122 Tasting Notes

drank Rose Oolong by Tea Ave
122 tasting notes

Yay for sunday gong fu with Dinosara!
First steep: Light, flavored like the green part of roses.
Second steep: Rose smell was lovely, flavor not very strong, but base is still slightly sweet. It’s almost like the base and flavoring are fighting, and neither is winning. Rose flavor is like a vague rose oil, like the smell of silk roses in Joann’s!
Third steep: Base turning vegetal. Rose is fading some. Greener overall.
Fourth steep: Smells much rosier, a little bit of buttered bread too in the scent. Lost a lot of the high notes, mostly sugar snap pea aftertaste.
Fifth steep: Hot water with bean aftertaste, much rose in the nose still.
I’m going to bump this one down some, I definitely appreciate the Magnolia much more.

Flavors: Beany, Green, Rose

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Cape Jasmine Oolong by Tea Ave
122 tasting notes

Thanks ashmanra once again for the sample exchange! I’ve been thinking about ordering with the sale they have running at Tea Ave, but I wanted to try all the teas at my disposal first. This is the last one I needed to try (but not the last I need to write a note about- that tasty Tie Kwan Yin still sitting in my sample box!).
First steep 45 sec: This is not my first Jasmine scented oolong (Lupicia took that coin!), but it’s much smother than any I have had. The gorgeous base is really what elevates it. The jasmine flavor is present, but not terribly strong or sweet. This first steep is a little weak for me, even though I used my standard western style parameters. I think the short steep short-changed me here; the leaves are still tightly curled.
Second steep: 1:30: Still rather vague in flavor. Maybe I miss the strength of the gongfu session last weekend! I feel the familiar buttery, fresh veggie sweetness of the base tea coming through on this steep. There is almost a sour note on the first part of the sip. Like nectar that has gone past it’s prime.
Third steep: 2:00: This is absolutely the lightest jasmine tea I have ever tasted. I am mostly enjoying the base tea at this point, which is contributing the velvety mouth-feel I’ve come to expect from it to a slight touch of jasmine-nectar, of which I cannot even smell. I was hoping this tea would be the oolong version of Verdant’s Yunnan White Jasmine, but alas, the Jasmine is much too light for me. By no means does that mean I didn’t enjoy this cup, but it just didn’t knock my socks off like the magnolia! Maybe I need the full Jasmine Oolong from Tea Ave instead?

Flavors: Jasmine, Smooth

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

I agree with you, Cape Jasmine is a bit light for my tastes but would delight those who are fearful of florals. Magnolia was my #1 and I think Jasmine would be delightful as well.


Did you ever put an order together? I’m contemplating one with their current sale… Really hard for me to hit 75 though; I guess I need some tins anyways?


I keep changing it so I haven’t placed it yet! I keep adding teaware and then taking it off because I have soooo much teaware but I love their colors! I am thinking now that I am going to go heavier on tea and less on teaware.


BTW, one nice thing about using the gift card…you have to hit $75 but at that point shipping becomes free also, instead of being $15, so I am telling myself I am saving $30 by ordering this much. LOL!

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drank Magnolia Oolong by Tea Ave
122 tasting notes

This was our fourth and final tea for the afternoon of gong fu, because I believe Dinosara would really like this one, since I just love it.
5 second first steep, +5 seconds for each subsequent steep in the gaiwan.
First steep: Creamy an almost spicy flora scent, it’s so thick! It reminds me of walking into a bridal salon, where everything is perfumed silk with a slight bit of saran wrap smell?
Second steep: The sweetness of the floral flavor is almost too strong, a bit like molasses! A slight fruity edge to it as well. Greener too; reminds me of the spicy-sweet smell/taste of the sap from bulb-type flower stems. So unique and delicious!
Third steep: An even amount of green-ness and that unique floral flavor in this steep. It reminds me of lush, thick petals (much as you would find on a magnolia tree! Haha) with an exotic, velvety sweetness.
Fourth steep: A more simple, but sweeter brew. It reminds me of tobacco flowers.
Fifth steep: The tea leaves are really slowing down now. A much greener flavor to a weak brew.
Can you tell that I love this tea? So unique and delicious! I haven’t had any other magnolia flavored teas, but I’m sure this would be near the top. I think I’m going to have to order some with their current sale!

Flavors: Cactus Flowers, Floral, Nectar, Stems, Thick

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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drank Ginger Lily Oolong by Tea Ave
122 tasting notes

Number three on the gong fu marathon with Dinosara!
No rinse, 5 second first steep +5 seconds for each subsequent steep.
First steep: In the aroma cup, the smell is that of fresh gingersnaps! The scent translated into the flavor, I even tasted cinnamon and brown sugar sweetness coming through when it cooled!
Second steep: A more baked/toastier ginger cookie!
Third steep: Toastier, yet again, but less cinnamon this time. I have decide that the ginger flavor is not a fresh ginger root, but dried ginger powder, with none of the ginger spice.
Fourth steep: The floral flavors of, I think, the base are coming through, now. There is less ginger.
Fifth steep: Ginger is faint. The aroma cup contains a much more floral scent, but the tea is weak.
Overall an interesting flavor. I was not actually that big of a fan of the ginger flavoring, but the cookie in the beginning was really nice! I’m not sure where the lily came in, but if you like ginger, just not the spice, than this one may be for you!

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cookie, Flowers, Ginger, Toasty

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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The second tea on Dinosara and my gong fu menu this afternoon!
I was really interested in how wide the descriptions of this tea ranged. We ended up getting a completely different set of flavors from this than everyone else!
This gaiwan was completely packed, the whole sample went in. Short rinse was interrupted, and subsequently drank as the first-ish steep, most likely 6 seconds, gonig up 5 seconds for each steep after.
First steep: Pure, sweet artichoke hearts! So strongly artichoke!
Second steep: Artichoke with some additional overprint of a flavor that reminds me of thick, succulent flower petals/leaves.
Third steep: The smell from the gaiwan lid got all of the sudden more roasty. Like water that I steamed artichokes in that boiled a little too much. The smell was so super intense in the aroma cup that I actually coughed! The spiciness of some aromatic wood (not cedar, but close to it) has crept into the flavor. Truly interesting.
Fourth steep: Even spicier in flavor and aroma! The aroma cup had picked up a spicy floral scent with some vanilla notes after the artichoke fades. The tea has become slightly bitter.
Fifth steep: This steep reminds me of the overbrewed generic Jasmine tea they serve at asian restaurants. Bitter, but a jasmine note has definitely crept in.
Overall an enjoyable experience, if strange. I probably wouldn’t purchase this, but I very much enjoyed trying it.

Flavors: Artichoke, Cedar, Floral, Spicy

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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I had an absolutely lovely gong fu session with Dinosara this afternoon- my first gong fu experience ever! We began with this tea, since she had been raving about it so much, and I found the normal spring picking so lackluster. We used our aroma cup sets from Tea Ave throughout.
She started with a short rinse, then a first steep of 5 seconds, adding 5 seconds to each subsequent steep.
First steep: I got the impression of flower pollen on this one, with a vague sweetness and creaminess.
Second steep: Sweeter, with the sweetness starting to stick on my tongue like a good oolong should. The flavor is more like the petals of fruit trees, but still diffuse.
Third steep: This is the first steep that the aroma cup really contributed to- lilacs! A full nose of lilacs! The flavor overall is much more of a fresh springy floral.
Fourth steep: The florals are still everlasting, but a buttery note to both the aroma and the flavor has crept in. I can feel the minerals on the way.
Fifth steep: A sweet steamed veggie flavor has arrived. Dinosara related that once the veggie flavors creep in, that is pretty much the end of the flavors for a tie gwan yin. But it was still delicious.
Compounded steeps: We each drank one small cup of each steep, but her gaiwan was big enough for two cups each, so we dumped the leftovers into a larger mug and finished it off later. This was the “steep” that was my favorite. All the flavors of the above steeps compounded lead to a much more complex cup. Sweet and buttery, with tons of floral notes and sweet minerals lingering on your tongue. Truly delicious. I will be pre-ordering some!

Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Sweet, Vegetal

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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This was also good. Will review later, again!

Flavors: Mineral, Tropical

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Milk Oolong by Mandala Tea
122 tasting notes

Steep after steep. The old sweet ‘n’ creamy getting me through this Saturday of comps…


you inspired me to drink this :)

Equusfell - It is happy-making!

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Will review later (taking my comprehensive exams at the moment!) but I am LOVING this tea.

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Tea Time tea! Thanks, again, Dinosara! Tasty toffee goodness! It smells so much like toffee! You can almost taste it in the air! I wanted it to taste sweet, as well, because it didn’t have much sweetness on it’s own, even though my brain wanted it to be sweet. There was some smokiness in the background… I think they make caramel flavored teas on smokey bases to add some of that burnt sugar flavor of real caramel (though I really don’t think caramel tastes burnt, more like toasted- can you tell I’m a golden-browned marshmallow girl?). I wish they wouldn’t do that, but this tea was not bad in that sense at all. Mostly this was a tasty that I would have loved to have on an autumn day/in front of a fire, but it was better with sugar, it made the caramel flavor REALLY caramelly!

Flavors: Caramel, Toasted, Toffee

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I started drinking something other than Sleepytime in my first year of grad school, 2011. Enabled by a few decent local tea shops in a big city, I amassed a small cupboard of teas that I now find harsh and bad (haha, I’m getting in too deep!). With my move back to the US and subsequent geographic isolation from tea shops, I recently discovered the world of online tea vendors.
My cupboard is slowly growing but still small. Regardless I am interested in swaps, if you find something in my collection that you would like to try, ask away! I just can’t guarantee yet that I have a lot of it!
I’m very into Jade oolongs and anything that has a floral character (especially jasmine, rose, violet, and lychee scented things!). Most green teas, excepting the extremely bitter, are good in my book, and again I seek sweeter, fresher, greener types, though nutty/savory teas have their place (as long as they don’t tip over into salty!). I then to shy away from smokey or overly roasted teas and for this reason and the fact that I am not a fan of chocolate, everyone’s favorite blacks and wuyi oolongs tend to fall flat for me. White teas are alright but I don’t tend to reach for them unless they are floral scented. I rarely drink herbals, chamomile and I do not get along, but a basic vanilla rooibos, or some flavored green rooibos’ can be interesting.
In general, it could be said that I tend toward floral and sweet oolong, sheng (as well as moonlight whites and yabaos), matcha, and green teas.

As of now my rating system follows the school grading scale in terms of how well the tea performs and how well I like it (100-90 A, 89-80 B, etc.). Anything above 90 will eventually end up in my cupboard, though it’s fine to keep a B student around for daily drinkers!


Athens, Ohio

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