1233 Tasting Notes


I got a free sample of this with my first order, and by far one of my favorites from M&K’s. It definitely tastes like a Gunpowder Green tea, but with a smoother, less astringent body of the oolong. It’s also not quite as smoky which is refreshing. It also makes me feel good when I drink it, alert and ready to focus on anything, be it an intensive workout or a slow meditation.

I’m honestly biased in rating this, and I recommend a try for this one. What you get is a better tasting gunpowder tea with a little bit of a buttery, floral scent and taste. Some people might be bored with it because of how close it is to the green tea version, while others may prefer it like I did because of its oolong body. If you want to be adventurous, get this tea.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Green, Smoked, Sweet

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Ceremonial Matcha by Aiya
1233 tasting notes

My first pure Matcha, and one of my favorites of all time. Deceptively expensive, but worth the cost considering how long this little tin lasts. It smell like sea mist and forest to me, also very close to Dragonwell and Sencha. The taste is Green personified, if that were ever possible. Umami, seaweed, grass, bits of cream, and sea mist again fill the cup and linger on my tongue. I’ve had it for over a year and have just gone through half of it, still enjoying it day to day. Also, nearly impossible to make without a Matcha whisk.

Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Green, Seaweed, Umami

180 °F / 82 °C 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Really good with honey, but decent on its own. Honey as a sweetener really brings out the other flavors.

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Thank you Brenden for this sample!!!!!!
I really, really enjoyed this black tea. It is naturally sweet, smooth, and soooo much like caramel, in smell and in taste. This tea has so much character, and with only a barely noticeable touch of astringency. I smell again, caramel, hay, butter, sweet potatoe, popcorn….and sip the same notes. And that’s just on the first 15 second steep. This is actually one of my favorite black teas thus far. I would not drink this again and again because I want to savor it, and enjoy it as long as I can before its gone.

Another tea that is great in Gongfu style, and I think that almost anyone would like it, newbie or tea master. This is the tea to learn to enjoy without sugar for beginners. And this is a delicacy for the tea snob. I don’t think that I could ever drink black tea the same way again. I now prefer more golden leaves…..I am now a tea snob. Curses!!!!!!

Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Creamy, Hot Hay, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 7 OZ / 207 ML

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First black tea from Whispering Pines, and I’m fairly impressed. I was hoping to try the Golden Orchid for some time, but vanilla is one of those hit or miss spices for me, and I wanted to try it without the flavoring. It does indeed smell like the winds up here in northern Michigan, thus having the perfect name. I smell woods, cocoa, and when I taste it, it is dominantly cocoa. I can see why vanilla was added in the Golden Orchid version now. This tea is very smooth and has no astringency, though it really needs another accent like vanilla for more flavor. Nevertheless, it’s probably one of the better black teas that I’ve had. I very rarely drink black tea Gongfu style, but I got more of the flavors drinking this method. It might be overpowering in Western.

This is a go to black tea for people to try, and definitely a good base or personal stock for higher end black tea. Personally, I don’t think that I would purchase this again now knowing my preference for oolongs, but I am glad that I tried it. Thank you Brenden, for your very kind service and high quality tea!

Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Smooth, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 7 OZ / 207 ML

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Orchid and toasted bamboo are really the best ways to describe the smell and taste of this tea. The smell is what sold me in the first place, reminding me of the tropical forests in Thailand, filled with rosewood and thickets of bamboo. There are some hints of nuts, a wet, earthy body like a Pu-Erh, and some smoke mixed in with mountain mist. The color is also a rosewood color, though not quite as amber or red as black tea, nor as yellow as a green tea. I’d say this one is one of my favorites, and mind you it is six bucks for 50 grams on Espresso Royale’s website.

This is also my first fully roasted oolong that I can remember, and I started drinking at the Espresso Royale near the MSU campus. Their coffee was either great or dirty and acidic, so I decided to opt out for their loose leaf. There, this tea was named Songbird Oolong, and then I smelled to see what it would be like. Coming full circle, I smelled what I just described and it instantly became one of my preferences when I went there. Even this morning I am drinking this tea instead of coffee, and while the caffeine is medium, I would say it’s on the higher end of that scale. There is also some cold coming in from the morning, dewy rain, and this is keeping me warm while I romanticize my memories in Thailand.

I’ve only had a few other fully roasted oolongs, and this one is the most flavor I’ve had yet. I’ve only had one bagged version that was remotely similar and that was Ten Ren’s Wu Yi, but I prefer this loose leaf because of it’s cleaner and less astringent quality. I’m guessing that this Oolong is the standard of the roasted variety, and if so, anyone who likes roasted oolongs would appreciate this tea and definitely be satisfied. Someone newer to teas may not be as accustomed to the roasted woodsy, earth like flavor, but they may like it with some sugar being somewhat similar to a coffee. Otherwise, it would taste like dirt water to someone really new to tea.

I like this tea both Gongfu and Western style, with Gongfu yielding more of the woodsy bamboo, orchid, and nutty flavors whilst Western is the same but with more Earth and body. I would prefer the Western style for this one.

Flavors: Bamboo, Orchid, Roasted, Walnut, Wet Earth, Wet Wood

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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The smell is way too much Bergamot, making me not want to drink it…but the taste is so much better. The rooibos is the most dominant character in this blend, though it’s definitely a complete, but fruity Early Grey. I enjoy tasting it and its good, with some of my friends absolutely loving it, but I honestly didn’t want four ounces. I wish that individual samples were sold.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Rooibos

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I got this one as a free sample and one of my first from Enjoying Tea. It’s very similar to Tie Guan Yin, but not nearly as flavorful. This one is more vegetal than floral, and it’s pretty solid, but I personally wouldn’t buy it again.

Flavors: Floral, Green, Nuts, Vegetal

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Rose Black by Enjoying Tea
1233 tasting notes

Another flavored one, oh boy. Well, I like this one a lot. Like the Cream Earl Grey White, this tea’s flavoring is potent, but to me it’s not quite as overwhelming though some might disagree. Sweet, candied roses fills my nose and my mouth, coming to linger on the tip of my tongue. But the rose by no means overpowers the black tea. I swear I can taste some Keemum, or that could be the rose making the Ceylon base taste like a Keemum. There are some cocoa notes, and little astringency with a smooth body kinda like a Keemum or a Ceylon.

This tea is also really sweet like I already mentioned. It does not need sweetener or cream, though by no means bad with it. I prefer this one straight.

I’d ONLY recommend this to people who like a lot of flavor and a lot of sweetness, and no one else.

Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Rose, Sweet

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Warning: this is only for Earl Grey lovers like the website suggests. When I am in the mood for it, this tea is great. When I’m not, it has way too much bergamot and it’s way to strong though it’s a white tea. The only bad angle about this tea is the potent, almost astringent flavoring.

It’s still a pretty good Earl Grey, and a decent white tea. I definitely taste the lighter Bai Mu Tan for the body which almost makes me prefer this one to a regular Earl Grey with Ceylon or Assam. There is also a herbaceous note that can be great, or a little bit overpowering. That’s why I drink this one only after two minutes. I never go above three for this one.

Tea purists be warned: this is NOT the tea for you.

Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Creamy, Herbaceous

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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First Off, Current Targets:

Whispering Pines Alice
Tillerman Tea Traditional Oxidation Oolong
Tillerman Tea Phoenix Village Dong Dings
Good Luxurious Work Teas
A good Qilan
Best Sachet Teas

Dislikes: Heavy Tannin, Astringency, Bitterness, or Fake Flavor, Overly herby herbal or aged teas

Picky with: Higher Oxidation Oolongs, Red Oolongs (Some I love, others give me headaches or are almost too sweet), Mint Teas

Currently, my stash is overflowing. Among my favorites are What-Cha’s Lishan Black, Amber Gaba Oolong, Lishan Oolong, Qilan Oolong, White Rhino, Kenya Silver Needle, Tong Mu Lapsang Black (Unsmoked); Whispering Pines Alice, Taiwaneese Assam, Wang’s Shanlinxi, Cuifeng, Dayuling; Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co.“Old Style” Dong Ding, Mandala Milk Oolong


I am an MSU graduate, and current alternative ed. high school social studies and history teacher. I formerly minored in anthropology, and I love Egyptian and classical history. I love to read, write, draw, paint, sculpt, fence(with a sword), practice calisthenics on rings, lift weights, workout, relax, and drink a cuppa tea…or twenty.

I’ve been drinking green and black teas ever since I was little living in Hawaii. Eastern Asian influence was prominent with my friends and where I grew up, so I’ve been exposed to some tea culture at a young age. I’ve come a long way since I began on steepster and now drink most teas gong fu, especially oolong. Any tea that is naturally creamy, fruity, or sweet without a lot of added flavoring ranks as a must have for me. I also love black teas and dark oolongs with the elusive “cocoa” note. My favorites are lighter Earl Greys, some white teas like What-Cha’s Kenyan offerings, most Hong-Cha’s, darker Darjeelings, almost anything from Nepal, Green Shan Lin Xi’s, and Greener Dong Dings. I’m in the process of trying Alishan’s. I also tend to really enjoy Yunnan Black or Red teas and white teas. I’m pickier with other teas like chamomile, green teas, and Masalas among several.

I used to give ratings, but now I only rate teas that have a strong impression on me. If I really like it, I’ll write it down.

I’ll enjoy a tea almost no matter what, even if the purpose is more medicinal, for it is my truest vice and addiction.


Michigan, USA

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