59 Tasting Notes

75
drank Blackwood Green by Simon Levelt
59 tasting notes

I haven’t commented on this tea before, as I found it hard to discribe. When I received my order of Dragon Well yesterday and brewed a cup, I realized that the Blackwood Geen has a character that – in certain ways – is very similar to the Dragon Well. So I figured I could write a taste note on this one after all, by comparing it to the Dragon Well.

These teas are similar in the smooth, vegetal and nutty characteristics. The Blackwood Green however has a more grassy freshness to it than the Dragon Well, which is smoother and mellower. The Blackwood Green has a somewhat pungent/sharp quality. At some point I even thought to detect a slight – although not unpleasant – bitterness. Overall the flavour is much ‘bolder’ than the Dragon Well, the latter being decidedly more delicate.

The aftertaste is also more brisk than the Dragon Well. At times I seem to catch a hint of something floral and nearly soapy. But perhaps that’s me? I tend to find fresh floral scents and tastes to be(come) soapy quite quick.

I brewed this at 85 C and for 5 minutes. The Dragon Well was brewed at 82 C for approx. 2 min 30 sec. Both according to the instructions of the respective vendors.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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80

A few years ago I had dinner at a very reputable chinese restaurant where I ordered “a green tea” and had my first Dragon Well tea. Ever since I’ve been wanting to revisit this tea, but I was always hesitant about how/where to get a good quality.

When I stumbeled on Dragon Tea House I decided to give it a try and I must say I’m not disappointed. This tea is exactly as I remember it. IMO this is the epitome of a green tea: somewhat grassy, fresh, light and with a slightly sweet aftertaste.

Will definitely be restocking this!

EDIT: In the 2nd steep – which is even better – the sweetness increases and becomes more nutty in character.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec
cteresa

I love dragonwell as well and it does often survive so well multiple steeps (don´t quit at 2, force it :)

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34

I don’t know what to make of this tea. Has flavour been added or not? I tend to agree with twinofmunin: how could it not be flavoured with such a strong scent and taste?

I ordered this tea in the hope that it could be an alternative for my much more expensive milky oolong from Theodor. Unfortunatly this is not it.

What I don’t like about this oolong is the very caramelized scent. It reminds me of hard/kristalized caramel candy. You know the type you nearly break your teeth on when trying to chew it and when you’ve finally crunched it, makes your teeth stick seriously together. Theodore’s version has a more vegetal note, which makes it more balanced and natural to the palette.

Although it certainly isn’t bad, I won’t be buying it again. It just doesn’t hold up to the Theodor Milky Oolong.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec
cteresa

Theodor´s milky oolong tastes natural for me – I do not know if it is or not, but as they say “si non è vero, è ben trovato”, if not true then it is well made up! The taste is very oolongy but I love how it seems to develop with the water, and it tastes slightly different, different notes whenever I brew it!

Pity this is not an adequate replacement, I was checking the official price and indeed it is expensive. Funnily it is the only one of their tea where the tin cames practically free!

Barbara

Yeah that one and the Yin Zhen Silver Needle.

cteresa

I love Theodor tins, they are stackable and they seal so well, it is a craving. But I used to avoid the brand because I thought they were being outrageous by charging 20 euros per tin of fruit infusions! I thought ripoff and avoided it. Buying by the weight I changed my mind because the teas are so good, but I still think outrageous that all tins are the same price! Though it is a good justification to indulge on some pricey single origins!

Barbara

Yes it is outrageous and I often tell myself that I probably could get the same quality tea for a lower prices elseware, where they don’t put so much effort in style/packaging. Esp. the plain teas.

But on the other hand I tell myself some day soon (I hope) I’ll have enough tins and start buying by the weight again.

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80
drank Notting Hill by Yumchaa
59 tasting notes

Another great tea and one of the five samples cteresa sent me in a swap. She included this tea for comparison to the Place Saint Marc of Theodore. Great choice, thanks!

Whereas the Place Saint Marc smells heavenly, I was disappointed by the taste when brewed. While not bad, the taste just was significantly less good than what you would expect based on the smell. This tea is the exact opposite. The smell – although not bad – was not exactly loose-your-socks-heavenly. The taste however exceeded my expectations.

In short: it is a very well balanced tea.

I just reviewed the 4 fruits rouges from damman freres. This tea is remakably different from that tea. The 4 fruits rouges is very fruity. The red fruits dominate the tea. This tea is more complex. The black tea base is much more noticable. In addition the flavouring doesn’t consist of just fruits, but also of flowers. It makes for a more complex and full bodied taste than the 4 fruits rouges.

Don’t get me wrong however: both teas are lovely. They just have amazingly different characters.

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

I do agree! And so glad you enjoyed this, I am very fond of Yumchaa teas and thought this was an interesting tea to swap for Place Saint Marc (just finished a cup of it, am now thinking about it!)

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85

I received a few samples of different black teas from cteresa today, one of which was the 4 fruits rouge from damman freres. Thanks so much Teresa!

I love this tea! Its fruity, its sweet but has a freshness and lightness to it, that I usually don’t associate with red fruits or black tea. There seems to be a very light astringency that is quite pleasant. On the other hand it may be due to the fact that I’ve tasted quite a number of teas in a few hours time.

Come summer I’m going to try to make an iced tea from this. This is the second tea I’ve tasted lately that probably will make an excellent iced tea (the other being Peche Mignon from Theodor).

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

I liked it very much as well (though, duh, still got to write taste notes about it), I think so far it is my favorite Dammann tea. The black tea base seems very similar to the other Dammann teas I have had and admittedly it is not a favorite of mine (I compared once Dammann´s black tea with peach and vanilla with Theodor and it was a Theodor landslide!). But this is so fruity and nice…

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85

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92
drank Pêché Mignon by THE O DOR
59 tasting notes

When I smelled this tea dry I wasn’t overly enthousiastic. It smelled nice, but also a bit nauseating. However I’d decided I wanted a green tea with melon, so this was going to be it and boy am I happy with my choice! Brewed the smell is simply: wow! I’m in heaven and I haven’t even drunk it yet. The smell is really incredible. Although Meliorate comments on the peach flavour, I smell melons, melons, wonderful melons…

It tastes first and foremost of melons. I wonder about the green tea base. It is very delicate and mellow. Absolutely no astringency there. I get a hint of other flavours but would be hard pressed to identify them. Perhaps I wouldn’t even have noticed if I didn’t already know there are also peaches and raspberries in there.

The salesperson said this tea also makes a good iced tea and based on how it tastes hot, I expect it will (and I’m very fussy about iced tea).

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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83
drank Travel to India by THE O DOR
59 tasting notes

Have you ever seen Hell’s Kitchen? There always is an episode in which the candidates have to taste various dishes blindfolded. More often than not de candidates can’t even recognize the most ordinary foods. That’s how I’m feeling now.

I smell the tea and think to myself: I know these smells, but can’t name them. Apart from that, I seem to smell something chocolate-ish, but according to the list of ingredients on the tin it isn’t or shouldn’t be in there…? I’ve browsed the net but can’t find any further specification. If I ever missed the full ingrients list on the website of The O Dor…

It smells sweet and spicey. The sweet will probably be the vanilla, although I don’t really recognize it as such. It melds very nicely with the more spicey spices in there, amongst which clove (and assuming vanilla is officially also a spice?). Perhaps that it is the combination that gives the chocolate-ish feel.

The base consists of a medium bodied black tea which balances nicely with the spices.

All in all a keeper!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 45 sec
cteresa

using my search trick they say "
TRAVEL TO INDIA
Flavoured black tea with major notes of Indian spices and vanilla."

hmph, that is only slightly helpful! You are making me curious about this one, spice mixes can be so very diffrent! Did you ever smell Theodor´s Baya rooibos mix? rooibos with ylang and nutmeg, an extraordinary combination – I kept choosing other teas and the store in the meanwhile closed so never actually had it, but it is on my wishlist for one day.

Barbara

Yeah, and that info already was on the tin. :-) Never tried (or even hear of) Theodor’s Baya. Ylang and nutmeg indeed sound extrodinary and if it wheren’t Theordor I would say not in a good way…

PS: I’ve put a little bit with your package so you can try a cup. I’m curious what you’ll make of it.

cteresa

Oh thank you! You did not have to, though of course will be happy to try it!

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75
drank Blackwood Green by Simon Levelt
59 tasting notes

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Profile

Bio

What to say about myself and my tea drinking habits? I’ve been staring at the screen, reading other’s bio’s and still can’t come up with something worthwile. I’ll just stick to the basics.

I generally prefer white, green and oolong teas to black teas. As I read a scientific report that stated that black teas lower the level of stress hormones in the blood, I try to add a few cups of black tea every day.

Overall I prefer black teas to be flavoured. The white, green and oolongs may be flavoured or straight.

I brew my teas per cup, mostly in my – much loved – Kati mug with Cha Cult strainer. I’m rather a stickler for brewing time and temperature, so I use a tea timer and watercooker with temperature indication.

I also love a good cup of coffee and especially cappuchino. As far as I’m concerned, a good cappuchino requires a real milk/foam topping, not something made with skimmed milk, powder or the like. Unfortunately a lot of cafes still haven’t caught on to that one and serve low quality coffee and tea (type vending machine and bagged fannings). I hate it when, on a cold winter day, the choice is restricted to bad coffee, bagged fannings or a cold softdrink… :-(

As for rating teas, I more or less make the following distinction:

100:
Nothing is perfect. Probably won’t be using it ever.

98 – 99:
Nearly too good to be true.

90 – 97:
Exceptional.

80 – 89:
Excellent.

70 – 79:
Good. May rebuy depending on price and availability.

60 – 69:
Ok I’ll finish the cup and maybe even have a second, but probably won’t finish the entire package as I have other – (far) better teas in my cupboard.

< 60:
I feel cheated. I won’t ever be buying this again.

< 50:
This really is no good.

< 30:
I hate this. I want my money back.

1:
Beyond horrible!

PS: Recalibrated my ratings according to this index on 23 feb 2013.

Location

The Netherlands

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