176 Tasting Notes

From the sheng sampler. Brewed gongfu-style with a gaiwan. 10 second rinse. Steeping times: 10, 10, 15, 15, 30, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 120, 180.

The dry leaf aroma offers a delicate fragrance of fresh honey, while the wet leaf smells of green peppers, and then of bamboo and a thick conifer forest.

The liquor is golden, clear, thin-textured, and full-bodied. The session begins with a light grassy and prickly cup, and a peach aftertaste. Thereafter, a bitter green pepper note dominates. The fourth infusion, additionally, has walnut and pecans, and the beginning with the fifth infusion, is a sweetness underneath. I also taste a forest floor, the sort of forest that big and crowded with trees, the sort of floor that has layered beds of moss and dried and freshly fallen pine needles. The feel is light yet powerful.

Despite my words, this isn’t for me (well, it is sheng, but I felt the need to broaden my tastes with the sampler anyway). I can’t be appreciative of it unfortunately.

Preparation
7 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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95
drank Top Leaf by Mellow Monk
176 tasting notes

I think I received this in a swap from Cameron B. If yes, thanks so much!

Brewed in a shudei kyusu. Japanese green teas are so finicky for me and I was impatient today, so the temperature is rather high (I heat water in a saucepan), but each steep was only a few seconds long. I got good results.

The wet leaf smells delightfully of ripe persimmons. The liquor is dark neon green, thick, and full-bodied. A sweet and buttery feel with notes of squash, pumpkin, and a hint of clementine.

This is a sencha to drink after dinner – no bitterness or vegetables in this one!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML
Stephanie

She gave me some too and I loved it as well!

Tealizzy

Wow, you make this sound amazing! On the wishlist it goes!

KiwiDelight

It’s so different from what I’m used to!

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94

Thank you, Angel, for the samples and including me in the oolong flight!

Brewed with the gongfu method in a gaiwan. Followed the website’s instructions. 5 second rinse. Steeping times: 30, 30, 50, 70, 90, 120, 150, 180.

The session begins with a seaweed-y and sweet dry aroma, followed by a buttery wet aroma with a note of sugar snap peas. Wonderfully flagrant – one of the pleasures this tea offers. And the leaf itself is another. It has such a beautiful shade of green, and the leaves appear so lively as they float in the gaiwan.

The liquor is light greenish gold in color, clear and clean, and full-bodied yet light, like water from a small pristine pond. Though the flavors are not fully developed, the first infusion offers a creamy texture and a buttery sweetness reminiscent of kukicha.

The creaminess disappears in the infusions thereafter, though the smoothness doesn’t. The second infusion is very sweet with a creamed spinach aftertaste. Three, four, and five have a stronger floral note. Five in particular tastes of spring flowers that entice bees excited for fresh nectar after a long winter. Additionally, the texture is thicker, and the buttery note returns. I am reminded of shincha.

The sixth and seventh infusions have fewer flowers and more sweet candies. Ending the session, the eighth is the fruitiest and juiciest, with an aftertaste of strawberries, blueberries, and bananas.

This is only my second Da Yu Ling. A good one to end this oolong flight!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 7 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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85

Thank you for the sample, Angel!

Brewed gongfu-style with a gaiwan. Followed the website steeping instructions. 5 second rinse. Steeping times: 15, 25, 35, 45, 55, 75, 85 (I added 105).

Beautiful dry leaf, a fresh kind of green as if the leaves weren’t at all plucked and processed. The aromas are floral and sweet with a hint of butter and mineral. The liquor is light yellow, medium-bodied, clear, bright, and crisp. A pleasant light floral note consistently appears throughout the session. In the beginning there is an aftertaste of a “tropical” smoothie – mango, papaya, pineapple – though this disappears after the third infusion, leaving the floral aspect completely to dominate the scene.

This Tie Guan Yin didn’t say anything special to me or make me feel a certain way after each cup, though it is a lovely Tie Guan Yin of good quality.

Preparation
Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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85

Brewed with the Western method. (First steeping meant to be 4 minutes, but ran up to 6 due to a distraction at work.)

The dry leaf aroma smells of maple syrup and plums. The dark amber liquor is full-bodied, clear, thin-textured, and brisk with flavor. All at once I taste smoke, malt, honey, and fruit.

This is my first Keemun, and even though it is only my first, I think it served as a good introduction to this type of tea. A brand new and very interesting gustatory experience.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80

Brewed Western-style in a ceramic teapot. Steeping times: 3, 5, 7, 10.

My first Four Seasons oolong. I drank this at work. Both the dry and wet leaf have a strong floral fragrance, evocative of roses. The liquor is light yellow, clear, full-bodied, and has a somewhat thick texture. The notes are not complex, but simple. Deliciously floral and light. Brings a freshness to the office.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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94

Thank you, Angel, for providing me a sample!

Brewed gongfu style with a gaiwan. Steeping instructions are from the website. 5 second rinse. Steeping times: 30, 30, 35, 45, 60, 100, 120.

After the rinse, the leaf has floral and buttery and sweet notes. Following the actual infusions, the aroma smells mainly vegetal, of creamed spinach.

The liquor is pale golden yellow, clear, and full-bodied with a creamy texture. The first infusion reminds me kukicha: vegetal, seaweed-like, and sweet. The second, which is even sweeter, tastes of mid-summer floral scents, if these could be captured in a tea. The third infusion is a little strange. Roasted vegetables on the tongue, candy on the roof of the mouth – completely separated, not meeting and mixing, as if this tea has a double personality, of which both personalities simultaneously emerge. At this point in the session, the sweet aftertaste is strong and truly lingers for minutes. The fourth through seventh infusions have only fruity notes. Peaches and berries, mostly blueberries. A little tart. As the tea sit in the mouth, the fruits change into flowers.

I believe this is my first non-roasted Dong Ding. I had an enjoyable session with it. Delightful and complex all around!

Preparation
Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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93

Thanks to Angel for the sample!

Prepared with the gongfu method. Instructions are from website. 5 second rinse. Steeping times: 25, 35, 45, 55, 65, 75, 85.

The dry leaf aroma evolves as the leaves sit in the gaiwan, in the open air. Roasted vegetable became sweet potatoes, which turns into maple syrup and candy, and then strawberries and blueberries. The wet leaf aroma is similar, but shifted back to roasted vegetables – bitter, like Brussels sprouts.

The liquor is pale gold and clear. Full-bodied and flavorful with a cream texture. Because the leaf was roasted, this Tie Guan Yin feels darker though no less brighter. Reminds me of early autumn, while the sun still shines a lot. The first cup tastes of roasted vegetables, and then of sweet things as the tea stays in the mouth. In the second and subsequent cups, the flavor remains consistently sweet, and also a little tart. Surprisingly fruit-like, as if it were a leaf-hopper oolong, though not quite so juicy.

This Tie Guan Yin leaves a soothing and cozy effect. It’s my first time having a roasted TGY, and it’s a good one!

Preparation
Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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95

Thank you, Angel, for providing me a sample.

Prepared gongfu style with a ceramic gaiwan. Steeping instructions are from the website, save for the second 5 sec rinse. Steeping times: 25, 55, 75, 90, 100, 120, 160.

This wonderfully bright Tie Guan Yin has a powerful yet light floral fragrance. The season of early spring – a garden not quite yet flourishing flowers – comes to mind. The liquor is the color of sunshine yellow and has a slightly thick texture and clear mouthfeel. This was my first time using 7 grams instead of 4 or 5 in a gaiwan – my gaiwan was practically BURSTING with leaf. My cups were incredibly flavorful. Essentially floral, sweet, and candy-like, moving on to more plants fully grown, like in late spring. Peach, banana, and clementine appear in the middle of the session, leaving a fruity aftertaste, which, generally, stays with you for minutes and minutes.

If you live in a colder climate and need a bit of spring in the middle of it all, this is one Tie Guan Yin to drink. A cup of spring for you.

Preparation
Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
KiwiDelight

So I haven’t been able to post notes much because I have no time during the week, and I’ve been busy these past couple weekends. Yay for finally having a job!

Ost

Love this one!

Skysamurai

what a name!!!

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68
drank Creamy Eggnog by Butiki Teas
176 tasting notes

This is one of the teas Kaylee kindly sent to me in her Secret Pumpkin. It was on my wishlist.

Very interesting green tea for a base. The leaves were shaped like pine needles, and I thought they were actually white tea leaves before I drank my cup. I also liked the little red flower petals added for decoration and contrast.

The dry leaf smells uncannily like eggnog. Yummmm. Ready for Christmas even though Halloween is only three days away!

I couldn’t taste any eggnog, though, just the base tea, which is buttery and rich in flavor. Well, it allowed me to see why this particular tea was chosen.

Thank you again, Kaylee!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cheri

Too bad you couldn’t taste the eggnog because Stacy does that so well.

KiwiDelight

Maybe it was my taste buds. So odd.

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Profile

Bio

I began drinking tea because its complexity fascinated me. I love learning about its history, its manufacturing processes, and its place in various cultures.

My favorite teas are Japanese greens, and my favorite herbal tisanes are peppermint, lavender and chrysanthemum. So far I like exploring dark oolongs, Chinese blacks, and, most recently, shou pu’erh. African teas are my babies. The only teas I truly dislike are fruity tisanes and the ones that have too much fruit. (Hibiscus – I actually like alone.) Not much of a fan of sheng pu’erh either.

I’m an MFA graduate who studied nonfiction writing and am now an editorial assistant. I mostly write nature essays. I’m birder as well as a tea enthusiast. I also like exercising, Tolkien, and Ancient Egypt.

How I rate:

96-100 I adore absolutely everything about it. A permanent addition to my stash.

90-95 Superb quality and extremely enjoyable, but not something I’d necessarily like to have in my stash (might have to do with personal tastes, depending on what I say in the tasting note).

80-89 Delicious! Pleased with the overall quality.

70-79 Simply, I like it. There are qualities that I find good, but there also are things that aren’t, hence a lower rating that I would have otherwise like to put.

60-69 Overall “meh”. Not necessarily bad, but not necessarily good.

0-59 No.

If there is no rating: I don’t feel experienced enough to rate the tea, or said tea just goes beyond rating (in a positive way).

Location

Westchester, NY

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