1018 Tasting Notes

drank Milk Oolong by Mandala Tea
1018 tasting notes

I should make more notes to reflect how much I drink this tea. I practically always have a cup on hand now, and my pouch is sadly beginning to run low. I do what I can to make it last, and sometimes stretch the leaves out over the course of a few days- with no ill effects so far! This oolong can go on for +6 steeps without losing any “oomph”, so it seems a waste to cut it short when the day ends.

At this point I definitely know this is the Scented Milk Oolong I want to stock all the time. If I just had this and What-Cha’s Sticky Rice Oolong in my cupboard I’d be content (but I’d also need a few puerhs, a good Chinese black, Silver Needle, Kenyan White Rhino, Matcha, Cream of Earl Grey, a Japanese Sencha…)

Steep count: 5

Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Mango, Milk

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Yes! Even I love this one.


I’ve decided that my truly favorite teas aren’t the ones I write about the most often or most descriptively—they’re the ones that cause me to say, “Good grief! My tin is nearly empty. How did that happen?”


That is good stuff! The only flavored tea that I’ve ever really liked, and I like it a lot.


I love how this one manages to appeal across the great straight/flavoured and black/green tea divides! ;)


And I think you’re on to something, gmathis! It’s surely true when it comes to teas I like to re-steep a lot; I tend to write tea notes after I’m done with a session and I don’t like to halt re-steeping my favourite teas, which means less tea notes of favourites!

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While I was steeping (and sniffing) this baby, I thought I was going to have to go over how Roasted Oolongs don’t seem to work for me again. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when that overdone roasted aroma turned into a creamy cup of nuts and barley, with fruity and floral accents.

At first, I feared that the cream and nut notes were residue flavours from the cup’s previous resident (Coconut Carrot Cashew- It’s Operation Sipdown and I’m running this ship like a dirty fastfood joint). It appears these flavours are this tea’s own, however!

I still vastly prefer green oolongs, but this makes me less hesitant to try the roasted fellows. Teavivre Dong Ding Oolongs appear to be a win for me too!

Steep Count: 2

Flavors: Apple, Cream, Floral, Hay, Honeydew, Melon, Roasted Barley, Roasted Nuts

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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I’m implementing Operation Sipdown because, omg, Black Friday sales. Everyone around me is currently being offered cups and cups of different teas; you’d think they’d be more ecstatic.

Since it’s already by the kettle and is almost gone, this is priority No. 1. It always seems the teas easiest to finish off are the ones I don’t actually want to finish off (hoarding!). The ever-present fear of coconut rotting propels me, but still!

Flavors: Carrot, Coconut, Malt, Nuts

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

I am in the same boat. Operation Sipdown is go!


Now I’m hoping the shipping takes longer so I can get to 30 teas (from 60) before all the parcels arrive. What was I thinking!?

Good luck on your Operation too! :)

Evol Ving Ness

hahahha, yeah, I’ve had that what was I thinking feeling more than once. I’ve started calculating how many cups it is humanly possible to drink in a week, a month, a year compared to how many are gathering dust here. It’s not looking good. It’s nice to have choices but wow.

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I went through quite a bit of this today using both western and short steep methods. I have to say I think I may prefer the western, which resulted in a sweeter, less marine cup, but both were pleasant! I don’t know how this ended up as the last of my free samples from Teavivre; it’s probably my favourite of them all! Both of my parents (including my exclusively Red Rose-drinking father) enjoyed drinking this smooth and vibrant green tea, which is incredibly novel.

Thank you again, Teavivre, for the lovely samples. I can’t believe they’ve lasted this long.

Steep Count: 3

(2017 spring harvest)

Flavors: Beany, Butter, Peas, Seaweed, Sweet

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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This was the bride-to-be’s favourite at the wedding shower I supplied teas for. I’m glad because that meant we worked through a lot of it; there’s no point in hoarding coconut blends!

It was also my sister’s (a bridesmaid) second favourite, after the China Yunnan Simao Pure Bud Golden Snail Black from What-Cha, which was a crowd favourite as well after it was dubbed “a tea that has a fancy name but still tastes like tea.” Apparently people were intimidated at first by the Snail until they realized it tastes like a fancy version of their usual fare, after the addition of milk and sugar (snobbishly crying inside this whole event).

Someone also supplied a Milk Oolong from David’s Tea- the name of which also initially scared and confused people, until I explained they should treat it like a green tea (no milk or sugar). Everyone knew what honeybush was though (popular too), so silver linings!

Flavors: Carrot, Coconut, Nuts

Evol Ving Ness

(snobbishly crying inside this whole event)

hahhahaha, tea fanaticism ruins one forever.

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This is one of the samples The Teaguy sent me ages ago. My mom, in particular, appreciates this one greatly. She loves jasmine greens the most out of everyone here. She rates this 100.

The suggested steeping parameters are perfect and made up a silky-smooth floral cup, with jasmine and lilac notes that are distinctive yet don’t overpower the palate. I thought it was overdone when I saw the dark yellow-green colour of the broth, but nope! All is good.

I have this weird thing where I find jasmine greens subtly “salty”, and this one is not an exception. It didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the cup though, hot or cold. Will hold off on rating it though until I’ve gone through more of the package.

Thanks again, Teaguy!

Edit: Smoke note is subtle, but I pick it up more when I allow my cup to cool. My mother, who vehemently hates smoke tea, doesn’t appear to notice it though, so we will keep this between you and me, Steepsterites!

Flavors: Floral, Jasmine, Smoke, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML

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I was showing some teas to my sister (Red Rose aficionado) for her upcoming bridal shower tea party, and she decided she liked this one very much. The snails have charm- which is too bad for me because it means I must do without them for a few days. These are the sacrifices sisters make for each other.

The upside is I found out that this is surprisingly tasty with milk (my sister must have milk in her tea or it isn’t tea, apparently).

(2017 spring harvest)

Flavors: Cocoa, Malt

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Some people may say this is starting to fade but I’d like think that the potato and apple pieces are aging nicely. Those two ingredients and the spices are still full, if a little cider-like (pleasantly sour and bubbly), but the buttery Huangshan Mao Feng base is getting quite flat. The green leaves are pitiable to look at (browny-green and thin).

Although it hurts me to part ways with my remaining two Butiki blends, my goal is to drink the remaining 50g of this by the end of the season, while it still retains some of it’s magic and remains on the pleasant side of the spiced apple cider vodka spectrum.

Flavors: Apple, Butter, Cinnamon, Potato

180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Drinking this one again, after ripping myself away from my Thailand Sticky Rice binge. I finally came up with an arbitrary rating but it will likely change with time. Also, it smells like Turkish Delights, and second steep is always better than the first steep (duh).

The pink packet it comes in is nice too, and I like it.

That’s my Deep Thought tea note for today (I drank tea!).

Steep Count: 4

(2017 summer harvest)

Flavors: Cream, Rose

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 1 OZ / 29 ML

Ooh, sounds heavenly. I shall wishlist the hell out of this one, thanks!

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I’m in a pretty volatile place, as far as black teas go. Practically none of them are working for me right now, yet I crave them at this time of the year. I’ve become largely indifferent to the cocoa-malt profiles of a lot of the Chinese varieties and Assam’s astringent raisins.

This is one of the very few exceptions to my current apathy. I don’t know why, since it’s one of those aforementioned Chinese cocoa-malt teas, but there is just something about it that takes me in. It’s possibly the powdered sugar aroma it exudes while steeping, or perhaps it’s the lovely dichotomy of rich, deep notes with the smooth, light quality of the “broth.” I don’t know. until I find the motivation to rebuild my black tea palate I’m going to desperately cling to it though.

Running out of this, along with the Thailand Sticky Rice Oolong, had me reordering from What-Cha a lot sooner than I had planned; I wasn’t going to bother until I ran out of the Kenyan White Rhino too, but these two teas somehow snuck up on me and became an essential part of my routine.

Steep Count: 4

(2017 spring harvest)

Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Powdered Sugar, Sweet Potatoes

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 1 OZ / 29 ML

Damnit, CrowKettle, looks like I’m going to have to cave and order from them sometime too with your fabulous reviews.


I 100% recommend What-Cha; it can get expensive(GBP) but if you’re looking for straight teas, Alistair carries some truly unique ones. But before you take my word on it, I can send some samples to try out first. :)

Evol Ving Ness

CrowKettle, your tea descriptions are positively intoxicating. Seriously.
Sorry that you are off black teas at the moment. To me, that seems like a sad thing as I
derive so much joy from them lately. Though I can be fickle—going to swatches of black to swatches of oolong and then back again. That seems to be the pattern lately, with the occasional green or white.

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I started my Steepster loose leaf adventure back in 2012. I can’t say I’m completely new anymore, but I still view oolong as a magical, extraterrestrial creature that unfurls in water.

Favourite Flavours/Ingredients:

-Vanilla, Maple, Caramel, Cream, Toffee, Nougat, Marzipan
-All Citrus: Lime, Grapefruit, Lemon, Bergamot, Orange, Yuzu
-Anise, but not licorice
-Ginger or Clove-forward chai
-Grass/Marine/Vegetal/Nutty Green teas
-Florals: Rose, Lavender, Jasmine…
-Musky and/or Woody Incense-like stuff: Sandalwood, Frankincense, Eucalyptus
-Berries: Blackberry, Raspberry, Currants, Blueberry, Elderberry
-Bananas, and most fruits actually.

Less Preferred Flavours/Ingredients:

-Stevia and most sweetners
-Cinnamon-forward chai/blends
-Apple & Cranberries
-Mango pieces (love mango outside of tea though)
-Coconut pieces (as a sub/filler ingredient)
-Metallic or overly artificial teas
-Cocoa Nibs, 95% of the time.

Subjective Rating System 3.0:

90-100: My absolute favourite tea. I’ll impulsively buy in large quantities and hoard like a dragon.

85-89: A favourite tea. I’ll try to keep this one around when it’s practical.

76-84: A good tea, but not one I’m likely to order again.

70-75: Alright, but I may have a few problems with quality, consistency, ingredient chemistry and/or personal preferences.

50-69: Average to mediocre cup.

11-49: Varying levels of undrinkable tea. I don’t give a lot of these ratings out, since I tend to grab tea I know will appeal to me.

1-10: Nightmare tea from the chaos realms. This tea is the embodiment of the primordial swamp, the unholy abomination that is a chimera. It’s very gross and I’m almost positive it doesn’t exist.


BC, Canada

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