58 Tasting Notes

100
drank Milk Oolong by Gong Fu Tea Shop
58 tasting notes

My husband and I were in Des Moines this weekend because I was running a 5k, and lo and behold it just so happened that the race was practically right next to my favorite tea shop: Gong Fu Tea! Naturally, as soon as the race was over we headed over there to splurge on some tea (gotta have my post-run “recovery” beverage, of course!)

I ordered a cup of this milk oolong and thoroughly enjoyed it to the last drop. Admittedly I am not a very knowledgeable or experienced oolong drinker so I don’t have much to compare this to, but in my opinion is was very wonderful and unique. My son had fallen asleep in his stroller, the tea shop atmosphere was perfectly relaxed and soothing, and I just sat in their comfy chair and had a peaceful moment all to myself as I savored each sip of this tea, letting its warmth envelop me and its exquisite taste take me away to another world. Every so often I would open my eyes between sips and jot a note on what mouth was experiencing.

This tea’s flavor consisted of pleasing, warm, mellow notes reminiscent of coconut milk. It was rich and buttery with a lovely light sweet lingering finish. It was delicious, like a homemade butter cookie right out of the oven, yet at the same time it was not at all too heavy or rich. Mmmmmmmmm. I REALLY would have liked to purchase more of it in bulk to take home, but I had some other teas I’ve been wanting to try and my budget was limited. Alas, I will just have to wait to get it another time.

Preparation
4 min, 30 sec

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95

I usually like black teas to get me going in the morning, but occasionally I will be in the mood for something lighter to start my day. This morning I got out my Dao Ren green tea—which is what I like to think of as my “breakfast green tea” because it fuller-bodied than other green teas and thus makes for a perfect breakfast cup. It is smooth, thick, nutty, and sweet, but not strong or astringent, and has a “gentleness” about it that makes it quite comforting. It brews up a slightly cloudy golden-green color, with a nice warm vegetal scent. It is a pleasant way to wake up and ease into the day, suitable for when you don’t need to be jolted awake (as when drinking a brisk, black tea). It is very satisfying and holds its own for breakfast—but also serves for the afternoon too.

I was surprised that one person had commented they steep it for only 1-2 minutes, although I know that is the case typically for green teas. I just can’t understand how that is long enough to taste anything though! Maybe my water is hard and that is interfering with my ability to taste the subtle notes? (I use regular tap water, usually filtered although I need to change the filter on our purifier so maybe that’s the problem?) but any tea flavor is barely detectable for me at 1-2 minutes, and I’ve tried different water temperatures. This goes for virtually all my teas. If it is not a water issue, then perhaps it’s simply that my palate just isn’t sensitive enough (and thus why I tend to prefer black teas over green in general). Perhaps I need to try more green and white teas and work on developing my tastebuds to pick up on their subtleties! I don’t know. Does anyone else have this problem?

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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95

I happened to get this tea on a whim during Teavana’s big annual tea sale, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it! I would agree with others who have noted that they couldn’t really detect any chocolate flavor, but it was sweet and malty and altogether wonderful so I can’t complain.

I only wish I had more…sadly that stash of tea is long gone. I enjoyed each and every cup I drank, and the fond memory still remains with me. I will have to get this one again someday, although my priority is for teas that are organic, whenever possible, so we’ll see.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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83

This is a very unique and delicious tisane! It’s tart, yet has some sweetness to it too. I usually don’t add anything to my tea, but this tastes really nice with honey. Just don’t over brew it. In my experience, anything longer than 5 minutes and it tastes horribly bitter.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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82

Light, sweet, well-balanced mint and tea flavors (in other words, the mint did not overpower the delicate green tea). Very good!

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67

I liked this tea, although as one other person commented it tastes “thin.” the flavors are all there—nice chocolate, cinnamon, earthy puerh, but it just isn’t as strong as I would prefer. Compared to The Tea Spot’s Bolder Breakfast, this is rather light. (Although I suppose that is not quite a fair comparison because the Bolder Breakfast is a blend of black tea and puerh, so of course it would taste stronger than just pure puerh.)Anyway, as far as chocolatey teas go, this is good but not my favorite.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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90

I think the company’s description of this tea is correct, and it is absolutely delicious! I love black teas with notes of cacao, and this one definitely has that.

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec

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84

I really love this tea, even though the puerh flavor is somewhat overpowered by the black tea flavors. I found that, contrary to pretty much every kind of tea I have had, this one actually tastes better the longer you steep it. I discovered this on one of my busy, scatterbrained days when I left my tea steeping and completely forgot to remove the infuser after the customary 5 minutes I usually allot for black teas. It had been steeping 15-20 minutes and I thought “Oh no, it’s ruined. It is going to taste so bitter!” To my great surprise and delight, however, that was not the case! In fact it tasted so much more rounded, rich, thick, and bold, and silky. I loved it. So now that is how I regularly brew this tea: steeping anywhere from 15 to even 25 minutes. (Yes, it’s practically lukewarm by the time it’s ready, but it tastes so good I don’t care.)

My friend from Colorado gave me this tea and told me that she had employed a longer steeping time as well. She said she and her mother would even let the tea steep while they headed off to the gym, and then they would enjoy it when they got back!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more

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67
drank Carol by Lupicia
58 tasting notes

This tea is pretty good. It doesn’t strike me as amazing, but it’s different.

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec

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63
drank Piccolo by Lupicia
58 tasting notes

Sweet and perhaps a little bit too artificial in taste, but otherwise okay. Not my favorite.

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec

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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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