New Tasting Notes


I need to tweak the timing and temp on this.

190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 30 sec 5 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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drank Oolong Fresh by T2
950 tasting notes

With my sense of smell still not at 100%, I haven’t been drinking my oolongs. That’s a real bummer for me, since oolongs are my favorite type of tea, along with Japanese greens. So my new thing is looking for strongly-flavored oolongs in my collection, both because that flavor and aroma will break through and because strongly flavored teas tend not to be made with the highest quality base so I won’t feel like I’m wasting it by drinking it now. I brewed this one up in my zojirushi travel mug yesterday. The good news is that the mint is so strong that I did indeed smell and taste it, without having that intense lingering menthol sensation that I found in DT’s Watermelon Mint. The bad news is that I made a seriously bad judgment call by brewing a strongly-scented tea in a travel mug! Now I can’t get the mint smell out of the silicone parts of the lid. I feel like a lot of my tasting notes lately have been “here’s a rookie tea-related mistake I made, please learn from my silly mistakes!”


Still better than coffee funk!


True! And also – how are you seeing my notes? My dashboard has been frozen for days.

Mastress Alita

If you go to you can see all notes posted on the site, they just won’t be filtered to just the people you are currently following like the Dashboard is.


Thank you!

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This is what yancha strives to be, IMO. Best roasted oolong I’ve tried. A perfect tea for fall/winter.

Medium sweetness with no bitterness or astringency. Mouthfeel is toasty and smoky. Nice hui gan. Longevity is ~8 infusions.

Another great tea from Eco-cha! They are super impressive so far. Their price-to-quality ratio seems pretty insane too! Will be buying more of this come fall/winter.

Harvest: Winter 2022
Origin: Yonglong Village, Lu Gu Township, Nantou County (elevation 700 m).
Cultivar: Qing Xin
Roast: Heavy but tastes medium?

Dry Leaf: Malt, wheat, bread, dark chocolate.
Wet Leaf: Same
Flavor: Toast, dark chocolate, hazelnut, coffee, smoke, sweet.

Flavors: Bread, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut, Malt, Nutty, Smoke, Sweet, Toast, Wheat

3 g 2 OZ / 50 ML

High praise, I’ll have to check them out at some point.


I agree, dong ding is far more refined than yancha/wuyi oolongs.

Marshall Weber

You should! Loving their teas so far :).

And I think I agree based on my limited experience. Similar flavor profile but nothing harsh about it!

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I don’t think I’ve ever snarfed up a 40-bag box of tea so quickly. The tin is looking like a long lonely tunnel with just a couple at the end. (Not to worry, some on order.)

Won’t add to what you already know, except for the fact that it makes a stellar iced tea. The “toast” part of the combo keeps it wonderfully stout (especially fridge-steeped overnight) and the rest, well…that’s my jam.


Always good to find tea that’s your jam heehee

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Ah dashboard where have you gone?
Reading tea notes this morning made me want to grab a sweeter tea, but I decided to go for savory instead. And since it’s morning, I still need caffeine so a scoop of awesome tea went in the strainer too.
I’m amazed by how a small scoop of flowers can have such a large dill taste and pungent smell. It stands up nicely to the Assam I added with just a hint of bitterness underneath the spicy dill.
I find myself gravitating to teas with an ‘interesting’ taste profile, maybe because I rarely add sweetener, or maybe because I just have a strange palette? After trying my first snow chrysanthemum in a tea shop in San Fran, I knew some sort of this flower would need to be in my cupboard!

Flavors: Astringent, Dill, Savory

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Grabbed a small sample from the TTB… mmm! Such a great vanilla tea with mild boozy notes. It reminds me of this fantastic whiskey barrel-aged maple syrup I received as a gift this year… yum.

Flavors: Bourbon, Vanilla, Whiskey

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IM IN LOVE! This is perfection. One of the most complex teas I’ve tried. Flavors are plentiful and they pop into existence as the tea sits in your mouth. That said, the most predominant flavors to my tongue are papaya and cream. Even with so much complexity and flavor, there is NOTHING harsh about this tea. No bitterness or excessive flavor. Mild astringency develops starting at infusion 3. Yields ~10 infusions.

Drop brewed this beauty and I think the parameters were fine. Could potentially push the heat more in the middle infusions, but hard to believe this could get better :).

Mouthfeel is creamy and thick. Hui gan is strong and lasts many minutes. Hou yun is full and like rolling an “r.” Headiest oolong I’ve tried, and a cha qi that I enjoy. Relaxing, day-dreamy qi. Medium-high sweetness.

My first Shan Lin Xi (translates as Pine Forest Stream) and I’m thoroughly impressed. This batch comes from the Fanzaitan area specifically. I can’t claim to get any floral or pine notes as others have mentioned.

Do my eyes deceive me? Is this tea really so cheap? I’ll be buying this by the barrel. Thank you, Eco-cha, and I SO look forward to trying the other samples from your shop.

Harvest: Winter 2022
Origin: Fanzaitan, Shan Lin Xi (elevation 1400 m).
Cultivar: Unspecified, but usually Qing Xin.

Dry Leaf: Dried apricot, dried pineapple.
Wet Leaf: Apple pie.
Flavors: Cream, cucumber, broccoli, sugar, sweet, pineapple, coconut, sugar, papaya.

Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Astringent, Broccoli, Coconut, Cream, Cucumber, Dried Fruit, Fruity, Papaya, Pineapple, Sugar, Sweet, Tropical, Vegetal

6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Sipdown 43

Just okay. The lemongrass was a bit too strong. I didn’t really taste any strawberry, just hibiscus. May be due to age, but it smelled fine and truthfully isn’t that old.

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Sipdown 42

This wasn’t even in my Steepster cupboard for some reason. This was okay- not my favorite 52Teas genmaicha blend, but still a nice light creamy orange flavored on the genmaicha.

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Date drunk: 2023 May 29
Dry leaf smells gorgeous, like a savoury-sweet crispy snack – I think it smells floral and roasted-chestnutty, like almond paste or like fried shallots.

1st infusion: (80˚C, 0:20)
Wet leaf smells like roasted butter asparagus or fried garlic nai bai.
The leaves look really tiny like herb leaves (oregano or thyme), but obviously don’t smell or taste like them. I feel like I’m drinking an exquisite clear vegetable broth with just a tiny hint of fat like butter.
Rating: 94

2nd infusion: (81˚C, 0:35)
Colour became dark amber – I could tell I overbrewed slightly. Astringent but still has the nice vegetable broth notes, more like a bitter-savoury herbal broth now but still quite lovely.
Rating: 86

3rd infusion: (81˚C, 0:30)
Leaves and liquor still smell like buttered stir-fried veg like green beans. Liquor tastes slightly astringent but less than before, it’s still fairly nice and silky. I think the leaves still have much to give but from this point on I can pair it with food and not feel it’s a waste.
Rating: 87

4th infusion: (82˚C, 0:30)
Getting lighter. I’ll push it harder next round.
Rating: 84

5th infusion: (85˚C, 0:50)
Rating: 86

Overall Rating: 87

Flavors: Almond, Asparagus, Astringent, Bok Choy, Butter, Chestnut, Garlic, Green Beans, Onion, Vegetable Broth

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 100 OZ / 2957 ML

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Date drunk: 2023 Apr 26

5g in 100ml porcelain gaiwan

1st infusion: (80˚C, 0:15)
Wet leaf smells sweet and floral – stunning.
- Liquor smells vegetal and a bit nutty, no sweetness. Delicious umami-rich savoury broth
- Rating: 80

2nd infusion: (80˚C, 0:35)
Wet leaf still smells gorgeous.
I overbrewed it. Bitter and very astringent.
Rating: 73 (actually 70 but it’s not entirely the tea’s fault)

3rd infusion: (81˚C, 0:25)
Wet leaf really gives me Longjing vibes.
I steeped this for the correct time now because the astringency is minimal. Liquor tastes buttery and nutty too, like a 2nd or 3rd infusion of Longjing – buttered green beans.
Rating: 84

4th infusion: (81˚C, 0:30)
Clearer and cleaner-tasting than the previous infusion, still has buttery and nutty fragrance, but also less sweetness and overall flavour.
Rating: 82

5th infusion: (84˚C, 0:30)
A bit too light on flavour now but still very refreshing as an afternoon drink.
Rating: 79

Verdict: A very respectable “poor man’s Longjing” that I would buy as a daily green tea.
Rating: 80

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Green Beans, Nutty, Umami, Vegetable Broth, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Long rinse/steep the first: barnyaaaaaaaaard! I half-forget about these classic aromas, then stumble into one and feel hella joy.

Saponin bubbles on every steep in my ceramic pot. Pours progressed super quickly from reddish gold to hong-colored. Now this is another tea that has me wondering about the processing — it’s only 3 years old, but brewing quite red/dark already. So was it oxidized further than traditional sheng puerh, and is it meant for young drinking? Will it age up into something else, or are we looking at what it’s destined to be right now? I’d absolutely call this more tannic than bitter.

Wet dog and apricot in the second, opens up to some poppy red fruit/berries and fuller mouthfeel in the third. Oof, yeah, that mouthfeel is nice.

Fruity tobacco on the wet leaf. The fruit here is interesting; I wouldn’t necessarily call this sheng sweet, but fruity for sure. Kind of bright-tannic and lightly malty as well — which aligns with the color of the liquor if we’re talking about processing edging closer to hongcha territory, I guess. Hm.

The huigan really starts coming alive now — juicy in the way that makes you smack your jaw around. The tannins are a little touchy — one steep after that, it felt like they tried to step in with a NO MORE SMACKING sign. I smacked anyway, and it worked.

There’s something about this that reminds me vaguely of my mother’s iced tea; bags brewed hot and crisp, with a healthy dose of lemon juice and just enough sugar to take the edge off (“My sister makes it too goddamn sweet!”). All this with a side of damp canine plopped in your lap, scootching for pets. Ah, home.

Thank you very much, derk. This was fun.

Flavors: Apricot, Barnyard, Berries, Bright, Citrusy, Juicy, Malty, Red Fruits, Tannic, Thick, Tobacco, Wet Dog


My mom added three cups of sugar to just a little over a gallon of iced tea. Everyone loved her iced tea! Ha ha! She was horrified when I started making it and only used one cup per gallon but she got used to it.


Family traditions, always with a side of T E N S I O N

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drank Black Gyokuro by Liquid Proust Teas
1409 tasting notes

Brewing this up on a lazy Sunday (yet another overcast day in May) while skimming though the “Japanese Family-Style Recipes” cookbook I bought from the used bookstore yesterday. No idea how to brew. Entire 7 grams in pot, 190F, let’s go. 25 seconds.

ok beerandbeancurd, I completely understand your impressions!

Mostly this tastes like sinking my mouth into a heavily varnished wood slab table. An old one. Then I’m hit with a very strong floral quality as if a sakura tree crashed onto this thick wood slab table with its fresh, thick coating of varnish and then quick! – a mouth full of fresh bok choi juices, cucumber, mustard greens, oxalis, stale shiitake broth, burdock root, instant potato flakes, rice in burlap sacks. Weird how it goes from alkaline at the front of the mouth to sourgrass. Weird combination of floral, woody, vegetal, savory elements


Kyoto Obubu tea.

Flavors: Alkaline, Bok Choy, Brown Rice, Burlap, Cucumber, Floral, Malt, Mushrooms, Pleasantly Sour, Potato, Roasted, Roots, Sakura, Salad Greens, Salty, Savory, Varnish, Vegetable Broth, Vegetal, Wheat, Wood, Woody

190 °F / 87 °C 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

We’re overcast down here, too. Cozy.

I just ordered some green gyokuro; it was fun to revisit the black vicariously!

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Wet piled. Thumbs down emoji.

Smooth to the point of flat, kind of uninteresting to me. Papery and bitter if left too long. All of which I feel shame for saying, based on that lovely description from YS… sorry not sorry.

This will go in the shou drawer for times I’m feeling that dark and easy vibe. This just isn’t the Liu Bao POW POW I’m after.

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Hm hm hm hm. The wet leaf holds most of the character here; it smells of betel nut, papery brown dried flowers, wet lake sand.

I taste old books more than basement. Some forest floor and petrichor. The aroma and taste don’t quite keep the promise the wet leaf makes — they’re undoubtedly pleasant, a little watery, and leave me wanting. I might try bumping my ratio next time, actually.

5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Second of three shou samples from KTM and this is good stuff!

No bitterness, astringency. Maybe the slightest hint of sweetness, but not much to my palate. Wonderful clay-like mouthfeel and deep, earthy flavor. Flavor profile is a bit one-dimensional to me. Still quite the nice tea. Highlight is definitely the mouthfeel.

Will need another session to determine if it’s cake-worthy.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Clay, Forest Floor, Soil, Sweet, Thick, Wet Earth

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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This was such an interesting session. I broke it into two days, with a whole (refrigerated) day in between when I went to work. I probably brewed 4-6 steeps on the first night; these were tasty but lacking much sweetness or huigan; mouthfeel was full and the character was bold in like a… craft beer kind of way? It wasn’t really bitter, but the presence was commanding and felt like it was holding something that I needed to wait for.

Fast forward 36 hours to this morning… I pulled my ceramic pot out of the fridge, warmed it from the outside, and continued on my merry way. Must have gotten 10-12 more steeps, and herrrrre came the break. The beautiful full mouthfeel held, and creamy apricot sweetness gently crept in. No bitterness, really, regardless of how hard I pushed.

There are so many shengs Iike this, that absolutely pique my curiosity and make me wonder how they’ll taste in 5-10-15 years. This one, for instance — without some big brash bitterness, does it have enough oomph to go anywhere else? Or is this — happily — its peak? I know nothing about the processing here — maybe this is boutique-style that isn’t meant for patience.

Anyway. Always learning. Thank you for the lesson, derk. <3

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Another old tasting note that I somehow forgot to post but seems apropos!
Sipdown of Calabash Tea’s Lemon Ginger Oolong. This one took a long time to finish because I mostly drank it when I wasn’t feeling well. So it tracks that I finished it off when I had a sore throat. I added manuka honey to help with my throat, and the sweetness of the honey complemented the flavors of the tea well. It tastes exactly as advertised. The ginger is mild, while the lemon is more assertive, and the base oolong is fairly hearty. I usually go with Calabash’s Triple Goddess when I’m sick/migrainey/hurt, but this one’s nice when I want a caffeinated option.

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An old tasting note that I somehow never posted, but that seems apropos!
Drinking Healtheries’ Ginger Kiss. This one’s so old I couldn’t even find a picture online, and the listing is gone from the company website. I picked it up years ago on a trip to New Zealand. This was back when I was blissfully unaware of stevia as a sweetener, before it was readily available and in everything, so I didn’t know to back away slowly when the box listed it as an ingredient. It’s not the most egregious use of stevia I’ve ever experienced, but there’s enough here to give it that very particular sweetness/flavor that I’m not a huge fan of. As a result, it has taken me a really long time to finish this off. The apple, caramel, and ginger flavors make it enjoyable enough – but only on occasion. So, finally, many many years later, I can call this a spidown!

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drank Watermelon Mint by DAVIDsTEA
950 tasting notes

Another sipdown and counting this as a limited edition or seasonal tea for ashmanra’s sipdown challenge. My sense of smell wasn’t doing too great on Friday, so I opted for teas that I already know I don’t super love. Even before covid messed with my smell, I remember finding myself struggling to enjoy this one. I got a watermelon blend from 52teas around the same time and found that to be juicier and more on-point flavor-wise by comparison. I also remember that this is better iced, though, so I brewed this up and waited for it to cool. Weirdly, I think having a weakened sense of smell helped me pinpoint why I didn’t love this tea to begin with by making me more sensitive to the sensations it produced. It leaves a very strong menthol sensation in the mouth that lingers long after the sip, along with an overly thick and sweet watermelon flavor. The overall effect is both very candylike and skews too heavily mintward. However! The bottom-of-the-bag steeps are different – more of a proper watermelon juice flavor and not as heavy on the menthol. So maybe if I had mixed the bag up I would have enjoyed this more.

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drank Lemongrass & Ginger by T2
950 tasting notes

Sick tea, sick tea, sick tea! Recovery chugs along, but I’m definitely still leaning into sick teas – ginger, mint, lemon, and ginseng, with dollops of honey to soothe my throat. This one’s a sipdown! I picked it up during T2’s North America closure sale. Unfortunately the ginger is very weak here. I made the last of it with a very long steep (about an hour). That’s what it takes to get the ginger to come out. It’s just a very lemongrass-heavy blend, as I noted when I first got it. But a long steep does get me that nice ginger burn that I want. Leaving rating the same from my original tasting note. Counting this as a tea with a three word name for ashmanra’s sipdown challenge – yes, I know that counting punctuation as a word is weak sauce, but I’m being loose with the rules, particularly since so much of my stash is effectively off limits until my smell is fully back.

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