Mark T. Wendell
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Recent Tasting Notes
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!
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!
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.
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.
I made two infusions of this tea earlier and I enjoyed it more this time around. I still didn’t find any of the sweet notes or have the brew change significantly from one infusion to the next, but since I wasn’t expecting those things I was able to appreciate the tea for what it is. A lightly toasty wood-like tea.
Alright, I’m finishing up the 4th infusion of this tea from last evening. The color is still fairly dark, although in the brown/honey stage now. I’m not getting a lot of bold flavor from the tea though. It could just be that I’m not quite awake yet. I mean, it doesn’t take like plain water but I’m not sure there is enough of a taste to justify making a 4th infusion again. Unfortunately, I never got a lot of variation between infusions. I will try this again on another day to see if I can pull more out of it. As for now, I feel like it is a good plain oolong, but I’m not so sure about the Extra Fancy part.
2nd infusion is like a lightly toasted wood in a good way. At least I think it is good. I have to say this plain oolong is much more interesting than the flavored ones I’ve had. I’m still not going to rate this as I’m waiting for some other flavors to shine through (sweetness? fruity? floral?)
Oh, as the leaves begin to unfurl they are really cute. They remind me of miniature fall leaves complete with a mixture of red, green, and brown hues.
Oooh, Extra Fancy, huh? Awesome! I believe this is the first plain dark oolong I’ve had so I am really excited to try this. The leaves were almost as pretty as Dawn’s, but were not as long. There were some awesome light gold/green pieces mixed in which made the mix look quite pretty for a plain tea. I’m not sure I got the water hot enough on this first attempt, but it is still pretty good. Very smooth and not at all astringent like I’ve experienced in the first 1-2 infusions of other oolongs. This is very drinkable plain and has a slight roasted scent (but not vegetal, thank goodness). Since this is plain, I wonder how many infusions it can take. I’m also curious as to how the flavor will morph over time – which is my favorite thing about oolongs. I won’t rate this tea quite yet, I want to see how it progresses and make sure that I use hot enough water from here on out.
This one has been on my shelf for a while forgotten for the moment. I usually drink black tea with a little sugar and no milk or cream. I tried another tea in the morning with half and half so I decided in the afternoon to give this a try with half and half. I found that I like it a lot better that way. It reminds me of a Russian Caravan type tea. It has that Lapsang Soochong slight smoky flavor. It is very smooth and with cream and sugar it was very enjoyable.
I have for many years been a big fan of Mark T. Wendell’s Hu-Kwa tea. So I decided to give this one a try. I loved it. The blend is excellent, with just a note of smokey Labsang Souchong, great for afternoons when you’d like a tea with some body but not as strong as Labsang Souchong. I also love it in the morning. This one is a permanent one in my collection.
I have been buying this tea since the 1960’s and as far as I’m concerned it is the absolute best Lapsang Souchong tea there is. Over the years it has not deviated even slightly from its excellence. In comparison to other Lapsang Souchongs, many are far too strong and the tar taste is too intense. Hu-Kwa strikes the perfect balance with that wonderful smoky flavor and a hardy deep amber brew that warms your body and soul on a cold morning. This tea is simply the best…
I made a trip to my local health foods store and bought more of this assam tea. At 1.60 an ounce its cheap and also makes a very nice brisk full bodied cup of tea. I’m getting no bitterness and almost no astringency. This tea is not as harsh as some assam teas I have drank. Its a very smooth cup with a kick to wake you in the morning. I may buy a pound next time as the price drops to a buck an ounce. (I’m not sure why this is cheaper in Freeport than online, but it is.) This is one tea I can drink every morning with no regrets.
This is a very nice robust , brisk assam tea. It has no bitterness and only slight astringency. It has all the nuances of a good assam tea. The best thing about this fine tea is that it only cost me a buck sixty an ounce at the local health food store. That being said, It is no Mountain Malt, the tea that I will judge all assam teas by until I find a better one.