60 Tasting Notes


I picked up a 1/2oz sample from the SF Tea Festival 2019. At the show, I tasted the 3rd steep of the tea and it was tasty, so I had to pick up some to try at home.

Summary: This is a very lovely, but understated tea that is great for when you something lighter in flavor. It definitely has the Lishan qualities - nice milky/buttery flavors intermingled with lovely floral notes. It’s extremely well balanced in flavors; good viscosity that coats the tongue with an astringency that you can feel on the tongue and partially down the throat, with a medium finish. This tea if fairly consistent throughout steeps.

Tillerman Tea recommends the following: 6grams per 100ml @ 212F for 25 seconds, then 20s, then increasing from there.

I sometimes follow the recommendations, but in this instance, I didn’t, preferring to try this first with my general brewing style to an unknown tea — 5 grams / 150 ml of water — but I did use the recommended brewing times.

150ml water @ ~200F for 25s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 60secs, etc.
As mentioned earlier, the steeps were fairly consistent in aroma and flavor profile.

This is not a complicated tea, but it is very good. i suspect that if I brew this at the recommended amounts (6grams per 100ml of water), the flavors will be much more intense. I’ll update this review once I get around to doing that.

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Milk

0 min, 30 sec 4 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Overall, this is a good tea with nice woody flavors, roasted nuts, and only hints of sweetness; this is mostly a savory tea. It starts off very mild in flavor with the 1st infusion and gets better from there. There’s a medium robustness in the tea with a good viscosity. I also got a lot of steeps out of this.

It’s a decent enough black tea, which is not quite in my preferred flavor profile, but won’t say No, if offered. The cha qi in this tea is pretty darn good.

I tried this GF style. (I’ll try this via WP’s recommended Western brew style later then update this review.)
Tea: 5.04g
Wash: No
Water: 150 ml
temps: ~195

1) 15 seconds @ 194F – Liquid is medium gold amber and gives off a faint woody smell. The wet leaves give off high notes of fruit and low notes of roasted / herbal scents. The flavor starts off with roasted nuts & camphor — there’s the mild sweetness of nuts; then a mild creamy aftertaste with hints of tobacco. It has a mild viscosity that coats the roof of my mouth but not my tongue with a very long finish

2) 30 seconds @ 196 — This is a much better infusion. The liquid is reddish amber with smells of wood, camphor/eucalyptus. The wet leaf has nigh notes of cocoa and low notes of roasted nuts, bittersweet chocolate.
On drinking it, I taste nuts on the tip of my tongue followed by cocoa, mild camphor/eucalyptus and wood. My tongue dried instantly; there’s a mild cha qi hitting my head.

3) 45 sec @ 193 deg. The tea is definitely getting a much darker red and I smell more camphor from the liquid, but the scent of the wet leaves hasn’t.
It still tastes of nuts, wood, and cocoa nibs. The flavors are becoming more robust and I can taste malty flavors. Viscosity has increased and the astringency has hit my tongue! Cha qi in the head has increased too.

4) 60 seconds @ 195 — The color is slightly less than the #3 steep. The liquid definitely has a camphor/eucalyptus scent, but the leaf now has high notes of brown sugar.
The flavor profile is changing slightly too — nuts, wood, and now resin.

5) 75 seconds – @ 200F — This is interesting. The liquid has gotten darker by increasing the temperature of the water, but the flavors haven’t really changed….they’re starting to actually got less intense

6) 1min30sec @ 200F — The liquid is still an amber red, and the flavors are still there, although lessening to a degree. There’s a hint of things starting to wash out at this point, but I might be able to get a few more steeps out of it.

Flavors: Camphor, Cream, Eucalyptus, Roasted Nuts

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 150 OZ / 4436 ML

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I ordered this tea from WP because, honestly, I liked the name. I have no vested interest in the tea or know about the hype surrounding it until I started looking at the reviews.

I brewed this following WP’s guidelines: 1 TBSP / 8 oz @212F for 3 minutes, then 5 minutes
(I will also try this GF style, then update this review)

Tea: 1.5 grams, which about fit in my TBSP at home.
Water: 8oz/237 ml

3minutes: The liquid is a gold amber and smells of syrupy honey.
The wet leaf smells of sweet, dough-y, and has a scent that I associate with wild tree purple tea from Yunnan. The flavor is not very complex, nor is it simple. It has a medium viscosity with a thick aftertaste like cream. It’s not honey sweet, but has some honey overtones. The tea has a fairly long finish. 5 minutes: Not sure that I like the second steep. The flavors are just “okay”. It seems to have lost any complexity that it had from the first brew.

For this brew style, this is a very innocuous tea without much wow factor in the flavors. It’s not bad and I suspect that it’s a good beginner type tea for someone who is used to bagged tea from Tazo.

Flavors: Honey

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I tried this on a whim, and wasn’t disappointed. It’s a consistent tea, especially if you want something very light & clean tasting. It’s not overly complex, nor will I classify it as a “simple” tea. It’s probably most excellent cold brewed for a hot summer day.

I brewed this gongfu style as follows:
Tea: 5.05 grams
temp: ~195
WP’s directions on the bag are for Western Style (3g tea/ 8oz water @ 190F) for 2,3,4 minutes

The dry leaves smell of cream/milk with that oolong undertone.

1)30 seconds: The leaf smells of heavy cream & honey and have barely even opened up!. The liquid smells of warm milk and looks like pale ivory. Its flavors start off with a subtle vegetal followed by honey then cream. There’s a mild viscosity and very clean finish.

2) 1 minute: I really wanted the leaves to open up more; hence the longer steep time. The leaves smell of cream with a vegetal undertone….and funny enough, it tastes exactly that! The initial cream flavor followed by a vegetal undertone and a floral finish.

3) 2 minutes: This tea seems to be able to take the increased brew time. WP’s directions are for western for 2-4-minutes, so I’m okay with the increased time. The flavors are the same as #2 but with a very mild astringency.

4) 3 minutes. The tea is pretty consistent with its flavor profile. Cream, honey, with floral undertones. Mild astringency.

Overall, this is a pretty decent tea to drink; not overly complicated, but with enough flavors to keep your taste buds entertained if you don’t want a full tea session.

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drank 2019 Denong Black Tea by Denong Tea
60 tasting notes

I bought this from Denong Tea at the SF Tea Fesitval. I was tasting their puerhs and also tasted their black tea, which was an immediate YES PLEASE!! (I also bought the 2019 Shou & Sheng Puerhs)

This is an amazingly well balanced black tea that is completely in my preferred flavor profile. I generally followed DT’s brewing recommendations for Gong Fu brewing; 3-4g for 118 ml at 195-205 deg F (alas no time recommendations).

I used 5grams @150 ml (same ratio)
The dried leaves smell of malt, cocoa, and mild roast. With the leaves warmed, the smell of brownies. The leaves are thin, wiry, and look like the stem & 2 first leaves.

TL;DR – this is an amazing tea. It starts with hints of burnt brown sugar/molasses on the tongue, moving towards a smokey, malty, cocoa flavors; much like a very mild sweet cigar. This has a fair amount of viscosity. A very pleasing astringency is present — drying out the tongue, lips, roof of my mouth — but this is never bitter. The finish is extremely long and addicting; I want more of this tea after finishing each cup. This tea is neither sweet or savory despite my descriptions. It somehow maintains a balance between the two.

1) 20sec – 197 degF. Not bad. I can tell that this will be good but I didn’t brew quite long enough for the flavors to take a foot hold. Should have been 30 seconds.

2) – 40 sec – 197F. The color is a dark orange Amber. The brown sugar/cocoa flavors are coming out counterbalanced by smoke and malty flavors. No bitterness and good “hui gun” astringency!! I think 40 was too long. 30 seconds would be better BUT 4 stars even with the slight over brewed.

3) 45s @ 195F. Still amazing flavor. Color is still dark orange Amber. Leaves are only half furled.

4) – 60s @195F. The flavor profile is changing slightly. It’s starting off smokey and burnt cocoa followed by hints of brown sugar

I won’t go on but it went for a while until I felt the leaves were starting to wash out (about 7 steeps). Then I threw the leaves and did a cold brew of 350 ml overnight. And the resulting cold brew was still pretty damn good. I might just cold brew this tea until the water is clear.

Flavors: Cocoa, Honey, Malt, Smoke

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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My attempts at trying different puerhs seems has really been a failed experiment. I am just not liking about 90% of the puerhs that I taste — some puerhs are fine teas just not my flavor profile and for some, I just honestly don’t like much about it, so please take this review with that knowledge in mind….especially as other reviewers seem to find this a decent tea.

This was a sample that I got from a YS order.
Brew style: GF —
Tea amount: 5grams (the entire tuo).
Water: 150 ml
Brew times: wash @ 15 seconds, then 20s @ 200F, 20s @ 200F, 30s @ 180F

Color of the tea: a dull golden color, like gold that hasn’t been polished in some time.
The brewed leaves have a nice smell to them. There are high notes of sweet with low notes of herbs and cooked vegetal.

Flavor: This tea is bitter. The first thing I taste is bitterness at the tip of my tongue. The bitterness is like jumping into a cold pool - the shock of it hits you and then the taste mellows a little bit out, with an aftertaste of sweet & vegetal.

I couldn’t even really finish each steep since the bitterness was very overpowering…and always at the tip of my tongue. I tried lowering the temp to 180deg F and increasing temp time to 30seconds, but it was even more bitter than the 2nd steep. I couldn’t even finish this tea.

I know that this tea has more life to it than 3 steeps, so I threw the wet leaves into a cold brew of 350ml and see if that doesn’t even out that bitterness a bit.

Will update this after I taste the cold brew.

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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I’ve really enjoyed this tea.

Summary: This mild roast red oolong tea is tightly rolled and takes several steeps to open up completely. It is a semi-sweet tea that’s great as an after dinner tea or just anytime tea. It’s not an overly complex tea, but the flavors work well together.

Dry leaf smell: I catch whiffs of stone fruit and the associated sweetness.
Warm leaf: A stronger scent of stone fruit and honey.

I’ve had a couple of sessions with this tea. WATER: 150ml
Session 1: Time (seconds) 15, 20, 30, 40, 60, 80…; temp: 195-205 deg F
Session 2: Time – 30, 45, 60 @ 196 deg F) | 90s, 120s, 180s… @ 199-201 deg F

Wet leaves aroma: High notes of honey, florals, and stone fruit
Broth Aroma: Sweet potato
Color: The color of orange-flower honey. This remains fairly consistent.

The broth has a nectar-like consistency, like thinned honey. It’s not particularly viscous but does coat the tongue slightly. There’s an underlying astringency that dries out the tongue a tiny bit, but it’s never bitter. I get a mild tingling sensation in the tongue from the cha qi, and I did start to feel a bit in the head after the 4th steep.

Initial steeps brought out flavors of sweet potato, mild stone fruit, a touch of honey. As steeps progressed, there’s less fruit, less honey, and more sweet potato flavors. The tea has a short-to-medium clean finish to it that’s in keeping with the flavor profile. As I extended the steep times, I also increased the temperature. I managed to get a fair number of steeps out of this tea before the flavors began to wash out. For each session, I managed to get at least 6 steeps out of the 5 grams of tea.

Since there’s very little astringency to this tea, higher temps and longer brew times might bring out a different flavor profile. (A point to experiment with!)

Overall, this is a good tea, especially for the price point and the number of steeps you can get out of it. It’s not an overly complex tea, but the flavors are well-balanced and quite tasty. The sweetness comes from sweet potato/fruit flavor, so anyone who finds teas with fruity profiles too sweet might enjoy this a bit more.

Flavors: Honey, Stonefruit, Sweet Potatoes

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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(From my backlog)
Tasted during the Labor Day holiday in America.

I’m very happy with the teas from Old Ways Tea that I’ve picked up. This is a 2008 Aged Da Hong Pao that’s been re-roasted a few times.

There’s deep roasted flavors of tobacco, burnt wood, and smoke; lighter flavors of chocolate and coffee with milk; then it rounds out with High notes of vanilla, brown sugar, and caramel. Early infusions were interesting — tobacco followed by the cooling effect of mint (without any mint)

It’s very well balanced and robust. The roasted flavors don’t overwhelm the palate. It’s super smooth to drink with a surprisingly light viscosity and clean finish.

The cold brew of this tea is just as tasty.

Brewing information:
Tea amount: 5 grams for HOT
Style: Gongfu
Water: 150ml
Temp: 200 F
Brewing times: 20,30,30, 45, 60

Cold Brew: 3 grams
Water: 300 ml of water

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Chocolate, Coffee, Cream, Tobacco, Vanilla, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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I’m catching up on my tea reviews.

I like trying different teas that might not be in my preferred flavor profile.. Trying different things is an exercise in growth. It lets you understand WHY you like something, appreciation for those differences, as well as teaching that differences aren’t bad. Just like life.

This tea is not in my preferred flavor profile (i.e. I do not enjoy very strong smokey/roasted flavors such as lapsong souchong), but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It was a good look into how you can really make something balance out without overwhelming the palette with a single flavor …..I’m looking at you, micro-breweries, that make IPAs too damn hoppy!

Flavors: Smoke/Roast/Charcoal followed by a mild sweetness of cooked stone fruit (apricot? peach?). The smokey/roasted/charcoal notes is ALMOST overpowering but is countered by the sweet of of the fruit. It’s a viscous liquid that coats the tongue with little to no astringency. It has a very clean finish.

For anyone who enjoys the smokey roasted flavors, this is a really good tea to try. This tea brings those out without overwhelming the drinker, giving them a good look at how these flavors can be balanced out.

Brewing info:
Tea: 5.02 grams
Water: 150 ml
Temp: 200-201 F
Brewing time: 20-20-30-45
Vessel: Porcelain Gaiwan

Flavors: Roasted, Smoke, Stonefruit

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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General: A crafty geek girl who has a love for tea, cats, writing, books, as well as learning a multitude of post-apocalyptic skills…just in case.

Tea: I’ve been drinking tea all my life. My grandfather was half-Chinese, but I was always too lazy to brew anything other than Western style. In the past 5 years I’ve been changing that; trying to develop my tea-tasting chops and still a lot to learn! I prefer oolongs, blacks, and greens (in that order), and I’m trying to expand my knowledge of tea from all over the world (and not just China & Japan). I do tend to stay away from herbal tisanes or overly flavored teas as I find them much too sweet and overpowering.

My ratings explained.
90-100: Exceptional tea. The tea I want with me on that desert island. It is the tea I’ll take time to relish and enjoy.

80-89: Very Good Tea. It fits my flavor profile and I enjoy drinking it.

70-79: Good. I like it, but might not be one I reach for on a regular basis..

60-69: Solid. Better than average, and something I’ll grab when I need to “run-out-the-door” and can’t take time to really appreciate the tea I’m drinking.

50-59: Decent/Average. Not my preferred flavor profile or something I won’t purposefully go out to buy. It might lack that “Something” in its aroma/flavor/mouthfeel/finish.

40-49: Below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Gross. Didn’t finish it or refused to drink anymore.


San Francisco Bay Area



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