114 Tasting Notes

82
drank Bangkok Blend by Harney & Sons
114 tasting notes

The lemon grass really elevates the tea: big lemon nose, and the lemon is strong in the taste, though the green tea comes through underneath, with subtle hints of something else, though I can’t really detect discrete coconut or ginger flavors. The overall effect is light and refreshing; I use it as a pallate-cleanser when I want to get away from the tannic black teas I tend to drink

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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92

This is the last of my three free samples from Green Terrace Tea. I’m grateful for the opportunity to taste such fine teas. I prepared this oolong in what I call a modified gong-fu method: 3 grams in 6 oz of water with 60 second steeps. It is a compromise between the simplicity of western style and the effort of true gong-fu.

1st steep (60 s): Light nose is spicy, with cooked veggies underneath. Taste has good mouth-feel but not as interesting as the nose. Good finish. As I sip, the tea seems to keep getting better, probably because the finish is so long that the taste builds upon itself. 2nd steep (70 s): Similar to the first steep but more powerful. Really good. 3rd (2 min): Still very good. I’ll probably try a few more steeps but have other things to do today, so will stop for now.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 6 OZ / 177 ML
sherapop

The compromise method sounds right for me, too. I just cannot fathom brewing one swallow at a time!

Frolic

I almost always use a hybrid east/west method using smalish cups and a strainer. I don’t have the patience for gong-fu most of the time. I like doing multiple short steeps but I also like getting more than a thimble full of tea at a time! I find it’s a great compromise.

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96

When I was pouring the tea, I detected a bit of fruity aroma. In the cup, the aroma is a complex mixture of cooked stone fruit and an underlying leafiness. The taste is simiar to the nose, but very sweet. OMG: the finish is just amazing. Big and fruity and goes on forever. Sorry; I just had to interrupt. This is a great finish.

One of my favorite things about a really good tea is how it builds up as you drink it. When the finish from the last sip is still there when I inhale the aroma, and the aroma and the finish combine with the taste in my mouth to just build the experience. This tea gives me the full experience.

This is the kind of tea you need to just spend time with. Don’t watch TV. Don’t work. Don’t read a book. I shouldn’t even be writing a review. Just savor the tea. It is worth it.

Thanks to Green Terrace Tea for the review sample.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 g 6 OZ / 177 ML
looseTman

Your fav GTT?

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93

I’ve enjoyed a lot of Li Shan oolongs, so when Green Terrace Teas offered free samples for reviews, I jumped at the chance to try two black teas from Taiwan.

I caught a whiff of molasses when I first opened the package. It is there again in the nose, which is rich. There are also hints of earth and fruit in the nose. The taste is really rich, with the same mix of flavors. As I drank more, a stone fruit flavor came to the fore. Also a very good finish.

This is the kind of tea I really enjoy. It is big and rich with a complex mixture of flavors.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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92

From the unflavored TTB
I brewed this Western style, so as to leave a little for the next person in the list. The aroma was spicy with hints of grass. The taste is full of spice, with grass/straw highlights. Taste is fairly big, but the finish is just huge: very rich and powerful and goes on forever. This is my favorite style of oolong: a nice balance between green and black, with the best features of each.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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90

From the unflavored TTB.
I used less tea than I normally do per the instructions in the TTB. I didn’t need more than 1 gram. Powerful nose is a blend of autumn leaves, chocolate, and smoke. The taste is similar. This is a very good tea, but I think I prefer the Yunnan stlye that is heavier on the chocolate. The finish is almost ethereal: the blend of the flavors changes subtly and it fades very slowly. Others’ tasting notes mention caramel, and the flavor now seems obvious to me, but I don’t see the honey, raisins, etc.

Although this isn’t my favorite flavor mix, the tea was so well made and interesting that it still rates a very high score.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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86
drank Special Dark by Mandala Tea
114 tasting notes

I think I’m just not cut out to like Pu-erh. It’s not from lack of trying. I’ve bought a half-dozen samples from various sources, but never pu-erh specialists. I was excited about the unfavored TTB, primarily because it promised an importunity to sample many of the highest-rated pu-erhs. If I didn’t like those, then pu-erh just wasn’t for me. My first attempt (Mandala Wild Monk) didn’t end to well, though some of the blame may fall on my steeping technique. This was my second attempt.

Not wanting to use too much of a limited sample, I went western-style. The nose was light. The flavors were deep and dark; earthy with hints of chocolate and a tinge of bitterness. Not exciting me the way I hoped it would. Reminds me a bit of a medium-quality Yunnan. As it cooled, I could hold it in my mouth longer, and feel the power and complexity, but the flavor profile isn’t one that I enjoy: earthy and woody and dark. I wound up rating this fairly high because it was interesting, but it isn’t a tea that I would buy.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 g 6 OZ / 177 ML
MzPriss

Awww :( sorry you didn’t care for it Dr Jim. This tea is my boyfriend that I will never break up with. I have some every morning. And it’s another illustration of how differently we all taste things.

looseTman

Perhaps: 5 g / 10 oz / 212 / rinse / 5 min, 10 min ?

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85

In this day of political correctness, we aren’t supposed to have prejudice, but I have to confess that I have prejudice against certain teas, including Nilgiri. I’ve never had one that I thought was better than ordinary. Until this one.

This tea was really nice. The first Nilgiri that I’ve really enjoyed. It reminds me a bit of a Yunnan: earthy, with a hint of chocolate. The second steep was slightly bitter, but a third was smooth and enjoyable. Not great, but certainly rising above ordinary.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 g 6 OZ / 177 ML
Single Origin Teas

Glad to hear you liked this one. :) I was prejudice against Nilgiri too. I had always heard that they were best used for blending and flavored teas, so it was a real treat to find one that I felt could stand on its own two feet.

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90

From the Unflavored TTB.
One of the disadvantages of a TTB is that there is a tension between using a lot of tea and leaving more for future participants. I’m also trying to taste a lot of different teas, so I don’t want to spend half the day with a single tea. So for this tea, I did a weird compromise between a western style and gong-fu: steeping 2 grams of tea in 6 oz of water for several 2-minute steeps. It let me get a sense of the tea without using a lot of tea or feeling like I wanted to do 10 re-steeps. It seemed to work out reasonably well.

1st steep (2 min): Soft nose is straw with grassy/spicy undertones. As it cooled, the spice became more prominent. The taste has a good mouth-feel, with a blend of straw and grass and a hint of spice. 2nd (2 min): Smell is now grass and toast. Much richer flavors. Less grass, more spice. By the third steep (5 min):, the taste is really deep and rich. Not much grass at all.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 OZ / 177 ML

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78
drank Kenya Milima by Harney & Sons
114 tasting notes

From the Unflavored TTB. Decent nose. Smooth, round taste is very full. Good finish has a hint of bitterness. This is a nice tea, but doesn’t have any features that really stand out as interesting, other than a bare hint of fruit.

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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