274 Tasting Notes

90

I am enjoying Teavivre’s Spring 2013 harvest and have taken advantage of their 2nd anniversary sale. The speed with which they deliver their tea is very impressive.

So I have finally tasted the highly regarded Bailin. Though a milder black tea flavor than I prefer, this tea is most enjoyable! The flavor is rich and gentle with a definite sweetness. While the smell of the dry leaf is definitely mild, the aroma of the liquid is strong and very pleasant.

It produces a dark copper brew. The taste is woodsy, sweet, and fruity all in one. Brewed below boiling (I used 190 degree water) and there is no bitterness at all. Added 1 minute to each 8oz infusion (1m, 2m, 3m, 4m).

If you’ve not had the opportunity to try this tea, do yourself a favor and give it a try!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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89

This tea is just plain fun! I enjoy tea – all types (with only a few exceptions). However, when there is a special fun factor involved, I enjoy it even more. This Monkey King is just such a tea.

I had heard about Monkey King from a former Chinese exchange student in one of the courses I taught a few years ago. He said that I would definitely enjoy it. I never forgot that recommendation and I’ve been on the lookout for the tea.

I recently placed an order through an eBay tea shop based in Shenzhen (Royal Tea Bay). By the way, I would recommend this direct source for tea from China – shipping cost is included in their tea prices and my order arrived at my front door just 7 days after placing it online. I was delighted to discover that they had a new Spring 2013 harvest of Tai Ping Hou Kui (Monkey King Green Tea) and I had to order it. My order arrived late yesterday and I was quite excited to try it early this morning.

I am in love with this tea – the whole experience! First of all, be prepared to be blown away by the size of the leaf - 4" to 4.25". Beautiful thin, whole, flat leaves with lovely shades of green coloring in each. They are very delicate and paper thin like tissue paper. The aroma of the dry leaf is slight but pleasant.

The recommendation for brewing this tea is to use a clear glass with 175 – 180 degree water. I decided to try it in my 16oz Chinese glass tumbler with filter for drinking. I was unsure of the leaf amount so I started with 22 long leaves added after pouring the heated water. It was a pleasure to watch these tall soldiers stand at full attention in the water. The tea aroma was vegetal and sweet and was a very pale yellowish-green color. The flavor is sweet with clear vegetal overtones and I was able to detect a little citrus.

As I finished half of the liquid in the glass tumbler, I added more hot water. This continued over a three hour period using the original 22 leaves, adding more and more water, and it was only at the very end that I detected a slight astringency.

This tea is fantastic and this was a wonderful tea experience. I’ll definitely reorder. Teavivre has a Spring 2013 Tai Ping Hou Kui Green and that will probably be my next Monkey King tasting.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C

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80

Refreshing tea. I drank this iced and it hit the spot. Blend of black and green leaf makes it interesting. The cinnamon and sugar in the blend make it pleasant to drink – subtle enough to make a nice accent to the light blueberry flavor. The brew offers a very nice aroma. Overall, I enjoyed this tea iced and wonder what it would taste like hot.

Preparation
Iced

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87
drank Fragrant Bud by Zen Tea
274 tasting notes

This tea makes a very enjoyable cup. Lightly oxidized, yellow tea produces a sweet and mellow flavor without any vegetal overtones and this one delivers. Yellow tea is more difficult to find and this one is sold at a very fair price. Grab some while you can!

From the Zen Tea website: “The process for making yellow tea is time consuming. In general, the leaves are first fried, as is the case in most green teas, but then the leaves are wrapped in thick paper or cloth. At intervals the tea is fried again and re-wrapped to cool and oxidize slightly. This process continues for up to three days and then slowy roasted at the finish.”

Dry leaves are medium brown, twisted and bent. No strong aroma detected but pleasant enough. The brew results in a yellowish tan liquid (golden) which is a delight to drink – gentle, sweet and mellow. The hot tea produces a honey-like aroma with lighter flavor at first and as the tea begins to cool down a bit, the flavor intensifies.

This is my first experience with a yellow tea but it will not be my last! I am definitely sold and I’ll be keeping an eye out for other yellow teas to try.

Brewing Notes: I often put my greens and whites in a Chinese-style glass thermos/tumbler. This is the way I enjoyed this yellow tea all morning long. Four teaspoons in a 16oz tumbler with filter for drinking. Added hot water 4-5 times throughout a five hour period.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 8 min or more

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80

Strong, rich flavor (particularly for a decaf). The bergamot flavor is a bit too strong for me. I would enjoy more if the caramel and vanilla came through more. All in all, a tea to enjoy (since I have a 4oz tin) but I doubt that I’ll repurchase.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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87

This tea is wonderful. Cinnamon + sweet + pu-erh – who could not love this hearty tea? Real cinnamon flavor – not artificial at all. A great introductory tea for anyone new to Pu-erhs.

This tea has a proud spot in my tea cupboard and it will soon be time for me to reorder.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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87
drank Decaf Assam by Harney & Sons
274 tasting notes

Earlier today I wanted to stay away from caffeine so I selected Harney’s Decaf Assam. For a Decaf, it has a full bodied flavor.

The dry leaves are mostly dark chocolate brown with enough golden mixed in to make it appealing to the eye. The aroma from the tin is not that strong but definitely assam-like. I Infused the leaves for 4min 30sec in my Zojirushi travel mug and added a little agave and a T of coconut milk. As I have grown quite fond of assams, the smell is very enticing. The tea has a malty and slightly bitter taste as assam should. The touch of sweetener and milk allow a light caramel flavor to emerge.

I would be happy if I could drink regular black teas all day long but I cannot handle too much caffeine in any given day. This Harney Decaf Assam brew is a great choice on those days when caffeine is just not a good idea. I do not hesitate to recommend this tea for others to consider.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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87

I am enjoying tasting the Spring 2013 harvests from Teavivre and others. Opening the bag of this Pi Lo Chun reveals green, curled dry leaves with a sweet vegetal fragrance.

Heated water to 175 and steeped for 2min because I wanted stronger flavor. This resulted in a pale yellow-green tea with a rather sweet vegetal taste and very green open full leaves. The smooth and mellow flavor of the liquid is pleasant and very enjoyable with no bitterness at all.

The second steep was almost as good as the first. Definitely recommend this tea as a nice green for any collection.

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

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80
drank Cream Caramel Rooibos by Zen Tea
274 tasting notes

I’ve not had this tea hot but lately, as I try to reduce my caffeine consumption, I’ve been drinking this rooibos iced quite often. Very sweet as is so I’ve not needed to add sugar. Makes a nice cold beverage on these summer days. I’m not a real fan of the rooibos taste but in this particular tea, the rooibos flavor is minimized by the sweet buttery caramel flavor.

Preparation
Iced

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80
drank Pear Spice White by Teas Etc
274 tasting notes

I am enjoying this white tea iced. The flavor – combination of pear and star anise- is quite pleasant and refreshing. Star anise is an ingredient in 5-spice powder and garam masala. I would not expect to find it in a white pear tea but this combination actually works.

Opening the bag results in a sweet, fruity, spicy aroma which is quite nice. The smell of the cold liquid is not nearly as intense but the flavor is strong, unusual, and pleasing to the palate.

I recommend this as a nice summer beverage!

Preparation
Iced

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Profile

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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