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Recent Tasting Notes
I made a smoothie, and I just grabbed this Matcha to add to it because it was nearby. Normally, I prefer to drink this matcha straight (no smoothie) because it is SO good on it’s own that it doesn’t need all the fruit flavor … but, I wanted a smoothie, and I like to add Matcha to my smoothies, and this is what I grabbed… fortunately I still have enough of this for at least a couple of bowls of Matcha.
This smoothie is so good and refreshing. I used some greek yogurt, frozen strawberries, bananas, juice from an orange, and a couple of ice cubes along with the Matcha … it is so yummy. I taste the banana first, then the sweetness of the strawberry comes through along with a hint of vegetation from the Matcha. The ice cubes gave it a cool sensation which is absolutely necessary as it is another scorching hot day. I notice that this tastes less creamy than the smoothies I made last week with the vanilla cloud matcha … the vanilla really made a difference. Not saying that I like one better than the other though, because they are both really awesome.
This is perfect.
My absolute favorite chai to date. If there’s one spice that will make me feel favorably disposed to a tea blend, it’s cardamom, and this chai more than any other I’ve tried provides cardamom in abundance. It smells and tastes warm and rich; it’s bracing and spicy. I first found this chai at the beginning of February in my freshman year at college. I brewed up pots of it on Friday nights to get me through dismal weekends of snow and studying. I was devastated when I finally ran out, and now ration it out to myself much more carefully.
I advise chai-lovers, however, not to even bother making this tea by the cupful. This chai begs for a long, long infusion: it’s best when boiled in a pot on the stovetop with plenty of milk and then sweetened to taste. Make it in large quantities. For every cup of liquid in the pot, add a heaping spoonful of tea—plus one extra for good measure—and simmer it for a good five minutes for every cup added. And at least half the liquid used should be milk of some kind. It has to be watched carefully to keep from boiling over, and it’ll form a bit of a skin if left undisturbed, but the result is well worth the time. Shared between myself and one or two friends, a six-cup batch can easily be gone within a couple of hours. Nothing is better when you’re cold and tired.
Here is a short back story on my decision to purchase this tea. Last year when I was trying a bunch of black teas from Camellia Sinensis (my first year purchasing from them too), I was pretty overwhelmed by all of the options. Not knowing which teas would sell first, I didn’t prioritize buying this one. And well, as you can tell by where this story is going, it sold out! Fast forward to this year, I saw Mei Zhan Zhen was back in stock and immediately purchased it. (Now that a month or two has passed, this tea is once again unavailable.)
Onto my tasting notes:
Dry leaves have a strong sweet and floral fragrance. It also makes me think of marzipan or cinnamon rolls.
First steep: As expected, it does taste very floral, but still in an amount I can tolerate. Sipping some more, there is a very enjoyable mix of aromas: spices, floral, pastry, earthy black tea flavour. The tea body isn’t heavy, but I wouldn’t say that it is too light.
Second steep: I like how the flavours continue to build up, but none of the many flavours screams out at you. The more I sip, the more some other type of aroma comes out (reminds me of pine trees or something).
Third steep: Still maintaining a consistent flavour, not weakening yet.
Fourth steep: The liquor has become darker, and the flavour has really exploded too. Both the spices and floral aroma shine in this cup. I like how there is this fuzzy, velvety, and thick texture to the liquor has it goes down.
Fifth steep: Pretty similar to the fourth steep, maybe a touch more harsh and astringent.
Sixth steep: Tea liquor has weakened a bit, but otherwise the aroma is still powerful.
Seventh through ninth steeps: Floral, spices, and pastry flavours are still noticeable. I stopped on the ninth because I was pretty satisfied and full of too much tea. ;) If my husband were around to help with drinking it, we could probably get a few more steeps out.
I think CS does a good job of not only providing a lot of excellent black teas, but ones that different enough from each other. This is a pricey one, but I’m looking forward to at least buying another 25g next year.
Overall I found it to be a charming black tea. It shares a lot of characteristics I’ve come to seek, but also provides new and unique characteristics that make it memorable. As someone who can be turned off of floral black teas, I think this is a good balance between the very earthy black teas and overly floral ones.
100ml purion teapot, 2 tsp, 9 steeps (30s, +15s each resteep)
Thanks to Dorothy for sending me this Jin Die, I believe my first tea from Camellia Sinesis.
I decided to use my whole sample (about 2 tsp?) in the gaiwan this morning. I love these beautiful hand rolled leaves.
1st steep: 60 seconds. The tea liquor is quite dark, I was surprised. I am picking up lots of interesting flavors here: cinnamon, tobacco, dark chocolate. I’m beginning to wonder if I should have steeped it for slightly less time so…
2nd steep: 30 seconds. Very interesting, I am starting to get some of the tomato-y notes people have described. I think I prefer my black teas to be a bit on the sweeter side if I am going to drink them plain. Perhaps I am weird this morning but it reminds me slightly of an assam.
3rd Steep: 10 seconds. This is my favorite steep so far! I guess this tea was meant to be a very short steeper? I’m picking up on some caramel type notes with a bit of pepper throughout.
Okay, since I’m short on time this morning I think I will resteep this again as a latte – don’t judge me. tee hee!
Thanks for letting me try this one, Dorothy! Very intriguing. I did enjoy it.
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.
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)
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.
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!
I’ve had this tea for a while now, but I never took the time to write about it until now. It’s one of those teas that you can easily lose yourself in.
First steep: Smells sweet, tastes sweet too! The liquor is a touch floral, and sweet; almost like the sweetness of caramel. It has a mouth watering juiciness and flavour that reminds me of fruit.
Second steep: I’m noticing more of the texture the liquor leaves in the back of my mouth. The description mentions marzipan which I think is dead on. I can definitely taste that in the smooth texture and flavour.
Third steep: All of the flavours are coming together nicely. It’s usually at about this point where I lose myself in the flavours and look down to see that my cup is empty. ;)
Fourth steep: This cup really struck me as juicy and sweet, but not too sweet. I really dislike teas that are WAY too sweet, but this one is just right. (If you’re curious, I find Bai Lin black tea and Oriental Beauty oolong too sweet sometimes)
Fifth steep: Liquor is getting a bit less floral and the spices are coming out more.
Sixth steep: Both the tea and I are feeling pretty mellow at this point. I could keep resteeping but I’m pretty satisfied ending here.
One thing I really love about Taiwanese oolong, is that your attention to detail pays off. Relaxing and taking time to enjoy each sip brings out such beautiful flavours. Sometimes when I just want my tea fix, I’ll brew up some cheap black tea western style. But when I have the time for it, I like to reward my senses with tea like this.
Not my favourite oolong from this vendor, but it still exceeded my expectations.
100ml purion teapot, 1 1/2 tsp, 6 steeps (rinse, 45s, 45s, 1m, 1m30s, 2m, 2m30s)
This is a wonderful Oolong. I’m on my fifth and sixth infusions now. It started out quite creamy, almost like coconut, with some vanilla in there too. Hints of orchid in the beginning, but now with these final infusions, I notice the orchid much more and the fruit and creamy tones a little less.
Really nice, quite unexpected, I don’t think I’ve come across an Oolong that tasted naturally of coconut before. I’ve had coconut flavored Oolongs, but nothing quite like this!
This is the second time I’ve had this tea and wow, I have noticed so many changes just in the aroma! The smell is like a raisin or maybe a prune, pungent but still sweet and moist.
The liquor is like a mead color almost. a little more on the orange side but still quite light (and this tea is 25 years old!) The wet leaves amplify the dried fruit aroma and add more honey and nectar notes
The first infusion only has a slight hint of its age. dry but not sticky, still enough moisture to carry the flavors through the palate.
The second Infusion comes alive with strong notes of fruit and sweetness. the leaves expand quite nicely in my aged Yixing pot, this shows the sign of good roasting!
The third infusion brought a more dry, sweetness than previous infusions. I also needed to brew this one a little bit longer so I’m sure that’s why I tasted these notes.
Infusions 4-9 were more or less the same in terms of aroma, flavor and liquor. The age of the tea, that underlying depth and history started to overtake some of the sweeter flavors during these infusions. The color remained an amber/crimson/peach nectar sort of hue.
After another infusion or two, the tea was taking 4plus minutes to really get any flavor out, and while the color remained, the temperature of the tea was luke warm at best by the time it reached its desired flavor.
When I pulled the leaves out of the pot, they were sturdy but pliable. I saved one full leaf for my tea journal.
Backlog from last night.
I loved this tea. Like, a lot. But, reading the description here, and reading other’s reviews, I realize that my cuppa tasted waaaaaay different from the others. I guess this tea was supposed to have chocolate and hazelnut tones, but I didn’t really get that. What I got was really fruity. Like, I swear to god this tasted exactly like blueberries to me, and I asked my mom and she said the same. I don’t know what’s up with that, but I do know that I really liked the blueberry taste. It’s been sealed this whole time (thanks to LiberTEAS for sending this to me) and I’ve kept it away from all flavored teas, so I don’t know why it tasted like blueberries. I guess I kind of got another note, kind of woodsy in a way with a nice depth, but the main taste was fruity.
Weird. I’ll have to try again, maybe my tastebuds were just off!
Still my favourite “cheap” ($5/50g) LS.
Had a good experience short steeping this today, got up to 9 steeps. I was a bit surprised because the tea is comprised of broken leaves and I don’t always get performance out of those. It tasted very smooth, smoky, woody, and buttery throughout all the steeps.
On a final note I’d just like to mention that I usually love LS, so I’m not sure I would recommend this to those that dislike smoky teas. It is definitely not nasty and tarry, but I’ve also tried better (and more expensive) “authentic” LS.
100ml purion teapot, 2 tsp, 9 steeps (3s, +3s resteeps)
edit: if anyone’s curious, the smoky flavour didn’t stay in the purion after a quick rinse for my next tea
I bought this just to see what’s so special about Da Hong Pao. There are a lot of sources for this type of tea, but I chose Camellia Sinensis because they never disappoint me and I like supporting Canadian businesses (plus the tea arrives quickly). Now onto the tasting note:
First steep: Roasted, floral, very smooth, kinda sweet.
Second steep: Sweeter, roasted flavour is nice and not too strong, has a soft floral aroma.
Third steep: More balanced, the liquor leaves a pleasant sweet and roasted flavour at the back of my throat.
Taking a break to sniff the gaiwan, the wet leaves have a very charming scent. I like how the roasted characteristics never become too overpowering.
Fourth steep: Much of the same characteristics are present, still quite smooth/creamy with a soft floral/fruity aroma.
Fifth steep: Seems a bit lighter and zesty. This cup made me think of mango and honey dew melon.
Sixth steep: More sweetness and fruit than roasted flavour.
Next time I’ll try with a longer initial steep and more leaves.
Sometimes I see that other teas are compared to Da Hong Pao, and I can kinda see why now, but I don’t find those comparisons very helpful. I’d rather people mentioned specific characteristics or flavour, like “sweet and roasted”. Overall a wonderful tea, but some of the hype around it tainted my experience. I’ll have to try some more Da Hong Pao teas in the future.
100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 6 steeps (10s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 1min, 1m20s)
I forgot about this tea until I noticed tonight that my cat had somehow chewed on the bag, presumably in one of his fits of hunger. He will go for anything even somewhat resembling the bag his food comes in.
It is so nice! Really mild, sweet, and a little smokey. I love it, and am glad to rediscover it. The package suggests a surprising 4-7 minutes, so I went for 4 and am surprised at how much I like it that way.
I was really thrilled when I got this tea as a gift! The idea of drinking a 1991 aged tea thrilled me, I think it’s a pretty special thing to do. To think this tea was picked when I was 5 years of age seems crazy when I take the time to think about it! So I wanted to treat this tea with as much respect as I possibly could, make sure to take the time to appreciate the different layers every sip offers. Sadly, as much as I appreciate the fact it is very special and different, I’m not sure about the flavour of the charcoal… it’s not too bad. If I concentrate, I can picture the coffee… maybe a bit of dark chocolate. I sadly didn’t get the sweet and fruity aftertaste they mention at all though. I was actually very much looking forward to the charcoal taste combined with that of the actual tea, but sadly, I don’t get much oolong at all, to me this is mostly charcoal. It does get better as I re-steep and the leaves uncurl more (they never uncurl much though, even after 5 steeps, they seem pretty stuck from all the charcoal coating), but never enough to make me go “yum!”.
I still thought trying this tea was a great experience, the taste is interesting, and every sip is a sort of link to the past… I think that’s pretty cool! But I won’t go buying more of it, especially given the crazy price.