417 Tasting Notes


This tea is delicious. It is definitely less smokey than the one other lapsang souchong I’ve had. That other lapsang souchong (which was Harney & Sons) was very smokey and had a strong piney taste as well. I enjoyed that cup at the Indian Road Cafe in Inwood, NYC. Gosh, I miss home!

Anyway, I can’t wait to compare this one to the “subtle roast” zheng shan xiao zhong that came in the Verdant Tea January reserve club shipment. I think I may also dedicate one of my “too big” yixing teapots to this kind of tea, as it’s not very expensive and would be good for serving larger groups of people.

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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What a strange tea. It doesn’t look like any other Sun Moon Lake tea I have seen. It is rolled like a standard Formosa oolong with two leaves and a bud. When the leaves are steeped, they unfurl to reveal three different colors- a lighter yellowish green, a deeper jade green, and a purple. Could this really be a black tea?

It definitely has some of characteristics of a black tea, but its aroma is intensely fruity. I really like this tea very much. I’ll add to this after my second cup.

EDIT: I had to downgrade this one because the finish was lacking…Just about entirely.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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This is another sample that came with an online purchase. The first time I tried this tea I also did not taste apples/applesauce the company’s website speaks of, but this time, on the second steeping I did. It was not the juicy tart flavor of fresh apples, but the flavor of peeled and cooked apples. Interesting! It has strong floral vegetal notes, none that I found unpleasant or too strong. A very nice tea.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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I would like to say first that Berylleb is an excellent eBay seller- both their products (in my case, teaware) and their customer service have been wonderful. I highly recommend that you check out their store on eBay.

That being said, I was not a big fan of this free sample they sent me with my most recent purchase. I do like milk oolongs, but this one left a too sweet taste in my mouth after I drank it, almost like an artificial sweetener would.

Oh well, I gifted it to another Steepsterer(?), and hopefully they will enjoy it.

190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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The first thing I smelled after brewing this tea was vanilla cake, but also a hint of pond. Typical of mini touchas, when it is brewed there are a lot of small fragments of leaves, so you have to be sure to use a strainer. It wasn’t very complex at all, and left me wishing that it had something more. It also left my throat quite dry. But overall, it gets relatively high marks for being very smooth and drinkable…and for smelling like cake.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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Thank you Kasumi no Chajin for swapping this sample with me.

I only had about 2g of this tea of this tea to taste with, so I decided to brew it for a minute each time in a gaiwan with about 2oz of water. I really wanted to get a sense of the full flavor profile of this tea. I found it had an odd sweetness that I didn’t think complemented the floral notes, and the mid/back-palate flavor reminded me of overcooked green vegetables. Although this hasn’t been my favorite tea I’ve tried, it was a really interesting experience- my first summer harvest Tieguanyin.

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Whether I make this in a gaiwan or in a teapot, for 10 seconds or for 5 minutes, I love this tea. One day I may write more descriptive tasting notes (maybe).

Oh, yeah…And the name totally makes me get Dr. Dre/Snoop Dogg “The Next Episode” in my head every time…Bonus.

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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Tea means so many things to me, it is so deep and it is revealing new meaning to me all the time.

Tea is a mindfulness practice, and a doorway through which to explore different philosophies, cultures, and historical times. Tea is hospitality and a way of communion. Tea is an art, a ritual, and a tradition. Tea is a complement to the foods I eat (preferably vegan desserts) and is something I enjoy collecting and curating.

I love to swap, or even just send people samples, so if there’s anything in my cupboard you’d like to try, just send me a message!


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