299 Tasting Notes


The dry leaves are big, brown, and twisty with some golden buds mixed in. BIG sweet raisiny aroma from the bag.

Brews up mild and lightly sweet with notes of raisin, malty oats, and a slightly oceanic thick, brothy quality. It has a thick, oily mouthfeel similar to a good sheng. It also seems to have a bit of a “qi” like a good sheng. Interesting that the other wild arbor blacks that I’ve tried didn’t have this quality. The flavor reminds me a bit of a generic Assam black, but with almost none of the bitterness.

The more tea that I drink, the more I find that while tea quality is a fairly objective matter, preferences in individual taste and strength are highly subjective and the qualities that people judge their tea by vary greatly.

This is definitely a high quality and interesting tea, but the flavor profile and mild nature aren’t quite to my personal tastes. While nice and pretty unobjectionable, I find it a bit boring. I can see though how this might be a phenomenal brew for some.

Flavors: Malt, Oats, Ocean Breeze, Raisins

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

So far, my Yi Wu experiences echo your thoughts. Objectively, good quality tea, no doubt. Subjectively, too mild-mannered and understated flavor profile.


You are quite correct.

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Quite a while ago I ordered a bunch of samples from Puerh Shop, tasted one or two, and subsequently forgot I had them. I found them again and started drinking them, and while I’ve had some teas I liked from Puerh Shop, unfortunately most have just been mediocre.

This one has a very mild flavor, but gets bitter easily if overbrewed. Tastes of green wood, wet moss, and heavily diluted whiskey. Slight lingering aroma in them mouth, body is fairly thin. Overall it’s just ok, as might be expected from a cheap tea that claims to be “Bulang Wild Grown.”

Flavors: Green Wood, Wet Moss, Whiskey

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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This one has been in my storage for a while now, but hasn’t gotten a tasting note.

The tuo is very fragrant coming out of the box. Brews up a light yellow-orange. Fairly balanced sweet and savory, but leaning more towards sweet. Slightly green pine and wood notes with a light melon fruityness and floral aroma. Very clean tasting and somewhat mineral. There is some bitterness, but fairly mild for how heavily I leafed it. It has a strong, lingering aroma in the mouth and throat. Overall its pretty nice, especially considering the price. The only bad thing I have to say about this tea is that the mouthfeel is rather thin; none of the thick, oily quality often found in nicer sheng.

Edit: later steeps got thicker. While I strongly prefer cakes to tuos, this is really nice for the price.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Green Wood, Melon, Mineral, Pine

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 12 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Revisiting this sample as I’m dreaming up a big order from the YS China site. Overall it’s cleaner and tastier than I remember it being when I last drank it. Still a little bit “dank”, but slightly more positive tasting notes of damp wood, burning incense, and mineral-rich mountain spring water. While mostly aged out, there’s still a hint of something green and cooked vegetable-ish.

It’s good, but not fantastic: I’m still undecided on wether or not I need a cake of it.

Any Yunnan Sourcing recommendations? I’m looking for a bit of everything; sheng and shu samples, blacks to refresh my stockpile, fresh green teas, and some cheap-ish Wuyi or Dancong oolongs.

Flavors: Mineral, Vegetables, Wet Rocks, Wet wood

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 90 OZ / 2661 ML

Raw pu’erh: Qing Mei Shan, Bang Dong Village, and Jing Gu Old Arbor were all very tasty. Stood out among 10 samples that I picked up earlier in the year.
Ripe pu’erh: I love Yang Luo Han. Great depth of flavor for a ripe.
Black: Golden Monkey (Bai lin gong fu). Excellent stuff. Tons of flavor.
Wu Yi: Golden Guan Yin Da Hong Pao. Cheap(ish), but complex. Great value.
These were all my favorites from last year’s stockpile!


Thanks apefuzz! I’ve had one season’s Qing Mei Shan and it was good.

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I’m not the biggest fan of highly green Tie Guan Yin, or greener oolongs in general, so I was slightly worried when I saw this among the samples sent to me by The Teaguy. However, I found that I enjoyed this one much more than I expected too.

Instead of harshly floral and grassy and green, this one is mild, nutty, and “warm”. It is somewhat grassy, and has a floral note that I’d compare to gardenias, but neither of these aspects are overpowering. It has a nice aroma that lingers in the mouth long after sipping. It’s a very mellow and enjoyable brew with a light honey-like sweetness.

I would not say that this is a top tier TGY, but it’s quite nice and priced very reasonably.

Flavors: Cream, Dry Grass, Gardenias, Nutty, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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drank Gyokuro Imperial by Teavana
299 tasting notes

Ever seen that Spongebob episode where he and Patrick go to Glove World? They get glove hats, glove flashlights, and glove-flavored candy. This tea would fit in nicely because it has a nice buttery texture and notes of fresh cut grass and freshly-opened latex gloves!

Rubber flavor aside, it was drinkable, and I did in fact make several infusions of it. If you can get over the “dentist sticking his hands in your mouth” aroma, it’s not all that bad. Pairs well with pistachios.

I’d think that maybe it’s just me or I got a bad batch, but a friend had said the same thing to me about it a year ago.
Idk, I’m not very experienced with Japanese teas, but I have had one other gyokuro and it didn’t taste like gloves at all. :/

Flavors: Butter, Grass

140 °F / 60 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Roswell Strange

While that sounds like an awful taste experience, I absolutely ADORE your description of it. It’s so incredibly on point to a taste I find I often get in a lot of straight Japanese greens.


Haha thanks! I may make it sound worse than it was, it wasn’t terrible, but it was certainly quite strange.


Gyokuro should not be gloves, it should be butter and grass, and floral and sweet.

Teavana has a big problem with hit and miss tea.


Now this had me laughing out loud! I am drinking Davids Tea Gyokuro Yamashiro tea right now and its much better. Have you tried theirs?


It was definitely a funny experience! I haven’t tried Davids Gyokuro though, I’m not too big a fan of Japanese greens, but it’s nice to have one every once in a while (that doesn’t taste like gloves!)

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My second tea from The Teaguy, this one sounds interesting as they say it’s a blend of Assam, Keemun, Ceylon, and Vietnamese grown tea. Small-ish dark leaves with a few silvery buds. The aroma is light and citrusy with a hint of dry oats.

I tried following their recommended brewing, 2 tsp, 90C for 3-4 minutes, but while I probably added a bit too much water, it came out very weak, so I let it keep brewing, and after about six more minutes it was closer to the proper strength.

The resulting brew is still a little on the weak side, but it’s tasty. Slightly sweet with little to no bitterness, the flavor is light but malty with slight oat, citrus, and cocoa notes.

This was fairly good, but I think I’ll try it again at a higher temperature with a bit more leaf.

Flavors: Citrus, Cocoa, Malt, Oats

195 °F / 90 °C 8 min or more 2 tsp

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Hello Steepster, it’s been a while! I was recently contacted by The Teaguy and asked if I’d like to review some of their teas. Who would say no to that? Anyways hello, and sorry it’s been so long since I last posted.

The samples arrived today, St. Patrick’s Day, and with an Irish Breakfast among the samples. So of course that’s the first tea I’ll try.

It appears to be a blend of CTC and other broken leaf; not unusual for an Irish Breakfast. The dry aroma is sweet with notes of honey and barley.

I followed their brewing instructions: 2tsp for 3-4 minutes at 90C. 90C is lower than I normally brew blacks, but that makes sense to balance out the strength and bitterness of the CTC and broken leaf leaves.

The result is quite good! Mildly sweet with honey, malt, and barley notes and a slightly floral background. It’s bold and slightly bitter, but not overly so in comparison to how Irish Breakfasts can be, and none of the metallic quality they sometimes have. It reminds me of Grape Nuts cereal in beverage form. Very drinkable with or without milk, this would make a great first cup in the morning.

*Editing to say that this tea definitely has a lot of caffeine! I felt a coffee-like punch after drinking it, so I wouldn’t recommend drinking it late in the day.

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Malt, Roasted Barley

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

welcome back



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drank Amber Oolong by Mountain Tea
299 tasting notes

This tea makes me happy. Not because it’s the “best” or “highest quality” tea, but because it’s exactly what I want in a roasted oolong. Good complexity with fruity, spice, grain, and resiny notes with just the right amount of roast to compliment but not overpower. Overall it just “fits” my pallet right, like the worlds most comfortable pair of underwear. I’ve been drinking this a lot lately, whenever I’m not craving anything in particular, and I’ll definitely have to stock up on a lot the next time I order from Mountain Tea.

Flavors: Fruity, Resin, Roasted, Spices

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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From the Pu TTB Round 5

Brews up a light amber color. Tastes of tobacco, peat, slightly smoky with mineral and warming spice notes. Slightly musky incense-like aroma. Not much green left, but moderate in bitterness and light sweetness. In short: tastes like Xiaguan. A good daily drink semi-aged sheng and I might need to pick up a tuo or two.

Completely unrelated and unusually blog-ish for me: Several years ago I fell in love with the sounds of North Indian/Hindustani music. I saved up a pile of money and bought myself a beautiful sitar. I started off really into it, but a major bout of depression caused me to lose interest and it ended up living in my closet.

I’m managing my depression much better now, and the other weekend I went to I really inspirational sitar concert by Ustad Shujat Kahn, son of Vilayat Kahn. I decided to open back up the sitar case and completely restrung it (takes hours) and I’ve been practicing from a book and DVDs daily. I knew from experience that I would need a teacher if I really wanted to learn, so I contacted the shop that sold my the sitar and asked for recommendations.

Last weekend I had my first skype lesson (good sitar teachers are few and far between) with the owner of the shop, and by his recommendation I’m going to take lessons from his teacher, Indrajit Banerjee, in the future. I’m really excited! Unfortunately I’ve been drinking less gong fu tea and doing more big pot brewing (hadn’t done that in a long time) haha.

Anyways, I’m really exited and feeling much more motivated in day to day life

Flavors: Mineral, Peat, Spices, Tobacco

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

Congratulations on being in a better place with depression. I admire you for pursuing learning a musical instrument – what a great way to celebrate life and beauty.


Thanks Zennenn!

Cathy Baratheon

The sitar is a beautiful instrument. So glad to read that you feel better.

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My name is Thomas,

I’m a long time coffee and tea lover, but only started my journey into the world of loose leaf and high quality teas around 2011.

My favorites are pu’erhs, hong cha, and roasted oolongs, but really enjoy greens when they’re fresh. I’m not much into flavored teas or jasmine/florals, but I love a good cup of chai or adding a spice or two to my teas sometimes.

Currently working on a degree in nursing.

Other than tea I’m a nature lover, guitar picker, and unabashed nerd.

My Rating Scale:
95-100 Wowza!
90-94 Pretty darn good
80-89 Nice
70-79 Decent
50-69 Potable
0-50: Blech.


Clearwater, FL

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