“Hear ye, hear ye!”…I’ve decided not to rate tea’s this year by number anymore…not because I think it’s a bad system, but because most of the tea I drink is pretty wonderful. I’ll say if a tea is good, great or mind blowing.

After tasting Master Han’s Wild Picked Yunnan Black a few days ago, I took a red packet of this Anxi Fo Shou Black Tea down to Happy Lucky’s Tea House, showed it to the guys (as a teaser) and made a plan to come back for a tasting when Steepster Eric would be working and the tea shop would not be busy.

Granddaughter Schey came along today for the tasting. It was 12 degrees out and sunny.
We received our “Hello’s” from Eric, Joe and Andie as the bells on the Tea-Shop door jingled the announcement of our arrival.

I always bring a green fabric bag, stocked with tea samples when I go to Happy Lucky’s Tea Shop. I’m the Fairy Tea Grandma.

“What’s in the bag today?” Is the question I’m asked.
My eyes light up and I pull out a sample of a tea I’ve tasted and reviewed on Steepster.

Friday night Preston drank 3 or 4 samples from my green sack and got quite silly. He drank some pu-erh (which he is learning about) that he loved and said it made him feel like he was “13 again, riding his ATV through the woods”. Pretty funny.

Today, the guys knew I was bringing the ‘red packet’ of Anxi Fo Shou.
Eric brought out a Gaiwan, heated it and dumped the whole packet in. (Eric teaches Gonfu classes so it was nice to be waited on!)

The color of the liquor was deep golden amber and had a chocolaty scent…there was a sweet fruity lychee aroma that followed.

Schey was the first to say that the tea tasted like baking chocolate and dark coffee. I asked her if she meant bitter chocolate and she said no, not that and not a burned flavor but the darkest chocolate with sweetness left in it.

I thought about that a moment and she was right. There wasn’t a ‘roastiness’ like an Oolong or a cooked taste, but a rawness. (I was very proud of Schey for her observation!)

My first impression was a thinned down caramel syrup and golden raisins…enough to coat the tongue but not a heavy sugary taste.
That raw chocolate flavor followed on the finish and with every steeping the caramel lasted becoming lighter towards the 8th pour.

The flavor was buttery and the tea has a great deal of body and lingering taste.

The color, and scent (lychee and golden raisin) reminded me of Oolong then the Black Tea scent and flavors (chocolate and caramel) was so distinct and interesting almost like two tea’s in one.

I’m loving these experimental ‘artistic’ tea’s that stretch the imagination. This enhances my tea education and helps me grow.

This was a very good purchase of a limited addition tea that won’t last long, and a good buy! (About as much as a moderate/low bottle of wine)

Winner

Miss Starfish

Sounds like a delightful tasting session with a very delicious tea!

JC

Nice! I’ve been contemplating this ‘no number’ rating thing for a while ‘specially recently’, since I’ve felt like I had to either fix the score or like the ‘Lao Ban Zhang Ripe cake’ which I love but I wasn’t sure how to rate. Yet I feel sometimes it helps with the ‘preference’ as people can see what I tend to like in tastes and what I usually avoid. Let me know if you feel it works well your you. :)

Steven

I like the rating system. If I see a good score, I’ll be more inclined to read the whole review and possibly be tempted to try the tea myself. Similarly, if someone posts a score of ‘0’, I won’t even read the review

On the other hand, it’s true that if you like a tea, it doesn’t mean I’ll like it as well. Also, some users here rate a LOT of teas and always give high-80/90s, which is not very useful.

Bonnie

Steven,I understand…but I’m going to give it a try. I’ve rated with numbers for a year and feel comfortable that people either want to read my review or not based on that history. I rate lots of tea,and so much is good that the experience is better than a rating number for now.

Autumn Hearth

I’m sipping on this for the first time right now. Definitely smelled the chocolate and raisin the second I started pouring but yes it more of a golden raisin the taste! Schey is certainly right about the rawness! Going to spend the rest of the day with this, hoping to find those scotch notes! I’ve been having a hard time with ratings as well lately. I have a hard time giving it on the first try and a hard time comparing straight teas with blends, so kudos and good luck, I for one read your notes for your observations and stories, but of course I also look at numbers when trying to make observation on “what else” to order from a company, except Verdant, I just order everything ;)

Bonnie

Thanks Autumn, I’m playing it by ear…and giving hints in the review in bold as to what I think about it instead of a number.

Terri HarpLady

Regarding rating teas, I gave it up a few months ago. I still sometimes look at other people’s ratings of a tea, especially if its a tea I’m thinking of purchasing, but for myself, I just can’t assign a number, I just can’t create a reference point. I tried for awhile, & even tried lining up all my teas by preference, with the favorite in each category (black, white, green, etc) getting a score of 100, 2nd favorite getting 99, etc, but that quickly dissolved into dysfunction, as there really is no clear favorite. I like different teas at different times, & I rarely drink anything that isn’t of high quality & flavor. Also, one day I might really really love a tea, & another day it just might not be my cuppa, if you know what I mean. So I prefer to share my musings only.

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Comments

Miss Starfish

Sounds like a delightful tasting session with a very delicious tea!

JC

Nice! I’ve been contemplating this ‘no number’ rating thing for a while ‘specially recently’, since I’ve felt like I had to either fix the score or like the ‘Lao Ban Zhang Ripe cake’ which I love but I wasn’t sure how to rate. Yet I feel sometimes it helps with the ‘preference’ as people can see what I tend to like in tastes and what I usually avoid. Let me know if you feel it works well your you. :)

Steven

I like the rating system. If I see a good score, I’ll be more inclined to read the whole review and possibly be tempted to try the tea myself. Similarly, if someone posts a score of ‘0’, I won’t even read the review

On the other hand, it’s true that if you like a tea, it doesn’t mean I’ll like it as well. Also, some users here rate a LOT of teas and always give high-80/90s, which is not very useful.

Bonnie

Steven,I understand…but I’m going to give it a try. I’ve rated with numbers for a year and feel comfortable that people either want to read my review or not based on that history. I rate lots of tea,and so much is good that the experience is better than a rating number for now.

Autumn Hearth

I’m sipping on this for the first time right now. Definitely smelled the chocolate and raisin the second I started pouring but yes it more of a golden raisin the taste! Schey is certainly right about the rawness! Going to spend the rest of the day with this, hoping to find those scotch notes! I’ve been having a hard time with ratings as well lately. I have a hard time giving it on the first try and a hard time comparing straight teas with blends, so kudos and good luck, I for one read your notes for your observations and stories, but of course I also look at numbers when trying to make observation on “what else” to order from a company, except Verdant, I just order everything ;)

Bonnie

Thanks Autumn, I’m playing it by ear…and giving hints in the review in bold as to what I think about it instead of a number.

Terri HarpLady

Regarding rating teas, I gave it up a few months ago. I still sometimes look at other people’s ratings of a tea, especially if its a tea I’m thinking of purchasing, but for myself, I just can’t assign a number, I just can’t create a reference point. I tried for awhile, & even tried lining up all my teas by preference, with the favorite in each category (black, white, green, etc) getting a score of 100, 2nd favorite getting 99, etc, but that quickly dissolved into dysfunction, as there really is no clear favorite. I like different teas at different times, & I rarely drink anything that isn’t of high quality & flavor. Also, one day I might really really love a tea, & another day it just might not be my cuppa, if you know what I mean. So I prefer to share my musings only.

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Bio

Colorado Grandma
http://www.teaandincense.com
Grandmother to 3 teenaged girls and 5 young boys. (we all drink tea!) I began teatime in the Summer over 30 years ago when my children were little. We took a break from play for tea and snacks every day. My children loved tea time.
There are several tea houses close to my home and a Tea Festival in Boulder. Fort Collins is a bit of a foodie town. We brew lots of Beer (Fat Tire is one brand) and have several Spice Shops (Savory was one featured on Food Network).
Colorado State University is a mile from my home and the Rocky Mountains begin to climb at the end of my street. The climate is semi-arid with LOTS OF SUN AT 5000 feet. (Heavy Winter snows start in higher elevations). Living my whole life in Northern California (Silicon Valley) I have to admit that I LOVE IT HERE!!!
I attend a wonderful Greek Orthodox Church and enjoy cooking ethnic foods (all kinds). I am disabled with Migraines and Fibromyalgia.
My family is Bi-racial (African-American, Scots) and Bi-cultural, (Peru, Cyprus, France, Mexico, Native American)
I’ve worked at a Winery, was a System Analyst, in telecom, been an Athlete and Coach, Artist, Vista Volunteer. Love healthy cooking (and delicious food!). Love to travel and have been to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Malta, Peru, Croatia, Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska

Location

Fort Collins,Colorado

Website

http://www.teaandincense.com

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