2577 Tasting Notes

97
drank Organic Houjicha by Den's Tea
2577 tasting notes

The weather is cold & foggy today and since I’m still feeling kinda oooky, I decided I really wanted some of this. With the sweet, roasted chestnutty type of flavor, it’s like comfort tea for yours truly. Enjoying this now with a bowl of split pea soup.

See previous notes for more info. :)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
ScottTeaMan

<3 Houjicha…….feel better!

TeaBrat

Thanks Scott! I went to the Dr. today, should be on the mend soon.

Fjellrev

Hope you’re feeling better now! Mmm, Houjicha is like comfort food in a cup.

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82
drank Cocoa Orange by Fusion Teas
2577 tasting notes

Definitely a nice tea for the evening time, a bit of cocoa, orange and lemongrass makes for a very tasty and relaxing tisane. Sweet and yummmmy! See previous notes for more info. :-)

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78
drank Tie Lou Han by Fox and Moon Tearoom
2577 tasting notes

This tea was purchased at the San Francisco International Tea Festival a few months ago. Evidently Fox and Moon is a traveling operation of sorts and does not own a regular store or a tearoom (in spite of the name). I really wanted to try a Tie Lou Han and this wasn’t cheap, I think it was $12/oz.

My sweetie is a fan of oolongs, but only likes the darker ones and does not think much of green oolongs or green tea, for that matter. I steeped this one up at his request this afternoon.

For a wuyi tea, this is a bit on the lighter side (more of an orange color). It has a delicious roasted caramel type of aroma and we are finding some essence of almond in the flavor. This has a nice minerality quality with cocoa notes and a bit of peach. The aftertaste lingers and is nice and sweet. I have had this tea a few times before now and the first steep is delightful, but it does not re-steep well which seems very strange for a darker oolong of this type. Because I know it doesn’t resteep well I just brewed this up Western style today in the glass teapot.

I think I will need to go to Red Blossom or elsewhere to see how their tie lou han compares. It is definitely a lovely tea but I took a few points off for the fact that it doesn’t resteep well. I may also put the leftover leaves in the fridge and try cold brewing this one.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

You make them sound even cooler than their name makes them sound! I love the name “Fox and Moon Tearoom”! Then you say they travel around? Oh boy now I want to get some of their tea!!!

TeaBrat

You can buy some teas from their website…. :-)

ScottTeaMan

What makes it more expensive is the weak resteep factor. I have had a couple teas from TeaSpring in 2008 and was really impressed. They have had price increases the last few tears. Surprise, surprise! Some teas are still reasonable, considering their quality. I’ve never tasted a Tie Luo Han, but it is significantly cheaper than $12/oz.

http://www.teaspring.com/Tie-Luo-Han.asp

Azzrian

Amy I found them :) Not buying right now – broke and working on the homestead here but they are on my wish list :)

TeaBrat

Scott – I’ve never tried Teaspring but might need to some day. Regardless, even thought I like wuyi oolongs I don’t drink a lot of them and I do have 3 others still. :D

ScottTeaMan

I’m pretty sure I know what you mean, but when you describe minerality……. what do you mean? :))

TeaBrat

The tea has a flavor of rocks. It is hard to explain.

Missy

I totally get that taste. As a kid I used to hang out in the desert a lot. My grandpa once told me if you were really thirsty you could suck on a rock. It makes you salivate. Of course as a child I had to go do it. :D

ScottTeaMan

T least I’ll have a better idea of what to look for.

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94
drank Hashiri Shincha by Den's Tea
2577 tasting notes

This is the first year I decided to pre-order any shincha (a first flush sencha tea). My curiosity got the better of me and like the true tea addict I am, I had to see what the fuss was all about. There are several places to order shincha from, but I decided to go with Den’s because I have been very happy with the quality of all their products.

First of all, the dry leaves are incredible. Vivid green and vegetal with a bit of sweetness, the aroma is very fresh and delightful.

I steeped this is a Japanese style teapot which I believe is called a Tokoname kyusu – at least it looks like this one on Rishi’s website:

http://www.rishi-tea.com/product/fukugata-tokoname-teapot/teapots.

Mine is white and petite – it holds about 10 oz. of tea.

This tea liquor is much lighter than I thought it would be. I am getting lots of sweet vegetal notes like buttery cooked peas. It’s a bit brothy and a bit fruity at the same time. I’m thinking light notes of berries, perhaps? This is really nice, absolutely no bitterness involved at all. Just a delicate cup of tea. I can see why shincha is so highly prized but ack, it is expensive! This is the only shincha I am planning to buy this year and I’m sure I will enjoy it very much.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

Sounds like it is worth the experience!

Infusin_Susan

It’s a great tea! I really enjoy how it’s savory and sweet, almost at the same time. I think I’m going to order some of Den’s other shinchas that are available right now.

TeaBrat

@Susan – I am definitely tempted by the Shincha Houryoku…

Joshua Smith

Hm, I’ll have to keep this in mind for next year. If my stash wasn’t already so large, I would definitely buy some of this.

ScottTeaMan

A white Tokoname…….awesome. I have been wanting ti order Shinchas for the last several years, but haven’t -and didn’t last year because of all the problems there. S this year I MUST (& I must hurry)! Hibiki-an is my choice. I have ordered from them, and really like there quality & customer service.

ScottTeaMan

Wow this is sold out already. How mucch did u get -2 oz?

TeaBrat

Yes I got 2 oz. I’m surprised it’s sold out already but I guess this is why they take pre-orders?

ScottTeaMan

If I hadn’t read your Shincha post, I probably would have forgotten-and I already have so much tea, BUT, I really want to try a Shincha this year and pick up a Sencha and/ or Gyokuro. I MUST! I miss it so……………………

ScottTeaMan

I think Hibiki-an is a little more expensive, but competitive. The fact that they are in the Kyoto Prefecture may have something to do with it (teas from Kyoto are supposed to be the best). Who knows….it’s all good!

Shinobi_cha

@Amy oh – if you are willing to buy a larger amount of tea (100g instead of 2oz), you can get it a lot cheaper per gram (just not from Den’s, unfortunately… unless you buy from their Parent co. in Japan). However, Maiko Tea’s Shincha Kinari is only 1500 JPY (and between 400 – 500 JPY for shipping) for 100g. It is awesome! Maybe not as good as hashiri, but you’re getting double the amount of tea for about $6 cheaper (not including shipping for Den’s or Maiko).
Also, O-cha.com has several good shinchas that are also cheaper (per gram).
However, it is still worth it!

@ScottTeaMan, actually, comparing the prices of MANY Japanese tea vendors, Hibiki-an seems like (imo) the most expensive, because they do free shipping if you buy over $40 (last time I checked). So, all of their prices include a margin to cover their shipping costs.

TeaBrat

@Shinobi-cha – thank you, for the info. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to buy a large quantity since I’ve never had a shincha before and I have a lot of green tea!

Shinobi_cha

No problem Amy! That makes sense… if you just want a smaller amount, Den’s is probably my favorite way to get it. :-)

ScottTeaMan

True Shinobi-cha, Free S & H is over $36, and They do compensate to cover their costs. I was just saying I think they are comparable to Dens-perhaps a little more expensive. I’ve never shopped at Den’s, but I am determined to get some Shincha this year. I’ll check O-cha too. :))

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90

Now that I have all these FF darjeelings I was starting to wonder if and when they would all taste the same to me, but it’s quite surprising at how different they are.

I steeped this around 190F for 3 minutes because I find I like them much more this way, less astringency and less chance of bitterness to come to the forefront. I’ve been steeping mine at the 190 -200 F range. My tea liquor is a light orange here.

I have to agree with Triumph about the fruity and effervescent nature of this tea. I am getting intense peach notes mixed with honey. It also has a delicious floral quality about it. In nature it is a bit like some of the Nepalese teas I’ve had. But it’s so good! It has an almost buttery like quality in the richness of the tea liquor and no astringency that I can detect. A nice and gentle way to wake up on this Sunday morning…

This indeed reminds me of a summer day, sitting outside in the sun with a bowl of fresh peaches and watching the birds fly by.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec
ScottTeaMan

Your first & last sentence sums Darjeelings up (for me) quite nicely. :))

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82
drank Genmai Cha by Yamamotoyama
2577 tasting notes

Experience of going to Japantown where I got this tea can be found in my blog, here: http://sanfrantea.teatra.de/2012/05/12/on-a-quest-for-tea-in-japantown/

This genmaicha has more toasted rice than some other brands I have, but I really don’t mind. I got the loose leaf version and it was certainly reasonably priced at $5.00 a bag. I think the green tea here is a bancha. Genmaicha was one of the first Japanese teas I really got into. This has a lovely popcorn aroma and a nice nutty flavor with only a trace of bitterness. A great tea to pair with food, or for the evening time when you don’t want a lot of caffeine.

A very good, every day genmaicha!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

Loved looking at Japantown. Have not been there in ages! Always looked like a ghost town in some ways…or a prop for taking photos. Glad to see you shopping there, will give me some ideas for when I visit my son next time!

TeaBrat

It is definitely a fun place to go shopping..
In any case I try to go there sometimes in hopes they will stay afloat

ScottTeaMan

I would <3 to shop in Japantown. Are times really that tough in Japantown Amy?

TeaBrat

Maybe I shouldn’t have made it sound so pathetic? :)

Bonnie

It’s kinda out of the way from where people usually gather…looks like big blocks of cement. Or like cement ice cubes stacked around with a huge space pagoda. As I remember every time I’ve driven past it anyway. I’ve only been there a couple of times on foot.

ScottTeaMan

Amy, I hope you don’t mind, but Paul Gilbert is one of my favorite guitarists, his wife Emi is Japanese. She actually has a few vids on YouTube-one of which is a piano piece she wrote after the Catastrophe in Japan last year:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lJHHtiIqMg

The Japanese people love’ em. Here’s one of my favorite Mr Big tunes sort of relating to your blog:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=va3PrhB1-NI

All that 80’s hair…hahaha….awesome. :))

ScottTeaMan

Not pathetic and you looked like you were having a good time.

ScottTeaMan

Oh, and I do like this tea, but I had the teabags.

Cheryl

Another great job … keep em coming : )

Cheryl

p.s. Because of your name, I was (mistakenly) under the impression that you were Asian (Sandra Oh). Not to mention your love of tea. Always nice to put a face with a name though (and proves I suck at online impressions, lol).

TeaBrat

No, not Asian. :) Basically it’s a pseudonym of sorts…

ScottTeaMan

Pseudonyms can be so mysterious. WHAA! You look Asian to me!

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93

This is a really nice afternoon/dessert kinda tea. I gave some to my boyfriend who normally doesn’t like flavored teas and he said “This really does taste like a cookie!”

Definitely almondy, a bit sweetish and rich. I enjoyed mine with a splash of soymilk. I would get this again if I placed another order with Simpson & Vail. See previous notes for more info…

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Ear is better?

TeaBrat

Meh, I don’t know. Might need to go to the doctor on Monday.

Azzrian

This sounds YUM!

ScottTeaMan

Feel better soon, Amy!

Scott B

Nice. A healthier idea than buying almond cookies for dessert at a Chinese Restaurant.

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92
drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
2577 tasting notes

After a long week and a quick swim at the pool (trying in vain to get some exercise!) I am at home now. I can’t say what made me want to brew this one up but I was really craving it for some reason. Well, for one thing I was worried I might fall asleep before dinner started!

It is funny how tastes change. I never thought I would like a lapsang type tea OR a darjeeling, but thank you my Steepster friends for broadening my horizons & shrinking my bank account at the same time. :))

I think I made this a bit strong tonight as it seems extra dark and smoky but I am still enjoying it a lot… I still want to try cooking with lapsang one of these days!

Now someone please tell me how to get the water out of my ears!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec
Azzrian

While hopping on one foot – tip your head to one side – as you are hopping gently mind you GENTLY tap your ear (the ear that is up not down) with the palm of your hand. It takes a little practice but it works. You have to “pop” the ear essentially.
If you need to get rid of hiccups ever – drink water upside down – works 100% of the time – I can explain this better if need be. :)

Thomas Edward(Toad)

The Hu-Kwa is yummy, i like it.

TeaBrat

@Azzrain – I tried that… boo hoo. I’ll keep tryin’!
@Tommy – it really is, isn’t it?!

Missy

I use rubbing alcohol. Very small amount, let it go until you feel the water bubble break, then dump out your ear.

ScottTeaMan

Whatever you do, leeches are not the answer. :)) I always thought Lapsang and eggs would be good, or with rice or noodles.

Scott B

I wonder if some hydrogen peroxide would help your ears-it’s great for cleaning stuff out of them.

I’ve really been wanting to try this tea (1904 packaging and all), but shipping is kinda high.

Bonnie

Nah I was a swimmer so get stuff at store for swimmers ear (drying ears) . Want to be careful or you get infections which I was sensitive to in 9 years of competition.

Missy

@ Azzrian I’ve done the hiccup thing. It’s still pretty tricky for me though. It just feels wrong lol.

Charles Thomas Draper

Use an ear candle.

TeaBrat

@Charles, I’ve heard ear candles can actually be dangerous, I think I’ll just go to the doctor. :)

Bonnie

Yes go to the doctor and if it does not clear up go back. The regular meds I was allergic to and my regular doc didn’t catch it for 6mo. The ENT Doc caught it right away and in 24hrs. relief!

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75

Here’s a black tea sample that I got from Upton, I was curious to try based on their description of it. This is a black tea, though they may call it a red tea in China. Another congou to try.

The directions said to steep this for 3-5 minutes so I went for 4 in the end. I got a very smooth, dark black tea with virtually no astringency. There is a nice sweetness about it. I agree it is very clean and mellow. This is a very easy one to sip on plain, which I am enjoying. It’s definitely nice to have a few black teas which I don’t feel the need to take with any additions. Perhaps a slight bit of maltiness in the finish. I am sure I will happily finish this off but will probably not need to buy anymore. I do have a full tin of a panyang congou which is probably enough for a while!

Unfortunately I left my infuser in the teapot when I went back to get a second cup and now I am getting the bitter, ooky quality I think Jen was describing in her note. This is not a tea you want to oversteep.

I know I am weird but I was half hoping for something spicy in this tea since it’s from Sichuan province. hee hee! I enjoyed trying it though.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
SimplyJenW

It is funny because I am often lead to resample this based on the reviews on Upton. And then I remember this was the tea where I was the weirdo one who did not really care for it. I am sure my steeping technique has improved, but not that much! ;)

Scott B

Spicy is exactly what I though of when I saw the name of the tea.

TeaBrat

Jen – I don’t blame you for not wanting to try it again!

Doug F

I tried this in the past and it was solid but there are so many great Chinese black teas that I didn’t feel motivated to buy it again.

TeaBrat

@Triumph – yeah I feel much the same way. Good but missing the “wow” factor for me personally

ScottTeaMan

I have a sample of this somewhere…….if I can only find it! :-//

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96

It’s been a day of good tea but otherwise another boring day in the life. I am having serious fantasies about packing it all in to go to darjeeling or nepal. In any event, this is a delicious white tea. Very sweet and fruity, nice way to wind down the day. A little slice of heaven. :)

Bonnie

My cousins were in and out of Nepal during several political situations over the years and love it there. I agree you should travel…I want to go to Italy again! And Greek Islands like Corfu! Oh well…when is someone going to give us a bunch of money? I just know you’re going to somewhere like Glenburn Estate Resort or somewhere like that!

TeaBrat

In my dreams! It looks amazing, doesn’t it? http://www.glenburnteaestate.com/gal-landscape.html

Bonnie

Yes! I was looking at the tea resorts the other day. Beautiful!

Scott B

I could spend some time there.

ScottTeaMan

Wow!! Some really stunningly beautiful landscapes! I’ve been looking at tea gardens for years, and India has to be one of the most beautiful places to live.

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Profile

Bio

My profile pic is of a pink dahlia at Golden Gate Park.

Hobbies include: tea, making art, animals, vegan things, buddhism, nature, creativity, books, writing, cooking, meditation, yoga.

I am a fan of many different teas but my favorites are blacks and oolongs, chai, also like darjeeling and pu-erh. I’n always learning and expanding my horizons!

Dislikes include: bergamot, jasmine, highly tannic or bitter teas, overly judgmental and bitter people. :)

Live in San Francisco, I’m a SINK (single income, no kids) and love the urban life, but traveling out to the middle of nowhere is always fun too.

I tend to not drink things I know I will hate so a lot of my tea ratings are on the higher side. Here’s my rating system, sorta

95-100 I love this tea and would like to keep it around

94-90 An excellent tea which I may or may not repurchase

89-80 Pretty good, above average

79-70 Acceptable

69-60 Mundane – Will probably drink it if I have it

59-50 Ick

49 and below Nasty

Location

San Frandisco

Website

http://sanfrantea.teatra.de

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