157 Tasting Notes

drank White Rhino by Butiki Teas
157 tasting notes

I. LOVE. This. Tea.

It brews a beautiful cup of clear amber liquid. Scents of honey, cream, malt, and fruit come wafting out of my mug. I want this scent bottled! Sipping, I’m first given the impression of slightly sour citrus fruit. It then evolves into honey and malt, followed by notes of cocoa and caramel sweetness. All of this is underscored by the suggestion of hay in the background. Wow! It’s soft and luxurious. It’s thick and heady and sweet like pudding. It’s truly wonderful. It has the characteristics of both a white tea and a black tea, and it’s everything I love about both.

The second steep is very similar. The citrus, malt and caramel qualities of the first steep are accentuated in the second. There’s a sweet potato thickness to it. The sweet flavor of hay is still present—perhaps a bit stronger. The tea liquid itself has a smooth, creamy texture. And at the end of each sip is the light airy taste of marshmallow! It’s too good. I begin to notice as it cools that the at a lower temperature, it tastes more like a white tea. The malt and thickness of the tea wane and the fruit, honey and hay flavors become more prominent. It seems lighter somehow, and sweeter. That’s really interesting.

Wow, I’m madly in love.
I tried it once after my order came in, and now I remember why I’ve been squirreling this one away! This is exactly what I wanted tonight, exactly what I needed.

Pre-boil water
Approx 3tsp / 10oz
First steep – 2min 30
Second steep – 3min

Flavors: Caramel, Citrus Fruits, Cocoa, Cream, Hay, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes

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Received a sample of this in a swap with QueenOfTarts. Thanks a ton!

Pre-boil water
1.5tsp / 10oz
2 min

This is really nice. I was worried that it wouldn’t taste as good as it smelled. The wet and dry leaf has an aroma of vanilla, caramel, and lightly buttered popcorn. (I’ve come to realize that I love buttery popcorn-like tea, whether it’s the result of additives or a straight tea!) Many people have said that this tea is bold but I don’t think it’s a punchy Assam base at all. It’s a little fruity, silky and smooth. The fruit flavor is unidentifiable to me. Whatever it is, it’s bright and almost citrusy. It’s way smoother than I would have expected. There is a touch of malt at the end of each sip, but nothing that makes me think “chocolate”. It’s more of a nutty, caramel popcorn tea to me. The tea base and flavoring are in equal balance. Neither overpowers the other. I brewed a second cup for 3 minutes.; it mellowed out without any significant loss of flavor.

I broke out some Biscoff cookies to eat with this tea and it was OMG delicious!

Flavors: Caramel, Fruity, Malt, Nutty, Smooth, Vanilla


Sounds amazing!

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drank Pure Buds Black by Mandala Tea
157 tasting notes

Tea of the evening!

First steep, 1min.
It’s mellow, “bright”, and fruity on the front end. As other people have noted it’s both sweet and slightly sour, though not unpleasantly so. There are grainy, malty flavors on the back end with whispers of cocoa and a lingering honey sweetness.

Second steep, 2min.
A little vegetal on the front end. I’m not a huge fan of it. Mid-sip, it morphs into sweet potato and finishes on a juicy, fresh honey note. Some malt and light cocoa still present (though not overly so).

I think I might have used water that was a tad hot. There is a bit of drying astringency that hasn’t been there before. Oops!

I’m not sure what it is, but something about this tea doesn’t jive with me. Maybe it’s because it’s brightly flavored without being bold, or mellow without enough malt/chocolate. I can’t figure it out. I’ve had it many times before and each time it made me feel blasé. It’s a very nice tea but it’s not what I prefer. Oh, well.

Flavors: Cocoa, Fruity, Honey, Malt

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Received in a swap so long ago I can’t even remember who sent it. ): Whoever it was, thank you! This is a sipdown.

This tea is beautifully smooth with notes of fruit, malt, smoke, leather, and chocolate. It makes a very bold and brassy cup of tea. There is a little astringency but not enough for me to complain. Feels very thick and syrupy on the tongue. There is a sweetness that lingers after sipping. It’s similar to caramel, but not quite there. Probably not something I should be drinking this late at night but I’m feeling dangerous! :D

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Fruity, Leather, Malt, Smoke, Sweet

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Ooh, this one is very interesting. It’s honey and fruit with a subtle undercurrent of smoked wood. The smell of the dry leaf and tea liquor was very heavy on the smoke, so it’s much lighter than I expected it to be! Delicate even. It’s smooth without a trace of bitterness. The finish is woodsy with a residual sweetness. The more I sip, the sweeter it seems to become. The smokiness recedes into the background a bit.

In the second cup, the smokiness is dialed back even more. The woodsy notes are stronger and the tea has gained a savory quality that reminds me of lightly roasted nuts. It’s smooth and silky and the sweetness is still very present.

I don’t think I could drink this every day but it’s quite nice. Something that’s suited for quiet, cool autumn nights.

Flavors: Campfire, Fruity, Honey, Smoke, Sweet, Wood

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Brenden included this as a sample in my last order. :D I threw half of the leaves in a mason jar with 8oz of water, letting them steep for around 14-15 hours.

Man this is seriously good. Mint is the first flavor I notice. It’s very green, crisp, and slightly sweet. Next is the oolong—which strangely enough, tastes like chocolate to me? Am I the only one? It makes me think of Andes mints. (I would eat them obsessively when I was younger!) It’s a very light chocolate flavor but it’s definitely there. It also has a slight mineral taste that wuyi oolongs tend to have. I don’t notice much in the way of cinnamon; there’s just a hint of it at the end of each sip. Absolutely no bitterness in this cup. I wish I had let it steep longer, actually. It’s very clean, fresh, and minty-sweet. The oolong leaves a nice roasty/chocolate flavor in my mouth.

Oh, this tea. It takes me for a swim in a cool mountain spring on a hot, hot summer day.

Thanks so much for putting this in with my order. (:

Flavors: Chocolate, Mineral, Mint, Peppermint, Roasted, Sweet

Whispering Pines Tea Company

No worries! Glad you enjoyed it! :D

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This is a very pleasant, well-balanced chai! The mint leaves a cool and refreshing feel in my mouth after sipping. The malt chocolate notes of the base tea are a nice complement to the mint and spices. It’s really good. I’ve noticed that the Fujian black tea base doesn’t retain as much of its flavor with a re-steep, which is a bit disappointing. The second steep is much more mellow; the base tea brings some light bread-like flavors, and the mint steps back to allow more of the cinnamon and spice to come forward. It’s significantly lighter but still delicious. I’m so glad I included this in my last order. Brenden knows how to do chai right! ;)

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Malt, Mint, Spices

Whispering Pines Tea Company

:) Yay! Glad you enjoyed this!


Sounds so good!

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This was a sample included in a Teavivre order.

In general I prefer darker oolongs to the less oxidized ones, but this is quite alright. It reminds me very much of a green tea. I rinsed the leaves for 10sec before brewing. The first steep was 55sec and was very vegetal. It made me think of buttered peas and spinach. A strong umami flavor was present. The end of each sip was floral and buttery, with a silky smooth finish. A second steep (1min 40) yielded a more flowery, buttery cup of pale yellow tea. It was a bit sweeter with that characteristic TGY flavor. A sweet, vanilla cupcake taste clung to my mouth after each swallow. Lovely flavor, and quite strong with such short steeps. (I couldn’t imagine steeping for 3 minutes!) I think if you have a preference for green oolongs or TGY you would really enjoy this tea. As for me, not so much. I could have kept steeping the leaves for several more infusions but two cups were enough for me!

Flavors: Butter, Cake, Floral, Peas, Spinach, Vanilla, Vegetal


Thank you very much for the lovely review, kimquat :) Can I share your review to our website www.teavivre.com please?


Absolutely. (:

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(From the UTTB.)

Just got around to trying this one. It’s definitely better the more it cools…I’m getting hay-like notes, sweet cream, honeysuckle, and rice pudding. It’s naturally sweet with a slightly nutty flavor. If I had to describe it as a color, it’s the inside of almonds. A very light tan. The color of foam on top of a latte, maybe. Verdant recommends starting with a 30sec infusion and increasing in increments of 10-15sec. I did a first infusion of 55 seconds and a second infusion of 1min 15. In my experience, longer steeps work better for white teas because they bring out stronger flavors (as long as the water isn’t too hot). Water temp was somewhere between 170F and 190F, if I had to guess.

When the tea is hot it’s mostly hay with a touch of buttery green. I wait about 10-15 minutes after brewing to drink. It settles into that creamy, nutty, flowery loveliness that white teas can have! Very nice.

Thanks for putting this in the box MzPriss!

Flavors: Cream, Hay, Honeysuckle, Nuts, Rice, Sweet, Vanilla


I’m glad you enjoyed it – I can’t seem to get into whites. I’m pretty sure I’m doing something wrong – but they never taste like much to me. I suppose subtlety is lost on me.

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Sipping right now. I used the same parameters that I did for Bu Lang Gong Ting two days ago. Boiling water, 2tsp/10oz, 15sec rinse. Steep times were 35sec, 40sec, and 1min 25.

This tea is very earthy but also very light. I’m getting mild notes of cream, bread, nuts, and chocolate. They all seem to be hovering in the background, coming forward and receding as soon as I notice them. The mushroom, earthy flavors and nuttiness are the things I notice most. I swear I noticed something spicy or peppery in the second steep. As soon as I placed a name to it it disappeared. Agh, did I imagine it?! There’s a sweetness and warm bread-like flavor that sticks around after sipping. Third steep was more woodsy with a drying finish.

I think this tea will age very well. I need to find a different way to store it…I’ve just kept it in the ziplock-seal package it came in. I’ll try a five-minute steep tomorrow and see how I like it!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Cream, Earth, Mushrooms, Nuts, Wet Earth, Wood


I’m so happy you are grooving on this. It’s been my first tea of the day for over 2 years now. Not kidding. I bought all the loose leaf and blended it, shipped enough to the pressing factory to have 400 (250g) cakes pressed and shipped many crates of it back here to myself.

The cakes of this are really opening up now – 1 yr 8 months since their pressing.

I love your review of this tea. Thank you for taking the time to get down on the keyboard. Let me know if you recall the lost name :) I’d love to know!


I get pepper notes in shou sometimes as well.

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I am still relatively new to loose leaf, as I have only been drinking it since 2013. I’m amazed at how much my tastes have changed just over the past year. I have met such lovely, kind individuals on Steepster and am so glad to have become a part of this community.

Pure black teas are my favorite. I drink black tea daily and I try to keep a variety on hand. I also enjoy white tea, puerh, and the occasional oolong. Matcha is something that I love though I haven’t tried a large variety. The very good matcha that I’ve had is quite expensive. In general I try to stay away from flavored teas—especially those with artificial flavorings—but I will make rare exceptions, and I do enjoy a well crafted blend of straight teas. Things I (usually) don’t like: green oolongs, rooibos, straight green teas.

Rating System
90+ The very best! Teas that I always need in my cupboard!
85-89 Teas that I enjoy immensely and will try to keep around.
80-84 Makes a very pleasing cup. I will enjoy drinking them, but won’t necessarily try to keep around. (There are exceptions.)
70-79 Decent, but could be better.
60-69 Mediocre.
40-59 Gross. I might still try to finish the cup.
39 & under Undrinkable. I probably dumped this cup. Depending on the specific rating, I probably threw the rest of the tea out as well.

Some of my favorite tea companies are:
-Whispering Pines Tea Co.
-Verdant Tea
-Mandala Tea

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