JK Tea ShopEdit Company
Popular Teas from JK Tea ShopSee All 121 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
I found the strong, vegetal flavor of this matcha very unappealing. It had a bitter after taste and gritty texture that kept me from fully enjoying it. I was very surprised to learn it was a ceremonial grade matcha, due to it’s washed out color it more closely resembled culinary grade. I strongly suspect it may be old because I’ve never seen a ceremonial grade look so dingy or give me so much trouble when I whisk. According to the JK Tea Shop website, this was harvested in April 2014 making it over a year old.
You can read the full results of the blind taste test on my blog:
Another from my moonlight trip courtesy of dexter I won’t finish getting through all of them today but i made a nice dent, and if i can try the other two tomorrow, maybe i’ll still remember enough for comparison’s sake.
The initial smell of the dry leaf on this one is sweet hay. Nothing but hay. :) Wet, there was a weird smell that this took on – not of wet hay but i swear it was almost like sausages? smoked sausages? yeah don’t ask me..no one was cooking in my area lol. brewed this one has almost a little smoke to it, or at least the memory of smoke. there’s a tanginess here that is relatively interesting to me as well. I think this one has been the most interesting of the bunch so far :)
I got the version from 2014 in a sampler pack. This is waaaay too bitter for me, with no natural sweetness that I can detect. So… Question… Are oriental beauty, da hong pao and wuyi rock the only darker oolongs? I wish I’d gotten a dark oolong sampler instead of this one. All but one or two are…quite green. I need honey or something for this to work.
Flavors: Bitter, Vegetal
Another solid offering from Menghai. This one has a nice dark liquor with rich tones of raisin, and cocoa with a hint of bark. Not terrible complex, but a solid tea. Like most gong tings, this one only lasts 5 or so steepings before fading but they are some amazing 5 steepings! I’ve had this one several times now, and not too much cha qi to speak about but this one is a good one for the morning… a daily drinker type.
I lied! This is my last sample from Dinosara, teehee. She included this one as a freebie bonus sample, thanks dear! The leaves are long and twisty, and quite brittle. The color is dark chocolate brown. Dry scent is somewhat sweet with a fruit element. I did my usual “black tea” 3 minute steep at 200 degrees.
The brewed aroma has very strong honey notes, yum! There’s also a bit of malt and some fruitiness there. Hmm… I’m unsure what to say about the taste. My first thought it “this tastes like black tea”. It reminds me of plain ol’ unsweetened iced tea, and I’m not really sure how to describe that flavor other than just “black tea”. There’s a little bit of a grain element and a touch of honey comes out in the aftertaste, but for the most part it’s tea. I’m not sure if I’m missing something, but this one is not impressive to me. :P
Flavors: Grain, Honey, Malt
This review is for the 2014 version. This tea has a sweet aftertaste, and a unique aroma. No dryness could be felt when brewed right. Its taste evolves nicely over steepings, and in the 2nd steep I got a really nice thick mouthfeel from it. This tea lasts for many steepings (at least 8 steepings the way I brew it).
Brewing parameters: I used about 4.5g of leaves in 125ml gaiwan. 95c for the 1st and 2nd steepings, and 90c for the rest steepings. brewing times: rinse/15s/15s/15s/20s/25s/35s and so on..
This is a special tea, still in its infancy. It has a wonderful rich smooth flavor profile with a unique characteristic of significantly different taste depending on the temperature of the steeped tea. Brewed the traditional gong fu style with 212 degree water, this tea flavor changes as it cools. The initial hot liquor is smooth with high tones of soft bark and cane sugar. At first I though that this tea really doesn’t have much taste, but as the tea cools complexities come out and the tea becomes more rich and sweet with subtle spice notes.
JK Tea Shop describes this tea as “connoisseur pu er” and the price certainly reflects it. I purchased a cake in May of 2013 for $115 and as of this posting the price has sky rocketed to $450! I have not opened my cake and have not tried this tea since I finished the sample I bought prior to purchasing. This is a tea for long term storage for me that I will gratefully savor at some special occasion in the distant future. This is a special tea for sure!
This is an excellent example of an “earthy” pu erh. The flavor is that of deep woods, moss, birch, but with a surprising smooth character that lends to easy drinking. This is probably one of those polarizing teas, either love it or hate it but for those that enjoy the earthy flavor of ripe pu erh tea, this one is excellent. I don’t quite like it as much as the 2010 yongede golden buds loose leaf, but the golden buds appears to be sold out at JK and only this available last I checked. This is part of my daily drinking rotation of ripe pu erh teas. I also find it does well to sooth the stomach after a heavy meal.
Flavors: Dark Wood, Earth, Moss
Sip down of one of my favorites. I checked my records and I ordered this cake a little over a year ago. I’m surprised it lasted this long! I simply love this one, one of my favorite shou pu erh’s. To me it’s right up there with the 2007 golden needle white lotus I have, at considerable less cost. Smooth, smooth, warm, comforting, delicious! It’s sad to see this one leave my daily rotation, but I already have another one in storage. I am grateful to have had this tea over this past year. :)
One of my favorite Dayi teas! Smooth and mellow with big body, not too earthy. This is a well balanced shou pu er, perfect to introduce someone to pu er for the first time. I’ve read that at one time this was the highest quality tea they would export over seas. Back in the day, if the was the best you could get, you were still savoring some delicious tea! Good cha qi too, this is one of my favorites!
This tea is very delicate in taste. It is a refreshing tea.
The tea is also very beautiful. The leaves are all one bud and exactly the same shape and size. It is a very nice looking tea.
If you like very delicate teas, you might want to try this one.
For me personally, this tea is a bit too light, but I am glad that I purchased this tea, because it is such a beautiful looking tea. It is very unlike any other tea that I have so far encountered.
I haven’t had that many Phoenix Dancong teas before, but I never really was that fond of them until I purchased this sample.
When I was about to place my order, I figured I could add some cheap samples to try out. I am glad I did.
The first brewed cup had quite a smokey flavor and a slight fruity flavor in the background.
The second cup had very little smokeyness and was a lot more fruity than the first cup I brewed.
The third cup was very similar to the second cup I brewed, but a bit lighter, in a good way.
The fourth cup was worth brewing, but not that special tasting. Most of the sweetness had subsided and there was a vague fruity aroma left, but still an enjoyable cup.
I only used 2,5 grams and steeped the tea for 1:00, second 1:30, third 2:00 and fourth cup for 3:00.
I will definitely buy some more of this tea and also try out different varieties of Phoenix Dancong tea.
I took this sample to New York to share with my father and cousin. It was a little bit confusing identifying which tea this was, as the name on the bag isn’t the same as the name on the website. I had to go into my order history to make sure which tea this was. I don’t have too much to say about this. I brewed it very strong, because my family is used to drinking very strong bagged black teas. It probably would have done much better with less leaf and a shorter steep time. It was very good anyhow, and I might even be making some progress in converting my father from drinking Barry’s to a loose leaf tea. This one was a pretty typical Lapsang with notes of sweet potato, malt, and chocolate.
Finishing off my sample of this tea. I enjoy this tea pretty well, but a white tea has to be exceptional for me to really crave it, and this one doesn’t really fit that category. It’s a pretty standard Fuding silver needle, and I do enjoy those a bit more than some others. But this one doesn’t really have the sweet marshmallowyness that they can sometimes get, so it doesn’t really find a place in my cupboard.
Second gongfu session of the day. I ordered a sample of this tea because I really enjoy Verdant’s reserve Fuding white tea, and thought I would check this one out.
I would say that although this one doesn’t really approach the quality of Verdant’s, it’s a decent tea. Not quite sweet, but with allusions to the marshmallow notes I was hoping for. A bit of hay, a tiny floral note. I’m fairly picky about white teas (in that I’m not huge on white teas so one has to be really impressive or unique to win me over), so I’m glad I have just a sample of this one, but it won’t be too hard to finish it.
After having a gongfu session of this on today, I have to give it a big meh. For my tastes, it doesn’t hit all the buttons that I want in an unflavored black tea.
However, if you like Yunnan blacks, and robust teas, you may like this one. It’s a Yunnan that edges toward an Assam in overall robustness (though with a distinctly Yunnan flavor)
Even though I’m not the biggest on yunnan blacks, I ordered a sample of this tea from JK because I do like some (particularly Fengqing, like the black pearls) and I once read someone who drinks a lot of gongfu black tea said it was their favorite black tea. Since I was able to get a sample, I thought I’d give it a try. First trial western steeped, and I’ll do a gongfu session with it at some point.
Well it smells like a yunnan. A bit potatoey, a bit hay-ish. Not quite honeyed, not quite cocoa. The first sips are kind of bitter, but as I drink more the main body of the sip becomes sweeter. The bitterness creeps back in the aftertaste, but it is light. I may try this with less leaf, or less time. The flavor is more like an unrolled black pearl that the steeped tea initially smelled like. This cup is a bit “robust” for me, but otherwise I am relatively pleased with this tea.
Finally finished this one up today. I had bought some of this to try it out because a Jin Xuan processed as a black tea intrigued me. But it turns out I’m not the hugest fan of Taiwanese black teas, and this was definitely a somewhat typical Taiwanese black. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the sweetness and grains that it has, but there were some other notes that didn’t sit quite right with me. Glad to have tried it, though.
Blergh. The last time I had this tea (#42), I thought it was very tasty. Today, not so much. I am leaving the rating in the mid-80s since apparently I am fairly schizophrenic about this tea. I really think that it’s mostly that my tastebuds have decided that Taiwanese blacks are not the teas for me.
Just noticed that the last tea I drank was a Jin Xuan (milk oolong), this one is a Jin Xuan (black tea), and the next tea on my list is actually another milk oolong (but a TGY). What a weird spot in my cupboard.
I am supposed to be reviewing teas more regularly because I am officially within 10 tasting notes of 2000 notes. I should be able to do that before I leave for Europe in a week!
I couldn’t remember how I usually steeped this one, so I guessed, and it came out SO GOOD. Gotta do it next time too. Very sweet and lovely. I don’t reach for this one often and it is finicky, but it can be awesome if you catch it in the right mood.
I’ve made my way back around to my order from JK tea shop, of which two of the teas are left. The first time I had this I wasn’t super impressed. I mean, I enjoyed it but it tasted mostly like a regular Taiwanese black tea (so, fruity and honeyed) but it didn’t have a lot to keep me interested and there was an edge of bitterness at the parameters I brewed it.
Today I dropped my steep temp; I seem to prefer most black teas at less than boiling anyway. And today this tea is really quite delicious. I’ve lost a lot of the “harsh” fruitiness, that overly fruity quality that I dislike. Instead it is sweet, honeyed, caramelly, and the grains come out way more. Last time I said it smelled like a cross between a Fujian and a Taiwanese black. At boiling, the flavor was all Taiwanese black, but at 195°F, those notes relax a bit and the Fujian makes itself known. There is still a bit of fruity Taiwanese black hanging out, though.
All in all, this is a way more interesting and way more delicious tea. Glad I made it with these parameters.
This is the only tea that I ordered from JK Tea Shop in larger than a sample size, namely because they didn’t have a sample size option. But I just had to try it, so 50g it is! A black tea made with Jinxuan cultivar? It sounded awesome.
The dry leaf is dark with some golden flecks. It’s not long and wiry, but not quite balled-up either. It smells awesome, like molasses and toasted grains (like molasses-based horse feed if you’ve smelled it… I say that and people think that sounds weird but that stuff actually smells amazing). Anyway, it’s definitely a smell that I enjoy, and one that many of my favorite black teas have.
I decided to do a western steep first, and my default black tea parameters since I’ve never had this type of tea before. The steeped tea smells sweet, a bit honeyed, with some dried apricot notes. It is not unlike some Taiwanese black teas that I have had before, though with a grain undertone. Like some kind of mix between a Taiwanese and Fujian black.
The flavor is sweet and a bit fruity. Definitely reminds me of a Taiwanese black, which I suppose isn’t that surprising considering it’s a jin xuan cultivar, even if it is being grown on the mainland. As it cools there is a hint of bitterness that is creeping out; I’ll have to mess around with the steeping parameters of this. Overall this is pretty nice but not overly special. There is not much to it that would make me choose it over a Taiwanese black.
Ok, after having my gongfu session with this tea today, I can say that I am kind of disappointed in it considering it is supposed to be very high grade.
So first off, the flavor is not very complex or interesting. I look for butteriness, florals, perhaps a hint of fruit, and fresh leafy flavor. The first couple of steeps (post rinse) were kind of bland and almost savory, which is just wrong in an oolong like this IMO. As it progressed I steeped a bit longer and got some florals to peek out, but the savoriness got stronger as well. Then the florals left and there was only spinach soup. When I steeped this western style I thought I had oversteeped it and masked the delicate flavors, but now I see there just weren’t really any delicate flavors to begin with.
Also, I pulled a few leaves out and they were not whole, but rather with raggedy edges and missing ends. No attached leaf-bud pairs, and no intact, non-shredded leaves. Yeah, not the quality I was expecting. Disappointing, but there are plenty of other TGYs in the sea.