333 Tasting Notes

100
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
333 tasting notes

Had two cups of this today – one post-run and one after a very good lunch.
I have been trying to post a review of Fortnum and Mason’s Golden Monkey tea (very good), and have been having problems adding it to Steepster. Anyone else having problems lately?

NofarS

Was able to add the Golden Monkey, but lost my tea notes. Oh well, just a good excuse to brew up some more :)

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I only have a small sample of this tea, as it is extremely expensive, and unavailable in anything but samples at the time. It is an interesting tea, with robust flavour for a white tea, and it does diverge slightly from the usual white tea palate of cucumber/hay/barley/wheat to a more oolong-ie palate of fruit, minerals, and creamy greens. It is also not as light bodied as white teas usually are. If you really love white tea, then you probably won’t rate this tea among your favourite whites. I love white tea, and Norbu’s Ya Bao is still ranked as my favourite (yes, I have tasted Verdant’s Ya Bao and I don’t like it as much), with Tea Palace’s Bai Mu Dan second, and this tea is ranked with Verdant’s Ya Bao as “an interesting white when I’m looking for a more aggressive flavour”. For me, white teas are soft, soothing, a relaxing way to end the evening in mellow sweetness. Both this Ye Sheng Wild White and Verdant’s Ya Ba have a rough edge to them that makes them more interesting, but also makes them fit to fill my white tea cravings. If you are not a white tea person, and you think that white tea is bland – this is the tea for you.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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89
drank Yunnan by Fortnum & Mason
333 tasting notes

This Yunnan smells of chocolate, tastes of malt, and has a hint of smoke in the background. Sweet but with plenty of character, it is one of the more interesting Yunnan teas that I have ever had, and one of the better black teas that I have. It’s character makes it perfect to drink in the autumn, while dreaming of bonfires. Although it’s marked as a lighter tea, there is some kick, mostly due to all the flavour it packs, and not so much due to any bitterness or astringency. A great tea for a crackling fire and some roasted chestnuts.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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91

First to review this tea, which is non-existant in Fortnum’s website. I wonder why.
First of all, note the blurb. It could feel at home at the back of a Moleskine notebook. What a pretentious way of saying that this is a blend of Darjeeling, Yunnan and Ceylon teas, together with Safflowers and Cornflowers. I’m guessing it’s Yunnan tea and not Keemun from China, as there’s no smokiness to this tea.
The tea looks gorgeous. Gorgeous. The combination of smallish black tea leaves, blue Cornflowers and reddish-orange Safflowers is fantastic. It brews beautifully, the wet leaves look fantastic, and the liquor is a deep, deep red that reminds me of maple leaves on a golden fall afternoon, with the sun glowing through them. This is the first tea that I’ve seen that can actually light up the room. Not brewing it in a glass teapot or gaiwan or test tube brewer is a SIN.
Now for the flavour: this tea is robust, and can very easily be over brewed and become bitter. Use less leaves and shorter brewing times than you usually would for black teas. It is astringent, so if you don’t like that in your tea, look elsewhere, but it’s also somehow delicate. It’s oily mouthfeel and gentle sweetness won’t take milk kindly, I should think. It reminds me less of caramel and more of honey or honeydew. It really evokes a garden aflame with red and orange flowers, and hummingbirds and bees zooming madly through it. There are some bass undertones in this tea (where the bitterness stems from, I believe – the Ceylon), but it ends on a bright, high note (likely the Darjeeling). A complex blend that is worth F&M’s generally outrageous price. Comes in a wonderfully beautiful caddy.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Made this for my mom this morning. She said that she wanted to drink more green tea, and so I brought in the best green tea that I currently own. Was careful not to scald it with over-hot water, or to overbrew it, but still when I proudly brought her the cup and she sipped it, her reaction was “it tastes like medicine”. Fail.
Will try her with white tea next time.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Sil

Awe…

Terri HarpLady

Huh? That’s different, eh? I would never have thought of this one as tasting medicinal.
But then again, each of us tastes things differently. I once served a cup of a really ice stencha to a guy I was dating (long ago, before my wonderful Tony came along), & he said it tasted like someone I had dipped a fish into a cup of hot water.
Needless to ya, we didn’t date long, LOL.

NofarS

I can’t break up with my mom :)
She’s quite finicky about her food and drink, but I’m hoping for more success with white tea, which is generally sweeter and more mild in taste than green ones are

Terri HarpLady

btw, that’s suppose to say ‘nice sencha’, not ‘ice stencha’, LOL

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100
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
333 tasting notes

First tea of the morning, and as usual – superb. If you have a friend that you want to introduce to good quality loose leaf tea – this is the tea to start with.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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75

This is almost the final sipdown of this tea, from Verdant’s Reserve TOMC. I love Keemuns, and was highly expecting this to be a really special or extremely good one, it being on the Reserve Club list and all. But honestly this tea felt quite flat for a Keemun, and not even excellent for a black tea. It was like going to a highly anticipated concert of your favourite band, paying for front row tickets, and then discovering that the drummer fell ill, so he’s replaced by an OK-but-not-spectacular-guy, and the singer just broke up with her boyfriend, so she’s singing at an 80, not 110, and the sound is somehow off. Not way off, but just enough to make everything sound slightly muted.
This is an 80s tea that gets downgraded to a 70s tea because of its outrageous price tag (outrageous for the quality of the tea you get). For me Keemuns need that rich, sweet, slightly smokey flavour that brings to mind a great Jazz trumpet player playing in a small, smoke-filled club in Paris, and this tea just doesn’t have it.
F&M’s Keemun still takes first place in my cupboard.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

This is my favorite review of the day :D

NofarS

Thank you :)

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100
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
333 tasting notes

Not feeling well, and so drinking this in buckets. Or at least oversized mugs. Brrr…

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 15 sec
KittyLovesTea

Get well soon.

NofarS

Thank you

Sil

Hope you feel better soon!

mrmopar

Feek better soon!

NofarS

Steepsterites are the nicest people. Thank you!

Bonnie

I had pain all last week so I’m on your side!!! Hope you’re better soon. Tea helps me!

NofarS

Thank you!

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94

This is still my favourite Earl Grey, and the best Earl Grey that I’ve ever tasted, even going on mouthfeel alone (soooo silky).
We have a chocolatier next to my workplace, and we oftentimes sneak in for a taste after lunch and before going back to the office grind. Our top favourite pralines are Earl Grey tea and dark chocolate, and berry tea and dark chocolate. Well it takes the chocolatier three days to prepare the Earl Grey tea pralines (our number one favourite), and so she’s often out of stock when we arrive. Today we once again missed her latest batch, and so, after consoling ourselves with Rum Marzipan pralines (such a sacrifice, I know), we went back to the office and brewed some of this fantastic tea. And being the geeks that we are we of course prefaced our sipping with “TEA. EARL GREY. HOT” as usual.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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97
drank golden tip assam by Postcard Teas
333 tasting notes

When I visited Postcard Teas for the first time last year, the shop owner was dealing with a customer who wanted a smooth, non-astringent Assam. “He wants a Dian Hong, or some other Chinese tea”, I thought to myself as I perused the shelves, “there’s no such thing as non-astringent, subtle Assam”. So I was completely taken off guard when the owner said “of course” and handed him a tin of this tea (mentioning that the the bag refill was cheaper, which was decent of him, I thought. He could have given him the tin as the only option and the buyer wouldn’t have known better). Well, I wasn’t planning on buying any Assam that day, but once I overheard that conversation, of course I HAD to try that tea. I was halfway expecting it to be a standard, good-quality Assam, no more, no less. But it isn’t. It’s a class onto itself. There’s a bracing, tasteful bitter tinge to its malty sweetness that gives it depth, but the dryness, the mouth puckering so common after drinking Assam… It’s not there. I had a super long, super tiring day, and I desperately need to wake up. I almost without thinking grabbed this tea, even though I never drink Assams in the evening. It hit the spot exactly, in a “grandma is bringing tea and biscuits, and we’ll sit on the sofa and you’ll relax and tell me all your troubles so that I can hug and comfort you” kind of way. Minus the mothball smell, of course…

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec
RiaDarling

Wow. I am so disappointed I did not try some of that now! I commented to him that I try to drink milk with tea as it’s the only way I get calcium and he suggested three that would be best with milk-the Supernatural black (and your description of that was bang on-that is exactly the way it struck me but I’m not quite so articulate in my descriptions), the vanilla and the Beijing Breakfast. The Beijing Breakfast is AMAZING. It’s brilliant. It has a strong malty, nutty, flavor that’s like a tea AND a cereal so that’s what I use in the morning but I often crave a cup in the evening as well. Great with milk but just as good solo. One of the most mellow and complex teas that I have had. I reordered it before I had even opened some of the others that I had purchased while I was there!

NofarS

Thank you! :) I love their Beijing Breakfast! It’s such a wonderful and different take on breakfast tea.

RiaDarling

I went ahead and ordered this Assam from Postcard based on your comments. So excited! I have not tried it yet as I just got back from Australia and was given a variety of T2 teas to try (mainly flavoured breakfast blends)but will let you know when I do!

NofarS

I hope that you like it! Such pressure :)

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Profile

Bio

An Israeli computer programmer with a passion for tea (mostly bought in yearly shopping sprees in the UK), particularly black, oolong and white. I don’t generally enjoy flavoured teas or herbal infusions, but if a tea sounds interesting and smells nice I’ll most definitely try it. I drink several cups of tea a day, usually one or two in the morning, another one after lunch and one or two in the evening. My favourite tea so far is Lao Cong Zi Ya from Norbu Tea, but I’m constantly trying new teas. Only in the past year have I branched into Pu’erh and non-roasted oolongs. Finding good tea in Israel is difficult, so I import most of my teas from yearly visits to London, or from online retailers. If you see something in my cupboard that sparks your interest and you would like to swap with me, then please message me. I’m almost always up for a swap.

Location

Tel Aviv, Israel

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