2536 Tasting Notes

95

I’m finally getting around to trying my sample of this today (thanks, G)

I really like the way this dry tea smells! It reminds me a bit of the pu-erhs I’ve been drinking which are flavored with the rice herb. I did give this a quick rinse in boiling water and now it smells earthy and sweet.

Steeping method: gaiwan.

1st steep: 30 seconds. A smooth and dark reddish-brown liquor. A very soil, rich kind of earthy with a definite sweetness bordering a bit on fruity. No off odors or flavors like fishiness are present. A hint of… tobacco perhaps?

2nd Steep: 10 seconds. Believe it or not, 10 seconds was plenty, especially for the way I feel like drinking it today. But it still got very dark! I’m getting a slight smokiness in the aroma here, kind of chewy in the flavor, nice forest floor aroma.

3rd steep: 30 seconds. I am starting to feel some of the invigorating effects of this tea. I did really need it today somehow. Even matching up my socks from the laundry is feeling like a chore. It has a very smooth feel in the mouth, which makes me want to sip on it slowly and linger around with it. Aside from earthy and smoky I feel like I’m getting a bit of raisin here.

It is fairly warm here today, which makes it hard for me to think about drinking more shu so I’m going to save the remainder of these leaves and experiment with cold brewing them.

This is a very nice offering from Mandala’s private pressing, I have enjoyed trying it and may need to get some more in the future. Good job…

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec
Garret

Amy! I’m really happy that you enjoyed this tea. I found this ripened material from 2007 and never even contemplated blending this with other leaf. I liked it all on its own as a grade 1 leaf. Bought every bit of it, pressed 300 cakes and kept 25 pounds as loose leaf. Thanks for writing about it. I had brought a cake of this for one of my hosts when I was in China these last few weeks and we brewed it up gong fu style there. I am happy to report that they loved it there in Kunming!! Funny to bring tea to China, I know :)

TeaBrat

Oh, as a side note I did cold brew my leftover leaves and enjoyed them the next day, they were really good that way!

ScottTeaMan

Amy, do you mean cold brewing leaves after hot steeps with the same leaves? Just wondering because I was thinking….‘Man, thems some hearty leaves!’. :))

TeaBrat

Scott- that’s exactly what I did.

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87

Since this tea is lightly malty, I decided to add a pinch of ceylon this morning for a bit of a breakfast blend. Pretty good combination. :) See my previous notes for more info.

Scott B

I’ve got about 5 samples that I am planning on ordering from Arbor and this is one of them-glad to see it getting good reviews.

TeaBrat

I think you will like it. It’s also fairly mellow.

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52
drank African Autumn by Harney & Sons
2536 tasting notes

This tea has not gotten very good ratings on Steepster so far and after trying this sample I can see why. The aroma of it reminds me of orange kool-aid or tang. Actually it was not as tart as I was afraid it would be due to both the cranberry and orange element. It really reminds me more of warm juice than tea.

I do not think there’s hibiscus in here but it is very tart, too tart for me. Not sure if I will finish the rest of this sample or what I will do with it, barely drinkable IMO… to be fair the other cranberry orange rooibos I’ve had also had a similar effect. I just do not think those are two things I care for very much in tea anyway.

ScottTeaMan

I was always skeptical about tryng this one.

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91
drank Lapsang Souchang by Mandala Tea
2536 tasting notes

Finally decided to rate it today, I like it. A lighter lapsang that has flavorful notes of smoke (duh), honey and also that sweetish/tangy barbeque type of flavor. Very clean and delicious! Would definitely get this one again… see previous notes.

ScottTeaMan

LS fom Mandala, or Hu Kwa from Mark T’s??

TeaBrat

I still like the Hu Kwa better for now

ScottTeaMan

Mandala has some really nice teas…….gonna purchase something at some point this year.

TeaBrat

Do it!!!

ScottTeaMan

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA….Seriously, that’s how I laughed! I will, I’m just trying to dwindle my stash a little. :))

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87

They have this at the local Whole Foods in the bulk section so I picked some up to try. The price was about $2/oz., not too bad at all.

My experience in the past with keemuns has been somewhat mixed but I rather liked this one. It has a “biscuity” aroma that I often hear people use to describe teas. I steeped this in my 6 oz. Finum cup which is my new favorite toy. :)

The tea liquor is a sort of medium reddish brown. The tea is supposed to be mildly smoky but I am not really getting that at all. Perhaps I oversmoked my palate from drinking too much lapsang lately, lol. I am picking up the fruity taste which is very pleasant. I am getting light cocoa notes as well. It has a mild astringency but nothing too parching. This has a sweet and mellow quality about it. I am not getting pine either, but I can see why people would akin this tea to a fine red wine, it does have a sort of wine-y quality about it. Would definitely be good with food but also excels as my Friday afternoon tea. I like it and am glad I know where I can restock some! I might be brave enough now to try some other keemuns…

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

Wow! I’m excited to learn that they carry Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchant teas in other Whole Foods … and not just the local ones (that is, the ones in the Portland area, as Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants is in Portland).

ashmanra

I wish the Whole Foods I go to an hour and a half away carried bulk tea!

TeaBrat

@LiberTeas – yeah, it’s great!
@ashmanra – bummer!

Bonnie

The Whole Foods I used to go to in Cupertino, CA was as big as Costco! The one here in Fort Collins is little (but we have other stores just like it) .Bet Amy has a big store!

TeaBrat

It is fairly huge. I think there are at least 4 WFs in San Francisco now…

ScottTeaMan

Amy, I’m glad to see you have a new toy! So really, what do you like about it. I just think they look so cool, although a six oz cup is a little small for me, but I’d still buy at least one. :))

TeaBrat

I do really like it, though wish it was a bit larger. I can always use the filter with a different cup tho’.

ScottTeaMan

How do you like the feel or quality of it?

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63

We were able to get some of this for the office, I am trying to upgrade us to slightly better stuff even though I drink loose leaf tea most of the time anyway.

This was steeped via regular mug method and they’re teabag sachets. I like ginger and I like the black assam/ceylon blend here. My only beef with this one is the peach flavoring is a bit too sweet and artifical for my tastes. I feel like I’m eating a jolly rancher or something… I may try to make iced tea out of this, it might be better that way.

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86

Not sure if this listing is exactly the same as the tea I have, which is ZG68: Organic Green Lu’An Melon Seed. But I did not see any other Lu’Ans on Upton’s site.

I’ve been wanting to try this particular type of tea for a while now. Steeped via regular infuser mug method.

I did not keep a close eye on the time so I was a bit worried about this one. After smelling the wet leaf I do find it very vegetal, sweet and almost spinach like. My cup is a light greenish-gold. So far I am liking this. Yes, it is vegetal, almost slightly grassy with some similarities to Japanese green tea. There is a pleasant nuttiness about this tea and it does have more sweetness in the finish than a lot of other Chinese green teas which make feel like I’m drinking boiled bok choy. It also seems very clean, organic a +.

If dragonwell and sencha gave birth, would this be their love child? I’m not sure but this was a lovely morning tea! I’d consider buying this again as a basic, everyday green tea.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
ScottTeaMan

LOL…love child….how Supreme! I think that is a good analogy, as noted in the Name-Melon “Seed”. :))

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95
drank Lemon Cardamom Chun Mee by 52teas
2536 tasting notes

When Frank posted about this tea I was so excited, I think I might have been the first person to order it and it arrived today. wheee! This blend was pretty much made for me due to the fact that I LOVE lemon and cardamom and chun mee is pretty awesome too.

The dry leaf smells very aromatic in the bag. There’s lots of lemony citrus fragrance in here as well as a bit of sweetness.

I steeped this up via regular infuser mug method and I love it! It’s very citrusy and ever so slightly tart. You can see chunks of dried lemon peel and cardamom in the mix. The cardamom is subtle but it is definitely present. Chun mee was a good choice for this blend because I think a lighter tea would have been totally overpowered by the other ingredients. There is definitely a bit of palate cleansing astringency and it is strong and assertive. I’ve never been able to strongly pick out the plum flavor people describe in chun mee but I like the flavor of it. I know chun mee is supposed to be slightly sour.

I have found this to be so delightful and refreshing! But you would have to like lots of lemon because this blend is fairly strong in this regard. Frank, I loved this one and no I am not sharing with the rest of you. :-P

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 15 sec
Jillian

You must live pretty close to Frank to be able to get it delivered so quickly!

52teas

Frank was just really on top of his game earlier this week. Doing a show this weekend, so I wanted to get orders caught up early. :) So glad to hear you are enjoying it.

TeaBrat

It was very speedy but I don’t think we live too close to each other. :)

Azzrian

I should give this a try but the lemongrass aspect scares me away.

TeaBrat

Ah, I love lemongrass

Kittenna

I was initially interested in this tea, but my experience with lemon teas has not been good. I like lemon juice, and that’s it apparently.

ScottTeaMan

Lemongrass is so refreshing…….Aaahhhh.

Angrboda

Lemon and cardamom is a great combination. I can recommend it in pancakes as well :D

Missy

That is an interesting idea Angrboda.

Angrboda

Usually I put an apple in our pancakes, but if we havne’t got any apples, that is my preferred alternative.

Jillian

Mmm sounds good, I’ll have to give it a shot – too bad cardamom is so bloody expensive here, so it’s not likely to become a regular thing.

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96
drank Zhang Xiang by Bana Tea Company
2536 tasting notes

I am finishing off the rest of the sample today – I have been impressed with this loose leaf shu. I know it says camphor scent but that camphor is very mild. This is rich, smooth and dark. Earthy with a touch of caramel sweetness. I’m sorry to see it go…. see previous tasting note for more info.

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85

Finally done with my sample tin of this. Although I have enjoyed it I don’t think I will be buying any more. I have noticed this is a nice one to steep at around 180 F, for around 2 minutes, that keeps the bitterness from rearing its’ ugly head and keeps the tea sweet and flowery. I got a few of the Upton first flush darjeeling samples to try – excited!

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

Not one I really ever wanted to try, but they do have some nice Darjeelings. :))

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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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