21 Tasting Notes

45
drank Green Zoubrovka by Kusmi Tea
21 tasting notes

I picked this tea out because it was something I’d never heard of before, and smelled heavenly in the shop. The scent of the dry tea doesn’t translate as well into the taste once brewed.

I believe aug3zimm described this tea perfectly, I won’t bother repeating what he said. My tasting experience matches quite closely with what he described. I also found heterodoxia did an excellent job of describing why I don’t love Kusmi teas as much. For green teas especially, I prefer 100% pure tea, without any flavorings added to it.

This one is a little too weird for me. The buffalo grass is too grassy and bitter, somewhat overwhelming.

Flavors: Bitter, Buffalo Grass, Dry Grass, Hay

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank BB Detox by Kusmi Tea
21 tasting notes

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90

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90

I’m very much enjoying Kusmi’s Organic Darjeeling Nº 37 tea. It has much in common with other Darjeeling teas I’ve had, but also has some wonderful and unique qualities that make it stand out from the pack.

This is a fairly high quality Darjeeling tea. The small leaves unfurl nicely in hot water. They’re not whole leaves, but cut to a consistent size, with little to no powder or dust. There are a fair number of cut stems among the leaves. The leaves themselves vary in color from leafy green to spruce green and dark olive as well, making for a visually pleasing presentation. I actually like the non-uniformity of the color in this case. While marketed as a black tea, the incomplete oxidation makes this one more of an oolong tea, which I prefer anyway.

The brewed tea is a lovely chestnut brown color. The flavors have much in common with other darjeeling’s I’ve had, but there are also a lot of unusual aspects as well. One of the first things I notice is a lovely fresh spring flowers taste. Floral auroma is expected from Darjeeling, but this one is especially fresh. This is most apparent in the first brewing and less noticeable on subsequent infusions.

The second brewing allows some rich maple flavor to come through. I also notice a good bit of tannin in this tea. This gives an astringent quality that some might not like. I’d describe Kusmi Noº 37 as a fairly brisk tea. This can be mitigated by using water that has cooled for a couple minutes after boiling. I’m still experimenting with ideal brewing temperature. I think 3-4 minutes at 180º is correct for the first infusion. I can get a 2nd and 3rd cup, adding an extra minute each time.

I definitely enjoy this tea and would keep it as my every-day Darjeeling if it were a little less expensive.

Flavors: Flowers, Fruit Tree Flowers, Honey, Maple, Muscatel, Sweet, warm grass, Tannin

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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90

Whoa, this is a surprisingly decent Thai Oolong tea for the price.

I picked up a box of 20 individually wrapped tea bags for $1.89, on sale at 99 Ranch Market. In the past, when I’ve purchased tea for this cheap, it’s been pretty awful, but I’m so glad I tried again. This tea is totally decent! For the super cheap price, I’d even say it’s excellent.

I poured the contents of two tea-bags into my strainer basket, and brewed a delicious cup, followed by 2 re-steeps.

The flavor is similar to much more expensive Thai oolong teas I’ve recently enjoyed from Steepster Select, although maybe not quite as complex. I enjoy the mineral, floral, and grassy notes, as well as the natural sweetness I expect from Oolong teas from Thailand.

The tea has a few stems, but is mostly tightly rolled leaves. During the second brewing, the whole tea leaves unfurled beautifully.

I’m going back to 99 Ranch to buy another box (or 3) of this awesome deal.

Flavors: Dry Grass, Flowers, Grass, Hay, Mineral

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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90
drank Laos Black #05 by Steepster
21 tasting notes

This is a superb black breakfast tea, not too bitter, gentle tannins, and great body. I could easily see keeping this as my new standard breakfast blend.

Tooch summed it up very well: A very warm and cozy tea, like a fuzzy blanket or a hug in a cup.

Flavors: Honey, Malt, Roasted Barley

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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90
drank Laos Black #05 by Steepster
21 tasting notes

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90
drank Hunan Dark Tea by Tea Source
21 tasting notes

This is the first high-quality pu-erh I’ve tried and it’s unlike all that came before it.

It doesn’t brew nearly as dark or pungent as the previous ones I’ve tasted.

The first sip tastes of malt, maple syrup, and vanilla. Further tasting reveals peaty, mossy, and earthy flavors.

Overall, this tea is quite enjoyable.

Something about this tea reminds me of going to Dickens Fair at Christmas time. I can’t quite place it, it’s not cinnamon or cardamom, nor douglas fir trees. It has a holiday spice quality that I really like but can’t name. Roasted butternut squash with brown sugar maybe?

Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Earth, Malt, Molasses, Peat Moss, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

Oh wow. I mean…WOW.

This is the first tea I tried from the March Steepster Select shipment and I’m blown away. During the first steeping, the large whole leaves unfurled beautifully and danced in my mug.

The flavor is of a very high quality mountain oolong tea, with notes of vanilla, honey, and flower blossoms.

As promised, I was able to get 4 flavorful steepings out of just one little packet.

I’ll be ordering more of this tea for sure.

Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Vanilla

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML

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100

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Bio

I’ve been a lover of tea for as long as I can remember. A hot cup of Bigelow Constant Comment will bring back a flood of memories of working at a summer camp outside Yosemite when I was 18. When I’m sick with a cold there’s nothing that helps more than Celestial Seasoning’s Lemon Zinger with a heaping spoonful of honey.

Now that I’m older I’ve learned to appreciate delicate and complex oolong and green teas. Right now I’m discovering I really like teas from Thailand. (Going beyond Thai Iced Tea, which I’ve always loved).

Location

San Francisco Bay Area

Website

http://about.me/callipgyain

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