future. This one is definitely a winner. Too bad it’s only a sample.

Steep Count: +4

Mother has been stealing cups, so I don’t have an exact number, but it’s her birthday after all.

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Grass, Honey, Honeysuckle, Melon, Sweet, Violet

200 °F / 93 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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While the gentler profile and shorter steeping life of this Milk Oolong didn’t completely sweep me off my feet, It did end up becoming a nice “every day” tea that I always looked forward to. The soft combo of milky mango and vegetal Jin Xuan made for the perfect comfort tea.

I’d possibly pick up a small amount next season or when my cupboard is a little less full. Until then, we have some more Milk Oolong and Jin Xuan varieties to try!

Steep Count: 5

(2016 Spring Harvest)

Flavors: Mango, Milk, Vegetal

185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Yep, the almond milk is a nice, silky binder. The dusty quality disappears and I can focus on the toasty rice of the genmaicha, and all the pumpkin spices. The grassy nut qualities of the matcha and the vanilla in particular are emphasized by the almond milk.

All in all, a pretty good send off! Now, time to finish that Discworld book.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cloves, Grass, Marshmallow, Nutmeg, Nutty, Pumpkin, Toasted Rice, Vanilla

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML

Which Discworld book are you reading?


Soul Music. It’s not one of my favourites, but it’s my last Death novel! I’ve gone about reading these in a semi-random order.

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Think sweet potato fries with chipotle mayo, except sweet instead of savoury and pumpkin as a sub for sweet potatoes. That’s sort of what this tastes like.

It’s a pretty fun concept of smokey spice, cream, and pumpkin with seasonings. The pumpkin flavouring sometimes veers into fall candle territory but I find it’s not a factor if I allow it to cool (the other flavours stick out more).

Props for being a honeybush that I don’t hate.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cream, Pepper, Pumpkin, Smoke

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 15 sec

Bizarre but intriguing.

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drank Ben Shan by Verdant Tea
794 tasting notes

I wasn’t a big fan of this when I tried it western style, so I figured drinking it gongfu style (+10 sec) with a cold wouldn’t hurt.

Although my palate is extremely muted, I’m picking up a lot vegetal and custard-like notes. It’s sort of creamy and almost.. eggy? The latest steep (4 or 5) has a light lime note that is kind of tickle-y to my already irritated throat. A sweetness like powdered sugar is reminiscent of instant jello or pudding; just the thing to have while sick! There are some light floral notes, but they are extremely dampened right now.

Boosting up the rating a tad.

Steep Count: 6+

(2016 Harvest)

Flavors: Cream, Custard, Floral, Lime, Powdered sugar, Vegetal

195 °F / 90 °C 2 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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All I can taste is brown sugar right now. I can’t even pick up the cinnamon. There goes trying new tea until I’m better; probably shouldn’t drink so much caffeine with a sore throat, anyways.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Malt, Molasses

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML
Evol Ving Ness

Hope you feel better soon, CrowKettle!

I set aside teas that I don’t particularly like very much or more medicinal blends for those times that I am under the weather and my tastebuds have taken a vacation.


Thank you!

Yeah, I figured I may as well dig into my own “meh” pile; it’s not like I was going to fully appreciate these teas on a good day. :)

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Maybe it’s my cold, but I never got any bergamot out of this. I did get a delicious combination of currant berry with vanilla cream though.

The father expressed preference of this Earl over his stale, old Red Rose bag. Too bad for him; I had a whole pot but it was mine. I’m not nice when I’m sick.

Flavors: Berries, Black Currant, Cream, Vanilla

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 45 sec

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Let it be noted that I drank this tea and thought it was alright.

I did love that this is an assam base, and that I didn’t need to to tone it down with milk in order to get the sweet and creamy lemon cake flavours. I’m all congested right now so the fact that I can taste it is impressive. Also, more Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire series references for the win! Love the pop culture nods, AQ2T.

On a side note- I wish we could remove the broken images on steepster. This tea is pretty.

Flavors: Cake, Frosting, Lemon, Malt, Molasses, Pastries

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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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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