Tillerman Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes


When I spilled those small tea balls to small tea saucer, I noticed raisins. Which is far away from all the notes that Leafhopper mentions and thank you for this tea!

I have watered those balls in gaiwan with prepared water, which had 86°C and completely different notes apperared. So, this rinse-not rinse; it was rather like hitting them with water and then spilling it out.
I got the dry aroma stronger. Raisins, but also other notes: roast, flowers and nuts. I will steep it similar to Leafhopper, so first steep being 25 seconds long.

By the way, it’s a while since I got Ding Dong, so, honestly I don’t remember much.
This first steep is so sweet. Always happy to find naturally sweet teas, because they fill my sweet tooth. Nutty, grains, tasty! But that floral aftertaste, with orchids, that’s something I haven’t been expecting at all. And it was quite strong. Stronger than I would expect from roasted oolong.

Second steep was 20 seconds long and it produces very similar notes, but stronger, there is no char for me there. It’s indeed quite nutty and grainy in taste, again with heavy floral and sweet aftertaste, with a little bit grassy notes too.
Third steep, thirty seconds. I definitely get sweet scented descriptor. It’s indeed quite sweet, grains got strogner too. Nutty note weaker. A little bit of drying note here too.
Fourth steep, again 30 seconds, it’s somehow standard roasted oolong, with floral notes, some grains and some grass, quite smooth and enjoyable, though a bit boring.
Let’s make a jump, 60 seconds steep (running out of water in thermos), and let’s see the results: sweet grass notes, with floral aftertaste and overall, I feel the best is the past.
A few following steeps were longer, but same in taste.

Other news: I bought today tickets for my very first tea festival! It will be in June, two days long. Can’t wait! Last year photos here: https://swietoherbaty.pl/pl/galeria/ So far only one tea vendor is listed, TheTea.pl; but I assume the list expands soon!

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

A tea festival, how fun!


Sometimes just anticipating the event is as much fun as drinking all the tea!

Martin Bednář

One sample per booth for free! Well, that’s tempting. And it will be certainly hard to choose the best one.
Saving money and cupboard space now :D

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4.3/90/212 PS origin.

1st: ginger, green, slight floral and pea like sweetness.
2nd: rounded almost metallic taste, but aftertaste is minerally and nice.
3rd: vanilla, ginger, floral. after was fairly linear.

This was my last bit and wouldn’t repurchase, though I’m sure using origin to brew did it no favors

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6.1/90/212. not sure if I’m imagining things, but it seems much better than when I had it a few months ago at work. what I remember then was kind of the dry sharp vegetal notes along with the celery notes that people seem to denote as mineral in other places, and it being more green in taste. those notes are still there, but more complex now — integrated with chocolate, ginger, fruit and with aromas of plum and bready roastiness in gaiwan lid. a sugar-y bright and slightly floral sweetness at the end of taste. mugged after a few steeps bc still not the kind of tea i’d reach for (light oolongs usually just sit and sit…), but really quite decent. wonder if water, attention, or few months of rest made the difference.

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Had my sample 2 separate times at work. The first time I disliked it, thinking it was too lightly roasted. Which it is, to me, but I know many lighter oolongs nowadays are even greener. That time it was fairly buttery in a green oolong sort of way and sweet. Both times, I’ve gotten some sweet potato and minty notes as well. Somewhat aromatic. All in all, it’s alright. Forgettable, but not bad. Wouldn’t repurchase.

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I usually don’t go for roasted oolongs, but bought 50 g of this Dong Ding due to its many good reviews and low price. It was the right decision, as I’ve been enjoying it all winter. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of grain, roast, char, walnuts, and flowers. As promised, the scent of this tea is sweet and cozy. The first steep has notes of walnuts, roasted grains, butter, honey, and char. Nutmeg, orchids, other flowers, and grass emerge in steep two, and I can see how it could remind people of popcorn. The next steep has more spices and roasted nuts, but is also a bit drying. Steeps four and five continue with the florals, grass, honey, grain, and walnuts, but the dryness also persists. The roast becomes more noticeable in the final few steeps, though it isn’t too abrasive; I also get wood and minerals.

This is a solid, unpretentious, well-made Dong Ding that lives up to its “sweet scented” name. It’s one of the few roasted teas that I would consider repurchasing.

Flavors: Butter, Char, Drying, Floral, Grain, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Nutmeg, Nuts, Orchid, Popcorn, Roasted, Spices, Sweet, Walnut, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Very, very good tea that was a sweeter than expected. I loved the unroasted, and got this one for comparison. The two were a lot closer than I imagined. The dry leaf aroma was very much like cookies, roasted nuts, macadamia, almonds, vanilla, and potato chips.

First off, I tried it western just to plow through. I’d thought it be like the dry leaf, and while it was, a melon note sneaked through with more florals, lead by a heady violet and magnolia. They rose up, then fell in later steeps. The later ones were more heavy with the roasted nuts and cooked vegetables western.

Gong fu, much the same happened, but the florals were more concentrated in steeps 2-5. First brew was a wash of 15 sec, then 25, 20, 30, 35, 40, 50, 65, 55, 65, and every other brew improvised in minutes. Later steeps were a little bit more vegetal, but still had some acidity of some melon. Overall, it was floral, nutty, buttery, and akin to some butternut squash.

I was very pleased with this one and like it a little more than the unroasted version in some ways. I kept on coming back to it that I actually sipped it down in two days. This is what I’d want in any mildly roasted dong ding and do recommend it.

Flavors: Almond, Butter, Butternut Squash, Cookie, Floral, Gardenias, Melon, Nuts, Potato, Roasted Nuts, Savory, Sweet, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet, Zucchini

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Sipdown backlog from Friday. Gong fu, 35, 25, 20,30, 45, 120, 150, ?, ?, ?,seconds, 4-5 grams, 4-5 oz.

Especially rich with lilac, macadamia, vanilla, and frosty floral notes amidst spinach and greener ones. It got more vegetal in the later notes. The Traditional Oxidation is slightly tastier because it’s fruitier, but this one remains as an extremely satisfying Dong Ding. It’s pretty close to being a 90 for me and it’s not bad for it’s price, but I personally want to save up room in my cupboard for both the snootier and the cheaper teas I have. I still would recommend it because Phoenix Village Dong Dings are good period, and it’s good for the free shipping in the U.S.

Flavors: Almond, Citrus Zest, Floral, Frosting, Jasmine, Nutty, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Thick, Vanilla, Vegetal

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A lot like the Phoenix Village Dong Dings I’ve had, especially Eco-Cha Club’s version. Swiss chard, savory butter, vanilla, nuts, florals, and thick texture…despite having an accident of what should have been gong fu into western, then back into gong fu with steeps going up 20 second increments. Luckily it’s forgiving.

The thing that stood out about this one is the floral notes at the end being a little bit closer to some Baozhongs I’ve had then regular Qing Xins. It’s actually 29% oxidised oolong, and it does have everything else that’s normal for a dong ding, but the notes rise and shapeshift into a floral bomb the aftertaste.

I’m really into it, and I got it for $6.25 for 1/2 oz, so it’s not as expensive as it could be. I’m looking forward to seeing what else I can get from it.

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Sip down western. I didn’t tumbler it when I could have, but I think I got to enjoy more out of it western/gong fu combo style (closer to Japanese brewing style with 45-minute sec increments) with 9 steeps. I was impressed by the fact that the later steeps were more floral and creamier that earlier ones. It’s not a super flavor forward tea, but it’s complex.

My biggest gripe is the price. I know the tradeoff of free shipping is upping some of the tea prices, and I do this one is unique from a less common way of making Dong Ding, but I’ve had very similar style teas for cheaper, and the other Phoenix Village Dong Ding that Tillerman has is extremely close to this one for less. This one enjoys having more dimension than the others and is usually a 90’s rated tea for me, but the above $10 for half an ounce still gets me.

Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Coconut, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Green, Nut Fruits, Nutty, Peach, Savory, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal

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Medium length note…hopefully.

I got some of my Tillerman Targets for my birthday. I’ve had 35% oxidized and Fenghuang Village Dong Dings before and frickin’ love them, and needed to have some even if it was just a sample. I hesitated getting this one because it was a woppin’ $13 for 1/2 oz….yikes, but I know I’d enjoy it. The free shipping in the U.S. and the price of the other teas made me decide yes since I only got samples.

I will be honest and kinda messed up the brews. I used close to 3-4 grams in 5 oz and brewed it western to save some leave due to how pricy it is. Thankfully, the tea was still forgiving after about 3 minutes in steep one. Most of the flavor was absorbed in this cup. The aroma was fairly subtle with all the usual notes you’d expect from a high mountain, but the flavor leans more into nuts and with some slight fruits. Steep one began with the macademia note, transitions into coconut, butter, lightly cooked fresh vegetables, and then into a weird floral fruity mix of peach and cream creating an interesting sensation on the roof of my mouth, coating my sinuses.

I haven’t had sinusy tea in a while, so this was a treat. The remaining steeps were improvised increments of 30 seconds, increasing the steeping time and increasing some lemongrass and curd in the later steeps. It only lasted about 6 cups before it got to generic.

So while this tea fits every parameter I like hitting the flexibility of a tea you can be kinda neglectful and still be good, I’m not going to rate it yet. I need to do it gong fu before I decide. I definitely like it, but I’ve had some traditionally oxidised Dong Ding that I’ve liked equally for cheaper. Price and longevity are the biggest things bugging me about it.

I hope that Gong Fu blows me away. Unfortunately, higher unroasted Dong Dings have been harder to come by than they used to be and some of the Dong Dings I’ve had for the last three years haven’t matched the 2014 and 2015 seasons I’ve had. To think about it, I think I’ve had tea from this producer before….This tea does match those, but I wonder if the fact that the practice has been fading is the reason why the tea has become more expensive. Though I could be totally wrong. I’d be happy to have some knowledge drops in the comments.

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I bought this premium Meishan Alishan to compare with the regular Meishan version. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at boiling for 20, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of heady spring flowers, honey, cookies, and grass. The first steep has intense notes of lilac, sweet pea, narcissus, and other flowers, plus butter, corn, bok choy, spinach, herbs, and grass. The second steep has green tea–like veggies balanced with herbs, flowers, and faint sweetness. The predominantly vegetal notes continue into the next few steeps, although there are plenty of floral, honey, and herbaceous notes as well. The end of the session focuses on kale, spinach, broccoli, bok choy, and other veggies, with a slight floral sweetness.

I was not expecting this tea to make such a swift and merciless descent from sweet Alishan florals to veggie soup. Maybe it was my brewing parameters, although I did my best to follow Tillerman’s instructions. I’ll keep experimenting to see if I can justify giving this tea a higher rating.

Flavors: Bok Choy, Broccoli, Butter, Cookie, Corn Husk, Floral, Grass, Green, Herbaceous, Honey, Kale, Narcissus, Spinach, Vegetal

Boiling 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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This is my second Tillerman Tea review (the first was posted during the Steepster website mess). I bought a sample of this tea to compare it to their premium Alishan. Following their brewing times, I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at boiling for 20, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of heady flowers, cookies, and grass. The first steep has notes of honeysuckle, lilac, daffodil, grass, butter, spinach, and cookies. The second steep is even more floral, though with some vegetal flavours. I also get honey and an herbaceous aftertaste. The herbaceous notes get stronger in the next couple steeps, but so, unfortunately, does the spinach and grass, with the honey, cookie, and florals fading into the background. A hint of citrus appears in the lingering aftertaste. (I think these long aftertastes are becoming a theme for Tillerman’s tea selection.) The end of the session is vegetal, creamy, and floral.

As the website claims, this is a straightforward tea that provides a good introduction to high mountain oolongs. I kind of wish it had more complexity, but will gladly finish my 12 g sample. I also wish the website gave timing instructions for more than the first two steeps, as I feel it might have done better with different brewing parameters.

Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Cookie, Creamy, Floral, Grass, Herbaceous, Honey, Honeysuckle, Narcissus, Spinach, Vegetal

Boiling 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Well, I finally caved and got six teas from Tillerman, just in time for no one to be able to read my notes. That figures. I was also certain there were some reviews of Shan Lin Xi oolongs from this company that I could use as points of reference, but I can’t find any, possibly due to all the Steepster glitches. As I’ve probably said before, Shan Lin Xi oolongs are among my favourites and this one was affordable, so into my cart it went. More or less according to the vendor’s instructions, I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at boiling for 30, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 60, 75, 90, 120, and 240 seconds, plus a few long steeps.

The dry aroma is of resin and sweet flowers. The first steep has heady notes of orchid, lilac, and sweet pea, plus slight resin, custard, grass, and butter. The second steep has herbs, spinach, lettuce, grass, custard sweetness, and flowers. This tea has gone vegetal really quickly, and I wonder if I oversteeped it. The body is still smooth and heavy, and maybe this is what is meant by “good grip?” The third steep gives off a waft of some sort of “mountain glade” air freshener, which is probably a combination of flowers and sweetness and is actually kind of appealing. The tea achieves a good balance of vegetal, floral, and resin in the next three or so rounds, and there’s a tiny bit of cooked pineapple in the liquor and at the bottom of the cup. The next couple steeps introduce more veggies, including spinach and kale, and a condensed milk sweetness. As expected, the final few steeps are more or less grassy and vegetal.

This tea fits my idea of what a Shan Lin Xi should be, though it has fewer fruity notes than its counterpart from Floating Leaves. (They’re both somewhat pricy U.S. companies made even less affordable by the exchange rate, so I naturally tend to compare them.) As the session progressed, my rating went up from an 80 to an 83 to an 86, which is a fair indication of its quality. Surprisingly, Tillerman’s steeping parameters worked, and I might start subjecting all my high mountain oolongs to boiling water now.

Flavors: Butter, Custard, Floral, Grass, Herbaceous, Kale, Lettuce, Milk, Orchid, Pineapple, Resin, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Squeaky clean tea! The floral and vegetal flavors are in great balance with the overall profile leaning toward bright citrusy tones, sugarcane sweetness, alpine air and cooling fir/pine. Balanced body, minerality and astringency, some returning sweetness. In each session, I’ve brewed the leaf with longer steep times, something like 30/20/20/25/30/45/60/etc and it doesn’t want to give up. The tea is consistent; it isn’t highly complex nor does it have a lasting aftertaste but it does shine in its balance and longevity.

Flavors: Butter, Citrusy, Cookie, Fir, Floral, Flowers, Garden Peas, Gardenias, Grass Seed, Lemon, Lemongrass, Mineral, Peach, Pine, Plant Stems, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sweet, Vanilla

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Martin Bednář

Tea no. 50 in my wishlist! Citrusy, alpine air and coniferous trees sounds appealing to me.

So Keta

Sounds pretty good actually, interesting profile.

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It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve temporarily switched residence. My new tea station is at the kitchen table (as opposed to my bedroom/teacave) and I’m living with 2 people, so I’m drinking tea more socially than at home. Neither of them appreciates tea, though, beyond the odd teabag. I’ve offered but you know. Anyway, I haven’t been focusing on the tea too much since I’m usually chatting.

Overall impression of this Alishan — holy creamy, pungent bulb flowers and grass, later peach gummi rings. Very forward. Body vacillates between full and thin, possibly as a result of the leaves not having enough room to fully and evenly expand in the pot. Some minerality. Steeps forever. Acidity like green apple comes out in late steeps, along with rough astringency. With my first go at this tea, I was unable to brew it out so the leaves went into a jar in the fridge for cold-brew. Really pleasant result there.

I received this tea in place of something else I ordered. I neglected to rectify the situation out of pure laziness. Not unhappy with the accidental swap but it’s also not something I’d go out of my way to order. While I like puerh and black tea with forward personalities, I favor nuance in Taiwanese oolong.

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I got a surprise package in the mail from derk today! What a delight and mood lifter! I was momentarily flummoxed and wondering if we had a swap that I forgot or if I had forgotten to mail some tea or…but when I opened it up the note said, “Why not?” That really made me smile!

It was a beautiful evening with the moon visible well before sundown and a tiny breeze. We decided to have gong fu cha outside and I chose this tea from the package because derk included it especially for my husband’s tastes and I knew it would be his favorite of this batch. (I have been wanting to try Moon Princess for a while now and the two black teas sound right up my alley!)

We used the incense I bought from Verdant and stayed until it was all gone, so we were having tea for about an hour. The incense makes a pretty good timer!

I did a quick rinse and oh my goodness the first steep was brilliant. It was so sweet and floral! My husband is a second steep guy and as usual he loved the second steep more than the first. The floral aspect softened and there was a nice lightly soft veggies with butter flavor. The tea was also creamy in texture. Delicious!

By the fourth steep the leaves had gone from a wee sample to absolutely huge and filling the pot completely. I lost count of steeps but I would say we had twelve or so.

Thank you, derk, for the surprise package! It really did my heart good!

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I picked up a 1/2oz sample from the SF Tea Festival 2019. At the show, I tasted the 3rd steep of the tea and it was tasty, so I had to pick up some to try at home.

Summary: This is a very lovely, but understated tea that is great for when you something lighter in flavor. It definitely has the Lishan qualities - nice milky/buttery flavors intermingled with lovely floral notes. It’s extremely well balanced in flavors; good viscosity that coats the tongue with an astringency that you can feel on the tongue and partially down the throat, with a medium finish. This tea if fairly consistent throughout steeps.

Tillerman Tea recommends the following: 6grams per 100ml @ 212F for 25 seconds, then 20s, then increasing from there.

I sometimes follow the recommendations, but in this instance, I didn’t, preferring to try this first with my general brewing style to an unknown tea — 5 grams / 150 ml of water — but I did use the recommended brewing times.

150ml water @ ~200F for 25s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 60secs, etc.
As mentioned earlier, the steeps were fairly consistent in aroma and flavor profile.

This is not a complicated tea, but it is very good. i suspect that if I brew this at the recommended amounts (6grams per 100ml of water), the flavors will be much more intense. I’ll update this review once I get around to doing that.

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Milk

0 min, 30 sec 4 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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drank Hong Shui by Tillerman Tea
956 tasting notes

After a very nice South Indian lunch I made today, I felt like having a darker Taiwanese oolong, so this sample I have from derk came handy :)
Even better, this turns out to be the best Hong Shui I have tried thus far.

The tea smells of cocoa and peach cake. It has a very interesting tart and metallic quality on top of the expected notes of rock sugar and stonefruits. There is a strong lemon flavour too. The liquor is silky and medium bodied, but not coating, an intriguing texture. After swallowing, it leaves my mouth salivating for a while, which enhances the aftertaste. I can also see some strange mix of warming and cooling effects like derk noted. Overall, the tea enhances my perceptions and makes me more focused, which is good, because I should get back to work now :)

Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8b4-6E8zjA

Flavors: Alcohol, Cake, Cocoa, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Lemon, Metallic, Pleasantly Sour, Stonefruit, Sugar, Sweet, Tart

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

Argh! Your description sounds fascinating. I should really try Tillerman tea now!

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drank Hong Shui by Tillerman Tea
1555 tasting notes


Today, I blew through the sample of this Hong Shui I purchased at the SF Tea Fest. This was my first time tasting a Hong Shui and I’m finding it difficult to pin down. In some ways it reminds me a lot of the Taiwan Amber GABA Oolong I love from What-Cha, especially with its rock sugar sweetness. This tea though, has more of an understated nutty, grainy, baked or dried stonefruit vibe than roasted pear and apple. Maybe a little nut/grain milky quality? The liquor is thin and silky and leaves a surprisingly full and warm feeling in my throat and chest but remains cooling in the rest of the mouth and body; strangely refreshing for a roasted oolong. Long dried fruit/floral aftertaste. Complex and beyond my focus today. Perhaps I’ll come back for a rating after I try the other two Hong Shui in my cupboard.

Seems to do better with higher leaf:volume and short gongfu infusions.


Flavors: Dried Fruit, Floral, Fruity, Grain, Mint, Roast Nuts, Stonefruit, Sugar

Boiling 4 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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Purchased at the SF Tea Fest. This organic gaoshan was offered as a replacement for the Spring 2018 harvest that had already sold out by the time we rolled around on Sunday afternoon. Tillerman Tea was probably my favorite booth at the fest. He and his partner were full of answers when I unloaded with questions, they presented not one gimmicky claim and I felt like there was no pressure to buy. I appreciated that given the overwhelming nature of the event. Most importantly, they let the tea speak for itself.

Gone gaiwan: 6g, 150mL, 212F, rinse (drank) plus 13 steeps starting at 10s.

The dry leaf is very fragrant with a range of florals including lilac, daffodil, hyacinth, gardenia and lily. It is also typically vegetal with some cream and butter. Warming brings out a hit of vanilla and fresh sugarcane. The rinse opens up the vegetal aroma into scents of spinach, pine, watercress and white pepper.

The first steep is thick, smooth, oily and round with no bitterness nor astringency despite using boiling water. The leaves open almost completely after the first steep. Daffodil and pine and very light vegetal and sweet lemon notes lead the way. These transition into stronger floral notes with additions of osmanthus and faint macadamia and dried coconut. Puff pastry presents as a long, coating aftertaste. I get a faint whiff of popcorn in the aroma and something spicy in the mouth, a tinge of cassia. Very relaxed and sweating.

With the fifth steep, the liquor lightens into fresh vegetal-herbaceous flavors including sugar snap peas, raw corn, fresh herbs, squash blossom and flower stems. A faint astringency becomes noticeable, along with some cooling menthol that coats the back of the tongue and light minerals which make my tongue tingle. I notice a pleasant bite in the throat and the sugarcane returning sweetness. Butter comes through moderately in the aftertaste.

With the eighth steep, the florals finally begin their fade and give way to a thinner brew highlighted by cream, light sweet vanilla, cooked yellow corn, minerals and some lemon still noticeable around the salivary glands.

This seemed like a standout tea even almost 2 years past harvest. While predominantly a heady floral tea, the non-spinachy vegetal base provided a nice balance and the liquor was well rounded by sweet, buttery, pine/herbal, and citrusy qualities along with that slight spicy bite. I would definitely recommend this tea to somebody looking for a high-quality, organic gaoshan.

Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Citrusy, Coconut, Corn Husk, Cream, Floral, Garden Peas, Gardenias, Herbs, Lemon, Menthol, Nuts, Osmanthus, Pastries, Pepper, Pine, Plants, Popcorn, Round, Smooth, Spinach, Squash Blossom, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal

Boiling 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

Tillerman Tea was also one of my favourite booths at the Toronto Tea Festival. I chatted with David a bunch, even though I didn’t end up buying any tea there. I might order from them online though.


Glad they were there and you enjoyed chatting with David! I’m really trying to drink down my oolong stash so I can make room for a variety of samples from their spring 2019 harvests. I especially want to try their Muzha Tieguanyin.


My favourites from the ones they served at the festival were the Cui Feng and the Sweet Scent Dong Ding. Muzha TGY is also good, but I generally don’t care too much about TGY cultivar.


Unfortunately, I was so tea drunk and exhausted by the time I reached the Tillerman booth, I couldn’t remember the 4 teas I sampled :( ‘m not too fond of tieguanyin either, but I really enjoyed the Taiwanese one offered by Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company and want to try some from a different vendor. I see Tillerman has free North American shipping on all orders. That’s good news for you.

Daylon R Thomas

The Chingjing and Cuifeng were my favorites from the company so far, too, when I ordered online. The shipping was relatively quick for me.

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Here’s the last high mountain oolong sample from my Tillerman order. I was underwhelmed the first time I brewed this tea. The flavor was a little weak and it didn’t have much oomph. Slight upping the leaf to water ratio really gave it a big boost in flavor.

This tea is packed with lots of bright flowery notes. It opens with sweet pea and orange blossom before giving way to narcissus, daffodils, and a hint of vanilla. Aromas of meadow flowers, butter, and something like clover honey waft out from the gaiwan. The tea has a thick body and a creamy mouthfeel, leaving behind a nice little tingle on the tongue as it goes down.

I’ve been impressed overall by the quality of the teas I’ve had from Tillerman Tea. The bao zhong was good, and the Ali Shan and Li Shan were both stellar. Oddly enough, as a jade oolong enthusiast, it’s their “Sweet Scent” Dong Ding that I find myself craving the most.

Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Honey, Narcissus, Orange Blossom, Peas, Vanilla

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 84 ML

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This is a solid, if not spectacular, baozhong. It does better gongfu’ed than grandpa style, which is my usual method of brewing this type of tea. Dry leaf aroma is a sweet medley of lilac and hyacinth. The first steeping was thick and TGY-like, brimming with heady lilacs and orchid. Second steep was more or less the same with a little egg yolk in the finish. At the third steep, the tea softened and gave a rush of wildflowers that lingered on the tongue. The tea faded in the last 2 steeps but still had good flavor. An enjoyable tea, but I’ve been so spoiled by drinking so many great baozhongs that this one just doesn’t excite my taste buds much.

Flavors: Flowers

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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It’s been an exhausting week and a half. I’ve been busy cramming for a certification exam that I should have started studying for 3 months ago except life and summer got in the way. In the process, I’ve gone through a lot of different teas to help fuel my long study sessions.

This is the first dong ding I’ve had in a long while. Normally I am not a fan of dark oolongs with the exception of fruity dan congs and some yanchas. When I bought this, I misread the description and thought it was a light roast. Turns out that although this tea has an assertive roast, it was anything but charcoal-like. Out of the bag, the aroma was very mouthwatering. I smelled roasted nuts, baked bread, flowers, a little spice and a hint of hazelnut. After a rinse, the aroma became s’mores like. First steep greeted me with toasted nuts and a little char. The second steep was a green/dark hybrid with baked and floral tones. The roastiness softens by the 5th steep and I get pleasant spice notes. When grandpa steeped, it’s smooth and warm. Starts off woodsy and popcorn like before turning into a nice graham cracker taste.

True to its name, this tea has a fantastic aroma and excellent flavor. The fact that it grandpa steeps so well is an added bonus because it’s another tea I can throw in my tumbler for work or while studying.

Flavors: Bread, Flowers, Graham Cracker, Marshmallow, Roast Nuts, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 1 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML
Daylon R Thomas

My bad that I called it a light roast. I’m used to roasted Dong Dings being a little bit heavier, though it is impressive that it was a mid-charcoal one.


I actually didn’t see your tasting note until later but I’m glad I didn’t read the description on the site too closely. It’s good to step outside of my comfort zone sometimes :)

Daylon R Thomas

:) I was pleasantly surprised with this one myself. I thought it was going to be lighter, but the roast makes a nice accent to the orchid notes I kept getting personally.

Daylon R Thomas

I used to love medium roasted and oxidized Dong Dings and Tie Guan Yins, but I liked them less over time because they reminded me more of a potatoes than I liked. The recent ones have been better.


Same here. Roasted oolongs can be great but alas too many ashy tasting teas have spoiled them for me. I love toasted nut and baked fruit accent the better ones add to the tea.

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This was a marvelous Li shan and one of the better jade oolongs I’ve had in a while. The scent of the leaves is a real treat for the nose. The aroma is an intoxicating mix of hyacinth, daffodils, wild flowers, and melon. I kept smelling the gaiwan over and over again to take in all the loveliness. The brewed tea is a juicy, flowery nectar with notes of orchid, sweet pea, apricot, and jasmine. Later on, it settled into a nice sugarcane sweetness, some vegetal tones but still remained lush and floral. I steeped this about 7-8 times and it definitely could have been pushed further.

Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Garden Peas, Jasmine, Melon, Orchid, Sugarcane

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

Nice notes! I’m looking decently-priced Li Shan, so I may need to check out this vendor.

Daylon R Thomas

Another great one for affordable Lishan is What-Cha. They are not in stock at the moment, but it goes between $13-14 per 50 grams, which is the deal for the quality. The Tillerman has great oolongs in general. Their Cuifeng is also not bad, and it is cheaper. Some people also like the Mountain Tea Lishan on here, but I haven’t had experience with it. Mountain Stream tea has a bunch of Li-Shan seasons for different prices.


I’ve also heard good things about What-Cha (though I have yet to place an order…) and $13-14 for 50g is a good price. I’ll have to wait until they’re back in stock! I’ve have lots of Mountain Tea’s oolongs and their 2017 Winter LiShan is pretty good. I’m always tempted to get their Dayuling, but chicken out due to the price.

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