115 Tasting Notes

I am so behind on reviewing some green tea samples Angel and Teavivre kindly sent me earlier this summer. Life keeps getting in the way of things and, being not much of a green tea drinker, I wind up instinctively reaching for a familiar oolong or pu’er tea on most days. But, I’m feeling a little more adventurous right now and thought I’d brew this up and give it a try!

(Spring 2014 batch)

Brewed aroma: Grassy, vegetal. Almost like freshly mown grass.

Taste: Also grassy and vegetal, with a hint of salt and a pleasant, smoky bitterness lurking in the background. Crisp, refreshing aftertaste that’s very satisfying, almost as if I’ve finished a hearty vegetable stew. Sometimes I can also taste some sweetness creeping in a little later.

Like I mentioned before, I don’t usually drink green teas, but this was a nice and enjoyable one! Thanks Teavivre!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 15 sec 0 OZ / 0 ML

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88

Sample from an order from who-knows-when. I’m not very good at keeping track of samples— they just sort of turn up in my tea trunk when I’m not expecting it.

Just on my first steep (about 30 seconds), I swear I can taste banana bread with a hint of dark chocolate chips. Glancing through others’ notes, I don’t think anyone’s mentioned anything about bananas, so I’m a bit baffled as to where that came from.

I have no idea what’s going on with my tongue, but I’m definitely enjoying this shu so far!

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90

… Oh dear.

I may have to place yet another order with Mandala within the next few weeks. Preferably after I move in to my apartment for the upcoming semester.

Got a 10g sample of this with— actually, I have no idea which order this came with. One of the three I placed this month (whoops, sorry wallet).

Even though I’ve been slowly accumulating a small quantity of pu’er cakes over the past year and a half or so, I’m still very, very new to pu’ers, especially shengs (I’m a bit better with shus since I started exploring those first).

Anyway, I started steeping this sample early this morning, not long after I woke up. Two quick 5-10 second rinses, which gave rise to a lovely leathery aroma. First few 10-second steeps were leathery and smoky with a mildly astringent bite. The leather and smoke eventually faded and gave way to a succulent, peach-like flavour. The astringency has toned down a little bit, but it’s definitely still apparent. I’m currently on I-don’t-know-what-number-but-it’s-lasted-me-all-day steep and I accidentally left it sitting for about an hour, so it’s now at room temperature. I’m definitely getting a mouthwatering stone-fruit sweet/tartness after each sip that I hadn’t noticed earlier. Wow.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g
Cwyn

This cake knocked my socks off, and it is an amazing value for all this aged flavor. Can be found cheaper elsewhere, but the storage would be unknown. I am convinced it is Mandala’s storage which made this cake far better than it is elsewhere, making a little extra for it well worth it. Ordered two for myself.

Ag

I have it sitting in my shopping cart, just waiting for me to hit the “Place Order” button. I’m trying to hold out until I move back on campus mid-August but it might be a losing battle because my enjoyment of this tea increases with every sip, haha.

ashmanra

That is an interesting point you made, Cwyn. I had never considered the difference that storage would make on the seller’s side of things, just in my own home. Thank you for bringing that up!

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82

Thanks to Angel and Teavivre for the generous samples!

I could smell the dry leaf from the moment I opened the sample pouch. A savoury, roast-y aroma.

Steeped, the aroma becomes a bit more vegetal. The taste is quite light, still sort of savoury with a hint of nuttiness and to my surprise, a slight hint of sweetness. There’s a lightly astringent finish.

I usually don’t drink green teas (longjing being an exception), but I could see myself drinking more of this!

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85
drank Irish Breakfast by Butiki Teas
115 tasting notes

Whoa. Has it really been over a month since my last note? Doesn’t feel like that long ago.

Just came home from some travelling— took a short-term May abroad course about bioethics in the Netherlands for a few weeks, then went off to London on my own for another week or so. It was a wonderful experience. The history of the Netherlands and the influences it’s had on Dutch culture (a unique blend of individualism balanced with cooperation that ties in with a general theme of tolerance) is fascinating. The food was delicious, too (I fell in love with poffertjes, stroopwafels, and various rijsttafel dishes that I don’t know the names of). I’d love to go back and live there for an extended period of time, to be honest (studying bioethics there would be great).

London was just amazing. Words cannot describe how excited and stunned I was to be in the city, since there is so much history there (and just in the country in general). It’s also a really expensive city… think NYC prices numerically, then double it because of the GBP to USD conversion rate. Thank goodness for hostels (though I may try couchsurfing or AirBnB next time).

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to pick up any teas this trip (I was trying to fly hand luggage only and the cheeses I got from Gouda took up a lot of space). But I really hope to return in the future, because there are so many more museums I’d like to visit, and the rest of England and other countries of the UK as well!

Anyway, that long note was basically just to say that my status with this tea is almost a sipdown, and it’s definitely going on my repurchase list once I’m out. It’s smooth, malty, and a strong tea that isn’t at all a “yell-in-your-face” strong, but more of a firm shake of the shoulder, “hey, time to get up and meet the day” strong.

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80
drank Grapefruit Dragon by Butiki Teas
115 tasting notes

Sipdown!

This really does taste like grapefruit. Citrusy sour and sweet with a tiny hint of bitterness like you’d find when eating the actual thing.

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85
drank Peach HoppiTea by Butiki Teas
115 tasting notes

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86
drank Rhubarb Vanilla Ale by Butiki Teas
115 tasting notes

Another sad sipdown.

Tangy and fruity, but not overwhelmingly so, with some nice sweetness and a hint of spice from the hops. I get the feeling this would be amazing over ice or when cold brewed.

I think I might have to re-order this one, too, eventually.

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95
drank The Black Lotus by Butiki Teas
115 tasting notes

A sad sipdown.

I’ll miss this. Deliciously malty and smooth. Makes mornings easier to work through, coming from a person who is very much not a morning person. I do plan on restocking once I get my tea box further under control, haha.

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83

Sipdown!
I love how the subtle pine blends in beautifully with the buttery green tea base and scent of jasmine. I think I’ve mentioned before that I generally dislike jasmine because I often find it overwhelming for me, but I’m really glad I gave this a try because everything is wonderfully blended.

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Profile

Bio

Update: Have been occupied as of late with graduate program applications. I’ll still be on Steepster, but will mostly be in lurk-mode with the occasional review.

Brewing method is usually Western style for black teas (2-3 minutes at near-boiling), “grandpa style” for shu pu’ers and longjing, and pseudo-gongfu (no yixing) short steeps for sheng pu’ers (two 5-second rinses, then 5, 10, 15-second steeps with a gradual increase in steep times to taste).

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. I plan to give my rating system an overhaul and will eventually get around to rescaling older ratings.

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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