1544 Tasting Notes


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
1544 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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Placeholder for now. Let’s see how it does.

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I got this and the Shanlinxi for the free shipping after 30 bucks spent. I also got it compulsively because I usually judge the quality of loose leaf a company has based on the quality of their oolong. I know, not fair, but Lishans and Shanlinxi’s are a favorite I don’t get bored with.

Unfortunately, I am going to have to redo this one. It is full bodied, but extremely soft and complex. I had it on a hotter and busy day, so I was bit distracted. This one is a more pear leaning lishan for sure, specifically the “Asian Pear” as westerners refer to it. Otherwise, it’s a high mountain oolong. I admit I’m starting to get bored writing about them, and this tea deserves better attention.

Flavors: Floral, Pear


Thank you for your recommendation, we’re huge fans of Oolong tea too. :)

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I haven’t tried it yet, but I opened the bag, and I think I’ve solved the mystery of one of the teas I have…..insanely sweet smelling.

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I’ve had osmanthus blended with tea before, and mostly oolongs. The only times I’ve had it with a black was with the Earl the Great blend, and in Verdant’s blend with their darker and savory Laoshan oolong.

I watched this one for a few months since I traveled to North Carolina for Thanksgiving last year. I was trying to find good teahouses, and Adhara was one of the ones near me that was recommended. I didn’t actually get to try them in person, but the power of algorithms from facebook and instagram worked. I spent so much money on tea in the last few months after the existential dread of this past school year, switching from stoic frugality to Epicurean YOLO.

I feel confident to say I don’t regret getting this one. It’s unique, fruity, chocolaty and complex comparing to other quality black floral teas such as Alice. The base for this was higher grade golden tip tea, and it’s absolutely gorgeous and aromatic. I’ve done it gong fu, but it’s forgiving to some oversteeping later on. I expect this make a great cold brew too, though I would not push it too hard. I’ve quite liked it so far and compares better than other osmanthus blends I’ve had. There’s something about osmanthus’s floral peachiness that accents the yammy malty profile of the black tea to higher levels.

Flavors: Chocolate, Floral, Malt, Osmanthus, Peach, Savory, Sweet, Wood


Daylon, We’re glad you found us online. We don’t have a physical location yet, because we’re looking for a place that feels right. The complexity of this tea honestly is pretty amazing for a blend with two ingredients. Glad you enjoyed it! :)

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Leafhopper, this one is making me drool. Most of the Shanlinxi blacks I’ve had lean more towards papaya, and while this certainly has it, the tea gong fu or western is extremely thick and sweet. Western so far consisted of 3 min that became 4 min, 3 minutes again, and 4-5 min again. Gong fu was 25, 35, 25, 45, 50, 70, 90, 3 min.

I get more complex fruit and cocoa notes with some nice woody and hints of floral qualities gong fu, and a chocolate covered cherry flavor western. Sometimes I’d border to say maple syrup in some moments, and others chocolate syrup with a sweet aftertaste too. I can see someone write honey for the notes, but it’s undivorced from the chocolate sweetness, middling between milk and dark chocolate. There’s some really pleasant bitterness that occasionally sneaks up and textures the sweet flavor. I’m also getting the funnel cake quality that I’ve gotten in other Taiwanese blacks that’s a bit of an exaggeration.

Either way, it reminds me of Cocoa Amore in some ways in a more pure form. This is easily the kind of tea I could live with, and which is actually harder to find online for an affordable price. My only complaint is that it’s not long lasting. I’ve not been able to get it more than 6 steeps gong fu as it lost strength after steep 5, and it begins to really lose lustre after steep 3 western. I’d easily rate this 96, but the fading quality puts it at a 90 for me. Definitely my favorite black of the collection I got so far.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Caramelized Sugar, Cherry, Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Papaya, Plum, Raisins, Sweet, Tropical Fruit, Wood


Glad you enjoyed it! I also thought it was good, though probably closer to an 80 than a 90. I got cocoa, sweetness, some bitterness, faint florals, and that funnel cake/pastry note you mentioned, though no cherry that I can recall.

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I’m really loving this one, and surprisingly more than some of the higher elevation teas I have on hand. I used the entirety of the sample, so I’m guessing six grams or more. I’m taking some quick notes, but here I’ve got after beginning with a 15 sec rinse I drank, and steeps hovering between 10-25 seconds for the first six brews and subsequent longer minute based steeps:

Macadamia, milk, macadamia milk, coconut milk, butter, light popcorn, custard, vanilla, almond milk, fruity hints, deeply creamy viscous texture, florals, maybe plumeria, some grassiness, and some sort of yellow and white flower I’m visualising but can’t name. I knew this was up my alley, but it was so balanced and full in texture and flavor. I’ll come back and write more.

And looking at the notes of others, I’m getting the daffodil floral heavily and some hints of peach and pear moreso mid session. Later steeps lean into a cooling herbal effect like rosemary. Easily one of my favorites from the sampler so far other than Bok’s Lishan. Thank you Leafhopper!

Flavors: Almond, Butter, Creamy, Custard, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Herbaceous, Macadamia, Milk, Narcissus, Nutty, Peach, Pear, Plumeria, Popcorn, Rosemary, Vanilla

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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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


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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