New Tasting Notes


So, this is not too bad grandpa if I get the ratio right, and if the leaves can expand because I get the sweet pea notes with sweet vanilla, honeydew, and honeysuckle that style. It also serves as a great summer hot tea….yeah I’m crazy. I need to cold brew it.

In terms of rating, I was personally hovering around the high 80s and nineties. It’s in the nineties in terms of versatile steeping, refined floral tasting notes, creamy Jin Xuan like complexity. There are some days where I prefer this tea to a Li Shan because of it’s sunny vanilla sugarcane thing going on. But it feels like a friends with benefits tea-relationship. It’s a partner that should work well with you everyday because you are compatible with it stable sophistication and occasional eccentricity, but it does not get the engine roaring into you doing something incredibly stupid like spend a lot on it…never mind there is nothing wrong with that.
So really, it could be a boo tea. This is my Boozhong, while I am having a sweet and sensual affair with Iris and Lisha Oolong, and a long distance accord with Ali Mountain. Kona also gets me to do some bad things, though when you go coffee, you end up in an acidic, or toxic relationship. Yes, I’m personifying beverages again in a romantic life much more existent than the one I have. Again.

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7 grams @ 160F for 1:00
lid aroma: vague sweetness with something slightly roasty
wet leaves smell of apricot, very fragrant
liquor is fairly insipid.
aftertaste: apricot

@165F for 2:00
lid aroma: hint of cocoa
wet leaves: slight stone fruit and stewed vegetables
liquor remains relatively flavor-free…
aftertaste: celery, apricot

@170F for 3:00
lid aroma: more cocoa
wet leaves: strong apricots and stewed vegetables
liquor: not much more than astringency

The wet leaves throughout smelled truly lovely, and it’s a pity none of that translated to flavor in the liquor. Had to crank it hard to get anything out of it, and still it was much more about aromas than flavor. Which reminds me, the brewing method suggested on the label is absurd and will produce only hot water.

All in all, seems like it would be fine for someone who loves a delicate tea, but I wouldn’t buy this again.

Flavors: Apricot, Cocoa, Spinach

160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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This makes an good travel tea. A bit of cherry peeked through sunflower seeds and earthy base today.

The earthy green gunpowder base is an excellent carrier here. I am a fan.

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drank Golden Milk Tea by Ronnefeldt
27 tasting notes

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drank 1989 Suncha Blend by Butiki Teas
9654 tasting notes

PUlled this one out today as well since i wanted to make sure i had a bit of puerh this month. I still enjoy this one with a little maple syrup to enhance the smokiness in this one that is really faint but delicious

Final Count: 12 (2 teas, 10 puerh)

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Here is another review from the seemingly endless backlog. I finished a 50g pouch of this tea a couple weeks ago, but I am only now getting around to reviewing it here. Prior to trying this tea, I did not have much experience with Chun Lan at all. It is not one of the more popular or common Wuyi oolong cultivars and it does not seem to attract the most favorable reviews from teaheads whose opinions regarding Wuyi teas I trust. In essence, this tea was uncharted territory for me, and I went into my review session for it with no expectations whatsoever. What happened? I ended up liking it.

Naturally, I gongfued this tea. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of mushroom, char, longan, black cherry, black raspberry, and cannabis. After the rinse, I found new aromas of roasted peanut and orchid. The first infusion then brought out some stronger roasted peanut and orchid aromas, but I otherwise noted nothing new. In the mouth, I found notes of char and roasted peanut on the entry that gave way to mellow notes of longan and rock sugar chased by hints of orchid. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn fruitier and simultaneously vegetal. Cannabis, black raspberry, and black cherry notes emerged in the mouth alongside new impressions of minerals, earth, blueberry, peach, candied orange peel, roasted zucchini, and some odd hints of strawberry. The final infusions emphasized lingering notes of rock sugar, minerals, bluberry, strawberry, and orchid balanced by subtler notes of roasted peanut, black raspberry, cannabis, and char.

This was kind of an odd oolong, but a very rewarding one nonetheless. I would now like to try a more recent harvest of this tea just to get an idea of how it can change from year to year. I’m not sure people just getting into Wuyi oolongs would be pleased with this one since it presents such an odd, powerful mix of aromas and flavors, but those who are more experienced with these teas should find quite a bit to like. I will therefore recommend this tea with the caveat that it probably should not be one of the first Wuyi oolongs those new to such teas should try.

Flavors: Blueberry, Cannabis, Char, Cherry, Earth, Fruity, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange, Orchid, Peach, Peanut, Raspberry, Roasted, Strawberry, Sugar, Zucchini

205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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drank Pumpkin Chai by 52teas
9654 tasting notes

goodbye other tea! i think this puts me at 2 teas in my cupboard with a bunch of puerh. lol this makes me sad….but still hasn’t motivated me to get off my butt and order tea. So dumb, but i’ll figure it out eventually. Largely it’s because i want to go to some tea shops in toronto and haven’t had time. Maybe tomorrow i can make time.

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Alright, I’m finally back. Not only have I been swamped at work for the last week, but I have had very limited internet access at home, so posting reviews ended up falling by the wayside for me. I finally managed to regain consistent internet access this morning, so now I am taking a break to get some stuff posted here. My lack of activity would not allow anyone to know it, but I have been on a huge Shui Xian kick for the last little bit and have taken to comparing teas from different terroirs. This tea went head to head with an old bush Zhengyan Shui Xian, and surprisingly enough, it came out the winner in my eyes.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry leaves emitted aromas of char, pine, honey, and raisin underscored by a hint of cinnamon. After the rinse, I noted the emergence of stronger char and pine aromas as well as a hint of baked bread. The first infusion then introduced a hint of rock sugar to the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of char, pine, honey, raisin, cinnamon, and a rock sugar backed by hints of baked bread. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn creamier and a bit spicier. New notes of minerals, cream, spruce, and juniper showed up in the mouth. The final infusions offered notes of minerals, char, and pine that quickly gave way to subtler notes of cream, raisin, and rock sugar.

At first, I did not know what to make of this tea. I am very used to Wuyi Shui Xian, so this seemed very soft and subtle in comparison. Taking my time with each infusion, however, yielded tremendous rewards. Once I adjusted to the tea’s softer, smoother, simpler character, I found an easy-drinking tea with admirable longevity and great texture in the mouth. Should What-Cha ever restock this tea, I will most definitely be buying more. It made for a great break from the heavier traditional Wuyi Shui Xian oolongs to which I am so accustomed.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Char, Cinnamon, Cream, Herbaceous, Honey, Mineral, Pine, Raisins, Sugar

6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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drank Dragonwell by Easthill Tea Co
700 tasting notes

The second tea in my Sips By box. This was all right as well. I drank it a few days ago. It was definitely one of those green teas that gives me a headache so although it tasted pretty good, seaweed and asparagus mostly in the first steep, which was the only steep I did, though it was good for at least 3, I gave the rest of this away. How’s that for a run-on sentence?

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The name Spumoni makes me think of Louie Prima. He sings about it in Banana Split For My Baby, which is the only reference I have of Spumoni. It’s an Italian ice cream flavor is my guess. In this tea I’m getting rich cherry, maybe a touch of almond with some basey notes that I can’t quite pin. Green tea seems like a strange choice to me for this with the deep flavors added, but maybe it’s a better reflection of Spumoni than I’m aware of. So far it seems like a nice tea, something fun to try, but not take home and introduce to the family.
In the mean time I’ll be keeping my eye out for Spumoni ice cream to try. Maybe in San Francisco’s North Beach? That seems like a good area to hunt for it.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Oh Canada! by DAVIDsTEA
75 tasting notes

This is such a lovely and forgiving tea. I’ve used entirely too hot water and I’ve forgotten about my cup and left it for too long, and it still always turns out delicious. It is fool proof and comes out with a yummy, strong, maple cream flavor every time. The taste reminds me of the maple glazed, cream filled donuts at Tim Hortons, actually. Very Canadian and very tasty. It’s one of the strongest dessert teas I own, and one that I keep repurchasing.

Maple all the things!

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drank Spicy Piña Margarita by DAVIDsTEA
75 tasting notes

Sorry, Spicy Piña Margarita, but you are just foul to me. The more I tried to force myself (and everyone in my household) to finish up my 50g of this, the more I realized that I just do not like these flavors at all.

I like spicy. I like the warming bite of ginger in a lot of DavidsTeas, and I am happy to put jalapenos on almost everything in life. I get much more ginger than jalapeno in this (in fact, I wouldn’t guess there is any jalapeno in this), and much more cilantro than anything else. The cilantro has a weird, funky, dirty dish soap water taste that is horrifying. Sadly, I don’t get any mango or coconut. The pineapple is there as a vague, nondescript, fruity tone, with hints of warming ginger, and the weird burst of cilantro and hint of tomato.

It’s very much like steeping up a big cup of cilantro. I can only tolerate cilantro in small amounts in Nam Khao.

Whenever I find a tea that I don’t enjoy, my best friend is happy to finish off the tea for me (we have complete opposite taste in tea, so this system works out well for us). My BFF hated this tea as well, and then I couldn’t find anyone else willing to try it.

Cilantro tea.

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Another tea successfully finished off. This one was thoroughly enjoyable the entire time it was in my cupboard – the right balance of bold, malty, smooth and delicious that i wanted.

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drank Banana Tie Guan Yin by 52teas
9654 tasting notes

Drinking a little tea today – mostly because i’ve got sipdowns coming my way. lol Finished this one off today – not enough banana but a nice blend when you add a tiny bit of sugar to get the banana to pop through the oolong :)

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First of the batch of new harvest teas I got from Yunnan Sourcing. The dry leaves look good as they should for Golden Monkey: long twisted leafs with at least a third of golden tips. The smell is not that good though: I expected it to be very sweet and intoxicating but it instead got a smell of old dry leaves, spices and some sourness.

I brewed it western style and got rather mixed results. I put about three grams per a large coffee mug (drinking at work) and first let it sit for 50 seconds. It turned out to be pleasantly malty and sweet but it felt that the taste was a bit lacking and not intense enough. So I brought the infuser back in the mug for another 20-25 seconds and it was too much: the sweetness turned into slight sourness.

All in all, it is a pleasant tea but not very intense and captivating. and finicky about the steeping times. I will try it gong fu but I am not holding my breath. It is not a bad tea but there are certainly better Golden Monkeys on the market: the one from Teavivre, for example.

This, unfortunately, became my all-too-common experience with Yunnan Sourcing: their standard and, often, premium teas are all solid and pleasant but rarely wow you. To get to really impressive teas one needs to move up all the way to the Imperial grade and it will cost you. Don’t get me wrong, the selection of teas at Yunnan Sourcing is almost overwhelming but I was able to find outstanding teas in the non-premium category of other online Chinese tea vendors way more more frequently.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Maple, Spices, Sweet Potatoes


I find that with YS, i often prefer the regular grade vs the imperial grade, so that’s a win for me haha


Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve been ordering the standard grade of Golden Monkey and last year’s harvest wasn’t as good as I’ve had in the past. Think I’ll upgrade to Imperial grade when I reorder this year.

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Excellent well aged tea. I suppose the wetter storage shows how it accelerated aging nicely. This is at a point where all of the flavor has mellowed together to create a very good tea. Hard to describe the flavor since nothing stands out strongly but the taste is fantastic. It lasts through many steeps and stays good through all of them. This will be tempting to make an every day drinker.

4 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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drank River High by Mei Leaf
25 tasting notes

Something baked, nougat, lingering sweet liquorice, pastis, nori seaweed. A very interesting combo of flavors.

Flavors: Anise, Licorice, Seaweed, Sweet, Toffee

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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The problem with having successfully cold brewed in lemonade is that I now want to cold brew everything in lemonade. If I hadn’t ran out yesterday, that’s exactly what I would have done, although it’s got to be a lot healthier to go back to water for a couple of days. It’s not like I need all that extra sugar.

So that left me looking through my cupboard for something interesting to drink cold, which I wasn’t desperate to put in lemonade. This one – from Bird & Blend’s new summer collection – seemed to fit the bill (although largely because I knew I’d have enough left to use in lemonade once I get some more.)

I have a love-hate relationship with hibiscus, that, to be honest, is mostly hate. It’s rare that I appreciate its presence, but it does happen occasionally. A tea almost entirely composed of hibiscus fills me with fear…but when I think of it paired with mint, it suddenly doesn’t seem so bad. In theory.

In practice, it’s…okay. The hibiscus is, of course, highly tart and sour. There aren’t even any berries trying their best to redeem it. I find hibiscus quite a flat, uncompromising flavour. It’s not juicy, it isn’t sweet, and it comes across very one-dimensional when it’s all on its own. The mint helps to a certain extent. It freshens up the flavour, adds a hint of cool that’s very welcome on a hot day, and generally helps to make this thing taste a little brighter. It’s pretty well overpowered for the most part, though – I can only really taste it towards the end of the sip, but when I can taste it it’s a nice counterpoint to the hibiscus.

It sounds strange to say it given how I’ve just described things, but I don’t dislike this one. Considering hibiscus is my nemesis, it’s actually not terrible. It’s a little lacking in its present state, just cold brewed in water, but I think it’s going to be a whole lot better in lemonade. Some sugar will surely help.

Clearly, I have a new addiction.

Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 25 OZ / 750 ML

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drank Thyolo Oolong by Tealet
2002 tasting notes

This one’s currently in my focus pile, since it was a sample size and should be a relatively easy sipdown. I need a few of those if I’m to keep my sanity with my 365 days of tea challenge! It may have re-inspired me when it comes to tea, but it also means I have a lot of “active” teas – those I’ve opened but not made much headway with. I’m not doing too badly, but I still have enough stuff lying around now I’m close to 200 days in that it’s making me feel a bit overwhelmed. So, any progress is good progress!

I feel the same about this one as I did last time I drank it. It’s a little muted when freshly brewed, but it really starts to shine as it cools. It reminds me a bit of nutella – there’s milk chocolate, strong and smooth, combined with a nutty undertone. Delicious!

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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drank Wild Sweet Orange by Tazo
87 tasting notes

I believe I reviewed this one before — it’s one of the best teas for a bacterial infection when prepared hot, after all (since there’s added citric acid). However, I plopped a bag into my water bottle today and it was amazing after about half an hour of infusing. Like a citrus soda, just no sugar or carbonation. If you’re after something slightly sour and bright, this is the right tea for you.

Flavors: Citrus Fruits, Sour

Iced 8 min or more 32 OZ / 946 ML

I think I’ve tried this ages ago; must not have made much of an imprint. However, as you’ve described it, it sounds like it would be great on ice.

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