261 Tasting Notes


This is the 2015 harvest that I bought in Feb 2016. Brewed 12oz in a teapot so that I can bring one of the steepings to work.

First infusion: My God, this smells so sweet! Like warm butter. It tastes like fresh buttery spring water. Am I being transported to the legendary Dragon Well? This is amazing.

Second infusion: The divine fragrance is gone, but we’re left with a smooth-drinking liquor which retains the buttery and a nice flavour of toasted nuts. These leaves are pretty done, but I will try a third infusion with a gaiwan next time.

Flavors: Butter, Nutty

1 min, 30 sec 4 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank Alpine Punch by DAVIDsTEA
261 tasting notes

Note: next time, try a 4-minute infusion and use only 1.5 tsp for 8 oz of water.

I was intrigued by the strong scent of almonds in this one, but the scent was terrifyingly sweet. I brewed it for a post-dinner digestif with my partner, who is much more of a non-flavoured tea drinker (he goes for oolongs and white teas) and fortunately this was not as sweet.

A 4-minute infusion seemed a bit bland, so we steeped it for longer and now it is slightly sweet. Gets cloying midway through the cup and I’m sick of the artificial “almond essence” smell. Not the best rooibos blend but nowhere near as mind-numbingly saccharine as it smells. I’ll try stopping at 4 minutes next time. With the rooiboses I’m learning that less is more.

Rating: 52

Update 1/16/2018: Rating: 60

Flavors: Almond

5 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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drank Orzo Caramel & Honey by Lupicia
261 tasting notes

Smells exactly like a rich caramel frappuccino from Starbucks. It tastes a little more subdued, like some kind of “health” drink. I wouldn’t drink it straight, but it might be baller with some milk. Love it as a decaf version of a breakfast coffee au lait.

Flavors: Caramel, Coffee, Wheat

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Was browsing green teas at Red Blossom Tea Company this weekend. The dry leaves of the Spring Mao Feng 2015 smelt beautiful –– even nicer than the super buttery premium Dragon Wells. It was a harmonious blend of grassy and buttery.

Unfortunately after steeping, it tasted mostly grassy. Slightly toast buttery but more grassy. Not a bad green, but I went with the Pre-Rain Dragon Well instead.

Flavors: Butter, Grass, Toast

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drank Chocolate Mint by Harney & Sons
261 tasting notes

My sister bought this.

Much too sweet for everyday drinking, but probably good as a dessert digestif… except that it’s a black tea and I’m sensitive to caffeine so I won’t drink it after dinner. It has a very artificially sweet smell like a cheap chocolate candy. The odour of this tea clings to my Thermos and it took me 5 days of washing and soaking to get the smell out.

I’ll try it with milk at some point, but I’m guessing this one won’t be coming out very often.

Flavors: Chocolate, Peppermint

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Got this at Contraband coffee shop, nice loose rolled leaves in a large infuser.

Tasted pretty subtle and bland, with a nice fragrance. Am beginning to realise that all Jasmine greens are pretty bland so I might give up on them unless I find something really great.

Flavors: Jasmine

3 min, 30 sec

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UPDATE: Brewed it with correct parameters this time and it’s just a very mellow, pleasant comforting vanilla rooibos even if nothing to write home about. Increasing rating to 65.

Fairly smooth and drinkable, but a sort of dull, earthy, acidic aroma as opposed to a truly inspirational fragrance that the best rooiboses have. I used boiling water with maybe double the leaves required. Will try again with the proper amount. Rating: 62

Flavors: Vanilla

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

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drank Vanilla Hazelnut by Yogi Tea
261 tasting notes

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Didn’t like it. Bland with a slight medicinal / mushroom odour. It wasn’t totally undrinkable, but I can’t think of a time when I would actually crave this tea. I wish they would make this more like a soup broth. It could potentially be pretty good with more umami in general… but I have tried adding salt and pepper and it was disgusting and I had to throw it out.

Flavors: Medicinal, Mushrooms

8 min or more

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After steeping, you’ll notice a lot of bigger stems in the leaves. This tea smells sensational, there’s a strong flavour of butter popcorn and it’s smooth to drink. Probably the butteriest oolong I’ve ever tasted.

This was only my first time at Red Blossom Tea Company, but they seem to carry a lot of buttery tasting teas (greens and oolongs at least). My partner bought this so there will probably be future tasting notes as we brew this at home.

Flavors: Butter, Popcorn

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Amateur tea enthusiast here. I told myself I would start with studying Chinese teas when I first encountered good tea at Song Tea in San Francisco in 2016, and it’s now 2023 and I feel like I’m still just beginning to scratch the surface of Chinese teas.

Maybe someday I will move on to Indian, Japanese, Korean, etc. teas…

For my day job I work in tech as well as write some fiction on the side.

The next step in my tea journey is to start training my nose with an aroma kit to get a more precise handle on floral notes.

My Tea Rating Scale: (adapted from @benmw)
100 : Unforgettable, life-changing tea experience.
95–99: Extraordinary – Beyond impressive.
90–94: Impressive – Deep complexity, extreme clarity, or unexpected discovery of wonderful flavor. Made me reconsider the category. Would always want to drink this if I had the chance.
80–89: Delicious – Nuanced, balanced, clear, and complex layering of flavors. Would probably buy this tea again.
70–79: Very Good – Nuanced flavors, perhaps not as balanced or complex as the next step up, but clear and very enjoyable. Would consider buying again if the price was right.
60–69: Good – Clear flavors, representative of the category, but doesn’t set a standard. Good as an everyday tea. Would not buy unless desperate (e.g. when travelling without access to better tea).
50–59: Average. Would not pay money for this, but would drink if it was provided FOC.
30–49: Below Average. Would not drink this again even if it were free.
0–29: Undrinkable. Could not even finish the cup.



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