113 Tasting Notes

I bought this after reading a novel in which a character drank Lapsang Souchong, so I guess I deserve what I got.

I hated it. Smells like the house is burning. I tried to give it a second chance at work and the smoke was so strong I was afraid someone would pull a fire alarm. People were looking around for the source of the smoke.

I won’t give it a number, since I know there are people who really like the smoke, but caveat emptor.

K S

I could have written this a year ago. In fact I probably did. Now I find good smoke tasty.

MelissaTea

I had the same experience Dr Jim and I am in no hurry to try it again, but KS post reminds us that we can grow to love such things. So, who knows.

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94

I’m a big fan of Keemun teas, so bought a sample of this as a special treat. And a fine treat it was.

The aroma is good: not overly powerful but with a strong chocolate nature. Magnificent finish: long, complex, and powerful. The taste is good and well-balanced, but not quite as good as the finish, which just goes on forever. Not a hint of bitterness anywhere. Excellent tea. Not as smoky as some Keemuns, but the smoke is definitely there.

I tried a 2nd steep(3m): Taste and nose are slightly weaker than the first steep, but the quality of the flavors was almost as good as the first steep. The finish was a lot weaker than the first time around. Still, if I had only had the second steep, I would have said it was an above-average tea.

I drank this in a series of cups with some other Keemuns. When I tried my previous favorite (Upton’s ZK25 Keemun Dao Ming) it tasted a bit coarse compared to this tea, which was really elegant.

Although this is a bit pricy, I think I need to buy a larger quantity, since it is definitely the best keemun I’ve ever had, as well of one of my favorite teas ever. I’ll use the fact that it re-steeped fairly well to help justify the price.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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79

(3 min steep): Rich, dark color. Powerful smoky nose. The flavors are powerful, but the smoke component is a bit too dominant for my tastes. I might like this better if it weren’t so strong. No bitterness. Big finish also dominated by smoke.

The above note was based upon 1.6 gms in 5 oz of water, which is stronger than I normally steep, so I tried again with 1.4 gms in 6 oz water. The tea wound up slightly weaker, but still strong, and the smoke still dominated. The different steeping parameters didn’t change my opinion.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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85
drank Decaf Mango by Adagio Teas
113 tasting notes

This tea has a lovely sweet nose. I initially tried drinking it without sugar, and Liked the taste, but was distracted by a slight bitterness. When I added NutraSweet (which I usually use with flavored teas) the bitterness disappeared and the fruit flavor seemed to improve. It now had a soft, fruity flavor, and a nice finish. The more I sipped, the more I liked it. I also thought I detected a hint of caramel.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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94

I got this in the recent 5 for $5 sale, and it may have turned out to be an expensive bargain, since I don’t know if I can live without this tea.

I steeped multiple times with 3.0 grams of tea at 1 minute per steep. Complex, and delicious. Not only is the taste good but there is a huge, complex finish that goes on forever. 2nd (60s): still very big and rich. Slightly sweet, with hints of caramel and berry. Raised score from 92 to 94. 4th (3m): Finally ran out of steam; nice but weak.

I really like oolong teas, and this one was just tremendous. I’m a tough grader, but this is one of my all-time favorites.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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79
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
113 tasting notes

I find this tea very difficult to understand. I’ve seen the consistently high reviews on Steepster, so jumped at the 5 for $5 sale recently at Verdant. It wasn’t what I expected.

My first tasting seemed to confirm the high ratings. I noted a cocoa flavor, and rated it a 90. However, the second time I tasted the tea, the chocolate had gone AWOL, replaced with a tar/tobacco/shoe leather taste that I didn’t care for. My rating dropped to a 72.

I noticed that my first tasting was gong-fu style while the second was western, so I went back to gong-fu style.

In my most recent tasting, today, I am reminded of one of those MC Escher paintings in which the birds fly left or right depending on how you perceive the background. In my first steep, there was nothing but shoe-leather and tobacco. In the second, I began to see chocolate, but briefly. In one sip, I only taste leather, but in the next, the chocolate suddenly peeks out. I suppose one could view this as exciting or complex, but frankly it is too much trouble for me. My overall rating is still fairly high just because it is a well-structured tea, with good nose, balance, and finish. I simply don’t care for the taste.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Pureleaf

I completely get what you are saying with this one. I’ve experienced the same, however have found that shorter gongfu steepings, with less leaf (strangely enough) produces a dependable chocolatey taste. Definitely different and worth experiencing.

Dr Jim

Pureleaf: Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll give it a try.

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90

This currently is my favorite Keemun, and one of my favorite teas. It starts out with a smoky nose. The smoke dominates the taste initially but than hints of chocolate begin to appear. By the finish, the chocolate is the dominant note, but there are still hints of smoke. This is a fine, complex tea. The finish is VERY long, and powerful. Great!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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79

Very smoky nose. The flavor and finish are dominated by the smoke. This makes it a bit one-dimensional, though I like the taste. A good enough tea, but not my favorite.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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87

(ZK27) Smoky nose with undertones of chocolate. Taste has medium body, but builds into a big finish. Not big or spectacular, but in perfect balance with a fair amount of complexity. Not very tannic. I liked this tea a lot, but it isn’t quite as good as some of the other Keemuns I bought at the same time.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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90

The dry leaves have rich aroma; they are longer and more curly than previous Keemuns I have tasted. Less nose than I expected, which was a bit disappointing, but the flavor is very big, with chocolate overtones and lots of complexity. Very smooth and well-integrated. The taste flows smoothly into the long, slightly tannic finish. I really liked this tea.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

Retired engineer/physicist.
My ratings will usually be based on multiple tastings. Green and oolong teas are generally 3 grams of tea in 6 oz water for 1 minute. Black teas are 1.5 grams of tea in 6 oz water for 3-4 minutes.

My numerical ratings are all based on how much enjoyment I took from the tea. Since I prefer blacks and oolongs, they will receive higher scores. I also give a couple of extra points to decafs, just because I can drink them in the evening without staying up half the night. I don’t dislike flavored teas, but find that they lack the complexity of finer teas.

90-100 = superior, worth a high price
80-89 = Excellent. Will buy again
70-79 = Good tea, but probably won’t buy
60-69 = Nothing really wrong, but…
Below 60 = Wouldn’t drink again

Location

Massachusetts

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