274 Tasting Notes

84
drank Hao Ya 'A' by Harney & Sons
274 tasting notes

This tea is just what a good keemun should be. The leaves are small, dark brown, and wiry. The aroma is strong and rich with notes of both dark chocolate and malt with a little smokiness. The tea soup is dark copper in color.

The feel of the tea is smooth with no bitterness. The flavors of chocolate, malt and smokiness mix together nicely. I should note that I drink this tea with a little sweetener and a splash of milk. I infused the leaves for a second time and enjoyed another cup although a tiny bit less flavorful this time.

The third infusion was still enjoyable but it was more astringent and felt a little thin so I did not try for a fourth. Overall, an enjoyable tea experience – robust tea with a nice balance of flavors. I would definitely purchase this again.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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90

I’ve been sipping on this sample from Verdant off and on for the past three days. Two quick rinses and then 10s, 20s, 30s, 40s, etc. in my gaiwan. The tea is smooth and mellow with a light green liquor. It has a bit of a fresh crisp taste with a dominant note of citrus but it is very smooth and mellow. I detected very little astringency (I mean hardly any at all). Amazing taste for such a young sheng. I’ll definitely be buying a brick of this in a few days.

Preparation
Boiling

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87

This is a delicious hot tea but it is a favorite of mine as an iced tea. It’s sweet and refreshing with an appealing natural sweetness. The smooth coconut undertones are delightful.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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93

2013 Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black

I’ve wanted to taste this tea for some time but it has been out of stock until the new summer harvest arrived. Well it’s back in stock and today I received my order (early delivery because I won the Birthday contest with this tea as the prize – lucky, lucky me). I rushed right to the kitchen to open the box and make my first cup.

These leaves are gorgeous! They are delicate, very dark, long and lightly twisted (almost black with flecks of amber on a few of them). The smell of the dry leaf seems a little earthy but also fruity – not terribly strong but just enough to entice you.

I followed the brewing instructions given to me by Stacy – gongfu brewing; 1.5 tsp per 8 oz for a sweeter tea. As the leaves began to unfurl the aroma was fabulous and the liquor became a light reddish brown – almost a rusty color. The mouthfeel is very, very smooth with absolutely no astringency. My first impression is that this tea seems subtle but very complex. The flavor is definitely sweet and honey-like with both caramel and dark chocolate overtones coming through yet it is also fruity and malty. With later sips, as the tea cools, I begin to pick up a sweet bread and molasses flavor.

Before sending my tea, Stacy described the difference between this year’s harvest and that from last year: “Due to the rain situation in Taiwan, the leaf hoppers weren’t as active this year so there are less honey notes. Last year was more of a croissant and honey taste this year is more of a waffles and powdered sugar. The tea comes across a bit more which I like. It’s different but not by much.”

Place your order – this tea is a must try! I’m off to try my second infusion……

Preparation
Boiling
Sil

Shhhhhhh don’t tell everyone!

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90

One of the things I enjoy most about my tea journey is discovering new teas. I had just such an experience today when I had my first mug of Butiki’s Watermelon Xylophone. I followed the website instructions for brewing. Pale, pale green tea soup with a pleasant, subtle aroma and a lightly flavored sweet taste. I then added a touch of sugar and, as promised, the liquid turned into warm watermelon juice. All in all, a delightful experience! I plan to brew again today and chill to enjoy cold “watermelon juice” this evening.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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93

This has been a lovely Mandala Tea weekend for me- Black Pearls (one of my new favorites) on Saturday and Noble Mark on Sunday. Doesn’t get much better than that when it comes to enjoying fine tea.

The dry leaf has an earthy aroma just as one would expect from a pu’er. One large tablespoon (after two very quick rinses) in 8oz boiling water for 30sec for round one; round 2 for 45sec; then combined in my 16 oz Zojirushi travel mug. Infusions 3 and 4 (1 min each) were just as enjoyable a few hours later. The tea has an appealing combination of flavors – chocolate, fruit and a little cream yet a bit earthy as a pu’er usually is.

This pu’er is delightful – silky, smooth and solid texture with slightly sweet aftertaste; a dark reddish brown color; and good for multiple enjoyable steeps. It left me wanting more so what could be better in a pu experience?

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
Terri HarpLady

Love me some Mandala teas!

DigniTea

I definitely agree and his new three cake special is on the way to me right now with my requested sample of the Wild Monk.

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92
drank Black Pearl by Mandala Tea
274 tasting notes

First of all, I always look for the fun factor in my tea experiences. These brown and gold pearls are fun to watch in the hot water – I love watching tea in action as it unfurls during the first infusion.

Yesterday morning I steeped four of Mandala’s Black Pearls in 8oz of boiling water and immediately resteeped because I drink my morning tea in a 16 oz Zojirushi travel mug. The flavor is fantastic – chocolate and malt with a slight straw note. I love this tea! I’ve had it several times and I always enjoy four 8oz infusions with the initial four pearls (although infusions 3&4 are not nearly as flavorful but enjoyable nonetheless). Without question, this tea is currently one of my top five teas.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

As far as pearls go, this one is on top for me so far. I still have a few more to try, & I tend to love them all, but I especially love this one.

DigniTea

This is the only one I’ve tried but I just received the Teavivre black pearls ordered during their recent sale. Haven’t opened those yet because I have lots of teas already open and needing to be enjoyed before I start in on new ones.

Sil

teavivre pearls are fantastic as well!

Terri HarpLady

I can’t wait to try them!

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84

This is delicious iced! The aroma of the dry blend is a bit off-putting but after steeping in the fridge for 24 hours both the aroma and the taste are magnificent – lemon and cream with no rooibos flavor detected. One packet of Splenda added and it’s ready to serve. My guests love it!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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93

If you enjoy Chinese black teas, you must try this one! Open the packet and inhale deeply – hay, cocoa, malt , maybe a little fruit. Smells delicious.

I used less than boiling water, as suggested by Teavivre in their brewing instructions – 2 tsp in 8 oz of water. Flavorful for 4 steeps (1m, 2m, 2.5m, 3m). The tea soup is a rich brown and it tastes fantastic. I cannot wait to serve this to guests. I’ll definitely be keeping this one on hand!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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90

It is a pleasure to work with Teavivre – their tea is delicious and the customer service is just as good. Today I am enjoying their Taiwan Jin Xuan Milk Oolong. The thick creamy taste is superb. Hard to believe that this rich creamy flavor is natural but it definitely is.

The liquor is a medium gold with a slight vanilla cream aroma. Both the flavor and the mouthfeel suggest sweetened condensed milk. I prepared this according to instructions provided by Teavivre for an 8oz cup Using my test tube steeper, I watched the leaves unfurl and expand and was able to enjoy four flavorful infusions (1m, 2m, 3m, 4m). I was delighted to discover that the flavor had staying power throughout the process.

This is one rich, delicious brew. Certainly one I plan to keep on hand and enjoy regularly.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Bio

For me, tea is magical with its ability to transform by bringing one back to center and inspiring both peace and contentment.

Reformed coffee drinker. Switched to tea as part of my goal to work on living a healthier, more balanced life — haven’t looked back since. Surprised to learn what a passion I have developed for all things tea related.

I enjoy most tea types but I cannot handle jasmine or other florals and I’m not particularly fond of bergamot. Started with flavored teas but moved quickly into unflavored blacks and puerhs. Now most of my purchases are puerh cakes for aging. My cold brews for iced tea tend to be a fruity green, white or rooibos but every once in awhile I’ll chill an oolong or puerh.

I no longer assign numerical ratings to teas because our enjoyment of tea is very subjective. Reactions to a particular tea vary from person to person and within the same person across different tasting sessions. My tea notes are now simply comments reflecting my impression at that specific point in time. They are useful to me and if they happen to be helpful to someone else that is good.

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