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60 Tasting Notes

85
drank Decaf Mango by Adagio Teas
60 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
60 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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85
drank Grand Amour by Nina's Paris
60 tasting notes

My initial impression of the tea was that it smelled very much like a Keemun, with only hints of fruit hiding in the background. The taste showed more fruit, but definitely in a secondary role to the tea. The flavor was full and rich with moderate amounts of tannin and acid, but no bitterness. The taste blended smoothly into a good finish.

When I tried adding a bit of Nutra-Sweet, the fruit moved from the background to the foreground, with raspberry and currant becoming more or less equal to the tea in the flavor balance. I’m not sure whether I liked the tea better with or without the sweetener, but it was significantly different. I couldn’t really detect the caramel flavor, and the vanilla was at most a hint in the background.

This tea would appeal to someone who likes a hint of flavor adding subtlety to their tea, not to someone looking for fruit flavor with a bit of caffeine.

My thanks to Laurent at Nina’s Paris for the sample

Added note: second steep almost as good as the first

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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89
drank Black Pearl by Mountain Tea
60 tasting notes

Mountain tea calls this an oolong, but it tastes more like an incredibly rich assam or Ceylon to me. Very rich nose, taste, and finish, without any bitterness. Rich and complex. I brewed 3.0 gm in 6 oz of water for 1 minute. A second steeping had the same good character but was not quite as powerful

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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79

1.9 gms tea, 5 oz water: 1st steep (1 min): Rich and powerful yet smooth and complex. Nose, taste, and finish all good. 2nd steep (1.5 min) was weaker but still nice.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 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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