67 Tasting Notes


Ever feel like you’re the last one to get in on a secret? That’s how I felt moments after water came into contact with this tea! The pleasant aroma of jasmine was wafting from the pot before I could even get the lid on. I could hardly wait for it to finish steeping, and when it did, the taste was even better than the aroma!

This is blurring the lines between tea and tisane in taste alone. Lightly floral and sweet, with a refreshing edge like mint or something. Every breath I take is cool and fresh after drinking a cup. My wife downed her cup almost immediately. I had brew another so she could slow down and savor it a little.

This sample from Teavivre was a ringer…I will definitely order some of this.

Flavors: Floral, Jasmine, Mint, Spearmint

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

I almost sent you some of this, but I was afraid you might not like the jasmine! Teavivre’s jasmine is natural, as the tea leaves are infused with the scent while drying alongside jasmine blossoms. It is so relaxing to me, like a spa day in a cup.

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Singing and playing 5 services plus rehearsals this weekend, so I backed off the normal coffee and several pots of tea thing. Hydrating with some home-blended tisane based in roobios, with some ginger and lemon. (It’s pretty good, by the way!)

But I still like a little boost in the cup, so when a trusted friend suggested matcha, and then pointed me toward a sale at Matcha Outlet (formerly Red Leaf Tea), I bought my first ever matcha.

Preparing in the total non-Japanese way using a cup and battery-operated frother, I seasoned the cup at 165° then sifted about a gram into the warmed cup and added about 2 oz 165° water. After “whisking” it into a thick green paste I added the remaining water before drinking.

The resulting cup has an aroma similar to fresh cut grass and is lightly sweet to the taste. A very pleasant drink and I did notice a caffeine-like effect. Though it wasn’t the jolt I get when starting the day with a black tea or coffee, it was mild and pleasantly stimulating..

Flavors: Grass, Honey, Spinach

165 °F / 73 °C 1 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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The flavors and aroma of this Sheng morph a bit as the cup cools, offering the lingering sensation of mint when inhaling after sipping. There was a distinct aroma of campfire or paper while steeping, resulting in a pale yellow liquor.

Pleasant enough to consider an order of this Verdant Tea sample.

Flavors: Campfire, Fruity

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

Wow, you got your Verdant order quickly! Glad you enjoyed it!

Comm Guy

We steeped this tea at least 8 times…my wife kept asking for more!

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Pleasantly surprised by this tea we picked up on a quick trip through Pinehurst, NC recently. The Early Grey was a standout flavor, and the addition of the flavoring made it a nice treat on a 100 degree afternoon.

Lady Bedford’s was a suggested stop, and we arrived to discover a wide selection of loose teas available for purchase or sampling. As a coffee purist, I came to prefer single-origin choices over any number of flavored coffees, as the flavorings were often masking old or inferior beans. I carry that sentiment into my tea drinking adventures, and wouldn’t likely go out of my way very often to buy flavored tea.

That said, this tea is a flavorful Earl Grey with a wonderful aroma. I drank a couple of cups warm, then brewed and chilled a second pot for a full-bodied iced tea.

It’s currently in a drawer while I enjoy something from Western China.

Flavors: Caramel, Earl Grey, Molasses

8 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML
Terri HarpLady

I’m a fan of single origin unflavored teas. You’ll find that when it comes to Earl grey types, most people either love it or hate it (my boyfriend being among the first group, myself among the 2nd). I have a pet theory that more men love Earl Grey than women, because it reminds them of their mothers, LOL. Of course, that’s probably totally false :)

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After waking earlier than usual to a stressful day that ended much later than usual, I was inclined toward something that provided a sub-coffee jolt to get me through the morning after.

I pulled this tea from the cupboard and measured out 4 grams as I heated some fresh water. I didn’t have the time or energy for any clean up, so I opted for a reusable tea bag straight into the cup.

What a treat! The resulting cup was a beautiful chestnut brown with a very refreshing mouth feel. I detected a note of caramel along with a gentle blend of spices. The taste lingered well, and served to invite me to a second cup.

The next time around I ditched the thermometer and went just a tad hotter with the water – as the strands of pearls begin to stream toward the surface just off a boil. There was a slight hint of bitterness in the first cup, so I reduced the steep time to 3-minutes and added 2 drops of liquid Stevia (which is far less than a suggested serving portion).

The combination of changes delivered everything needed for a rich, flavorful cup. Formerly a heavy coffee drinker, a fuller-bodied cup really appeals to me. This tea has it.

I roast my own coffee, because too many commercial roasters think flavor somehow develops by baking the oil onto the bean at the end of the roast. I disagree. They do what they feel they must to have a consistent and significant heaviness to their coffee, and then encourage consumers to dump countless pumps, squirts and frothing matter into the cup to make it palatable. I like coffee. Like tea, every single batch from every single grower has a distinct flavor, and in the roasting, there is a “sweet spot” that brings out the best notes.

But back to the tea. Yunnan Black – High Grade from Silk Road Teas? Affordable, delicious, and absolutely worth a try.

Flavors: Caramel, Spices

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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This is the first Sheng Pu-erh I’ve knowingly sampled, so bear that in mind as I offer this review.

I carefully measured 5 grams for my test. After a quick rinse, my first sample steeped for just 6-seconds and rendered a beautiful amber cup.

I would describe it as light-bodied with a pleasant note of smokiness. Something about it reminded me of the mouth feel I get when I am working with dense or dark woods like Rosewood or Walnut. Very pleasing, very smooth, with an easily unnoticed effect from caffeine.

Flavors: Camphor, Dark Wood, Smoked

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

XG’s often carry the smoke for a few years.

Comm Guy

I’m a tea-newbie. I had only had ripe Pu-ehr until I tried this XG, and after getting past my concern for the color, I was really happy about how it tasted. This is a really generous tea…I steeped and drank from the same little bit for 3 days.


Not uncommon. I have teas do the same thing. Mainly older stuff but I have found younger stuff that will do it as well.

Welcome in and you are now in the rabbit hole like many of us.

Terri HarpLady

Yay Comm Guy!! Welcome to Steepster and the world of Sheng Puer! You and your wife sound like my kind of folks, and looking forward to reading your further reviews :)

Comm Guy

Thanks for making me feel welcome. After some trials and effort, I discovered I REALLY like Sheng Pu-ehr.


Pu head in the making. Mrmo sees a pumidor project in under a year..

Comm Guy

A pumidor? If that’s what I think it is, I’m in! I’ve made some HUMidors (though I’m not a cigar smoker) in the past.


Just a humidor for tea, pumidor…you are thinking about it already…

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I’ve heard others refer to me as a Renaissance man. I’m more apt to describe myself in a sentence ending with “…and master of none.”

I play music. I design and build things. I love art and quirky stuff. And I have a really cool wife.

In an attempt at a more graceful aging, I entered the wonderful world of tea for its health benefits in 2017. A home roaster and seasoned coffee-ologist, I dove quickly in, gleaning knowledge from every source possible and tasting all I could afford to buy, beg or borrow. Hundreds of cups, pots, bags and blends into it, I still consider myself a neophyte Steepster.

I’ve discovered I am a huge fan of Pu-erh and Assam, and quickly warmed up to Oolong, Yunnan Blacks, Keemun, and Matcha.

I enjoy Tisanes, too. We buy herbs in bulk and blend for both benefits and taste. In that order.


North Carolina

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