117 Tasting Notes

2.5g, boiling, thermos. 7s rinse.

from what I remember, a nice clean young sheng taste and sweet apricot-tinged aftertaste, though aftertaste did not linger anywhere to the degree that LP’s peach village maocha did. Died pretty gracefully, if somewhat suddenly, after a couple mugs. Definitely worth it for the price, which was $0.13/g for me after factoring in shipping and currency conversion costs.

I was disappointed to find that my stomach cannot seem to handle young huang pian either. A pity. I know HP is puer, but the way some people talk about it makes it seem gentler and lighter, at very minimum, without going into the criticisms “old-school” puer drinkers have against it. I’ll have to explore kombucha one of these days so I can run through my remaining young sheng samples.

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2.4g, boiling, thermos.

bought a sample from LiquidProust.

smells like a mix of the caramel of aged oolong, but also TCM medicinal note from the orange. Kind of unsettling. Taste is almost medicinal, but also warm and sweetened, which I suspect is a combination of the aged oolong and aged orange peel. Not bitter at all. Slightly warming. When I took the tea out of the thermos, I noticed the chunks never broke up and I’m not sure what to do about that. The leaves seem to be crushed together before pressing, from what I can tell.

Not sure if I want at minimum 220g of this so will probably pass for now. Not bad, but very much elicits the “drink when you’re sick” feeling for me from childhood memories.

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Lotus Peak Rou Gui
Tong Xin She Teahouse
6.2g, 100 mL duanni, boiling, Poland Spring water
Dry leaf is a sweet roasted smell, also something nutty and sweetly bread-like underneath
In prewarmed pot, roasted note is clearer
wet leaf smell is mostly roast, but with a slight underlying sweetness. Roast in this one seems lighter than in the Lotus Peak Shui Xian from TXS
Didn’t rinse today
~15s: roasted taste, with slight bitter and sourness, then vegetal/crushed minty note in aftertaste. Smell of soup is sweet in a floral/somewhat sweet potato note way, but roast smell present as well. Empty cup is usual roasted oolong smell of dried graham cracker-like notes
10s: soup is more sweet potato like smell. Roasted taste, sweeter upfront, but sour bitter note is still present. Similar aftertaste, gaining a slight sweet potato-like quality at the end. Somewhat more rounded in the mouth than the LPSX, but didn’t achieve the same power of that aftertaste or extend into throat, concentrating in front of mouth.
15s: soup retains same floral sweet potato note. Taste is somewhat lightened from before. Crush mint aftertaste with slight sweetness is stronger than before, but still concentrated on front tongue. Will do a longer steep, then thermos the rest.
1 min.: just a sort of roasted taste with the slight bitter edge, only slight aftertaste, a bit drying. Thermos’d the rest.
Overall: Some burps, somewhat warming. Historically I’ve tended to prefer Rou Gui over Shui Xians that I’ve tried, so surprised that didn’t hold true here since everything should be constant (brewing variables-wise and growing area, etc.) between these two LPSX and LPRG other than the strain. This wasn’t terrible, by any means, but I was disappointed in it as compared to the LPSX so I wasn’t interested in pushing it for more steeps.

2.1g, thermos, boiling: a sweet roasted taste, slight florals with the osmanthus-like, sweet potato-y note, with a hint of the bitterness and mint underneath. A lightly sweet, crushed mint aftertaste. Whereas the LPSX was better pincha, this one is better grandpa. Seem like flipped versions of each other for better pincha or better grandpa.

Probably wouldn’t repurchase this one either

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Lotus Peak Shui Xian
Tong Xin She Teahouse
6.2g, 100 mL duanni, boiling, Poland Spring water
Dry leaf I can really only pick out the sweet roast smell
In prewarmed pot, smell is more of the same, with a touch of a sweet floral note
Nothing distinctive about wet leaf smell Didn’t rinse today
15s: initially bitter taste, slightly sour, underneath which is a sort of soapy floral. Aftertaste is sweet and refreshing, lingering with a hint of mint/vegetal note on the tongue. Empty cup aroma, as usual with roasted oolongs, is one of my favorite things here, carrying the standard sweet roasted graham cracker like note.
10s: aroma cup is a touch sweeter than before. Taste is slightly less bitter, same soapy floral undercurrent and same mint/ vegetal note on aftertaste. Aftertaste not as immediately sweet and has shifted focus to mint/vegetal note. This time mint/ vegetal and slight aroma both on front of tongue and lingers in throat. The aroma and taste in throat shifts from vegetal to a softer sweet floral, and then seems to return to a vegetal mint with the soapy floral undercurrent.
30s: more bitter in the taste, similar soapy florals, but also a slight hint of sweetness.
Didn’t time later steeps, but lasted several minutes each:
1st: lighter bitterness. Taste weakening. More forward sweetness and soapiness. Aftertaste slightly bitter, a bit drying minty/vegetal on tongue and slight sweetness.
2nd: not very notable. Bitterness very lightened and leftover floral soapiness is dominating. Bit drying, with slight mint/ vegetal edge.
3rd: flat taste but some of the mint edged aftertaste
Overall: a few burps. Adjusted brewing today since I was curious how the way some of the Teaforum people brew affect things, and this turned out really well. There’s a good chance I’ll continue using this method for oolongs.

2.1g, thermos, boiling: pretty disappointing. mostly taste of roast, only slight hints of anything that came from pin cha

mixed thoughts, probably wouldn’t repurchase at present.

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Hui Yuan Pit Rou Gui (慧苑坑肉桂), whole packet into 100 mL rongtian pot, all steeps at boiling, Poland Spring water. No timer but steeps starting at 5s and similar and increasing time slightly with each steep with later longer steeps. Had a friend over, so no specific notes, just from memory. Starts off pretty simple, and progresses to gain a floral character with the slight crushed mint vegetal aftertaste, and then also picks up a strong sweet potato note. This was lighter on the roasted taste (though it shows up sometimes) than the other oolongs I’ve tried from TXS so far, even though it had 29 hours of baking per the description. Overall, a pretty enjoyable session, though I need to try more oolongs that I know the price of (since most I have were gifted and seem inflated in pricing) so I know if this was worth for the price. Aftertaste was sweet, but not as strong or lasting as I expected, even against cheaper options (though the steeping method I used for the Shui Xian from TXS last time was different). I imagine Hui Yuan Keng teas probably have gradations based on pricing though.

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Thanks Kar for the sample!

I drank part of the sample some time ago grandpa’d in a mug and I don’t remember much other than that it was okay. I’m pretty sure I didn’t rinse, and it looked fine. Tasted like aged sheng mushroominess, nothing special.

I’ve kept the rest of the sample with a Boveda pack in a Mylar with some other to-drink-soon samples and so you can imagine my horror upon taking the rest of it out to brew and seeing small yellow mold spores. Did I do the smart thing and toss it? No, I just gave it two 20s rinses instead of one and hoped for the best.

I didn’t take notes for it, but it was a bit over 8g in a 90mL gaiwan, steeped like I usually do. Smell had sour, leather, and mushroom-y aged sheng notes. Broadly, tastes were pretty strongly bitter (not LME level, but still bitter) and mushroom-y, sometimes sour and lingered for a while in mouth and sometimes throat, which I know is a good marker of quality, but in terms of personal preference for what constitutes pleasantness/enjoyment is a different story. Sometimes cooling on tongue. Some shifting woody herbaceous notes along with hints of dark fruitiness and smoke. I didn’t particularly like this and would not purchase a cake, but it was interesting to try.


Lots of hype on this one. I have wondered about this one myself.


Yeah, the hype is always interesting. Since I knew it was Bulang material, it never tempted me to blind a cake. And for per gram price and given that shipping from TW is rather expensive, I’d rather pay a little extra and get YQH teas that are more in line with my preferences.

I did buy a 2005 sample from Kar too, so curious to see how that compares. Although I believe it just sold out recently on the site.

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Lightest Roast Hojicha
purchased from Liquid Proust
5g, 230 mL kyusu, Brita filtered tap

Never tried hojicha before, but this piqued my curiosity. I had no idea how to brew this, so I googled, and then messed it all up anyway, so here’s what I did do.
1st steep: 158f, 1 min. 30s
2nd steep: 196f, 30s
3rd steep: 212f, 45s
4th steep: 212f, did not time

Dry leaf smells very nutty, slightly sweet and grassy

Wet leaf has no distinctive smell whatsoever. The kyusu has been sitting in my drawer so I’m not sure if that’s it. Boy, the lightest roast was no joke. I expected a brown
colored liquid and it’s a clear yellow like chrysanthemum tea

1st steep: tiny hint of bitterness, slight nuttiness and sweetness. Tastes like green tea, but slight grassy/minty and nutty aftertaste. Not nutty in a chestnut way, but like walnuts or something. It’s very familiar but it’s also very late here (needed a late night caffeine pick me up) and I can’t think straight. Slightly dried tongue after.

2nd steep: stronger bitter taste upfront, but stronger slightly sweet, quite nutty aftertaste.

3rd steep: just a light bitter taste, almost like smoke but not quite.

4th: really bitter burnt bad matcha like taste from my early forays into matcha

Overall: a green tea masquerading as hojicha is my impression. I have no idea what hojicha’s like but it seemed from online sources that it’s darker and closer to coffee in ways. I didn’t enjoy this one too much and would not repurchase

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Thanks to R2 for the sample!

2017 Xiaguan Jingmai “Gushu” shou

7.0g, 90 mL gaiwan, Brita filtered tap, boiling

Dry leaf is pretty standard shou smell, slightly sweet and slight fishiness

18s rinse

Wet leaf is smoky sweet fishiness initially and later more of a woody honeyed smell

9s: nice mouthfeel. A woody medicinal slight bitter sweetness. Slight cooling on tongue after.

12s: similarly nice mouthfeel. Tastes more medicinal than before, but also the slight sweetness is stronger in this cup. Same cooling on tongue, but lingering more than before.

12s: similar, but less sweet and less cooling afterwards.

12s: a muted woody taste with a light bready-sweetness

12s: generic woody shou taste. Shook up the gaiwan to break up the chunks that were stick stuck together, which I later regret doing. The tiny particles that usually filter in the strainer must’ve broken down too much because they ended up repeatedly clogging the strainer after, and I had to wait for the tea to drip through every steep at an aggravating pace despite clearing it out each time.

12s: A medicinal slight sweetness though not much else of note

20s: forgot to take notes, but not memorable

1 min. 20s: light sweetness amidst generic shou background.

Will thermos the rest since it’s not interesting enough to me to continue from here

Overall: I can see why LP mentions a floral likeness, though I would not have described it that way myself. Some burps. At .24/g, I’m not expecting anything earth shattering, and this tea, specifically in its initial steeps, punches above its weight considering price. It was nice to try this since I’ve been tempted to blind cake this before and I’m glad I didn’t since I prefer sweeter shous.

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2003 Xiaguan Jiaji tuo

Purchased from Liquid Proust
HK natural stored

6.0g, 100 mL gaiwan, 212f, Brita filtered tap

This was a pain to break apart and I ended up with a fair amount of dust and holes in my puer tray… the 6.0g here is all chunks though, so should be an okay session. Have never tried any XG tuos, so this should be an interesting reference tea session

20s rinse

Dry leaf smells slightly sweet, but nothing else of note. Not very aromatic, but I’ve also been noticing that some of my Bovedas need to be rehydrated so this might be dried out. I’m not sure.

Wet leaf smells just like aged sheng slightly mushroomy. But also none of the chunks have really come apart. Let it sit in the gaiwan for a bit before continuing.

8s: a light sweet mushroomy aged sheng taste, very slight menthol. Light sweet aftertaste. A warming feeling

10s: good aged light mushroomy woody taste, a hint of what might’ve been bitterness in its youth. A vegetal/minty and slight sweet aftertaste.

10s: slight sour medicinal aged mushroomy taste. Slight sweet aftertaste. Nothing special here but this is really easy drinking. If not for the pain of breaking up a tuo (some sessions probably will be majority fannings…) and slight annoyance at the rising cost, I would love to stock up on these for years to come.

10s: slight smoky bitterness atop the general aged taste. Cooling minty aftertaste with a nice bit of sweetness. Slight aroma mouth and upper throat.

12s: stronger sweet medicinal along with the usual sour mushroomy aged taste. Slight menthol and cooling aftertaste

12s: a slight sour rubbery taste. Leaves a drying feeling on tongue. Slight crushed mint aspect to it.

10s: light, nothing exciting

15s: light, mushroomy slight sour, but also slight sweetness. Tinge of astringency.

18s: generic aged sheng taste, very light medicinal bitterness. Slight cooling minty sweetness in aftertaste.

30s: color is still decent, but taste is pretty light, probably owing to the nature of a choppy factory blend. Will probably cap this session and thermos soon.

1 min.: surprisingly sweet woodiness. Slight hint of bitterness. Some drying, but fades pretty quickly.

1 min: light in taste, drying on tongue, but sweet aftertaste that turns into an almost wood chip like character. Sort of odd, not sure what to make of it.

2 min. 10s: Light taste, but still decently sweet aftertaste

2 min. 30s: similar

3 min. 10s: light herbal aged taste

5 min.: pretty light and not evolving much at this point. Will thermos remainder

Overall: slight burps, decent warming on the first steep, but slight warming comes and goes with the rest.

I like this far more than I expected. Also this steeped out for much longer than I expected from the other Xiaguans I’ve tried. ’03 must have been a good year.
Anyway, 36c/g isn’t terribly far fetched for a sheng in a nice spot with nearly 18 years of aging since this was produced back in December of ’03, but it’s painful knowing how cheap these were even a few years back. Someone has to pay for the prime HK real estate, I guess.


I could have almost sold you a cake at that price. Old stuff is expensive for sure. Still deals out there though.

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while this site is mostly inactive, the organization and formatting is convenient to add notes without the hassle of making a blog. Yes, people leave reviews elsewhere, but it’s convenient to have them all in one place when you’re deciding whether to purchase. Tastes are subjective, but hobbies tend to be universally expensive and time consuming; tea is no exception. Learning as it relates to perception is largely individual and thus these reviews represent my own experience, but also are my small contribution to reducing inefficient blind buys (ahem, tuition, as it were) universally.

In sum, the usual “reviews are just personal impressions” apply. Is it maybe unfair to review a tea with one tasting? Sure. But I’m not made of money, so if a first impression is bad, then I have little reason to gamble on more.

As of 4/21/21, I will no longer assign numerical ratings to a tea unless it is terrible enough to warrant one. There are a lot of solid teas out there, so it’s hard to differentiate. I prefer reading mildly subjective reviews from others, over a very subjective numerical rating that gets skewed by Steepster’s calculating system anyway.

Not too into 红茶, too light or burnt-roasted oolongs, or gyokuro.



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