237 Tasting Notes

85

Had the time to do a couple of steeps of this (2 minutes the first time and 3 the second)and enjoyed it very much both times. I’m still getting the general sweetness I experienced last time, plus a very nice balance between the vegetal and slightly roasty or malty flavors. As it cooled I picked out more of the sweet tones, and really appreciated the rich feel this tea has. Good one!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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89
drank Amarettini by Demmers Teehaus
237 tasting notes

A nice little creamy and sweet pot of this is just what is called for on this grey and rainy day. Almond scent and flavor without moving too far in the direction of sickly-sweet marzipan, and decently strong black tea base assures that I get a reasonable caffeine kick and some taste to back up the almond.

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

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78

Just barely enough of this left from my original sample to have one more cup. I’m tasting the malt much more this time around, and though there was a fair bit of dust left in the bottom of the bag, the tea didn’t end up too bitter, and had a pleasing amount of astringency. I’d like to have this one around as a single variety black tea as I’ve found it versatile – good on its own, with cream and sugar, and withstands a variety of steeping parameters.

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

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91
drank Bai Lin Gong Fu by Canton Tea Co
237 tasting notes

Time for another serving of the Darjeeling that’s not a Darjeeling, as I’m beginning to think of this one. It’s got a very similar caramel/muscatel scent and flavor to it, and today I tried to puzzle out how the two varieties differ. From what I’ve tasted so far, I think the Bai Lin Gong Fu has more of an earthy and starchy sweet potato-like sweetness to it, similar to what I’ve found in The Simple Leaf’s Dawn or Samovar’s Hawaii-Grown Black. I also think that the Darjeelings I’ve had have been a little more astringent than this tea, which is very smooth, even at fairly long first steepings (four to five minutes). One of these days I’ll have to do a side-by-side tasting and see what I find out.

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

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78
drank Kokos by Demmers Teehaus
237 tasting notes

I forgot that I had a little sample pack of coconut tea thrown in when I went shopping at Demmer’s a couple months ago, so it’s time to give this one a go. It’s dark leaf mixed with lots of little coconut bits, and definitely displays that distinctive and sweet aroma.

Five minutes of steeping and I’ve got a medium-dark liquor with a present but not overpowering coconut scent. I know I’m going to like this one better with cream and sugar, but I’ve got to try the first few sips straight up. The black tea base is malty and strong enough to stand up to the coconut, and the coconut itself is sweet without being toasty. Comparing it to Tea Frog’s Coconut Pouchong here, which has a great buttery texture to it and little bit of toastiness. Demmer’s coconut is milder and sweeter, and not as deeply flavored. With cream and sugar it’s much more like a dessert tea, sweet and rich, but still not super strong on the coconut flavor.

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

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91

I’ve been drinking a fair bit of pu-erh lately, and this one still stands out. It has a sweeter, brighter flavor than most, without losing the earthy quality that draws me to this style of tea in the first place. There’s something almost fruity about it which I’m really enjoying, as well as a mildness which makes it easier for me to want multiple steeps. Nicely done.

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57
drank Plum Berry by Rishi Tea
237 tasting notes

The last portion of this sample, and this time I’m trying it at a slightly lower temperature to see how it turns out. I think it works well this way – the tartness is toned a bit, which helps the white tea flavor and texture make itself felt. I’m going to bump it up a few points based on these parameters.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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100
drank Hawaii-Grown Black by Samovar
237 tasting notes

Today’s warm rains have put me in the mood for a taste of the islands. Still sweet, starchy, rich and fragrant and a fantastic way to whisk myself away. A couple infusions today, each one wonderful. Once again I’m impressed by the size of the leaves as they unfold – they get up to several inches long and a couple inches across – and the pie-like aroma as it steeps. So good, so good.

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

Dangitall! I need to order this one.

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83
drank Lapsang Souchong by Samovar
237 tasting notes

Looking forward to this one, since I’ve had such an interesting time tasting Samovar’s other blends featuring lapsang. The smell of the dry leaf immediately brings to mind jerky; it’s clearly on the beefy/salty end of the scale.

Once steeped up, it’s a little milder in aroma than the other Samovar lapsang blends, perhaps because it doesn’t contain any other elements to compete with the smokiness. The first sip is surprisingly mild – it’s smokey all right, but not sitting next to a campfire smokey. It’s not as savory as I would have expected, but still very tasty. I drank the first half straight up, then added cream and sugar to see where it went from there. With the additives it’s considerably quieter in personality – this is one I think I’d prefer on its own.

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

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81

Back to having this straight up (after a quick rinse in boiling water), as I had it last time with cream and sugar. I think I may have used too little leaf this time around, as it came out a little underwhelming compared to previous tastings. I still got strong earthiness, but the spicy territory it displayed before was missing. Slowly but surely I’ll come up with the ideal parameters for this one.

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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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