115 Tasting Notes

70

Thank you Vicony Teas for this free sample.

The dried leaves were a mixture of lime-green and darker green hues, and smelled sweetly-toasty. Most of them were whole, but some were broken, appearing to be chopped. After brewing, the leaves smelled more grassy and retained their toasty aroma.

The brewed tea had a light yellow color, and also smelled sweetly-toasty; the flavor was very similar, with sweet, nutty, and toasty notes. The flavors were more pronounced than some other Longjing teas I’ve had in the past, and each sip was very smooth. The second brew was a bit lighter and floral, however the toasty notes were still present. This brew tasted a bit more grassy than the first, which mixed well with the nuttier tones. The third brew smelled more floral than the other brews, but retained the same flavor as the second. I did notice that the tea’s color changed from a light yellow to a more green color. The fourth steeping had no toasty qualities in it whatsoever. However, the brew was rather floral, nutty, and vegetal; I didn’t expect such a drastic change in character in the fourth brew.

This Longjing tea was different in character than some others I’ve had in the past, yet it still held the characteristics more typical of Longjing. Each sip was very crisp, and I’m thankful to have tried it.

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91

Vicony Teas Company sent this to me as a free sample with my order. Based on their website, this is one of the top qualities in production. The tea is named “Pre-Ming” because it was picked before the Chinese “Qingming Festival,” marking its quality.

The dried leaves were comprised of a one bud to one leaf ratio. From a distance the leaves looked like jade: light and dark greens mixing with the pale leaf buds. The brewed leaves were more beautiful when brewed, and smelled vegetal, floral, with a tiny hint of nutty-smokiness.

The brewed tea was pale-green, and had very little color at all- the liquor was very light and clear. The flavor was light, floral, sweet, and a bit nutty in the finish. Each sip was silky smooth and crisp. The second brew was more sweet and floral than the first. Every sip was like drinking nectar. The third brew tasted much the same as the second, and didn’t lose any flavor. The fourth steeping brought out some vegetal notes, but retained the floral-sweetness of the other brews.

This tea was very good and refreshing. Not all “high quality” teas taste good, due to processing, storage, or other factors- this tea, however was wonderful. It would be interesting to taste other grades of Huangshan Maofeng tea to see the differences in flavor and appearance. I’m glad Vicony Teas sent me the free sample, and had a great time tasting it.

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97
drank Nie Jian Hou Kui by Vicony Teas
115 tasting notes

I just ordered another 500 grams of this tea. Floral, vegetal, sweet, smooth- this tea is exactly what I needed today.

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91

This was another tea I received as a sample at the World Tea Expo from Sara.

The dry leaves were comprised of 100% unbroken, dark green tea leaves with absolutely no dust. The unbrewed leaves smelled vegetal, while the brewed leaves were more sweet and grassy. They expanded and turned a beautiful forest-green. After a few seconds, I noticed a new floral note which seemed to dominate over the grassy quality.

The brewed tea was completely clear unlike some sencha teas which tend to be murky. The color was bright yellow, and smelled just as the brewed leaves. The first brew was very refreshing and rather grassy- floral notes were only present in the finish. The second brew was more floral, and I noticed a slight milky quality. The third steeping was much the same as the second, only sweeter.

The tea had recurring flavors throughout the multiple steepings, but in different combinations. For the fourth and final brew, I noticed that the scent of the tea was reminiscent of milky oolongs, and was sweet and floral. This brew wasn’t vegetal or grassy at all.

Over all, this was a very pleasant tea, and I’m glad to have been able to sample it. I wrote this review about 7 months ago on paper, and decided it was overdue to be posted.

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90

Autumn 2013
This was an excellent tea which I enjoyed over six steepings. Upon opening the package, I could immediately smell the vibrant floral qualities of the tea. The tea was very fragrant, and smelled wonderful- a scent matching the beautiful leaves.

The dried leaves were a rich golden color, and were very straight and pointed. The brewed leaves retained the wonderful qualities of the dried tea, and produced a very refreshing brew- a bit of maltiness, floral notes, and a sweet aftertaste with hints of chocolate in the finish. Each steeping changed only slightly, increasing in floral notes.

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83

At the World Tea Expo, I was given many samples of tea from many different companies. Over the course of several days, I had many interesting conversations with Sara, the company’s founder, regarding the tea she carries. This is the first sample she gave me for review.

Leaf Quality:
The dark green tea leaves were mostly intact or whole. However, there was a small amount of tea dust as well as broken leaves. I was surprised by the floral notes of the leaves’ aroma; it mingled well with the other sweet and grassy qualities. The brewed leaves smelled less grassy than dry, and lightened up quite a bit. The color transformed from a dark green to a chartreuse. Some of the leaves formed a light blanket over the top of the brewing tea. They smelled the sweetest after the third steeping.

Brewed Tea:
The tea was a rich chartreuse, darker than that of the brewed leaves. The brew was a bit murky and wasn’t completely clear; the top was frothy as well. It smelled very sweet and grassy. I noticed nutty and vegetal qualities in the flavor, along with the ones previously mentioned. This was quite refreshing.
Second Steeping
The second brew smelled only grassy, yet still tasted nutty. The vegetal qualities had increased, only allowing any sweetness to show up in the finish.
Third Steeping
This brew smelled the same as the second. The flavor however was very sweet and not nearly as vegetal as the second. There was no bitterness in this cup- no nuttiness either.
Fourth Steeping
Surprisingly, nutty qualities were again present in this brew. The taste was sweet and nutty.

The same qualities of aroma and flavor were present throughout, but in different combinations. Each brew tasted different with nearly the same characteristics.

This Sencha was sweeter than most I’ve tasted, and was definitely enjoyable.

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76
drank Sencha by Peet's Coffee & Tea
115 tasting notes

From 6-9 of June, I will be representing Vicony Teas Company in the 2013 World Tea Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada!

I have been meaning to review this tea since early April.

Leaf Quality:
Most of the leaves of this Sencha were whole, however, about 1/5 of them were broken rather finely due to their fragility. The dark green leaves smelled sweet and grassy. Some of them had yellow veins running the side of the leaves, but most were a consistent rich green.

Brewed Tea:
The leaves yielded a chartreuse brew that smelled of sweet grass. The flavor wasn’t much different. One thing I noticed about this Sencha was the lack of any bitterness; usually, I find it rather easy to oversteep Sencha. The finishing taste was vegetal and very clean.
Second Steeping
This brew brought out an increased amount of the grassy-vegetal qualities. Perhaps I brewed this steeping a bit longer than the first, but nevertheless the flavor was clean and rather sweet. Not one bit of this tea was bitter, however the grassy notes were heavily pronounced.

This company’s Sencha was not disappointing. The leaves brewed a very fresh, clean, and vegetal cup each time.

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84

Leaf Quality:
The brick looked more green than another Fu Zhuan I’ve had. This tea was comprised of mainly cut leaves and stems; there were quite a bit of stems. As I started to separate chucks of tea from the brick, I noticed “Jin Hua” or “Golden Flowers” growing on the inside. The brewed leaves smelled musty and sweet.

Brewed Tea:
The brewed tea was medium brown, and smelled sweetly musty just as the leaves did. The flavor was light, sweet, a bit earthy, grassy, and nutty in the aftertaste. On the second sip, mossy undertones were also noticeable.
Second Steeping
This brew was more full-bodied than the first, and wasn’t as sweet. There was a fungal flavor present in the aftertaste this time. The mossy qualities had gone down, but a light earthiness was still present.
Third Steeping
This steeping smelled a bit sweeter than the second, and tasted likewise. A coppery fungal flavor was still present in the aftertaste. The nutty and woody flavors mingled well. The third sip reminded me of honey.

Though this tea had many stems and is comprised of 2nd quality material, I still enjoyed it. This offers quite a good tasting experience given the price. I’ll let the rest of the brick age as it will be quite interesting to see any changes.

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94

This tea was packed in a small bamboo basket. I decided to brew the tea using two separate methods in one full review. The first method is without the bamboo wrapping, and the second is with the bamboo wrapping. It will be interesting to see the differences between the two.

Leaf Quality:
As I opened the top bamboo basket, I was welcomed to a sweet fragrance. The short, dark tea leaves were mostly caked lightly together, however a few on the top were loose. The brewed leaves smelled sweet, chocolaty, and a bit woody. The leaves softened up quite a bit, and some revealed themselves to be a dark brown rather than black.

Brewed Tea:
Without Bamboo Wrapping
The brew was a reddish brown, and completely clear; it smelled sweet and mossy. The flavor was sweet, floral, woody, and very smooth.
Second Steeping
This steeping was sweeter than the first. There was an aftertaste similar to a nutty honey. It was lightly floral, and remained woody through the finish.
Third Steeping
The color of this brew was much lighter than the first. The nuttiness had increased from previous brews. A sweet smoky flavor had also developed in the aftertaste.

With Bamboo Wrapping
The complexion was much the same as the brew without bamboo wrapping. The flavor difference was apparent immediately upon sipping. The tea was sweeter, smoky, woody, and just as smooth. The aftertaste was more noticeable, and tasted the same.
Second Steeping
This steeping was sweeter than the first, paralleling the brew without wrapping. Though the separate methods result in similar qualities of flavor and aroma, they produce different combinations of each. The different combinations of flavor and aroma made this steeping of the bamboo wrapping-infused tea more full bodied and concrete than the other. It tasted woody, sweet, and a bit smoky, but also a bit grassy and nutty in the finish. This steeping had more character.
Third Steeping
I noticed a bit of earthiness in this brew. Perhaps it was the mossy and woody qualities mixing together more. There was a definite nutty aftertaste which lasted quite long.

This tea was very smooth, woody, nutty, and sweet throughout both methods. I prefer to enjoy the tea with the wrapping.

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81

In order to remove the tea, I had to peel the bamboo shell away from the tea. There was quite a bit of bamboo dust caked on the outside of the tea, and it looked like an insect had previously burrowed tunnels throughout the inner wall of the bamboo- perhaps that was the cause of the dust.

Leaf Quality:
After removing as much bamboo dust as I could, I split the cylindrical tea into little cakes and separated the leaves from each other. There were a little bit of “Jin Hua” or “Golden Flowers” growing on the leaves, but the fungus was scarce. The brewed leaves smelled earthy, woody, mossy, and had a slight hint of baking flour aroma.

Brewed Tea:
The brewed tea was dark brown with a slight reddish hue, and smelled nutty. It tasted earthy, woody, and sweetly grassy. Each sip left a long lasting nutty aftertaste. The tea was very mild
Second Steeping
This steeping was very earthy and nutty. The flavor reminded me of mild pu-erh. The aftertaste this time was sweet and mossy. Each sip was silky smooth and the liquor was surprisingly clear given the bamboo dust that was previously caked on.
Third Steeping
This brew was the mildest. It tasted malty along with the woodiness and earthiness from the earlier brews. It wasn’t as sweet, and the nutty aftertaste had returned. The grassy notes were completely gone.

I decided to brush off any remaining bamboo dust from the rest of the dry tea and stored it in a separate container for further aging.

K S

Jin Hua – you are a brave one.

Scharp

Thanks. The Golden Flowers fungus does make me a bit weary, but most of the dark teas I’ve tried in the past week have been covered with it.

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Bio

Jared Sharp
I love drinking and reviewing tea. Green, Oolong, Black, White, Yellow, Dark, Pu-erh… It’s all great. In particular, my favorites are Taiping Hou Kui, and Aged Teas.

I’m currently in California, and started my interest in tea at a very young age. Ever since, I’ve looked for exotic, rare, and even newly-developed teas to try.

It doesn’t end there: I’ll try just about any tea new to me that crosses my path.

I typically brew tea in a traditional manner (different teas require different steeping times and water temperatures, ect…). Whichever directions are on the packaging or website, I tend to follow as well.

I’m also building a private collection of Pu-Erh teas and teas good for Aging. Hopefully, they’ll turn out nice.

Companies: If you are looking for a reviewer for tea, I would be happy to sample any of the teas you offer.

Message me for Sample swapping.

Location

California

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