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46 Tasting Notes

95
drank Tangerine Blossom by Shang Tea
46 tasting notes

Oh my, what a lovely treat this morning! This tea is beautiful, fragrant, sweet, floral (but not too much) with a teensy slight tang to it. I totally agree with what others have said: that it’s delicate but at the same time absolutely bursting with flavor, complex, and oh so delicious! It is simply so pure, natural, and refreshing. Truly it is a sample of spring, of flowers and citrus, mingling together wonderfully. I think it is befitting a Shakespearean sonnet—pure poetry for the tastebuds. Drinking this has awakened my senses and put me in a very good mood. Bring on the day, for it will be beautiful! :-)

Thank you ever so much, TeaTiff, for sharing this with me!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Charissa

Also, it makes me happy that this is organic! No pesticides to taint this cup of wonderfulness—yay!

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87
drank Kukicha by Mountain Rose Herbs
46 tasting notes

This tea hits the spot on on cold winter days. Warm and wonderfully roasty-toasty, this relaxing, “feel good” tea is perfect for when one wants to hit hibernation mode and curl up like a cocoon in a blanket to doze the afternoon away. (Of course, few people actually have the luxury of doing this, but in theory, if it was possible to spend an uninterrupted afternoon snoozing, this is what one would drink!) Although, as we all know, black teas are also absolutely perfect for cold winter days, I think of those as more of a pick-me-up, energizing, get-the-blood-flowing kind of beverage. This kukicha, on the other hand, has the nice mellow roasted flavor like some oolongs and even some blacks, but without the boldness and kick that many of those will give you. I believe I have heard it is a little lower in caffeine too. Thus this tea will lead you gently into a satisfying state of snug, cozy, contentedness. Aaaaahhhh…so nice.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

Mmmmm! This is good! This Assam is wonderfully well-balanced. It does not taste artificial or too desserty. Malty, creamy, bold, with caramel notes and a nice vanilla finish, it’s pretty much everything you would want in a black dessert-flavored tea. Thank you, TeaTiff, for the sample!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

I’m taking a brief break from my oolong tastings to have some black teas. It is just that kind of day. A dull, foggy, gray morning that calls for a nice warm, rich, bold cuppa. And according to the forecast we are supposed to have a blizzard this afternoon (even though just yesterday it was sunny, “warm”—that is, above freezing, haha!—the snow was melting…and now we are to have another storm. Oh Iowa, you are funny.)

I received this wonderful sample from TeaTiff—thank you for sharing with me! Of course, I am attracted to anything chocolate, and when I saw this I thought it looked very interesting with the oolong and genmaicha blended in. I was not disappointed. It was the perfect cup to combat the dreary day—warm, roasty, not bitter at all, slightly sweet. It tasted like cocoa rice; as if a pot of steamed rice had been made and a bit of cocoa powder added to it. Yum! Very enjoyable!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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84
drank Green Tuocha by Tao of Tea
46 tasting notes

I picked this up at my local food co-op on a whim today, and am really glad I did! I have never tried a green puerh before, but have been eager to for a while so…here goes!

1st steep: 4 minutes, ~180 degrees . Light, clean, sweet, tastes of apricot and clover. note I noticed after I removed the infuser that not all of the cake had been completely submerged in the water, and thus the tea leaves had not totally unfurled—they were still in a loosely-held ball. Still, despite this, I got a nice first infusion. Light, but still tasteful.

2nd steep: 4 minutes, ~180 degrees. This time I made sure to gently break apart the ball of leaves with my teaspoon to evenly distribute them in the infuser. The taste of the finished brew was much stronger. It definitely tasted of apricot and hay, but with a decidedly bitter finish. No sweetness detectible in this infusion.

3rd steep: 4 minutes, ~180 degrees. This time the tea was much less bitter (but still had a bit of a bite lingering), and contained hay and a mild apricot flavor.

Overall, the flavors I detected didn’t change much between the infusions. The same flavors were present but at varying degrees, and the extent of the bitterness differed among the steeps. The main undeniable flavor was apricot—which surprised and pleased me. I did not expect that at all. I guess I thought that because it is a puerh, it would taste more earthy/grassy/mossy but it seemed more like a normal green tea. Very interesting! And, I might add, it was a perfect antidote to the rich lunch I ate (turkey sausage with onions sauteed in butter, and a piece of 2-layer buttermilk chocolate cake washed down with a mug of whole milk! Definitely not the healthiest meal, but that’s leftovers and they should not be wasted, haha!)

I am looking forward to drinking this tea again. I think I will steep it at a slightly lower temperature next time and see if that does anything to assuage the bitterness. Also, I think I will have to buy some of the organic green puerh offered at Gong Fu Tea for comparison’s sake.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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92

Another excellent oolong from Yezi! I actually had this tea on two separate occasions. The first is what I took tasting notes on and is what I will report here. The second time, I followed the “proper” way, by doing a rinse, then a brief 1-2 minute steep, followed by another, etc. However, while this was nice, it really didn’t make a ton of difference to me. I did pick up more on the floral flavors with that first rinse, and that actually tasted better to me than the subsequent steeps. Anyway, doing shorter more frequent steeps like that still doesn’t provide a strong enough brew for my own personal preference, but I’m glad I gave it a try.

Okay, so back to that very first brewing, which was for 4 minutes. The liquor was a light pale yellow, and the aroma was soft, sweet, leafy, and slightly floral—kind of like a garden. The taste was light, clean, crisp, and just a little dry on the tongue and throat after it was swallowed. It was very tasty indeed! Yezi is right: it is perfect tea for the afternoon to help get over that post-lunch slump! It gently awakens the senses and brightens the day. Lovely!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML
keychange

There needs to be a universally mandated post-lunch nap for the post-lunch slump!

Charissa

Yes, I totally agree. :-)

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69

I had this tea again this morning and found it to be much more smooth and mellow than the last time I tried it. It seems as though the vanilla flavor has been able to meld better with the Assam. I brewed it the same way I did the last time, so maybe the difference is that it takes a while for the vanilla essence to totally seep into the tea? Regardless, it was good. Not perfect, but still enjoyable. The sweet vanilla seemed to tame the boldness of the Assam, making it a good balance of flavors, yet it was not too dessert-like.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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98

I made a little pot of this Pouchong one afternoon along with another Yezi tea, their Dong Ding Winter Peak. It was fun to taste the two side-by-side. I am just becoming better acquainted with oolongs and figured that doing an “oolong tasting” of different kinds would be a good way for me to pick up on the nuances of flavor between them.

I steeped this Pouchong in a ceramic teapot for 4 minutes. The color of the liquor, like the Dong Ding, was a lovely golden hue. The aroma and taste was of sweet cream, honey and lemon, with hints of vanilla and pine; and it was also slightly vegetal like green tea. Oh gosh it was splendid. I think I was in heaven.

Needless to say, I am really, really enjoying these oolongs that share similarities with green tea. I like green tea, but sometimes it can be a little sharp, a little too vegetal, so I have to be in the right mood for it. Oolongs, or at least the few I’ve tried so far, seem to contain the best of what I like about green tea yet with flavors entirely their own, and they are just oh so mellow and sweet and delicious! How have I not tried these before? Wow, have I been living in a bubble or what?! I am SO pleased with this tea and wish I could make a million pots of it and drink it all day long, morning, noon, and night. Food? Don’t need it. All the flavor I could want is already here, contained in this cup.

Another day when I have time I would like to do shorter and more frequent steeps to separate out and pinpoint the flavors. That should enable me to provide a more thorough analysis. For instance, I think I detect some floral notes, but which flowers?

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

As a part of my resolve to branch out and explore oolong tea, I made a purchase from Yezi for this lovely Dong Ding. (I also ordered their Pouchong as well and made a pot of it at the same time to compare to this—-review coming soon). This tea was absolutely wonderful—made my taste buds dance! I steeped this in my little glass teapot for 4 minutes, and the color of the liquor was a beautiful gold, the aroma sweet and buttery. The taste was phenomenal: sweet, slightly floral (orchid?) slightly buttery—and overall it was lively, lingering, and lovely! It was very faintly reminiscent of the milk oolong I have from Gong Fu Tea, only less creamy/buttery and with the added floral notes. Aaaahhhh truly a delight in every sense!
I steeped the leaves again, this time for 5 minutes, and could definitely taste more of floral aspects. It was also creamy, a little more vegetal, and dry on the tongue, but not at all unpleasant.
This is a definite LOVE. I will have to order this again. It is such a pleasing and complex tea, so fresh and tasty, you can just tell it is of very exceptional quality. This is truly happiness in a cup!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Profile

Bio

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
― C.S. Lewis

I have been enjoying and obsessing over tea since my college days, when a good cup got me through a long night of studying. Later on, tea helped keep me energized and hydrated for my long runs when I was marathon training. I was (and still am) a complete health nut, and researched all of teas’ wonderful benefits and to this day value the beverage not only for its outstanding flavors but for its antioxidant and health-giving properties.

After a torturous nine-month hiatus from tea while I was pregnant (I tried not to drink too much because of the caffeine) I am back to enjoying it without guilt once again! Although I’m nursing my son so I still have to limit my intake (Bummer! Guess my days of downing 4 cups of gunpowder green tea in the morning are long gone…) I’m just savoring the 1-2 cups per day I do allot myself. Now tea has once again come to the rescue at this time in my life, granting me moments of peace and pleasure and helping me keep my sanity after many long sleepless nights with the baby. Oh thank God for tea.

Favorites: Yunnan, Kenyan, and Assam black teas, White Peony (Bai Mu Dan), Pu-erh, and Milk Oolong.

I really need to try other kinds of tea, and not just stick like glue to my favorites! However, it can be hard with a limited budget, and I tend to buy my favorites repeatedly instead of trying something new because I honestly just love what I have!

Location

Iowa

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