1048 Tasting Notes


This sample is from Arby. Thank you!

It’s been so long since I’ve had a nice cup of Silver Needles of any kind. It’s like coming, although this one feels more robust than I’m used to. I like it when they are a little more.. ethereal? The second steep fulfilled my wants for an even lighter sweet tea though (playing with steeping parameters).

Personal fun fact: I hated cucumbers before I was introduced to white tea. This type of tea and Dragonwell got me into vegetables!

Steep Count: 2

Flavors: Banana, Cucumber, Floral, Hay, Lemon, Lychee

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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“Making a small clerical error which ends up costing so many marks on what should have been an easy, grade boosting assignment” consolation tea. I’m full of so much self loathing right now.

This tea is just like the letter grade I’m likely to end up getting in that class: A solid “B.” (Although, sometimes I think of this one in the 80’s; it’s dependable). I have so much of this tea in my life.

Flavors: Strawberry

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Lexie Aleah

I do the same thing unfortunately. I had a similar situation a few weeks ago.

Evol Ving Ness

No self-flagellation! Be very kind to yourself. You will have the opportunity to do better another time.


Sorry, steepsterites! Self-depreciating tea notes help get over silly stress and disappointment, but it means you all are sometimes subject to my “diary.” And it’s definitely a mistake I’ll never make again; that’s what job training is about- get the common mistakes and oversights out of the way!

I suspect I’ll have a lot of happy tea notes in a few days though :)


Points to you for caring about the details—now let them go! (I am the Queen of Ruminating Over Small Mistakes For Inappropriately Long Periods of Time. I don’t need any competition ;) Good tea choice. Strawberry tea is happy tea!

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Vibrant, green, and clean floral bouquet tea. It has a grassy aroma and flavour that reminds me strongly of matcha, with ensuing hints of cream and butter, which may or may not be there.

Now I want matcha. I’m a little “oolonged” out at the moment, especially when it comes to tieguanyins.

Steep Count: 3

(2016 harvest)

Flavors: Floral, Grass, Honeysuckle

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

i still have less teas than you…neener neener neeeeeeener!


What was that, Sil? You want me to send you a nice fat parcel, full of Verdant green oolongs and Earl Greys, for Christmas? I’ll get on that. :P


(Luckily, I don’t have anything new or noteworthy enough to send you)



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Apologies in advance: this note contains references to decay and cremation (TW). If you’re not into that or are currently enjoying delicious food, please skip on over.

Nope. Roasted oolong is not for me. Something about burning the florals and char reminds me of one of more bittersweet aromas of Varanasi (not really into thinking of pyres while drinking oolong).

This is actually a nice tea when I can get past my own personal hold-ups. It’s a lot less potent in the burnt department than one would think, and there is a pleasant sour tang of grapefruit for an aftertaste. Lingering notes of sea-salt create a compelling portrait.

Unfortunately, my mind is going back to Varanasi again, and that cow floating down the river. It was very green (but not really), just like this oolong! There’s a part of me that finds it poetic and moving that this tea is like a burnt offering; it’s a shame that aromas, colours, and memories are so strongly linked.

Flavors: Char, Floral, Grapefruit, Marine, Nuts, Salt, Smoke, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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This is not bad. For a Rooibos.

Very rich and dark; there’s a light vanilla note that reminds me a tad of Vanille Coco perfume from Comptoir Sud Pacifique (Sephora). The brown sugar/caramel borders on boozy. Apple and blackberry leaves are detectable and bring out fall fruity notes. The pumpkin is baked, and is a thing I notice on my tongue more-so after I’ve finished my cup.

When I first smelled the blend I thought there were sunflower seeds. After drinking it, I still swear there are sunflower seeds.

Flavors: Apple, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Molasses, Pumpkin, Vanilla

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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Priority No. 3 of my great sipdown purge had to be one of my oolong pouches from Verdant. I don’t know why Verdant teas always winds up neglected in the back of my cupboard, but there it is.

I’m not going to write a proper note on this tonight. I steeped it in a cup that was previously holding the Sticky Rice Jin Xuan, and I fear some of the flavouring may have creeped over; either that or this Tieguanyin is incredibly sweet and creamy (but probably not subtlety highlighted with rice notes). The sweetness actually oozes in the finish and aftertaste, which is distinctively not from Sticky Rice.

(2016 harvest)

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Honeysuckle, Sweet

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Drinking this before I take a power nap in preparation for essay writing later tonight!

At first I was a little disappointed to receive this as a free sample; it’s what I got last time too! Then I saw that it was this year’s harvest- so it is technically a different tea. Queue more enthusiasm!

I’m finding this new batch to be a brisker, darker, albeit less sweet, cup than my first round with good old 2016. It goes places that wouldn’t surprise me in black or bug-bitten tea. There’s malt, raisin/prunes, dark wildflower honey, and marmalade or blackberry-like tang. There’s a slight floral-vegetal note that I associate with some Darjeelings too.

Also, thank you, Alistair and What-Cha, for the lovely sample! You carry some pretty special teas, and you’ve put Choke Chamreon Tea Estate on my radar (need to check out more Thai teas).

Steep count: 2

(2017 spring harvest)

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Blackberry, Brandy, Dark Chocolate, Floral, Honey, Malt, Plum, Raisins, Stonefruit

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Lexie Aleah

Essay writing is the worst!

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Oh, FML. Writing a bogus Formal Recommendation Report for a situation and person that aren’t real. Please send me back to the department of History, where papers make orderly sense (Ok, Legal Admin is alright and practical, but this req Professional Communications academia class is dreadful).

I’m not sure if I should sleep and feel rested for my early morning exam and the brunt of the paper writing tomorrow, or if I should pull an all-nighter in the hopes that I can finish it in the next 9hrs.. I’m too old for this.

Either way, this tea shall be my friend. Hello, tea (this is what sleep deprivation looks like and it is not positively correlated with work productivity).

Steep count: 2

(2017 spring harvest)

Flavors: Butter, Rice

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec

I had a college Business Communications (same content, antique name) class that I despised. Prof went strictly by the answer key—if your recommendation, business plan, etc. varied, no matter how well constructed, forget it. May your words be wise!


The thought of that just makes me shudder. I hope your exam went well today!


My prof isn’t in that league of bad, but unfortunately it didn’t make it much less painful to write. Oh, well. Soon it will be a distant memory!

Thanks, Fjellrev! :)

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This is simply a bouquet of buttery lilacs. It feels like such a luxury to have rich flowers like this on the verge of winter. I particularly enjoy the sweet, rich scent that the leaves and broth give off.

It’s too bad I put off drinking this one for so long. For whatever reason, I thought it was roasted. Good job for reading comprehension, Crowkettle!

I’ll add more insight to this note if anything interesting pops up in later steeps.

Steep Count: 2

Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Grass, Honeysuckle

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Lexie Aleah

Yum I keep adding more wishlist items after reading your notes but I never seem to get to buying them.


You’ll get there! I 100% recommend trying out Teavivre if you’re just getting into straight Chinese/Taiwanese teas; They have lots of incentives like a cheap free shipping threshold ($30), and sampler options (2 free ones when you reach free shipping)!

Evol Ving Ness

_ It feels like such a luxury to have rich flowers like this on the verge of winter._

Your writing intoxicates me.

I am so looking forward to comparing my perceptions of teas to your insights though I seem to be waffling a bit on oolongs these days and more drawn to my beloved blacks. Or maybe it is that slap across the face from the caffeine that I long for in the mornings.


I’ll see that “reading comprehension” comment and raise you one: at first glance, I thought the tea name was Anxiety Monkey.

Evol Ving Ness

hahhaha, and oddly, some of us know exactly what you mean.


gmathis, you brightened my day with that comment and the ensuing imagery! Now I’m going to always pictures stressed out monkeys when I drink “Iron Bodhisattva of Mercy” tea. XD

Evol, honestly, I can’t blame you for not being into oolongs right now. In my mind I know too that it’s really black tea season; I’m just stuck with a cupboard backlog of all my spring an summer oolongs!

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I’ve dealt with Priority No. 1 sipdown, so now I can move onto Priority No. 2! There are two-and-a-half pots left, which means I can probably finish it off by tomorrow..

The coconut has held up well over the course of the last few months. The pineapple is subtle, and combines with the coconut and base to create a creamy tropical beverage, à la piña colada (cringe, linguists, cringe). I definitely prefer this without milk and at a warmer temperature though.

Anyways, while this isn’t a priority repurchase, I can see myself ordering more in the future- maybe when the world is warmer and/or I need more of this company’s delicious Cream of Earl Grey (it’s my favourite one right now).

Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Cream, Malt, Pineapple, Tropical

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Evol Ving Ness

I most liked this one when I combine it with another tropical fruit black with a frisky base. I find the base of this one a bit spineless.

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks for the tip about their Cream of Earl Grey. I have yet to try it.


I Particularly like their Cream of Earl Grey because it’s cheaper than DT!

And I won’t lie- I like how spineless the black to is here; I can forget it exists even when I oversteep it! Next time I grab some though I’ll try mixing it for a bit of dynamism. I need to get back into black teas somehow.

Evol Ving Ness

Hmm, perhaps I can help that process along somewhat :)

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I started my Steepster loose leaf adventure back in 2012. I can’t say I’m completely new anymore, but I still view oolong as a magical, extraterrestrial creature that unfurls in water.

My favourite teas are stuff like Milk Oolong, Dragonwell, Silver Needle, Japanese Sencha, Kenyan White Rhino… but I generally enjoy all the tea.


Vanilla, Maple, Caramel, Butterscotch, Cream, Toffee, Nougat, Marzipan, Butter

Blackberry, Raspberry, Currants, Blueberry, Elderberry, Banana, Melon, Pineapple, Persimmon

Lime, Grapefruit, Lemon, Bergamot, Yuzu (orange is a hit or miss)

Anise (but not licorice), Ginger, Clove-forward chai

Musky, “Fresh,” and/or Woody Incense-like stuff: Sandalwood, Frankincense, Eucalyptus, Mints

Lavender, Jasmine, Rose, Lilac, etc. ALL the flowers!

Spinach, Grass, Hay, Cucumber, Rice, Sweet Potato

Less Preferred Flavours/Ingredients:

- Stevia and most sweeteners
- Cinnamon-forward blends
- Prunes
- Dark Roasts (oolong)
- Orange (if it’s a creamsicle)
- Mango pieces (love mango outside of tea though)
- Coconut pieces (as a sub/filler ingredient)
- Cocoa Nibs, 95% of the time.

Subjective Rating System 3.0:

90-100: My absolute favourite tea. I’ll impulsively buy in large quantities and hoard like a dragon.

85-89: A favourite tea. I’ll try to keep this one around when it’s practical.

76-84: A good tea, but lower on my “to repurchase” list

70-75: Alright, but I may have a few problems with quality, consistency, ingredient chemistry, or personal preferences.

50-69: Average to mediocre cup. Personal preference issues are apparent.

11-49: Varying levels of undrinkable tea. I don’t give a lot of these ratings out, since I tend to grab tea I know will appeal to me.

1-10: Nightmare tea from the chaos realms. This tea is the embodiment of the primordial swamp, the unholy abomination that is a chimera. It’s very gross and I’m almost positive it doesn’t exist.


BC, Canada

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