52 Tasting Notes


As Da Hong Pao goes, this one is quite lovely. Lovely rich honey-amber cup which ignites the air with a surprising berry fruitiness mixed with coco powder. Autumn leaves, caramel and roasted winter squash strike the full bodied palate with a striking, yet classic, sweetness which closes delicately with a wisp of semi-sweet coco powder and honey. Very pleasant tannins, which gently pull at your palate as you savor the very long finish. I was able to get 4 steeps out of this, you may be able to stretch that to 5-6 if you play around with water temp and steeping time. I will be ordering more of this!

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 15 sec 3 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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drank Three Fire Oolong by Steepster
52 tasting notes

You know you are in for an experience when the unsteeped tea smells like fish and old barley (anyone want milk for their Cheerios?)…
Quite possibly the worst tea I have ever tasted. Sickly greenish tan in color with aromas with cooked barley. Flavors range form burned hay and cooked barley, to that of chewing on a brown paper bag. There is some acidity on the finish hinting at the “stone fruit” that is listed as a flavor profile, but that’s a real stretch. It also says “5+ resteeps”……………. I would change that to “0 resteeps, place in garbage”…

Thanks Steepster!

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 15 sec 3 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

did you rinse it? teas this type i prepare gongfu flash steeped


I understand what you are saying, I have had overcooked tea before… had I rinsed it and flash infused it would have tasted like chewing on a brown paper bag, only watered down. lol… I did steep a second time, it is hideous tea.


gotcha ;)

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Matronly, thin and disgusting.
Sounds more like a description of your mother in law than tea. However, this is not tea… its potpourri with some tea in it.
I do not like flavored teas, but felt obligated to try it as it was sent to me as part of my Steepster Select membership… which so far has yielded nothing I have enjoyed, but that’s a different story.
The reddish brown color of the cup is inviting, however the aromas of toffee, butterscotch and caramel remind me of walking by Garrett’s Popcorn in downtown Chicago around the holidays… which is not terrible at all, when that is where you smell it. The taste profile is better than the aroma, but not by much… sweet peppercorn and cardamom dominate, with hints of citrus (orange), which is supported by the coriander cinnamon notes and closes with a decent astringency, which may be its savior. The actual black tea flavors are all but completely washed away. Overall the mouth feel is thin and the finish, although lasting is a bit minty, soapy and disgusting… like the smell of one of those candle-potpourii-soap shops in a mall has been jellified and you brushed your teeth with it.
Now… with all of that being said, this is far less offensive than other flavored teas I have had, and I know that some people love it and I am not saying they are wrong for enjoying it (some people also like sangria over wine – cough)… this is just my opinion and an honest review of the product. Now if you will excuse me, I think my cats stole my yarn and I need to finish my knitting for the holidays. Here kitty kitty… haha

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 6 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank Yellow Gem by DAVIDsTEA
52 tasting notes

What a surprise this was!! Wonderful copper golden color and aromas of dry wood, citrus and cooked squash. Lemon rind and mellow fruity sweetness with a touch of vegetation on the palate and a very unique flavor of oil-cured beldi olives adding to the somewhat brisk finish. I usually hate most of the offerings from DAVIDsTEA, but this one was notable. Not amazing, but it is something worth trying.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 45 sec 2 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

lemons! mmmmmmm :)

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As a fan of 1st flush Darjeeling, this was recommended to me by the great merchants at TeaGschwedner. Reddish-amber honey in color with bright orange hues draw you into aromas of citrus and fruit with touches of mountain flora. Lovely honey-apple sweetness with hints of cut grass which is balanced with a great astringent finish which draws upon flavors of fall leaves, dried flowers and lemon zest.
A great every day tea for fans of Darjeeling 1st flush as it is considerably less expensive. Where it lacks in depth is makes up in honesty… this is just a classy tea.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Amber honey color with edges of grayish green and sweet floral aromas come off the brewed tea. I allowed the temperature to drop after steeping to allow it to open up with honey aromas accompanying the floral and classic muscatel notes. Surprisingly sweet for a 1st Flush with flavors of roasted fall squash, mild nuttiness and honey that lingers for a long time reminding me a bit more of Spring Yunnan than Darjeeling. The acidity is balanced with the sweetness, however it could use a little more astringency… I like a little youthful brisk punch from Darjeeling 1st flushes and this drinks very soft (this is personal taste and not at all a flaw with the tea).
There are far better Darjeeling 1st Flushes (especially for the price) out there, but this yielded a very enjoyable cup. The most interesting part was the aromas coming off of the brewed leaves… hints of toasted cumin, refined sugar and flower pedals. Unfortunately these aromas did not translate well into the liquor. A second steep was possible – I let it go for 4:45 to try to coax out some astringency… nothing. This is a clever tea, but maybe not clever enough to open my wallet again.

Boiling 2 min, 45 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Autumn Blend #9 by Steepster
52 tasting notes

While I do not think drinking a cup of potourri is even remotely related to drinking tea… I understand that many people do and to each his own. I received this, as many others did, in the Steepster Select sampler package so I felt obligated to give it a try.

Light honey in color, with very upfront aromas of star anise and hints of autumnal spice, including a “cinnamon” scent which reminds me of Red Hots or chewing Big Red gum in the 80s (do they still make that?). Mouthfeel is very very thin (think hot water) and the mint flavors begin to come through. Cinnamon is very very faint, if there at all, and the citrus notes are also totally muted although there is a little acidity on the brief thin finish.
To say it is terrible would be a lie… but to say that I like it would be like saying that I like cats……. a lot. I refused to use my teaware for this, so I got out a nice mug with a bumble bee on it and found that more appropriate. Oh… it does pair well with fortune cookies, if that’s a saving grace (LOL). My wife and I did not finish our second steep as both of us began to feel kinda ill from the taste… This is just not my cup of tea… potpourri… whatever. Here kitty kitty…

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 6 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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A wise man once told me that a tea should be labeled or called as the tea producer labels it or calls it (I am not making that up for fodder, a wise man actually did tell me that – haha). In this case, I would say the word “Oolong” is such a falsehood that I would be remiss if I did not just say that this is a black tea. According to the tea maker, they call it an Oolong because the leaves are harvested from plants that usually are for Oolong tea harvest. (cough)…
Anyways… this is a wonderful black tea!! Rich and malty, reminiscent of fine 2nd flushes from Assam or Nepal yet with a smoothness, acidity and distinct complexity that is very much its own. Heavy hints of cocoa powder on the nose lead you into the very full bodied smokey-brown brunette cup that has a continuation of chocolate, underpinned by distinct herbaceous notes followed by tobacco, cooked tart apples and a long fruity sweet finish which echos the ‘herbal’ terrier. Light astringency pulls gently at your mouth and increasingly develops long after swallowing creating a very well balanced cup. Truly a remarkable tea, even if it is a but expensive.

Steep this tea with Western methods, but allow to cool after removing the leaves to let the flavors open. I still don’t know anyone who can accurately taste a white wine that is under 45-50 degrees F and I feel the same bout boiling hot tea… however with a tea like this a full extraction is essential. Multiple steepings possible, but in this brewing style 2-3 would be max before losing its rich charm and the first is the best.

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

Lol, call it as it is, agreed! Sounds wonderful :-)

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Brilliantly clean and brisk, this young sheng displays a light golden color and notes of apricot and citrus. Bold flavors of dried apricot and fresh tobacco dominate the palate with hints of tangerine and a brisk astringency that seems to bounce flavors around your mouth playfully creatings an uncommonly long finish that highlights the “raisin” aspect of the tobacco notes. Multiple steepings are possible and the astringency tapers off along with this. I was most pleased with this sample from Yunnan Sourcing.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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A Food and Beverage professional for over 15 years in Chicago Illinois and professional musician. Studying tea, along with wine, beer, spirits and food has been a lifetime passion.
Aside from my service profession I am a private music teacher and music director for multiple music ensembles including The Chicago Zither Orchestra.
Pastimes include composing instrumental music, collecting and listening to historical and rare classical music recordings, gourmet cooking and enjoying the sport of baseball.

Tea: I am really into a wide variety of teas. I tend to avoid flavored teas but will try herbal teas. If I had to list favorites I am a fan of Japanese shaded green teas, Darjeeling 1st flushes, Assam 2nd flushes, Pu-erh (sheng and shou), Oolongs and delicate refined whites. I really do not have a favorite tea, just as I do not have a favorite food, wine, artist or composer… as there are just far too many enjoyable variables and differences that can be “my favorite” depending on the context.

Feel free to private message me about whatever.


Chicago, Illinois



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