974 Tasting Notes

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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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
974 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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Profile

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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