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Cups #4 and #5 in SimplyJenW’s China black palate training course, of sorts:
Today I decided to do a side by side. I wanted to see if I could taste the difference between a high cost black and a low-mid range one. Bai Yun Shan is my lo-mid range. It is about $7 for 100 grams. My high end choice was ZP99 Imperial Black Golden Needles. It runs over $20 for roughly the same amount (thank you for offering samples, Upton!) I can taste a difference, but it is oh so slight to my untrained palate. The Bai Yun Shan is a good solid black. It does taste slightly more smokey. Brews up about the same color, but maybe slightly darker. Bai Yun Shan’s leaves are stranded and golden tipped, with lots of golden tips…definitely about 50% golden. The leaves on the Golden Needles are probably about the longest I have seen, and are mostly golden colored, probably about 75% golden. The liquor on the Golden Needles is a little thicker, if that is possible, richer tasting. It is smoother and sweeter than the less expensive variety. So I can definitely taste a difference side by side, but I am not sure I would notice much of a difference if I prepared them at different times. Since the one is three times the price of the other, do I really enjoy the more expensive one three times as much? Not really. But this will be an incredibly cool exercise to repeat in a few years!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Uniquity

I admire your palate training. I’ve never even properly considered drinking unflavoured teas…though I don’t entirely know that I want to! :)

SimplyJenW

I like the flavors, too. I just found I was gravitating toward the China blacks, so I wanted to see how different price ranges really tasted, and if my extra cash was well spent on a premium tea. So far, I am liking the inexpensive ones just as much. And that leaves plenty left over for more flavors. Wheeeee!

gmathis

I am continually amazed at how different various kinds of straight-up blacks and oolongs can taste when there’s nothing but tea!

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Comments

Uniquity

I admire your palate training. I’ve never even properly considered drinking unflavoured teas…though I don’t entirely know that I want to! :)

SimplyJenW

I like the flavors, too. I just found I was gravitating toward the China blacks, so I wanted to see how different price ranges really tasted, and if my extra cash was well spent on a premium tea. So far, I am liking the inexpensive ones just as much. And that leaves plenty left over for more flavors. Wheeeee!

gmathis

I am continually amazed at how different various kinds of straight-up blacks and oolongs can taste when there’s nothing but tea!

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Bio

Tea enthusiast, trying to keep up my cardio for the zombie apocalypse. I have come to accept that I am a western brewing black tea drinker as that is where my ‘tea heart’ lies. I started on loose leaf as a way to have my dessert and not suffer the caloric issues. Once I tried it, I was hooked.

I drink what I like, which is mostly China blacks, a few traditionally scented blacks and Earl Greys, plus a flavored tea here and there. I don’t mind spending a bit on premium varieties on occasion, but an expensive tea has to deliver. My favorite places to order are Harney & Sons and Upton Tea Imports. TeaVivre is great for Chinese tea.

My ratings are pretty subjective. If it falls under 70, I may not take the time to post about it unless I had something specific to say. If it is 70-80 I like it, but I will probably not rebuy. Favorites are over 80 and up, but sometimes the less expensive or more easily obtainable version of a similar taste will win out for my cupboard space.

Usual teapot steeping method: 24 oz teapot, 3 perfect scoops of tea (4 1/2 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Usual mug steeping method: 15 oz mug, 1.5 perfect scoops of tea (just over 2 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Usual pan method: 1 1/2 cups water, 2 perfect tsp chai (3 actual tsp). Simmer for 3 minutes. Add 2/3 cup skim milk. Simmer for 2 more minutes. Strain and sweeten.

Usual pitcher method:
5 or 6 Perfect Spoons of tea (this means about 7-9 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, brewed essentially double-strong in my 24 oz teapot for 4 minutes. Fill my Fiestaware Disc pitcher (about 60 oz.) halfway with ice. Add brewed double-strong tea to the pitcher. Stir it a little and enjoy. No additions.

(*SRP is my Sample/Stash Reduction Plan starting on April 12, 2012. I got so far, but just decided it was too fussy to keep track.)

Location

Ohio

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