55 Tasting Notes

First, I don’t know if this is Summer 2017. There’s nothing to indicate harvest time or year on my sample.

Second, I brewed this per their recommendations. 100ml-5-6 grams @boiling water temp, with steep times of 3 min/3min/4 min respectively.

1st brew: the aroma is of mossy wood but the flavor is bitter dark cocoa nibs — no sweetness just the bitterness of the nibs. There’s a mild astringency aftertaste and medium mouthfeel. Overall, it has a good medium mouthfeel and is very smooth.

2nd steep @3 min: I smell camphor and mossy wood. The flavor is a milder bitter note that evens out towards the end. There is a slight astringent finish but still a good viscous mouthfeel. The tea soup is very smooth and not harsh.

3rd steep @4 minutes. I had to reboil water for this steep. I am unsure if it’s the water temp (I suspect that the water temp might have been slightly higher this time around) or if it’s the 3rd but this one is the most balanced of all three brews. I still smell the camphor and mossy wood aroma, but the bitterness has softened as the astringent. The mouthfeel is still good but the flavors are balancing themselves out.

Overall, I’m on the fence about the tea. It’s a good tea but different from what I normally prefer in its tasting profile, but it’s very smooth and has a really good mouthfeel. Others might enjoy it better. I’m going to play with different brewstyles to see if it speaks to me more in other ways.

5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I brewed this western style

1st infusion: 1 minute @ 208F. This has a pale green color with a faint smell of nuts, roses followed by a rich, sweet scent. It tastes of delicate rose with a delicate fruit (peach?) and notes of cream. It finishes extremely smooth.

2nd infusion: 2 minutes: The color is a light green with heavier scents of roses and cream(!!). It tastes of peaches followed by roses with still that light creamy finish.

3rd infusion: 2 minutes. The color is a light amber with scents of cream. it has medium notes of cream and roses with an extremely clean finish.

I plan on trying this GongFu style to see if it changes.

Flavors: Cream, Peach, Rose

205 °F / 96 °C

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drank Earl Grey by Samovar
55 tasting notes

This is not a traditional Earl Grey, but it is quite good.
The color is a deep dark amber, and smells of bergamot and good tobacco leaves.

The flavor is deep and rich. It starts strong with notes of chocolate, smoke, and tobacco. There’s no flowery taste, which I like. It’s a pretty darn good tea. Is it the best Earl Grey in the world, as boasted by the company? I wouldn’t go that far, but it is good.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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This is a small tin of tea that I picked up at a local craft fair. it’s a mix of black tea — oolong, keemun, and lapsang souchong .

The tea leaves has a strong aroma of lapsang souchong — a very strong smokey scent.
I brewed this in a strong Western Style.

The color is of a dark rich amber with a slightly smokey scent (I expected a much heavier smokey aroma, but was surprised that it didn’t have it). The flavor are hints of keemun (chocolate/malt) followed by smoky aftertaste

This is a very drinkable tea. I also tried a longer steep for a slightly deeper flavor. It became every-so-slightly bitter, but adding the tiniest bit of Hawaiian honey evened out the bitterness and brought more flavor out.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Sencha "Uji" by Lupicia
55 tasting notes

I brewed this per the Lupicia’s directions.
This tea is pretty darn good. The tea leaves look like tiny evergreen needles.

The color is a delicate cloudy light green. The brewed tea smells of damp chestnuts.
The tea starts of very delicate in flavor — a light green tea — with a nutty finish. There are flavors that I cannot quite discern, but read to me as Asian (growing up in an Asian household).

This is a sipping tea and requires some thought to really taste the distinct flavors. My palette isn’t mature enough to discern all the flavors yet, but I hope to explore it more.

165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Earl Grey Darjeeling by Lupicia
55 tasting notes

I love Earl Grey and I love Darjeeling. This seemed to be an interesting combination of the two so I opted to try it.

The tea leaves have heavy smell of bergamot, which is to be expected.
The brewed tea has the aroma of a traditional Earl Grey as is the flavor, except that it finishes with a Darjeeling flavor at the end.

It’s a decent, every day tea, when you want something traditionally English. I paired this with cookies/biscuits and it complimented the baked goods well. I probably won’t use this tea as a “tea tasting” or for when I just want to experience complex flavors of a tea.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Tikuanyin by Lupicia
55 tasting notes

Brewed: Western Style
1st infusion: 2minutes @ 208F. A medium gold color with a sweet aroma tinged with grape/muscat. It has a sweet taste of grape with a mild astringency.

2nd infusion: 2.20 @ 208. A light yellow color. It smells of smoke with a more muted scent of grape. When tasting, it starts off smokey followed by grape with a slight mineral finish.

Gong Fu brewing:
1st infusion: 12 seconds @ 208F (1tsp). Color: very light green. There’s a nutty flavor & aroma to this tea that isn’t present in Western Style Brewing.
2nd infusion: 15 seconds — The aroma is sweet & nutty. The nutty flavor is more present with a mineral aftertaste and peppercorns.

I’m very surprised at the very different taste this tea has between gongfu and Western Style Brewing. It’s not even the same tea. I need to test this out more and will update this review as I go forward.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Nepali Oolong by Young Mountain Tea
55 tasting notes

I was curious about this tea. I love oolongs, but it’s the soil that helps bring out specific oolong flavors when the tea is made. What type of tea would a different soil produce?

This tea doesn’t quite taste like oolong. It’s aroma is of smoked wood and earthy smells — not something I expect out of an oolong. There are hints of nuts & chocolate, but nothing very distinct. It has a medium mouthfeel, and taste surprisingly like a generic, but decent black tea.

This is a decent “run-out-of-the-door” tea, or a tea that might pair well with a slightly sweet cookie/biscuit, but nothing I would take time to rightful savor.

Flavors: Earth, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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I brewed this Western Style. Surprisingly, this tea is not as good as the Lupicia Darjeeling Second Flush.

First attempt: 1st infusion: 208F @ 2.5 minutes — Bitter! I’m unsure if it’s because it’s the last of the bag from a friend or the water is too hot.

Second attempt: First infusion: 2 minutes @ 195F. The aroma is slightly sweet, smokey, with a touch of astringency to it. In tasting, it has a bitterness & astringency without any real flavor.

Second infusion; 2.5 minutes @ 195F. The 2nd infusion was much better than the first one. The astringency is not as noticeable in taste, and more of the traditional Darjeeling flavors are coming into play.

3rd infusion: 4 minutes @ 195F: Okay, NOW I am tasting a traditional Darjeeling flavor. The astringency has declined.

Overall, this tea is much better the more you infuse it. Or if you just want something hot and tea-like to drink as you run out the door.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter

195 °F / 90 °C

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I’m still developing more complex taste buds, so bear with me.
Brew style: Gong fu

First infusion: Aroma is very sweet of molasses and malt. The first notes that hit you are very sweet — sugar cane and malt with a slight viscosity on the tongue but clean finish. It’s almost too sweet for me — reminiscent of a first sip of American Southern Sweet Ice Tea!
By the 3rd/4th infusion, the sweetness has subsided with more of a very light malty / very mild smoky undertone. However, I don’t really taste any additional complexity to this tea.

I plan to re-attempt a gong-fu style tasting to see if I change my mind, but if it proves the same, will brew Western Style as “run-out-the-door” drinking tea.

Flavors: Malt, Molasses, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 1 tsp 100 OZ / 2957 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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