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Recent Tasting Notes
Dragonwell was one of my favorites in the beginning of my tea adventures, but lately I’ve been craving more savory vegetal greens. I have this dragonwell along with arbor teas less premium variety. I can detect the differences, but neither is particularly ‘better’ to me. I also have one from Adagio that I don’t like so much (it is vaguely reminiscent of cat pee, not kidding). I still like my dragonwells and will keep trying new ones from different sources, but it’s not my favorite green at the moment.
I tried brewing this that past couple of times according to ‘traditional’ methods (using more leaf per oz, 160-150deg water, 90sec) and it seemes to produce a more bitter cup than when I originally brewed it at 175 for 2 min with less leaf. It’s been a while since that first cup, so I am going to have to try again to see if it makes the difference. It’s still really good, even with the bitterness. I like it better than sencha for sure.
EDIT: I just re-steeped the leaves after a few hours. I used 150deg water like the first time (I meant to use hotter, but I let it cool too long). I let the leaves steep for 60 seconds (an arbitrary choice) and the final product was a lot less bitter than the first cup. This is probably the first time that a second steeping has turned out better than the first for me.
I think gyokuro is going to take a lot of experimentation to get it just right all the time. But I look forward to the task :)
I used whistled water, which is why it had a bitter undertone. I forgot which tea I was preparing the water for. I gave a cup to my daughter who was in bed with a sore throat bug. She said it made her throat feel better. I finished off my cup of Chun Mee and, although not prepared correctly, was satisfying just the same.
I haven’t had a lot of black teas. I tried the occasional bagged ‘English Breakfast’ blends before I started buying loose tea, but mostly I drank bagged green teas. I don’t know quite how an Assam is supposed to taste, but based on descriptions I’ve read, I wouldn’t describe this as similar to one. I have Yunnan gold-tip teas from two different sources and I don’t think this tea significantly different in terms of strength and astringency. I’ll have to start expanding my black tea collection in order to make better assessments :)
I’ve had this many times hot, but this is the first time I cold -steeped it. I like it better this way. It cuts down on that menthol-like taste I find in a lot rooibos and brought out the creamier aspect of the tea. Also the blackberry flavor seemed much stronger. I will have to make it again soon .
My sister got a lot of this for me for my birthday in February hoping that it would end my search for the perfect blackberry tea. The tea is good, but the rooibos definitely overpowers the blackberry. I didn’t like this tea at first, but it has grown on me. It tastes much better sweetened with honey and I have to be careful not to steep it for too long or else it just tastes too muddy. If steeped for just a couple of minutes, it tastes rich and smooth with just a light, fruity undertone. I’ll often drink it with breakfast or a meal, but not on its own as the main attraction.
This tea appears to be a very high quality Gyokuro. Color is deep green, leaves are mostly full, flattened needles, there is some breakage, but that is no doubt due to the extremely fragile almost crystalline nature of the gyokuro needles, and not an actual knock on the quality of the tea itself. The color of the brew is spot on classic gyokuro, just a beautiful light green, almost highlighter green, its quite amazing.
Flavors on this are as follows:
Uni (sea urchin)
Thick mouth feel with lingering subtle sweetness.
I found this tea to be quite enjoyable. It does tend to have a shellfish (or as many other describe, seaweed) flavor profile that is very prevalent in the first brew, but mellows out later. Personally I like it quite a bit and tend to handle these types of flavors like a boss, but I could see how it might not suite some folks. The likening to the taste of uni is quite remarkable, owing no doubt to the high theanine content – a mark of a high quality and properly grown gyokuro. There is almost no astringency at all, especially brewed at low temperatures.
Brew this one low low temperature, close to body temperature for 90-120 seconds and you will be amazed at how well it turns out. Good for about 3 steeps before it starts to lose the the magic.
Unfortunately, they went and changed the cinnamon formula and added cloves. NO one as far as I can find just does a straight black cinnamon tea…everyone always has to do the same boring and horrible tasting (in my opinion) mix of cloves, cardamon, ginger etc. Hopefully they will change this formula back or at least offer two kinds.
I’m trying to drink this one more often to finish the bag. I went and got 2oz of it originally, when I thought it would be one of my faves. It really isn’t bad, but i’ve been too spoiled with options since I bought this one and it’s hard not to be picky.
I didn’t think much of it before, but this dragonwell has a lot of twigs in the mix, maybe that is what is taking from its potentially more vegetal flavor? It’s very mildly smoky, I think.
3.5g/12oz water 1.5min@170deg
I tried different brewing parameters this time. Trying to get it just right! I used 3 grams for 16oz of water and steeped for 1.5min at 175. It was a pretty decent cup. I haven’t been careful about introducing the water slowly at the edge before pouring directly on the leaves. I wonder how much difference that even makes. I’ll have to try it next time.
After sampling so many different types of tea and then returning to this, one of my originals, I find that it is not as good as I remember. It has a hint of that dirty/muddy flat taste that I associated with my Sencha for a while (until I figured out how to brew it correctly!). But I prepared this the same as I always have, so I dunno why it seems different now.
Much different that Japan’s staple green tea. Dragonwell is a lot less grassy. It is somewhat nutty and reminds me vaguely of the tea I remember having in Chinese restaurants (though I’ve heard that they usually serve oolongs or jasmine, none that I went to ever served a tea that tasted like oolong or even the least bit floral).
This tea makes me happy. If I ever can’t get this tea anymore, I would be very very sad. It’s one of my comfort teas. I can’t explain exactly why, it just is. I love the way it looks, with the little twigs mixed in and it tastes so yummy. That is all. Now Im going to go enjoy my tea in a comfortable location. Bye now :)
I don’t know what it is, but ever since summer break started for me, I feel like there is less time in the day than before, and I don’t even have homework to do! I can rarely brew tea and actually sit down with it. I am up and down doing house chores or tending the dogs and cats or running errands. I think chores are inventing themselves now that I have time for them.
I brewed a cup of this yummy kukicha, determined to force a proper break on myself. My husband watched Top Gear during his lunch break and I left the television on after he left and I went to the grocery store. When I came back, I brewed this tea and sat down on the couch, planning to change the channel at first. But I was curious about what was already on. It was Dr. Who!
I commented somewhere recently (somewhere on Shmiracles log I think) that I am not a Dr. Who fan as it seems so many steepsterites are. There was some strange show on the TV a few years ago and after watching it for 5 or 10 minutes, I asked my husband what it was and he said that it was Dr. Who. He also said that he wasn’t a big fan of the series (I think he refers to the older/original shows that his mother liked to watch). I don’t know exactly what episode was playing, but I think it might have been part of the 1996 movie. Whatever it was seemed creepy weird in an x-files sort of way (and I am not a fan of that type of sci fi). Since my husband didn’t have a a gloating recommendation for it, I never considered watching any more and wrote it off as an “other people” show.
Thanks to leaving the TV on after my husbands guy-tv lunch break, I discovered that I might actually enjoy Dr. Who. I added the 2005+ series to my Netflix cue and had time to watch half of the first episode before my break had to be cut short for more chores. Stupid chores! and stupid OCD that wont let me leave them be!
But lovely tea. I will always remember Kukicha now as my Dr. Who tea (^^) and now I wonder if I should watch some of the older shows too…
One of my 3 most favorite teas. It’s not grassy like Sencha or gyokuru and not too fruity or citrusy like some other green teas. It has a buttery mild vegetal flavor that blends well with a variety of tea snacks or even a meal. A lot of teas I prefer to drink solo because other foods distract from the flavor. Not so with the Kukicha.
Amount: 2 tsp
Water: 500ml at 195°F
Tool: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL
Steep Time: a little over 2 minutes
Dry Leaf Smell: vegetal
Steeped Tea Smell: lightly vegetal, sweet
Liquor: translucent green-yellow
smooth but not silky. Good, but not exceptional.
500ml at 195°F for 3 minutes
still smooth and delicious
Rating: 3/4 leaves
Amount: 2 tsp
Water: 500ml at 212°F
Tool: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL
Steep Time: 1 minute
Dry Leaf Smell: earthy
Steeped Tea Smell: fall leaves, dirt
Flavor: earthy yet smooth
Liquor: translucent dark red-brown
500ml at 212°F for 1 minute 30 seconds
Exactly the same as the first steep
500ml at 212°F for 2 minutes
Exactly the same as the first steep
This tea could have kept going, but the work day was over
Rating: 3/4 leaves
After Steepster’s twitter posted a story about the sweetened spearmint tea that is a staple of meetings all over Morocco I just had to get my hands on a good Moroccan mint tea to try out.
I knew what I really wanted to do was make some iced sweet-tea with this, but the night I got home to this delivery I just couldn’t wait that long for the tea to cool and made myself a warm unsweetened cup to start. As soon as I opened the bag I knew I was in for a treat – the sweet smell of spearmint filled the air. The tea even looks beautiful with those perfect balls of gunpowder green tea swimming in a sea of dried spearmint.
I don’t actually like the smell of steeping spearmint all that much, but the balance of the spearmint and green tea brewing in this cup are very pleasant. The gunpowder green brings the spearmint smell back down to earth. The taste is much the same. The spearmint is the real star of this tea — it stands at the forefront of the flavor and draws you in. However, it’s impeccably balanced with the green. There’s just enough green tea to sit at the end of every sip and delicately mellow that spearmint flavor. What a calming warm brew.
But now for what I really came for — Moroccan Mint sweet tea. This does not disappoint. With some time to cool and a dash of sugar this calming warm brew turns into an incredibly refreshing sweet tea. It’s still a cold, rainy 45 degrees here in Seattle, but I can’t help but reach for a cold glass of this tea. By my third pitcher I decided to make it double-strong so I’d only have to brew half as often. I’m so glad I ordered the 10oz bag, because when those warm days come I will be flying through this tea so fast.
I’ve cupped this atleast 6 more times since my first tasting note on it and I’ve noticed a few things about it. The main thing of note is that to my tongue it is best drank at warm or lesser temperatures. I made the mistake of drinking it when it was still quite hot and the taste was really flat. None of the sweetness and smooth finish I noticed in my original tasting, just smokey and astringent. I swore I had brewed it wrong, but I tasted it again when it had cooled and the taste was what I remembered. I now never drink it before I’ve let it cool 15 minutes.
The second thing is that this tea stands up great to multiple steepings. I’ve only done a second so far, but the tea was just as bold (and I had brewed it for the same 4 minutes I normally do) so I’m sure it could at least stand up to three infusions.