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302 Tasting Notes

85

At first when I made this, I probably used too much leaf and not enough water. The result was overpowering and bitter. Anyway, I brewed a new batch in a tall glass mug with plenty of water (slightly more than 1 cup). Moving on to the tasting notes. ;)

Smelling the liquor on this second attempt, I feel relieved that it doesn’t smell bitter or pungent in any way. It has a nice floral scent, and the liquor is a light orange-yellow.

Taking my first sip, I’m again comforted in knowing I brewed this better. Drinking more, I taste something floral, spices, something like fuzzy peach, soft malty flavour, and light tea flavour. During the aftertaste a very floral lavender flavour lingers.

I never usually brew a full cup or more of water when I make tea, so I’ll keep that in mind when I brew this. Anyway, I’m very pleased with the results and it was entertaining to watch the long twisted leaves in a tall glass. Very good tea, it met and then exceeded my expectations.

290 ml of water in a glass mug, 2 tsp (hard to scoop the tea leaves, so I dunno), 1 steep

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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72

Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review

This is the companion review for the Premium grade Dragon Well.

Smelling the dry leaves, I am picking up on some familiar notes of the premium one plus a tobacco like smell. My husband found the scent of these leaves more favourable than the premium one.

Then we smelled the lid of the tasting set after the tea was brewed. Here, it reminded me of bitter greens.

Onto drinking the liquor, there is a strong flavour that hit me right away. Followed by slight bitterness, buttery (less than premium), vegetal (less than premium). The taste reminds me of the type DAVIDsTEA offers, or at least the one I tried from their sample pack.

In comparison to the premium Dragon Well, I don’t like this one as much. But I cannot say it is a bad tasting tea. The major difference is that it tastes slightly more bitter, less “fresh”, and is not as refined. However I would still feel comfortable drinking this at home or sharing with friends. I’ve had much worse green tea than this. Next time I will try this gongfu style in a gaiwan.

120ml tasting cup, 2 tsp, no rinse, 1 steep

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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87

Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review

I’m not very experienced with Dragon Well teas, so along with this premium one I asked Angel for the regular version. Tonight I will be preparing both side by side, in my tasting sets. See the regular Dragon Well tea for the companion review.

Smelling the dry leaves, I’m picking up on cocoa, mild veg, “fresh”, moss, something sweet. My husband said it smells like KFC (weird!)

Then I smelled the lid of the tasting set after the tea was brewed. Here I picked up on the familiar notes, plus my husband remarked that he thought it smelled like candy.

Onto drinking the liquor, I tasted cocoa, floral notes, strong buttery flavour, fresh greens (asparagus). My husband said it reminded him of buttery tarts.

That’s it for today’s tasting session. In comparison I can see why this is the premium stuff. Next time I will be preparing this gongfu style in a gaiwan.

120ml tasting cup, 2 tsp, no rinse, 1 steep

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Keemun Hao Ya by jing tea shop
302 tasting notes

Follow up from my last tasting note.

I used more leaf today (2 tsp instead of 1 and 1/2) and got more of the sweet, apple flavour mentioned in the website description. Very nice.

Starting to feel that most of these samples should be brewed with 2 tsp of leaf.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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85

Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review

Smelling the tea leaves and then liquor, nothing bad jumps out at me. Seems like typical stuff for Keemun.

Taking in the first few sips, I get that pungent malty flavour and something floral, but it’s a mellow flavour. Then I taste “tea” flavour, followed by something nutty and smoky.

Overall I feel that this is a nice Keemun without too many bold flavours. I tend to like it a bit more bold, but I can see this as a nice Keemun to get into. I’ve always enjoyed this type of tea, so it did not have to try hard to impress me. :)

Teavivre has instructions on their website for this prepared gongfu style, and I might try that. However due to the broken leaves (which are typical, not saying it is bad) I think this tea is best suited for long steeps in a teapot (western style).

200ml glass teapot (filled mostly), 1 1/2 teaspoons, 1 steep

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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89
drank Dan Cong Red Tea by jing tea shop
302 tasting notes

This is a follow up to my last tasting note. Today I’m doing multiple short steeps in a gaiwan. These Dan Cong Red Tea leaves are quite long, so I expect them to be great for resteeping.

Tasting the initial steep, there is a strong zesty flavour, along with spice, “tea” flavour. The drinking sensation is kind of like biting into juicy melon, very clean and mouth watering.

The second to fourth steeps were very nice, with a bit of astringency, and stronger tea flavour that reminds me of tamarind candies.

Fifth through the eighth steeps were consistent, with not much of the flavour fading with each resteep.

At the ninth steep I began to taste the original water flavour, but it otherwise retains enough flavour to be enjoyable. I continued resteeping and stopping at the twelfth, it had a hint of flavour but it was becoming too weak.

Now that I’ve tried both methods, I prefer the shorter steeps. It’s a very consistent flavour up until about number eight. My only dislike with this tea, is that it’s very astringent. It makes my mouth feel quite dry, so after this tasting note I’ll be having plenty of water. ;)
This is still my favourite black tea from the Jing Tea Shop samples, but I’m not sure if I would purchase a big bag of it. It’s the sort of tea I’d want to drink on rare occasions as a treat. At the very least I am happy to have tried it once, since I never really see this sort of tea online often. And as a bonus, this is a terrific resteeper just like Teavivre’s Yunnan Dian Hong Golden Tip, which I also got up to 12 steeps with.

100ml gaiwan, 5g (2tsp? I weighed this out on a scale), 12 steeps (30s +15s)

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

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80
drank Keemun Hao Ya by jing tea shop
302 tasting notes

The dry leaf aroma is typical of Keemun, so I expect this to be an enjoyable session. Since this sort of tea always seems to have choppy leaves, I will just prepare it western style.

Sipping from the first steep, I’m hit by mild floral notes, then the tea base and a pungent maltyness (in a good way!). Not very smoky or bitter at all, and the aftertaste is a milder pungent maltyness from before.

My second steep had the same flavour as the first cup. Looking on the website, it mentions a sweetness and apple like characteristic. I can kinda see that, but the pungent maltyness captures my attention.

Not my favourite from the black tea samples, but I do enjoy a good cup of Keemun. This particular one is enjoyable and not disappointing at all. Keemun always has a very distinctive flavour, the sort of thing that you either love or hate. If you’re interested in Keemun but have never tried it before, I’d recommend getting a sample size.

200ml glass teapot (filled mostly), 1 1/2 tsps, 2 steeps

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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88

Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review

Scent from the dry leaves reminds me of straw (in a good way). The liquid aroma brings out some melon and cucumber notes.

Onto drinking it, I taste very subtle flavours; melon, cucumber, essence of spring, straw, something sweet, “tea” flavour. It goes down very smooth, the texture is kind of fuzzy and velvety. I’d say this is more comforting than it is refreshing.

The second steep yielded much of the same flavours. My husband liked it, but felt this was too subtle for him.

Overall this is very similar to Bai Mu Dan, but here the leaves are all buds. The buds make for a very smooth tea, with no obvious faults poking your mouth as you drink. I think trying “plain” white tea once (Bai Hao Yin Zhen or Bai Mu Dan) is a good experience. If you’ve only had the flavoured stuff before, the original tea flavour can be lost.
Personally, I enjoy white tea because it’s not too heavy on the flavour and doesn’t become too grassy like some green teas.

Next time I brew this, I’ll try multiple short steeps in the gaiwan. The Teavivre website lists 5-6 steeps, so I will aim to get the same results.

200ml glass teapot (filled to the brim), 1 packet (5g? 2 tsp?), 2 steeps

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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80

Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review

This is from my newest batch of samples from Teavivire. I always love getting packages in the mail, except when it’s at 7am. ;) Anyway, I have a yixing pot for oolong, so that’s what I’ll use for this first tasting session.

The shrink wrapped foil package has a picture of a cute bird on a flower. It’s about 5g, so I can see this as being a nice gift by itself. When I cut open the pack, the aroma of flowers hit my nose right away. It wasn’t too much, just enough to captivate me.

Onto brewing and drinking the tea, the floral notes hit my tongue first, followed by notes of mint/menthol, fresh greens (like asparagus?), and pepper. After the last sip, I noticed how refreshing this tea was. Not heavy or too sweet at all.

The second to fourth steeps had the same flavour, with each steep becoming more intense but consistent.

Fifth through eighth steeps started to lose flavour, but retained enough of it to stay interesting.

Overall, an enjoyable oolong with good consistent flavour. I don’t have much experience with Tie Guan Yin to say if it is a very good one or not. On the package, it says to brew this at boiling which didn’t seem right, but the end result was delicious and not bitter at all. (However I used a yixing pot so that may have negated the bitterness). My husband only has access to boiling water at work, so he may like to buy this and brew it there. It has a very economical price, so we may use this as our “everyday” oolong that I can brew in the yixing and hubby can take to work.

Next time I’ll try this the western way in a teapot and steep it for much longer.

125ml yixing teapot, 1 tea pouch (5g? 2tsp?), 8 steeps (rinse, 30s, +15s resteeps)

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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50
drank Dragon Pearls by DAVIDsTEA
302 tasting notes

Maybe my tastes have changed, but when I made a cup of this today I was very disappointed. All I could taste was jasmine! The green tea was mild, uninteresting and dull. I realize that this is jasmine green tea, but the words GREEN TEA are also there. So I guess if you are crazy about jasmine this isn’t such a bad tea. But maybe you should just brew a cup of jasmine by itself.

I don’t like this tea anymore, but the good news is that I have friends with less discerning paletes that will enjoy some free Dragon Pearls. ;)

200ml glass teapot, 1 1/2 generous teaspoons, 2 steeps

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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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.

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!)

80-89: 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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