38 Tasting Notes

drank Grand Cru Matcha by DAVIDsTEA
38 tasting notes

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75
drank Cherry Lucuma by DAVIDsTEA
38 tasting notes

This was a reject from what my mother bought the other week, she hates it. Basically it’s a cherry/fruit drink with measly amounts of oolong tea sprinkled throughout. I spent about three minutes trying to pick a decent amount of the oolong out of the pouch so I can get an idea of what it actually tastes like!

Surprisingly, I think they used something that’s very close to a Da Hong Pao. There’s a strong aged wood note alongside a sort of wet stone flavour. It actually does accompany the deep cherry flavour very well. It’s just a shame they don’t include more tea in each pouch, something that seems to be a trend with blends from this company.

Made some excellent iced tea with this though, I think it tastes better that way than hot to be frank. Won’t be buying this in the future, but the flavour is pretty decent.

Flavors: Cherry, Wet Rocks, Wood

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79
drank Bergamot Kisses by DAVIDsTEA
38 tasting notes

As with the last two teas I reviewed, I never know what to really expect from David’s Tea. This has definitely turned out to be a dessert/special occasion tea that won’t be used every day.

The bergamot flavour is intense, possibly the most potent of any Earl Grey I’ve tried. I literally cannot taste the black tea though as the blend is so loaded with bold ingredients! The most dominant flavours, aside from the citrus notes, are chocolate, caramel, and milk — very sweet and creamy. Mouth feel is thick, silky, and smooth, with an almost peppermint-like cooling sensation accompanying a spicy bergamot aftertaste. I think this is the perfect tea for people who tend to add milk and sugar to their tea, as it has both of those added already.

Surprisingly, I would order this again, but if anything I’d wait until winter. It’s probably the best hybrid between a hot chocolate and tea that I’ve drunk, can picture sipping it next to the fireplace on a cold evening.

Flavors: Bergamot, Caramel, Chocolate, Milk, Spicy

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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84

So this one was a really pleasant surprise, wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I love goji berries and I love oolong so I went for it. Thankfully this blend has a good amount of camellia sinensis, the Seaberry Spa “white tea” I reviewed the other day was severely lacking actual tea, kind of funny actually.

I decided to brew this in a gaiwan. First thing I noticed is how fragrant the tea is, it smells sweet, floral, fruity, and a bit spicy even. The oolong base they’ve chosen is really nice, I think it works well with the ginseng and goji berries. They’ve also added honey, and I’m not mad about it at all. It helps highlight the goji and ginseng notes and just really ties everything together. The floral notes are very reminiscent of other strong orchid smelling oolongs, but I can’t tell how much of it is coming from the oolong and how much is from the marigold blossoms and other ingredients. Super tasty either way.

This also came out absolutely phenomenal as iced tea, going to be making a big pitcher full soon.

Flavors: Ginger, Goji, Honey, Medicinal, Orchids

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 7 g 5 OZ / 140 ML
Kittenna

I was also pleasantly surprised by this one, in particular by the inclusion of a decent amount of actual tea (that you could taste, even!)

So Keta

And it’s not the worst quality oolong I’ve ever had either!

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72
drank Seaberry Spa by DAVIDsTEA
38 tasting notes

I normally don’t buy David’s Tea because I find they mostly make novelty tea blends rife with sweeteners and added flavouring. With that said, my mother is a big fan of their products and informed me that they have an ongoing sale for 70% off discontinued blends. For that kind of discount I couldn’t say no to chipping in on an order.

The first product I’ve tried is called Seaberry Spa, which is a very fruity and fragrant white tea blend. In fact, I think there are more tisane and fruit ingredients than actual white tea in the pouch (does that make this herbal tea?). I’ve brewed this three times so far, both Western and gong fu, the former having a more desirable outcome (flavour didn’t evolve at all with gong fu), and once as iced tea as well.

The taste is actually pretty good, better than anticipated. For the longest time I was trying to figure out what it reminded me of until finally it hit me that this blend emulates classic fruity bubble gum, but with a hint of licorice and ginger thrown in. An interesting change from the pure/un-blended teas I normally drink, that’s for sure. It’s a very in-your-face kind of experience though, I think the added flavouring really adds a punch. As far as white tea goes though, this is nowhere close to as good as others I have in my collection. I think this really shines as an iced tea though, it’s just delicious and refreshing.

Would I buy this again? Probably not, but it’s certainly nice as a treat!

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Ginger, Licorice

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 475 ML

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100

Spring has been late to start this year. This morning the temperature clocked in at a measly 8°C, but at least the trees are in full bloom and tiny baby leaves have started popping out. The perfect scenery for a day off work with a good long tea session if you ask me.

Since this tea has been sitting around since the turn of the millennium I gave it a decent wash. Happily, a concentrated honeyed raisin and fig aroma filled the air around me without even having to get my nose close to the teapot!

The first pot produced a lovely deep orange and caramel colour liquor, although it wasn’t as pungent as the wet leaves. The taste gave me a really good idea of the flavours to come in additional brews though. The fig and raisin becomes accompanied by a slight medicinal or herbal flavour (perhaps like ginseng extract), a very subtle smokey grass note, and a lovely pop of black peppercorn or nasturtium flower/spice on the sides of the tongue. It’s also just incredibly smooth. No astringency, thick mouth-feel, and a powerful wash of Qi over the whole body. By the end of the third pot I was definitely giddy and tea drunk.

Overall this has shot to the top of my list of favourite pu-erhs. Absolutely phenomenal, I could drink this all day every day. If you have never tried this tea do yourself a favour and at the very least grab a sample. It’s a brilliant example of how rich an aged sheng can be. You can really taste the love and passion that went into this.

Flavors: Fig, Flowers, Grass, Herbs, Honey, Raisins, Smoke, Spices

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 140 ML
Togo

oh, I have been meaning to try this one, but now I am really curious :)

So Keta

This is the first time I’ve ever scored a tea with 100, it’s that good! If you like sweet and spicy profiles I think it will be hard not to like :P

HaChaChaCha

I got this one in just the other day. Looking forward to trying it after it settles awhile. Cake was much thinner than I was expecting. It’s like a giant disc.

So Keta

Amazing, I will be buying a cake next time I order. I’m actually drinking the last of my sample as I type :) What do you think of it?

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82

This is the second tea I bought from Genuine Tea. I’ve never had an oolong that tastes quite like this one, but I can’t speak from much experience as this is the first time I’m trying Da Hong Pao. Can someone please chime in and let me know if this is a typical flavour profile for this style of oolong?

I’m actually half-way through this session while I’m writing this, so I’ll have to come back to update it at the end of the day with final thoughts. I’m using a 140ml teapot with 90°C water and 6.5 grams of tea, although I wish I had added maybe a gram more in hindsight.

Initially I was disappointed with the aroma and flavour, the first pot reminded me immensely of Houjicha which I already have a large supply of. There was a strong charred wood scent mixed with some vague fruitiness, but it seems that the flavour changes quite a bit as the leaves open up. The next few pots were far superior, the char turned into more of a wet asphalt note (like the way roads smell during summer rain), and the woodiness became sweeter, almost like how Palo Santo smells. Surprisingly the mouth feel is super mellow, literally no bitterness at all and minimal astringency. There is supposedly a honey/peach note to this tea that I just don’t taste at all, perhaps slightly as an aftertaste that lingers on the tongue (although I am a bit congested today). Will have to give it another go some other day. Update: I found the wet leaves in the pot smelled much stronger of peaches, but it’s more of an aroma than flavour

Interestingly I did find a very calming energy wash over me throughout this session which was nicely in balance with the higher caffeine content.

I do like this Da Hong Pao, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it again, especially when I already have other teas in a similar flavour range. A quick google search tells me how that this is a very popular oolong, so for all I know this isn’t the really good stuff.

Flavors: Char, Mineral, Wet Rocks, Wood

PearlSek

Parameters are not optimal if it’s a good quality leaf. You can try 7g/100mL, start at 20-30s, 100°C.

So Keta

Interesting, I’ll give this another go with your suggestion. Thanks for the tip!

HaChaChaCha

I think you still got most of what da hong pao is like. It’s usually so heavily roasted, that is the dominant flavor. It’s to tea what Starbucks is to coffee. :-) Heavy roast.

So Keta

Fair enough, thanks for clarifying. Out of all the roasted teas I’ve tried I don’t think I’m too keen on Da Hong Pao compared with some others.

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90

Yesterday I went to a massive biannual craft/artisan show downtown called the One of a Kind Show. Usually I find the few vendors selling tea there focus on blends and herbal teas because that’s what typically sells, but I managed to find a new player who had the good stuff and I shopped quite a bit with them! Many more reviews to come over the next week.

This particular company is relatively new, only in business for the last four years, but after speaking at length with the owners it seems they really know what they’re doing. Most importantly, the tea is good. I’ve always struggled with finding reputable local companies that sell tea as I don’t think ordering online from around the world is very sustainable as an individual consumer; I’m always thrilled to find feel good about my purchases.

This Imperial Golden Monkey that I was sold is just so nice. I was told the farmer whom they source this from experiments with cross-breeding typical Assam black tea and typical Fujian tea to create something unique. The leaves are very thin and long, and are blueish-brown with streaks of gold weaving throughout the bag. Pretty to look at!

In a 180ml gaiwan with 90°C water I started a typical gong-fu session. The wash was so aromatic and clean that I did end up drinking it, unlike some other black teas I come across. The first flavour notes that I recognised were of burnt caramel and cacao nibs. Very rich and almost bitter in the same way a very dark chocolate tastes. After a few more cups the caramel transformed into more of a classic malt taste, but interestingly some background fruitiness arises, perhaps rhubarb or green apples? I didn’t notice much sweetness though which was refreshing, I think most black tea I’ve had lately become sickening after a few cups, but it’s likely I’ve just been ordering the wrong stuff for my taste. The mouth-feel is great, medium thickness, low astringency, minor salivation, and no lingering bitterness! Only the good flavours stick around on my tongue.

Ultimately I don’t think I have anything bad to say about this tea. It’s well-balanced, obviously grown well, and it doesn’t make me terribly jittery from caffeine after a whole session. Excellent for a daily black tea, and something I think I will continue reaching for regularly.

Flavors: Cacao, Caramel, Green Apple, Malt, Rhubarb

Kittenna

I’ve had the same experience with tea vendors at the OOAK (the two times I’ve been to the Christmas one). It’s neat that there was a company with different offerings! Do you know if they were at the Tea Festival?

So Keta

Yeah it’s a shame really, no one knows what they’re missing out on lol
I actually missed this year’s festival, but I imagine they were. I think I remember reading that some of their tea was included in the Tea Taster Box? Not totally sure though.

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82

As I’m sure many others are, I’m a sucker for milk oolong. I don’t even like milk very much, but there’s something about the sweet and creamy flavour and mouth-feel of this style of tea that makes me very happy. I have not tried any milk oolong from Yunnan Sourcing before, but I have high hopes.

I used a 140ml teapot with 6 grams of tea and 90°C water, short steep times.

The first thing I noticed is thankfully the pungent milk aroma coming off the wet leaves and soup. Buttery, sweet, and not too floral. From experience, a good milk oolong has the same pungent flavour as it does aroma. I can happily report that this does indeed have a strong milky/buttery flavour, however it was more “green” tasting than expected (umami and vegetal). This is perhaps due to its growing conditions though? It’s a high elevation Taiwan tea and reminds me of other “jade” Taiwan oolongs I’ve tried. Not my favourite oolong flavour profile overall, but it is well-balanced with the milk. What’s nice and most notable about this batch is that the milk flavour does carry along for multiple brews, eventually tapering off, leaving the tea tasting like something between a typical oolong and green tea. Many milk oolongs that I’ve tried quickly taper off into a normal flavour profile, so in that sense this tea is superior.

In conclusion, this is a lovely milk oolong overall, especially for people who prefer more subdued floral notes. Unfortunately, it’s turned out to not be my favourite simply due to the green flavour profile. I much prefer floral, fruity, or roasted oolongs.

Flavors: Butter, Milk, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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90

My friend’s father died yesterday and I invited her over for tea and some down time between making funeral arrangements. Pulled this pu-erh out and it seems to have done a good job calming the nerves, or at least providing something else to focus on.

We used boiling water with 8 grams of tea in a 140ml teapot. 20 second wash was followed by short brews leading up to 1 minute long.

This tea is so lovely. The first thing we noticed was the aroma from the pot, very sweet and grape-like with deeper floral undertones. There’s a type of realistic gummy grape candy from Japan that actually tastes a lot like the aroma from this tea!

Even with the first pot or two the soup is a gorgeous dark caramel colour, you can just tell it will keep on giving with each brew. The mouth feel and smoothness in general is just awesome, viscous and creamy! Considering this was picked in 2007 I think it’s aged very nicely indeed. Mellow is the word. Hardly any astringency is present. I think it was stored very well as it seems to be incredibly clean. Didn’t notice much dust or sediment or weird tastes.

I think the flavour profile is quite rich and complex. Compared with the wet leaf aroma, you can taste the age of the tea significantly more. The grape mixes with notes of leather, honey, and sweet grass, and perhaps other fruit. It reminds me of drinking sangria actually. Strangely the floral notes seem to fade into the background which doesn’t bother me.

Overall I’m extremely impressed and pleased with this tea. My friend also loved it! I’ll have to buy a full cake as this was just a sample I purchased. I think it’s worth the price.

Flavors: Flowers, Fruity, Grapes, Honey, Leather, Sweet, warm grass

Preparation
Boiling 8 g 5 OZ / 140 ML
mrmopar

And a good friend you are as well. Tea can be very comforting.

So Keta

Aw thank you! Tea is usually my go-to no matter how big or small the problem is.

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Bio

World traveller, musician, tea lover.

Tea scoring criteria:

85 to 100 | Exceptional and unique. These teas are an unequivocal delight with every sip. The way they make me feel and the journey they take me on is incomparable.

70 to 84 | Delicious teas that are worth the price, albeit more common in quality and flavour. Still very good teas.

60 to 69 | Somewhat palatable teas that fail to deliver an experience at a level that would make me drink or buy more.

Under 60 | Just no…

Location

Based in Toronto, Canada

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