2536 Tasting Notes

88

Some where out there a pu-erh snob has fainted. That’s right, I am drinking pu-erh out of a teabag. $6 for a box and you can get it even cheaper on Uncle Lee’s website.

I bought this just to check it out for experimentation. I wasn’t expecting much but I was pleasantly surprised. It has the nice brownish-red color of a pu-erh. For a teabag this has some tremendous flavor. It’s very woodsy, and roasty/toasty with a hint of smoke puffs. The aroma reminds me of the redwood forest groves in Northern California. This is reminiscent of the wild tree pu-erhs I like a lot. It’s actually quite pleasant and it’s organic.

Don’t tell the tea snobs but I actually think this is more flavorful and interesting than both the tuo chas I had earlier today. It will just be our little secret… ;-)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Spoonvonstup

_ They actually sell pu’er in tea bags all over China. I had some the first time flying from Beijing to Kunming. It’s was pretty good- especially since my stomach hates flying.

I’ve actually seen bottled pu’er on the store shelf recently. Mind you, it had tons of sugar and was ultraflavored, but baby steps..

TeaBrat

Numi has some as well – one of these days I need to try it…

K S

My introduction to puerh was in bag form. I was Yamamotoyama. Tasted kind of like a wuyi oolong but was a great beginning. I have had the Numi – not bad, and one other that apparently didn’t leave an impression because I don’t remember what it was.

The DJBooth

Foojoy has a really good bagged Pu-Erh that I think I found for 4.00 for 100 bags….simply phenomenal

K S

Foojoy – that was it!

TeaBrat

I’ll have to see if I can locate that Foojoy in Chinatown! It’s so good to find these little bargains that are everyday staples…

ScottTeaMan

As long as you like the teabags, it is fine. I thought it was interesting that you like it better than the Tuo Chas. I’venever had bagged Tuo Cha, but I had a bagged White tea from Enjoying tea—I got it as a Christmas gift a few yrs ago. It too, was surprisingly good! It tasted like a Pai Mu Tan. I also believe the smaller leaf in the teabag intensified the flavor somewhat.

It is interesting that the aroma reminds you of the redwood forest groves! :))

TeaBrat

the tea bag just had flavors that I liked better. I like my pu-erh to taste and smell like trees evidently.

ScottTeaMan

Hhhmmm…….and yet you don’t like overly smokey teas?! So you like your “trees” pre burn then?

TeaBrat

I like trees but not much smoke – I feel like I’m drinking out of an ashtray

ScottTeaMan

hehehe…I like mildy smokey teas, but it’s been years since I’ve had a Lapsang Souchong, although I’d like to sample it again with short steeps.

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86

Thank you to Teavivre for providing this sample for me to try.

This is a very mild and mellow pu-erh so it is perfect for beginners. It doesn’t have much of a noticeable smell. Perhaps I am weird but this seems a little bit too sanitary for me. The wet leaves smell a bit like wet dirt. The predominant flavor I’m picking up here with the tea is chocolate. I steeped it for 3 minutes with boiling water. It is certainly pleasant enough and very low in acids/tannins which is just what I needed today. I am not dying to have more but I have enjoyed it.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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62

My stomach still hurts this morning so I’m having a pu-erh which is supposedly known for its’ stomach soothing properties. This is one my boyfriend picked up in London. Rest assured it looks like most other mini touchas you have seen and it appears to be a shu.

I steeped this for around 3 minutes in the western style this morning. It is very dark, earthy and brothy now. I might try to do this one day with shorter infusions. It has a lot of camphor in it which makes me wonder. I hear often times it is put there artifically with shus. It does obscure the taste of the tea a bit for me. I am not a huge fan of the camphor.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Jim Marks

I would be shocked if anyone was producing mini tuocha sheng.

TeaBrat

I just had a green tuo cha from Arbor teas. would this be considered a sheng? It definitely was not a shu. Also I just googled sheng mini tuo cha and came up with a lot. :)

Jim Marks

Hmmm… are any of them any good? Aging that rapid with a sheng seems completely contrary to the whole point of sheng. I mean, there’s a reason why they pack good pu-erh into much larger shapes.

As an aside, yes, sheng, raw and green are the same thing. By contrast, shu, fermented and ripe are the same thing.

TeaBrat

The one I had was more like a sweet green tea than anything else, it’s in my tea log. It wasn’t too bad. I can’t speak to any of the others.

Spoonvonstup

Yes- people do make mini tuocha sheng. Rishi has one that quite a metallic/dry kick in the teeth for me, but I’m spoiled, so there you go. I also have a bunch of sheng tuocha’s (not mini) from China that I’m aging that are very juicy and yummy- so the form of the leaves is always indicator of quality.

I haven’t heard of people putting camphor flavor in artificially. Most of the time, I’ve come across it in bricks (disclaimer.. I am terrible at tasting camphor, but my husband is a fiend for it.. “zhang” flavor in Chinese). I think naturally it often comes from wild-picked leaves that are grown near cedars/pines and other evergreens.

Jim Marks

Non-mini tuocha sheng doesn’t surprise me.

Spoonvonstup

Whoops! I meant to say “the form of the leaves is NOT always an indicator of quality.” Talk about a typo. :/

Ninavampi

Hope your tummy is better! : )

Jim Marks

While I’d agree that the form of the leaves is not always an indicator of quality, I think in the case of a mini tuocha specifically, if one is talking about sheng, it is unlikely that you’re looking at a high quality pu-erh. There’s just too much surface area to allow a sheng to age at a slow enough rate.

teawing

Yes, get well soon.

Spoonvonstup

@ Amy – My husband’s stomach was hurting last night, too, so I made him shu pu’er with a healthy pinch of cinnamon bark and a dash of mint/spearmint. If you’re still feeling unwell, I recommend it.. it’s a nice grounding mix, and the mint helps lift things up and keep the shu from being too heavy to be helpful.

@Jim – Interesting thought about surface area / volume ratios for aging. What benefits do you get by having your shengs age very slowly? I feel actually the opposite. Not by artificially aging them or anything crazy. Many of my favorite bricks are loosely compacted, which actually allows more airflow and seems to help them age faster. It might explain why some of my three and four year old bricks are already drinkable, and taste more like they are 6-8 rs old. I also break up my bricks once I’m about a quarter through and keep them in jars or canisters (with a cloth between the lid and the body to allow airflow). This keeps it better protected than the wrappers when all those pointy edges are created, and also helps it age a tiny bit faster.
But then again, I’ve never been a huge fan of early, rambunctious sheng flavors (dryness and overly metallic were never my things)- I gravitate towards shengs that have mellowed. If you like the grassy astringency (my Japanese green fanatics do), then a slower aging would certainly be beneficial.

Hmm.. this aging discussion might need it’s own thread to keep from completely hijacking Amy’s own note! Amy- have you tried any shu’s from Garret at Mandala? I’ve found he prefers a maltier, breakfast pastry, sweet and caramelly kind of taste from his shu.. especially his old tea nuggets. You might like them if you’re not a fan of camphor.

TeaBrat

Spoon – thanks I will check it out!
Jim – stop hijacking my threads… lol j/k

Jim Marks

As I always say, aging in your house and “aged” pu-erh which has undergone oxidation and fermentation are not the same thing. All I’m trying to say is that it seems unlikely that a tea which can oxidize and ferment very rapidly (because of a high surface area to volume ratio, like a mini tuocha) is going to result in a high quality product. The whole reason shu was developed was because it takes a long time to make good sheng. Maybe I’m completely wrong about all this, but as I understand the processing, speed is not something you want when producing sheng — regardless of how rapidly a consumer may want secondary aging to occur at home (which is more like keeping wine in your basement and has nothing to do with how long the wine was aged in the barrels at the vintner).

Jim Marks

/me points at yesterday’s Pine Breeze thread on my note. :P~

ScottTeaMan

Good points Jim. Yeah, the Pine Breeze discussion was possibly one of the longest (and best) threads IMHO. :))

ScottTeaMan

I’ve also seen mini tuo cha sheng.

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75
drank Butter Truffles by The Tea Table
2536 tasting notes

Backlogging – This sounds like the exact same tea I got from Sereni tea so I am logging it here. Maybe they are using a common supplier?
http://sereni-tea.net/index.php/butter-truffle.html

In any event I agree this is a strange tea. It is kind of buttery but due to the cumin, corinader and pepper it actually comes off like an indian dessert. I did like the pistachio element here. I think I liked it a bit more than the other reviewers. It was okay but I’m not sure I’ll be craving anymore in the future. It was good with soy milk.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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82
drank Tulsi Lemon Ginger by Organic India
2536 tasting notes

It is nice and soothing for me this afternoon. I admit I overdid it with too much tea today and ended up with a horrible case of heartburn. The law of diminishing returns, apparently…

ScottTeaMan

I don’t really get heartburn from tea, but I noticed I did get a little heartburn sometimes when I drink my Cranberry tea.

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93
drank Sencha "Chiran" by Lupicia
2536 tasting notes

I am all out of this now. It was delicious and a very good price, time to go back to Lupicia!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec
ScottTeaMan

Now $9.50/50G…….that’s more like it!

TeaBrat

ayep… good enough for me.

ScottTeaMan

This is where I’ve bought some senchas & Fukamushi tea. There prices are reasonable and the tea is very good.

http://www.hibiki-an.com/product_info.php/cPath/36/products_id/399

ScottTeaMan

Free S & H over $36

TeaBrat

looks good

ScottTeaMan

It really is….I bought Sencha Superior and brewed shortsteeps==little to no bitterness.

TeaBrat

I’ll keep it in mind if I decide to look for new tea vendors. I think the fewer the better is good in terms of saving money…

ScottTeaMan

I know…that’s what I think too. My next vendor will be Tao of Tea, because I want more Mei Li tea. Do you have any other recommendations from them?

Also, an order from Tea Vivre. My third would be Rishi, b/c I really love that Chai you sent me, but that would be my third choice. So much for saving $$$. :>//

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84
drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
2536 tasting notes

Thank you very much, Indigobloom for sending me a sample of this to try!

Tibetan flowers… the smell of this tea is quite beautiful! It’s a very smooth, rich black tea with a very red fruit taste. I think it is quite elegant and lovely and different. Definitely seems like something a French company would make. =) I think this is very good but I’ve been shying away a lot from floral teas in general as of late so my rating is a bit biased perhaps.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec
Indigobloom

I fall in and out of love with this one on alternate steeps… it’s tasty but very particular. I recommend trying it with milk!

TeaBrat

I did have it with soymilk. ;)

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72

Picked some of this up on the way into work, nice to see Yunnan is available in a tea bag and it’s organic. I only had one little teabag for 16 oz of water but there was still a nice flavor here, smooth, rich and malty. I was able to sip on plain on the way to work without any added soymilk. More experiments are required. I might get some of this to take with me on my next airplane trip.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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97
drank Purple Oolong by Sereni Tea
2536 tasting notes

I like most oolongs very much but this was a definite treat I discovered at Sereni tea, the cutest little tea store in Mount Shasta which was very well stocked with goodies!

The smell of the leaf in the bag is faintly of cocoa and raisins. I brewed this today in a glass mug with around 180 F water for 3 minutes. The color is a deep rich purply brown. Thankfully I am not getting musk here as I’m not sure how much I would like a musky tea. It is toasty, woody, amber… yes, cinnamon, yes. But there is a fruity element here as well like dark plums or raisins. A bit of lingering sweetness in the finish. A bit toasty. This is the closest tea has ever gotten for me to the experience of having a glass of wine. Very complex and rich with different layers of flavor. This tea is not as smoky as some aged & dark oolongs which would make it more appealing to a wide variety of people. I would recommend it without hesitation. I also think the people who own this little shop were very nice. :)) I do want more, of course! This transcends a mere cup of tea into something glorious.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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86

This afternoon I am drinking Part II of this sample. I am new to the world of raw puerhs and this is a very mild tea with some nice sweet and malty things going on. It is pleasant enough but I can’t see keeping it on hand all the time.

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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

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http://sanfrantea.teatra.de

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