2309 Tasting Notes

73
drank Jade Cloud by The Tao of Tea
2309 tasting notes

I knew this would be a very light green tea from the description on the website. Steeped for 90 seconds at 160 degrees, the flavor was definitely too faint. Second steep was around 3 minutes. Definitely more on the floral than vegetal side, slightly buttery but nothing like a milk oolong for instance. Reminds me a little bit of a white tea. This is a pleasant cup and I will have no problems finishing the bag but I doubt it’s something I will need to purchase more of.

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12
drank Aztec Sweet Chili by Yogi Tea
2309 tasting notes

This kinda seems like something I would enjoy, but no… at first I thought teabags were to blame but I cut them open and so brewed it like loose leaf tea. There is a strange bitter-sweetness I don’t like here. I checked the box a few times to see if it had stevia, roobois or something of that nature. I think it’s just a bad combination, the licorice is fighting with the other ingredients and the result is a toxic mess that I need to hold my nose to finish drinking…. ewwwww. Just don’t go there!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Amariel

I find that licorice hides in a lot of herbal teas, which is one reason I shy away from, and I think Yogi uses a lot of licorice.

TeaBrat

I don’t mind licorice but perhaps this one was overkill?

Tabby

All of their blends have licorice in them, I swear. D:

Eibhilin

I’d agree on the licorice, but I’m never sure if it’s that or the stevia I don’t like. X_X

Lisbet

I didn’t like this one myself, and I like Yogi Teas for their effects a lot of the time.

TeaBrat

it was truly icky…

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100
drank Kabuse-Cha by Marukyu-Koyamaen
2309 tasting notes

Right on the heels of my cheap-o experiment comes one that is not so cheap…

I was recommended to try this tea by the shop person in Japantown who assured me that the green tea I’ve been buying at the grocery store is complete crap. :) I’ve had a few senchas but never a kabuse-cha. I did not get the chance to try this out before I bought it (silly me, it was $22 for 90g).

This is probably the most greenish, young and fresh green tea I have ever tried. The leaves are emerald. I really think I will eat this leaf after I am done drinking it… Supposedly this is halfway between a sencha and a gyokuru.

I used about 1 tsp of leaf and steeped at 160 F for 2 minutes in about 6 oz of water (yes, I used a thermometer to double check temp). I drank this out of a glass mug and it brewed up to a nice Chartreuse color (it is neon green, I am not joking).

Second steep – 30 seconds with a slight loss of flavor. Third steep, getting kind of weak. Will probably get 3 steeps out of it.

This is a very mild, very vegetal and soft tea, very much more sweet than bitter. The aroma is a lot like spinach. This is 18,000 times better than the cheap stuff I was drinking. So sadly (for my wallet) the salesperson was right, my brain is practically vibrating now. I will definitely be saving the rest of it for a time when I need a mental boost. This tea is shade grown for two weeks prior to harvest which is supposed to increase the theanine content.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Jim Marks

Yes, kabusecha is a shaded green, like gyokuru, but not for nearly as long, making it, in a sense, a halfway between that and a sencha.

If you make your first steep shorter, 60-90 seconds would be enough, you’ll get a better third steep.

Note: most of that mental vibration is caffeine. Semi-shaded and shaded green teas have some of the highest caffeine content of any tea. The act of shading puts the plants under stress and so they produce more caffeine to defend what few delicate, tender leaves they’re able to produce.

$22 for 90g is fairly price competitive. TG charges $36 for 100g and $55 for 100g of gyokuro.

ScottTeaMan

If you have a slightly larger teapot you could use a little more tea amd decrease your first steep to about 1.5 min.then you may be able to do 45 sec. steeps for 2nd and 3rd steeps, while possibly only slightly increasing temp by 5 and 10 degrees. This will allow your later steeps to have more flavor. I don’t think bitterness will be an issue.

TeaBrat

@ Jim – thanks for the comments. It is definitely a nice buzz. I will try the first steep for a shorter time with my next go around. The same place sold gyokuru that was a bit more pricey…

ScottTeaMan

oh I didn’t see Jim’s post, but I agree with him.

Jim Marks

Yup, “jade dew” is expensive. But worth it.

TeaBrat

I’m glad you’re both in agreement.. :)

ScottTeaMan

Curiosly…what cheap green tea were you drinking? That’s the good and the bad when you buy the quality stuff—-it is good, very good & you wont want to return to the cheap stuff. The bad is, it is usually harder on your wallet. Did you get a brothy cup. The best way I can describe it is that the liquer in the cup bubbles somewhat & develops a green sheen (like what a frother does to an espresso). The flavor just “pops” in your mouth. I love it when I get a cup like that.

TeaBrat

yes I did see a few bubbles, actually!
For the cheap -the standard sencha by maeda-en

Jim Marks

I like knowing people who talk about sencha as “cheap” tea.

ScottTeaMan

My Bro in Law brought tea home from Japan when he was there for business about 6 yrs ago, and my Sis & he gave it to me for Christmas that year. I think it was an Ito En Sencha, and it was the first green tea that
“popped” for me.

ScottTeaMan

At least it wasn’t that Gawds awful teabag green at your local supermarket.. You’re completely wasting money there-I’ve done that!

TeaBrat

I meant the Japanese grocery store…. hee hee
And I don’t mind drinking cheap tea but sencha is a bit too bitter for me

ScottTeaMan

Do you mean you don’t drink Sencha, or just the cheap Sencha?

ScottTeaMan

In your review you said it was between a Sencha & Gyokuru…so it’s not a true Sencha…right??…thats why I asked the last question.

TeaBrat

Generally I do not drink sencha

ScottTeaMan

I’m gonna go eat and have a few cups of Nahorhabi Assam tonight, look for a review soon….:))

ScottTeaMan

Last question…….Do you like Genmai Cha tea?

TeaBrat

You are full of questions today, Sir! As for Genmai Cha, I like it ok, I can’t say it’s my favorite thing but I do enjoy it sometimes.

Amariel

I know you didn’t ask me, @ScottTeaMan, but I love genmai cha! I ordered some on a whim from Adagio years ago, and it is one of my favourite green teas. :)

Jim Marks

I like genmaicha with food, but generally not simply as a cup of tea.

“Cheap” sencha should not exist. Anything cheap claiming to be sencha should be considered suspect.

ScottTeaMan

I recently purchased and sampled a Genmai Cha sample from H & S and liked it alot. Review coming soon!

Jim Marks

PS: “brothy cup” sounds like when you make matcha properly. Getting a similar result with a leaf tea would suggest that the cutting and packaging process has left a lot of tea leaf dust present which is frothing/foaming during the steep.

Not a bad thing, of course. Matcha is highly prized stuff.

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92

I am trying to not let myself get sucked in to the world of expensive, gourmet tea. Seeking out cheaper alternatives is a must have. I am very impressed with this. I’m not gonna lie to you and tell you I heard angels singing or the earth moved but this is an excellent value for the price ($4.00/oz as of today’s writing).

I steeped it for 2 minutes and used near boiling water with about 2 tsb of leaf and 10 oz of water. The website said to use fairly hot water in order to bring out the flavors. Very pleasant nectarine and peach flavors are coming through here. Not a trace of bitterness at all which can sometimes be a problem with these darker oolongs. Perfect for daily drinking…

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec
Charles Thomas Draper

Lately I have heard angels. LOL

TeaBrat

I’m trying to save my angels for special occasions… :)

Charles Thomas Draper

Every second is a special occasion

Amariel

The great thing with oolongs, is that even if they cost a bit more, you can get multiple steeps, and the flavour can change the more you steep it, so it does balance out a little, cost-wise.

Jim Marks

Toasty oolongs are a great variety for finding reasonably priced stand bys for day to day cups that won’t break the bank.

Charles Thomas Draper Jim, Amy turned me on to this very informative video about the Wuyi growing region. I am sure it will answer your question concerning the Big Red Robe. As far as i know, most are clones off of the original trees….
ScottTeaMan

Ahhh…….Da Hong Pao, avery enjoyable tea.

Jim Marks

As I understand it they aren’t “clones” but are grown from clippings, the same way grape varietals for wine are taken. This is where the idea of “generations” comes in. A tree made from a clipping from the originals is first generation. A tree made from a clipping from those trees is second generation, etc. Supposedly, generational distance impacts quality, mostly because it usually means that where the new tree is planted is probably (probably, not necessarily) less and less like the original location in terms of soil, sun, elevation etc.

Mostly I’m just curious if the truly early generation stuff is so rare and expensive that it is still the sort of thing given to presidents as gifts or kept by the PRC for governmental use or whether we could actually get our hands on such things. I have no idea how many first generation trees exist to know whether that’s a rare thing or a not so rare thing.

TeaBrat

@ Jim – according to the show Charles was referring to there are something like 5 of the original Da Hong Pao trees and the tea made from those trees is kept in a vault. It is very rare and expensive & the DHP tea we get now is all from the 2nd generation

Jim Marks

Well, there are second gen, third gen, fourth gen… DHP has become extremely popular, and to keep up with demand, more and more generations of bushes are being produced — to the point that anything fourth generation or later is referred to as Xiao Hong Pao (small red robe) or simply Hong Pao.

So I guess the most pointed way to ask the question (which I actually asked on a different tasting note) is whether Verdant’s leaves are 2nd gen or 3rd. Supposedly it makes a big difference.

Charles Thomas Draper

Jim, That’s a question for David Duckler….

Jim Marks

We’ve already made way more out of it than I intended. :-)

iTea

Hot debate going down….

TeaBrat

ahh. why is this coming up here, it isn’t even one of Verdant’s teas? And yes, I agree just ask David if you need to know.

Jim Marks

I don’t know, either. Like I said, it was a passing question, I think there was a misunderstanding about the information I wanted, it’s gotten completely over blown at this point, and I’m moving on.

iTea – no one’s debating anything.

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88
drank Eastern Beauty by Aroma Tea Shop
2309 tasting notes

Absolutely delicious when cold brewed for 12 hours overnight. If you have a tea like this you need to try it! I am getting notes of sandalwood, bamboo and cherry. Very refreshing.

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88
drank Keemum Mao Feng by Harney & Sons
2309 tasting notes

Another sampler packet from Harney and Sons. Steeped Western style for 3 minutes with boiling water. A little afraid of oversteeping after yesterday’s Kenya experience.

This is delightful. Medium body tea with a definite strong fruity finish, a bit of caramel. Naturally sweet. Comparisons to wine are pretty appropriate for this leaf. Probably more of a spring/summer than a fall/winter tea for me but I am adding it to the Shopping List as something to remember for the future.

Charles Thomas Draper

This is one that I am going to send you. It likes a long steep….

TeaBrat

Good to know. how long do you steep it for?

Charles Thomas Draper

maybe 6 minutes or more…

ScottTeaMan

EGADS I’ve never steeped even a Black tea for 6 min, unless I forgot about the steeping tea. I tend to steep Black teas 3-5 min.

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80
drank Chocolate Chai by Rishi Tea
2309 tasting notes

Prepared over the stove with traditional Indian manner, cooked with soymilk. My apartment smells great!

This does remind me a lot of hot chocolate and I am finding it tasty enough for my liking. There is lots of cardamom in here and also something slightly pungent (I assume the long pepper). I’m not a huge fan of mate so I’m finding that a bit distracting from the overall blend here. Overall this is very good and it definitely warming the frost from my Saturday morning as well as waking me up. :) I’m not sure I would buy it again but that’s also because I love the more traditional chai flavors.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
ScottTeaMan

The “like” is for the Chai and the pepper in the Chai, but as much as I try to like it, I can’t seem to get mate (roasted) to work for me. At least the last time I tried it I wasn’t crazy about it. I still have 90% of the bag from years ago. Amy, have you tried to reduce steeping to 3 to 3.5 minutes? This could reduce the bitterness of the mate. OK….obviously I find mate bitter. :))

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43
drank Rooibos Chai by Harney & Sons
2309 tasting notes

Received it as a free sample from Harney and Sons in my last order. I am sorry, but the Rishi rooibos chai totally blows this out of the water. It’s way too rooibos-y and not enough spice at all. Not sure I even want to finish the cup.

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89

Another thing I wish I had bought more of. My first experience with Tulsi, the Holy Basil herb of India. I wanted to get this in loose leaf form instead of those teabags you see in stores everywhere. This herb is supposedly an excellent adaptogen and good for stress relief. I am trying to find alternatives to caffeine all the time.

When I look at the picture of the tea on Tao’s website is a light yellow. I did not know how much leaf to use and I brewed this up STRONG! Mine is a dark orange… lol. Wow. It certainly is potent, I will need to scale back next time. Cooling is a very appropriate adjective for this herb. It reminds me of mint. I do not taste a lot of orange in this blend. I believe it is mostly tulsi with a very strong fennel aftertaste. I actually like fennel a lot so this is great for me, but be forewarned. I can see I will need to do more tulsi experiments soon…

According to Tao’s website: “Supporters of Small Organic Tulsi Farmers.
We work only with small-scale Tulsi growers that need
assurance for their harvests. As such, we provide up-front guarantees to purchase their produce and help sell it through a market-education development approach. As we grow, we envision our ability to help more small-scale and marginal Organic farmers in this process. Most Tulsi is still grown conventionally and the transition to Organics is recent. We hope to be among the few Tulsi companies that are in the forefront of this movement”.

Good for them!

Perhaps it is the power of suggestion but I already feel better after my potent tulsi tea…

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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84
drank Lemon Drops by The Tao of Tea
2309 tasting notes

I like both Nilgiri and Lemon Myrtle so I was pretty sure I would also like this blend from Tao of Tea.

It really doesn’t smell like much when you open the bag. I brewed this for 4 minutes with near boiling water. I think I may have oversteeped it a tad so I will go for slightly less next time. It smells and tastes very lemony but is not too tart. Having only two ingredients helps here I think…. The nilgiri makes a nice counterpart to the lemon. I can’t help but wonder what this would taste like with a darker and more robust black tea. But I am liking this quite a lot, it is pretty tasty and I’m sure it would make a fabulous iced tea as well. I am wishing for some cookies to dunk in this tea. Check this one out if you’re a lemon lover.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
Mercuryhime

I love lemony tea! sounds tasty.

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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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