1013 Tasting Notes

Thank you for the sample Mountain Stream!

Derk, I gotta say, I was not a huge fan. It was a good tea, but it overwhelmed me despite it being on the lighter side. The pomelo was pronounced, floral, and a little funky. Yes, I brewed it gong fu, but every time, I kept on getting a watercress note, and then the weird yeastiness that you described. The citric acidity coupled with the savoriness reminded me of a tortilla chip. Steep three, and more tortilla citrus flavor and watercress midsip and body. Steep four, heady and slightly bitter jasmine with a citrus finish. Steep five-green jin xuan ness. I can get the coriander in its herby profile, although it is still green and milky in texture. Not thick enough to be like spinach as Jin Xuans tend to be…which was kinda a relief.

Okay, back to my assertion. The yeasty citrus combo was a little too much for me. I think the florals gave me the buzz more than the caffeine, and yeah, I was a little tea drunk from this one. It might grow on me, but a little too much.


I did not think to describe the tea as overwhelming but in retrospect I can see what you mean. Maybe this tea needs to breathe/settle before consuming to reduce the intensity of the pomelo blossom. The florals were definitely the main contributor to my buzz. I’d say this tea is for the more experienced (even though I highly enjoyed it) and If I still had some, I’d try my typical gaiwan session timing to note any differences. Glad to hear another’s perspective on this tea.

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This tea reaffirmed my liking of darker oolongs. I’ll let the company’s words start out this description:

“Completely different from typical dark oolongs, floral and spicy aromas emanate from the amber coloured liquor and prepare your palate for a complex flavour that starts with wood and caramel. The taste of dried apricot lingers with a pleasant mouthfeel that’s both sweet and floral, making it hard to have only one cup.”

I pretty much got what they described in more detail via Western. This tea is surprisingly heady for a darker tea, with a rich floral and sweet smell like roasted dates. The first sip was more complex after two minutes and was equally aromatic and syrupy: gardenia, maple, cherry, caramel, then wood in the finish. Second, more gardenia, apricot, cinnamon, wood, honey. Third, continuing gardenia, caramel, and a bit of a date or a fig note. Fourth, faint maple wood, clove, honey, and hyacinth. The same went on in the later steeps becoming a little fruitier each time, more towards something like a cherry.

In short, a heady and syrupy tea that lived up to the unique description the company gave it. I’ve only had a few dark oolongs that were as good or complex, and the only other similar tea in my stash right now is the Eco-Cha Honey Fragrance Oolong, which is roasted. This one, however, is not and I think that is to this tea’s benefit. It is “dark”, but it still had an oolong’s profile overall with a decent mix of green and red in the leaves. I’m not sure who to recommend this one to. It is sweet enough for a newer drinker, but it might be too sweet for some. I’d consider grabbing another sample, but nothing exceeding 50 grams for me personally.

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Thank you for this incredibly generous sample, Terroir. Now, I realize I should have gotten more of this when it was half off. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the time with it.

Of course, the company’s notes are on point western, and mostly gong fu. I likely over leafed my sample gong fu. being close to 7 grams in a small vessel, but it kept on giving more cups and was crystalline in body. Osmanthus and corn are the most prevalent flavors this tea possess with a little bit of a side of butter in the aroma. The florals were prevalent in the very faint yet noticeable scent. There was of course some viscousity and occasional green notes, but the osmanthus was the most clear with some other hints like almond or spice. I swear I got nutmeg in the second and third steeps gong fu in the aftertaste. I could have imagined it, but since there is a very light roast to this baby, I might not be wrong.

This tea does go through some evolutions gong fu and western, albeit at slight rate. Nutmeg, honey, corn, and honeydew were in the gong fu sessions, and osmanthus with different variances in the texture were more common western. Sometimes, the liquor was as light and clear as morning dew, or more appropriately, morning mists as fresh as the mountainous imagery that Terroir sells the tea with. Other times, it was dry and heady, or as smooth and unassuming as fresh cucumbers. To think I would get six cups western, and 13 that over leafed gong fu session.

My description of this one is honestly unoriginal, so I’ll polish it up with the few things I found distinguishable about it. One, it was light but flavorful and very easy to drink. Two, it had the right amount of caffiene and L-theanine to sustain me into the morning. Three, the osmanthus note combined with whatever the nutmeg aftertaste I got was welcoming. I would easily recommend this tea to a newer drinker, and I do not think this tea will disappoint those who like it on the lighter side when a light tea is done right. I’m not sure that I would pay $19 for 50 grams because it was priced at $9.50 when I almost got it, but I do not think it’s entirely unreasonable and Terroir definitely has some good tea. I only say that because I’ve seen companies charge as much as $24 for Alishan that was not as good.

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Oooooooh this was a lovely gift. Thank you, Terroir Tea for this sample.

I was happy to receive it because I know what a lot of people rave about this particular terroir and variety. The company describes it as “not your typical tea,” and more akin to an oolong because of its lower oxidation. Smelling it, it has the biscuit muscatel aroma of Darjeeling in the dry leaf, albeit fruity. The tasting notes are more obvious and as sweet, muscatel, and peachy as described providing 6 ample cups western. Unlike the Makula, the texture was viscous and welcoming every time. Wood, apricot, and butter popped up in the slightly subtler ending brews, yet remained sweet.

I know that I could be more original and precise with my notes, but “peachy” is sufficient, as well as “recommended.” Get it while it’s on sale.


Does your sample mention which year is it from? The website doesn’t seem to specify that.

Daylon R Thomas

The package does not. I would guess 2016 or 17, and I know they are clearing the stock so it is probably order. I am not worried myself since I drink teas so quickly.

Daylon R Thomas

Older, sorry.



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Terroir Tea is doing a MASSIVE sale on their teas at 50% most of their main selection, so while I was on the quest for a Nepalese Oolong, I figured a $7 beauty for 100 grams would be nice. The company was even nicer with a whole host of samples that I lucked out with and am continually impressed by. Roswell Strange’s review of the Musky Thunder inspired me to try the company out, especially that tea, but alas, they were out. However, I could not say no to a cocoa roasty Himalayan Tea.

The notes of cocoa and stewed fruit were spot on, especially in the dry leaf with an extra aura of autumn and biscuits. The brewed cup western at 3 minutes shares the aroma, but the taste was slightly disappointing. It does compare to its 2nd Flush Darjeeling Counterpart very well and possesses the rich cocoa profile and autumn leaf feel that I love. Unfortunately, the mouthfeel was plain and thin compared to the other samples in the lovely order. This is shame because the tea is sophisticated. I may try it gong fu to see what more I can get out of it.

I would recommend it as a cheap alternative for a Darjeeling 2nd Flush for the time being, and I highly recommend picking up some tea from Terroir for their sale because they do have good ones available from Taiwan and India.

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I got a sample from the club order, and I missed this baby. The 2018 harvest also is delivering some great fruit notes in the first steep, like mango topped with hyacinth in a honeysuckle finish. You can expect me to write more about this soon, among others in this crazy hiatus.


Color me excited to hear more.

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A tea deserves at least a 90 from me when I crave its flavor, and a few extra points when I want to designate it as morning tea.

I know that a lot of people choose something brisk to wake them up, but the earthy tones and honeyed tang coax me to alert my senses and appreciate the subtler profiles. This mornings brew was more subdued than I’ve had it before. I got the heather honey, something like grilled pineapple, and a smooth texture, but I tasted a little bit more mineral that I was not expecting. Vague florals coated my tongue midsip that reminded me more of a Ba Xian, and I was not sure how to place them. If I could taste colors, I got an orange amber and purple despite the liqour’s tawny hue. Was I tasting lily? I don’t know. When the florals end in the honey note, it has a little bit of a violet effect amidst an earthier background from the light roast.

I hope that my notes aren’t too much of an actual exaggeration. Some are repetitive. I could interchange grilled pineapple and heather honey as the same note for example, albeit the char subtleties gave me the idea of grilled pineapple and the floral mix in a dark sweet end gave me heather honey. Nevertheless, this is a satisfying tea for my mornings, and one that I can see more experienced drinkers playing with for the flavor profiles.

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I gotta be honest; Charissa did a much better review of this one in the 2017 Spring Harvest. I got a lot of pine and sweet corn notes with this one, more so than peach until the later steeps. It is buttery, but more akin to buttercream. I was trying to figure out the floral in the third steeps aroma, and it was certainly tullip. Yes, I did gong fu it properly this morning using the 20 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 35 sec, 40 sec so far occasionally bordering on flash brews, but I am able to pin point the complexity and get more yield out of the tea. Never underestimate a good gaiwan.

I am so glad I placed a mega Gaoshan order with Tillerman, and I can safely recommend their green oolong selection for their price point and their free shipping policy for all U.S. orders. I did not regret a singe one of these samples, and I highly recommend using a smaller gaiwan and serving set to get the most out of them. Still leave some room for the babies. These teas also work well in a French Press albeit for western, and technically speaking gong fu if you are super precise.

As for me ranking the teas out of the order, this one is one of my favorites. I prefer the Cuifeng ever so slightly, but I can easily see myself coming back to this one if I am in the mood for it. I also appreciate that I had the opportunity to drink a gaoshan that does not come from the Ali and Li mountains. I also liked this one a little more than the Ali Shan, never mind I deeply enjoyed that one’s longevity. Intermediate drinkers might get more out of this one although it is a very easy gaoshan introduction for newer drinkers. In the end, yes, try this one.

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I did this one in my new gaiwan gong fu, and it just kept on delivering. The texture each time was milky and ever floral with some of the apple notes and a vast majority of liquid lilac custard ones. Later steeps were a little fruitier, more akin to mango or a sweeter apple variety like fuji or honey crisp. I actually think I’m on steep twelve right now making this a great tea for your buck at $15 for 2 oz with free shipping. I’ve had other Alishans at the same price that did not quite deliver as much.


Hmm, sounds delightful.

Daylon R Thomas

It truly was. There is no doubt that the tea was a Ali Shan in the first place with a definite green spectrum, but the mouthfeel was great and the flavor was balanced yet sweet.

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Rock sugar vanilla goodness, you are home.

I highly recommend this GABA because very few will have the crystalline sugar notes and mineral texture this one possess, and it is one of the most flexible teas with the minimal amount of leaves used possible. Less leaves and steep time bring out the sweeter fruitier notes, and longer steeps and more leaves bring out the roast and black tea like malt notes. The tea snob rates this one as a 92-96, but my preference for sweet flavor, nuance, texture in the mouthfeel, versatility, aroma, and price makes this one of the best teas I’ve bought so far with the added benefit of the GABA. There is a little bit of funk, but that funk is easily displaced by the unusual vanilla note and lighter steeps. I hope that more people try this one because it certainly stands out as a GABA.


I freaking loved this one! Got the rock sugar, too. It’s distinct. First and only GABA I’ve tried thus far. I’m trying not to anticipate disappointment with the others I’ve bought but haven’t brewed yet.

Daylon R Thomas

I’m interested to see what you think of the others. I’ve had very few teas that compare to this one, especially for that note. It does have notes that I am a little bit more used to in the Black GABA’s, but I’ll leave it at that. The Green GABA’s are practically nuclear…the one I had gave me a buzzing headache that I’d normally get with a sheng.


I quite enjoy the less roasted version of this that what-cha has, so this is definitely going to have to be a part of my next order.

Daylon R Thomas

Same. I hesitated because it was roasted, but it accents the rest of the tea very well.

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First Off, Current Targets:
Taiwan Sourcing Luxurious Jade Sampler (FRICKIN’ PRICEY)
Taiwan Sourcing Longhan Nectar Red Oolong

The best Alishan and or Lishan for the best price
The best Jade Oolong Period.
The best Dancong Period.

Nepal Jun Chiyabari ‘Himalayan Tippy’ Black Tea
Lishan (I’m always stocking up on it)

My wish list is fairly accurate though it is broad.

Current Favorites:
Shang Tea/Phoenix Tea:
Tangerine Blossom

Golden Tea Leaf Company:
Iris Orchid Dancong Oolong
Dung Ting Oolong (green)
Ali Mountain Oolong

Taiwan Amber GABA Oolong
Vietnam Red Buffalo Oolong
China Yunnan Pure Bud Golden Snail Black Tea
Taiwan Lishan Oolong
Kenya ‘Rhino’ Premium White Tea

Hugo Tea: Vanilla Black Chai

Liquid Proust Teas:
French Toast Dianhong

Floating Leaves Tea:

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


I am an MSU graduate about to become a high school social studies and history teacher. I formerly minored in anthropology, and I love Egyptian and classical history. 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 drink most teas gong fu, especially oolong. 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, almost anything from Nepal, 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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