102 Tasting Notes
Special thanks to Amy for sending me some really fine coinage! :)) Seriously, the Chinese used tea as a form of currency and barter exchange. I really like this so on to the review.
I used 1/2 a coin for this tasting and drank three delicious cups. In the wet leaves I smelled a toasty and sweet aroma. The cup is very dark and sweet smelling. I just love Puerh teas (the few that I’ve tried). This cup was no exception-velvety smooth, sweet, and delicious! The main flavor note I get here is mushrooms. My second cup was steeped at 1 minute and roughy same temp. An even deeper color greets my eyes. The aromas are slightly deeper as the wet leaves have a more toasty aroma to them. The cup has more depth of flavor too, with even more sweet mushrooms. My last cup (212 for 3 min) was still a delicious sweet cup with good flavor, but not as much depth as the second.
I’m not sure I get the “fishy” quality that alot of people talk of. Maybe it just doesn’t exist here at such short steeps.
For the second 1/2 coin, I decided to do longer steeps to experience the deeper flavors. My first cup steeped at 180 for 3 minutes. Now the aroma really comes out of the wet leaves! Really toasty and wood-like. Deeply inhaling I get intense toasty…….like a roasted marshmallow sweetness. What a toasty sweet aromatic cup before me. Much deeper flavors here-toasty, woody, very sweet and smooth! I’m still getting mushrooms, and….wait…fishy? Maybe some fishiness here. At least I think this is what others describe as the fish-like quality of Puerhs. If so it is mild, and I like fish, so it only adds to the depth of flavor.
My second cup was at a gentle boil for 5 min. I think having only two cups was a good choice as my second cup was similar to the first. Toasty, roasted marshmallows, mushrooms….and fishy?! Maybe a little more “fishy” than the first cup, but still a secondary flavor and still mild to me. What a delicious cup!
What I take with me with this tea experience is that I like to brew Puerhs in shorter steeps like my first 1/2 coin, and with the deeper flavors and aromas of the second 1/2 coin. It just depends on my mood. I like the dark sweetness of the cups. I like all their flavors, and still with the longer steeps-smooth and sweet with no bitterness. A little “fishy” maybe, but not offensive.
I will definitely explore more Puerhs in the future! Thanks again Amy. :)) One coin down, one to go. How should I brew it…….by the 1/2 coin? Should use the whole coin next time? Maybe I’ll flip a coin and throw caution to the wind. :)) WWWHHHEEE!
Cupped: Tuesday & Monday, February 21 & 27, 2012.
Reviewed: Sunday, March 4, 2012.
Special thanks to Amy for this delicious tea.
My first opinion smelling the leaves was spinach, creamy (buttery?), and very sweet smelling. The aroma made my mouth water…….seriously. I guess if I’d call a green tea buttery, this would be it. I warmed my tea press so the warm water clinging to the glass intensified the aroma. The steeping info below is what I prefer when brewing most Japanese greens, but the water got too hot (about 185-190 D). So my first cup was spinacy, but way too astringent at 1.5 minutes…….my bad. ://. Wet leaf aroma was so vegetal and sweet and creamy. Second cup per info was much better. Steeped around 165 for one minute, the sweet, creamy, spinach brew was delicious—the best cup. :)) My last cup was more grassy in nature, with less of the aromas, sweetness and spinach, but still very good. (180 D @ 3 min.)
I continued on another night more closely following the steeping info, and the results were much better. Same wonderful sweet…O.K. buttery….spinach brew, with all the aromas. My first cup was very good. Like Amy, I did notice the brothy nature of this tea. I love it when I get this quality with Japanese greens. It totally adds another dimension to the tea. The brothy nature continued into the second cup (165 at 1 min.). This was my favorite cup once again (& usually is), from the wet leaf aroma to the flavors in the cup. The sweet, cre….er, buttery qualitites were awesome! The spinach notes were peaking, and the brothy nature of the cup popped in my mouth! POP POP!! My palate was happy! :)) The last cup was less vegetal and sweet with more of a grassy nature on my tongue. Still a very good cup (195 for 3 min).
I finished the sample on a third night using more leaf than the previous nights, so I was able to get a forth cup! First two cups were steeped at 160-165 for 1 min. Without being too redundant, the aromas and flavors were very consistent with my second nights brews. Spinachy, buttery, sweet, brothy, and my favorite of the four cups! The short steeps allowed for enough of Sencha’s astringency, but not too much….very well balanced. The third cup (185 at 1.5 min), was less sweet and vegetal with that grassy tone I get coming into the picture. Even my fourth cup was good. More grassy and astringent (212 at 3.5 min), it was still pretty good. I drank it with a meal so the astringency wasn’t too much for me at all!
My three favorite things about this tea was the creamy, brothy, astringency in the cup and on my palate. The creamy, butteriness surprised me the most, and the brothy nature is a bonus prize for me! I must admit I do like managed astringency in this tea, and in Senha teas.
Oh! There is one more favorite thing about this tea. It was a free sample from generous, kind Amy. Thanks agaain Amy! :))
Cupped: Thursday, Monday, & Tuesday, February 16, 20, & 28, 2012.
Reviewed: Saturday, March 3, 2012.
Thank you ssooo much Amy for this delicious Oolong! I wasn’t aware that this was a Thai Oolong until I read your notes, so it is my first as well. :))
When I warmed my glass tea press and poured the dry leaves into it the aroma was very creamy to me. I was surprised because this tea was greener than I expected, but IMO somewhere in the middle of the Oolong spectrum. The wet leaves smelled wonderful, with a creamy fruit aroma I love so much. The cup color was a lighter yellow, with a light fruity & creamy aroma.
Initially this Oolong reminded me of the milk Oolong I had a while back, but slightly greener, with no artificial powdery aftertaste left on my palate. This was so creamy and I loved the smoothness of the cup. I did notice a mild peach aspect to this one, and I agree with Amy, this Bao Zhong is mild in flavor. This is probably due to the hand rolling of the leaves. Not whimpy in taste, but a more gentle, calming, reflective brew.
My second steep was much the same as above, but more creamy, smooth, and fruity. I did seem to pick up more of the greenish character in the second cup. I wouldn’t call it flowery, but slightly vegetal in nature. I did get peach notes. Now I think I understand what people mean when they say an Oolong is buttery. I guess I just feel that “buttey” is what I call creamy (it is part of the creaminess) in describing the tea.
This Bao Zhong Oolong is one of those teas I could really get addicted to! Thanks again Amy. :)) I’m gonna go take a leap, and steep another cup of this tasty Oolong. :))
Cupped & Reviewed: Wednesday, February 29, 2012.
This is another brand I would occasionally drink with my Grandpap, when he wasn’t drinking Lipton or Red Rose. I keep this in stock for the quick cup, hurry up tea. It is not as good as Red Rose (not as smooth). It is a stronger, more astringent, and sometimes bitter cup that needs a little milk to soften the edges. It is also slightly better than Tetley’s Original Blend. This was my 3rd cup for the Dog Show Tuesday night.
I used my cup that had the Oregon Chai in it, hoping a little sweetness left in the cup from that, would help soften the tea a little. I made the mistake of using two teabags at a 4 minute steep. Not much to say, except that it was stronger & more bitter than usual, & I could taste the Chai leftover flavors a little bit. ://
So, Lotis had fallen asleep, and I finished watching the tail end-hahaaha, of the Dog Show. We fell asleep side by side, and I woke up a few hours later to strong, bitter, cold tea. ://
Cupped: Tuesday, February 14, 2012.
Reviewed: Wednesday, February 15, 2012.
I was looking for a decent teabag for a quick brew before the Westminster Dog Show, when I found this teabag. I think this was my last of my Kukicha tea, so I’ll call this a Sipdown. I know I’ve had this teabag a long time so I was hoping it was still fresh. I usually steep this teabag around 170 degrees for three minutes, so already the water was too hot and the steep was too long at 4 minutes.
I’ve always liked this tea and drink it after the water cools a bit. I was surprised that the tea was really good despite my extended steep time and water temp. A really warm, delicious, nutty aroma and flavor all around with good green tea presence too. The nut flavor reminds me of chestnuts. I’ve always thought twig tea was made from Sencha green tea, but in the aftertaste, and on my tongue there was a definite, light chalkiness that reminded me of Matcha. I’m not sure, but the green tea base could consist of both Sencha and Matcha.
A very good, comforting roasted green tea, perfect for watching the Dog Show with my Lotis. He was a rescue dog. The previous dwellers ( I will not call them owners), these dwellers said he was aggressive and he bit and growled at them, and that the shelter could put him down for all they cared! Well he was rescued by a local animal sanctuary, and I’ve had him since April 1, 2006.
I’m not going to say it was easy, and there were times I doubted if he was going to stay, but I kept thinking, ‘Somebody has got to show him love!’ It wasn’t always rough times-there were alot of good moments. It took nearly two years for him to really fully trust. Now, Lotis has my total trust and love. Since he was a rescue dog and he was 3 when I got him, Lotis was the only name he would respond to (I tried to rename him). I was told he was born in February, so I’ve always celebrated his Birthday on the 14th. I can’t believe he is 9 years old already!
So I watched the the Westminster Dog Show with my Lhasa Apso Lotis next to me, drinking my Kukicha tea, on his Birthday! :)) What a happy day! :))
Cupped: Tuesday, February 14, 2012.
Reviewed: Wednesday, February 15, 2012.
My sister bought me this a few years ago for Christmas and I liked it. She bought me more last Christmas, and I decided to have some last night. After dinner I wanted something quick and sweet and this fit the bill.
If you’ve never had it before, this is black tea powder, sugar, dried whole & nonfat milk (why both I ask myself?), dried honey and natural flavors. Now I don’t consider this a true Chai-mainly because of the tea powder. It does have plenty of other delicious flavors, and tastes like a sweet Chai tea. IMO, it is too sweet, and the black tea flavor is there, but not strong enough.
It is a dessert Chai, and that being said was just what I was in the mood for. It is delicious, and quick. I also prepared two other quick teas, so I could watch the 136th Annual Westminster Dog Show! :)) I love dogs (and most animals), and I watch it every year. So, I began preparing two other teas I’ll review later. I spent the next 3 hours watching the competition next to my dog Lotis. :)) More on him later!
Cupped: Tuesday, February 14, 2012.
Reviewed: Wednesday, February 15, 2012.
This tea is a beatiful tea, with elongated leaves that to me looked brownish, but the description states they are dark green. I’ll take a closer look next time. There is a numerous amount of white tips. When I opened the bag, I couldn’t believe my nose. I immediately smelled white chocoloate, with lesser almond aromas. What a terrific aroma! It truly did remind me of a 2nd flush Darjeeling, but a White tea as well. The huge leaves and the white furry tips reminded me of a snow buds white, but the nuttiness reminded me of a Bai Mu Dan. The wet leaves looked brown/olive green and smelled of woods, almonds, malty, and slightly chocolately? (I’m asking myself-yes, slightly chocolatey). I wasn’t getting any floral or fruity notes, but my clogged sinuses might be to blame.
Now the color in the cup reminded me of an Oolong with its’ yellow and lightly golden hue. The first cup was so sweet, VERY creamy, and delicious!! It tasted of nutty almonds (as if there is any other kind), like a second flush Darjeeling and a Bai Mu Dan white tea. I didn’t notice any floral or fruity notes in any of my three cups.
My second cup was similar in all respects to the first, except the flavors and aromas were at their strongest. The cup aroma was more in line with a second flush Darjeeling, and even more nutty, creamy, malty and delicious! Steeped 1.5 minutes at 195 degrees.
Last cup was weaker, but still quite smooth, sweet and delicious.The malty quality was still there and there was a light astringency in my mouth-and that’s a good thing. :)) I steeped this cup in boiling water for 3 minutes. The spent leaves are huge and I could still see the distinction of multi hued leaves. In a nutshell a truly pleasant, calming tea experience. I can’t say that enough! :))
Cupped and Reviewed: Saturday, February 11, 2012.
I was excited to try this Singbulli Estate tea, because all of my limited experiences with this estate have been very positive. I cupped this Friday night and had a great tea experience. When I opened the bad I smelled a mildly nutty aroma. Let me say that this tea wasn’t as aromatic as I thought it would be. I warmed my cup and strainer, put the dry leaves in, and the nutty aroma intensified. I steeped my first cup as noted and could smell nothing but the fresh leaf. Wow! I smelled fresh minty and nutty aromatics rising from my cup to greet me!
The wet leaves were varigated shades of green and brown and smelled clean, crisp, and refreshing-with more pronounced minty and almond-like character. I also recognized some fruity florals too. The cup itself was a very inviting bright orange color with the same characteristics mentioned above.
When I taste Darjeelings like this my mouth usually waters anticipating the flavors of the tea. What I experienced was a very balanced cup, full of minty, fruity, nutty deliciousness! Really fresh, crisp and invigorating. :)) Usually at a three minute steep, there is a proud astringent bite that dances on my tongue. The astringency with this Singbulli is still quite noticeable-it is a Darjeeling after all. It is more tolerable and milder, as the astringency doesn’t dance loudly, or dare I say, stomp on my palate. It is much more playful and mild, still proud, but not conceited, as it presents itself. It is not as mild as the Puttabong Queen I reviewed last month, so if the astringency is too much for you, try reducing the steep time and even the temperature a few degrees. :))
After midnight I had another cup just to enjoy and this cup matched the description above. What I love about Darjeelings is that they do remind me of a fresh, crisp, clear Spring day that brings nothing but comfort and joy. This Singbulli Estate Darjeeling does not disappoint. It is delicious and very satisfying! :))
Cupped: Friday & Sunday, February 10 & 12, 2012.
Reviewed: Sunday, February 12, 2012.
First of all, let me say that I really like Jasmine teas. Phoenix Dragon Pearls is supposed to be the top grade of Jasmine tea around, and it truly is a great tea! :)) I like to prepare this gongfu style, and so should you to fully appreciate this tea. I like to add the pearls in a glass teapot so I can watch the pearls unfurl and smell the intoxicating aroma. A gaiwan would also work well, but I do not recommend a Yixing teapot for any jasmine tea. A glass Gaiwan would also work well obviously.
I used my glass tea press which is a little big for Gongfu tea prep as far as having to guesstimate the amount of water for my cup (8-9 oz), but perfect for the full expansion of the tea leaves (glass press is about 18-20 oz). I think it works out to one or two tea leaves rolled into a pearl, so when they unfurl the leaves are huge-long and slender.
When I smell the pearls the aroma fills the room and my senses…….really takes me away! SSSoooo aromatic!! I can picture mysellf running …….or walking through a field of jasmine flowers on a sunny day. I run with purpose of course, NOT flailing my arms about, or skipping or spinning in circles! :))
Guesstimating again, I put approx 15-20 pearls in my warmed press, and the aroma seemed to intensify. At a one minute steep, the pearls partially opened, and the aroma of the wet pearls was A M A Z I N G ! ! The jasmine filled my senses and the room. The cup was a light yellow, but the aroma and flavor was not shy. I always let my tea cool a bit-IMHO, you get a better appreciation for the teas’ qualities with a slightly cooled cup. More fantastic Jasmine aroma, and the flavor is so naturally sweet, floral, very flavorful and…….SUBLIME!
Same parameters for the second cup provide the most aromatics in the wet leaves and cup, with the cup a slightly darker hued yellow. The Jasmine is so sweet, floral and smooth on my palate, warming and coating my throat. AAHHHH. The tea has good staying power too.
Third cup steeped at 195 D for 1.5 minutes, with the wet leaf aroma still strong. In the cup, the Jasmine fades somewhat and the gentle white tea emerges. On my palate the tea and Jasmine seem to be closely balanced here, as the floral qualities recede. That’s a good thing, because with Gongfu each cup is different, and I appreciate it for what it is…….NOT for what it isn’t. :)) Still sweet, warm and soothing.
My fourth and last cup steeped with boiling water for 3.5 minutes, gave me wet leaves that STILL smelled of Jasmine and had now fully opened. The cup was weaker in aromatics and flavor, but still the leaves gave me all they had and four quality cups of tea! Good tea flavor and Jasmine soothed me again, with their sweetness and warmth. I could’ve probably gotten a weak fifth cup, but I really had four truly satisfying cups!
Even people who don’t prefer Jasmine teas because they are too floral for their taste, could learn to appreciate this. The nice thing about the pearls is that you probably could limit the floral aspects of the tea by using less pearls, lesser steep times and temps. :)) Another nice thing is that this tea is naturally and slowly scented over several days, and does not come across as cloying to me at all. Give this tea a try! :)) A perfect tea experience, but I’m leaving a little elbow room should a better Jasmine tea please my palate.
Cupped: Sunday, February 5, 2012.
Reviewed: Monday, February 6, 2012.
This review is for the 2010 lot of this green Darjeeling, while the picture is of the 2011 lot, but the leaf is very similar. Very long green & white well twisted leaves that smelled light and airy, fruity, and dare I say creamy. Wet leaves smelled woody and as they cooled, they were alot more fruity smelling. They also unfurled to beautifully large whole leaves, some having brown edges.
The cup color was a medium yellow and had a sweet, lightly fruity nose, but I can’t place the fruit. The flavor is so sweet and smooth in my mouth, with a light fruit, creamy quality. I like it alot. Ssooo delicious and very relaxing. I’ve read that the fruit notes are pear-like, but I wasn’t getting that at all! Then again I’m not a big fan of pears, so I don’t smell or eat them very often.
My second steep on Thursday morning (same leaves), was steeped at roughly the same temperature for 3 minutes. I was still getting smooth creaminess and fruity aspects, but the fruit that seemed to come through was grapes. Not the sweeter red grapes, but green, which tend to be less sweet and sometimes sour IMHO. :)) I was getting some tangy qualities on my tongue-but not bitter. Darjeeling teas are sometimes compared to muscat grapes. I could definitely taste that quality here.
Last night I decided to brew this tea closer to brewing guidelines at 180 degrees for 3 minutes. I dozed off waiting for my tea to cool and woke up with cold tea. I drank it and realized this could be a good iced green tea. Using more leaf, a cold brew in the refrigerator overnight would be quite tasteful! So after midnight I had one more hot cup, adding additional leaves and steeping for two minutes. It was quite smooth and creamy and fruity and delicious!
This is a mild tea, so the qualities I mention above are not strong, but never lacking in flavor. This Darjeeling green tea is is unque tea, and I would have to say, just as good (if not better), than many Chinese green teas! Every green tea lover should try it at least once. :))
Cupped: Wednesday-Friday, February 1-3, 2012.
Reviewed: Friday, February 3, 2012.