313 Tasting Notes

50
drank Citron Oolong by DAVIDsTEA
313 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

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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85

Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review

Finally got a chance to brew this eastern style (short steeps). I wouldn’t have even given it a thought had I not seen Teavivre’s guide to brewing Keemun tea, where they used a clay teapot for short steeps. Unfortunately I don’t have one of those for black tea, but I do have a gaiwan.

Drinking from the first steep, I’m picking up on very strong tea flavour, notes of floral, pungent, malty, and a hint of smokey. Drinking again, there is caramel, spices, baked apple notes. Truly a delightful experience for my senses.

Second up tastes quite the same. Here I enjoyed the heavy tea body more.

Third cup had a change in flavour; a bit less smooth black tea body and more malty astringency. There is also a velvety texture, deep rich flavour with wonderful pungent body in my cup.

Fourth cup had another noticable change in flavour. Still nice flavour, but the tea body is becoming more mellow now. The spices notes are becoming more bolder, especially pepper and cinnamon.

Fifth cup had a much stronger smoky flavour. Tea body is becoming more mild but still flavourful. Not bland at all.

Ending on the sixth cup, the flavour is still good, but becoming less interesting. I think I can taste my original water, which is usually a good indication of where to stop. If I were a Keemun fanatic I could resteep again, but I am satisfied ending here.

This was quite a nice experience given the fact that I am dealing with broken leaf. I prefer this short steep method mostly because I use more leaf and less water than western style. This allows me to brew some very aromatic and bold cups of tea.
Up’d my rating because short steeping this tea has been a more enjoyable experience.

Personally I love the strong pungent flavour that brews from the 2 tsp of leaves I used. But if you do not like such bold tea, I recommend 1 tsp.

100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, (rinse, 30s, +10s resteeps)
Please note that if you use a gaiwan, I recommend using a tea strainer over your teacup or “fair cup”. And by strainer I don’t mean those big infusers. (If you’re not sure what I mean, check google images)

Unwanted tea advice: I think that if you love drinking unflavoured tea often, it’s worth buying a gaiwan to enjoy the experience of short steeping tea. (I paid like $10 for a gaiwan and 4 cups in Toronto. So your gaiwan purchase does not have to be expensive to be good!)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec
ScottTeaMan

I think I’m going to try my Hao Ya B Gongfu style now. :))

Dorothy

I’m sure you’ll love it. I can’t believe this one turned out to be such an amazing, potent resteeper.

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79
drank Yi Xing Hong Cha by jing tea shop
313 tasting notes

As a follow up to my previous tasting note on this, I prepared it western style today. It’s much as I expected, the flavour is still good and it’s a bit more concentrated and bold. But I still prefer the short steep method, even though I feel that this tea isn’t a fantastic resteeper.

Not one of my favourites from the Jing Tea Shop black tea samples, but I’ve enjoyed the chance to try it and expand my knowledge of black teas. Which was my intention for buying the sample pack anyway. :)

200ml glass teapot, 2 tsp, 2 steeps

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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80

Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review

Tried this again tonight in my teapot. It’s pretty nice but I still prefer it prepared with short steeps. With the teapot one steep method I’m getting very powerful sweet notes. While I do like a touch of something sweet in my oolong, this longer steeping method doesn’t please me as much. And with multiple quick steeps I get a nice spectrum of flavour.

So for my remaining two samples, I will enjoy this prepared in my small yixing teapot. But I can see this as a nice flowery, sweet tea prepared “western style” for those that enjoy something bold that also satisfies their sweet tooth.

500ml water in teapot, 1 packet (5g), 1 steep

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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72

Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review
Follow up to my last tasting note on this tea

Today my first to the third steeps were lovely, and the fourth was ok but not as enjoyable. Not bitter at all or off putting in anyway.

Having tried both this and the premium version with quick steeps, I can taste the difference. But if you hadn’t tried the “good stuff”, this tea does a good job of standing on its own. Still, I think I prefer the flavour of the short steep method. If I were buying this type of tea, I would prefer the premium Dragon Well even though it is more expensive. But if you are looking for a cheap everyday Dragon Well this regular version is still a tasty option.

100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 4 steeps (50s + 10s resteeps)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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91

Finally got a chance to try this, even though I think I’ve had it for almost a week now. When I saw this online I jumped at the opportunity to buy some because I loved the spring 2011 version so much. And usually my husband takes black tea for work, so he was also excited to try it.

After brewing it up 6 times, we agreed that it was a very good oolong and stands up to the previous version we tried. So if CS keeps stocking Ali Shan by Mr. Chen we will keep buying it. ;)

125ml yixing teapot, 1 generous tsp, 6 steeps

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

Dorothy: I am glad you chose to review Camellia Sinensis. I have checked out
their website after I read that they were recommended by Heiss and Heiss in their book, The Tea Enthusiast. I vaguely remember their teas being on the pricy side (at least from my point of view), but I do remember being impressed at the selection and the amount of information they provide about each tea.

Dorothy

Yeah some of their teas are pricey. I’ve tried most of their Chinese black teas, and even some of the cheapest options are very tasty though.

Isabella Luna Gadbois

It is the best tea house in Montreal! Their collection of tea is amazing, the tea house beside the boutique is awesome and very relaxing and the staff are very knowledgeable and NICE. And they also have a tea school offering a large variety of classes :) I LOVE this place and recommend it to everyone. :)

Isabella Luna Gadbois

You should try this one also, it is cooked directly at Camellia and is really good ! http://steepster.com/teas/camellia-sinensis/23609-dong-ding-mr-chang-cooked

Dorothy

I’ll have to try some next time it’s in stock. :D

SimpliciTEA

Cool, and great to know. Thanks!

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87
drank Xiao Zhong by Camellia Sinensis
313 tasting notes

The tea description for this is spot on; malty, nutty, chocolatey. And with each sip I take, the flavour really builds up and becomes heavy in my mouth.

Of course there is no real chocolate in this, but that is why I find it so enjoyable. Whenever I buy flavoured tea with chocolate in it, I’m almost always disappointed. I just hate the sensation of drinking melted chocolate mixed with tea. Something about the consistency and sweetness of the brew makes me feel like a glutton (and not in a good way).

Enough ranting, I don’t have a sweet tooth but I do like this tea quite a bit. It’s sweet, but not too sweet (sometimes Bai Lin black tea and Oriental Beauty oolong tea are too sweet for my tastes). I can definitely see this as a good tea to drink during the winter. The rich sweet/earthy characteristics and heavy body are something I find pleasant in tea during this season. As a bonus, this tea appears to be very light so even my 50g bag fills a lot of space. So it should take me a while to go through all of this. Woot! :)

For recommendations, if you enjoyed CS’ Huiming Hong Cha or their Hualien Feng Mi, you will like Xiao Zhong (or vice versa).

200ml glass teapot, 1 generous teaspoon, 1 steep

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

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88

Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review
Follow up to my last tasting note on this tea

Prepared this in my gaiwan, because the company website mentions you can steep this 5-6 times. So that is usually my tea vessel of choice when I resteep that much.

Surprisingly all of the steeps were very tasty and even the sixth steep had good character. Up’d my rating for this because I’ve grown to appreciate and love it even more.

100ml gaiwan, 1 packet (5g), 6 steeps (rinse, 1 minute for the first two steeps, then +1 min for resteeps)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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82

Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review
Follow up from my previous tasting note.

Had this today in a tall glass mug (2 steeps, 3 mins each), and then in a gaiwan (4 steeps, 50s + 20s resteep) later in the day.
Not sure which method I prefer, but the glass method certainly puts on a good show.

Either way I found this to be a very enjoyable green tea. Better than most of the green tea I’ve bought locally.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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79
drank Yi Xing Hong Cha by jing tea shop
313 tasting notes

With a name like Yixing Hong Cha I expected to do this gongfu style. Unfortunately I don’t have a yixing teapot dedicated to black teas, so I will use a gaiwan.

Drinking from the first steep, I taste something sweet like honey, nutty, raisin notes, and the liquor texture feels grainy and tastes like it too.

Second steep tastes much bolder, stronger, more complex; better in every sense. Picking up on some new floral and cocoa notes.

Third and fourth steeps have much of the same flavours but are becoming weaker. The scent from the liquor reminds me of chocolates filled with fruit jelly for some reason. That grainy liquor texture from earlier is now light and refreshing now.

Fifth steep, a nice roasted flavour is coming out, the raisin and grainy flavours are still here but the rest is fading.

Sixth steep, I think I can begin to taste the original water flavour. Last sip ended on a earthy, grainy, cocoa note.

This is my fifth and final tea from the sample pack. I’ve never tried Yixing black tea before, but I quite like it. During my quick steeps there was an explosion of flavour at #2 followed by a rapid decline. Maybe I just need to increase the temperature, but when I brew it next time it will be western style. Anyway, so far I feel this has a great flavour to price ratio, but it is not my favourite from Jing Tea Shop. Based on flavour alone I like the Dan Cong Red Tea best, and Ying De Hong Cha for best flavour and resteeping. That being said, all of these black tea samples from this company were excellent.

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

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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Profile

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

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.

Location

Ontario, Canada

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