1575 Tasting Notes

drank Matcha Houju by Rishi Tea
1575 tasting notes

Exceptionally smooth! Maybe a little roasted nutty creamy with some vague, airy almost floral, almost aquatic blue-green quality. A shaded pocket of water lillies? Energy is strong, permeating; it is seemless with and complements my own. The powder is moist and oh so soft and fine. It whisks with ease and creates strong foam qquickly. Particles do not precipitate out of suspension.

Expensive but clearly excellent. This might be my favorite matcha.

Happy this turned out well yesterday for my boyfriend’s brother and his fiancee. Especially so for her since all her matcha experiences had been notsogood up to that point.

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drank Assam Brahmaputra by Savoy Tea Co
1575 tasting notes

First encounter: alkaline bitter heavy yerba mate and nutritious fish food concoction, so basically scorched pond water

Second encounter: “Let Me Borrow That Top” by Kelly

G – Assam green is not for me! I tried to play nice but got insulted instead.

Flavors: Swamp

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Lot 1319, Spring 2024

Excited to have made tea for somebody for the first time in our new house! The friend who I shared the gaiwan with said this was really light and sweet. My boyfriend who doesn’t drink tea and prefers strongly flavored fruity beverages said it was subtle and very sweet, different from the other teas he’s been taking sips of recently but “It’s still tea.” Another friend who is also not a tea drinker, I think I heard him say, “That really sweet.”

Silky soft buttery spring water in the mouth. It’s a bold tea in terms of immediate impact of sugarcane sweetness which is layered heavily throughout the sparkling “green” balsam/fir taste that’s not at all vegetal or grassy. The florality is complex; it permeates through multiple layers of taste. It feels heavy, warm, and fleshy rather than piercing and perfumey, a nice balance to the green quality. Aftertaste is a mingling of banana (which I also smell in the wet leaf) and peach, both thick and ripe. Strong sugarcane returning sweetness from far back of tongue. Later, there’s a pleasant tartness on the back sides of the tongue akin to lemon. Pushing the leaf to the very end gives a rare thick and oily brew and absolutely no sign of bitterness or astringency.

The experience almost reminds me of butter mints.

Overall, the tea is very warming in the body in comparison to the taste. It really had me sweating during the peak heat of the evening.

5g in a 150mL glass gaiwan was plenty of leaf for a 4-brew session that has continued the following morning. Enough caffeine to keep my perked up for only 1 but not 2 full games of Star Munchkin after dinner.

I think this was a good pick for sharing but maybe better for a quiet sitdown than an evening filled with card games and video games.

Flavors: Balanced, Banana, Butterscotch, Fir, Floral, Green, Lemon, Lily, Oily, Peach, Silky, Soft, Spring Water, Sugarcane, Sweet, Thick, Viscous

190 °F / 87 °C 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Gat dang!

Pure vanilla bean aroma. Aged Yiwu lovelyaweseome vanilla sudsyheadsaponin mineralsaline leatherwood rootbeer slight warm spice. Alkaline marshmallow fluff. Woody drying but coating. Bitter-salt in salivary glands tingle. Huah! Moderate camphor in chest. Great clean storage somewhere along the line. This feels really good. Calming grounding not excessively so but jaw-and-chesty strong without palpitations.

Drinking it first-ish thing sitting on the rug in the morning sun after cleaning the cobwebs off the outside of the house.

mrmopar — thank you 5? years later for a sample of this mushroom gem!

Flavors: Alkaline, Bitter, Camphor, Cherry, Clean, Drying, Geosmin, Marshmallow, Mineral, Root Beer, Saline, Salt, Smoke, Smooth, Spicy, Sweet, Tobacco, Vanilla, Wood, Woody

Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

I love your adjectives.

Marshall Weber

Sounds delightful!


Ha, yeah, g, this tea got me all excited with an urgency to communicate.

If you can find it Marshall, pick up a sample! mrmopar might have some in his stash.


Next day it tastes like cherry pipe tobacco, petrichor. Reminds me of Ohio. t
The smell of wet basements and the neighbors Shorty and Betty who lived across the street from my Yia-yia. The two of us would cross the street to pass a summer afternoon or evening on their porch swing and do a whole lotta nothin’ ‘cept me bein’ cute while Shorty smoked his pipe. I liked them as a young girl. They were comfortable old people, unlike the Greek cheek-pinchers at the church. I mighta been 5 or 6 or 7.

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drank Ban Pen 2017 Spring by Tea Urchin
1575 tasting notes

3 years later.

Really mellow taste for sheng, opposite in energy. Smooth and light straw taste with gentle cactus bitter suspended in leafy-saponin alkaline depth. A touch of tart to make it interesting. Some raspberry is starting to come forward as it ages. No real astringency to speak of when hot but it does come through as tea cools to room temp. Huigan presents as an orange zest taste and tingle a few minutes after swallowing, letting quiet-cool date sweetness in throat poke through here and there.

The dry and warmed leaf smells more active than the taste and feeling. Right now there’s dates, cherry and and a hella whiff of kaffir lime. Smells like cherry limeade almost but the dates are the overriding aroma. There is some activity in the liquor — it’s a bit cloudy orange early on.

Overall pretty uninteresting at this stage, as it was when I first had it. By no means a bad tea, though.

Flavors: Alkaline, Bitter, Butter, Cactus, Dates, Medicinal, Raspberry, Smooth, Straw, Tart

Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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I never did get around to making a thick-ass syrup out of this powder to drizzle on a jicama, grapefruit and avocado salad, or on ripe papaya, or on unsweetened yogurt, or on my body.

Instead, I’d dump like 2T into 8oz of cold water, add a few tsp of chia seeds and a good shot of spicy-ass ginger juice, shake hard and leave in fridge overnight. In the AM, add some liquid cholorphyll, give another good shake and down the concoction. It was pretty good but gosh do I feel like I could’ve used twice the powder, which means I’d blow through the bag in no time. The passionfruit taste was rather weak even before adding all that other nonsense. I am not a drinkmaster mixologist.

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drank Bada Wolf Sheng by JalamTeas
1575 tasting notes

Finally got around to this tea that Togo sent between 5 and 6 years ago. Thank you!

Strong feeling tea but it’s not very dense in taste expression. Dry leaf has a foresty vibe with fruity scents like melon, citrus and goji. Warmed leaf is very sweet and rich with caramel-honey sweetness and floral fig-raisin compote. At this time, the aromas of the leaf do not come through into the taste. The rinsed leaf smells rather pungent with notes of grilled white fish meat, a big herbaceous tone, cooked green beans and green bell peppers, white grapes (reminds me of young Hekai sheng) and wood. Peach gets stuck in the nose!

The tea is full-bodied and slips down the throat leaving behind a pleasant tart aftertaste, however it also deposits a mouth-coating and very dry astringency that has me focusing all of my attention on my tongue. It feels like a separate entity. I’m very aware that the tongue is a muscle. Strange. Taste is diffuse within a strong structure. I get mostly a bitter-herbaceous-honey-hay-mineral profile.

I feel like this leaf could add some depth to a blend but on its own, it’s not too great.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Dry, Drying, Hay, Herbaceous, Honey, Meat, Mineral, Tart

Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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Last had 4 years ago. It has greater longevity and astringency is smoothed, however it currently tastes thin and inert. Considering this is maocha, I can only hope the leaf is in a lull and not emitting the Death Rattle of the Neglected and Unpressed from being stored all alone in a two-lidded ceramic canister with no attention paid to humidity levels since last drank 4 years ago. Good grounding energy like a respectable Bulang but softer in expression and not as intense feeling as some higher quality Yiwu region leaf. Manzhuan teas flow pretty well with my constitution.

Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Camphor, Caramel, Earthy, Floral, Fruity, Smoke, Thin, Winter Honey

Boiling 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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Came back to this after 5 years. Really enjoying it, more than any sheng I’ve had recently. Surprisingly with my laissez-faire storage, it has changed for the better. I’ll add another note on the tastes and other characteristics, but this note is about the mood.

Excellent essence that melds seamlessly with and enhances my own energy for the better. Flows through my body and mind like spring water. This tea is perfect for starting in the late morning, going about the day (gym was very smooth and productive) and then finishing before midnight while lying on the rug in dim lighting with the local jazz station KJZY… Jazzy generating warm and light-hearted sounds through the crisp air of this summer night.

Too bad this cake is sold out. At least it’s a good reminder to not forget about Tea Urchin as a vendor of quality sheng.


It’s so much like a Yueguangbai but with clear sheng character that is alkaline and has a savory olive oil type depth. Clear and clean liquor, bright orange. Lots of soft and floral cinnamon, pastry, milky oat seed, hay, pollen, cooked apricot. Soft, diffuse bitterness in mouth becomes stronger in tonsils, which leads to instantaneous and expansive huigan with first cup. Very cooling in throat and chest, feels like energy pathways open up. Florals evaporate from savory aftertaste in the back of mouth and into sinuses, reverberating. Final steeps fade into florals, first the powdery bittersweetness of purple iris, then something light and evocative like a citrusy rose.

Flavors: Alkaline, Apricot, Bittersweet, Cinnamon, Clean, Clear, Creamy, Floral, Honey, Iris, Meadow, Menthol, Oats, Olive Oil, Pollen, Powdery, Resin, Rose, Sand, Savory, Soft, Spicy, Stewed Fruits, Sunflower Seed, Sweet, Tangy, Violet

Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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I doubt anybody remembers this note: https://steepster.com/derk/posts/403783 but I’m revisiting this lazy experiment. So far, this tea has been subjected to 4 years in its sealed sample bag. 4 years exposed to whatever deathly temps a small compartment in my truck can reach. The only air it has breathed has been at the hand of the annual deep sniff. 4 years of near absolute neglect. Now I think about all the places this tea has gone with me, only for me to leave it behind every time I closed the door.

I wonder if all Wuliang puerh are small-leaf like this. If it was initially medium-hard pressed, it has lost much of whatever force held it together. It wants to be pried from the chunk in beautiful sheets. It’s not that it has given up its life force, but it’s saying, “I’m ready.” It releases an evocative pure scent of raspberries from the bag. It wants to be smelled. The same scent wafts from the warmed leaf in the pot, richer and sharper, piercing my senses. The fawny gold liquor sits with steam, evaporating in trails from the surface like wisps of incense. It begs to be drank. Like a phoenix, it roars to life, it rises and soars to new heights!

No, no, haha. Not that dramatic. But it does have so much more life and character. The taste and feelings are more associations than anything, like walking through a dry, sun-dappled oak forest, little tastes of apple and honey, picking raspberries along the journey. The taste is quite deep, round and mellow. Quiet, like a hot day in the shade. Liquor is full in the mouth; astringency has smoothed. Leafy medicinal bitterness is quiet on the very back of tongue and it travels up into the sinuses, mingling with sweet taste. The raspberry is present in the aftertaste — very raspberry, floral, bright red, tangy sometimes tart.

Maybe before, the tea was vapid. Or maybe it was me, the vapid one. Maybe I was too wound up 4 years ago to appreciate an understated tea. Regardless, both myself and the tea have taken a turn for the better. A tea that exhibits such good qualities after years of neglect should be drank, but I’ve resolved to stash it away again in that little compartment for another unknown length of time. Who will I be then and what will the tea become?

Flavors: Apple, Bittersweet, Bread, Cooling, Eggplant, Floral, Forest Floor, Fruity, Honey, Juicy, Medicinal, Oak, Powdered Sugar, Raspberry, Round, Tangy, Viscous

205 °F / 96 °C 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

Amazing! I hope I get to read the next note years from now…


I might have to buy a cake (thankfully it’s affordable!) and subject it to the same treatment. I’m still drinking last night’s sample this morning and it’s such a lovely tea!


Getting a good laugh thinking about hoarding all my sheng cakes and samples in my truck year-round.

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This place, like the rest of the internet, is dead and overrun with bots. Yet I persist.

Eventual tea farmer. If you are a tea grower, want to grow your own plants or are simply curious, please follow me so we can chat.

I most enjoy loose-leaf, unflavored teas and tisanes. Teabags have their place. Some of my favorite teas have a profound effect on mind and body rather than having a specific flavor profile.

Favorite teas generally come from China (all provinces), Taiwan, India (Nilgiri and Manipur). Frequently enjoyed though less sipped are teas from Georgia, Japan, and Nepal. While I’m not actively on the hunt, a goal of mine is to try tea from every country that makes it available to the North American market. This is to gain a vague understanding of how Camellia sinensis performs in different climates. I realize that borders are arbitrary and some countries are huge with many climates and tea-growing regions.

I’m convinced European countries make the best herbal teas.

Personal Rating Scale:

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time. If it’s a bagged or herbal tea, it’s of standout quality in comparison to similar items.

89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again.

79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.

69-60: Not necessarily a bad tea but one that I won’t buy again. Would have a cup if offered.

59-1: Lacking several elements, strangely clunky, possesses off flavor/aroma/texture or something about it makes me not want to finish.

Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s puerh, I likely think it needs more age.

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Sonoma County, California, USA

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