417 Tasting Notes

96

Had this again this morning. So much goddamned cinnamon flavor in this. It’s odd. I find that when this tea is freshly-brewed and hot, I get more earthy and umami flavors, but as it cools, all of these rich spicy notes come out. So nice. Need to make another TTC order soon!

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86

I was really hesitant when I first brewed this tea. The liquor was very, very pale. But when I first caught a whiff of the aroma, I was excited by the smell of nectarines (my favorite fruit), which I had never experienced so vividly in a tea before. This is also one of those finicky teas which start to oxidize immediately upon brewing. The color was turning brown within just a few minutes. I decided to put the leaves back into the teapot after pouring my first two cups to see if I could get more flavor from this. I like this, but I don’t love it like I was expecting to. It has great qualities – so full of fruit flavor with just a hint of floral, cream, and vegetal notes. But it’s also kind of on the weak side, and doesn’t have the kind of sweet, long-lingering finish that makes me fall in love with a tea like this.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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96

I really wish there was good tea education in this country! I am having this tea again this morning, and I am struck by an umami note (like tomato skin) in this tea. I’m really curious as to what cultivar is used to make this tea, or if this element comes from the processing. There have been at least a couple of TTC teas I feel like have this strong umami quality that I don’t usually get from a black tea. I love it, though. It’s a much better way of giving a tea a little more body than astringency or than smokiness.

On the TTC website, they mention at least one cultivar, T-20, used to make this tea. Does anyone know of any sites that might help educate me regarding tea cultivars?

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88

I had this yesterday with some Vitamix banana “ice cream” for dinner. It was a nice enough pairing, but maybe I should have chosen something with more earthiness or spice or something. This tea was perfectly smooth and sweet, but didn’t necessarily have the complexity or depth of flavor one could hope for. I just don’t know how to feel about this one! I don’t know if the subtlety of the flavors and the way they all meld together is it’s greatest feature or its greatest flaw…?

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87

Had to bump this rating way up. I don’t know what I was thinking brewing this for 3 minutes last time, but a 1-minute steep yields an excellent cup. Also, someone mentioned that this was a smokey tea, and I absolutely (thank G-d) don’t get that at all.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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92

I still love this tea. It’s a very mild, sweet, milk-chocolatey tea. This is the kind of tea that would pair with practically anything. It’s mostly the packaging that gets me, though. It comes as little chocolate square-shaped pieces which are wrapped in gold foil. So cute. Both the visuals and the smells remind me of the Cadbury fruit and nut bars my family would buy at Christmas. Definitely a favorite.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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I should have brewed this one sooner. Oh well. I really enjoyed this anyway. It has a great aroma, flavor, and most importantly to me, a great aftertaste. The only thing it was missing for me was astringency. I think it was that. There was something missing. Maybe it’s because of the age? I’ve experienced this with another tea recently. As I swallow, the flavor almost entirely disappears, and all I really experience is a smooth, creamy texture. This might actually be a positive thing for some people, and it might grow on me. I’ll have to pick up more of this tea someday soon.

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89

I’m drinking the spring 2014 version of this. Yunnan Sourcing doesn’t seem to have it on their website anymore, so I’m logging it under the 2015. This is pretty amazing. It’s sweet and soft and very easy to drink. The flavors are very delicate and subtle without it being boring. A very nice tea to wake up to.

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83

Had this one last night. Was okay. Fantastic thing about it was that you could brew it forever without it getting bitter. It stayed creamy and smooth. Bad thing about it was that it was boring. Not much going on to my palate, and not much aftertaste.

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I don’t know if I’m drinking the 1st picking version of this, but I can’t find any other flat pressed Loashan green on here. I liked this, but didn’t love it. Glad to have tried this!

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Bio

Tea means so many things to me, it is so deep and it is revealing new meaning to me all the time.

Tea is a mindfulness practice, and a doorway through which to explore different philosophies, cultures, and historical times. Tea is hospitality and a way of communion. Tea is an art, a ritual, and a tradition. Tea is a complement to the foods I eat (preferably vegan desserts) and is something I enjoy collecting and curating.

I love to swap, or even just send people samples, so if there’s anything in my cupboard you’d like to try, just send me a message!

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San Francisco Bay Area

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