318 Tasting Notes

80

I received this as a bonus in my tea swap with Meeka. A nice gesture on her part, but now I wish I’d included something else too! ;) haha

The one she sent me looks a bit different from the Steepster picture but I’m pretty sure it’s close enough. Mine just says 糯香 instead of the Steepster one 糯米香, but from what I understand this sticky rice or glutinous rice flavour puerh (please correct me if I’m wrong). I’ve tried the raw variety before but not ripe. Now I don’t know if all these sticky rice puerh are made in the same way, but from the two raw ones I had the flavouring was the same. Now onto drinking this gift;

The first steep starts off with a nice creamy texture, and the familiar flavours of earthy ripe puerh and sticky rice.

After the tuo broke apart, it had a consistent flavour from my second steep to the sixth. I could have kept resteeping but these six were satisfying enough.

I quite like this type of flavoured puerh. If I didn’t already have a a big bag of the raw type I wouldn’t mind getting some of these. About the puerh itself, I think it’s pretty good for a ripe mini tuo cha. I’ve had much worse and this one did not offend my senses.

100ml gaiwan, 1 tuo, 6 steeps (rinse, rinse, 10s, 10s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 25s)
Note: I recommend using a strainer if you prepare this in a gaiwan. It is easy to get bits of puerh in your cup

Preparation
Boiling

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84
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
318 tasting notes

Backlogging

I used the rest of the tea leaves that Meeka sent me, to make a nice big pot of this for my husband to enjoy. He said it tasted like a very manly tea… I don’t really get that but ok. ;)
The topic of similar teas came up and he mentioned a few that he could remember. I am more of a black tea fanatic than him, so understandably it is hard for him to remember all the black teas he has tried and their names. Usually he will say stuff like “that Taiwanese one I love” or “the one with chocolate flavour”.

Overall it was a positive experience and he was happy to have tried it once, but did not feel too attached to this. (In all fairness he is much more of an oolong guy.)

Final thoughts: My experience with this tea was mixed due to the hype. So I think I’ll make it a point to tone down my future reviews, award less high ratings, and hesitate to highly recommend anything. I don’t want to come across as snooty or elitist, this is my personal view and I know everyone here rates tea differently (and there is nothing wrong with that).

500ml of water, 2ish tsp, 1 steep
See previous note

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I don’t think you’re a snob. I don’t plan to buy any more teas based on the steepster ratings myself. :)

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85

Strong cinnamon flavour, reminded me of those Hot Tamales candies.

100ml purion teapot, 1 tsp, 1 steep

See previous tasting notes

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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83

I cold steeped some of this (3tsp?) in a big glass jug (1ltr?) for about 24hrs. It tastes pretty good, I’ll have to make some again during the summer. Still preferring a hot cup during these colder months. :)

Preparation
Iced

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84
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
318 tasting notes

Tea Swap with @Meeka

This particular tea caught my attention because so many people on Steepster have tried it and loved it. Over the past year I’ve tried a lot of different black teas so I couldn’t wait to get my hands onto this one. Okay and now onto the tasting notes:

Sniffing the tea liquor, I’m picking up on scents of honey, spices, raisin. It reminds me of a few other black teas I’ve tried.

The first steep tastes much like the tea liquor scents suggested, with the addition of chocolate, malt, and floral rose aroma. (Personal bias: I have a low tolerance for rose flavour)

Subsequent resteeps had the same consistent flavours. At the fourth steep I picked up on more roasted notes, but the rose aroma is really starting to rub me the wrong way.

Overall I didn’t notice too much weakening until the ninth steep, which while weak was still flavourful.

I kept resteeping, and even though most of the tea body is gone there still remains nice hints of sweet honey, raisin and cinnamon which slowly fade away as I reached the fifteenth steep.

This tea was enjoyable, but fell far below my expectations. The high scores and hype on Steepster made me believe this was going to be an amazing, mind blowing experience. But I’ve had other teas like this and I wasn’t especially crazy about them either. I do not want to sound unappreciative because this is indeed a very good tea, but it is not a personal favourite.

On the plus side, I am glad that so many people here are being exposed to such a well made black tea. It is a wonderful example of how beautiful and complex black tea can be.

100ml purion teapot, 2tsp, 15 steeps (based on Verdant Tea gongfu instructions: rinse, 3s, 3s, 3s, +3s resteeps)
I liked this resteeping method, I’ll have to try it out again on some of my other black teas.

Preparation
Boiling
TeaBrat

I’ve found a LOT of hype on Steepster, (particularly about Verdant teas) in my opinion.

Dorothy

Yes, and I am probably guilty of hyping tea as well. ;) I try not to go too overboard though.

TeaBrat

well, I’m sure we all do it from time to time. :)

Meeka

I haven’t tried steeping it like that yet – I have a tendency to steep black teas western style out of habit – but it sounds like something I want to try. I know what you mean about the hype, I’ve done it too. It’s nice to see honest reviews though.

I’ve gone to rate teas before that I just did not like and then feel a little funny when every other rating is like “95 – I could pick out every awesome flavor here and it is just amazing” and my thoughts are like “I’m so sorry, but I thought this tasted like muddy sugar water” (might be a slight exaggeration ;) )

TeaBrat

Meeka – I know the feeling all too well. :)

Dorothy

@Meeka, I think it’s great to steep a tea both ways (western and gongfu), it really tells me a lot about what the tea is capable of. That being said, I’ll probably try western style when my husband is around so he can try this tea too.
I’m really glad that you sent me this sample, it is a good tea to try but I don’t think I’d want a whole bag.

Nathaniel Gruber

i would love to try some of the other black teas that you mentioned in your review that taste like this one. i haven’t encountered these flavor profiles that the laoshan black exudes in any other black tea. any info so i could order a sample and be exposed to such greatness would be awesome. thanks!

Dorothy

@Nathaniel: The main tea I can compare this to is Zhao Bai Jian, but the place I purchased it from (camellia-sinensis.com) is out of stock until spring and I have drunk all of my purchase. (I see that Dragon Tea House on ebay sells one called Nonpareil Sichuan Gongfu but I have not tried it.) Camellia Sinensis also has Chuan Hong which is a lesser grade, but shares enough similar traits.
Those two were the main teas that share the most in common, but Hualien Feng Mi, Xiao Zhong (Camellia Sinensis) and Yixing Hong Cha (jingteashop.com) all share a few common themes, but do not fully emulate Laoshan Northern black tea. Cheers!

Bonnie

Sometimes hype is deserved (Verdant) . Sometimes (like the bubblegum tea’s I don’t get it 52 tea’s) .

Bonnie

I was reading your review again and wondering what your favorite black tea is that can be steeped successfully at least 15 times? I have my own top 5 list, curious about what you were measuring Laoshan Black against.

Dorothy

@ Bonnie: My fav tea that can be steeped at least 15 times is Jin Die (Camellia Sinensis). But there are a lot of black teas I love. Unfortunately they can’t all be my favourite, and some of the best (or personal fav) I’ve tried keep pushing the rating down of the other black teas I’ve drunk.

I have a short list of loves (rated +90), and of course an even longer list of likes (rated +80) and meh teas. Last year I spent a lot of time drinking black tea. So my tongue became a bit picky over those months. ;) Hype bothers me because I expect to try something new and crazy when my expectations are raised so high.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve tried tea that tastes like Laoshan Black. But I just don’t enjoy those type of floral black teas. I’m sure you know very well, that fav teas and personal preference go hand in hand. Besides that, I recognize Laoshan Black is a great tea (I like the resteep ability and body), but it didn’t charm my palate.

Bonnie

Thanks! My question was an honest one since most people don’t steep Black tea’s so many times. Good info.

Dorothy

Haha, I’m kinda weird like that. Short steeping black tea is my preferred method.
The one I tried for this tea is good, but I mostly use 30 seconds, +15 seconds for each resteep.

Bonnie

Ah…explains alot! I just did a Verdant pre-release Black Dancong at 5 seconds adding a second for each additional steeping. Something I’ve never done before. Awesome experience!

CHAroma

I love all the comments here. Great information! Thanks!

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81

Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review

This was actually the first time I tried green tea in my purion teapot and it worked out really well. It had the same amount of water as my gaiwan, but tasted much better. I even doubled the steep time of the third cup and still wasn’t bitter at all. I know purion is more for (roasted) oolong and black tea, but I’m quite impressed with what it did to this tea.

The three steeps tasted: vegetal, buttery, with a hint of cocoa, a bit of astringency but no bitterness. Aroma made me think of wet moss and asparagus.
I don’t always brew this tea right, and the bitterness can be too overwhelming. So this experiment was nice.

Liking this tea more, but I still prefer the Premium Dragonwell (which I have purchased)
See previous tasting notes on this tea for more of my thoughts

100ml purion teapot (took lid off for steeping), 1 tsp, 3 steeps (30s, 30s, 1min)
I’m not encouraging anyone to buy a purion teapot… these notes are mostly for myself :)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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88

Could have sworn I made a second tasting note for this tea, but I guess I didn’t. Oh well, here is tonight’s experience;

First steep was lovely, with the flavours of spices, honey and light bodied black tea. The aftertaste had a sensation of sugar syrup on my throat.

Second cup tasted much earthier and had a hint of cocoa. Mmmmm…

Third cup shifted, bringing out more cinnamon and grains.

Fourth cup was very light, and together with the previous flavours it made me think of white tea or Oriental Beauty.

Fifth through six were pretty light, but not bad. I stopped because it satisfied me enough.

Not my favourite resteeper, but a very flavourful tea. Next time I make this I’ll add more time to the resteeps.

100ml purion teapot, 2 tsp, 6 steeps (30s, +15s resteeps)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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83

There was some mix-up with Teavivre’s manufacturer because the sample I received was “flavoured” when Teavivre’s intention was to sell the unflavoured stuff. (Old notes have been deleted because they don’t apply to the same tea) Anyway, I ordered it and received the proper natural Jin Xuan tea. So it’s like I am getting to know this tea for the first time now! ;)

First steep is slightly floral, fruity (apricot), sweet, and vegetal. There is also a slight creamy aftertaste. Seems like a nice balanced tea, nothing seems out of place.

Third to third steeps were consistent, with the third being a bit sweeter and fruity.

Taking a break and sniffing inside the teapot, the leaves do smell sweet and almost creamy. But it’s not a heavy cream scent. It also made me think of apricots

Four to fifth were more vegetal and less fruity. I kept resteeping but eventually stopped on the ninth when I could hardly taste any tea.

If you are looking for a flavoured Milk Oolong with heavy cream and fruit flavour, try somewhere else. Apparently that stuff is not natural and is flavoured to achieve that result. However this Jin Xuan Milk Oolong tastes very natural, and for me is a lovely tea with a good price. Sometimes less expensive oolongs do not satisfy my palate, but this one is tasty and cheap enough that I can drink it very often in my yixing teapot.

The leaves are quite big, and the 1 1/2 tsp I put in looks about right.
125ml yixing teapot, 1 1/2 tsp, (rinse, 10s, 15s, +10s resteeps)

Preparation
Boiling
K S

Curious, how did you find out you had the wrong stuff?

Dorothy

I confirmed it with Angel, and besides that flavoured Milk Oolong has a very very different taste from natural Jin Xuan “Milk Oolong”.

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85

First steep tasted amazing with notes of cinnamon, raisins, apple, spices and a deep, smooth black tea body.

Second steep was also nice with a much stronger black tea flavour.

And then like with Hime Hikari, the flavours get much weaker with the subsequent resteeps. The 5th hardly tasted like tea, and the 6th was just water with a hint of spice. Normally when it tastes that weak I begin to recognize the original water flavour, but not so this time. It might be due to the purion teapot, which would be nice since I use a brita filter with hard water and it doesn’t always taste great. ;)

I have to say that I wasn’t so crazy about this tea the first time I tried it, but the first short steep here was wonderful. When I long steep this one, it reminds me too much of Qimen black tea, which is a tea I’m not always interested in drinking. Anyway, this is quite an interesting tea and I’m happy to have tried it.

100ml purion teapot, 1 1/2 tsp, 6 steeps (30s, 30s, +15s)

edit: Please see my newer tasting note regarding short steeping this tea.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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85

Tonight I’m trying one of my Japanese black teas (Hime Hikari), short steeped. Out of the two I purchased I like this one better, but perhaps when I short steep both I may change my mind.

First steep is quite nice and very flavourful with a strong black tea body. There were floral notes, cocoa, malty, juicy apple, spices, and a hint of grains.

The second steep was much stronger, to the point where it almost becomes bitter. I don’t normally like that but it went pretty well with the cocoa notes. (I’m sure it wouldn’t have become bitter if I didn’t put so many leaves in)

I continued steeping it four more times, but most of the flavour peaked on the 2nd steep. The strong tea body weakened, but they were still flavourful cups. So after the 2nd steep it’s quite a different experience.

If you prefer a strong flavoured tea I’d recommend western style or the suggested brewing directions.

100ml purion teapot, 2 tsp, 6 steeps (30s, +15s resteeps)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec
TeaBrat

How do you like your purion teapot and which teas do you use with it? I looked them up on the ’net, they seem nice but expensive. :)

Dorothy

Nice teapot, but I’m not sure how much it changes the tea. It comes with a small mesh strainer which snaps into the spout. I’m mostly using it for high oxidized teas such as black, so the strainer helps a lot.
I wouldn’t have normally bought it, but I wanted a small teapot for black tea and the money was a gift. ;) As a bonus the material is not very porous, so I can use it with other tea.

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Bio

Feel free to add me on Steepster, I’ll probably add you back. :)

I don’t log tea every time I drink it. Tasting notes tend to be about either one style of brewing or a new experience. It is helpful for me to look back on my notes and see what a tea tasted like or which steeping parameter worked best for me. I try to mostly short steep tea unless it only tastes better with a long steep. I’d rather experience what a tea tastes like over 3 or 12 steeps than just 1 to 3 long steeps.

When I write “tsp”, the measurement I use is a regular western teaspoon. Not a tea scoop

How I rate tea:

99-100: Teas that blow my mind! An unforgettable experience. Savoured to the last drop. I felt privileged to drink this.

90-98: Extraordinary, highly recommended, try it and you won’t be disappointed (and if you are, mail me the tea!)

85-89: Wonderful, couldn’t expect more but not a favourite.

80-84: Excellent, a treasured experience but not a favourite.

70-79: Good but could be better. Above average.

60-69: Average, unexceptional, not something I would buy again. Slightly disappointed. I’d rather drink water.

50-0: Varying degrees of sadness

No rating: Mixed feelings, can’t decide whether I like it or not, not enough experience with that sort of tea to rate it. A dramatic change of heart.

Location

Ontario, Canada

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