80 Tasting Notes

I’ve got to stop reading other’s reviews before I write my own. It just makes me grumpy. Same goes for books. Do they make this stuff up? Are we consuming/reading the same thing?

So after the last Shou Pu-erh, I was a little/very gun shy. The fish that’s sat on the dock all day in the sun taste and smell may have scarred me for life. I’m actually shocked I tried again. But I have come to trust Brenden enough to know that’s he’s not going to try to pass something off that is utterly terrible. It might not be something I like, but it won’t be decomposing fish.

However, I was still paranoid, so I gave it a good 90s rinse in boiling water. I did not detect fish in the wet leaves so I then steeped it for another 60-90s. Yes, i ignored the directions, but I did mention the paranoia. Significantly longer rinse, about half the steep time.

It took me a while to get the guts up to actually sniff the result. i had a lot of trouble identifying the smell. Its not fish though which made me a little hopeful. And then I had a conversation with a coworker on what a Shou Pu-erh is and a basic on how it is made. And he told me about a Burmese Tea leaf salad, one of which form is made from fermented tea leaves. Ah, delaying tactics.

While this conversation was going on, I kept sniffing, trying to identify what I was smelling. Dirt maybe? I think there’s some there but its not the main thing. And then it hit me. Old leather work boots. Not the stinky foot smell part of it, but the old well worn leather work boots with some dried mud on them.

So, in my celebration on the absence or rotting fish, I should say what I actually think of this. But I honestly don’t have an opinion yet. Its not disgusting. I think I need to give myself some distance and come back to it with the expectations of leather, dirt, and maybe tobacco instead of rotting fish.

No rating this time around.

Flavors: Dirt, Leather, Tobacco

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As I am not much of a fan for smoked anything really, I had never tried a straight Lapsang Souchong. So when I saw this, I was interested.

What I get primarily is florals. Not heavy so, but that’s what stands out to me. As it cools, it gets significantly more drying.

Not bad, but its not really my thing either.

Flavors: Floral

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Got this from May’s subscription box. I’ve been trying to broaden my tea horizons a but more. I’m also trying to be more detailed on my notes so 6 months or more down the road I know what the heck I was talking about.

And, of course, I start this new and improved note taking with a tea that I have absolutely no words to describe. Why do I have such a difficult time detecting flavors others get? I don’t get toasty at all. No stone fruit, no honey. I still haven’t the slightest clue what malty tastes like.

I can detect a little of the tannins, as after a sip, parts of my tongue get that dry feeling. Not unpleasant, but its basically a unexceptional inoffensive tea. I’ll drink what I have, but I’ve no desire to get more.

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I could have sworn I rated this tea last year. In fact I have memories of what I said in that review. I just can’t find any sign of it.

I have always believed that I rather hated Jasmine tea. Every time I have had it I have seriously disliked it. But then the only type I have ever had before was a green jasmine. And I just don’t like greens. So much so that I don’t even open them if I receive one as a sample in an order. I just pass it along to a coworker who I know likes them.

So while browsing one day, I saw this black jasmine and I thought, why not give it a try. And low and behold, its really good. But as summer winded down last year, I started craving warm and spicy again and put this one aside. But now I am back.

The scent when opening the pack doesn’t seem as strong as I remembered last year, but the flavor is still all there. The tea base seems to have been the perfect companion. It is neither drowned out by the jasmine and neither does it dominate. According to the site, its a classically processed dian hong black tea. I can’t say much of the base from what I taste, but it combines very well.

Light and relaxing and seems perfect for the day.

Flavors: Jasmine

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Its been a while since I had this one. Every bit as good as I remembered with an almost buttery mouth feel.

Smooth and delicious with just the faintest hint of astringency in the back of the throat. Its quite pleasurable.

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This review is being moved from an old entry of the tea to a new one where it belongs.
Initially written 10/2020

I get a lot of florals, similar in aspect to Black Jasmine.

Not astringent or bitter, which is a plus. But its a cold, gray, and rainy dat here in Seattle and the last thing I want at this moment is florals. I’m wanting warm, cozy, and spicy.

Lets see how I feel about this come spring when I am more open to the idea of floral before I choose to give a rating.

Flavors: Floral

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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I should post an update some months later.

I am honestly really pleased with this one, it has claimed a spot in the list of teas I drink all the time. Now once warm weather returns, my moods will change and I will likely put this aside until the blessed cooler weather returns. But for now, I am drinking it once or twice a week.

I do want to update my comment in regards to the chilis. Sometimes I can sense the chili as a mild warmness/tingle in the back of my throat. Sometimes I don’t notice it at all. Odd how that works, but either way, its really good.

Painted Desert goes really well with my afternoon ritual. A hot cup of tea and a small square of unsweetened 100% dark chocolate. Such a wonderful combination and allows me to take a few minutes each afternoon to shut out what’s going on and just relax.

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Try #3 (why am I so determined?)

I actually left the lid off the tin for about 30 hours to see if I could calm some of this down. It helped . . . some.

While the scent is no longer overwhelming, it still tastes really artificial and for the life of me there is still no sign of vanilla, bergamot, or tea for that matter.

I think its time for me to give up. I’d see if I could give it away to someone, but with the pandemic, easier said than done. I think its got to go in the trash, I just need to make sure I do it and take it out immediately. I do not want the smell to linger.


Wow, your sentiments matched mine 4 yr ago. How long have you had this tea on hand?


I purchased in late jan 2021 from Amazon, so who knows the age of the stock.

I also picked up a Chai from the same company which was pretty much nothing but roughly ground spices. Quite depressing.


Isn’t that what chai is supposed to be? Maybe the tea component was green tea and looked like the other ingredients. Or someone goofed up. LoL


Actually, I do see they sell a green-tea based chai called “Cinnamon Sweet Apricot” that looks like mostly spices!

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A sample I got from an order some months back. Just getting around to giving it a try.

This is pretty good. Mild and smooth. No bitter, no astringency. Not sure how to describe the flavor. It pleasant, though not on the top of my list for gotta have.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Had a gift card I had no clue what to do with and so decided to try a pu-erh since I had never tried one before.

First off with the sniff test. It smelled like plain tea. Unwrapped it still just smelled like plain tea.

So, I did a quick rinse, dumped the water, added new, walked to me desk and stopped the steep. If it was a full minute, I would be surprised.

The resulting liquid was a very deep black, similar to coffee. The smell was . . . fishy. not a smell that sits well with me. I grew up in the mid west. That smell triggers the “bad fish, do NOT eat” alarm. I tried taking a sip anyway and it tasted like . . .bacon.

What the . . .
Oh yeah, I had just finished eating the last little bit of my breakfast, which happened to be bacon. :) Rinsed the taste of bacon out of my mouth with some water and tried again. And it tastes fishy, and not the good fishy kind of taste.

I knew going in that this was a possibility but hey, you never know until you try.

Maybe I will try again sometime when I don’t have 15 other things demanding my attention and I can afford to sit around playing with bathroom toys and contemplating my navel. Which will be maybe when I am a retired widower some decades down the road. We’ll see. I am not heavily motivated.

Flavors: Fishy

Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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Rating Details:

100 – Amazing!
91-99 – Love it
76-90 – Staple
61-75 – If I’m in the right mood
46-60 – If it’s what is available
31-45 – Will finish out of guilt
0-30 – Gave or threw away

All reviews are purely subjective based upon my personal preferences alone.


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