86 Tasting Notes


Okay this one is a fanning grade for which I brewed it in a strainer ball. Using 2 grams of leaf in a 6 ounce mug for about a minute and a half at 205. I found this gave the best results of boldness without being overpowering.

The aroma is caramel, honey and plums, with that intense tea aroma you sometimes get from black tea, a great scent for waking up in the morning if you arent a coffee drinker. The liquor is a clear dark red brown . There is a tiny bit of fanning that escaped the ball , but the liquor is quite clear. The tasting of this gives dark bittersweet chocolate, honey, caramel and plums. Dark fruit and dark chocolate is what is what really comes out as well as sweetness.

Highly recommended for breakfast or for afternoon snacks.

Flavors: Caramel, Dark Bittersweet, Honey, Plums, Tea

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Today we have up New Vithakanakanda estate FBOP. I started by brewing this in a clay pot, 3 grams for 150 ml water at 205 for 3 minutes. I got a somewhat dark clear caramel colored liquor. I get aroma’s of raisins and chocolate, and a little bit Cacao or a raw chocolate. I do find competition or western style brewing works a bit better with Darjeelings and Ceylon tea.

Tasting this I get many of the same flavors as aroma, but there is a slightly stronger citrus note as well as plums. There is also a dark bittersweet chocolate flavor now. Its actually kind of hard to describe it. Now the information on this says it goes well with lime, and though I usually take my tea straight I can see this, it does seem like the flavor profile would work well with this.

In conclusion, this tea has a rather complex flavor profile, makes a great tea for going with an afternoon snack.


Flavors: Cacao, Chocolate, Citrus, Dark Bittersweet, Plums, Raisins

3 min, 0 sec 3 g 150 OZ / 4436 ML

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Thank you to Glyxtea for this sample.

I started this with 5 grams of tea for 80ml of water in my yixing. I used 200 degree water to bring out more of the flavor. Starting with a quick rinse to wake up the leaves, this is a 2017 and exceptionally clean, so this was more to help unpack the leaves than rinse them. It came pre broken up, so one rinse is sufficient as the leaves opened well enough. I got a grassy, vegetal and light fruity aroma. Not entirely unexpected in a very young sheng.

First infusion I get a light golden clear liquor, tasting it I get floral, grassy, a bit bitter, and stonefruits, maybe apricot? Nice tingle on the tongue from this, and the bitter is pretty restrained as well. Nice sweetness on the finish as well, its actually a bit more intensely sweet than I would have expected from a tea this young.

Second infusion is mostly the same, but the bitter is a teeny bit more pronounced, but so is the sweetness. Maybe peaches? It’s definitely a stonefruit flavor, light, sweet, very tiny bit sour.. Honey now as well.

Third infusion , now getting a bit more bitterness, the liqour is also slightly darker. Tasting of vegetal and flowers. Still quite light but a bit more body than the previous infusions. The leaves expanded considerably now, so I think IM getting the most complete flavor profile now. The balance is actually really good between them all.

Quite a nice tea, and seemingly a very strong steeper as well as the third infusion was the best. Going to brew this out a few more times now.

Highly recommended

Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Floral, Grass, Honey, Stonefruits, Sweet, Vegetal

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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Thanks to Fong Mong for this sample.

I started by heating the yixing and giving it a quick shake in the pot. I got a slight aroma of anise, cinnamon and honey. Giving it a quick rinse to wake up the leaves I get a slightly stronger aroma, now with roasted notes, as well as toast and maybe a little cream.

Starting the first infusion I get spices, and toast, it reminds me of cinnamon toast, the roast on this is fairly light. So there is some floral green under the roasted flavors, but the spices are really intense and taking front stage, so Im having trouble picking up some of the under flavors, they might come out more strongly in the later steepings.

Second infusion Im getting much the same, but the anise is much stronger now. Also more honey flavors, and still a slight sensation of toast, as well as a delicate tingle on the tongue. Very nice tea, with good body. The tea liqour is a very light pale brown, its clearly got some roast on it, but its very subtle and light.

Third steeping the roast is much more intense now, as the leaves fully open up. The color has darkened slightly to a honey color now, the honey flavor has also gotten more intense. The liquor is also a little thicker now as well, and there is just a tiny bitter note on the finish of the tea. Im also getting a bit of straw flavor now, which is a bit unusual for an oolong. Much sweeter though, the spice flavor is also dissipating leaving more of the sweet honey flavor.

Fourth steeping , im getting the toasted flavor again, as well as a touch of anise. There is still a tiny tingle on the tongue and the caffiene in this tea is moderately high as Im feeling a slight buzz coming on. Its tasting like roasted honey, or caramel, or something like that now.. very nice, very smooth.

Im going to brew this out a few more times as it seems like a very strong steeper, I highly recommend this tea if you like light roasted oolong.

Flavors: Anise, Cinnamon, Honey, Roasted, Toast

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Thanks to Fong Mong for this sample.

I started by warming the yixing and then giving the tea a quick rinse. Using 5 grams of leaf for about 90ml of water. I got a subtle spicy aroma. Then moving onto the first infusion, I brewed it pretty quickly, only about 20 seconds. I got a nice clear slightly darker yellow color, like a dark straw color. The aroma got more intense, nutmeg, allspice, peach, apricot. Tasting it the flavor matches the aroma with a very pleasant sweetness.

Second infusion was much the same, though the spice is getting slightly more intense, cinnamon now as well, its like a peach cobbler is what it really reminds me of. The sweetness now is absolutely divine as well. Its subtle and soft and very mellow, relaxing and a wonderful evening tea to wind down the day with.

Third infusion I got a little more of the nutmeg aroma now, its really peachy and nutmeg, its even got a tingle of sourness on the finish. I really recommend brewing this one in a clay pot, it really pushes those subtle spice notes out. Im not getting as much of the floral as the description says, its there but its rather subdued. I think the clay pot brings out the spice notes, the peach flavors while subduing a bit of the high floral notes.

This tea is holding up incredibly well, I expect to get at least 10 steepings from it.

Highly recommended.

Flavors: Apricot, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Peach, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 tsp 3 OZ / 90 ML

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drank Da xue shan(2011) by gylxtea
86 tasting notes

Thanks to Glyxtea for this sample.

I started with using about 6 grams of leaf in an 80ml yixing. Giving it a quick rinse to wake up the leaves. They leaves were very clean there was no dust and the compression wasnt tight, the sample came broken up. So I decided once rinse was enough. Leaving it to open up for about a minute.

I started on the first infusion, I got a smooth smokey aroma and a clear just slightly darker than yellow liquor. This tea has a bit of age on it, but its still pretty young, I was surprised the smokey aroma was that prominent and that smooth. Giving it a taste, there was a nice vegetal, peach, smokey, grassy aroma. There was also some wood taste to it as well.

Second steep was much the same, though I got a bit of tingle on my tongue with this infusion, I usually get this with tea with a bit more age. Though it still had some of that young bitterness. But its that bitterness of young sheng, so it really wasnt surprising at all.

Third steep I was starting to get more sweetness as the bitterness started to die down at this stage, letting more of the floral and peach aroma come out, the smoke was also starting to dissipate as well. The wood flavor was still pretty strong at this stage.

Fourth steep and now im feeling a tiny bit of a buzz, drinking this one out 10-12 steeps is going to be a fun experience.. Aroma and flavor was pretty consistent at this stage with the last one, though the sweetness is coming out more at this point. Im still pretty much flash steeping it with just sitting for 5 seconds and then letting the pot pour time of about 6 seconds take care of the rest of the brewing.

Im going to brew this out a bunch more steeps, I like this tea alot, the flavors all compliment each other and its aging nicely, im actually curious what this is going to taste like in 5 more years.

Highly recommended.

Flavors: Bitter, Grass, Peach, Smoked, Vegetal, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

Ken,Thx for your recognizing the quality of gylxtea!

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drank Daily Darjeeling 2016 by Vahdam Teas
86 tasting notes

Tonight we have up 2016 daily Darjeeling , I added in the year, because for darjeelings this seems to make a big difference because of the weather. In a blend like this its probably slightly less important, but still might make a difference when the 2017’s come out.

I brewed 2.5 grams in 160 ml water, in a glass pot. I used 205 water as I find a slightly less than boiling works well on Darjeeling tea. I got a plum and muscatel aroma, a slight sweetness and a hint of apricots. There is a few other aroma’s that I cant quite identify.

Tasting it , I get more sweetness as well as a tiny hint of astringency right on the end of it. This is a really easy drinking tea for breakfast or later afternoon. It’s about medium on the caffeine scale , so it good for most times. Im drinking this to relax and wind down at the end of the day, and its very smooth..

Highly recommended.

Flavors: Apricot, Muscatel, Plums

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 5 OZ / 160 ML

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
86 tasting notes

This is a rather unusual tea, its a tea from Kenya. I got this at the world tea expo and Ive been really curious to try it.

I started this by brewing it in a glass teapot at 205, 2.5 grams in a 160 ml of water. I got a very clear dark liquor, bit darker than the Ceylon tea. Its also slightly sweeter and lacking the citrus flavor. Its more like dark wood or dark chocolate. There is also a hint of creamy flavor as well. The aroma wasnt quite as powerful though.

I actually like this.. there is a bit of astrigency and bitterness, but its not overpowering at all.


Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Chocolate, Creamy, Dark Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 5 OZ / 160 ML

Follow up, the caffeine level on this is quiet high, I was buzzing a little yesterday.

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Today we have up Loolocondera FBOP, I started by heating the glass pot and giving the leaves a quick shake in the pot to get the aroma. Chocolate, nuts, flowers, all rose up from the pot.

I brewed this a single time with 2.5 grams of leaf to 180 mg of water. I got a very clear dark orange red liquor, there is no dust of sediment. The flavors are chocolate, with nuts and a pleasant sourness, also a bit of spice maybe cinnamon and a bit of citrus. There is also a strong bitter and astringent note in this tea, not overpowering, but quite noticeable. From what I understand, the spice and citrus, with a strong astringent quality is pretty common in Ceylon teas, because of the terrior.

This tea would go well with a slice of lemon or be able to stand up to food, its not quite as soft of subtle as other teas, but in some ways that is good. Ive been playing with the brewing time and found 2.5 grams for 2 1/2 minutes at just under boiling gives the best balance of flavor in my opinion. I find Ceylon tea does a little better with western style brewing.

Recommended if you are looking for a nice Ceylon or a tea to have with your lunch.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Citrus, Nuts, Pleasantly Sour

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 g 6 OZ / 180 ML
The Monsoon Mountains Tea Company

Hi Ken, many thanks for the review. So much of what becomes astringent in tea depends heavily upon the type of water used to make it more than the terroir. Ceylon Teas are not really renowned for their astringency, rather, for their citrus notes (usually more lime than lemon and therefore sweeter), but for their delicacy and sweetness. I use very soft spring water for tasting the teas I bring in, with a good PH balance but then, as a taster, I make sure the PH in the watre I use is the best it can be for where I am. Sweeter water certainly makes a sweeter tea. The same teas brewed in an area in which the tap water is highly treated won’t taste as good as water that is pure. But you are absolutley spot on with the aroma from the pot. Then again, everyone’s palate is so different. I get caramel notes, and a milkier chocolate. If you want chocolatey teas, the best are Ceylon Low Elevation / Ruhunu / Ratnapura FBOP’s and OP1’s. Lumbini and New Vithanakande low elevation OP1’s and FBOPFExSp’s have lovely chocolate, sultana, plum and flowery ( freesia type) notes to them. I certainly concur with a hint of cinnamon in the Loolecondera. For this reason, this tea makes a lovely base for a chai blend.

The Monsoon Mountains Tea Company

…and as an afterthought I would like to add that, if it is a good full flavoured tea one is looking for, that reminds you of what ‘proper’ tea should taste like, this is pretty close to the quintessential loose tea flavour that would have been prevalent in a household tea in the 50’s and 60’s. Loolecondera Estate tea makes a good everyday cuppa.

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Thanks to Fong Mong for the sample.

I started by brewing this in my yixing. Starting with a quick rinse I got a clear pale yellow liquor that had a strong aroma of nutmeg, apricots and peaches. I was actually a little surprised how intense the aroma was, much stronger than other Lishan’s, especially the spice. I know the yixing brings out the spice notes more intently.. but wow..

First infusion I got a slightly darker liqour with an even more intense spice aroma, nutmeg and cinnamon and maybe a teeny bit of allspice. Still getting that stonefruit aroma as well, and the flavor is floral, and stonefruits, which is what you would expect from high mountain Taiwan oolong.

Second infusion was much the same, though the apricot is coming out more strongly now including a very slightly tangy note. That spicey sweet soft flavor is just incredible… I really love the way yixing’s make high mountain oolongs really pop.

Third infusion and the color is staying consistent, a pale golden yellow color with that sweet spicy peach aroma. Its so smooth and just leaves the slightest tingle on your tongue. Its getting sweeter now and that tang is fading, but there is still a hint of it there. The tea is definitely getting sweeter as the infusions progress.

Fourth infusion and its getting harder to describe the flavor and aroma, I wish you all could taste this. Im just going to say, this is the best Lishan Ive had yet. IM going to brew this out at least 6 or so more times, its seems a very strong steeper.

Highly recommended for fans of high mountain tea.

Flavors: Apricot, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Peach, Stonefruits

6 tsp 3 OZ / 100 ML

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working on improving my ability to taste the subtle flavors of teas.

Rating system is as follows, over 60 is recommended and over 80 is highly recommended.

Trying to use the full range of scale.


Las Vegas Nevada

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