647 Tasting Notes


This is a very comforting tea with an interesting mouthfeel. The texture is sticky, buttery, quite thick and at times bubbly. Compared to most other hei cha on the market, it seems to also produce longer sessions.

In a preheated gaiwan, I get a peaty mineral scent. Once the leaves open up, there is a distinctive and unexpected banana aroma, complemented notes of wood, raisins, rice paper and parsley.

First infusion is sweet and woody, while the second tastes also of barley and licorice root. Third steep brings light plum tartness and subsequently the tea becomes quite mineral and herbaceous. Towards the end, however, the experience is dominated by sweetness that at times resembles winter honey.

In conlusion, the tea is easily one of the best fu zhuan I’ve tried. It is on the more expensive side of the spectrum, but the full body, moderately complex profile and good longevity justify its price for sure.

Flavors: banana, Grain, Herbaceous, Honey, Licorice, Mineral, Parsley, Peat, Plums, Raisins, Rice, Sweet, Tart, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Taiwan Sourcing has some very nice red oolongs. This one is fairly subtle, but I like it a lot. The aroma is on the sweet and fruity side, while the taste is more woody and nectar-like. It remains quite sweet throughout though. There is also some warming star anise spiciness, chicory-like sour bitterness, and sweet potato earthy sweetness. The mouthfeel is a little astringent and bubbly with medium body and soft presence. Interestingly, the aftertaste stays warming for a while – it’s a good tea for colder rainy spring days.

Flavors: Anise, Astringent, Bitter, Cookie, Flowers, Fruity, Nectar, Sour, Spices, Sweat, Sweet Potatoes, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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[Spring 2020 harvest]

I find this tea to be quite boring honestly. Besides a simple profile dominated by dill flavour, the body is very light to the point it reminds me of tisanes.

Dry leaf aroma is somewhat unique with notes of cucumber, dill, and sawdust. It is similar during the session, with a bit more sweet and fruity – pollen-like scent. Taste-wise, the tea is crisp and sweet.

Flavors: Cucumber, Dill, Dry Grass, Sawdust, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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I got a sample in the form of dragon balls. They have the right amount of compression and open up easily after about 10-15 sec rinse. 

The tea has a strong Lincang character (crisp, high florals, citrus notes) but also some faint Jinggu-like grainy notes. It’s definitely a more wild and forest-like tasting tea than your average tea from the well-kept gardens of Mengku. The liquor is medium bodied, but it has a lovely mouth-watering and very soft texture.

Dry leaves smell of dried mushrooms, after the rinse I find the aromas similar to those of Yunnanese green teas. They are vegetal, grassy and citrusy and overall quite beautiful.

With dragon balls, the rinse is rarely great, but here I like its crisp and sweet vegetal character with notes of bok choy and pollen. First proper infusion is floral and tart with a touch of bitterness. There are flavours of hot hay, barley, and lemon zest.

Subsequent steep bring out more of quinine-like bitterness that I really enjoy. Other notes include those of red apple, courgette, and mushrooms. The aftertaste is surprisingly astringent at times and displays a lot of floral sweetness.

Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNfLqCZkFWc

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Bok Choy, Citrusy, Floral, Grain, Hot Hay, Lemon Zest, Mushrooms, Sweet, Tart, Vegetal, Zucchini

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Thanks for including this sample in the package Martin! I really enjoyed it and am glad to have tried a black tea from William.

Somehow, it lands somewhere between an aged white and a more typical sun-dried black, which is most probably due to the short oxidation in large measure. It is a woody and sweet tea with hints of sawdust and smoke in the aroma. In the mouth, some additional notes of peach, malt, licorice and autumn leaf pile come forward. I also found the effect on the mind to be quite defocusing – a fairly common aspect of Jingmai teas actually.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Licorice, Malt, Peach, Peat, Sawdust, Smoke, Sweet, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Martin Bednář

You are welcome and I am glad that you liked it.

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[Spring 2021 harvest]

I was excited to try a sample of this tea, expecting something different, at least. When dry, it smells of nuts, meat and chard. On the other hand, wet leaves have a very distinctive cabbage aroma.

First infusion is quite savoury and nutty with a mild bitter bite and honey sweetness. The flavours have a a good depth and the mouthfeel is very velvety with no astringency. The protracted aftertaste starts off juicy, buttery and warming, eventually a bit of vegetal sweetness appears from the bitterness though.

Subsequent steeps are pungent, vegetal and floral (still like honey, but without the honey sweetness) with a hint of spiciness and some astringency appearing too.

I don’t know if I’ve ever had any tea that you could say is truly a “yellow tea”. It’s certain is that this one is unlike any other tea I’ve had. It’s a bit hard to describe in what way though. Most of the specific aspects can be found in other teas, but the manner in which they come together is certainly unique. Also, the strong cabbage aroma is quite memorable.

Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Dry Grass, Floral, Honey, Meat, Nutty, Vegetables, Vegetal

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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Towards the second half of the session, this tea still gets quite astringent and watery, but the main sequence of infusions is more full bodied than before with a well-rounded profile and definitely less grassy character. I like it, especially given its price and the fact that I am generally not the biggest fan of Jingmai teas.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

The 2018 seemed like a good deal for the price.

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At 15 years of age, this one is slowly becoming one of my favourite ripe pu-erh teas. It is elegant and better integrated than when I first tried it more than two years ago. Apart from the fact that its profile is quite unique and stands out in its category, I really like its super smooth and mouth-watering texture as well as the protracted, sugary sweet aftertaste.

Flavors: Butter, Coffee, Earth, Molasses, Nutty, Pleasantly Sour, Smooth, Sugar, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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What a lovely example of a Tian Jian this is! It’s a full bodied one with great complexity and a balanced profile. Additionally, it also bring a very nice calming energy and warms the body.

The aroma gives a vibe of wood smoked bacon, barnyard / stables, bog, straw, rosemary, cactus with some sweet fruity hints. Taste is immediately quite sweet, woody and metallic with a mild vegetal bite. There is a nice tartness that complements the bassy notes. Some flavours of mint, dry earth, wheat, orange zest, and honey can be detected. The aftertaste is a touch drying and mineral with a throat warming sensation and a long-lasting sweetness. Mouthfeel is very smooth and quite buttery.

All across the board, I am very much enjoying this tea and can recommend it to anyone looking for more hei cha exploration!

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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[Spring 2021 harvest]

Fresh green teas are always something to look forward in the spring (if one can get hold of some). Even though this one isn’t the most remarkable one, it certainly satisfies that need.

The profile is quite vegetal with floral, umami, sour and herbaceous notes trailing behind. Some of the flavours to be found are eucalyptus, alfalfa, lilac, kohlrabi. In the aftertaste, a mix of lime and green wood sweetness emerges. The liquor texture is velvety thanks to the large amount of leaf hair present, but it also has a nice bubbly quality. After swallowing, a minor drying sensation remains, but there isn’t really any astringency. The aromas are hard to describe. Some of the notes I’ve already mentioned – such as lime zest and eucalyptus – but there is also a scent that reminds me of moss covered in dew.

Flavors: Alfalfa, Citrus Zest, Eucalyptus, Floral, Flowers, Lime, Moss, Pleasantly Sour, Sweet, Umami, Vegetables, Vegetal, Wet Moss

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 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. Connect at https://rateyourmusic.com/~Togo

I have been a fan of green tea for a while and I started exploring other kinds of tea in greater depth only in 2017. I rarely drink blends and generally avoid artificially scented teas. Other than that I try to keep it varied.

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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