69 Tasting Notes


Free sample provided by ESGREEN. Thank you!

I received about half a dozen of samples from ESGREEN two months ago and I wanted to try this Pu Erh ball with gaiwan which I didn’t have at that time, but I was fortunate enough to have won 3 Oz gaiwan on eBay auction recently, for quite a bargain price of $4.25 with free shipping.

I did a total of ten infusions with my 85ml gaiwan with water temperature of 90-95 Celsius. This 9,5 gram Pu Erh ball has a faint earthy touch with minty note in front. Reminds me of mini tuo cha but with more serious look about it. With two washes
of ten seconds each I did my first steep with like 15 seconds.

1st – 15s

What I got was dirty brown and pink-ish infusion that could/should have been another leaf wash, but I drank it anyways. It had a nice flovery (or should I say ‘orchid’) note with roasted background finishing with a hint of pleasant bitterness. When I thought about it few moments later, it reminds me of liqueur as I picked up an alcohol-like note radiating from my throat. After a few sips I start to get a tingling, almost pricking sensation in throat with numb, sore throat sensation as I finish the cup. There is very little sediment at the bottom.

2nd – 15s

In second steep I got a deep and thick brown-red liquor that is typical for well infused ripe Pu Erhs. For some reason I associate this appearance with that of strong black coffee. Earthy note is overpowered with roasted impression and you can sense a decent orchid fragrance at the very end. Liquor is smooth with strong character and long lasting roasted note. Coffee, anyone?

3rd – 20s

Appearance of third infusion is identical to that of the previous one. In terms of tasting it’s almost identical to third infusion but with a certain dryness on tongue root with diminishing orchid note. As I was careless to drink this tea on empty stomach I started to feel a punch so I had a quick bread and dry meat snack to prevent any further discontent.

4th – 25s

Identical to previous one and it really goes well after a meal.

5th – 30s

The best infusion! It’s identical to previous two but with more balanced notes and really nice thickness.

6th – 40s

This is where I started to increase from additional 5 to 10 seconds and it really proved out to be a good decision. Enjoying a rich cup of dark brew!

7th – 50s

At this point I start to get a feeling that liqour color is slowly fading out as I could see a circle imprint on the bottom of the cup. It’s still deep and tastes nice without any significant changes though. The ball shape of leaves has completely dissolved by now.

8th – 65s

Raising time for additional 15 seconds. I’m definetely sure that it’s loosing more of color intensity. I thought that this would be a sturdy, monotonous Pu
Erh, but no, citrus rind note emerges out of the blue along with peppery sensation on tongue and notable mint-like freshess airing from throat.

9th – 75s

I did only 10 seconds increase on this one because I got a feeling that I might be ‘squeezing too much of the juice’. What I god was a nice minty aftertaste with faint citrus and peppery notes from previous infusion.

10th – 90s

I really thought that liquor color would fade to pink hue by now, but it isn’t. It’s keeps decreasing in intensinty but still it’s like 5 more steeps away.
Oh well, this is going to be my last infusion for this session. I feel that my senses (and stomach) are saturated. Mineral note is prominent in this one, and when I look
back it started to apear around 8th infusion but I really didn’t pay that much attention to it.

All in all this is the best Pu Erh I’ve had so far in terms of strong and roasted character. It has much to deliver and it can be a bit dull in first few steeps but it has a few nice surprises later on if you stick with it.

I was careless enough to forgot to smell the wet leaf. Bummer.

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(Free sample provided by Teavivre. Thank you!)

Yesterday I found some scattered tea notes and one of them was Teavivre’s Huang Shan Mao Feng.

Dry leaf is very long with partially twisted first leaf. Apart from its usual green texture I noticed a few leaves with somewhat yellow and brown hue to them. With a deep sniff dryness with hint of sweetness to it is revealed, and when dropped in pre-heated teapot you get some starchiness rising to nostrils. When it comes to visual appearance his tea has hardly any broken leaf and seems to take a bit more volume than my other Mao Fengs I have in cupboard.

I steeped this tea in glass 250 ml teapot three times (and I could have gone for more if I wasn’t full) with 80 Celsius water, and 60 – 60 – 90 seconds steep.


First infusion came out clear and really pale jade. During steeping barely any leaves sunk since I added them on top. Light bodied and sweet with lingering

fruity note (apricot, peach… not quite sure) that completes at tongue root after wallowing (peach). Every sip seems so thirst quenching, refreshing and amazingly good. As I empty pitcher I don’t see any kind of residue.


Second infusion is still clear like first but with more of jade tone to it. With slightly augmented peach notes comes a faint Tie Guan Yin-like note in background with just a hint of astringency. Few seeps in and I start to notice how my throat is getting a bit dry, almost sore-like, starchy…


The appearance of third infusion is identical to that of second. As I’m not intending to steep it further I removed wet leaves that filled my room with light Tie Guan Yin-like aroma. When it comes to tasting this infusion reminds me of 4th steep of Teavivre’s Tie Guan Yin (look it up in my previous notes) with grassy-vegetal body. At this point I thought that I might squeezed a bit too much out of the leaves and that I should’ve steep it just over a minute.

Although I can’t recall much of the experience with this particular tea I can, however, tell that this is the best Mao Feng I’ve had so far. I guess I should write more in-detail impression just after finishing my cup in future.


I did quick tests of 4 Teavivre’s green teas last week, and this ended up as my favorite (already love their Dragonwell and Tie Guan Yin, so this association makes sense to me now). Need to do longer testings, but this will probably be on my next order.


Their Bi Luo Chun is very good too, and I’m not a big fan of it. I’ll try to write a note for it today.
Mao Feng is great but it doesn’t fit in every occasion for me since it’s light. From other green tea samples they sent me I find those two Mao Jians to be very appeasing to my everyday palate mood.


Liking Upton’s Gu Zhang Mao Jian prompted me to put Teavivre’s Xin Yang Mao Jian on wishlist (may just take risk and order, as I want to make one more order of just green and stop ordering for a while). Which other Mao Jian do you refer to? (new to tea, but trying to learn)


Organic Tai Mu Mao Jian.


Thank you very much : )


I think it’s out of stock at the moment, though.

Tea Pantheon

I found even better Huang Shan Mao Feng. The tea name Shunagjing. Read my review on this tea. The new Ebay seller has it and so far nobody else. It is very special tea. No additives, pure taste.


@Tea Pantheon – The seller isn’t selling anything at the moment. I’ll check it out in future, I’m planning on moving out at the end of May and I won’t be making any orders until then.

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(Free sample provided by ESGREEN. Thank you!)

This one is from a previous sampler. Few days ago I received samples for March but I intend to test my patience since I have a gaiwan on the way.

Dry leaf is small, tightly rolled well scented and judging by its texture, well roasted. There are few white tips and fewer leaf stems. I used 3 grams of dry leaf with 250 ml of water on 80 Celsius, and did two 1 minute steeps.

First steep brought out clear and light golden infusion that’s very aromatic and it sits on palate for quite the time but isn’t overpowering. It’s just to my taste actually, and I’m not big fan of strong scented jasmine tea. After swallowing you can feel a certain sweetness resting on root of the tongue. For some reason, first few sips seems to have that note of those sweet bubble gums with sports sticker wrapped around them. Maybe it’s just me. As I finished the first half of cup I felt a slight tingling sensation on tongue with some grassy and roasted notes in background. What a delicious cup of jasmine tea, and to my taste too.

Second infusion is a bit more sweet with less pronounced jasmine aroma than the first. Here’s where it gets more refreshing and savory. First infusion tends to dry out the tongue, but this doesn’t. I’m surprised that the most of the leaves are whole with some tear and oxydation or purple pigment and I could find a few that have up to three leaves on stem – kind of close to oolongs in appearance.

Wet leaf has a fresh air about it with decent amount of soft jasmine. Even after two infusions about quarter of leaves haven’t completely unfurled which promises another good or at least decent infusion.

Although I’m not a big fan of jasmine scented teas this is just to my taste and but if I wanted a jasmine scented tea in my cupboard just for me this would be it.

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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(Free sample provided by Teavivre. Thank you!)

My schedule is being quite hectic lately, so I don’t have much time and inspiration for writing notes and reviews. However, I was really impressed with this tea, so I decided to scrap up my tasting notes and write a note.

Dry leaf: 3 gr
Water: 250 ml at 85 Celsius
Number of infusions: 1
Steeping time (in minutes): 3

Dry leaf gives away impression of hay being stacked in sunny summer day (if you’ve done it you know what I’m talking about) with mild citrus and molasses edge. I’ve drank a few good Dian Hongs in past couple of years, but this one is the most tippy of all teas I’ve had an opportunity to try. Dropping leaves in pre-heated teapot reveals more malty notes.
Tree minute steep seems to give a rather deep red infusion, almost like that of ripe Pu Erh. I’m getting the feeling that 3 minutes was a bit too much, but it doesn’t matter. Placing my nose over steaming cup reveals rich caramel-molasses and citrus notes with smooth finish.

If Teavivre’s Ripened Aged Pu-erh Mini Tuocha is intensive as espresso (check out my note), thank this tea has intensity that of a coffee. Right after swallowing a starchy dryness builds up in the throat and peppery note covers the tongue. A few sips in and I can sense some flowery hints in the background. Just delicious!
Unfortunately I didn’t have time to resteep it.

Dry leaf: 3 gr
Water: 200 ml at 85 Celsius
Number of infusions: 5
Steeping time (in minutes): 2, 3, 4.5, 5.5, 7


Deep and clear red hue, typical for black teas. Wet leaf has initial citrus aroma that quickly turns into impression of wet hay and (mulja) with flowery hint that sits in between.
First sip is deep and slightly minty. Right after swallowing tongue gets covered with peppery sensation – a Yunnan black tea trademark. Few sips in and I could feel that my throat is getting a bit dry and sore.


Second infusion came out identical to first, only with amped peppery sensation. Nice.


This is where I accidentally left it to steep for additional 30 seconds (I was doing the dishes). This infusion was just a little bit weaker than previous but still it was one impressive cuppa. Peppery taste just can’t seem to dissapear and that’s where I got the idea to pair this tea to something like well seasoned red meat. I just hope it doesn’t slip from my mind by than.


Again, a little bit lighter infusion, both in terms of taste and color, from the previous one. Seems like pepperyness is starting to let go since it was a little bit too strong for my taste in previous steep. Somewhere at the finish I’m starting to get a real nice sweetness to it. Makes me think of Bailin Gongfu black tea.


And this is where I’m calling it a day. I drank 1 liter of tea, and even if I went for another cup or two I would certainly enjoy it, but my stomach is calling shots here. Last, fifth infusion was (again) lighter than previous but the sweetness kept its magnitude and peppery sensations seems to be totally gone.

Magnificent tea. Honestly, I thought I’ll stop after third cup but it turned out to be quite a surprise, from deep and complex character to sweetness in the end… Oh, and not to forget that peppery bite. Not to mention that this tea is really cost-effective, I might get a bag of this in my next order.

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Wow, this is the oldest raw Pu Erh I’ve drank so far (second oldest was like 2001-2003 vintage), but on the other hand I find mellow ripe Pu Erhs more appealing. Dry leaf looks fascinating – long, twisted with rust-coppery texture and minimal leaf brake. You could tell by its appearance that it wasn’t handled much. With a short hot breath blowing onto leaves I definitely noticed dusty dryness with earthy and mewllow backtone and a floral hint (which was quite surprising).

I’m inexperienced with raw variants and not familiar with water temperature appropriate for brewing it but I read that lower temperature is used for younger raw Pu Erhs and close to boiling for older ones. Since I got a 6-7 gram sample of 1997 vintage I really couldn’t experiment much so I decided that I’ll use 3 grams with 100ml water on 95 Celsius. It would be nice if ESGREEN could provide brewing instrucions.

Infusions: 10, 10, 12, 14, 16, 20, 25, 30, 40, 60, 120, 180

Fifteen years is a lot for loose-leaf Pu Erh when you think about it, there’s got to be a lot dust in it so I rinsed it three times. First infusion was somewhat light half-murky caramel tone with faint aroma and heavy (but nut overpowering) acidic taste and light tobbaco finish. Second infusion seemed to awaken the leaf (maybe I should go for four rinses instead?) and brought out a deeper caramel tone wile giving away of not-so-desired wet and stale notes.

However, I did enjoy it more than first infusion since acidic profile settled a bit and made a way for some new, but faint notes to appear. Liquor is silky on tongue and the same tobbaco finish with addition of tinglinkg sensation on tongue. Third infusion is more of what I anticipated – deeper tone with hint of acid (or should I call it sour?), nice boost on tobbacco followed by just a hint of bitterness and dry finish. After few sips I also noticed that some faint notes of… clay? It reminds me of eating a stew from unglazed clay pots.
On fourth steep is where the party started, clay notes blended with those of tobbacco and it reminded me of some better Pu Erhs I’ve tasted. Fifth infusion brought out the mellowness and previous notes that seemed to be of same magnitude. At this point I noticed that the tea is starting to get hard on my stomach/liver. Suprisingly, sixth infusion brought out some floral notes while vanquishing any remnants of dust, but with less prominent tobacco note.

This is where I called it a day and let the leaves rest on cool place untill the next day. I was later advised by ESGREEN that I shouldn’t have done it. So on day two I rinsed the leaves to awaken them and steep it for 25 seconds, and this being seventh infusion it showed some floral notes binding with hints of mineral and more prominent clay profile. Next infusion brought out more balanced appearance with somewhat nutty aftertaste (this stuff has pocketful of surprises, doesn’t it?). The following four infusion (for total of twelve) were less surprising but enjoyable. This is where I felt that I’m pretty much done
with it.

A leaf with magician’s surprise arsenal.

205 °F / 96 °C

What did ESGREEN say you did wrong? Did they give an explanation?


" Hi Alen, you did right for the steeping. Long time stored raw pu-erhs has no steeping differences with ripe pu-erh. But we do not recommend soak the tea leaves in cold water or let’s say: please don’t keep the infused tea leaves. The infused tea leaves are more like cooked foods. There will be subtle changes inside. It may be not good for health. The the flavor and taste will completely change too."


I have heard others say they cold brewed the leaf overnight with success. I usually drain the leaf and spread it out so it can air dry and reuse the next day. Usually it works well, On rare occasion the leaf doesn’t take well to drying and reuse. I have never had mold issues from overnight storage which is where I thought they were going with their advice. What ever works for you and doesn’t give you botulism. lol.


It worked fine for me as well, but I keep my leaves in cool place overnight to inhibit bacteria/fungus growth that might be present.


I’ve kept the same leaves in my infuser for two days and used them. Not that you should, but I’ve yet to see them go bad overnight. One time the beau did leave some green tea in an infuser for several weeks though – that was yucky!


I wouldn’t do this if the leaf looked even a little funky, but it has always looked fine. Not advising anyone else to do it.


There is a famous TV show in China recommended a diet recipe with over night pu-erh. But I really could not agree with that. No medical proof for health affection. But the flavor could change obviously. In China we called it “Shu Wei” which means “over cooked flavor”. It’s something like fresh vegetables compared with cooked vegetables.

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I tried this one the other day.
Dry leaf seems to be of Bi Luo Chun style with some jasmine flower petals and radiating with jasmine sweetness. I’m not a big fan of jasmine scented teas, especially if the scent is strong. I might be going for a stereotype, but jasmine seems to be more of a girly note, but I do enjoy a cup of light scented tea occasionally.

Since I only had a 5 gram sample i used a half of it and poured 200 ml of 80 Celsius water and let it steep for one minute. As description mentions, jasmine floats on top as tea leaves drop to the bottom. You got to give a credit to person who used imagination to name this tea.

What I got was clear light beige liquor. Upon fist sip I got the impression of jasmine pearls with incredible refreshing background and sweet finish. With each sip you get that silky sensation (or should i say – coating) on tongue and just a little hint of astringency there and on palate as well. It kind of gives it more of an egde on its character and it tends to dry and stiffen throat just a little bit. Jasmine aroma sits and radiates from throat quite a time.

This is where the jasmine got a bit too much for my taste and I tried to quiet it with second infusion that retained much of a flavor and brewed into fine light jade tone.
Not bad, even better than average jasmine pearls with some extra refreshing and sweet notes, but still not my usual daily cup of tea although I could have it occasionally as I said.

175 °F / 79 °C

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(Free sample provided by ESGREEN – thank you)

I brewed this one with 3 gr leaf, 100 ml boiling water, gongfu fashion ten infusions total (in seconds): 10,10,15,20,25,30,35,60,120,300.

Dry leaf has balanced earthy aroma with noticable dry background tone. It also releases a fishy hint when dropped into warmed teapot. Upon washing and ‘awakening’ leaf some additional notes are revealed, the most prominent one is that of a dried plums. Liquor has deep but not too strong earthy aroma with hint of dried and smoked plums. This is somewhat typical for ripe Pu Erhs but can vary. I really like how it’s expressed in this one.

On first sip I get that complex taste with thick appearance rolling down the tongue with light and slightly aromatic finish. Following sips reveal that lightness is prominent on entry and end points with more of a character in the middle. Few sips in and I get somewhat coffee impression, just body, none of that bitter part. Upon drinking up my 100 ml cup I noticed that there’s virtually no residue on the bottom which tells me that this is some quality leaf.

Second infusion is identical to the first but with somewhat more clarified gap between notes. I also noticed that few moments after swallowing I got a slight sore throat sensation, not that starchy kind you get with some Silver Needles or something like that, just general throat stiffening sensation.

I really enjoyed more-less even infusion up until fifth, and that’s where it got more interesting. Liqour kind of mellows out and gets a hint of sweetness. On next infusion (6th) I noticed how liquor color is starting to fade out, and seventh infusion brought a hint of bitterness with tast starting to fade away. Up to tenth infusion, as taste was fading away, some new, nutty-like notes appeared. I was running through my mind trying to pinpoint it and I determined that it has more of a roasted hazelnut air about it than others.

I finished my gongfu session with tenth infusion, although I could steep the leaves at least two more times before a taste of hot water appears (that’s where I pull the plug), but a liter of tea is enough for me.


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Dry leaf is mostly needle-shaped with average length od 2,5 cm. Leaf has dull olive green tone with white tips ranging between 1/3 and 1/2. Dry leaf has soft, woodsy and hay smell with hints of dried beech tree shreds; reminds me of my grandfather’s workshop.

I managed to get three steeps total with this one, using 3 grams of dry leaf with 250 ml water on 80 Celsius. Liquor is clear with light green-yellow tone giving really light impression. On first sip there is a moderate citrus bite in throat that overpowers mild grassy taste, but ends up as really refreshing. Just a few moments after swallowing liquor citrus note turns to starchy and stays there for a moment while cooling minty aftertaste emerges. Starchy-tingling sensation moves from throat to tongue center and slides to the sides.
Second steep showed some astringency, but not enough to drown overall
impression of this tea. Starchy-tingling sensation is also augmented a bit
and usual mint aftertaste is paired with grainy texture on tongue.

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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I bought for $1during special offer some time ago. I felt like finding a small treasure during treasure hunt.

I brewed went gongfu on this one with 3 grams of dry leaf and 100 ml water on 85 Celsius.
Infusions (in seconds)
1st: 60
2nd: 45
3rd: 60
4th: 80
5th: 120

Dry leaf is small with light roast and faint TGY aroma. Wet leaf reveals some light oxidation on edges of few leaves with slightly fresh, floral and buttery notes.
Infusion is clear with light emerald tone. Since I only took quick notes on each steep, I’ll copy-paste them and write an overall impression.

Light, fresh, and buttery.

Light, fresh, buttery, a bit less floral than previous, faint citrus sour, and decent floral aftertaste.

Light, fresh, same floral tone like from previous, buttery note fades away, citrus sour more expressed than previous, and gets a bit astringent at tip.

Light, fresh, floral note fading away and overall taste as well. There isn’t any sign of citrus sour.

Light with even more overall loss of taste, starts to give out watery impression. Surprisingly, sour citrus appears but overall impression isn’t enough for additional steep.

When I got this a whole ounce was packed in single foil, the kind used for packing 5-8 gr of tea. I couldn’t believe it when I opened it and found a small ‘oxygen absorber’ bag. It was my first encounter with something like that in tea packaging. Quite ingenious!
First sniff made me remember of Ben Shan, but the dry leaf itself resembles TGY with tightly rolled, more roasted and more even leaf texture than Ben Shan’s.
First and second infusions are subtle, but impressive. I would recommend it to those that find TGY too strong to their taste, and than there is that buttery-ness that gives it additional character. On third steep you get a drop with buttery notes fading away and getting more of floral and citrus sour background.

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I’m brewing this according to brewing instructions and I can’t say that I’m that satisfied. Comparing it to my previous note when I did shorter steeps with far less water, this one has a mild first infusion and second comes as kicking espresso. Third infusion is more down to earth, but still there isn’t that much of flavor and aroma complexity and it retains great deal of espresso character.
Gongfu FTW!

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I’m into loose leaf teas for few years now, and only one year into tea reviewing.


Tuzla-Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina



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