1162 Tasting Notes


Another freebie sachet and WOOF, that’s hibiscus. It smells like raspberry jello and tastes like… I’m thinking those gummy red raspberries with little balls on them but supremely tart. If I hadn’t known there was passionfruit flavoring here, I’d never guess. There is kind of a tropical undertone to this whole red deal, though. The raspberry gummy candy makes me feel this is a European profile through and through.

It’s not bad, it’s just hibiscus – in other words, something I wouldn’t pay for but I’m happy to drink it.

Flavors: Candy, Hibiscus, Raspberry, Tart, Tropical


I love those gummy raspberries.


I’ll remember to send any your way should they ever unfortunately end up in my hands.

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Ketlee is providing all kinds of firsts in my tea journey. Here is a winter Darjeeling white tea produced probably a year and a half ago.

The dry leaf in the bag smells spicy and earthy-musky, a mix of rosewood and green chillie/leaf. I cup the leaf in my hand and it smells like fresh wheat, dried yellow peonies, and I can see where Ketlee gets vanilla wafer. The brewed aroma is a mix of cocoa and white chocolate, vanilla cream and dry grass with a bright apricot-citrus tone.

This tea is very difficult for me to describe. The flavors are round enough that it calls to mind white wine, specifically a light-oaked chardonnay but with this awesome cocoa undertone. The body, too, adds to the impression of chardonnay, thick with a gentle acidity and dryness. Along with the cocoa undertone, I think I taste white chocolate, hay, gooseberry, toast and butter along with Ketlee’s mentioned notes of lime, mango and olive. The dry aftertaste is light and lingering with something like sweet mango-cream-white chocolate-cocoa. There’s a bit of a cooling-spicy feel that also lingers with a lemon zest feel on the sides of the tongue. A second steep is sharper and the acidic fruity notes come to the fore, very lime- and pineapple-like.

I wasn’t expecting much since Darjeeling teas don’t seem to age well but wow is this something unique. I do wonder how it was fresh and also how it will age but I won’t be able to keep this around long enough to find out. What a treat!

I would like to know which estate this comes from.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Butter, Citrus, Cocoa, Cream, Dry Grass, Drying, Earth, Flowers, Green Pepper, Hay, Lemon Zest, Lime, Mango, Melon, Mint, Olives, Pineapple, Rose, Round, Smooth, Spicy, Tart, Thick, Toast, Vanilla, Wheat, White Chocolate, White Wine, Wood

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

Your flavor notes are VERY similar to the description notes for this tea, if you didn’t notice!


I did! It seems like our palates match pretty well.


I have a bag of that tea that I’ve yet to try. I loved and got similar notes from his 2019 winter Nilgiri oolong but the 2020 is kinda meh.


I hope to see your impression of this tea!

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drank 2021 Winter Frost Green by Ketlee.in
1162 tasting notes

Well this morning was a little exciting. A vinegar and calcium scale volcano erupted from my kettle and all over the floor. But I have a clean kettle now! The roar of bringing the water up to boiling has now softened to a purr and there is no longer flaky scale swimming in the ring of water that never seems to drain from the bottom.

I think this tea might’ve be my first taste of green tea from the high elevations of the Nilgiris mountains. I’m not too familiar with the flavor profiles or temperaments of teas from this southern Indian region. It was time to step out of my Chinese green tea comfort zone.

The dry leaf smells like a mix of pastries, a green vegetal tone and creamy white lilies. The brewed aroma is full, sweet, floral-vegetal and subtle. The taste is immensely clean and soft with notes of sweet cucumber flesh and raw sweet cabbage without the sulfuric bite as well as soft white lily. Those flavors are cradled by a full, creamy mouthfeel that swallow juicy. The light astringency at the end and a mild lingering cool leave my palate feeling completely cleansed. There’s no aftertaste, or, rather, it’s almost a little salty.

The second steep sharpens and a mango note comes out in the finish. A well-integrated mild bitterness also shows in the second infusion and if allowed to oversteep, it does become noticeably bitter and numbing. I’ve let the first infusion go for upwards of 6 minutes yet that did not produce any of the bitterness and was a smooth cup.

Overall, it’s been a pleasant tea to work my way through. It seems that maybe Nilgiri teas in general don’t produce much of an aftertaste. They have all been great palate cleansers and very nice afternoon teas.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Cabbage, Cream, Creamy, Cucumber, Escarole, Floral, Jasmine, Juicy, Lily, Mango, Mineral, Mint, Nutmeg, Pastries, Salty, Smooth, Sweet, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

WHITE VINEGAR!!!! Thank you! For two days now, I have been trying to remember something I forgot to put on my Dollar Tree shopping list. Just check me into the nearest memory care ward.


Someone should check us both in because the white vinegar for cleaning the kettle was on my Costco list for 3 weeks.

Mastress Alita

I used up the last of my white vinegar descaling my kettle about a week ago. Thankfully I emembered to put it back on my list, but I swear every time I need it, that it is hidden in a different place in my grocery store.

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drank Pomme d'Amour by Dammann Freres
1162 tasting notes

Freebie sachet from my order. Should’ve saved this for my upcoming road trip when I’m going to need bagged tea but the weather this week has had me in the mood for fall flavors.

The aroma is lovely – a mix of what seems like baked apples with dark caramel or maybe brittle? There’s also a maraschino cherry vibe but it underpins the rest of the aroma rather then standing alone.

Unfortunately, the aroma doesn’t translate too strongly to taste. The base black tea seems like a mix of Ceylon and maybe a Yunnan black. It has that trademark to me thick and glassy mouthfeel of many DF teas. The taste is clean, woody and mineral with tones of banana and yam. I enjoyed the second steep more than the first but I’m not sure why.

Too bad there’s such a discrepancy between nose and tongue. It did make me happy, however, and fit well the cooler weather we’ve been having. The fog blows in in the evening and blows out in the morning, leaving a mist in the air and some much needed moisture. Summer has barely started and I’m already longing for autumn.

Flavors: Banana, Candied Apple, Caramel, Cherry, Mineral, Stewed Fruits, Thick, Toffee, Wood, Yams

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Shou puer has always been a difficult tea for me to describe. How do I make it sound enticing?

Stale walnut bread soaked in the smoothest, silkiest mossy-mineral-meaty-mushroomy-chocolatey-earthy fondue you’ve ever tasted?

Heck, I dunno.

May the shou aid in digestion. Thank you, White Antlers.

Flavors: Bread, Chocolate, Loam, Meat, Mint, Mushrooms, Round, Smooth, Sweet, Warm Grass, Walnut, Wet Earth, Wet Moss, Wet Rocks, Wet Wood

Mastress Alita

Or you can take my sophisticated approach and just say, “It tastes like dirt.” :-)


Sounds good to me!

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drank 2019 Fo Shou 佛手 by Old Ways Tea
1162 tasting notes

Finally in the mood for yancha after the recent heatwave passed.

Bright (citrusy? stonefruity?) with mellow caramel-hazelnut-mineral taste. I found it difficult to balance some sourness, either from the roast or related to the citrusy taste. Rising floral on the swallow followed by a creeping, low-lying pithy bitterness. Dry aftertaste with guava and peach skin. Camphor sensation in chest.

Can’t say I’m fond of this one — it might be too green for me, disjointed, the bitterness is weird. It does have good longevity.

Flavors: Bitter, Camphor, Cannabis, Caramel, Chocolate, Citrusy, Drying, Floral, Guava, Hazelnut, Herbs, Milk, Mineral, Peach, Pear, Pecan, Sour, Stonefruit, Sweet, Wet Rocks, Wood

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Haha, there’s a reason why I don’t normally participate in Black Friday in any form. I’m not blaming you for anything, Leafhopper!

Oily, full and sweet-savory-tangy-floral. Complex tastes, most notably with cooked blackberries, pumpkin, wheaty malt and a leather-orange tone. Rising, beautiful spiced-peachy-rose and honeyed yeast roll aftertaste. I do prefer this tea western as opposed to gongfu, steeped at about 4 minutes for first infusion and howeverlong for the second infusion.

I will be happy when this tea is sipped down. What I have is a March 2020 harvest and I find it inferior to the beloved March 2019. The taste and aftertaste are great. The wet leaf, though, has this very pungent herbed tomato-carrot sauce character that bleeds into the aroma of the cup.

Flavors: Allspice, Blackberry, Bread, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Cherry, Dried Fruit, Elderberry, Eucalyptus, Floral, Forest Floor, Herbs, Honey, Leather, Malt, Orange, Osmanthus, Peach, Prune, Raisins, Raspberry, Rose, Savory, Spices, Spring Water, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Tangy, Vegetables, Wheat, Wood


Sorry for the Black Friday extravaganza! I also found the March 2019 harvest of this tea to be better. The March 2020 had a hint of weird fake sweetness and a tomato vibe, as you say. However, this is still one of the better Taiwanese Assams I’ve tried.


No sorry, I just had to poke fun at the stupid amount of tea I have. I know you’re in the same boat ;P


LOL, I don’t think I’m in the same boat; I’m in a bigger one! My stash is kind of ridiculous at this point. I’m basically not going to get any spring 2021 black or white tea because I have so much to get through.


Bigger (tea)boat? I have cakes of puer! May you be blessed with self control and good tasting tea in your journey along the Sipdown River :)


Haha, at least puerh is meant to be aged! Green oolongs, not so much. Wishing you luck on the Sipdown River as well.

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drank Indian Nimbu by Harney & Sons
1162 tasting notes

Accidental 5-minute steep gave a robust cup, dark, full-bodied and woody-brisk with a very muted muscatel undertone. I feel a little crazy that I’m the only one that seems to have picked up on any muscatel. Some very smooth and gentle malt softens the tingly astringency and tannic edge.

I really enjoy the level of flavoring here. It is not overwhelming. The grapefruit reminds me of Harney’s Paris and Tower of London. The caramel lends to the perception of a touch of dark sweetness. The combination of those two aromas leaves a nose that offers something a little different from the familiarity of Harney’s popular bergamot-flavored black teas. I enjoyed Indian Nimbu even with over-steeping. Kiki, on the other hand, had not a word to say about this tea, even with a properly brewed cup. Thank you for sharing a sample, Cameron B. :)

Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Caramel, Citrus Zest, Dark Wood, Grapefruit, Malt, Muscatel, Oak, Tannic


Mmmm…I haven’t had his one in years, but it was a favorite early on in my tea life.

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drank 2015 Little Walk by white2tea
1162 tasting notes

How cute is that wrapper, and when paired with a name like Little Walk?

My cousin got married this past weekend, so a lot of the family was in town. My oldest younger sister and I were pretty much glued to each other for her few days out here. I spent the first five years of her life growing up with her; the bond is undeniably there but due to various reasons, we hadn’t really talked to each other in our adult lives until the wedding.

Way to make my heart swell, white2tea. This makes me feel so happy to have experienced those formative years with my sister and to have reconnected with her so many years later.

The tea — the artwork pairs so well with what this tea is — simple and pure. At first the taste is very sweet yellow beany and feels very cool in the mouth. Strong, sweet milky-vegetal aftertaste. Some flowery bitterness moves in and also some green woody-mineral astringency, enough to let you know what sheng pu’er is about. There’s a kind of bright apricot tone that uplifts the sweet beaniness. About 4 infusions in, I got bored but kept pressing to see how it would go. Turns out his tea does have some longevity.

If Little Walk were still available, it would be my #1 recommendation for those new to sheng pu’er. It hits on everything I’d expect to find in sheng without either getting smacked in the face or left searching for something — cleanliness, sweetness, bitterness, astringency, structured mouthfeel, cooling huigan, an aftertaste strong enough to easily notice.

Thank you White Antlers, and a special thank you to mrmopar, too, since I know well the unique handwriting on the label ;)

Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Astringent, Beany, Bitter, Caramel, Citrus, Flowers, Green Wood, Lemon, Milk, Mineral, Mushrooms, Pine, Stewed Fruits, Straw, Sugarcane, Sweet, Vegetal


I hope White Antlers is doing ok!


I’m so glad you had some good family time!

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Dry, this smells a lot like the other teas I received from White Antlers — kind of perfumey and like buffalo grass. It’s pretty brown leaf though and as Life in Teacup states, had been subjected to 7 years of dry Guangzhou storage. I can definitely smell the storage in the warmed and rinsed leaf with lots of traditional Chinese medicine character.

The brew tastes a lot like mushroom broth and smoky leather. Nuances of cognac fruitiness, sweet mushroom, walnut bread, wet rocks, eucalyptus and camphor, old flowers, spicy wood. It’s oily but a little flat feeling. Mild bitterness and an astringent undercurrent. Date-like returning sweetness only last for the first several infusions. Handles absent-minded infusions well. Very long-lasting stimulation.

For the price of 20c/g, this is a fair gem of an aging tea and an easy drinker with no heavy wet storage character. However, if you’re picky, there is a sour, lemony aftertaste that might deter. I’d personally like to try this with another 3-5 years of that same Guangzhou storage it had from 2008 to 2015.

Thank you White Antlers for sharing, and I do hope you come back soon!

Flavors: Brandy, Bread, Broth, Buffalo Grass, Camphor, Dark Chocolate, Dates, Eucalyptus, Fig, Flowers, Grain, Honeysuckle, Leather, Lemon, Medicinal, Mushrooms, Pleasantly Sour, Red Fruits, Savory, Smoked, Spicy, Walnut, Wet Rocks, Wood


That’s a good price for old tree Mengsong with some age. Sometimes the sour lemony aftertaste is a sign that it’s in transition and about to show more aged character. Sometimes (if it tastes like lactic acid like a Belgian sour red ale) that it’s gotten too dry and would benefit from a few months of humidification. I had one tea, the 2006 xigui from clt that was undrinkably sour and I broke it up and put in a jar with a boveda and 2 months later it was amazing.

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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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