11 Tasting Notes


“I picture…a field of grass…covered in whip cream.”

My girlfriend, upon taking the first sip of the first steep.

The pitcher is left with such a pleasant, sweet aroma, which reminds me of high mountain oolongs. The wet leaves, have a strong iodised/sea smell.

The second steep was left just a tad too long, hitting me with more of those sea notes. Very grassy, slight umami, slight bitterness, thick in texture.

After the third steep, I’m left with a thick sweetness on the tongue. So pleasant. The still still shines bright yellow, with a hint of green.

170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 15 sec 60 OZ / 1774 ML

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Before event starting to brew this tea, knowing I’m about to take notes on my experience, it hits me how little I’ve paid attention to what Japanese green teas taste like. Now, to take a moment and appreciate fully.

The dry leaves give me hint of seaweed, and nori. Sweet and umami.

The first steep’s liquor is yellow with strong green tint. Smelling it, I get some nuts. It’s a very warming smell.

A quick look at the wet leaves reveal how brightly green they are, so I ran around the room with the teapot in hands, trying to catch the best natural light to fully enjoy the sight.

I left my first steep cool down quite a bit before sipping it. I get the typical umami flavours of Japanese green, with a slight bitterness at the back. I take the time to analyse what flavours hit me. And the more I think, the more I’m reminded of clams, with a heavy iodine taste at the back of my tongue.

On the second steep, the tea is a bright yellow. The aromas are warmer. Cooked vegetables…possibly string beans. It feels like everything sea-like is now gone.

A pleasing sweetness lingers at the back of the tongue.

The third steep continues in the same vein as the second, still going strong. The fourth steep starts to dilute down, becoming a bit more watery.

Overall, a highly pleasant sencha.

170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 15 sec 0 OZ / 0 ML

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The wet leaves give hint of a pleasant light roast, and sweet grass.

The 1st steep, I’m hit by how silky this tea is. The tea aromas remind me of small, fresh flowers. Already, I’m hit by a strong, sweet lingering aftertaste.

The second steep is still as silky as the first. I’m getting some grassy notes through the flowers.

Sipping on the 3rd steep, the tea feels heavy on the tongue, and still gives away sweet grass and flowers.

Around the 6th steep, the tea starts to lose in texture, and gains astringency. Still, it leaves a nice aftertaste.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 3 OZ / 100 ML

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This is a tough one to review. With a name like “Banana Rama”, it’s tough to get into tasting this without smelling and tasting bananas everywhere.

The dry leaves just…smell like dried bananas to me!

I hit the tea with boiling water.

The wet leaves are completely out there, so different than the dry leaves. I get this minty, strong, mineral aroma, typical of assam-style tea.

But when I take a sip of the 1st steep, there’s none of that. It’s a pretty sweet, smooth tea, which tastes…like dried bananas. But! It’s also surprisingly juicy, with a hint of acidity in the back, which makes the finish more like fermented bananas.

The 2nd steep is, again, smooth and juicy. I get some fragrant wood out of it. Like the tree bark of a pine tree.

The 3rd steep shines with a beautiful dark amber colour. The acidity really kicks in (something which I’ve started to notice always happens around the 3rd steep, with a lot of Renegades tea), which reminds me of Nordic forest berries, shining through the foresty woody aromas.

The tea goes on for 2-3 steeps more, before becoming a bit acrid.

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Lots of the dry leaves are quite dark, mixed with green. The contrast shows even more on the wet leaves, where dark emerald leaves are mixed with leathery colors.

The wet leaves are sweet, fruity, slightly roasted.

The first steep (75 degrees) is a bit weak, due to too short steeping I’d assume. I get some wood, quite a smooth/juicy feel, and some pleasant baked sweet dough aftertaste.

I’m excited for steep 2!

Not such an exciting steep 2.

It falls a bit flat in aromas. It’s still a pretty pleasant tea though, to be fair. Light, nice texture, barely any astringency, juicy, maybe even a bit of a pineapple aftertaste, very very far back ? I don’t think this tea is like a tasty adventure that will bring you places, but it’s a good tea.

Well, the 3rd steep was a surprise! Somehow, a pinch of acidity just appeared in there, giving the tea much more personality. To me, this reinforces the whole pineapple thing, and I like the tart feeling that it gives, mixed with the slight astringency that just joined the party.

Now for the 4th steep, let’s crank up the temperature to 85 and see what happens.

Well, it isn’t bad at all! Nothing special to mention there. Probably getting close to the end of this tea, but still giving a pleasant, full taste.

170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 45 sec 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Dry leaves: Sweet, dry hay. Cookie dough.

The wet leaves smell out-of-this-world good. Fresh, snow peas, cut grass, fruity melon-like smell. Their color is dark emerald.

Liquor color: Greenish yellow.

The first steep is a bit weak, steeped at about 80 degrees. Hard to tell exactly what’s happening there…Bits of astringency. The tea doesn’t have an immediate strong aroma, but already seems to leave a pleasing aftertaste.

The second steep, is pretty good! 75 degrees water, for a longer time, brings out all the aromas felt in the wet leaves. Again, very sweet, pleasing aftertaste.

The third steep lost a bit freshness, but still holds itself in body and aromas! The cut grass, the sweetness, maybe a bit of apple seeds? Hard to pinpoint.

The fourth steep is starting to lose in aroma, feels kinda watery, but still reinforces the lingering aftertaste.

170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 30 sec 3 OZ / 100 ML

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It took me a month to record notes on this tea, after sharing a gong fu session at the Camellia Sinensis tea house, but I couldn’t let this one pass without a word about it.

A tea recommended to celebrate my yearly passage back at home. And what an experience it was!

Amongst the first shou pu er to be made, the process was not yet fully standardized, offering a different palette of taste. I remember, we were not in the typical shou puer flavours. Instead, the tea offered the fruitiness of dried plums, mixed with the fermented umami of soy sauce.

Good times, in good company, for many many steeps.

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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An “Almost Oolong” definitely on the greener side.

The dry leaves remind me of sweet hay, greener tones. The sweetness reminds me of butter cookies.

It recommends 70 degrees, but I went with 80 on the first steep, with a normal amount of leaves, in a small gaiwan.

The liquor is of a light yellow/orange

The wet leaves are dark green, with bits of oxydation showing through.

The wet leaves smell amazing, reminding me of flowery oolongs, with some thick grape juice tones.

The tea has aromas of fresh flowers. Melon. After a few sips, some savory cooked green vegetable (aspargus) hit me, possibly cause of the higher temperature. Bits of astringence.

The 2nd steep is at 75 degrees. The tea doesn’t give much fine aromas as it did before, but keeps a nice texture.

After a 3rd steep at about 75 degrees, not much sweet aromas again, but a lingering sweetness sticks around in my mouth, reminding me of young shengs.

I re-heat the water at 80 degrees for the 4th and 5th steep. The tea has more character again, but getting a bit acrid after the 5th.

15 minutes after my last sip, sweetness still lingers in my mouth.

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Lots of leaves, small gaiwan.

The dry leaves are really exciting. Strong aromas of baked cookies, ripe bananas.

The wet leaves display quite a different aroma profile. I get dark tones reminiscent of black tea: wood, malt. No sweetness.

First steep. Quite mellow in flavours. The tea is juicy, I get some wood, the fruity banana hits me more in the aftertaste.

Second steep. Lower temperature, longer steep time. Still juicy, I lose most of the wood, I get more of the fruit. A bit more pleasant acidity as well. Overall quite light.

Third steep still pleasant, but definitely losing in strength.

Fourth steep, the tea is almost dead.

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Ali Baba Oriental beauty (Dongfang Meiren), from Yunnan Linyi Shuangjiang. 1st grade. 5g to 100 ml.

Translating the text on this small sample gave us a bunch of information we can’t verify, but one thing’s for sure, it was quality tea.

The leaves are small, carefully picked, barely broken. Dark tones, characteristic of this tea type.

The first steep packs an intense punch. Very perfumy, strong heady flowers aroma. No astringency. The wet leaves also pack the same perfume smell.

From the 2nd steep on, the flowers give way to more acidic notes, reminiscent of lemongrass. Marita finds some musk coming through.

Some astringency start appearing in the following steeps, along with a growing wood taste. The flower never leaves fully though, until the tea starts dying out around the 8th steep.

We started the first 2 steeps at 95, then brought it down to 90.

Flavors: Flowers, Lemongrass

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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How I grade:
90-100: Memorable experiences. The kind of tea that you don’t dare drinking too often.
80-90: Definitely something I’d happily share, and purchase again.
70-80: Lacking in one way or another, but enjoyable still.
60-70: Good, but probably it’ll take a while for me to finish the tea.
>59: Nothing positive to gain from this tea.

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