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Mark T. Wendell

Recent Tasting Notes

95

It’s taken me a while to post this because I needed to live with this tea to really get to know it. For the most part I really like full bodied Darjeelings, so first flushes are not what I would drink on a regular basis. I usually drink green tea in the afternoon and instead I have been giving this first flush a try. It is very light compared to most black teas, but when compared to my usual green teas it compares very well. Over time I have come to really love it’s beautiful floral notes, almost as if it were perfumed but with a exquisite subtlety that has you reaching for more. In short (it’s too late for that) I am enjoying this tea immeasurably and if you like teas which are a delight to your nose as well as you taste buds, try this one.

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

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74

I always think it is interesting when you try a new tea and you like it enough, but it doesn’t blow you away….until later on you realize that you are craving that tea, so maybe you like it more than you initially thought. I was really craving this tea last night but it was late and I picked rooibos instead. I woke up today and was considering this tea when I saw wombatgirl drinking this – I knew, it was a sign, I needed to drink this tea!
Today it appears that I used more pearls than yesterday (even though I measured out the same 2 teaspoon serving, maybe I should have weighed it) and I think this is the way to go! The tea has a broth-like feel that almost has a buttery aspect to it without the butter flavor. The jasmine is very smooth and I’m starting to kick myself for not trying jasmine pearls sooner. I think I may need up up the rating, but I will not do so unless:
1) This tea can hold up nicely to several infusions (the more, the better)
2) The next time I have this tea I feel the same way – I don’t want to up the rating if my feelings about it today are a product of my mood or if I can not replicate the brothy fullness I’m getting today.

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec

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67

Finishing up my sample. A nice, typical Jasmine Pearl. Very enjoyable.

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74

There was a time early in my tea drinking that I would have never, under any circumstances, thought about trying this tea. Why? Because I was pretty sure I hated super floral tasting teas. Lately, however, I’ve noticed that my tastes have changed so I thought, maybe I WILL like this tea…..
The little pearls are so cute and fuzzy, but they have a very, very strong scent. Perhaps it is because I’ve been avoiding several floral teas, but this doesn’t smell like I thought jasmine smelled like….but I’m pretty sure the company used jasmine so I’m obviously off. The brewed tea is light gold in color and still has a really strong aroma that reminds me of soap or lotion or something…eek!
Thank tea heaven! The taste is not that of a soap or a lotion! It is actually a nice green tea with a layer of floral jasmine with hardly any aftertaste. I’m sure my rating with change as I become accustomed to this floral tea, but I am really glad I got up the nerve to try something this far outside of my comfort zone.

Second infusion is a tad sweeter, but other than that the taste is the same as the first infusion. This tea could probably keep going for awhile, but I have so many other teas I want to try….

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec

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80

Several hours later, still as good.

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80

nom nom nom nom. Good flavour and big leaves.

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65

Well, these pearls certainly are downy…I felt one of the little balls of tea and it was soft and fuzzy. The jasmine smell is sharp and sweet in the dry leaf, and makes me wonder if the taste will be the same.

I used approximately two teaspoons of pearls, in two cups of water, for three minutes (give or take ten seconds, as I initially forgot to start my timer, oops). At the end of three minutes, the brew was very watery, so I let it sit for two minutes more. At this point, I’d like to take a moment to say that while I enjoy the challenge of matching up just the right steeping time with just the right amount of leaf and water to make a delectable cup, I do wish that more companies would give what they believe the ideal steeping conditions to be, even if it’s a rough estimate, since not all teas are created equally, and generalizing conditions does not always work out. Regardless, the extra two minutes seems to have helped immensely, as there is greater unfurl to the leaves and more colour to the liquor.

The jasmine scent is just as sharp in the completed cup as it was in the dry leaf. And the taste….Wow…that’s incredibly…mediocre. Thankfully, the sharpness of the jasmine hasn’t come through in the taste of the liquor, yet everything about it is very average. The flavour is smooth, and light, and has a nice jasmine scent and taste, but, all in all, it just seems to be lacking something in a big way.

I enjoyed drinking it, but Jasmine Pearls are one of my favourites, so that could bias me a bit. I give it a 65 out of 100 on my personal enjoyment scale.

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec

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77

Opening the package, the dry leaves smell grassy and have a perky sweetness about them that I’m eager to try (too much time spent drinking roasted and musty green teas has drawn me from teas like this). Two teaspoons of leaves, two cups of water, and three minutes later, I had a pale green brew with a much deeper aroma than the dry leaf had. Deeper, yet still as sweet, the grassy notes linger as well.

Deliciously smooth. The grassy flavour does not overwhelm, as some greens are apt to do. For such a lightly flavoured tea, the brew seems to carry a moderate amount of thickness to the mouthfeel. However, even those light flavours are complex by themselves, making each sip a lingering pleasure, if left to settle on the tongue.

The sweetness and delicacy of the brew leave one with a very refreshed feeling, and it is a very enjoyable tea to drink. I gladly give it a 77 out of 100 on my personal enjoyment scale, and would certainly recommend it.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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96

When I look for a breakfast tea, I look for a distinct malty body (in this case, Assam), but with a suitable variety of estate and small and large leaf to provide a few different layers of flavor across the palate and a clean finish. MTW Irish Breakfast is perfect. The tea is strong, but consistently so, and it does not overpower. I brew it hot and steep it for a long time.
75% of my mornings are started with a visit to the tea cabinet and a reach for the MTW IB. (The rest is usually the MTW Scottish breakfast, which I save for when I want something a bit more malty and less ascorbic.)
Excellent way to start the day.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 7 min, 0 sec

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7

Based on the smell I was anticipating something tooth-numbingly sweet but this is actually quite mild. The Chinese sencha base tastes more like bancha, but it adds a nice woody touch to the flavor that, combined with the fruit flavoring, makes me think of biting on pomegranate seeds. It’s surprisingly nice. Thanks to TeaEqualsBliss for the share!

ETA: Drastically dropping the rating because something in this tea has made me violently nauseous. Oh dear.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec
sophistre

Oh, yuck!

Stephanie

nausea? ohh too bad! :(

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90

I love oolong, and I love finery, especially in the tea world. So when the chance to try this tea came up…an oolong, mind you, that is supposed to be one of the finest available, and available only in limited quantities, I jumped at the opportunity.

The dry leaf holds light, vegetal notes that are, surprisingly, reminiscent of a few white teas that I have tried.

The steeped liquor is a brilliant gold, with excellent clarity (the benefits of utilizing a glass vessel for steeping). It also has a darker aroma, more akin to darjeeling. Ah, but the first sip was nothing like drinking darjeeling. Light and fruity (what specific fruit flavours – I cannot quite place), the liquor slipped over the tongue easily. Incredibly soft mouthfeel combined with a surprisingly bold, yet not overwhelming, aftertaste to provide a wonderfully pleasant drink.

Steeping the tea again, for a few minutes longer (five this time), led to a brew of much the same strength and character as the first. I was pleased at the resilience and quality of this tea. I most definitely enjoyed drinking this and would certainly keep this on my list of teas to keep in stock. I give it a 90/100 on my personal enjoyment scale.

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69

Argh! I had a nice tasting notes written for this tea when Bob the computer decided to die on me. * swears * So I’ll try and reproduce what I remember from it. >:(

This tea was another of the samples that Mike from “It’s All About the Leaf” (http://www.itsallabouttheleaf.com/) gave me to review. I have to say that I feel a little spoiled with the size of the samples he’s giving me, there’s a good 30-40 g of tea in this pouch, for instance.

Dry it has a sweet, vegetal scent, and the leaves are rolled like most green oolongs – although fairly loosely in this case – and the leaves look to be a bit paler than what I normally see. The steeped tea reveals how “Imperial Gold” likely got its name – it’s a deep, warmly-golden liquid. It also has a rather delicate floral aroma that teases the nose rather than punches it.

This is quite a ‘green’ green oolong, with a vegetal flavour profile and, oddly enough, little of the sweetness that I’m used to tasting as an oolong cools off. The first steep, at 4 minutes, is a little weak – not too surprising as the leaves take time to unroll and open up. I’ve been told that the 2nd steep of a green oolong is usually the best, and what I’ve experienced so far with this type of tea seems to bear that out, more or less.

The 2nd steep, at 5 minutes, has a fuller flavour and a more substancial body. It has a flavour like cooked greens with a faintly spicy or peppery note that lingers on the tongue. By the third steep, at 6 minutes, I can tell that the tea is starting to lose its omph, as it has a thinner liquor and a sweet, green taste that’s more fresh than cooked – although there are some buttery notes on the end.

Not my favourite – I like my oolongs sweeter, though I think you can put that down to a matter of personal preference rather than lack of quality in this case.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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86

This one is like Hu-Kwa’s younger, prettier sister! It’s a great pick-me-up and oh-so-slightly smoky flavor. If you are scared of smoky teas try this one! She’s the girl-next-door!

ashmanra

I am just starting to try lapsang teas, this one intrigues me now!

Stephanie

Love the name of this!

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87
drank Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell
197 tasting notes

I love this stuff and I think it is the BEST Lapsang Souchong. However, it makes lousy ice tea, so don’t try it that way

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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80

The shape of these rolled oolong leaves was reminiscent of an Alishan oolong I once had – small, compacted clumps of leaf. They carry quite a vegetal smell, almost more like a green tea than an oolong. I started out by steeping two teaspoons of leaves in two cups of water for three minutes.This resulted in somewhat of a weak brew, so I put the leaves back in for another minute or so (I like my oolongs stronger).

This completed brew is delightful. Light and creamy oolong scent with just a hint of that original vegetal strength with a bit of peppery smell too. The liquor is a very bright and clear light brown, and the taste….ooooh my. Light and soft, it caresses the tongue while still putting out moderately bold flavours including floral, vegetal, and peppery notes all wrapped into one tasty package. If this oolong went to school, it would be said that it was a very well-rounded individual, as this is a very well-rounded tea, encompassing a variety of different flavours that all serve to complement each other.

The second steep brought out the floral notes in the tea to a much fuller extent. The taste overall mellowed out a lot and brought out a bit more of the vegetal side as well. I could easily see this tea going for at least one or two more steepings. I really enjoyed this tea, and am giving it an 80/100 on my personal enjoyment scale.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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5

I am determined to get something out of this tea besides barely-there-wood flavored water. This tea is supposed to be “Extra Fancy”… am I missing something? Will I have another fataliTEA on my hands or will I be able to salvage what is left of my sample bag?

Okay, it is official. I know this is an unflavored oolong, but would it be too much to ask for just a bit of some sort of flavor? Some body? Something? I gave up and mixed about half a packet of white hot cocoa in the tea which makes the cocoa just a tiny bit more interesting due to the tiny wood-like taste of the tea. I will either use the remaining tea in cocoa or may just throw it out. I don’t know, but I’m docking some major points.

LiberTEAS

How long did you steep it? At what temperature?

mpierce87

Boiling, 5 minutes. I’ve even tried up to 7 minutes, nothing.

mpierce87

I even almost doubled the leaf amount. Maybe I just got a bad batch…

LiberTEAS

I don’t know. I’ve not tried this particular formosa Oolong … but formosa Oolong is one of my favorites… so it surprises me to read your experience with this one. Normally, I brew mine at water just below the boiling point (about 195 degrees F) for 3 minutes and it’s wonderful. Not quite as thick as a greener oolong would be, but, a nice flavor.

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5

I think I’ve been avoiding this one because I really WANT to like it, but it is just okay. I’m going to give it another shot today. It definitely is drinkable, but I want it to blow me away. I have a feeling there is something special about this, but I haven’t been getting it. I went heavier on the leaf, made sure the water was boiling and steeped for 4 minutes rather than the usual 3.

The verdict? Hmm…better than I remember. The mouthfeel is thicker and I don’t feel like I’m just drinking hot water. I’m catching a grape-like scent in the aroma, similar to that of the Darjeeling I’ve been drinking. The taste is much the same as previous attempts, but much fuller. I’ll have to see what happens as this cools, but I may raise the rating if it truly stays in the better than last time category.

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec

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85

To begin this review, I have to say that I’m a bit of a sucker for pu-erh sold in bird’s nest form, just because I think it looks really cool. However, I will attempt to not let this affect the bias of my review. Soooo, without further ado…
The dry tuocha smelled dark, dark and rich. Its very earthy scent had a touch of spicy notes to it as well. Wet, it had spicy and tobacco tones about it.
I chose to infuse this using multiple short infusions of about 30 seconds each.
First infusion: The liquor was still very bright and clear, a light brown in colour. It smelled faintly of the dry tuocha. The taste is very light, and I wonder if 30 seconds is not long enough. It certainly does taste earthy though. It is not as spicy as the smell led me to believe.
Second infusion: This time, the brown liquor deepened and darkened in colour, while maintaining its brightness. The scent is now very earthy, with almost a bit of fishy smell to it. Mmm, the taste has deepened. Full-bodied, the liquor tastes earthy and mellow. It goes down smooth, as though it barely brushes the tongue and throat.
Third infusion: The colour of the tea is now a deep brown, nearing dark chocolate in colour. The aroma has not changed much, but the flavour is much stronger and feels more mature. Very delicious at this point. I am quite enjoying this tea and I wonder how long this tuocha will last.
Fourth infusion: This cup was just as enjoyable as the third and had the same strength and characteristics. It seems as though this tea could certainly continue with more infusions. When I have more time, perhaps I will give one of these tuocha a test of how long it can last.

I loved being able to try this tea as it continued to grow and mature in taste and aroma. I truly cannot wait to drink it again. I rate it an 85/100 on my personal enjoyment scale!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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73

Average looking and smelling jasmine pearls.

Not much to really say about it because – what you see is what you get – if that is your sort of cup – you’ll like this one!

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73

This is another TEAEQUALSBLISS tea! Thank you! Since it says it is a blend of high middle altitude estate teas, I thought it would have the wintergreen tingle of Uva Highlands, and it does! Since I like low astringency I think this one for me is best with milk and sugar, but for those who like a brisk cup, you will want it just as it is. We steeped for 4 minutes to keep it from being bitter after reading some other reviews, and that was good for us. You could probably leave it a tad longer, but not much!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
TeaEqualsBliss

Nice review! Glad you like it!

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88

Pretty darned sniffy tea here!!!

This is nice and chewy but also light and semi-sweet. A little slippery towards the end of the sip

No aftertaste…very smooth.

Tasty at any temperature!

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