312 Tasting Notes

I’ve been so busy lately with tea samples and drinking through older purchases that I have not revisited this ebay puerh indulgence. However due to finding a new website I have renewed interest in my flavoured tuo cha. The website is http://www.nciku.com/ and it lets me “draw” Chinese characters with my mouse and gives me a selectable text of it. This has made finding out what I’m about to drink much easier, because the tuo cha wrappers only contain Chinese writing. So anyway, tonight’s tuo is globe amaranth with ripe puerh (千日紅熟沱).

Sipping from the first steep after the rinse, I taste something sweet that reminds me of cake. The liquor is still light because the tuo didn’t break apart.

Second steep is also sweet, with the tuo starting to break apart a bit but not fully. The ripe puerh flavour coming through is not too unfriendly.

Third steep is still quite sweet, and the tuo finally broke apart. Not the best tasting ripe puerh, but nowhere near the worst I’ve tried.

Fourth steep, I just taste ripe puerh at this point. I don’t get the sweetness or anything floral that I would associate with globe amaranth.

Fifth steep, while not floral is still fine. I think the ripe puerh is tasting a bit nicer at this point.

Ending on the sixth steep, the puerh is still strong and the liquor is still dark. I’d keep resteeping but I’m satisfied stopping here.

Not sure I would seek out this type of flavoured tuo cha, but it is nicer than some of the others that come with this set. My favourites are still ripe lavender and raw sticky rice (Nuo Mi Xiang) flavour.
I’m not a connoisseur of puerh tea, so this ebay purchase of 20 different flavoured puerh suits me just fine. The only thing I dislike about it is that the ripe puerh tends to overpower most of the flavouring. And a final note, I tend to like both ripe and raw puerh, so if you’re the sort of person that isn’t sure how much they enjoy those two, I would avoid buying these type of flavoured sets on ebay.

100ml gaiwan, 1 mini tuo, (rinse, 15s steep, +15s resteeps)
Individual rating: 70

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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Absolutely loving this tea. I’ve brewed it on a few occasions now and I can definitely see why people call Darjeeling the “champagne of teas”. This totally reminds me of champagne!

It’s so light, delicate, muscatel, and the other fruit/floral notes combine well. Everything here is in harmony, I couldn’t ask this tea to preform any better. Savoured each sip until the last drop.

Very happy I had a chance to try this out. Of course their book (Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties) hyped it up a bit so I was itching to get my hands on it. ;)

1 tsp, 250ml water, 1 steep

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Chuan Hong by Camellia Sinensis
313 tasting notes

Strange, I’m down to the last few grams of this tea and I’ve never written a tasting note for this prepared gongfu style.

Sipping from the first steep, the rose floral notes are very powerful. Tea body is a nice smooth, deep earthy flavour, with notes of spice and pepper.

Second steep, much of the same flavour remains but now it’s slightly sweeter. I’m also adjusting to the floral notes. So that doesn’t bother me as much now.

At the third steep, I feel that the flavour is starting to weaken but it’s still a good cup.

I took a break here and sniffed my gaiwan. It smells like wood and soy sauce. Strange, but that’s what came to mind.

Fourth and fifth steeps continued to weaken in flavour, but were enjoyable and the rose floral notes remained.

I gave up at the sixth steep because I could start to taste the original water. Otherwise, not a very interesting cup flavour-wise.

Not a favourite, but the flavour from this tea and another one (Zhao Bai Jian Hong Gong Fu) from the same province have piqued my interest. I’m looking forward to try more tea from Szechuan in the future. I’m happy to have tried this tea once, it was a good experience even if I’m not in love with the tea.

If you dislike tea with strong floral notes I would avoid trying Chuan Hong.

100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 6 steeps (30s, +10s resteeps)

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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I still have a bit of this, so I decided to short steep some. Not really a fan of the results, as it’s still a really strong tasting tea. With the short steeps, I tasted a bit more of a zesty flavour which reminded me of the dan cong black tea I tried recently.

See previous tasting notes for more of my thoughts on this one.

100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 3 steeps (30s, +10s resteeps)

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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I don’t usually short steep Indian teas because I normally buy the broken leaf type. But Nilgiri Coonoor has beautiful long twisted leaves, the sort you’d expect to see with oolong. So based on its appearance alone, I decided to do a few short steeps in my gaiwan.

It turned out to be a very good experiment, the first three steeps brought out a flavour that is more preferable to me. The liquor tastes very delicate, there is a nice hint of flowers and fresh fruit. So in a way, this tea now also reminds me of some notes found in white teas, but the tea body certainly tastes like Indian black tea.

From now on (time permitting), I will probably brew this one with short steeps. The longer steeps in a teapot/large vessel are nice but sometimes the tannins/bite offend my senses. That is just my preference, so I recommend experimenting with this one until you get a desirable cup of tea.

100ml gaiwan, 1 generous tsp, 3 steeps (+rinse, 30s, 10s resteeps)
Up’d rating because this method made the tea more pleasing.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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I am not a big fan of Qimen/Keemun black tea, but out of the few I’ve tried this is my favourite. Rich velvety texture, deep pungent black tea base, and the floral, smoky, and spice notes combine well. The main characteristic I like most about it is the deep pungent flavour (and I mean this in the best way possible), but I know this is not something everyone enjoys.

To finish off the last of my 50g purchase, I brewed it with short steeps. Given the appearance of the leaves I was pleased with how rich and complex Qimen stays throughout all the steeps. Usually I do not have such excellent results with broken leaf.

Not sure if I would recommend this if you are looking to get into Qimen, (as there are much cheaper options out there), but I found this to be a wonderful experience.

100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 6 steeps (rinse, 30s, +10s resteeps)

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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drank Exotica by DAVIDsTEA
312 tasting notes

I don’t know why, but I just really really hate the flavour of lemongrass. It overpowers every tea I’ve tried with it. But that’s the only thing I dislike about this blend. In this cup, I do enjoy the spices, coconut and the orange peel but the lemongrass just shouts at my senses with each sip.

Withholding rating this because if you don’t hate lemongrass, it’s probably not a bad herbal blend. This was my last tea sample that came with my online order, so I can’t complain too much because it’s not like I ordered a big bag of it. ;)

470ml glass mug with infuser, 1 packet (5g?), 1 steep

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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The first time I tried this tea I was blown away at the complex flavours. Now that I’ve had a few more teas similar to this, it doesn’t feel very unique but I’m still quite impressed.

With each sip I treat my taste buds to some of my favourite flavours/notes; deep roasted character (reminds me of roasted oolong), honey-barley (reminds me of Oriental Beauty), and a rich black tea body are the highlights. There is also a fleshy/pulpy/grainy texture to the liquour which gives it a nice weight in my mouth. And as noted in the description there is also a nice floral fragrance and fruit flavour going on. If that wasn’t enough please my palate, the roasted tea flavour lingers on in my mouth and my mind for a long time.

I’ve tried this with short steeps before, but I enjoy the rich tea body so steeping at 4 to 5 mins works best for me. Anyway it’s one of my favourite teas, and I love to drink it on rare occasions to treat myself. (I don’t like drinking my favourite teas too often, otherwise the taste becomes ordinary to me. Therefor not as special!)

200ml glass teapot, 2 tsp, 1 steep

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

I’m the same way with my special teas.

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drank Green and Fruity by DAVIDsTEA
312 tasting notes

This is the other free sample that came along with the new tins I ordered.

Not a bad rooibos tea, the fruit adds a nice touch of sweetness. My husband thought it tasted nutty (I don’t understand that at all). Not sure I’d consider buying this but it was a pleasant experience.

I think my favourite rooibos from Davids is still Jessie’s Tea.

470ml glass mug with infuser, 1 packet (5g?), 1 steep

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

I got a bit of nuttiness as well! I think it’s from the rooibos base, even though it’s green rooibos :)

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drank Citron Oolong by DAVIDsTEA
312 tasting notes

Received this as a sample when I ordered some new tins online (yes they look cool, but they are a bit too big I think). Usually I go to my local store to buy from Davids, but I hate going to the mall in December.

This was one of those teas I’ve sniffed more than a few times in the store, but I never purchased any because the strong citrus smell was off putting. I enjoy citrus flavoured stuff but I have my limits.

Anyway, onto brewing and drinking this stuff. The oolong is present but the citrus really overpowers it. I’d enjoy this more if the citrus didn’t shout so loudly at my senses.

Disappointed but not surprised. I can see why people like this, but I am not a fan.

470ml glass mug with infuser, 1 packet (5g?), 1 steep

200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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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

What my tea ratings mean:

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.


Ontario, Canada

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