1275 Tasting Notes

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone is safe. Alistair, I hope you and your family are doing safe under the UK’s new lockdown!

My notes today are going to brief. I won’t go into depth into all of them, but I will wax poetic about the things that strike me. I’m still getting to know this one, but here it goes: this is a very solid tea. I wish I tried it before the Shan Lin Xi and Li Shan Blacks, but those are incredible to say the least.

Like the notes say, it’s more of a honey black tea. It’s clearly black tea, and it kinda reminded me of some Assams in its berry hints. It’s on the sweeter end, but mediumly malty and definitely floral. It’s a little brisker than I expected, like Assams and Ceylons, but it’s a hair more sophisticated than those in its floral-malt-tea combo. Gong fu has yielded more nuance in the berry notes so far than Western-Western makes it taste a lot like its Assam or Yu Chi counterparts. I usually got 4 rounded cups Gong Fu and 3 Western, and it got fruiter and more aromatic in the later steeps, but it was malty, woodsy, and floral in steep one. The later steeps have not changed that much.

I think I’m missing something about this tea. So far, it’s really just tasted like other Taiwanese blacks, but I’m a spoiled brat for what I get and chose. I could taste some of its oolong origins in its texture, but it reminded me of a Taiwanese Assam or a Ceylon. This one was a very tea tasting tea. I’m glad that I tried it, yet I’m going to hold off on the rating. I’m being too picky right now.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


This is an interesting one. I will be honest-I miss the days of the 10 gram sample to increase the variety of what I try, but this is one of those teas that was perfect at 25 grams for me. I could have read too much into the notes for this one, but the floral combo was really interesting, and there were some parts of the session where it tasted different, but the basic honey floral flavor was still there.

The mix of color is interesting-it is wiry, black, and gilded with faint gold tips, but it’s mixed with silver ones, too, like a white tea.

The dry leaf is fairly floral-and it kind of reminds me of a jasmine black, but it’s not too strong. It still smells like a chocolaty and yammy Fujian tea.

This is not a strong tea, and more on the lighter end like other Fujians and even the recent Tie Guan Yin type blacks I’ve had, but it still has a yammy malt distinctly like other Fujian teas. The difference comes with the florals and the honey notes. The honey comes off more to me as heathered, dark honey with some texture. The honey note also reminded me of other fructose based things like apricots in steep 2, citrus in 3, and peaches in four.

I’ve had a harder time pinning down the florals.They tend to remind me of jasmine more strongly, but also reminded me of chrysanthemum in a very light way. Later steeps brought lilac (HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I USED THAT SAME
DAMN NOTE), but I’ve drank this with my Evening Lilac from Renegade Tea in comparison, and they are pretty close, only this one is more citrusy and honey based-that one is more floral.

Heathered honey remains the most dominant flavor amidst nearly heavy florals with the chocolaty/yammy malt ones in the middle brews. The honey reminds me of some darker and more sundried white teas, and the chocolate notes faded after brew 5 for me in a session of 7 steeps after a random amount of seconds and minutes that I paid no head to. The teas body, however, is very light to medium and not thick while. Viscous, but not heavy. The later steeps also brought in some healthy but small tannin hints that were nice, but the tea was still chocolaty and honey sweet.

Overall, I’m a big fan. I’m curious to see what other people think of it. This tea personally stood out to me because it combines the trademarks of a Fujian Black in my head and brings out the floral qualities. There were moments were it tasted a lot like the Jasmine black that I ordered in that other teas later steeps.

I’m not quite sure what I’d rate it yet. It’s struck me as more of a late afternoon tea for a medium re-center or recharge over a breakfast tea, but I definitely kept coming back to it last night. I also wish I got some Jin Jun Mei and Golden Needle Black in my last order. I figured-I have too much Hon Cha, but I’ve really been craving it lately.

Really, my tastes are slowly reverting back to older ones. I still love my oolongs, but I’ve been drinking a lot more of my Chinese What-Cha blacks and the Hugo Jasmine Green a lot more lately. I tend to in the winter anyway and do still drink my oolongs, but I’ve brewed them for less steeps. Some of my greener ones I swear have gotten spinagier in time, although I always drink them within a year.

Taste preference aside, I really liked this one and will continue to enjoy it for this bizarre year and season.

Flavors: Apricot, Chocolate, Citrus, Floral, Honey, Malt, Peach, Smooth, Tannic, Tea, Toffee, Yams

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Knew eastteaguy would snag some, too!

I wish I snagged more of this one. I am really happy that Alistair was able to acquire some, and deeply appreciate that he decided to put it up on the shop that he did.

As with most of my reviews this month, I’m not going to go into an exhaustive breakdown of my sessions, but I will focus on the re-occuring details I noticed and my personal opinion on the tea.

Opening it up, the tea is definitely on the greener side like most Dayulings, but packs a flavorful punch even if the leaves barely tint the hot water. Yes, I gong fu’d it in a small portable glass set in increments of 10, 35, 45 seconds and so on. Rose water, greens, grass, pineapple, lemongrass,pear, sugarcane, and mineral water were the most re-occuring notes in every part of the session. The rinse and very last steeps were the greenest, middle steeps were fruiter, and later steeps were more floral leaning into the rose with osmanthus sneaking up.

I greatly enjoyed it because it was a delicate tea that was rich in flavor, and extremely pronounced in its rosy headyness and creamy texture. Alistair described it as balsam, and I can see the tea being close to a white balsamic since it has just the right amount of green acidity to be similar. I will say it’s not too different from other Dayulings I’ve had, but I’m very pleased because it’s exactly what I wanted it to be.

I do wish I bought more of this, but since I had at least 50 grams of Wang Teas’s Dayuling, I wanted to add more variety and focus on other oolongs and black teas. It’s a shame this sold out so quickly, but I am glad it did because it stands out from What-Cha’s other teas.

Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Grass, Green, Green Apple, Lemongrass, Mineral, Pear, Pineapple, Rose, Sugarcane

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Thank you, Brenden!

This is becoming a new favorite. I’ve done this western and Gong Fu. I have a slight preference gong fu so that I can enjoy it slower flavor by flavor, but it smoothens out well with longer steeps. I was surprised how small the leaves are, though it’s like looking at hairs from black sheeps golden fleece. In essence, pretty.

It does bear similarities to the original blend in all Brenden’s favorite profiles of cocoa, chocolate, cherry, un-added vanilla, CARAMEL, but this higher grade of leaves does make the blend more refined. The original had some rougher edges with occasional, but highly desirable astringency, bitterness and dryness. The Imperial blend has rye dryness, but not astringency or bitterness. Instead, it’s got malt done right-there where times where I had to remind myself that this was not Scotch. I personally got some present barley notes with butter, stonefruit and caramel. The fruitiness is very faint, but again, likes a scotch, serves as an accent.

I am glad I decided to get two oz since I am almost done with the first. It’s a perfect breakfast tea for when I don’t want to wake up. I like it as a soft lunch-rejolt, but it’s so great looking out at a cold, auburn and grey Michigan morning.

Flavors: Butter, Butterscotch, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Cocoa, Malt, Roasted Barley, Rye, Scotch, Smooth, Stonefruit, Sweet, Vanilla

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


I’m so far on the backlog….

Since I’ve been teaching so much on the computer, I’ve been trying to take breaks from technology. Now that I have a moment of respite, I wanted to get back some reviews of some of the teas I’ve hoarded from whiteantlers.

There’s one black tea that I’ve deeply enjoyed, but don’t know quite what it is. It’s only got Mandarin on the package, but if I were to guess, I think it’s either a Tongmu/Wuyi or Tie Guan Yin type black since the leaves are smoothened out with few to little gold tips and a longhan aroma, or it could be Taiwanese because it’s sickeningly sweet and fruity. I have had fruity Chinese and Fujians for sure, but they are usually limited to apricot, citrus, berry and cherry for blacks while the flavor is usually more savory. Taiwanese blacks in my experience are thicker and fruitier, especially leaning into more tropical and stonefruits.

Going into this tea, it’s a sugar bomb-I’ve questioned whether or not it’s been roasted with sugarcane because it’s that immense. Lychee, Longhan, Chocolate, Cherries, Brown Sugar, and Light Malt is what I get, but then it dies off after steep three western, and five if I really take the time to gong fu it. There were times were I’ve wondered if the tea has raised my bloodsugar because of how sweet it is.

I don’t know how else to describe it in terms of notes, but it’s one of those teas that I want to drink all the time, but I get overpowered by cloy if I do. I LOVE it, because it does have some depth and layers underneath all the sugariness, but it pack a punch. Whiteantlers, you might be able to define it?

Anyway, it’s one of the teas that I’ve drank the most so far. I’ve been occasionally trying my new teas if its a sample, but I’ve mostly drank Hugo’s Jasmine Green, What-Cha’s Li-Shan Black, Hugo’s Earl Grey, What-Cha’s Amber Gaba Oolong (SO SMOOTH), Unytea’s Jasmine Black, and Whispering Pines’s Imperial North Winds…which I’ll add today for notes. The rest I’ve already added from what I’ve listed-go check them out!

Selfish side note-Heavily missing my lack of Alice…

White Antlers

Hey Daylon sorry-have no idea what that one was. When I was packing your tea box, I tried to put in as many oolongs as were fit to drink, then just some random things that would fit in as filler. I don’t even remember a packet with ‘Mandarin’ written on it…

Cameron B.

Aww it sounds amazing, I would love to know what tea it was!

Mastress Alita

Oh man, this sounds so good!

Lexie Aleah

Agreed! I wish I knew what it was as well.


Yes! I also wish I knew what that tea was. Sounds like something I’d want to pick up. Sadly, What-Cha’s Li Shan Black was out of stock when I tried to buy it, and I hope it comes back next year. I want fruity black teas!


Are the leaves all whole and needle-like? Twisted, shiny and hard? I had a big envelope of mystery tea from White Antlers with characters that looked Mandarin. I remember one of my first thoughts was “this smells like it was pan-fried in sugar.” Haven’t brewed it yet, though.

Daylon R Thomas

YES! That’s the one

Daylon R Thomas

I could be wrong in that they are Japanese characters-it’s hard to tell since it’s using calligraphy. Now how to use a translater app on my phone…And yes, derk. The are black, twisted, and pretty shiny. Some have small gold tips, but very few. And man, does it smell like pan fried rock sugar.

Mastress Alita

If anyone can get a good, CLEAR picture of the characters, I may be able to translate.

Daylon R Thomas

How do you post pictures on here? I’ve tried copying an pasting mine, but it would not let me. I’ll forward you a message with it.

Daylon R Thomas

Crap. It won’t let me do that either. I’ll just have to add a note with it’s picture.

Mastress Alita

Post a link to where the picture is uploaded?

Mastress Alita

Hmm… I do manga scanlation in my free time, but admittedly am used to dealing with type-printed text over hand-written/stylized which makes it harder for me to pick out some of the kanji. Will try to call in some phone-a-friends and see if any of them can fill in the ones I’m still blank on.

Daylon R Thomas

So the calligraphy is Japanese then? Thank you for taking all this time and effort for a simple translation. Let me know if you need me to take another picture.

Daylon R Thomas

(Although I know Kanji is Japanese use of Chinese based characters, too)


That’s the tea, Daylon. Martin Bednar might have the original packet in his possession unless I had sent it to somebody else.

White Antlers

I wonder if that came from Bitterleaf…

Mastress Alita

It’s Chinese. Japanese imported a good deal of Chinese characters into their language (as well as having their own characters as a phonetic system). I have my ways of dealing with them when I’m transcribing manga… but then, I’m usually dealing with typesetting, and not hand-scrawled calligraphy which is a whole different beast, ha!

Mastress Alita

Well, the consensus seems to be that the large text is 純手工制作 … but from what I can see that doesn’t appear to be the tea’s actual name, but “handmade” or “handcrafted.” And the smaller text is just a bit too small in the picture to try to make out.

Daylon R Thomas

Thank you. Is it bitterleaf’s sugar glider, maybe?

White Antlers

Daylon I believe so.

Daylon R Thomas

I looked at the package. The description is close, but it’s more decorated. It does taste like a Bitterleaf tea, though. I do have the Ya-Shi I’ve been saving from you. I’ve held back on the fruity Dancong oolongs lately. I’m not sure what it is, but they tend to slam me with a different punch of energy. I used to crave the sweetness, and I still like sweeter teas, but the ripeness of it all….intense.

White Antlers

I think our tastes, and not just in tea, change with the seasons and where we are at particular times in life.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Hands down, this is one of my favorite teas from What-Cha in the last few years. I was already devoted the green version, but this one has moved up.

In terms of flavor, it’s comparable to the Nectar and the Wild Mountain Black so highly rated on here. Like Alistair notes, it’s got tons of layers of florals, nutiness, and sweetness. However, the mouthfeel is so sweet and full that it reminds me of funnel cakes in how sugary it tastes without additatives western or gong fu. There are definitely some florals like lilac, but then it leans heavily into all kinds of fruit. Sometimes I got citrus, apricot, peach, plum, cherry, grapes and rhaspberry. I could be exagerating, but it was top notch. Then there’s the savory sweet qualities, like brown sugar and butter. So, so good. I’m stealing a note from another Lishan black, and also adding butternut squash.

Anyway, this tea has a lot to offer, and the way in changes in layers is great. I actually found myself more drawn to the small amount I have of this tea than my Oolong…which is a big statement, because that Lishan oolong is one of my cabinet staples.

Essentially, this tea is what I hoped it would be, and I will be determined to get more from my next paycheck.


Wow. This one will be added to my wishlist!


This sounds amazing! Your review has definitely pushed me toward making a Black Friday order.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Thank you Alistair!!!

Love this so far. Definitely on the sweet side-more notes coming soon.


I’ve been eying this one. I look forward to your notes.

Daylon R Thomas

It’s top notch. It compares to some the Great’s on here.


That’s good to know. I’ve also been considering What-Cha’s regular Li Shan oolong.

Daylon R Thomas

The regular one is actually one of my favorites. The 2019 Lishan was a little green for me, but the notes still compare to more expensive ones-it’s personally one of the better bangs for my buck.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


I wish that you could just copy and paste images…

Anyway, I finished off a sample of this oolong today, and it surprised me. This is a Gaungxi Chinese take on the Oriental Beauty, and it stands out as a better than the original mimic. It really looks and tastes like a great quality Bai Hao, and the notes of rosewater, fruit punch, and juicy notes really pack it. It does have some grapey and drying qualities, but this is one of the fruitier ones I’ve had to date. The rose water notes are extremely pronounced, but they do not make the tea perfumy in a short western style of 2 minute increments. There are also some aspects of mineral water, light tannin, and fructose sugar, reminding in part of some Taiwanese blacks, but the medium body and floral notes makes it heavily more oolong.

Hats off to you, Hugo Tea, for a really good loose leaf. If I didn’t already have some of this varietal, I’d be tempted to get more of it. I personally think this is a great summer/autumn tea, because it evokes summer florals and fruits that extend into fall. It really suited the fall weather we’ve had in Michigan, though. Either way, I highly recommend this and this company for those looking for a good mix of sachets and loose leaf, especially if you are looking for teas that do not have heavy flavoring.

Flavors: Drying, Fruit Punch, Fruity, Grapes, Passion Fruit, Raisins, Rose, Wood


That sounds lovely, especially the rosewater notes!

Daylon R Thomas

It was something they notes. I might have said something like fruity flavored japanese candy since it’s fairly sweet-I’ve been impressed with Hugo’s quality and their power of persuasion.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Backlog Sipdown: 10/4/2020

I finished this one off western. The tea was still really weak gong fu, so the longer steeping time amped up the florals and fruitier qualities. I don’t really have much more to add, but I will say the flavor improved as Michigan’s temperature drops into the fall weather.

I still recommend this tea if you are looking for a Dayuling with less of a commute, but there are others that I prefer slightly more at a similar price point. I’m very glad that Brenden offered it to allow more people to have this tea before it disappears from the market altogether.

As for me actually being here again, I gotta say I’ve been drained from this school year. There have been many frustrations, and very low student participation in both hybrid and 100% virtual models, and a whole lot more prep time goes into accommodation and training with our new platform. I still have loads of positive stories, and while the larger brunt of our district’s handling of this year affect us, Schoology and the smaller classroom sizes have actually benefited me, and I’ve actually enjoyed this year a whole lot more than my previous 2. I do have better lesson plans which gives me more flexibility, but a lot of my students have a new found appreciation of school and have felt a little bit better this year. We have had very few cases in the district, but since our building is more or less isolated from the rest of the district, that gives us some protection. I can talk more about this in the comments if you’re curious.

Back to tea and me being on here, with everything going on the school district, tea notes have been on the back of my mind. I still need to log at least 12 new teas I’ve tried including sachets and loose leaf from some really awesome companies like Whispering Pines and others, I’ve also not logged on here because most of the notes would be new teas to the website, which would take an extra amount of time to upload descriptions and pictures…..which takes a lot of time. So, I’m being lazy, aka efficient, and relying on what’s already up here. I will post a new one only if I think the tea’s amazing or is worth talking about.

I’m rating this one an 85 for now. I could see it being in a much higher tier in the 90’s, but since I’ve had a lot of oolongs, this one doesn’t really depart too much from the others I’ve had. It is good, but I actually like the Baozhong and the Evergreen Long Feng Xia (he calls it Evergreen Oolong), more because they are a little bit more complex and durable. I still recommend this tea highly and it is my favorite kind of tea, but Whispering Pines also has more interesting teas.

I’m still anxiously waiting the return of Alice.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



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

Following These People

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer