23 Tasting Notes

From Dark Matter. Delicious. Someone said that it reminds them of a black version of red Buffalo. I agree. Super smooth, dark chocolate hot chocolate flavor, nice body. I just looked on JTea’s website. It’s $54 for 4 ounces… Well it was good drinking it once, but if I were a rich man, I’d love to make it my everyday.

4 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Daylon R Thomas

It was either me, Andrew, or someone else. But man that was an awesome black tea.

Tea and Cheese Lover

@daylon I was so sad when I saw the price!

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Fresh wood, brown sugar and honey on first steep
A little added smoke after a couple of steeps
Also a slight amount of tartness after a steep or two, which quickly went away
Fresh Dough flavor on the later steeps
Mineral aftertaste became more visible on later steeps
Brown sugar again on the last few steeps
Silky mouthfeel
Very Pleasant overall
3g 60ml in 110ml gaiwan 205F-Boiling No rinse, Flash steeps for the first few, then increased. Somewhere between 10 and 15 steeps, didn’t count.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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From Dark Matter, Labeled 2015 Go Ji Shan Ben Se Wu Yunnan Sourcing. I’m pretty sure that is this tea?
Notes to self:
- First steep fruity, a tiny bit of smoke. Some sourness, flash
- Smells smokier on the second steep, still only a little bit of smoke and earth, candy like fruitiness, like a Jolly Rancher 5sec
- Smoke is predominant flavor, also fresh wood. Fruit gone :-( 10 sec
- same as last 10 sec
- same as above but more earth 5 sec
- earth, slight sour, earth, old fruit with no sweetness, still tasty
- same as above
Flavor mostly gone after this
Worth buying and drinking again
Thick body throughout 2.5g 40ml? 110ml Giawan a little less than half full. Slightly more than just enough to cover the leaves 195F on average. try to do more flash steeps next time

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 2 g 1 OZ / 40 ML

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I’ve only had a couple of roasted Oolongs before. Maybe the ones I’ve had were poor quality, even though one I had was supposedly good. They mostly tasted like tire fire or burnt rotting wood to me. Not that there’s not a place for that, like having a tea to satisfy an immersion in self contempt, or an occasional anomalous craving, but certainly far from my favorites. This tea… Yeah. This one is delicious.

The first steeps were all intense dark chocolate. The smell, the flavor, everything. I pick up a lot of chocolate in most Keemun, and some ripe Puerh but this is uncanny. If someone blindfolded me and told me that I was drinking hot chocolate made with water instead of milk, I would believe them!

As the steeps went on, the bitter dark chocolate (a very good thing) started to sweeten up. The chocolate was still undeniably present but milder than at first. All of the flavors really lingered a long time, chocolate and sweetness going on forever. The tea started picking up some sweet potato skin flavor. The body, smooth, and creamy.

This beauty was still going, the sweet potato flavor was now in full tuber mode, meaty interior, skin and all. And what better to accompany sweet potato than with marshmallow. Favors of marshmallow roasted over a campfire were now present and picking up with every infusion, as was the sweetness already present in earlier steeps.

The main flavors were now a ghost of their former selves, but the sweetness still held on. The whole time through, the tea was never overly tannic, the dryness being somewhere along the lines of a gentle Keemun, rather than a green Oolong, or a typical black. And I had brewed it up at a higher temperate range, 200 to 205F. Just to see what it’s like, I’ll go lower next time, 180-185. I have to thank LP for including this in the Dark Matter buy, I was pretty close to giving up on roasted Oolong. I could have kept this going for a few more rounds of hot water with lingering sweetness, but it’s time to stop watching Star Trek and get outside. Even if it is taking my taste-buds to strange new places, where I have never gone with a roasted Oolong before, it’s beautiful outside!

I used 2.7g of leaf in a 160ml Easy Gaiwan, a little less than half full, so about 60ml or 70ml. I steeped it at 200F to 205F. The infusions were flash steeps for the first 4 steeps, between 10 to 30 sec for the next 6, then a minute and up for the remaining 6 to 8, the last few being a few minutes each. (I didn’t do an exact count)

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 2 g 2 OZ / 65 ML
Tea and Cheese Lover

I had 5 cheeses next to me that I was going to try pairing with it, but I only have a little less than 6g of the stuff total. It was so delicious that I didn’t want to ruin the session with any possible bad pairings. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get a decent quantity, so I can do some pairing experiments. I think that this one would meld excellently with some cheeses.

Tea and Cheese Lover

The finish lasted at least half an hour. Who knows how long it would have gone on for if I didn’t brush my teeth! (although, that did make an “Andes Mint” sort of flavor for a minute!)


Have you had the Laoshan black? Similar pairings, but I get a dark chocolate with caramel note with it. Considering it’s quite expensive, I’ve held off on buying more for a while.

Tea and Cheese Lover

Never had the black. This oolong isn’t cheap either!

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This is a very tightly balled Oolong, somewhere between 25% and 50% oxidized. I’ve steeped this up a bunch of sessions, and had trouble getting serious flavor out of it. I used as much as 10g in 110 ml Gaiwan, more than I usually would for an oolong. For temperature I used 195 F – 200 F, also higher than usual. (I generally use lower temps than most people) To get any real flavor out of it, I had to steep it for at least 30 seconds, even up to 2 minutes.

The description from the producer says naturally sweet, fruity, creamy, full bodied. The body was medium-full bodied, so I’m with them on that one. I didn’t taste fruit or creamy-ness. On the early brews I detected some malt , although not a lot, also some floral flavors. Actually, there was never a lot of any flavor. The malt faded right away, and was replaced by an asparagus/spinach vegetal flavor. The floral notes stayed throughout. The tea also picked a peppery flavor on the second or third infusion, which stayed until the end. A really nice aspect of the tea was a sweetness that appeared about 20 seconds after I took a sip, and lingered for a few of minutes. There was medium amount of dryness, nothing too crazy. I liked the tea but it definitely wasn’t amazing.

This tea makes a decent pairing partner with cheese in general, but nothing spectacular. A cheese called Equinox (by Birchrun Hills Farm), similar to an Italian Asiago (young Asiago Presatto DOP), brings out the floral notes and balances the pepper. Aged Gouda was good, but neither had any transformation or effect on the other. I didn’t like it with a 3.5 yr aged Parmigiano Reggiano. I was ambivalent to a pairing with fresh goat cheese. In previous sessions I thought it went nicely with an old-world style farmhouse cheddar, but this time around I was more ambivalent. The exception being the cracks in the rind with mold/cheese-mite growth (sounds bad but is normal with this style cheese). The tea balanced the bitterness of the rind fissures, giving a flavor of fruit, walnut, and a little horseradish.

I coaxed more than 10 steeps out of it. And the tea smelled great throughout, sweet and floral!

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 10 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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This is a backlog. I wrote down some notes on an index card the first time I tried it. I just found the card and thought that it would only be fair to include the notes. I steeped it in a Gaiwan. I didn’t write down quantity, temp or time. It was bitter the whole way throughout. There was a celery/cilantro/burnt flavor that I didn’t find desirable in the first steeps. When the flavor was pretty much dead there was some caramel and smoothness to it. Certainly less one dimensional sounding than my other tasting note. At the time I remember it not being complex, and not liking it, which is weird given what I wrote about it. Go figure.

Tea and Cheese Lover

I only got from them because there were some rave reviews about their Rooibos. The Rooibos wasn’t bad but Premium Steap’s (my local shop) was better for me. I figured I might as well get a bunch of samples while I was at it… Darjeelings (apparently they’re very strong there), some oddball black and green, and herbal. My experience is the same as yours so far. I haven’t been blown away by anything. I still samples left to try, so who knows, one of them may be great.

White Antlers

Upton has not impressed me with anything so far. I was on a ’builder’s tea’ kick not so long ago and got close to a dozen samples so I could get my fill of the malty brutes. Nothing was really bad, nothing was particularly good and a lot of things tasted very much the same. I think one gets lulled by the low prices of samples which usually range from $1 to $3.50 for an envelope that can afford quite a few steeps, should you have sufficient interest in going back to re-brewing your sample.

Tea and Cheese Lover

@CWarren: I’m very inexperienced with Darjeeling, so you’ll have to take my tasting notes on them with a grain of salt. Since my local shop is extremely consistent with quality, I’ll get a couple from there for comparison.
@Whiteantlers: Exactly what you said about the samples is what lured me in.

White Antlers

Me too, @Tea and Cheese Lover. I am hankering to put in an order with Premuium Steap. I was told the bricks and mortar store is closed but I have drooled over the website.

Tea and Cheese Lover

@Whiteantlers: Their old storefront is closed, but they have office space in Chinatown (13th between Race and Vine) which they have pretty much set up like the shop. WAY more selection available than they have online, especially with the harder to get teas.
“Our office location 211 N. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone 215-568-2920”
They’re generally there from 12-5 M-F. Call ahead, because there’s a good chance that they’re there longer hours on some days. It’s nice to be able to smell them in person and be guided by someone who knows the teas well. The owner is very straight to the point and knows her stuff. Very Philly!

White Antlers

Excellent! Nothing like being up close and personal with the product. I always love an excuse to hop on the #9 bus. I’ve read Yelp reviews saying the owner is not a hand holder or warm and cuddly, but neither am I, so I’m sure she’s a wonderful tea guide.


Looks like a need to take a trip to Philly!

White Antlers

Everyone needs to take a trip to Philly! :-D


I have week off in August, I might make an excuse to explore the city. I’ve been to Philadelphia once when I was younger. I think a historic place such as Philly would be good to write in. :)

White Antlers

That is probably one of the hottest and most humid months of the summer, but you can visit E.A. Poe’s house, Old City, great beer gardens and floating parks-well, I am biased. This is my home and I love nearly everything about it.


Sounds splendid! :)

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I got some samples from Upton and couldn’t resist a black Japanese tea, I never knew such a thing existed. I’m expecting some unique new flavors but no dice. It was a standard black, nothing special. I love tea, so I enjoyed it like I would just about any tea. It pretty much just had a “black tea” flavor. It would make a pretty good iced tea, too. I guess that would be malty. It’s not incredibly expensive but not a bargain either. For the price, there are other teas that are far more complex and interesting. If you can get it for cheap I would recommend it, but unless the yen crashes I doubt that will happen with any Japanese tea.

Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 4 g 15 OZ / 443 ML
White Antlers

Thanks; you saved me from buying this. I had it earmarked for my next sample buy because it looked intriguing.

Tea and Cheese Lover

No problem. I think I have about 1 or 2 grams of it left if you’re curious and want to do a super mini steep.

White Antlers

Oh. Sure! I’ll PM you. Thanks.

White Antlers

Thanks @CWarren. I have bookmarked them as well as the Hime Momiji.

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I’ll do a full tasting note of this later. Just a few thoughts. I got this as a sample from Upton when I was getting some herbals from them. I’ve never done too much with Darjeeling, was curious and they had a lot of them, so I got a few samples.
There was a definite grape must/wine flavor to it, a medium-high amount of bitterness, medium thickness body. Other flavors in there but I drank it a couple hours ago and didn’t get a work break until now, so I forgot them. I enjoyed it. I just steeped up a small amount. About 3g in a 110ml gaiwan and wasn’t filling it all the way for a lot of the steeps (8, I think) steeps lasting between 5 and 45 seconds, temp 180F.
The tea says FTGFOP1 but I couldn’t find one full leaf in there, so that designation shouldn’t be on there. FTGBOP would have been more appropriate. If it is the last of their stock and all that is left on the bottom is broken leaf that should be accounted for in the description. Maybe this is something that is normal with Darjeeling but I was certainly surprised by it. I only spent a few bucks on the sample, so not that big of a deal financially, but I’d really like to know what the tea is like full leaf. I’m guessing less bitterness, which would let more of the flavor shine through, different body, thinner? thicker?

I’d be curious to know what the more experienced Darjeeling drinkers think about the broken leaves?

Here’s a picture of what the leaves looked like.

180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 70 ML

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The name says it all. I’ve been drinking loose leaf tea for about a decade and a half, and was in the cheese business for almost 2 decades.

I was spoiled with the cheese by always be surrounded by a wide variety to taste everyday. Now that I’m (mostly) out of the business, I’ve discovered that a daily tea habit is way easier on the wallet than a daily cheese habit for me, and I love both, so here I am to learn more about tea!

I’ve been drinking great blacks, and greens from my local shop for years now. A white and an Oolong on occasion. Mostly Chinese, but other countries as well.

But all these years I’d only had one 10 yr aged loose shu with regard to Pu-erh. I’d only had Ti Kwan Yin, Forever Spring, and the Chinese restaurant stuff with regard to Oolong.

I’d like to continue learning more in the green and black world, but I’m most excited to have joined Steepster to learn about the world of Pu-erh and Oolong, which I am terribly ignorant of.

I always forget what teas I’ve had before, so I think logging my teas will help with that. I also love pairing tea and cheese together, so you’ll see some long winded pairing entries mixed in as well ;)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA



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