JK Tea Shop
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Recent Tasting Notes
My two Gaiwan sets arrived today, and to celebrate I brewed this sample that I got from JK Tea Shop.
The dry leaves are very long, twisted and dark. The brew is lightly golden with a gentle sweet and flower scent. The tea is silky, slightly oily, and coats the tongue and the roof of the mouth with its pleasantness. I steeped it four times, and the second and third steep were the best – the first being rather rough. There’s no astringency or bitterness to this tea, but rather a mild sweetness that is not overwhelming or cloying, but merely a welcome background to the perfumed/orchidy flavour of this tea that lasts long after the tea is gone.
A very good tea to relax with on a friday afternoon, watching the sun set and listening to my cat snoring gently to herself.
I have been brewing this over two days for possibly up to 10 infusions and it’s still great. Even after these many steepings, it doesn’t have any bitterness or rough edges. I haven’t, however, given it the attention it deserves. Yesterday I started brewing it after eating very spicy food, and today I was eating a lemon lavender cookie with it…But, I’m going to be optimistic and give it a high rating.
This tea is quite sensitive to steep time and water temperature. My first infusion (3 seconds) I enjoyed very much, but on the second infusion I let the leaves steep for 30 seconds, and suddenly the broth was very bitter and all of the delicate sweetness and floral notes had been overpowered. Is it bad, then, that I am still impressed by this tea if for nothing more than the price was right?
I bought this as a possible replacement for my golden monkey Ceylon from Fortnum and Mason. This is my first order from JK tea house and it arrived very very very well packed. I doubt that a nuclear bomb could have damaged it :)
The leaves are long, thin and tightly twisted. Their raw smell is slightly sweet. The tea itself (brewed western style w/ boiling water for 2-3 minutes) is very smooth, slightly sweet with no bitter notes and only a slight astringency that rounds it off nicely. A very good tea for the price, even if it is no replacement for my Golden Monkey Tail Ceylon
Probably a bit too subtle for me…
Looks like a cross between Da Wu Ye and sweeter Dancongs but neither sweetness not floral bitterness are very bright. The liquid is also a very slight yellow color.
Certainly not something I’d want to have on my shelf in any meaningful quantities. Dancongs are a big hit or a big miss for me it seems. Either I love then, or I couldn’t care.
Even more fragrant than Imperial Grade of Mi Lan. Its fragrance is more flowery than sweet though.
The tea itself is of color of liquid honey and is a rather pleasantly sweet. I imagine it can be steeped for longer time than Imperial as it has no bitterness at all.
Strangely enough – I like lower grade better :) This is of course a great tea, but Imperial grade’s taste is rather unique and quite a lot more interesting.
I can’t set steeping time lower than 15 sec so I mark it here :
this tea requires VERY short steeping time of probably 1-3 seconds for an infusion
Ahhhhh…. The aroma of the dry leaves of this tea is truly heavenly. Thick, overpowering scent of honey that won’t even let you brew it for a minute or so because you just can’t stop enjoying it :)
I am always amazed at how unflavored, unblended dancong tea can smell so good and this one is truly a pinnacle of this quality. Even last year’s Huang Zhi Xiang from the same company pales in comparison.
The taste is really heavy and bitter with sweet hints so very short steepings of a few seconds are advisable (bitterness isn’t overpowering then). I’d say this tea is much like wine – it’s bitterness is mature and isn’t offputting at all if you just remember to pour it out almost immediately. The advice stands even for later infusions – i am currently at 5th and 2 seconds still produce very strong flavor.
A subtle, elegant black. Refined flavor. My favorite thing about this tea is the flash of orchid-like aroma that arises, seemingly out of nowhere, a few seconds after taking a sip.
Even when brewed strong, it does not get too black or weight the palate down with heavy taste.
Excellent price for the quality.
It is really amazing how different can this yunnan be between when bitterness kicks in and before it. Its almost like 20 more seconds of steeping change the tea to a different variety. Cant say I don’t like it when steeped for a longer time, but short steepings is where this one truly shines. Definitely not the one for western brewing.
(This tea was generously provided to be by JK Tea Shop due to postal issues that were out of companies hands. Big thank you to the whole JK Tea Shop Team!)
Dry Leaf: I get a nice smooth roasted or toasted grain like aroma or even a caramel type of aroma.
Wet Leaf: I get a heavy roasted like charcoal type of aroma but there is a slight fruit type of aroma the opens up some sweetness. But, the roasted charcoal aroma is the main player in the aroma.
Liquor: Golden yellow brown type of color.
Taste: I get a smooth roasted flavor like peanut and oats with a charcoal flavor over it. There is a fruit type of flavor that adds the sweetness to this tea and I even get a light kiss of floral in this tea. The broth of this tea has a nice thickness feel in the mouth.
Vessel: 100 ml gaiwan (3 oz) and used 5 grams of leaf.
Overall Opinion: I give this a 89 my way of scoring. This was a enjoyable tea and maybe one to try for the people who are lighter Tie Guan Yin tea drinkers and want to transition over to roasted.
(This tea was generously provided to me by JK Tea Shop due to terrible postal issues that was out of their hands. Big thank you to the whole JK Tea Shop Team.)
Dry Leaf: I get a mellow roasted aroma along with a sweetness that I almost want to associate it to some kind of fruit. This tea has a fresh aroma to it also.
Wet Leaf: I get a fresh orchid like aroma with almost like a fruit aroma that show some sweetness to this tea.
Liquor: I got a yellowish green type of color.
Taste: This tea is smooth with a roasted orchid like flavor with some sweetness again I want to say some kind of fruit. There is some astringency I pick up with this tea. I also notice the way this tea feels in your mouth for me it sits more on front of your mouth and gives that more dry feeling in your mouth.
Vessel/Leaf: I used a 100 ml ( 3 oz.) gaiwan and used 5 grams of tea.
Overall Opinion: I give this tea a solid 88 from the way I score. This is a very serviceable tea. One thing I would like to add about this tea shop is they offer the same tea with different grades which allows you the tea connoisseur to expand your palate with being able to compare taste, texture, the body of the tea and it’s smoothness and how the tea builds it sweetness in your mouth. One tip to everyone grade does matter as a whole in the overall experience you have.
After trying Laoshan Northern Black(Verdant), Yunnan Golden Buds(Verdant) and Bailin Gongfu(Teavivre) I can safely say that this tea is THE best yunnan black for me :) I didn’t really find Bailin that special, Yunnan Golden Buds were OK, but their most interesting note is emphasized hundredfold in Imperial Breakfast(Verdant) which is is waaaaay better that pure Golden Buds and while I enjoyed the background of Northern Black immensely it’s an occasional tea, while Fenqing 58’s sweet notes and general profile make it a perfect everyday tea.
Even though I have a lot from Verdant to try, I just couldn’t resist tasting YGB’s honey undertone once again. As a result, I unpacked smaller of the two bags with it I received recently :)
UPD : This tea really starts to shine on its second steeping and after it has cooled quite a bit. Have in mind.
Currently this tea is seriously underrated so I had to write a review as this is my favorite tea.
This tea does not contain buds like almost any other tea. It is picked one leaf at a time, which makes this tea special in many ways. It’s appearance (very fresh light to dark green) looks fabulous, smell is brilliant and the taste is top notch. The taste is fresh, complex, floral and sweet without any bitterness. It not grassy at all like some teas and it is not blunt either. The taste is very enjoyable and I could drink this anytime of the day.
In my opinion this is superior to Longjing (Dragon Well) tea. This tea is also baked but not as much as Longjing. Additionally Liu An Gua Pian tea leafs are much bigger and round when brewed. For my taste Longjing has some bitterness that I cannot taste in Liu An Gua Pian and also more floral taste which adds to complexity.
Let’s not forgot that this tea is produced very traditionally which makes it rather unique. I like the fact that this is a very honest tea from hard working farmers. I respect their effort to make this special tea.
The only downside might be the price. This is quite expensive tea after all. However if you count the fact that this tea is very pure as it only contains leafs without buds which add weight and has negative effect on the taste, this tea seems well worth the price. It’s always a joy to brew this tea and everyone should try it. I cannot think of any reason why most people would not like this tea. Liu An Gua Pian is the very best of green teas. I plan to order much bigger quantity next time so that I can enjoy this more often.