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Gong Fu Tea Shop

Recent Tasting Notes

38

Day 2 of the 12 Days of Christmas from TeaTiff

A mildly astringent black tea with strong orange rind flavors (slightly bitter orange flavors). Nice cinnamon spiciness, though. The orange becomes more prominent as the tea cools, and becomes more bitter too. Not my cup of tea (pardon the pun).

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

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70

Day 2 of the 12 Days of Christmas exchange, from TeaTiff! An orange and spice tea, though this is quite different than the bulk of the ones I’ve tried. Something about the spices. Sometimes spices can taste a little astringent/fake in tea, but that isn’t the case here. If you prefer spices to be the main note in your orange spice tea, without it tasting too fake, I would give this a try.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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94
drank Nilgiri by Gong Fu Tea Shop
46 tasting notes

Very nice! A light, tasty tea that is faintly reminiscent of Darjeeling but stands apart with its own flavor. Its taste is of a smooth, mellow black tea with notes of pine and a sweet blackberry finish. It leaves a slightly dry lingering taste on the tongue that, for me, is rather pleasant.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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I am going to have to have a few more cups of this before I can write too much but my initial impression is yummy! It reminds me a lot of the iron goddess, but not as strong. This might be a great compromise for me.

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83

Okay, so I’ve been saying that I don’t normally add milk or sugar to teas. I may have to change that assertion. For the past two weeks more nights than not I have been having a 4 cup pot of an Assam or a Ceylon with cream instead of dinner. It’s just what has sounded good. I’ve gone from “using up leftover cream” to buying half-and-half and cream specifically to have with tea. I still don’t like flavored teas with cream (or sugar usually) but this one is definitely yummy with either or both. :)

The downside to having 32 ounces of tea for dinner is that I have to get it over with before about 7:00 or I’ll be up all night making bathroom trips. :)

Bonnie

The milk tends to bring out maltiness and cocoa in tea, so I do the same with many of my black teas.

gmathis

I’m embarrassed to admit my evening cut-off time for food and drink ;)

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87
drank Masala Chai by Gong Fu Tea Shop
199 tasting notes

I have had this a few times this week. My supply is almost gone. With the holidays coming up I think this is one I will have to replace. I tried using both honey and rock sugar. I really like the rock sugar. This is just so warming and comforting. I am excited to try a few other chai’s in comparison, but this is really good. I am getting a lot of cardamom today.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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100
drank Milk Oolong by Gong Fu Tea Shop
46 tasting notes

My husband and I were in Des Moines this weekend because I was running a 5k, and lo and behold it just so happened that the race was practically right next to my favorite tea shop: Gong Fu Tea! Naturally, as soon as the race was over we headed over there to splurge on some tea (gotta have my post-run “recovery” beverage, of course!)

I ordered a cup of this milk oolong and thoroughly enjoyed it to the last drop. Admittedly I am not a very knowledgeable or experienced oolong drinker so I don’t have much to compare this to, but in my opinion is was very wonderful and unique. My son had fallen asleep in his stroller, the tea shop atmosphere was perfectly relaxed and soothing, and I just sat in their comfy chair and had a peaceful moment all to myself as I savored each sip of this tea, letting its warmth envelop me and its exquisite taste take me away to another world. Every so often I would open my eyes between sips and jot a note on what mouth was experiencing.

This tea’s flavor consisted of pleasing, warm, mellow notes reminiscent of coconut milk. It was rich and buttery with a lovely light sweet lingering finish. It was delicious, like a homemade butter cookie right out of the oven, yet at the same time it was not at all too heavy or rich. Mmmmmmmmm. I REALLY would have liked to purchase more of it in bulk to take home, but I had some other teas I’ve been wanting to try and my budget was limited. Alas, I will just have to wait to get it another time.

Preparation
4 min, 30 sec

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81
drank Cream Assam by Gong Fu Tea Shop
199 tasting notes

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68

I am still not sure what to make of this tea. I split 2oz of this with a friend. She described it as “smokey”. That might be a good description. When I first brewed up a cup of this I had just washed out my steeper so when the cup had froth on the top I almost dumped it out because I thought maybe I had gotten suds in there. It turns out it is just the tea. The smell is a burned, tobacco-ish smell and it isn’t an inviting smell for me. I convinced myself I still needed to try this. So I took a sip. Okay, not bad, not great. Another sip. Mmm this is getting better. Another sip. I like. I will describe the flavor as a roasted /burnt toast flavor. It is not one that I think I will crave, but when I brew up a cup I seem to really enjoy it. With so many teas out there I am not sure I would purchase this one again.

Update: I am really enjoying the second steep of this tea. The burnt flavor and smell that was a little off putting for me is not there. It’s is a more balanced flavor.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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87
drank Masala Chai by Gong Fu Tea Shop
199 tasting notes

Being new to loose leaf tea, this is my first chai that I have had that hasn’t been the pre mix stuff that coffee shops serve. I really like this! The spice mix on this is really nice! I have been using 2 tsp for 10oz of water + 2oz milk then adding sugar or honey to taste.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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81

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93

The great thing about this tea is that they use real bits of fruit instead of just using berry flavoring. The result is that you are treated to an amazingly genuine, delicious, rich, berry-filled delight that is slightly sweet and slightly tangy! And the aroma is enough to make one’s mouth water. Oh so good! (Too bad it’s not organic though!)

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec

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93

The ginger gives this Puerh a nice bit of warmth and zest. It’s an uplifting beverage for overall good health, and a nice way to aid digestion after a meal. Very, very good!

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec

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81

This is a very merry and mellow white tea. The coconut adds a hint of buttery flavor which is nice, although I don’t taste the pineapple quite as much.

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94

This black tea is very unique and delicious! The lichee fruit flavor comes through beautifully without overpowering the lovely taste of the tea.

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93

I love many different black teas, but this one is just superb. It is rich and robust, yet mellow; strong, yet wonderfully smooth. I absolutely adore it. However, I do wish it was certified organic!

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83

It’s rainy; it’s been dark and rainy all day (though not really cold, just slightly chilled). This was my post dinner tea. Trying to use it up and still have something I like for the evening. :)

In an unusual choice for me I added a sugar cube and a drizzle of cream to two of the cups. Then one I had plain, one with just sugar and one with just cream. I don’t often have tea with milk of any kind but I do love the way the cream looks as it spirals through the cup. An entire pot of tea will probably make me get up 3 or 4 times tonight but it was tasty and worth it. :) And the sugar kept me out of the Halloween candy!

Amanda Wilson

Today has been a perfect ‘tea’ day, although oddly all I drank was MatchaCCHINOs today.

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74
drank Silver Needle by Gong Fu Tea Shop
199 tasting notes

The first time I made this, I made it to the package instructions. 1 tsp per 6oz @ 195. It was way to weak for me, it tasted like drinking water and I got none of the sweet taste that I enjoy about silver needle. Last night I made this and altered my preparation a bit. I used 3ish tsp for 12 oz water, steeped for a little over 2 mins @ 175. Much more enjoyable. I could taste the tea and not just the water. Will have to try this again to see if it was really the preparation or my mood:).

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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50

Okay, maybe i just don’t like chamomile at all.

I discovered several months ago that chamomile seems to help with my heartburn, though, and so i’ve been searching high and low for an infusion that i enjoy drinking. I started with Tazo’s Calm, moved on to Mighty Leaf’s Chamomile Citrus, tried Lipton’s Chamomile Pineapple blend, Celestial Seasoning’s Honey Vanilla Chamomile, and finally Bigelow’s Cozy Chamomile. Each tea was worse than the last. I thought perhaps that a full-“leaf” chamomile would be the ticket, but this still just tastes like a handful of prairie in a cup to me.

The one infusion i tried recently that i really enjoyed was Traditional Medicinal’s Chamomile with Lavender. So perhaps i’ll toss a handful of lavender in with the rest of my Cleopatra’s Cuppa and hope that it’s a little more tolerable that way. The worst part is the smell, so i think some lavender would definitely help out in that department.

I’m so disappointed, mostly with myself. I really wanted to like this!

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83

So… I came back from the mini-vacation with either enraged allergies or a cold. I can’t taste much so I’m sticking with something that has enough flavor to break through my stuffy head, nothing that is new to me so I don’t miss something and also nothing that I really, truly love so I don’t waste it. :)

This is a nice, strong cup. I taste the tea, none of the bitter and it’s nice and hot. :)

Amanda Wilson

Whenever I have a super stuffy head I always slam it with chais, minty teas, or lapsang. It blasts through the stuffy. I hope you feel better soon!

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85

Sipdown!

Just poured the rest of my leaves into the strainer and steeped for a little under 4 minutes. a-HA! THIS is the renowned Assam flavor! Bold, sweet, honey-esque, a translucent flavor. Kind of a classic “black tea” taste with little to no astringency.

This is really good. I don’t know how often I’ll drink Assams, but I’m glad I now have more than one reference for the flavor. I recommend this to anyone who’s an Assam fan, or even just a black tea fan.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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85

Backlog from this morning.

One of the samples from Nicole again. Was more careful about proper leafage this time, as well as only steeping it for 3 minutes. It was better. More honey-esque Assam-y flavor as well as more body. I dunno, I read things about Assams and I haven’t found one that matches up to my mental image of what I get when I read those things. I keep picturing a REALLY boldly malty and rich cup, and all the ones I’ve tried are not as bold or as malty as what I imagine. Then again, I haven’t tried all the Assam samplers I have yet… :D

keychange

I know what you meana bout not finding one that has matched up with your idea of what it ought to taste like given reviews and such. I’ve found I enjoy my assam a lot more when I steep it for like, ten minutes (I had butiki’s PTA this morning and did just that, and it worked wonders).

Nicole

Yeah, you might give Butiki’s Assams a try. 10 minutes on this one would probably be enough to pucker wood. :) Hattiali Golden Lion Assam from Butiki is pretty fab.

Nicole

Might also look for tippy Assams. I sometimes find those to be maltier.

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85

Uh oh. Methinks I may have underleafed this?

I steeped it just under boiling for 5 minutes. The first sip made me go, WHOO ASSAM – and then all the subsequent sips have been a lot more mild. I’ve heard Assams are supposed to be bold, and while I’m certainly getting an Assam quality, it’s muted. I’m afraid to try brewing it more because I let it steep for 5 minutes.

No numbers for now. Next time I’m going to try more leaves. Oh well, still a pleasant morning cup.

EDIT: Forgot to credit Nicole for the sample! Also, it got more Assam-y as it cooled. Tea is so weird. Science.

looseTman

“Uh oh. Methinks I may have underleafed this?”
A digital scale such as http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/37731-my-weigh-durascale-d2-660-digital-scale is very handy for a more consistent cup of tea.

Nicole

More leaves and be wary of that 5 minutes. :)

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76
drank Cream Assam by Gong Fu Tea Shop
426 tasting notes

I got this to go with me when I left Gong Fu Tea on Friday. I was tempted to buy some leaf to take with me, but again, 2 full ounces for a new to me tea is a bit much. Plus, it smelled a whole lot like another tea I already have. :)

Again, I think the staff is mistaken in steeping this for 5 minutes. The honey notes were slightly burned tasting and the base was pretty in your face. Other than that, it was a very good tea.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
K S

Will they not steep shorter if you ask?

Nicole

They probably would, I’m sure. But it being my first time there (and having already confused them by asking for a Golden Yunnan which they had never heard of), I thought I’d let them do their thing. And since it is 3 hours away I’m not likely to get back especially soon. :) But I will certainly ask them on my next visit to steep for about 3 instead of 5.

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