Camellia SinensisEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Hong Jing Tian (Latin Rhodiola rosea) is an herb supposedly used in Tibet traditionally by monks engaged in physical labor, stronger than, but similar to ginseng. Used as a tonic, warming herb, balances qi, liver, cardio- genital. It is unclear to me from the store description of these 5 gr mini tuos if this herb is actually present in the tuo, whether the tea name is actual or just marketing. Rhodiola is usually sold as a powdered root or twigs.
Having said that, I think the twigs or root powder might really be in here. The tuos look hand formed rather than molded. The smaller 5 g size is perfect to toss in a Yixing. Opens up right after the rinse. I used about 200F temp. Dark red liquor, straddles the edge of musty to a little fishy in the aroma but not the taste. Viscous, bubbles stayed in the cup. Broken leaves and really cooked black twigs, but some fairly green leaves showed up in the pot for me.
Not bad for a shou, rolls and tingles the entire tongue and I definitely taste the black earth/ scorched bark with a touch of sweetness, not mineral quality or fig in the description. Not much change in the steeps, which is expected from a shou.
The real kicker of this tea though is in the heat it generates in the esophagus, upper stomach and heart. 8-10 steeps I was breaking a sweat. This tea is how to get your Yang on. I am really Yang anyway, and I will be treating this tea as a medicinal. This is a good tonic for jet lag and too much airplane food, or the salad someone makes for dinner in the winter. That clammy, cold feeling of too much yin food. I am overly warm anyway and had to chase the whole thing with half a glass of milk and I am still feeling the stomach and heart heat an hour later.
Like I said, I don’t know what is in this tuo, if it doesn’t have Rhodiola it is a darn good imitation in a puerh. I am going to treat this as if that herb is in there. However, it does concern me that the website description doesn’t tell people outright that an herb is in the tea you might not need. If you want a risk, would recommend for brave men, caution in women, check with your doctor or herbalist about Rhodiola to be sure.
Flavors: Burnt, Decayed wood, Earth, Fig
Brewed in gai wan for a tea ceremony, light green in the cup. Grassy, vegetal, fresh taste. Strong for my ceremony participants, I was the only one left drinking when the tea was steeped out at 8 steepings. I used short 15 second steeps, gradually increasing until I was well over a minute at the end.
I love my Ceylon, but this one was a bit of a disappointment. Didn’t have anywhere near the complexity that the Amba did. That being said it smelled delicious when it was being brewed, roasted chocolate, pecans, and a nice malty orange aroma. Just not much of that transferred to my taste buds.
Hoping that I just brewed it wrong, and will try again…but definitely no where near as good as the Amba.
Thanks VariaTEA for the sample! I decided to cold brew it and take it to work.
Basically, this came off as the “green version of Des Roses et Des Bonbons” to me; same cherry flavour, same light rose flavour, same almost candy sweetness to it. However I didn’t like the green base and I thought it kind of detracted from the yummy flavourings: it was very grassy. But that’s ok; I have lots of Des Roses et Des Bonbons and I love that one so I’m still set and not sad to see this one go at all!
And hey, at least it didn’t taste medicinal.
That’s always a plus with cherry tea!
I’m roasting some baby eggplant and eating some lovely heirloom tomatoes so I thought I would try this Darjeeling sample that I got from Camellia Sinensis,,thanks!!
Camellia Sinensis has some maps for the growing location of your teas and the Darjeeling garden map showed that the Seeyok growing area is right on the edge of the Mirik Valley region next to Nepal. It is interesting to see the seven valleys and many gardens of Darjeeling. Cool.
The dry leaf looks like tiny brown wood chips and smells a tiny bit of ‘walking in the woods’ woody and like baked sweet roll.
I brewed this Western style at 200F for 3 minutes.
The wet leaf smells like baked dark bread and is in little brown flake-like shapes. I smell a scent of sweet relish as well.
The liquor is a deep clear amber color with scents of baked sweet roll; citrus, especially orange, and raisin.
The flavor is raisin bread and orange zest, which gives a tiny, tiny bit of bitter. On a scale of 1-10 for astringency,,,there is about a 1 or 1.5… so it is cleansing but not harsh at all.
I was drinking this as I was preparing lunch so it was heavy on my stomach and needed to eat a bit of my lunch immediately to curb that,,,so I wouldn’t drink this one on an empty stomach.
I am glad that I got to try another Darjeeling tea to gain more experience with them!! Thanks C.S. !!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Orange Zest, Raisins, Wood
Welcome to day 6 of little terri’s Ultimate Sipdown Extravaganza!
I’m starting the day with a tea from Sil (anybody surprised?) that I’ve had for quite some time, from one of our many awesome trades. I’ve been avoiding this one for awhile, not really sure why, maybe because it’s the first tea I’ve ever had (to my knowledge) from Camelia Sinensis, whose website I’ve loitered on quite a bit lately, drooling over teas I might order, & a yixing I really want.
I was originally thinking, “gongfu”, but then I read some of the other reviews. (I’m not ashamed to admit it. My ego isn’t tied into coming up with my own unique take on a tea, or being able to recognize some taste nobody else noticed, so although I don’t always read others’ reviews before drinking a tea, I occasionally do, to see what kind of steeping parameters they used.)
Having said all that, I went with 5G + 8oz X 4min. There was enough here to drink this tea one time, and that sounded like the most promising formula.
This tea is not particularly exciting to me. It’s very smooth, with a kind of vanilla feel. There is a gentle sweet spiciness to it, perhaps cinnamon, & kind of a bland wood taste, with a growing but light coriander in the background. So, although there is nothing wrong here, & it doesn’t taste bad, it just doesn’t really do it for me. But I’m still glad to have tried it, & maybe on another day (if I had more), I would be in the mood to enjoy a tea such as this.
Sipdown – only 370 to go!
Thank you, VariaTEA, for letting me try this tea :)
The aroma and flavor remind me so much of some sweets from my childhood. I can’t remember what it was exactly, but I think it was, surprisingly, some hard candy! Very unusual flavor combination, I haven’t experienced these notes in any ther tea. It is kind of similar to MF’s Marco Polo in that respect. Because it’s so unique.
There’s rose in it but kind of… fruitified. More like rosehips? Also a note of caramel… But there’s also some balanced citrus in here! Very interesting.
Ah! Rose and Cherry!
When I brewed it I didn’t know what I was making really. I just figured I’d look it up later.
I’m not a huge green tea person, but I’m starting to enjoy them in the evenings more often. The change in weather helps. The warmer days just call out for greener cups.
This tea is yum. It’s a green I will easily look forward to drinking the rest of the week.
I’m watching Shield in the student lounge at work.
I’m trying to savor it.
Also, it’s Hawkeye comic day. I’m goin shoppin at lunch :)
VariaTEA sent this to me labelled “just enough for one 12 oz cup”. So that’s what I’ve made!
Steeping, it smells SO GOOD. Many spices. Lots of spices. Spices, spices, spices. This is gonna be great with that whipping cream. :)
Yeah, this is seriously spice-heavy. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be this way, as my sample was fairly powdered, but I kinda like it. Loads of cloves, some cinnamon. No chocolate. What? Chocolate nibs? I thought those were cardamom. Oops.
I still prefer my Mariage Freres Chandernagor, but this is still a nice chai. Different. And different is good!
Assam Banaspaty from the plains of Assam, Banaspaty garden. India.
The dry leaf smells like malt and cacao beans. They are tiny dark black-brown twisty threads but broken into halves and tiny bits. There are a few blonde ones mixed in too.
I steeped this at 200F for 3 minutes. It created a deep red liquor with scents of malt and hints of orange.
The wet leaves look like chopped reddish brown fall leaves and smell like baked brown bread.
The flavor is good. It has a touch of astringency from a taste like orange zest but just a touch,,, not overbearing at all and would be good for people who add a splash of milk. I love this tea, it really tastes like malt and orange zest. Delicious.
I added some of my homemade almond milk to this and it is heavenly!!!! I see this as a good base for when I make Chai since it has that orange hint in there and blends with milk.
Having a bit of this today with milk. Bold, citrus, malt, good.
Having a cup with milk in it. It needs the milk and can take sugar too though I didn’t put any.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Orange Zest
From gardens in Nepal; short distance from Darjeeling.
Dry leaves are nice twisty, thick threads of light brown, cream, and dark brown with an interesting scent of a light ginger snap but not heavy on the ginger—more snap!
As it brews, it is smelling like Oriental Beauty and come to think of it,,,,those leaves look like Oriental Beauty.
I tasted this at 3 minutes and it was still faint in color and flavor so I left it steeping a total of 4 minutes at 200F.
This is a black tea that wants to be an Oriental Beauty. It has all of those qualities that are sort of indescribable about that tea. The wet leaves are mixed fall colors and the liquor is that golden orange clear hue. I think I will play with this tea because the tasting notes on Camellia Sinensis promote fruity apple and chocolate accents along with honey and rich floral perfumes. I want to bring more out of this tea. I do catch the apple as the liquor cools off a bit.
Very interesting and unexpected flavors.
Flavors: Fruit Tree Flowers, Honey
From Nan Mei Valley, Lincang Region, China.
Absolutely Gorgeous, spicy-scented, velvety-soft, wild downy buds.
Brewed Western style at 165F. I tasted this at five minutes and it was starting to gain some lovely flavor so I steeped it for a total of 7 minutes.
The liquor is spicy-scented with notes of citrus, fresh-grated nutmeg (which is lighter and more fresh than already grated jarred nutmeg).
These wild whites are some of my favorites!!!!!!!!!!!!! So cool in appearance, scent, and of course taste!!!!
Brewed, the wet buds take on a deeper green color with accents of brown on the edges and a spicier scent.
The flavor is honey, fresh nutmeg, touches of orange zest. Very fresh and delicious. I love these wild whites in the morning, so cleansing and delicious!!!
Second Steeping – this has one more brew in it and I steeped for same temp and amount of time and it still tastes lovely!!
I have been aging this one and I brewed some Western style today at 165F for 5 minutes. Boy has this progressed well! It is sweeter and creamier. The spice notes are still present but it is getting a great mouthfeel and more depth. Love!
I live in a very dry climate so this one is aging well for me.
Flavors: Honey, Nutmeg, Orange Zest
Very strange. In the same order, I received this, the Creme des Earl Grey, and Green Earl Grey. I cannot get enough of the green and the creme and am slurping them down (and have reordered larger quantities of both). This one… I first tried it cold brew, and it was undrinkable. So, fair enough, I probably over steeped it. I tried it again, normal brew, 4 minutes, and I had a similar result. I taste a faint lemon rather than the more rounded bergamot I prefer. This isn’t working for me.
From China and Xue Ya means Snow Buds. This is exquisite tea.
The dry leaf smells like white tea with sweet notes and looks like a White Peony made from Silver Needle. The color has that silver/green loveliness.
I brewed this at 175F since it is a green and was able to steep a long time with no bitterness or harshness. I tasted three minutes in and it was very light so I kept in for 5 minutes total. Now the dry leaves may have tried to trick you into thinking they were a white tea,,,,the brewed leaves totally smelled like a Dragonwell-type green tea. All the leaves were two leaves and a bud,,,gorgeous and a very faint clear spring green colored liquor.
Presentation gets a very high score and no bitterness either so next time I try this I know I will brew it to bring out lots more flavor :)
Pairs lovely with chopped salad!
- O.K. this is definitely one for the Gaiwan. I couldn’t wait so I got new leaves and first added a bunch to the other leaves to completely stuff my gaiwan. This wasn’t the answer bc it had the same flavor notes as Western brewing but just less time.
I got new leaves and put the recommended 2 tsp into my Gaiwan and steeped for 30 seconds, then 15 seconds, then 30 seconds. Each session produced a light spring green liquor with more color than Western and light green flavors of spring pea to honey. This is definitely a green tea that wants to be a white tea. Don’t change!!!! You are fun and delicious and beautiful the way you are!!!!
Steeped some in my gaiwan this afternoon and I caught a note of cinnamon that I didn’t detect last time. Peas, cinnamon, honey, bit of cream. This is lovely tea!!
Having a cup of this in the morning. Very light and probably more of an afternoon tea for me usually but wanted a lighter tea than a black this morning. It is very good with subtle notes of cream, pea, spice, sweet honey. Very good white.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cream, Honey, Peas
From Hunan Province, China.
The dry leaves are little twisted loose golden thread balls with highlights of black. They smell like malt and honey.
I tried the liquor at 3 minutes at this brew temp and it wasn’t strong enough so I kept it in for 4:30. This created a dark brown/golden liquor with scents of caramel sugar, dates, brown sugar cake.
The brewed leaves are chocolate brown perfectly unrolled needles/bud looking leaves. Fantastic!!
The flavor is smooth malt, dates, honey. Very delicious. There are subtle subtle vegetable notes as Camellia Sinensis suggests in their tasting notes. They say corn, tomato, and artichoke hearts. I can taste a tiny tiny bit of acid tomato and starch corn. This is a really balanced and complex tea. Wonderful.
Tried a bit of this Gong Fu style today,,,,this tea gives LOTS of steepings!!! Used 190F water with short steeps,,,,6-4-6-8-8-10-10 created a deep, rich, auburn light mahogany liquor with notes of crème brûlée sugar top that has been really torched so it’s not super sweet, dates, a touch of smoke. Very delicious and rich.
Tried this one Western style this morning and put it up against a cup of Yunnan Sourcing’s Black Gold Bi Luo Chun from Spring of 2014. They are different size snails and the one from YS has larger snails.
This tea is bright and citrus focused when brewed this way but it is well balanced with the subtle malt and sweet notes. The YS snails had more of a focus on smoke and malt.
I found that the two size snails have completely different flavors which of course they would. It is cool to see how the different size in leaves and rolling can bring out such different flavors!
Flavors: Caramel, Citrus, Dates, Honey, Malt
Whoa there is a lot of stuff in this tea! I’m surprised by the five minute steep time, too. I’m tasting mostly cherry in this cup. A little lemon grass in the beginning of the sip. This is interesting! And is that a strawberry aftertaste?! I bet this would be great cold brewed and iced!
Thanks for this sample VariaTEA!
A lovely, well-made tea that has a full-bodied taste. But there is also a subtle tartness in the first infusions follwed by sweetness in the final ones for those who are paying attention.
First infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz water, 90 deg., 2:00 min.
Second infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz. water, 90 deg., 3:00 min.
Third infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz. water, 90 deg., 5:00 min.
Fourth infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz. water, 90 deg., 10:00+ min.
I really loved Twinings Blackcurrent in college. I was pretty sad when it started tasting a bit chemically to me. This is a great replacement. It’s a deep but still brisk base tea with a less-pronounced but deeply delicious berry note. It’s less fruity than Twinings, but in a really nice way. I bet this would make a terrific cold brew too.