248 Tasting Notes


I had a final today, so I needed a dark, highly-caffeinated tea to start my day. Once again, this is a nice dark roast, with a very Wuyi-esque flavor (but without the legendary Wuyi aftertaste, which, as always, makes me a bit disappointed.). Unfortunately, the tea felt a bit…flat today, but that might be because I am still unable to smell anything, and smell greatly affects taste. Regardless, I’m sitting here writing this at 8:45 pm, after 5 cups, and the leaves are still capable of more. The tea is starting to get a bit sweeter, but that is actually rather nice, and I’m once again glad that I have a whole lot of tea.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Geoffrey Norman

I’m trying to get into aged oolongs. Had one recently that’s as old as I am. Uphill battle.

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drank Top Leaf by Mellow Monk
248 tasting notes

Too tired to do a good review (local time is 12:39 am), but the tea was great, was just as good as I remember it. Got a lot of infusions out of it, and the way the taste changed throughout the steepings was interesting and delicious. Got sweeter during the last two infusions, which was interesting and refreshing when compared to many green teas I’ve had. Hopefully I won’t be too busy tomorrow, and me review will actually be substantive.

150 °F / 65 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Geoffrey Norman

I LOVE this stuff. Very exquisite…and I’m not usually a sencha fan.

Joshua Smith

It really is a cut above all other senchas I’ve had. And it lasts a lot longer than my Yamakai sencha, which is even better because I drink tea all day, and four cups just doesn’t cut it.

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Once again, this was a rather pleasant tea. I accidentally over steeped the first infusion, which resulted in more bitterness than usual, and it was harder to taste the grassiness, which was kind of weird as the grassiness is usually the source of bitterness in green teas. I wonder if that was because of how careful I was with respect to water temperature, or because of the inconsistent water quality in my dorm (which, for the record, was exceptional today). Regardless, the only downside to this tea is that I only got 4 infusions out of it.

155 °F / 68 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Geoffrey Norman

Big fan of the Yamakai. Very interesting – if rough – character.

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I just got this in the mail today, and was eager to try it out. After five cups of Oolong, the sun set and it got cold, so I figured this would be a great way to warm up! As a side benefit, I’ve never gotten more than 4 good cups out of Genmaicha (emphasis on good).

This tea had all of the typical things: The toasted rice taste, the pleasant aroma (which was strong enough that I could actually smell it though my congestion). The only problem was, it was by no means unique. There was nothing to make this stand out, and the flavor wasn’t exactly strong. The first infusion I made was accidentally steeped for minutes, and yet, I wouldn’t consider it to be over steeped. I think that this is a good tea for a beginner, as further experimentation proved that it was remarkably forgiving with respect to steep length and temperature, but it isn’t a flavorful tea by any stretch of the imagination. I’ll probably keep some on hand until I find something better, but make no mistake, if something better appear at a reasonable price, I’ll snap it up.

160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Usually I start off a review of Qi Lan by commenting on the wonderful aroma. Unfortunately, I am still congested, so this is an exercise in futility. Regardless of my inability to smell anything, this was a very nice session with this tea. The lightly-roasted flavors were interesting, and were nicely complemented by the light honey flavors. One thing that was a bit odd was that the aftertaste was very muted, and the distinct mineral taste of a Wuyi Oolong was very hard to detect. The other strange thing is that I remember the tea having more complex flavors, but they are absent. I suspect that this is due to my congestion, as it is a well documented fact that smell greatly affects taste.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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I had the flu for the first half of this week, and didn’t feel like I would be able to keep any tea I made in my stomach long enough to really enjoy it, so I had to abstain until today. I decided to start off rather light, and made some nice jasmine tea. Sadly, I am a bit congested at the moment, so the aroma is extremely muted, but this tea held a few surprises for me.

It was interesting, because the taste of the tea was sweeter and more flowery than I remember. This might be because I took the water off when bubbles where just beginning to form at the bottom of my kettle, as opposed to boiling the water and letting it sit for a while. Another interesting surprise was there was an after taste now, where a “flowery” taste lingers at the back of the throat, and gradually disappears. I’ve never experienced this before, so it was a rather interesting and relaxing experience.

when it’s all said and done, I was rather surprised by how well is turned out, especially after having to suffer through caffeine withdrawal on Tuesday and Wednesday. Also, because of how well this tea turned out, I might start drinking it more often.

160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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This tea was okay, and certainly worse than I remember, but part of the reason for that is because I have a cold right now. Regardless, this is green tea. There is nothing else to be said about it. It has no distinguishing features, no interesting flavors, and no unique aroma. It is a tea marketed to the masses, and it has a taste that, while not offensive by any stretch, is lacking.

160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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I am a university student, studying Computer Science, who found that I really enjoy a nice cup of tea. I finally got into loose-leaf tea in August of 2011. I am currently in the process of expanding my horizons, and have found that I have a particular fondness for Oolongs in general, and Wuyi Yanchas in particular. The unique mineral taste is very appealing to me, as well as a nice Sencha. More recently, I’ve developed a taste for Sheng puerh, white tea, and black teas. The only things I’ve tried that I didn’t like was Shu puerh, but that might have been because it was quite young. Regardless, I’ve been slowly expanding my horizons, so if you have any recommendations, please feel free to send me a PM.

Just for the heck of it, my other interests include classical musics (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi, Debussy, Shostakovitch, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and Wagner, to name a few composers). I also have a fondness for a bit more modern music, like The Beatles, all Jazz (by all, I really do mean all), Gorillaz (I love Demon Days), and a couple of Indie artists you will never run across unless you play a lot of semi obscure Indie games. Also, I love cats.


Fairfax, VA

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