184 Tasting Notes


I love this tea. I know it’s officially “aged” at 1 year old, but it has stood it’s test of time, and when I poured the hot water over these little golden curls of tea, it gave that aroma that I love so well. Autumn 2013 Bi Luo Chun has the expected notes of apricot and cocoa, but the mid-note isn’t just earth….it’s a loamy earth, very much like the delicate loaminess of a fabulous keemun. This gentle nudge toward a keemun gives Pure Bud Autumn 2013 a bit more of a refined flavor profile, making me sad that I’m getting to the bottom of this tin. It will be missed.

Flavors: Apricot, Cocoa, Earth, Loam

5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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I’m on a quest for beautifully flavored chocolate and vanilla teas. During the winter when my allergies are unkind to me via the desert winds of Southern California, my palate plays tricks on me, and I’ve found having a leading familiar note helps me find the flavors of my cup in the morning. I am thankful.

Canton Tea Company is turning out to be one of my preferred sources for tea – and even I’m surprised by that statement! Their blends are thoughtful and different from the ones normally found at a mid-sized purveyor of tea, and their Vanilla Black is a wonderful example of this.

This tea is named simply, so it’s a good thing I looked at the description of the tea prior to closing out my last order with them. This flavored blend is led by the organic vanilla bean. Rich and sweet vanilla….really, is there a better flavor on the planet? Vanilla’s ability to comfort is well known, as perfumers have been using it to women’s advantage for decades….it is men’s favorite fragrance. As it is mine. NOM. The base of this tea is a heady blend of Chinese black teas. The Chinese black tea brings a soft plum-like cocoa flavor to this blend, with a sweet maltiness that harbors no astringency whatsoever. It has a lovely round mouthfeel and the balance with the vanilla note is glorious. For aesthetic value, Canton Tea Co uses cornflowers for a touch of color….not necessary but a nice touch.

This blend is an example of the magic that can be created by a master blender. The one that works at Canton Tea Company has continuously provides satisfying blends of wonderful teas. Vanilla Black is another example. Well done, Canton Tea Co. I’ll be cursing your shipping fees on a regular basis!

Flavors: Caramel, Plum, Vanilla

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

I am on a hunt for vanilla and for assam and here they are together and the santa ana winds are blowing and troubling me too! I have to try this soon!

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The nice thing about this tea is that even a casual tea drinker would be easily able to identify it as a unique offering in the Assam category of teas. The leaves are long and golden, reminding me of of my well-loved Dian Hong teas of China. The smell in the cup is strong, malty and a touch astringent, even at a steep of 3 minutes 30 seconds. The liquor also is a bit astringent, but that astringency is balance by the deep cocoa and malt flavor that come with the tea. The mouthfeel of Golden Paw is very assam-like, but then you start to pick up the wonderful apricot and cocoa flavors that usually come with a good golden Yunnan, and you wonder if perhaps the teas in your tea cupboard have been sneaking around at night, carousing and making wee blends of their own…..

Hattialli Golden Paw Assam would be the perfect tea to ease an assam drinker into other teas, specifically Yunnans. It’s stout malty flavors allow the more subtle fruit and floral flavors to make an appearance in a well balanced cup of tea. It holds up to milk well, as assams normally do. I will be hoarding this tea for special occasions and stealth education of reluctant students of tea drinking, like my husband, who swears Tetley is the nectar of the Gods….. for now.

Flavors: Apricot, Cocoa, Malt, Stonefruit

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

I should’ve bought this one! I’ve been going with Assams for a while, and just recently added a Yunnan black tea. :P

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In honor of Butiki closing their doors yesterday, I am having a big mug of Crimson Horizon this morning. It is the first tea that truly surprised me with an unexpected flavor when I had just begun my journey of non-bagged teas, and even after a year of exploring the black teas that the world has to offer, I have chosen this tea to honor Butiki. Not Hong Yun, not Zhen Qu, but an often overlooked CTC who’s notes of malt and baked bread give a gentle round mouthfeel with an astringency that lifts the flavors of the tea without becoming obnoxious, and who’s opening note of asparagus, fleeting as it may be, opened my palate up to the world of “unexpecteds” in tea. Butiki was a perfect first instructor in tea. Weeding through “meh” teas and only offering those that had something unique about them was Butiki’s gift to everyone that purchased from them. This “not so humble” CTC will be missed terribly when it is gone…..

Flavors: Asparagus, Bread, Malt

Boiling 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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There is a third problem to owning too many teas*. It’s the fact that your favorites sometimes have tendency to get buried in the cupboard, behind the trendy new teas on Steepster and the Christmas gift teas that you’ll probably never drink. Yesterday I pulled open that tea cupboard and re-arranged things randomly and this morning I’m very glad I did.

Yunnan Dian Hong Golden Tip tea was the first tea that took my imagination so far away from the tea bags that I was raised on that I knew I was on a journey for the rest of my life. Notes of toasted grain nuttiness and apricot are supported by a lovely slight cocoa base. I was lucky to run into this tea so early in my tea exploration, because it set the bar for me. This tea told me that each tea has it own story…. it helped me understand regional flavor profiles and appreciate what mouthfeel meant. It also taught me the joy of no astringency in a tea!

So I was lucky to run into this tea in my cabinet this morning….hello, old friend. It’s like no time has passed since we last met, and you are as lovely as ever.

*The first problem with owning too many teas for me is certainly budget.
*The second problem with owning too many teas for me is a sheer volume issue…how am i ever going to drink all this TEA?? 100g doesn’t sound like much but get 10 of them accumulated and….well…. if zombie apocalypse comes I’m set in tea for probably 2 years, I reckon.

Flavors: Apricot, Cocoa, Grain, Nuts, Toast

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

Ha! I’ve thought the same thing about a zombie apocalypse. Should one occur I’m totally set on the tea front. :)


i think with pu im set for 5-7 yrs maybe

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It’s not even light out. I love the mornings on the weekends where I manage to get my aging carcass out of bed before the early birds start their peepings, especially in winter. I sit in front of an opened window by my desk and watch the day begin with a steamy cup of black tea…this morning it was chosen by name alone: Golden Tips Tea’s Doomurdullung Assam. I can’t resist anything that starts with the word Doom. :)

Dry, this leaf smells malty and sweet with the scent of dried apricots. Apricot? Yep, apricot. The wet leaf loses the fruit smell, and there the strength of the malt makes itself apparent. It is a round mouthfeel you get from this assam, with enough astringency to dry the roof of your mouth a bit when between sips. The malt here is a smoothness that sits in the middle of this tea’s simple flavor profile. There is no “doom” here….only a straightforward cup of assam to start my chilly winter’s day. I guess I’ll have to get my doom elsewhere today….

Flavors: Apricot, Malt

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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A soft drizzle has been falling all morning…the horse, goats, chickens, cats (even the neighbors cats and the local ferals) have been tended to….now it’s my turn. The grey misty rain requires a familiar tea this morning, like the favorite sweatshirt I have on. Butiki has been sold out of this tea for quite some time, but it was one of my initial “frenzy” teas….you know…where you taste a tea, fall in lust with it and immediately buy a boatload of it because you’re afraid it will be unavailable when you run out of it. Usually that’s not how it goes, because you find something super similar or a bit better……USUALLY. This tea, like crimson horizon, has been irreplaceable for me. I don’t think I’ve met a more round mouthfeel, perfect balance of astringency and strength and malty/grainy baked bread goodness. I never got the banana or grapefruit note from this tea as mentioned in the description, but no matter. It doesn’t need it. This insanely delicious CTC needs only a 1 minutes steep for something close to perfection on a gorgeous dreary day when what is in your cup is the only sunshine you’ll get……or need. Luckily, I have a boatload of it.

Flavors: Bread, Chocolate, Grain, Malt

Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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My officemate came to work all week with a cold that she insisted she had over the holidays and couldn’t be contagious at this point in time. So, of course, here I sit on a Saturday morning, snorking, snuffling, hacking and wishing the world would turn down it’s volume because my head is in a pressure cooker. What tea? What tea? I need AROMATICS!! Do I have any? Oh! A Sample of chai! I know I have one somewhere….where???? Ah. Found it.

I drank a lot of bad chai in the 1990s. Really bad chai, usually made from powdered mix and made “better” (ha!) by my adding Coffee Mate French Vanilla Creamer. I have been “done” with Chai since that time, as none have been able to erase that memory of my first chai experience. But this one has piqued my interest.

My biggest issue with chai is the amount of cinnamon that most blends use. If “just the right amount” for most folks is used, I find it overpowering and a bit bitter. Kolkata Street Chai removes the cinnamon from the chai equation for me, leaving just 3 aromatic spices to create an alt chai flavor profile. When I opened the packet, the blend of cardamom, nutmeg and saffron were almost intoxicating….heady and compelling… to the point where it felt like the longest 4 minutes of my life, steeping this tea. The CTC used is strong but not bitter when steeped at 4 minutes, and supports milk and honey well….so well, in fact, that I burned my mouth via lack of impulse control. I can be such a greedy greedy tea child, especially when I’m feeling ill.

Teabox has created a intriguing alternative to typical masala chai in their Kolkata Street Chai. I will purchase this tea. I will learn to drink it slowly so that I don’t have a numb spot on my tongue where I have burned my tongue. I will learn to savor the aromatic spiced tea instead of gulping it down, lost in the pure childlike joy in my mouth. ……maybe…..

Flavors: Cardamom, Nutmeg, Saffron, Tea

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

Saffron… that sounds intriguing.


Oh, I need to dig this one out.

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Blankly staring into my tea drawer on my last day of vacation…my eyes found this tea. This tea that I can never seem to spell correctly. It always makes me smile. I’ve been drinking lots of single estate assam teas recently, and when I went back and read my previous reviews of this tea I realized that even with assam tea, my tastes have changed with knowledge and experience….which seems difficult to do, because assam teas are fairly limited with their “surprises” in flavor profiles. In their description of Lattakoojan Assam, Butiki points out a strong cocoa note and citrus note along with the usual suspects that accompany assam tea (malt, stone fruit). On my first tastings of this tea 8 months ago, I felt this was a smooth assam. Today, with the mileage that my palate has logged, I am aware of an obvious astringency that accompanies the detectable cocoa note. Malt? Most certainly. Stonefruit? Yes, some….but the citrus escapes me, as it did before. The cocoa note is still what I would call a bittersweet cocoa, not a Hershey flavor…. it’s earthy and almost “gritty”, if that can be called a flavor. It is not overpowering, but adds a depth to the profile of this tea that is certainly unique.
With a medium weight mouthfeel and astringency, Lattakoojan Assam’s base note of cocoa is what sets it apart from the usual assam profile. Try it while you can get it if you are an assam fan looking to try one that stands out in a crowd.

Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Stonefruit

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Zhen Qu by Butiki Teas
184 tasting notes

Finding myself faced with a blissfully drizzly Christmas morning in Southern California, (and an ever engorged tea cabinet) I found myself reaching for this tea. I wonder if there are special words in the dialect spoken in Yunnan that perfectly describe the delicateness of this tea. There are many flavors to this tea ~cocoa, grain, loam, a touch of creamy cocoa and sweet yams, but the one that makes me reach for this tea is the pecan note. There is something decadent about the delicate pecan note in this tea that makes this a true special occasion tea, especially when accompanied by stollen, panettone, and many other Christmas delights. Merry Christmas, y’all….may your day bring all you wish for…… (I’m wishing’ for another cup of this tea, and I’m going to get it! )

Flavors: Cocoa, Earth, Pecan, Yams

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Spot or pot, I love a cup!

I learned to drink tea while living in Dublin in the early 80’s, so as you can imagine, I am a hearty brew lover, and take tea with milk and honey. I am trying to expand my horizons with tea….that is why I’m now on Steepster! Joined in January 2014.

Currently loving strong black teas that hold up to milk and honey well. I have a curiosity about keemuns and yunnans, but smoky ones are out. Green and white teas are off my radar, but making little forays into oolong and darjeeling tea. Herbal? So far only cacao tea has gone into regular rotation in my tea routine.

I do like some naturally flavoured teas…almond, vanilla, cardamom, ginger. This seems to be mostly in the cooler months…but mostly I’m an unflavoured tea drinker.

Life is too short for bad tea and bad bread.


San diego

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