710 Tasting Notes

85

Another tea from Han Xiang this morning! I find that it has kind of become a habit for me to try a new-to-me black tea (assuming I have one) for my first cup of the day. And that’s the case today! This is the second of three different jin jun mei teas that I ordered samples of, and the leaves are so teeny compared to the first one! They’re almost like miniature versions of the same leaves. They’re quite thin and slightly twisty, and about half golden and half dark. Dry scent is mildly sweet with a hint of herbaceousness that I often find in Fujian black teas.

Brewed, this tea smells very rich with dark fruit notes and a definite scent of molasses, along with that herby smell. Yum, this tea is dark and rich with a very strong flavor. It has a very potent herbaceous note that I find similar to dill? But not quite exactly there. This note always frustrates me, as I can never identify it! :P Otherwise, this tea has a strong fruity presence, in a dark, syrupy dried fruit kind of way. Specifically, I would identify it as a mixture of raisin, prune, and dried dark cherry. Alongside this fruitiness is a lovely rich molasses flavor that goes perfectly with the dark fruits. I catch the slightest suggestion of floral in the aftertaste, which does nothing to deter me.

So I’m wondering if that herby dill-like note is the result of the roasting? I don’t think I’ve ever noticed whether other Fujian black teas I’ve tried were roasted or not, so I guess I should keep that in mind from now on!

Flavors: Cherry, Dill, Dried Fruit, Floral, Molasses, Raisins, Roasted

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
MzPriss

This sounds really good

Cameron B.

I can send you some if you’d like. Their samples were very generous. :D

MzPriss

Oh! That would be nice. I’ll PM :)

sherapop

Dill and cherry? Hmmm… unique!

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80

Just tried this one using the traditional chai method on the stovetop. I used 8 ounces of water and 8 ounces of vanilla soy milk, brought them to a boil and then added a tablespoon of tea. I simmered it for ten minutes and then added some sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract (can you tell I like vanilla…?). It actually came out pretty tasty! This blend has too many cloves in it, in my opinion, and I can’t really taste the other spices aside from maybe the ginger. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since one of the teas in this blend has cloves and then the blender added more cloves on top of that. Oh well, still tasty! :D

Preparation
8 min or more 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Sami Kelsh

Oh man, too much clove :( Otherwise, it sounds like it would be loooooooovely!

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88

This was one of the free samples included in my (very generous) order from Han Xiang Ecological Tea via AliExpress. I must say, so far I am quite impressed with this seller – their tea seems to be of high quality, especially for the price I paid. The samples were two bucks for two small baggies of tea, and I was actually sent three baggies in some cases, along with four bonus samples and a little tea strainer. Huzzah! Thanks to yyz for the awesome recommendation!

So, this tea itself. The leaves are quite beautiful, they’re a lovely combination of white/silver and dark grey/green colors. The contrast of the two colors makes them very striking. I don’t really get much of a dry scent from the leaf, there’s a bit of jasmine but that’s definitely just contamination from the jasmine pearls that they also sent. I was unsure how long to steep this tea, so I started at 1 minute and then kept going until 2 minutes after tasting it.

The brewed aroma is surprisingly smoky and mineral? There’s a bit of the expected vegetal quality hiding in the background too. At first taste, this tea is definitely different from what I expected! At the forefront are fairly sturdy savory smoke and mineral flavors combined with a bit of a seaweed note. The smokiness almost reminds me of smoked meat, ha ha. Somewhere near the middle, that vegetal tone starts to come out and assure me that this is, after all, a green tea. At the end of the sip is a nice mild floral taste that suggests honeysuckle to me, and a light dried apricot flavor, and these continue into the aftertaste. I am left with a fresh and sweet taste in my mouth that lingers long after I’ve finished drinking.

Overall, this tea was unexpected and very enjoyable for me! I’m very happy that the seller chose to include this sample in my order. :)

Flavors: Apricot, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Seaweed, Smoke, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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88

Sipdown! (112)

Aw, I overleafed this a wee bit and it came out somewhat bitter. I guess in the future I should just throw out that awkward amount of leaf that would’ve been left over, since it’s not really worth it ruining my final cup. I first had this tea in my Den’s sampler and then Ost sent me another packet as a bonus sample in a swap. I like it a lot, it’s definitely one of the best senchas I’ve tried so far. Hooray Den’s! :)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Stephanie

my fave sencha

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85

Sipdown! (113)

This one is definitely my favorite of the Star Wars fandom blends. It’s a nice combination of almond and hazelnut flavors with just a bit of cinnamon. Super delicious with sugar and vanilla soy milk! And you can’t really taste the rooibos or honeybush much, which is nice.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

This sample came from Mandy. This tea seems to get quite a bit of love around these parts, so I was rather excited to try it. Jasmine is one of the few florals that I can stand, assuming it’s not overly powerful. The green tea leaves are dark blue/grey/green and quite thin, and they’re curled up slightly. There are also very thin pine needles mixed in. I used 1.5 teaspoons of leaf and steeped at 175 degrees for 1.5 minutes.

The brewed aroma is very sweet with jasmine and just a little bit of pine scent. Hmm… Brewed this way, this tea is a bit too light for me. Perhaps next time I’ll try a longer brew time. The jasmine is at the forefront, but it’s not too strong. The green tea is quite mild and buttery with a sweet edge. The pine mostly manifests as a nice cooling sensation near the end, but I can also taste hints of it throughout the sip. Overall, I can see this one being nice and comforting and relaxing, but I think I would either brew it with more tea or for longer.

Flavors: Butter, Jasmine, Pine, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Milk Tea by Gino Cafe
710 tasting notes

Sipdown! (115)

Trying my second (and last) packet of this in cold water today, just to make a fairer judgment of it. Last time I had it hot with vanilla soy milk and it was delicious, but I could definitely taste the milk more than the tea itself. In water, it’s not bad, but not nearly as good. It has an almost woody flavor, which is odd. Still pretty tasty though!

Not going to rate this as I don’t really have a point of reference for it. :P

Flavors: Creamy, Sweet, Vanilla, Wood

Preparation
8 OZ / 236 ML

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Sipdown! (116)

I find that I just don’t enjoy this one. Yes, it’s strong, but I don’t mind that about it… It’s the weird mineral/earth taste that I don’t like. I’ve tried it with sugar and milk and even then it’s not great, plus I don’t really want a tea that I can’t drink straight. This time I tried a 2-minute steep and it’s better, but still very… dirt and rock-like. :P

Not rating it since I don’t know jack about Assams. :D

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

Trying another tea from Han Xiang Ecological Tea via AliExpress this morning! I’m very happy to have new and exciting Yunnan teas in the house! Some of these may end up going in the cupboard, but I have to try them all first to determine whether or not they’re keepers. I must say, these are very generous samples for only two bucks, especially since I got three baggies of some of them when I was only supposed to get two! Plus free samples! Anyway, this tea. It looks similar to the other biluochun black tea I’ve had (the Whispering Pines version). The little curls are almost all golden, with some little black stripes mixed in. Dry scent is mild and honey-sweet with stonefruit notes.

Brewed, this tea smells strongly of sweet potatoes. Yum! There are also bread and nice sweet honey scents. This tea is lovely and malty with a rich sweet potatoey taste that fills the mouth. Underneath the sweet potato is a nice bready quality that reminds me of light, crisp, crusty toast with honey spread over the top. Near the end of the sip and in the aftertaste, I taste faint stonefruit notes and something that seems a bit floral. Overall, very tasty!

I need to do a 3-way tasteoff between this tea and the Whispering Pines and Yunnan Sourcing versions (as soon as I order the YS one, teehee).

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Floral, Honey, Malt, Stonefruits, Sweet Potatoes, Toast

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

My last white tea sample from TeaVivre’s last tasting event. I’ve loved all of them so far, even though I’m certainly not a white tea fanatic. I find that white tea makes a lovely evening beverage as it is very light and calming. This tea looks like other bai mudans I’ve had – leaves of various sizes and colors mixed with lovely fuzzy silver buds. Dry scent is hay and alfalfa. I did a 2 minute brew at 185 degrees.

Once brewed, this tea has the usual hay-like white tea scent, but there’s a strange mineral edge that I haven’t experienced before. The taste is mostly lovely hay and grain flavors, and it’s quite naturally sweet. That unusual mineral note is also present here, and it’s throwing me off a little bit. I’m wondering if maybe I didn’t rinse my cup after my last tea, but I’m fairly certain that I did… So odd!

Overall, a nice standard white with an interesting and unusual mineral taste.

Flavors: Grain, Hay, Honey, Mineral, Straw, Sweet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Profile

Bio

Hello, my name is Cameron. I’m 24 years old and currently living in Saratoga Springs, New York with my lovely boyfriend (a software architect). I am currently not employed, which leaves plenty of time for cooking and tea-drinking! I am a staunch lover of pugs and other squishy-face dogs, although sadly I do not currently have one. :(

I originally got into tea a couple of years ago. My sister introduced me to Teavana (there was a store in the nearby mall) and I was hooked. I have just started to drink tea again and I am very grateful to have found this community where there are so many with experience and wisdom to share!

I am a shameless Western steeper!

I love swaps! If you see something in my cupboard that you’d like to try, shoot me a private message and we’ll work something out!

My general tea info:

Likes:
Taiwanese Blacks
French Flavored Teas
Yunnan (esp. Pure Bud varieties)
Lightly Roasted Oolong
Japanese Greens (esp. Sencha & Gyokuro)
Genmaicha (traditional or otherwise)
Blueberry
Vanilla
Fig
Almond/Marzipan
Most “Dessert” Flavors (caramel, toffee, butterscotch, cake, cookie, etc.)

Favorite Companies:
Lupicia
TeaVivre
Yunnan Sourcing
Fauchon
Mariage Frères
Yunomi

Not A Fan
High Mountain Oolong
Overly Floral (esp. Rose)
Licorice Root
Hibiscus
Rose Hip
Strong Bergamot

Rating Scale:

90-100: Spectacular, a staple
80-89: Delicious, might buy again
70-79: Pretty good, won’t repurchase
60-69: Just “okay”
00-59: Undrinkable!

Location

Saratoga Springs, New York

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