949 Tasting Notes


Eastteaguy, by your suggestion. I’ve had this for quite a while and I was tasting it to find some fruit notes if I could….while I stupidly ate green grapes with it. The pair was exceptional, but I had to cleanse my palette. On its own, my old notes stand the test of the time. It is as smooth and caramel like as ever, with the same orchid florals, the same nutty roast, the same vanilla and nutmeg spices, and the same mossy green wood and charcoal notes. Basically, I like Qilans more because they are more floral, while the Shui Xians are more woodsy. Like the taste of a plant is REALLY that different, but it is for me. Oh well, it’s enough for me to go little crazy for one over the other.

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I swear there was a note on here. Well, this was a Gaoshan that I had to try in my lifetime, and since Amanda raved about it on facebook, I had to get myself a small amount. If it weren’t as rare and expensive as it is, I would have more.

The website compares it to a Shan Lin Xi, and it has the fresh green qualities with the tropical fruits and florals amidst a sweeter and creamier texture, being a little closer to a Alishan. I got butterscotch every once in a while, but that is an exaggeration. A more accurate exaggeration is that it is like pineapple taffy…with an undeniable greenness. With that sweetness said, it does have a fresh quality that is akin to those mineral waters you get from hipster-eque places. The green qualities matched with the minerals got me the more “oceanic” qualities, but really, it reminded me of home in Hawaii. Think of a rainbow falling as clouds drift from the green mountains off of Waimanalo Bay. Shan Lin Xi’s are normally sunny, and while this tea is clear, there is something more pensive about it that makes me think of rain.

This tea works well gong fu, but I got sweeter, thicker notes western with 2-3 grams. I’ve also been lazy, but it’s a little too mineral thick and watery gong fu. I do not want to waste my leaves either. I highly recommend this one as I actually liked it more than several Shan Lin XI’s I’ve had lately, and I also recommend this company. As with most oolongs, the only detractor is price. Have your wallets ready, connoisseurs.

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…yeah, I actually liked this bagged tea. As in I really liked this bagged tea. I have an excuse-this is an herbal blend with green rooibos- a leaf that is very small and honestly belongs in a filtered bag so it does not slip through the frickin’ holes when you brew it.

I’ve had to cut back on the caffeine to wake up at 5 in the morning, and this has served as a good winter and desert tea that is not bad on its own, but good with a little honey. The lemon is sweet, and it does have a buttery bready body with a very nice touch of ginger and vanilla. Thankfully, the anise is something that blends into the bread flavor so I do not taste it as much. I’m sorry if I pointed out the anise or the ginger for those of you who hate those spices. It has also been an easy convert to guests. I actually want to get more of this, so it will be my BWB tea for the season or longer.

Evol Ving Ness

You are full of surprises. :)


I tried it! And it wasn’t terrible!

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I bought 50 grams thinking “I love this so much that I have to savor it and prioritize my expensive Lishan.” I have drank this tea almost every day since I last reviewed it, and there is less than 20 grams left. I can gong fu it, western it, and grandpa it. It puts me at piece, but it gives me enough energy to wake up enough to not nap after eighty minutes of driving and a few hours of student teaching. I emailed Alistair about it hoping there was more left over. Oh well. Hopefully, he’ll stock it again. Until then, I’m going to check out Old Ways Tea’s Qilans.

If you’re looking for Wuyi oolongs, may I just state that Verdant’s Qilan is usually very good and Wuyi Origin’s Qilan is nice too. A good Shui Xian might also do the trick for you.

Daylon R Thomas

I’ve actually had the Verdant one in 2014 and was impressed with the orchid and jasmine florals. I am finicky with Shui Xians. I like Qi Lan yan chas a little more because slightly more floral. I actually have some Shui Xian from Berylleb that is incredibly smooth that I need to try again. There’s something heavy about Shui Xians that I have a hard time with….which is crazy considering how I love Wuyi blacks and the greener Shuixian cakes. Well, I could brew some up and tell you what I think nevermind I am probably being crazy-hence the ’good" modifier before shui xian.

Daylon R Thomas

Did you pick some of this one up in particular? I love this one so much because it is so well balanced and sweet.

Daylon R Thomas

As for Old Ways, they also specialize in Wuyi teas. They actually have a sampler pack for Qilans to show off the maocha before processing and some unroasted Qilan. I did not get the maocha myself, but Char had a favorable review of it on her website. Here’s a link https://oldwaystea.com/products/qi-lan-tea-master-set?taxon_id=10

Daylon R Thomas

I also don’t know too much about the differences in season for these myself. but here was an interesting way to sell them. Do you notice a difference in the winter crops for Shui Xians ?https://oldwaystea.com/products/winter-shui-xian?taxon_id=4

Daylon R Thomas

I also wonder wth this tastes like. I know huang pian basically means that the leaves are the large old ones that grandmas usually drink, and I’ve really liked the Zhengyan teas I’ve had of late….


I’ve got a sample of this one somewhere. With Shui Xian, I mostly stick to the spring harvest. With Wuyi teas, the later harvests have a reputation for being much lower in quality.


I was looking at that Huangpian earlier. I have liked the few other Huangpian teas I have tried. I saw a grass fragrance black tea too that looked interesting. I literally know nothing about Old Ways Tea though.

Daylon R Thomas

Same. Here’s the review that talked me into getting some.


I just checked out that review. That looks like some quality leaf. I think I’m gonna take the plunge with you.

Daylon R Thomas

The prices are actually not bad either.

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I hoped that I would like this a more, but it was kind of a medium tea for me.

The smell is nutty and a little green no matter what, whereas the tea itself was very straightforward. The viscosity was great and the buttery creamy notes were well balanced with the roast and florals, but there was not much more going on than creamy, floral, and a little bit roasted. I could be too spoiled by the Qing Xin varietal versions of a Dong Ding, but oddly enough, I actually preferred the Cui Yu Jade that Alistair sells for cheaper over this one…never mind roasting is an art that should be preserved. I liked it marginally better than the old style, but the old style was a more sophistaced tea overall.

I might add more notes to this one as there have been some cool florals from the wet leaf that come out every once in a while, but know it is a straightforward tea. I liked it western and grandpa more than Gong Fu so far.

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I finished this off in the past todays in a great goodbye. I’ve had an interesting relationship with this one.

This was one of the driest blacks I’ve had, but also one I liked. I loved it the first few times because of its immense cocoa and pumpernickel stout like notes, and its sneaky honey notes and maple that would appear from the cocoa and the grain. That was at the edge of winter to spring. Spring and summer, it tasted like a pumpkin seed dry spell. It made me think of caraway, but not quite as spicy….don’t rely on me for that note. The cocoa and pumpkin seed are the best nuances to an overall nutty and malty tea. Sunflower seeds was the nut that I could think of personally.

The last few brews were incredibly chocolaty and malty. I decided to add some cocoa nibs to the last brew, and it was so comforting to drink. I could have made my own passage du desir if I had candied chest nuts because holy crap was it sweet. It was almost boozy never mind there was no flavoring…though the nibs were the sweetened variety.

Anyway, I am thankful that I finished off. I would have some again in the future, but I have had sweeter Bai Lins and recommend this tea if you like it on the dry side western or gong fu. I still think it is a little overpriced.

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Thank you Alistair!

I liked this one more than I thought I would. I’ve also westerned and grandpa’d teas more than I thought I would, so I could not give you guys a good impression of this tea gong fu even though I can say it was good.

The dry leaf smell was immensely thick, roasty, and almost glossy like syrup. When I heavily leafed it, the roast dominated the tea amidst a woody backdrop and some moments of nuttiness and cooked red pear. The florals grew out in the later steeps with high leafage as it gradually got a little sweeter. Gong fu, it was buttery. Western with less leafs, it was also very buttery with a little less roast. The fruity pears and florals popped in the second steeps and combined incredibly well with the savory notes pushing me from liking to enjoying it.

I could see myself drinking this one often. I almost prefer it to the Red Buffalo because of its honey sweet fruit notes and its florals, but the roast can be so thick and powerful with the other notes that it makes me think of turpentine…..as weird and crazy as that sounds. Think florals combined with sap and pine wood….nevermind this tea is more on the fruity end when you brew it right. Lesson here: brew less leafs for longer for fruity, more leafs shorter steeps for woody butter. Unless someone objects. I otherwise recommend to try this type of tea at least once, and those who know what they are looking for would be more enamored with this tea.

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Reading the other note on this was interesting.

This was excellent. It was a Dan Cong that was much greener than I expected, but it was INCREDIBLY savory and sweet for a dan cong. I got the butterscotch notes, honeysuckle, honey for sure, lots of guava and orange, orchids, green beans, coriander, and some sublte spiciness with the general roast. This was all Gong Fu, starting with 20 seconds and adding 10 seconds more, 20, 30, and so on until a last Grandpa brew to soak out every aroma and flavor.

It’s a glamorized and expensive Dan Cong for sure, but man was it sweet. I’d rate it a 95 in terms of taste, but a 75 in terms of price. It is worth a pretty penny and I would savor it, but I think it is a little more expensive than what I would pay for….though you can bet your hind end I would drink it. Mega snobs who love Dan Congs, this is yours, and if it does not meet your standards, then you my friend have a very experienced and particular palette.


I nearly bought this one, but couldn’t justify spending any more money on tea.

Daylon R Thomas

I’m glad I got a sample of it on sale.

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Interesting. 10 grams to contemplate, and I liked this one greatly but did not love it.

So it had the awesome qualities that we look for on here: it was an oolong, but it was roasty and chocolaty as any of the blacks we all love, so it was smooth and floral. But the addition of the roasted osmanthus adds another weird dimension of EXTRA buttery florals and roast like….popcorn and cherries. Yes, popcorn and cherries. More specifically, kettle corn popcorn with some florals and a hint of cherry sweetness. And then it provides me an image of a calligraphic painting of a deep black cherry wood tree with red blossoms amidst sunny orange and intense white background.

So it should be an amazing tea if it makes me have a wild image, right? Well, I am not sure I would buy it again and again. This is worth it for a small sample, the novelty, and waking up in an intense cold Michigan winter that you don’t want to wake up from, but that’s where it belongs and what I like it for. As for those of you who get this, know what it is before you get it because it really is a unique tea.

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I do not have too much to add to this note other than it was a good, mega savory Lao Shan tea with some nice herb notes at the end like sage. It had a lot of cocoa and toasty notes, and it had more fruity notes to prevent anything vegetative from happening. It could barely get bitter, but it was never astringent.

Here were their descriptors which some might agree more with especially with the toasted rice. The others like apricot and vanilla were ones that I could see, but were personally subtle.

very savory – toasted rice, chocolate
very fruity – apricot, cherry
floral – honey, vanilla

I honestly would not say no to another offer, but I would get this one in small batches to savor due to its price. I’d recommend it anyway for Lao Shan lovers who might be able to discriminate more than I can on it. It would be appealing more to intermediate new drinkers, and a decent but not guaranteed converter for those who want to drink teas straight.

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First Off, Current Targets:
Taiwan Sourcing Luxurious Jade Sampler (FRICKIN’ PRICEY)
Taiwan Sourcing Longhan Nectar Red Oolong
Berylleb Dayuling and Dong Ding Jin Xuan
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

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 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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