The Steeping Room

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Recent Tasting Notes

3.6g, 90 mL gaiwan, brita tap. Similar notes as before, but more pleasant. Light cocoa and sugar in the taste. Something borderline grassy medicinal in the wet leaf, almost vetiver-like that perfumes can have, but not as sharp. Not standout, but perfectly acceptable. Will probably stick with this 1:25 ratio going forward for these light roast oolongs.

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4.2g, 90 mL, boiling Brita tap. much more approachable at this ratio. smells nice. tastes like tomato and mint. aftertaste can be floral tinged mint. Moves to the base soapy notes quickly. First cup cooled at the edge has a slight bitter medicinal hint, and chocolate then minty. During session, the taste is not very exciting and while not terrible or bad necessarily, it is also not particularly special or noteworthy in any way. the aroma of the soup is enjoyable, though that is not something I value over taste. It is also not something I tend to pay particular attention to, so hard for me to judge. I will try to stop comparing price points and instead simplify my judgements to a “would I repurchase at current price?” No.

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Very forgettable, but will need to redo with lower ratio instead of 4.5/60. Bad oolong habit of filling gaiwan that simply doesn’t work for these light roast greener oolongs. The greenness and roast tends to coalesce in the worst ways. Seems from the description on the dancong that SR is dropshipping Wuyi Origin teas, so this is probably the same, so if anyone has better ratio/temp. suggestions from those, do share

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5.1g, in Kamjove with water poured about 3/4 of the way. palatable, but in a peachy and watery way initially, and then devolves into the boiled minty taste with some charred note immediately thereafter in subsequent steeps. Sometimes drying in throat. Will finish this bag out of spite. Annoyed that it’s not even cheap relative to shous I actually enjoy for how unimpressive it is!!

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4.5g, boiling, Brita tap in YS 60 mL gaiwan. One rinse. First steep was a watery floral, followed by just astringent minty tastes (not bitter, just a bit dry unless really pushed like one steep where I forgot about it for several minutes) with some barely there peachy and floral notes, so I moved it to a 90 mL gaiwan in hopes that it would improve. My hopes were dashed. Maybe I’ll cold brew the rest, but it feels wrong to do so.

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forgot to add this before.

1g:50mL boiling water, overnight, test for water between Brita filtered and Poland Spring bottled water since I was humbled by the TS oolong experience with different water.

An imperfect comparison bc I forgot about seasonal differences…. That or this newly installed Brita filter unit is messed up because I’m certain when I swapped in the earlier one in the summer that it was reading in the 36-40 PPM range. I also forgot that I could’ve filtered an extra 2 times to get where I wanted, but oh well. TDS readings were taken in a separate cup just prior to boiling. 

- PS water: dark, mostly roast. some harsh aspect. Aftertaste is initially floral, then vegetal, then a dominant crushed mint. All in front of tongue. Had bland thermos shou in btwn to “reset” palate.

- 96 TDS Brita filtered tap: less harsh upfront, brighter. Notably stronger floral aspect. Aftertaste more vegetal, then shifts to crushed sugar. more active in the mouth, perhaps less concentrated working to its advantage here.

- 73 TDS new filter: similar to the other. Strong osmanthus. Not as much sugar in aftertaste, but still pleasant. More of general sweetness + vegetal leaning.

Well that was also the last of my Old Bush Shui Xian from the Steeping Room. Pretty fair value I’d say. Having tried this and TShop’s LCSX (which tbf is like 5x the per gram price of this), this is the obvious loser, so take “Old Bush” whatever with a grain of salt, but it’s not a bad tea. Can’t compare to the SXs I tried from TXS now that I know using PS water was flawed but excited to try out the remaining ones I have from OWT and EoT in the next few weekends. I don’t think I’ll buy more of this, as I generally find puer better bang-for-buck wise, and also more or less more forgiving of casual brewing.

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Had a last session with this. 4.4g, 60mL YS gaiwan. Serviceable, but extremely unlikely to repurchase. Not sure if I’d just want a stronger roast version, since this session had some harsher vegetal edge than usual. Leaves were fairly green, but I’m not sure if I’m just getting used to seeing heavier roasted material lately.

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4.1g, 90 mL gaiwan, 212f, Brita filtered tap.

Mainly light honeyed florals. Had an excellent 1st steep (complexity, but layered in a nice way, with fruit, some sour, chocolate) that was amazing and yet tapered off into a steady and unexciting profile the rest of the steeps. Not sure how many steeps or timing, but mainly shorter steeps. I never particularly enjoy steeping out yancha like I do for sheng.

I tried a 1:22 ratio only at the suggestion of a YT video I saw on yancha, and I’d bet the friend I drank with would’ve liked this more, though I found it lacking. I am used to a 1:12 ratio for yancha at this point. A weaker ratio renders the profile quite differently, coming across as floral, soapy, and honeyed in a steady fashion that your average drinker who prefers yancha might find unexciting and a waste vs. w/ a stronger high ratio that would make for a bolder brew. However, for those not as into it, this is probably more welcoming and likeable.

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7.9g in same 100 mL duanni, since I didn’t feel like gaiwan brewing. No specific notes since was drinking with a friend, but basically the same thing to me as the 2019 Lotus Peak Zheng Yan Shui Xian from Tong Xin She, since from notes on that and compared to memory, it all tracks pretty well. This seemed a little sweeter to me, less bitter, slightly drying. Caused by a slightly higher ratio? 7.9g vs. 6.2g in the same pot. Who knows.

At any rate, for roughly 82% of the cost, the two seemed about the same to me, pretty classic Shui Xian, nothing earth shattering.

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strong osmanthus, sweet potato aromatics in both dry leaf and tea.
1g in 8 oz. mug, boiling, Brita tap, grandpa. All I do is complain about my hate for hongcha here, but I was suckered by the name as Tong Mu village teas have been more renowned as of late and I’ve been curious as to why. I ordered a pack with my last order from SR. Anyway, I’m more than happy to be proven wrong. I’m taking a break from sheng for a bit, more so out of necessity than desire. My stomach hasn’t been able to handle it lately, even mid-aged, and I’m terrified after reading posts from old puer bloggers who had to take years-long breaks (Hster specifically, I think?) due to drinking too much young tea.

There’s a light floral vegetal aftertaste and lingering floral honeyed aspect in aftertaste in early steeps; nothing overbearing. In the thermos after tasted like the dining hall’s sweet potato and squash mix, which is not a criticism, just an observation. A gentle tea and probably on the pricier side for a hongcha, again probably bearing name in mind. I’m not sure I could distinguish it from other hongcha taste-wise. Not bad, just won’t be something I reach for.

On the notes of peach and citrus in the description, I can sort of understand why. But after the time I tried the osmanthus black from ORT, the osmanthus note really stuck and it’s hard to perceive it as anything else if encountered afterwards. Some oolongs have a floral note bordering on it, but what distinguishes it for me vs. more sweet potato-like note is a soapy floral aspect I find unique to it. And again, that could just be still osmanthus, but lighter. I’m not sure. I don’t love it, but it’s interesting. I would not buy any perfumes with osmanthus notes.

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cold brew: 4.2g, 500mL ish water. bitterness still comes out, but more rounded floral and fruity/sugary overall. finally done with this bag!!! good riddance

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I bought a Kamjove! I’ve downgraded in terms of setup I suppose, but I’ve come to terms that tea will remain near incompatible with working life without something like it, and it makes me sad to only get to have tea on the weekends. Also, using the thermos for everything was getting old. Anyway, the KamJove is pretty great. Some water gets trapped in the bottom sometimes, but whatever.

5.1g, K201 (about 175mL functional volume w/o leaf). Lower temps. today ranging from 190f-200f. No green tea taste but basically akin to the bottled fruity “teas” (the Brisks and Snapples) I was obsessed with as a kid. I still won’t buy more, but good hit of nostalgia and much more enjoyable than at the boiling temps. before.

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4.1g, 90mL EoT FangXia Hongni. 2nd time using it, so definitely muting, but enjoying this more than usual. Water a little bit off the boil. mild chocolate-y floral today, some savory and minty edge alongside the bitter.

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boiling, Brita filtered tap, 3.1g in 80 mL shibo, 20s steeps, 1,2, 3 (10s), 4 (10s), 5th (10s), 6,7,8, 9 – 16 (untimed)

initially, strong medicinal aspect underneath the hongcha malt. Nice floral sweet aftertaste.
some steeps have a sharp bitterness that is quick, but unpleasant. Another steep is soapy.
9 and 10 taste like soapy sugar water but in a pleasant way
11 brings back the sharpness. I don’t know what it is exactly but not pleasant
12 is back to sugar water.
13-15: all the same at this point. it’s like when you keep steeping green tea and it just tastes like vegetable water, except this is a tad sweet
16 was a bit drying. Finally done.

Maybe I’ll actually take the temperature down a notch next time, since I didn’t appear to listen to my own advice to brew with a lighter hand last time I took notes on this. This was okay, but certainly isn’t winning any competitions any time soon. I don’t know how people brew hwang cha, so maybe I’m evaluating it unfairly, I don’t know.

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Brita filtered tap both.

SR directions were to 200-205f for 2-4 min. No tea:water ratio was given though, so I just did 1.3g to 120 mL, 200f. Taste was, broadly, slightly smoky honeyed hongcha profile, though slightly lighter. Steeps of 2 min., 3 min., and 4 min. before I got bored. Aftertaste is sweet and sugary, with slight floral aspect, not really grainy per description though.
4 min: died down into something like a light shou-mei and reminiscent of chrysanthemum tisane. I didn’t really get the nuttiness and creaminess in the description either. Left tongue slightly dry on 3 min. steep.

Did a different steep too, with 2g:50mL with 180f.
10s: light green tea-like taste, very soft with slight malty floral, sweet aftertaste. 15s: more of a malty taste, though still decidedly soft. some raisin in taste. Crisply sweet aftertaste, same with slightly tongue drying as in the more lazy brew style before.
20s, 25s, 30s: pretty similar. light floral and honeyed malt taste. Not much in the way of change. Shorter steep times and lower temp. seems to bring out a lighter green tea-like profile. Could’ve continued but was bored and tossed in with the other leaves into thermos. Thermos brew yielded a nice brew reminding me of coffee in some ways. I guess I do understand the nutty and creamy note here, though there is a slightly sharp, but quick disappearing bitterness present that is enough that I’d recommend initially brewing with a lighter hand and watching temps. here.

It seems like Korean Hwang-cha is one of those difficult to pin down teas, and though called yellow tea, very different from Chinese yellow teas. Dry leaf definitely smells like a hongcha, with its alternating notes of raisin, chocolate, slight roast, and floral. The wet leaf shows a slight roast presence, and the raisin-like note along with the usual malty hongcha-reminiscent base.

I have a pretty strong aversion to hongcha generally, but I will say that of this being the second Korean hwang-cha I’ve tried, these are somewhat more palatable to me though I wouldn’t repurchase once I finish my packet. Not terrible for the price. I don’t purchase much hongcha (the description really suckered me for this one, alas), so I have no idea what’s good value or not. I’d guess it might be on the more expensive end for them at about $0.43/g, but Korean teas seem more expensive than Chinese in general.

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Day 1 of our Advent Tea Swap. From amandastory516.

I’m so excited to kick off our Advent tea swap today! Though I’m not typically a fan of green teas, Amanda has kindly sent her steeping suggestions in the hope that I’ll be converted. That’s my hope at least! I have so many green teas (from past subscription boxes) and would love to really enjoy them.

I hadn’t heard of The Steeping Room before so I’m excited to learn about a new company that I might enjoy ordering from down the road. According to their website, this tea is the most popular one they sell. It does have some great reviews there, though not many reviews here on Steepster.

I’m not sure if I am associating coconut with pineapple, but I do smell pineapple in the dry leaves. Coconut too. There are some small pieces of shredded coconut mixed in with the long green tea leaves which is nice. The coconut aroma isn’t as strong once steeped, though I can still smell and taste the flavor. Mostly I taste the green tea so I do wish the coconut had been stronger. I’m enjoying this more as it cools to room temperature. Perhaps that’s where I’ll find my love of green tea – in the iced versions.

My husband really enjoyed his cup of this one and commented that he could really smell and taste the coconut.

I’m so glad to have tried this tea and hope to try others from this company later on. Any recommendations from The Steeping Room?

Flavors: Coconut, Pineapple

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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There is just something about this tea that is not sitting right with me. I generally like green tea. I LOVE coconut in tea. But this particular coconut tea is just not doing it for me. I think it’s whatever green they are using. It didn’t make me sick to my stomach (yay!) but it tingled along my tastebuds as almost a weird flavour I can’t put my finger on. Into the free tea stash at work it goes.


I wish my co-workers did loose leaf! Do you have a teapot at work that everyone uses or people take what they want from the tea stash?

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Sipdown (594)

Sample comes from VariaTEA!

I’m basically doing the whole sample from VariaTEA in one go, as a larger Western-sized teapot of it. I was really skeptical of this one, as the smell of the dry leaf is somewhat off putting (peppery citrus and sour grass) and the steeping recommendations are strange. Plus, I’ve not had great luck with yuzu teas as of late…

I decided to follow the weird AF steeping recommendations on the package though: if I’m only making this once then I might as well do it the way they want me to, right? So I measured out my tea leaf, boiled my water to 185F and steeped the tea… for one minute. To be totally fair, it is flavourful even after only a minute of steeping. Now, is it a flavour that I’m on board with? That’s a great question.

It’s weird, to put it simply. I’m not gagging in disgust of anything, though. The green tea itself is actually really roasty tasting – giving me strong roasted brown rice/Genmaicha type vibes, as well as this sort of “popcorn” kind of taste? A tiny touch vegetal/ocean-y in that way that Japanese green tea often is. If this was the only flavour in the cup, I think I’d actually quite enjoy this type of profile. However, it’s not the only thing going on here and that’s where shit gets kind of weird?

So, there’s yuzu in this tea and it’s actually a really strong yuzu flavor. Very distinctly citrusy, with a sort of lemon/grapefruit kind of vibe to it. It’s also really peppery though, and I think what I’m settling on as I sip away at this pot is that as much as I like the lemon/grapefruit kind of notes of yuzu I just don’t really like yuzu ‘as a whole’ because I loathe how strong that black pepper sort of taste is, and how it cuts into the citrus notes. It’s like nails on a chalkboard to my palate.

Even ignoring how much I’m not feeling the peppery notes though, there’s something that feels very inharmonious to me about this heavier roasty elements of this tea alongside that bright citrus note. Doesn’t mesh well, and there’s not a flavour note really tethering the two together. So even though the roast is good and the citrus is good, they’re not quite good together? Or at least that’s where I’m landing on this one, I think.

So yeah – not a bad tea, though some bad qualities. Just kind of a weird and not really for me type of tea? I’m sure some people would love it, though.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Citrus, Grapefruit, Lemon, Ocean Breeze, Popcorn, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Seaweed, Vegetables

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Another from Sips by. This is listed as White Tea with Apple and Spice on their website, but judging by the picture and description, I can see it’s the same.

I’m really impressed with the fruity apple aroma, but even more impressed by the ingredients. The white tea base is mostly whole, with lots of long, skinny stems mixed in. There are 1/2" sections of actual cinnamon stick, big slices of dried green apple, and halved dried cranberries. After steeping, the fruit reconstitutes and looks pretty tasty! I should have nibbled.

The tea comes out very lightly colored, sort of like hay. Apple flavor is in the forefront, complimented by cranberry. The spice is mild and lets this come across as very fruit forward. In fact, the spice is almost hidden, despite the big pieces. As is the white tea base. I can somewhat taste the leaves, but not really. This tea is pretty much all apple all the time. Not that I mind!

EDIT: Now that it’s cooled to a little less than room temperature, I can really taste the cinnamon! Interesting!

Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Cranberry, Fruity

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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Home – 6:00 PM

So I went to afternoon tea today! The tearoom: The Steeping Room in Austin, TX. They had an amazing selection of teas! I chose a tea service with tea sandwiches (chicken watercress & edamame cucumber), scone (spiced apricot), teacake (glazed orange bundt), cookies (various), and a pot of Golden Monkey. Everything was tasty! I bought a small teacup and two teas to bring home with me – this is the first of them.

I’m fairly sure this blend is actually from Art of Tea, but it was already entered under the tearoom, so that works too.

It’s not great, but not bad. The blueberry flavor is the main event, and it’s a bit candy-ish but still nice enough. I happen to love blueberry. The jasmine is there as a nice supporting note, sweet and floral. I can’t really taste the green tea much, but it is slightly bitter even though I steeped it at a low temperature.

Overall, decent! I won’t have trouble finishing the 50g bag.

P.S. – I had planned to write a note for the tearoom, but the “Places” tab doesn’t seem to be working for me. Is that normal now or is it down for some reason…?

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Bitter, Blueberry, Candy, Floral, Jasmine

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

“Places” doesn’t work for me either, Cameron.

Cameron B.

Thank you for confirming! I wonder if it’s just not usable as a feature anymore or if it’s down temporarily…

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Green tea from Guizhou, brewed gongfu style with a porcelain gaiwan.
Very fresh and grassy, like freshly mowed wheat or hay.

Flavors: Grain, Grass, Hay, Wheat

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Late night tea time! Another term paper, another delicious cup of tea. I absolutely love this. It came as a sample in my most recent order. I think I like it even more than my beloved Golden Monkey.
It tastes beautifully of chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. It’s similar in taste to their golden monkey, but has a richer taste. It’s a little more dark chocolate than cocoa. It’s got a smooth roasted nutty flavor in the background, too. Yum yum. Maybe I’ll buy more as a treat when my finals are done!

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This is a sort-of sipdown. I finished off my original package. It’s a little bittersweet, because that was a gift from someone I’m not close to anymore, but luckily I can also buy my own tea. The next package is already here!

I kind of killed this steep a little. I wandered off and it steeped for probably around 7 minutes. It got a bit bitter (obviously) but I already planned to add milk and sugar, so now it’s a lovely, creamy treat.

The new bag smells a lot richer in flavor, maybe because it’s fresher. I’m curious to try it. It smells close to the Teavivre Bailin Gongfu (which I think is basically the same tea), but not as fruity as the Yunnan Sourcing version.

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This was the first loose tea that I ever really got into. This one is very chocolatey, and a little nutty, I think. There’s a teensy bit of astringency, and it doesn’t do well if steeped for too long. It’s wonderful hot or iced. I’m a bit of troublemaker and like my black teas with milk sometimes, and this one is certainly perfect for it. It’s like hot chocolate when hot with milk

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