972 Tasting Notes

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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91

First cup of the morning…..

I have several versions of Keemun Mao Feng to compare in the near future. Three are from Upton, I have two from Harney (I think one is an older harvest), and the only other one I might consider adding in at some point is the KMF from TeaSpring (this would be my recommendation for those of you who have issues with the cost of shipping as theirs is flat rate worldwide.) The versions I have consumed regularly in the past are Upton’s ZK98 and Harney’s before the price increase (maybe an older harvest? purchased in 2010).

This is the first of many Keemun Mao Feng cups. I am so excited! I do have to say that this one is pretty fantastic. The actual leaf seems much larger and slightly more golden tipped than the picture. It does not have the characteristic long and wirey leaves from the other two versions I have consumed over the years. These are thicker and twisted. It has rich cocoa notes, and is oh so smooth. The other thing I find quite remarkable is that it lacks the slight smoke and earthiness I have experienced in the other two versions. I did buy 80 grams of this. While is is no bargain, it is definitely worth it to me. With that, my cup is empty, and it is time to try another. Or maybe I will just resteep this….

Usual mug method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
JacquelineM

Mmmmmm. :)

SimplyJenW

I have to add that it resteeps well. I love this one!

looseTman

I look forward to reading your Keemun Mao Feng comparisons. Keemun is one of my favorite teas.

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88

Tea of the morning…..

Surprisingly, I am having a tea other than a plain black or black blend this morning. I must be feeling Spring in the air for jasmine to appeal. I do end up forgetting about this one as I keep it in my long term stash cupboard rather than the small number of tins I keep in the cupboard by my teapot and kettle. Plus, the tin is very different than the bulk of the others and easy to glance over. I have another jasmine black that needs some attention, but this one is my favorite of the two.

Notes of chocolate and of course the sweetness of jasmine. Momo was right that it reminds me of Cadbury Mini Eggs-my all time favorite chocolate (thank goodness they are a seasonal offering!) Hello, Spring?

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
momo

Did you try the dark chocolate ones that were out this year?! I stopped in my tracks first time I saw them…and resisted…until last Thursday.

SimplyJenW

They were out last year, too. I did not like them as much, but that is just me!

momo

Where on earth was I last year, haha. Yeah I definitely don’t like them as much. I’m trying not to go see if any are still around but I’m sure they were all gone on Monday anyway.

SimplyJenW

Yes, I have been avoiding stores, too. I was worried that they were going to have a jumbo bag at Sam’s earlier this week when I was shopping with my teenager who loves them as much as I do! It is easier to wait for next year by avoidance until they are sold out!

Nicole

/shame… I have a stash of the dark ones hidden in my closet. With care, they will last me until Christmas, I hope. :)

Tea Sipper

aw man, the dark chocolate Cadbury mini eggs are definitely my favorite!

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92

Late morning cuppa…..

Just like JacquelineM, I had to jump on this one. I love a good Earl, and also, love Andrews & Dunham. A complete ‘no brainer’ in my book. It got here in just a few days, and I too love the magnet they included. It seems they always include something extra cool in their orders. As always, the packaging is too fun.

Onto the tea….Wow! Bergamot! The tea base is nice and hearty/mellow. It needs to be that to stand up to the ‘pow’ of bergamot this one packs. I would put this one just a little stronger than Lupicia. I do think the black tea base is a blend, but I am having a hard time sorting it out precisely. I would guess China black with a bit of Ceylon. I think the bergamot in this one is less on the orangey side (like the Lupicia), and more lemony bergamot. Lovely! I am so happy I bought this, and that it is NOT a limited edition!

Usual mug method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
JacquelineM

POW! is right :) I’m still sipping a coldish brew of a fourth steep and it’s flavorful!

Marcel Duchamp

wow that’s awesome :-D 4th steeping! it didn’t turn bitter?

yssah - Love is Tea (LIT)

excited to get my tins!

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89

Tea of the morning…..

This one is nearing the bottom of the tin as I am making an effort to reduce the stash before acquiring more tea. I was intending to not repurchase this, but I am seriously reconsidering. I would call this more of an everyday Tanyang/Panyang, where my TeaSpring Tanyang is more of a special day tea. I know every day should be a special day, but that gets to be very taxing on the tea budget. It is just under 2/3 the price of my special day version.

I think it needs just slightly cooler water than boiling to get the best results. It cuts the slight earthiness I get when I brew according to my standard method for black teas. Heavy mouthfeel, cocoa notes, slight maltiness, and even a little roastyness. While it is not what I would call a bargain tea, it is well priced for what you get.

Usual teapot method with a slightly cooler water temp.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
LadyLondonderry

I too have learned that I like my cocoa-y China blacks best when I let the water temp cool to around 207 (as registered on the panel of my digital kettle) before pouring.

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91

Second tea of the morning…..

I just love it when we have a slow Saturday morning. It does not happen very often, so I cherish it when I do. I don’t crave rose teas all that often, but on occasion they are a necessity.

This one is light on the rose (especially after eating a bit of chocolate! Yes, I am really treating myself.) I kept thinking I would be able to cut down to one rose tea, but I am not so sure, now. This one is good iced, and hot it leans more good tea, than frou-frou rose tea. I keep Harney’s Rose Scented around for my frou-frou rose tea as it is intensely rose. Why is it that I require so many specific teas for my staple stash!? I am so spoiled, yet, thankful that tea is a relatively simple indulgence.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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89

Tea of the morning…..

I needed some spearmint, and Tommy’s review of this caught my eye. I was just going to buy a sample, but knowing how much I love the Golden Snail from Harney, I was pretty confident that I would love a Black Snail tea. Tommy’s review included such great pics, too. It was a no brainer for me. The price is $8 for 250 grams making it a huge bargain.

As expected, there were only a few golden tips in this one. The tea itself is still tightly rolled. One of the things that is so remarkable about a snail tea is how huge it unfurls after steeping. The usual three perfect teaspoons of tea I use to brew a pot expands to fill the whole steeping basket, where most teas I brew in my teapot only expand to about half or less.

The liquor is thick, cocoa noted, malty, and a little spicy like you would expect from a yunnan. I don’t get the sweetness that I get from my Golden Snail, but that is pretty much expected, too. The Black Snail makes a rich cup of tea at a bargain price, and I am thrilled with my purchase. Thank you, Tommy the Toad for your great review. Why does anyone need to spend a fortune for great tea?

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Nicole

This is adding to my list of teas I have to try from Upton…

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86
drank S'mores by Della Terra Teas
972 tasting notes

Cuppa the afternoon…..

This is really good, but not something I must have in my cupboard. The girl scout in me is probably screaming right now, but I think I prefer others from Della Terra over this one.

I get light notes of chocolate, and I can taste the grahm, but I think I am missing that pow of marshmallow I get from Eight Candles. Really, the marshmallow is the right level for this to taste like a smore with most of the marshmallow squished out. I prefer the double marshmallow versions of smores any day, though. I can’t say I would never rebuy this, but there are just so many other flavored teas to ‘entertain’.

Usual mug method just a little heavier on the tea.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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96

Tea of the morning…..

I know most are reviewing a free sample of this one, but since this one does not fall into the samples offered with a purchase from TeVivre (yet?) I purchased my sample. I received two 7 gram pouches for $4. I personally feel that I give a more unbiased review if I either purchase my samples, or get them with a purchase. It is just one of my quirks at this stage. As a result, I drink the tea more when I am excited about it, rather than feeling like I have to get through them. (Don’t get me wrong, though! The free samplings I received from this company in the past were integral to furthering my tea journey and I am grateful for the opportunity!)

Wow. This is really good. I am on the resteep pot and it is perfect. The leaves are very golden, curly, and a bit fuzzy. By look it falls more in line with the Tan Yang Dinosara brought back from her visit to the tea district in China than other versions of this tea I have tried in the past. I was so lucky that she shared some with me. I will do a little more comparing later because I have not had that one for a while. In comparison to my other favorite Tan Yang (Tan Yang Te Ji from TeaSpring) TeaVivre’s is much more golden tipped and curlier. The leaves are also longer than the one from TeaSpring. I am pretty sure the two are of differing grades just by look with the one from TeaVivre being higher, but they are similar in price.

Smooth, slight malt, super sweet (in fact, I think I need to try this one with out my usual sweetener). There is the perfect touch of earthiness wrapped in the flavor of carmelized sweet potatoes. Yes, caramel…. The TeaSpring Tan Yang is a little heavier on the malt and earthiness. I will do a ‘reminder’ cup of that also, just to be sure.

So far, I am certain I will be purchasing this at some point. I wish my stash was not so overwhelming or I would buy some today. There is just such a warm sweetness with this one. Definitely sweeter than the Golden Monkey, but who should have to pick one over the other? Get them both! A China black tea lovers dream paring….the Golden Monkey for everyday, and the Tan Yang for special days.

Usual teapot method (OMG this was wonderful!….Did I say that all ready?) with my equally as wonderful resteep at 5 minutes.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Veronica

Great review! I haven’t tried this one yet, but it’s going on my shopping list.

Terri HarpLady

Yeah, I think this goes on my next teavirve order, it sounds like something I’ll love.

Dinosara

Good to hear your review of this! It is definitely on my list of must-try teas!

SimplyJenW

Dinosara- I would send you some but I only have 7 grams left until I order again!

Angrboda

This. As SOON as we enter the Age of Frivolity, I’m getting me some of this.

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94

Tea of the morning……

Thank you to all the Steepsterites who have reviewed this before me. It was those reviews that helped me to buy this one without sampling. I love a great tea at a good price and this seemed to fit the bill very well.

I have had at least three versions of Golden Monkey prior to this one. If memory serves, this one is just as good as the others. It is actually probably better in some regards in that it is a wonderfully smooth tea. I think the version from Adagio was not quite as flavorful and sweet. The one from Harney was probably a little more rich and sweet potatoey. I guess it is probably closest to the version I had from Upton (If I still have some, I will try it sometime this week for comparison.) I know one of them was a little more astringent and earthy than I usually like….hopefully I can review my notes and figure out which one it was! (pretty sure it was Adagio…) *edit to add it was Upton. I think Adagio was the lightest tasting of all of them.

All that comparing really seems unnecessary, though. This is a very good tea. Smooth, slight malt, hints of cocoa and honey, light sweet potato. Definitely worthy of being a staple for me. I have not been as enamored with a Golden Monkey in some time. So glad I just bought some of this one! What a bargain!

Usual teapot method. Second steep at 5 minutes and it was good, too!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

I’ve heard so many great things about Teavivre. How much did you buy?

ashmanra

I have this on shelf, and it always elicits a little moan when people sip it for the first time.

SimplyJenW

Indigo- I bought 100 grams. It will be more next time…. :D (I did buy 200g of Black Dragon Pearl, too.)

Indigobloom

100g… whew that will last awhile :)

looseTman

“I love a great tea at a good price and this seemed to fit the bill very well.” “This is a very good tea. Smooth, slight malt, hints of cocoa and honey, light sweet potato. Definitely worthy of being a staple for me.” “So glad I just bought some of this one! What a bargain!”

Thanks for your review of this tea. It sounds like a winner! I look forward to tasting it – I requested a sample on Friday.

Donna A

I just had this one earlier today. And your description is very accurate. I put 2.5 gm in 8 oz water, 1st steeping only 1 minute and 2nd steeping 2 minutes, and still got a load of flavor. I love their Golden Monkey and also Yun Nan Dian Hong, which also has the light malt and sweet potato flavors.

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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.)

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Ohio

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