drank Ginseng Oolong by JADEsCHA
8047 tasting notes

Sipdown (119)!

So today I got packages from Camellia Sinensis (teaware – including my first ever Gaiwan) and JADEsCHA (another Gaiwan but in a different style – from my fabulous tea twin VariaTEA)! Both vendors included tea samples; from CS a sample of Darjeeling Casleton (took my a while to find it; it was sold out on the site, and not added into the Steepster database) and from JADEsCHA a Jasmine Pearl green tea, and this one.

I don’t know if I’m going to have time today to use both Gaiwans, but I thought I’d at least start with this one because I knew that pouring from it was going to be trickier and would require more practice, for sure. And, I picked this for my first tea because it’s a kind of oolong that I’ve got some familiarity with and it meant getting to use something from VariaTEA’s package as well – just in case I don’t end up using her Gaiwan today.

This is also, ‘officially’ my first Gong Fu session! I was nervous, but I’ve been bulking up on research videos on Youtube while waiting for this order to come in – I’ve learned a lot from all of your tasting notes, but really I just wanted to watch people using their Gaiwans to sort of feel at ease and kind of prepared. If that makes sense at all. I’m very excited about dipping my toes into this way of brewing and drinking tea!

Infusion One – 30 seconds:

My first time pouring out of a Gaiwan. I spilled probably about half of the tea onto my lap and couch. I expected as much. Definitely getting some notes of Sweetgrass and moss, and a very sweet finish; honey notes and licorice. So much licorice – and it’s really lingering in the aftertaste. Liquor is a medium yellow.

Infusion Two – 35 Seconds:

Still spilled, but not nearly as much! Still very mossy and green. It’s sweet with lots of honey and licoricey notes, but also had a few kind of wood like notes. The leaves are finally opening up now that the ginseng coating is really washing off.

Infusion Three – 45 Seconds:

No spillage! Liquor is much more close to a fluorescent yellow colour now. Not like “highlighter yellow”, but very bright. Much stronger wood/oak notes, as well as a dry nutty flavour – ginseng/licorice sweetness is still really strong but I can tell it’s starting to wain a little bit.

Infusion Four – 1 Minute:

No spillage again! Just a tiny bit of sediment in the bottom of my pitcher. STRONG wood notes, definitely a drier mouthfeel. More of a sugar cane/honey sweetness, and a little bit less licorice-y. Leaves are very open.

Overall, I thought this Ginseng Oolong was especially sweet; definitely more so than any other I’ve tried. Perhaps that’s because of the change in how I’m preparing it – but my gut is telling me it’s the tea itself that was sweet.

I know I could probably get more infusions out of this – but I’m definitely growing tired of it at this point, and I’d like to switch to a different kind of tea. Overall I think this was definitely a success though! I know I spilled a lot initially, but I didn’t really pour any leaves into my pitcher (hooray) nor did I burn myself (extra hooray)! And, I had a really fun time brewing as well!


You have much to learn, young grasshopper, but, much greatness I sense in you…

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You have much to learn, young grasshopper, but, much greatness I sense in you…

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My name is Kelly. I’m a twenty something tea drinker and reviewer originally from the prairies, but recently relocated to Quebec. I was introduced to DAVIDsTEA and started drinking tea fairly casually about six years ago. At some point, that casual hobby became an ingrained part of my daily life; I became a part of a greater community, incorporated tea into my daily routine, and it became my career.

You know you’ve got it bad when you get your hobby tattooed to your arm.

I’m a TAC certified Tea Sommelier!

I drink a balance of flavoured tea and straight/traditional teas – in all formats. I prefer to have a wide, and general knowledge over many types of teas and catagories rather than focus on any one specific tea: a jack of all teas, master of none. Loose, bagged, matcha, Western style, iced, latted, Gong Fu…

You name it, I probably drink it.

In that vein, I’ll drink just about any type of tea – those only ones I have a particularly strong distaste for are green teas and Chai, with some exceptions of course. I have a weird relationship with Sheng pu’erh, but have been gradually increasing the amount of it I consume – currently I have a particular fascination with Yiwu Sheng. Other types of tea that I greatly enjoy are Yancha and other dark, heavily oxidized or roasted oolongs, most shou, black tea, and compressed/aged white teas. I’ll absolutely try anything once though; and I like to have an open mind and explore lots of tea types, even if I have reservations. I’ll probably never leave that “Exploratory” phase…

Usually I drink my tea straight, but I’m not opposed to additions if I’m in the right mood. If I ever add something to a tea, I will ALWAYS call it out in the tasting note though. If I’ve not mentioned an addition, you’re safe to assume it’s been prepared straight up.

I like to listen to music when drinking tea, especially when I’m brewing a large pot at a time or steeping Gong Fu. Often I curate very intentional tea and music pairings, and sometimes I share them here in my tasting reviews. Music is something that I find can deeply affect the experience of having tea.

Favourite flavour notes/ingredients: Pear, lychee, cranberry, cream, melon, pineapple, malt, roasty, petrichor, sweet potato, heady florals like rose, walnut, sesame, honey (in moderation), and very woody shou.

Least favourite flavour notes/ingredients:
Lemongrass, ginger, strong Chai spice profiles, mushrooms, seaweed, chamomile, artificial tasting mango or peach, stevia, saltiness, or anything that reminds me too much of meat that isn’t supposed to taste like meat…

Currently exploring/obsessed with: Sheng from Yiwu, Yancha (Qilan in particular), anything with a strong sweet potato note. Also, I need to try ALL the root beer teas! Searching for a really good caramel flavoured blend, ideally with a black tea base.

Tea Pet Reference Guide:

Clay Pixiu Dragons: Zak & Wheezie
Clay Goldfish: Dot
Clay Monkey: Enzo
Jade Pixiu Dragon: Whitaker
Ruyao Carp: Splashy
Ruyao Dragon: Pablo
Ruyao Frog: Bebe
Sculpted Pig: Nelly
Sculpted Tuxedo Cat: Pekoe
Sculpted Tabby Cat: Marmalade
Ceramic Rabbit: Rupert
Ceramic Horse: Bergamot
Ceramic Snail: Snicket
Ceramic Cat: Saffron
Wood Fired Old Man: Leopold

Currently I’m employed at DAVIDsTEA. While I’m still reviewing DAVIDsTEA blends I am no longer numerically rating them due to the obvious conflict of interest. Any tea blends you currently see with a numeric score that are from DAVIDsTEA were reviewed prior to my being hired there.


Montreal, QC, CA



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