211 Tasting Notes

52
drank Ultraviolet by TeaNoir
211 tasting notes

This tea didn’t impress me as outstanding in any way, despite its pretty blue malva blossoms. The complexity I look for in an oolong just wasn’t there. Toasty taste without sweetness or florality, not even the promised (and hoped-for) violet. A bit of spice and caramel emerged in the third steep. However, it must be noted that added flavorings, such as (in this case) violet, weaken with age faster than the innate flavor of the tea. My sample came from a swap, in a well-worn bag, which might indicate an old or ill-kept bit of tea. So I moderated my rating accordingly.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Bethany

How funny – I’m reviewing a few TeaNoir teas today that I pulled out of the back of my cupboard. I hope the shop returns soon; I actually really like Ultraviolet and a few others, and I’m almost out of them!

Pamela Dean

@Bethany – Do you find violet scent or taste? That would make this tea really special, as I do love them! I hope you’ll post tasting notes on Ultraviolet.

Bethany

It’s been a long time since I had it, but I do recall some violet taste, though not as much scent. I have Backwoods and Cashmere at work today, but I’ll have to do Ultraviolet tomorrow.

Pamela Dean

@Bethany, again – Have you tasted the Mango Lassi by TeaNoir? If it tastes like its description, I’ll be hoping the shop returns soon, too!

Bethany

I haven’t! But when I added Backwoods to the database, I saw that and the description and it made my mouth water. There are a few 4 ounces I would want to order, and some more samples.

I’ve tried Backwoods (awesome), Cashmere (also awesome), Turkish Delight (okay, but tastes nothing like the candy), and Ultraviolet.

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82

I didn’t get much aroma from the dry tea, but the hot liquor greeted me with a sweet, flowery scent. Tasting happened immediately, because I grabbed the gravy ladle (which scoops and cools off a tbsp of tea very rapidly), blew, paused, and slurped. Yum! Brisk and piquant, without being outright bitter. And the astringency is mild, as well. There’s a toasty component alongside the muscatel brightness. This may be the first time I’ve drunk a first-flush Darj. The ones I’ve had were sometimes oversteeped, too (back when I thought all black tea needed to brew for 5 minutes). Whatever the cause, I’ve been leery of Darjeelings because bitterness puts me off rather quickly, and the only one I’ve really liked was a 2nd flush from Mim estate. This doesn’t have the maturity and complexity of that 2nd flush experience, but its lightness and clarity are really enjoyable, letting the fruitiness shine forth.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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77

If you gift this Wedding Tea or serve it at a wedding, you can hope the marriage is as durable as these leaves! Admittedly, I used a generous amount of the voluminous stuff, but getting five (5) good infusions from green tea was quite impressive. The first couple of infusions were one minute, with the last one (still tasty) going 5 min. The hand-tied mini-rosettes are made entirely of buds. The loose leaves are big and dark green. Stash claims there is yerba mate in small part, which may account for the touch of bitterness which didn’t vary along the steeps. The citrus rind flavor held up all the way, as did the melon flavor, and the green tea flavor, too. I added a dab of light agave nectar to a couple of the cups, and it was good either way. The dry tea blend is beautiful to behold, but I’d drink this to experience it’s uncommon and delicious melon flavor and its inspiring and amazing fortitude!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Suzi

That’s such a cute looking tea!

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29
drank Green Pekoe by Adagio Teas
211 tasting notes

At 180F temperature, as directed by Adagio, the cup I got was so light as to be almost tasteless. Bumping up the temperature got me a couple of steeps of a mild, unremarkable green tea. Lightness of color is okay, but this was sorely lacking in flavor and aroma. I want more out of my tea than this.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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91
drank Arjuna by Zhi Tea
211 tasting notes

This Arjuna fellow may be a warrior, but beneath his armor he is an epicurean sensualist. The sweet scent and long, twisted leaves of the dry tea are striking and alluring. The spear-like leaves went 5 rounds, heroically keeping their twist through the first three. The smooth liquor evolved through luscious shades of caramel, from toasty to mild, with soft floral notes. As tea-drunkeness enveloped me, I stroked the hero’s back and squeezed his lovely brown buns! Arjuna now ranks in my top few oolongs. Thank you, Zhi Tea, for an unforgettable drinking experience.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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71

Caramel and hay in the scent of long, twisted, dark-brown dry leaves. I put a lot of leaves in my little clay pot, so 30 sec was long enough to make tea. A very ‘yang’ taste, but low astringency. Found definite cinnamon and a touch of bitterness in the finish. The golden liquor shifted from allspice and leather, early on, to a deep, pu-erh-like, peppery taste in later infusions. Sweetness was mostly in the aroma rather than flavor, with richness imparted mainly by the body of the liquor. By the 6th infusion, at 2:00 min, with temp raised to boiling, the big leaves were still going strong, with the tea mellowing out to a sweet, faint linen and leather, and the bitterness vanished.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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79

Dry tea is glorously tippy, with an aroma like toasted angel food cake with raisins. Medium-hued liquor with notes of brown sugar and vanilla is smooth and self-drinking. Not as brisk as some Yunnan blacks, but clean finishing, nonetheless.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Jillian

So it isn’t smokey or peppery. Interesting.

Pamela Dean

No smoke or pepper that I discerned. “Not as brisk” might have been due to my making it less strong than other folks might do. Using more leaf or an extra min of steep might bring out a more classic Yunnan profile. But the Yunnan golds get much of their popularity from their smoothness, do they not? Suits me, as I avoid the bitter tastes!

Jillian

I’ve usually heard Yunnans described as ‘peppery’ or ‘malty’ which doesn’t really equate ‘smooth’ to me, but I’ve only tried Adagio’s Yunnan Jig so I’m hardly an expert. ;)

Pamela Dean

Gosh, taste (and all the senses) are so personal - and my taste buds are 65 yrs old. Not an expert, either. Just got into loose leaf a year ago. Starting a local tea meetup group a few months ago has sent me into a steep learning curve. I enjoy reading your notes and comments, Jillian. There is so much more to tea, and life, to learn, and we’re nicely steeped in it! :)) .

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89

Buttery, sweet and smooth, with honey and cucumber aroma. Astringency is very slight, but enough for a clean finish.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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6

I shared a small pot of this with my son. No rinse before the first steep, which was mild and unremarkable, with only a slight lemon scent and very little lemon flavor. The second steep was no better, yielding only a little of wood, caramel and honey tastes, and a dearth of aroma. It was the thin body, dry mouth feel, and unpleasant lingering astringency which put us both off the most. Very disappointing.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Cofftea

If you have some to rehome, I’d like to try this iced.

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33
drank Cucumber White by Tazo
211 tasting notes

An unusual, interesting blend, but I’m not sure it’s an improvement on plain white tea. You see, I find plain white tea to be anything but plain. Of course, teabag-grade tea could be expected to be less flavorful than its full-leaf forbears. Maybe it’s the lime zest. Unlike lemon, which accentuates the floral notes, the lime seems to bring out something more earthy. And then there’s cucumber. If you omit the skin, what flavor is cucumber? It has a vegetal freshness, I think, but it’s a shy, retiring essence, overwhelmed by the lime. I wanted the lime to surprise me, to wake me up, but it wasn’t punchy enough to do that. It adds a savory dimension, but I think the lime would give a better effect when paired with a base other than white tea. Plus, I kept wanting to add a dash of salt!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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Profile

Bio

Note: I’m open to offers to swap tea samples. If you can’t message me, just comment on one of my tea notes, and I’ll respond.

I am fascinated and deeply impressed by the artistry and skill which coaxes such an array of qualities from one species of leaf. In 2009, I founded San Antonio Tea & Herb Enthusiasts. In 2014, a move to Southern California creates both upheaval and new horizons. The best part is that now I live quite close to my son and his family.

For intimate tastings with a small gathering, I’m practicing Asian-style tea service along the lines of Chinese gongfu cha. It is a joy to share good tea!

The most recent sign of my conversion to the deeply-steeped side: I’ve turned three large file boxes into “tea humidors” for aging pu-erh cakes and bricks at 65% humidity. Remote sensors within the “pumidors” relay the temperature and humidity readings to a base station on my desk. It satisfies my scientist aspect and keeps tea pretty well, too.

Location

Southern California, USA

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