580 Tasting Notes

1tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped two minutes.

I find some of the same scallop-y notes as I found in the Spring Harvest Laoshan Green, but with more butter and green vegetable notes. I’m getting some floral oolong notes cutting through the butter, veggies, and scallops. A lot going on here. Not sure yet if I like it.

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1 tsp for 250mL water @80C, 1 minute 30 seconds.


This is a briny, oceanic green tea, and all I can smell or taste is scallops. I love scallops — just not in tea.

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

Dry leaves are long and twisty, mostly dark with a golden one here and there.

Dark copper liquor.

Well, Damn Fine warned us this would be strong.

And it’s GLORIOUS. Lots of cedar and toast notes, and a rich, almost honey-like finish that announced ‘Yunnan’ in a deep voice. Not a subtle or a gentle tea. It’s not smoky, but it’s close to smoky. It’s got a faint peppery bite that I find in some Yunnans and really like. I’m gonna play with steep times, but I expect this will brew up intense regardless. I love this tea. But be warned: it’s strong.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Biting, Black Pepper, Brown Toast, Cedar, Cocoa, Earth, Fig, Forest Floor, Honey, Oak wood, Thick, Winter Honey


Yunnan teas are really good gongfu style



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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @85C, steeped five minutes.

The packet suggests using water at 100C, but I find that scalds mate and certainly makes the dried fruit a bit harsh. 85C works much better.

A fresh and bright green mate with lots of candied fruit. Sweet and sunny, with good but not overpowering or sickly ago flavour. Good mate buzz from it, too.

I find Tea Squared in my favourite supermarket. The re-sealable bags hold about 80 grams of tea or tisane, and retail around 8 to 9 dollars Canadian. Worth it, I think.

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @95C, steeped four minutes.

A delicate and subtle lapsang souchong with a mineral oolong finish.

I’m in love.

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @90C, steeped 8 minutes 45 seconds.

Yeah, 8:45. I got a phone call.

However, this tea stands of beautifully to a long steep.

Colour on my usual 4:30 steep is much the same as what I have here now, a medium copper that looks like a light Ceylon tea. This is a darker oolong than I usually drink, and it’s got a lot going on: molasses, figs, plums and a few other nots I can’t quite define. Nuanced. No bitterness, not even at 8:45. The shorter steep is much sweeter, but this robust beauty remains pleasant and complex. Well worth a try for anyone who likes oolong, and it might make a lovely foray into oolong for a tea drinker who likes the lighter black teas, like Darjeelings (though this has no astringency).

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1.5 tsp (approximate — leaves are long and twisty) for 300mL water @95C, stepped 4 minutes 45 seconds.

Oh oh oh.

First off, I love the name of this tea. I admit it; I pretend I am a dagger-wielding warrior queen when I drink this.

Dry leaf is black and gold, long and twist. Scents of dark honey, earth, a bit of sweet potato, and leather.

Wet leaf yields up copper and brown, like pennies. Scents are stronger.

Liquor is copper with some down.

Aroma is unmistakeable: some leather, buckwheat honey, fresh bread, and spicy trees. I know that last one sounds odd. Spicy trees, green incensey almost — cedar perhaps?

Flavour matches the aroma with some sweet potato notes as well. No bitterness.

I just love this tea.

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1.5 tsp in 300mL water @95C, steeped five minutes.

An excellent basic Darjeeling. Everything that’s good about Darjeeling — the clean astringence, the tending towards almost a green tea in body and taste, and that glorious muscatel — is all here. This is a blend from one grand, Pussimbing. I find it benefits from a slightly longer steep than I usually go for with a black tea, five minutes versus four or four and a half, and with the lower water temp of 95 vs 100. The price is more than reasonable — a bargain, I’d argue, with 250 grams costing only $18.00 — the leaf organic and tested for hundreds of different residues, and, best of all, Tea Campaign is committed to improving the lives of tea workers.

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About 4 grams for 300mL water @98C, steeped four minutes, Western style.

I can taste everything listed in the tasting notes, even the brightness, which is pleasant … but I still can’t finish it. Pu’er and I just can’t get along.


I only brew puerh Gongfu style . You might like it too

Michelle Butler Hallett

I expect you’re on to something.

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1.5 tsp (roughly — big leaves) for 300mL water @85C, steeped 3 minutes 30 seconds, Western style, first infusion.

Dry leaf: dark and giving a scent of earth and — uh — incense. Something spicy. Mineral notes.

Wet leaf is green and smells of toast and sun-warmed rocks.

Liquor is pale golden-green, much like a tieguanyin would be.

First aroma notes are earth and sunshine and rocks. The earthiness seemed more pronounced in the cup I made last night with warmer water, 90C. Today I’ve got something close to an autumn tieguanyin, those sorts of florals, with toasted grain and minerals. Yeah, I keep mentioning rocks: lots of rocky notes here, and that’s great. I think I prefer tieguanyin, on the whole, but this is lovely and complex, invites meditation — perhaps it’s the faint, faint reminders of incense doing that.

Flavours continue to open up as the tea cools.

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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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