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Recent Tasting Notes


Ashmanra’s sipdown challenge – March 2024 Tea #8 – An unflavored green  

I THOUGHT I had written a note for this a long time ago, so I’m glad I chose it for this prompt today!   Let’s see… this one was from Nicole a LOOONGG time ago. Thanks!  In that case, the flavor is still quite delicious.  Dusty gray twisted leaves.  The flavor reminds me of a cup of matcha.  I almost couldn’t tell the difference in a taste test, other than the texture of matcha would be different.  Flavor wise, it’s spot on.  I’m sure it was much more complex back in the day, but this is a delightful cup.  TWO delightful steeps.  Today, I’m also drinking my yearly Easter Egg Nests and Hot Cross Bun from Bird and Blend.  

Album:  Sun’s Signature (my fave album of 2022 had a deluxe edition in 2023)
Song: Golden Air

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I purchased a cake of the 2006 Dragon Horse from BTT and this was the free sample that was given. I, of course, was excited to have the opportunity to session a 21 y/o tea. The leaf was very obviously dry stored based on the lack of “dankness” upon opening the sample. How I understand the storage through aging, “Grandma’s basement” is wet storage, and “Grandma’s garage” is cleaned storage (I’m literally comparing this to my actual grandma, btw. Her basement was an old musty and haunted place; while the garage was spotless and well kept, with the ever-slight hint of old cut grass smell, which had attached itself to the lawn mower). To put it another way, Tea with Neldon compared wet storage tea to “beets.” I’m assuming wet beets equals to wet storage and dry beets to dry storage.

Alright, so, we’ve settled on my grandparent’s basement/garage and my very simple knowledge of wet/dried storage. Lol. This tea was perhaps the CLEANEST tasting tea. There was a slight mineral bite which meant there’s still plenty of opportunity in aging. Since this cake isn’t available on BTT’s website, I must assume that it’ll be a grander tea in 10+ years. I’d love to find the money and then a cake of this tea to keep around until it’s 30th birthday. However, I shall slowly drink its younger sibling, the 2006 Dragon Horse, and drink the whole thing by its 20th birthday. I’m getting too impatient to let teas age forever. ;)

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Advent Backlog & Sipdown

As I top off the final dregs of this tea, I feel that it took too long to sip this down. Oolong typically doesn’t last long when I really like something, and while this was liked, I tossed it too far back in the sipdown pile. I think it was partially due to knowing I’m on a spending hold – to allow myself to drink down teas – and this was too good at the time of advent to top off.

I didn’t really get too many notes, but I will say it tastes milder than what I’d imagine a heavy roasted oolong should/would be. Maybe a misprint on the label?

Brewing parameters: 2.8g with a 40ml gaiwan. 208F water.

1st infusion – 10 seconds
2nd & 3rd infusions – 25 seconds
4th and 5th infusions – 1 minute
6th infusion – 3 minutes

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TeaTiff TTB #28

I pulled a few small oolong samples from the TTB to try before sending it off. This was one that had barely enough for 1 Western-style mug left. I’m guessing someone who enjoys floral tea would love this one, but for me it was that really intense floral flavor that borders on drinking perfume, so I wasn’t the biggest fan.

Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Smooth

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Nice looking cake. I let this tea rest several weeks once it arrived. The cake has floral honey smell when broken. Rinse, and 1st & 2nd infusions (10 seconds) was 185 degrees. Soft throaty, and slight viscus. Secondary sweet in the back sides of mouth, then mid mouth feel. Not rough. 3rd session was 10 seconds and came on more punchy, vegital Read more about review stating promising tea, nice young sheng and perhaps dates. 4th session similar to 3rd, taste more rounded, viscus, nice mouth feel. Material is pleasing to the eye, no random junk, and nice full unbroken leaves. 5th and Second much longer – 35-45 seconds and dropped off on session 7. This tea could be promising.

Have several cakes to put back.

Flavors: Crisp, Fig, Floral, Honey, Vegetal

185 °F / 85 °C 2 tsp 4 OZ / 133 ML

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Adventageddon Day 6 – Tea 2/4


I loved having the Dong Ding to drink at my desk while working; warm and cozy with delicious toasted hazelnut notes! Very slick, round feeling liquor and a lovely mix of grains and minerals. I believe this is my first time trying a tea from Beautiful Taiwan Tea, and it was a really perfect introduction to the company. I would love to hear recommendations for other teas they carry that I need to check out!

Today’s Advent Photos:

Song Pairing:

Daylon R Thomas

They have some very good ones-I used to buy from them all the time, along with Andrew/LiquidProust. I personally really like their traditional Dong Ding which is on the greener side, and the Stone Table Alishan is good too. The Yushan is definitely fruitier, and Misty Mountains is a good budget Shanlinxi.

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Sipdown of a tea closest to sipdown for ashmanra’s sipdown challenge. Apparently I meant to gong fu the last of this – and given how little leaf was left, doing so was my first thought – but I made it on a work day and wanted a larger-volume brewing method. I still find this closer to a tie guan yin than the strong minerality I usually associate with dong ding. Which was actually a pleasant surprise, since I had forgotten that about this particular tea and wasn’t super looking forward to it.

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Day 6 of the Tea Thoughts Winter Countdown box. Got a pretty bad migraine and have been stuck in bed all day. On the up side, at least I had this yesterday and wrote up my note ahead of time so I’m not going to be behind. I’m generally not a fan of dong ding because I often find that it has a mineral note that, as we’ve established, I don’t particularly enjoy. But this one doesn’t! This feels more like a tie guan yin roast, just not quite as heavy. There’s an almost floral greenness underlying the roast. Glad I gave this a chance. It’s great for a chilly winter’s day. I had this Western-style but will probably gong fu the remainder.

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TTB Review #52: Simple yet enjoyable. There is a cacophony of flavors, individually subtle, but together present and pleasant. Tastes more like a green tea than an oolong. Better cold than hot. Feels sophisticated and mature.

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Wow! This smells great once the leaves are rinsed. It smelled great before that, but I digress.

A syrupy sweetness, akin to a good craft IPA in the beer world invites the nose.

1st Infusion – 2:20 or so (I let it sit too long)
That scent carried right over to the brew. Roses, orchids. What do orchids smell like anyway? I should get my nose into some if I’m going to mention them all the time in tasting notes. Light and flavorful with a syrupy honey sweetness through and through to the finish. Lots of hui gan, I had to wait 20 min between infusions and I just wanted to get the second gaiwan steep done already, it was so tasty.

2nd Infusion – 2:00
A bit of dryness/astringency comes in at this infusion, but the pleasant sweetness is still very present. I’m quite enjoying this tea. Will loosen my notes up a bit now.

3rd-4th Infusion – 2:00-2:30
Stepped the time up by half minute increments to get more out of the leaves as the water ran clearer. There are more woody notes in these later infusions. The flowers are in the background but still around. The middling body has a little bit of astringency but is smooth overall.

5th Infusion – 3:15
I’m probably going to stop after this, the leaves have yielded all of their sweetness and are turning to a bit of sharp astringency. Not a put-off really as it tastes more like a nice sheng than something coarse.

6th Infusion – 3:30
Against my better judgement I dumped more water into the gaiwan. I was returned with a nice mild tea after a long steep time with clearer notes on the flavors above. I would probably stop at 4 infusions or go with a higher leaf to water ratio to get more out of my session.

Flavors: Astringent, Flowers, Grass, Honey, Pancake Syrup, Smooth

200 °F / 93 °C 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Cameron B.

Lol I feel the same way about floral aromas/flavors, unless it’s one of the few I actually know like rose, jasmine, osmanthus, etc., I’m probably just making things up. XD


Glad to know I’m not alone. Lol
I think lavender, magnolia blossoms, jasmine, and tulips are all pretty standout to my senses. I don’t have a gifted sense of smell so I would definitely want to stick my nose in some orchids and see how close I was.

Caveman brain say, flowers smell nice.


You taught me “hui gan,” thank you! I’ll put this company on my future list…!


Lovely! Yes, it’s an odd term once translated to English, but I understand the feeling as described on the finish. I have only had this tea so far, but I did look the company up and it looks like a great one to support.

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Spring 2014 Harvest.
Quick wash, Gongfu style. 195F
Wet leaves are stewed vegetation, there are some masked floral notes in there somewhere too.

1st Infusion – 20 Sec
On appearance, this looks a little light. Perhaps I should have rinsed twice and allowed the leaves to open up. Of course, my tea set is a deep blue so often with light teas I don’t get much opaqueness in the cup. Super light flavor but the pleasant floral smell with some vegetal base notes.

2nd Infusion – 30 Sec
Here comes the color, and hopefully a fuller flavor. Nice, light, refreshing. No bitterness or astringency. The bottom of the cup has more body but it’s a nice mellow flowery vibe. A little bit of sweet syrup on the finish. I’m wondering if this is still fresh, just tastes a little mild. If I had more leaf I would up my ratio.

3rd Infusion – 60 Sec
I would rather overbrew so I’m kicking the time up. Orchids, veggies, and syrup. There’s a little more body but it still feels thin overall. The slightly dry finish is present.

4th Infusion – 75 Sec, 205F
While brewing this, I noticed the sweetness lingering on my tongue from the last infusion. Very nice. It’s a light and clean brew overall, but just a little lacking for me. I’ve had better Oolongs. It’s smooth and delicate, but tastes past its prime.

5th Infusion – 90 Sec, 195F
I’m going for a 6th but I will bump the steep time significantly.

6th Infusion – 150 Sec, 195F
A bit more body with the higher steep time, still light and vegetal/crisp. I’m getting a bit of kale through. Astringency has moved to the throat for a dry finish, but the tongue feel is still creamy/sweet.

7th infusion – 200 Sec, 195F
Light and vegetal, I’ll note next time just how long this one can steep without getting bitter or astringent, just a little dry on the finish.

Not bad, not outstanding: but pleasing, nonetheless. On to the next.

Flavors: Kale, Orchid, Vegetal

195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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Nothing like the first aroma of a bag of freshly opened tea. Granted it doesn’t compare to smelling it fresh off the processing line. But the mineral and floral scents emanating from this bag are pretty fantastic. I will be steeping this gong fu style. Thus will not be adhering to the 3 mins rule. Though from my first sip I can tell this one will need a bit longer in order to release all the precious flavors. The second sip at a minute revealed floral notes, gardenia, and a few mineral notes. I’m now 2-3 mins and getting wet rock notes, popcorn, and tropical floral notes. Overall, its a decent oolong but I feel that I’ve had better and the amount of infusions you get from this one is not much.

Daylon R Thomas

I used to really love that tea, but the last few times I’ve bought it years ago have not had the same flavor as the fruity floral smells.

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The wet leaves in the teapot smelled very strong. Like a heavy mineral scent. In my cup, the tea tasted more mellow and light. Almost a tiny bit floral with hints of cream. The taste of the tea is close to a Ali Shan or Dong Ding with notes of cinnamon bark giving it a woody flavor. Tastes pretty smooth!

Flavors: Bark, Cream, Floral, Mineral, Smooth, Woody

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Sadly this tea was a disappointment. It didn’t taste anything like Ali Shan… it tasted like a very weak, faint, low-grade green tea with barely any flavor. The wet tea leaves had a strange scent almost like a musty smell as if the tea was old and stored away for too long. This was supposedly harvested in winter 2021 but it tasted really old and something was off with it. Even the dry tea leaves didn’t smell overly strong and rich like they are supposed to. I only brewed it once and it tasted like it would on its last brewing. Absolutely no flavor. Not sure if I received a dud or I did something wrong but I brewed it how I usually do an oolong. 185F for 3 mins in my 3-cup clay teapot.

Flavors: Green, Musty

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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Here we have a pretty uninspiring but drinkable 12 yr old puer with Taiwan aging. It’s a blend of ripe & raw. Not fishy or dank, pretty clean tasting. Not astringent, little bite, faint aroma. Steeped up as a bright golden infusion that has some complex woody notes and a lingering finish. Found a 1-cm black round seed floating in the pot. I enjoyed my 10g sample but wasn’t compelled to buy a full cake which is good since the cakes are now sold-out.

5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

Early April 2022 update: this is back in stock at BTTC.

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I am currently working on drinking the last few portions of a Winter 2020 pick of this tea. Storing in jars must be the way to go, because this tea is still flavorful! The first time I bought this tea, I bought a smaller amount first, realized I would want more, and immediately bought about 150g, hoping it would last me a year. It sure did, with plenty to spare!

This was one of the first oolong teas I ever tried. At the time, I was a green tea junkie and just wanted something new and different, but still definitely green tea, around. This fit perfectly. It has the staple buttery, boiled spinach green tea taste up front, with a tone of something floral in the mid and after taste. It’s the right amount of floral, not so much that I’m drinking perfume, but enough that I can almost tell what flower it is. Unfortunately, I live in succulent land, and the amount of flowers I can recognize is slim. My immediate thought is jasmine tea. This has a similar, milder floral property as jasmine scented green tea my family likes to order at dim sum restaurants.

I’ve had this tea for a while, and experimented with different temperatures. I like 185F (85C) which is the “white tea” setting on my electric kettle. (Side note, so far I prefer boiling water for white tea.) I brew 20 seconds to start, plus 5 seconds per infusion, this tends to be perfect and lasts me up to 6 infusions. I could go longer, but I don’t like to push my green tea until it’s flavorless…

The wet leaf smells like cooked and salted zucchini, boiled spinach, and flowers. The liquor smells exactly the same. It has a slippery, buttery body, and an accompanying flavor of a lightly salted stick of butter. Afterwards, there is some astringency, but no bitterness. A taste that reminds me a lot of eating or licking raw dark leafy green vegetables (swiss chard?) lingers on the tongue.

I’d say this is definitely one of my favorite green teas of last year. I will treasure every bit of it, until it’s time to rotate it out for something new. I leave here a stunning review in hopes that you might try this tea, because it’s delicious and deserves to be known.

Flavors: Astringent, Butter, Jasmine, Salty, Spinach, Umami

185 °F / 85 °C 4 g 110 OZ / 3253 ML

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Well… this tea was a hot item 5 years ago. As it happens, my stash of this came from summer 2016 too, but it’s been stored sealed for years. And NOW it tastes strongly of honey and is just lovely. I’m glad I bought more recently and I’ll follow up here when I tuck into that! Very pleasant and non-astringent.

Flavors: Honey, Yams

Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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I bought this sometime in 2017 and agreed with the other tea notes here at the time. I was new to Puer and was sorely disappointed that I had a full cake of the stuff that I couldn’t abide. But time passes and The Dude abides… and the tea ages and mellows (in dry storage, being shunned). Now in 2021 it is 29 years old, has a lovely fragrance, the compost odor is gone, and I have been brewing and sipping it with happiness. Gongfu, but cheating with a steel strainer, and easily going 12-14 steepings (4 g in 4 oz boiling water). I wasn’t particularly delicate when breaking up the cake, but I did find some complete budsets and larger leaves, along with many bits and pieces. The photo I posted of spent leaves in a saucer is a representative sampling, while the smaller ramekin features some of the other largest pieces—all from today’s 4 g portion. Tastewise, the tea isn’t very complex. Mostly bass notes of wood, leather, and smooth sweetness, with no astringency whatsoever. No smokiness, no fishiness either. And today I steeped LONG to make dark, thick cups that were easy to swill. Thanks to BTTC for encouraging tolerance and patience. I have already bought a second cake despite a jump in price!

Boiling 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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A real good Taiwan-stored Pu’erh, and only the first steeping had hints of earthy compost and fresh fish. Then it was smooth sailing through sixteen steepings of lovely, sweet, aromatic and tongue-pleasing tea, ranging from deep dark walnut to red oak to light copper in colour. Mine was a sample-size gift from BTTC last year, and I don’t know if it’s still available. You can see how the starting dry leaves differ from the spent leaves after the 16th brew in the photos I’ve posted & close-ups. I would buy this as a routine morning tea if I could get more!

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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