9 Tasting Notes


Dry leaves are large, dense, and tightly formed. They smell of gentle charcoal baking; sweet, light, and fruity. The darker green you would expect from a “light roast” is perfectly realized in the raw leaves. Once rinsed leaves smell of fresh orchird. Picking standard is three leaves, which grow very dark after steeping.

In the first steepings, you are met with a light yellow-green liquor. The taste is woody with gentle pear and apple notes. In later steepings, orange and hidden melon flavors sneak out in a thick golden orange soup. A fullness in the mouth and lingering fruity sweetness is felt throughout the impressive 15 or 20 steepings possible with the leaves.

However, don’t let this tea’s gentle color fool you; it is chalk full of tannins that attempt to stain your porcelain and the exessesive astringency that comes with them. This can be moderated by careful leaf quantity and water temperature selection. About 2.8 grams of the deceptively dense leaves per 50 ml of high fish-eyes water. Hard breaking of the gaiwan is also necessary to keep down the developing stuffiness.

Overall, an interesting tea that’s hard to work with, but very rewarding once all the specifics are dialed in. At about $20 for 4 oz., I would buy this tea again.


Steeping in purple-clay yixing is rather different. The astringency vanishes, and there is notably less staining on the inside of my cup. The woodiness too is a thing of the past, atleast for the most part. I also noticed a slightly different fruit taste with the yixing, perhaps it has just become clearer, or perhaps it has actually changed. Instead of mango, I found cranberry in the middle steepings. The yixing also let me gently rest this tea down into a state of gentle nuttiness, after the fruit flavors disappear.

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The loosely formed dry leaves smell fruity, sweet, with smokiness. Picking standard appears to be one leaf. Once wetted, the leaves develop a rather peculiar odor, that of dirty dishes and old socks. However, this unpleasantness doesn’t carry into the light amber-green liqour at all. It tastes sweet, fruity (orange and peach?), and goes down smooth. Smokiness is subtle at first, but grows with successive steepings. Slight astringency, subtle at first, but too grows with time. This tea is lighter and fresher tasting in a gaiwan; smoke dominates the profile in zisha-ware, while fruitiness muddles.

Overall, a very tastey tea. It has grown on me since I first got it; I’ll deffinetly buy it again at ~$25 for 4 oz.

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Dry leaves smell of musty apricot. The liquor hits with a smokey bitterness upfront, followed by a gentle fruitiness. The fruit, unlike the aroma of the dry leaves, is plum and raspberry. The texture is flat, maybe slightly mineral, and light amber in color. Successive steeps grow more bitter and smokey, loosing its distinctive fruitiness. This teas bitterness was not overwhelming, but it was on the edge. Would have gotten a higher rating if it was just slightly less bitter. All-in-all a very interesting tea, and enjoyable. Different from other Da Hong Pao I’ve had.

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This is Qilan WuYi Oolong from Verdant Tea. I had the pleasure to try this tea during Verdant’s Saturday Night Tea Lounge Gongfu Cha yesterday. It was amazing, a tea I fell in love with at first sip. I knew after just one cup that I needed to buy this tea, no matter what the cost. It is now my all time favorite tea, truly a masterpiece. The dry leaves are loosely rolled, large, dark and green. They have a distinct orchard scent, that becomes clear as plum after the first sip of the light liquor. It has a slight acidity to it, although not unpleasant. The tartness plays well with the rich plum flavor. It is smooth and silky, with little astringency and no bitterness. As steepings progress, plum flavors get replaced with perfect smokiness and greenness. I bought an ounce of this tea for $9.35 right away, it will be a tea I pull out only on special occasions with friends who can fully appreciate this delicious work of art.

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The first thing I noticed about this black tea is the aroma of the leaves after the first steeping, very strongly of honey. However, within that honey aroma, another is hidden. At first I was not able to identify it, although it perplexed me. I realized it is of cinnamon when I started to drink the liquor. There is a slight metallic aftertaste and astringency, however I did not notice this until I reached the bottom of the cup. The second steeping reveals a subtle and pleasant fungal taste. This tea is wonderfully smooth and balanced, although it’s not quite affordable for me.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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The aroma of the dry leaves is extremely fruity with a distinct smokiness and wood smell (oak or hickory). The slightly sweet medium bodied tea liquor however, has no noticeable fruity aroma or taste. But, the liquor does maintain the smokey aroma and wood smell, which is present also in the tea’s after taste, and it get’s stronger and stronger in each additional steeping. There is no unpleasant bitterness, bakeiness or astringency to this tea and it maintains it’s flavor well up until the very end.

This very affordable and pleasant oolong tea goes for something like $5 for 4 oz. at TeaSource. I find it’s best brewed using 3g of leaves in 6 oz of 195°F water with a quick rinse and for 3 mins for steepings one through five, and 4 mins 30 secs for steeping six.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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I picked up this tea from TeaSource a few days ago, about $6 for 4 oz I think. I’m trying to get into greens, I drink mostly oolong and pu’erh now; but, I’m hoping to learn to appreciate a little simpler brew. I first heard about this variety of tea on DragonTeaHouse.biz, and was intrigued.

The dry leaves of the tea and it’s liquor have a fresh, spring aroma, perhaps with slight floral notes. The taste however is less than ideal for me, a harsh and bitter vegetal taste along with a subtle sweetness is clear after the first few sips with a lingering metallic after taste and astringency. The second and third steeping are less bitter and better described as grassy, they are also slightly sweeter, but the aroma fades somewhat. I steep this tea with 3g of leaves in 5 oz of 170ºF water for 2 mins. The normal 175ºF is a little too hot and the astringency becomes somewhat over powering. Despite it’s bitterness, the tea is still somewhat enjoyable for me, it’s bitterness is somewhat refreshing in moderation and the quick simple brew means I don’t have to commit a lot of time and effort. Certainly a good deal for the price.

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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The aroma of the dry leaves is very pleasingly fruity and grassy; however, the fruitiness transforms into a mellow floral the moment hot water hits the leaves. The first steeping is very grassy and noticeably savory with a slight—yet not unpleasant—bitterness. In the first steeping, floral and sweet tastes are somewhat hidden behind the potent grassiness, but come out in the aftertaste. The second and third steepings are much more balanced, the bitterness subsides, as does much of the umami, allowing the sweet and floral hints shine through.

I steeped this tea using 3 g of leaves in 6 oz. of ~175ºF water for 2 mins on the first two steepings and 3 mins on the third and final steeping.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Upon further tasting—this time instead with a gaiwan—I have detected a subtle nutty note, perhaps that of walnut or almond. It is most apparent in the second steeping.

This tea has grown on me, at first I was not entirely sure I liked this tea, but now after drinking it several times, I like this tea very much. I will definitely get it again; it’s great price means I feel no guilt in brewing cup after cup.

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This is a TeaSource tea I have been drinking for awhile now. I like it very much, both due to it’s taste and low price. It is about $10 for 4 oz. This is an everyday tea for me when I have the time for all 6 steepings. I brew this tea using 3g of leaves in 6 oz of 190ºF water with a quick rinse and at 3 mins for steepings one through five, 4 mins and 30 sec for steeping six. I steep this tea in a yixing teapot I have devoted specifically to Tie Guan Yins.

The beautifully and densely rolled dry leaves have the most wonderful fruity scent with just a slight hint of a springy grassiness. The liquor is a clear golden-yellow and has a calming fruity-floral smell. The silky tea liquor tastes sweet and fruity with a subtle grassy aftertaste and every so slight astringency.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Hey, I’m Izzy. I’m an 18 year old student living in Minneapolis Minnesota. I like fresh and fruity oolongs as well as deep earthy ripe pu’erhs. I’ve been drinking tea (obsessively) for 3 years now. Most of my tea comes from TeaSource, but I order some direct from China from time to time. I prefer Chinese and Taiwanese tea, tea philosophy, and preparation styles.

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Minneapolis, MN



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