1500 Tasting Notes


The tea last night western and to-night gong fu was extremely bready and buttery.

Western: 5 grams in Kyusu, 2 min, 3 min, and oversteeping, but still very good. Gong fu, still brewing as I write, 10, 25.

More sourdough in profile, butter, peony, honeysuckle, a little bit of qin xin pineapple, but immense florals and herbaceous qualities. I know I’ve used rosemary before, but it has the kind of aftertaste rosemary gets when it’s infused into bread or butter. The smell is incredible and vegetal. Makes me think of the butter dishes you get from Red Lobster.

The best session so far was the first because it had all the qualities I listed above and was significantly fruitier. Now, it’s more vegetal and bready, having a little bit of umami.

Third steep of maybe 25-ish seconds, and more heavy in florals. Kind of almond milkish, leaning into some lilac and white floral profiles. A little bit flower bitter, not overly so.

So far in later steepings gong fu, I don’t always notice a significant difference. The savory, floral, and green vegetal qualities shift around a bit, usually leaning into more vegetal with an occasional floral fruity surprise like in session one. Right now, it’s leaning more vegetal and floral.

I’m really not sure what to rate it because it’s almost a 90 for me. The tea is forgiving, but requires finesse and careful attention to get particular tastes. Even if I mess up though, I always get heavy mouthfeel. Floating Leaves Teas usually require more refinement and precision anyway.

Clearly, I like it. It’s #3 in ranking so far, though I’d say it’s a summer tea or a seafood matching tea for sure because the higher heat doesn’t detract from the tea at all.

Flavors: Bread, Butter, Corn Husk, Floral, Herbs, Honeysuckle, Lilac, Peony, Pineapple, Savory, Umami, Vegetal

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Thank you for this one Leafhopper!

Session parameters: 15 sec rinse with 3 oz, 5 oz here on out or less, then 20 sec, 10, 25, 35, 45, and then I went into more western parameters in the minutes. Brews were super forgiving, and pushing the tea got more rounded flavor.

It’s pretty unique, and there were more Tie Guan Yin characteristics in it. Tasting it blind, earlier steeps were nutty, but very heavy in orchid and woody florals. Early steeps were extremely light leaning in a floral watercress profile with not bitterness, only slight lettucy profiles and maybe cucumber. There is also something subdued about it that almost makes me think mineral, as in mineral water that’s light. Sometimes, there is a little bit of pithiness. Otherwise, I couldn’t quite pin down the sweeter note. It leaned towards water chestnut personally on the surface, maybe grapefruit or apricot territory if I’d describe any fruit. Watercress and orchid for sure in the early steeps, more pronounced oolong floral soup in the later ones with a hint of fruitiness, definitely fresh lettuce or spinach and growing green bitterness sneaking in. Not prominent, however.

Reading the other notes from leafhopper and TheTea, I can kinda see some of the other qualities like the almond and blood orange, but it’s too vaguely citrusy rather than a full citrus fro me.

Either way, I liked this tea a lot because it was unique and a greener one. Apart of me wonders if there was a light roast to preserve it in some way. I liked what it could do anyway.

Flavors: Citrus, Creamy, Floral, Lettuce, Mineral, Nutty, Orchid, Orchids, Spinach, Spring Water, Sweet, Vegetal, Woody


Glad you enjoyed it! I also wonder if it has a light roast. Either way, it’s survived very well for a 2018 tea!

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Thank you Adhara! This is a gooood Tie Guanyin. Heavy into orchid florals, some honeysuckle, and hints of other flowers like lilac and hyacinth. It’s also more floral than grassy, but green and fresh. It’s a softer green bean overall in flavor, and continues to be floral after each steep. Definitely better than some Taiwanese oolongs I’ve had of late, and somewhat similar to a Baozhong.

5 oz, 5 grams 10 sec, 15, 20, 35, 45 175-195 F.

Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Green, Green Beans, Honeysuckle, Lilac, Orchids

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Makes a fantastic, rosy coldbrew. It got a little bitter in a floral kind of way. The flavor was still pronounced and refreshing.

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Tried it tumbler, it works really well but I have to shoot for 3-4, moreso 5 grams for 12-14 oz and 185-190 water. It is also exceptional cold brewed after about 4-6 hours in my tumbler, and exceptional western in my kyusu. Gong fu is the most bang for you buck for finding each individual flavor, though western has a full texture and body that greatly retains floral and fruity complexity. I’m so tempted to rate this as a hundred at this point. I crave this one and never get tired of it.

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Another Leafhopper tea, used for the heat of the summer solstice this morning. Following a sweet theme of tea today, this one distinctly reminded me of peach or lychee soft candies or maltose. They’re almost like gummies, but covered in powdered sugar. I am getting that heavily here after each 5 sec flash steep of the sample in my Manual Gaiwan, roughly 4 oz at the beginning and 5 later on. It’s a little grassy and has a lot of similarities to an Bai Hao, but so much smoother. There’s barely a hint of autumn leaves, and instead, there was a slight hint of the grassiness that disappears after the second steep, and only reappears after steep 7, where I stopped.

I was very happy with this one, even if it felt short lived by short steeps. Loved the flavor punch and insanely 3d, juicy texture.

Flavors: Candy, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Juicy, Lychee, Powdered Sugar, Resin, Tropical Fruit

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I have at least 50 grams of this tea left that I couldn’t identify from before, and now I can. This is the fresher version of it since it’s a little bit more new, and insanely aromatic, sweet, and chocolaty. There’s some malt, dryness and tannin matted underneath sweet potato skin layers, but it’s heavy into a medium dark, almost milk chocolate cocoa profile and a caramel honeyed aftertaste. It doesn’t last much more than five steeps gong fu, but the flavor was pretty full in a dark brown-red liquid.

This will be my work tea because it’s definitely waking me up and chilling me out. So good.

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cocoa, Cream, Drying, Honey, Malt, Sweet Potatoes, Tannin

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Mystery Tea from derk. Definitely a black, I’d guess maybe a Yunnan or Fujian, but leaning a little bit more towards Yunnan. I could also be wrong and it could very well be a Ceylon or Vietnamese tea, but my gut is leaning towards Chinese.

It’s heavy into a cocoa powder malt direction, or darker chocolate in a very earthy and slightly bitter body. I’d even describe a powdery texture. I used a little bit less than boiling water, 5 oz, and the entirety of the sample, and 10 sec, 5 sec so far. I was really confused about the smell-my pompous vocab points to wolfberry or incense. There’s a bit of a sandalwood thing going on in the flavor too, but it’s more accurate to write cocoa nibs for the palette.

10 sec rinse again, and more of that sandalwood smell. It’s a little bit close to be azure, but it’s too faint for me to say for sure it’s scented. I don’t think it is. The flavor is adding a little bit more dimension. Still malty, earthy and a little bit more robust than most of the blacks I drink, but far from other overpowering Yunnans or Assams. It’s kind of Keemum like, though not as sweet as others. Still layered. It doesn’t really change much in the steeps except in subtle ways. Currently, the “sandalwood” note is leaning more towards anise as it’s cooling down. I’ve only gotten that kind of note from Yunnans and Bai Lins, or “Golden Monkey” teas.

I like it, though it’s bordering on a little bit more of a breakfast style tea. I would not reject another cup, but I wouldn’t reach out for it. I still like it.

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Thanks Leafhopper. Now that I have a short break between summer school and now, I’m plowing through my teas. The samples from the swap make it easier to mentally organize what to go through. I still need to try derk’s mystery tea too.

This one was good and similar to the later season I have. It’s in a Dong Ding style, and it was the best after steep two. Buttery, nutty, vegetal with a little bit of the “violet roast” note that I’ve gotten from this processing before in steep four. First steep is orchid, nutty, a little bit salty, a little bit sweet under a forward charcaol foreground. Later steeps are more floral and vegetal and a hovering oatmeal cookie note. I used shorter steeps under 20, and minute steeps for later steep six at about 4 minutes.

I enjoyed this one, and I think it did well for being a little bit older.

Flavors: Brown Toast, Char, Charcoal, Cookie, Floral, Green, Honey, Nutty, Oatmeal, Orchid, Roasted, Toasty, Vegetal, Violet

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drank Shanlinxi by Ethan Kurland
1500 tasting notes

I tried it out again with more air conditioning in my house. Very creamy shanlinxi, though I reverse brewed it beginning with longer 16, 25, 35 steeps, and then 15, and then consistent flash steeps that were not longer than 15 seconds until steep 8 or 9. 9,10, and 11 were western.

I pretty much wrote the notes I’d write earlier, and this one has a good balance of floral and vegetal with some fruity undertones leaning into the stone fruit category. The Longfeng was more floral and complex with fruity tones, whereas this one had some more savory and buttery vegetative qualities that were extremely pleasant. Short steeps preserved the more complex florals without making this one too spinachy. If I didn’t already have the insane collection I do, I’d gladly get some of this one even if I prefer the Longfeng.

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First Off, Current Targets:

Whispering Pines Alice
Grand Crew Teas
Wuyi Origins Jin Jun Mei Sampler
What-Cha Jin Jun Mei
Good Luxurious Work Teas
A good Qilan
Best Sachet Teas

Dislikes: Heavy Tannin, Astringency, Bitterness, or Fake Flavor, Overly herby herbal or aged teas

Picky with: Higher Oxidation Oolongs, Red Oolongs (Some I love, others give me headaches or are almost too sweet), Mint Teas

Currently, my stash is overflowing. Among my favorites are What-Cha’s Lishan Black, Amber Gaba Oolong, Lishan Oolong, Qilan Oolong, White Rhino, Kenya Silver Needle, Tong Mu Lapsang Black (Unsmoked); Whispering Pines Alice, Taiwaneese Assam, Wang’s Shanlinxi, Cuifeng, Dayuling; Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co.“Old Style” Dong Ding, Mandala Milk Oolong


I am an MSU graduate, and current alternative ed. high school social studies and history teacher. I formerly minored in anthropology, and I love Egyptian and classical history. I love to read, write, draw, paint, sculpt, fence(with a sword), practice calisthenics on rings, lift weights, workout, relax, and drink a cuppa tea…or twenty.

I’ve been drinking green and black teas ever since I was little living in Hawaii. Eastern Asian influence was prominent with my friends and where I grew up, so I’ve been exposed to some tea culture at a young age. I’ve come a long way since I began on steepster and now drink most teas gong fu, especially oolong. Any tea that is naturally creamy, fruity, or sweet without a lot of added flavoring ranks as a must have for me. I also love black teas and dark oolongs with the elusive “cocoa” note. My favorites are lighter Earl Greys, some white teas like What-Cha’s Kenyan offerings, most Hong-Cha’s, darker Darjeelings, almost anything from Nepal, Green Shan Lin Xi’s, and Greener Dong Dings. I’m in the process of trying Alishan’s. I also tend to really enjoy Yunnan Black or Red teas and white teas. I’m pickier with other teas like chamomile, green teas, and Masalas among several.

I used to give ratings, but now I only rate teas that have a strong impression on me. If I really like it, I’ll write it down.

I’ll enjoy a tea almost no matter what, even if the purpose is more medicinal, for it is my truest vice and addiction.


Michigan, USA

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