54 Tasting Notes


My attempts at trying different puerhs seems has really been a failed experiment. I am just not liking about 90% of the puerhs that I taste — some puerhs are fine teas just not my flavor profile and for some, I just honestly don’t like much about it, so please take this review with that knowledge in mind….especially as other reviewers seem to find this a decent tea.

This was a sample that I got from a YS order.
Brew style: GF —
Tea amount: 5grams (the entire tuo).
Water: 150 ml
Brew times: wash @ 15 seconds, then 20s @ 200F, 20s @ 200F, 30s @ 180F

Color of the tea: a dull golden color, like gold that hasn’t been polished in some time.
The brewed leaves have a nice smell to them. There are high notes of sweet with low notes of herbs and cooked vegetal.

Flavor: This tea is bitter. The first thing I taste is bitterness at the tip of my tongue. The bitterness is like jumping into a cold pool - the shock of it hits you and then the taste mellows a little bit out, with an aftertaste of sweet & vegetal.

I couldn’t even really finish each steep since the bitterness was very overpowering…and always at the tip of my tongue. I tried lowering the temp to 180deg F and increasing temp time to 30seconds, but it was even more bitter than the 2nd steep. I couldn’t even finish this tea.

I know that this tea has more life to it than 3 steeps, so I threw the wet leaves into a cold brew of 350ml and see if that doesn’t even out that bitterness a bit.

Will update this after I taste the cold brew.

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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I’ve really enjoyed this tea.

Summary: This mild roast red oolong tea is tightly rolled and takes several steeps to open up completely. It is a semi-sweet tea that’s great as an after dinner tea or just anytime tea. It’s not an overly complex tea, but the flavors work well together.

Dry leaf smell: I catch whiffs of stone fruit and the associated sweetness.
Warm leaf: A stronger scent of stone fruit and honey.

I’ve had a couple of sessions with this tea. WATER: 150ml
Session 1: Time (seconds) 15, 20, 30, 40, 60, 80…; temp: 195-205 deg F
Session 2: Time – 30, 45, 60 @ 196 deg F) | 90s, 120s, 180s… @ 199-201 deg F

Wet leaves aroma: High notes of honey, florals, and stone fruit
Broth Aroma: Sweet potato
Color: The color of orange-flower honey. This remains fairly consistent.

The broth has a nectar-like consistency, like thinned honey. It’s not particularly viscous but does coat the tongue slightly. There’s an underlying astringency that dries out the tongue a tiny bit, but it’s never bitter. I get a mild tingling sensation in the tongue from the cha qi, and I did start to feel a bit in the head after the 4th steep.

Initial steeps brought out flavors of sweet potato, mild stone fruit, a touch of honey. As steeps progressed, there’s less fruit, less honey, and more sweet potato flavors. The tea has a short-to-medium clean finish to it that’s in keeping with the flavor profile. As I extended the steep times, I also increased the temperature. I managed to get a fair number of steeps out of this tea before the flavors began to wash out. For each session, I managed to get at least 6 steeps out of the 5 grams of tea.

Since there’s very little astringency to this tea, higher temps and longer brew times might bring out a different flavor profile. (A point to experiment with!)

Overall, this is a good tea, especially for the price point and the number of steeps you can get out of it. It’s not an overly complex tea, but the flavors are well-balanced and quite tasty. The sweetness comes from sweet potato/fruit flavor, so anyone who finds teas with fruity profiles too sweet might enjoy this a bit more.

Flavors: Honey, Stonefruits, Sweet Potatoes

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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(From my backlog)
Tasted during the Labor Day holiday in America.

I’m very happy with the teas from Old Ways Tea that I’ve picked up. This is a 2008 Aged Da Hong Pao that’s been re-roasted a few times.

There’s deep roasted flavors of tobacco, burnt wood, and smoke; lighter flavors of chocolate and coffee with milk; then it rounds out with High notes of vanilla, brown sugar, and caramel. Early infusions were interesting — tobacco followed by the cooling effect of mint (without any mint)

It’s very well balanced and robust. The roasted flavors don’t overwhelm the palate. It’s super smooth to drink with a surprisingly light viscosity and clean finish.

The cold brew of this tea is just as tasty.

Brewing information:
Tea amount: 5 grams for HOT
Style: Gongfu
Water: 150ml
Temp: 200 F
Brewing times: 20,30,30, 45, 60

Cold Brew: 3 grams
Water: 300 ml of water

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Chocolate, Coffee, Cream, Tobacco, Vanilla, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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I’m catching up on my tea reviews.

I like trying different teas that might not be in my preferred flavor profile.. Trying different things is an exercise in growth. It lets you understand WHY you like something, appreciation for those differences, as well as teaching that differences aren’t bad. Just like life.

This tea is not in my preferred flavor profile (i.e. I do not enjoy very strong smokey/roasted flavors such as lapsong souchong), but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It was a good look into how you can really make something balance out without overwhelming the palette with a single flavor …..I’m looking at you, micro-breweries, that make IPAs too damn hoppy!

Flavors: Smoke/Roast/Charcoal followed by a mild sweetness of cooked stone fruit (apricot? peach?). The smokey/roasted/charcoal notes is ALMOST overpowering but is countered by the sweet of of the fruit. It’s a viscous liquid that coats the tongue with little to no astringency. It has a very clean finish.

For anyone who enjoys the smokey roasted flavors, this is a really good tea to try. This tea brings those out without overwhelming the drinker, giving them a good look at how these flavors can be balanced out.

Brewing info:
Tea: 5.02 grams
Water: 150 ml
Temp: 200-201 F
Brewing time: 20-20-30-45
Vessel: Porcelain Gaiwan

Flavors: Roasted, Smoke, Stonefruits

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Upon opening the pack, I tried to discern aromas from the dry leaf. There was a faint hint of floral (maybe rose) and a dry, roasted scent. A warmed gaiwan brought out these smells a bit better.

If I had only drank the first infusion, I would have passed on this tea. It has a roasted flavor - almost burnt wood mixed with sweet grass -- with a decent body, and a “roughness” around the tongue that I wasn’t sure that I liked. There are very “smooth” teas to drink and this wasn’t one of them. However, it has a decent body, a mild viscosity, and very little astringency that made up for the roughness. Perhaps the 20s infusion was too long? Perhaps it needed a wash? Or perhaps it needed a lower temp?

However, I was committed to seeing this tea out.

Subsequent infusions changed my mind about this tea. Infusions #2+ smoothed out the roughness of the initial infusion. The milder flavors of sweet grass / florals come out to play alongside the roast. While still not as smooth to drink as some other teas, the ‘roughness’ evens out and counterbalances the sweet grass/florals. The tea broth remains consistent in color, body, flavor, and viscoscity, and I was able to get a fair number of infusions out of it.

When I drink this, it has an extremely mild cha qi. I felt the warmth going down my throat and expanding in my chest, and finally in my head. It’s short-lived but there.

Are there better teas out there? Yes.
But for the price @ $0.19 USD / gram, it’s a helluva bargain.
If you need a tea that’s decent, but you don’t really have time for a full session, are traveling, drinking your tea on-the-go, or want a decent enough tea without breaking the bank, consider this tea. For the price, it’s worth checking out.

General Brewing info:
Rinse: I did not do a first wash as I did not think this tea needed it.
tea amount: 5.05 grams (entire pack)
water: 150 ml
general water temp (F): 199-204
Brewing times (seconds): 20-20-30-45-60-90….
Color: orange amber

Flavors: Floral, Sweet, warm grass

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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drank Lao Cong Shui Xian by Old Ways Tea
54 tasting notes

A very lazy morning always requires tea and I wanted to do a tasting session with a new-to-me tea. However, I think I made a mistake with this morning’s selection.

Lao Cong Shui Xian tea from Old Ways Tea is NOT a morning tea. My very first cup hit me full in the face…..

This tea is like an old growth forest where the trees are ancient and the moss & lichen growing on them are just “old”. This is a Tea you enjoy in the late afternoon when you sit down to reflect on life and write down your memoirs. It’s that single cask whiskey that’s aged in that one barrel, forgotten about, then found a dozen decades later.

This is what I’d imagine mahogany to taste like — complex flavors but with a mellowness that doesn’t bog down the taste and keeps you from sinking too far into the complexity.

This tea will GROUND YOU. This tea will tell you about it’s long life as a tea tree starting with the present day as an ancient tree, then with each subsequent steep goes into the past about its mid life then its beginnings as a sapling then take you back full circle. Wow.

The cha Qi is slow moving. At first, almost imperceptible, then filling your head like a water fountain while keeping your feet rooted to the ground.

The dry leaf of this tea smells like dry roasted peanuts and wood.
The wet leaf has high notes of stone fruit & sweet grass.
The liquid smells of fresh air and leaves.

The broth itself is the taste of old forest/mahogany. It is thick and viscous on first sip and coats the tongue before sliding effortlessly down your throat. There’s no earthy taste in this tea; it’s all about the tree, wood, and forest.

By the second steep, I felt a warmth building in my chest with a quiet sense of calmness.
By the third steep, the cha Qi hit my head like tree branch on the head.
Subsequent steeps just built on top of that.

Everything just feels calm and collected. Despite it being early morning, I’m ready to take a nap. This is not a tea you drink on a daily basis. (I mean, you can, but it’s about $0.85 / gram) This is a tea you drink when you want something special, when you have time to savor it, and or when you want to experience it with friends.

STEEP INFO (Each pack is about 8 grams)

Tea: 5.06 grams of tea.
Water: 200F/150 ml.
Steep times (in seconds) :20,30,40,60,90,…

I cold brewed 2.85 grams in 350 ml of cold water. It’s just as good as the hot broth

Flavors: Roasted nuts, Sweet, warm grass, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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drank Lucky Accident by Old Ways Tea
54 tasting notes

I bought a sampler set as I was curious and I just happened to like the name of it.

Dry leaf aroma from bag: It’s a lovely sent of roasted oolong with hit of herbal medicine. I really love this smell. It reminds me of my grandfather’s tea cabinet.

Leaf in warmed gaiwan: There’s a hint of sweetness — fruits & florals — with that smokey charcoal scent.

Wet leaves: High notes of sugar & fruit (peach?). Deeper notes of roasted charcoal. As the steeps increase, the high notes become more prominent.

Brew times: 60s, 75s, 90… I was able to do about 4-5 steeps before I felt the tea gave out. YMMV with brew times & water temps.

Water temps: 196 – 200 deg F

(Since this was a roasted WuYi oolong, I felt comfortable brewing it at a higher temp and longer steep time than a Dan Cong oolong.)

Color: It starts of a deep rich red amber, but decreases in color/intensity with each subsequent steep until it was about a mid-orange amber.

Tea broth: This is an extremely easy tea to drink. It starts off slightly sweet which counteracts the mild bitterness that follow on the tail end; it’s fairly balanced. It’s got a medium-body at the first steep and drops of with subsequent steeps (which I attribute to my longer steep times and extracting most of the flavors)

The flavors of this tea aren’t complex, but they are well balanced and gives you enough to enjoy the tea without feeling like it’s missing something (which I find often happens). There’s a mild tongue drying after drinking the tea, but it’s pleasant as it also causes a mild watering on the tongue. There’s also a very mild cha qi in the mouth & throat that is refreshing.

Honestly, it reminds me of my grandfather’s tea, so there’s a bit of nostalgia at play here.
I would NOT brew this Grandpa style as I think it might get very bitter over time.

Overall, I think this would make an excellent travel tea to have in your valise. It’s got enough flavor to be enjoyable but not so complex that you need to sit there and think about what you just drank. The small pre-sized packets are handy for traveling (although not convenient if you want loose leaf tea.)

The pack comes in 8 grams. I brewed up 5 grams and will be using 3 grams in a cold brew.

Flavors: Fruity, Roasted, Sweet

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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I’m finally getting around to trying this sampler I bought from Yunnan Sourcing. It wasn’t cheap but as I got about multiple steeps out of my session, I’ll call it even.

This is probably my top 3 TGYs I’ve ever had. It’s only 7 grams, and upon opening the tightly rolled tea balls have a smack-in-your-face aroma. When you brew it, the leaves open up like a pond lily, so plan accordingly.

I used 5 grams for a hot brew then 2 grams for a 350 ml cold brew. And I’m glad I only used 5 grams! The fully opened leaves were overflowing my 160 ml gaiwan after the first two steeps!

Flavors are a nicely balanced but complex set of flavors that border on the delicate — sweet grass & vegetal (asparagus/spinach), sweet butter/cream, and a touch of umami & minerality . No astringency at all.

First few steeps are sweet balancing out the umami / mineral finish. Later steeps, the balance shifts with the start of umami/mineral followed by a lesser sweetness of vegetal flavors. The liquid is crisp & clean, with a medium body /viscosity. Cha Qi is mild but very pleasant. It was a warm & humid day but this tea hit the spot.

Brew spec: 200 deg F at 30 sec, 60 sec, 90 etc. this tea can take the longer steep times and I will push the time out for later tastings. (The initial 30 seconds was not enough time to really let the leaves open and give enough flavor. )

I also did a cold brew on this tea with the 2grams with 350ml cold water . And it is absolutely wonderful!!

Out of the bottle, it looks like a white wine. It’s thick & viscous. The texture reminds me of the texture of Gewurztraminer — rich, silky, and with a hint of honeysuckle nectar

However, it’s flavor pulls no punches. There’s sweet grass/spinach, the predominant aroma & flavor of roses, with an aftertaste of umami/minerality. It’s balanced, it’s smooth, it’s incredibly decadent. This is the tea version of a dessert iced wine. I’d drink this by itself or pair it with grapes.

Flavors: Asparagus, Creamy, Grass, Sweet, Umami

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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SUMMARY: This is a very lovely well-balanced tea with a nectar-like viscocity. Despite the 80% oxidation, I brewed this at a lower temp, at a longer steep time, which really brought out the fruity flavors of this tea with hardly any astringency. After the first infusion, each steep was fairly consistent with the flavors until it started washing out. This would make a lovely cold brewed tea or brewed at a much lower temp for a longer steep time to bring out more of the fruit flavors.

HIGHLY recommended if you like your teas with a bit of fruit flavor.

I skipped the wash with this, and so glad i did.
First infusion: The tea broth is light yellow.
It’s flavors comprise of stone fruit with fruity sweetness. It’s got a very slighty plum-y flavor, but it feels like another fruit. Perhaps a hint of the longon nectar tea of which this is related? This liquid is viscous, smooth, with an extremely mild dryness on the tongue. It has a surprisngly internal cooling effect.

Second infusion: The second steep is an amber orange. It looks & tastes viscous. The sweet plum favors have really come out. The sweetness starts off sugary and morphs into a plum sweetness. The plum flavors persist even after I finish this infusion and while i brew my third.

Third infusion: This is plum nectar sweet, as advertised. There’s an extremley slight dryness in the mouth, followed by another plum aftertaste.

Fourth infusion: Bugger. I can’t remember how long I set the timer for on this infusion (2 or 3 minutes?). It still has the same plum nectar, but a slightly washed out version. I think I set the timer to 2 minutes.

5th Infusion: 3 minutes — The flavors are becoming slightly muted, and there’s only probably a few more steeps with this tea, but I’m still enjoying it!~

Tea amount: 5 grams
Times: 60s, 90s, 120s, ??, 180
Water: 190-194 deg F / 150ml

Flavors: Plums, Sugar

190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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General: A crafty geek girl who has a love for tea, cats, writing, books, as well as learning a multitude of post-apocalyptic skills…just in case.

Tea: I’ve been drinking tea all my life. My grandfather was half-Chinese, but I was always too lazy to brew anything other than Western style. In the past 5 years I’ve been changing that; trying to develop my tea-tasting chops and still a lot to learn! I prefer oolongs, blacks, and greens (in that order), and I’m trying to expand my knowledge of tea from all over the world (and not just China & Japan). I do tend to stay away from herbal tisanes or overly flavored teas as I find them much too sweet and overpowering.

My ratings explained.
90-100: Exceptional tea. The tea I want with me on that desert island. It is the tea I’ll take time to relish and enjoy.

80-89: Very Good Tea. It fits my flavor profile and I enjoy drinking it.

70-79: Good. I like it, but might not be one I reach for on a regular basis..

60-69: Solid. Better than average, and something I’ll grab when I need to “run-out-the-door” and can’t take time to really appreciate the tea I’m drinking.

50-59: Decent/Average. Not my preferred flavor profile or something I won’t purposefully go out to buy. It might lack that “Something” in its aroma/flavor/mouthfeel/finish.

40-49: Below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Gross. Didn’t finish it or refused to drink anymore.


San Francisco Bay Area



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