503 Tasting Notes

85

I made my first poorly brewed cup of this. The water was probably a bit too hot and I steeped it a bit longer because I forgot how long I usually steep this one for. It’s not bad by any means, but it lost a lot of the rich flavor that I love so much. That’s what I get for being hasty and inattentive (^.^)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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65

So clearly something is wrong with my sense of taste. I am not getting all these complex flavors as are the rest of you. This tea was part of my Verdant sampler and I have been putting off trying it because I am afraid of another floral oolong. The others in the sampler were certainly floral. I finally braved it. The most complexity I got at any point working with this tea was from the dry leaves. They have a very strong scent, riddled with flower and smells of the forest. The first two infusions were extremely delicate to me. I could pick up a faint floral aroma if I had my nose right to it, but there was very little flavor (I guess my taste buds are broken!). I have stated before that I am not terribly fond of florals, but I am slowly learning to tolerate them, at least. I don’t so much mind a floral aroma (and at times I can even appreciate it) so long as the flavor brings more variety and depth. I came to my computer to read other reviews about this tea and out of rash frustration, I decided to force something more from this one. I let the leaves stew several minutes (un-timed) in my Gaiwan. Well, that was a mistake. It didn’t taste like a flower, or honey, or fruit or anything palatable. I created a super bitter cup that I promptly poured out.

While I could take the time to figure this tea out, I don’t feel much up to it. I have too many other teas that get along with me just fine without much ado.

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75

JennyFur was kind enough to include this as a surprise sample in our last swap.

I haven’t been a fan of rooibos blends so far. I have yet to try plain rooibos, but Im pretty sure I recognize the base after all the blends I’ve had.

It smells more of rooibos than marzipan, but the marzipan really shows up strong in the flavor. It’s one of the more authentic flavored blends I’ve had, no doubt.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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75

Dragonwell was one of my favorites in the beginning of my tea adventures, but lately I’ve been craving more savory vegetal greens. I have this dragonwell along with arbor teas less premium variety. I can detect the differences, but neither is particularly ‘better’ to me. I also have one from Adagio that I don’t like so much (it is vaguely reminiscent of cat pee, not kidding). I still like my dragonwells and will keep trying new ones from different sources, but it’s not my favorite green at the moment.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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85

What a good green tea this is! It is vegetal, grassy and has a lovely texture. I didn’t pick up the chocolate notes that others did, but maybe I’ll catch them next time around. Regardless, this is one of my new favorites (^.^)

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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95

Awesome thanks to moraiwe for sending me this sample!

This is a really good green tea. The sort of green that reminds me why green tea is the one that led me into the tea world. I have had one other Nepal green that I found to be too citrusy. This one smells of citrus just after brewing, but the dominant flavor is definitely asparagus. yummy!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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45
drank Toffee Dream by Zen Tea
503 tasting notes

Thank you JennyFur for this sample!

I brewed a couple of cups of this tea for my husband and I during lunch. The dry leaves and brewed tea both smell delightfully of toffee. The taste, however, does not. I suppose it could be described as nutty, but a very flat flavorless nutty. I was really hoping for better with this one. I love both white tea and toffee. If only this blend tasted as good as it smells. Oh well. Glad I got to try it out though.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec
moraiwe

Man, I’m on the lookout for a good toffee tea but I keep being let down. Sound like this one was a bomb too.

Shelley_Lorraine

Well, some reviewers here seem to think it was good. We all have different tastes :) I could certainly pass along the rest of the sample, if you’d like. I also have a toffee (and caramel) puerh blend that has a stronger flavor than this (if you like puerh). My only complain with that one is that I prefer unflavored puerh. If I come across anything else/better I’ll let you know!

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85

I tried brewing this that past couple of times according to ‘traditional’ methods (using more leaf per oz, 160-150deg water, 90sec) and it seemes to produce a more bitter cup than when I originally brewed it at 175 for 2 min with less leaf. It’s been a while since that first cup, so I am going to have to try again to see if it makes the difference. It’s still really good, even with the bitterness. I like it better than sencha for sure.

EDIT: I just re-steeped the leaves after a few hours. I used 150deg water like the first time (I meant to use hotter, but I let it cool too long). I let the leaves steep for 60 seconds (an arbitrary choice) and the final product was a lot less bitter than the first cup. This is probably the first time that a second steeping has turned out better than the first for me.

I think gyokuro is going to take a lot of experimentation to get it just right all the time. But I look forward to the task :)

Preparation
150 °F / 65 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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75

This tea was pleasant to drink. I wouldn’t say no to a second cup. However, I feel that it falls short of its name. The fruit flavor is there, but the chocolate is lacking. Although, this is probably best in my case as I have found many chocolate flavored teas to be overwhelming. As for the raspberry, all I can say is that it is definitely fruity, but it doesn’t stand out as obviously “raspberry” to me. There was absolutely nothing unpleasant about this tea, but it doesn’t stand out as spectacular among the rest of its kind.

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

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I got this one as part of my verdant sampler set. I was really excited to try it because it had such fancy reviews everywhere.

I didn’t have brewing instructions with me, so I went with a 3min steep with boiled water. It smelled very smoky/woodsy. After I read that it was supposed to have a chocolate aroma too, I recognized that as part of the aroma that I was having trouble placing at first. The flavor was woodsy too, almost seemed sort of fruity, but not too much. I am not so good at recognizing flavors (yet). As it cooled to more comfortable drinking temperatures, I could definitely pick up more on the chocolate. I am still uncertain I am really noticing all the other flavor notes just yet, but I will get there.

I like this one quite a bit. It is a likely (but not definite) repurchase. I don’ think it is quite as exciting as everyone has made it out to be, but I haven’t tried enough variety of black tea to necessarily recognize what is particularly special with this one.

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Profile

Bio

Name: Shelley Lorraine Limegrover
Location: Thornton, Colorado
Occupation: Graduate Student and Evil Genius
Ward: 2 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, 1 Cocker spaniel, 1 super cranky but lovable siamese cat, one bipolar black turkish angora, and my husband’s black and white cat.

Hobbies: Learning, reading books, math, physics (have a degree in it), literature (have a degree in it too), anthropology, traveling, piano, and making TEA, of course (^o^)

Future plans: World domination >-)

Favorite teas: Kukicha, Green teas in general, aged oolongs, charcoal roasted oolong, taiwanese oolongs, Assam . . .

Don’t like: Genmaicha, Earl Grey, Darjeelings, ginger, coconut, smokey teas (even mild ones), nut flavors, overwhelmingly strong floral flavor (esp. Jasmine), most della derra and adagio teas. . .

My Rating System

100 My happiness absolutely depends on it

95 Will definitely repurchase

85: Might repurchase (teas that depend on my mood)

75 Won’t repurchase (but I would drink it again if offered).

65: meh

45: I reluctantly finished a cup.

15: Couldn’t finish a cup.

I simplified my ratings to single numbers rather than ranges because I can’t precisely compare so many teas with a system more detailed than this.

An unrated tea is most often one that I recognize as having significant notable quality, but that does not suit me personally. Sometimes, I leave teas unrated for other reasons, such as I am undecided or I brewed it wrong, etc.

Note: Boiling temp. barely reaches 200 where I am (and a few times it sticks at 195, I assume due to unexplainable shifts in altitude or the position of the moon. . .aliens?. . .).

Location

Colorado

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