580 Tasting Notes

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped 7 minutes, drunk bare.

Yes, 7 minutes — I got distracted by a full washer and dryer.

And this tea was still beautiful. It got thicker, heavier in the body, but not bitter; the taste itself did not change. Happy accident.

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1 bag for 300mL water @100C, steeped four minutes.

A huge box of these teabags came to me from a friend in England. In North America, PG Tips is a pleasant, if dull, supermarket black tea, mostly Ceylon, I think. The English version is quite different.

The liquor is almost red, like a decent Keemun. I wonder of there’s some Keemun in the blend, as there’s a faint – very faint- smokiness and bitterness. Some Assam, I think, giving heft, and something lighter, giving some astringency to the finish. Delicious and full, without coating the mouth as some Assams and Kenyans might. A very pleasant surprise. It reminds me of how Twinings English Breakfast used to taste, many years ago, only much better.


My local source for looseleaf PG Tips dried up and it makes me sad. Haven’t tried the pyramid bags yet; they sound like a completely different composition.

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1,5 tsp plus a punch for 300mL water @10C, steeped four minutes.

This is a second infusion, from leaves I steeped yesterday morning for three minutes. I meant to steep the leaves a a second time yesterday in a travel mug and take it to work, but, as usual, I got distracted. I was a but concerned this morning about re-steeping damp leaves left in a strainer 24 hours in some heat and humidity, but this tea is too good to waste. I added a pinch of fresh leaf and poured the water.

The second infusion was identical to the first. The pu-erh darkness mellowed slightly, but only slightly. A potent and nuanced blend, and a joy to drink.

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped five minutes Western style.

Yeah, don’t do what I just did. I got distracted — damn it, I need a timer in my study for when I make tea — and my precious sample Laoshan Black is bitter. Cocoa-bitter. It’s still a lovely tea, and I can handle some bitterness, but this expensive error reminds me that good tea is often delicate tea and needed careful treatment.

As it cools, some of the sweeter notes are coming out. Still, it’s over-steeped, and it’s my own fault.


It’s heartbreaking when you get all psyched up to drink a very specific tea and have an experience in mind and have the wind taken out of your sails by an overabundance of steepage (generally, I find, brought on by a parallel overabundance of multi-tasking…)

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2 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped five minutes Western style, drunk bare.

I got distracted. I meant to steep this only four minutes.

Dark copper liquor. Lots of sweet potato, similar to Golden Fleece, but not as fuzzy in the mouth-feel, and with lots of deep cocoa notes. Roasty.

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2 tsp for 300mL @100C, steeped four minutes Western style, drunk bare.

Oh, oh, oh.

Liquor is quite dark, letting me know there’s pu-erh in the blend. I can smell the pu-erh, too, and it’s a type of tea I generally don’t care for, but it’s giving heft and depth to this blend. Bready and toasty — roasted grains, and a winey finish that reminds me of some good Keemuns. Some faint Yunnan pepper, stronger in the aftertaste, and some honey notes. Florals in the finish, too. Deep notes of cocoa and sweet potato and minerals. Wow. I’ve never tasted a blend like this.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Oaky notes, too — like Keemun again, or some malt whiskies.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Second infusion, four minutes thirty seconds … more
flavour than some first infusions. Less oak and pu-erh, more Yunnan, honey, and fruit, with dark cocoa notes in the finish. Liquor is dark copper this time; the first infusion liquor was brown.


Can’t wait to write about this tea too but I have family visiting from California this week and writing is impossible! All I can say is hallelujah it’s back!

Michelle Butler Hallett

I must save this tea for weekend mornings. I have spent waaaayyyy too much money on Verdant Tea this summer. They sell such beautiful tea, and I think it’s fairly priced, but I must practice some restraint. I shall save this for mornings when I rise early, and I’m the only one awake in the house. It’s a peaceful tea.

Ooooh. I like it even more at a three-minute steep. It’s sweet!

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @98C, steeped four minutes 30 seconds, drunk bare.

Steeped a little longer than usual today … getting a heavier body. No bitterness. Smooth. Many Yunnan characteristics and a bite of Himalayan. Deep honey notes. A good choice for the hot-tea-on-a-hot-day approach to summer heat.


This is hands-down my favourite tea. I brew it more than anything else.

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped four minutes, drunk bare.

Eehhrrr …

The scent reminds me of Super Chocolate. Lots of good cinnamon. The liquor is cloudy and gritty, with globs of fat on the surface from the chocolate and coconut. Visually, this is not appealing at all. Mouthfeel is very smooth, thanks to the melted chocolate, and the cinnamon, clove, and chipotle chile give a pleasant bite. I cannot taste vanilla, or chocolate, or coconut. I pick up some weak back tea. I want to like this, and at my first sip I wanted to spit it out, but I can’t make up my mind. I might appreciate this more on a cold day.

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @90C, steeped four minutes, drunk bare.

Yikes. Oversteeped and a bit soapy and bitter and mineral. Treat this one gently.

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I prefer straight teas but will try almost anything … so long as it’s not tainted with hibiscus. I loathe hibiscus.

Floral oolong and complex black teas are my favourites.


St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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