The Chinese Tea Shop

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Recent Tasting Notes

I wasn’t sure about the name, but uhh, my GOSH friends. SO BITTER.

So. Incredibly. Bitter. Different bitter from coffee. Makes my tongue feel weird.

I think I need to switch to a different tea IMMEDIATELY.

Thank you for the sample, Dexter! ;)


This… doesn’t sound appealing.


Ha! Definitely not to my taste.

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Had some awesome tea with my good friend Teajay last night over Google hangouts, and I used it as an excuse to break out into this tea sample – which I’ve been saving for a “rainy day” so to speak. The sample was actually originally a gift from my mom several years ago but I knew it was a really nice/expensive sample so I always wanted the “right” occasion to brew it…

This was an absolutely beautiful tea, with so much nuance and depth starting all the way from the dry leaf aroma, which smelled flagrantly of golden raisins and brown sugar. It steeps up so sweet right off the bat, with a wide array of notes such as stewed fruits and plums, raisin/prune, brown sugar, molasses, buckwheat, brandy, and quince all with the backbone of that lovely charcoal roast. So complex, and delicious – handedly the nicest tea that I’ve had all week & just when I thought the session was done the leaves would keep giving!

Thirteen glorious steeps.


Song Pairing:

Flavors: Brandy, Brown Sugar, Char, Grain, Honey, Mineral, Molasses, Plum, Raisins, Roasted, Stewed Fruits

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2018 Pick.

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down with this tea. First three steeps at 15 seconds. Very floral is my first impression (jasminy), it doesn’t coat the mouth like a heavier tea, the roast is very light, barely there, no puckering or sour notes although it does make me salivate. Having been working with apricot flavouring a lot recently, I realize I get notes of apricot in this; not as juicy as peach, more floral, more light. Not sour, a bit dry.

Fourth steep was 30ish seconds because I was having a conversation, whoops. Tea is noticeably harsher, astringent, but holds up well, floral and a bit like under-ripe sour fruits.

Leaving a breather after that, and I can taste that sort of dull apricot on my tongue as I exhale.

Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Jasmine

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 3 OZ / 90 ML

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Very easy drinking shou. Good flavor with strong flavor of vanilla. Great to have with dim sum, or just casually by itself. Drinking this right now at work to start my day. Does not need to steep very long to achieve a strong, full flavor.

Flavors: Earth, Vanilla

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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This tea has hands down been the best tea I’ve ever had. The flavors are deep and lasting, and I will do my best to detail them here.

An approx. 75mL yixing pot was filled about halfway with leaf. Tea was brewed with 100C water, and rinsed once pouring off immediately.

The dry leaf has a dark appearance, and is hand-rolled into beautiful “dragonfly heads.” The aroma of the leaves is lightly smoky, but smells predominantly of plums and dark fruits. From the first infusion, the liquor is a dark reddish brown, and has a wonderful aroma similar to the dry leaves. The taste is strong, smooth, plummy, and the flavor just coats the mouth. There’s a slight sweetness that give the tea a great weight and texture in the mouth. After drinking, the dry cup has an unbelievable aroma. As I go through more infusions, the flavor continues to feature plum and dark fruit, but an amazing chocolate note emerges and balances well with the plum. This tea gives wonderful flavor through 8+ infusions, and even as the flavors lighten, they develop and continue to be a delight to taste.

If you ever have a chance to try this tea, please do. It’s exquisite!

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Plum

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 3 OZ / 75 ML

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I’m so excited for gu shu black tea!! I just got a new yixing pot, and I’ve seasoned it for black teas, this one:
A birthday gift from my best friend :) (Along with a number of great teas, including this sample, she’s the best)
Okay so yeah I’m brewing in my new yixing,
In the warmed pot, I get a very.. burning marshmallow aroma, with some chocolate. So excited, ahh after the rinse it’s just like burnt marhsmallows, I love it.
It brews a gorgeous dark vibrant red,
brewing at 96C
It tastes very burnty, like on the tongue it leaves this dryness of burnt, dry meat or like licking a rock, with a bit of bitterness, and there’s a honey-like quality, with a slight sweetness, a very thick body and a hidden fruitiness that I can’t place. Also sort of a terry’s chocolate orange taste
The fruit comes through a bit more in the second steep, it’s sort of a orangey grapey,thing, still mostly subtle, with some caramel in the finish, it’s quite bitter for so early in a session, I could be over steeping bc of the slow pour of my new yixing.
It tastes kind of like a.. bitter spaghetti squash..?
This is a very powerful tea, and it’s very satisfying and it does change a lot between steeps, it’s just in a way that.. I’m having a hard time describing, it’s like the bitterness changes each time and the burnt taste comes and goes with the fruitiness it’s like ebbing and flowing it’s weird, but I am really enjoying this a lot. It’s different. It might be a bit too much bitterness for me though, it’s tolerable but it’s just over my limit for pleasantness


You may be able to drop your temperature to reduce the bitterness as well.


That’s true. I really should’ve tried that, for some reason last night I was just stubbornly keeping it high


Happy birthday, whenever it was! Too bad it doesn’t taste like burnt marshmallows.


Thanks :) it’s actually this Saturday, and I did get a little bit of the burnt marshmallow in the tea soup aroma so it was still there throughout whic was nice :)

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Gong Fu!

Drank this one last weekend; I had just finished seasoning a new yixing pot for Yiwu teas the previous day and I was really itching to brew something up in it. I chose this one, and it was really good but it also completely kicked my ass. Quite a tea, very intense.


I’m pulling the flavour description from my instagram summary again because I’ve been writing tasting notes for hours today and my shoulder is actually cramping up really badly. I’m so close to finishing my queue though, so I just want to power through the last few. So here’s the insta summary I gave:

Thick, unyielding liquor & flavour notes – nectarine, overarching bitterness, and a finish with that sort of dual sweet and bitter taste that Jiaogulan has!!

Cross referencing my Jiaogulan review in case you’re curious what I’m referring to:

And the song pairing from this session: (Really catchy song…)

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Tea Cooking! The best kind of cooking.

So, today I decided to try a new recipe from the book of tea infused cooking that I own. One of the ones that seemed pretty easy to do was Pu’erh infused grilled tofu with a Thai-style peanut sauce that was also Pu’erh infused. I’ve been on a BIG Peanut Noodle kick recently and am not the world’s greatest cook either so I figured that this was the recipe for me.

For the record, the recipe didn’t specify what kind of Pu’erh to use so this is the one I chose because I have TONS of it. It’s one my mom brought back for me from her vacation in Vancouver. The shop owner had recommended it to her, and she got half a cake for me as a “sample” rather than a whole cake. Silly woman.

I’m not gonna write out the whole recipe because that would take forever, but suffice to say that it was pretty easy to follow along with. The grilled tofu was marinated first in a soy sauce and pu’erh mixture and the sauce used the left over marinade, peanut butter, hot sauce, lemon, honey and more steeped up pu’erh. The dish was then finished off with a fresh mint leaf garnish. It took like MAYBE half an hour to make? Tops.

Here’s a pretty picture of the finished dish:

Sadly, I have to say that this isn’t the best tea infused dish I’ve ever made. The big issue for me wasn’t actually the flavour though, but the texture. I generally like tofu a fair bit; I mean as a vegetarian you sort of have to. I think it was something to do with the marinading process; but the texture of the tofu was just so gross. As I bit into it the pu’erh almost ‘disintegrated’ into these weird, tough rubbery strands that felt gross and were sort of tough to chew. Definitely not a great thing.

But that said; the tofu was also the only area of the dish where I felt like I could actually taste the pu’erh. I mean, it was a milder flavour than just drinking a straight up cup of pu’erh but the smoky elements of the tea, and earthiness came through. And of course lots of umami and saltyness from the soy.

The sauce was… interesting.

I think the reason it didn’t initially sit right with me if that it’s a lot more acidic tasting than the sauce I’m used to that comes with my regular, ‘Go To’ peanut noodles. That one has some kick to it from spices, but is mostly creamy and uses coconut milk too which is a nice contrast. This doesn’t have any sort of ‘cream’ element to it other than the peanut butter itself. What it DOES have is a lot of fresh lemon juice. So it’s oddly a bit sour, with a mild heat from the hot sauce and lots of salt from the soy. However once I adjusted to the differences I found it really nice. Couldn’t taste the Pu’erh though.

The recipe makes A LOT of sauce – more than any sane person would ever need to use for the dish itself. So, I have a TON extra. Looks like I’ll be adding peanut sauce to everything for days to use it up. I can’t stand food waste, so just tossing it out isn’t an option. Also; if I make this one again I’m skipping the mint. It looked beautiful on the dish, but the flavour didn’t compliment it at all. I ended up picking most of the mint off and just eating it straight instead; that was far tastier.

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Daniel just kinda gave me a pretty decently sized sample of this off the shelf when I was buying a few things in the store, so thanks Daniel :)
The dry leaf is really dark and ugly which seems just about right for a 10 year old shou mei. They smell slightly fishy and not really much else.
In the warm gaiwan, there’s a very potent aroma, like dirty vegetables, like rhubarb and radish and grass and some weird florals, hay.. it is also reminiscent of a fresh shou mei. smells sweet on top of all the weird earthy smells, and maybe a bit of a shitake mushroom.. Also cinnamon/brown sugar. I had this already once and I remember it tasted like someone dumped a bunch of sugar into a fresh shou mei, which is lovely.
I get a bit of chlorine in the aroma after rinsing, but also a sort of pie crust, maybe rhubarb pie,
the first steep smells meaty like chicken, and maybe some citrus fruit,
it definitely tastes of brown sugar, cinnamon, citrus that I can’t place, root vegetables, mushrooms, radishes, creaminess with a bit of a syrup texture, a lemon meringue sort of thing. It gives me images of mud. Also orange juice. I’m only on the third steep and I’m significantly tea drunk, heady with a sort of.. restless feeling in my stomach, dates? I don’t think I’m of good mind to be able to review anymore of this.. I got 3 steeps of writing.
I like

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When I was in vancouver last weekend, I went to the chinese tea shop with my friend, and Daniel made like 5 or 6 different teas just for us to try (me and my friend didn’t ask for any of them, or even to try teas, some of the other people did and he was just so excited to show us his teas, he just kept making more other ones), anyways, it was a lot of fun. He made this in what I assume was a really well-seasoned yixing because it tasted unbelievable, like I distinctly remember it tasted exactly like I was getting the last bits of mango that are on the pit of a mango and you’re trying to scrape off the last little bit with your teeth.. anyways, so I got my first yixing pot there, which was $15 because it’s a marriage pot, the lid fits really well and is almost the same colour, so I decided to use it for dancong because dancong is amazing

Anyways so I’m brewing it in that. at 98C

I get honey notes, and a rock sugar-like sweetness, light fruitiness somewhat reminiscent of lychee, a but of mint, some bark notes, there’s a cinnamon toastiness to it as well. It has a lovely tingly exciting mouthfeel with a lovely toasty aroma. I don’t really know what else to say about it, it doesn’t seem to complex. I get a bit more of a perfumey floralness, light and a bit more of a soapy texture a bit later into the session.

I like it, I might expect a little bit more at this price point (~$0.50/g) but it is really quite good.


i’m intrigued now if a seasoned yixing would add to the fruitiness, I might have to get one if thats the case – usually porcelain is advised but for the dancong with the same lychee/mango taste I would love a pot that made this flavour more pronounced


I thought that was how yixing works, lol he was also using spring water that could’ve been the difference as well

Rasseru I just mean what flavours it would pronounce , the fruit or the roast or whatever

If the fruit gets more I would like it, but any more bitter & it might ruin the more delicate ones


You could always get one and not use it on the more delicate ones :o


Haha yes I could.


yeah so I keep trying my new dancong in the teapot and they keep falling flat, I even just now did a brew in my gaiwan, poured half of it into the yixing, and half into a cup and the just gaiwan one tasted way better. I’m a little sad lol, it gives it a weird mouthfeel.


I have no idea how daniel did it in the store, he’s like a wizard


ah the mystery thickens… I wonder if you can email him to ask his opinion. I still havent got any pot, i’m still gaiwaning it


I’m gonna be in Vancouver next weekish so hopefully I can find out some stuff haha


yeah man, get some juicy details & post them here :)


Will do!!

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I pulled this one out to try it again and i had a little more success today that previous times. I’m still not getting the intensity that others have with this, but there are some definite honey notes that are coming through.

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i don’t get it. Lol. Pulled this one out today from omgsrsly to try. After a number of steeps and different temps and times, i just don’t get it. Tastes like not very much of anything to me. I’m hoping that maybe next time i pull this out i’ll be able to figure it out, though if i can’t…well there’s more for everyone else, since i know most folks have really loved this.


Love this – it’s like apricot honey.
IMHO – gong fu – boiling water – flash steeps.
If you tried that then maybe it’s just not for you…..


i’ve got more to play with :)

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Mmm. This dark honey is from OMGsrsly. It’s pretty delicious. I’m both a fan of white tea and eating honey syrup so this was always going to go over well.

If only me and puerh got along like this all the time.

Flavors: Apricot, Hay, Honey, Malt, Tangy

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KimcheeKat kindly gave me a sample of this in a swap a while back. I waited too long after I finished it to write a good review but I have been unwilling to remove it from my cupboard until I made a note reminding myself that I should buy this given the opportunity. So here is my note to self: This tea is excellent, buy it.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Another one from OMGsrsly!!!

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this one, so I originally meant to save it for last, but I am the least patient person in existence, so that didn’t happen. OMGsrsly was generous enough to give me a sample big enough for two sessions anyway (thanks!!), so I still have a bit to hoard away.

The leaves are kind of silky-fuzzy, heheeeeee. I liked the way they felt against my fingers when I was picking off a chunk to brew.

This tea really is super heavy on the honey sweetness, and I’m noticing a hint of woodiness coming out in some of the longer steeps. It feels like it should be a dessert tea…like I’d be breaking the rules if I drank this before clearing my dinner plate of all my veggies. Anyhoo, it was yummy and I’m happy to report that my sweet tooth has been Appeased.


This one is seriously The Best that I’ve tried. :D Glad you enjoyed!


Me too – Best Moonlight I’ve tried :))


It’s sooo good, thank you for sharing!!


Scurries off to add to list for Sunday. So glad the two of you connected! I thought you might have similar flavor palates.

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I started my – can I drink pu’erh at work – experiment today…….

It was recently pointed out to me that if I drank two pu’erh sessions a week, I have enough pu’erh to last 7 years. I need to be drinking more pu’erh – so, I took some of this to work today. I know, I know – I am incredibly fortunate in my tea making supplies/ability at work, but pu’erh is a finicky animal that needs to be taken care of. Dealing with chunks of cakes didn’t seem like a good idea, so I just took some tou.

I don’t think I would take anything “special” to work – and I certainly don’t have space to set up a gong fu situation but using my steeping basket in a mug was ok. Rinse, rinse, quick steep – go back to desk. Can’t take the cup to the desk with it still steeping – I forget about it and then it’s way icky. The other interesting thing is you a different tea every steep – some strong, some mild, some water not hot enough. It all adds up to different flavors coming out. I’m not sure this is the answer to my problem, but if I can drink some of the “just ok stuff” at work then that SHOULD help reduce my stash. Need to keep working on it…..


Good idea. I like the thought of steeping and then bringing it back to my desk. But there’s no where to put my basket etc, other than the staff fridge…


Have you tried combining a whole series of gong fu type steeps in a travel mug and taking that to work?


Bringing the basket back to my desk is fine as long as it’s not still in the cup steeping. Our new coffee station at the back of the room is really good, but the water isn’t hot enough – I know poor me, I need to walk all the way to the kitchen to get 200F water.

Lindsay – I’m spoiled – I drink and make pretty good black tea at work all the time – black works, it’s nice to have good tea all day. LOL tea in travel mug wouldn’t make it TO work. I know first world problems and I should not be complaining..


My work desk is less than idea. It’s a fairly small stone table – not enough room, and SUPER cold.


LOL This is why I can’t quit my job – cheap hotel discounts and great tea making options at work. :)
Stone table as a desk – I would not like that….


It’s terrible. I’ve started wearing wrist warmers. BRR. The space was “designed” and is not actually a useful space…


I drink cheap Sheng grandpa style sometimes at work. You have to make sure you’ve eaten something or it can make you feel nauseous and I use less leaf than I do for gongfucha sessions but it can be pleasant when I’m in the mood. I haven’t attempted shou yet though.

Christina / BooksandTea

I’ve been using up random Teavivre and YS samples at work, and *yyz*’s method is similar to mine – I use a little less, steep it for a little longer, and I can usually get a good 2-3 steeps. The hot water dispenser is far enough away that I think it offers a good steep time.


So is this a pretty good company, do you think?

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Thank you to Dexter for sharing this unusual tea with me.

I can’t remember if this was a sample gift or a purchase… it’s been a while. :D But it is unusual, I mean, 1000 year old trees? And as a black tea? Ok. I’ll try.

It smells a little smoky. A little like an Assam. A little like chocolate-dirt. The tea is really a very pretty amber colour.

Oh, this is quite sweet. I rinsed, and my first steep is about 10-15 seconds. It has a hint of carbs to it, but nothing like the honey black I just tried. It’s also almost floral-grapey like a Darjeeling, although it doesn’t have the perfumey notes of a very fresh/green leafed Darjeeling. And there’s some smoke in the background, but it’s more like tobacco leaves that have been warmed, than true smoke.

It’s also quite thin. Maybe that’s because of the shorter steep, but it’s somewhat unexpected.

I’ll have to drink more of this tea tomorrow, it’s not really what I was looking for tonight. But it’s really interesting.

Thanks so much for sharing, Dexter!

TBH, I think it’s this tea:
Just “Old Tree”, not specifically 1000 year old tree.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

Dunno – that’s the one he gave us saying it was “special” – I would have just entered it here as it was labelled.


It is labelled “1000 years old tree” but I checked the website, and based on the pictures, it looks like what I linked. The flavour profile seems in the same ballpark as well.

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Aged oolong seems to be my weakness and what I keep searching for. When I received this as part of the angel swooping in because my Halloween partner hasn’t appeared on Steepster again, I was quite excited.
The first thing to note is that I don’t believe this was reroasted from the original roast. The second thing to note is that the roast was a light to medium and not a full blown one. These are both initial thoughts as I looked at the leaf and smelled it. Upon brewing it I am more confident that those two things are true.

This is an aged oolong that was charcoal roasted and stored well as it has similar characteristics as that of the aged oolongs from Tea Urchin who has (from my experience) amazing storage. That being said, there is a cocoa malt mixture going on within the tea where the small buttery texture ends up becoming a way for tasting notes of mild roast to be appreciated over the flavor itself. If you steep this out you will find the mild sweetness that I refer to as the candy bar that sat in the sun for four hours and just had to taste to see what it was like to find out it lost flavor.

I used 3.5 to 4 grams of this in a small little vessel and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Much better than a lot of aged TGY out there that has been roasted and wet stored for a small portion of time but is noticeable.

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I wouldn’t normally call a green tea creamy, but this one is! I love creamy, buttery teas, so I was pleasantly surprised with this one! This tea is sweet, grassy and full bodied with a very light colour.

Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Sweet

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this one came to me from omgsrsly and the final verdict on this one is that it’s too earthy for me. even after a number of steeps, there’s a note to this one that i don’t love. Initial steeps were very earthy and musty. I didn’t get the smokey notes that omgsrsly did, but maybe that’s the note that wasn’t jiving for me on this one? later steeps saw this one with a little sweeter note to it but it still carried that heavy, bold, earthy taste to it. Good to know though, and always happy to try new puerh :) thanks lady!



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It’s not a secret – I hate fall. It’s just the saddest season and it means winter is coming.
One of the only things that I really love is Pumpkin Amaretto Cheesecake from a local cafe.
So tonight I went and got a slice and snuggled in with it and some good shou.
This tea is almost perfect for me. It’s dark and bold, but not over powering. It’s fruity and sweet, but still has some aged woodiness. This tastes old without being musty and nasty. Once quick rinse and it’s just amazing.
All is right in my world…..


I should find this one and try it. :)


Your tasting note said that there was a mustiness to it that you weren’t digging… woody and musty. LOL to each their own. I think it’s smooth, sweet and awesome. Drink something that you enjoy.:))


It might have just needed to air out. :)


I should find this cheesecake and try it.

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This tea leads with a light smokiness which leads way to smooth plums. It is fresh and crisp with a slight lingering sweetness. Stands up to many infusions.

Flavors: Plum, Smoke

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This tea is sweet, delicate and full of honey flavour! The dry leaves smell like fresh grass. I will be buying more of this!

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I really don’t know much about this other than the owner gave it to us and said it was special.
Not sure about special, but it is unusual. Sweet, earthy, peachy (apricot?), brassy. A little puerh ish, a little Indian blach, and some stone fruit. Would never have thought China Black if blind tasting this. Unusual, not bad, not my style…..

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