107 Tasting Notes


2 tsp tea, 10 oz water, 200 degrees, 3 minutes. This is the first time I’ve ever tasted a darjeeling tea, and I am loving it. Sweet, not bitter, grapes (skins too), and red wine. Apparently it’s quite caffeinated, so I’ll be bouncing all over my house tonight and probably cursing myself as I lay in bed wide awake at midnight. I regret that I did this in the evening because I wonder what the second infusion will be like. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow as I think this tea will likely become part of my daily morning ritual for awhile.

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Gongfu, 190, 4g tea, one rinse. 30 seconds. Dark brew, almost coffee-like. An aroma I cannot define. Oh wait, it’s honey I think. I do taste a little sweetness. I definitely taste the char. And the hint of cinnamon. Very robust. Peppery. I will have to try this grandpa style; it is probably quite strong that way. Second steep one minute. I can feel it in the back of my throat. I like this tea ok but it is something I have to be in the mood for.

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175, gongfu, first steep 1 minute. Lots of grass and hay, faintly sweet. Second steep 2 mins. Same. Not too great. It’s like drinking hay. Not my cup of tea.

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Tobacco aroma, like every other sheng pu’er I’ve encountered. One short rinse, then short steeps (10 secs) @190. There must be something about pu’er that just isn’t for me. When I read reviews and folks are describing all these interesting and different flavors, and all I ever get is tobacco, it’s depressing. But on the upside, there are an infinite number of varieties of tea out there for me to explore.

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This has been one of my “rushing out the door” morning oolongs for awhile, steeping two tsp of tea in about 10 ounces of 190 degree water for 3 minutes, then another longer steep for my second cup. The second cup is never very good, it’s like this tea gives up the ghost in the first steep. This is the first time I’ve sat down with this tea for a nice, slow gongfu session to see what I might have been missing. It does not disappoint! I’m rather astounded at how lovely this tea is with shorter steeps (30 secs). The aroma is sweet. The flavor is also sweet and floral, with no bitterness or astringency. The second steep is much stronger now that the leaves have opened up a bit more. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Increased steeping time to a minute with 4 and 5. Still going. Leaves fully opened now. Sixth steep, flavor has become more vegetal. I could probably keep going, but I’m going to stop here (my eyeballs are floating).

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This is a wonderful tea. It is not like drinking a cupful of flowers. It’s delicate, sweet, floral of course, but not overbearing and absolutely no bitterness. The flavor lasts through several steeps. Would definitely purchase this again.

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Got this as a sample from the Mandala guys. Following their directions for amount of tea, temp, and steeping time. First thing… Oh wow, the aroma! So fragrant. Mangos? There is no bitterness to this tea at all. It’s mellow, sweet, fruity. Not flowery. I’ve read other steepster reviews and I think I’m the only person getting the fruit here, lol. Green wasn’t really my thing before I tried this tea, but this is definitely going on my shopping list.


So very happy that you are digging this tea. It’s one of my very favorite greens. Thanks for the review!

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9g ball of tea. 2 Short rinses, water just under boiling. The aroma of this tea is amazing. First steep five seconds, second ten. Smoky and sweet flavor. Lovely golden color. I don’t think I’d want to steep any longer than that actually, a tiny hint of bitterness is there now. Will go back to five for third steep. Mineral. Wet. Mossy (don’t ask me what that means). The tea has really opened up now, and is filling my gaiwan. I’m was still getting a little bit of bitterness even with the short steeps, but it did calm down and mellow out in later steeps. I tried to upload a photo of how gigantic the leaf is, but the site won’t let me. If anyone happens to be reading this (why are you reading this? I havve no idea what I’m talking about!) and wants to see it, click here: http://i.imgur.com/zPknuZd.jpg

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So the first thing I’m noticing about this tea, before I even taste it, is that it doesn’t look like any TGY I’ve ever had before. It’s so green, and the liquor is so, so pale, and the aroma is very much like Jin Xuan. Keep in mind I’ve only ever had cheap asian market teas, with the exception of Foojoy “Monkey Picked” TGY which actually isn’t bad and I’d have to say is a step above cheap asian market teas. It’s just that I’m used to a much darker TGY. Ok, the taste. Gongfu. 1 tsp, 190 degrees. 30 second rinse. 30 second steeps, lost count how many. It does not taste like Jin Xuan at all. There’s that familiar TGY astringency (love). Interesting creamy mouth feel. Complex. Floral. (Side note: the leaves are gigantic!) If this was labeled as something entirely different, I never would have identified it as a TGY. So I learned two things: first, I really don’t know much at all when it comes to tea, and second, I think maybe I just prefer darker, more roasted TGYs. I will have to find one now.

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drank Ginseng Oolong by Mandala Tea
107 tasting notes

This is the first decent quality ginseng oolong I’ve tried. The last one I got was from an Asian market, and all the ginseng powder just disintegrated into my pot and there wasn’t much actual tea. It wasn’t all that great. So… gongfu, water just under boiling, 1 tsp tea, 30 second steeps (as per Mandala) and increased to a minute in later steeps. The first thing I notice is the cool mouth feel and pleasant aftertaste. I can see where this would be lovely for a sore throat. Quite refreshing. I think this would make a great iced tea as well.
EDIT: I had to come back and edit this review to make the score higher. I love this tea. I lost count how many steeps I’ve done. My eyeballs are floating in tea and I’m not going to stop. You get a lot of wonderful licorice camphor bang for your buck with this tea. I don’t know if it’s possible to get tea drunk on this stuff, but I might be.

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For many years I drank cheap asian market-bought oolongs because I really didn’t know what was out there. For the last year or so I’ve been educating myself and making a foray into better quality teas. During the course of my journey I have fallen hard down the puerh rabbit hole – it started with young sheng, but now there’s another even deeper hole in the aged category, and I may be careening down this particular rabbit hole forever. I do still find time for aged oolong, a good wuyi yancha, and the occasional aged white.

I stopped rating teas awhile ago. I guess the numbers stopping meaning anything after awhile. For a long time I was pretty good about keeping my cupboard up to date and reviewing teas, mostly to help me keep track and remember what I like. I’ve gotten lazy about that for the last several months.

The tea addiction has also spawned a new addiction to throwing pottery, and I have become mildly obsessed with making tea cups, shibos, and teapots.


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