821 Tasting Notes


I wanted to share this one with people, but then I fell off the tea wagon again and when I finally came back to it and finished up my little ziplocks I realized I only had a serving left. For shame! When I get more Shan Li Xi (from here or over there) I will remember those I passed over.

On top of the usual coconut-butter goodness, I’m also picking up a bit of marine.

Steep Count: 3

(2016 Harvest)

Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Red Fruits, Seaweed

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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I prepared this one for strength, so the lime and base have an edge of tart green bitterness that translates a little into tonic fizz. The melon flavouring sometimes drifts into tasting like a less flavourful melon or cantaloupe (think those blah white edges close to the skin), but it also does a fine job tasting like a watery but sweet watermelon. The lime pleasantly comes out more as the cup cools, and the bitterness fades away almost completely.

It’s a pretty nice summer blend, but I won’t lie and say I wasn’t hoping for something more along the lines of Butiki’s Watermelon Xylophone. The loose leaf smelled so good.

Flavors: Lime, Melon

160 °F / 71 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

ah how I miss Butiki teas and most importantly my Good Morning Sunshine blend… I still can’t find a good replacement.


I may miss the Butiki guayusa blends most of all. Still looking for Killer’s Vanilla and Good Morning Sunshine replacements too.

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This tea was mostly pleasant, but at times would steep sour from the artificial flavours. I also ordered this way after “peeps season” so my sprinkles weren’t quite as adorable or colourful. C’est la vie. It was nice meeting you!

Flavors: Marshmallow, Toasted Rice, Vanilla, Vegetal

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Summertime by 52teas
821 tasting notes

Had this both iced and hot and it was tasty both ways. Unfortunately, it fulfills it’s namesake, which means I drank it lazing around outside and can no longer recall the greater finesse of this tea. It was good though, and will be missed!

Flavors: Blueberry, Orange, Orange Blossom, Vanilla

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We finally got back from a little road trip for a wedding 1168km (725mi) north of here. It’s nice to be reunited with tea (and so many other things). Not that I was completely without tea, because I brought this along!

It was disillusioning to see that this was practically the only one that fit the bill for travel life: doesn’t need milk, doesn’t need exact steeping perameters (temp, time, amount, etc.), can handle hard water and Styrofoam cups, and isn’t a loss if it doesn’t get resteeped. It was nice to become better acquainted with this one though; I was benevolent-indifferent before but I’ve warmed up to it.

Also, you can’t go wrong with pineapple or coconut in the summer. And bonus: the super devout relatives don’t ostracize you as much when you drink tea (poor dad and his beer)!

Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Pineapple, Tropical

3 min, 0 sec
Roswell Strange

Love this one! Definitely have to agree with all your points for it, as well.

Evol Ving Ness

I like this one too. However, I prefer it when added to something with a punchier black base.


I agree Evol. It was great for a road trip but sometimes it almost tasted like particularly nice herbal (where’s the black tea)? That’s not something I always want.

What do you usually mix it with?

Evol Ving Ness

I had been mixing it with 52Teas Pineapple Marshmallow which had the pineapple mostly missing in action. Worked out well. I have also mixed it with Mighty Leaf’s Brazillian Fruit which has a punchy black base. I think it would work with any type of black flavoured tea in which the flavouring is mild and fruity and possibly tropical. Maybe a coconut black if you have one handy.

Evol Ving Ness

Mighty Leaf tends to have really punchy black bases. Great for mixing with overly mellow teas.

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I bought a bunch of Tieguanyin samples and then opted for this as a smaller free sample, which is too bad because I’d take an Ali Shan over a Tieguanyin any day of the week (and I have so many Tieguanyin packs). Oh, well. That’s what this mass oolong drinking marathon is all about; getting my priorities straight!

I have two cups of this on the go: one is a gongfu style (+10sec) and the other is a “western” 1-2min steep at +200F. Both get a rinse, as usual.

Both cups emit a delicious concoction of vanilla, flowers, grass, corn husk, and even a hint of jam. The first cups are sweet, creamy, with notes of corn and jam. I taste a bit of coconut too. A butter note acts as a thickener to the broth, and make this a rich cup. Grass is, thankfully, not the distinctive force it’s been in some of the other green oolongs I’ve had of late; the vegetal notes are more distinctive in the western cup.

Anyways, there are lots of great notes on this tea, so I’m going to do the lazy thing and not ramble on about each individual steep.

Steep Count: 3 (x2) (ongoing)

(2016 harvest)

Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Corn Husk, Cream, Floral, Grass, Jam, Kale, Vanilla

205 °F / 96 °C
Evol Ving Ness

I am confused. Did you get the Ali Shan or the Tieguanyin? And why is it too bad that you got the Ali Shan if you prefer it over the other?


Sounds like a good problem to have—a free sample of your preferred choice of Oolong!


Sorry, brain was half asleep with this note.

When you order from Teavivre you can buy a sample size (two 5-7g packets). Depending on how much you spend you may qualify for 1-3 free samples, but you only get one 5g pack, instead of two.

I ended up buying a lot of tieguanyin samples (different types, 5gx2), and picked this as free sample. That’s what I regret XD


Ah—got it. Yeah, I can see how that is disappointing, but in the end, at least there was one free sample of your favorite, right? The teacup is half-full…! ;)


Yeah, as far as personal tea problems go, having lots of tieguanyin and not enough ali shan is still half a luxury :)

Daylon R Thomas

I have too many Four Seasons varietal oolongs including my BaoZhongs, and not enough Li Shan. I’ve had the Tie Guan Yin struggle before…never mind that was once my favorite type of oolong. I hope that I can get them sold. Here’s my pitch: I do have to say that the 5 oz of Winter Rhytmn I have does compare to several Ali Shans in terms of its notes. It’s not quite as sweet or honeyed as some Alishans can be, but it is certainly just as creamy with an unusually strong vanilla note.

Daylon R Thomas

You don’t have to take me up on it, but if you know someone looking for a good quality daily green oolong, it is probably one of the best examples of one.

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you for unpacking that, CrowKettle. So next time, you will be getting sample sizes of Ali Shan and a free sample of the Tieguanyin then?

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Ordered a sample of this and drank it up as a full pot last night. If rooibos blends were like this more often I’d possibly enjoy them. Also goes to show that my dislike of rooibos or honeybush isn’t necessarily towards the base or being over exposed to lower grades; I can sure taste the woody-hay rooibos here. I just think the light coconut-vanilla flavouring works well in conjunction.

Flavors: Cake, Coconut, Hay, Vanilla, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Cup Scent: butter, toasted nuts, flowers, savoury seaweed sprinkles (subtle)

To taste, it follows the precedent set by the scent, making for a savoury cup full of cream, butter, nuts, and gentle flowers. It’s probably the most mild “Jin Xuan,” natural or scented, I’ve had in recent times. It’s nothing special in my books, but it’s buttery-cream profile makes for a comforting cup, with excellent steep value.

I drank up all my other Jin Xuans, so it’s nice to discover I have some left. I didn’t realize what this was or pay too much attention when I initially placed an order online. It took seeing the unfurled leaves to realize what this was. Whoops.

Steep Count: 6

Florals reminiscent of dandelion came out strong on the third steep. It reminds me that dandelion wine is on my “too try” list.

(2016 harvest)

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Dandelion, Floral, Roasted nuts, Vegetal

200 °F / 93 °C 2 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

Word, dandelion wine has been on my list too. Makes me want to snag some Fentimans Dandelion & Burdock now.

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I couldn’t find any definite info on this tea from Verdant’s website; I want to say it’s the same as their “Mi Lan Black” offering but I’m going to stick with the exact labels used on my packet for the sake of filing. My tea doesn’t quite look like those long big twirled leaves either, although the dry leaf was a kind of twine strip.

The flavour profile is practically on par with their Mi Lan page description; dark, rich honey, spicy sandalwood, charred sweet potato, etc. This first steeping has a comfortable note of bitter leather too. Citrus notes come out in subsequent steeps.

Anyways, this was a nice break after mostly drinking teas on the greener side of the spectrum. Like a nice scotch or whisky after a rainstorm of vodka. Or a blackberry after so many strawberries. I love silly comparisons.

Steep Count: 3

Sample provided by Verdant Tea. Thanks!

Flavors: Citrus, Earth, Honey, Leather, Spices, Sweet Potatoes

195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Sad sipdown, that now puts me in dilemma on whether or not I want to place a premature order at What-Cha or to wait a couple sad months without this tea. I’d have to speed through the White Rhino or Golden Snail, or suddenly fixate on trying that Rose Jin Xuan. Mm, rose cream (I’ve already vividly imagined this future tea drinking experience).

On Sticky Rice: I’ve decided that, while this is a casual drinker, the unique savoury flavour also makes this somewhat of a mood tea. I’m usually in the mood but sometimes I’m not. If I neglect the early steeps it can get a little too vegetal for my tastes. That’s why this doesn’t quite make it into my 91-100 flawless teas, despite the copious amount of notes I’ve written.

Steep Count: 3

Three steepings was about my average across the board but this tea can easily handle 5-6 when I’m committed. It helps that at 90C, I can steep it at 45s start and be completely satisfied with the flavour; What-Cha recommends 1-2min but I’m a flavour wimp.

(2016 fall harvest)

Flavors: Cream, Rice, Vegetal

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML
Daylon R Thomas

I hope you like all three of those.

Daylon R Thomas

Wow, I’m dumb. I’ve read those notes lol.


It’s alright! It’s a fair question; liking the teas at the beginning isn’t the same as liking the teas after they’ve sat on my shelves for a few months.

And the rose jin xuan is a still a mystery :)

Daylon R Thomas

:) At minimum, I can say it’s a good Jin Xuan.

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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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