70 Tasting Notes

95

I had another cup this morning and I could taste the apricot a little bit more. Nice!

Uh oh. squints at the bottom of the bag and sighs. Only one more teaspoon left!! So only one more cup remains to be enjoyed. :-( I considered brewing the last of it today but felt that would be an overindulgence so I will save it for a rainy day.

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

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95

This Yunnan has been a favorite of mine all winter, although I realized I hadn’t written a review of it yet! Time to get a note done before it’s all gone…which, as I only have a few teaspoonfuls left, is a likely to be soon.

I really like Yunnan black teas—they tend to be so smooth and tasty—and this Emporer’s Gold is a good one. The dry leaf smells sweet and chocolatey. The liquor is a lovely, a rich golden brown, with a fragrance that makes my mouth water before I even take a sip. It has a very nice flavor: smooth, lightly malty (but not a ‘thick’ malt taste) with a few chocolate and caramel notes and also a very slight but pleasant peppery bite. Mmmm!

Having ‘gold’ in the name is highly appropriate, not only because it literally describes some of the leaf color and also the golden brown liquor, but also in a sort of metaphorical sense too: like pure gold, which is bright and beautiful but very malleable, this is a brilliant and malleable black tea; solid but also soft and smooth on the palate. It doesn’t have the super bold strength of an Assam (which could be equated with Iron, to carry the metal analogy further, haha). And, as the description states, just like gold this tea is highly valuable and fit for an emperor! So I feel like royalty (or should I say royalTEA) every time I take a sip. Yum!

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

Okay, I had to go ahead and have another cup of this. It is just TOTALLY hitting the spot this morning and one cup was not enough to make my craving go away. I think it’s because I have been drinking a lot of stronger black teas like English Breakfast, Bolder Breakfast, and Assam this week so it’s nice to tone it down a notch and enjoy something a little different today.

Nicole

Funny – when I went to Gong Fu on my Iowa road trip, the kid working the counter said he had never heard of Yunnans. :) Now I need to go back! This sounds good and I would like to try some more of their teas!

Charissa

What?! I can’t believe he would be working there and not know about Yunnan black teas! Crazy. Maybe he was a new employee or something. lol

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92

I don’t typically feel the need to write more than one tasting note per tea unless something different strikes me or (as in this case) I just feel like it. Contrary to what my absence of commentary on Steepster might suggest, I have actually been quite busy drinking and enjoying my teas of late. With spring coming just around the corner, I have been working on using up my “winter teas” in order to make room for the influx of new spring delights that await me. (I make that sound like a chore, but believe me, “using up tea” is no tedious obligation that I feel I must do…it’s a pleasure!) So, one of the teas in my winter collection is this English Breakfast, and I will be sorry when it is gone because I absolutely love it. It’s just one of those perfectly solid reliable black teas that you never get tired of, you know? Like that favorite sweater you wear (probably too often) in winter, but it doesn’t matter because it fits perfectly, feels comfortable, looks nice, is just the right color, and is suitable no matter what the occasion. That is this tea. Mmmmm, delicious! But, like my favorite sweaters, once summer comes this will be out of sight for a while until next year when I reorder for winter again.

Now, some of you may say, why can’t you just enjoy it in summer too? Well, I have weird ideas about what teas I like to drink and when. Not that it’s a hard and fast rule of course, but generally speaking I like certain teas at certain seasons. Black tea I generally drink heavily in the fall and winter, whereas greens, oolongs, and white teas all are what I consider “warmer weather teas.” I love black tea a lot though, so obviously I would never stop drinking it altogether just because it’s summer—I simply have different black teas I like to enjoy then. (For instance, I tend to choose Indian and African black varieties for summer, China blacks in winter, for no other reason than a good Nilgiri or Kenyan black seem “summerish” to me. Somehow they just fit with the hot weather, maybe because their countries of origin are typically super hot? Seems silly, I know, but that’s how I roll.) Anyway, here’s to sipping down some of my lovely fall/winter black teas: Lapsang Souchong, English Breakfast, Emporer’s Gold, Orange Spice, etc.!

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

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84
drank Green Tuocha by Tao of Tea
70 tasting notes

I kind of had that scratchy feeling in my throat that usually means the beginnings of a cold. Let’s hope it’s not! I haven’t been sick in over a year, and want to keep that record! Anyway, just as an extra precautionary measure I opted to drink green and white teas this morning instead of my usual black—hoping the extra antioxidants will help me out.

Mmm, I just love this green toucha. The apricot flavor is really yummy, and it is one of the few green teas I’ve tried in which the subsequent steepings are stronger and just as flavorful as the first. A good “Breakfast Green”.

One thing I’m confused about: this is classified on Steepster as a pu-erh, but then I went back and read the company’s description it seems as though this is really just regular green tea shaped into a bowl form. I know there are green pu-erh teas, and green toucha, and then green puerh touchas—which is this? Maybe I’m just incredibly dense and don’t get the differences between all of those. The description simply says this was made in the same place where the pu-erhs are made, but it doesn’t actually say this IS a pu-erh, so…just wondering.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec
littlexsparkee

I think it’s just green, tuocha refers to the compressed shape that it comes in

Charissa

Thanks! That’s what I suspected.

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95
drank Tangerine Blossom by Shang Tea
70 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
70 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
70 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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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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