314 Tasting Notes

drank Pseudoginseng Pu-Erh by Ten Ren
314 tasting notes

Super earthy and “rooty”—like fresh from the ground roots! I feel like I can taste the topsoil in this! Rich, loamy, fertile topsoil.

Woodsy, earthy, bitter (in a good way), herbaceous-tasting tea.

I think this is a pretty good pu-erh blend—if pu-erh is what you’re craving, this will do in a pinch!

190 °F / 87 °C 8 min or more

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Good, “standard” genmaicha taste. Satisfyingly toasty. There’s a hint of salt (like soy sauce) in the taste. Not bitter even when steeped (and re-steeped) several times. I emptied out two tea bags in my 12.85 travel tea mug. Surprisingly flavorful, for a tea bag!

190 °F / 87 °C 8 min or more

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A surprisingly mild and mellow tea (somehow I was expecting something more “vigorous”?). Very soothing, though.

The flavor is a bit fruity (like grapes). Woodsy with a hint of dampened earth and sea salt.

I can smell a maltiness—but I can’t taste it, for some reason.


This particular tasting is okay—I’m soothed but not very wow’ed. It’s just too mild—meek even. Not much “heft” or body. Thin.

Next time I will use more leaf. I used 1 teaspoon to 12.85 ounces.

Boiling 5 min, 15 sec

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I’ve had my sample packet for close to a year and a half now…so I guess it’s sort of “aged” in a way. I love the description for this—“sweet and biscuity”!!

The scent reminds me of sandalwood. Sweet, woodsy and bit resinous. The taste is very smooth almost “sugary”. A bit biscuity too. A hint of smoke adds depth.

Very delicious.

R.I.P. SpecialTeas! Thanks for offering such a superb Keemun! Now I know that I should keep an eye out for Hao-Ya A’s. It is very good stuff. :)

Boiling 5 min, 30 sec


Thanks for your post. Interesting description. Wondered if I could even find anything on this. Package says to steep 2-3 minutes and I steeped for 3 but it was a little strong but had lots of flavor. Steeped a second time and it was perfect so feel there was enough flavor that I will try my first third steeping ever tomorrow and see what happens.


Almost forgot. Whenever my daughter and I have anything from Special Teas, we usually say something like “poor special teas” or, when we have the last of a package, if we are sharing a cup with anyone, we can’t help but say “We won’t be able to get that one again.” It was a great company. Upton is good but it is not Special Teas.

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So on my second mug of this (using fresh new leaf—not a resteep), I used slightly less tea, lower temp and longer steeping time. Aroma of freshly baked pie crust! Taste is much sweeter and feels somehow “lighter”. Hints of caramel and molasses—with a dash of pepper. Less of that yummy malt, but still very pleasant and absolutely delicious!

195 °F / 90 °C 7 min, 45 sec

I have a sample of this I need to make!


That sounds delicious. It seems like Harney & Sons teas have been tempting me lately. Might need to make an order. Hmm.


Yep! I’m rediscovering Harney & Sons. They really do make some wonderful blends.

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Mostly, I detect the slightly sweet almost sandalwood-like flavor of good Keemun. Then a rich, malty, breadiness. There is a bit of peppery smoke rounding it all out. Super smooth yet substantial. It has a wonderful, satisfying flavor and “chewiness”.

I wish I knew exactly which types of tea are in this mixture (it says “a blend of three Chinese teas”)—there has to be Keemun, I’m sure of it. The breadiness must be Dian Hong (Yunnan). Then the smooth/smokiness of…..Lapsang? (no—not that, there’s no “campfire” notes)

I would swear there was Assam in this—with all its hearty, bready, malt. But, since Assam is Indian, what is the Chinese equivalent?

A yummy mystery, this tea is. :)

Overall, Queen Catherine is a beautiful, enigmatic blend!

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

I read somewhere that this is a blend of Keemun, Yunnan, and their Panyang Congou.


Mystery solved! :) Thank you!! I need to sample some Panyang Congou now.


And upon learning that (since I do adore Panyang Congou), my Harney & Sons order has inched closer.


Haven’t met a Panyang Congou I don’t like.

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drank Dan Cong by thepuriTea
314 tasting notes

Woodsy…with slight bake-y hints of bittersweet cocoa powder. And a smidgen of apricot jam. Overlaid with a mild fruity scent.

This is pretty on par with thepuriTeas description. Although I don’t think I am detecting all of the nuances. The flavors I do detect are super subtle in themselves.

I like this well enough. But, overall, it may be just a tad too woodsy for me—it’s kind of bordering on dry bark.

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 30 sec

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I’m afraid that I don’t love this. :(

It seemed like such a sure thing because I love genmaicha and I love marshmallows. (Plus I was hoping I would love this as much as the famous Malted Genmaicha!)

But I don’t taste yummy fluffy sugary marshmallows—I taste fruity pop rocks! Tossed in with some astringent green tea and toasty rice. I like the toasty rice—but the fruitiness is a bit overwhelming. I know that vanilla can sometimes manifest as “fruity” in perfumes—I’m wondering if it’s the same with flavors?

But anyways, I’m sad to say that this is not a fave. At least it is not what I hoped.

Next time, I’ll try brewing this with less leaf and see what I get.

190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec

Sorry this one didn’t turn out to be a success. :(

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drank Milk Oolong by thepuriTea
314 tasting notes

I must profess my love once again for this heavenly tea. Delicious, creamy smooth, buttery, comforting goodness!!

I just keep on topping off the leaves in my travel tea mug with the hot spigot water at work (I’m on my third mugful). And the flavor, while slowly fading, is still exceptional. I can drink this all day, everyday.

I think this is the tea that I must have with me if stranded on a deserted island.

…speaking of which, I must get more, my stash is dangerously low.

190 °F / 87 °C 8 min or more

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drank Pomegranate Honeybush by 52teas
314 tasting notes

Yay pomegranate! Pleasantly tart and fruity. Delicious as a warm, soothing infusion like this. I’m very pleased with the flavor. Very uplifting and refreshing—even when hot.

Boiling 8 min or more

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Virgo Sun, Pisces Moon, Aries Rising

My ratings are purely subjective and each note varies according to my perception and mood at the moment. So, with that said, my rating scale can be deciphered as follows:
90-100: I am in love! A must have at all times! :D
80-89: This is good. It is full-tin worthy! :))
79-70: This is okay. Glad I tried it. Might get more. :)
69-60: Meh. I’m indifferent. Neither here nor there, this is Tea Purgatory. :/
59-under: Mediocre and Sad. Really not good enough to try again. A disappointment. :(

My Misc. Personal Favorites List (because I love making lists!):
Books = The Mind Parasites by Colin Wilson, The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, Beauty by Sherri S. Tepper, The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher, Personal Darkness by Tanith Lee.
Movies = E.T., The Princess Bride, Babette’s Feast, Enchanted April, The Age of Innocence, Death Becomes Her, GATTACA, Fight Club, The Matrix, The Others, Pride and Prejudice (2005 version), Nacho Libre :).
TV Shows = The Twilight Zone (a classic!), Star Trek TNG, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I miss this!), Mad Men, Sherlock, Being Human.
Music? = I find myself perennially stuck in an 80’s-90’s New Wave & Alternative time warp. ;)
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