149 Tasting Notes


Bumping up the rating.

This is probably my favourite sheng. Stonefruit, leather, slight smokiness. I love smelling the wet leaves. I’d drink it more often if I could, but I’m trying to make it last a while because I love it so much, haha. Wish I’d gotten a tong of this, space issues be damned.


I was lucky to get two cakes when Mandala had it, their storage is really excellent.

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drank Anastasia by Kusmi Tea
149 tasting notes

For some reason, bergamot and I don’t always get along when it comes to tea. It’s quite hit or miss with me. I picked up an adorable sample tin of this sometime a year or two ago— it came as part of a sampler set. Though the teas were definitely of good quality, I wasn’t a huge fan of most of the others. However, I rather liked this one.

Smooth and sweet black tea base. The flavouring isn’t too overwhelming— the bergamot is tempered a little by the lemon, lime and subtle orange blossom notes. Quite comforting, like being wrapped up in a warm blanket.


I seem to like bergamot with added flavors, like other citrus. This sounds nice. :)

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drank Yunnan Beauty by Mandala Tea
149 tasting notes

I’ve had this oolong for a while and figured it would be time to revisit it.

The dry leaf smells lovely. Fruity and just a hint roasty.

Very smooth, with a honeylike sweetness. There’s a hint of fruit lingering in the background as well. I seem to be in the mood for lighter teas over the past few days— normally I prefer strong teas that pretty much yell “HI THERE” at my tastebuds with its roastiness/earthiness/smokiness/leatheriness/‘heavier’ flavours (looking at you, Special Dark and Jade Dew). Anyway, this really hits the spot for me this evening.

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Got this as a sample from Teavivre several months ago. Thanks, Angel!

Anyway, I’m not terribly experienced with green teas in general— so far, I know that I really enjoy long jing and bi luo chun, but I’ve admittedly done little else in the exploration of green teas.

I’m presently drinking this grandpa style after a random flash steep with my infuser (I changed my mind and decided to go grandpa style right after).

For the flash steep (a large splash of room temperature with 208F water, so I’d guess somewhere around 170F) : Sweet, creamy/buttery, refreshing. Not at all vegetal.

Grandpa style (probably closer to 180F this time): Vegetal, simultaneously savoury and sweet. Somewhat nutty. Light but pleasant astringency.

Overall, I really like it. Light but flavourful and not too subtle. Quite refreshing. I’m very tempted to get more but good grief my tea box is overflowing.

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Early steeps are dark and sort of earthy with a light sweetness. Later steeps become much lighter and sweeter with no earthiness. Hopefully by the time my tea box is no longer overflowing I may be able to get another brick of this and some more of their other Bulang shu. That might be a while, though.

Steeped this in a clay teapot my uncle gave me a few years back— I don’t remember if it’s yixing or not and I may have previously used it a few times for black teas, but I’ve reseasoned it for shu pu’ers now. I recently rediscovered another two clay teapots that were gifted to me by my relatives but disappeared amidst moving chaos last year. One’s now seasoned for shengs and the other oolongs (primarily roasted ones, I’m thinking). Hopefully I’ll be able to find some time this upcoming semester to use them every so often!


i think this tea is great everyday tea. quality tea that tastes good. and can i have your relatives ? nobody gives me yixing


Agreed, it’s a fantastic everyday tea. Also a great example of how a tea’s flavour can change throughout steeps. I really loved having it in the morning and then steeping it throughout the day— I usually like strong/earthy pu’er in the morning and something lighter/sweeter in the evenings.


Good stuff.

Crimson Lotus Tea

It’s always nice when you rediscover teapots that disappeared! :-)

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Thanks Angel and Teavivre for the samples!

So generally, I’m not a huge fan of floral teas. Or floral anything. Can’t stand jasmine-scented anything, lavender alarms rather than soothes me.

The one exception to that rule is osmanthus.

I remember when I was a kid, my mom would mix a bunch of little osmanthus flowers with sugar. She’d just use a tiny bit of the scented sugar in whatever thing she was making (usually some kind of congee or porridge) and the whole kitchen would explode with the fragrance. I’d come running to breakfast that morning. I loved the taste and smell of osmanthus so much.

It’s been years since I’ve lived with my parents, and even longer since I’ve had that congee. We moved and good osmanthus flowers pretty much became impossible to find. That jar of osmanthus sugar lasted for one glorious year and I still remember how sad I was when it ran out.

Anyway, this tea is fantastic. Not at all overly-scented or artificial-tasting. It might be my memory playing with me, but I think it’s slightly sweet, far from cloying. The natural floral flavour of the base tea works well with the osmanthus flavouring. Osmanthus still lingering in a resteep, but just barely. I really like this one.

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The sticky rice description is incredibly accurate. If the whole sipping a hot liquid thing didn’t give it away, I’d probably think I was eating lightly sweetened sticky rice.

On a side note, I think I’m coming down with something. My sinuses were really bothering me earlier today and I could barely pick out specific flavour notes between the two shus I had today. Bleh.

No rating because I think I’ve given up on doing numerical ratings at this point, since recalibrating previous reviews is a pain.


Ugh, the numerical ratings are killing me too. I know my scale has changed a fair bit – it’s way more helpful for me to read my reviews to figure out whether I thought I tea was reasonable or not.


I agree! This is a nice one.

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drank Hello Sweetie by Butiki Teas
149 tasting notes

I can probably count on one hand the companies I get my flavoured teas from, and Butiki is one of them. After reading all the rave reviews of this, I added it to my wishlist and it sat there for a long time until I read about Butiki’s eventual closing.

Somehow a package filled with tea showed up on my doorstep last week. No idea how that happened.

I had a rather hectic week, so I didn’t get around to trying anything in it until yesterday, when I pulled this one out at random. Three teaspoons, 12 oz water at 200 F, and I had dessert in a cup.

One thing I love about Butiki’s flavoured teas is how the flavouring really complements the base tea. I didn’t get much in the way of bananas, but the coconut and buttery toffee went deliciously well with the honey and caramel of the Premium Taiwanese Assam base. And my room smelled like cookies.

I’m very tempted to get more before it’s gone for good. There’s something so comforting about this tea.


Funny how the tea just appears…. >.>

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drank Golden Turtle by Mandala Tea
149 tasting notes

Got this from a while back but only had it a few times. Lovely, buttery texture. Lightly floral and slightly vegetal with a hint of savouriness.

To be honest, since I got this I discovered that I’m not a huge fan of floral notes in my teas (which is why I’m choosing to not rate it). Otherwise, this is an excellent tea for lovers of Anxi tieguanyin. Personally, I find it a bit too green for my taste, but I’m glad to have tried it. I do like the texture.

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Sipdown of the 2012 batch.

Tastes different from the cake form. Some notes seem stronger, in some way, but other notes (like the light smokiness) seem to have disappeared. Still pleasantly sweet and crisp. I think I prefer the cakes, but this is still very good!

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I have far too many interests. Tea is one of them.

Background in bioethics, medical anthropology, and evolutionary biology with aspirations of eventually going into a medical field. I also have strong interests in theater, computer science, and food (which shouldn’t be particularly surprising).

Brewing method is usually Western style for black teas (2-3 minutes at near-boiling), “grandpa style” for shu pu’ers and longjing, and gongfu (with a gaiwan) short steeps for sheng and shu pu’ers (two 5-second rinses, then 5, 10, 15-second steeps with a gradual increase in steep times to taste). The gaiwan is also used for oolongs though I sometimes use a brew basket if the gaiwan is occupied and I’m taking a break from pu’er.

I enjoy black teas, pu’er, and oolongs (leaning towards aged, cliff/Wuyi, or roasted/dark), depending on my mood. I don’t usually drink green tea but do enjoy a cup every so often.

My rating methods have changed over time and as a result, they’re very inconsistent. For the most part, as of 11 November 2014, unless a tea is exceptional in some way (either good or bad), I will refrain from leaving a numerical rating.

The final iteration of my rating system before I stopped (note: I never did get around to re-calibrating most of my older notes):
99 & 100: I will go to almost any lengths to keep this stocked in my cupboard.
90-98: I’m willing to or already do frequently repurchase this when my stock runs low.
80-89: I enjoy this tea, and I may be inclined to get more of it once I run out.
70-79: While this is a good tea, I don’t plan on having it in constant supply in my tea stash.
50-69: This might still be a good tea, but I wouldn’t get it myself.
40-49: Just tolerable enough for me to finish the cup, but I don’t think I’ll be trying it again any time soon.
Below 40: Noping the heck out of this cup/pot.

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