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10 Tasting Notes

71

I wasn’t expecting much from this relatively cheap black tea from Allegro, but I had never tasted a Ceylon tea before and the leaves looked long and attractive so I decided to try some. After brewing my first cup this morning, I am very happy I went with an ounce instead of just a half ounce. The first infusion was somewhat lighter than other black teas I’ve tasted, which I attributed to the fact that I steeped it at a little lower temperature than I should have, but once I tasted it I was very impressed to find complex, fruity tones over a smooth base of black tea goodness. The second infusion was very weak, I think next time I’ll just brew it hotter and longer the first time and then throw it out, this being the only real downside to this tea. Otherwise, very impressed with the oolong-like characteristics of this unassuming black tea.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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92

I really like thick, dark teas. I really, reaaaallly like thick, dark teas. The first sencha I ever tasted was the Organic Miyazaki Sakimidori from o-cha.com, a positively stunning experience from the thick cloudiness of resultant brew to the amazing grassy flavors to the absolute euphoria following, and solely responsible for inspiring my love of tea.

I had held off on trying Pu Erh for quite a while, not quite understanding how I would brew it or why it came in little blocks, but having tried all other main varieties of tea from white to black, I decided it was finally time to introduce myself to post fermented teas.

The smell of the dry leaves was funny, not quite like anything I’d ever smelt before and definitely containing some of those fishy notes I’d heard of. I first broke off a little bit of one of the little bundles and infused it for 30 seconds. I probably should have rinsed the leaves first, but regardless I was immediately impressed by the first infusion – dark as coffee, thick mouthfeel and very surprising lack of astringency. I like this tea. The flavor is very earthy, almost like a counterpart to the grassiness of the Miyazaki sencha but one layer closer to the center of the earth. I was left with a powerful envigoration after one cup, noticeably heightened with the second, and more so than I experience from black tea. Perfect after a large meal.

Definitely happy about my first experience with post fermented tea, and I will definitely consider getting more.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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75
drank Coconut Assam by Zhi Tea
10 tasting notes

Tasty, and the coconut is very well paired with the Assam black tea, but still makes me feel somewhat like I’m covering up the natural tea flavors with fruity additions. I’ve heard it’s amazing with coconut milk which I can readily imagine. I think I would best enjoy this tea brewed very strong, with some coconut milk added, to drink on the go. Not something I would meditate over in the morning.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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75
drank Coconut Assam by Zhi Tea
10 tasting notes

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53

Too unassuming for a Oolong in my opinion. I love green teas, but I definitely prefer my Oolongs darker than this. Unfolds nicely over multiple infusions, I’m just rarely in the mood for this one. Nice and sweet though, and my girlfriend likes it :)

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68

This is a great, standard green tea. Nice crisp flavor, almost minty even, I enjoyed this tea every time I had it. Very refreshing. I would definitely buy more, although I would probably try some other green teas before I come back to this one.

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85
drank Wuyi Oolong by Rishi Tea
10 tasting notes

Maybe I just really like Oolongs, but this is one of the most satisfying teas I’ve had yet. Really full yet subtle flavor. Holds up quite well to rebrewings, too. I usually infuse it 4 or 5 times, starting at 3 or 4 mins and increasing the length by about a minute on each steeping after that. Really appropriate for this time of year (especially with the rainy, cold weather recently) and great for social tea drinking. I’ll definitely get more!

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45

I’d never tried a jasmine green tea before and I saw this tea in the sampler baskets at Whole Foods, so I thought I’d give it a try. Drinking the first cup right now, and at first, when the tea was still slightly too hot to drink I didn’t think I liked the jasmine flavor but as it’s cooled down I’ve enjoyed it a little more. I still think I’d rather have unflavored green tea, though. :\
Water temperature was supposed to be 180, I don’t have a thermometer and I think I brewed it a little hot though, so marked as 185.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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57

So far, besides the sencha I order from o-cha.com, I’ve been trying various samples, either from Zhi Tea or just the bulk sampler bags at Whole Foods. While leafing (get it?) through the sampler bags during my latest grocery-shopping adventure, I was smacked right in the face by the incredibly strong smell of SOMETHING, which I subsequently identified as this tea. I’d never heard of Lapsang Souchong before but I decided if it was bold enough to capture my attention without me even seeing it, it deserved a taste. I looked it up when I got home (and took a few more whiffs of the leaves) and the strange odor suddenly made a lot of sense. However, it smelt something like tobacco or smoked meat (neither of which I enjoy too much) so I was somewhat skeptical about what kind of tea would result. Fortunately, the taste of the tea was not nearly as strongly smoky as the aroma of the dry leaves, and I liked it quite a bit. It strikes me as a tea that would be great to drink while at the banya.

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

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75
drank Golden Yunnan by Rishi Tea
10 tasting notes

This is only the second loose leaf black tea I’ve tasted ever, to my knowledge, the first being Republic of Tea’s Lapsang Souchong, so I don’t have too much to compare it to, but I’m loving the complexity, especially the sweet raisiny notes. I’m surprised that the brewing instructions on Rishi’s website suggest a 4-5 min steep time, my first steep was three minutes and the resultant tea was very dark and pretty bitter. I’ll play around with steeping time and temperature. Definitely considering getting more of this, but I’ll probably sample some other black teas first.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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