237 Tasting Notes

86

I cooled off the water a bit from last time and found that helped eliminate the burnt notes I had encountered. Instead I got a full-bodied, rather raisiny tea with just a touch of astringency and no bitterness. I was reading a little yesterday about the differences found in first flush vs. second flush teas, so now I’m interested to try two side-by-side to see if I can taste the same things. The descriptions made me think that I’d probably enjoy second flush more, as it’s said to exhibit more of the muscatel flavors that I enjoy in Darjeelings – we’ll just have to see about that!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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85

Had two infusions of this yesterday afternoon, but no time to log it until now. It’s probably just the fall season getting to me, but I swear they tasted roastier and more “fall-like” than previous tastings have. I am still getting some vegetal, spice, and fruit notes, but coated in a warm and slightly smoky cloak. This is definitely a tea that rewards deeper investigation!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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91

I had several steeps of this today and really enjoyed it. It gave me just enough of a caffeine hit to be noticeable, without getting wired, and the taste stayed interesting the whole time, evolving over the course of the steepings. It always maintained a pleasant level of natural sweetness underlying the earthiness, and was not as heavy as some pu-erhs I’ve had that can leave a bitter taste behind.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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100

I’m officially spoiling myself today – spending the morning with Hawaii-Grown Black, and the afternoon with Tie Guan Yin. After a tired start to the day, these two helpers got me through in fine spirits. As usual, the Tie Guan Yin felt healthy and clearing to my senses, and it didn’t hurt that it was absolutely delicious through each steep!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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100
drank Hawaii-Grown Black by Samovar
237 tasting notes

My mind is playing tricks on me – I could have sworm that I’d ordered 50g of this tea, but taking a closer look at the packaging today, it turns out it was only 25g. Wishful thinking at work!

In any case, with Thanksgiving coming up this week (in the USA anyway), it seemed like a starchy, sweet potato-like tea would be a good choice. Yes, this one is always a good choice. It is very much the tea equivalent of comfort food for me with its sweet, starchy warmth and complete lack of bitterness.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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87
drank Meng Ding Huang Ya by Canton Tea Co
237 tasting notes

Today’s steeps of this favorite revealed a lot of buttery goodness – I kept the temperature fairly low and steeped for a little bit more time than I have before, and not surprisingly got a richer brew that didn’t get unpleasantly bitter or astringent. Still getting a combo of vegetables with the occasional piney aroma and flavor.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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89
drank Landpartie by Demmers Teehaus
237 tasting notes

It’s no longer summer by a long shot, but I was in the mood for this summery taste today. The apple flavor really came through this time, both in the aroma and in the flavor, with little hints of mint in the background. It tastes natural and not overly sweet, and this time I chose to put in some cream and sugar. That managed to mask the remaining mint flavor, but brought out the apple quite nicely. It didn’t exactly end up tasting like liquid apple pie, as it didn’t have any yeasty/bready notes, but it was sweet and dessert-like none the less.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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96
drank Jasmine Pearls by Canton Tea Co
237 tasting notes

Had a couple really nice infusions of this today – still fragrant, floral, naturally sweet, and delicate. I went with water a little cooler than I normally use, and found that this brought out the sweetness more and toned down the intense floral scent and flavor. I like it when a tea can really change character like that when the parameters are even slightly varied.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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98
drank Black Orchid by Mariage Frères
237 tasting notes

Decupboarding…sniff sniff! I steeped it up extra strong today in an attempt to have it leave a lasting mark on my memory, which is all I’m going to have until I have a chance to get more in a few months. So it’s not really goodbye old friend, simply au revoir -

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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85

I decided to add more leaf to the pot this time – about 50% more than I usually do – and really liked the outcome! It was much more buttery, and had something approaching a starchy flavor which was very satisfying. This was sitting on top of the sweet grassy notes I’d gotten in previous tastings, which made for a very nice combination. I’ll bump it up a few points based on that.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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Profile

Bio

Grandma introduced me to tea as a kid (lipton with milk and sugar; a bit poured into the saucer to cool it down and then sipped from there), and I’ve never looked back. Still have a slight preference for teas that go well with milk (or even better, cream) and sugar, but since Grandma’s day I’ve branched out to appreciate green and white teas, rooibos and pu erh. Absolutely love Mariage Freres!

Location

Washington, DC

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