1707 Tasting Notes

97

I’ve had an unopened package of this for nearly a year. It’s softened some of the fruitier edges unfortunately, but it’s still excellent, floral, nutty, and buttery. I wish Spirit still carried this one and the bug bitten Dayuling. Those were steals.

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88
drank Azure by Chroma Tea
1707 tasting notes

I tumblered it on a rainy, foggy day after seeing some of Van Gogh’s original art at the Detroit Institute of arts. The silky incense and soothing chocolate malt of the oolong was insanely soothing, improving as it got some licorice flavor still sitting in the tumbler. I’m upping the rating. I’m determined to finish my other Derk teas since I now have the time to enjoy them before the break.

Flavors: Butter, Chocolate, Floral, Incense, Licorice, Malt, Sandalwood

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I’ve had this for three years….damn I still have over an oz left. I really wanted to like this one, but I was not in love and I actually didn’t like it. Young Mountain has some amazing teas, and this is the kind of tea that I usually like, but similar to my blacks, it’s too malty for me. The leaves are still gorgeous to look at after such a long time, and it still has a little bit of carob in the profile, but the flavor doesn’t stand out. Maybe I’m being too harsh? Maybe it’s too old?

Flavors: Cherry, Cherry Wood, Cocoa, Malt, Malty, Smooth, Tannic, Tea

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I tried again, shortening the time and…it’s still malty and bitter. I got heavy cocoa nibs in profile with a little bit more complexity, but that’s pretty much it. The malt was hitting me more. I’d be curious to see someone else’s opinion of this tea. It’s too dense for my preferences, and I didn’t rebrew it past steep 2. I still have a lot of it on hand, and I really want to get rid of it. Maybe I can cream and sugar this bad boy up to see if it works better that way.

Flavors: Bitter, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Malt, Tannin

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I’ve barely touched this tea since that last note. Actually, I’ve been pretty bad about my unflavored blacks. I’ve mostly finished my Taiwanese ones, and then try my others and end up not finishing them passed steep 2 or 3.

This one was an exception because I got a vanilla note today more or less flash steeping a bunch of leaves at 15 second with the malt, cedar, and slight woodsiness. There was a little bit of cocoa steep two at 20 sec, but mostly malt. I got bored after the third steep since I was mostly getting malt. It does stand up better than some of my other Yunnan, Assam, and Chinese Blacks overall.

I gotta figure out how to get rid of the many blacks I have. There’s a few I’ll still keep on hand, but there’s too many I’ve had since 2019 and have not touched. I’ve gone through my oolongs fine, yet this particular type of tea and my white teas have sat there in a box pocket drawer unopened and shuffled around every two weeks. I’ve gone through my flavored teas and oolong so much faster, so I’m going to try to narrow my purchases for next year. I’m buying a house after all, so I need to be more frugal, and less impulsive. Namely, but actually finishing the teas I have.

Flavors: Caramel, Cedar, Malt, Tea, Vanilla

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90
drank Diamond by Magic Hour
1707 tasting notes

This is the GIRLIEST tea I have, and it’s for my birth month. Based on the reviews and site, it was likely intended as an iced tea or a mocktail alternative. I haven’t iced it yet, but served it only western for a few sessions typically beginning with 3-4 minute steep times, and then I keep reusing the leaves at length. The most I’ve rebrewed so far was 5 or 6 times.

The overall profile is very straightforward in having a champagne like pink hue, but the strawberry and jasmine really lead it downplaying potential dryness the champagne flavoring might have. Strawberry takes the lead for the most part, and the lemon myrtle serves to add sweetness and acidity to the strawberry. Silver needle and lower grade white tea were combined for it to both elevate the profile and fill it out to prevent the tea from becoming too thin. I enjoyed that the tea was delicate, but sweet with just the right amount of viscousness. Everything combines together in a blend that oddly works, balancing sweet, floral, acidity, and dryness all at the same time. Simple ingredients, but complex profile of dimension to three primary flavors.

I really liked this one and could see myself getting more if it weren’t so expensive. It’s more of a special occasion kind of tea, and I’m saving some for midnight tonight for the new year.

Flavors: Champagne, Floral, Jasmine, Smooth, Strawberry, Sweet, Viscous

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86
drank Topaz by Magic Hour
1707 tasting notes

Got this for the oolong. This is the November tea, and uses a Tie Guan Yin for the base. Initially, I was kinda meh about the first serving since it was a cinnamon heavy oolong tea leaning partly into chai territory, but later sessions went into the opposite effect. The oolongs profile is actually very strong into the floral orchid territory of Tie Guan Yin, and the cinnamon with the flavors enhance the profile into something like a cider. This particular tea can rebrew often and is very forgiving. It kinda works gong fu with 30 sec increments to really push out the pear flavor, but the longer steeps bring out the apple and cinnamon more. I mostly stuck to tumbler steeping it or 3 minutes western.

The cinnamon can occasionally dominate the tea to much to the border of a fireball whiskey, but it provides a nice warming feeling and a cooling sensation in the aftertaste that’s really nice. The caramel really is not that noticeable and butters up the profile. The pear and apple flavoring are the best aspect of the blend enhancing the natural flavors of the oolong. It’s definitely a winter tea and I drank it more often in this cold December than November. Main criticism is price.

Flavors: Acidic, Apple, Caramel, Cinnamon, Creamy, Floral, Orchid, Pear, Sweet

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84

I thought I wrote about this tea, but I guess I wrote it in a random post or of another tea. I’m also sipping it down today.

This is the original staple matcha blend green tea for Club Magic Hour, and served as a template for Happy Heart. A lot of the customers on the company page and on youtube compared this one side by side to Happy Heart and most preferred that one over this one. I got this particular tea for comparison, so that’s how I’ll write a portion of the review.

Both teas were intended as a desert alternatives with the health benefits of green tea and matcha: Happy Heart was aimed primarily as a heart healthy vanilla blend, whereas this one is more of a sweet tooth satisfier. Both blends create the illusion of a chocolate profile by combining matcha and almond, with Happy Heart having more of a vanilla white matcha chocolate taste that leans into herby and grassy, whereas this one is noticeably sweeter due to the currant and stevia.

Initially, I preferred Happy Heart because of its higher grade matcha and vanilla profile, but I transitioned more into enjoying this one because it was less grassy. The black currant also highly enhanced the flavor profile into a more decadent category. My main criticism is the stevia because it can enhance the sweeter profiles, but add an artificial splenda tasting film to the tea that I’m not a fan of. Anyone who’s had stevia probably recognizes what I’m talking about.

Brewing it, I never go above 2 minutes to balance it out and get the full effect of a light creamy almond profile, unless I am tumblering it. It’s creamier as cold brew and doesn’t really over steep using one teaspoon in a 14 oz tumbler of ice and water. Hot brews, however, in a tumbler or in a traditional setting can cause it to over steep and taste like fruity old mowed grass. Doing it write, you can brew it for another solid two brews, maybe three if you have more currants in your serving.

Obviously, I like this one. I initially was going to rate it a 75, but it’s hovering closer to an 85 for me. I kept coming back to it over Happy Heart, and I’m happily sipping it down now. I wouldn’t get this one in bulk like I have some of the other teas, but I don’t mind having it around.

Flavors: Almond, Black Currant, Creamy, Dirt, Grassy, Green, Toffee, Vanilla, White Chocolate

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank 7 Chakra Teas by Magic Hour
1707 tasting notes

I should do a proper review of each, but I’m buying a house, and I’m running out of patience to copy and paste from 7-8 tabs. So I’ll do a break down of each tea in order. Some I have much more to say than others. I’ll list ingredients when I can, and I’ll do it in order of chakra.

Audacious Root Chakra

Ingredients: Roasted Chicory Root, Saigon Cinnamon, Maca, Eleuthero Root Ginseng, Carob, Dandelion Root, Burdock Root, Extracts of Macadamia, Hazelnut, and Almond.

I only had this once western so far, and it’s one that needs some cream and sugar to umph it up. It’s definitely blended like a coffee alternative tea, and I really like the macademia extract in the flavoring, but it’s kinda weak. It’s nice that it is not overspiced, but it’s sold as a Mexican Hot Chocolate type of alternative profile. Otherwise, it gets overpowered by the carob and herbs making a dirt taste on its own. With cream and sugar, it’s a soothing tea. I think I’ll need more of the tisane materials in the next cup.

Joyous-Sacral Chakra

Ingredients: Black Tea, Orange Peel, Hibiscus, Rosehip, Marigold, Orange essential oil and Bergamot Essential Oil

This is a black tea that I might have already written about. It’s extremely similar to constant comment. The bergamot is not as noticeable as the orange, but it’s got a light acidity with a black tea that really doesn’t get to bitter. I like this one straight or with sugar, but it can work with a splash of cream. Otherwise, it’s pretty smooth yet straightforward and unassuming.

Salutation Solar Plexus Tea.

Ingredients: Green Tea, Ginger, Dried Pineapple, Lemongrass, Orange Peel, Turmeric Root, Pineapple Extract

This was an easy one to like for me. I’m a sucker for pineapple flavors done right, and I like the ginger used in the combo. The flavor is also very straightforward. Ginger tends to dominate, but the Pineapple and lemongrass are good combos. The orange peel can be a little bit distracting despite giving the tea more zest. Either way, it’s meant as a stomach soother and incidentally doubles as a throat soother. It’s great with honey, and warming and sweet on its own. My mom kept on coming back to this one, and this is an easy 80. The leaves are a bit hard to clean up, and that’s the only complaint. It rebrews nicely.

Happy Heart

I’m cheating on this one-I already wrote several reviews on it. It’s unusual for a vanilla green tea that almost gives a white chocolate taste and vibe, but occasionally gets overpowered by the green herbs in the blend. I either love this one, or get overwhelmed by its grassiness.

Quintessance-Throat Chakra Tea

Ingredients: Cinnamon, Ginger, Green Tea, Lemongrass, Marshmallow Root, Blue Cornflower Petals, Ginger Honey Crystals, Vanilla Extract.

Loooove this one. As described, it gives a apple pie vibe with a very nice vanilla whiff and creamy aftertaste. Vanilla+Apple+ Ginger+Creamy+Spicy= something I really like. It’s good with honey, but perfect and nuanced on its own. The balance between the ingredients and flavors is brilliant.

Epiphany Third Eye

I’ll come back for the ingredients on a 2nd edit. Surprisingly, it’s a pu-erh black blend with black currants, elderberry, and other berries and extracts in it. It’s got a bit of a candle vibe in it’s slight smookiness, but the flavoring is extremely fruity. I could gong fu or western it. I mostly get shifts of the berry, and it was very easy to drink with its vanilla accents. A good majority of Zhena’s teas have vanilla, but they are used to compliment creamy flavors. I’ve noticed it’s usually combined with black currant. Again, no complaints on my end. However, I have not decided on the rating, but I am very much into it. This is blasphemy, but it’s got the same vibes of the traces of Butiki teas I’ve tried. I’d be curious to see if there are any other Butiki parallels someone would notice here, at the risk of sounding like a seller for an already hype-marketed company.

Lotus Mind-Crown Chakra

It’s a jasmine white tea blended with butterfly pea flowers, lavender, and pear extract for flavoring creating a deep blue liqour. Gotu Kola is the medicinal herb in the blend. Describing the flavor is kinda difficult, because it really does not hedge on one ingredient for flavor. The smell reminds me of soap or incense, and my mom asked if the tea had Frankincense in it. I got the same vibes too, and drinking it straight, it had the same vibe. It’s herby, floral, and drying with vague fruit hints. Frankincense is related to holy matters in and outside of Christianity, so going for an incense vibe goes with the crown chakra divinity theme. I would meditate with this blend, but as for enjoying it, I’m not sure. I can see the incense qualities discouraging away some people, but it’s not nearly as soapy as the Libra blend and does have some nice qualities.

So, I’ve collected all of them and I recommend most of them. Root chakra was the least pronounced in terms of flavor, so it was my least favorite. The throat chakra might be my favorite in terms of ingredients and flavoring, but the Third Eye trails close behind in being an original pu-erh take on a third eye blend. I’ll likely have more to write about for these teas, but they are pretty original. I would only get some of them in larger amounts, and I think the jars are only worth it in travel sizes to reuse. They are surprisingly durable, and very pretty, so I’ll be ready to have some reusable mini jars for my other tea samples.

derk

Congrats on buying a house!

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89

I’ve been playing around with this one, and got a cool tin. I had a hard time deciding on making my last big buy from Wang Family Tea between this tea and the Competition Gui Fei when it was discounted. I was determined to get more of the Jasmine Shanlinxi in larger amounts, but for nearly a year, I really wanted to try this one. My main issue was that it was an expensive competition grade tea that was only sold in amounts of 70 grams.

I made my bet, and I partly regret it on the opportunity cost of some of the other competition teas. However, this tea is definitely up my alley. It’s weirdly green for a roasted tea, and the taste is more on the green side, but the taste has more charcoal and nuttiness than vegetal tones. The roasted chestnut and orchid flavor are the most prominent through every session, whether I followed instruction or used shorter steeps and slightly more leaves. It does evolve in terms of sweetness. The flux from charcoal, to nuts, to florals with a bit of balsam finish reminded me of the Zealong New Zealand’s Aromatic Oolong, which was one of my favorite lighter roast oolongs. This one is more nutty and floral overall, and does have more complexity. The only little thing it lacks is my gaoshan preference for fruitiness.

So overall, this is a very unique tea that has more roast qualities in taste than it does appearance. I think I would have been really happy with 25 or 50 grams instead of the 70, but I got a great tin and a bunch of great bagged tea samples of ginger Sun Moon Lake Black Teas and Cui Feng Heavy Roasts. I would recommend it if you are really into Dong Dings and lighter roast oolongs though.

Flavors: Charcoal, Chestnut, Floral, Lilac, Malt, Orchid, Roasted, Sweet

Leafhopper

Sounds like I made the right decision not to purchase this tea, even though it seems solid. I bought the 2022 competition Bai Hao and Shan Cha. I almost went for the Shanlin Xi Tan Bei, but was concerned about the roast. I also bought 25 g of the Jasmine SLX you keep talking about. :)

Daylon R Thomas

yeah, I’m excited to see what you think about the Jasmine and the Shan Cha+Tan Bei

Leafhopper

I actually didn’t get the Tan Bei because it was $65 for 75 g, which seemed like too much of a risk to me. I’d pick it up if they offered smaller sizes. Looking forward to trying the Jasmine SLX!

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Profile

Bio

First Off, Current Targets:

Whispering Pines Alice
Good Luxurious Work Teas
Wang Family’s Jasmine Shanlinxi
Spring, Winter Taiwan High Mountain Oolongs

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, Taiwanese Assam, Wang’s Shanlinxi, Cuifeng, Dayuling, Jasmine Shan Lin Xi; Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co.“Old Style” Dong Ding, Mandala Milk Oolong; Paru’s Milk Oolong

Me:

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.

Location

Michigan, USA

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