169 Tasting Notes

93

50% Ureshino Tama Ryokucha – 50% Uji Kabuse cold steeped for nine hours.

Drinking this iced and it’s incredibly refreshing. This method of brewing produced significantly more sweetness than the traditional brewing method. Through the cold brewing method, the liquid takes on a cloudy green color like that of matcha ice cream and the tea actually has some similarities to that taste wise as well. This stuff is lightly vegetal with little hints of cream, sweetness, and citrus. Great combination for iced tea.

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94

Silky.
Smooth.
Vibrant.
Fresh.
Vegetal.
Invigorating.
Energizing.

Man, I sure do love me some Japanese green tea.

Kashyap

i like your almost koan-like succinct expression

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78

This one is growing on me quite a bit. I need to learn a little more patience in deciding whether or not I “like” a tea, because they almost always end up growing on me once I familiarize myself with the flavors. Smooth green tea flavor with the comforting scent of rice. This tea also has a very pleasant and unexplainable bittersweet nature to it, it starts out with a bitter and slightly astringent bite that turns into a sweet and tangy sensation. With further contemplation I’m realizing that this tea is more complex than I realized.

On another note, I’ve just made my first Mandala tea order and I’m very excited. I got a ripe pu-erh mini-tuocha variety pack, 125 gram Xiaguan FT Flame 2007 raw pu-erh and an ounce of their 2008 silver needle cake. :)

TeaBrat

ooh, I’ve been wanting to try the Xiaguan flame myself…

Garret

I can’t wait for you both to try the newest cakes that are going to start arriving next week! The old tree tea mao cha is coming as a sample in your shipment, Kyle. It is one I have to get to Amy, too!!

Garret

By the way, you are both invited for tea in our Chinese tea room tomorrow at 1:00 CST. Can’t wait to serve you both tea :) We can work on several of the mao cha’s I returned from China with and decide which ones we should have pressed in to sheng pu’er :) ’Twould be fun!

Scatterbrain

Haha, sounds great. If I’m ever up in Minnesota I’ll be sure to checl out your shop. And I do plan on visiting Minnesota someday, some of my favorite tea companies and some of my favorite musicians are from your neck of the woods. :)

Garret

What musicians you diggin’ over this way?

Scatterbrain

The only Minnesota music scene that I really know a lot about is the underground hip-hop scene. I like many different kinds of music but independent and underground hip-hop is what’s always touched me most, and my favorite rappers are from Minnesota (Eyedea & Abilities, Atmosphere, P.O.S., basically the whole Rhymesayers group).

Scatterbrain

Oh yeah, can’t forget Kristoff Krane!

TeaBrat

It would be fun!

Garret

My niece is working with POS on some things these days. I’ll be heading to her bands CD release party next Sunday. It is going to be rockin. They are called Bomba de Luz and big things are happening for them. Her and her band are all 17 years old and POS heard her and asked her to be in the studio for some recording. Pretty cool!

Garret

She sent me a vid of the two of them rappin and rhymin. Nice!

Scatterbrain

That’s really cool. I’ll have to check her band out.

Scatterbrain

Is your niece the singer? If so, she has a GREAT voice. And I’m really liking the instrumentals. I could most definitely see them having success.

Garret

yep! Lydia writes the songs and sings! Just wait til you hear their new release after next week. The stuff you are hearing now is all from their EP which was out over 1.5 yrs ago. Their stuff has gotten even better. I’m a musician of over 30 years and I gotta say, I love what they are doing. Not just because I’m her uncle! To bed with me. Lots of great tea to drink tomorrow and great to pack to ship to great people! Have a great night, my friend!!

Jim Marks

This changing attitude towards any given leaf is why I’ve abandoned the numeric system on my tasting notes. (a) are we rating the quality of the tea or our personal taste? (b) if the latter, this constantly changes, especially with re-tasting, not to mention why would you care if I like it or not?

Having spent about 15 years trying to “make it” in the music business, unfortunately, having great talents, great tracks, and great recordings seems to have less and less with generating success these days. Especially if you’re trying to come out of a scene in a small city that isn’t currently the focus of a marketing campaign. Best of luck to the kids with their efforts.

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96

Everything about this tea is delicate; wonderful subtle flavors melded together in perfect harmony. The liquor is a very pale green and just the sight of it is calming. This stuff is very nutty, maybe a little more nutty than Teavivre’s “Premium grade” dragon well. It’s very silky and light and right after the liquid leaves your tongue as you swallow, you get a tingly, sparkling sweetness. Nutty, a little vegetal, sweet, calming and refreshing. A good dragonwell really centers you, and this one is exquisite.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Well said!

ashmanra

Wow, I feel better just from reading the review…ahhhh….

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96

Now on my third infusion of this late at night, just how I like it. Taking in its smooth, rich earthiness. I love it.

I doubt anyone’s up right now (at least in this time zone) but I’m just so excited about this that I had to share…

This is what I plan on getting as my first gaiwan
http://www.yishanteashop.com/Steeping_Tea/

I think it’s BEAUTIFUL, what do you guys think?

tigress_al

Very pretty gaiwan! It looks so delicate

Bonnie

Beautiful!

LiberTEAS

It is pretty… but it’s really pricy for such a basic gaiwan.

Dylan Oxford

It is very nice looking. I’d say it’s a little on the spendy side too, but a quick look around the interwebs and I’m not finding that exact gaiwan cheaper from anywhere else.

ashmanra

Lovely!

momo

I love it! If I hadn’t found one with pandas on it, I would love one like that.

Kashyap

I love gaiwans and quite a few, but they come in many various sizes and just be mindful of the size you order as it may be far smaller and more fragile than you think. I am very smitten with the travel gaiwan set that In Pursuit of Tea was selling (no longer available), but you can find a similar one at Art of Tea (it includes a Taiwanese gaiwan, tea ocean, 5 cups, and carrying case with an inner pouch – pretty great for company and travel).

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91

Free sample provided by Teavivre, thanks again to them. This is my first Keemun, hooray! I always love when I get to try something completely new to me. As far as aroma goes, I noticed similarities to my previous experiences with Chinese black teas, such as a malty aroma with hints of cocoa and a slight bit of honey. While the leaf was steeping, the cocoa aroma intensified and a small amount of smoke presented itself. Every tea has a tone or a feeling to it, and the tone that this tea was presenting was dark and haunting.

The taste followed suit with the aromas. Dark chocolate, lots of malt and a little smokiness. This tea has some real heft to it. It’s not bitter, but it’s intense. It’s not astringent, but it’s robust. It reminds me of some really high quality coffee in its intensity, but it lacks the acidity of coffee. The smokiness is almost like an illusion to me, you can’t smell it or taste it on nearly the same level as a lapsang souchong, you just kind of feel like it’s there.

This tea would make a great wake up cup as well as an awesome late night tea.

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97

Oh, jasmine. I’m not sure there’s a more intoxicating smell on this earth. It envelops you, comforts you and lets you know you’re in for a treat…it’s truly something special.

This one tastes very pure and natural. The jasmine does not smell or taste perfumey or over-the-top at all. As I sat and contemplated the imagery this tea was presenting to me, I noticed some of the same things that Bonnie identified. Pine forests and blue glacial water like in the Canadian wilderness. Then to a moonlit forest late at night, seeing the precious jasmine flower bloom before me. Wonderful. I absolutely love the imagery that tea can give me.

This is a very smooth and very sweet tea, probably the sweetest jasmine tea I’ve had. Absolutely marvelous, thank you for the sample Teavivre.

Bonnie

Hope your headaches are better!

Charles Thomas Draper

My bonsai jasmine is in bloom now. Nothing compares to the aroma

Invader Zim

I just received some of this and am very excited to try it!

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93

Azzrian, you’ve officially earned the title of the person who sent me the tastiest samples. I haven’t been let down yet. Nice oolong flavor with a light citrus flavor and a truly silky vanilla cream flavor. Awesome.

Kittenna

She does find fabulous ones, doesn’t she?!

Azzrian

Thank you :) Both of you. Don’t built me up too much though I am sure there will be a miss or two. :)

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97

This is another sample I received from Azzrian and I’ve been excited about trying it since I’ve never had a tea from Nepal before. First of all, I want to say that I’m a little puzzled as to how this qualifies as a black tea…it’s completely green and light brown. When brewing it emits an extremely fruity and somewhat floral smell, and the liquor it produces is a light amber. Overall, ot seems very much like an oolong to me. As for the flavor, to me it tastes like a combination of silver needle mixed with peach and apricot. It’s very “juicy” and a little tangy with the pleasing astringency and mellow nature that a white tea would possess. This one is definitely interesting, very unique and I like it a lot. Thanks Azz, I probably would’ve never tried this on my own.

Azzrian

You are most welcome.

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100

Wow. I might sound crazy but I’ve just had a full-blown religious tea experience. I started out drinking it casually watching Dr. Who honestly having no intention of picking apart the flavors but this tea commanded my full attention. It pulled me into a completely new space. I paused the tv, closed my eyes, and just spent about 15 minutes sipping the cup with my eyes closed making taste associations because boy, the flavors and images this tea presented to me were endless. I got everything from almond cookies, to dirt, to cranberries, and beyond.
I had visions in my mind of everything from sandy beaches to mountains and lush pastures.
And the moment I even just started smelling the wet leaf I felt a real, tangible rush of euphoria and exhilaration.

Honestly, I cannot fully explain just how significant and ethereal this experience was. It was a mental quest through life and all its sensory experiences. This is what great tea is all about, it is almost beyond this world. This tea has taught me to better appreciate tea and to surrender my senses to it fully when I consume it, because after experiences like these, I truly believe that in some way that is currently unknown to me, tea is a divine plant. Call me crazy if you wish… This tea rocked my world, thank you Azzrian, thank you Mandala and thank you to whoever is responsible for the production of this exquisute tea.

Bonnie

I know the feeling! You sound like you had a good dose of L-theanine to the brain which can feel great and produce euphoria. I’m asking my doctor about the effects with my anti seizure meds for migraine because I get a strong tea high. It’s supposed to be a healthy thing for you. Enjoy.

K S

I love teas that take you to a mountain top!

Garret

This is excellent, Kyle! I am so happy that you enjoy this gong ting. When I first tasted it in 2006, I bought every bit of it that I could from my main connection in Kunming. It is a special tea, no doubt. I am sad to see our stock of this tea dwindling. My partner, Sarah, is wanting to hoard the rest of it for us and stop selling it, but we will watch the stock and keep offering it for a little while. Great review. This tea definitely transports!!!

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Profile

Bio

My name is Kyle. I love good tea, a good book, the great outdoors, and I am passionate about music. I also find enjoyment in writing and mountain biking here in beautiful Central Oregon.

Tea is a hugely misunderstood and under-appreciated gift in the western world, and my hope is to spread the gift of quality tea. It is communion between the passion of man and the raw beauty of nature. It is art, and it is therapy. I hope you enjoy my writings.

Location

Bend, Oregon

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