60 Tasting Notes


I can’t believe I’ve stored this tea for two years. I’ve drank this every few months, seeing how it changed over time. It’s been so good, and I’ve tried to store it as carefully as possible, but this is the last of it.

Steeping info:
Teaware: Hong ni Fang Gu teapot
Brew style: Chazhou Gongfu
Water Amount: ~ 150ml
Tea Amount: 9.14g
Brewing Temperatures: 200+
Time (seconds): ?? I’m going by feel.

The number of steeps has considerably dropped since I started brewing this, but it’s still good. The flavor diminishes by the 4th steep although the general feeling remains.

The flavor profile has minimal changed from my previous review of this tea, but much more mellow than when I first tasted it:

Notes of smoke, chocolate, nuts, then a sweetness of molasses & florals as the steeps progress. It’s still one of my favorite teas.

Details & photos @ my tea blog: https://jadeoolong.blogspot.com/2021/05/goodbye-tea-long-live-tea-2006-da-hong.html

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 9 g

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I did two sessions with this particular tea.
The following info is from brewing it in a 110ml porcelain gaiwan. I also brewed this in a chaozhou clay teapot (see link below for that information)

Steeping Information:
*Teaware: Gaiwan 110ml
*Water Amount: ~ 100ml
*Tea Amount: 5.19
*Brewing Temperatures: 198, 200-206
*Time (seconds): 10, 20, 30, 48
*High notes of the aroma: Sweet, fruity, sugary
*Low notes of the aroma: Cooked stone fruit, smoke, roasted
*Broth: Sweet, viscous, with notes of honey & fruit

Overall, this is a really good tea with nice fruity, honey flavors. It starts off well with short steeps at higher temps. I tend to like my teas a little on the stronger side, but WCT’s recommendations are pretty spot on with the tea, although I did drop the water temperature slightly starting at #3, because I was noticing a bitterness not present in the first two.

It started diminishing around 4-5 steeps, which isn’t too bad.

This tea is similar to other honey orchids with a slight difference in viscosity and flavors. Most people might not notice. It’s not as sweet as other honey orchids I’ve tasted, but plenty sweet enough

More details & photos at my teablog: https://jadeoolong.blogspot.com/2021/05/tea-tasting-gold-thread-honey-orchid.html

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I left this Spring 2020 tea “age” a tiny bit to let the roast settle for a while.
While drinking this tea, I totally forgot this was supposed to be a tieguan yin until I started writing this post. It’s totally unlike any other TGY that I’ve ever had — it’s totally unlike a roasted TGY and absolutely nothing like the greener floral TGYs

If I were blind tasting this, I would almost say it’s a gaoshan or a fruity dan cong. Because when they said this tasted like jackfruit, they weren’t kidding. I grew up eating jackfruit, which I like, so this was a pleasant and different experience.

It’s a very different flavor profile from other Taiwanese teas with a very different mouthfeel. It’s viscous from a short 10 second steep and continues on with its viscocity throughout the session. This tea loves hot water. But, no bitterness and only a very mild astringency at the back of my throat

The longevity of this tea is fairly acceptable, especially with the jackfruit flavors present. By the 4th infusion, the flavors were diminishing, but definitely present.

Total steeps: 4+ with grandpa brewing after
Steep Times: 10 seconds, 20, 30, 60, 90 seconds
Water: Temps from 200+
Tea: 5grams in 100ml gaiwan
Brew style: Gongfu

Photos and more detailed notes:

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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This tea uses a puerh varietal, which you can smell when opening the bag. Although the dried leaves (and subsequent high notes of the brewed tea) smell of puerh, it only has a very very mild hint of a puerh flavor. (it’s like a proto-puerh)

It’s got some decent sweet / dried fruit flavors to it. There’s a nice hui gan with a a dry astringent finish but very juicy. I can feel the cha qi in my throat after drinking it. The initial ru kou 入口 of the tea is very good with a mild sweet/dried fruit flavor.

My only gripe with this tea is that the soup is thinner / less viscous than I would like. I’ve noticed this about some of the teas that are oxidized by the sun (like Sun-Dried Reds) versus being heat dried. The middle steeps are probably some of the better ones for most sun-dried teas, and this tea isn’t an exception.

Steeping Info:
-Teaware: 110 ml Gaiwan
-Water Amount: ~ 100 ml
-Tea Amount: 5.4 grams.
-Brewing Temperatures: 200 – 208 F
-Time in seconds: 10s, 25, 40, 60, 120

More details and photos on my blog:

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I got 2 samples of this tea to try out. Each sample is supposed to be ~3grams.
One sample was 2.8grams, which annoyed me as these aren’t cheap.

Their gongfu recommendations are a bit too close to Western Style: leaves 3.5 grams
temp 200 ° F |time 1 min 30 sec, so I used my own experience instaed.

I used both samples to 5grams. Brewed at 200F starting at 15 seconds.

Overall: This tea is exactly as they describe.
There are carmel, fruity, floral notes. It’s a very well balanced tea.
HOWEVER, it has no chaqi. It has no soul or spirit to this tea.

I kept feeling like it was lacking, and it wasn’t until later that I realized what it was.
I know many people like this tea, and it has all of the right notes….like a musician playing a song that is technically accurate, but with no feeling. This is this tea.

I kept steeping it for longer and longer, but to no avail. There’s no je ne sais quoi.
For the price point of this tea….personally, I’d give it a hard pass.

Notes, brewing times, and photos are on my blog:

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 100 OZ / 2957 ML

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Spring 2019 Harvest

(This is the general excerpt from my tea blog, which includes photos of each steep https://jadeoolong.blogspot.com/2021/02/comparing-tea-to-itself-wild-tree.html)

NOTE: I also wrote a log for the 2012 Harvest two years ago.

Brew info: 6.13 grams of tea | 100 ml water | Porcelain gaiwan | Gong fu style (see steep information below)

Leaf Aroma:
*The high notes of the wet leaves are sweet, but slightly sour
*The low notes from the wet leaves are of light smoke and cacao powder
*The leaves open somewhat quickly. They seem to open up 7-10% with each steep. I think this tea will go on for a while.

Tea Broth / Soup:
*The color of the tea soup is a lovely orange amber

The broth is very smooth with a very mild viscosity.
*There is hardly any astringency at all. I suspect this will be a very forgiving tea with regards to water temperature.

The flavor starts off with a mild sourness followed by a sweetness and sugary aftertaste. It’s fairly well balanced with no flavor overpowering the other. It has a fairly medium finish with a tongue juiciness that lingers with sugar crystals.The sourness is not as dominating, as Laoshan Red teas. It’s just a nice balance of sweet & sour.

I don’t detect the more fruity notes from my 2012 tasting, which could be just the harvest year or my looking at tea differently.

Brewing specs by steep:

1.200F @ 20s 2. 200F @ 30s 3. 195F @ 40s — I wanted to see if the sourness/tang might be reduced with a lower temperature, but it didn’t really. 4. 200 F @ 40s — still going fairly strong. The color of the soup hasn’t changed much since the first, but I can tell it’s just starting to drop. I figure I can go a decently long time with this tea as the leaves are not yet fully open. (5+ Steeps) Flavors are diminishing very slowly over time, as is the color of the soup. The tang is also dropping, but the slight sweet is still there. Still keeping itself balanced.

Flavors: Cocoa, Pleasantly Sour, Sugar

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

Nice to see you back. I enjoyed perusing your blog. The layout and your cadence are calming.


Thanks you. I’m trying to get back into documenting tastings. I’ve a backlog, so hopefully, I’ll get through them, while adding new ones.

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I started keeping a blog for tea reviews because it’s a bit hard to figure out which teas I’ve reviewed - Steepster’s sorting algorithm kinda sucks -- plus versions on FB, and this is just better for my own record keeping.

This morning, I wanted to have a tea session with a shou puerh….and I accidentally made this tea instead. Oops. Sometimes, you have to let the tea decide what you’re drinking.

This tea has got a lot of sweetness to it with a lot of herbal notes bordering on vegetal. And, it’s really easy and smooth to drink. In later steeps, there’s a cooling effect like menthol or mint. I can feel the cooling effect in the back of my mouth and throat. It’s very pleasant. The tea has a nice relaxing effect.

This tea seems to like short steep times at about 190degF (10second intervals), and increasing either temp/time brings out a bit of herbal bitterness that isn’t bad, but was unexpected.

Despite Denong’s description of floral flavors, I didn’t really get a sense of floral scents or flavor notes until much later infusions (#5). Everything read to me as sweet herbal notes.

I’ve got about enough to do another tasting later. I took a look at their pricing for this cake and I won’t be able to afford to replace it once I’m done. I’m very grateful to be able to sample this tea. If you get a chance, I recommend it.

More detailed steep information at:

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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I have the SPRING 2019 version of this tea.

SUMMARY: This is an interesting tea. The flavors are fairly subtle, balanced, and not one note seems to stand out, but it has a lot of texture and cha qi. In fact, it’s a bit hard for me to discern any one given flavor of the tea although there’s a lot of flavor notes in the aroma.

When I brewed this a little hotter / longer, the tea is all about the texture. I could feel the astringency on the tongue, roof of the mouth, on the lips, with a puckering sensation. In conjunction with the astringency, the cha qi on this tea is fairly strong. In the second infusion, there was a tingling in my eyes, from the top of my head to the back, and on the lips…like when I have a really good tai chi session.

Brew times (time / temp F) : 10s/202F, 30/199, 40/195, 50/205, 60/199, 120/200, 5min/200

Wet leaf: The wet Leaf aroma changes slightly with each step. But in general:
The high notes include stewed tomatoes, cooked veggies (maybe squash?) — this turns to a sweet, fruity scent in later infusions. The low notes initially smell of marinara sauce with the tomatoes & herbs, mild roast, then turns into roasted veggies, nuts

The liquid aroma is somewhat sweet, like honey/marzipan with a slightly almond, nutty aftertaste.

The tea broth has an interesting texture primarily due to the astringency factor in the tea. It feels very viscous on the tongue but drinks smoothly.

Even though there’s a strong astringency in this tea, there’s no bitterness. I pushed the times without any bitter tasting tea. I think this would work for Grandpa brewing style

0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Summary: This is a pretty decent tea, and it has the potential to be a VERY good tea. The tea broth is thick, rich, and very juicy. It’s got a good astringency, but never borders on bitter even when pushed. The flavors aren’t complex with primary notes of roast / sweet wood with hints of stone fruit. Even though this tea is a side varietal of Da Hong Pao, it has aspects of a Dan Cong.

I think it’d be interesting to see how this ages over time. I think it’ll become an amazing tea. (Side Note: This would make a good grandpa style brewed tea as of right now)

Brew Times: 20s, 30, 45, 75, 90,120…
Brew Temps: 200F, 201F, 199F, 199F, 199F

The wet leaves had high notes of stone fruit turning into sweet sugar with later infusions. There were low notes of roast, fire, and woodsmoke.

The liquid gave off hints of orange/citrus.

The tea broth is very thick & viscous, nice on the tongue. This tea goes down easy with a medium to long finish. It has a medium-long astringency that started on the edges of my tongue then the whole tongue.

Flavors: Strong initial wood flavors with hints of fruit at either the beginning or end, depending on the steep, which would then mellow out

Flavors: Campfire, Roasted, Smoke, Stonefruit, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 tsp 5 OZ / 150 ML

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I finally got around to tasting this tea from Whispering Pines.
The small brick was about 5.5 grams. I broke it in half to try in two sessions.

TL;DR Summary: Overall, this is a decent tasting tea. If you really like sweet fruity teas, then I’d recommend this to you. There’s hardly any astringency or bitterness no matter how far I pushed out the steep times. Personally, I liked the flavor profiles (with the dates & plums) but I really wanted more body and viscosity to the tea. IMNSHO, I think it’s a bit thin, which is why I’m not giving this a higher rating.
I think a leaf vs. water ratio would help or a CZ with a bit of crushed leaf. I probably should have just brewed the whole square instead of trying to conserve the tea. (Also, I really think this tea would be most excellent as a cold brew!!) The only other “ding” I would give it is that it didn’t last as long as I hoped, given the price point. Flavors started to wash out by steep 5.

I brewed this GongFu style.
Water: 90-100ml
Temp: 200+ deg
Steep times: 15s, 30s, 60s, 60s, 60s, 90;120

The dry leaf: hints of plum and fig
Leaf in warm gaiwan: Fresh plums, figs, prunes.
No wash.

- 15s – First steep is the color of medium red amber. The wet leaf smells of sugar water and plums. It’s very sugary sweet! Did I accidentally add sugar? Nope. It’s just THAT sweet.
There’s hints of plums, figs, apricots with a very mild astringency with a drying in the back of the throat & back of my tongue. However, the tea soup is very thin and the flavors are hints of what this could be. (Maybe this should have been a 20-30 second steep)

- 30s – a little bit more body but not by much. There’s a hint of Chinese salted prunes in the leaf aroma. Broth: The flavors of plums & figs are much more stronger and distinct. It’s still sugary sweet.

- 60s – Lets see what happens if I push it out? The color is much darker than the #1 or #2. I still get scents of plum and sugar from the leaf, but with the added scents of dates and fruit bread(?) The sugary sweetness is not as strong. Now I get the flavor of dates. I probably should have kept the steep to about 45seconds if I wanted to keep the sweetness of this tea for longer.

- 60s – The color is now lighter than #3; The leaf smells more of cooked plums/dates versus fresh plums & dried dates. There’s still some sugary sweetness in the leaf.
The tea brother definitely has more of a date flavor with the ever present plums. The sweetness is now in the aftertaste.

- 90 seconds — Flavors are starting to fade a bit. I don’t think the tea has that many longer steeps in it.

- 120 seconds — Flavors are definitely starting to fade. Still no bitterness and an extremely mild astringency.

Flavors: Dates, Fig, Plum

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General: A crafty geek girl who has a love for tea, cats, writing, books, as well as learning a multitude of post-apocalyptic skills…just in case.

Tea: I’ve been drinking tea all my life. My grandfather was half-Chinese, but I was always too lazy to brew anything other than Western style. In the past 5 years I’ve been changing that; trying to develop my tea-tasting chops and still a lot to learn! I prefer oolongs, blacks, and greens (in that order), and I’m trying to expand my knowledge of tea from all over the world (and not just China & Japan). I do tend to stay away from herbal tisanes or overly flavored teas as I find them much too sweet and overpowering.

My ratings explained.
90-100: Exceptional tea. The tea I want with me on that desert island. It is the tea I’ll take time to relish and enjoy.

80-89: Very Good Tea. It fits my flavor profile and I enjoy drinking it.

70-79: Good. I like it, but might not be one I reach for on a regular basis..

60-69: Solid. Better than average, and something I’ll grab when I need to “run-out-the-door” and can’t take time to really appreciate the tea I’m drinking.

50-59: Decent/Average. Not my preferred flavor profile or something I won’t purposefully go out to buy. It might lack that “Something” in its aroma/flavor/mouthfeel/finish.

40-49: Below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Gross. Didn’t finish it or refused to drink anymore.


San Francisco Bay Area



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