123 Tasting Notes

Not entirely sure what to make of this one. The dry leaf is jet black, but once wet it looks like a dark green tea. I was puzzling over it while sipping it piping hot, then returned to it after it had cooled a bit. It was more palatable then, with suggestions of baked bread and apricot, but it was still harsh enough that I decided to sweeten it with a bit of agave. This took some of the edge off, but I opted to go further still and added a little splash of soymilk, which turned the liquor an unappealing grey color. It tastes quite nice this way, though – a gentler flavor with maybe some vanilla-y notes.

I’d probably use a shorter steeping time and/or cooler temperature in the future, and maybe see how it takes to icing/cold-brewing.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Had tummy problems again tonight and decided to go with this one. The flavor might have faded from when I first bought it, but it still tastes nice, somewhat surprisingly even when hot! No rating since I didn’t try it when it was fresh.

Flavors: Cream, Root Beer, Vanilla

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Yay, sipdown. I emptied the last of my sample packet (probably 5-6 grams) into my tempered glass pitcher. By now it’s more than two years old (I know, I know) so the quality’s degraded quite a bit, but it’s still serviceable.

One less tea in my cupboard. Small victories!

175 °F / 79 °C

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I was afraid this might end up being a big cup of blandness considering how long I’ve had most of my Butiki collection, but after checking my order history it looks like I’ve only had this one for a year. Which is still not great, but better than it could be.

It didn’t smell all that strong while steeping (1.5 tsp, ~250ml of 90C water), but sipping revealed fruity, hay-like, and pleasantly musty flavors, and I started noticing some floral notes as it cooled. It had a lingering aftertaste of berries which I enjoyed, though I’m not sure whether that was entirely from the tea or if the apple-rosemary scone I was munching on had anything to do with it.

I’ve never properly gotten into Darjeelings, but I really liked this one! It reminded me of some kind of oolong, which certainly didn’t hurt.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Hay

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 30 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Oolong Supreme by DAVIDsTEA
123 tasting notes

Mmm, this is a lovely oolong. I’m sometimes a bit wary of the darker ones as they can be a bit too charcoal-y for my tastes, but rather than a deeply roasted flavor it’s more of a light toastiness. Nice, rich plummy stonefruit flavor as promised, though it fades a bit in the second steep and is pretty much gone by the third. Works well in a mug western-style (1.25 tsp for 8 oz water), but I’m sure it’s great in a gaiwan too.

Bought some of this from Tea Pet in a stash sale without realizing I already had some. Oops. At least it’s one that I know I like :)

Flavors: Plum, Stonefruit, Toasty

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Mao Jian by DAVIDsTEA
123 tasting notes

If any DavidsTea market research people are reading: carry more straight teas. Especially if they’re as good as this one. This is glorious.

I think this is my first time trying this batch, which I bought this past July when I was last in the US. I feel bad that I missed the window for drinking it when it was really fresh, especially when the label on the bag informs me it was RUSHED TO STORES JUST FOR ME. (drinking green teas in a timely fashion is something I’m still working on, okay?) But even 9 months after purchase it tastes wonderful – artichokes and fresh peas, with a hint of butter as it cools. It’s like drinking a lovely salad of warm early-spring vegetables.

Also, I have to give extra credit for flawless steeping instructions. The notes on the bag (3/4 tsp for 8 oz water, 80C for 2-3 minutes) gave me a beautiful cup that was flavorful without being bitter or astringent.

Flavors: Artichoke, Butter, Peas

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This tastes like chicken soup! Soup made with roasted chicken and tender greens – a little smoky, a little umami, a little vegetal. I was a little put off when I dumped out the rest of my sample packet and realized how smoky it smelled, but the smoke is a pleasant accent rather than the main focus. As it cools I get more of a green bean flavor. Not sure if it’s the sort of tea I’d drink every day, but it’s darn tasty!

Additional notes: 2014 harvest. 2.5 g dry leaf, ~8 oz water, steeped until it started smelling nice.

Flavors: Chicken Soup, Green Beans, Roasted Chicken, Smoke, Umami, Vegetal

185 °F / 85 °C

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This tea was a cup full of YES for me. It didn’t quite blow me away like some other teas have, but from my first sip it just felt so perfect and right. Caramelly sweetness, plummy fruitiness, a bit of citrus at the end, and so, so smooth. I’m not a black tea fanatic like some people around here are, but this is one of the most delicious, relaxing, and comforting teas I have ever tried.

To expand on that last bit: I brewed a mug western-style so I could have something to sip on while I washed some dishes. I don’t know if it was actual tea-drunkenness, but after a few mouthfuls I started to feel a bit drowsy and floaty, and I’d imagine that if I did a gongfu session with this I’d be flying pretty high. So just a word of caution: This is not a tea for staying alert at the office. This is much better suited for a sleepy evening at home with a book and a cat, or maybe even for sitting in a dimly lit room listening to Dark Side of the Moon.

This is probably my favorite black tea I’ve had yet, which doesn’t surprise me too much given my love of oolongs, and it appears this one is a fully oxidized dancong. The only thing I didn’t like about it was a slight prickly sensation in my throat after the tea had cooled, but that’s a petty quibble. I don’t know if any of my other What-Cha samples can surpass this one, but I have high hopes for them!

Flavors: Caramel, Citrus, Plum

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Tonight I had some friends over for Pancake Day (seriously America, get with it on this holiday) and we needed something to chase the crazy amount of sugar we’d consumed. I was charged with choosing a tea, so started thinking about an accessible, easy-drinking option that I had more than a sample size of – ah yes, this one. It seemed to go over well among my guests, who probably don’t drink much loose tea, let alone Taiwanese oolongs. The naturally-occurring syrupy sweetness of the tea may not have been ideal after a meal that contained a large amount of actual syrup, but it’s still one of my all-time favorites. Bumping up my rating!

Flavors: Apple Skins, Floral, Honey, Toasty

180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 20 OZ / 600 ML

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I tried this for the first time today (the 2013 harvest, I believe) brewed western style according to the instructions on the bag. (The temperature might have been a little off – I was using a new variable temperature kettle and didn’t bother to check it against my trusty candy thermometer.) It was an interesting tea that seemed more similar to a second flush darjeeling than any oolong I can remember drinking. Nice enough, with a woody, spicy, slightly apricotty flavor, but I wasn’t completely taken by it.

Then I go to its Steepster page to write a review, and I see Red Fennekin’s tasting note from earlier today saying how much better it is when brewed gongfu. I shall reserve judgement until I try that myself :)

Flavors: Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile

175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Red Fennekin

Your experiences definitely echo mine – when brewed Western it’s nice, but it doesn’t seem special or like an oolong. Brewed GF, it actually has some lovely, floral qualities like a green oolong, with hi ta of that malty spice that roasted oolongs have :D It still does have hints of Indian black teas, but it’s much more oolong like!

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I grew up in New Jersey drinking Celestial Seasonings, and now I live in England, where I developed a taste for a good builder’s brew. Sometime in 2012 I bought my first loose teas, and my collection has since spiraled out of control. Still quite a novice, due to not drinking enough tea to keep pace with the amount I keep buying.

Some things I’m pretty sure I do like:
- most florals (jasmine, orange blossom, osmanthus, etc)
- buttery, vegetal greens
- malty blacks (usually with milk & sugar)
- oolongs that aren’t too heavily roasted

Not really feeling the flavored teas lately, for whatever reason.

All tasting notes use unfiltered hard tap water, unless otherwise specified.

No real method to my numerical ratings yet, but we’ll see what develops. So far I’ve only given ratings of 90 or higher if I actually get excited while drinking the tea.


Bristol, UK

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