51 Tasting Notes

drank White Peony by Rishi Tea
51 tasting notes

So this was the second Rishi tea I ever had, I always have a tin of it in the cabinet, I always share it with friends, it never lets me down, I wrote a song about it, we’vebeentogetherforseveralyearsnow…

Anyways! What a fine example of the great qualities white tea can offer. I’ve had a few that are better, but Rishi (as usual) sets the bar pretty high.
Yes it’s not Silver Needle, but I’ve actually found that when introducing “real white tea” to my non-tea drinking friends, starting with Bai Mu Dan is sometimes the better way to go. Silver Needle has the potential to be too subtle for some taste-buds (Doesn’t it break your heart when someone claims your tea tastes like hot water?)
I think the White Peony has a little more presence while still retaining the texture and overall taste of what a white tea should be. I think it’s really a personal preference when you get down to it though, Rishi has fine examples of both Silver Needle and White Peony.

My favorite thing about this tea is that after I share it with friends, they can go out and pick it up from the grocery – it’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Oh Cha!

I totally agree about sharing white teas with friends – Bai Mu Dan seems to be a bigger crowd pleaser for the average American palate, or those who are newer tea drinkers. It’s the fuller body, and the rounder flavour methinks. :)


Rob, What really breaks my heart is when I think the tea I am drinking tastes like water! LOL yeah but I do agree my Mom tends to thinks some of my oolong teas (on the greener end of the oolong spectrum) taste like water and it totally irritates me! I usually just take over her cup at that point.

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drank Peony White by Prince of Peace
51 tasting notes

Hmm. I just can’t get into this tea. To my taste, it’s missing that distinct white tea flavor and perhaps more importantly, it lacks the velvety smoothness that I like in a white tea. No matter how I try steeping it, it comes out tasting really generic. So much that, in a blind taste test, if I didn’t have the box and label right here, I wouldn’t be able to identify it as a white tea at all. Maybe I got a bad batch of this tea? Perhaps I’m going mad?!?

I always try to look on the bright side, but I can’t find much in common with one of my favorite Bai Mu Dans… (Rishi)

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drank Golden Monkey by Zarafina
51 tasting notes

So when my mom got the Zarafina Tea Maker Suite for me as a gift, it came with this tea. (I don’t use my Zara very much, I prefer just using small teapots, gaiwans, and teany little cups…) At first, it looked strangely familiar, but I wasn’t sure why. Then I realized that the packaging is very similar to the Adagio Teas canisters. Even the message: “Clearly better – Look inside – Lid specially coated – Light will not damage tea leaves” is identical. I tried looking around the web to see if Zarafina just made a deal to repackage Adagio’s own “Golden Monkey” tea with their own name on the canister, but I couldn’t find anything about it. Or maybe, this is a lower grade of Golden Monkey Adagio sells? I’d love to get ahold of Adagio’s version to do a side-by-side.
Does anyone know anything about this? A tea mystery indeed…

This tea is O.K. I just had some for the first time in a long while to refresh my mind. The aroma of the wet leaves has echoes of an Oriental Beauty, which got me really pumped up for a sip! Unfortunately, the tea itself tasted much more generic than the aroma suggested. It’s not a bad tea, it’s just that the tin claims it is considered “king of Chinese black teas”. This may be true for a higher quality tea of similar preparation and origin, but this particular brand doesn’t set off any fireworks for me. In terms of mass produced commercially available Chinese black teas, I’d take some of Rishi’s Keemun over this any day. I can’t really complain, it came free with the tea maker (which was a gift so it was free free). But I guess I just expect more when a tea claims to be king!


I personally think that Adagio’s Golden Monkey is very good, but I don’t know about any deals with Zarafina or anything like that.

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drank Jade Cloud by Rishi Tea
51 tasting notes

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I always keep a small stash of this hearty tea on hand. Like others have said, this is one of the best black tea blends in a bag that I’ve tried. I have a few non-tea drinking friends who love this as a breakfast drink.

If you haven’t had it yet, I recommend looking for some at the grocery store. Be warned though, it comes out a bit stronger than some other popular tea blends (I’m thinking Tetley, Salada, Lipton…)

A final note: I see on here that they offer a loose leaf version that I am not familiar with. I’d imagine it is the same blend, except with the obvious omission of tea bags. So the loose-leaf purists can give it a shot too!

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drank Mate Lemongrass by Rishi Tea
51 tasting notes

So I think there is definitely something to be said about pairing maté with citrus flavors. There are several different variations from different companies that all work quite well.

Personally, I have always preferred Numi’s “Mate Lemon Green – Rainforest Green” which is similar to this in many respects but opts to add “precious eyebrow” green tea to complement the maté and citrus flavors. I almost always choose loose leaf over bags, but this is one rare exception and I think even loose-leaf purists should give Numi’s bagged tea a try if you like Rishi’s Mate Lemongrass.

That said, this is a very pleasant drink that is lightly uplifting and tastes very refreshing. I usually will take sips while infusing this and err a little on the lighter side to avoid the tart unbalance of too much lemongrass flavor. This, of course, is personal taste.

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drank Golden Assam by McNulty's
51 tasting notes

This is kind of a “Part 2” to my notes on McNulty’s Golden Nepal, I am comparing contrasting the two right now.

So from what I can tell, it seems like this tea is just all around a higher quality than the Nepal. The leaves are more uniform, the taste is less generic, and the flavor lingers a bit longer. It doesn’t strike me as outstanding, and it definitely doesn’t leave me wanting more the way a good Darjeeling does… (Obviously; It’s an entirely different cup of tea.)
I am not really a good one to ask when it comes to India/Sri Lanka style black teas, they just aren’t my favorites. I probably crave them once for every twenty times I have a craving for a Japanese green or a Taiwanese oolong. Anyways…
I’ve never been to McNulty’s in NYC so I’m not even sure what else they have there, but if anyone else is familiar with the shop and what they offer, I’d love to hear about it!

Rob Yaple

Subsequent infusions produce a nice amber brew that continues to mellow gradually.

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drank Golden Nepal by McNulty's
51 tasting notes

So, a friend of mine gave me several teas and herbal infusions from McNulty’s shop in NYC. Honestly, none of those that I have tried are stellar or outstanding. But they aren’t bad either!
This one, Golden Nepal, is a pretty solid black tea that is very similar to a strong blended black tea from India or Sri Lanka (Assam, and Ceylon blends come to mind). Compared to McNulty’s own “Golden Assam”, the leaves are much less uniform in the Nepal. The flavor seems to follow suit. There is a slight, but noticeable astringency that makes this a nice breakfast tea. Nothing fancy, but nothing I wouldn’t drink!

Rob Yaple

Subsequent infusions produced a sharp astringency that could have been prevented by drastically reducing brew time. I just think this tea is a bit unpredictable and inconsistent. In a one-on-one comparison with McNulty’s Golden Assam, Golden Nepal takes the Bronze…

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drank Wuyi Oolong by Rishi Tea
51 tasting notes

While this isn’t the finest tea Rishi sells (as many have said here) it is pretty common in grocery stores, so it is something I can recommend to a friend who wants to buy something new (i.e. not Lipton teabags) that isn’t hard to find or very expensive. Personally, this was a gateway tea for me in a sense. At the time, I didn’t have any loose leaf teas, and didn’t even know that there were different kinds of oolong teas (!). After trying this tea, my spark of an interest in tea snowballed into the daily hobby I enjoy today. I still keep a tin of it on hand for everyday use and using when experimenting with iced/chilled teas.

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So I’ve neglected Steepster for some time now! I feel like I need to make up for that somehow…

A tea enthusiast since 1999, I enjoy the experience of sitting and drinking tea.
As a life-long student of tea, I learn something new every day about the vast world that is Tea.


Evanston, IL

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