258 Tasting Notes

drank Swann's Way by Liquid Proust Teas
258 tasting notes

I brewed this western style this morning in my new teapot and cups from Epcot China. The cups are kind of that bubbled shape where the middle sticks out wide and then tapers closer together towards the lip. This makes for a better trap to capture the scent of the tea, I am finding. And this tea is perfect for that.

If you can recall being at a spring or fall baseball game, there are usually a vendor or two who are selling those freshly roasted candied nuts that smell like the clouds of heaven. This tea captures much of that scent. It is delightful. The taste is a little less sweet but it does still carry sweetness along with the slight malt of a black tea. There is a nuttiness and a slight tang on the back of the tongue as well. A really enjoyable pot of tea this morning.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Malt, Nutty, Sugar, Sweet, Tangy

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 8 g 20 OZ / 591 ML

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drank Ginger Lily Oolong by Tea Ave
258 tasting notes

I believe this was a sample from Lion.

This was one of the better light roasted/green oolongs I’ve had in a while. I’m not getting much ginger or anything specific but it is fairly smooth and creamy.

That’s about all I have for this one. I’m tired. Haha.

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

I miss Lion.


Yeah, I hadn’t seen him around.

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I bought this tea cake from Andrew (Liquid Proust) for a very fair price. That being said, I can now see why it was a cheaper cake. I used 8 grams in a 100ml gaiwan and after about 5 or 6 steeps came to the conclusion that this is just a weaker black tea. I couldn’t quite coax much of a malty black tea flavor out of it. It had a little bit of a tannic after taste but it wasn’t bitter. It just kind of tasted like a generic, weak, black tea.

Now, I am not a quitter and I know for a fact that teas can change. I am willing to experiment with this one some more but as of now… Eh. Not much promise.

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

I got this one aging somewhere.


How long do you plan on aging it?


I may need to get into it in a few months.


Yeah, I dragged this one out again today and really over leafed it to see if I could coax some flavor out of it. After 3 gong fu steeps, I decided that it was again pointless. I frustratingly shoved it to the back of one of my tea cabinets.


I have this in my shou storage. I may have to bring it out this weekend. I actually bought this blind and it wasn’t too pricey so I am not out much if its a terrible one. Tuition tea it could be.

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I pulled this tea out today hoping for a calming experience. I lit some incense from Japan, donned my silk Chinese robe, turned on some instrumental music and brewed up some of this tea.

I gave it a 10 second rinse. First steep I went for 30 seconds. The brew was very light in color and flavor with only hints appearing. The second steep went 30 seconds as well. Same story. I was starting to wonder if this was just a very light shou.

On the third steep I was able to back off the time to 20 seconds. Then the dark, rich, smoothness of the tea came out. Little, if any, fermentation flavor. For some reason, my palate is off today and isn’t picking out any distinct flavors. Everything seems to be melding into one delicious and creamy shou. That is fine by me.

At any rate, you can tell this is a high quality tea. I am glad I bought a sample of this to try. Now I know I want to buy this tea.

Flavors: Creamy

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Golden honey in color, roasty and nutty in flavor. This continues to be a great oolong.

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drank 2005 Rocket Yiwu by white2tea
258 tasting notes

My stomach is currently in a good place so I decided to try a sheng from the Beginners Puerh TTB last night.

This tea definitely has some humid storage notes going on. It actually reminded me a lot of a ripe in the scent of the wet leaves. The flavor itself is kind of like an in between point between a ripe and a raw. There wasn’t the stone fruit flavor I am used to with a sheng. A slight bitterness but not too much. Humid basement like notes were present. Also, very drying. I was trying to read out loud to my wife while we drank this but damn, I had to keep drinking to keep my throat from drying out. Vicious cycle.

Despite all of this, it was very drinkable and a decent tea. Nothing to write home about but not one that I felt the need to stop drinking.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I purchased a sample size of this to try it along with a brick of the 2008 Imperial Bulang, a 220ml gaiwan, and a Basset Hound tea pet.

The dry leaves have a very clean scent. Almost non-existent. After a ten second rinse, the leaves have an earthy fermentation scent often associated with a ripe. There is definitely a wood scent as well.

First steep, the color is a lighter brown. Cinnamon caramel brown, perhaps. The taste is very light. You get just a hint of that woody flavor that relates to the scent of the wet leaves. Smooth too. Slides right down the throat.

Further along, the color deepens a bit. The flavor intensifies as well. I am a man who works with wood often. I cut and chop wood. I burn wood. I walk among the woods. This is very much a woody puerh. Think about walking in the woods and finding a tree that has been downed for a bit. Use a hatchet to split it open along the grain. Lean your nose in to that freshly cut wood. That is what I’m getting here.

Clean, earthy wood. I think that sums this up nicely. I don’t get much that says sweet but it is very smooth.

Flavors: Earth, Wood

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 7 OZ / 220 ML
Super Starling!

I live in the forest, a source of wood. I kick trees down with my bare feet. I use entire trunks as toothpicks. I ride bears to sources of more exotic wood. I construct decks and homes out of that wood for the less fortunate and/or less manly.


I am a man of simple means and simple pleasures. I use wood to cook all of my food. My house smells of rich mahogany. I write words on the corpses of dead trees. I should get out of this before I make a dirty joke about wood.

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Thanks to SuperStarling! for this sample

This tea smells AMAZING. Both the dry and wet leaves. Like, warm apple pie/cider amazing.

Unfortunately, the taste didn’t translate as well to the tongue. I wish it would have. When I drank it though, there was a stark difference and disappointment. It was a bit flat and watery. The more I drank it, the more some of the cinnamon apple flavor came out but nothing near that smell.

I am a strong flavor person. Mustard, hot sauce, ginger, horseradish. These are all things that appeal to me. I think that if a tea is flavored and doesn’t have a massively strong flavor to go with the scent, my tongue doesn’t pick up on it as well as other peoples tongues might. I’m not even a smoker but perhaps my taste buds are just… dulled?

Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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EDIT: I served this at our book club last night and most everyone agreed. Andrew nailed this tea in regards to capturing the feel of the book. Bravo, Andrew.

Andrew (LiquidProust) had offered to make a custom blend for my tea book club to coincide with the book House of Leaves. I basically told him that I need/want something that is dark, full of depth, and a bit confusing. After some messaging back and forth, he came up with this concoction: a Lui An tea from the 1990s, a ripe puerh from 2006, a 2016 Dianhong black tea, a 2015 Bang Dong, Black tea, a 2014 Shui Xian Wuyi roasted oolong, and Mugwort.

Whew! The blend itself looks fascinating. Despite there being a lot of dark leaves mixed together, it certainly looks like there is a lot going on if you know what you are looking at/for.

I decided to give this two quick 3 second rinses. The smell off of the wet leaves had me a bit worried. It smelled… old and bitter. The old part was okay as I enjoy the sort of old pages of a book smell. It was the bitter that concerned me. Not like an astringent bitter… more like a medicinal green bitter. Maybe that is the Mugwort? Either way, I was concerned.

After the two rinses, I steeped for 15 seconds. The liquor itself doesn’t have much, if any, of the bitter smell. It brewed up a golden amber color not unlike a thick, locally produced honey. The flavor here is very smooth. It does have a tinge of that green, raw plant flavor on the back end put it is not overpowering. I, again, suspect that to be the Mugwort. Maybe Andrew can weigh in here and give his thoughts. The rest of the flavors, as I said, are very smooth. I would say it is a perfect combination of a puerh and black tea flavor. Kind of like drinking an antique book.

After this first steep, I am impressed. This is a tea that, on the surface, could be intimidating if just judging by the ingredients. But the flavor on this first steep lends itself to being very drinkable and approachable even if it is a bit complex and layered (which is what I had requested!)

Second steep (20 seconds) and holy shit. That bitter type of smell that I couldn’t place? I’ve found it. It smells like that earthiness that you associate with a fresh plucked and cut beet. Like a light bulb going off, it hit me. That is exactly the smell of the wet leaves. And that taste still translates into the after taste a bit. The color of the liquor is slightly darker, a cinnamon brown color. Yeah… this is still good. It has such a smoothness to it. I would say that, if you can get over the slight earthy beetness on the aftertaste, this is much more approachable for newbies than just a regular ripe puerh. It isn’t as muddy or heavy. It is a bit lighter, cleaner, and smooth.

Andrew… you could totally blend this and market it as something like “Dream Leaves” or “House of Dreams” or “Leaves of Dreams.” I don’t know… spit balling here. But, really, this is good. And, dare I say it, I’m feeling a bit of a tingly head buzz just two steeps in?? Maybe I’m inhaling too much of the incense I have burning but I am getting something going on.

3rd steep, 25 seconds. Beet-ness is still with us in the wet leaves. Let me just say here that somehow, for some reason, the song “House of the Rising Sun” is a damn near perfect song to go along with this tea. It came on Pandora and it just fits. The color remains the same here. The flavor is mostly similar but a little more beet flavor on the end. But not bad at all. And seriously, I feel ridiculously giggly. I don’t remember a tea doing this to me. I almost feel high… not that I know what that feels like or anything… But this tea is definitely having an affect on me.

4th steep, 30 seconds. Color holds. Cinnamon brown. Interestingly enough, that beet like flavor is slowly becoming the more dominating flavor. This makes me question if it is the mugwort at all. Having never had Liu An tea, perhaps the flavor is coming from that tea instead of the mugwort. I’m starting to assume this simply because I would expect the flavors the the fermented teas to outlast that of the mugwort. Perhaps I am wrong. Again, someone with more knowledge on these two leaves can lend some clarity.

5th steep, 45 seconds. During this steep, I smelled the water and leaves and I finally got a hint of a whiff of a classic ripe puerh smell. Also, because researching things tends to be a love of mine, I went on a search to see if I could find a taste description of Liu An tea. My search returned a lot of descriptions using words like medicinal and earthy. That would seem to fit in with my earthy beet description. So, maybe that solves it! The earthy beetness could very well be the Liu An. Yeah… still digging this tea and the impact it is having.

6th steep, 1 min. So, I decided to switch up my music selection from random to a more relaxing nature/spa sounds. Annnnddd now I just want to lie down and pass out. My brain and my body are trying to tell me, “It’s fine. Just lie down and close your eyes for a second.” Which, I would, but I have to pick my son up from school in about 45 minutes so… that won’t work. In the meantime, I’m in a consistent sweet spot with this tea. Color and flavors have hit a constant at this point. I am happy.

7th steep, 1 min 30 seconds. Andrew, dude, what have you done to me!? Haha this is some light headed, get lost in the clouds, stuff here. I’d give you a hug right now if I could. Seriously, I have never had a tea make me feel like this stuff here. I wish I could say that I am over exaggerating but… my head is tingly and soft, my body is super relaxed. I had a banana and oatmeal square for breakfast so I don’t think I can blame it on that haha. Oh, right. The tea is still good as well. It is getting slightly thinner on the after taste but it is still drinkable.

I would love to keep this up but the time has come to go and get my son. But yeah… Home. Run. Thanks Andrew.

Session picture: https://www.instagram.com/p/BLv3kr2BixY/

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML


Hoping this becomes available


I would buy gobs of this. I’m not sure how much a gob is but I’d buy that amount of it.

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Michigander, Husband, father of three, lover of tea, books, nature, gardening, and passion. Stay at home dad currently. Previously a preschool teacher.

I have now completed some tea swaps and I am so totally up for swapping! What a cool way to connect with fellow tea lovers and try some new teas. My tea cupboard on here is woefully out of date though.

Black tea has been my go to tea for some time. Oolongs are good too but mainly roasty oolongs. I’m finding that there are some green and white teas (mostly Moonlight Whites) that impress me lately which they never used to do. I am getting into and developing a taste for Pu-erh. I have tried raw and my Ulcerative Colitis just can’t handle the roughness of it. So I stick to ripe Puerh. I am recently drinking more herbal tea or Rooibos especially STRONG ginger blends. I’m not too picky.

Some of my favorite places from which to purchase tea are Whispering Pines Tea Co, Verdant, A Quarter to Tea, Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co, Bitterleaf Tea, and Yunnan Sourcing.

Rating system:
90-100: Some of the best I’ve ever had. I’d be a fool not to keep it stocked as often as possible
80-89: A damn good tea. Not to be missed
70-79: A good tea but lacks the wow factor. More than likely a simple tea that could be an every day option
60-69: Eh. This is okay. Not swill by any means but fairly underwhelming.
50-59: Not really doing it for me. I’ll finish it but please don’t bring me any more.
Below 50: Life is too short to waste on things such as this


Lansing, Michigan

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