263 Tasting Notes

85

Ah, Steepster, I have neglected you of late. Life does not run in smooth paths and the bumps have thrown me off kilter for a while. Still, I am back and I shall try to post once a week, because that is what I think I can manage. So, excuses aside, I wish to thank Bonnie for sending me this tea. I have been carefully hoarding it ever since. Yesterday seemed like the right day for me to appreciate it, so I chucked it into one of my Yixing pots and brewed away. I gave it a full minute for the first steep and ten seconds for the next two, before increasing the steeping time gradually over the day. I think I managed a good eight or so steep from this one before it became just hot brown water and they were all good. The dominant flavour seemed to be cinnamon and cedar with an undertone of cocoa. There was a slightly metallic tang to it that I have noticed with other shu puerhs, but it was not an unpleasant flavour, just slightly earthy. Two thumbs up.

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

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I drank this yesterday but am only writing it up today. It was one of the teas from my Canton Tea Club membership. I don’t seem to be keeping up with these very well at the moment and have a backlog to try. Still, that gives me plenty to look forward to.

The leaves are silvery and needley! Really? Yes! They are very whiskery and look great. The tea itself has a thick mouth feel and is quite grassy at first, but the melon flavour develops later. I found this tea really refreshing and it resteeped well too.

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Thank you, Bonnie, for this wonderful tea. I’ve been saving it until I felt I could appreciate it and then I thought that really, I would never feel ready so I dug out my Yu Ru Yixing pot and got stuck in.

Do you stick your nose into a book and inhale deeply when you first get it? I do. I’m a total bibliophile. Well, maybe not quite that far! What were you thinking? Anyway, the worst thing possible for me is that there might be no more books in the world for me to experience. This tea reminded me of that new book experience. Well, actually, it was more like an old book experience. The smell was musty like an old book, and exciting in the same way. Where has this book been? What has it seen? Whose hands have held it and what stories might it tell about those hands? Yes, an exciting tea. Smelling of old books, slightly musty, notes of cedar in there too. It’s obviously a bookcase full of old books and made of cedar, or perhaps an ancient book bound in cedar boards. I’ve been drinking this all day. I am up to steep number 8 or 9 now. I’ve lost track. I got lost in the tea, you see. It had a story to tell me and I have not finished it yet.

Bonnie

A mystical Scots library!

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drank Ying De No. 9 by Canton Tea Co
263 tasting notes

Crikey, have I not logged this before? But the packet is nearly empty! I really like this tea. It has a dark rich flavour but not as chocolatey or malty as the other black teas that I tend to drink. Instead it really is like the company’s description. The caramel and honey flavours are clearly evident. Lovely. This is the sort of tea that I would happily have as my everyday tea, because the balance of flavours suits most occasions. Now if only I could afford it all the time …

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drank Li Shan Oolong by Canton Tea Co
263 tasting notes

I received this as part of the Canton Tea Club, but have realised that I did not write it up yet. The first sip was rather milky in a good way. The tea itself reminded me of pears with a lovely floral note and no astringency that I could detect. It was light and enjoyable.

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89
drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
263 tasting notes

Sample from Bonnie. Thank you.

This tea scares me. I’ve been put off it because the reviews are all so good, it is rare, and I feared that I might not be able to do justice to it with my tea-making skills. Worse yet, because of all of the above I felt that I needed to set aside a goodly amount of time to appreciate it properly. So, today I decided to take the bull by the horns, gird my loins and leap before looking. I’m glad I did.

I made it in a small gaiwan, thus giving myself enough leaf for another session, and I followed the guidelines of very short steeps. This has worked beautifully. The tea proved to be creamy and mellow. At first I got cherry flavours at the back of it and then it evolved into a winter spices taste that made me think of Christmas. It is lovely and I am pleased that I finally took the plunge. Better yet, I am only six steeps in, so I still have a goodly number of steeps left to drink when I return to it. It will make a fitting reward for getting some work done this afternoon. I had better get writing so that I can enjoy more of it …

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Roughage

Trying to scare me, eh? :)

Bonnie

Trying my best

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64

I received this as part of my Canton Tea Club membership. Apparently it is not yet available in the Canton webshop, but will be soon. So, I am privileged to get to try it early! I’m neck deep in work with important deadlines looming even as I type, so naturally I dropped everything to try this. So, how was it?

The dry leaf smells overwhelmingly of bergamot. I cannot actually pick out anything else in that aroma. When steeped, it releases the bergamot aroma but there are floral elements too. Steeping seems to reduce the power of the bergamot, which is a relief. It is still there, but it lets other flavours through too. Overall the description that Canton Tea Co gives is about right for me. You can taste the bergamot and the citrussy flavours it releases. There is a floral overtone to it that is quite pleasant too. It is a relaxing tea to drink that makes for a nice treat when you are in the mood.

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

Methinks you are not that fond of Earl Grey though.

Roughage

I don’t really do flavoured teas, that’s true, but I found the bergamot a little overwhelming in this one. I need to write up my notes on the Organic Darjeeling Earl Grey, which was much more to my tastes. It reminded me of a better version of Twinings’ Lady Grey tea, with its cornflowers, Darjeeling base and much less bergamot in it. This latter tea had more subtlety and just felt more refined. I have enough of the Classic left to try it with milk. Milk in tea is normally anathema to me, but I am interested to see how it fares.

Bonnie

If all else fails, cook with it. I have some on hand that’s too strong but is a good steeper in milk for pudding. Makes a nice vanilla or lemon pudding enhancer or frosting. Anything where you can steep a syrup or milk and then dilute it into the recipe. (I just hate throwing good tea away!)

Roughage

Well, there is not a lot of left now. We had friends round and one those likes the classic Earl Grey, so I fed it to her. She thought it was great. I have enough left to try it with either milk or perhaps a slice of lemon. I may experiment with both and do a side-by-side tasting.

Bonnie

Your cats might want some!

Roughage

Milk or Earl Grey? :-)

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84

I received this in my first week of Canton Tea Club, but have not tried it before now. How bad am I? In my defence, I was not up to tea tasting that week or indeed for a week or so after due to colds and being run down. So, today I decided I needed to catch up a bit on my tasting notes and this appealed.

It smells really sweet when you pour the hot water on it and the first taste is all buttery sweetness with a strong floral element to it. I brewed it western style in my small glass teapot and the whole first steeping was like this. Then the butteriness settled down a bit in the second steeping but the sweetness remained. By the third steeping it has settled down to a mellow, sweetly floral drink with undertones of butteriness. It is very nice and I reckon I could probably drink rather a lot of this.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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80

Mmm, toasty. I really enjoyed this and got several good steeps out of it in my small glass teapot. I really need a small ceramic teapot too. Time to start looking for that again, but first this tea. It’s toasty and floral on the first hit, and smooth, so smooth. This is a tea that would be easy to drink all day and I should probably try that with my gaiwan, when I next get another sample. I also need to compare it to Canton Tea Co’s offering, which I received as part of the tea club but have not yet sat down to taste.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

I have a small porcelain? from purepuer.com that I love. I got the matching fair cup and tiny cups and saucers to match, as well as the tea leaf holder/displayer. Good prices, IMO. Great service from those folks, too. Every time I call, I get the owner.

Roughage

That site looks quite good. I was not aware of them before, so thanks for pointing me in the right direction. Oddly enough, I found a lovely little teapot in my local Chinese supermarket, but I bought it as a birthday present for my father, and they have not had any in since that are as good. I do have my eye on a couple from berylleb on eBay but I need to sell some more stuff myself before I can buy them. The funny thing about teapots, for me at least, is that I just cannot stop at one! They appear to be addictive once you start looking at them. :)

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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

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http://ruarighdale.wordpress....

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