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202 Tasting Notes

Yay, I’m the first to write a note on this one! :)

After discovering a Dragonwell at the back of the cupboard and drinking that, I suddenly had a craving for raw pu so I thought I would start one of the sample packs I have been buying recently. For some reason, I bought a sample pack of this one, even though I have a whole untouched beeng in the stash. I guess that was an oversight at the time, but it does not feel so now.

The dry leaf is grassy and sweet, and the initial steepings were the same. About the third steeping, the tea developed a spicy sparkle on top of the grassiness that lasted ages in the aftertaste, even developing further on the tip my tongue. There’s a slight smokiness to my breath that develops further on into the aftertaste and I can feel the tea waking me up gently. The mouthfeel is creamy and full, double cream, perhaps. It’s very pleasant drinking this and I think I have a ways to go yet. The leaf feels like it has legs to it after half a dozen steepings and I should get a fair few more out of it. Nice.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec
TeaExplorer

I commented on this in the “pu-erh of the day. Sheng or Shou” discussion, and am looking forward to comparing notes with you on this once I receive my sample.

Roughage

I look forward to reading your thoughts on this tea. Shame we can’t sit down to the same table and discuss it that way. I could do with a few tea-drinking friends in this area. :)

TeaExplorer

I agree it would be nice to have a few tea-drinking friends nearby. Tea, to most people in my area, means teabags from the grocery store. We had a tea shop in town years ago, long before I discovered good tea, but it went out of business after a while. My wife drinks only one type, Twinings Darjeeling, which she doctors heavily with sugar and lemons. She resists the thought of trying a good Assam or Oolong, and can’t believe I drink “compost” (what she calls Pu-Erh).

Thanks to the Internet we can find kindred spirits to discuss our interests, which is almost as good as sitting face to face.

Roughage

My area is much the same as yours. I’m sure there are tea enthusiasts here, but finding them is the problem. My wife enjoys good tea but does not have the same level of enthusiasm and really dislikes a lot of the more floral teas that I like. She also defaults to standard teabags most of the time, sharing the good stuff only when I make it. It’s not that she does not appreciate it, just that she does not have the patience to invest in making it properly and exploring the options.

I have considered meeting on skype to drink tea and talk about it, but my internet connection does not support it well and is too unstable for it to be feasible.

TeaExplorer

I never thought of having a Skype tea gathering … what an interesting idea! It’s too bad your Internet connection won’t support it very well.

Roughage

When they eventually upgrade our line and make the connection faster and more stable, I shall be up for skype tea tastings. I think it would be a great way to meet and discuss a tea, although ensuring everyone has the right tea could prove interesting as a logistical problem. I may have to invest in a three-tiered cake stand so that I can eat cake from it at the same time! :)

TeaExplorer

Low tea via Skype … I love it! Too bad we can’t get good clotted cream here in the States :{

We only got broadband Internet here a couple of years ago … the wait was frustrating. Now, however, we’re drowning in 1’s and 0’s =:-D

mrmopar

+1 on skype! That would be a great idea!

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Instead of getting on with my work, as I am supposed to be doing, I decided to catalogue my teas today and update the cupboard on Steepster. This has proven an instructive process, because I found a small sample that was gratefully received from Bonnie some time back. It had worked its way to the back of the cupboard. Cataloguing teas is thirsty work, so I immediately decided to brew this one up and try it. The label Bonnie had written indicated that I should expect something special from this tea. I forgot to sniff the dry leaf, but it did look marvellous, as only a Dragonwell can. All those flat leaves lined up appeals to my sense of order. The wet leaf was savoury with a hint of banana, while the liquor seemd to have little aroma at all. It has the savoury taste that I expect of a Dragonwell, but also apple, a spot of spice and something vegetal. This is so much more delicate than other Dragonwells that I have drunk with a light creaminess that I really enjoy. What a superb tea.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Drinking this western style, because I needed a big mug full of tea and not lots of small ones. Still smooth and good, even made in heretical fashion. I put a large lump of tea in the pot and it loosened up really quickly so that the individual whole leaves could easily be seen. Nice.

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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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Bio

I am a historical consultant, Vikingologist and tea enthusiast! To be honest, 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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