52 Tasting Notes

79

Absolutely lovely ripe pu-erh cake. If there are any unpleasant flavours from fermentation the chrysanthemum does an excellent job masking them. This blend tastes sweet and earthy, much like an aged raw pu-erh, with notes of leather, wood, flowers, and smoke. If shou is supposed to emulate aged sheng, this is the perfect example of it done correctly.

This tea brick was only about $10 for 100 grams of tea, so my expectations were not very high. Going to order much more next time as it’s great for an everyday pu-erh considering the price. I will say that the re-steep value isn’t great, I got perhaps three or four strong brews in a gaiwan before the flavour quickly dropped off. The cake has a loose compression which I love, I could easily pry off a portion with a butter knife and hardly any pressure.

Flavors: Earth, Flowers, Honey, Leather, Smoke, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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83

Wow, this is the first aged raw sheng I’ve tried that came anywhere close to the taste of a shou—except this is far better than any shou! It has all the lovely aged earthy notes to it that I enjoy. Soil, leaves, tobacco, leather, and a vegetal sweetness all swirl together in balance while there is no gross compost/fishy smell like with many shous. The liquor is thick, dark red, and coats the mouth and throat. There’s a very very slight bitterness at the end of each sip, perhaps nodding to what this tea tasted like prior to being stored.

Flavors: Earth, Leather, Smoke, Tobacco, Vegetal, Wet Earth, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 25 g 16 OZ / 460 ML

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70

Mmm, this is a perfect oolong for winter. It has a really pleasant roasted, nutty flavour that comes close to a coffee when you brew it strongly. There are more subtle hints of maybe burnt sugar or molasses, and a slight woodiness that reminds me of a bonfire. The liquor steeps thick and makes the mouth salivate. Really great feeling while drinking this, I just get super cozy and sleepy-stupid-happy.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Campfire, Coffee, Molasses, Nuts, Roasted

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 18 g 15 OZ / 443 ML

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74

Not a bad white tea, although not as unique in flavours as some other moonlight white teas I’ve tried. It’s possible I am not brewing this properly, will try adding more leaf next time to see. There is a definite a sort of sweetgrass flavour that comes through which is quite nice, and only adds to the already thick liquor.

Flavors: Grass, Sugarcane, Sweet, Wheat

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 6 OZ / 175 ML

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74

Like many other teas with chrysanthemum, these dragon balls have a honey-like sweetness accompanying the delicate white tea flavour. An additional peppery flavour makes for an interesting brew that altogether reminds me of a spicy chamomile, perhaps with light notes of mint. Definitely an interesting tea. The liquor is a beautiful golden orange colour and coats the entire mouth and throat leaving me salivating.

Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Mint, Pepper, Spices

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 45 sec 8 OZ / 240 ML

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50

While this isn’t a bad black tea, I was disappointed. By far not as good as other dragon balls I’ve had from Yunnan Sourcing. At first it was beautifully floral and sweet tasting, but after a mere 3 brews gong fu style the flavour dropped off to a dull grassy-ness reminiscent of a tea at the end of a long brew session or cardboard. The only redeeming quality I found is that there is a very pleasant aftertaste of sweetness that lingers from the first couple brews. Perhaps I got an off ball? Won’t be purchasing again.

Flavors: Cardboard, Chocolate, Flowers, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 OZ / 175 ML

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90

Based on the description I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I hoped this would be a nice blend between a milky and roasted flavour oolong. I was pleasantly surprised to find my hopes satisfied, with a happy addition of extremely floral notes! This is truly a unique oolong, but I will say that it’s probably not for everyone. The flavour is very difficult to describe. I think this is up there with milky oolong for me.

Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Nuts, Perfume, Roasted, Sweet, Umami

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 6 OZ / 175 ML

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85

This is everything I’ve ever wanted out of a jasmine green tea. The jasmine is balanced and not perfume-y like many cheaper jasmine teas on the market. The pearls are a very decent, uniform size and have clearly been rolled with love.

This green tea is as light and refreshing as a white tea, it steeps very well both Western and Gong Fu style (I prefer the latter as you can taste the layers of flavour as they devlop). The leaves are incredibly pungent with a strong, true jasmine scent. More umami flavour arises in later steeps, but it never goes overboard. Almost no astringency or bitterness, just sweet floral notes and a light but calming cha qi.

I should also say that I have the 2018 batch.

Flavors: Flowers, Jasmine, Umami

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 6 OZ / 175 ML

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90

What a glorious surprise this tea is! I purchased 50g somewhat blindly and I’m so happy that I did. It has such a unique smell, flavour profile, and energy about it. It tastes sweet and almost floral/fruity (like a wildflower honey), has a beautiful reddish-brown liquor that gives off a hint of the taste to come, and the cha qi is serene yet invigorating. You can’t go wrong with this bold black tea.

Flavors: Caramel, Cherry, Eucalyptus, Flowers, Honey, Malt, Sugarcane, Toffee

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 240 ML

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80

Not quite as nice as the other dragon ball I tried recently, but delicious nonetheless. Floral notes are most prominent, I did not note anything extra special about the black tea though.

Flavors: Flowers, Fruity, Peach, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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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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