1162 Tasting Notes


Sweet caramel-floral top notes underpinned by a supple, gentle umami along the lines of that understated seaweed-like vibe I find in some Taiwanese roasted oolong. Apricot finish and aftertaste which is in later bowls augmented by a minty-fresh throatiness. Well executed roast highlights the cream-turned-caramel notes of a roasted Jin Xuan. Can be a little drying at times (never to detriment), but the saliva-thickening character amplifies the caramel impression. Great bowl tea that handles boiling water with ease and has above average longevity when prepared in this manner. Soothing and just overall pleasant. Leaves are healthy and well cared for <3

Thank you for the freebie Mountain Stream :)

Flavors: Apricot, Caramel, Drying, Floral, Mint, Round, Seaweed, Smooth, Thick

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drank Black Tea by First Street
1162 tasting notes



Smart & Final selling some swill.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Drying, Malt, Metallic, Paper, Tannic


Short and to the point. :) I hope you didn’t get a lot of it.


A coworker shared it with me. He thinks it’s better than Lipton but still sucks.


I’m not sure I’d go so far as to give Lipton a 5 or less, though I haven’t had it for a while and may have forgotten how bad it is. Sounds like you need to share some better tea with your coworker! Maybe that Laos Orange Pekoe?


Lipton black isn’t that far down my WTFisTHIS list. Laos Orange Pekoe has left the cupboard so I’ll pick up a better box of black teabags for him.


I am excited that he requested a floral oolong for his first loose leaf tasting at my tea table.


That’s quite a change of pace from a malty black tea! What did he think of it? Maybe you can convert him into a more discerning tea drinker.


Hasn’t happened yet since we’re on different schedules but I’ll be sure to post when we have our tasting.

Martin Bednář

Ugh. Doesn’t sound good at all. Actually, it sounds truly bad. I try to imagine what kind of tea is it and how it was processed.


I’m pretty excited for that floral oolong tea tasting, though!

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drank Vanilla Bean by Mighty Leaf Tea
1162 tasting notes

Random tea bag I snagged from somebody somewhere. Had very early and in a rush. I don’t remember much.

Sweet, smooth taste with plenty of vanilla, whether from vanilla bean or flavoring, I don’t know. It was like a malty-cocoa-vanilla marshmallow that smoothed over the brighter taste of red fruits. The taste took me by delightful surprise but then I realized how thin the brew actually was. Mellow black tea to ease my way into a sleep-deprived morning.

Flavors: Artificial, Cocoa, Fruity, Malt, Marshmallow, Red Fruits, Round, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla

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Some of you may know that my tea preference skews heavily to unflavored, loose leaf teas. I only buy flavored teas as teabags for the convenience. But I am always open to trying anything that lands in my hands through the generosity of others <3

That said…

This is a dead ringer for apple cinnamon french toast. It’s really amazing how this company has nailed the aroma and flavor. It’s a little strong with the maple syrup flavoring and cinnamon but definitely not cloying. The apple shines bright as a warm skillet apples kind of flavor. There’s the slightly eggy and bready french toast taste. All of it is there and harmonious.

That said…

The base black tea is weak. Like Simpson & Vail’s Almond Sugar Cookie, the flavoring is really kind of mind-blowing but I want so much more from the base, some underlying complexity, some texture. I like nuance and mouthfeel. A lot. And flavored teas typically use cheap bases that produce thin, one-dimensional brews as the experience delivery vehicle.

Very much recommended for accurately capturing the namesake of the tea! Even for somebody like me who is pretty much turned off by maple syrup flavoring. When Kiki comes back from housesitting in several weeks, I’ll get her impression. Like me, she’s not a fan of maple flavor since it’s so cloying but I hope she is pleasantly surprised. Thank you for the sample, Cameron :)

Flavors: Apple, Biting, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cinnamon, Egg, Malt, Maple Syrup


Good observation—in lot of flavored teas, even the superbly flavored ones, the base isn’t much more than a delivery mechanism.

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My work father and his wife gifted me a canister of mamaki following one of their many trips to the islands. Mamaki is a plant in the the nettle family and is endemic to the Hawaiian islands. The large, brittle green leaves have a dense network of veins that create a dimpled surface; the undersides are white and turn completely green once steeped.

Should’ve written a note when I first opened this canister. It was mellow to begin with, like a cross between a GABA tea and an herbal. I remember it back then being fuller flavored, lotta yamminess and corny sweetness. Now, with some age and the last of the leaf tonight prepared in a bowl, it has less sweetness and more of a tangy-nutty squash-like character with some herbaceous-corn husk high notes. There is no bitterness at all, and it has some body, which is always a welcome surprise when it comes to herbal teas.

This leaf has endurance and can take the heat of multiple boiling water steeps. It is true what others say about mamaki, the longer you steep it, like 30+ minutes, the more flavorful it becomes.

This has been a really pleasant herb to have in my cupboard. I’m sad that it somehow got stashed at the back of the herbal tea shelf in the kitchen. I’ll have to ask my work father to bring some mamaki back on his next trip to the islands.

Flavors: Butternut Squash, Corn Husk, Herbaceous, Nutty, Smooth, Tangy


Your work father sounds like quite a guy! Mine (eh, make it “work big brother”) retired in July and we miss him deeply. And your steep time comment made me laugh - I do 30 minute steeps all the time, just not on purpose!

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A continuation of my drawn-out exploration of Mengsong area puer. A baggie provided by mrmopar at our South Bay meetup with Todd <3

The dry leaf, with flashes of silver among the dark, smells fruity and sweet with plums, dates and caramel, orange hard candies. The sweetness becomes even more pronounced and richer with warming, layering itself upon apricot, juicy orange, thistle, eggplant and forest floor. Rinsing brings what I think is a relatively more humid storage character compared to a lot of younger sheng that I drink: wet rocks, inoffensive compost, wet coffee grounds; dates, fish meat, a hint of musty valerian root. I find the humid aromas perplexing because I’ve had this baggie since 2018? – the year this tea was pressed – and my storage is mild.

The liquor color upon pour is a pale straw and honey color. The initial aroma is faint with musty and orange candy hints, dates.

Somewhat silky body with mild bitterness. I don’t taste much but I don’t consider that a bad thing. I think this tea is entering a period of change. With the swallow, a lingering date vapor morphs into a distinctive candied orange peel aftertaste with maybe a hint of milk. There’s also sort of an elderflower aspect. The tea dries the throat out a little bit.

Without fail each time, after the first steep, I become lost in sensation. I wrote notes like “I love the sound of this pot”, as I’d lean in close to hear the displacement of air within the clay; “Porosity” with pictures drawn of effervescent bubbles;—

qi slowing


—all spaced out in artistic fashion.

With the second pour, fast sips, gone in a flash. The bitterness blooms. I feel it under the tongue and down the throat. Grounded energy with a caffeine rushing in the chest, softened gaze, heavy. Enjoying running my hands through my hair.

The third pour brings a biting acidity in the throat which dries out completely, the salivary glands as well.

From the fourth on, the tea mellows out. I’ve had several sessions by now with this tea. Every note ends with the 5th infusion despite continuing to drink beyond that. I have yet to steep this tea out.

The candied orange peel aftertaste is a unique aspect to this tea. Right now, the high pungent tastes of young sheng are becoming muted, the mouthfeel nothing special but this young bush tea does effect my body and mind in a way that I find pleasurable. At its current stage I wouldn’t buy a cake but for some reason I could see it turning into a great aged tea.

Flavors: Apricot, Biting, Bitter, Candy, Caramel, Coffee, Compost, Dates, Drying, Elderflower, Flowers, Forest Floor, Honey, Meat, Milk, Musty, Orange, Orange Zest, Plum, Sweet, Tart, Vegetables, Wet Rocks, Wet Wood

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drank Jardin Sauvage by Lupicia
1162 tasting notes

I fell asleep, leaving a hot cup to cool on my nightstand overnight. The cold cup this morning had the impression of a sugary sweetness like that of dried fruit, which is in this blend, or maybe even an overripe melon, you know? All I could taste was mango – the same mango as Hi-Chew candies – and maybe a little bit of melon influence. The mineral quality of the green rooibos kept the flavor from being cloying. I echo the sentiment of a lot of Steepsters in that I think green rooibos is a great blending component.

I also made a hot cup for Kiki last night. Because I passed out, I was unable to get her real-time opinion. She said this morning that she really liked it because it was so fruity. “Very nice!”

Thank you Cameron B for this sample :) Will you be back this winter?

Flavors: Candy, Dried Fruit, Mango, Melon, Mineral, Sweet

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Liked the sample enough provided at the 2018 SF Tea Fest to buy a tin last year when I saw it at a local market. Finished off the 36th bag this morning after hitting this herbal tea hard for the past few months.

I really like the way the grapefruit flavoring and orange peel are tempered by the thistle latex milkiness. It’s a very gentle drink that suits early mornings as well as it does late nights. Delicious hot if you’re into this type of herbaceous profile. I’ll probably buy another tin.

Flavors: Grapefruit, Milky, Orange Zest, Thistle


This does sound nice. I like my citrus toned down with something sweet-ish or milk-ish.


You always comment favorably on the teas I’ve just sipped down. That makes sending you samples difficult ;P

Mastress Alita

I remember this one from the 2018 San Francisco International Tea Fest sampler baggy. I was surprised I liked it so much, because I don’t normally like grapefruit. It’s a good one!


Oh dang, that was 2018?! Edited appropriately. Glad somebody around here has a sharp memory! I feel like this tea could appeal to a lot of people because of the softened grapefruit note. Kiki, though, no way. She found it revolting and wouldn’t finish the cup. So, polarizing maybe?


I wasn’t hinting ;) just affirming your superb taste!

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Aroma-driven tea that speaks at the front of the mouth and has a bold wintergreen finish that I expect of #18 cultivar Assamica teas. Viscous with clean notes of honeyed bing cherry and leather, lacking the heaviness or prominent base notes of other black teas. The combination of the wintergreen aroma and the well-integrated briskness clears my mind and my sinuses. This lovely invigorator served many morning cups lately as I’ve been adjusting my being to a new schedule, a new job role and two evening classes. This one doesn’t have the more biting attitude I’ve experienced in other #18s; it has a pretty well balanced and rounded flavor profile.

I’m sure there’s much more complexity to this tea than I have to offer here, but I drank through it so fast that I never had a sit-down with it.

This is one type of tea that I’d always like to have around. I feel that the May 2020 harvest is a great example of both the smooth-tasting, fruity Taiwanese black tea character and the quirky wintergreen note of this cultivar.

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drank Moonlit Mesa by New Mexico Tea Company
1162 tasting notes

Heeey White Antlers, where are you? Thanks for this herbal tea!

Tastes like twilight in the high desert. Look to the stars and breathe in the sky. The unmistakable aroma of scrubby shrubs, dry grass, juniper, hard earth still retaining the heat of the day. Stray rosehips and lemongrass.

<3 fond <3

Excellent cold brew, almost syrupy. Very nice hot as well, a classic herbal tea taste and body.

Flavors: Dry Grass, Herbal, Lemongrass, Pine, Rosehips, Tangy


A dreamy review!

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If you’re an aspiring or current tea grower, let’s talk! I am slowly beginning a tea farm here in Northern California. Currently growing are young plants pulled from the ground and gifted to me after a visit to Fairhope Tea Plantation in Alabama. The parent plants are sinensis variety from a defunct Lipton research project. I’ve also started seeds from Camellia Forest Nursery in North Carolina. The types include Camellia taliensis, an assamica variety, and 3 sinensis varieties including “Small leaf” “Large leaf” and “Black Sea.” To learn how to process tea into different styles, I plan on traveling to China and Taiwan if/when COVID becomes a relative non-issue. I’m taking Mandarin classes to aid in this journey.

Tea became a hobby and my daily drink of choice some time late in the last decade. My introduction to loose leaf came, following a lone tin of some Tie Guan Yin oolong many years prior, 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 pu’er, 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? While I may not mention those effects in tea notes, it is what I value most. 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.

One thing I will always love is riding a bicycle.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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