Popular Teas from IDESteaSee All 18 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
Fall seems to be the time for clearing out my older teas. In March 2016, I signed up for a deeply discounted subscription box from Ides Tea, then canceled after a month both because subsequent boxes would have been expensive without the deal and because my first shipment hadn’t arrived yet. I kind of feel guilty since the company is now no longer in business.
From what I remember, most of the samples they sent were good. Their Li Shan and Bai Hao were fantastic; their Sun Moon Lake Black, Jade Oolong, and Tie Guan Yin were tasty; and their Dong Ding was decent. Sadly, this Jin Xuan also falls into the decent category. I steeped 6 g of tea in a 120 ml teapot for 25, 20, 25, 30, 45, 60, and 240 seconds.
The first steep is delicately floral with notes of what I’m going to call lilac. There are also hints of butter, corn, and vegetables. Even though the second steep was for only 20 seconds, it’s unusually astringent. I always wondered what people were talking about when they said that Jin Xuans taste like popcorn, but now I can see it, especially in the aftertaste. That combination of vegetal, corn, and butteriness really does evoke popcorn.
In the third steep, the florals are starting to fade and something like arugula is emerging. The astringency is back to normal. The fourth steep gets even more vegetal, which is a sign that this tea might be finishing early. And, as expected, by the sixth steep, the only flavour left is vegetal.
This Jin Xuan is okay, but I’m not sad to see it go. I just opened the sample package a couple weeks ago, so I don’t think it’s due to age.
Flavors: Astringent, Butter, Floral, Lettuce, Popcorn, Vegetal
Sun Moon Lake Blacks seem to be pretty good ones for sure. Another randomly selected sample. I really like how the leaf looks with these kinds of teas. The leaves smelled nice and raisiny/malty. There were a lot of flavors going on – a bit of cocoa, malt, and some spiciness. I did get some raisin notes but they were more of a delayed/lingering aftertaste. A pretty good one! Too bad Idestea doesn’t exist anymore :P
Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Raisins, Spicy
One of the teas I still have from the apparently now defunct IDEStea. Pretty solid green Taiwanese oolong. Doesn’t get too vegetal or chlorophyll tasting. It does better with 185F than boiling. It starts off with mostly floral notes, but at about three steeps in picks up a pleasant melon aftertaste. The body is silky and smooth. Towards the end of the session, the melon note becomes more cucumber.
Flavors: Cucumber, Floral, Honey, Melon, Sweet
Cream, radish, spinach, carrots, it’s an interesting creaminess though, like whip cream, it’s pretty sweet, cucumber, what’s more though is that after the beginning, it’s really boring. It’s exactly what you think of when you think of oolongs. It’s a solid tea, pleasant, very drinkable, but yeah it’s not interesting, it’s definitely aptly described by idestea.
Flavors: Carrot, Cream, Spinach
So, I think IDEStea’s gone out of business, the website is gone. Its too bad, I was definitely going to repurchase, once I ran out of these oolongs. I might just email the IDEStea guy, see if he has stock lying around.
Anyways, so I have this on my ‘hall of fame’ already. I haven’t gotten around to reviewing it.
So yeah, at first, it’s super sweet, almost sugary, with notes of cooked spinach, and crispy sweet carrots, with a decent amount of creaminess, it’s almost too sweet, like syrupy with vanilla, and a hint of cinnamon, creamy orange, light and suppressed flowers. It has a very pleasant astringency, and a very nice, dense thickness. Cucumber, hints of basil, sweet peas.
There’s a bit of a soapy/perfumey taste that comes through in the middle, alongside the cream, vanilla and spinachy-cucumbery vegetals, it’s thick, heavy, sweet, even with a bit of a honey-like quality, or ooh! Like agave. Also lemon-lime, lychee.
You know, I really love this tea. It has nothing I dislike, which almost never happens in an oolong, they either fall into roastiness or deep into florals, and this is neither! which keeps me coming back. This is what I look for.
Flavors: Astringent, Carrot, Cinnamon, Cream, Creamy, Cucumber, Flowers, Honey, Lemon, Lime, Lychee, Orange, Peas, Perfume, Soap, Spinach, Sugar, Sweet, Vanilla
This is my first Da Yu Ling oolong. I thought it was pretty good, but I’m glad I got it at the rather affordable price it was offered by Ides Tea. I might have to try one of the hella expensive ones at some point too just for comparison’s sake. Unlike many green oolongs I’ve tried, this one was best by a good margin with boiled water.
Pretty thick and creamy texture with a decently intense floral flavor in most steeps. If I increased the steep time too quickly it got a little cloying and unpleasant – this one seems to do best with flash steeps for the first five steeps or so, then can be slowly increased after that. I also noticed some other sweet flavors, kind of like honey, underneath the floral, mostly in the mid-steeps. This was good, but I think my favorite from Ides so far is still the Alishan.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Green, Honey, Sweet
Just tried this one with 190 degree water instead of 180, and it had a bit of a thicker and creamier mouthfeel. It was consistently sweet throughout the session. Maybe I’ll try with 200 degree and then boiling (maybe 205 too, but I’m not sure how much of a difference that would be from 200) since I have a good amount of this.
Used 4g in 100mL gaiwan with 180 degree water. Lots of good floral and sweet notes. A bit more on the “green” side of floral, with some of that chlorophyll-type of flavor. Decent thickness in the mouth with no off-tastes or anything. Some of the later steeps also had a bit of a sugarcane flavor to them. Comes at a good price and is a tasty tea.
Flavors: Floral, Green, Sugarcane, Sweet
This is so interesting, It’s a pu’er rolled like an oolong, and it’s so delicious;
It starts with dark crispy burnt toast notes, but after a few steeps it settles into this lovely malty, caramelly, vanilla, buttery, dark roasty wonderful thing, and this flavour lasts for SO. LONG. I’ve refilled my teapot (I pour from my teapot into my gaiwan, the teapot is about 800ml) 2 times already and it’s still really strong and delicious and sweet.
I’ve never had a tea remotely like this, I’m blown away by it. I want more, and if IDEStea ever gets around to posting these teas on their site (7 samples were in my subscription box and it said they were going to be on the site at the beginning of may) then I’m going to have to buy some, it’s amazing. seriously.
This is so unique and wonderful I’m so happy.
Flavors: Burnt, Butter, Caramel, Malt, Oats, Roasted, Toast, Vanilla
I’m kinda sad to see this go, because I don’t think it’ll ever come through my hands again. Not that I’ll be avoiding IDEStea or anything, I can definitely see myself going back to them, but more likely for the jade mountain oolong, the honey oolong, or dayulin. But who knows?
Anyway, I did my initial review so long ago and straight out of a vacuum-sealed package, so I’m just going to do a completely new one. I think the first time around, I was disappointed because it didnt seem creamy, and it’s a Jin Xuan. I think it just needed some fresh air, because the cream is perhaps the most notable thing about it now. Lovely, light cream atop delicate florals, and clean lettuce, with thick green beans, the exhale leaves a buttery feeling, and slight astringency. The leaves haven’t unfurled yet, but there’s something so airy about those early steeps that make me feel like I’m floating above a lazy river.
There’s even a bit of a nutty, almond-like taste, with hints of spinach and snap peas, a bit of orange, like a creamsickle. You could get lime creamsickles, orange, .. the pink one, it’s very creamsickley.
After six steeps, it started tasting a bit stale, empty.. not as creamy, not as.. anything. I’m gonna reheat the water.
Okay, well it’s very different now, lots of minerals, and thick grassy leaves, almost reminiscent of a sencha, but with the thickness of an oolong. Still with a creaminess, and almost a bell-peppery quality. it’s less complex than earlier steeps, which is a bit disappointing. The beginning was immensely delicious, and I had all but changed my mind about this Jin Xuan before, but I’ve gone back to my original opinion.
I got like 12 steeps in total, which seems like not very many? considering I used more than average amount of leaf, but I mean i don’t usually keep track of how many steeps I get in a session, so.. Could this be average for oolongs? I hope not.. I’m gonna count next time.
Flavors: Almond, Bell Pepper, Butter, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Lettuce, Lime, Mineral, Nutty, Orange, Peas, Spinach
IDEStea Vaccuum seals their teas, which I’ve never seen before elsewhere (even if it’s a small sample!) but like it makes the packages hard to open when I’m too lazy to find scissors, and they dont reseal and that also is kinda annoyning but anyways they have lots of great oolongs so ignore that, it just took me a while to break into this Jin Xuan (I have a very good history with Jin Xuans so this is exciting — I also recently purchased a jin xuan from DragonTeaHouse, look out for that review :D)
The first steep reveals a Sweet, rice, fruity, vegetal, bean-like..
The second steep is where the milky Jin Xuan creaminess comes in. It’s like a sweet, milky pudding, bits of peppery notes, berries, grassy leaves.
The third has less creaminess, which is slightly disappointing as that’s what I love about Jin Xuans, but putting that aside, it’s still nice and vegetal and sweet and a tad fruity, with a moderate astringency; no bitterness
Okay I take it back, the fourth is creamier, I probably didn’t steep the third long enough. It’s really nice; the milkiness is well-balanced with the vegetality and the berry notes.
Fifth: I’m noticing woody notes, they were definitely there all along
I skipped a couple steeps.. 8th: tangerine flavour, creaminess fading, stronger astringency
Flavors: Astringent, Berries, Cream, Fruity, Grass, Milk, Pepper, Rice, Rice Pudding, Soybean, Sweet, Vegetal, Wood
In the beginning, this one is really roasty tasting for such a green oolong, very floral as well, it’s a bit more floral and roasty than I’d like to begin with, but most of the roastiness steeps out pretty quickly to reveal sweet vegetals – bok choy, kale, and once it does, mmmm. It has a nice thick, moderately astringent feel in the middle, and late steeps are gorgeously creamy and floral, reminiscent of vanilla ice cream, thick florals (Very slightly perfumey) and nice sweet aforementioned vegetals. definitely an above average oolong, and I wholeheartedly recommend IDESTea’s entire selection.
Flavors: Bok Choy, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Kale, Roasted, Sweet, Thick, Vanilla, Vegetal
Arggggg I just wrote so much. I’ve been writing about my session for like an hour now. And my browser stopped working and i got frustrated and closed it and my wonderful review is gone now. I’m just gonna give it a rating and put all the notes in there… hopefully someday I’ll come back and do this properly.
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Kale, Lettuce, Melon, Orange, Peas, Perfume, Roasted, Soap, Sweet, Vegetal
Hi teaple (tea + people, get it? haha..ah….h.. nevermind) tonight we’re drinking IDEStea’s Tieguanyin, and um I don’t know where to start
so basically theres these 2 things:
- This is super dark and earthy right off the beginning, I’ve never had that in a tieguanyin before. it’s strange.
- I’ve got a weird metallic.. tingly, dry aftertaste.
But this is only the first couple steeps, it’s still very much rolled. The third steep is bringing out more flavours. Pepper, a dark.. earthy taste, and an almost meat-like .. pork? kind of taste. Still metallic and dark… It really doesn’t taste like a good quality tieguanyin. It’s really hard to drink.. I’m really hoping it’ll lighten up soon, I’m on the 5th steep, but it doesn’t seem to want to. It isn’t floral, it isn’t even green.. I’m genuinely wondering if they mislabelled my sample? This is definitely very heavily roasted but not in a .. good way. I don’t really appreciate this. It’s a no from me.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Earth, Meat, Metallic, Pepper, Roasted, Spices
This seems really nice. the first steep has roasty dark chocolate notes, really earthy and astringent. It’s quite similar to a Laoshan black at first, but I think a bit darker and definitely more astringent. There’s a subtle fruitiness in the back, sort of like peaches and cherries. The dark cocoa notes lift out as the steeps go on, paving the way to sweet darkness that doesnt seem to have any specific prevalent flavour. Maybe a bit of coffee? It’s strange, it’s really tasty but I dont know what it tastes like. I think it’s a strange balance between spices, florals, a sort of soapy taste, and the original cocoa and coffee notes, and sort of brown sugar? (I’ve been getting a lot of coffee notes lately, and I think it’s not a good thing. it seems to be abbrasive and intrusive, and only happens with oversteepings) I definitely was writing all of that and i have a sort of cracked pepper aftertaste in my mouth from seemingly nowhere. Also I’m more clearly noticing peach and mango notes. It’s a strange tea. But like strange in an almost bland sense. But bland in a delicious sense. No, I don’t understand what I’m talking about okay. That’s just what my senses are telling me. I think basically the cocoa gave away to spices and pleasant bitterness.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Brown Sugar, Cherry, Cocoa, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Floral, Mango, Peach, Pepper, Soap, Spices
It finally came today, I’m really excited to dive in :D I’m brewing in my 90ml Gaiwan, using however many leaves are in this sample (it’s filled about a fifth of the Gaiwan).
Oh, this is so delicious. It has sweet, thick.. creamy notes in the first steep, it’s really nice but not complex; not until the second steep.. a whole world unfurls in my mouth: smokey, fruity, hot chocolate, coffee, honey, peach, dates, cream, peas. The third steep brings out more of the cocoa/coffee, it’s growing darker with each steep, and astringency is getting stronger. It actually tastes a bit like davidstea’s oolong supreme, but just way more sweet and thick and creamy. Seriously this Oolong is very very good.
There’s more roasty and dark fruity notes later on.
I’m actually sad that I only have a sample of this. I might have to buy more .
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Coffee, Cream, Creamy, Dates, Fruity, Honey, Peach, Peas, Roasted, Smoke, Sweet
This was a nice Dong Ding. I’ve generally been leaning toward more roasted oolongs of late, but my fiance was not feeling great and wanted a greener tea. This fit the bill nicely. A pleasant, sweet tea to drink in these early spring days. This tea hit the spot for me a lot more than the one other tea I’ve tried so far from Ides through their tea club promotion. The leaf quality of the Dong Ding seems pretty high and they steeped well for many steeps. This is pretty good value for what they charge for it.
Unfortunately, I can’t continue my subscription at this time, due to an impending wedding, and the fact that they gave me SO MUCH TEA that I really can’t see myself needing to order any very soon.
Pleasant Dong Ding oolong. Took a bit longer to get started than I’m used to with Taiwanese oolongs, but that may have just been my bad. Started with some soft and sweet vegetal flavors, which also took on floral aspects after a few steeps. Some creaminess to the mouth feel but not all that much. Last few long steeps were pretty savory. Almost like steamed peas with sweet-ish floral aftertaste. Pretty good and inexpensive Taiwanese oolong. $17/75g I believe.
Flavors: Floral, Green, Peas, Sweet, Vegetal
Really enjoyed this tea. Crisp and sweet sugarcane flavor with floral accents in the early steeps. A few steeps in and the crispness dissipated some while the floral flavors became more prominent. Interestingly, after a couple more steeps, the sugarcane flavor came back, but without the sharper crisp feeling. Final couple steeps were lightly sweet and floral. Body was excellent and creamy throughout the session. Beautifully sweet tea, this.
Flavors: Floral, Sugarcane, Sweet
Enjoyed my first session with this one. Early steeps were floral and decently sweet. The floral notes were more green than many other oolongs, so kind of like flower stems I suppose. The sweetness faded in mid-late steeps and the tea possessed more of a vegetal quality, though it maintained a nice and thick body throughout the session. After the initial sweet steeps, this tea had a touch of bitterness to it, but not of an unpleasant or tannic character.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Green, Sweet, Vegetal
Very good Jin Xuan Oolong. Flavor was milky, creamy, and floral throughout 9+ steeps with only 3g of tea gongfu style. Didn’t get the fruity notes which sometimes come from Jin Xuan teas at all, but that was just fine, as this tea was wonderful in body and flavor for the entire session, and I probably could have gotten a few more long steeps out of it, but ran out of water lol.
Flavors: Cream, Creamy, Floral, Milk