256 Tasting Notes

92

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I have been meaning to try this for some time now. I bought it as a novelty item and it has sat on the shelf staring at me until today. So, it’s tea packed into aromatic bamboo. The first problem was how to get into it without scattering tea everywhere. The website suggests stamping on the open end of the bamboo, so I did, and it worked and with a bit of extra effort and a lot of risk of trapped fingers, I managed to get into it. Looking at the tea inside the bamboo made me think of soil samples being brought out from the drilling rig. Possibly not the best mindset in which to taste the tea. The tea seemed quite chopped and there were a lot of stalks in there too. So, the important thing was how it tasted. At this point, my vocabulary begins to fail me. There is an iron edge to it that I associate with shu more than sheng. There is also a camphor or pine note. I’m not getting the floral notes that the website suggests should be there but there is some smokiness to it. It is also very cooling. I can feel my face cooling down as I drink the tea, and that is accompanied by a slight feeling of light-headedness (but not enough to give you my bank details, Bonnie!). In most respects it is very different from the other shengs I have tried, which must be a result of the processing. I cannot really decide about this one. It’s an interesting tea, but is it really good? Based on reviews elsewhere, I get the impression it is a bit finicky, so I shall need to try it again and see how I fare in the future.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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I can’t believe I have not written a tasting note on this tea before. I try to write one on each tea that I drink, although it is rare that I write more on a tea I have already written about. This is a tea I received as part of my Canton Tea Club membership last Christmas. Ah well, time now to scribble something quickly.

The wet leaf has a roasted floral aroma and is very dark. The liquor is dark orange and has the same roasted aroma, but is more nutty. Tasting it, the roasted flavour comes through first followed by a floral nuttiness. It lingers on the tongue, transforming some of the taste into sweetness as the aftertaste develops. I could not imagine drinking this tea every day, but it is the right tea for the moment, and worth keeping around for when those moments occur.

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

Following up on this, I find that the tea has no legs. A second steeping was rather weak and insipid, especially when compared to the glory of the first.

TheTeaFairy

Ah well, some teas are all about the glory of the first steep, no legs and no back bones but worth the money nonetheless right?

Roughage

Very true. A glorious first steeping is worth it, even if you know that the tea is really just a one night stand! It’s just a case of enjoying the moment and not trying to find that glory in a second steep. :)

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Found a packet of this at the back of the cupboard while looking for a green tea to cut the caffeine headache from too much coffee and not enough sleep this week. I think it arrived as part of my Tea Club membership (now lapsed). Anyway, it’s doing the trick. It’s light, chestnutty and the aftertaste goes on for a while. The liquor is almost clear and the dry leaf has a pork chop smell to it that I have noted before with other Long Jings. It is doing the trick, so I can get back to focusing on editing without coffee jitters. Yay! Boy, do I know how to live! ;)

Preparation
150 °F / 65 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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80

Well, I have had this for two years in the cupboard now. It’s quite rich in flavour, not fishy at all and I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes. Yes, it’s a whole body tea experience. I’m really not sure how to describe the flavours right now, but the aftertaste is lingering on my tongue nicely. It’s sweet (I’ve used that word a lot recently!) with a touch of cinnamon and a hint of the iron edge of spinach, then there is a milk chocolate finish at the front of my mouth as I swallow. I’m enjoying it quite a lot.

Bonnie

See, a dragon hoards puerh for years.

mrmopar

+1 on Bonnie’s thought!

Roughage

And I am Smaug, eh, Bonnie? :) Yes, I don’t have a pumidor but I am trying to keep my teas in suitable condition for them to age. I suspect they will take longer than if I had a special storage areas, but it is worth a try and will be interesting to see how they fare ten years down the line.

Bonnie

Your climate is actually not bad. Mine is too dry and mrmopars too humid without balancing it with the humidor. You are Smaug…but every good Scots tale needs a dragon and some scary ones turn out to be ok in the end (or I being Gandalf can change you into something else like a little fairy…ha ha). (This is all inside joking about a who are you in Lord of the Rings test we both took.)

Roughage

If I am Smaug, does that mean that I am RuLong? That probably means ‘dirty dragon’ in Chinese, knowing my luck! :) I should test the atmosphere here and see what the humidity is. I know that the temperature will not be high enough, because we rarely have the central heating on, and when it is on, the thermostat is set to 15 degrees (59 Fahrenheit).

Bonnie

Burrr! It’s 10 Fahrenheit today….COLD! (Even colder at night) with snow…Arctic blast came rolling down. Great tea drinking weather. I started my day with a lapsang souchong from Angrboda. Already have the tree up and wreath over the fireplace. Snow days are for tea and cooking. Come on over!

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Just started a session of this one. The dry leaf smells like fresh hay. The liquor is a light amber colour and the taste, so far, is sweet with a slight bitter, but not unpleasant, edge to it. It’s smooth and slightly sweet, and I can feel the after-taste prickling on my tongue, a bit like space-dust.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Roughage

And then I finish the third cup, and I can feel my fingers, ears and toes all cooling. There’s a menthol coolness on my tongue too. How peculiar. I wonder if this tea will turn up any other surprises.

Roughage

And relaxing. Did I mention that it is very relaxing? This tea is turning out to be particularly good for such a young sheng.

Bonnie

What’s your bank account number roughage?!

Roughage

I’m not that relaxed, Bonnie! ;)

Bonnie

Too bad!

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I bought a sample of this with my last Teavivre order. It’s powerful and I am getting quite the buzz from it. I can really feel the tea’s energy in my extremities. The tea is sweet with some astringency that probably arises because I oversteeped it first off, but I don’t find that to be a problem. There’s a smidgin of smoke at the back of my throat when I swallow too. Overall, it’s jolly nice and just the ticket for an evening’s editing.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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This is the last of my free samples from Teavivre. Thank you.

As usual, this tea comprises nuggets of green leaf, ranging from a fairly light green through to dark. They look great. The dry leaf smells slightly milky. When steeped the nuggets unfurl into buds with large leaves attached. The aroma is still slightly milky but with more osmanthus aroma. It is a sweet smell. The liquor is yellow and clear. It looks light and inviting, and smells sweet like the leaves. Tasting it confirms this. It has body (perhaps a light butteriness?) but still remains light and sweet, and the enduring aftertaste is sweet and pleasant. This is a refreshing tea that feels like it belongs in my cup on a hot summer’s day. Shame it is siling it down here now. Given the grey and miserable weather, this tea adds a little ray of sunshine to my day.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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I bought some samples from Zhi Zheng a month or so ago, as a result of the ongoing discussion on the puerh of the day thread. Fortunately, I was able to sneak them into the house without comment on the part of my better half. This is the first one that I have opened, because I have had a cold for the past seven or eight weeks, so my palate has been rather poor. I wanted to save them for when I could taste them, and decided that today was the day. So, into the pot with the leaves.

The leaves are quite loose in the block that the sample came in. They are also large and there is a slight tobacco smell to them when dry. The wet leaf has a dark, slightly earthy aroma. The liquor is amber in colour and I struggle to pin down what the aroma is. I think my nose is still not at its best! The tea itself is smooth and calming. It has a rounded mouthfeel with a slight edge of bitterness/astringency that only briefly makes itself felt, settling down to a very relaxing brew. I’m on my sixth cup now and it is still going strong. I think I may be drinking this for the rest of the day.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

Dr. Who and Dr. PU…The cure for what ails you! Feel better my friend!

Roughage

I still have to find time to watch Dr Who. Most miffed that I am too busy at the moment with looming deadlines like giant trains heading towards me! The tea has certainly helped today, so I feel sure that Dr Who will be the final cure.

mrmopar

Hah! I know all about sneaking in things! Now you have me headed to another site. Of course I get to blame this on you! Hope you feel better I still have the Christmas offer open from a year or two ago .

Charles Thomas Draper

I love their tea. I have never seen this one…

Roughage

mrmopar: you know, I really should take you up on that one, thank you. Also, feel free to blame me. I am on the other side of the pond, so it should be too far for your wife to be willing to travel just to tell me off! :)

Charles: I could not actually find it on their website through the normal process but googled it and found it that way.

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I bought some of these because mrmopar wrote about them and I thought they looked just too cool for words. The price was pretty reasonable too. Anyway, they arrived this morning and I am now sipping one.

The blurb says to steep on plait in a cup of boiling water for a minute. I opted to set my kettle to just below boiling and threw one plait into a 200ml pot. I left it for two minutes because the liquor was so pale and I thought it should have time to develop a bit. Then I started to worry that I had overdone it, so I poured and sipped. The liquor is actually a very pale green. The wet leaf smells strongly of honey. The tea itself hits me with a smoky edge first followed by the citrus flavour. It’s good. It does not scream puerh to me, but it is a very drinkable tea. I shall now have to experiment with this one a bit more to see what else I can get from it.

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

Glad you liked this one. it is a surprising one for sure. Hope the vendor was good to you. They always ship and do things well.

Roughage

Yes, I had good service. I am always wary of sellers that I have not used before, but I took your previous comments about them on trust and was rewarded with tea delivered in a timely fashion and well-packaged. Thank you for that.

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Bio

I am a qualified peripatetic berserkerologist peddling berserkjaknowledge wherever I can. I have always liked decent tea, but in 2011 I started working at learning what good tea really is. I continue to expand my horizons and discover new teas with the aid of my chums on Steepster, much to the chagrin of my wife, who despairs of my enthusiasm.

My favourite teas are Darjeelings, sheng puerhs and Anji Bai Cha. I return to these every time, after whatever flirtation with other teas I have been involved with.

I no longer rate the teas I drink because keeping ratings consistent proved to be rather hard work while not really giving me anything in return.

Location

East Yorkshire, England

Website

http://ruarighdale.wordpress....

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