151 Tasting Notes


This tea has aged well. Great fruitiness with solid tobacco and hay notes backing up the whole experience. The quality of the body of the tea is shown in later infusions, when, despite losing some of its initial top notes, retains a buttery and satisfying flavor and texture. A very nice tea at a very nice price.
Dry leaf – stewed prunes, dried dates, sweet tobacco, hint of pond flora and pencil shavings. In preheated vessel – blackberry syrupy sweetness

Smell – prune and date, pencil shavings, funky gummy sweetness, sweet tobacco, mushroom broth

Taste – sweet tobacco, date, prune, gummy sweetness, mushroom broth, hay and straw. Becomes very buttery in later infusions

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The first thing I noticed when opening the 25g sample pouch was a fairly pungent aroma that immediately reminded me of mesquite wood. I’m not a huge fan of barbecue-esque smokey teas, so I was a bit taken aback. My other experiences with Bang Dong have been noticeably sweet, and this was at the other end of the spectrum – burly and savory.

It does carry over into the flavor of the tea, although it is much more muted. Overall, it is a savory pu’erh, whose primary flavors are mesquite wood and mushroom broth. Its sweetness comes from hints of horehound or sassafras and some sweet tobacco notes in the finish.

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drank Liu An Gua Pian by Yunnan Craft
152 tasting notes

This is my first experience with this type of green tea. I was surprised at how much it reminded me of the few Dragonwell greens I have had. Prominent notes of chestnut and some savory green herb notes of dried parsley. Also noticeable were hints of cinnamon, cherry, and other sweet notes that really reminded me of pastries. In fact, I would be much more likely to pick up this again than a Dragonwell. The price is unbeatable as well.

Overall, I’m not a huge fan of parsley flavors in teas, which have popped up in green teas, green oolongs, and young raws – particularly from Menghai. But, that said, these flavors in this tea were very pleasant, and quickly transformed into spiciness and then sweetness.

I highly recommend any green tea lover to try this. A high-quality tea at a great price. Complex flavors and development.
Dry leaf – vegetal and nutty chestnut, dried parsley, snow peas, peanut shell; cinnamon pastry, maraschino cherry, sweet corn. In preheated vessel – roasted corn notes dominate

Smell – chestnut, dried parsley, cinnamon pastry

Taste – chestnut, salted edamame, dried parsley; development finds cinnamon pastry; finish has lemon curd, cinnamon pastry, hints of maraschino cherry, fresh parsley and lemongrass

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This is a really nice Mao Feng. My personal experience with Mao Feng is that it is a light green tea with subtle flavors. I would say that this tea in particular does still have somewhat subtle flavors, but they are still quite noticeable and defined.

The body of the tea is brothy and thick, and the flavors that it presents are a bit light, but not at all weak. Just subtle, calm flavors that are complex and tasty. Nice combination of savory, sweet, and even fruit flavors.
Dry leaf – sweet corn, peach gummy candy, coconut, sweet floral like lily of the valley; heat has corn and roasted nuts, peaches and cream

Smell – light honey, sweet corn and edamame, hints of peaches and cream

Taste – sweet corn and hints of salted edamame, light honey, lemongrass, very light dewy grass; aftertaste of roasted corn, mint, light honey, pineapple-coconut

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I ordered a 25g sample from Yunnan Craft. They sell an entire cake for $53* (edit) as of 6/30/2018. Their description of their particular cakes follows: “Very well stored tea cake. Scent of the walnuts crushed on the old wooden table comes out from gaiwan within first brew. No any unpleasant taste or throat feeling of dry storage. The dark ruby red tea liquor is thick and sweet with very slight citrus sensation on sides of your tongue which gives nice boost of existing nutty flavor. Tea can be steeped many times. This tea comes from an authorized Da Yi supplier!”

Overall, the sweetness is noticeable – fig, molasses, chocolate toffee. It is a taste I only associate with Menghai ripes. This particular cake has a very developed and multifaceted sweetness. However, I did find the aftertaste to be remarkably light and fleeting. It is a good tea, and an excellent candidate to get to know the Menghai ripe flavor profile.
Dry leaf – molasses, stewed plums, cherry wood, chocolate toffee. Noticeable syrupy sweetness on nose

Smell – hazelnut, prune, dried fig, fig newton, molasses and chocolate toffee, coffee grounds. Fruitiness is noticeable

Taste – fig newton, hazelnut and Brazil nut, chocolate toffee. Creamy in mouth, finishes dry with light woody nuttiness. Aftertaste is light and fleeting


WOAH! Huge edit for this one – my computer logged my account off on Yunnan Craft, so the prices all reverted to yuan. The price is not astronomical like first reported. This is an affordable cake – in fact, Yunnan Craft has consistently shown the best price-quality ratios I have found among any tea vendor.

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Overall, a nice, creamy ripe. It has notes of vanilla and bourbon cask, some dry chocolate notes, raw Brazil and hazelnut, and cherry pit and cherry wood flavors. There are the slightest hints of horehound in the aftertaste. It has a creamy flavor, although I wouldn’t necessarily describe the mouthfeel as creamy – it felt a bit light for me, although I tend to like really thick motor-oil ripes.

I couldn’t detect much of an aged taste, although there was a certain “fusty” dustiness that popped up very subtly in the finish. No camphor notes or other flavors that point to more progressed aging. On the topic of age, I appreciate Yunnan Craft’s addressing the purported age of this tea with what they consider to be more realistic.

So, a nice tea if you like ripes on the lighter end of things, and the flavors are very good. Decent value for the price.


Edit – price was incorrect in original review. This cake is very affordable.

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Loose-leaf gong ting grade material that was picked and processed in 2017. Despite its youth, this is exceptionally clean and easy to drink. Deliciously nutty with dry chocolate notes and noticeable molasses sweetness, followed up with date-like fruitiness. No unpleasant flavors – there is a bit of fishiness present in the smell of the dry leaves, but this does not carry over to the liquor or taste itself.

I was surprised to see this much going on in such a young tea, particularly in only a single-grade ripe pu’erh. I really enjoy the gong ting grade in general, but this is a great one, and will likely have even more to offer once it ages a bit. Excellent product.
Dry leaf – some fishiness, dark cocoa, hazelnut, Brazil nut, hints of cherry wood and coffee grounds. In preheated vessel – pungent sweetness of blackstrap molasses present

Smell – Brazil nut, dark molasses, nutty woodiness, hints of dried dates

Taste – arrival is fairly soft, with Brazil nut and hazelnut. Development includes light coffee grounds, cocoa, molasses. Finish is clean, with nutty dryness. Aftertaste of date, molasses, nuttiness, even hints of slight floral.

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A nice, savory green tea. Notes of roasted nut and corn are balanced by consistent lemongrass notes and hints of fruitiness. There are subtle hints of more complex flavors like Mexican chocolate, dried mango, and macerated blackberries.

I generally prefer sweeter green teas, but this is a great option for those who prefer more savory greens. The roasted notes are not overwhelming, and the savory flavors are well balanced.

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drank Yame Gyokuro by O-Cha.com
152 tasting notes

First time with gyokuro here folks, so proceed with caution!

The long-and-short of this review is buy some of this tea. Absolutely delicious. Great balance of sweet and savory, and its complexity blew me away. Amazing development with an incredible range of flavors.

It certainly didn’t blow my head off with umami, although that could be easily achieved with a bit more leaf and slightly higher temps. It arrived as a delicious nori and herbal arrival that transformed into vegetal and corn sweet savoriness. Then, beginning with the finish, the notes become fresh, fruity, and sweet. A joy to drink all-around.

Also, given the regular cost of gyokuro, this is an absolute steal. Of course, I can’t speak to how it compares with more expensive options, but you certainly can’t go wrong with this offering by O-Cha.
Dry leaf – butter cream frosting, sweet corn, pineapple, coconut, honeydew melon, grilled corn

Smell – buttercream, buttered greens, pineapple, spice cake

Taste – nori arrival, dried parsley/cilantro, spinach, edamame, sweet corn development, chlorophyll and fresh parslely and sweet corn in finish; raw almond, watermelon rind, pineapple rind in aftertaste. Mint in long aftertaste

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drank Chiran Sencha by O-Cha.com
152 tasting notes

I jumped the gun and pre-ordered this as a shincha. I wanted to get slapped in the face by fresh spring grass, and this didn’t disappoint. When I first brewed it, I was actually a bit taken back by the grassiness, but it was because I eyeballed the proportions and took my best guess on the temperature.
The second time around, I followed the instructions, and the flavor was much more subdued and sweet.

However, the more the I drank it, the more I kept pushing the brewing parameters by increasing leaf and even using slightly hotter water because I found myself wanting more grassiness and umami. The tea responded incredibly well. I was really happy with how much I could manipulate the experience to my liking – more sweetness sometimes, more umami other times, etc.

Overall, the tea has a nice pineapple and coconut sweetness followed by fresh parsley that lingers as parsley and minty aftertaste. In the background (which you can bring out more with stronger brewing parameters), there is a backbone of steamed spinach, edamame, and marine umami.
Dry leaf – grass, honeydew melon, pineapple juice, roasted corn

Smell – roasted corn, cooked spinach, melon sweetness

Taste – spinach, roasted corn, pineapple rind, coconut, salted melon, fresh grass, chlorophyll savory sweetness, fresh parsley

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Rating info:
100 – I haven’t found the perfect tea yet!

92-95 – So good that I will purchase this tea again, guaranteed. Excellent flavor and value.

88-91 – A tea that I would consider purchasing again at some point. Great flavor and value.

85-87 – Tea that was worth the purchase and that I enjoyed drinking, although I probably won’t be purchasing it again any time soon. Flavor may have slight drawbacks, or the price might be a little expensive.

80-84 – A tea that has some good points, but falls a bit short on its price:quality ratio. Flavor is a bit mediocre.

No rating – I did not like this tea and would not drink it, given other options.


Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

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