804 Tasting Notes


Backlog: I had a physically exhausting walk after a previous leg day and a series of obnoxiously high bloodsugars. My tumbler was sealed shut, so I could not plug in the snails, dispense the hot water, and inject the smooth caffeine this tea provides.

I was dying for some tea in some proper form. So, I come into a dining hall with Shang’s Tangerine Blossom, disposable loose leaf bags, and this tea without a single intention to eat anything. I go by to the tea water dispensers, and thankfully, the temperature was just right for these two teas at a good 190 F. The hot water in the dining halls are almost always around boiling and they stay scalding for a near hour unless I splash cold water in. Luckily, I did not have to put a single thought into the temperature. All I had to do was pay attention to the ratio and qualities of the teas.

Upping up the stakes for the sake of my enjoyment, and really, my empty stomach craving something resembling taste, I double -fisted this tea with the Tangerine Blossom. I took time notice the little similarities and differences between the two. I only prefer the Tangerine Blossom only because of it’s floral-citrus character against the cocoa malt body of dry tannin. This one had the silkier body and the smoother run down. I thought it was odd how comparable it was to a cocoa infused rooibos I had. Cocoa really is an accurate approximation for this tea. Thank God I bought a decent size of it.

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Tumbler Test: It did well. Actually, it performed better in my tumbler today than in my gaiwan. I used less leaves, maybe 2 grams in a 16 ounce bottle, and the florals came in through nicely without a gassy edge. The florals were less pronounced gong fu in the Gaiwan, and the liquid was way too dark for me personally. I am not sure what I did wrong. I used 180 for the temperature, which typically works for me fine, but it was floral-high headiness-then flat inky stuff. I’ll continue to play to see what else I did wrong. I’m still super curious about how the other one compares never mind the description for the other Floral was basically a comparison. I also need to review the teas on What-Cha’s site eventually…

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I like this one and the “Fruit” Zhangping for very different reasons. I’m also having a little bit of a problem because What-Cha released a new floral variety that apparently has a fruity orange zest thing going on. I gotta stop doing orders prematurely.

Nevertheless, this is a tea I’m pretty satisfied with because it hits the right notes that a lot of Li Shans and Ali Shans do, though it was closer to a Li Shan and some of the florals of a Bao Zhong. It’s heady overall, hitting lilac, hyacinth, orchid, gardenia, and a few others with a bit of a sweet character kind. Orchid and hyacinth are the strongest. There was barely any bitterness and astringency in its smooth texture as Alistair describes, and the texture kept on giving with the brews even if I broke off a fourth of the cake.

It really does compare to a high end Taiwan oolong especially if you give the leaves room to breathe in short gong fu steeps. A part of that comes from the plants ancestry from the Fujian province, or so I’ve read. Tea experts, please correct me if I’m wrong so I can learn. I tended between 15 and 30 seconds, and both work equally. Alistair did say this had some potential for grandpa, so I will try it that way eventually.

I highly recommend this tea and would personally rate it at a 90 or above, maybe higher. I do wish there was a bit of an edge, and since citrus is basically what I prefer in some form for most of my tea’s notes, I am getting a little crazy about the other floral. However, if I decide that I can’t buy any more high mountain oolong, this will be a more than suitable replacement for the coming months. Like I say in most of my reviews, I recommend at least a try. Some might find this too floral edging towards it’s leafy character, some might like it that way and find some zen sippin’ on. Now to figure out how to rearrange my budget.

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This is a What-Cha Indonesia Dark Oolong a friend gave me and I have no idea which one it is. It’s either the DARK, or the Jin Xuan ’cause it was smooth like a roasted one, but it some impressive woody and fruity qualities making me think of a Dan Cong or a Yan Cha. It gave me a different and complex steeps. And of course, What-Cha releases a few batch of teas I TOTALLY want after I just ordered from him. Dang it.

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Alistair, I’m impressed with how floral this one is. I like my Jin Xuan’s sweet and floral. First steep was about a minute, and the rest were shorter to do a semi-fu session ending with another long Western one. I also need to decide if I want to capitalize brewing styles when I type them. A part of me would say the florals were almost heady, but still toned down enough to taste the thick creamy texture and crisp grassy ends.

I thought about bamboo and incense oddly enough in the florals, though the florals reminded me of some Da Yu Lings. I also keep in mind that some Jin Xuan’s are sold as Da Yu Ling fakes, but despite that, there was no mistaking that this tea was a Jin Xuan. I have a bare idea of describing the florals though, being closer in my head to lilies, honey suckle, and magnolias. I’d have to ask Amanda what she thinks.

I definitely recommend this tea for someone looking for an affordable and great quality oolong. I actually preferred this to a few Taiwan Jin Xuans. Tea snobbery aside, this would make a decent introduction to someone exploring this variety as well, and it could be sold as someone really new to the world of loose leaf as a friendlier green tea.


Thanks for the review, glad you liked it. I do feel that the gap between Taiwan and SE Asia is slowly narrowing and when spending below a certain threshold, SE Asian Taiwanese style oolongs can outcompete their Taiwanese counterparts.

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Nice and crisp, oddly refreshing and breath freshening. The cinnamon burns a little bit at the back of my tongue which is really nice. Drinking it, the color was close to a dark brown and the taste profile was obviously between a white and black tea. Had the malty fruitiness of the Golden Needle but the dry florals of a white. The combo impressed me overall with the cinnamon-I can see the squash comparison that they made on the website. $30 per serving is a bit much though, and like I said before, or again and again-some of Shang’s Tea’s are just up there. Otherwise, I am so thankful to Nicole for at least allowing me to try it in a trade. It is definitely a great quality tea and I cannot wait to try the oolong offerings that Shang has.

If you, the reader, decide to buy this, know what you are getting because if this is what you seek, it will satisfy you. I will however say that you might be able to find some similar teas else-where, but just not the exact same as this unique one.

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Thank you Nicole! I preferred this white to the White Peony King. Honeydew melon notes and creaminess with a thick texture and a savory aftertaste were what I got overall, with maybe a few buttery shifts here and there. Some florals that I normally associate with this tea were definite, though it was not nearly as herby as the peony despite possessing a minimum of a stemmy quality. Overall, it was typical of a Silver Needle Gong Fu with the Shang crisp quality I’ve officially associated myself with.

Again, I’m glad to have a sample thanks to the kind Nicole, but the dry quality deters me just a little-never mind it does not deter me in the Pao Blossom. I bet the Jasmine teas are pretty great quality after trying this and the white peony. If you get the chance to try this tea, it is definitely worth trying though I will say that this is more of a snobs white tea and the other notes might give you a better idea what this is like.

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Thank you so much Nicole! This is a high quality white, but I am glad to have sampled is rather than buying. I’ve felt that way with a lot of Shang’s Teas never mind their exceptional quality. Dry leaf had an odd hay and almost cocoa-y smell that really pleased me. Brewing it up, peony, cucumber, and dry herbs were what hit the tongue. It bordered on malt here in there since it was gong Fu, but the grammage should have been light for the 1.6 grams for the five ounces I brewed. Some honeydew melon notes snuck in, but it was more like cucumber overall amidst its thick texture.

The only thing I did not like about this tea was the herb dry quality on the tongue and the bordering malty astringency that occasionally cropped up. Maybe I could use more water, but again, the dryness deterred me despite the contrasting cucumber freshness. Looking at the price for this tea and thinking of what I just described, this is a tea for white tea snobs and though I like my whites, there are others that I prefer that I can find for cheaper. It is at least worth a try for anyone exploring whites.

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I did not expect to be pleased with this tea. I was looking for a new jacket for my brother a T.J. Maxx, and I know that they usually have some solid teas on discount, so I opted to see what they had. I’ve wanted to try this for a while and it was two dollars cheaper than it normally was, and the box was neglected and dogeared. It was the only box, my brother and I were going to play Dark Souls III, and it was the last night of my spring break, so I needed some comfort. I’m glad I took the shot for that dogeared box.

I’ve gone through half the box already with my bro. It is dry and it was what you might expect, but a few of the many cups were smooth and silky. I brewed this in a teapot instead of the cup, never mind that is how tea should be brewed anyway. Woody, smooth red rooibos blended well with the vanilla and the cocoa making this welcomed. You could taste the cocoa for sure and it bordered on being like hot cocoa, but woodier. The bag might make this tea taste a little too cardboardy for some along with the woody rooibos ,but it was a nice break from tannin and provided just enough sweetness to avert my craving for coffee.

I will say that I’m not sure if this is strong enough for a latte. My bro added cream and sugar to his and I can barely taste the tea. Maybe use two bags in a pot, and then use properly steamed milk or just the slightest hint of creamer with sugar. I’m enjoying as is plain, and my mother likes it with just a spoon full of sugar.

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It’s in the high fifties with gushing sunshine and gushing winds. Spring is coming prematurely before Michigan decides to revert back to cold this weekend. In honor of the weather, I brewed this up gong fu with a few extra leaves. The grass and lime notes were especially present, but pleasant like a matcha can be. Otherwise, people who read my notes already know how I feel about this tea. Now I’ll put a number. 95 in terms of taste, 100 in terms of flexibility in brewing and 100 in quality for price.

Now, I have a dilemma tied to greedy curiosity. I want to restock on Spa Oolong eventually, but I also want to try What-Cha’s Kenya Gold Needle and Berylleb’s other oolong offerings. Never mind I have Zhangpings in the exact same caliber as some great Taiwan oolongs. My Green Teapot also had a few flavored oolongs that looked in line with Naivetea I wanted to try, but their sample sizes are 25 grams and over 8 bucks. #Problems of a spoiled tea addict.


Lucky you, winter weather in Vancouver is dragging on and on and on… it keeps snowing on our spring weather dreams.


Winter weather is about to hit Kentucky again. At this point, I wish it would just stop. On a different topic, I very nearly rated this tea around 95-96, but ultimately decided to play it safe.

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First Off, Current Targets:
Taiwan Sourcing Luxurious Jade Sampler (FRICKIN’ PRICEY)
Taiwan Sourcing Longhan Nectar Red Oolong
Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co. Yu Shan, Stone Table Alishan, Dong Ding, and Dayuling
Berylleb Dayuling
The best coconut/pineapple oolong I can find
The best Alishan and or Lishan for the best price
The best Jade Oolong Period.
Drunken Green Dragon J-Tea
My wish list is fairly accurate though it is broad.

Current Favorites:

Vietnam Red Buffalo Oolong
China Yunnan Pure Bud Golden Snail Black Tea
Taiwan Lishan Oolong
Kenya ‘Rhino’ Premium White Tea
India Orthodox Masala Chai

Liquid Proust Teas:
French Toast Dianhong

Floating Leaves Tea:

Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co.:
“Old Style” Dong Ding


I am an MSU student studying to become a high school social studies and history teacher with a minor in anthropology. I unfortunately dropped the anthropology minor, but I am and will continue to be an anthropologist as well as a historian. I love to read, write, draw, paint, sculpt, fence(with a sword), workout, relax, and drink a cuppa tea…or twenty.

I’ve been drinking green and black teas ever since I was little living in Hawaii with a dominant Eastern Asian influence. I’ve come a long way since I began on steepster and now have a better idea of the teas I absolutely prefer. Any tea that is naturally creamy, fruity, or sweet without a lot of added flavoring ranks as a must have for me. I also love black teas and dark oolongs with the elusive “cocoa” note. My favorites are lighter Earl Greys, some white teas like What-Cha’s Kenyan offerings, most Hong-Cha’s, darker Darjeelings, Green Shan Lin Xi’s, and Greener Dong Dings. I’m in the process of trying Alishan’s. I also tend to really enjoy Yunnan Black or Red teas and white teas. I’m pickier with other teas like chamomile, green teas, and Masalas among several.

I used to give ratings, but now I only rate teas that have a strong impression on me. If I really like it, I’ll write it down.

I’ll enjoy a tea almost no matter what, even if the purpose is more medicinal, for it is my truest vice and addiction.


Michigan, USA

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