Camellia Sinensis

Recent Tasting Notes

This came along as a sample with my order (Darjeeling 2013 sample packs).

I didn’t expect much from it, but it has a lovely warm fuzzy peach flavour to it. Overall, it has a lovely soft Darjeeling characteristic, with a smooth, creamy body.

Steep parameters:
250ml mug, 1 teaspoon

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Flavourful, sweet, woodsy and creamy. Not to overpowering or bitter either.

I found that with a bit too much time or leaves it’s too bold, but it’s really wonderful when I get it just right. Comparing this to the Thurbo Dj-19 I just had from CS, it’s a stronger flavour but still overall a balanced tea.

Steep parameters:
250 ml mug, 1 teaspoon

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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This was really smooth and not sharp/bitter at all. Along with the typical notes I expect (woodsy, peppery), I never felt like the flavours overpowered my taste buds.

Overall I enjoyed the tea, but Darjeelings are not something I usually purchase so I’ll reserve rating this for now. But compared to some others I’ve tried, this seemed really subtle and balanced at the same time.

Steep parameters:
250ml mug, 1 teaspoon

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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Received my package this morning containing the pu-erh and Okakura Kakuzō book of tea which was a good thing with a temp of -42 Celsius with the wind a tea and a book was in order to unfreeze me.

Don’t know much ( for not saying nothing at all ) about Pu-erh but for some reason i keep getting the impulsion to try them. Did choose that one totally randomly liked the name or the picture i don’t really remember. Always found that most Pu’erh smell like stable but not in a bad way a aroma more like horse and fesh hay ( maybe i’m just weird ).

no instruction was giving to make it gongfu style so i kinda have to improvised on that one but that part of the fun of tea to try new thing to taste it.

I did the first steep 15 second that was noway enough time the tea as a beautiful color but nearly no taste

Second steep was 30 second the tea is way more dark now nearly as dark as coffee little earthly taste with lot of astringency ( but really a lot )

try the third at 30 second also the taste and the felling was much like the second steep

since they suggest 4-5 minute steep in a western steeping style ( that the way i will do it next time ) i did the last steep at 45 second no more astringency this time but still just a hint of earthly taste i may did something wrong i will make my next tasting according to the instruction they give to me to compare the taste of the two method but for now my head is way to light to read my book or drink more tea

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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A friend ordered several ceramic storage vessels and two yixing (one of which was the one she gave to me) from Camellia Sinensis and they included a sample of this tea with her order.

I am out of practice with Chinese green teas…

The cup was pale yellow and had a gentle roasted note amongst all the fresh, green flavors. None of the deep, bass note green flavors one finds in a shaded tea or a dragon well, but gentle, sunny meadow flavors.

It is, I think, sadly, the wrong time of year, even in Houston, for this kind of cup. I could see this being a fantastic way to wake up in Spring, however, which is when this tea is first harvested.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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I am working my way through this leaf much faster than I intended, but I am enjoying it so much I simply cannot help but keep drinking it.

If I have any complaint it is that it gives up far too few steeps. Despite my yixing’s young age, with each day’s use my other teas provide more and more steeps with each round, and yet this leaf still struggles to make a full ten — let alone reach for fifteen or more as great pu-erh often does.

I can’t help but wonder if such old leaf requires an old yixing to support it.

I suspect I need to content myself with younger leaf until my pot has become venerable enough to be worthy of such a tea as this.

At least it will be easier on the wallet in the meantime…

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Steven

I think I’ll try this one next time. Lukily, they have a shop close to where I live. I’m enjoying the 2006 Macau Scenery (also a shou) I bought a couple of weeks ago, but I’m eager to try an older shou.

Jim Marks

Will you be reviewing the ’06 Macau? I need to find a variety of affordable shu to keep seasoning this pot.

Steven

I will write a review this weekend.

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I had a full session of steepings with this tea yesterday, and I’m beginning another of them now.

The sweet, chocolate of the dry leaf is a shock and pleasant surprise every time I open the tin.

Even more surprising is how this sweet leaf instantly transforms into a musty, loamy, verdant forest floor as soon as it hydrates. My yixing right now smells like Dogtown Wood (outside Gloucester) Massachusetts in early November.

No surprise then that the cup itself mystically fuses the two. Porcini ravioli followed by cannoli with chocolate shavings. A walk through wet Autumnal leaves with a mug of cocoa. Debussy on a cloudy day.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Bonnie

Hi Jim, hope you are well.

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I feel like I have finally made it “to the big time”. I’m drinking 20 year aged shu from a proper yixing.

The dry leaf smells of cocoa and applewood smoke and old leather.

The wet leaf smells of cavern water.

The liqueur is a roller coaster ride of sweetness, camphor, cave walls and bonfire. The mouthfeel is relentless and lingers for minutes after each sip.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
TeaEqualsBliss

Excellent & Descriptive Review!!!! LOVE IT :)

ashmanra

I’m JELLY! :) Sounds like a blast!

Jim Marks

The second steep has calmed a bit. Deep, and thick, musty and sweet.

God I love shu pu-erh…

Bonnie

Me too!

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Wow.

The dry leaf here smells of cherries and chocolate (not cacao or cocoa, but chocolate).

The wet leaf smells of roasted potato skins and corn husks.

The cup is… thick and buttery with flavors of flan and oak.

The more of these teas I drink, the less I want to drink anything else.

(Gaiwan to gaiwan technique, generous leaf, instantaneous steep times)

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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After many steepings, the granite and aged protein give way to… not a sweetness, but something more gentle. The dust and stones are shaken off and the full, bright, soft color of the big, red robe shines through.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Second steeping: This one’s a bit thin on flavor, probably because the leaf got cold while I was having my Mini serviced and throwing 21 links of disc golf. And yet, the mouth feel is enormous.

Third steeping: This is more like it. Deep umber color. In a funny way, this is (perhaps not unexpectedly) the exact opposite of the pre-chingming da hong pao I was getting from Upton just a few months ago. That was light and floral, this is dark and earthy. Quite literally. This tastes like wet granite and venison hard tack.

This is a cold weather tea. By which I don’t mean Winter in Houston. Perhaps I will pack this into an unlaquered bamboo canister for more aging and save it either to gift to a Northern friend or for the next time I visit my parents.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Aged da hong pao?!?!

Had to try this.

The dry leaf smells like dehydrated apples.

The wet leaf is all wuyi oolong roasted notes.

(Steeping notes: gaiwan to gaiwan instantaneous steepings, generous leaf, off the boil water.)

First steep: I just woke up, and have to rush out the door, but couldn’t wait any longer, after staring at this box all yesterday afternoon (but having already begun that session with the last of the quhao which lasted all day). I confess I can’t actually taste much of anything at the moment. But that’s my body, not this tea. So I’ll edit this note with later steepings… later. For now I can say that this is not simply da hong pao. There’s a bitterness, a dryness, a mineral quality you don’t find in this season’s leaf.

More later when my mouth and sinuses are awake.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Bonnie

waiting…

Jim Marks

Second note made.

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drank Wu He by Camellia Sinensis
318 tasting notes

This is my first chance to drink a green tea from Taiwan. On top of that, I do not have a lot of experience with green teas. So I won’t know how this stands up against other great green teas.
Anyway ,onto the tasting notes:

First through third steeps had a very consistent flavour. It was a light, smooth and velvety, sweet, buttery, floral, and vegetal.
What caught my attention the most were the sweet and velvety characteristics. And the floral aroma helps bring it all together nicely. It wasn’t just a satisfying cup, it was an interesting experience in each sip.

Overall, not a favorite but it didn’t disappoint me. I still prefer drinking oolong from Taiwan, but I wouldn’t mind trying more green tea from Taiwan in the future.

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drank Tuyet San by Camellia Sinensis
318 tasting notes

I wasn’t sure at first whether to buy this or not, but when I showed the photo to my husband he insisted that we get it. Now onto our initial tasting notes;

First steep: light, straw or hay flavour with a nice grainy texture and hint of sweetness.

Second steep: sweeter, has a fuzzy buds texture. (if you know what I mean)

Third steep: bolder, more vegetal and reminds me of green tea a bit more now.

Overall from my initial steeping of this tea, I like it. It is a very new type of experience for me. Not a fav but still enjoyable.

100ml gaiwan, 2tsp, 3 steeps (40s, 50s, 1m)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C
CHAroma

The leaves kind of look like smushed cigarettes.

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drank Si Ji Chun by Camellia Sinensis
145 tasting notes

First time trying this tea! I’m brewing it in the gaiwan.

1st steep – Jasmine aroma with a background resembling a milk oolong. Beautiful light, sweet floral taste. There seems to be the beginnings of a richer taste floating around in the background. A smooth and silky feel. I was having kind of a bad day but this just makes me happy with everything. :)
2 – Pretty jasmine-y up front, with an interesting sweet background. Maybe caramel-y? I’m still pretty bad at identifying flavours __ There’s some nutmeg taste going on too.
3 – Still floral but slightly greener. As it cools I get a distinct vanilla aftertaste. Mmmmm
4 – Quite nutty, the floral taste is still there though. Slightly caramel-y too. This steep was a little light so I’ll give it a few more seconds for the next one.
5 – Very sweet! Kind of toasty now.
6 – Light and very slightly grassy. This steep makes me think of a big meadow on a clear sunny day.
7 – Sweet and caramel-y. Sooo goood. One of the best steeps yet.
8 – A rich green taste with a natural sweetness.
9 – Intense sugary sweet taste up front, with the leafy green in the background. Yum.
10 – I did the thing where you flip the gaiwan over so the leaves are balanced on the lid, then put them back in with the bottom ones on top. Actually they ended up going back in kind of sideways… I’m still not very good at this whole gaiwan thing. I’m not sure if it made much difference, this steep tastes similar to 9 but less sweet.
11 – Ah, there’s the sweetness again. Light and sweet like nectar.

Overall I really enjoyed this oolong. It made my day a lot better!

Bonnie

Good job. This sounds so complex and interesting!

Uniquity

I have never done the flip thing you described in 10 – did it help? Very cool!

Erin

I think it did help to refresh it a little bit, but it would have been better to do it earlier on.

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drank Si Ji Chun by Camellia Sinensis
1766 tasting notes

Bit of a dinner disaster. The experimental chicken satay was pretty tasty (bottled sauce so I couldn’t ruin it) but the gluey rice noodle mess I ended up with was nothing like the light and tasty noodly-salad thing they serve with satay at the mom-and-pop Thai restaurant we like.

Pawed through my oolong basket (I try to sort by category) and found a bit of a sample left and decided some really fine tea would be balm to my wounded wannabe chef psyche.

This is, indeed, one of those fine oolongs that starts florally and ends caramelly. Good as dessert. Enjoying it and watching two Alfreds play in my backyard. All live bunnies at our house are named Alfred. The zombie bunny is just Anonymous.

Hesper June

This sounds like a yummy Oolong and a very nice tea to end the evening with.
I am so sorry, maybe this is just because we are recent tea buddies, but, um….Zombie Bunny?

gmathis

LONG story, HJ, but that refers to an eyeless white concrete bunny lawn ornament that former residents of our house left behind. So wicked looking I’m afraid to get rid of it ;)

Ninavampi

Zombie bunny… hahaha…

Hesper June

Hahaha! Okay,Well, I feel much better.
For a moment I was very afraid for your live bunnies…But it sounds like they are safe:)
(although it does sound like kind of a creepy lawn ornament)

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drank Si Ji Chun by Camellia Sinensis
1766 tasting notes

One of the occupational (recreational?) hazards of being a Steepster junkie is that you read about so many kinds of tea, you’re armed with preconceptions when you try something new.

Had the rare treat of trying this one blind this morning. Never heard of it, never tasted it, got to figure out the flavors from my first taste test. I’m still figuring. We’ve got a floral thing happening—that was when it was fresh and hot. Now it’s about half cool, and there’s brown sugar and caramel. Then I peeked and the description mentions nutmeg … yeah. A lot going on here for oolong-lovers.

This is really too light for a morning tea; fortunately, I am blessed with a rare don’t-gotta-get-up-and-start-running-first-thing morning, so something gentle and tasty is OK. But I do gotta-start-running-soon … three writing deadlines before October 1, which is looking scarily close … so (deep breath) off I go!

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drank Cui Yu by Camellia Sinensis
658 tasting notes

I had really high hopes for this one, after being dragged in by the mention of lilacs (my favourite flower). I enjoyed it but it fell short and I’m not going to rate it till I have another go at it, probably with longer steeping times. It was light and crisp and floral (though I got more lily or orchid or something than lilac) but for some reason I expected more. The tiny, tightly-rolled balls were a pleasure to watch, though. And it did hold up well to several infusions; it wasn’t very flavourful but the flavour was consistent.

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