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60 Tasting Notes

84
drank Qing Pin by Yezi Tea
60 tasting notes

I’m sipping down the last of my samples from Yezi Tea

First steep(3 minutes): Rich aroma of damp forest. The flavor is more like old leather with undertones of chocolate and cedar. Very powerful, yet balanced and well integrated. Good finish.

The second steep was significantly less powerful, yet held all the same flavor components. It seemed more refined; almost like tasting a Bordeaux wine after a California Cabernet. I preferred the first steep, but only slightly.

This isn’t my favorite style of tea, but it was of such high quality that I enjoyed it a lot, so gave it a good score.

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

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78
drank turkish apple by Art of Tea
60 tasting notes

My black Friday shipment arrived yesterday and so I’ve started to enjoy the teas (I’m letting my wife put some of the teas away as Christmas presents but I couldn’t stand to wait for all of them).

This tea was a bit disappointing. I tried it first without any sweetener, and the only flavor was cinnamon. The aroma reminded me of the “Atomic Fireball” candies I used to eat as a kid, and that probably influenced my impressions, but I couldn’t taste any tea or apple: just the fireball.

I tried adding NutraSweet, and the sweetener brought out the apple flavor, but the cinnamon still overpowered the apple. This tea might work for someone who really likes cinnamon, but it isn’t for me.

Note added two months later. This time I liked the tea much better. The cinnamon dominated, but I accepted the tea for what it was: a cinamon tea. I also noticed that the cinnamon faded faster than the other flavors so the second and third steeps were much more balanced. The current rating is an average of 73 and 82.

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

Apple tea’s are really hard to get right I think.

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94
drank Li Shan Oolong Tea by Yezi Tea
60 tasting notes

I’ve been sipping down teas in anticipation of Black Friday, and decided it was time to try this sample from Yezi Tea. I used the entire 3 grams in 6 oz of water in a series of 60 second steeps.

1st steep: Nose is soft and spicy with hints of straw. Flavor is light and grassy with milky texture. Finish seems more powerful than the taste. As the tea cooled the flavor opened up and became quite buttery, but the spice disappeared.

2nd steep: the nose is more grass than straw, with just a hint of spice. A bit more powerful than the first steep. The first sip just exploded in my mouth: tremendous power! It has an incredibly rich mouth-feel, with flavors dominated by straw and grass, with undertones of spice. The taste transitions smoothly into a long, powerful finish.

3rd steep was less powerful than the second. Mildly spicy nose. Same flavors, but much less buttery texture in the mouth. Finish is still good, but not quite as good as the second steep.

Many thanks to Yezi Tea for providing the sample

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

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94

From Considering a new Travelling Tea Box

This has a beautiful golden appearance that suggests quality. The instructions said to use 1/2 tsp, but I used my standard 1.5 grams (though increased the water to 8 oz from my usual 6).

This was an amazing tea. I was initially hesitant at the Yunnan-like damp forest aroma, but there was an underlying note of cocoa, and I didn’t find it off-putting. The flavor is HUGE. I won’t use as much next time, yet the strength was wonderful: a big, complex, mouth-filling tea. The flavor changed subtly in my mouth and as the cup cooled, making it hard to identify specifics, but it retained the forest/cocoa notes in the nose. The finish was also delightful and strong. A great tea.

There is only about 5 grams left in the box, but I’m afraid I’m claiming it.

I should probably give this a 100, but I’ve always been a tough grader.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Whispering Pines Tea Company

Hey Doc! Glad you enjoyed this! :)

I think (unless I was totally out of it and messed up) that the instructions called for 1/2 tablespoon rather than 1/2 teaspoon. This tea also was a reserve tea but as of today has been moved up to a regular stock item, and can be found here: http://whisperingpinestea.com/yunnangold.html

The one you had and the one currently offered is a 2012 harvest. When stock runs out of the 2012 we will be replenishing each fresh harvest. :)

Glad you enjoyed this and had a good first impression of Whispering Pines!

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80

From Considering a new Travelling Tea Box

I’m not a big fan of Pu-erh, so the fact that this one smells so much like a pu-erh made me a bit nervous, though there were also strong notes of cocoa.

The taste is very interesting. The chocolate and pu-erh mix into something different from either but very nice. The cocoa flavor somewhat dominates the finish, but without losing balance.

At this point I added some sweetener. As with many chocolate teas, the sweetener increased my awareness of the chocolate. The taste changes from cocoa to chocolate. I didn’t have a preference either way.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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77

From Considering a new Travelling Tea Box

Lots of spice and pepper in the nose. Smells a bit like fireball candy. The taste carries the same flavors, but milder, with good backing of tea. Over time, the cinnamon dissipated, but the black pepper remained. Good finish. None of the damp forest flavor I associate with Yunnan, but the fireball taste is a bit distracting.

This is a solid tea, but I couldn’t fall in love with the flavor combination. It might work for someone else.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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81

From Considering a new Travelling Tea Box

I haven’t had many pu-erh teas yet and to be honest I haven’t liked what I tried. This one, however, I enjoyed, probably because the toffee masked some of the features of pu-erh I usually find objectionable.

Initially, Pu-erh dominated the nose, but as the tea cooled slightly the toffee came forward, to the point where I smell more toffee than tea, though both are apparent. The extremely rich and powerful taste manages to balance the Pu-erh flavor with the toffee. The tea provides a strong base, giving depth and power, while the toffee kind of floats on top, adding flavor.

I thought I would need to add sugar, but it tastes fine without it. There were little chunks of toffee in the tea, so those probably add some sweetness in addition to flavor. The finish is weak compared to the tea, with just hints of toffee and very little tea.

I’d say the aroma is the best part of the tea: well balanced, strong, and interesting. The taste is good, but a bit less integrated, and the finish is a bit disappointing.

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

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85
drank Coconut Oolong by Rishi Tea
60 tasting notes

From Considering a new Travelling Tea Box

Rich coconut aroma rises from the pot as soon as the water hits the tea. I can smell it from several feet away. Not so overpowering in the cup, but still smells strongly of baked coconut (like a macaroon?). The flavor is also dominated by the coconut; I can hardly taste the tea. Finish similar: all coconut, very long.

I’m not sure how to rate this tea. I love coconut, and it tastes yummy, but it seems just over the top in terms of the coconut dominating the tea. It could just as easily be “coconut white” or “coconut green”. I decided that I should give it a good rating since I claim to rate purely on how much I enjoyed the tea, and I did enjoy it. It is also something I might buy, though I think I would drink it infrequently. Perhaps I should just remove enough from the travelling tea box for a few more cups.

As the tea cools toward room temperature, the oolong begins to peek out from behind the coconut. Still good.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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81
drank Graveyard Mist by 52teas
60 tasting notes

Another Travelling Tea Box 4

So the tea box arrives on Halloween night, and one of the teas is Graveyard Mist. Of course I have to try it. I’m not sure that it reminds me of anything eerie, but I did enjoy it.

It has a very minty aroma. The taste is interesting. The flavors move back and forth between the green tea and the mint. This works for me, but in the end the mint was a bit too much. The second steep had the same minty nose, but the taste is more subdued. I actually like it better than the first steep: better balance between the tea and the mint.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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85

I have mixed feelings about this tea. It seemed to change its character over the course of the tasting, probably as a result of the tea cooling. It was a very interesting tea, but had a candy-like aroma and taste that I found distracting. (this may be what Butiki calls Honeysuckle and melon – I can definitely see the melon)

It starts with a soft aroma, slightly sweet. Very weak compared to the Thunderbolt teas I was drinking earlier this morning. The taste is definitely sweet and candy-like: light on the surface but with great depth. Layers of flavor with hints of fruit and grass. The finish is good but light. As the tea cooled, the flavors became more pronounced.

I have mixed feelings about this tea. I started out not liking it but it sort of grew on me as I drank it. Based on style I would have guessed it was a first flush rather than second flush, but that may be due to the Oolong-style processing.

This was part of my recent swap with Teamore

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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