258 Tasting Notes


Almost to the end of this tea. Probably about two sessions left. I picked this one out because it has been dreary and rainy for the last 5 days. A covenant has been broken. A new ark needs to be built. But a slightly smoky black tea is just what the doctor ordered for a rainy fall day.

I do have to say though that this is enjoyable because it is such a lightly smoked Lapsang. I mean, honestly, if someone brewed this for me and didn’t tell me what it was, I wouldn’t guess Lapsang. It mainly tastes like an earthy black tea. A delicious one at that. I had ordered two other teas (3 in total for those counting along at home) from Joseph Wesley and they all have been fantastic.

Flavors: Earth, Malt

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 6 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Well kids, today is National Coffee Day (so I’ve read). My wife is normally the bigger coffee drinker out of the two of us, mainly because all that caffeine doesn’t work for me as well. Since she has been gone, I wasn’t really feeling like making a pot to myself and it’s been raining enough to cause a flood warning so I didn’t want to go out specifically for a coffee.

Next best thing? A tea with a coffee element! And lo and behold I have this here tea in my arsenal. I liked this tea well enough the last time I drank it. I like it even more this time. It is a lighter tea, both in the color it brews up and in the taste. But the taste is really well done. A nutty, slightly smokey (not Lapsang smoke but more an earthy smoky of a Sumatra coffee) and very smooth flavor is produced. I did three steeps (2 minutes, 4 minutes, and 5 or 6 minutes) and each one was really consistent with the flavor.

Second time I’ve brewed this and it remains and unexpected but pleasant flavored tea.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 7 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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After discovering that I actually don’t dislike all white teas (thanks to a profound experience with a midnight white), I am now getting into silver needle tea. Which, admittedly, I like less than midnight whites. But they are now becoming enjoyable to me whereas before I drank white tea and assumed it was all a big trick and the joke was on me for buying a tea that tasted like the water I brewed it in.

So this tea… When I first poured the water over the dry leaf to steep it, it gave off a very weird dry/old grassy type scent? That is not completely accurate but my brain was not able to place exactly what it was but “dry/old grassy type scent” is in the arena. It wasn’t pleasant. But a funny thing happened. As I was down there sniffing over and over again, trying to place the scent, the scent changed on me. It opened up into a little more of a sweet, semi floral fragrance.

The first steep (1 min) yielded another oddity. The only two things I can think of while sipping is that it tastes like sweet corn and apple jacks. As gross as that combo sounds, this actually works to make a semi-sweet and silky liquor. Very interesting.

Subsequent steeps stay in this same vein, at least for the next 3. This is a tea that, with a limited experience with silver needles, has me intrigued for more.

Flavors: Apple, Corn Husk, Sweet

185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I used the rest of this tea for my book club. I used it to pair with the book Furiously Happy. I made a really strong pot of this brewing it Western style. It turned out tasting much like a strong coffee with hints of vanilla. Really really good. So, after that pot was gone and the meeting was winding down, I did a second steep. I put the water in the pot and then just put it in the refrigerator to steep overnight.

This was an excellent choice. This tea might be just as good or even better cold (if you’re into that sort of thing. And I am). It is something like a nitro brewed coffee when cold. Thick, dark, chocolate/vanilla flavors. Just a great tea.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 10 g 20 OZ / 591 ML
Super Starling!



Unfortunately I used the last of it for this review but I am not opposed to buying more.

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I am drinking this as a sample from the Puerh for Beginners TTB. I have been slow on trying the raw puerh’s from that box because of my stomach (Ulcerative Colitis) being in a rough spot over most of the winter and spring. But now, I am currently in a remission period so I am able to venture out into raws a little more.

I put my 4g sample into my 100 ml gaiwan but didn’t fill it up all the way due to a smaller amount of tea available. Set my kettle for 190F.

One rinse of about 5 seconds followed by a first steep of 15 seconds. Light straw color. Very light flavor… can’t quite place it yet as it seems a bit thin. Something is there though. Maybe a stone fruit note.

2nd steep, 15 seconds. Same color. Noticing a slight sweet note right along side an undertone of bitter. But not much. Almost not noticeable if you weren’t looking for it. I got a little drying effect as well. But there is a lingering sweetness after drinking.

3rd steep, 20 seconds. I think next steep I am going to make a steep jump in steep time. I keep getting a very similar flavor and mouth coating. It is not a bad thing but just fairly light and underhanded. Perhaps I am used to ripe and black tea with the over handed in your face flavor and this is just how raw puerh is supposed to be?

4th steep, 30 seconds. I am getting a little bit of a fruity floral after taste on this one though. It is pleasant.

I’m stepping away for a while now. There might be a slight stomach tinge that I am going to keep an eye on. Plus, I have things to go and do currently :)

To be continued!

Flavors: Bitter, Drying, Floral, Stonefruits, Sweet

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

Yeah… unfortunately my stomach didn’t react great. Hard to say if it was due to the tea or other factors though. Could be coincidental I suppose.

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Just gong fu’ed (?) this again this evening. A very nice, solid black tea. Nothing super grand but, when steeped right, is smooth and tasty.

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My daughter just started her first day of 4th grade today in a new school. The really cool thing about that is the school is a block from our house so we were able to walk her there and she will be able to walk home. Pretty neat and exciting.

To celebrate this event, I decided I needed a complex and possibly special tea. I chose this one. I was really torn on whether to gong fu or western brew this. I went with gong fu.

8g is more than I would normally use but there was a large pecan in there so I figured I should put a little more in to balance it out. The first steep went 30 seconds. I decided not to do a rinse because I didn’t want to wash out any of the flavors. The first steep is a light hazelnut brown. The liquid is slightly thin but creamy with hints of vanilla and… is that… raisins? Almost reminds me of a very light/faint custard. There is also hints of nut as well. Really good preview of what will hopefully come out more in the next few steeps.

Before the second steep (30 seconds) I put my nose in the leaves and the brewed liquid and took a sniff. The leaves smelled like a perfect blend of puerh and an earthy black tea. The liquid was a bit more puerh but with some vanilla notes. The flavor of the liquid on this steep is much more puerh with earthiness and a hint of vanilla.

3rd steep, 45 seconds The leaves are… woodsy. Wet wood is what comes to mind. Maybe like a vanilla oak. I’m not 100% sure but that is what popped in my mind. The liquid is a bit thinner so perhaps I should have upped that time but the good news is that it is smooth and more vanilla and nut has returned.

4th steep, 1 minute. Talk about your rookie mistakes. I didn’t see until after I poured the water from my electric kettle that it had shut off and the water was reading out at about 190 degrees. Weeellll… let’s see what happened, shall we? Interestingly, the black tea flavor seems to stand out a bit more alongside the vanilla and nut.

I’ll stop the review here because I need to attend to other things however, I can say that this is a fun and flavorful tea.

I actually am going to use it as one of my tea pairings for this months book club. We are reading Furiously Happy. It is a woman’s take on her different mental conditions by using humor. It has both very real and heartfelt entries and also very humorous entries. I think the Dark Kitchen Sink will go well with some of the darker sides of mental illness addressed in the book.

Flavors: Custard, Earth, Nuts, Raisins, Vanilla, Wet Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Super Starling!

Have you gotten to the end yet? Crying. Crying for days. I love her. The first book’s a little better, but I enjoyed both.


Not at the end yet. Almost half way through. I am mostly enjoying it so far.

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The smell in the package is heavenly french toast. Used two balls, per instructions, and received a nice cup of vanilla goodness. Re-steeped for about 5 minutes and had a pleasant, though less vanilla, cup.

Flavors: Vanilla

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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Interesting. This tastes kind of like a VERY light roasted peanut butter coffee with a hint of oolong. Or maybe it is light buttery oolong with a hint of roasted peanut butter. I can’t tell from sip to sip. There is a sort of intertwining rotating dance going on here and neither partner can decide who will lead. That is not a bad thing. You get different, albeit similar, flavors with each sip.

A very creative, unique, and fun tea.

Flavors: Butter, Coffee, Peanut

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 8 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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BRAVO, SIR. Bravo. 205 degrees for 3 minutes and I got a chocolate treat.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cream, Nutty, Sweet

7 g 14 OZ / 414 ML

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Michigander, Husband, father of three, lover of tea, books, nature, gardening, and passion. Stay at home dad currently. Previously a preschool teacher.

I have now completed some tea swaps and I am so totally up for swapping! What a cool way to connect with fellow tea lovers and try some new teas. My tea cupboard on here is woefully out of date though.

Black tea has been my go to tea for some time. Oolongs are good too but mainly roasty oolongs. I’m finding that there are some green and white teas (mostly Moonlight Whites) that impress me lately which they never used to do. I am getting into and developing a taste for Pu-erh. I have tried raw and my Ulcerative Colitis just can’t handle the roughness of it. So I stick to ripe Puerh. I am recently drinking more herbal tea or Rooibos especially STRONG ginger blends. I’m not too picky.

Some of my favorite places from which to purchase tea are Whispering Pines Tea Co, Verdant, A Quarter to Tea, Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co, Bitterleaf Tea, and Yunnan Sourcing.

Rating system:
90-100: Some of the best I’ve ever had. I’d be a fool not to keep it stocked as often as possible
80-89: A damn good tea. Not to be missed
70-79: A good tea but lacks the wow factor. More than likely a simple tea that could be an every day option
60-69: Eh. This is okay. Not swill by any means but fairly underwhelming.
50-59: Not really doing it for me. I’ll finish it but please don’t bring me any more.
Below 50: Life is too short to waste on things such as this


Lansing, Michigan

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