394 Tasting Notes

drank Purple Pu-er (Sheng) by Tao Tea Leaf
394 tasting notes

I have really liked some other purple leaf sheng that I’ve tried, so I was pretty excited to grab a little baggie of this from the TTB last time it came into my possession. Unfortunately, this one was a bit of a let-down. The dry leaf had a slightly fruity aroma – after a rinse, they smelled sweeter with a bit of a vegetal note and another something that was really familiar, but which I was unable to place.

I didn’t get a whole lot else from the tea. Some bitterness and vegetal sweetness, maybe just a touch of raisin-y fruitiness. The tea was pretty drying from the start and got more so as the session progressed. Pretty meh the whole time. I only had about 4g of this one, so I don’t have enough to try it again, so that’s that I guess!

Flavors: Drying, Fruity, Vegetal

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
394 tasting notes

I received a couple sessions’ worth of Floating Leaves’s 2015 Shan Lin Xi from a teafriend earlier in the year and got around to drinking it a few days ago. The dry leaves had an eggy (like eggnog-ish), floral, creamy aroma. After a rinse, they smelled more strongly floral, with a bit of a vegetal note as well.

I used boiled water for my first session with the tea. The flavor started floral and vegetal – I picked up a bit of a sweetcorn note. The floral flavor had an almost musky, heavy quality. The flavor grew more intense as I steeped it out. I noted that it was more intense and full in flavor than a lot of green oolongs. The finish was buttery and thick. Near the middle of the session, the flavor became more green and vegetal, but still retained creamy floral notes. There was also a small hint of bitterness.

For my second session, I used 200F water. The flavor of this session was lighter, more delicate, and “higher” than my previous session. I think I preferred it with this slightly cooler water. The early steeps had a floral flavor with a lasting crisp finish. As in the earlier session, the flavor transitioned to something greener and a bit more vegetal, though the floral character remained more intact in this session, and I didn’t ever get anything resembling bitterness.

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I got a little sample of this tea from a friend recently. I think the 2015 version of this tea was one of the first loose leaf teas I ordered from anywhere besides Teavana. Even though I brewed this with 6g:100mL, I found the flavor to be a bit light. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I thought it was of note.

The flavor was sweet and malty from the beginning, but it also had a bit of a yammy note going. I enjoyed my session with this tea, but I didn’t find it particularly interesting or anything. A good and simple one to drink when you can’t focus too hard on your tea.

Flavors: Malt, Sweet, Yams

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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drank Yue Guang Bai by Yunnan Sourcing
394 tasting notes

Received a nice little sample of this from a teafriend when I visited him. This YGB seemed to be a little bit more oxidized than some of the others I’ve tried. It was mostly malty and honey sweet, with a little bit of fruity sharpness on a few steeps – like raisins or dates. Soft mouthfeel. Towards the end of the session, it started to get a little bit woody – like a really dry woodiness. Yue Guang Bai is good, but I don’t think I like it enough to really buy large quantities of it or anything.

Flavors: Fig, Hay, Honey, Malt, Sweet, Wood

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Another sample from the same teafriend! I normally don’t bother with green teas, aside from the occasional sencha or gyokuro, as it’s annoying to have to drink them while they’re still fresh and I just like oolong and puerh better 9.9/10 times. I certainly wasn’t going to say no to a package which included some fresh teas though! I think this one is the first fresh Chinese green I have tried.

I tried it gongfu first, and found it to be so-so. It was vegetal and brothy with a bit of grassiness.

I much preferred it the second time I drank it when I did grandpa style. It took a while for all of the leaves to sink to the bottom, so I had to filter through my teeth for the first couple mugs full. The flavor was actually pretty intense at the start – very brothy and nutty, with a bit of a vegetal flavor as well. The nuttiness was the main flavor I noticed through most of the session. I think there may have been a bit of straw or hay underneath as well. I didn’t pick up any notes which I would describe as “bright” or “crisp.” No fruit or anything like that. The flavor also had an unusual depth to it, which I had a bit of trouble placing, but I think it was some umami in the nutty flavor which was tricking my palate some.

I certainly enjoyed my time with this tea, but Mao Feng won’t be something that I pick up on a regular basis or anything.

Flavors: Broth, Hay, Nutty, Umami, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 4 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

Perhaps the most annoying thing about green tea is how easily it oxidizes – it sounds like that’s what happened with your sample. It doesn’t keep well anywhere unless you have one of those double-lidded tea tins, and even then you still gotta finish it fast.

S.G. Sanders

Glad you tried it. I think this is some of the better green I’ve had, but like yourself, puerh is my #1 go to. :P


Yea, Pu #1! :P

And yea, tanluwils – that is why I haven’t bought much green tea. Like when I bought a decent-sized order of Japanese greens, I just got a bunch of tiny samples. Can’t have em going bad/stale on me.


I feel ya. I try not to buy too many greens, but went on a bit of a buying spree this spring to feed by shincha craving. I’ve had good luck keeping my greens (including green oolongs) in air tight Japanese tea tins. They can stay tasty for about a year if stored in a cool dark place. I keep unopened packs in the fridge and take them out to settle to room temp for several days if I plan to open them.


I had the same experience. The less attention I pay to this tea the more I like it — it has turned out to be a great one for the office.

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I got a sample of this tea from an awesome teafriend. It is my first go with a Duck Shit oolong or any kind of greener Dancong. I’m not sure I ever actually nailed the brewing over my three sessions with it. First attempt, I used boiled water, and it was generally bitter and unpleasant – failure. Next two, I used 195F water, which was much better.

The dry leaf had a creamy/milky, floral, honeysuckle sort of aroma to it. Once wet, it smelled more heavily floral, and also a bit vegetal.

The flavor was floral, buttery, creamy, and vegetal. I didn’t notice much of any evolution over the course of the session. Pretty constant and tasty. Based upon this session alone, I prefer the darker dancongs, but I still need to try some more green ones.

Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral, Green, Honeysuckle, Vegetal

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 60 ML
S.G. Sanders

Dancong can be the best oolong when brewed correctly! :)

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drank UNTITLED 02 by White 2 Tea
394 tasting notes

An interesting tea for sure. I picked up a sample of this and some of W2T’s other really high end stuff to see how it was. I’m really not sure how I feel about this one. It definitely wasn’t a flavor powerhouse, but as he has said, flavor isn’t necessarily what Paul is going for on some of his teas. This one has a reputation of being a bit of a face-melter, and while I didn’t quite have that experience, I definitely picked up on some qi from it.

The dry leaf had a greenish and pungent smell to it – there may have been some florals in there, but it really just smelled powerful to me. It didn’t change much after a rinse. It mostly just smelled “shengy” to me.

I found the flavor to be simple but pleasant. Certainly some bitterness involved, but not enough to chase me away. Grassy at times, but mostly a buttery vegetal flavor in the first half of the session. The flavor started moving in a sweeter, fruity direction around 8 or 9 steeps in, most notably in the finish. By the time I was squeezing the last bits of life out of it, the flavor was slightly syrupy and a bit fruity.

The texture of the liquid was incredibly thick and sat heavily in my stomach. In the first session I did with this tea, I didn’t feel the qi starting to build until I was about four or five steeps in, and it sort of just flowed through me in a relaxing way. Not too face-melty, but nice feeling. The second session was more notable and…weird I guess. Starting very early on in the session, it was distracting me from whatever I was trying to do at the time. I kept hearing music in my head, but not any songs which I knew…strange hip hop beats or something. I don’t usually listen to that kind of music or anything. Maybe it was the Kendrick Lamar song which this tea is named after (which I have never heard). I pretty much couldn’t get anything done as I drank the tea this second time around.

I like this one, and it had a weird qi effect to it. That said, it hasn’t inspired me to buy a full cake of it for the price it goes for. I have enough left to do one more little session with it, so I’ll probably try that with 200F water like Oolong Owl did on her blog review. Glad to experience this one. That second session was sorta surreal.

Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Fruity, Grass, Sweet, Vegetal

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Dry leaf on this one smelled roasty, caramel, earthy. After the first steep, it was roasty and very bready. That scent foreshadowed the flavor of this tea, which remained roasty and very bready – almost doughy in flavor + mouthfeel, if that makes any sense. No off-flavors or sourness either, which is always a plus in these often-scary little TGY packets. I liked it a decent amount, but not enough to want to buy any more of it.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Roasted

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I got a sample of this tea a little while ago and just finished it off. Based on when I ordered it, I believe it to be the Winter 2016 crop. The leaves are vibrant and green, and the aroma from them is floral and buttery, with just a bit of a savory character to them.

The tea starts off with mostly vegetal flavors, kind of kale-ish with a buttery texture. The finish is more fruity or floral, and the tea has a mouthwatering sweetness. It is very easy to drink.

As the session went on, I found it getting more juicy and/or crisp, and the finish became more buttery. The tea went on and on and on, easily 16 steeps, maybe up to 20. It seemed like no matter how many times I steeped in in the last half of the session, it just kept on giving a nice and pleasant creamy flavor. Not as flavorful as earlier infusions, but very drinkable and tasty.

This is an awesome green TW oolong. I will definitely be ordering some when I make my next order from BTTC (hopefully soon!).

Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral, Kale, Sweet, Vegetal

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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A bit about myself: 21 years old, college grad (Double major in Anthropology and History). I plan to make a career of archaeology and hopefully travel (much of) the world in my days.

I enjoy many things aside from tea, including gaming, mixing cocktails, reading, watching anime, and painting miniatures.

My favorite type of tea is sheng puerh. Particularly younger stuff, if only because I haven’t gotten the chance to taste much of anything aged. I also really like oolong (Taiwanese, Wuyi, Dancong, etc.) and Japanese Green Teas. I do also enjoy most other kinds of tea, but they aren’t what I normally buy. I’m not a huge fan of shou puerh, black tea, or flavored blends, with few exceptions.

I really like interacting with the tea community, so if you ever want to talk or swap teas or anything, feel free to shoot me a message or something. Follow me and I’ll follow you back. Probably ;)

You might also see me on reddit as /u/Matuhg



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