Gongfu Sipdown (639)!

Discovery Tea Box – Tea Fifteen

Well we’ve come to the final tea that I pulled out of the Discovery Tea Box, and the box has long since left my house so this is sort of the official end to my experience with the box. It’s always really great getting to participate in a travelling tea box; it just fills you with a great sense of community and even if you don’t love every tea you experience it’s just very unique getting to so quickly expose yourself to so many unfamiliar teas or tea companies…

This was one of two Yunnan Sourcing teas I pulled; the other was the snow chrysanthemum black tea. I haven’t had a ton of exposure to YS teas and, up until the aforementioned black tea blend, I’ve never been blown away by one of their offerings. I get that they’re really popular not just here on Steepster but just in general – I’ve just always had better success from different companies. It’s that whole idea that whoever curates the selection of teas for a specific tea shop (Scott for YS, 2Dog for W2T, etc) has their own taste preferences so even when they’re trying to carry things that are diverse/different than their usual offerings it’s probably at least A LITTLE bit tainted by personal preference. I believe that there’s definitely some truth to that, and at least of the teas I’ve been exposed to from YS I’d argue that Scott and I probably have different taste preferences. If that makes sense!? As far as “general shop tastes” go, I tend to have relatively agreeable taste preferences to W2T (especially with Shou), and to BLT (with Shou/black tea specifically). Still trying to figure out what shop my sheng/oolong preferences lean more towards – but that’s its whole other side tangent of a conversation.

As for this shou in particular: I steeped this one a grand total of nine times not counting my initial rinse, which honestly probably should have been longer than the ten seconds I gave it. My first cup of tea was pretty funky…

Other than my ninth and final steep, I stacked my infusions in a very large teacup two at a time. And, I mean a really big teacup since it held two 150ml infusions comfortably with leftover ‘wiggle room’. Like I said, my first stacked cup of tea was fairly funky but not terrible. It was really savory/umami with sort of this “salted earth” kind of taste to it. After that stacked cup, the profile felt much more balanced. Even though it was balanced, though, I think this is yet another example of a YS pu’erh option that isn’t bad but that definitely doesn’t line up with my preferred profile. I’d describe the overall notes of the sessions as very umami leaning and “broth like” with things like cured meats, mushrooms, smoke, and dry wood being the primary flavours. Definitely not a lot of sweetness, and lacking a lot of the ‘wet’ flavours that I personally really enjoy.

Again – not a bad tea by any means and quite smooth for the flavours present; it’s just not my thing overly speaking. I’d recommend it though for anyone who doesn’t like shou with more of those wet, dank kind of notes. Plus, I 100% don’t regret trying it because it was still a REALLY good learning experience for me.

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/BnhtR75HvXL/?taken-by=ros_strange

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My name is Kelly. I’m a twenty something tea drinker and reviewer originally from the prairies, but recently relocated to Quebec. I was introduced to DAVIDsTEA and started drinking tea fairly casually about six years ago. At some point, that casual hobby became an ingrained part of my daily life; I became a part of a greater community, incorporated tea into my daily routine, and it became my career.

You know you’ve got it bad when you get your hobby tattooed to your arm.

I’m a TAC certified Tea Sommelier!

I drink a balance of flavoured tea and straight/traditional teas – in all formats. I prefer to have a wide, and general knowledge over many types of teas and catagories rather than focus on any one specific tea: a jack of all teas, master of none. Loose, bagged, matcha, Western style, iced, latted, Gongfu…

You name it, I probably drink it.

In that vein, I’ll drink just about any type of tea – the only ones I have a particularly strong distaste for are green teas and Chai, with some exceptions of course. I have a weird relationship with Sheng pu’erh, but have been gradually increasing the amount of it I consume – currently I have a particular fascination with Yiwu Sheng. Other types of tea that I greatly enjoy are Yancha and other dark, heavily oxidized or roasted oolongs, most shou, black tea, and compressed/aged white teas. I’ll absolutely try anything once though; and I like to have an open mind and explore lots of tea types, even if I have reservations. I’ll probably never leave that “exploratory” phase…

Usually I drink my tea straight, but I’m not opposed to additions if I’m in the right mood. If I ever add something to a tea, I will ALWAYS call it out in the tasting note though. If I’ve not mentioned an addition, you’re safe to assume it’s been prepared straight up.

I like to listen to music when drinking tea, especially when I’m brewing a large pot at a time or steeping Gongfu. Often I curate very intentional tea and music pairings, and sometimes I share them here in my tasting reviews. Music is something that I find can deeply affect the experience of having tea.

Favourite flavour notes/ingredients: Pear, lychee, cranberry, cream, melon, pineapple, malt, roasty, petrichor, sweet potato, heady florals like rose, walnut, sesame, honey (in moderation), and very woody shou.

Least favourite flavour notes/ingredients:
Lemongrass, ginger, strong Chai spice profiles, mushrooms, seaweed, chamomile, artificial tasting mango or peach, stevia, saltiness, or anything that reminds me too much of meat that isn’t supposed to taste like meat…

Currently exploring/obsessed with: Sheng from Yiwu, Yancha (Qilan in particular), anything with a strong sweet potato note. Also, I need to try ALL the root beer teas! Searching for a really good caramel flavoured blend, ideally with a black tea base.

Tea Pet Reference Guide:

Clay Pixiu Dragons: Zak & Wheezie
Clay Goldfish: Dot
Clay Monkey: Enzo
Jade Pixiu Dragon: Whitaker
Ruyao Carp: Splashy
Ruyao Dragon: Pablo
Ruyao Frog: Bebe
Sculpted Pig: Nelly
Sculpted Tuxedo Cat: Pekoe
Sculpted Tabby Cat: Marmalade
Ceramic Rabbit: Rupert
Ceramic Stringray: Irwin
Ceramic Horse: Bergamot
Ceramic Snail: Snicket
Ceramic Cat: Saffron
Wood Fired Man: Leopold
Brass Mouse: Stilton

Currently I’m employed in the tea department of the DAVIDsTEA head office. While I’m still sharing my own personal thoughts on new & existing DAVIDsTEA blends, I am no longer numerically rating them due to the obvious conflict of interest. Any comments expressed are a reflection of my own thoughts and opinions, and do not reflect the thoughts and opinions of the company. Any DAVIDsTEA blends you currently see with a numeric score were reviewed prior to my being hired there and have not been adjusted since becoming a DAVIDsTEA employee.


Montreal, QC, CA



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