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493 Tasting Notes

96

2tsp (fluffy tea, long leaves, hard to measure) for 300mL water @ 95C, steeped four minutes.

I got some of the early 2014 version of Imperial Breakfast (I think), which I notice is already sold out.

A bit lighter than last year, with the pu-erh perhaps less potent — fine with me. The white tea gets to dance, and the Yunnan gives a clean depth. I am learning to appreciate the pu-erh in this gorgeous blend. Nice caffeine lift, too.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Earth, Honey, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Peat Moss

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

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100

I can’t “like” anyone’s tea notes. This is irritating me. Whatever browser I use, I can’t “like” anything. GAH.

Back to tea …

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @90C, rinsed, steeped 3 minutes, then steeped 4 minutes.

Both infusions gave me an exquisite tieguanyin, with sharp florals, a touch of cream, faint vegetal notes, even, I thought, some faint and light musk, a light toastiness that just coaxes everything else out a little more, and so much oolong beauty that I have trouble writing about it. This tieguanyun needs, and will reward, your full attention.

Flavors: Cream, Flowers, Grass, Honeydew, Mineral, Orchids

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML
Angrboda

I can like, but the heart is tiny and it doesn’t stay red. I sent them an email a little while ago begging them to have a look at it, because non-stick likes are really frustrating me. I heard of someone else who couldn’t like anything either, but I don’t know what they did to fix it.

Michelle Butler Hallett

I’ve been corresponding with Steepster on this and other issues, including recurrent e-mails asking me to finish a purchase I never started. It all seemed to start when I asked to be removed from the Steepster Select mailing list, as, being in Canada, I can’t take advantage of Steepster Select (they ship only to US addresses). Steepster can give me no clear answer on the “like” thing, nor on why I keep getting the “finish your purchase” notes. It’s such a small problem, in the scheme of things, but it’s all irritating.

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95

1.5 tsp (more or less, fluffy leaf) for 300mL water @100C, steeped 5 minutes. Second infusion.

These rich leaves give up a second 5-minute steep that is very like the first — perhaps not so downy, and a bit more mineral. Not only an excellent tea but an excellent value. Damn Fine does it again.

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100

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped 6 minutes 15 seconds.

Honey and a bright sparkle (not astringency, though) from this glorious tea this morning. Dark copper liquor, and lots of toast and orchid notes, too. No smoke today. A delicate Keemun that shows complexity and strength when allowed to steep. No bitterness.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Earth, Honey, Orchids, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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90

1.25 tsp for 250mL water @100C, steeped 4 minutes 30 seconds.

Maybe I’m missing something in the information provided by Harney and Sons here, but what has this tea being from the “lapsing area” got to do with any smoky notes? Lapsang soughong is made smoky in the processing; it’s not smoky because of the soil the tea plant is grown in. Is it?

I only ordered a tiny sample packet of this tea, and I’m finishing it today. I’m getting much more of the fruit notes, fruit and honey and smooth black tea. I’m changing my mind on it being worth its price. I don’t think I’ll be ordering any soon, but I wish I could keep this on hand.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Dates, Grapes, Honey, Plums, Raisins, Stonefruits

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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92

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped five minutes.

My local indie teashop, Britannia Teas and Gifts, no longer exists as a bricks-and-mortar store, though the owner does appear at popup markets. I asked her a while ago if she had any Keemun left, and she did: either in a few 50g bags, or in the great big 2 kilo vacuum-packed brick that came from her wholesaler.

I bought the 2 kg brick. Yeah, that’s how much I like Keemun.

There are grades of Keemun I prefer to Organic Panda # 1, but I am very pleased to have the Panda in my life This is a complex, fairly oaky Keemun, and it can, if you use too much leaf or steep it too long, get tarry. No tar at 5 minutes, though, just some rising smoke. Dark copper liquor. Lots of oak, as I said, and toast, some smoke and orchid, and even some plum-raisin notes in the finish. I’ve tried this Keemun with milk and sugar, and I don’t find either brings anything extra out, but that’s a personal preference. This is a dependable and unmistakable Keemun, taking on some winey notes now as it ages. Decent caffeine punch. It also cries out for blending, maybe with a creamy Assam. A favourite, and each time I drink it, I remember why.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Orchids, Plums, Raisins

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

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100

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped 6 minutes 30 seconds.

At a longer steep, this Keemun develops more of the classic Keemun oak and toast and distant smoke, even a faint scent like bergamot, while remaining delicate and sweet. Some cream and honey. Copper liquor. I think I prefer it as 5 minutes, but it’s good to know this one forgives a longer steep. A lovely tea. I’ve got a second tin on the way, and I shall be sorry when it’s gone.

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Honey, Orchids, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

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95

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped five minutes, drunk bare.

Dry leaf smells of leather, earth, and pepper. I love a peppery Yunnan. Lots and lots of golden tips.

Classic Yunnan forest floor taste: earthy, with trees. Cocoa, some baked bread. Leather and honey notes in the scent, and maybe something floral. No peppery bite. Some linen in the mouthfeel. Smooth finish. Very good.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Cocoa, Earth, Flowers, Leather, Molasses, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML
Michelle Butler Hallett

And it gives a brilliant second infusion, almost identical to the first! LOVE.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Some definite pepper in the second infusion. Ooooh, so happy here.

Michelle Butler Hallett

This is also a very downy tea.

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100

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped 5 minutes, drunk bare.

Little tiny curly leaves!

Dry leaf gives a faint scent of Keemun tastiness. Steeping leaf smells very delicate, like fresh earth.

Red-brown liquor. Aromas of bread, toast, oak, and orchid.

Tastes of all that, and some honey. Some sweet potato notes. Light, toasty-oaky finish. Not at all a tarry Keemun. Gentle and sweet. I love it.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Earth, Grapes, Honey, Orchids, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML
Michelle Butler Hallett

tastiness = toastiness

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96

Second infusion. 1.5 tsp for 300mL water @90C, steeped three minutes forty-five seconds.

Yet more complex. the cream and butter notes have opened up, and the scent remains floral. I can also get trees: cedar, and fir. And a very slight astringency, like a dry wine.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Cedar, Cream, Fir, Grass

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Profile

Bio

Writer and tea fiend. Author of DELUDED YOUR SAILORS, SKY WAVES, DOUBLE-BLIND, and THE SHADOW SIDE OF GRACE.

I prefer straight teas but will try almost anything … so long as it’s not tainted with hibiscus. I loathe hibiscus.

Oolongs and blacks are my favourites.

Location

St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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