20 Tasting Notes


So one of my main tea goals has been to find “The Perfect Japanese Green Tea”, or in my head any tea that tasted as good as the green tea they serve at my local sushi restaurant. I asked one time if they knew what kind of tea and the brand, and all they could tell me was it was genmaicha. I figured it was, but now the hunt was on.

I’ve tried genmaicha from adagio, davidstea, and several other places but they all just taste like burnt rice to me. None of them have come even close to the green tea at the sushi place.

I finally searched on steepster for the highest rated genmaicha, which happened to come from den’s tea. On a whim I bought 2oz each of this and their genmaicha w/matcha (will review soon)

Yes. This is exactly what I was looking for. My tastebuds are singing! This tea is fantastic. It’s perfectly nutty and sweet and has NO burnt smell or taste at all (though my mom would disagree). It’s roasty and has the perfect ratio of nutty to green flavor. This tastes just like the tea at my sushi place.

I can’t explain how happy I am. On to my fifth cup…

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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Woo! One of the stragglers from my birthday order since the others ship so quickly. I’m gonna try to cut down my reviews a bit from now on too.

I really enjoy this tea so I’m glad I purchased a good amount of it. It’s usually difficult for me to find green teas that are really strong, but the only reason I don’t like more delicate ones is because they don’t taste like this! Usually for me, lighter green teas just taste bland and grassy, and literally my least favorite flavor I can find in a straght tea is anything reminiscent of my lawn.

This however is really delicious because though it’s very delicate and not strong at all, it’s SUPER nutty and sweet and has no grassy flavor that I can taste. Definitely getting vegetables, but more like vegetables pan fried with butter than steamed or raw. It just has a very smooth and warm flavor and I absolutely adore nutty green teas so I’m in love. Really delicious and bound to become a staple!

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Quick tasting note for this, which i got as a sample

String players will understand this but this smells just like rosin and tastes like what rosin SHOULD taste like (don’t ask how i know it doesn’t…). I’m definitely smelling and tasting marshmallow too, but like GOOD marshmallow. It’s way sweeter than most other unsweetened teas. I didn’t understand the description of “sparkling” but now i do. It tastes almost like someone squirted perrier in there! Ahh! So strange but good

Will resteep (brewed western)

Edit: green apple flavor identified. Even though i hate green apple this is strangely yummy. This tea just plain confuses me

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec

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drank Mi Xian Black by Butiki Teas
20 tasting notes

Part 4 of my birthday tea adventure!

I decided to just brew my other sample before I get to my main order. This one I brewed with less water and a little less time to get a more concentrated flavor. I generally like my tea strong.

This is much more citrusy and juicy smelling than the assam! I’m getting some common raisin note between the two that is very much appreciated.

The flavor is a lot lighter than the assam (which I expected) but that’s mostly because of how juicy it tastes! It tastes like what a fresh peach or even a melon probably tastes like (I really hate fruit so au wouldn’t know—even the smell of most fruits makes me gag! This is nice though :) )

As the cup cools the flavors start to deepen and some berry flavors even peek through and it becomes really lovely. I would love to have a cup of this with a dessert! All in all a delicious cup of tea—sadly it’s all gone :( i’ll have to order more of this too!!

Note: i forgot to add, the very last sip made me wanna die! I swear it tasted like there was a drop of honey in the bottom. Oh my god i need this tea

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Got my butiki order! So this is part 3 of my birthday tea adventure

I managed to snag samples of their Premium Taiwanese Assam and Mi Xian black, both of which have great reputations on here so I’m really excited.

Since I had a limited amount of the assam, I had to brew it western style according to their directions. I waited patiently for exactly four minutes and poured it into my cup. What a lovely rusty orange color!! Gorgeous.

It smells of spices, especially cinnamon and I’m even smelling vanilla. Smells like a treat to me.

It has a really full flavor and it bold without being bitter or astringent. It has a very pleasant spice flavor that changes from sip to swallow. Of course I only got a few sips but woe this is a really wonderful tea…. Oh I might have to break my haitus to order more :(

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Black Pearl by Mandala Tea
20 tasting notes

Just tried this iced. Ooooh so yummy! Really smooth and full bodied and there’s a new smoky flavor that comes out. Really tasty :)

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drank Morning Sun by Mandala Tea
20 tasting notes

I keep losing tasting notes! Man this sucks :(

Tea #2 in my birthday tea adventure!

The smell and flavor I get is a lot more intense than the black pearl I just had. That peppery flavor I mentioned is much more prominent and there’s this almost smoky aftertaste I’m picking up that settles on my tongue. Along with being less smooth, this tea just tastes like barbeque to me! Totally tasty but I’d have to be in the mood for it. As it cools down it reminds me of the cedar pine chips my dad uses when he makes ribs.

Second and third steeps become even more smoky! This bbq taste is really unexpected. For some reason I was expecting it to be more like a dian hong.

Overall a good tea but I’d really have to be in the mood to drink it.

Boiling 0 min, 45 sec

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drank Black Pearl by Mandala Tea
20 tasting notes

Ahhh I lost my tasting note :( at the end too!

Anyways, this is part 1 of the birthday tea adventure. I got my package from Mandala yesterday but apparently the mailman managed to fit the box in the mailbox so I never saw it outside my front door. You go mailman.

First mandala order and I’m already impressed! He left a cute little note—apparently he’s been to my hometown before!—and some black tea samples because he noticed I ordered a bunch of black. So nice :0!!

Anyways, opening the bag it smells earthy, but more of a hay-earthy than a mineral/soil-earthy. I’m really excited because I love earthy blacks.

First steep surprised me! I would deem this tea more of a fruity black. It has that rich fullness of flavor that isn’t chocolatey or earthy, plus it’s quite a smooth texture, so fruity it is. Oh, and the cup is empty :(

Second and third steeps bring out that hay note a lot more! The tea becomes far less fruity but that sweetness remains in the hay. As it cools, the hay becomes more grain-y and sweet and coats my mouth deliciously. Oh I just want to drink this tea forever!

While waiting for my kettle to boil more water, the aftertaste I’m left with reminds me of the flavor of a really peppery grilled steak—without the spicy heat of course (which is good considering how wimpy I am about spicy foods :x). It’s actually a really pleasant aftertaste which I enjoy more than some of my other black teas.

My dad distracted me so on the fourth steep I was worried I had overdone it—coming out of the spout though it looked fine, so that reassured me. That peppery note became far more prominent, superceding the hay flavor; however that grain note came back out near the end of the cup again!

The fifth steep began to lose flavor, so I think four steeps is the max for my method. Four delicious, full bodied steeps is wonderful though! This will likely become a staple everyday tea for me :)

Boiling 0 min, 45 sec

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drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
20 tasting notes

Seeing as how this had such a high rating on Steepster, I had to buy some despite the cost. And, tasting this, I hate to say this would probably be my regular go-to black tea if it weren’t so expensive!

First off it looks so darn pretty—all that shiny fuzzy gold—so I’m already intrigued. After brewing it has an aroma that’s both rich and delicate at the same time. It has a distinct cocoa note that I also get in the taste but there’s a really light sweetness I can’t really place. It’s not as heavy as a honey sweetness but more like something else… Ooo darn I can’t think of the word :( It’s really bold without being too heavy and intense, like the assams that I always try but never seem to like.

Later on the next few steeps the cocoa flavor becomes less intense and then both the sweetness and a new, more earthy flavor comes out. It kind of reminds me of the earthy flavor that is associated with mushrooms but this tastes nothing like mushrooms. Hard to explain but I like it.

I managed to get 5 steeps out of this and on the fifth I was afraid it would be bitter so I added a tiny pinch of brown sugar (instead of just rock sugar because I felt the brown sugar would bring out some of that sweetness in the tea better) and oh my that was yummy. I’m also starting to taste some spices after so many steeps. I wonder if I can get one more…

Overall incredibly yummy tea and I would drink this every day if I had more money :((

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
20 tasting notes

First tasting note! Woo. I got my 5 for 5$ Verdant sampler pack in the mail today so be ready for more!

I’ve heard tons of wonderful things about this tea so I guess I had really hgh expectations to begin with which is kind of unfair. In short though I enjoyed this tea I didn’t like this as much as I thought I would.

The predominant note I smelled and tasted from the first steep was a rich dark chocolate, like I opened up a can of cocoa powder. It like totally coated my tongue and was super intense and yummy. I tasted some other fruity notes and to be honest it reminded me lot of a red wine chocolate truffle for some reason.

The only reason I didn’t like it as much is because it was a little too rich and dense-tasting for me to enjoy enough. I like a little bit of astringency or light sweetness in my black teas to balance out those rich cocoa notes so it was just a little overwhelming for me.

It’s a really good tea but just not for me, I guess.


If you have any left, try steeping it at 95C for a minute. Or even less. 30seconds? I find that this tea doesn’t need much time to steep and you might enjoy the lighter flavour that way.


Oh darn! I don’t have any left, sadly :( if I get my hands on some more I’ll try it this way—I can tell it’s really tasty and I would love to find a way to enjoy it

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Hello! My name’s Natalie and I’m seventeen. I only got into drinking loose tea regularly about six months ago and I’m definitely a newbie :)

I really love black teas the most but every now and then I’ll pick up something else. Right now I happen to be on an oolong streak! I drink almost exclusively straight teas as well so I’m rarely interested in blends.

I’m always open for swaps so if you see anything in my cupboard just send me a message to see if I’m interested in swapping it! Also, I have tons of samples that I don’t add to my cupboard on here so if you’re wondering if I have any samples you might like just ask me :)

(Other than drinking tea of course) my hobbies include Irish dancing and playing the cello (and I have an unhealthy interest in biology haha).

My scoring system:
0-29: I’d pour out my cup of it after one sip.
30-49: I’d finish the cup, but I wouldn’t particularly want to make it again.
50-59: It’s alright, and I’d drink it if offered to me.
60-69: It’s tasty but I won’t go out of my way to buy any.
70-79: I’d buy this to drink every once in a while, but if I ran out I wouldn’t rush to get more.
80-89: I enjoy this tea a lot and drink it regularly. Would recommend!
90-94: Super delicious and would run to buy more once I run out!
95-100: This is so good I am probably crying over the difficulty between drinking it all the time or drinking it only on special occasions.



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