543 Tasting Notes

Holy crap I love this tea. It fits me like a good pair of pants.

Summer 2018 harvest, gongfu.

The fragrance and the way it carries into the mouth and lingers is on point. A caramel sweetness is suspended loftily by intense creamy white floral perfume maybe with orange blossom, the kind of heady scent that relaxes you. The deeper notes of the tea are distinctly sandalwood, nuts, musk and banana leaf. Great body with mineral brightness and salivation. Later, a succulent white peach aftertaste develops as the strength of the florals subsides. The finished cup smells so strong and sweet. Initial violet floral bitterness and vegetal-woody astringency grow ever stronger with each steep, eventually numbing the tongue. While I find those qualities to add depth to the experience, if there is one thing to turn others away, it’s the combination of growing bitterness and astringency. That and the low brewing temperature, which is a necessity. And the price. And the lack of availability. Shucks.

I wonder why it’s called Moondrops.

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Watery lemon and ginger and little licorice and turmeric. It wasn’t bad, just super watery for steeping 1 bag in a mug for 15 minutes. Why so weak? The bag smelled so promising.

Boiling 8 min or more 8 OZ / 236 ML

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March 2019 harvest.

The best morning/afternoon Assam I’ve ever had. Very complex and layered taste and mouthfeel yet approachable due to a distinct lack of bitterness, very light astringency and an inviting aroma. Savory and mineral backbone with plenty of berry tones and a lemony taste that zings. Emergent menthol. The leaves are alive and have plenty to give.

I would serve this to anybody entering my home.

Not for small pocketbooks but well worth a try! It’s very forgiving :)


Agreed on all points. I’m hoarding my remaining 20 g.


I gave away my last teaspoon or two. The rest of it I blew through like an addict. You are stronger than me!


LOL, that was generous! I nearly made a What-Cha order just to get more of this tea and the Rohini Second Flush Darjeeling. I’ll probably repurchase both of them if they’re still available in a few months.


It’s on sale right now whyyyyyy


Argh! That’s dangerous! I need to remind myself that I’ve acquired 38 teas in the past couple months and I don’t need more! The current Taiwan Tea Crafts sale is also making me waver.


I’ve been on an anti-hoarding mission since my last What-Cha order in 2019. I wish you the strength to not succumb to TTC but sipping vicariously through you is always welcome ;)


Thanks! The struggle is real. I’ve been enjoying your recent adventures with tisanes, although most of them seem better to read about than to drink.

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Choking down a cup of a flavor combo I detest — lemongrass strong enough to make me snarl in disgust and licorice root. They overpower everything else except for a hint-o-mint. EuuUGUGHGH.

Too bad. The dry bag smelled lovely with a good hit of sage.

Why do I do this to myself.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

Why DO you do it, derk?!


¡¿yo no sé porque?!

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Back to back Flapjacks, this time a shou cookie instead of a sheng wafer. Brought to my cupboard by Kawaii433.

My experience was strikingly similar to BrewWhatThouWilt’s, who gave this tea more justice than I could: https://steepster.com/BrewWhatThouWilt/posts/388193#likes

Dry cookie smells like brownies with walnuts, caramel, mushroom, grain.

Good body and initially oily. Savory — so much walnut, brown mushroom broth, cooked grains, rainforest floor, wet wood. Thin mineral sweetness, light bitterness. Nutritional yeast and slight wet pile show up when it starts thinning out. The aroma is similar but I also pick up on hints of spearmint, coriander seed-citrus and spicy wood.

Kind, good quality shou for anybody who doesn’t mind the lack of overt sweetness or even prefers such.

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 6 OZ / 190 ML

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drank 2018 Flapjacks Raw Puer by White2Tea
543 tasting notes

Teafriend tea! From the lovely Kawaii433.

The most striking aspect of this sheng is the liquor color. I love when the tea soup has a tinge of pink that reminds me of champagne. It’s Initially oily and sweet with honey butter and syrup, nuttiness, some nondescript florality, green bean-grass undertones and a metallic quality. Citrus surprise in third steep like white pomelo. Rough tongue astringency is there along with bitterness which presents by the second steep and later lingers superficially on the back of the tongue, tonsils and throat. Peach-osmanthus aftertaste presents early and is very short-lived.

Overall, this tea has a standard young sheng profile. Probably good for people new to puerh but even then I’m apprehensive about recommending it in its current state. Maybe give this one some age and approach it as a daily drinker in the future.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Butter, Citrus, Flowers, Grass, Green Beans, Honey, Metallic, Nutty, Osmanthus, Pancake Syrup, Peach, Sweet

Boiling 6 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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drank 2017 SWINEDOG 76 by White2Tea
543 tasting notes

Used up the last of my sample today with the thermos stew treatment, 4g for 20oz with water off boiling.

Fuuuuug, this tea ruined me at work. I was a dope for a few hours. Strangely, the cha qi of this sheng has been consistent throughout all samplings, which have occurred in different settings and mind states. That’s not the case for most sheng I’ve had.

Penetrating bitterness, those pungent herbs, lavender?, apricot-osmanthus, and hints of smoked meat suspended in a thick and oily sweet creamed honey-nectar-white chocolate? matrix. I loved the tea stew, but not as a work beverage. For one, it’s a raw green punch to the gut that causes some intestinal upset when had without food. Another reason is the meditative and masculine-aggressive cha qi (the term is ba qi?) needs to be accepted and cultured in the confines of my bedroom (teacave). As experienced by my human female being, this tea is masculine intimacy to the extreme.

Cryptic, I know.
See: https://steepster.com/teas/white2tea/82972-2017-swinedog-76

Very much need to order another sample of Swinedog 76 for intense introspective body-mind occasions but ultimately I think this needs to be aged to avoid assault.

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drank Ruby Beach by Beach House Teas
543 tasting notes

Teafriend tea! Thank you, ashmanra :)

Repasting the ingredients for reference:
Organic Assam tea leaves, organic Pacific peppermint, organic spearmint, organic Washington cherries, organic lemon peel, organic black peppercorns, organic pure extracts

Used 1 heaping tsp to 8oz boiling, first steep 6 minutes, second for upward of ten.

This was a ridiculously smooth and bold blend. Well, the black tea was bold with good body. I think due to age, most of the other flavors like peppermint, spearmint (could smell in dry leaf), lemon peel (maybe brought some brightness) and peppercorns fell out. The cherry stuck around, though! So basically this tea was a dark and malty Assam base with a smooth and tangy dried cherry tone that often vied for first place. Solid morning brew that served as a vehicle for smooth, high caffeine delivery.

How many times can I say smooth? No jagged edges here.

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

Very glad you enjoyed it!

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drank Pure Camomile by Twinings
543 tasting notes

I’ve not had a chamomile like this before so that’s cool. Honeyed straw aroma. Tastes like straw with typical chamomile floral and, I swear, fleeting citrus and a cooling sensation. Aftertaste stronger than the flavor. There is a drawback — I can taste the paper teabag and in the aftertaste, too.

Song pairing, perhaps my first to a nighttime cuppa chamomile:
Prince — Controversy

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I cut open a bunch of bags to make a Christmas gift blend and noticed that the material inside is 100% chamomile petals. The aroma is assertive for a flower I generally find demure. Definitely more apple in taste than floral or haylike. Sweeter than expected but it does finish a tad drying. Leaves a lingering sweet pollen-fruity-floral aftertaste which is surprising!

This one’s pretty impressive as far as bagged chamomile goes.

Aside: My cupboard has finally reached sub-230 teas, the majority of which are puerh samples. I am excited about this.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

What did you blend the chamomile with?


Yes, inquiring minds want to know!


I honestly don’t remember everything in that blend, something like CS Sleepytime… chamomile, lemon balm, spearmint, lavender, hops, linden, a few more herbs I think might’ve been California native plants.

I made a few others. Nettle and rosehips; red clover and marshmallow root; linden and osmanthus.


(Visions from some young adult novel from a hundred years ago of a little bent-over granny puttering in her stillroom with the cat watching :) I love the notion of making your own for gift giving!


I’m intrigued by the red clover and marshmallow root!

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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, sheng puerh, Yunnan and Wuyi blacks, GABA oolong. 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, matcha latte and golden milk.

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

I abandoned both my preference reference and the recording of detailed steeping parameters in January 2020, favoring a focus on qualitative descriptions. At this point, I am still comfortable toggling the “Not/Recommended” button.

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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