69 Tasting Notes


Mindblowing! This tea has qualities of a high grade Darjeeling for about half the price. I will include some more detailed notes from later sessions, this time I was just enjoying the tea too much and not ready to take notes :D

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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Exhilirating aroma that is very fruity with some longan fruit, apricots, cantaloupe and passionfruit. There are some more robust notes of forest floor in the background though.

When brewed light, the taste is mineral, fruity and a little sour, with some vegetal qualities too, which are mostly absent from the smell or just overpowered by other notes. I can also taste some baked bread and roasted walnuts in the background.
The tea induces a very interesting lingering effervescent, tickling and numbing feeling after drinking.

With harsher brew (higher temp and longer steeping time), I get a full bodied crisp liquor with thick oily mouthfeel and almost no astringency. Tea-like bitterness is very present, even in the aftertaste, but it transforms into something slightly sweet, nutty and very aromatic over time. The aftertaste is probably the most prolonged I have experienced with tea. The taste here is less fruity, the floral notes are much more pronounced instead. Interestingly, in later steeps, I notices some coffee taste as well.

There is a decently strong cha qi too, compared to most oolong teas I’ve had. Overall, my first session with a Dan Cong oolong will be remembered fondly. I am very impressed.

Flavors: Alcohol, Bitter, Cantaloupe, Floral, Forest Floor, Fruity, Mineral, Passion Fruits, Pleasantly Sour, Stonefruits, Sweet, Tea

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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First time trying my sample and despite this being a very complex tea, I can’t say I really found the taste very pleasurable as it is. There is very little bitterness and only a little astringency. The taste has quite a lot of depth and is reminiscent of celery, parsnip, nettle and generally some roast vegetables. In the smell, I noticed robust notes of wet grass and soil along the vegetal ones of asparagus, kale, steamed vegetables and lemon. It’s a fairly sweet smell, which translates to the taste as well.

The mouthfeel is drying and foamy, with medium body. I get a strong warming sensation as well.

I can imagine that as I get more used to the taste, my enjoyment of this tea could raise significantly, but I will have to wait a few more sessions to assess that.

Flavors: Asparagus, Celery, Grass, Kale, Sweet, Vegetables, Wet Earth

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

Haven’t tried this one yet, but really enjoyed the 2008? purple bricks YS produced. Heard these teas don’t age all that well, wish I’d known that before picking up 3×500g bricks. I need to try the new purples, the purple was my first favorite raw puerh tea.

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I imagine this could have been a really nice Darjeeling once young, it has a pungent aroma that is sweet and spicy. However, as I bought it 3 years old already (for 30% of the original price though), it has lost some of its complexity. Nevertheless, it is still a pleasant drink with hints of cherries, apricots and spices (nutmeg in particular) and some umami as well. The astringency is very mild, in fact the tea is fairly mouth-watering and with a cooling aftertaste. Given the price I got it for, I would buy it again, although I can’t comment on the price/quality ratio of the fresh product to be honest.

Flavors: Alcohol, Apricot, Cherry, Fruit Tree Flowers, Nutmeg, Spices, Sweet, Umami

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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A very nice midpoint between Ye Sheng black teas and Wu Yi oolongs. The dry leaf smells of almond/marzipan, while in the wet leaf I can smell more of sauna, pine and light roast coffee. It is also slightly cooling in the nose. The taste is savoury, fragrant and spicy with a very sweet aftertaste. There is also some mild bitterness. A great aspect of the tea is definitely in the mouthfeel, which is fairly soft, heavy and a little bit effervescent. I feel like overall it is growing on me as I get more accustomed to its characteristics. At first, I couldn’t quite appreciate all of its nuances, because it is ultimately different from any other tea I have had, although the base layer is similar to other Ye Sheng varietal black teas from YS.

Flavors: Coffee, Marzipan, Pine, Spices, Sweet, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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This is my brother’s favorite tea in the world. No doubt about it.

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By now, I have managed to find good brewing parameters, very short infusions and relatively small amount of leaf is the way to go. What you get is a very vegetal, sweet and fragrant drink, which I grew to like a lot. Even with a lighter brew it is quite pungent though, filling the room with a nice sweet, woody and fruity smell.

Flavors: Spinach

180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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A very good Darjeeling for reasonable price, even 1 year after harvest it’s still got a complex aroma. There is a lot of sweet floral notes, reminiscent of honey, dried dates and apricots, but at the same time some heavier whisky and lighter grass ones. The taste is less spectacular, but definitely enjoyable. It is slighly sweet and spicy with vegetal notes too. The astringency is not too strong and the mouthfefel is somewhat bubbly. The colour, as is often the case with FF Darjeeling, is a beautiful golden orange.

The steeping times I did were: 5s wash, 20s, 40s, 60s, 100s. It became a little flat and on the bitter side in the last one, but still retaining its character to a large degree.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Dates, Dry Grass, Honey, Spicy, Whiskey

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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What a lovely experience drinking a tea like this is! The smell is strong with prominent notes of banana and some spruce. I like the taste too, which is also somewhat fruity. I can taste cooked apple, grapes and a bit of egg (shells?) in the background. The aftertaste is slightly bitter and reminiscent of pine tree.

Where this tea got me though is the mouthfeel. It is so incredibly thick and velvety from the very first infusion! If you add the effect of the tea on your sensory perceptions, which is very enjoyable by itself, what you get is one of the best teas I have tried!

By the way, listening to some cool music should absolutely be part of every session with a tea like this.

P.S. Oh, and one more thing. This tea can really make you sweat if you drink fast, at least that’s what happened to me. It seems to be more warming than any other tea I’ve has thus far.

P.S. 2: I have just made a final infusion by simmering the leaves for about 30 minutes. It is quite different from all the other ones, being more nutty, sweet and a little bit shou-like (both in taste and colour). Very nice I must say.

Flavors: Apple, banana, Fruity, Grapes, Nutty, Pine, Sweet, warm grass, Thick

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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This tea has strong chocolate notes in the smell, supplemented by malt and pumpkin spice. As for the taste, there I notice more of a cocoa bean flavour than chocolate. It is also quite floral for a black tea and somehow evokes the feeling of cold and dry winter days. Overall, it is a sweet affair with very little bitterness or astringency, I think this is a pretty inoffensive tea. All things considered, the closest comparison I could make with regards to taste would be lychee I think. Finally, another strong point of the tea is its full body and silky mouthfeel.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Floral, Lychee, Malt, Natural Pumpkin Spice Flavor, Oats, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 4 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Currently, I am a PhD student at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario. Apart from teas and mathematics, I enjoy sports and traveling, as well as music of all kinds.

I have been a fan of green tea for a while and only recently (in 2017) started exploring other kinds of tea in greater depth. I rarely drink blends or white tea and avoid artificially scented teas. Other than that I try to keep it varied. The one thing that I am currently missing in my collection are teas from India, in particular some Darjeelings.

My rating description:
100 _ Unforgettable tea, an experience that changes your life.
90 – 100 _ Excellent tea.
80 – 90 _ Very enjoyable, I will buy again.
70 – 80 _ I enjoyed it, but I most likely won’t be buying it again.
60 – 70 _ Decent.
50 – 60 _ Average, forgettable.
40 – 50 _ I didn’t really like the tea, but it is drinkable.
0 – 40 _ I would prefer to avoid the tea.


Waterloo, ON, Canada

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