676 Tasting Notes

drank Mango & Lychee by Ahmad Tea
676 tasting notes

Nice fruity tea that packs a tropical punch. Clean tasting with a natural fruity flavor. Very mango forward with a note of lychee in the background that hangs around in the finish. Surprisingly good for a bagged tea. Recommend this for when you want something dessert like or sweet.

Flavors: Lychee, Mango, Tropical

185 °F / 85 °C

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Spring 2023.

This is similar to many other green teas in Teavivre’s lineup. It’s incredibly fragrant with sumptuous aromas of flowers and buttered lima beans. Soft dew and a light vegetable broth emerge when heated.

The tea is almost colorless with a light and elegant flavor. I tasted sweet pea, cucumber, and hint of pear like fruitiness in the first infusion. Second steep is a tad astringent but fuller and fresh tasting. Notes of boy choy and stir fried vegetables. The third infusion is clean and breezy with a smooth vegetal flavor. By the fourth steep, the tea fades to a generic green taste.

Flavors: Bok Choy, Cucumber, Flowers, Lima Beans, Pear, Peas, Vegetable Broth, Vegetables

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Spring 2023

Not a very remarkable Bao Zhong but that’s not really surprising considering its price point.

It’s light bodied, bordering occasionally on watery, with a nice but simple floral flavor. It has the usual lilac and green notes of Baozhong. There’s also hints of egg custard and jasmine.

After steeping it several different ways, I found this tea tastes best cold brewed. It’s thicker, has a cleaner liquor with more lush florals and the lily flower flavor really comes through.

Flavors: Lilac, Lily

195 °F / 90 °C

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Spring 2021 harvest.

If I were rating this tea based on the first 2-3 infusions, it’s close to a perfect 100. But longevity is important too and unfortunately, that’s where this tea is lacking. It peaks very early and the flavor drops precipitously.

The initial steeps are exquisite. Full bodied with a rush of complex florals and a texture that feels like liquid silk rolling around on your tongue. Notes of wildflowers, lily, and honeysuckle. This is accompanied by a juicy mélange of tropical fruit and nectar sweetness. However, the tea drops off quickly after the 3rd steep becoming more muted as the floral-tropical flavor fades into the background. After 5 steeps, it goes completely flat and has little if anything left to offer. Rather disappointing as most gaoshans give at least 6-7 decent infusions.

Flavors: Apricot, Cantaloupe, Floral, Honeysuckle, Lily, Nectar, Tropical Fruit, Wildflowers

195 °F / 90 °C
Marshall Weber

That’s unfortunate. Have high hopes for Wang Family Tea based on general perception of the company in the tea community. Have you had a similar experience with their other teas?

Daylon R Thomas

I’m going to bud in Lucky Me-The Jasmine Scented Shanlinxi lasted longer for me, and same with the Cuifeng and the Wild Versions of the Shanlinxi and hybrids. However, most of them last 6 or seven resteeps going flat even those individual cases. Most of the other teas require longer steep times, but didn’t always rebrew as strongly. I still personally love them and I personally don’t always need endless rebrews since I’m on the move a lot, but it does impact cost ratio. This Shanlinxi’s still one of my favorites for the taste and L-Theanine combo.


With any tea shop there’s always going to be a tea here or there that’s lacking in some way. But I still recommend Wang Family Tea. I’ve tried a bunch of their teas and all of them are solid. They’re currently my go-to for Taiwanese oolongs.

Like Daylon said, most oolongs last about 6 infusions. This one peaks a little early but it’s still crave-worthy.

Marshall Weber

It’s great to hear that you like their teas so much! I’m super excited to give them a try. They’re just a bit expensive haha.

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drank Shiranami Kabusecha by Tezumi
676 tasting notes

Spring 2023 harvest.

I’ve been craving this tea ever since I sampled it last year so I jumped at the chance to buy a 100g bag. This year’s harvest is nearly as good as the previous one.

This is an elegant tea with a taste somewhere between sencha and gyokuro, leaning a bit more towards the latter. The umami is there but restrained and accented with sweet seagrass, chlorophyll, and spinach. I’ve enjoyed having this as a cold brew this summer. Super fresh and clean tasting and doesn’t get bitter even when its sat for a while in the fridge.

Unlike many greens, it seems to improve with age. The leaves are more aromatic and the flavor has more depth since opening the bag.

Marshall Weber

Have yet to try a kabusecha but sounds like I’m missing out! Wasn’t super impressed with two recent senchas I tried from Tezumi though. Do you like their senchas too?


I liked their Matsuba sencha but wouldn’t revisit their other senchas. This is the only one that really stood out to me

Marshall Weber

Yea I also only really liked their Matsuba sencha. The other two I tried weren’t great…

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Looks and smells like puerh tea. The leaves, which are stuffed inside a dried mandarin, have a wet woodsy aroma. But unlike puerh, are loosely packed and easy to scrape out without needing sharp tools.

Since this is stuffed and aged inside a mandarin for 6 years, I expected a citrusy flavor. However, it tastes like a normal malty black tea. Red tinged amber color. No real orange or citrus flavoring discernible. On the plus side, it didn’t have any puerh like earthiness either.

I like the concept behind this tea but the execution doesn’t work for me.

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This sat on my shelf for 9 months before opening so understandably it’s lost some of its oomph. Note to self: next time, freeze unopened matcha until ready to drink.

It smells very creamy and sweet but on it’s own, is a bit chalky and savory. Not as sweet as the aroma. Still, whisks up easily to a nice green color and makes amazing lattes with a little splash of milk and sugar.

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drank Sakura Ryokucha by Den's Tea
676 tasting notes

There were no cherry blossoms this spring around Chicago thanks to the colder than usual temperatures. So I had to content myself with the crabapples and this sakura sencha.

Upon opening the bag, I was greeted by a sweet scent of sakura mochi. I steeped according to package instructions: 1m @ 180F then 15s with boiling water. The tea had a sublime, captivating cherry blossom flavor. Not the medicinal or artificial cherry flavoring you sometimes find in tea, but an elegant and slightly salty flavor if salt pickled sakura. The subtle flavoring mingles perfectly with the grassy green base which appears to be kukicha. Ice brewing accentuates the floral sweetness.

This is about as perfect a cherry flavored tea as sakura tea gets in my opinion. Very similar to another favorite: Sakura Sencha with Sugared Sakura Leaves.

Flavors: Cherry Blossom, Salt

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Spring 2023.

This one didn’t work for me upon first tasting but was delicious once I switched from grandpa style to gongfu. It’s refined and layered with beany, floral, honey, and dew-like flavors. Notes of freshly cut spring vegetables, cucumber, melon, and cannelloni beans. Not as grassy or umami heavy as other greens.

Flavors: Beans, Cucumber, Floral, Honey, Melon

3 OZ / 100 ML

I liked this tea as well! I’ll have to check out their Meng Ding Gan Lu next year.

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Grabbed this from the Japanese grocery store. I’ve had bottled oolong before but it’s always been the Chinese kind. This is the first time I’ve seen Taiwanese oolong in a bottle.

The label on the bottle says its a Dong Ding Four Seasons Spring. Does that mean it’s a blend of those two Taiwanese oolongs? Both are budget teas and that’s pretty much what this tasted like. Exceedingly mellow with a floral whisper. Flavor is barely there and although enjoyable, feels a bit lackluster. It doesn’t have the robustness of Ito-En’s Golden Oolong which is my favorite bottled tea.

While this is fine in a pinch, you can do far better by simply cold brewing Si Ji Chun or Dong Ding leaves.

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My Rating Criteria:

95 to 100: Top shelf stuff. Loved this tea and highly recommend it

90 to 94: Excellent. Enjoyed this tea and would likely repurchase

80 to 89: Good but not great. I liked it though it may be lacking in some aspects. I’ll finish it but probably won’t buy again

70 to 79: Average at best. Not terrible but wouldn’t willingly drink again

60 to 69: Sub-par. Low quality tea, barely palatable

59 and below: Bleh

Fell into tea many years ago and for a long time my experience was limited to Japanese greens and flavored Teavana teas. My tea epiphany happened when I discovered jade oolongs. That was my gateway drug to the world of high quality tea and teaware.

For the most part, I drink straight tea but do appreciate a good flavored tea on occasion. I love fresh green and floral flavors and as such, green tea and Taiwanese oolongs will always have a place in my cupboard. After avoiding black tea forever, Chinese blacks have started to grow on me. I’m less enthusiastic about puerh though. I also enjoy white tea and tisanes but reach for them less frequently.

Other non-tea interests include: cooking, reading, nature, philosophy, MMA, traveling when I can, and of course putzing around on the interwebs.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/melucky


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