436 Tasting Notes

The pretty mahogany coloured broth of this tea yields a tea that has a good dose of malt and biscuit, joined with plum, a light floral spice and a tone that is slightly nutty in scent.

The tea has a distinctly fruity top note full of a prune and raisin note, with a biscuit and nutty tone dividing it from the bitter tones of malt underneath. There is a floral tone apparent if you allow the tea to aerate in your mouth. To strengthen the fruity tones, keep steeping times shorter such as under 2:45. Brewed at under 95°C the tea is mildly astringent. In general, a nice robust classical tea but not as smooth or as sweet as some of the ceylons I have had.

This tea is from one of the local companies I know of that specialise in Ceylons. They produce this tea from a single tea source ( which I take to mean as an estate or region). They also produce green teas, flavoured blacks, and some interesting new cultivars of white tea ( in their exotic tea range). http://rhinoteas.com/shop/.

The tea comes in a great double lidded canister. The tea can be found at several independent grocery stores in Mississauga and they also have a retail outlet near Bloor and Dixie.

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Opening up the bag, i was greeted by the rich scent of cocoa and molasses, which eminated from the pile of golden, downy, corkscrews of the biluochun black tea contained within.

They looked like this: http://instagram.com/p/pCIOe-mKxW/

or for better pictures go to the product description:

I used 1 TSP of leaf/170ml Taiwan/@ 92*C and brewed it 8 times (60,45,45,60,90,120s, 180s, 5 min)

After an initial steep of 1 minute I had a just deeper than sepia brown broth with a gold a greenish brown ring at edges of the cup, with some bubbles on top while brewing. Future steeps had a warmer honey brown coloured brew with the surrounding ring.

This tea had a scent of cocoa, molasses/ dark honey tone, sweet potato, light spice cinnamon touched with nutmeg, a hint of citrus, a hint of clover.

This tea consistently maintained cocoa, dark honey, and malt tones. It also had roasted sweet potato, clover flowers, cream, citrus, plum, amber and spice notes. Generally the cocoa, honey, malt and sweet potato notes generally competed for dominance. The first steep tasted very much like scalded milk hot chocolate and was very creamy. Overall I am very happy with this tea!

1 min. Cocoa, floral clover note, dark honey, hint of spice from a smoke/ roasted note, almost an amber tone, which as it cools develops into a tone that when mixed with cocoa reminds me of hot chocolate made with scalded milk. hint of citrus and the brighter tones of malt, slight hint of cooked plum it feels creamy on the tongue.

45s Roasted sweet potato, cocoa, honey, citrus tones of malt, plum, cinnamon, cream. There are stronger chocolate and malt notes, with hints of clover and dark honey/molasses. It feels tingling from spice tones in the front of the mouth. Sweet potato note mixed with cocoa, citrus and plum tones and opens up to a cream tone that blends with the other flavours. this steep is much more tannic than the first one.

45s. Cocoa, roasted sweet potato, honey, citrus floral note, spice, and plum, before opening up to the deeper tones of malt.

60s. Roasted sweet potato, honey, malt and citrus tones, cocoa and spice.

90s. Malt, cocoa and honey, sweet potato, citrus tones, less spice.

120s, honey, sweet potato,slight floral , malt, very faint touch of cocoa.

180s. And 5 min. Malt, honey, cocoa.


This sounds so yummy that I’m getting hungry. Its great when you buy a tea and you like it. i get dissappointed like a baby starting blaming myself. Enjoy :-)


Wow, I’ve never heard of a black bi luo chun before. You make it sound amazing.


Thanks. I’ve had a few. There seems to be something about the processing that seem to intensify the cocoa, but and honey tones. This one is definitely the creamiest and most chocolate rich one that I have had. The others have been less tippy and more malty.


But = but. I don’t really understand why autocorrect changed that;)

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The tea smells fabulous with sweet potato,cocoa, the brighter tones of malt and the spicy tones of gardenia, sharper tasting sweet berries and a touch of honey.

The dry leaf is mostly chocolate brown broken leaves with scattered golden tips

Once brewed it yields a red toned broth

There is a light flavour at first that is slightly vegetal with the bitter tones of malt, but this quickly dissapears and you get the heavier tones of malt, cocoa, and gardenia, that then sweeten into fruit, honey and cocoa notes. As it cools sweet potato is present in the first notes as well as a citrus note, and a hint of floral. Allowed to cool further the fruit notes come to the forefront with the sweet potato and the berry notes are more distinct.

The tea resteeps quite well, with sweet potato, citrus and malt notes more apparent.

I brewed this tea at around 92°C for three minutes and there is a mild astringency and a cooling feeling at the top of the mouth. There seems to be more caffeine in this one than Tiger Assam as I feel it buzzing in my upper arms. I am quite enjoying this mix of floral spice, fruit, cocoa and bitter tones. I might actually prefer it to Tiger Assam.

Thanks Sil this was a perfect first cup for today!


i wasnt impressed at first time i tried a sample. im so glad i picked a tin on NYC Fest. The more i drink it, the more i fall in love with this tea.


I think it might be a tea that might be easy to over steep, it does have those bitter tones. Others have found it to be astringent thats why I used a cooler temperature. The very first sip when hot was kind of vegetal and thin but as it cools it transforms to something really pleasant.


Yyz, you always make me want to drink whatever you’re having, but it’s rarely in my cupboard :-(
This time, it is!! I recently received a huge sample from a generous tea friend, I think I will try it tomorrow morning…


You are right. 200-205F and no more than 3 min for me.


yay! glad you’re enjoying it. it’s nice to be able to try these before committing to a whole 4.4oz tin!


and yes… keep it a little lower on the temp side with this one

Sami Kelsh

Ooh, this sounds so nice! Man, I really need to invest in these tea people, for reals.


sami just poke me sometime…happy to send you samples to try before you place an order since shipping will be a nightmare

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drank Black Gold by Mandala Tea
436 tasting notes

This tea is a lovely mix of sweet notes and cocoa, with light floral notes, a hint of orange and a bright nature hidden under the warm sweet tones.

The dry leaf is a roughly wound blade with silver tinged golden buds and grey black to brown dusty leaves.

The tea brews to a young oak colour with scents of cocoa,molasses, malt, honey, spice, and a hint of yam. I brewed the tea 4 times, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks Dexter for this lovely tea!


Sweet at first with honeyed tones, followed by a bit of oatmeal mixed with bittersweet chocolate. Malt lies very lightly underneath. There is a hint of plum and a very light floral ( almost rose) mixed together. A hint of something crisp and bright like the upper tones of malt is present. The tea is mostly cocoa, mixed with honey and a light grain note underneath as it cools . It is warming at the front of the mouth, with a nice medium density and a moderate dose of caffeine.

2 min. Bright malt, with a floral tone out front, followed by molasses, dark malt, cocoa and oatmeal and a touch of sweet potato. Cocoa, dark, malt and a citrus grain note, with honey become dominant as the tea cools.

3 min, sweet potato,cocoa, a hint of molasses, a touch of orange,grain notes, malt. Brighter flavour than previous steeps, sweet cocoa tone is not as rich. Malt tastes heavier and deeper as it cools.

4 min fading bright vitamin c notes and a vegetal, plum note on top, hint of sweetness. Hints of honey malt and a reference to cocoa as it cools.

Maybe not as resilient as some Yunnan’s I have had as the flavour seemed to really fade after the third steep, but the flavour is really rich and comforting.

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This is another tea I’ve had to a while.

The dry leaf has brown, black and grey leaves , with scattered golden tips.

I used one heaping TSP/225ml.

After 3 min the tea brews up to deep mahogany brew.

The tea smells comfortingly of biscuit, light sweet red fruits, tempered by plum, honey, spice with a slight presence of vanilla and honey, with the deeper tones of malt underneath.

First impressions are of a smooth, sweet and light Assam. Light fruit and honey are in the first sip, with biscuit notes deepening into a malty slightly deeper fruit tone base. Spice and vanilla are underneath. There is a slight light floral tone in the lighter top notes. Pleasant and probably a nice Assam for those who have difficulty with heavy tannins and astringency as this tea is lighter in both of these for an Assam but has enough texture to have a nice density in the mouth. Despite honey being quite present in the initial sips, this tea does not have as sweet an aftertaste as some of my Assam’s. A citrousy malt note becomes more present as the tea cools and a sharper tone develops in the tea. I think when I first had this I used less leaf as I remembered feeling that this tea was too light in flavour, but with a heaping spoonful this is quite a pleasant tea.

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Buoyed by Dexter’s glowing review of this tea, I finally drank this tea last night.

It has quite a lovely rich, warm flavour. The first steep tasted a little like Chinese grocery store oolong in the orange tin if perhaps a little less nutty but subsequent steeps were much rounder, and richer in flavour with good roasted charred notes, balanced with caramel, cinnamon, stewed black cherries and apricots, cocoa, fall leaves, vanilla cream, and mineral notes. The first steep does have that odd mauvish colour that Dexter noted. Pretty tasty if you like dark roast teas.

The dry leaf is like the picture appearing very dark brown to black. They are heavily charred. The tea was well packaged as the nuggets remain solid and tightly wrapped in shape as I think the level of roasting may make them prone to crumbling.

I steeped the tea 9 times at @95°C after a rinse (40, 35,40,50,70,90,150s, 4min, 6 min), 1.5 TSP in 170ml Taiwan.

The broth was a eddish grey tinged brown for first steep, more red tinged golden brown for others.

40s. Scent Charcoal tinged roasted grain note, caramel, sweet dried apricot mixed with cherry and plum, hint of fall leaves spice note

Taste Toasted grains up front opening to brown sugar caramel note, hints of fruit and leaves layered in bbetween, bitter cocoa mixes with sweet sugar in the aftertaste. black cherry like fruit note becomes stronger as it cools and charcoal moves to the background.

35s scent roasted note, caramel over cherry with cinnamon, cocoa, fall leaves.

Taste Roasted note blended with much stronger cocoa note and fall leaves, over caramel, stewed black cherry and cinnamon.

40s scent. fruit, spice and caramel, moving to the front combined with the cocoa, roasted note moving into background

Taste Caramel, cocoa, with roasted notes over stewed cherries and cinnamon, leaf note gone.

50s. Taste Roasted note caramel cocoa, fruit heading more to dried apricot.

70s taste . Roasted grain, cocoa, caramel, joint of warm fruit with cinnamon. Black liquorice tone in aftertaste.

90s. Taste same as above with a little vanilla cream and the caramel notes are mellowing, but the tea is quite sweet, with a hint of roasted ash note, less fruit, and more cream, cocoa and mineral notes

150 taste sweet notes fading, roasted grain notes, cream, and mineral notes, with fading caramel and cocoa.

5min taste cream, cocoa,roasted,notes,vanilla, caramel., mineral note.

6min taste continuing to fade but still flavourful.

The spent leaves are charred in such away that even though they have unwound the blades remain mostly wound and are curly not flat leaves are dark chocolate brown.

A really nice warm tasting tea!

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drank Papaya and Orange by Bonomelli
436 tasting notes

Despite all the potentially tart ingredients included, this tea smells fantastic. It smells like the small dark rounder papayas that have the darker orange flesh and that taste sweeter, with just a tinge of orange. The colour of the tea even mimics the reddish orange colour of the papaya flesh.

Flavour wise, the first sip does betray the hibiscus but after that it settles down into a pleasant blend of herb and fruit. The papaya is tempered by a note that reminds me of chamomile, though there is no chamomile on the ingredients list, this is followed by a slightly bitter zest of orange ( like Orangina), that is sweetened by liquorice( which is really just a sweet note). I found the tea pleasant and it will probably make a nice cold brew, but the hibiscus is present enough that if you are sensitive it you may not enjoy the tea. However it is very affordable and comes in small 10 bag boxes that makes it suited to us that like diversity, and is definitely worth the risk of trying it. Papaya and Orange do make a very tasty combination.

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This is a good Assam blend, that would be especially nice for someone who likes the fruity, malty spectrum of Assam’s, and that like to take their tea with milk. It has a fair bit of tannins and moderate astringency so it is a good match for rich foods such as a fry up.

The dry leave are dark to chocolate coloured thin blades scattered with golden tips and smell of raisins and chocolate.

I have brewed this tea twice, both times at around 95*C for 3 minutes.

The first time I used 1 TSP per 225 ml. I found this to be a little bit too much leaf for me so I reduced it to about 3/4 TSP the second time.

The broth is a mahogany toned red.

Using 1 tsp resulted in a scent that is very fruity with cherry and citrus notes. Also present were spice, malt, pastry, milk chocolate and a hint of almond tones.

The tea tastes much heavier than it smells. Malt and cocoa are the first tones, followed by cinnamon with a hint of nutmeg and finishing with citrus opening up to cherry almond tone. There is a hint of a light floral if you hold the tea at the front of the mouth and allow air to move over it. The texture created by tannins and astringency are a little too strong to create a biscuit tone. The tea lends itself well to milk and would complement a fry up ( big greasy breakfast) quite well. As it cools the dark cherry and bitter malt tones blend more elegantly together with the cool floral note appearing lightly on top of it. This is a nice and robust tea and quite strong. Brewed this way this is a nice blend for those who like robust, heavily malty, fruity Assam’s. The tannins really coat your tongue, with this tea.

The tea resteeps nicely with citrus note intensifying and the tea tasting sweeter and and a little spicier.

Using 1 /4 less leaf, the first steep is much sweeter, with stronger cocoa notes and less bitter malt. The tea remains fruity, but the cherry note is less apparent. The flavours blend together well and are less distinct than when more leaf is used. The tannins and astringency are still quite apparent. A sweet tone with tinge of caramel is first apparent over cocoa and malt, with the flavour finishing with spice and a slightly tart fruit tone balanced by warm berry tone.

I must thank both Sil and boychik for their generous samples of this tea. It is a nice blend and makes a nice breakfast tea.

1 tsp 8 OZ / 225 ML

What a review. I think I’m going to read it not once :)


“It has a fasir bit of tannins and moderate astringency …”
“The texture created by tannins and astringency are a little too strong …”
“This is a nice and robust tea and quite strong.”
“The tannins and astringency are still quite apparent.”
Not to be consumed before breakfast on an empty stomach!


Probably not a good idea if you are intolerant!


Well luckily, I’m not and I’ll take this baby on an empty stomach any given day :-)


Neither am I, thank goodness as I’ve had times where I’ve existed on nothing else but caffeine:). No food for 16 plus hours, or pushing past those moments you’re so tired you’re freezing…etc


I’ve been a tea lover all my life and haven’t had any such issues. However, this Assam, on that day, wasn’t a good idea on an empty stomach. I suspect it was me as I had heartburn for a couple of days afterwards.

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This is one of the green teas I received yesterday! It will probably take me a little while to figure out my preferred parameters but so far I prefer less leaf, higher temperatures and shorter steeps.

This tea has dark green, curled thick, twisted cabled leaves. The leaf smells intensely sweet and fruity.

Using 1 TSP/200ml/85°C/40s the result in tea is a pale green yellow.

The tea smells of blanched fresh peas, cantelope, chestnut and a hint of savoury greens.

The taste is intensely sweet with notes of melon, fresh peas, caramel, rock sugar, a hint of chestnut, and a hint of lilac. The higher temperature produced a thinner brew.
I kept my resteeps to intervals of 5-10s. These steeps had notes of melon, chestnut, peas, caramel, a touch of cocoa, and a touch of lilac spice. They were creamier and had a more balanced flavour sweet with just a hint of bitterness.

Using more leaf (1 TSP / 150ml) produced stronger spinach notes and bitter greens. Lower temperatures resulted in a creamier but more savoury brew.

The seller http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Sunfall-2014-green-tea-premium-organic-tea-bulk/1052197_1837152561.html kindly shipped the tea in two packets whiich will make it easier to keep fresh. It is also available here.: http://h5.m.taobao.com/awp/core/detail.htm?id=38236971307&spm=

This is a nice very sweet green tea and probably my second favourite of the Rizhao greens I have.

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