31 Tasting Notes

drank Sencha by Rishi Tea
31 tasting notes

I love Japanese green teas. I remember this is one of the first sencha’s I’ve tasted when I first started out on tea.

Leaf quality is expected, a mis of broken, small leaves. Very delicate, and it’s beautiful smell. It’s fragrance remind’s me of polished rice, after is was done drying.

I steeped this in my 200ml Tokoname kyusu. A little over or under a minute, I can’t remember. I’m afraid I have become to used to eyeballing my water, but it’s somewhere around that temperature, where steam rises, and a fair amount of small bubbles.

The taste is clean, crisp, vegetable like, with a mouthwatering bittersweet finish. Refreshing. All the basic characteristics of a decent Sencha.

I realized that after drinking tea for a long time, I guess you become to used to the ritual. Some may say you’re being lazy, but learning to make good tea without being overly pretentious, and exact is a pretty cool thing to me.

165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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drank Genmaicha by Zhi Tea
31 tasting notes

It has been awhile since I’ve logged. I’ll just try to pick it up as if nothing happened. But it is nice to write about tea again.

I’ve previously tried Genmaicha by Rishi, and Adagio. My liking among them is greatly polarizing. So I decided to try Zhi, being fairly priced and something different. When I first opened the foil, the aroma was that of any Genmaicha, fresh clean crisp greens, melded with the toasted rice. Some subtle floral notes existed as well. To my surprise, (thankfully too,) there was no popcorn pieces in mine. I feel the addition of the popcorn pieces lacks authenticity, and adds a unnecessary subtle oily taste meant to add complexity over the leaves. I find that this is more appropriately done with the rice.

I brewed this in my 12 oz. red clay Tokoname kyusu for two of my friends. I only got a sip of the cup, but it seems well rounded. A decent Gemaicha has tamed grass notes in it’s taste, heavy aroma with the rice, and finishes in the classic Japanese green bittersweet, leaving a pleasant roasted aftertaste.

The leaves opened well, and appeared to be quite whole for a Japanese green. On a trivial note, I always think of little maggots, when I see the roasted rice! XP It’s just something I can’t help but think about.

I will definitely ad another tasting note, with more depth.

185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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I acquired the 25th of 100 of this series. I was a bit infuriated I missed the Year of the Tiger Yunnan edition.

I decided to include a new review on the tin’s label; as A&D and Aesthetic Apparatus’s decisions on label design are produced to almost expand upon the tea’s nature. Something I’ve noticed from previous series. So from now on, I will be reviewing A&D’s on their tin AND tea. Please skip the following mini-review if you wish to skip unto the actual tea review.

Let me take note of the similar aesthetic design of the tin’s label, compared to last year. It has an almost absurd eye-blotting ~ pop art colour scheme. You could argue to use a different shade of pink. The colour is something so contrasting to the type of tea that is actually inside that it makes you think there’s some overly flavoured Jasmine green, or dank aromatic “plum oolong” which would discredit this series as a homage to Chinese tea, let alone to celebrate the year of the rabbit. However, the ‘lively’ colour scheme appropriately corresponds upon the nature and spirit of the rabbit itself.

The similarity in character design of the rabbit to the tiger of last year says: “lack of originality”; but there’s a lame “special” sense of continuity to last year’s design, that may pressure a future label in similar apparatus.

I may be a little too hard on the label, which I believe somewhat misrepresents Bai Mu Dan. But I appreciate the sense of effort, and individuality despite the clown colour scheme that yells: “THERE’S CANDY INSIDE!”. It still in a sense, appropriately represents the year of the rabbit, and the spirit of the new year.

Now unto the tea:
Prying the tin open with a butter knife, I humored myself that I’d discover cotton candy or bubble gum, or maybe paint of the label colour, being as the tin was a paint can.

Getting over myself, I discovered a lovely multi coloured collection of leaves ranging from fresh greens, to silvery hairs, to matte earthy colours. Similar aroma to most whites. Reminiscent of fresh cut grass, the warmth a hay, and sweet melancholy nature of a breeze in the country. The smell was enjoyable and inviting to brew. The leaf quality of a myriad of colours with somewhat uniform broken leaves and scattered rolled young needles.

I brewed two teaspoons in my red Tokoname kyusu (I’m currently ‘gaiwanless’) to A&D’s recommended temperature: Seven minutes at shy of a boil. I am always scared of white teas loosing their heat at such long brew times, so I insured that I adequately pre-warmed the teapot.

Bai Mu Dan was incredibly refreshing! The cup was a transparent, pale yellow, and owned an aroma that followed the leaves. Fresh, sweet, warm, and smooth in take and finish. A lingering aftertaste that is enjoyable. Leaving you wanting to drink more. Light in body like most whites, but still fuller in flavour than most White Peonies. A complex flavour that evolves in your mouth. I tried for a second steep, at boiling for another seven minutes, but came to a watered down cup. The sweet refreshing cup was so inviting I repeated the ritual again.

I thoroughly enjoyed A&D’s tea. As this Bai Mu Dan makes a DAMN fine cup of tea. Fuller in body than most White Peonies, and a stronger aroma than even the more sweeter Silver Needles. Take note my score is reflected upon the tea itself, and not the tin. An overall enjoyable tea, worth it for a white leaf drinker.

205 °F / 96 °C 7 min, 0 sec

I’m glad glad you made note of the tin design. I disagree on how well it fit the tea (I’ll save that excited babbling for my own notes) but I do think it’s part of the overall experience of the tea and I’m happy someone else on Steepster recognizes it as a work of art along with the tea inside.

Somethimes I have the same fear of oversteping baicha but the best ones are hard to oversteep. So of course one never has to worry if an A&D white is going to burn, eh? =D And of course it sounds damn delicious. I can’t wait to get mine! How many infusions did you get?


I steeped this guy three times and yielded six cups. It loses some important notes in it’s body on the second steep, but still very drinkable before I threw out the leaves. A&D is quite right that this tea is quite forgiving.

Let me say again that I stated some major criticisms on the tin. [Most of them subjective.] (I am a design student). Some details good, and not so good on fitting the tea. I could have easily written an expanded review on it, but this being Steepster I decided keep it brief. And focus on the tea.


Indeed. Tea first, tin as a side note, but I’m just saying I disagree. Personally I DO think there’s candy inside. =D For the first steep, at least.

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drank Masala Chai by Rishi Tea
31 tasting notes

I make this during Christmas, or just when it’s too cold out!

This was my first experience in making Chai, and I wanted to try a pre-made Chai blend before eventually making my own from scratch.

I followed the instructions that came with it. Set it all up on the stove top back at home. Two very generously heaping tablespoons of the stuff. Added the water, added WHOLE MILK (organic :P) and brought to boil while stirring. I decided to add two table spoons of turbinado sugar for authenticity. Let it cook out for five minutes before straining.

This chai comes out very gingery. I somewhat want it to be more bold in the tea flavour. Which is something I will consider while I try to assemble my own chai recipe. It is still very enjoyable, and rich, but maybe it’s because of the whole milk. I tried adding another heaping tablespoon of the mix, but it’s still too gingery for me.

I love using different sweeteners. Darker honeys work well with this. Orange Blossom makes a super-yum cup. Sourwood creates a crazy rich OMFG cup! But heaping in two tablespoons of expensive honey leaves me in regrets.

I’ve only tried Zhi Tea’s Masala, and Coconut Chai, but I have to whip those back out again to make a comparison. Overall, a bit on the gingery side, but still enjoyable, satisfying my Masala Chai cravings.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Bancha by Rishi Tea
31 tasting notes

I wanted a bulk Japanese green tea that wouldn’t hurt my wallet, sorry Sencha, you’re just a bit too expensive at times.

Luckily, Bancha is sold cheap by the pound, and you get what you pay for. I appreciated how I saw a good range of leaves and stems in the rather low grass-woodlike scent it gave off. I brewed it at the green zone from 180º-200º at two minutes. I hate playing by seconds, so I leave my listed temperature at 185º. I doubled the time, and upped the temperature, on the second steep.

It tastes like green tea. Not much to delve into. But agreed, it cannot take a lot of steeps. I say stop at two brews, or treat it like a black and just brew it once! If you’re a cheepstake, you can go ahead and brew this more than three times, but you should reconsider and just go ahead and pour yourself some flat hot water to drink instead.

On my count, this is a decent, very affordable Japanese green tea. I often make this for the thermos in the morning, so I can skip a trip to Peet’s during lunch. Perhaps it is a good pair for a Japanese meal if you want the grass tone, but I can imagine it would go cold quickly once you hit your second toro nigiri. For that reason, I would take a Houjicha over this in a meal. Strictly sushi however, I would take Mecha.

My scoring is based upon it’s price, quantity, and production, (it’s organic! and if you haven’t noticed I love organic tea.)

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

that comment about flat hot water instead of brewing a 3rd time made me laugh

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I haven’t been logging my teas lately… The demanding work of being a design student!

Anyway, I’ll start logging in teas again starting with Andrews & Dunham.

I decided to purchase Andrew and Dunham’s because I was really intrigued with what was so “damn fine” about them. I received my collection of tins from series three, and two. I enjoyed the graphically designed labels, and the hand silk printed box it came in. Beautiful.

That aside. I started with Earl Grey.

Earl Grey has a special place in my heart, for being my first loose leaf tea I’ve ever brewed. It also happens to be the favorite, and the only loose leaf my best friend would drink. I cracked the tin, with the familiar aroma of bergamot. It’s a more aromatic version of the blend, reminds me of kinda like how a Tazo Earl Grey smells like, a bit more fresh, and no musk.

I steeped this in my white teapot, five minutes at boiling. The brew came out light amber. I tasted this straight with no additions. Nice start, full bodied, citrusy, but unlike other Earl Greys, its’ finish was surprising light, but still smooth, and (the shocker)- creamy…

I was so excited about the last detail so much that I immediately poured another cup, but with half and half with agave nectar. Delicious, enjoyable, sweet! Went well with a Russian tea cake I bought at Whole Foods.

I’d score this higher if it was organic, other than that- yes it is a DAMN fine cup of tea.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Midterms are over!

I was excited to try this tea, with it being “aged” and such, it’s my first time drinking anything thirty years old. With $7.50 an ounce I had some expectations.

I open the package to deliver a rich, chocolatelike scent, woody, earthy, and smokey. The leaf quality is large rolled leaves, very dark in colour. I decided to brew this at shy of a boil in my gaiwan. Now I really hate brewing with seconds! I HATE it. But I think the richness in the smell scared me so much in screwing the brew up that I trimmed off fifteen seconds from my regular one minute ascending ritual.

The resulting cup, was very rich in taste, sharp take with a very complex, sweet~smokey~earth taste. It was as if they smoked this teas, shoveling caramels into the smoker, to infuse the two into this beautiful deep amber cup. The finish was harsh. I think I could of trimmed off a couple more seconds to grant me a bit more forgiving taste, but yet a very tasty cup.

This tea was enjoyable satisfying treat after my midterms.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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drank Wuyi Oolong by Zhi Tea
31 tasting notes

I am having this after a real long day…

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Another pot this morning. It’s going to be a long day, I need the boost.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Hi, I am tea drinking design student. I appreciate tea, especially Darjeelings, Japanese greens and Taiwanese oolongs.


San Francisco, California

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