1705 Tasting Notes

drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
1705 tasting notes

I have posted my blind taste testing of 12 matcha samples. This was sponsored by Red Leaf Tea. Not offering any spoilers here for those bloggers who haven’t finished their reviews yet. Click the link only if you want to see how it all works out. http://theeverdayteablog.blogspot.com/2015/04/matcha-madness.html


Neat experiment! And I love the way you compared the colour to a Crayola crayon. :)


fascinating! Thanks for posting!

Roswell Strange

That’s super interesting!


I kept thinking red leaf was too expensive for my husband’s desire for matcha smoothies, but I guess not! The comparison was really interesting! Thanks for posting!


Nice! One of my favorite green tea powders for matcha lattes came from Taiwan. Looks like it was spot on with what you like!


Ashmanra, that’s because you have good tastes ;) You should try a sample of the one I top rated. Only seems a lot more expensive than the Taiwan powder because you get it by the pound – which would last me about six month drinking it everyday.

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drank Sencha Fukujya by Curious Tea
1705 tasting notes

Looks like dried grass clippings. I have a lot of tiny particles in mine. The other tea in the package was undamaged, so I don’t know if this was roughed up in shipping? Others didn’t comment on this so I am believing it is just my bag. Steeping temp of 158F is hard to do but I stood guard over the kettle and got it.

I think Curious Tea nails the taste profile on their webpage by saying this “has a full vegetal and slightly toasty flavour. It strongly evokes green vegetables, such as spinach or greens with a nori undertone and a distinct dryness in the aftertaste.”

I think the only thing I would add is though the temperature is a bit of a pain to hit, it is worth the effort as the cup was nicely smooth.


Mercy, 158 sounds like far too much work. I need something that allows me 25 degrees and 90 seconds either way! :)


Japanese tea would never work with the old Hot Shot I used to use, but I really miss the simplicity of those days. I still have to be in a cooperative mood to attempt odd parameters – and that means never any where near early morning.

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drank Snow Bud (Xue Ya) by Curious Tea
1705 tasting notes

I have had Snow Bud before from another company. The teas appear pretty much identical. The difference is in the brewing approach. This one calls for 175F water and a 4 minute steep. The other used 195F and 30 second steeps. The difference is day and night. This one is smooth. The other was intense with a good bitter. Here I am getting lightly sweet field grass, along with hints of nuts and floral. The aftertaste is lingering and has the good bite I expected up front but here it is lighter and not at all scary. Although I taste the fresh spring water and floral notes I associate with good white tea, it is the ending that drifts towards Chinese green tea that sells this to me. I very much enjoyed this using Curious Teas parameters.

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drank Green Tea with Earl Grey by Ahmad Tea
1705 tasting notes

The first time I reviewed this on Steepster was 5 years ago (5!?!? – wow where does time go. I already had a long history with this tea before joining here. Looks like the last time I logged it was 8 months ago. I’ve missed you old friend. The Earl Green teabag version has a brighter bergamot and less interesting green base. The loose version tastes somewhere between a chun mee and a bold Vietnamese green. It is brash and loud – I like that. The bergamot is more of a light background support flavor in the loose version. If Ahmad would double the bergamot, I might need no other tea. This is less than $10/lb. So yeah, it is super cheap but has always been a personal favorite comfort tea. Fancy teas come and go in my collection but this one seems to always be waiting somewhere in the back.


Have you ever considered adding bergamot oil to it? If you put it in a bag, shook it up, and left it in a tin for a few weeks it might bring it up to the level you want!


To be honest, I can’t figure out which oils are safe for consumption and which are scent only oils.


The bergamot from Native American Nutritionals should be consumable, I think. Only tiny amounts of course! But if they say they are just for aromatherapy I wouldn’t, like NOW brand. NAN is the same company as Rocky Mountain Oils.

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Ello Kiddies, today I finally feel up to some pu time. I love the packaging on these samples. Clever and interesting. It kind of involved all my senses right from the start.

This is a loose leaf shou. The leaf is chocolate brown, large and lightly twisted. It has a boot leather aroma to me.

I tried doing 3 rinses as Wymm recommends on the website, but after drinking the first and the second, I gave up on the idea. The third was my first full cup. Copying straight from my blog: The taste is much like the rinses. Instead of boot leather like the dry scent, this is old family Bible leather. There is a gentle sweetness to it. I find it immediately warming and comforting. There is no bitterness and nothing off about it. This is nicely smooth with no rough edges. There is a woodsy cedar spiciness late in the sip that adds just enough bite to be interesting without adding distraction.

I’ll continue steeping this throughout the day. It has been a while since I have had pu-erh and my tummy is rumbling in appreciation.


I love the packaging, too! At first I thought the “tag” was terracotta but then when I got mine I saw it was some sort of leather or leather-like substance! I have it “artfully” arranged on a pewter tray on my secretary desk because I thought it was so pretty to display.

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drank Dong Ding by Sanne Tea
1705 tasting notes

First, thank you Lulu for the sample. I tried the survey link and could not get it to work.

I thought Dongding was a heavily roasted oolong. Happily, and to my surprise, this one isn’t. I do my best to fairly review heavy roasted stuff but it is honestly my least favorite type of tea. So Yeah for this one!

The dry leaf is so floral. Love. The nuggets are tightly rolled with just a little stem tail. After steeping I always am amazed. How did they get all that leaf and stem in there?

So, the taste… this is how I think all oolong should taste. I am not really catching any roasted note at all. Instead, I am catching the orchid like floral notes, followed by a passing buttery popcorn flavor. There is also a spice note along the lines of nutmeg. Very nice.

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The leaf on this looks like it was plucked five minutes ago and put into the bag. They are perfect, with many classic examples of a leaf and a bud. The liquor is bright clear and like yellow gold. The taste is complex and changes as the cup cools and with each steep. For reasons I can’t explain, this one just didn’t grab me. The taste starts kind of dusty. Once the cup cools it picks up a woodsy flavor under a vine taste. There is also a touch of muscat grape type flavor. The aftertaste is strong, lingering, slightly sweet, and plant like. The second cup has a duel personality going on. It is darker, more woodsy, and almost mushroom. At the same time it has a brighter, more green sheng, almost bitter but not, flavor. There is a stone fruit kind of thing like almost an apricot present. As it cools I am noticing more of a floral note that reminds me of peonies. The aftertaste is again strong and green vines with a citrus touch. Reading this, it sounds right up my alley. I should love this. Why don’t I? I guess I have to admit, I really can’t love them all. That makes me sad especially since there is nothing wrong with the tea.

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I love white tea. I love the deep quiet flavors of it. I really did not know what to expect from an assam silver needle but it is What-Cha and they know how to pick them. The moment I caught the first hints out of the bag I knew I would like this. It is sweet fresh grassy hay, like really fresh cut hay. Yet it is different as this smells nicely of malt. I mean it is assam so maybe I should expect it or at least hope for it, but honestly it surprised me. It looks like silver needle but not. It is more needle like and darker than Chinese silver needle. The tea brews to a light white grape color.

The taste is so good. I taste the hay and light touches of melon that I expect but I also get the malt. This nicely sweet with no rough edges or bitterness. It could stop right there and I would have been happy. But it doesn’t.

I prepared a single mug in my clear teapot. What I loved most, no, what I LOVED most about this was the surprise note of honeysuckle. I almost never taste what I’m willing to call honeysuckle because it grows everywhere here and is one of my favorite spring fragrances. Nothing duplicates it for me. Until now. It even has the wonderful taste of that single drop of ambrosia from inside the flower that we used to harvest as kids and place on our tongue. To get both the floral scent and honey like taste is unheard of for me.

My disclaimer – it is a white tea so it won’t give you the breakfast assam smack down of flavor. If you love a wonderfully gentle and deep flavored tea then I highly recommend trying this one.

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What-Cha keeps impressing me with their ability to find the unusual and delicious. The leaf is so white it looks ghostly. Instead of soft tender buds, these seem more crisp. The dry aroma is field grass. Once brewed the first cup seemed more green tea like than white. At first I thought it tasted dairy or milky. As it cooled it became creamy corn. Behind it is a vegetal green flavor and the good type bitter of excellent green tea. This is interestingly complex but not particularly subtle. That is unusual for a white. Had I not seen the dry leaf, I would have a hard time believing. A white tea for people who don’t care for subtle white tea.

The second cup is totally different. It reminds me of sheng. The main flavor is apricot. Along with it is the bright sheng bitter. It doesn’t seem drying and doesn’t have cheek tingle. It just has a neat edge. A shorter second steep might calm it but I’m kind of liking it. So I have a white tea, that is at first like a bold green, then becomes a young sheng. How cool is that?

I am finding Vietnam teas to be bolder and just different than other regions in a good way.

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This is just such a neat tea. Maybe the largest leaf of any I have ever seen. It tastes of apricot and peonies in a mountain stream. In later steeps add in plums. It is smooth and mellow with just a hint of bite trying to peek through. To me it is almost like something from Nepal instead of Africa. It is a white tea, so it is on the subtle end. This is the first tea I have brewed in two weeks that I felt like paying attention to detail. Hopefully I am on the road to well. Tea – how I have missed you.

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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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