110 Tasting Notes

85
drank Gui Fei Oolong by Butiki Teas
110 tasting notes

1 1/2 tsp in 12oz

Very enjoyable. I have figured out how I feel about this tea. It is really amazing. Very much right in the middle of the spectrum between green and black. Completely non-astringent when brewed properly. (I realized that the thermometer I had been using until recently was under-reporting the temp by 10-15 degrees, yikes.) It is silky and naturally sweet with a hint of a floral essence. When I compare it to a couple of Bai Hao’s I’ve tried, it is very similar though perhaps more floral where the Bai Hao’s tend to have more of a honey-like sweetness.

I really like this tea, but it is similar enough to a Bai Hao (which I prefer slightly) that I probably won’t make this one a cupboard staple.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec
El Monstro

I just put in an order with this company for a bunch of the stuff on the first page of high ratings, should be interesting.

Rachel J

You are in for a treat! Their teas are amazing. Too bad they are out of the Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black. That is the best in my opinion.

Doug F

Oolongs are kind of my tea blind spot, but you’re persuading me that I have to do a little investigating.

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85
drank Formosa Oolong by Harney & Sons
110 tasting notes

1 tsp for 4 oz


Taste test of 2 Formosa Oolongs

Adagio: Formosa Oolong #8 ($4.00/oz)
A little thin and too astringent

Harney & Sons: Formosa Oolong ($1.67/oz)
More flavorful and smoother

Again, I seem to prefer the less expensive tea! This is very convenient. I really like the Formosa Oolong flavor. Now that I know more about tea, what I can say is that this type of tea is very similar in profile to a Bai Hao oolong. However, I believe it is probably not allowed to be affected by the leafhoppers. Also, from what Michael Harney has said, it is mechanically harvested. So, it’s a much less expensive option to the Bai Hao. That said, it is also less sweet, a bit more astringent. But it is incredibly similar in every other way. When I add a touch of honey to the Harney Formosa Oolong, I can barely tell the difference between it and the Bai Haos I’ve had.

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

bear in mind that “Formosa” just means ‘from Taiwan’ and is a generic term so the quality of the teas can be vastly different in both oxidation and craft. I would not use the price as a measure of the tea’s character, as I have a ton of Ti Kuan Yin right now ranging from moderate grade to competition and the tastes and prices are vastly different and the tea itself would be merely ‘ti kuan yin’ and most people wouldn’t realize that prices could range from $30/# retail to $200 +/# retail

El Monstro

Kashyap – what are some of the best bang for buck oolongs you’ve come across?

El Monstro

(and where do you get them)

Rachel J

I know Formosa means Taiwan. But, I’ve done some research on this specific type of oolong. See: http://steepster.com/discuss/5116-michael-harney-solved-my-oolong-mystery

:)

Kashyap

K…just trying to be helpful…as for ‘bang for buck’ I find Yunnan tea sourcing does some amazing oolongs and so does Naivetea, Verdant tea, and Tao of Tea. All quality and reasonable
pricing

Rachel J

Thanks, Kashyap!

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70
drank Formosa Oolong #8 by Adagio Teas
110 tasting notes

1 tsp for 4 oz


Taste test of 2 Formosa Oolongs

Adagio: Formosa Oolong #8 ($4.00/oz)
A little thin and too astringent

Harney & Sons: Formosa Oolong ($1.67/oz)
More flavorful and smoother

Again, I seem to prefer the less expensive tea! This is very convenient. I really like the Formosa Oolong flavor. Now that I know more about tea, what I can say is that this type of tea is very similar in profile to a Bai Hao oolong. However, I believe it is probably not allowed to be affected by the leafhoppers. Also, from what Michael Harney has said, it is mechanically harvested. So, it’s a much less expensive option to the Bai Hao. That said, it is also less sweet, a bit more astringent. But it is incredibly similar in every other way. When I add a touch of honey to the Harney Formosa Oolong, I can barely tell the difference between it and the Bai Haos I’ve had.

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

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60
drank Keemun Concerto by Adagio Teas
110 tasting notes

1/2 tsp in 4 oz


Taste test of 4 Keemuns

Harney & Sons: English Breakfast ($1.62/oz)
My favorite of the bunch. Lightest flavor. Kind of fruity with no smokiness or earthiness. Could drink this every day for refreshment. I bet I’d love it iced. Will definitely get a large tin. Very pleased. I have been on the search for an inexpensive tea that I would enjoy as a daily drinker so I can save my favorites for times when I can sit quietly and really savor them. This fits the bill.

Harney & Sons: Hao Ya B ($3.00/oz)
My least favorite. Wow is it ever smoky. If I didn’t know what it was, I’d think it was a Russian Caravan blend with plenty of Lapsang Souchong in it. The smokiness overpowers any other flavor there might be in there.

Teavivre: Organic Superfine Keemun ($5.40/oz)
2nd best to me. Though it does have an earthy or mushroomy quality that I find a bit off-putting.

Adagio: Keemun Concerto ($4/oz)
3rd place. Most similar to the Teavivre but with more of that mushroomy quality that I just wouldn’t want in my tea. (I really dislike Puerhs for example.)

NONE of these teas was the least bit astringent which really pleasantly surprised me. Though I think one factor is that in order to taste each one without the others muddying the flavor, I did take a sip of water in between sips of tea. I find that sometimes tea is not astringent for the first few sips, but gets so as it builds up on your palate.

What amuses me is that the cheapest one is my favorite. Perhaps that means that Keemuns are not for me. The ones with more intense flavors pretty much turned me off. I liked the one with the lightest, sweetest taste.

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

Wow. You’ve been busy. I’m surprised you didn’t like the Hao Ya B. I’ve had it from Upton and loved it—but I love Keemuns in general and I’m addicted to pu-erhs, so . . .

Terri HarpLady

I love it when people do comparisons! I try to do them from time to time, although I often don’t have the words to describe the differences I’m tasting. :)

Terri HarpLady

I really the like the one from Teavivre. To me, it smells a little bit like roses…sigh…

yyz

I wouldn’t say that. Price isn’t always a representation of quality, it an also be a reflection of fashion, and the ability of a distributer or packager to buy in volume and sell with less of a margin etc. Having said that I was reading a thread on another site where many of the respondents preferred the “lower quality” version of Keemum at Teavivre and where others preferred an older style of Keemum and not the type that is in vogue now.

Rachel J

Thanks all… Doug, do you find that the Upton Hao Ya B is very smoky? I honestly wonder if I got the wrong tea from Harney because no one really characterizes it as smoky, and that’s all I taste!

Doug F

I don’t find it smoky, but then again I like smoky teas. There’s a great inexpensive Keemun from Upton called Keemun Mao Feng that I love; tastes more like red wine and chocolate.

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55
drank Hao Ya 'B' by Harney & Sons
110 tasting notes

1/2 tsp in 4 oz


Taste test of 4 Keemuns

Harney & Sons: English Breakfast ($1.62/oz)
My favorite of the bunch. Lightest flavor. Kind of fruity with no smokiness or earthiness. Could drink this every day for refreshment. I bet I’d love it iced. Will definitely get a large tin. Very pleased. I have been on the search for an inexpensive tea that I would enjoy as a daily drinker so I can save my favorites for times when I can sit quietly and really savor them. This fits the bill.

Harney & Sons: Hao Ya B ($3.00/oz)
My least favorite. Wow is it ever smoky. If I didn’t know what it was, I’d think it was a Russian Caravan blend with plenty of Lapsang Souchong in it. The smokiness overpowers any other flavor there might be in there.

Teavivre: Organic Superfine Keemun ($5.40/oz)
2nd best to me. Though it does have an earthy or mushroomy quality that I find a bit off-putting.

Adagio: Keemun Concerto ($4/oz)
3rd place. Most similar to the Teavivre but with more of that mushroomy quality that I just wouldn’t want in my tea. (I really dislike Puerhs for example.)

NONE of these teas was the least bit astringent which really pleasantly surprised me. Though I think one factor is that in order to taste each one without the others muddying the flavor, I did take a sip of water in between sips of tea. I find that sometimes tea is not astringent for the first few sips, but gets so as it builds up on your palate.

What amuses me is that the cheapest one is my favorite. Perhaps that means that Keemuns are not for me. The ones with more intense flavors pretty much turned me off. I liked the one with the lightest, sweetest taste.

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

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85

1/2 tsp in 4 oz


Taste test of 4 Keemuns

Harney & Sons: English Breakfast ($1.62/oz)
My favorite of the bunch. Lightest flavor. Kind of fruity with no smokiness or earthiness. Could drink this every day for refreshment. I bet I’d love it iced. Will definitely get a large tin. Very pleased. I have been on the search for an inexpensive tea that I would enjoy as a daily drinker so I can save my favorites for times when I can sit quietly and really savor them. This fits the bill.

Harney & Sons: Hao Ya B ($3.00/oz)
My least favorite. Wow is it ever smoky. If I didn’t know what it was, I’d think it was a Russian Caravan blend with plenty of Lapsang Souchong in it. The smokiness overpowers any other flavor there might be in there.

Teavivre: Organic Superfine Keemun ($5.40/oz)
2nd best to me. Though it does have an earthy or mushroomy quality that I find a bit off-putting.

Adagio: Keemun Concerto ($4/oz)
3rd place. Most similar to the Teavivre but with more of that mushroomy quality that I just wouldn’t want in my tea. (I really dislike Puerhs for example.)

NONE of these teas was the least bit astringent which really pleasantly surprised me. Though I think one factor is that in order to taste each one without the others muddying the flavor, I did take a sip of water in between sips of tea. I find that sometimes tea is not astringent for the first few sips, but gets so as it builds up on your palate.

What amuses me is that the cheapest one is my favorite. Perhaps that means that Keemuns are not for me. The ones with more intense flavors pretty much turned me off. I liked the one with the lightest, sweetest taste.

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

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70

1/2 tsp in 4 oz


Taste test of 4 Keemuns

Harney & Sons: English Breakfast ($1.62/oz)
My favorite of the bunch. Lightest flavor. Kind of fruity with no smokiness or earthiness. Could drink this every day for refreshment. I bet I’d love it iced. Will definitely get a large tin. Very pleased. I have been on the search for an inexpensive tea that I would enjoy as a daily drinker so I can save my favorites for times when I can sit quietly and really savor them. This fits the bill.

Harney & Sons: Hao Ya B ($3.00/oz)
My least favorite. Wow is it ever smoky. If I didn’t know what it was, I’d think it was a Russian Caravan blend with plenty of Lapsang Souchong in it. The smokiness overpowers any other flavor there might be in there.

Teavivre: Organic Superfine Keemun ($5.40/oz)
2nd best to me. Though it does have an earthy or mushroomy quality that I find a bit off-putting.

Adagio: Keemun Concerto ($4/oz)
3rd place. Most similar to the Teavivre but with more of that mushroomy quality that I just wouldn’t want in my tea. (I really dislike Puerhs for example.)

NONE of these teas was the least bit astringent which really pleasantly surprised me. Though I think one factor is that in order to taste each one without the others muddying the flavor, I did take a sip of water in between sips of tea. I find that sometimes tea is not astringent for the first few sips, but gets so as it builds up on your palate.

What amuses me is that the cheapest one is my favorite. Perhaps that means that Keemuns are not for me. The ones with more intense flavors pretty much turned me off. I liked the one with the lightest, sweetest taste.

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

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90

1 1/2 tsp in 8oz

Really like this! Not as full bodied as the Bailin Gong Fu. A hint of the flavor I usually associate with Dian Hongs, so that’s probably because of all the golden tips. Personally, this would be my pick among the Teavivre black teas I’ve tried so far.

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

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90

2 tsp in 16 oz

Seriously, what does Stacy put in her tea? I cannot even describe this tea properly, but I loooooove it. The dry leaves look black like a black tea, but after steeping, you see that it’s definitely an oolong because the leaves range from olive green to light brown. It is oxidized to the level of a Bai Hao. Lovely golden liquor.

It is sweet and silky with just a little bit of astringency in the finish, but not enough to scare me away. I might try 3:30 and/or 165F next time.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Doug F

You’re probably some covert Butiki employee; virtuoso pianist is just your cover. But you’ve convinced me anyway that it’s time for another Butiki order.

Rachel J

Hahaha…

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73

4 pearls in 8 oz

Nice, smooth, mellow tea. Could be very enjoyable for times when I don’t want something with too specific of a character.

ETA: 2nd steep at same parameters was pretty good too!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Anyanka

Some of my favorite teas are kind of middle of the road. For when I have a taste for not having a taste of something.

Doug F

Faint praise :)

Rachel J

Hahaha… I know, I’m getting spoiled by all the amazing teas that are so unique. This just has that “generic black tea” quality. :)

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Profile

Bio

I happily reside in Park Slope, Brooklyn with my husband, our baby son, and our dog. I teach over 40 piano students per week at my home studio and created “Fundamental Keys”, a classical piano method book and video series.

My husband and I are vegan and have been for about 8 years. We are enjoying bringing up our little one in the vegan tradition!

I went through a major tea phase some years ago (2006-2009) and had quite a collection and tasted hundreds of varieties. Then I went off caffeine when I decided to have a baby, and after he was born I got into a nasty coffee habit. Now I’ve come back to tea, thank goodness. I’m finding my tastes have changed quite a bit since my first go at tea fanaticism. Really enjoying some of the amazing and deliciously complex teas I’ve learned about through Steepster!

Location

Brooklyn

Website

http://about.me/rachelj

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