2815 Tasting Notes


Yesterday we made a trek to Teance in Berkeley which is definitely one of the more upscale tea places I have ever been to (with prices to match)

I decided I needed to pick up one of these little fragrant leaf shengs, it sounded so appealing from the description and the bamboo leaf wrapping could not be cuter…

I threw the first steep of this away after I realized I forgot to rinse it. The second steep here is pretty nice, I am getting the sticky rice aroma for sure, there is a slightly sweet taste with quite a bit of astringency in the finish. Slightly earthy. I steeped it for around 2 minutes basket style, I will try for less steeping next time around. It is a very young sheng but I liked it. My rating might go up when I’ve had the chance to do a proper gong fu tasting.

Third steep here has gotten a lot lighter with some more fruity/apple flavors…

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Gunpowder Green by Numi Organic Tea
2815 tasting notes

For a bagged green tea, this is not too bad. I’m housesitting for a friend today and just wanted to bring something convenient. Very mild with a hint of smoke. I need to try some other gunpowder varieties in the future – see my previous notes.

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drank TJ80: Gyokuro by Upton Tea Imports
2815 tasting notes

It’s ok but nothing like the gyokuro from Arbor teas which was a revelation to me. It’s light and mostly sweet, very spinach-y/vegetal. Probably would not get this one again from Upton because it’s fairly costly.

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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This was the only larger pack I got with my tea from Taiwan order…

Yesterday I had a bad day of feeling sick so I wanted something light and soothing. This is lightly floral but also kind of vegetal like Mercuryhime mention below, a bit like buttered peas. There is nothing quite like a taiwanese oolong when I’m feeling frazzled and poorly, relaxing to the mind and to the body. Probably not my favorite one out of the samples I tried but still very nice…

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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drank Laoshan Village Chai by Verdant Tea
2815 tasting notes

I tried this yesterday and didn’t like the way the flavors went together, then I got really sick which probably wasn’t the fault of the tea but I don’t think I want this anymore. Any takers?


Yeah, I know the feeling. You get poisoned and all the stuff in the fridge immediately goes straight in the dump :)


if you still have any will work a trade or purchase.


@mrmopar – got rid of it a while ago…


too bad but thanks! my sweetie had some and really likes it.

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drank Camel's Breath by Silk Road Teas
2815 tasting notes

This is something else that comes from the bulk bin at my local Whole Foods – I guess I am lucky since it seems like other people don’t have these different companies at their local W.F.

I am having a stomach upset so it seems like a good time for shu. I ate something really garlic-y and the tummy is not happy! This is one reason I started drinking shu pu-erh about a year ago. It does seem to help with heartburn & indigestion.

I thought this smelled a bit fishy so I did give it a quick rinse in boiling water and then steeped it for 3 minutes in a tetsubin. I am already feeling too lazy for more gong fu style tea brewings today.

This is very dark and smooth, and yes it does remind me of dirt but it is also very satisfying and relaxing. No camphor here. Lots of earthy flavors, a bit mushroomy. It also is not as gritty as some tuo chas I’ve had. I liked it pretty well, not doing backflips but will probably get some more of these when I run out, they are not that expensive and great for the office too.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

I envy your proximity to a Whole Foods! Closest one to us is 100+ miles. Sigh.


I don’t think I have ever seen loose tea at the Whole Foods locations I have shopped. I wish!


I don’t know why we have the loose tea here but I’m also not complaining!

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Thank you to Teavivre for sending a sample of this my way…

I thought this was very enjoyable, perhaps my favorite of the plain greens I have tried from the company. I stepped mine at 2 minutes around 180 F and used approximately 1 tsb of leaf for 12 oz of water.

The long and slender leaf really look very green after steeping and smell sweet and vegetal.

My cup is a light olive color and has delightful sweet and chestnut notes along with some slight vegetal ones. A bit artichoke-y, a bit spicy but not bitter at all. To me it seems more robust and flavorful than the dragonwell. It seems very “nourishing” and refreshing. I’ll definitely be tempted to pick some of this up when my sample runs out.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Sounds interesteing! I already need to order more tea from them, maybe I should give this one a try!


I’ve had a few mao jians and usually end up liking them.

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Another set in my sheng sampler fom Bana. It has taken me a while to get through these but it isn’t like I’m worried about them going bad. :)

I put about 1/2 the sample in my gaiwan and did a quick rinse, then steeped for around 60 seconds with not quite boiling water.

I was a bit intimidated by this one as the description says it’s a smoky tea and those do not tend to be my favorites.

First steep: it’s a very light orange/yellow color. Smoke is present but is very faint. Aroma is a tiny bit sour as seems to be the case with shengs. It does seem a little woodsy and a bit savory. So far it is smooth and enjoyable.

Second steep: my brew got a little bit darker. The tea still seems savory to me but you can also taste a bit of apple-fruitiness there in the background. The aftertaste is ever so slightly astringent and seems to be slightly cleansing to the palette.

Third steep: the tea is getting a bit sweeter now and the smokiness is starting to retreat a bit. Unlike some younger shengs this one is not astringent or bitter, it’s already kind of mellow in the flavor which is nice.

I want to save this note now before Steepster loses it but I will edit if I have anything else to report :)

I really enjoyed this one much better than I thought it would and it is very tempting to pick one of these up to see how it would age in a few years. Although I don’t think it would make it very long before I started to drink it. Maybe I need two? ;-)

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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drank Sweet Velvet Fog by iHeartTeas
2815 tasting notes

This sample comes from oOTeaOo – thanks for letting me try this!

Perhaps I should have read the description before I had this for breakfast. It is definitely a bit on the sweet side but it has nice flavors of butterscotch, vanilla and caramel, making for a slightly decadent morning. :)

I steeped mine for around 3.5 minutes at 205 F and I also added some soymilk.

This is nice for a flavored tea but definitely seems like more of a dessert tea than one I would pick up first thing in the morning. Still, I have enjoyed it. I am not really finding it too sweet but something about flavored teas often just strikes me as a bit artificial at times… not destined to be a favorite, I guess

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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I do not think this is a world class pu-erh but I like the ginger in this one. I wonder if I can just buy some ginger root and toss it into my other pu-erhs?

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My profile pic is of a pink dahlia at Golden Gate Park.

Hobbies include: tea, making art, animals, vegan things, buddhism, nature, creativity, books, writing, cooking, meditation, yoga.

I am a fan of many different teas but my favorites are blacks and oolongs, chai, also like darjeeling and pu-erh. I’n always learning and expanding my horizons!

Dislikes include: bergamot, jasmine, highly tannic or bitter teas, overly judgmental and bitter people. :)

Live in San Francisco, I’m a SINK (single income, no kids) and love the urban life, but traveling out to the middle of nowhere is always fun too.

I tend to not drink things I know I will hate so a lot of my tea ratings are on the higher side. Here’s my rating system, sorta

95-100 I love this tea and would like to keep it around

94-90 An excellent tea which I may or may not repurchase

89-80 Pretty good, above average

79-70 Acceptable

69-60 Mundane – Will probably drink it if I have it

59-50 Ick

49 and below Nasty


San Frandisco



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