Welcome to Dani Lieuthier's #tea tasting notes. As Dani travels the globe in search of the best teas known to humanity, she'll be reporting back her finds to Secret Sommelier. When all is done, Dani will be returning to Brasil to open her own tea and pastry shop. Stay tuned!

Iron Buddha - Oolong Tea Review

Iron Buddha - Oolong loose tea from Fujian, China

Preparation: 4g or 2tsp per 250ml; temperature of water - 100 C; brewing - 3 mins 

Tasting notes from the 1st brew:

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Red Dragon Black loose leaf tea Review

Red Dragon Black loose leaf tea from Yunnan, China 

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Jasmine Pearls Supreme Green Tea Review

Jasmine Pearls Supreme - Green loose tea from Fujian, China 

This light but beautifully perfumed tea is ideal to drink after lunch as a pick-up or for a mid-afternoon.

Preparation: 5g or 2tsp per 250ml; temperature of water - 80 C; brewing - 4 mins 

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WUYI Oolong loose tea from Fujian, China

 This rich but very smooth tea ideal for a mid-afternoon on its own.

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Ok, so let’s keep on tasting the basics! On the last post, we tasted a Chinese oolong, Tie Guan Yin. Now, it’s India time.

When we talk about Indian teas, the names of three regions come into our minds: Darjeeling (my fav ever), Assam and – let’s not forget about – Nilgiri Hills. Today, we’re tasting a black tea from Assam. So traditional, so delicious. More of Indian tea coming on in later posts.

Assam tea tasting

On the top, from the first to the fourth brew. On the bottom, dry leaves, wet leaves after one brews and wet leaves after four brews.

If I tell you “What does black tea taste like?” I’m pretty sure it’s something like an Assam black tea. Let’s get to it!

So, for this tasting, I’m using an Assam from this Spring. It’s an Assam Orthodox, grade SFTGFOP1, which means “Special Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe”


Steeping time: 2 minutes. Steeping temperature: 90C.

Assam tea tasting note 2
BEFORE: Assam Black tea, dry leaves

AFTER: Assam Black tea, wet leaves - after first brew.


Looking: Chocolate brown, with a few green tones.

Smelling: It’s like earth with a hint of mandarine. Strong but slightly fresh in the end. Maybe like a big field with no grass, just soil, and a few mandarine trees in the middle of it. I can smell it by far. You see, by burning out my previous brew, the aroma was completely different!


Looking: The colour could be described as a light and brownish orange. Very bright. 

Smelling: The aroma is a little bit less earthy than the previous brew. Now I can smell something sour in the leaves. It makes my eyes tickle.

Tasting: Bitter-sweet, and still a little sour. A very round tea. Thank God and Buddha I’ve given it a second chance. Now it tastes like heaven. It’s a little bit adstringent. Aftertaste is sweet, but just a little bit. I taste caramelized orange zest. I taste a hint of chocolate. It feels like eating a honkongnese sponge cake with brown sugar. Soft and wonderful. So let’s get to our… 


Steeping time: 3 minutes. Steeping temperature: 90C.


Smelling: I smell pecan nuts! I smell roasted almonds. I smell a chocolate cake being baked in the kitchen. Oh, Gosh! I wanna drink this tea right now!


Looking: Again, a brownish orange. Bright. And the colour is somehow more vivid.

Smelling: The aroma is very nutty. It relaxes me so much, like entering a hot shower.

Tasting: It is so nutty I can even taste some greasiness even though there is none. The flavor is very still and relaxing. Round. A bit sweet, slightly sour, a light bitterness stays in my tongue. It’s adstringent. My tongue is tickling. I’m loving it!


Steeping time: 3 minutes. Steeping temperature: 90C.


Smelling: They don’t have much smell anymore. But there is still some earth aroma.



Looking: Now it’s a pale yellow, a bit brownish. 

Smelling: Now, I smell a sweet strawberry coulis. You see my references are based in pastry and bakery. I can’t help it. I’m a pastry chef afterall!

Tasting: It’s sweet and sour. Like a strawberry and chocolate bombom (Brazilian recipe which is made by fresh strawberries, a cream made of sweet condensed milk and chocolate covering). Very sweet in the beginning, then sour, then, in the aftertaste it sweet again, and very adstringent. I’m getting hungry now.


Steeping time: 4 minutes. Steeping temperature: 90C.

Tea tasting assam black
Assam Black tea. Wet leaves after four brews.


Smelling: Doesn’t smell much!



Looking: It’s a pale yellow.

Smelling: Not much smell.

Tasting: Not much taste. So you should stop by the third brew!


Here are some ideas of recipes you can pair this gorgeous tea with: mushroom risotto, potato gratin, crème brulée, cookies with some nuts, chocolate mousse. Bon appétit! I’m getting hungry.

Assam tea tasting 5

Mrs Bee also likes black tea!

Time to say goodbye, see you in the next post, within two weeks! Best wishes with tea!

by Dani Lieuthier

Tea Tasting Note: Tie Guan Yin

This famous Oolong is one of the most popular teas in China. It is cultivated and manufactured in the Fujian Province. It is known for its calming effect. The loose leaves are rolled unequally. We can distinguish plenty of buds in this tea, as the lighter green leaves. This oolong is approximately 50% oxidized.

tieguan-yin-dry-leaves-optTie Guan Yin - Dry Leaves

The aroma is strong and pungent. It can be infused up to three or four times, till there is no more taste. It should be infused at a temperature of 80-85oC, for 3-4 minutes.

banner-tie-guan-yin-wet-leaves-optTie Guan Yin - Wet Leaves

In the first infusion, the high quality of this tea is confirmed: the liquid is very clear. Its color is light yellow. The smell takes place in the whole room: sweet peach. The taste reminds a garden of orchids. Sweet and round. Its light and mild aroma brings refreshment in the first sip, which remains till the aftertaste.

tie -guan-yin-infusion-optTie Guan Yin - Infusion

In the second infusion, the taste gets slightly lighter. Drinking it brings me the feeling of walking around a flower field.

In the third infusion, the taste is not as sweet as the first and second infusions. As it gets less sweet, it gets more refreshing. There is some astringency in the aftertaste, tingling the tip of the tongue.

Delicious and highly recommended!

by Dani Lieuthier


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