26 Tasting Notes

From the Puerh Beginners TTB.

After trying a shou that was included as a sample with an order from Bitterleaf Teas, my interest in this style has been reinvigorated. I plan to include some of that tea in this box when I send it out, maybe someone else will like it as much as me and split a brick down the road. Since I have a bunch of ripe teas sitting in front of me here, I thought I would continue my education.

Now, I am a sucker for packaging so these little wrapped balls immediately grabbed my attention. Plus, someone had already broken some off of one leaving 10g which was perfect for me. The first infusion went instanly dark. I drank this last night and I don’t even remember how many 5 second steeps I gave this. I know I gave it even more 10 second steeps. The deep flavorful infusions just kept coming and coming. When it was all said and done I probably steeped this at least twenty times and could have kept going.

The flavor was deep, sweet, earthy. Clear memories came to me of the wooden shelters on rainy days at camp as a kid. There is a hint of cherry and wood. It is reminiscent of a full bodied wine. This is a great tea. Looks like I just needed to try a new pair of shous…

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cherry, Earth, Moss, Red Wine

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

Haha, that was me who broke one in half! I haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds like it’s delicious!

Dr Jim

I don’t know why they make these 20 grams. You’d need a 12 oz gaiwan!

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First tea from the Puerh Beginners TTB!

This Tea Box arrived just two days before the start of a ten day vacation from my job. We are not going anywhere this time but just relaxing at home, so this is perfect! There is so much tea in here so I did the scientific thing and just grabbed the big bag on top and put it in my gaiwan.

I hadn’t tried anything by Misty Peaks yet, although it seems I put this on my wish list some time back. Of course I read all of the ‘controversy’ a while back, so I was curious to try this. It was immediately obvious that the leaves were of a high quality. The taste was mild but still had a lot of life force to it. I am really enjoying the later steeps. It just seems to be getting better and better. The bitterness and astringency is always accompanied by a mild sweetness. I would definitely buy some of this.

Flavors: Grass, Wet Moss, Wet Wood, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I am relatively new to drinking roasted oolongs. The information on the YS website says this has been roasted three times over the course of nearly a decade. Despite this, the roasted flavor is not at all overbearing. It has a deep, juicy flavor that lingers on the palatte. It reminds me of coffee, of the first time the furnace is turned on for the winter, of dark bourbon and water. This may be the tea that turns me on to this style.

Flavors: Cherry, Coffee, Plum, Roasted, Stonefruit, Whiskey

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

‘Iron Arhat’ was my favourite of theirs, its worth a try, gongfu with quick steeping it lasted & had creaminess that made it stand out as really nice. http://steepster.com/teas/yunnan-sourcing/40852-tie-luo-han-iron-arhat-premium-wu-yi-shan-rock-oolong-tea

just john

I will add it to my list!


This yancha should be brewed at 212F

just john

Many of my steeps were probably closer to boiling. Often I start with near boiling water and allow it to reduce in temp. as I progress through steepings. I didn’t refresh the water with this one though allowing it to cool considerably.

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Third tea of the 2016 Sheng Olympics.

I am working rather slowly through these teas, only pulling them out when I have enough time to spend with them. The second tea I tried was the 2007 version of this, but to be honest I was a little under-impressed with that tea. It was nice, but seemed to my tastebuds to be rather one-dimensional and like many other aged shengs I have tried. I didn’t end up writing a note for it simply because I really couldn’t come up with that much to say.

This one is another story altogether. It is sweet and fresh and earthy, and while it still has an aged flavor, that note doesn’t entirely dominate the tea. It is very well balanced and leaves me feeling refreshed on a deep level. This is one I would definitely buy, where as the 2007 I would not. This is an excellent tea.

Flavors: Apricot, Pleasantly Sour, Stonefruit, Sweet, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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So, I have been trying a lot of new teas lately, and though some of them have been very good I am a little behind on tasting notes. Between work and family tea always seems to find its place but writing about it sometimes gets left behind. This tea however made me stop to get the computer so that I wouldn’t forget to make note of it.

I have been drinking tea for years now and up to this point I hadn’t found a shu pu erh that I had cared for. I have never been opposed to them, but with so much great tea out there to spend time on none of them ever grabbed my attention enough to make me want to pursue the style. I wouldn’t have bought one now but I received this tea as a sample with a recent order of a sheng from Bitterleaf Teas.

This tea is wonderful. It completely caught me by surprise. It brews very clean and the flavors that come forth are distinct and clear. To me it tastes like the smell of a clearing in a forest when the dew breaks late into the night. It reminds me so clearly of walking around sleepy campsites after long nights at the music festivals I went to when I was young, of the smoldering campfires and wet earth just as early morning light begins to break. It is sweet and deep and woody and wet. This flavor combination is crossing some wire in my amygdala that is deeply nostalgic and gives me a great sense of anticipation.

It is late and I have a suspicion this review may not be very clear when I read it in the morning, but I am sure that the emotional impact of this tea will stay with me. And now I am considering purchasing a kilo brick of a ripe pu erh…

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Campfire, Earth, Wet Earth, Wet Rocks

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

If you do decide to buy that kilo, let me know. I’d be interested in helping pay and split a certain percentage of it with you!

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KimcheeKat kindly gave me a sample of this in a swap a while back. I waited too long after I finished it to write a good review but I have been unwilling to remove it from my cupboard until I made a note reminding myself that I should buy this given the opportunity. So here is my note to self: This tea is excellent, buy it.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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drank Autumn Song by Mandala Tea
26 tasting notes

It is February 18, at 9:30pm it is 69 degrees here in KC. The very first push of Spring and it is bringing with it an energy and excitement that I would imagine humans around these parts have been familiar with for centuries. The first sign that the end of the cold season is at hand. I was hoping to sit down to a tea that had a similar sort of energy and this one has lived up to that hope.

So far I have steeped it for 5s, 10, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 seconds, and still it shows no signs of slowing. Most of the flavor I am getting out of it is a combination of apple, grapeskin, pear, and dry wood. It has a powerful astringency that combines all of the notes together and finishes sweet. This is one I would definitely consider buying.

Flavors: Apple, Apple Skins, Dry Grass, Pear, White Grapes, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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First tea of the 2016 Sheng Olympics.

The sheer number of samples in this package had me a bit at a loss as to where to start, so it has taken me a while to jump in. With the exception of wanting to try the Verdant samples together, I didn’t really have a preference though, so today I just reached into the bag and grabbed one. This is the tea I chose.

I put the 6 grams in my 100ml gaiwan, gave it a quick rinse an waited a few minutes. The aroma coming off the leaves at this point was just a light vegetal scent, with perhaps a hint of seaweed. Steeps at 5s and 10s were very light, airy, wet forest. At steep 15sec. the body began to fill in. The soup became thicker and a mild bitterness brought a basenote to the airy vegetal beginning. Steeps at 20s, 25s, and 30s I really enjoy. There is a sourness that has been present since the first steep, which is now complemented by a strong vegetal middle, and a bitter mineral base. The sum of this is not necessarily something incredible but it feels complete.

At 35 seconds only the taste of wet rocks and minerals remain. 50 seconds and 1 min. bring a new flavor. Something akin to ashy soil. One last steep at 2 minutes brings nothing new. Overall I enjoyed this, particularly steeps 3 through 6. Not something I would be likely to buy though.

On a side note, these leaves are amazingly intact. LP you did an incredible job of breaking this up. This had to have a taken a ridiculous amount of time.

Flavors: Mineral, Seaweed, Sour, Vegetal, Wet Rocks

205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

i find arbor tea tree interesting and tasty :) do you?

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I am working my way through some samples from Happy Earth Tea. Most of them have been good, some okay. This one is great. It is so juicy, so fresh. Such a balanced cup, both sweet and perfectly astringent. Every sip leaves me wanting another taste. This is one of the best Darjeelings I have had since the fresh ones I received last spring from Teabox.

Flavors: Apple, Floral, Grapes, Lemongrass

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 g 7 OZ / 207 ML

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Recently I read Haveteawilltravel’s review of Arya Ruby First Flush and it made me want to try the tea so much I went straight to the website and picked up a few samples. The review combined with my growing anticipation for the first flush season effectively put an end to my temporary halt on tea purchases and I can’t say that I regret it because along with the four samples I ordered, they also sent 3-4 additional samples. Needless to say this was an exciting box to open.

This is the first sample I have tried out of the bunch, and if the rest of them at all like this one I will definitely be ordering from them again. The leaves are beautiful and have been well cared for. Despite being almost a year old it still tastes incredibly fresh. There are notes of peach, apricot, flowers in the spring air and just the perfect amount of that Darjeeling-like astringency. Actually, the best description of this tea is the one included on the website. It might be the most accurate vendor description of a tea that I have read. Overall an excellent experience.

Thank you Haveteawilltravel for pointing me to this company!

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Floral, Peach

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 g 7 OZ / 207 ML

Excellent. Trust me you will love the Arya – its really delish. Did you pick up the singbulli as well? I’ve had a singbulli ‘silk’ before which is another i really liked.

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Attempting to live a simple life in Kansas City with my amazing wife and five wonderful children. I have approximately 1,752 interests and right at the top of that list is tea. I am a big fan of unflavored teas of all sorts. I will always try something new.

I went for a long time without rating or reviewing teas. I tried, I really did, but it always seemed that by the time I had put the experience into words I had lost the experience that I had originally fallen in love with. Tea for me is best as it is. In the leaf. In the pot. In the cup. Now I am finding myself years later and wishing I had a better record of the teas I have tried, something, oh I don’t know, like a tea log… And so I am attempting to leave tasting notes on here again.

I am never short for words when it comes to tea, so if you want to talk or try anything in my cupboard don’t hesitate to ask.


Kansas City, MO

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