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110 Tasting Notes

70

1 tsp for 8 oz

Been drinking this for my first morning tea with soy milk and sugar. Very decent tea for that purpose. Wouldn’t drink it straight, though.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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70
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
110 tasting notes

1 tsp for 8 oz

So the hype is well deserved. I was half hoping I wouldn’t like this because the list of “must-have” teas is getting long and expensive, but holy moly, this is good. Soooooo smooooooth and rich like chocolate. I look forward to brewing it in various ways to find how I like it best, but already I could drink it the way I prepared it today every day.

I am still in awe of how tea can be so varied. Comparing this to another top tea, Butiki’s Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black, it doesn’t seem like they could be the same beverage at all. But they are equally good in wildly different ways. Amazing…

ETA: A second 3 minute steeping was also delicious though obviously lighter. I might try 2min and 3min next time. And maybe I’ll try just one 4 minute steeping too.

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

We’re both in awe of our good fortune it seems, having tasted two of my favorite tea’s (well worth the money considering the price of a vente Starbucks which can’t be resteeped).

Rachel J

Oh yes Bonnie! Agreed! Curious… what are your preferred brewing parameters for these two teas?

Bonnie

Laoshan Black I prefer brewed Western Style using the Verdant directions (I make a big pot,so adjustments must be made since you really can’t get a proper result by simply doubling or tripling the amount of tea…a bit less is wise.) The Butiki Tea I ALWAYS warm the gaiwan first, put the tea in dry and wait a minute to catch the scent. No way would I skip this step! Then, I brew short steeps. The only other method after warming in the gaiwan, is to pour after steeping into an aroma cup…which is turned over into the sipping cup allowing the fragrance to be concentrated. Usually I only do this with oolongs.

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80

1tsp in 4oz

Comparison of 3 Bai Hao (Oriental Beauty) oolongs — Adagio’s Formosa Bai Hao, Harney’s Fanciest Formosa Oolong, and Teavivre’s Taiwan Oriental Beauty

Adagio:
My favorite (surprisingly)! Darkest liquor, most flavor, sweetest, least astringency. Really nice honey flavor in the finish.

Harney:
Least flavor, lightest body, lightest liquor

Teavivre:
In between in terms of flavor and body, but the most astringent.

So, I guess I’m buying more of the Adagio. Really surprised at this result. Was hoping Teavivre’s would be my fave since it is the least expensive, but I’ll have to go with the one I like best. Luckily it’s not the most expensive. Harney’s is almost double the price of the Adagio.

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

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85

1tsp in 4oz

Comparison of 3 Bai Hao (Oriental Beauty) oolongs — Adagio’s Formosa Bai Hao, Harney’s Fanciest Formosa Oolong, and Teavivre’s Taiwan Oriental Beauty

Adagio:
My favorite (surprisingly)! Darkest liquor, most flavor, sweetest, least astringency. Really nice honey flavor in the finish.

Harney:
Least flavor, lightest body, lightest liquor

Teavivre:
In between in terms of flavor and body, but the most astringent.

So, I guess I’m buying more of the Adagio. Really surprised at this result. Was hoping Teavivre’s would be my fave since it is the least expensive, but I’ll have to go with the one I like best. Luckily it’s not the most expensive. Harney’s is almost double the price of the Adagio.

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

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90

1tsp in 4oz

Comparison of 3 Bai Hao (Oriental Beauty) oolongs — Adagio’s Formosa Bai Hao, Harney’s Fanciest Formosa Oolong, and Teavivre’s Taiwan Oriental Beauty

Adagio:
My favorite (surprisingly)! Darkest liquor, most flavor, sweetest, least astringency. Really nice honey flavor in the finish.

Harney:
Least flavor, lightest body, lightest liquor

Teavivre:
In between in terms of flavor and body, but the most astringent.

So, I guess I’m buying more of the Adagio. Really surprised at this result. Was hoping Teavivre’s would be my fave since it is the least expensive, but I’ll have to go with the one I like best. Luckily it’s not the most expensive. Harney’s is almost double the price of the Adagio.

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

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70

1 slightly overflowing tsp for 6oz

Still bitter for me. I think it’s going to be difficult to get a lot of flavor out of this but no bitterness unless I brewed Gong Fu style. Not sure I’m willing to make that commitment yet since there are lots of other teas I’m enjoying Western style.

Next time, I’ll try lots of leaf and short steeping just to see what the difference is.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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90

1 heaping tbsp for 16oz

I think this tea has something in common with Butiki’s Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black and Mi Xian. There is some kind of common thread, but someone with a more sophisticated palate has to describe what that is. ;)

It has a complex flavor with a lot of sweetness. It was a bit astringent to me after a few sips, so I tried something Stacy suggested which was adding a bit more hot water. That got rid of the astringency but also watered it down a bit much. Next time I’ll try a touch of sugar instead. I think that little hint of astringency is probably inherent in this tea and something most people would like!

Very delicious tea, though. The leaves are an amazing sight to behold too, both dry and wet.

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

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90

2 tsp in 8 oz

Loving this tea first thing this morning. I smell and taste the caramel and vanilla, but not overpoweringly so. It’s subtle, smooth, and delicious!

Since it’s my first cup of the morning, I added a 1/2 tsp of sugar.

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

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My first first flush Darjeeling! Thank you to Stacy for the sample.

This seems so much like a green tea to me. I thought it was!

I won’t give this one a score, because I really have nothing to compare it to. It is not really my kind of tea with its floral, slightly bitter flavor. But, I’m glad I tried it!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Butiki Teas

You might be more into second flush Darjeelings. They are less floral. :)

Rachel J

Thanks Stacy!

Rachel J

I wonder why I got a bit of a bitter bite… Is that supposed to be part of the flavor profile of this tea? I followed the brewing instructions exactly. Hmmmmm…

Butiki Teas

Rachel-I don’ any bitterness from this but I have heard others describe Darjeelings as having a bit of astringency. If you had more, I would recommend lowering the water temperature. If you used the sample bag, as a measuring that might be my fault since I tend to add a little more than one samples worth since I noticed that most people don’t measure out their water.

Rachel J

No problem, just wondering! Yeah, I used the whole sample in exactly 8 ounces. Like I’ve said before, I seem to be really sensitive to astringency, but now I am starting to wonder if it could be my water?! NYC tap water is awesome and even so, I always run it through a faucet-mounted filter. BUT, even so, maybe I should do some taste tests with spring water some time.

Butiki Teas

Hmm, that’s an interesting theory. That might be worth looking into.

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90

Heaping tbsp for 16oz

Really pleased with this Bai Hao. Was not expecting it to be so good. Very smooth with a real honey flavor in the finish.

I’ll have to do a side by side comparison with Teavivre’s and Harney’s. Maybe tomorrow!

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

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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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