301 Tasting Notes

87
drank Fragrant Bud by Zen Tea
301 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
301 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
301 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
301 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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80

I’m easing into Pu-Erhs and the tea’s name enticed me enough to purchase it. When I opened the tin this morning, I was hit with a very sweet smell. Then the earthy aroma of the pu-erh hit me.

The taste is pleasant – definitely caramel; sweet and creamy yet earthy and musty all at the same time. I did not add sweetener and it was just fine for me. Unfortunately it did not hold up as well for the second steep which was a bit bland for my tastes. I have a tin of this so I’ll keep it in the rotation for now but it is too early to determine if I’ll repurchase – another 2-3 “experiences” with the tea should reveal the answer.

A pleasant pu-erh but not too harsh. Could be a good pu-erh desert tea. It’s also a good selection when just beginning to explore pu-erh teas.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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28
drank Juicy Peach White by Teas Etc
301 tasting notes

For me, this tea is undrinkable. When you open the bag there is a strong, offensive aroma - kerosene-like. Nonetheless, thinking that it might just be me, I decided to go ahead and brew a cup. While the smell has softened a little, it continues to smell bad. The taste is very bland. Where is the Peach!?!

Overall: Undrinkable due to the terrible smell of the tea.

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89

This morning I enjoyed these lovely 2013-harvested needles over a two hour period. I understand the high reviews. It is quite a lovely tea.

Needles largely unbroken. The leaves themselves are green with the classic white fuzz and the liquid produced is a pale, pale green (almost yellow) color. The flavor is vegetal, floral, and nutty all at the same time.

Very smooth liquid and I definitely recommend to all. This is everything a silver needle should be – subtle, sweet, delicate.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 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. I enjoy most tea types but I cannot handle jasmine or other florals and I’m not particularly fond of bergamot. Moved quickly into unflavored blacks and puerhs and seldom drink anything else. Now most of my purchases are puerh cakes for aging.

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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