326 Tasting Notes

drank Black Beauty by Mandala Tea
326 tasting notes

Tea swap sample provided by @Amy Oh

This seemed like a nice, mellow, Qimen-like tea. Unfortunately my husband I drank through our 6 steeps too quickly for me to write enough notes. We’re not big Qimen fans, so I’ll refrain from rating this tea. (Not to say it’s bad, because it’s an enjoyable black tea. But I have a bias)

It also reminds me of Tao Tea Leaf’s Mei Zhan. Which keeps the same mellow Qimen theme going on.

100ml gaiwan, 5g, 6 steeps (rinse, 15s, 30s, 45s, 1m, 1m30, 2m)

195 °F / 90 °C

Interesting, this did not remind me too much of a typical Qimen…


It’s the sort of flavour that really sticks out on my tongue. But this one is so mellow that it doesn’t overwhelm my senses.

I have the same problem with anything rose or lavender scented. Having a bit of it is ok, but if the flavour really builds up it just irritates me.

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Sample provided by @Amy Oh

I was pretty excited to try this when Amy Oh offered to mail away 5g of her sample. I’ve never tried tea from Norbu before, but I have tried 3 other black teas from Guangdong, China. They all tasted pretty different, so I was wondering what sort of category this one falls into.

Sniffing inside the sample pouch, I’m picking up on cherry, earthy, maybe something kinda sour. The scent of sour and cherry is mouthwatering.

First steep reaffirms what the dry tea leaves suggested. Very earthy aroma with sour cherry, mild sweetness and roasted flavour. I can kinda also taste something that reminds me of chocolate, but it’s very faint.

Second steep brought out more of the roasted and sour flavour. The tea body itself is nice, there is a nice depth to it.

Third steep is getting astringent (borderline annoying), but all the other flavours are still going strong. The earthy, sour cherry flavour might not really describe what I’m tasting. But it’s the best rough description I can come up with.

Fourth and fifth steep lost some of the astringency, which made it more palatable. However the tea flavour is starting to weaken.

I decided to end on the sixth steep because the astringency was starting to rub me the wrong way. Sometimes I like that characteristic, but if it’s too prominent, the mouth-drying sensation is nice enjoyable.

Overall I like this tea, it’s pretty much the same as another one I tried from the same province (Feng Huang Hong Cha – Camellia Sinensis). Flavour wise, it’s pretty different from most of the black tea I’ve had the pleasure to drink. However it’s a great flavour that I couldn’t stand to drink all the time, it just ends up annoying me (if that makes any sense).

100ml gaiwan, 5g, 6 steeps (15s, 30s, 45s, 1m, 1m30, 2m)

195 °F / 90 °C

i’m glad you liked it!


I like it, but I don’t think I could drink it more than once a month.

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This came with my last Teavivre order of teas as a sample. I went a little overboard buying greens so I have not touched the samples much. ;)

Sniffing the lid of the gaiwan after the rinse step. I’m picking up on a strong buttery and slightly smoky (or similar) smell.

First steep tasted much like I expected; boldly vegetal and buttery. There is also a biting sort of characteristic. Not quite bitter,but it still pulls on my senses like bitterness. (in a good way)

Second steep was milder but slightly more bitter and astringent. Overall tastes very “green” and flavourful.

Third and fourth steeps were both great, with the latter beginning to lose some flavour.

Overall I like how bold the green, vegetal flavour gets. However it’s not one of my fav green teas. There are aspects of it I like, others not so much, but still an enjoyable experience. I prepared it in a gaiwan, so I can’t comment whether or not it’s any better in a teapot.

100ml gaiwan, 3g of tea, 4 steeps (rinse, 30s, 50s, 1m20s, 1m40s as recommended on their website)

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drank Wu He by Camellia Sinensis
326 tasting notes

This is my first chance to drink a green tea from Taiwan. On top of that, I do not have a lot of experience with green teas. So I won’t know how this stands up against other great green teas.
Anyway ,onto the tasting notes:

First through third steeps had a very consistent flavour. It was a light, smooth and velvety, sweet, buttery, floral, and vegetal.
What caught my attention the most were the sweet and velvety characteristics. And the floral aroma helps bring it all together nicely. It wasn’t just a satisfying cup, it was an interesting experience in each sip.

Overall, not a favorite but it didn’t disappoint me. I still prefer drinking oolong from Taiwan, but I wouldn’t mind trying more green tea from Taiwan in the future.

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This was the first tea I tried from my recent Teavivre order. At first when I brewed it up, I was too cautious. I only used 1 tsp of leaves and did very short steeps (10s). But it didn’t taste strong enough and there was no bitterness. So today I’m trying it with more leaf and a longer steep time.

Obligatory sniff in the bag: Smells really green and creamy with a hint of fruit (lychee)

First steep: Has a much stronger vegetal scent than taste. Very light, sweet, slightly vegetal and fruity. Aftertaste reminds me of sugar snap peas.

Second steep: Very refreshing, maybe slightly bitter but not too noticeable. It’s becoming quite buttery and vegetal, with the sweetness remaining.

Third steep: Still has a very consistent green and buttery flavour from the previous cup.

I purchased this tea on a whim. My apartment gets really hot in the summer and I was craving some green tea to drink. So I ordered 3 green teas from Teavivre, which themselves also came with some green tea samples. ;) Along with my recent Camellia Sinensis order, I went from having no green tea to 7! LOL
A year ago I wouldn’t even think about buying so much green tea. I’d had so many bad experiences with, what I assume was either old green tea or uhh choppy bagged stuff. (And it doesn’t help if they give you bad steep instructions) So I’m very glad that Teavivre helped turn me onto fresh green tea.

Overall I like this green tea. It’s not my favourite type of tea, but I’ve learned to enjoy it more. What I like most is it’s ease of brewing (it doesn’t come out bitter) and the slight sweetness.

100ml gaiwan, 2 generous tsp (hard to scoop so I had to be generous), 3 steeps (1m, 1m, 1m15)

195 °F / 90 °C

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drank Tuyet San by Camellia Sinensis
326 tasting notes

I wasn’t sure at first whether to buy this or not, but when I showed the photo to my husband he insisted that we get it. Now onto our initial tasting notes;

First steep: light, straw or hay flavour with a nice grainy texture and hint of sweetness.

Second steep: sweeter, has a fuzzy buds texture. (if you know what I mean)

Third steep: bolder, more vegetal and reminds me of green tea a bit more now.

Overall from my initial steeping of this tea, I like it. It is a very new type of experience for me. Not a fav but still enjoyable.

100ml gaiwan, 2tsp, 3 steeps (40s, 50s, 1m)

185 °F / 85 °C

The leaves kind of look like smushed cigarettes.

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Wonderful cold steeper.

I left this overnight in the fridge, although I think it’s palatable much sooner than that. Peppermint has always been a flavour I’ve enjoyed, so this more than met my expectations.

8 tsp in a 1 liter jug, steeped overnight


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Tea provided by Teavivre for review

After trying this hot and iced, I think I prefer it iced. My taste buds were able to pick up on a nice creamy flavour that I think comes from the white tea. Overall it’s very smooth, delicate, creamy and uhh jasmine-y when brewed iced.

I liked how this turned out, but I prefer my white tea without jasmine. I’ve never tried Bai Mu Dan iced but I suspect it would a be a great iced tea.

Cold steeped over about 24 hours, 7 tsp in 1 liter of water.


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I really like how this turned out after a 24hr cold steep. Normally when I brew this hot, it’s earthy and comforting. But this iced experiment felt very refreshing and light, with an almost citrus-sweet flavour.

6 tsp in a 1 liter iced tea jug, cold steeped over about 24 hours.


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Feel free to add me on Steepster, I’ll probably add you back. :)

I don’t log tea every time I drink it. Tasting notes tend to be about either one style of brewing or a new experience. It is helpful for me to look back on my notes and see what a tea tasted like or which steeping parameter worked best for me. I try to mostly short steep tea unless it only tastes better with a long steep. I’d rather experience what a tea tastes like over 3 or 12 steeps than just 1 to 3 long steeps.

When I write “tsp”, the measurement I use is a regular western teaspoon. Not a tea scoop

How I rate tea:

99-100: Teas that blow my mind! An unforgettable experience. Savoured to the last drop. I felt privileged to drink this.

90-98: Extraordinary, highly recommended, try it and you won’t be disappointed (and if you are, mail me the tea!)

85-89: Wonderful, couldn’t expect more but not a favourite.

80-84: Excellent, a treasured experience but not a favourite.

70-79: Good but could be better. Above average.

60-69: Average, unexceptional, not something I would buy again. Slightly disappointed. I’d rather drink water.

50-0: Varying degrees of sadness

No rating: Mixed feelings, can’t decide whether I like it or not, not enough experience with that sort of tea to rate it. A dramatic change of heart.


Ontario, Canada

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