365 Tasting Notes


Drank this yesterday after coming home from a tea tattoo(!!!)… I thought for a long time I was going to ink California sagebrush, and then a couple months ago I suddenly realized why I hadn’t quite settled into pulling the trigger. Because it was supposed to be tea. Duh.

Leaves and liquor smell of a Three Musketeers bar: sweet milk (not dark) chocolate and marshmallowy nougat. Wowza.

I admittedly came to this tea looking for deep cocoa and malt notes layered with vanilla, and that’s just not quite what this little one is. I initially brewed western with a resteep, then went directly for a heavy-handed gong fu session, thinking maybe I underleafed my western brew. But no — the base is just fairly light. There was also a persistent acidic/sour note that I had a hard time reconciling with the rest of the profile..

I am finding that very rich blacks work nicely in my morning routine, but this isn’t quite that… and that’s okay. It was more balanced with food; a garlicky Impossible burger broke up my session, and the steep following that was more rounded, with the sour note tempered. Might try this iced, too.

Flavors: Marshmallow, Milk Chocolate, Sour, Vanilla


I planted a California sagebrush in the front yard, right into some really shitty soil the city put in place after digging deep for sewer main replacement. The plant had a few years’ brush with death but has come back with delicate vigor this year. It thrives! And now I shall smile and think of you when I run my hand along the fluffy and fragrant new fronds forking from that wooden stem. A tattoo will make you think — My, what tea has brought to our lives!


Gaw, I bet that has been thrilling to watch it finally latch on and come to life. I love those plants so much — what a treat to have put one in your own yard. <3

I have a rosemary in the front yard that I had to plant right over an old root — it teetered for a year before it decided to stay with us. Watching it turn the corner… yesssssss.

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The younger of a couple Nannuo samples, as I try to get a feel for the region. The compression here is pretty tight, and it took a few steeps to open up. Once it did, I got the distinct feeling I had overleafed; I willy-nilly let an 8g chunk ride in a pot I normally brew with 6g. Not particularly sweet or fruity or floral; bitterness is very present but not unpleasant. Thick soup, robust and mouth coating with gentle huigan and just a touch of cooling on the return (no camphor flavors noted, however). I don’t feel I’m a very good judge of qi today.

A solid Sheng-with-a-capital-S profile that just kept steeping — I lost count. Not particularly striking in any one aspect, but a lovely session and a tea I’d happily drink again.

Flavors: Bitter, Juicy, Menthol, Smooth, Thick, Tobacco


One thing that really changed my puerh sessions was the recommendation from mrmopar to do a rinse and then leave the tea alone for ten minutes or so, letting it really absorb any remaining water and steam while it rests. Then really enjoy smelling under the lid and in the pot and let the leaves kind of tell you what they want and need. If it is super sharp, there might be too much leaf or they might need really short steeps at first. (Not saying the way you made your tea was wrong, far from it. Just sharing wisdom from a puerh aficionado!)

I am loving your tea journey. You are already surpassing my pu knowledge as you get to know the characteristics of each region. I have not put in that effort, but rather just taken such teas as come my way! You inspire me to do better with the tea mountains and regions!


Oh, and the aficionado is mrmopar, not me! Ha ha!


Thank you for the mopar wisdom! I have taken to a rinse and then a very long sit, but I like the added “conversation” with the leaves not only via water and taste but also via steam and smell.

I have amassed too too too many samples in my curious perusing and learning and rabbit-holing. Thats okay… tuition tea, as they say. They will keep me busy once I move to the mountain!

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Wow. What a revelation. Muscat complexity and depth like red wine. Steeped western while half asleep this morning; second steep didn’t slow down at all; wish I’d brought the leaves along to work for a third. Looking forward to bowling and sessioning this in a less-groggy state.

Coming back to add: 3rd steep about 24 hours later was cotton candy glorious.

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I would have guessed this was younger! The flavors are quite complex, rocketing from truffled banana bread on the nose, to sweet green herbs in the mouth, to an aftertaste of pear candy on the swallow. Tasted like cooling, felt like heat. Apparently this is just a lighter ferment, but I still would have expected 20+ years to infuse some more funk and darkness. The complexity is there, though — a total surprise on my Liu Bao journey. Looking forward to revisiting.

Flavors: Apple Candy, Banana, Bread, Fennel, Green, Herbaceous, Mushrooms, Pear

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This is the second time I’ve sessioned this tea — sending some off to a friend and wanted to touch base with it. I talked to PJ about old wood/resin/furniture notes, and this was his first recommendation. He described it as “wicker,” and I do concur with that assessment. It has a lighter, sweeter quality to it than the aged, heavy, lacquered temple wood/antique furniture I’m chasing, but it’s tasty nonetheless. It reminds me a bit of sweet tea, in the way the sugar tends to dominate and blanket over some of the more delicate nuances.

I am almost ashamed to admit it, but this reminds me of a hella cheap cake I threw into an Amazon cart when I needed to get over the minimum for next-day delivery a few months ago. It was super funky when it showed up, and I was mad at myself for doing that. I took a big chunk of it to work to air out and abuse — and I’ll be goddamned, that swill is better every time I drink it. It’s nigh on delightful right now.

I don’t know what the point is here. I probably wouldn’t repurchase James Brown at its price point, though it’s nice (like sugar and spice, da-na-na na-na na-na!). I probably would repurchase that stupid-cheap funkmaster wannabe, though.

Flavors: Spices, Sugarcane, Sweet, Wood

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drank Purple Mark by Yee On Tea
365 tasting notes

A trade get… unsure what vendor this is from, though the heavy heavy storage note makes me think Yee On. I also don’t know the year of my sample.

This tea sat beside me for nearly an entire day — I set up my session and started a book on the enneagram types. I took (succumbed to) about eight naps… pouring a steep when I’d wake up, eventually finishing my book and gong fu session. I didn’t realize quite how exhausted I was.

I think I’m a 4w5.

I was prepared for incredible nuance and intrigue with a shu/sheng blend, but this long-ass session fell short (hurr hurr) for me. It presented as a light (reddish) shu with dank basement notes. No cooling camphor or particularly interesting age to find. I really didn’t pick up any sheng pop or influence to speak of; I do wonder if a younger purple mark might not be more up my alley. I guess I’d be risking some wet pile aroma, but perhaps the sheng wouldn’t be fully consumed yet, as it seems here? Maybe… if that’s how this cake even works, who knows.

An enjoyable sample, which I’ll reach for when I’m craving a lighter ferment/heavier storage shu.


Regarding life and and Enneagram, if she ever graces us again, Steepster member White Antlers would be a valuable conversation partner.


Ahh, we have a student in our midst. Cool.

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Increased my ratio to 15:1 on this session, which is becoming my trend. There is so much happening in this tea. The boldest flavors are the gorgeous wintergreen/deep berries/tobacco of the tea, along with the alcohol/barrel notes imparted from the aging. But there are surprises to find — a flaky croissant on the lid, caramelized sugar at the bottom of the cup. Tannins and peeking wild florals keep the whole thing lively and without stodge. A meadow-plunked picnic in southern France.

Flavors: Amaretto, Black Currant, Caramelized Sugar, Cedar, Crisp, Elderberry, Jam, Oak, Pastries, Sarsaparilla, Tannin, Tobacco, Whiskey, Wildflowers, Wintergreen

10 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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