1025 Tasting Notes


I’m on day 4 of resetting my scalp after returning from the Gulf Coast a few weeks ago. Not that you need to know that but it crossed my mind when I opened this blank note.

This tea is medicine to my soul. It’s so easy and pleasant to drink. Tonight I taste goji and the soft scent of baby powder, mushroom and honey, sweet yeast and flowers., malt and wood. Thick, soothing and mild. A wonderful digestive. Does very well in the duanni clay pot.

Is it foolish to buy a full 3kg brick considering this is only the second fu zhuan tea I’ve had?

205 °F / 96 °C 9 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

Session again and compare. 3 KG is a lot.

Martin Bednář

3 kg? Whoa… It is a lot. For me even 100 grams are too much sometimes. Though, this tea somehow… sounds good when curing hangover and I guess it should be needed in my cupboard for this purpose.

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drank 2017 Hua Zhu Liang Zi by Yunnan Craft
1025 tasting notes

Lazy copypaste from puer of the day thread. A Meng Song area tea.

2017 Hua Zhu Liang Zi from Yunnan Craft, who describes the tea as having ‘aggressive ba qi.’

Right now, several steeps in and I feel so… heavy… that lumbering klutzy giant feeling, like I’ve not yet developed fine motor skills. This is a strong tea with lots of licorice root overtone to the leaf and liquor aroma. Easy to drink with barnyard taste, aftertaste that’s vaguely fruity-licorice root, throat feels bitey then full and slightly cool. The bitterness and astringency present at first as feelings in the body then transition to effects in the mouth. I like the tea, but the power tells me it’s best left to age.

Hit me like a brick. Too young to drink now.

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As part of my unhurried exploration of Meng Song area sheng puer, I’m having a Sunday afternoon sit-down with Essence of Tea’s 2014 Da Meng Long Gushu.

The dry leaf smells like fruit punch in the forest. Warmed leaf has a thick and rich date-caramel sweetness with faint wet smoke.

The tea is pouring golden orange with a brown tint.

At the lips, it’s rich with dates. There’s a bit of tang to the cup and early a quick bite in the throat. Bitterness is certainly there, structured, and passes at some point (who knows, I’m relaxed) after the swallow giving way to a strong returning sweetness. The aftertaste is drying and creamy, impression of cherimoya then apricot. After that fades, a metallic-astringent feeling/taste lingers; it’s pleasant, my tongue tingles far past the last sip. A comforting, expansive warmth in the throat and chest, a relaxing cool. Once the initial bitterness and astringency pass, the leaf needs to be brewed harder to elicit its hidden richness.

There is lingering depth of feeling to this tea. It rushes with a slow, smooth rumble and recedes like a warm wave break spreading across the sand, barely touching your toes before heading back out to sea. It courses and flows and grounds.

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Summer, eating peach pie while sitting on the ground. The peach is a little sharp in the aroma but it smooths out when I take a sip. The pastry-like flavor ties together the peach fruitiness with the earthier tone of matcha and gentle sweetness of green tea. There are recommendations on the package for brewing both hot and iced. I only had it hot, and it’s best before it cools completely.

If you like Celestial Seasonings’ Country Peach Passion, imagine it with a matcha green tea base.

Pretty good bagged tea.

Flavors: Earth, Grass, Pastries, Peach, Summer, Sweet

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

Ooh! I have been craving white peaches.

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drank Taiwan Li Shan Oolong Tea by What-Cha
1025 tasting notes

What a nice tea.

Despite being a year old and stored neglectfully in a (thick) plastic sandwich bag, this tea still has a fresh and focused (credit to Togo) character.

It’s very floral. After 4 or so years of picking apart tea aromas and flavors, I still have difficulty identifying floral notes that aren’t the typical tea ‘rose’. The floral note is intense yet gentle and sweet, not so perfumey. I want to ascribe to it daffodil, lily, magnolia, orange blossom, orchid, others… The florality rises high after the sip.

The taste is consistent throughout the steeps. It is crisp, like fresh spring rain. Sweet, creamy spinach (without being overly vegetal), sturdy young grass, sugarcane, yellow cherry, green apple, citrus, pine, nutmeg.

The texture is of thick, smooth spring water with a mineral, mouth-watering finish.

The only shifting quality of this tea is found in the aftertaste which moves from gentle creaminess and peach and grass to osmanthus then closer to that of the first cup with peach skin and tulip leaf. The tea is a little drying but that lets the creamy impression and rising florals linger.

I looked back at my old note for the June 2018 harvest and this June 2020 harvest fits my impression back then. This tea is a great pick for newer oolong drinkers and seasoned alike. It can’t be oversteeped and in fact, my favorite preparation method thus far is bowl brewing, same as what’s called grandpa style. I happen to like sipping out of a bowl better than a large cup as I find I can more easily get lost in the aroma with my face that much closer to the tea. The leaves of this tea also expand with great fervor; a bowl accommodates this unfurling easily!

As for seasoned drinkers, the tea offers a ton of complexity in flavor and aroma if you’re the type to go searching. If your the type to not focus on such, it offers a smooth, consistent delivery in flavor, strength of character, structural balance.

Oh – this tea handles water off the boil beautifully. It needs the heat to bring out the deep sweetness that balances the florality.

Flavors: Cherry, Citrus, Cookie, Cream, Creamy, Drying, Floral, Flowers, Grass, Green Apple, Jasmine, Mineral, Narcissus, Nutmeg, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Osmanthus, Peach, Pine, Plants, Smooth, Spinach, Spring Water, Sugarcane, Sweet, Vegetal

205 °F / 96 °C

I did one session with this tea before my flood of spring 2021 oolongs arrived and I felt about the same, though my ability to detect flavours was less refined. Those floral and peachy notes are what I look for in green oolongs! Thanks for reminding me to finish this up, and sorry about the sandwich bags. I should really find aluminum pouches for my swaps.


I haven’t really explored teas from Li Shan since Shan Lin Xi swooped me up early on. Do you have a preference? And, haha, I don’t care about the bag at all! I have plenty of jars that can hold 50g of leaf. My laziness knows no bounds!


I’m no saint with swap packaging myself ;P


I also fell in love with Shan Lin Xi oolongs early and prefer them to Li Shans because they often provide similar flavours for less of an investment. From my limited experience, Li Shans offer more complex floral aromas and very similar stonefruit notes, while Shan Lin Xis have sappy and herbaceous notes I rarely find higher up the mountain. Li Shans also tend to be a little smoother and more refined, though it depends on the tea. I’ve had fantastic teas from Shan Lin Xi, Li Shan, Da Yu Ling, and even Alishan, as well as mediocre ones from all these regions, so it’s really a gamble whatever you buy. That’s why for me, SLX is the best bet in the oolong lottery.


“Can’t be oversteeped.” Automatic win.


I remember this was really good when I tried it a few years ago. It’s always sold out on What-Cha whenever I check.

And I feel you about identifying flavors in gaoshan. By and large, Taiwanese oolongs have the same basic taste with a few subtle but profound variations that are tricky to pinpoint.


LuckyMe, I agree that the flavours in gaoshan can be hard to identify and describe. Sometimes I feel like I’m writing the same tasting note for all of them. :)

Daylon R Thomas

Dido. I can use the words green, floral, viscous, orchid, and orange blossom over and over again. What-Cha’s Lishan was always my favorite because it’s one of the most reliable teas I’ve had for the price. I was going to get the 2021 one season when it comes out if it is alright. And I second Leafhopper, derk. Shanlinxi won me early on, but I went through a phase where SLX were too grassy and vegetal for me preferring the more delicate florals of the Lishan. I was personally not to crazy about the 2019 Lishans as I was with earlier seasons. I’ve tried a lot of gaoshan from different companies, but some of the companies wouldn’t last long enough for me to return to them, like Teaful for example. I always go back to what-Cha because one, Alistair is awesome, and two, you know what you’re getting, and if there are any changes to the season, Alistair and co usually write about it or let you know.

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A mystery oolong pick from a joint buy with Leafhopper, May 2020 harvest.

Aroma in bag is fruity with dried cherries and has the Si Ji Chun cultivar-specific florality which I can’t describe. Dry in hand smells roasted. Warm brings chicory coffee, molasses and brown toast and the rinse displays a sour roast note with woodiness.

The aroma is of roasted pears, dried peaches, chicory and cinnamon. Happy and comforting. The taste is weak at first but does build. It starts slightly nutty and mineral with a background roast and floral character. Clean tulip and little bit sweet aftertaste. Next cups begin with a mellow burst of woody spice which transitions smoothly to an impression of a damp, overcast fall day — autumn leaf, muted petrichor, pine resin, a whisper of smoke, unripened peach still clinging to the branch, twiggy sweetness, all rather subtle. A touch of camphor lingers, like taking a cold breath. Later steeps are nutty sweet maybe with a bit of honey, roastier.

This tea could be perceived as flavorless; I’d say it has subtle depth. Even with a rinse, it does need a long first steep in a gaiwan, maybe 45 seconds, back off a little bit with the next and increase from there. I like the character of this tea. It’s comforting like a Chinese Wuyi shui xian oolong but much more unassuming, giving a clue to its Taiwanese origin.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Brown Toast, Camphor, Cherry, Cinnamon, Coffee, Dried Fruit, Floral, Flowers, Honey, Mineral, Molasses, Nuts, Peach, Pear, Petrichor, Pine, Plant Stems, Resin, Roasted, Smoke, Spicy, Sweet, Wood


I’m glad you once again got more from this tea than I did. Maybe the longer steeps were the secret, though I think it’s more probable that I don’t enjoy most roasted teas.

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First sit-down with tea in a while, in the comfort of my tea cave. Happy to be home? It’s nice to be back with Kiki, my old girl and tea but I have a lot on my mind. Travel does that. Seeing backroad towns, exploring the terrain and new environments, meeting locals, learning different ways of life.

I bought a new bowl for tea at the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens outside Gainesville, FL. This tea, a spring 2020 harvest, is wonderful prepared in this manner. It’s not a complex green and I think Teavivre captures the character in their description. The tea is soft and sweet spring water and fresh and tender garden-grown green beans with a drop of sugarcane and a sprinkle of tarragon. It finishes with enough briskness to balance the upfront sweetness. There isn’t much aftertaste; the tea is clean and cleansing with a mouth-watering granite- and quartzlike minerality. Warming and sweating eventually cools the body.

The third bowl does tear up my mouth a little with what seems to be enzymes and creates some discomfort in an empty stomach, but I do overall enjoy this clean and sweet green tea.

Flavors: Beany, Floral, Flowers, Green Beans, Herbs, Kettle Corn, Mineral, Smooth, Spring Water, Sugarcane, Sweet, Tart, Thick

185 °F / 85 °C 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

The first tea back at home is always delicious.

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It’s called Atlanta Tea but I actually had this at a diner in Pensacola as an accompaniment to a breakfast they called a New Orleans Napoleon. While a black tea does go great with a hollandaise-sauced puff pastry, egg and andouille dish (topped with a hearty helping of DaT sauce), if I had had my pick, I would’ve gone for something different. Anything else. Except maybe Lipton. I was served a standard 10oz mug of hot water and a pot of hot on the side but the tea flavor was so weak I didn’t consider topping up. Needs two bags for a mug. At least it didn’t taste like the paper teabag!

Side note: if you ever get a beignet, do yourself a favor and squeeze a lemon wedge over it!

Mastress Alita

Last time I went to breakfast and was served a Lipton teabag with my cup-of-hot-water-with-another-on-the-side, I dropped my lemon wedge into the teacup, just to have some flavor.


Haha, I’m a dummy. The plate of lemon wedges served with the tea didn’t cross my mind. The waitress was like, “Have y’all ever tried lemon on a beignet before?” Not a minute later, all the lemon wedges had been sacrificed for hot pillows of heaven with a lemony glaze.


Oh, mercy, that sounds good!

Lexie Aleah

I’ve always wanted to try s beignet! That’s good to know about the lemon.

Martin Bednář

Bad tea, good snack!

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drank Refresh Mint by Tazo
1025 tasting notes

Another great companion for a hot and humid southern road trip. I ambient-brewed a few bags in my 20oz thermos overnight and was greeted at dawn with the refreshing, sweet taste of a mixed mint and tarragon tea. The spearmint seems to come through more this way than when brewed hot, taming the usually bracing peppermint.

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drank Awake English Breakfast by Tazo
1025 tasting notes
I’ve always known Awake to make a solid hot cup of Kick-in-the-Pants.

Awake saved my butt on the Great Southern Road Trip. Roadside motels don’t offer tea so I kept a gallon of ambient-brew in the backseat ice chest. Bless you, Awake. You made a great cold companion from Miami to the Everglades to Gainesville and all the beautiful places in between. Fresh, strong flavor with depth.


Ah, hope the trip went well.


Thank you! Gotta say, I’ve never had a bad road trip. Sometimes difficult but always a learning experience.


This one’s a pantry staple for me—no-fuss, no-fail.


YES I love your “never a bad road trip” attitude, derk. :D

Martin Bednář

That roud trip sounds wonderful. And there is nothing like a “bad road trip”; just things which go unexpectly, but sometimes it is better than having exact plans!

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Always open to gifting or swapping teas. I do send international when feasible. Please follow and send a message if you see a tea in my notes or cupboard that piques your interest.

Tea became a hobby and my daily drink of choice some time late in the last decade. My introduction to loose leaf came in the form of dumpster-dived Wuyi oolong packets that somebody left upon moving out of an apartment building. From there, my palate expanded to teas from across China and the world. I used to focus more on taste and still harbor the habit, but after trying sheng puer, I tend to focus more on how a tea feels in my body. Does it complement my constitution? Does it change my mood or does it enhance my current mindstate? Flavored teas are not a favorite but I do drink them intermittently.

In terms of who I am, you could consider me a jill of all trades. Specialty is not my strength, as can be seen in the spread of my tea notes. I might have attention issues. One thing I will always love is riding a bicycle.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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