90 Tasting Notes


Jasmine Silver Needle White Tea (Mi Lo Yin Zhen), hello. As soon as you open the bag you’re getting the jasmine. It’s a real perfume–no literally, it smells like a lady sweating out an incense store and for the love of whatever deity you find holy it’s coming out of every pore. Ma’am, why the hell are you trying so hard? What’s there to cover up? You’re a beautiful young white tea, there should be nothing to be ashamed of. This overwhelming odor tones down in the cup, thank god.

Boy, this is not a tea for floral haters. Or even floral dislikers. It is flower power hour here and kids, we’ve got no choice but buckle up and take it. Now, if you do like florals–you crazy cats, you–this tea will be divine. It is resoundingly petalriffic. The jasmine coats your mouth with every sip, imprinting the aftertaste on your palate, while the sip itself contains notes of melon–cantaloupe, to be precise–and honeysuckle. This isn’t a little girl of a tea. Jasmine Silver Needle is a full-fledged, D-cup woman. A real dame, in the slightly abrasive 40′s sense of the word. Any dudefolk drinking this tea may console themselves by thinking of the White Peony warrior in his manly pursuit of flowers, and thus preserve their masculinity.

Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/07/05/snooty-tea-review-teavivre-round-2/


“Jasmine Silver Needle is a full-fledged, D-cup woman. A real dame…” Now I understand why I loved this one! Lol.

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Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) Wuyi Rock Oolong Tea comes out of the bag with a dried plum fragrance overlaid by the mineral-y soot of its origin. It seems to promise crimson fruit flavors like red delicious apples and heirloom tomatoes–can’t forget those are fruit, too. In the cup, the fruit gets kicked to the curb as the tea brings in golden sweet sesame to play. We’ve got that wonderful Wuyi nuttiness waiting to happen, but these nuts have been barely toasted, only enough to ripen their flavor but not enough to create a whole new layer in the mix.

Upon first sip, the apple from the aroma goes, “I’m still here!” A really brash kind of cup we’ve got going on, this tea wants you to pay attention to it, which it accomplishes by giving you straight up flavors. You’re picking the apples straight from the tree in some remote forest, not a manicured little orchard. And as it cools, you even get a cayenne-y flavor in there, something like paprika. Not fire-spicy, but a sweet, caressing heat. You could have so much fun with this tea, infusing it in different concentrations and varying steeping times to unlock the treasure chest of flavors.

Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/07/05/snooty-tea-review-teavivre-round-2/

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Organic Silver Needle White Tea (Bai Hao Yin Zhen) was another contender for the Most Unexpected First Impression award. The dry leaves hit you with a fresh hay smell, which catapulted me back into fond memories of horse camp. Shows promise to be a fine outdoorsy tea, for sure.

Another letdown, aroma-wise. If Jasmine Silver Needle is the showoff, then Organic Silver Needle is her ludicrously timid younger sister. Again, the steeping instructions don’t let this tea really show what it’s capable of. It’s not very entertaining to have to sit and wait for the flavors to come to you–especially if you’re not the patient type. Go for a higher water temperature and let it sit for longer, that way you can reap the full effect of the softly winding florals that set this silver needle apart. It lacks the heady perfume of the jasmine version, so that the true taste and aroma of the leaves has nothing to hide behind. However, if you steep it according to the instructions, you’ll be there spending more energy coaxing the flavors into mind than actually drinking it, during which time you could have just left it in the infuser another two minutes and gotten the better cup out of it.

Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/07/05/snooty-tea-review-teavivre-round-2/

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Organic White Peony (Bai MuDan) Tea has a surprisingly woodsy smell in the bag. Not what you’d expect from a white tea! The odor packs a lot of green punch but it’s so sweet and soft about it that you’re immediately intrigued. Dry leaves, though their scent can often be misleading, are like meeting somebody for the first time. That initial impression is the one that sets up the entire exchange, and this tea has decided to give you a handshake that catches you off guard with how gentle it is, though you can already feel the strength of the grasp. But does this translate into the cup?

Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/07/05/snooty-tea-review-teavivre-round-2/

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Watched your video. Like the idea. I think using a gaiwan and following the instructions on the verdant site produces a better tasting tea especially for oolongs unless you have a little seasoned yixing pot. Slurp the tea to taste it. With some oolongs, cooling or adding cool water will create bitterness. Small cups instead of mugs would be helpful if heat bothers you. I hope you don’t mind comments…wishing you success!

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With a liquor as dark as wine, you’d think that the tea would have a similarly intense presence. As it turns out, not so much. It’s an understated fellow, this one. You get a mouth full of smoke that sits even more heavily on the tongue than the Lapsang Souchong, leaving an ashy residue feeling, however it’s not overpowering. This tea could be the shy guy at the corner of the D&D table. His character’s stats aren’t amazing, but he’s got steady luck on the dice, and you aren’t creeped out by his silence–in fact, you’re a little curious if he’s got more to say. For the tea, this means trying out further infusions and seeing how the underlying flavors develop. Admittedly the fishiness is still there on the initial sip, but it doesn’t leave an aftertaste; only the smoke does. This gives us a slow-to-show richness and depth to the tea–meaty, even.

Alright, it’s a steak in a cup. Carnivores, full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/05/25/snooty-tea-review-teavivre/

Rumpus Parable

I just shared the D&D part with my Family and on my twitter/Facebook accounts. It may be the best tea review portion I’ve ever read. Funny, totally relatable, helpful for me. Geektastic description, thank you!

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Lapsangs have a predisposition to fishy odor. This one is true to form; in the bag, there’s definitely a pescetatious* smell. I’m a New Yorker with hard-earned Jew cred, which involved its fair share of lox and cream cheese. As a result, I can get into the mood for this tea, but if you don’t like fish, then this ain’t the brew for you. If you’re brave and try it anyway, you’ll be relieved to find that it loses most of that aroma once steeped, getting more into the coppery zone, and subsequent infusions rub it out altogether.

As far as taste goes, well, first impression is that even if the smell is muffled, we’re back to the fish. Really heavily smoked fish. Lapsangs take a certain finesse to prepare in such a way that the first infusion is pure smokey goodness without the salty friend, and this particular cup didn’t reach that ideal state. (Experienced lapsang and pu-erh drinkers, you have my envy and admiration.) But back to the tea: gotta say, it really sits in your mouth trying to convince you that it’s a piece of salmon. Want to talk about mouthfeel? Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/05/25/snooty-tea-review-teavivre/

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The smell in the bag is closer to a green tea, vegetal and seaweedy. Once in the cup though, that is some floral right there! It’s a burst of jasmine into your nose hole.

Dry tea is full of lies.

This tricky goddess was just pretending to resemble a green tea, but her charade ended as soon as the hot water hit. Another example of misleading liquors; the delicate, pale yellow color of this tea hides an abundance of flower power. Now we know how the goddess likes to be worshiped: her altar must be strung with pungent garlands and sweet-smelling candles. Luckily… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/05/25/snooty-tea-review-teavivre/

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The smell of the dry leaves brings to mind the deepest, darkest of woods, the kind you’d find in Redwall when Brian Jacques is really trying to send shivers up your spines. Once steeped, you get more of that sweet loam, but without the dustiness.

Steeping this tea in a large, transparent infuser will show you exactly why they’re called dragon pearls. Each one opens up like a dragon uncurling from its slumber, yawning and stretching and making the same creaky pterodactyl noises that you do in the morning. It;s got the sesame bronziness of most Chinese blacks, with a really sweet aftertaste. The longer it sits, the more profoundly sweet it gets. That’s the beauty of tea–it’s a transient experience. The flavor changes with every sip. This one’s immediate, fresh-poured taste was just a pregame… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/05/25/snooty-tea-review-teavivre/

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Tea blogger and pun-dit at the Snooty Tea Blog.

At the moment, I don’t have enough time to keep Steepster cup-dated with reviews, so if you’re looking for the latest leaves in my Snooty cup, hit up snooteablog.com. Most of the teas I review end up on there.

Some people drink tea because they think it has nine thousand-plus health benefits and saves the rainforest while eliminating world hunger and solving the energy crisis.

I just drink it because it’s good.


New York



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