152 Tasting Notes

Rinse: 3-5sec
First steep: 1min 45sec
Second steep: 2min
Third steep: 2min 30sec

A quick five second rinse releases the aroma of smoke, stone fruit, and honey into the air. The liquid is a lovely gold, medium bodied and slightly viscous. Wow, is this really a smoked tea? It tastes of sweet honey, stone fruit, and light mineral. It’s dries the tongue just a bit. Faint notes of muscatel are present. The only evidence of a smoke flavor is the taste that lingers behind after swallowing. It’s perhaps more pine wood than smoke, but it’s there. It becomes more obvious as I sip through my cup. In the second cup I notice subtle notes of cocoa with a light caramel/cream finish and a touch of roastiness. The body, again, is light-medium and less viscous than the first cup. The third cup has a stronger caramel flavor, but overall it’s much lighter and starting to weaken. I don’t think it’s a tea I’ll be buying, but it was certainly a lovely one to try. Thanks nannuoshan!

Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Honey, Mineral, Muscatel, Pine, Smoke, Stonefruits, Wood

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drank Dian Yin Zhen by Nannuoshan
152 tasting notes

Since I tried the Yin Zhen first, I have some frame of reference. The dry leaves are much longer and spindly. As Tealizzy put it, they look like a cross between a silver needle and a golden needle Yunnan. They have a mild, perfume-like scent.

First steep: 2min
Second steep: 2min 30sec
Third steep: 3min 15sec

The liquid is very, very pale and clear. It’s a creamy shade of yellow. The scent is floral with strong notes of oakmoss and spice that sets the back of my throat tingling before I’ve even taken a sip. Evergreen is the first flavor to hit my tongue. It’s very much like the camphor you’ll find in a sheng puerh. The spice gives my tongue a pleasant tingling sensation as the taste melds into a long, sweet creaminess. Immediately following is a flavor that to me is distinctly Yunnan. It’s a thick, syrupy, caramel pudding flavor that seems to stretch on forever. As the tea cools I catch hints of cut wood—pine, maybe—beneath the creaminess. The wood-like flavor grows a bit stronger in the second steep. It leaves a fresh, almost minty feeling in my mouth. Long creamy finish is again present and accented with a juicy fruit flavor that I can’t identify. The final steep features thick, dairy notes at the forefront with earth, evergreen and wood underneath. It’s a very tasty tea! Thanks to nannuoshan for giving me the opportunity to sample this one.

Flavors: Camphor, Caramel, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Milk, Pine, Spices, Wood

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drank Yin Zhen by Nannuoshan
152 tasting notes

The dry leaf is adorable. The tiny, tender leaves are covered with a downy silver hair that coats the inside of the sample pouch. I held a few my hand and admired them before putting them in the infuser. I did not follow the brewing directions online, opting to use my preferred method for first tastings of straight tea. There is enough in the sample that I will be able to experiment with brewing parameters a little.

First steep: 2min
Second steep: 2min 30sec
Third steep: 3min
Fourth steep: 4min

The liquid is a very pale, clear yellow. It smells of apricot, hay, and fresh flowers. I wait several minutes until it’s just cool enough to drink. My first impression is that it tastes very, very fresh. It has a natural sweetness and it tastes very “clean”. Faintly floral, like honeysuckle flowers, with a somewhat fruity undertone. There is a long, deliciously creamy finish. Soft and lovely. It’s a taste that lingers in the mouth.

The second steep yields stronger notes of fruit. There’s a sweet lychee flavor, followed by hay, flowers, white peach, and cream. Long finish is underscored with a light tartness. I’m in love with the delicate, sweet peach notes in this infusion; it took me a moment to pick them out. It’s DEFINITELY white peach, not yellow peach.

Third steep is thick, juicy, and malty—malty?! It’s still has a strong, fresh, fruity taste, but the creamy notes have become much stronger. Almost milky or custard-like. I was surprised by how much flavor was in this cup. So, I opted for a fourth. It contained many of the same flavors, but they were a little less intense. Ah, well!

Thanks for the sample nannuoshan! I can tell this is a high quality white tea. I’m super excited to try the Dian Yin Zhen to see how it compares.

Flavors: Cream, Custard, Floral, Fruity, Hay, Honeysuckle, Lychee, Malt, Milk, Peach


Sounds good!

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Sweet, tart plum flavor at the forefront; creamy cake batter and a hint of nuttiness at the end. I find myself wanting more cake and cashew. The predominant flavor seems to be plum, and the Kenyan base tea serves to enhance that flavor. As it cools it becomes a little more creamy and nutty. It’s good, but not really hitting the spot for me tonight. I’ll try adding a splash of cream next time!

Plum Brandy Cheesecake > Plum Compote & Cashew Cake

Flavors: Cake, Creamy, Nutty, Plums, Tart

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First steep: 1min
Second steep: 2min 15
Third steep: 4min

It brews up a lovely clear reddish gold. The body is light to medium, and it’s incredibly smooth. It opens with notes of honey and hay. Almost floral, but not quite there. By the end of each sip it’s transformed into a silky, pudding-like concoction of chocolate, malt, and fresh bread. Very distinctly a Yunnan tea. It has its own natural sweetness, with zero astringency. (And pudding mouth! Woah.)

The second steep brings out notes of sweet potato. The initial flavors are brighter, more “brassy” and almost citrusy. It’s still followed quickly by malt, bread, and a touch of cocoa. Less chocolate here. Hardly any at all. The malt is still strong—pudding mouth, again. I prefer to drink it after it’s cooled. The nearly citrus flavors fade and it’s liquid malt-honey-bread.

Third steep was much the same as the second. (Perhaps a little less malt, more honey.)

It’s certainly a lovely tea. Not one I think I’ll be craving often as I tend to like darker, heavier, chocolatey black teas lately.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Hay, Honey, Malt, Smooth, Sweet Potatoes


“…I tend to like darker, heavier, chocolatey black teas…” +1


Which ones are your favorites?

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This tea opens with deep, fruity notes of apple and something like dried apricot. (I’ve only ever had dried apricot, so the taste immediately reminds me of the chewy texture. Weird!) Soon after, it gains a honey sweetness and very light whispers of cream. All of this is underscored by brandy and the bitter touch of pecan skins. Not unpleasantly bitter, mind you. The tea base lends a mineral, rocky taste that pairs quite nicely with the cinnamon/apple/brandy/pecan combination. It’s a definite winner…I won’t have any trouble finishing off the ounce I have, though it will be missed when it’s gone.

Flavors: Apple, Apple Skins, Brandy, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Mineral, Pecan

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Okay, this is THE quintessential melon tea. I’m so lucky (and sad) to have gotten the last 1/2 ounce.

It’s juicy and succulent. Melon is SPOT ON cantaloupe, in my opinion. The white tea provides a nice backdrop of hay, honeysuckle, and sweet cream. It has a long and smooth finish. The creaminess intensifies over time. It’s fresh, sweet, floral, fruity perfection. I’m in love. I’m going to have a hard time hoarding this one when all I want to do is drink all of it all at once, right now. Damn!

Flavors: Cantaloupe, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Hay, Honeysuckle, Melon, Sweet


RIP best melon tea ever


Don’t hoard it so long that it goes bad…I’m afraid I might accidentally do that with some of my fave Butiki


RIP. I did that with a few blends from Verdant, and I rued the day. It’s going to be so hard with my Butiki teas. ):

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This is certainly an interesting blend. I’m not quite sure what to think of it.

The front of each sip hits my tongue with a damp earthy flavor, quickly followed by dark, charcoal-like smoke. It develops a roasted tone before easing into a concoction of coffee and cream. The smoothness of the coffee notes intensifies over time. The long aftertaste is a mixture of sweet, creamy latte and woodsmoke. As I continue sipping the earthiness slips into the background. It’s overpowered by strong notes of wood and a touch of leather. (I’ve noticed this with a few other puerhs.) There’s a drying quality to it. It’s not thick, or heavy. It’s relatively light on the tongue, though the coffee flavors stick to the inside of your mouth. I’m thinking this tea might benefit from a dash of milk or cream.

There’s a reason smokers like to drink coffee with cigarettes. It’s a good blend. Still, the combination of flavors in my mouth makes me feel like I need to go brush my teeth. Not because it doesn’t taste good! But because the coffee/smoke combo does NOT make for good breath. Lol.

What a wonderfully creative idea for tea. Thank you Stacy. (:

Flavors: Coffee, Cream, Creamy, Earth, Leather, Roasted, Smoke, Wood

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Upping my rating yet again because this is chocolatey perfection.


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I love spice, chocolate, and tea, and this is an exceptional combination of the three.

The (distinctly) Taiwanese tea offers sweet, floral honey notes. It’s smooth and delicate. The chili doesn’t really register as “hot”. It’s more of a slight warmth, a tingle in the back of your throat. Enough to titillate. The chocolate isn’t a very prominent flavor, admittedly. It’s more of an undertone; the dark complement to the light black tea. It pairs very nicely with the chili heat and doesn’t leave me wanting more. Creamy, melty, sweet. Mmm. (I think more chocolate would make it unbalanced…I’ll just make a stronger cup if I want more flavor!) I really love this blend. Just wonderful.


Flavors: Chocolate, Creamy, Floral, Honey, Honeysuckle, Spices, Sweet

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I am still relatively new to loose leaf, as I have only been drinking it since 2013. I’m amazed at how much my tastes have changed just over the past year. I have met such lovely, kind individuals on Steepster and am so glad to have become a part of this community.

Pure black teas are my favorite. I drink black tea daily and I try to keep a variety on hand. I also enjoy white tea, puerh, and the occasional oolong. Matcha is something that I love though I haven’t tried a large variety. The very good matcha that I’ve had is quite expensive. In general I try to stay away from flavored teas—especially those with artificial flavorings—but I will make rare exceptions, and I do enjoy a well crafted blend of straight teas. Things I (usually) don’t like: green oolongs, rooibos, straight green teas.

Rating System
90+ The very best! Teas that I always need in my cupboard!
85-89 Teas that I enjoy immensely and will try to keep around.
80-84 Makes a very pleasing cup. I will enjoy drinking them, but won’t necessarily try to keep around. (There are exceptions.)
70-79 Decent, but could be better.
60-69 Mediocre.
40-59 Gross. I might still try to finish the cup.
39 & under Undrinkable. I probably dumped this cup. Depending on the specific rating, I probably threw the rest of the tea out as well.

Some of my favorite tea companies are:
-Whispering Pines Tea Co.
-Verdant Tea
-Mandala Tea

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