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Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

Recent Tasting Notes

35

Yesterday was Mothers Day. My daughter Annalisa and I usually take off for the day together…all…alone… without her 7 children and we play!
She had planned for us to see the new movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” with Judie Dench (first 2 showings were sold out), and I picked the Dushanbe Tea House for lunch in Boulder since she had never been there before.

(Google this tea house. It is hand painted and assembled without using nails and a gift from Tajikistan to Boulder (sister city).) The icon left is a picture I took of the ceiling.

We had a great seat at the tea bar and the wait staff were very attentive. I asked about the best Puer’s and this Black River was suggested. The waiter brought me the 3lb. foil pouch to sniff the Puer but alas, his hands were covered in lime juice and that’s all I could smell. He placed some dry Puer in a cup (without my asking) and still the odor from the kitchen and bar were too strong. I decided to try the tea at any rate.

My pairing (and my daughters) was a delicious and light focaccia fench toast.
A western style teapot was set before me with a 3 minute timer, teacup and small bowl for my steeper basket. The wet leaves were huge and darkest brown almost filling the basket. They smelled like leather and beets but, it was not a very good smell.

I tasted the tea and wished I could have had a glass cup to look at the liquor because it tasted like dust. Not dirt, but like it was dusty. Instead of the earthy or musty Puer flavor, there was a dusty bad taste of bad beets that I did not like at all. It was so rancid tasting that I could not drink the tea. Not wanting to make a scene on Mothers Day, out with my daughter, I waited until the end of the meal and asked if the Puer had been rinsed. The staff had no idea and said not all of the Puer’s are rinsed first. Oh. This is what I suspected. That and the fact that this was at the bottom of a 3lb. foil bag. If waiters with lime hands are just grabbing instead of pouring or using tongs, other flavors are getting on the Puer.
I have a sensitive nose and taste buds. Blech to this Puer! It was one of the worse I’ve ever had!

On the other hand, the service at the Dushanbe is the BEST! The waiter had me fill out a card so that the service on the Puer could improve. That is promising.

And the movie was so much fun. I think I’m Judie Dench in India! What a hoot! I hope you all had a wonderful day with mom’s or being mom’s.

Something Personal and goopy…about Mother’s Day…Warning!
Every year I get very depressed at not being a better mother to my two children. For many years I was a single mom. I wanted so much more for them and I should have been a wiser mother in many instances. Every year, I hide away and don’t want to see anyone on Mothers Day. I cry.
And then, my daughter posted a beautiful love note to me on Facebook that broke me down yesterday morning and my son called with love and I had to take it all in.
Love your mama’s… we are more fragile than we let on sometimes!

TeaBrat

ew. sorry about the icky pu-erh!

Erin

That sucks about the puerh, but glad that you had a good mothers day! <3

Indigobloom

Dusty tea! eeek! I wonder if they rinsed…

Bonnie

Don’t think so….that’s what I asked them too!

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74

I had this tea during my second visit to the Boulder Dushanbe Tea House. I asked the bartender to see the leaves before I committed to drinking the tea. They looked like a good quality dragonwell tea: flat, pressed leaves and buds in the shape of bookmarks, with a slightly yellowish hew to the dominating green color.

The bartender obliged to serve me the tea with the leaves floating loosely in a tall, clear wine glass. This is my favorite way to drink a good quality tea. Of course, since this tea is part of their prized “Phoenix Collection,” I assumed that this tea was of good quality. As I let the tea steep, I noticed a fair number of broken leaves, but a good number of whole leaves graced the cup as well. I took my first sip. It was delightfully sweet, reminiscent of honeydew melon with undertones of roasted chestnut.

As with all good quality green teas, I let this tea sit in its brew for the duration of the time it took me to drink it. To my delight, there was only the slightest hint of bitterness. With the number of broken leaves, I expected it to get a bit more astringent. Of course, the flavor got stronger, and it began to remind me of roasted chicken with sage. Upon finishing the first steep, I realized that I had a pleasant tea drunk, which is something that I only get with good quality tea.

The second steeping looked cloudy. Could this be indicative of poor processing, handling, or transport? I’ll have to look into it. The taste was still yielding notes of roasted herb chicken. The third steeping tasted like seaweed salad, a very pleasant surprise!

Finally, after finishing my third cup, I looked at the wet leaves. I ignored the broken and focused on the whole leaves. They revealed a plucking standard of one bud to two tender leaves, which is typical of a dragonwell style tea.

Overall, this is a great tea. It hardly gets bitter, and can last for several steepings. It can easily be appreciated by the connoisseur and the beginner alike.

Bonnie

You had me on the edge of my seat….will he like it…won’t he like it…he likes it!
I want to have some faith in our local tea houses! Surely the only way to enjoy a great cup of tea can’t be to prepare it oneself. I love the atmosphere of the Dushanbe with the painted walls and ceiling, the fountain. I drink tea alone 99.9% of the time and enjoy my Boulder tea outings. The Ku Cha looks beautiful also. I hope you review a tea there at some time.

chadao

Thanks for your compliments, Bonnie. I agree, the Dushanbe Tea house creates an amazingly authentic and elegant feel for its guests. I actually just reviewed a tea from Ku Cha, five minutes ago!

Bonnie

I think I was writing notes on my Kindle when you were reviewing Ku Cha…so glad to read both reviews!

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34

This green tea is part of the tea houses exclusive “Phoenix Collection,” a variety of their most exclusive and rarest teas. Of course, a tea that is marketed as such a fine product should be judged accordingly. Thus, the leaves should be whole, the taste should never go bitter, and it should have a quality of aroma and taste that sets it apart from the so-called everyday green tea.

Unfortunately, this tea did not hit any of those marks. I decided to take this tea with the loose leaves in a tall, clear glass, just like I do with every supposedly good green tea that I tried. After watching the leaves steep, I noticed that there were only about 35% whole leaves in the brew. This was not boding well for its supposed quality. The first taste was very pleasant, nutty and sweet, but not quite outstanding enough to set it apart from other, cheaper, whole leaf green teas that I have tried. After I let the brew sit for a while, it became increasingly bitter, almost to the point where it was not drinkable. I decided to go for a second steeping, and this was better, but there was only about half the flavor of the first brew. For those reading this who don’t know about good quality green teas: they should be able to yield at least three full-flavor steepings, even if they’ve been sitting in the cup for extended periods of time.

I’m sorry that I have to give this tea such a negative review because I do love the Boulder Dushanbe Tea House, and I have thoroughly enjoyed other teas of theirs, but the marketing and the quality do not add up.

Bonnie

I hope you sat at the bar and discussed this with them. I matters. I had a really good experience with the people there. We spent time talking about puer’s.

chadao

I have discussed the better teas with the bartenders, but I did not get a chance to discuss this particular tea at length with them. I will have to do it next time I visit, which should be soon. I will probably try one of their delicious looking aged pu’ers.

Bonnie

Good. Love to try the tea, talk tea, try more tea…great fun!

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90

My experience with the Boulder Dushanbe Tea House has been quite good over the past two weeks. The first time that I came here, I tried this tea. I hoped that it might be served yixing style, or at least in a gaiwan, but the bartender explained that there was not enough interest in that sort of tea experience. Oh well. Sad day for me.

I received a small pot of the competition grade monkey picked and steeped it for the recommended three minutes. The brew was a pale yellow green, with a delicate, yet complex, mushroomy aroma. The first sip sent my heart racing. It was the heaviest bodied tea that I have ever tried, yielding notes of buttered oat bread, roasted vegetables, and a hint of spring fruit flowers. The second steeping was by far better. The flavors balanced out even more, and the heaviness let up a bit. As was expected, the third steeping was the best. The floral and fruity notes were the star of this brew, but the umami flavors were still present. There was no hint of bitterness throughout this tea experience. My only complaint was the brewing method. The little strainer in the pot did not allow the leaves to open up properly. I am afraid that this might have robbed me of the fullest flavor. Because of this, I have taken home an ounce of this tea to brew in my 5oz yixing pot. I will add more notes as soon as I do this.

Bonnie

Oh mystery person is a neighbor! Have you been to Ku Cha in Boulder? They serve tea where you sit on cushions and they have tea classes …so does Tea Spot. A 1 hr.Oolong class from a certain area is $15.00 which is not bad!

teaenvy

waving from westminster…hi hi. thanks for the tip about ku cha. my teen son enjoys tea. iits a struggle to find things we bith enjoy doing. a tea class might be just the thing. :-)

chadao

Hi Bonnie, yes Ku Cha is my favorite tea shop in Colorado. I love their gongfu service. Do you know about gongfu cha? It is a highly ritualistic way of doing tea that allows the drinkers to appreciate every aspect of the tea on a more present level. I think you might enjoy it.

Hi, teaenvy. The tea classes are very helpful and entertaining for a tea lover. It would definitely be a great bonding experience for you and your son. I’ll keep checking with them and let them know when the next tea class is.

Bonnie

I received some info about the Tea Spot having tastings. The online info about Ku Cha classes is outdated so I suppose you have to call. I don’t have anyone to drink tea with very often but now and then I take tea samples to one of the guys at Happy Luckys in town. Got Andy there interested in Verdant. At least my local tea shop donates part of business proceeds to stop human trafficing and child labor and creates all their own blends of tea.

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80

Beautiful Spring Day in Boulder and my granddaughter Schey and I traveled 1 hour from Fort Collins to drink tea at the Dushanbe Teahouse. http://www.boulderteahouse.com/
The teahouse is beautiful…the interior carved and painted, made without power tools by hand in Tajikistan as a gift to Boulder. So amazing. We arrived, went past the fountain and up to the bar because lunch was over and it was time for tea. I asked for the tea menu and decided to try one of the Puerh selections I was not familiar with since I love to try a new tea. The tea bartender was well informed and brought out my selection the Bamboo Fragrance Puerh. I smelled the scent in the bamboo…nice and clean. Yes, that’s what I wanted. While waiting I found out that their tea comes from exact locations and specific farms, which I appreciate. Finally after a 3 minute wait the generous basket of Puerh was finished steeping and removed, poured into my cup and I began tasting (big pot of Puerh!). Very pale yellow. Lightly fragrant in a hay, straw, bamboo sweet way but very light. Some tannin. No earthiness like every other Puerh I’ve had (kinda missed that aspect). I found that this is very mild and light which was nice with the warm weather. Kept sipping and pouring until finally…things got a bit cool. This is where it all changed…cool…was not too good. The bitterness and tannin came out as the Puerh became a puddle. Sorry to say that I was not expecting this and hoped it would be a nice Puerh to ice in the Summer…but not so fast! This Puerh will have to stay warmed up. I still prefer my hefty and hardy dark Puerh’s but for all those who can’t stand the earthiness then this is where they might just find comfort and jump in and try again. Thanks to the fantastic staff at Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse for a fantastic afternoon teatime!

Scatterbrain

Sounds like a really cool place, there’s nothing like that around me. Not much tea culture around here unfortunately.

Bonnie

Boulder has a Tea Festival July 28-29 which has classes and speakers etc. I can’t wait to go. I went into another place that has tea classes and Chinese style floor seating and tea ceremony service that was beautiful today also. I’m amazed at what is close by and how little is being written about it locally. We’re a bit low key I think.

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100

best white tea ever. this silver needle is just the right balance of sweet, floral, and bitter. prefer to steep for a shorter period and brew the leaves more times.

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68

I recently enjoyed afternoon tea with two out of town visitors at Boulder’s Dushanbe Teahouse. This was one of the selections for tea at the table. It is one of the five suggested teas to pair with the afternoon tea fare. I agree.

This was taken with milk and the floral flavors were still stunning. The Earl Grey bergamot comes through the floral flavors clearly. The black tea was harder to identify clearly, but present. The flowers were strong. The description claims jasmine, lavender, and rose. I could identify them all, with the rose and lavender coming out first, sharpest, and most aromatic. The aroma over the cup had bergamot first followed by the floral bouquet.

We picked through the leaves in the strainer (poor form for afternoon tea, I know) out of curiosity. I was surprised that the lavender buds still smelled so strongly of lavender after steeping. There was also what appeared to be a chrysanthemum flower in the top of the steeped leaves. Was this for show?

I plan to buy a tin of this (and another for my Mom) next time I visit this tea house.

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73

I enjoyed this tea at Boulder’s Dushanbe Tea House. I had afternoon tea with two visitors to town who I knew would enjoy the experience. Our table had white linens, a vase of fresh flowers, an assortment of scones (with clotted cream and lemon curd), cucumber sandwiches, and small cakes. We each picked a tea for our individual, small teapots. I chose this one.

It doesn’t appear on their web page’s tea list but was offered on the menu in the tea house.

When the server brought the tea, she noted that she had washed the oolong leaves with a few seconds long steep before putting in the less than boiling water. Appreciated!

Forest green leaves partially unfurled and gave a small pot of yellow brown liquor. This had a moderate oolong aroma. The flavors were delicate, with some light citrus rind and evergreen notes. I didn’t find much smoky flavor. The largest note was some vegetal green tea type flavor. Astringency and bitterness were absent.

This tea was excellent, but maybe too delicate to have with the scones and cakes.

I asked for and received another pot of hot water for a second steep. The second was better. All the flavors were more well-defined. The citrus rind and green tea flavors were stronger and some smokey notes came in. This had a touch of astringency that was absent before. Still, it was quite smooth.

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84

This is a pretty good silver needle, VERY fuzzy which when steeped I felt like I was drinking a velvety tea which was cool! It was light a grassy with a subtle sweetness to it… very relaxing! Yummm.

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100

One of my all time favorite teas! Very bold in flavor so a short steep time is recommended.

Preparation
1 min, 0 sec

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