583 Tasting Notes

1.25tsp for 250mL water @ 90C, steeped three minutes.

Before I go any further, I must point out that Citizen Tea makes it very easy to try samples of their teas. My entire order was made of little sample packets, and I am delighted by that. It’s a very friendly way to try different offerings and means I don;t need to commit to 50 grams of something I really don’t like in the end. Citizen Tea bends over backwards to treat the customer well.

Dry leaf: green pebbles, with a strong scent of liquorice. I’m dubious here …

Wet leaf: very little unfurling of leaves, which bodes well for repeated infusions.

I avoid liquorice in teas and tisanes as I don’t care for it, and because I have blood pressure issues. I missed the mention of liquorice when I ordered this sample.

Once again, Citizen Tea show they understand blends. This is very balanced between ginseng and liquorice, with neither dominating. It’s sweet, but not cloying. The ginseng lends the usual slightly fuzzy mouthfeel. Me, I’d prefer it without the liquorice, but if you like the stuff, you’ll probably like this tea.

Evol Ving Ness

Ginseng also raises blood pressure.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Shoot. Did not know that. Thanks very much for telling me. I really like ginseng oolong. I’ll have to save it for once in a very great while.

Evol Ving Ness

You are welcome. I’ve been doing a great deal of research on this. Hibiscus is a good one to drink if this is an issue.

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1.25tsp for 250mL water @80C, steeped two minutes.

Dry leaf: bright green, long and pressed flat, some twigs. Very fragrant: grass and soybeans and even a hint of vanilla. Sweet.

Wet leaf: still a bright green.

Liquor: palest green, almost clear. Extremely fragrant for a green tea: first of vegetal, then of sweetness, almost grassiness. Some vegetal teas taste like briny broth and scallops to me. This one has a slight scalp note but none of that brothy taste. Potent leaves. Something sharp in the aroma, almost fruity: I can’t quite figure it out. The liquor is packed with flavour.

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2tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped 9 minutes. The packet recommends 2tsp for 1 cup of water, which seems like a lot to me, but with tisanes, things can get tricky. So I’ll follow the instructions. Packet also recommends a steep time of six to eight minutes. I got distracted and left it for 9.

Dry leaf: gorgeous dark roasted mate. I was delighted to see that, because the packet lists only “mate” as an ingredient. I was worried that green mate, so fresh and vibrant, couldn’t stand up to chai spices. Roasted can, I have no doubt. I love roasted mate, and it can be hard to find. Strong scent of ginger and cloves, which I love. Clove is an ingredient I don’t often encounter in chai blends. Stash uses it, and Stash was the first chai blend I ever tried, so now for me cloves need to be there. And ginger. I adore cloves and ginger. Cinnamon I can take or leave in a chai blend. This probably tells you I am an unsophisticated brute who knows nothing of chai.

Wet leaf: glossy dark roasted mate, but of clove and ginger showing.

Liquor: quite dark, though not as dark as a pu-ehr. Dark golden brown, as a Nigiri might give. Translucent: light passes through without interruption from down or fragments. Fragrant still with clove and ginger — and a bit of cardamom, which I also adore but can only take in small doses. Too much cardamom gives tisanes, teas and coffee a soapy mouthfeel. I also find too much cardamom hard on the stomach. Given how long I’ve steeped this, I’m a bit nervous.

Just on the edge of soap with the cardamom, and I blame myself. A shorter steep would solve that.

A very balanced blend. The roasted mate is all toasty and a bit earthy, a subtle touch of bitterness — which really works here. I don’t think it needs any sweetening, because the ginger and cinnamon sweeten things nicely at the end. The cloves add depth, and the pepper leaves a lingering bite that builds with each sip.

The mate lift kicks in fast, as it should. Not a smack to the head, but a definite boost. Very pleasant.

I really like it. Citizen Tea seem to have a good handle on blends. Watch the water temp and steep times on this beauty, and enjoy.


I find they (and Teaopia when it was around)don’t add blends often, not like DT or Teavana. But they do a much better job overall of blending! Quality over quantity :)

Michelle Butler Hallett

I think you’re onto something there.


I hope so! I’ll definitely pay more attention to any new blends they come up with now

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5g to 200mL water @95C, rinsed and brewed gongfu style in bone china

1st infusion 30 seconds

I have great respect for Master Zhang. I’ve learned so much about oolongs from his work. And today, I didn’t just learn something, I experienced it. The first sip felt musical; I heard singing.

I enjoy floral tieguanyins, This one has floral notes, plus some distant ginseng (and that ginseng zip on the tongue). I wish I had the vocabulary to better convey this tea, which is the most sublime and beautiful tea I’ve ever tasted.

I’m in awe.

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1.25tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped eight minutes.

Cola nut dominates the taste and scent of this pretty stimulant tisane. Next layer of flavour is guarana, cinnamon, and apple. I didn’t taste the yerba mate at all … but I can feel it, that and the guarana. A slow build to a potent energy boost. The honeybush and apple make a lovely combination that rounds out and balances the entire blend. Still, a strong scent of cola nut remains, even in another room where I had first steeped the tisane. So if you don’t like cola, this tisane likely won’t work for you. As for me, I like it far more than I expected to.

A pleasant stimulant tisane that has good depth of flavour — not always a given with tisanes — and delivers on the promise of an energy boost.

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2.5 tsp for 500mL water @82C, steeped three minutes.

I received this as a sample of the Toronto tea Festival 2017 Tea Tasting Box — Oolong Tea.

Dry leaf: mostly black tea leaves with some small pieces of green tea, various bits of bloosing, and tiny pieces of dried peach. Aroma: very fragrant with peach and black tea.

Wet leaf: just a beautiful riot of colour, like a forest floor.

Liquor: light bronze. Peach aroma quite strong. Black tea dominates but is gentle; the cooler water keeps the tea from getting bitter. I can taste the green tea, and the touch of jasmine comes out, too.I cannot detect any oolong in the taste. This is a very tea, lots going on. Some astringence, perhaps from the added flavours. The peach taste is fairly close to the real thing. Not sure if the tea needs the jasmine. Light body. Some bitterness in the finish; a shorter steep time might ease that.

If you like peach-flavoured teas, this one’s worth trying.

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2 tsp for 500mL water @90C, steeped three minutes.

I received a sample of this tea as part of the Toronto Tea Festival 2017 Tasting Box — Oolong Tea.

Dry leaf: tightly rolled, light ot medium green. An unfortunate whiff of condensed tomato soup in the scent.

Wet leaf: gorgeous long and twisty medium green leaves with some stems. Vegetal aroma, edging to briny.

I need to say this upfront: I generally don’t enjoy vegetal and brothy teas. Sometimes I think of soup; sometimes I think of scallops. So I’m not sure I can fairly review a tea with such qualities.

Liquor, first infusion: palest green, almost a pale yellow. Vegetal and slightly briny aroma: buttered greens, faint whiff of scallops. Delicate taste of buttered greens with a sweet and floral finish. After swallowing, however, I get a dominant vegetal taste left in the mouth. Not getting much of a floral aroma.

As the tea cools, some mineral notes come out. Vegetal dominates.

If you like a vegetal green or oolong, this will probably suit you.

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2 tsp for 500mL water @ 90C, steeped four minutes.

I got two excellent infusions: lots of body and flavour. The oolong itself is mild and slightly floral. The ginseng powder is lovely, just sweet enough, with plenty of ginseng lift. I expect I could have gotten a very good third infusion, too.

Dry leaf: little green pebbles. Cute.

Wet leaf: deep dark green, shiny.

Liquor: pale yellow and a slight green tinge for both infusions. Light to medium body. Some “bite” from the ginseng, which I really like. I’ve not been able to get ginseng oolong for at least a year, so this was a treat. I’d recommend this without hesitation.

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2.5 tsp for 500mL water @ 95C, steeped five minutes.

Yeah. I know. Water’s probably too cool. I made the tea in a double-walled glass beaker that can’t take water over 93C, so I;m pushing my luck as it is.

Still, this tisane shuodl have a little more flavour and aroma. Very little scent, and what I do get is of rooibos, not strawberry. I’m glad this blend has no hibiscus, but it does lack something. The rooibos is not woody, but it is flat and nearly tasteless. The flavouring — artificial? natural? fruit0based? the label only says “flavouring” — doesn’t add much.

I don’t enjoy giving poor reviews. This is two in a row for Citizen Tea. Jeez, now I’ve got tea guilt.

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2.5 tsp for 500mL water @95C, steeped four minutes thirty seconds.

I often steep China black teas in water just off the boil to avoid bitterness, especially in lower-end Yunnans and Keemuns.

It didn’t help. This Golden Monkey disappointed me: bitter and woody. Something like … earth, I think, sort of a dank smoke. I know, that sounds terrible, and I really don’t want to slam this tea. other Yunnan Golden Moneys I’ve tried are lighter, sweeter, and give an enticing scent. This one didn’t have much scent, either. Dang.

I will try this one again with 100C water, but I expect what I object to now will only be stronger with hotter water.

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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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