258 Tasting Notes


This is the first time I’ve had Hoji-cha. It is rather fascinating to me in that I can taste the seaweed saltiness of the Japanese green tea and yet it also delivers a toasted dark flavor. So now it is this slightly charred seaweed flavor lingering on my mouth. Slightly burnt popcorn is something I am getting as well.

I’m sure none of these descriptors are making people’s ears perk up. Having no other stick to measure this with, I feel like it is a decent tea especially considering the low price. I really went back and forth on if I liked this or not but after my second cup, I think I’m coming around to appreciating it.

Flavors: Burnt, Popcorn, Salty, Seaweed

190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 30 sec 4 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank jasmine tea by Golden Bridge Tea
258 tasting notes

This is the first open leaf jasmine tea I’ve had (have only had jasmine tea balls in the past). I found a few ounces of this for fairly cheap at a store called “Oriental Mart.” I believe I am getting what I paid for here haha.

It’s not that this tea is bad. It is probably a fine every day tea and it’s going to have to be for how much of it I now have. However, the rolled jasmine tea balls that I have had up to this point have been so darn good and aromatic that it makes this tea look like someone wasn’t trying all that hard.

The good news is that this is a very smooth, sippable tea. It isn’t harsh or bitter, as I have brewed it. It does have a slightly sweet under note. I am just feeling very underwhelmed and missing that heavenly jasmine aroma and flavor I was hoping for.

I’m on the border as far as recommending this tea. On one hand, it isn’t something that will knock someone’s socks off. On the other hand, for the price, it is actually fairly decent… again, for the price.

Flavors: Smooth, Sweet

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Piecing together where some of my mini tuo’s came from in my sampler order from Mandala has landed me here for the sample I am currently drinking. Cannot be sure of the year, though. If it means anything, this site seems to show a picture of the exact wrapper that I have. http://yunnansourcing.com/en/laocangteafactory/1621-premium-grade-ripe-pu-erh-tea-mini-tuo-cha.html

Either way, this ripe seems like it would be a solid every day Puer. The color in the first few gaiwan steeps is a decadent auburn/hazelnut brown. Just beautiful. The flavor is subtle but very smooth. It has that earthy, mushroom feel but with no fishy harshness. Very drinkable.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Mushrooms

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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This is a solid heavy oxidized oolong. A wonderful soothing mineral flavor with a soothing mouth and throat feel. A warm delightful roasted scent is evident on the leaves. Many steeps can be had from this. It is currently part of the limited edition portion at Joseph Wesley. It is a lovely tea and I am happy to have purchased it. I brewed it Western style and am excited to try this Gongfu in my gaiwan.

Flavors: Floral, Mineral, Roasted

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 15 sec 4 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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I think I am going to need to try brewing this one again. I followed the brewing instructions that came with the tea and it left me feeling like this tea wasn’t as flavorful or bold as other teas of similar quality. It is a good tea. It is just, as brewed, not quite on the level of others that I have had. I’ll update as needed.

Edit: I brewed in a gaiwan gong fu style this time around with slightly cooler temps. Seemed better flavors came out this time around.

Flavors: Malt

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

I make these teas gongfu style only. I think you can easily go 3-3.5 min


Yeah, I’m going to try this one gongfu in the future. I mean, I can certainly taste the potential here. Just, in the way that I made it this time, it kind of underwhelmed. I think this just speaks to my evolution with tea. In the past, I don’t think I would have been experienced enough to point out or even realize some of these things.


That might be too hot. I brewed mine at about 180/185.


Funny you should comment on this today because I tried it again but this time in my gaiwan tonight. I brewed it at about 185. I liked it better this time around.


Ah, in that case I’ll forgo trying this one at a higher temp! Not often I see a black tea brewed below (near) boiling

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This is the first Pu-Er cake that I have ever tried. I have had loose leaf Pu-er before this, though. I ordered this based on such good ratings and reviews. Despite my being a beginner, I don’t mess around. I want some of the best right out of the gate and everything I found pointed towards this being one of the best in my price range.

Right off the bat I found that the leafy earth type flavor and smell that is sometimes associated with this type of tea is very minimal. It is there but it is soft. Brewing gong fu, the flavors are, well, there isn’t much else I can say that hasn’t already been mentioned in these reviews. This tea is smooth, velvety, and carries creamy, mineral, earthy notes to it. And it is consistent. This isn’t a tea (as far as I can tell) that is going to bring you on a trip around the world with taste sensations but what it does present to you, it does it well and it does it with almost every steep.

But what do I know? I’m just a novice who is tea drunk in the middle of a lovely session. Carry on!

Flavors: Creamy, Mineral, Wet Earth

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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I have never had a pearled/loose leaf Jasmine tea until I drank this tonight. That infrequency will soon change. This was an exquisite introduction to this style of tea and now has me on the Jasmine pearl bandwagon.

The scent upon opening the bag was heavenly. I was a bit concerned with the smell being overpowering in the taste but this was not an issue. The jasmine flavor is very delicate and balanced while the scent remains strong on the nose. I brewed this gong fu and was able to get 8 very consistently wonderful steeps. The flavor is never perfume driven. What else to say about this? I believe I mentioned the word heavenly and that is what I keep coming back to. I keep sticking my nose in empty vessels that this tea has recently vacated, bringing the lid of my gaiwan to nostrils in hopes of capturing the scent to access whenever I would wish.

I really want to order a large bag of this tea. It is now on my list to do so.

Flavors: Jasmine, Sweet

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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First time I drank it Western style. It was not very impressive to me. Had a vegetal, hay like scent and flavor. Being that I got this in a sampler, I was not too disappointed that there was a small quantity.

This morning, a few days after my original taste, I decided to use the rest of my approx 6g to brew Gong Fu style. I have to say that it is resulting in a much better experience. In the first two steeps, there is still a vegetal quality in the infusions but it is now accented with a slightly sweet citrus after taste on the tongue. The hay scent is still there but, again, it is mellowed and balanced with this method of brewing. The third steep is the most balanced, though I’m not sure if that is because it is losing it’s strength at this point and some of the stronger flavors are fading. To me, it is still a drinkable infusion. Also starting to feel that familiar tea buzz at this point. The 4th steep (at 1 min) still has about the same flavor as the last. This is not a complex tea. It is not swill, by any means. An average every day tea is where I would put it. Which is semi-disappointing with a name like Honey Black Tea. Honey is one of my favorite things on this Earth and I wish there were more of a honey flavor to this. But alas, my rudimentary palate has not yet picked up on it.

The liquor is a golden honey color throughout the first 4 steeps. Very pretty. Maybe that is where the name Honey is attached, the color of the liquor rather than the taste.

Flavors: Citrusy, Hay, Vegetal

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

After a couple western-style sessions that were pleasant but not compelling, I took your advice: 6.3g into the gaiwan. 10-25 sec yielded intense flavor for several steeps. A nice idea for this tea!

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Full disclosure, white teas typically aren’t really high up on my list as far as teas are concerned. I usually gravitate towards the dark side. I bought a sampler from Beautiful Taiwan and received this tea in said sampler. Tonight, I wanted a lighter tea before bed.

I must say that I am thoroughly impressed with this tea. The dry leaf smell is playful and inviting. Bright and fragrant. As the tea was steeping, I stuck my nose over the steam. The scent immediately had me excited for what could come out of the teapot. It was sweet and had a fullness to it.

The first sip revealed much of the same. It has a much stronger flavor profile than any white I have ever experienced (which, admittedly, isn’t a whole bunch since I tend not to prefer them). There is a rich sweetness that coats the mouth. But more than that, there was a malty-ness to it that reminded me of a high quality black tea. And maybe this is why I am enjoying this tea so much. It doesn’t remind me of a soft dainty white tea. It is rich, sweet, and malty without being heavy or bitter.

If you can’t tell, I recommend this tea. It is the first white that I have thought to myself, “I should buy more of this.”

Flavors: Honey, Malt, Sweet

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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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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