1700 Tasting Notes

drank XIN YANG MAO JIAN by teasenz
1700 tasting notes

Felt in the mood for a green today. Grabbed this one from Teasenz. I have had Xin Yang Mao Jian before and liked it. This one looks different. The dry leaf is very dark green and is tightly rolled like long wiry stems. It is almost like pulling a birds nest out of the bag. Dry it smells intensely of malt along with a sweet and sour aroma like fresh cut dewy grass. Once brewed the scent becomes heavily green and leafy. The first thing I notice when tasting is the bitter. I hate using that word when it is a good thing as it is here. It is crisp and refreshing. This is also sweet. Imagine that. The last time I had a Xin Yang Mao Jian I still had the Splenda monkey on my back. Now I’m clean and monkey free (mostly) and I recognize this as sweet – (sweet!). This feels thick and almost syrupy by mid sip, before trailing off into a hefty green vine like aftertaste that lingers. A Nice tea.

Now be aware the package said to steep this 4-5 minutes with 2-5 g of leaf. I went on the high end of both. After drinking I noticed the website said to steep this ONE minute. I knew better but went with the bag instructions. I fully plan to have a go at this again using the short steep. It was good but potent today. I think the reduced time will make this a wonderful refreshing break from reality – and who doesn’t need that?

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It was 53 this morning when I started outside with my cold matcha latte. Opted to stay in until it warmed up a little. Later I brewed a hot cup of lapsang souchong and began to play Kerbal Space Program. Today’s agenda was to launch a satellite to orbit Mun and look for locations on the moon with resources to build a refinery. Except, my early satellites tumbled out of control during ascent. My redesign made Mun orbit then proceeded to blow up for no good reason. Decided I was done destroying things up for the day. Grabbed the cup of LS and tried for the porch again. It was 68. Close enough. The LS was cool by this time. Didn’t care. It smells like BBQ but doesn’t taste that way. It is nicely sweet but not bacon or meat tasting. The smoke is at a stout but pleasant level. No ashes or ashtray here. Just pleasant sweet pine smoke.


I am jealous of 53! I was happy that it was 68 when I went out to feed the chickens so I pulled up a chair and stayed to watch them eat and watch the babies play! Maybe that cool air will head my way soon.


It is 50 this morning. I fanned it your way. It is a little cool for porch sitting. Not ready to give up summer just yet. Although tea drinking really picks up with cooler weather.


After weekend monsoons, we’ve got a whole week of 80ish/50ish ahead. Yum!


We were about 74 when I went out this morning. Trending the wrong way!


69 at noon. Hot dogs on the fire pit seemed like a good idea – well brats would be better but we made do. Supposed to be a heat dome moving in within the week to reverse the early fall.

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drank Aged Tangerine Pu'erh by 3 Leaf Tea
1700 tasting notes

3 Leaf Tea offered samples for review. I asked for this one in particular as I have never tried a tangerine pu’erh. The brewing instructions are for a western style brewed cup. 1 tsp of leaf and a cup of boiling water with a 3 minute steep.

The dry leaf is very pleasant to sniff. It is hay and fruit. The steeped leaf is barnyard but I know this seldom translates into the cup. The brew is almost ‘tea’ colored but a little more ruby tinted than your average orange pekoe.

The taste is dusty dry spiciness with a hint of tangerine zest. It is not astringent or bitter. There is a gentle but deep earthiness that confirms this is pu’erh. The second cup was pretty much like the first except maybe a touch more towards sweet. Goes down easily.

Not a deeply complex tea but a nice everyday sipper. Seems like a good base to play with your herbs and spices to see what you can invent.


Try some of the peel when you brew. It makes it a different tea sometimes.

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drank Wuyuan Black by Little Red Cup Tea Co.
1700 tasting notes

This is a good solid everyday workhorse tea. It isn’t going to blow you away but it does the job. It appears to be very forgiving as to leafing and steep time. Perfect for early morning when you can’t be trusted with measuring or telling time. For those who like to be jolted awake, this might not be your tea. I prefer a more subtle wake up. There is no bitterness. I didn’t notice any dryness. What I got was cup that tastes dark, sweet, and leafy. I noticed some mild notes of smoke underneath (very mild). It should take milk or sugar well – though I tried neither. It should also work nicely iced. Your friends who don’t get your tea obsession would recognize this as tea.

Recommend as an everyday black

Christina / BooksandTea

This sounds like it would be a perfect replacement for RiverTea’s Golden Yunnan. Was the taste similar to that? I know I keep harping on that particular tea, but it was perfect.


Nope. I wish. This is closer to Prince of Wales. That gentle but a better taste. The smoke is not obvious at all.

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drank Bao Zhong Tea by Sanne Tea
1700 tasting notes

Maybe my memory is on the fritz but this just seems different than any Bao Zhong or Pouchong I have tried before. First the leaf has more green than I recall. There is also tan tips and the darker leaf kind of looks battle ship grey with white spots. The liquor is bright yellow which I did expect but the aroma is floral like Alishan. The taste is sweet and at first reminds me of corn with maybe a touch of malt. Then it moves towards the floral notes. The aftertaste is lingers green and viney.

I know most western folks seem to like their oolong dark and highly roasted. I do not. This is more my style. Light, crisp, and refreshing. A good afternoon sip, to chill or meditate.

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I dare you to open the bag and inhale this then walk away. Ain’t no way. Dry this smells like a bouquet of peonies. So sweet and pretty. The leaf is equally beautiful with red and brown steaks along with silvery white tips. Once brewed the steep leaf scent is peaches, no grapes, no its orange. Love. The brew is liquid sunshine so bright and golden. The taste is muscat grape and hints of malt. Then it turns into mountain streams that fade into light orange blossoms. I was not in the mood for tea today until I opened this one. Gentle and amazingly complex. A definite winner.




Wow. That’s impressive!

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drank Lotus by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company
1700 tasting notes

Last of the tin. I’d be sad but I have another unopened one already waiting. So good. I added a little sweetener today, because I can, it was a good choice. Sweet, creamy, a little peppery, a little floral and anise, along with a wonderfully different green tea.

I just went to The Persimmon Tree website – there is almost nothing there! Are they closing down or retooling? It would be a shame to loose them. So maybe I am sad.

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Tuesday we were in Columbus Indiana, so we stopped at Empire Tea Services warehouse. Here in small town Indiana, they blend and carry 250 different teas. Mainly they are wholesalers, supplying tea for restaurants and hotels. They also do relabeling. The retail side of the business is called Tea Temptations. They don’t really push the retail side. I have tried to get them to sell samples and smaller sizes – 4 oz is just too much for most of us around here. They told me it cost more than they make from it. Others do it, so I’m not so sure, but they seem happy with things the way they are. They also have items in stock (like yixing pots) that aren’t on their website. The tiny pot I looked at was $29.

So, the tea… back in my tea bag only days, I loved Peach Apricot tea. I am not a big flavored tea drinker, except mainly Earl Grey. I am not sure why PA has always appealed to me. This stuff blows the doors of anything bag related. I was told that this has been their number one selling tea for several years. Today I am having it iced. The gunpowder tea is mainly large broken pieces with some full leaves. It stays mostly in the background. The peach and apricot share equal billing. They taste really natural to me. I can almost feel the fuzz on the fruit.

Oh, one other thing, the tea comes in decorative plastic lined waxed paper bags. It should probably be moved to something else if you don’t drink it up quickly. Admittedly, I never move it and it seems to do well. Just wanted you to be aware.


Just the two words “tea” and “warehouse” used simultaneously…ahhhhh…

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drank Candy Cane Lane by Celestial Seasonings
1700 tasting notes

I don’t have Sleepytime vanilla yet, but hearing about it made me break out the winter CS bags. Last night it was Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride. Love it. Tonight was another awesome choice. Late in the evening when I am looking more for comfort than depth, this really hits the spot.

In other news, I dropped in to the Empire Tea Services warehouse today. We were in the neighborhood and my wife was almost out of her Tea and Herbs. Thought we would save on the shipping. Since we were there I kind of bought 4 oz of Peach and Apricot gunpowder green tea. I’ve had it before. It has been their number 1 seller for years and for good reason. I swear I can smell the fuzz on the peach. I needed another 4 oz of tea like a hole in the head but made the mistake of smelling it. I am weak :)


You can always use more tea! :)

Christina / BooksandTea

That “hole in the head” bit? Tell me about it. I have over a pound and a half of tea coming in and I’m still considering getting some more puer from Misty Peaks.


Ooooooohhhhh. Warehouse. Tea. Ooohhhhh.


Oh….do I have any Sugar Cookie left…? Will you get up and check for me? I’m too tired.

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Having a passion for tea and living in rural America is a tough combination. The nearest tea vendor is 65 miles away. Joining Steepster has completely changed the direction of my tea journey.

My Rating System

90-100 Love it enough to keep around
80-90 Like a lot, would drink often
70-80 Above average
50-70 Average – take it or leave it
0-50 I don’t like it and don’t want to like it


Indiana, USA



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