220 Tasting Notes

65

I got this in a teabag sample from Midwest Tea Fest. I don’t drink much in the way of herbal blends these days, but as a preteen and kid I was all about them, so it’s a bit nostalgic for me.

This one smells lemony, as you’d expect with hints of holy basil (not sure if that is actually in here). The flavor is an interesting blend of grassy, reminding me of unsmoked yerba mate, juniper berry, reminding me of gin, and of course lemon. It’s not tart and the lemon flavor isn’t too strong. It blends well with the others.

This is not my typical cup of tea these days, but I didn’t mind it at all. Wouldn’t buy it, but enjoyed the cup I had. Thank you for the sample, Harney and Sons!

Flavors: Grass, Lemon, Pine

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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50
drank Puerh Bordeaux by Rishi Tea
220 tasting notes

Maybe I need to learn to take teabags more seriously. I think I tend to go in with a casual mindset and not really pay full attention to the nuances. I couldn’t have told you what the added ingredients for this tea were without reading them on this page. I thought maybe it was pomegranate pieces from the tart and almost berry-like fruit taste. At first, it tasted alright. The fruity flavor and what seemed like a bit of spice meshed well with the earthy Puer, but the infusion was thin and I was curious to see how it would hold up with a more bold flavor so I steeped it a bit longer.

I imagine the Puer alone would have done well that way, but this made the tea way too tart from the fruit added in, so I didn’t enjoy this tea much after that point, nor did I feel like diluting it, as I felt like the fruit kind of masked the Puer flavor too much either way.

This tea was just run-of-the mill for a (hear comes the full disclosure:) snobby gongfu-style Puer tea drinker like me. Might be good for those who like western style blended teas though. It had a cozy appeal, just not the kind of flavor dynamic I enjoy.

Thank you, Rishi, for the sample, obtained at Midwest Tea Fest.

Flavors: Earth, Red Fruits, Spices, Tart

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec

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35
drank English Breakfast by Rishi Tea
220 tasting notes

Had this in a teabag sample from Midwest Tea Fest. Thank you, Rishi.

This tea was very drying and reminded me why I don’t drink tea from teabags much anymore. I’m sort of surprised at my disappointment with it since it was whole leaf and not dust and fannings. The flavor was the typical malty, woody kind you’d get from English Breakfast, but the drying quality of this tea was something I couldn’t tolerate and I heard Anlina’s voice in my head “Life’s too short to drink bad tea”, and didn’t finish drinking it. Could have used some milk or sugar, which is a bad thing in my book if it doesn’t stand up on its own without those. It’s fine if it’s optional, but this tea needed to be masked to be drinkable for me. :\

Flavors: Malt, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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70

Thank you Rishi for the sample. I had this in a tea bag that was a free sample from Midwest Tea Fest. I won’t give a proper full review with elaborate Gongfu tasting notes (since it’s in a tea bag), but I think that when you’re looking at bagged green teas, this is a great one. The leaves are whole and the flavor is that of authentic Chinese green tea. It’s very vegetal and green tasting with some classic hints of green bean that you’ll sense in a lot of Chinese greens. I don’t typically buy bagged teas, so it’s not one I’d buy again, but It was nice and light, fresh tasting. I’d say this one veers more toward grassy and leafy than toward nutty or earthy, on the green tea flavor spectrum. It’s a good product for a person who likes tea bags… and it came in the nice pyramid shaped mesh tea bag to really give the leaves room to open and expand, which is helpful to the overall flavor. Thanks for the sample, Rishi Tea!

Flavors: Green, Green Beans, Vegetal

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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78

After a rinse the leaves smell like pear and forest. The rinse infusion tastes very light. The taste starts out a bit like prune and is slightly woody and smokey in the finish.

The first infusion is really tasty. Lightly smokey at first with a mid sip of sweet fruit, orange peel and a bit of honeysuckle. There’s a long lingering taste of orange peel after the sip.

The second infusion is a bit more tart and reminds me of orange again with notes of green olive. The next infusion is even more tart and with a bit of a bitterness in the finish. There is less distinguishable flavor overall and more the sensations of tartness and bitterness. Subsequent infusions taste similar but the flavor continues to pale. The tartness wanes but the light bitterness stays.

This Puer was very tightly compressed, and it took several infusions to really come apart. The first few infusions of this tea were a real delight and what I’ve come to expect from MGH, but I didn’t feel it performed as well in later infusions. The young bitter Puer qualities seem to lurch forward. It isn’t my favorite from that factory but was definitely a nice sample to try.

Flavors: Dried Fruit, Honeysuckle, Orange, Smoke, Tart

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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55

Had to add this one the database. This was a sample sent to me by Puerh Shop with my last order. I’m up way later than I should be with anticipation for the first ever Midwest Tea Fest in the morning… which starts in 8 hours and I haven’t slept. Haha. Oh well. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

This tea smells smokey after a rinse, with some forest floor and dried fruit aromas as well. The initial rinse brew tastes a little bit smokey and pretty earthy. I’m going to skip on to the first infusion. Second infusion is also rather smoky tasting with just a hint of dried fruit note. Third infusion is also full of plenty of smokey flavor. There’s a bit of a drying quality on the tongue and a peppery aftertaste. The next infusion is somewhat bitter and vegetal, still very smokey.

I’ll end my review here as I can see that this is going to be a very smokey Puer experience. I am not one to personally go for this type of tea, and the drying feeling on the tongue is a bit of a downer to me too. It’s not a tea I don’t like to drink, but not one I’d seek out.

Flavors: Bitter, Dried Fruit, Earth, Smoke, Vegetal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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80

Thanks Taiwan Tea Crafts for the sample!

These little beads of oolong are actually rather large compared to most. After the first infusion the leaves have a really fragrant floral scent with notes of spices and a hint of roast. In the flavor, there’s a hazelnut note, the mild relaxing toasted taste you get in most roasted teas, and a lingering floral taste, some notes of spices as well.

In the second infusion, the tea is much more floral tasting, actually quite stronger in that regard than any other Dong Ding I’ve had. There’s a honey note as well and the roasted note has diminished. It’s tasting much “greener”.

Later infusions became more mellow with more of the roasted and nutty flavors coming forward. This is a great comfort tea.

Flavors: Flowers, Hazelnut, Honey, Toast

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 tsp 100 OZ / 2957 ML

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95

YES! This is the stuff dreams are made of. I mean that in a “the kind of dreams that come out of a tea bag” kind of way. I am so into loose teas these days that I rarely buy bagged ones. This tea is amazing though. I picked it up at a local Asian grocer on a whim. When you open up a pouch, it smells really heavily of sakura, a scent and flavor I’ve become very familiar with lately from drinking pickled sakura tea from Japan, which is made from only the cherry blossoms; they’ve been preserved in salt and plum vinegar, but you rinse the salt off before brewing. I also purchased a kanzan varietal sakura tree that I found at Lowe’s for $25 on some lucky day. I preserved the flowers it had on it and have been drinking them too.

The aroma and flavor of this sweet sakura tea is a lot stronger than actual sakura flowers, because it has an added essence/extract of sakura leaves (which have just as much of a cherry/floral taste and scent as the flowers do). The ingredients list green tea, pickled sakura flowers and leaves, and essence of sakura leaves. If you brew this too strong it has a bit of an alcohol flavor to it from the extract. If that happens, just add some more water.

The green tea flavor is light and savory. It accompanies the sakura flavor well without overpowering it. The taste and aroma of the sakura are really abundant, and if you aren’t familiar with sakura, the taste is a lot more like cherries than you might expect from a tree that doesn’t actually produce cherries, just cherry flowers. It has a hint of creamy floral tones to it that make it lighter than the taste of a cherry fruit, and some similarities with the aroma and taste of plum as well.

I will be buying this stuff for years to come… I can tell. It really fills in the gap on lazy days when I don’t want to bust out a teapot or gongfu set but want to sit down and drink some tasty tea. I would highly recommend pairing this with sushi or Japanese cuisine, or drink it as a dessert. Of course, it’s even better on its own.

Flavors: Cherry, Floral, Green, Sakura, Sweet

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

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87

This will be… I think the third of WYMM Tea’s Menghai Shou Puer I have tried. So far, my favorite is the Third Grade. I tried two other grades in an earlier batch of samples. This First Grade Shou contains the smallest leaves and buds of the different grades of Shou Puer.

After a rinse, the leaves of this Puer smell sweet and musty. I get the scent of sweet dough and a hint of the dusty, musty smell you encounter in a basement or a cave. There is also a bit of petrichor, the smell that arises when it begins to rain, and the scent of mineral. Combine all that with a hint of pipe tobacco, and it creates a rather sweet, rustic, complex smell. The brewed tea itself smells even more like a sweet pastry dough.

The taste is really smooth and earthy, and surprisingly less sweet than I expected from the scent. It’s really difficult to describe this flavor, but I might almost say it tastes like a good Sumatran coffee would if it had none of the bitterness. It’s earthy with cacao notes. After the sip there is a lingering sweetness, and a really wet feeling in the mouth, also a bit of a lingering taste like the aftertaste of dark chocolate. The most outstanding factor while drinking this is just how smooth it is. It is really pleasant feeling in the mouth and throat. Very clean.

The next infusion is sweeter than the first and yet again very smooth. The taste is a bit woody, earthy, and again I’m reminded of petrichor. Really subtle and easy to drink. Later infusions had similar character to them. Throughout many steepings this tea remained very smooth and clean, with a mellow taste. It’s a dark, relaxing cozy tea. It has no bitterness or astringency at all, and in some infusions a mild sweetness is present. If you enjoy dark earthy flavors but more on the subtle side than the bold side, this tea would make a great choice.

Flavors: Cacao, Coffee, Earth, Musty, petrichor, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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87

I didn’t rinse, because this tea tastes great without it. The initial infusion is really light and has a subtle fruit note, maybe like apricot or peach. There’s a long lingering sweetness in the mouth and the taste is very clean and light. The scent of the tea leaves and brewed tea are lightly floral and a little vegetal.

The second infusion of this one is a blend of spiced, vegetal, and apricot. It tingles on the tongue with an almost fizzy sensation and finishes with a bit of a tartness that lingers in the mouth. It’s a nice sensation, not a bad tartness. The flavor is also a bit reminiscent of orange as the tea cools.

The third infusion is really sweet and fruity with a wood note in the finish and a very light bitterness at the end. Really juicy and full flavored.The fourth infusion is a bit more bitter and reminds me of orange blossoms. The fifth infusion brings more tart fruit flavor. It reminds me of tart bitter fruits like cranberries or grapefruit, but only mildly bitter compared to the fruit. After another infusion, there was no bitterness or tanginess at all and it had a distinct butterscotch note in the mix.

Overall this tea is really smooth and has a nice fruity flavor to it, balanced by the usual green notes of sheng Puer. Like WYMM Tea’s other sheng Puer teas, this one has a really clean taste. I haven’t had one yet that didn’t taste really high quality. Really happy they shared this with me!

Flavors: Apricot, Orange, Orange Blossom, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Bio

I’m a dedicated practitioner of Gongfu Cha and you can usually find me brewing my tea in a gaiwan. I tend to stick to straight teas and scented teas most often, though I dabble in tisanes and flavored blends sometimes. I use a Tokoname-ware kyusu for Japanese green teas and a chawan for matcha. I also have a small unglazed kyusu that I use for roasty teas like houjicha and genmaicha. I have a yixing pot seasoned with Yunnan red tea.

My favorite teas are Kenyan Silver Needle, Gui Fei, Da Hong Pao, Shan Lin Xi, WYMM Tea’s Mangnuo “Cane Tea”, Obubu Tea’s Sencha of the Autumn Moon, and Shang Tea’s Special Reserve Green.

To me, tea offers a time of peace and reflection in solitude, or sharing and enjoyment with friends. It has become a huge part of my life lately. I hold monthly tea gatherings at my home and run a Facebook page about tea called Lion Style Gongfu Tea: http://tinyurl.com/teawithlion

Aside from tea, I’m a creative person. I love to cook, create music, write fiction, draw, decorate, and do just about anything creative I can get my paws on. I also enjoy creating food and drink recipes.

I am really interested in Asian cultures in all aspects. I really love Japanese animation and video games as well.

I’m a friend to animals of all kinds. I couldn’t live in a world without animals. Conserving and respecting them is very important to me. I’m a lion at heart. :3

But I am mostly here on Steepster to talk tea! Let’s enjoy the world of tea together!

My Tea Ratings:
0 = Unpalatable, Awful
25 = Unenjoyable or harsh
50 = Average, I’m indifferent
75 = Enjoyable
100 = Incredible

Location

Kansas City, USA

Website

http://tinyurl.com/teawithlion

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