11 Tasting Notes

79

Disclaimer #1: My experience with puerh is limited to cooked (“shou”) varieties. Disclaimer #2: Astringent brews are, for lack of a better phrase, not my cup of tea.

My first taste of this green puerh, which I brewed at 212 F for 1 minute in a gaiwan, really hit me in the back of the throat. No bitterness – but it was astringent to the point of being almost “chewy.” In the light of my disclaimers, one might conclude that this purchase was a mistake. Au contraire. Amidst the sharpness, I detected a clean, crisp flavor – like sun-dried linen – with subtle vegetal undertones. Adjusting the steeping time to about 15 seconds made all the difference. I’m surprised at how easily the leaves yield up their flavor. I have yet to discover just how many steepings this puerh offers, as my stomach always tells me that it has had enough (apparently 8 infusions is my limit) before the leaves become exhausted. Looking forward to drinking this cake over the next few years.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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50

One of SRT’s Phoenix Bird oolongs from last year’s (2011) growing season. As with most stem-twisted oolongs I’ve tried, these leaves take time to unfurl. Brews a nice amber-brown liquor. Aroma is floral but very sweet, almost to the point of being cloying, which doesn’t quite match its flat, astringent taste. It doesn’t offer many subsequent steepings. Not a bad tea, but with so many exceptional oolongs out there, I have no desire to purchase another gao shan.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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87

A dependable, non-fussy loose leaf shu. Mushroom fragrance coupled with that classic puerh aroma of wet mulch or a damp forest floor. A low-maintenance tea that never grows bitter or astringent with oversteeping, and always intensifies in terms of richness and flavor.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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92
drank Bao Zhong by Rishi Tea
11 tasting notes

The floral aroma and flavor remind me of a bouquet of spring flowers. Leaves are lightly oxidized and very pleasant to watch as they unfurl. This tea seems like an intermediary between a green and an oolong instead of passing as a “true” oolong. After a quick rinse in my gaiwan, I can get between 5-6 steepings before the flavor begins to fade. A keeper.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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84

Very pleasant stem-twisted oolong. Rich, plummy flavor with a floral, toasted rice finish. Brews a reddish liquor. Sadly, this is one of those teas which loses its essence after exposure to air. Good excuse to drink it up, but unfortunately this is a tea I’d like to keep on hand and enjoy slowly over time. Hopefully SRT will continue to source this one.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec
JC

I agree with the essense being volatile and seems to fade every time you open the container/bag. I’d recommend trying versions of the same tea. I found that the Phoenix Collection version is not as fragrant from the leaf itself but the taste lingers much longer on your palate.

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7

Thank goodness it’s only a (free) sample. Clearly, Upton is trying to get rid of this stuff, and who can blame them? The remainder is destined for the garden compost pile.

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89

This tea has replaced coffee as my breakfast drink of choice. I don’t care if it is a CTC. Bring on the milk, and lots of it: this brew is strong enough to handle it! And as with cooked puerh, BSEBB does not seem to get bitter with oversteeping. I can leave it in my tea press all morning, and the first cup is no less bracing than the third, taken an hour later.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec

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100

A fantastic tea. Frankly, I was hooked after the initial rinse. The aroma is rich, sweet in the first two infusions, full-bodied in subsequent steepings, with a roasted/toasted nutty fragrance and a slight caramel finish, reminiscent of a high-quality cigar. And the tea itself tastes just as good as it smells.

I make this in a 3.5 oz gaiwan; about 1.5 tsp of dry tea is enough to fill the pot with the expanded leaf. Short infusions yield about nine decent steepings, or three standard mug-sized cups, which makes this tea less expensive than vending machine coffee.

This tieguanyin deserves my highest rating.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec

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94

The best green tea I’ve ever tried. Rich and satisfying, but, being a green tea, it’s also light and refreshing. I tried to get as many steeps as possible from the batch I ordered (2010 season), but found the flavors dissipating in the fourth infusion. Next time I’ll try brewing this in a gaiwan. Fingers crossed that the price will come down for the 2012 season!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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39

Disappointing, considering all the wonderful things I’ve heard about Lu An. It wasn’t bad, but as far as green teas go I’ve enjoyed other varietals more. Bland, underwhelming, lacking any complex flavor.

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