314 Tasting Notes

89

So excited to try this!! My first sheng puerh!

Parchment-like aroma. Tree bark and limestone. Slight cereally background.
MIneral-rich taste. Flavor reminiscent of a rainforest—all lush greenery rooted in rich soil. Paradoxically, though, it also tastes delicate and dry. I’m reminded of beautiful, papery moth wings.

Very interesting. I like it. I admire it’s complexity.

But, the aforementioned “creaminess” eludes me, right now.

It seems that my lazy, quick, western-style brewing has done this tea a disservice! :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 30 sec
Spoonvonstup

Your first sheng- how exciting! You’re definitely starting at the very top here. I remember my very first sheng.. it was like sucking on a penny and an extreme lemon-flavored drying warhead at the same time- very bitter and hard to swallow. Wish I’d started with something like this!

As for “western-style brewing”? You’re right- a big teapot single steeping won’t give you all that this tea can offer. But don’t worry; you don’t need to run out and buy gaiwans or yixing clay teapots. If you can find a brewing basket Isomething like this: http://www.rishi-tea.com/store/finum-tea-brewing-basket.html), you’ll be able to conveniently recreate the gong-fu experience.
Just fill the brew basket with 3 or 4 grams of tea (1/3 or half way with leaves..about as much as you’d do for a big pot), and then set the brew basket in a personal-sized mug.
Pour in boiling water for a few seconds, take out the brew basket (you can set it on it’s cap!), and throw out this first steeping. It’s a wash to “wake up” the leaves, and it’s also like a little sacrifice for the sake of greater deliciousness.
Replace the brew basket, pour in boiling water, wait a few more seconds (5-10ish), and pull out the basket. Drink and enjoy in small sips, smacking your lips! The extra air will help you to savor more of the flavor. Plus, making the “yummy” sounds always makes things more yummy.
Continue re-steeping like this, adding 5 or so seconds each time you do it. Steep and drink until you just can’t have any more liquid! Feel free to adjust steep times, too. If it’s seeming too light, leave the basket in a few seconds longer. If it’s seeming too heavy, then steep for less time or pull out some of the leaves. Just aim for something that tastes great to you.

If you’re up for trying more sheng’s, I’d suggest going for Verdant’s Wild Arbor Single-Mountain Yiwu sheng. It’s a great representation of what more traditional shengs can taste like. It’s still really complex and lovely, but it’s a little more on the juicy/fruity/grape/apple side of things, with fun pine/cedar notes.

Stephanie

Thanks Spoonvonstrup!! Yeah, I’ve been eyeing those type of brewing baskets. But there’s even an instant “gong-fu” mugs offered by some companies—like Adagio’s mug. I also have a sample of the Wild Arbor—I’m looking forward to try all my sheng samples!!

Spoonvonstup

Ah- those instant gong-fu style mugs from Adagio do work well. They’re especially good for green or white teas or display teas, since the clear sides show off how lovely the leaves are. I find them a little bit harder to clean than the brew basket, but that’s probably just because they’re a larger contraption (and I don’t have a dish washer).

Did you do the sheng sampler pack, then? Hope you enjoy them all as much as this one.

Stephanie

Yep, I ordered to sheng sampler. Such a good deal with the inclusive shipping and free sample (had to ask for the DIYI Cornfields since I love corn)!

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93

I can’t believe I’m almost done with my 3.5 oz of this!! I just got it a couple days ago! It’s almost addicting. :)

It’s true, though. This tea is very good. And I feel really good while drinking it.

It’s very milky tasting, soothing and smooth. And there’s this intriguingly rich, round, buttery-green leaf flavor in the background.

I’m getting more milk than cream or candy. Steamed whole milk that’s almost silky tasting. Underlaid with something very “green” and crisp. Like butter-laced chlorophyll.

This is yummy and refreshing—not “heavy” feeling at all. Perfect for this sweltering, summer day. Perfect for any day actually.

I would have loved to have detected more “sugary”, condensed milk-like flavors (like White Rabbit candy in other reviews) but as it is, it’s delicious. I like it a lot.

This tea will be a staple in my cupboard.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 30 sec

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100
drank Florence by Harney & Sons
314 tasting notes

Delicious.

Roasted hazelnuts dusted with dark cocoa. Bittersweet and flavorful.

Very aptly named. This is somehow evocative of how I imagine Florence at dusk to be like. Romantic, wistful and artful.

Sorry to wax poetic, but this tea inspires me beyond words! I love it!!!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec
RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

Yet another I apparently must try.

Stephanie

Yes you have too!! Doulton has the best reviews of this one! :)

Kristin

Rachel – I think I have a fair amount of Florence at work that I think I am done with if you want to swap some (I’ll have to check and see how much is left)… for some Butter Pecan Black, Toasted Marshmallow, or Blueberry Cream Cheese Danish. Wow you have a great collection! PM me if interested.

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66

It seems like I haven’t had a “regular” black tea in awhile! So at first sip, this tasted strange to me. It tastes like a “typical” black tea. Like the most average black tea you can have. Like a Lipton tea bag?

Further sips, a woodsy note appears and something papery and old—like parchment? This is very drying on the tongue and surprisingly refreshing!

A very basic, mild-tasting yet potent black tea.

I think this would be perfect to brew into an iced tea.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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80
drank Four Seasons by Samovar
314 tasting notes

Steamed gardenias. A very light, floral cup. Super delicate. Just a hint of cream and toast.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 30 sec

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88
drank Rose Black by House Kombucha
314 tasting notes

Sorry for all these kombucha notes—I swear I’m not affiliated with this company or anything—I just went on a kombucha buying frenzy the other day and this brand had the cutest bottles (plus they’re local)! :)

House Kombucha really does have good, solid kombucha. I’ve tried three flavors already and they didn’t disappoint. All have been yummy and exhilarating.

This flavor is very rosey. Like essence of deep red roses in lemon seltzer. There is a sangria-like quality as well. Citrusy, sweet red wine.

Yum. :)

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88

Like summer evening in a bottle! The fresh zing of lemony kombucha grounded by soothing lavender. I can taste the lavender very strongly—it’s not too herbaceous, though—it’s sweet and tastes “candied”. The flavor reminds me of Tea Etc.’s Rosy Earl Grey, in a way. Very “frou-frou” (as Rabs, another Steepsterite, would say).

Another favorite!

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100

Cinnamon, strawberries and graham crackers. Fruity, spicy and warm. So comforting!

It’s a cuddle up flavor. I love it. :)

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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85
drank Cream Earl Grey by TeaFrog
314 tasting notes

Yum…I can really detect the creamy notes. Citrusy bergamot and cream. I forgot how much I love Earl Grey! And this is a mellowed-out version. I can detect a bit of burnt sugar and vanilla, cream and some fantastic bergamot. A very tasty mix!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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89

Kombucha just seems like the perfect beverage for summer. This tastes like mead but with effervescence. Pronounced honey flavor. A little lemony. Refreshingly sweet and delicious.

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Bio

Virgo Sun, Pisces Moon, Aries Rising

My ratings are purely subjective and each note varies according to my perception and mood at the moment. So, with that said, my rating scale can be deciphered as follows:
90-100: I am in love! A must have at all times! :D
80-89: This is good. It is full-tin worthy! :))
79-70: This is okay. Glad I tried it. Might get more. :)
69-60: Meh. I’m indifferent. Neither here nor there, this is Tea Purgatory. :/
59-under: Mediocre and Sad. Really not good enough to try again. A disappointment. :(

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TV Shows = The Twilight Zone (a classic!), Star Trek TNG, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I miss this!), Mad Men, Sherlock, Being Human.
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