971 Tasting Notes

90
drank Hong Tao by Harney & Sons
971 tasting notes

Backlogging my tea of the morning…..

There is a new black tea in my stash. I loved the Hong Tao from Upton, so I knew I needed to give this one a try. This is smokier than my Keemun Mao Feng, but it does have notes of cocoa and earthiness and definitely has some body to it. It makes a great breakfast tea to get me going for the day. I am not sure it is different enough from other things I have in my sash to buy more, but I have almost 3 ounces to figure that out. Stay tuned.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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85

Hot cuppa the evening….

It has been a long day. Ever have one of those days where the events of the morning seemed to happen yesterday? I have not had one in a while, so I guess it was my turn. I really wanted some tea, but I know I will regret it later when it finally comes time to go to sleep tonight. This is totally working. It is filling my need of something sweet/spicy and comforting.

I am still confused how we had temps of 85 and I was melting two days ago, and today there has been snow. Please, can we have some Spring weather. I don’t like the summer to winter thing we have going right now.

Usual teapot method…heaping scoops and 7 minutes.

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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89
drank Palm Court by Harney & Sons
971 tasting notes

Tea of the morning…..

I have been revisiting a few of my black blends from the Millerton Shop. This one I can happily drink. The first one I rechecked (Anniversary Blend) is a little too strong and heavy on the Assam for me. If I have time, I will post something on the appropriate page. Often, I only post a review if I have something worth saying about a tea.

While this is not my everyday tea, I could see purchasing it again. I think it is a blend of 4 teas (Ceylon, Keemun, Oolong, Assam), and if I recall, it is the same tea they bagged for the RMS Titanic Tin. It is rich and smooth with a well rounded flavor. It is not heavily cocoa noted the way I love my tea to be, but there is still something special about it.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

I love this one blended with Rose Scented.

SimplyJenW

I will have to try that!

ashmanra

In my 22 ounce pot, I use two tsps. Palm Court and one of Rosé Scented.

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80

Cuppa the late morning….

Every once in a while I need something kind of sweet. This helps with the craving a little, but I think there are better teas for that purpose. I am finding that my love of flavored teas is definitely waning, so take that into consideration with my review.

I get light notes of coconut and chocolate first, with just a hint of almond. I do feel that an overdone almond flavor would ruin this for me, so a hint works well. I am not wowed by this, but it is pleasant enough to finish the ounce of tea I purchased. I am very thankful for the amounts of tea Della Terra offers for sale as it makes it easy to try many teas guilt free.

Usual mug method heavy on the tea measured.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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85

Cuppa the afternoon…..

I received this tea as a gift for being a good dog sitter last week. I have to say, I was pretty excited, even though this is bagged tea. I am thinking some loose leaf from Charleston is on my wish list. I do find it very good and satisfying. I would not call it a tea for my tea snob days, but it is a very basic black. I am thinking it would also make a stellar iced tea. It is so cool to have tea grown within driving distance of my house, even if it is a 10 hour drive!

Mug method using only 8 oz of water and one tea bag.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

that’s an awesome gift!

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89

Tea of the morning…..

I love that Upton labels tea, including samples with the date you ordered them. I must have been shuffling this sample around in my stash since last June. It fared better than most as I gave a ton of unopened samples to my knitting friends since the kidney stone last fall. This one definitely held interest for me to keep it around that long. Unfortunately, Upton no longer has it in stock, but that does not mean I cannot enjoy this while I have it.

Leaves are pretty short like a BOP. There are a few golden tips, hence the name. It must just be a lower grade of golden monkey. Right now, I am just kind of sad I did not try this sooner, because I know I would have bought some. It is very good. Smooth, malty, cocoa noted. Yum!

I love it when Upton gets interesting black teas in. I have about 4 more samples to try from my last order and they include a black monkey, a black tie guan yin, and another snail tea. Bliss for a China black tea drinker.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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97

Tea of the morning…..

This morning I am drinking my older version of Keemun Mao Feng. I think this was purchased at the SoHo store in 2010. It is very comparable to the Keemun Mao Feng I purchased earlier this week. I am very pleased with my purchase and so glad I was able to have enough of this left to compare.

Usual mug method. Resteep is just as good at 5 minutes. I might even try for a third.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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89

Third cup of the day…..

I did pick up a sample of this one for comparison. I have not had it in my cupboard for over a year and wanted to have a more accurate view of this than just my memory. The memory is starting to go, you know. Also, sometimes experiencing tea has everything to do with your mood and surroundings at the time. If I were going from memory, the taste was just a little different than I am experiencing today. I won’t add those memories in, just because it would confuse the issue. This time around it is good, but just that. Cocoa notes are lighter than the others, and it is slightly smokier than all that I have recently tried. It is less sweet than the ZK67. In comparison to the Harney, it does have a similar light earthiness, but definitely less complex and rich, and the mouthfeel is thinner. I do get a similar astringency to the ZK91. Leaves are comparable to the ZK91 and ZK67, but they seem a little shorter. Overall, it is a smooth and wonderful tea, but I am spoiled by others. I am sure if I had not tasted the others, I would have been happy with this. Sometimes, too many choices is a bad thing. I am not sorry that I tried it again as it is the best value in a Keemun Mao Feng that I have tried.

Usual Mug method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
looseTman

I’ve not yet had the pleasure of tasting KMF. How does Premium Keemun Hao Ya compare to:
- KMF tea?
- And also to Upton ZK98?
Thanks!

SimplyJenW

Hao Ya tea is more smokey, slight briskness at the end IMO. KMF is smoother and more refined in general. ZK98 is a KMF. I do find the Upton KMF closer to Hao Ya than Harney’s version, but still much smoother, less smokey.

SimplyJenW

Ack. Lost my post. ZK98 is a KMF. Generally, KMF is lots smoother, less smokey (but there is some in there), and more cocoa noted than Hao Ya. Hao Ya is very good, but KMF is wonderful.

looseTman

Thank you for your comparison. It sounds like I should have a KMF experience. Other than the pricey Harney & Son KMF ($24 / 4 oz.) and the much more cost-effective Upton KMF ZK98 ($8.20 / 3.5 oz.), Are there any others you recommend? Thanks!

SimplyJenW

Yes, if you are a fan of Keemun, KMF should be on your list to try ASAP. The one from Harney is now $9 for 2 oz. It is still my favorite. For the budget conscious, I would definitely sample the ones from Upton. The Organic one is the priciest of all that I tried (which is pretty much how it runs). They only have the three you linked in stock. Obviously, the 67 is my favorite of those, but the 98 is still very good. I keep the ZK67 and the Harney in my stash.

looseTman

At $72/LB. for Harney’s KMF, I’ll try Upton first. Are there any other brands you recommend? Thanks!

SimplyJenW

I guess I never look at it as a price by the pound for KMF. It resteeps too well to buy it in that kind of quantity. I don’t consider it an everyday tea…..more of a special day tea, a splurge tea.
I have not tried any others save the four. One day, I might try the one from TeaSpring. But I am very content with the ones I have.

looseTman

“It resteeps too well …” That’s good to know. How many infusions are typical for Harney’s & Upton’s KMF? Thanks!

SimplyJenW

3 even 4.

looseTman

News: TeaVivre will be offering Keemun Mao Feng next year.

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97

First cup of the morning…..

This is a review of the most recent offering of Keemun Mao Feng from Harney (end April 2013). I just recently checked the website, and it does look as if they are out of stock except for samples. It was a great score for me as they had free shipping at $25, there was a coupon code for 10% off, and they had reduced the cost of the tins of this tea by more than half since they only had a few in stock. Yes, I bought more than my fair share because this is my black tea first love even though it might be a different harvest than my first two (4 oz.) tins. I am guessing they will have some in stock again in the Fall, but only if the tea of this season is up to the standards of Mr. Harney. I feel incredibly lucky.

The Keemun Mao Feng from Harney is so complex. Leaves are long, dark, and wirey. It does have cocoa notes, slight hints of smoke, and a slight note of earthiness, all rolled up together in a smooth and very rich mouthfeel. I would say this offering is slightly more complex than the last, but it could be contributed to the growing conditions for that year. I am not sorry I bought too much. I will double check this against the last offering just to be sure how it compares in the next few days.

Can I just say I am in Keemun Mao Feng heaven? I think this and the Upton ZK67 will keep me quite happy, as they really are two different experiences in my book. Choose the ZK67 if the idea of slight smoke and a touch of earthiness is not your thing. If you are looking for something very complex, hope that Harney will offer this again in the future.

Usual mug method. Resteep coming up.

Editing to add: It looks like they have some more at $9 per tin! I have enough, but I thought others might want to know!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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89

Second cup of the morning….

And I think I have this loaded in here right. Upton has so many offerings with very similar wording that it is very helpful to add in the stock number. I did find a Keemun Mao Feng Imperial from Upton in the database, but the description was different and it did not indicate that it was organic. My conclusion was that they are different teas.

Leaves look very similar to the ZK67. They are long, thick, twisted and there are some golden tips in there. On drinking, it has more of a dark cocoa note than the ZK67, but seems less sweet overall. It is also very smooth, no indication of the slight smoke or earthiness some KMF teas exhibit, but there is definitely a very slight astringency at the end of the sip. At least I think I have that description right. It almost feels like you need a sip of water after sipping the tea, because it has a slight drying affect on the palate. This one is a little pricier than the ZK67 and ZK98, but you would expect that for an organic offering. It is definitely a good choice for those who seek out organic teas.

Usual mug method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
looseTman

Hi Jen, What are your favorite organic black and Pu-erh teas from Upton? Thanks!

SimplyJenW

I don’t drink pu-erh (I tried to like it, but gave up). I am also not a good one to ask on organic teas. I generally don’t drink them as the premium price is not usually worth it to me personally.

looseTman

OK, Thanks

SimplyJenW

I do recommend trying just about anything you’d like from Upton. They offer samples of everything at a reasonable cost. This was just a sample. I picked up a few more interesting samples of blacks from them in the same order. Their customer service is great and I usually have the package from Mass to Ohio in two days with their flat rate.

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Bio

My motto: Drink the good tea!

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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