156 Tasting Notes
“I used 1.6 grams in 3 oz water. 1 minute steep following 20 sec rinse. The nose is lovely: soft and fruity. Soft round flavor continues the fruit. This is great! Now I start to understand what all the excitement about Pu-erh is all about. Excellent finish. After a few sips I began to notice an earthy bitterness in the finish. This bitterness grew, spoiling the tea for me. This dragged my rating from about 91 to where it wound up.
Second steep (212 deg) adds a bit of grass to the fruit in the aroma. Taste is grassy, and more austere. Again, the bitterness grows as I drink. Perhaps this is why gaiwans are so popular with Pu-erh drinkers?
Third steep (200 deg): Nose is becoming dark and earthy but I still smell fruit and grass. Still very powerful. Not much bitterness in the taste, but it shows up powerfully in the finish, which is long enough to mix into the taste on subsequent sips.”
Thanks to Stacy at Butiki Tea for putting this box together
The leaves are extremely dark for a “green” tea. Darker than any Darjeeling I’ve ever had; almost black. No real difference in color between this and the plain purple tea. Smells like a green tea: grass and veggies. Tastes green as well. This tea has a great mouth-feel: big and rich. I don’t really notice the veggies in the taste, which I consider a good thing. Long, rich finish. I should time the finish: it goes on for minutes. As I drink, I am noticing a growing astringency; Not unpleasant but strong enough to overcome the nice body of the tea.
Long, dark green leaves. Almost black. Rich plum aroma. Strong stone fruit taste, but with a vegetable undercurrent that I find unpleasant. The finish is more veggie than fruit. I really wish I could love this tea. It is very complex, which is usually a big plus for me, but I really dislike veggie-tasting teas. I suspect that others on Steepster might really find this appealing.
Fine grain; almost but not quite CTC. Soft fruity aroma with hints of stone fruit and spice. Tastes of tar, with hints of fruit and spice. Quite complex; becomes somewhat bitter at the end. An interesting tea that might serve as a strong breakfast tea. I liked the complexity, but not the bitterness. Adding nutrasweet seemed to bring out the fruit, but didn’t really cover the bitterness.
The dry color is green, not silver. Soft straw aroma with hints of flowers. Powerful taste, but more like a green tea than a white. Long finish. Each sip seemed a bit more rich and complex. I really like this one. As I got further down in the cup, I noticed a hint of bitterness, which held the score out of the 90s. In terms of style, this seems more like a quality green tea than a silver needle.
The dry color is green, not silver. Weak nose. The initial aste is grassy without much body or strength. The finish is special: rich and long. As I drank, each sip added to the existing finish to produce a powerful, interesting taste. Not as good as most other silver needles I’ve tried, but indicative of the style.
From Travelling Tea Box C
My first tea from the new box. It has a soft, fruity aroma that makes me think of Jasmine, even though Jasmine isn’t on the ingredients list. The taste is a bit flat compared to the smell. OK but not special; there are a lot of other flavored whites that I prefer to this one. I tried adding nutra-sweet, but it didn’t make much difference.
I am a big fan of keemun tea, and consider the smoky character to be a key aspect of the tea. However, the smoke so dominates this tea that I can’t really enjoy it.
The aroma is very smoky: to the point of making me think about Lapsam Souchong. All I can smell is the smoke. The taste and finish are likewise dominated by the smoke, making the tea one-dimensional, though the complex character of keemun is what normally draws me to the tea.
Once I get over my initial impression, I can just enjoy the raw power of the tea. As I said, I do like a smoky tea. I also discovered that the second steep was in many ways better than the first: the smoke is subdued, letting the flavors of the tea peek through. The finish is still dominated by the smoke.
As an experiment, I tried steeping a pot with half my usual amount of tea: only 0.8 grams for 6 oz of water (3 minute steep). The smoke is no longer overwhelming. Although I can’t detect the tea flavors, the tea is good this way. Still, I wouldn’t change my ratings, since the tea is still one-dimensional.
Note: It is possible that I am reviewing the wrong tea here. In late 2013, Art of Tea only has a Hao Ya (with no A) and that is the tea I am reviewing.
Thank you Tea at Sea, both for the sample and for the perfect excuse to put off doing my taxes (tea has a higher priority). This is the last of my samples and IMHO the best.
The dry leaf is dark green and rolled like an oolong. The leaves took a while to unwrap, so I almost gave the tea a longer steep, but 3 minutes is my standard time and I like to have that as my basis for comparison to other teas.
The aroma was earthy with hints of stone fruit and not overly strong. The taste was dominated by the stone fruit flavor, reminding me a bit of a 2nd flush Darjeeling. The flavor was quite strong, with very little astringency and no bitterness at all. This is a style I like. The finish was mostly just an echo of the fruit but went on for a very long time.
My one complaint is in the packaging. Tea at Sea went overboard with the cutesy package: a re-sealable foil package with the name of the tea on a separate tag tied to the package. But when you cut open the package, the label is removed, so I had to write the names of the teas on the package with a pen. They didn’t really think this one through. I just hope the larger packages that they sell are more practical.
I steeped this western style in order to permit multiple cups from a sample. Thanks to Tea at Sea for the sample.
I’ve been trying to reduce my stash lately so this is my first new tea since Christmas. I’m excited. The dry color is quite green. The aroma is grassy, with a hint of veggies. Feels very full and rich in the mouth, even with a small sip. Very green in style, with grass and straw flavors but not the spice I usually see in an oolong. Clean and balanced in style with a bit of astringency but not a hint of bitterness. Not overly complex. Long but modest finish.
I’m not a big fan of green teas, so this tea is on the wrong side of the oolong style spectrum for me. However, it is very well made and would be a good oolong for a fan of the greener style of oolong.