53 Tasting Notes

95

This is officially the best blend to drink as a winter pick-me-up. I need to buy loads more, it’s so delicious. I think it’s probably my new favourite chai (if it can be called a chai?).

Basically it’s a Lapsang Souchong base with cardamom, turmeric, chillies, peppermint, and blue pea flowers. The liquor ends up a putrid green colour from the turmeric and pea flowers mixing, so that visual combined with the thick spicy-smoke profile really does make it seem like a brew of dragon’s blood. So fun! I added maple syrup to balance everything out a bit and it turned out so well. I’ve been getting a good number of infusions too, it just keeps giving and giving.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cardamom, Pepper, Peppermint, Pine, Smoke, Spicy

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 10 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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86

My first time adding a tea to the database! Very exciting :P Unfortunately there was an off-putting disagreement between me and the local tea shop I was buying from all last year, so I’ve had to find other suppliers. Very happily discovered that a cosy tea house I used to frequent pre-pandemic started selling their blends and imports. They unfortunately don’t specify ingredients on their website, but I’m finding it fun deciphering what could be in this blend.

As far as memory serves me, I have never tried a watermelon scented tea. Why have I never tried a watermlon tea?!?! Wowzers, how delightfully heady and juicy smelling this is. It’s a welcome profile that’s transporting me out of this cold winter and straight into summer. The initial brews taste similar to hubba bubba gum actually, but there’s definitely something more complex slowly revealing itself as the oolong opens up more and the scent tapers off. There’s actually some woody smokiness and some floral notes that’s remind me of barbecue-roasted watermelon. I wonder if the base oolong is a Da Hong Pao? There are bits of flowers (and I think some fruit?) in the blend though, so I can’t really tell if the oolong itself is floral or not. Very juicy mouthfeel and just the best aftertaste. LOVE. Will have to give this a go as iced tea when the weather turns.

Flavors: Candy, Floral, Fruity, Melon, Smoke, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 7 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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87

Diving into another loose-leaf sheng from Tao Tea Leaf today. I normally don’t get hung up on costs, but as this is the only place where I can locally buy aged pu-erh, it’s hard to look past this 15-gram sample being short by 6 grams. I paid $4.20 for the amount of tea they withheld. Not cool. Has kind of left me wondering about all the other times I’ve ordered expensive teas from this place… will definitely be weighing out everything else I ordered this time around.

That being said, at least there is enough for me to have one solid gong fu session. As with all the other loose-leaf shengs from this store, it has impressed me and exceeded expectations. This sheng has been aging since 2009 and its really developed into something delightful. A strong muscatel aroma after the wash was hard to ignore, sweet and pungent! The subsequent brews started off slightly bitter and smoky leaning more into hay and leather than grapes. This mellowed out quickly though into a mixture of grapes, cherries, roasted tomatoes, and something kind of like shiitake mushrooms. Little to no bitterness or astringency. The soup was surprisingly thin, quite lubricating, and dark. Very lovely aftertaste. I would love to have more of this in stock, but not if I’m going to be shorted again.

Flavors: Cherry, Hay, Leather, Muscatel, Mushrooms, Smoke, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 9 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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84

Had a very late start to the day so I grabbed this ginseng oolong on my way out the door for a boost of energy. I love oolong, I love ginseng, I love Taiwan. I’m glad I picked this up.

Tried brewing in a gaiwan around 90°C at first, but it was being very stubborn. I guess the way it’s processed into little pearls benefits more from boiling water and probably a Western-style brew, which I’ll try next time. Eventually did coax out the flavours though. It’s very sweet like honey with deeper medicinal/oven roasted vegetable notes and a slight floral aftertaste. Reminds me of some of the GABA oolongs I’ve tried actually. The liquor isn’t very thick, but it’s lubricating and fragrant. Thankfully it has taken me into a place of calm alertness, similar to a matcha buzz. All in all a lovely oolong indeed, excellent for a pick-me-up in Winter!

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Medicinal, Vegetables, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 5 OZ / 140 ML

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76

Received a small amount of this as a sample. Seems as though it is from the bottom of the bag as there are lots of broken leaves and dust. High marks for the scent and flavour though, I love stone fruits and this smells exactly like a mix between real peaches and fuzzy peach candies, perhaps with a slight caramel undertone too! So far haven’t had a white tea that I don’t like from this company. Looking forward to diving into the teas I actually ordered over the next few days. Hope anyone reading this stays safe and healthy throughout the holidays and beyond!

Flavors: Apricot, Candy, Caramel, Peach

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 240 ML
gmathis

Sounds lovely!

So Keta

Yes it is, would make a killer iced tea in summer!

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88

I just LOVE the weather right now in Canada. I’ve been spending my free time this Autumn foraging for edible fungi and crunching colourful fallen leaves (paired with some tea, obviously). Yesterday I brought my travel gongfu set and a thermos of water with me to enjoy this refreshing silver needle outside, the perfect liquid companion!

It’s been a while since I’ve sipped a good jasmine tea, and despite my love of these delicate flowers, a jasmine-white blend has somehow eluded my cupboards. Although I often prefer an oolong base, I must admit that the silver needle’s profile blends harmoniously with the hazy, heady perfume of jasmine flowers. Right from the first infusion I felt immediately more relaxed and lulled into what I can only describe as a waking-dream state. A masterful scenting process is apparent and truly pales in comparison to essential oil additives. The liquor has a delicate colour, but thick and lubricating with a rich and complex aftertaste of mixed fruits and jasmine petals. Lush lush lush.

Flavors: Fruity, Honey, Jasmine, Sweet, Warm Grass

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 8 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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80
drank Cream Earl Grey by Tao Tea Leaf
53 tasting notes

Finally went through a truly immense stock of oolong and shoumei that was getting me through the summer months. On to something new and perhaps more seasonally appropriate. Up until now I don’t think I’ve tried any scented/blended teas from this store, but their pure loose leaf has been great so far.

The first thing I noticed about this cream earl grey is that the leaves are definitely a bit lower in quality and moderately broken, although it seems that’s usually the case with blends. Still, the dry aroma is enticing and I just loooove bergamot. Brewed this up Western style and am very content. It’s not sickly sweet or saturated with a chemically-strong fragrance like many other earl grey’s I’ve tried. Just some tasty Chinese black tea and a gentle, creamy bergamot flavour. This is how you balance a scented tea, it’s very well done.

Flavors: Bergamot, Cream

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 g 8 OZ / 240 ML

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70

Is anyone else obsessed with Animal Crossing right now? I’ve been spending far too much time playing it, or maybe I just have too much free time on hands in general, ha. Had the day off work yesterday and basically just sat around playing and drinking tea.

This oolong was given to me as a sample and it’s interesting in the sense that before yesterday I had never tried such a starkly divided oolong. There’s an equal amount of heavy roast/char flavour and fruity floral flavour, almost as if someone mixed two separate oolongs. Nothing distinct really pops out at me except these two polar opposite flavour profiles. I’m not really a fan, it just seems confused, but I can see how others may enjoy this.

Flavors: Floral, Roasted

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 8 g 5 OZ / 140 ML
gmathis

Animal Crossing triggers all kinds of sentimental mommy memories for me! On my writing desk at home is a mini figurine of the little dog dude that sings to you in the coffee shop … forgot his name.

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95

Having a tough day today and needed the equivalent of comfort food in tea format, so I dipped into this Dan Cong that I was originally planning to save for the weekend. The only other honey orchid harvest I’ve tried was from Yunnan Sourcing (which was excellent), so I’m comparing this to that.

Great first impression! The wash was so aromatic and sweet tasting, definitely reminiscent of what I tried from YS. I think the liquor on this is a bit more orange in colour though, silky smooth, and consecutive infusions seem to lean more towards those kind of rich sweet cream and subdued umami notes that some Japanese greens can have. I’m also interestingly getting some taste of pears in the mix, like when they get slightly over ripe and are extra sweet and watery. Id say the variety I had from YS had a much brighter orchid note, while this is leaning more towards wildflower honey or whipped cream overall. It’s so so so good, very pleased indeed. I am just such a sucker for all these sweet floral oolongs. Also has a delightful aftertaste that just wont quit. Think I’ll have to buy a huge amount of this next time I order.

Flavors: Cream, Honey, Orchid, Pear, Umami

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 7 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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Profile

Bio

World traveller, musician, tea lover.

Tea scoring criteria:

85 to 100 | Exceptional and unique. These teas are an unequivocal delight with every sip. The way they make me feel and the journey they take me on is incomparable.

70 to 84 | Delicious teas that are worth the price, albeit more common in quality and flavour. Still very good teas.

60 to 69 | Somewhat palatable teas that fail to deliver an experience at a level that would make me drink or buy more.

Under 60 | Just no…

Location

Based in Toronto, Canada

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