318 Tasting Notes

85

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.

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

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85

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)

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

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drank Exotica by DAVIDsTEA
318 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

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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99

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

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
ScottTeaMan

I’m the same way with my special teas.

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69
drank Green and Fruity by DAVIDsTEA
318 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

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
DaisyChubb

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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50
drank Citron Oolong by DAVIDsTEA
318 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
318 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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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

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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