1217 Tasting Notes

Western is smoother but doesn’t carry the intensity of flavor. Prepared with lower ratio than my usual 3g:300mL, it makes a light, fruity-honey-sweet cup with smooth spice.

Last cup of the bag was the first time I looked at the spent leaf. It is stunning!

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drank Banana Fudge by Arthur Dove Tea Co.
1217 tasting notes

March 2022 Sipdown Challenge – A tea flavored like your favorite pancake/waffle topping

Where I used to live in the city, there was a diner across the street called Moulin Rouge, which served American breakfast food and was run since its opening in the 1970s by a now-elderly Korean couple. They had these banana walnut pancakes that turned my disgust for raw banana into an appreciation for cooked. The pancakes were springy and chewy with loads of whole walnuts and thick-sliced banana that caramelized on the griddle.

Anyway, bananas are my favorite pancake mix-in, not a topping. Close enough!

Good medium-bodied Ceylon tea that brews a rich, dark brown in the mug. The flavors are not in my face which I appreciate. Light, fruity banana mixes with the grounding and bright black tea really well, which tastes mostly of ‘tea’ and a little coppery. The fudge is like a hidden accomplice, bridging the banana to tea with a light, fudgy sweetness. Toffee surprise in the finish, whether from the leaf itself or the flavoring, who knows. I’m pretty into this one :)

Only halfway down the mug and I’m wired! Thanks, Kawaii, for helping bring back a good memory.

Flavors: Astringent, Banana, Chocolate, Fruity, Metallic, Smooth, Tea, Toffee

200 °F / 93 °C 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Duck Rice Genmaicha by Harney & Sons
1217 tasting notes

March 2022 Sipdown Challenge – A green tea

Good start to a chilly and wet March morning.

Made two ways, in a mug and in a black Taiwan-made clay pot.

In the mug, it tastes like what I want from genmaicha. Good balance of moderately vegetal-grass seed green tea and popped rice, some astringency to clear the palate while eating.

First steep in the clay pot, the tea is really silky and smooth with a juicy swallow. Light mineral-grass seed flavor underneath that comforting toasted rice. Buttery sencha taste briefly appears in the aftertaste. Second steep, the astringency comes though lightly. Fruity finish almost like kiwi-banana. Then comes the lemony-sour aftertaste and with it a drying mouthfeel. I feel some pine cooling and warm spice in my chest. Third steep with boiling water — not so good. Reminds me of the essence of that numbing gel on a q-tip the dentist uses before injecting novocaine. But my chest feels instantly spiced and warm. That makes the third steep worth it to me.

Thanks for sharing, Kawaii!

Flavors: Astringent, Banana, Butter, Caramelized Sugar, Drying, Grass Seed, Juicy, Kiwi, Lemon, Mineral, Pine, Silky, Smooth, Spicy, Tangy, Toasted Rice, Toasty, Vegetal

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April 27, 2021 harvest.

Difficult to describe… Complex and rich fruit and spice flavors that dance off the palate, aroma lingers in the throat. Deep but not thick turbinado sugar type of sweetness that is lightened and balanced playfuly by the tannins, mild astringency and bitterness of a malty black tea. Strong citrus and floral presences are difficult to isolate because they’re so well integrated, peaking in and out of the mid- to high ranges. It’s not like perfume at all to me.

First steep takes boiling water and long steep beautifully; second steep takes some attention to time to mitigate the tingling bark-like medicinal bitters which can make a third infusion worthwhile if you’re into that kind of feeling-taste.

This tea, when prepared with TDJ’s parameters, is a medium-bodied tea with rich aromatics and flavor. It presents characteristics of Wuyi zhengshan xiaozhong, Taiwanese and Nepali black teas.

Flavors: Allspice, Almond, Apple, Apricot, Astringent, Bark, Bitter, Blackberry, Brown Sugar, Butter, Chamomile, Chili, Chrysanthemum, Cinnamon, Citrus Fruits, Citrusy, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Lychee, Malt, Peach, Peony, Rose, Rosewood, Spicy, Sweet, Tannin, Woody

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

I just tried this today using TDJ’s parameters (3 g, 150 ml, 200F, 5 minutes), and wow, it’s gorgeous and intense! There’s more tannins and astringency than I prefer, but the citrus, stonefruit, spicy, floral, and malty flavours make up for it. It’s the first time I’ve recognized rosewood in a tea. I agree with you that it resembles a Lapsang Souchong or Taiwanese black tea. Too bad they don’t give instructions for the second steep. I’ll post a tasting note after a few more sessions. Did you give Daylon some of this tea?

Daylon R Thomas

Pretty sure I did. I thought I wrote on it-I’d have to double check.


Daylon, I don’t see your review here, though maybe it’s somewhere else. I find the names of these Japanese teas to be a bit confusing.

Daylon R Thomas

I probably drank some, and then forgot to write about it.


LOL, that happens to me. Other times I want to have multiple sessions before writing a tasting note.


Dunno if I sent this to you, Daylon.

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March 2022 Sipdown Challenge — A tea with a flavor note/ingredient from a favorite Girl Scout cookie

Girl Scout Cookies ain’t what they used to be but I indulged in 2 boxes this year. This tisane represents Do-si-dos :)

Kiki says: “It smells like mushrooms, toasted mushrooms or toasted coconut, toasted peanuts, peanut shells. Tastes like maybe ashes? Is that what you’re having, too?”


“Ah ha heh heh heh! I like it; it’s kind of soothing. I bet it’s good when you’re fasting because you’ll think you’re eating peanuts [redacted].”

I think it smells like peanut butter and toasted coconut. The taste is light and sweet, with those same aroma notes and sweetness lingering gently in the mouth. I can’t get over how it’s making the living room smell! Just like sweetened peanut butter filling.

Thank you for sharing, Kawaii! Roasted buckwheat is for some reason something I never purchase but I always enjoy it :D

Flavors: Caramelized Sugar, Coconut, Grain, Peanut, Roasted Nuts, Sweet, Toasted

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March 2022 Sipdown Challenge — A discontinued/otherwise unavailable-for-purchase tea

The strength of this sheng pu’er lies initially in its oily, coating mouthfeel and its energy. Sweet and peaty taste with the apricot of youth now only a bright background tone. Tonuge-numbing bitterness and peatiness increase as the steeps progress but then the throat is greeted by a moderate returning sweetness.

The overall experience, while somewhat deep, is also flat. However, the tea does feel very good in my body and is quite relaxing where I always need it the most in my shoulders and neck. Kind of a dulling of the mind.

The leaf glows and shimmers in shades of brown velvet and the pick is surprisingly robust leaf and bud sets. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for those that like short sessions, the ife is gone after 6 or 7 infusions.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Dates, Eucalyptus, Menthol, Mushrooms, Oily, Peat, Smoke, Sweet, Viscous

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March 2022 Sipdown Challenge — A tea that makes you happy

Like a meadow. Wildflowers, straw and flax notes are backed up by a muted dried spicy-leafy-herbacous tone and the taste of a light clover honey. The tea sips astringent and becomes sweet and viscous as it moves which allows the honey to swell, but the astringency breaks through especially under the tongue.

Thank you Martin for the sample! It was my first Georgian white tea. A good tea to brace my senses and get me more in line with this daylight savings time shift. Now to make the most of my 3-day weekend :)

Flavors: Astringent, Drying, Flowers, Herbs, Honey, Mint, Spicy, Straw, Sweet, Viscous

Martin Bednář

You are welcome. I think that Georgian white tea is indeed a rarity, moreover if wild grown! I am happy that you liked it.

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Fine art.



Flavors: Apple, Custard, Kiwi, Moss, Silky, Smooth, Snow Peas, Soft, Sweet


A cool, sweet, soft stream that disappears. I don’t have the words.

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Another interesting sencha and so different from any I’ve had :) April 26/27, 2021 harvest.

The dark green needles smell very sweet and fruity like raspberries but not raspberries, you know, some other obscure regional berry that never makes it way into a market! There’s also undertones white grapes and melon, more deep red watermelon leaning than anything, even candy-like, without that cucumbery smell they can sometimes have. The dry leaf smelled so good that the leaf that I spilled got picked up by my finger and went straight into my mouth to crunch on.

Warming the leaf brings another awesome aroma of raspberry danishes with a mellow undertone of cooked greens. Bahahaha!

Aroma is of raspberry, cherry blossom and wheatgrass with a small amount of dark bitterness.

Tea itself is thick with alkaline umami and some peaty bitterness. The raspberry/berry aromatics evaporate off palate and low into the sinuses. Here, it tastes/smells more like a berry flavored vitamin than the fruit. A moist, natural sweetness comes about in the back of the mouth in the ensuing minutes. The 3 or 4 subsequent steeps lighten evenly across all characteristics. I forgot about a final pot last night and poured it cold this morning after it sat for 12 hours. The tea was sweet and very tasty with practically no bitterness remaining and the berry character presented fully.

I don’t know. I’ve had this tea several times now and can’t help but think I’m describing it too simply. Dewy-thick-alkaline-umami-peaty-bitter-fruity-sweet. All that hyphenation tells me it’s round. I don’t find any distinct vegetal, grassy or seaweed tastes in this tea, only in the leaf and liquor aromas and a bit of a grass vibe as it steeps out.

Flavors: Alkaline, Beans, Berry, Bitter, Bittersweet, Butter, Candy, Cream, Fruity, Grass, Pastries, Peat, Popcorn, Raspberry, Round, Sakura, Savory, Smooth, Spinach, Sugar, Sweet, Sweet Corn, Thick, Watermelon, Wheatgrass, White Grapes

140 °F / 60 °C 1 min, 15 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 70 ML

I have to check this company out!


After reading your note, I had to check our emails to see if this was the sencha I’m getting. Sounds like I should have picked this one!


Coming y’alls way.


Yay! Glad I’m getting a sample. I’m still waiting for the package from TheTea, so you don’t have to rush to send it out.

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I enjoyed what I had of this tea very quickly. May 20, 2021 harvest.

The dry leaf when I first opened the bag smelled quite floral, spicy and woody like a Nepali black tea. By the time I brewed the last serving, its scent became earthier and deeper like a dark tobacco. When warmed, the leaf displays a strong camphor-wintergreen note atop malted barley and an undertone of hard peaches and their flowers.

My first and last pot of this tea followed TDJ’s parameters. The cups in between were brewed at work in a mug basket strainer. I enjoyed both ways of preparation.

The aroma has a light caramel sweetness mixed with malty orange. There is a camphor freshness to this tea that fits well with the flavors and light earthiness, producing a mixed evergreen-deciduous forest character.

Brewed for 5 minutes in a teapot, I notice the malty, tangy orange character accented by tobacco, sweet potato and wood as soon as I sip, immediately followed by a tingly woody-pithy-peaty bitterness, then the light freshness of camphor and mineral character. When I notice my mouth watering, I also perceive a floral aftertaste. The second steep is very creamy-orange with a fructose sweetness, and the sweet potato and woody tastes that were accents in the first infusion become more prominent.

When had in a mug, the tea is sweet and refreshing while still maintaining fresh forest character. The leaf’s lower oxidation is pronounced in this manner.

My conclusion is succinct — I really enjoyed this tea and it was very easy to drink :) It’s not a heavy black tea by any means.

Flavors: Bitter, Camphor, Caramel, Chili, Chocolate, Cream, Creamy, Drying, Earth, Floral, Forest Floor, Fruit Tree Flowers, Malt, Mineral, Orange, Peach, Peat, Rose, Rosewood, Spicy, Sweet Potatoes, Sweet, Warm Grass, Tangy, Tobacco, Wintergreen, Wood, Woody

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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. Drink a variety of teabags at work. Herbal teas/tisanes provide balance. Unfiltered tap water heathen (it’s good here).

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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