492 Tasting Notes

drank Night Time by Pukka
492 tasting notes

You know the rule with valerian. Don’t do it. Do not smell the dry bag.

Pukka managed to gloss over the foul-footed valerian with a thick, sweet varnish of licorice. It’s tolerable for me, that licorice. Medium intensity. Some oatstraw creaminess floats around. Chamomile is there I guess, demure as it usually is. Lavender wafts in mid-mouth and lingers lightly with licorice into the finish. It’s certainly not a lavender-forward blend. Can’t speak for the tulsi and limeflower.

It puts me to sleep but it’s not soothing for me. It’s something I have to gulp down.


Boiling 8 min or more 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I worked my way through a 25g pouch within a few weeks, which, to me, attests to a tea’s daily drinkability.

Leafhopper has great descriptions for the flavors present in the 2019 harvest, so this note is pretty much an echo. I found the flavor notes to also be present in the aroma with no additions. Orange blossom dominates the high note which hits instantly, followed by a rich, well balanced mix of honey, orange zest, autumn leaf, muscatel, a sappy quality and faint butter and almond. Some earthiness and a hint of chocolate provide a delicate grounding for those substantial, rounded mid-notes. Nothing about this tea runs away from me. I really appreciate that the honey doesn’t dominate, especially in sweetness.

The leaf does well brewed at a range of times with water off-boiling. A longer initial infusion can produce some astringency but not so much that I feel it detracts from a good morning sip.

Thanks for sourcing another satisfying Rohini tea, What-Cha.

Flavors: Almond, Autumn Leaf Pile, Butter, Chocolate, Earth, Floral, Honey, Muscatel, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Sap, Smooth

205 °F / 96 °C 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Tawantin Black Tea by Inca Tea
492 tasting notes

Gift from ashmanra.

A blend of black teas with purple corn in a sachet.

Brewed in 8oz at 205F for 4 minutes.

It was death, the blackest black I’d ever seen. I drank it anyway. Dense malt with some cocoa, a little spicy, hints of purple corn, bitter, metallic. STRONK. I was like why tf does this taste way overbrewed? It’s full leaf tea not fannings. I turned my head toward the sachet sitting on the lid to my cup and was like OH. It was almost bursting at the seems with leaf. Enough for a large pot, too much for a mere cup. But there was no turning back. I had written my fate in the devil’s ink. What laid in store was hours of misery as I battled caffeine sickness.

Dummy got owned by some frilly sounding word for teabag.

Mastress Alita

Sometimes we need a STRONK cup to test us.


You made me snort laugh! It was MOST unladylike!

Stronk is now added to my vocabulary! But I am so sorry you got beaten up by the tea.

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Wow, this is a delicious tea. Leafhopper and eastkyteaguy captured its essence with ease so I feel like this tasting note is redundant.

The tea is incredibly clean and has a satisfying full body edging into creaminess with a tangy citrus quality in the finish. Wonderful aroma. As for the taste — dried tangy apricot and citrus/zest fruitiness, orange blossom, rose and dandelion florals, roasted almond nuttiness and cream abound. Straw and grass, wood, malt, hints of pungency like green bell pepper and curry leaf. Tinges of both spice and spearmint cooling in the back of the mouth. Two infusions.

Substantial, light and refreshing. A beautiful tea!

Song pairing: Stone Temple Pilots — Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Citrus Zest, Citrusy, Cream, Creamy, Dandelion, Floral, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Herbs, Malt, Nutty, Orange Blossom, Rose, Salt, Smooth, Spearmint, Spicy, Straw, Tangy, Thick, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

No tasting note is redundant. :D

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Daily drinker that seems impossible to screw up. This tea is thick and so soft. It glides across the tongue smoothly. Sweet and round. Aromas and tastes of cocoa and vanilla (smells like powdered brownie mix), a slight brown toast sharpness, a soft undertone of black raspberry jam, and very light malt and wood, soft minerality. Tastes so much like a Taiwanese Assam, hm. It’s very twiggy — twiggy sweetness. Doesn’t seem very caffeinating.

After running through a 25g bag, I was never left with a strong impression. A rating of 75 seems appropriate for my likes but I can see some people really enjoying this tea.

Brewed western 3tsp to 8oz, water off boiling, 2-3 steeps. Last a good while gongfu, too.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Brown Toast, Cocoa, Jam, Malt, Mineral, Nectar, Raspberry, Round , Smooth, Vanilla, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I’m just trying this tea now and was wondering if you had tried it gongfu. I’m three steeps in, and something truly strange is happening with this tea. The menthol and berry notes one would get out of a Taiwanese Yu Chi Assam or Wild Mountain Black are popping right now, and the aftertaste just keeps getting stronger. It’s like a big hit of fruit and mint on the front end followed by tons of malt, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, chocolate, roasted nuts, and sweet potato. It’s bizarre, but I can’t say it’s unpleasant. Did you ever get anything like that? Maybe it’s just the way I’m brewing it.

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Silly me ordered this even though I don’t enjoy a lot of honey-forward teas. And I’m not the biggest fan of dancong oolong. And when smelling the leaf every month trying to decide if I was in the mood, I was always left with this overwhelmingly rich and roasty honey impression that never coaxed my desires.

A stupid sense of longing arose within me today, that softie romanticism that could not be fulfilled. I again sniffed the leaves in their jar, maybe for the twentieth time. I reached for my saxophone, began to play. Another sniff of the leaf and this time, without hesitation, I measured 8 grams into my clay gaiwan. My cat, asleep on the bed, raised her head and gave me a leering glance. She’d had enough of my poor pressure control and the resulting off-key vibrations. She bellowed a deep and dissatisfied howl, stating her perturbance with my dissonant disturbance. She sauntered to the living room and sat on the chaise like the princess she is with her back turned to my door. Can I blame her? I’m going through spooning withdrawals, sorry.

I was weak and tired today and in my weariness, I committed a few follies at my tea table. Mistakes? No. Learning the boundaries of the leaf. One boundary is not letting a long hand brew the leaf. What was supposed to be five seconds for the first steep got away from me and turned into twenty. And while it was fine, I continued with forgetful infusions which did not do the brew any favors. The other limitation of this tea is that it’s green under the roast, as became clear by the third steep. Water right off the boil really brings out a full-mouthed drying quality. Not a sharp astringency, but when combined with seasonally low October humidity and a sunken sob playing her instrument, well, it was time to put away the brass. My cat is still snubbing me.

Other than that, this tea is not remarkable but it is comforting and pleasant, more than I wanted to give the dry leaf credit for. It’s like nourishing nectar coursing through my veins, at least that’s the way it made me feel. More floral and light than the dragging heaviness and soggy, sickly sweetness I usually experience from dancong. Besides the way the tea flows through my body and mind, its strength lies in the finish and aftertaste with the softest fuzzy white peach mixed with lychee. Yes.

Next time I will brew it with lower temperature before deciding if the leaf is as finicky as my cat’s preference for her water source — the bathtub faucet at a specific flow rate. Princess.

Edited to add a song pairing: Zero 7 — Somersault

Flavors: Almond, Bitter, Brown Sugar, Cherry, Drying, Floral, Grain, Honey, Lychee, Mineral, Nectar, Peach, Roasted Barley, Sugar, Sweet, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Mastress Alita

They are all princesses, and we are their lowly chambermaids.


I do that all the time too but with jasmine, rose and a few other flavors, I don’t particularly enjoy. >.<

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drank Psychocandy by August Uncommon Tea
492 tasting notes

A pleasant gift from Mastress Alita.

I haven’t had rooibos since early this year in the winter. It’s Halloween eve and I’m lounging around in a drawn-on moustache (I’ll be genderbending as Gomez Addams at work tomorrow. We have the whole Family), so I made a pot of Psychocandy for the house tonight. All 14 grams in a 1000mL teapot. Steeped with boiling and forgotten about.

So the dry leaf smells rich like butterscotch with medicinal rooibos but the medicinal aspect does not come through in taste at all. Woohoo! That aroma! Rich but a little hollow buttery caramel-butterscotch, vanilla milk and something darker — that rooibos aroma. I let the tea cool a bit and the caramel-blackberry leaf sweetness really comes out on the sip followed by the dark red rooibos and a bit of apple tang that hangs out after the swallow. Pumpkin is always a difficult flavor to pin down in food and drink but I think it’s there. What else… something reminiscent of the scorched sugar topping of crème brûlée. Long butterSCOTCH flavoring aftertaste. Later, there’s some dryness in the throat.

I couldn’t see myself drinking this often because it’s so sweet but the flavor is just awesome. As far as flavored tisanes go, this is bumpin’.

Happy Halloween tomorrow!

Flavors: Apple, Burnt Sugar, Butter, Butterscotch, Caramel, Medicinal, Milk, Pumpkin, Rooibos, Sweet, Tangy, Vanilla, Whiskey

Boiling 8 min or more 14 tsp 34 OZ / 1000 ML
Mastress Alita

I should really try it myself, sounds really nice!


Why not have a cup tonight?

Mastress Alita

I’m drinking (my last!) cup of Rooibos Chocolate Chai, so I’ve already brewed my nightly herbal, but I definitely can make it a thing tomorrow!

Martin Bednář

Sounds lovely! And happy to see you around again. I was bit afraid because of wildfire.


Martin, we were lucky here. Our house was spared the power outages and mandatory evacuations so we hosted family and friends that weren’t so fortunate. It was/still is a very stressful week for hundreds of thousands of people.

Mastress Alita

Todd was once again in the blackout zone. :-( He didn’t have power at his house from last Sunday through Tuesday, if I remember right.

Martin Bednář

Happy to hear derk :) I would do similar if I were in your situation, helping others. I hope it will be better soon for everyone!

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A swap from Togo, thank you.

Split the 5g between a 3g/60mL gaiwan session and a 2g western brew. There’s a reason this is Gong Fu tea.

Delicious and aromatic. Smooth medium body with oiliness, very fragrant in the mouth. Long creamy finish followed by awesome throatfeel and camphor cooling deep in the chest. Salivation and both top and sides of tongue tingle. Happy-dopey energy.

Dry leaf aroma is dark and red, like cherrywood tobacco, dark chocolate, petrichor. Warmed leaf has strong notes of chocolate syrup, wood, cherry, osmanthus and baked bread.

In the nose — bright and creamy, cocoa, vanilla, baby powder scent later turns to raspberry and tobacco.

In the mouth — mineral sweetness on sip, followed by tobacco base note with citrus, cream, cherry, pomegranate, baked bread, camphor. Mineral cleansing. Aftertaste of osmanthus-apricot, orange-like citrus and cream. Tobacco becomes stronger in later infusions and ends with a complement of light smoke.

No bitterness and light astringency only toward the end of the 9-steep session. If it had greater longevity, no doubt I’d rate this 95+. Such a nice autumn weather tea. Bright and uplifting but not heavy despite darker notes in the flavor profile.

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Camphor, Cherry, Cherry Wood, Chocolate, Citrus, Cocoa, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Forest Floor, Mineral, Osmanthus, petrichor, Pine, Raspberry, Smoke, Smooth, Tobacco, Vanilla, Wet Rocks, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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drank Tilleul Tisane by Esprit Provence
492 tasting notes

From a resort company? in France — sachets in a cute tin with a door on the front — not good for retaining freshness.

Tastes more pungent-herbal and less sweet than other linden tisanes. Decent body and aroma.

It’s aight. I like 2 sachets in 10oz.

Flavors: Flowers, Herbs, Nectar

Boiling 8 min or more 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Short backstory to this tea:

Steepster members Todd and Mastress Alita met with me at the San Francisco Tea Festival last year (last year!). We took home samples of this sencha. When I decided to brew it at home, an explosion of rotten canned cat food occurred, ruining the sachet that was sitting on the counter and creating quite the foul atmosphere.

Nearly one year later (one year later!), Mastress Alita, recalling the mishap, sent me a new sample that she acquired at the Portland Tea Fest. Thank you! <3

Brewed according to the directions: Let 3oz of boiling water cool for 3min, steep for 60s.
Smooth and thick with sweet vegetal asparagus and secondary notes of bitter almond, sugar cookie, anise and earth.

I don’t have much experience with sencha but I really enjoyed this tea. It’s not grassy like other sencha I’ve had and has a much more substantial body that gets thicker in subsequent, hotter infusions. No astringency. Nice, light lingering bitterness and a returning sweetness deep in the throat. Six 3oz infusions from one sachet.

Flavors: Almond, Anise, Asparagus, Bitter, Cookie, Earth, Smooth, Sweet, Vegetal

1 min, 0 sec 3 OZ / 88 ML
Mastress Alita

Those flavor notes sound much nicer than cat food.


Agreed. I think the rotten cat food might have nixed this tea for me permanently.


I loved it too, hope it’s available soon.

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Always up for a trade. I keep an updated cupboard. Check it out. Don’t be shy — message me if you want to try something! I send international :)

Most enjoyment:

Wuyi and Taiwanese oolong, GABA oolong, sheng and shou puerh, Yunnan and Wuyi blacks, Laoshan green. I also appreciate Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Darjeeling and Nepali teas, bagged tea and herbal teas/tisanes.

I take my teas without milks or sweeteners except sometimes chai and the rare London Fog or matcha latte. I generally steep a tea until it has no more to give.

I’ll try anything once because it helps me learn. Not opposed to well placed herbs, flowers, fruity bits and flavorings. Just nothing cloying especially banana, caramel, coconut, cinnamon or maple. And no added sugars, sweeteners, candy or chocolate.

Preference reference:

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time. If it’s a bagged or herbal tea, it’s of standout quality in comparison to similar items.
89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again. Some could be daily drinker teas.
79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.
69-60: Not necessarily a bad tea but one that I won’t buy again. Would have a cup if offered.
59-1: Lacking several elements, strangely clunky, possess off flavors/aroma/texture or something about it makes me not want to finish.
Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s puerh, I likely think it needs more age.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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