62 Tasting Notes


This yerba mate is one of the best that I have had, when made properly. It is shade grown which brings out a much smoother taste that most of the farm grown mates. I steeped this about 10-15 times in a traditional Argentinian gourd

180 °F / 82 °C

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drank White Peony King by Shang Tea
62 tasting notes

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drank Gyokuro Kin by Den's Tea
62 tasting notes

This is the third of the three teas that I recently purchased from Den’s tea and this is by far my favorite of the three. Of course that is a slightly unfair comparison because the other two were senchas, and I am a much bigger fan of gyokuro, but I felt that the two senchas really did not have that much flavor.

Regardless, this gyokuro has the sweet/bitter combination that you expect out of a gyokuro, but it also has an interesting note of pine tree after the initial burst of flavor.

160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Pine… yummy!


Yeah, it was a really odd taste, but it wasn’t bad. It was pretty subtle, nothing too overpowering

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drank Tangerine Blossom by Shang Tea
62 tasting notes

Tangerine Blossom is a black tea that is made from Shang’s white tea leaves and scented with tangerine blossoms during the oxidation.

This is a pretty good tea, although it leaves something to be desired. Certainly it has one of the most rich, tangy, and citrus filled aromas that I have ever encountered, however the taste falls a few steps below the aroma. Certainly it is still very good, but disappointing based on the aroma.

I steeped this 6 times with 4 g of tea per cup of water.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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Here’s the second of three teas that I recently purchased when Den had a sale of a few of his teas. I brewed this in a 4 oz Kyusu that I purchased from Yuuki-Cha, and I followed Den’s instructions for the first steeping (160 degrees, 30 seconds, 1 teaspoon or 3 grams for me).

As with the sencha that I had yesterday, I really don’t feel like I’m getting the full array of vegetal and seaweed tones that I typically get from my other senchas. This certainly isn’t a bad tea per se, but there is nothing special about it. I did enjoy this one a little bit more than the sencha-ryoku I had yesterday, and this tea also had a beautiful emerald green brew.

Next time I think I am going to try steeping perhaps with 4 g of tea for the 4 oz of water. Den recommends a teaspoon (I’m guessing 2-3 g here), but perhaps i need to try a little more and see if that gives me the taste I’m looking for.

160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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drank Sencha Shin-ryoku by Den's Tea
62 tasting notes

Den’s Tea recently had a discount on a bunch of his teas so I thought I’d give some a try.

This one tastes like a typical sencha, it is grassy with a hint of sweetness. It tastes pretty good, but I don’t taste anything very distinct about this particular tea.

160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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drank Unsmoked Yerba Mate by Aviva
62 tasting notes

One herbal tea that I rarely see reviewed on steepster is yerba mate. Perhaps the taste of yerba is so radically different from actual tea that most people just don’t drink much of it.

Anyway, before I started drinking tea, I drank a lot of yerba. I was introduced to the fantastic beverage by an Argentinian counselor at a spanish camp I attended in Bemidji, Minnesota. The counselors and the campers would often drink a round of yerba (as is customary in many Latin American countries) during the day to enjoy each others company and feel the soothing and uniting effects of the yerba.

I tried all types of different brands of yerba during this time, canarias, cruz de malta, rosamonte, amanda, la hoja, taragui, la merced, guayaki, etc. In particular, I enjoyed cruz de malta and rosamonte.

I also found a site called aviva. Whereas most yerba is grown on farms, aviva’s main yerba mate product is harvested from the forest where it grows in the shade. This gives it a much smoother taste without as much of an aftertaste that most people do not enjoy when they first try yerba.

Recently Aviva also began selling this product that I am reviewing today, an unsmoked yerba mate. In the traditional preparation of yerba mate it is typically exposed to some smoke and fire while deactivating the enzymes. In this one though they avoid that exposure giving this yerba a much less smoky taste and also a smaller after taste. It still has a very grassy taste like all yerba, but the flavor is more consistent and smooth.

I typically steep my yerba in a traditional gourd because I think it has the best taste. In a gourd I can typically resteep my yerba 15-20 times before it loses most of the flavor.

185 °F / 85 °C

Wow. This inspires me to drink yerba mate more often. I’ve been told that it’s very much an acquired taste. I don’t dislike it, but it’s definitely not something I’m used to. I may have to eventually get myself a bombilla + gourd.


@takgoti Because you can never have too many tea-preparation/serving items?


@Carolyn Exactly! And also because this is the second time I’ve heard someone say that the gourds make it taste better. First recommendation came from a friend who just spent two years in Spain.


@takgotiGlad to hear that you’re willing to give yerba another shot! Yerba mate is definitely an acquired taste, so I don’t want you to buy this unsmoked kind or the shade grown kind and think I deceived you… it still is not something that everyone would enjoy. However, if prepared correctly (and I really think a gourd is the only way to go in this regards) it brings quite a bit to the table and you can created a nice brew that is smooth, rich, and complex.

If you’re looking for a way to ease into yerba, I’d suggesting trying some of aviva’s flavored blends in either loose leaf or teabag form: http://www.yerba-mate.com/store_blends.htm, http://www.yerba-mate.com/store_teabags.htm

You can also place dried fruit peels (such as lemon or orange) in with your yerba which will take some of the edge off until you get used to the underlying taste. Some people will even steep their yerba cold with things like lemonade or sprite.


In addition, the gourd makes it taste better because similar to a yixing teapot, it retains the flavor of the yerba over time.

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I’ve never really liked jasmine because I always felt that the jasmine was too overpowering and completely ruined the gentle nature of the underlying teas that I was drinking.

Then I actually found some good jasmine tea that is scented properly and enhances rather than detracts from the overall taste and quality. This jasmine is created with silver needle tea buds and has a very consistent light flavor that reaches a peak by the 2nd-3rd steeping.

I highly recommend this tea!

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Sounds interesting. I had a Jasmine Pearl tonight and it was tasty but seemed almost a tad strong. I didn’t mind it but couldn’t taste the tea as clearly. This one sounds worth trying. Also intrigued by the peak at steep 2-3. I wonder how that is achieved.

Little Yellow Teapot

My humans totally agree about the overpowering quality of Jasmine and are the same about Earl Grey. Often, the oil of bergamot is too strong. Tea Forte seems to have it right. So does The English Tea Store on this free sample we tried: http://bit.ly/8dxjfY (they call it Buckingham Palace Garden Party Tea).


Not quite sure but I find the 2nd – 3rd steeping to have the most flavor and be the most soothing.

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Steeped this one six times today, and it was delicious every time!

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I began my tea adventure when a counselor at Spanish camp introduced me to yerba mate. From there I soon started to embrace all different kinds of tea.

Currently my favorite tea is dragonwell, with silver needles being a close second. I really enjoy trying new teas and experimenting with different steep times and temperatures,


Kansas City, MO

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