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Recent Tasting Notes


I got this as part of a sampler from someone who was in an online tea discussion group on Myspace. I’m very grateful to him for sending me these samples, regardless of the quality – they happen to be one of my favorite groups of teas, so I’m happy to give ’em a try.

That said, I’m glad it was him who ordered this, as the seller looks awfully dubious and provides no information about the flavor of the tea. Absurdly cheap, too. I guess this one was $10 for 100g including shipping from China.

I’m copy-pasting my notes I wrote while tasting, so I apologize for the odd format.

Used 4g with 60ml water in a small glazed ceramic gaiwan
single rinse at 89C in the kettle
Infusions progressed:
10sec-85C, 10sec-85C, 10sec-85C, 15sec-87C, 20sec-89C, 25sec-88C, 30sec-88C, 35sec-89C, 40sec-89C, 45sec-90C, 50sec-90C, 60sec-89C, 60sec-88C, 120sec-80C, 180sec-76C, 240sec-83C

Dry fragrance
Citrus (pomello, tangerine, lime/sweet lemon rind), yellow nectarine skin and pit, juncus pollen, dry ferns, drying clay soil, wetted thatch, madrone, poison oak, raw sheep’s cheese, toasted himalayan salt, dry oak wood, gardenia, wood rose foliage, toasty grain sweetness.

Wet Aroma
Mulched grass, wet driftwood, orchid bark, moss, grilled halibut/unagi, toasted black sesame, nori. Similar to sushi.. Citrus oil faint note underlying toasty wood/grass base.

Clear yellow with pinkish tint and grayish cast. Pomello-grapefruit and longan perfume.

Initial impressions: sweet, medium-full body, longan, sedge, lemon rind. A bit of nondescript wood note or dried cattails.
1st: smooth, sweet fruit mucilage, cashew, light broth body
2nd: lingering astringency rice paddy/wetland grasses
3rd: phenolic fruit skin (yellow plum), deeper impression, lighter flavor and astringency
4th: bit more sour – light grapefruit and edible flowers. More minerally. Sweetness mostly gone.
5th: a lot milder… kumquat, dried out forest/woodland floor on warm day. Aroma of buttered wheat toast
6th: richer mouthfeel – still off balance with higher astringency, but closer to buttery. Brome afteraroma
7th: resinous wood plus hardwood sap. tanoak acorns. Unhulled red qinoa
8th: not a lot going on up front, light gardenia in afteraroma. A touch of freshly baled alfalfa
9th: a bit of peach for aftertaste. Gravelly. Lot more fruit in aroma (underripe untouched cherries
10th: a little green peppercorn, woody… getting boring in terms of flavor
11th: flavor diminishing and leveling, a touch of green bell pepper in aftertaste
12th: “ripe” quality similar to stir-fried limpid red bell peppers and a touch of canned bamboo shoots
13th: hard to place woody tastes very light. Mineral water. Nose is increasingly similar to smell of a library.
14th: meh, same overall flavor and tactile impression. Astringency still out of balance with declining body
15th: Better balance tactile. Not much going on in flavor. Undercooked white rice eaten with wooden spoon
16th: basic spent dancong cupric and woody/old uncooked rice taste. No point in going beyond this.

I had hoped to be able to progress in five-second intervals up to 20 or higher at this concentration as I’m used to with “AA Dancong” but this was really going downhill after the 7th brew. Still an okay tea, but I’d brew it with water around 80C for 3 minutes with maybe 2g per ounce. Not something I’d suggest expending effort on for gongfu preparation and not something I’d want to serve to guests. Probably pleasant to sit and drink straight from a gaiwan if given a double rinse with 85C+ water, brewed at about 75C and left with a full ounce or two with each refill. I’d feel comfortable spending up to $6 for 100g on this.

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec

Your taste notes are so detailed. How are you able to distinguish so many tastes?

Thomas Smith

Well in the case of this one I really had to struggle – it had a lot of “non-taste” so I had to stretch to find similarities. I literally go around through produce stands, home improvement centers, construction sites, and wander the hills paying more attention to what I’m smelling than watching where the heck I’m going with a mind to how it’ll tie into flavors and aromas in the coffees and teas I evaluate. Six years of consciously doing this pretty much every day and I can now consider myself a novice.


Lol! I like the description on the 15th steep. And u r definitely more than a novice….

Thomas Smith

Hahaha, thanks.


Yeah, I wish I could detect tastes like this. If you see me try to mimic some of your descriptions in future posts, I confessed up front, OK?

Thomas Smith

Hey, as far as I’m concerned, tasting comparisons are up for grabs the moment they leave someone’s thoughts in words either aloud or written down. Just please actually go and familiarize yourself with whatever that characteristic is. I know someone who stole “sandalwood” from me once when I used it in a coffee cupping, and he had never smelled the stuff. After I noticed him using it to describe the aftertaste of a green tea I brought him a chunk to “show” him what he was relating a bunch of teas to.

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