115 Tasting Notes

84

I bought this tea along with the Pu-Erh yesterday. I’ve never had Sencha in Sachets before, so this is new. I do like the fact that sachets don’t effect the flavor of the tea.

Leaf Quality:
The leaves were very brittle, and could turn to powder at the slightest touch of the finger; this happened to several of the leaves, but most were still in-tact. They smelled very sweet, almost like honey, and a bit floral. The brewed leaves also smelled sweet, but vegetal notes crept in.

Brewed Tea:
First Steeping
The tea was a very faint yet bright yellow-green. It tasted sweet, somewhat vegetal, grassy, and a bit floral as well. At the end of the sip, I got notes that reminded me of barley, but turned into an orchid (very drastic change!), which puzzled me a bit.
Second Steeping
The second steeping was very much the same as the first, surprisingly. It did not change much since then. However, I did notice that the brewed leaves smelled extra sweet this time, and I did not get the barley taste. This tea is pretty good.

By the way, I finally got the 2011 production of “Atys” thanks to a friend, who even went as far to upload it on Youtube (Unlisted, however). I just can’t get enough of great Baroque music. I’ll be enjoying it with this nice tea.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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83
drank Ancient Pu-Erh by World Market
115 tasting notes

I had no idea that World Market made Pu-Erh along with it’s other teas. When I saw this in the tea section, I absolutely had to try this. What a wonderful surprise to a shopping trip aimed at buying chocolate.

I edited this review to include several separate steepings
-I steeped this tea Gaiwan style, and did 30+ second steeps each time.

Leaf Quality:
The leaves were chocolaty-brown, and several leaf buds were present. Longer leaves (and the name) hinted that this Pu-Erh may have been produced from Ancient Arbors. They smelled very earthy, but also malty and sweet. After “washing” the leaves for 10 seconds, I noticed a great woody aroma. This was very refreshing.

Brewed Tea:
First Steeping: This is one of the lighter Pu-Erhs that I’ve had. It wasn’t as astringent as I had expected for a ripened “Shou” tea. The liquor was a dark, pinkish-brown, and smelled typical of a Pu-Erh. The malt from the dried leaves showed up in the brew, and was quite welcomed, as it made the tea a little more robust (again, this was very light).

Second Steeping: This brew was only slightly lighter than the first. This cuppa was much sweeter, less malty, and more floral. It retained the same earthiness as before. It was a very smooth couple of sips. I also noticed a hint of mushroom in the background. Very nice.

Third Steeping: The tea showed more malt and leather notes this time. I got a slight smell of mushroom, but it wasn’t present in the taste. Very smooth and reminiscent of pine wood.

Fourth Steeping: The tea started getting lighter in color here. Muscatel notes showed up, as well as more Pine flavor. The earthiness remained as strong as it was in the first steeping.

Fifth Steeping: The Pine notes were completely gone, and the tea was only a slight bit earthy. A very floral brew with a hint of nuttiness.

I didn’t encounter the “fishy” taste with this tea, as other reviewers did. I suspect that some didn’t wash the tea first. This tea is great for the price, though I wouldn’t age this tea further.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C
Bonnie

Good job describing your experience. Did you steep this more than once? If you rinse your puerh 20-30 seconds you might get a richer brew if this is a nugget form.

Scharp

Thanks! This isn’t a cake or nugget; it’s free leaves. Most of my experiences with Pu-Erh have been from cakes and bricks, though they’ve not been logged on Steepster and were aged from raw tea. I steeped it once tonight (I’ll do more in the morning, as I’ll be up extra early). By the way,do you prefer the aged green, or ripened Pu-Erh’s?

Bonnie

Ah, that explains…and I like loose puerh’s sometimes too, when you can let them steep for a long time like having coffee in the morning. Some are pretty nice.
I seem to like ripe puerh’s best. But, I have lots to learn. I have about 13 ready to be tasted and reviewed right now and that takes some time. It’s not like other tea that you can taste back to back after an hour or two. I can only give attention to one puerh a day. I take hours with it, really pay attention to color, scent, taste. EVERYTHING! I don’t eat or have the tv on. It’s like I went to puerh church, all quiet. There are a few other types of tea’s that take lots of time. A new Oolong might take lots of time. Any unique new tea.
I hope that answered your question. This is just my style. My preference. Taste changes though.

Scharp

Wonderful insight, Bonnie! I agree that Pu-Erh teas take longer, as their character is more complex. The same goes with other aging teas for me, such as Dark teas.

Scharp

I edited the tea (Again) to include even more steepings.

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94

NOTE:This tea is very exciting for me for two reasons:
1st I won this tea in a Twinings Tea Competition, and get to submit my review to Twinings Tea UK.
2nd I am the first to review this tea on Steepster!!

I’m very anxious to review this tea, and am honoured to have won. Thank you Twinings Tea UK for this free gift!

Leaf Quality:
The tea came in a decorative box with 15 sachets of Jasmine Pearls. When I opened the inner bag containing the tea, I immediately smelled the wonderful floral aroma of Jasmine. The leaves had been individually rolled into minute spheres, with green leaves and silvery buds showing. The leaves were marbled, each one having its own unique pattern. They were as beautiful as they smelled. Underneath the pleasant Jasmine aroma, I could smell a faint hint of the green tea. The Brewed Leaves unfurled inside the sachet and still smelled floral enough for another brewing.

Brewed Tea:
For the first steeping, I brewed the tea in the sachets. The color of the liquor was a light yellow-green. The only detectable smell was that of Jasmine. The first sip brought notes of sweet nectar and orchids. This was a very floral tea indeed! Very delicate.

For the second steeping, I brewed the tea in a Gaiwan. The leaves unfurled more this time. The tea retained all the same floral notes as the first steeping, but was sweeter. It could have easily been brewed for a third time.

This tea was marvelous. Very fragrant, and very floral. I’m really satisfied with the tea I won. I’ll have to enter more competitions, and order more of this tea. Again, Thank you Twinings Tea UK!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
80
drank Earl Grey by Tea Forte
115 tasting notes

I’m backlogging this tea right now. It’s been a while since I’ve had a cup of this. It is a little tricky to brew this using certain filters, as some of the CTC tea mixed in can fall through.

Leaf Quality:
Some of the leaves are CTC, and others are whole. There is a pretty even mix of both. Cornflowers are also present. It smells amazing. The leaves have a very refreshing Bergamot scent, along with a very aromatic floral quality already present in the base teas. The brewed leaves smelled malty, floral, and still of Bergamot.

Brewed Tea:
The brewed tea smelled rather different than the leaves. The cornflowers had more of a presence. The Bergamot wasn’t as prevalent, but the Assam qualities were. It tasted somewhat brisk at first. The color was a nice red-brown. It’s difficult to discern some of the characteristics of the base tea, as the Bergamot has been added.

The briskness of this tea surprised me. I don’t remember it being as strong. For this reason, I shortened by steeping time considerably from 4 minutes to less than three. Beforehand, the brew was a little bitter. Afterwards, it was much better. I could taste every element of the tea. I also noticed it was naturally sweet.

This was a very good tea to have this Saturday morning, despite the fringe steep times. I’ll be drinking this, when reading the rest of The Man in the Iron Mask.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 45 sec

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63
drank Awake™ Full Leaf Tea by Tazo Tea
115 tasting notes

I was on the go this morning, so I decided to head into Starbucks to get my daily tea fix. I’ve had this tea many times in the past, but I’ll be reviewing it as though it were my first time.

Leaf Quality:
The leaves were in sachets. I did not get to smell them before brewing, as I was given the cup with it already brewing. However, I did smell them after brewing. They were not complete leaves; they were cut in half. Some were almost whole. Nevertheless, the leaves were loose, and smelled slightly floral and malty.

Brewed Tea:
At my first sip of the tea, I could tell that the base was a Ceylon tea. A slight hint of malt told me there was some Assam, or perhaps Darjeeling as well. The color of the brew was a dark copper-red. It smelled like a version of an English Breakfast tea. It tasted much the same as well. I did not taste any of the floral notes I smelled in the leaves. The malt was as strong as the scent either.

I suppose this would be a good cup to carry me on, but I would prefer some of the other teas I have.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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62

I had this tea at a Barnes & Noble. I was looking to buy the opera “Atys” on Blu-Ray. Sadly, it was more expensive than I thought, so I’ll have to resort to Amazon.

Leaf Quality:
Though in Sachets, the leaves were entirely loose. I couldn’t see any pomegranate, but definitely smelled it. I assume the dried leaves were scented by the pomegranate, rather than thrown in with pomegranate chunks. It smelled nice.

Brewed Tea:
The color of the brew was a pale yellow. It smelled like a flavored candy, like PEZ to me. I was hesitant at first, with the smell. However, the tea proved to be much better than the scent itself. I did notice that much of the floral attributes of Ti Guan Yin (Ti Kuan Yin) had been lost to the pomegranate flavoring. That is what mostly threw me off. Aside from that, this tea wasn’t too bad. It isn’t my favorite from Harney & Sons, though.

I think I’ll try it iced next time. It should be more refreshing as an iced tea on a summer’s day.

Preparation
3 min, 15 sec

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93
drank Jin Jun Mei Waishan by Vicony Teas
115 tasting notes

This is the last sample supplied to me from my first order with Vicony Teas. Thank you Mr. Richard Zhang for the free sample! This tea is not a smoked Lapsang Souchong, but still carries a small smoky hint in the leaves.

Leaf Quality
The golden color of these leaves told me that it was made of buds. The dried leaves themselves smelled floral. When I first saw these leaves, my first thought was that they were thinner than Angel Hair Pasta! The brewed leaves smelled chocolaty, as did the other Lapsang I tried from this company.

Brewed Tea
The chocolate aroma of this tea was more pronounced than that of the previous one I tried. It also had a great floral aroma. The color of the brew was a dark amber. What a wonderful tea!

The taste was also sweet, and had a slight smell of tree bark. I really liked this tea.

Overall, I’m very happy with the teas supplied by Vicony Teas Company. I will be ordering from them in the future.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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90

Thank you, Mr. Richard Zhang, at Vicony Teas for this free sample! I’ve only one more free sample to go.

Note: I edited this post due to a slight error with brewing instructions, on the Vicony Teas website. Thankfully, they corrected it.

Leaf Quality
The dry leaves are a dark black. One of them had a golden hue to it, however. They smelled malty and sweet. The brewed leaves were very leathery in consistency. Some were a dark brown, others as black as before. They smelled muscatel, and almost acidic (in a pleasant way). They were very aromatic, and had a different appearance than other black teas (the length in particular.

Brewed Tea
The color of the brew was a hue of copper-brown. It smelled smooth, light, and chocolaty. It tasted slightly malty, woody, and was very smooth. In fact, it was silky smooth- a really nice feature of this tea. There was a slight sweet after taste, and a floral finish with each sip.
Second Steeping
The second steeping had a much more light, and brassy-brown color. This cup smelled very floral- much more than the first. A honey-like sweet aftertaste followed my first three sips. After that, the malt made a return. I liked the second steeping better than the first. It enhanced the more subtle flavors.

I am very pleased to have gotten to try this tea (thankfully it tasted better when steeped longer than the original 20 seconds). This is also my first Lapsang Souchong that has not been smoked. A pleasant experience overall.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec
viconyteas

Hi Scharp:

Thank you for your reviews.

I am sorry to say there is a mistake on our website about the steeping time and you steeped the tea for very short time. The tea should be steeped for much longer time. The Wuyi Laozong came from Tongmu, the core Lapsang Souchong producing area. It is called Zhengshan Tea. It won’t taste bitter even brewed for very long time. You may see the artciles introducing Tongmu and Lapsang Souchong on our Blog:
http://teaseek.blogspot.com/2012/06/tong-mu-core-producing-area-of-lapsang.html

http://teaseek.blogspot.com/2012/05/why-authentic-lapsang-souchong-is.html

http://teaseek.blogspot.com/2012/03/zhengyan-zhengshan-and-bohea.html

In addition, You are quite righ. “In the end, I noticed a slight floral aftertaste- something not too common for me to taste in a black tea.” The floral note you noticed is just what we call" Lao cong Wei"(the taste of old tea trees). It is an unique taste that we only can find in teas made of old tea trees. You can find the photos of the old tea trees in the above first blog.

Scharp

Thank you for the correction. I’ll steep it longer later today, and edit the review. I’ll read up on those articles soon.

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85
drank Da Fang by Vicony Teas
115 tasting notes

This is the first of three free samples supplied by the Vicony Teas Company. Thank you Mr. Richard Zhang for the sample!

Leaf Quality:
Only the top two or three leaves were used for production. The leaves looked very much like a Dragonwell tea. There was a nice floral scent emanating from them. There were no lone stems, and the leaves were medium-sized. It smelled very fresh. The brewed leaves smelled very toasty and vegetal.

Brewed Tea:
The very first smell I got was of peanuts- Honey roasted peanuts. Then, I noticed a slightly toasty smell, similar to Genmai Cha. I was expecting the leaves to fall to the bottom of the glass, like Dragonwell, but this did not happen. As the tea cooled for 20 seconds, I began to smell a honey-butter aroma, without any grassy or vegetal hints at all. The brew was a light yellow complexion. It did not lose the nutty aromas. The taste was also slightly toasty, but not as nutty as I had expected. I did notice a very tiny hint of buttery-goodness towards the end of the sip.

This tea was pretty good. I would recommend this tea for late morning to evening.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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

This is the very top quality of Taiping Hou Kui. It is not sold on Vicony Tea Company’s website, and had to be specially ordered. I understand that only 10kg of this tea was produced for this company. Taiping Hou Kui is one of my favorite teas, so it will be nice to try some in the top quality.

Leaf Quality:
These leaves were 100% hand-plucked, and hand made. They are more dark green than the ‘Superfine Hou Kui Tea’, and have more prominent grate marks on one side. The other side does not have as much grate marks, but shows the leaf’s veins near the stem. The leaves are very thin, but not as flat and brittle as the ‘Superfine Hou Kui Tea’, which was almost transparent. There were slight variations in height, and all of the tea consisted of the top two leaves of the plant. The dried leaves smelled very floral, and very sweet. It reminded me of honey suckle. This was much different than any other Taiping Hou Kui I have tried before; it was a stronger floral smell. The brewed leaves were very elastic, and smelled vegetal, but floral as well. The stems were more red, and had a reddish-green hue to them.

Brewed Tea:
The brewed tea was an extremely clear, medium-yellow color. The brew smelled vegetal, and was actually hard for me to detect. The initial taste was sweet, but turned into a floral, honey suckle taste. Nectar; there was a light vegetal flavor, overcome by nectar. This tea is very sweet, and has a very floral aftertaste. It was a very nice tea.

Second Steeping:
This steeping yielded a very floral cup. I actually found this steeping to be more sweet! This one retains all of the characteristics of the first one, but more pronounced. Very good.

I could tell that much care had gone into making this tea. It was not pressed by machines, as other Hou Kui teas are. I love the look of the leaves when they brew in a tall glass, and love the delicate flavor. I can see why this is classified as a rare, and ‘’Luxury” tea. I’ll be ordering my Nie Jian Hou Kui from this company again.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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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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