86 Tasting Notes

60
drank Huang Jin Gui by TeaSpring
86 tasting notes

My main gripe with this tea is its lack of personality. Yes, it has a light floral taste. Yes, it can be infused a few times. Yes, it is a quality tea for the price, it is easy to drink and is quite enjoyable. But there is absolutely nothing to remember it for, it doesn’t stand out. It is very mellow and doesn’t pack enough either flavor or aroma to actually impress. The aroma is particularly weak, sadly, I’m totally missing out on Osmanthus notes. TeaSpring has a lot of amazing oolongs but this isn’t one of them.

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

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65

If a Darjeeling can taste herbal, this is it. It is surprising how much herbal flavor it has. I’m getting almost something like green tea mixed with herbs and with a Darjeeling brisk bitterness in the end. I don’t mean it in the bad sense though, it is weird but pleasant overall. I quite enjoy it with desserts but can’t drink much without something accompanying it.

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

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50
drank Huang Jin Bolero by Adagio Teas
86 tasting notes

Slightly roasted oolong with earthy flavor. I really hoped for promised flowery and honey notes but they never showed up. All I could taste was woodiness and a subtle sweet finish. Aroma was so fleeting that it felt almost non-existant. Falls into “drink and forget” category for me.

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

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80
drank Bi Tan Piao Xue by TeaSpring
86 tasting notes

This tea is plainly lovely. It smells like a fresh jasmine off a bush and produces an exceptionally smooth, slightly sweet brew. It’s very different from other jasmine green teas I’ve tried because it has virtually zero astringency but still maintains a flowery kick to it, probably thanks to real jasmine flowers mixed into the tea leaf. It’s a bit sweeter than I prefer but very pleasant and refreshing to drink.

The brewing can get tricky, anything above 175F totally ruins the taste, making it bitter. If brewed correctly it easily stands up to several infusions.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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65

Interesting mix of sweetness and muscatel notes here. The sweetness seems to be overpowering at first and taking over but once swallowed the astringency comes out. I liked it one day and hated the other. Eventually the sweet part killed the enjoyment for me.

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

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90

I was lucky to get a sample of this tea with my recent TeaGschwendner order and it is an excellent specimen of a First Flush Darjeeling indeed. The sample was kinda on the smaller side but I enjoyed it immensely till the very last drop.

The tea tastes lighter than average FF Darjeeling, even subtle I would say but is extremely well balanced, with a lot of flowery and muscatel notes and just the right amount of astringency. Some dry metallic notes are present as well but are not overpowering at all. And the most important for me is that the brew doesn’t have any sweetness or nuttiness to it which makes it very refreshing to drink.

The price is steep but the tea is well worth it.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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40
drank White Monkey by Adagio Teas
86 tasting notes

When I think about a generic Chinese green tea, this exact flavor profile jumps to mind: slightly sweet and smoky with a vegetal background. There is absolutely nothing memorable about it but it isn’t unpleasant either. This particular tea is also on the mellow side with the dry finish that bites you on the tongue after each sip.

The second infusion is virtually identical to the first and I didn’t like the tea enough to go on with the third. The leaf looks and smells nice, the value is here but still the flavor is awfully boring.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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55

Weird stuff, really. After the first few sips I felt compelled to go the Upton Tea web-site to check if this tea was flavored with mint. I had a strong impression I was drinking a Darjeeling equivalent of Moroccan mint, only lighter tasting. So off I went and there was no mint in there. But the description said “mildly minty character and an interesting green pepper nuance”. Mildly? Really? I think it’s far from mild, it leaves a lingering menthol-fresh aftertaste that makes my mouth tingle for minutes and I am not exaggerating here. I’ve no idea how green pepper should taste like but there is some definite spiciness to the taste as well. And to top this off the brew has a sweet edge to it.

I wouldn’t say it is a bad tea and I appreciate the uniqueness of it but it kinda contains a mix of flavors that should not be mixed together. It feels like a mouthwash, I mean it. Thus a lower rating.

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

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75

I was lured in by the description mentioning minty notes and green apple. Well, as it turned out minty translates into sweet grassiness and green apple into something fresh tasting but not exactly apple.
Overall the tea really is well balanced, it is on the sweeter side that I usually don’t like in Darjeelings but still is not overwhelmingly sweet for me to discard it totally. And the refreshing notes make a very good addition to the taste, balancing the sweetness and giving the tea very high drinkability. It is a perfect evening relaxing tea without too much flowery taste of FF Darjeeling.

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

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80

The description is right to the point.
Lilacs? Check. The aroma might not be strong and doesn’t drift up from a cup of tea but if you bring it to your nose and inhale – there they are – unmistakable lilacs.
Delicate, flowery liquor? Check. The flavor is very smooth, flowery and dry like white wine.
Sweet and refreshing taste? Check. Yes, indeed it is very refreshing and the light sweetness is there as well but hiding behind flower dryness and feels more like an aftertaste than a separate note.

The brew doesn’t have any oiliness or toasty qualities, it is pure, fresh and stands up to 3 infusions, the third still being tasty but lacking in aroma. And I like the name :) Definitely goes on my shopping list as soon as I run out of Adagio’s oolong #18. They have similar characteristics but this one is way better.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

I’ve been drinking loose leaf tea all my life. I always take tea plain without adding any sweetener or milk to it. Would love to swap for tea, feel free to contact me about it.

Teas Ratings:

1-9 Undrinkable
10-19 Hardly drinkable
20-29 Strong dislike
30-39 Dislike
40-49 Unpleasant but still has some merits
50-59 Average tea, no strong feelings either way
60-69 Good solid tea, isn’t worth repurchasing for some reasons
70-79 Quality tea, might repurchase once in a while
80-89 Great tea, will keep in my regular rotation
90-100 Outstanding tea, staple of my collection

Location

El Dorado Hills, CA

Website

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